News Roundup – 11/29/13

Here are five stories from Richmond this week.

1.

The Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation took another public lashing from its opponents including Richmond Malcolm Brodie and independent Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington. VAFFC is trying to build a jet fuel tank farm in East Richmond on the Fraser River, opening the river up to oil tankers. The opponents, including protest group Vapor made a plea to the Environment Minister to rule against the proposal and not grant an environmental certificate. A decision is supposed to be made Dec.24. It’s been delayed twice before and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it delayed a third time. Brodie said he wants to see the existing pipelines upgraded. VAFFC contends bringing in jet fuel up the Fraser River is safe and opens the market to alternatives that could make fuel cheaper for the airlines. The proposal has been dragging on for years now but opposition from residents remains firm

2.

Developer Onni Group is seeking to rezone their newly built buildings on Steveston’s waterfront at Imperial Landing to include more retail shops, including a grocery store but city council is staying firm in keeping the area for maritime-related uses until it gets more information from staff. Council wants staff to consult with Steveston merchants first. Maritime-related space could include things such as office space, a fishing equipment store and so on. Critics of more commercial space say stores in the village will lose out.

“In the last decade Onni has tried repeatedly to change the site’s zoning, approved in 2001, with no success. The properties are part of land that previously belonged to B.C. Packers,” reported the Richmond Review.

If a grocery store like a Choices were to go in there are several key issues like: Whether there is a population to support it (A small, older supermarket already exists in Steveston), the lack of parking, and to a lesser degree, delivery trucks that would appear to have little space to operate in.

 3.

John Yap, Richmond’s MLA and the man in charge of the liquor policy review has handed in his report. He has leaked that a recommendation includes selling liquor in grocery stores. This has local merchants upset, obviously. If that’s the biggest thing to come out of the review I’d say it was a big waste of time, especially when Yap was quoted saying this:

“Currently there are about 731 in total of licensed private liquor stores, that includes the licensed retail stores and the wine stores that are currently out there,” Yap said. “I’m recommending we keep the moratorium.”

So essentially things won’t be that much more convenient. And any thought of being able to buy beer in convenience stores has been nixed as well

 4.

Richmond has the second highest poverty rate in Canada. That’s pretty amazing. The Richmond News wrote a feature about the issue of charity in the city. In a city where BMW’s are as numerous as trees 1,500 Richmondites use the food bank weekly. Notably, Gilmore Park United Church has doubled its weekly community meals over the years. A lot of poverty is within new immigrant homes, according to some teachers I spoke with from a city centre elementary school.

5.

Cigarette butt recycling could come to Richmond according to The Review:

“Coun. Linda McPhail brought it to the attention of her council colleagues last week, wondering if it would be a fit in Richmond. Council’s public works committee has agreed to look deeper, asking staff for more details and to find out whether Richmond has a “cigarette butt problem.””

That’s good news in a city that is an island in one of the most important estuaries in North America. These are things we need to keep out of the river as they’re toxic and pollute the environment.