April Newsletter 2019
At home our family is doing well. I’m sure you’ve seen the exciting news that Cailey, Ezra and I are expecting a new baby to join our family in September. We’re super excited, and September promises to be an exciting time indeed for our family.
Major initiatives in the legislature
I have been away from home quite a bit – we’ve had a busy spring in Victoria at the legislature. The session started in February and will run to the end of May.
You may have heard already that our anti-SLAPP legislation passed, which limits the ability of powerful individuals and companies to sue people to prevent them from speaking out on issues of importance to them and their communities.
We have also introduced bills to improve management of our forests, increase worker’s compensation coverage for firefighters, preserve agricultural land reserve land, eliminate MSP payments entirely, promote the sale and adoption of zero emission vehicles, and ensure ticket resellers aren’t using “bots” to scoop up tickets for popular shows and events.
But that’s not all.
Transparent companies and home ownership in BC – a major change
The new bills I’m most excited about are twin (fraternal, not identical) bills to require transparency in home ownership – home owners who own residential property through a trust, a local or offshore company, or through a nominee owner will have to declare who the actual owner over the property is.
According to Transparency International Canada, almost 50% of Vancouver’s most expensive residential real estate is held in a way where the true owner is not apparent, and a new provincial “beneficial ownership” registry will ensure this information is available to Revenue Canada, police, and the public.
Similarly, companion legislation will ensure that B.C. company owners must maintain a declaration of what real person or people owns any given B.C. company. A lack of transparency around corporate owners in our province has frustrated police and tax officials when these companies operate illegally. This document will not be public, but it must be made available on inspection to regulators and law enforcement in order to match commitments made by other provinces and territories and the Federal government.
There should be no “safe” home in Canada for anonymous companies to operate illegally. We are hopeful these bills will pass in the next few weeks.
Small businesses in our neighbourhoods
Closer to home, I’m sure you’ve noticed, many changes with our small businesses along Broadway, Tenth, and Fourth. Some are very positive (Pure Bread and Koko Monk’s arrival on Broadway have not assisted me in keeping control of snacking temptations), and some are very negative (the shuttering and fencing up of the grocery store on 10th has brutally impacted many small businesses in Point Grey village, and many are at high risk of closing).
My office is in the process of identifying the current corporate owner of the former Safeway store on tenth, the developer who is planning to use the site, and any other interested parties to convey our interest that the site not sit empty for years awaiting development permits from Vancouver. If you have any contacts related to this site, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my staff so that we can contact them and see if we can move forward in a way that is positive for everyone.
UBC, UNA and the UEL
In other neighbourhood news, many UNA, UEL, and UBC residents will have noticed development signs going up announcing badly needed daycare spaces and student beds. The construction is certainly disruptive and a headache for local residents (Wesbrook Mall is currently closed through a heavily trafficked area on campus), but the end result of housing for students on campus will ease local congestion while providing a safe, affordable housing option for students outside of the private rental market, easing stresses there.
We have been in contact with the UEL office about the stalled sewage construction which we are told is due to a contractor that, for whatever reason (there is apparently some type of contract dispute), is no longer on the job. The UEL is in the process of tendering the completion of the job, and I’m grateful to residents for their patience with this unexpected pause in a significant, and badly needed, infrastructure upgrade for the UEL.
In other peninsula news, the Ministry of Transportation has begun the process of looking at improvements along Chancellor Blvd. near University Hill Elementary school to address congestion at peak times when parents are dropping off kids. This will be a longer term project, but it is good to see progress starting to resolve this backlog.
The Ministry is also in talks with UBC to resolve the long-standing issue of parking responsibility on campus, an issue that regularly leads visitors to Wesbrook Village being towed instead of getting a ticket as would take place in other parts of the city. I’m hopeful that government can reach a good agreement with UBC to move forward.
UBC students are done class for the year, and I’d like to congratulate and thank the AMS for hosting an opportunity for students to blow off steam at the annual Block Party in a responsible and celebratory way. With more and more full-time residents on campus, balancing student needs with long-term resident needs will become more and more of a challenge, so I’m grateful we have an open dialogue when issues do come up.
Kitsilano and Point Grey festival season
There is so much more happening in our community right now. We are planning for a May neighbourhood cleanup day, Earth Day events, Bike to Work and School Week, the Khatsahlano Music Festival, the Point Grey Fiesta, the Brock House Fair, and Greek Days, among countless other block parties and neighbourhood celebrations. Call or email my office if you’d like to help us out or just stop by and say “hi” if you see me in the community.
I look forward to seeing you this summer and catching up!