Vancouver Board of Trade draws up wish list for Trudeau

President and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade Iain Black.

Plus,  B.C. comes out against the Trans Mountain Pipeline (with conditions) and a controversial development makes a controversial donation

What they want
The Vancouver Board of Trade has a list of requests for the new federal government, as Trudeau’s team sets about drawing up spending plans for its multibillion-dollar election promises. Chief among them: transit. In its submission to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, ahead of his cross-country tour of annual pre-budget consultations, the chamber has asked the federal government to help finance the George Massey Tunnel Replacement, the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project and the Patullo Bridge—and endorsed a request from the region’s mayors to fund LRT in Surrey and Langley and the Millennium Line extension to UBC. “It’s crucial that the government uses the new infrastructure fund to invest in B.C. projects, given our role as Canada’s Pacific gateway,” said Iain Black, president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade—and a former provincial cabinet minister, in a statement.

The board is also seeking some lower profile policy changes. Besides the standbys of controlling government spending and pursuing the Trans Pacific Partnership, VBOT wants a change in the formula that determines how much B.C. gets in health transfer payments from the feds. B.C., the letter argues, has more seniors—15.7 of our population is over the age of 65 compared to the national average of 14.8 per cent—and should therefore qualify for more funding.

Kinder surprise
The B.C. government has come out against Kinder Morgan’s $6.8 billion pipeline expansion in a submission to the National Energy Board. While the province’s verdict does not nix the project—that is for the federal government’s process to decide—it is a significant symbolic blow to the pipeline’s builders efforts to make political allies. The government’s submission also shone a light on the dearth of information that B.C. regulators were given on Kinder Morgan’s spill response plan. The company’s emergency management document, says the submission, was so heavily redacted that the Ministry of Environment was unable to determine whether Kinder Morgan would be able to respond in the case of a spill. In an unsigned statement issued mid-day Monday, the company said that it would be able to meet B.C.’s list of conditions by the time the regulatory process is complete.

A new home
A decades-old Vancouver arts institution will soon own the space it has long occupied in a part of East Vancouver that’s seen rapid redevelopment, thanks to a community amentity contribution from a controversial development that is part of the wave of construction changing Mount Pleasant. The Western Front Society has accepted a $1.5 million gift, after much internal debate, from the developer behind Rize-The Independent, a incoming tower at Main and Broadway. You can read more about the gift, and the conversation it’s stirred, in the Georgia Straight.