It has been a strange week in Vancouver

Forysthia

and I don’t just mean the weather. Quite unexpectedly, after an overcrowded protest meeting in Pitt Meadows, BC Environment Minister Barry Penner announced that there would be no transmission lines in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. This put paid to a series of proposed run of the river hydro projects on the Upper Pitt river, and was widely applauded, except, of course, by its proponent. But if you thought that might indicate a change of direction in Victoria, you would be wrong. Equally controversial, and almost as unpopular was the province’s decision to use park land to settle an aboriginal land claim. Though this was a regional park and not a provincial park, the Metro Vancouver directors were not pleased to learn that they could do nothing. And not because the use of park land seemed to violate an earlier promise by the premier (we have all given up expecting him to keep his word) but the absence of any compensation.

We also learned this week that the Ministry of Transportation has responded to all those comments on the Environmental Assessment of the Port Mann twinning Highway #1 expansion. They did that in December, but kept quiet about it. No doubt because they had actually not responded at all, simply repeated stuff from the original submission. But the whole premise of the Gateway now seems to be in doubt as the US economy has tipped into recession, and railways, truckers and ports are all reporting a decline trade. Not in BC of course. In the US – whose trade we were supposed to be taking a bigger share of in the future. I don’t think so, Kevin

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