Voice congratulates Watt on Brophy trophy

Congratulations to New Westminster school trustee Lori Watt on winning COPE 378’s first annual Ardell Brophy Award.

The Award was initiated this year to recognize members of the COPE 378 union who have “shown exemplary service to their union and their community.”

The award honours Ardell Brophy, a long time COPE 378 union rep, member, activist, and advocate who is also an accomplished stand-up comedian and founder of Laff Riot Girls.

Fittingly, Watt herself is involved in the performing arts as an actress, director and producer.

The photo above shows Watt and Brophy alongside COPE 378 Vice President David Black at the award ceremony.

Black, as many know, is also a long time New Westminster resident and son of New Westminster MLA, and current opposition leader, Dawn Black.

Voice congratulates Ms. Brophy on the creation of this award and Ms. Watt as the first-time recipient.

Passing waste reduction savings on to New Westminster taxpayers

We were duly impressed by recent waste reduction news out of Port Coquitlam that John Ashdown drew our attention to.

It seems that a year after introducing “two leading-edge waste-reduction programs,” Port Coquitlam residents are now sending 26% less garbage to the landfill and they’ve saved $165,000 in the process.

Port Coquitlam’s new pickup schedule has also saved “9,600 litres of diesel fuel” and prevented “about 98 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases” from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Even better, Port Coquitlam residents are now looking forward to another zero increase in garbage rates for 2011.

Okay, pinch me. Where can the envious masses here in the Royal City sign up for that waste reduction program instead of the one where we get dinged with yet another increase in our solid waste fees this year?

Yes, it’s true that New Westminster’s waste output has been reduced by 48% (from 367 tonnes to just 188 tonnes) owing to the city’s new garbage scheme — as reported in the December 22, 2010 Newsleader. That part’s not so bad and we are impressed with the reduction of waste.

But what do the overtaxed citizens of New West get for all the hours they’re spending sorting their garbage? Surely we should be seeing some sort of savings or benefits being passed on to New Westminster taxpayers similar to the ones seen in nearby Port Coquitlam?

Alas, no… What we’re apparently getting is an $11 increase in our solid waste fees this year.

Moreover, according to a December 8, 2010 article in the Record, the chair of the city’s environmental committee (Councillor Cote) says the city’s new ‘clean green’ waste pick up service (intended to keep yard waste from landfills), and the addition of a new vehicle to the city’s fleet, have increased emissions by 57 tons.

(NOTE: see above where it states that Port Coquitlam’s new pickup schedule saved “9,600 litres of diesel fuel” and prevented “about 98 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases” from being emitted into the atmosphere.)

So: No apparent decrease in fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions, and no apparent decrease in labour costs in New Westminster! What gives?

Again, we are impressed with the reduction of waste in New Westminster, but we would also like to see some savings passed on to the city’s taxpayers.

About half of Port Coquitlam’s reported $165,000 in savings in 2010 reportedly came from reduced labour, equipment and fuel costs, while $82,000 came from averted landfill disposal fees.

Considering Port Coquitlam’s inspiring results, and the savings they’ve passed on to taxpayers, we’re obviously doing something wrong here in New Westminster.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore explains his city’s impressive results as follows: “We were able to achieve these successes because our residents got on board with the programs…. We’re working together to save money and at the same time provide a positive environmental impact.”

Well, New Westminster residents certainly appear to be on board with waste reduction.

(NOTE: See above where it states “New Westminster’s waste output has been reduced by 48% (from 367 tonnes to just 188 tonnes) because of the new garbage scheme….”)

So now, in addition to a reduction in waste, what New Westminster taxpayers want to see are some money savings and the positive environmental impact.

Port Coquitlam, and their Mayor Greg Moore, seem to have to figured out how to make waste reduction work and pass savings on to taxpayers. Why can’t New Westminster?

Translink Goes Back to the Drawing Board – With the Community

We all remember last November and December when Translink consulted with the City and soon recognized residents’ concerns with the design options that were presented and potential impacts on the local neighbourhood.
Well, they heard the very vocal opposition from the community and are now coming back to find out from us what our concerns are, what our transportation issues are, and what we can suggest as possible solutions.
Apparently over the next 3 months, starting next Saturday, they want to engage in this process with New Westminster residents. The meetings will be in three phases. All meetings will be at the Sapperton Pensioners Hall, 318 Keary Street, New Westminster.

Phase 1: Community Concerns and Ideas Workshops

Share your transportation concerns: Saturday, March 12, 2011 – 9:30 a.m. to noon

Share your ideas on the solutions: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Phase 2: Initial and Refined Concepts

Discuss initial concepts based on Phase 1: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Discuss the refined concepts: Saturday, April 30, 2011 – 9:30 a.m. to noon

Phase 3: Recommended Solution Strategy

Identify the recommended solution and community mitigation strategy

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

A citizen asks: “where’s the briefs?”

A local resident has informed the Express editorial team that there’s nowhere in New Westminster’s Uptown area to buy men’s underwear.

This may seem like a small issue to many readers of the Express, but it may be indicative of deeper issues in the local retail community.

Women’s underwear is apparently readily available in the Uptown. And dollar stores seem to abound. But “where’s the briefs?”

We’ll admit that men’s underwear and its availability is not something we’ve really thought much about before.

But you would think, in a city the size of New Westminster, that a well-functioning commercial area would be able to meet consumer demand for a basic item like men’s underwear.

So we really do need to ask: Is there is an uncracked niche market for men’s underwear just itching to wedge itself into the Uptown?

We don’t know the answer to that question. But if anyone knows if or where you can buy men’s underwear in the Uptown, please let us know.

If the absence of men’s underwear can be ascertained beyond the shadow of a doubt then it may just be a canary in a coal mine indicative of a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.