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December 14, 2017, 6:38 pm Advertisments

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Yell It Like It Is

Editor/Publisher White Rock Sun

David Chesney

 

December 14, 2017

 

HO HO HOGG

THANK YOU!

To everyone who supported Team Gordie I am so proud to have been elected to represent our community, South Surrey - White Rock in Ottawa.

I want to send extra special thanks to my team and all of the volunteers for all of your hard work and dedication throughout the election. I could not have done it without you and I am very grateful.

 

I have personally  known GORDON HOGG for roughly 15 years or so.  In that period of time I have watched in awe how GORDON has touched so many lives in our community.   I wish I could tell some of the more personal stories I have witnessed but I believe these random acts of kindness that are never publicized would cause our newly elected MP some uneasiness.

Here is where you could cue up the AL PACINO scene from Godfather III  “JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, THEY KEEP PULLING ME BACK IN.”

When GORDON  announced last year he would not be seeking re-election as our MLA (South Surrey/White Rock) most members of our community seemed to say “fair enough GORDIE you have given us the best years of your life.  HOGG has served as our MLA for the past 22 years.  Prior to that he logged a decade at White Rock city hall.  First as a councillor then a term as mayor.

When GORDIE announced he was going to run for the vacated federal  Liberal  seat in a by-election I knew I had to “soldier up.”  I headed on down to the campaign office and asked “What do you need done?”  When someone figured out I had experience door knocking I was immediately assigned that duty.  The vast majority of the volounteers did not possess the rare ability to knock on strangers doors and give them some form of spiel.  Three elections and two by elections for White Rock counil gave me that quality, along with other traits.

I would have thought given my recognizability in White Rock I would have spent more time in THE ROCK.  I am glad I did get the opportunity to cross over the border into South Surrey.  It was  quite an eye opener.

The first thing  I discovered was the massive number of townhouses located north of the Grandview Corners district of South Surrey.  Over in the 158th street and 28th avenue there are miles and miles of townhouses.  You don’t see them travelling along the main corridors of 24th avenue and or 160th street.    A large portion of these new residents to Surrey have moved here from China.  In talking to many of the locals this large concentration of New Asian Canadians is due in large part to the close proximity to the Southridge private school,  The other conclave of new arrivals seemed to be in behind CHOICES grocery store on King George Highway.  Many of the residents in that area seemed to be from Indo Canadian heritage. 

My unscientific research based on personal enounters was the vast majority of both tthese communites were going to be votiing LIBERAL.  The name recognition for GORDON was not as strong as it is in White Rock.  These two districts seemingly didn’t care if it was you, me or GORDON HOGG running.  They were supporting the Liberal party.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops.  There was some blow back against TRUDEAU personally and the recent blazing headlines about welcoming home ISIS fighters back to Canada had a number of people upset.  The northern pipeline across British Columbia carrying Alberta crude also seemed to be a hot point with a number of voters.

EVERYONE knew this was going to be a close race/by-election.  Heck the last time the riding of South Surrey/White Rock had any representation from someone other than a CONSERVATIVE , was back in 1949.  To put that into perspective HOGG was 2  years old.  The reace lived up to exdpectations.  The CONSERVATIVES did their level best to move their database of supporters.  With it being a b-election the turnout would of course be lower than a regular election which put the weighted favour slightly in favour of the CONSERVATIVES. 

What we had was GORDIE’S connection to the community.  The CONSERVATIVE candidate did her level best to paint a picture that showed roots on the Semiahmoo Peninsula but the results now would seem to indicate those assertions were not strong enough to topples “Good Old Gordie.”

HOGG also had no less than two personal visits into the riding from the Liberal leader and Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU.  If there was a TRUDEAU backlash I certainly never saw it, much to the contrary.

The other thing I am taking away from this election is the ladies.  I am not sure if it is politically incorresct, but the old saying “Behind every successful man there is a woman” certainly describes HOGG’S life.  On election night as I stood shoulder to shoulder with HOGG’S friends and supporters in a South Surrey restaurant, I watched as GORDIE and LAVERNE HOGG entered the restaurant to deafening chants of GORDIE GORDIE GORDIE.  As the couple eased thrugh the crowd GORDIE had a personal word and recognition of virtually everyone in the room.  These were not political hacks.  These were friends, neighbours and ordinary people who’s lives had been touched personally by GORDIE.  I also noticed LAVERNE who anyone who knows her is no shrining violet, knew almost everyone in the room as well as GORDIE.  This was a dynamic politcal duo.  I did the math quickly in my head, 5 or 6  MLA campaigns and at least three civic elections LAVERNE has seen it all as she stood shoulder to shoulder with her best friend and husband one GORDON HOGG.  Then there is VERNA LOGAN.  Verna has been GORDIE’S executive assistant for as long as I can remember.  With the retirement of HOGG it looked like VERNA’S life would be returning to some form of sensibility.  Wrong.  From the moment HOGG’S campaign began there she was, VERNA was back, side and front and centre.   No job too big or small.  It is fun to watch how  after all these years of working toegether they can zig and zag without even looking up to check to see if the other person is on the same page.

So to “the ladies” I salute you.  We should all be so lucky to have that type of personal and professional support.

Good luck GORDIE, not that you need it..

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

 

December 07, 2017

I Love Christmas

 

Have you noticed people being more friendly and happy lately?  I have and I see it every year when Christmas comes around.  I imagine there have been studies done by psychiatrists on this phenomenon. 

Whatever the reason is, I fully support it.

I often wonder if the reason is we all in large part have fond memories of past Christmases,  Let me tell you right here, Christmas has never meant a bunch of toys to me.  My childhood Christmas’s contain fond memories of one major Christmas toy and a few little items in the Christmas stocking.

So my fond memories of past Christmases don’t revolve around a particular toy.  No  those memories centre around the family being together with a lot of love.

I am already starting to feel goodness  abounding  in our community.  I am guilty of randomly striking up conversation with people in line at SAVE ON, walking down the street or strolling the aisles of the dollar store looking for something I don’t really need, but hey, two packages of gravy for a buck, well  shiver me timbres.

A favourite memory involves my early days living in White Rock in the 70’s.  Working in the music industry in Vancouver I realized many of my counterparts were going to be spending a solo Christmas in that they were all from somewhere else in Canada.  My wife Susan and I decided we would invite these orphans over for Christmas.  Timmy’s Christmas, as we later began to call it is a tradition that still lives on in some shape or form.  For the past couple of years my Caribbean Queen Kerlande and I invited single friends to join us for Christmas dinner. 

Everyone loved it, the invitees were so touched.  I can only speak for myself but those dinners made my Christmas.   The years I spent with Kerlande also turned me into a “hugger.”   Just when I thought I had the fine art of non invasive hugging down pat, a beautiful lady in our community by the name of Rita showed me a better way to hug.  It breaks with  the tradition of the way we normally hug, in that instead of leaning forward and moving closer to the left, you do the opposite and move to the right.  When the hug is completed you are heart to heart with the huggee.  Try it, I am still at the awkward stage but I will continue to try to work it into my routine.

I am not sure exactly what this Christmas will bring.  I may volounteer to serve Christmas dinner at a local church, or I may gather together some friends for a big old holiday feast.  I do look forward to the Gentlemen of Leisure Christmas lunch at Cosmos.  The dozen of us regular breakfast buddies will exchange names and try to stay within the frugal expenditure cap.  We will then have a barrel of laughs playing secret Santa or whatever it is called when you can keep your gift or someone else change take yours and you have to pick again.  Or something like that, I don’t think I still fully understand it

Whatever I end up doing this Christmas  I will be thankful for my health and the fact I live in the most beautiful city in the greatest country in the world.

Now if I could just figure out how to trick/talk everyone into carrying on all year with the love that abounds at Christmas.

Merry Christmas friends and neighbours I have to go and get the rest of my Christmas cards in the mail. Yes I MAIL my Christmas cards, another hangover from my formative North Surrey days.

 

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

November 23, 2017

GLOVES OFF

 

Anyone paying attention to the activities of city hall and in particular council’s activities this year, have very easily figure out there are two distinct camps.

Mayor Baldwin and THE COALITION (councillor Meyer/Lawrence/Sinclair/Knight)) and on the other side of the coin you have myself (David Chesney and Councillor Helen Fathers.  The vast majority of votes over the past year have been 5-2.  The private interactions have been ever more awkward than the public exchanges.

Thins have changed within the past month.  I can only assume like race horses getting jittery as they are led into the race chute before the start of the game, the Mayor and THE COALTION are jockeying for position for the upcoming civic election next October 20, 2018.

There has been no shortage of “hot button” issues this year, with rampant development (11 high-rises approved) and the ongoing water purchase debate to name a few.  As a matter of fact a group calling themselves Concerned Citizens papered the uptown are of White Rock a few weeks back. With the image at the beginning of this story. 

If you can believe it, fingers were immediately pointed at Councilor HELEN FATHERS as a number of the offensive posters were located throughout the site of the White Rock Farmer’s Market which FATHERS manages.  The success of the market sticks deep in the craw of a number of city hall folks.  If you are a regular visitor to the market, ask yourself how often you have seen THE COALITON and or The Mayor at the market.

Monday evening the city was back at it again going after the market.  Councillor Meyer wanted to ensure during the aforementioned civic election would be free and clear of any political favouritism.  Of course any candidates can and have walked through the market and distributed their election material.  So what exactly Councillor Meyer was hoping to ensure was not clear at all.  The decision whether to approve the upcoming year’s operation of the market  was postponed for a couple of weeks until some sort of wording can be crafted and brought back before council.  This move comes right on the back of the closing of Russell Avenue during the 2018 Farmer’s Market in case the city has begun work on the Johnston Road beautification project.


My troubles have been made much more public.  With no less than two censures by my fellow councillors and the mayor I have had a number of restrictions imposed on my actions as a city councillor.  The details cannot be made public as the second censure came with a gag order.

This past week I was at the centre of a firestorm behind closed doors.

Here is the COLES NOTES version of how this picture happened.  The day of the Prime Minister’s visit I was standing outside of Laura’s Coffee Corner with hundreds of other residents anxiously awaiting the arrival of JIUSTIN TRUDEAU.    GORDON HOGG who is hoping to fill the vacant seat for The LIBERALS in the upcoming federal by-election brought on by DIANNE WATTS resignation from the CONSERVATIVE PARTY was walking by me when he said “Hey Dave come with me.”  As we walked towards city hall GORDON HOGG called over Semiahmoo Chief HARLEY CHAPPEL and two other people who were with Chief CHAPPELL.  As we walked towards city hall I recognized the other gentleman as being a former foster child raised by HOGG and his wife LAVERNE.  When we were standing in the foyer of city hall I introduced myself to the aforementioned man and he said his name was DAVID.  Whoa I though.  Wait a minute here.  I walked over to HOGG and said “Listen if there has been some confusion on my part, and I was not the intended “David” you were inviting just let me know now and I am out of here.”  HOGG said “ no no no don’t worry you’re fine. “

Within minutes the Prime Minister’s cavalcade arrived in front of city hall, we had been staged on the sidewalk and briefed on how the photos and greeting would take place.  And that’s how it happened.

The city’s and in particular the strained relationships between MAYOR BALDWIN and the Semiahmoo First Nations and specifically CHIEF HARLEY CHAPPELL  coupled with a picture of me and the Prime Minister,  in my mind plays a big part on the now public comments the mayor put forth at council Monday evening and now on the main page of Wednesday’s Peace Arch News.   

The gloves are off folks.  The next year will prove to be an interesting one to say the least.  The Mayor and THE COALITION are under the impression the backlash and negativity to their actions are fueled by a minute sector of our society.  They are dismissed as “the usual suspects”  and or “the keyboard warriors.” 

I for one hope they keep right on thinking that.

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

 

 

November 09, 2017

This past Sunday I walked over to the White rock Community Centre to hear the official announcement the federal Liberal party had hand picked GORDON HOGG s their candidate for the December 11 by-election in South Surrey/White Rock.

The official ceremony was opened by a contingent from Semiahmoo First Nations, Chief HARLEY CHAPPELL, council member JOANNE CHARLES and elder MABEL CHARLES.  Chief CHAPPELL related the close friendship HOGG had with the Semiahmoo First Nations in particular his very close friendship with former  Semiahmoo chief BERNARD CHARLES.

GORDON’S son BLAIR held down the master of ceremony duties exhibiting to one and all the apple did not fall far from the tree when it came to public speaking.  Speaker after speaker stepped to the microphone to relate the personal connection they had not only with candidate HOGG but with his tireless work in our community.

Our by-election is one of four ridings that will be decided in just over a month.  The departure of Conservative MP DIANNE WATTS to run for the Provincial Liberal Party leadership has necessitated our by election.  Our riding has not traditionally been friendly to the Liberals. It has been held by the Conservatives and its predecessor parties since 1974, and before then it was an NDP stronghold.  With that said though the other two major parties the CONSERVATIVES and the NDP have not yet even announced their candidates for the by election.  One would have to assume at the very least the CONSERVATIVE party will put forth a candidate, the NDP is another story.  The only rumoured name to date is KERRY LYNN FINDLAY for the Conservatives. 

What I find most interesting is the fact GORDON HOGG may well make Canadian political history if he is successful in winning the December 11 by election.  I have searched the INTERNET to see if any other politician in Canada has held the positions of councillor and mayor at the civic level, MLA for the Provincial government and finally if successful HOGG will have rung the proverbial bell at three levels of government.

During his 22 years as our MLA HOGG  Gordie’s roles in government included serving as Minister of Children and Family Development, Minister of State for Mining, and Minister of State for ActNow BC.  He also brings important experience from his previous service on White Rock City Council - including 10 years as Mayor of White Rock.  Gordie recently completed his PhD at Simon Fraser University, where he was appointed as Adjunct Professor for the School of Criminology. 

Gordie has acted as a board member on more than 15 committees and non-profit societies, including the Peace Arch District Hospital. He has also been a foster parent and little league coach.

To say GORDON HOGG is loved and respected in our community would be an understatement  Over the past number of months since retiring from Provincial politics to have some personal down time, HOGG’S social calendar would make a lesser man’s head spin.  No event is too big or small for HOGG to turn up at.  If needed he is happy to assumer the duties of Master of Ceremonies, Celebrity Auctioneer or key address speaker at many events.

Sunday HOGG exhibited his strength as a public speaker, weaving interesting and at times humourous antecdotes about his political career and his personal life on the Semiahmoo Peninsula. 

I had already made up my mind about supporting GORDON HOGG before I even walked through the doors of the Community Centre.  I marveled as I did an inventory of community representatives, friends and neighbours that had taken time out of their busy schedule on very short notice to fill the room to show their support for HOGG.

I could regal you with dozens of GOOD OLD GORDIE stories.  But to be very honest after having criss crossed White Rock no less than 5 times in my bid for a sea on White rock council, I have come to realize EVERYONE has a “ GOOD OLD GORDIE “ story.

I may be out on a limb here, but I have to believe come December 12 there will be yet another GOOD OLD GORDIE story. 

This one ? 

HOGG HEADS TO OTTAWA!

PRESS RELEASE

Gordie's
campaign office is opening Thursday! Join Team Gordie in celebration by signing up for a volunteer
shift. Starting this Sunday, Nov. 12, our daily phone-banking and door-knocking shifts
will be the following:

Morning: 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Afternoon: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Evening: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

First
time volunteering? No problem! We are also holding volunteer orientations to get
you trained up:

Sundays,
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Mondays,
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Thursdays,
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


To RSVP, simply reply, or go here for more information.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

 

 

November 02, 2017

Civic Election Reform

The Provincial  NDP party ran on a platform that promised election reform if elected.  As we all now know the NDP/GREEN party coalition have taken the reins of power in Victoria.

Very quickly  proposed changes were brought forward to curtail election contributions at the Provincial level in the next election.  This week Coquitlam NDP MLA Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced proposed changes  that will govern our next civic election in 2018.

Two interesting points that caught my eye were, first if this legislation is passed it would be retroactive to October 31, 2017.  I am relatively confident this was to head off the possibility of massive contributions to individuals and slates and or coalitions that may run in the October 2018 election. 

The other interesting aspect to this legislation is how are MLA’s across the province going to vote when this comes before the legislature.  I have often thought in  civic government is the farm team for Provincial government.  A large number of MLA’s came up through the civic government ranks.  It is going to be interesting to see how this vote goes down.  I am hopeful the law passes.

For years it has been well documented it is very expensive for an individual to run a successful campaign on a shoe string and Mom’s homemade cookies and tea parties.  Surrey council is currently 100% domindated by a group that ran under the slate of SURREY FIRST that was bankrolled to the tune of over one million dollars.  Where does the independent voice come in?  They don’t.  Pundits have crunched the numbers time and time again and a conservative estimate of $100,000.00 is the basic estimate of what it would take to run a campaign in Surrey that anyone might even notice.

White Rock council is dominated by “ THE COALITION “ which was fueled by a war chest of over $90,000.00 funded in large part by land developers.  To put that in perspective Councillor Fathers and myself both ran successful independent campaigns for about 1/10th of that amount or less.  It can be done.  But it is not easy.  But then anything of value is never easy.

I caution you to not sit back a smugly think election reform is a done deal.  I urge you to contact your MLA and in no uncertain words ask  them to support the changes to civic elections.  The changes won’t be a slam dunk.  And one Provincial election could see all the changes at the Provincial and Civic level thrown out.  Get busy start calling and emailing today.

I did.

David Chesney
Editor/Publisher
editor@whiterocksun.com

 

 

 

October 26, 2017

This past Monday evening White Rock council received a report on the upcoming legalization of marijuana which is projected to be in July of next year. Eight short months away.

Before we look at some of the Coles Notes high points of the proposed distribution of marijuana, let's look at how we got here. Plain and simple the legalization of marijuana was driven by cash. In this cash, the cash the Provincial and federal governments were not receivng in taxes from the black market sale of marijuana.

Less than 5 years ago I distinctly remember hearing the Provincial government of British Columbia estimated the illegal marijuana trade in our Province generated over 2 billion dollars in revenue. The report went on to say that illegal pot business in British Columbia took in more momeny than fishing, forestry and tourism combined. The hadwriting was on the wall right then and there that we would see legalization of marijuana in our time. OUr time has combut I don't necessarily think "they" are ready.

 

First of all what is the legal age to purchase marijuana going to be? It would seem natural that 19 years across the board would be the natural age. First problem. You can drink legally at the age of 18 in Alberta, To that extent the Wild Rose province will be seeking to allow marijuana to be sold to 18 year olds.

Minimum Age to Buy, Grow and Publicly Possess Non-Medicinal Cannabis

Bill C-45 establishes a minimum age of 18 years to buy, grow and publicly possess up to 30 grams of non-medicinal cannabis. However, Provinces and Territories can choose a higher minimum age. Recently Alberta established the minimum age of 18 years, consistent with the minimum age in Alberta for legal alcohol and tobacco consumption.

In British Columbia, the minimum age to buy alcohol and tobacco is 19 years, which is also the age that minors become legal adults. Many health professionals favour a minimum age of 21 years for cannabis consumption, as the Discussion Paper notes that ‘emerging evidence that cannabis use could affect brain development up to age 25.’

 

How much marijuana may you have in your possesion. Currently the number being thrown around is 30 grams or just over an ounce. This owuld not seem to be a problem, but the second part of the possession should cause us concern. Youth 12-18 years of age will be able to be in possession of up to 5 grams without being in fear of being charged. Where does this line of thinking come into play. Let's just use it as an overlay on the drinking lasws of this Procinve. You have to be 19 years old PERIOD to have alcohol in your possession. I would fully expect this portion of the proposed legislation to be be reworked.

Personal Possession

The proposed federal cannabis bill includes a 30 gram limit on public possession of dried cannabis by adults, which is consistent with other jurisdictions that have legalized non-medicinal cannabis. The 30 gram limit is also intended to help law enforcement officials discern who has cannabis for personal use and who may be involved in trafficking cannabis (ie. by possessing a large amount). Provinces and Territories are also able to reduce the public possession limit from the 30 gram limit.

Bill C-45 also allows public possession by youth (under 18 years old) of up to 5 grams, and Provinces and Territories are able to prohibit possession by youths.

 

The current "smoking" law in British Columbia dictates you cannot smoke withing 7 metres of an open door or open window. Will we be walking through clouds of marijuana smoke in public places? Again if we look at the liquor (the other drug) laws we know you can't stand out in the middle of the sidewalk of the OB and drain your beer. Should this not be the same law that applies to public consumption. Don't even get me started on what is going to happpen in condos and apartment buildings across the Province.

Public Consumption

While Bill C-45 will result in prohibitions on cannabis smoking and vaping in federally regulated places (ie. airline cabins), Province and Territories will be the primary regulators of public cannabis consumption.

In BC tobacco smoking and vaping is prohibited in workplaces, enclosed public places, school board and health authority sites, transit stops and apartment building common areas, among other areas. Local governments, including White Rock, also prohibit tobacco smoking (and by Bylaw definition) vaping in designated public spaces (ie. the promenade and pier) and parks.

Given this existing context, and noting that public cannabis smoking and vaping creates the same ‘second hand smoke’ situations that tobacco smoking and vaping does, staff recommend that all City of White Rock bylaws that prohibit tobacco smoking and vaping in public places also prohibit cannabis smoking and vaping. Staff also suggest that the Province prohibit cannabis smoking and vaping in places where tobacco smoking and vaping is prohibited.

 

Currently the RCMP and private police forces in British Columbia have in their possession of breathalizers to guage the amount of intoxicatiion a driver of a vehicle is at. It is going to be a major problem for roadside testing for marijuana. Currently a trip to the hospital for a blood sample is the only way the police can identify if you have THC (the active drug in marijuana) in your system. Will the RCMP be able to issue you a 24 hour roadside suspension if they simple "feel" you are high?

Drug-Impaired Driving

Drug-impaired driving is already prohibited under the Federal Criminal Code, and further amendments to the Code that are planned to accompany cannabis legalization will provide the Federal government the authority to set specific blood ‘THC’ limits.

Setting these limits will enable persons to be criminally charged with drug-impaired driving. Noting that this issue is the responsibility of law enforcement and the courts, staff suggest that approaches to combating drug-impaired driving should be consistent with those utilized to address alcohol-impaired driving.

 

Four plants that only measure 1 metre in height? Do any kind of research and you will find this must have been a random number drawn out of the air. Google "pictures of marijuana plants" and you will be hard pressed to understand how they arrived at the 1 metre (3 feet) height as the proposed size of marijuana plants you can grow on your property.

Personal Cultivation

Cannabis legalization will allow adults to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household (max. height of 1 metre), indoors and/or outdoors. Provinces, Territories and local governments are able to regulate personal cultivation further, and the Federal government has suggested that ‘local authorities should establish oversight and approval frameworks’ to monitor the prevalence of personal cultivation (ie. through registration of growers, among other approaches).

The Province is also able to reduce the amount of plants grown and regulate the location of where plants can be grown on a property.

 

This will be the portion of the proposed legislation that will be the most difficult to institute. It seems only natural the existing government liquor stores seems to be the natural choice for commercial sales. There is heavy pressure being brought forth from the current retailers and distributers of medical marijuana to be allowed to be part of the retail landscape.

Retail Model

As with distribution, each Province and Territory will be able to choose the cannabis retail model for their jurisdictions. The Federal government will be utilizing an ‘interim’ on-line retail system until Provincial /Territorial retail regimes are established; there are a number of retail options that Provinces and Territories can implement, including public retailing (ie. government stores, similar to BC Liquor Stores) and/or private retailing (ie. private liquor stores), as well as a direct-to- consumer mail-order system.

BC could also require cannabis to be retailed through ‘dedicated storefronts’ (ie. all products for sale are cannabis-based) or mixed with liquor or pharmaceutical sales. The Discussion Paper notes that ‘co-locating’ cannabis sales with other regulated products such as liquor, in urban areas, could contribute to increased use of cannabis in the general population.

Staff suggests that cannabis sales be undertaken through Provincial government-run dedicated storefronts, where the Provincial government has direct control over cannabis sales, marketing, location and appearance of cannabis retail storefronts.

 

What are your feelings on the impending legalization of marijuana. The time for debating whether or not it should be legalized has passed. Now is the time to have your input. The PRovincial government is offering you the opportunity to have your say.

(click here)

 

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

 

October 19, 2017

 

Goodbye Gord

 

GORD DOWNIE and his band-mates in The Tragically Hip staged a very high  profile “goodbye tour” last year which took the band from coast to coast.   DOWNIE had publicly revealed he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and as a result wished to run across this great dominion one last time to say goodbye to friends and fans.

THE HIP was Canada's band for well on 30 years. Gold, Platinum and even Diamond album certifications. Some of the biggest grossing tours ever by a C Canadian rock band. And what do we know about them besides their names? Not much. To the best of my knowledge they all still maintain residences in Kingston, Ontario their hometown. Not one member was ever busted for drugs, driving while under the influence, had paparazzi photos snapped of them in compromising situations. No. Just the music. That is what we knew and will continue to know about The HIP & in particular GORD DOWNIE. The band at the urging of fellow hometown hero DAN OAKROYD played Saturday Night Live, normally a springboard to American success. Not so for the boys from the Great White North. At least three different U.S. record labels released their albums thoroughly convinced the kids in Buffalo and Houston weren't that much different than the kids in Oshawa and Red Deer. For whatever reason, timing, poor management, wrong choice of singles, tours that did not coincide properly with airplay? Who knows? They were OUR band and OUR band alone.

I was neither a friend or a fan.  Having worked in the Canadian music industry for decades our paths crossed on more than one occasion.   Let me explain something . When I say I was not a fan don’t misunderstand.  I liked some of their songs.  I remember seeing the band on its first tour through Vancouver when they played Gastown’s venerable music palace The Town Pump.  Radio airplay had started in Western Canada in Calgary.  A young music fdirector by the name of ALLISON BROCK championed the band, when they needed it.  BROCK relocated to Vancouver to work for A&M records where she continued to spread the word even though now she was working for a competing record label.  It is that type of a recommendation that causes jaded industry vets to sit up and take notice.    It was due to BROCK’S constant cheer-leading that drew me and many other Vancouver industry members to that show at the Town Pump.

DOWNIE jerked and gyrated around the stage seemingly lost in a trance.  The first song Canadian radio embraced was the song “Blow At High Dough”, which was quickly followed up with one of their biggest hits “New Orleans is Sinking.”  As has been well documented the Tragically Hip or THE HIPS as their fans now referred to them went on to conquer Canada.  The band celebrated all things Canadian with songs that were rooted in Canadian history, places and people.

Perhaps one of the endearing things to HIP fans was they were our own.  The large American audience never quite embraced THE HIP.  Certainly no to the extent we adopted the band.  On more than one occasion the band would play multiple shows at sold out shows at the Pacific Coliseum, only to load up the tour bus, scale down the show and take the highways and byways of America.  I distinctly recall the band selling out hockey rinks across Canada and the next night they would start their U>S> tour at the 700 seat club The Showbox in Seattle.

When DOWNIE received his cancer diagnosis, he got busy.  He had things to do.  One of those projects was to bring attention to the injustice so many young indigenous children suffered across this great land.

A 12-year-old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure after trying to find his way home from a residential school is the inspiration behind a new project from Gord Downie.
In 1966, Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack's body was found by the railway tracks near Kenora, Ont. something
It's a story that so affected Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie, he created a solo album, a graphic novel and an animated film to honour Wenjack's memory and educate other Canadians about the tragedy.
"I never knew Chanie, but I will always love him," Downie said in a statement on Friday, announcing plans to release the package in October of last year (2016)
Downie is using his celebrity to draw attention to the legacy of residential schools and what he sees as the need for all Canadians to be involved in reconciliation.

Despite the advancing stages of his cancer DOWNIE gathered his musical muses and began work on a new solo album which will be released in 8 days on October 27.

The tracks were recorded during a pair of four-day studio sessions in January 2016 and February 2017, with many songs on the final album reflecting Downie's first take on the track.
The forthcoming album is described as "74 minutes of Downie's most personal storytelling."

Many of you reading this have lost a loved one to cancer.  You know the pain and emptiness of losing a loved one.  This morning Prime Minister Trudeau choked back tears as he made the announcement of DOWNIE’S passing.

Nothing could be more honourable or Canadian.

Davide Chesney

Publisher/Editor


 

 

October 05, 2017

 

I have lived on Marine Drive, Royal Avenue, Columbia, Prospect Avenue, Martin Street Victoria Avenue, Cliff Avenue and now Vidal Street.

,

 

As a result of wearing a city councillor hat and being the editor/publisher of Canada’s FIRST Internet newspaper I am a sounding board for a large portion of our community.

I would guesstimate that on a daily basis I have hear someone say “I’m moving out of White Rock, this is not my town anymore.  Too many high-rises I don’t want to live in Metrotown.”  I get it.  I feel their pain.  Most of the people that tell me this have lived in White Rock for years, in some cases this has been their home for decades.

I patiently and intently listen to their concerns.  For the most part it is the massive number of high-rises that have been approved by the White Rock council of which I am a member.   I naively thought that my voting record would stand as a testimony of my commitment to live up to one of my main campaign promises.  Stick to the Official Community Plan.  For that very reason I have voted against 9 of the 11 towers that the current council has approved.  The only two development permits I supported were for the tower at George and Thrift and the PARC seniors development on the old Penguin Meats site on Johnston Road,  All the other applications asked for some form of OCP amendment asking for more height which would mean they do not fit into the current OCP>  In some cases they don’t even fit into the new OCP which has not yet even been approved.

Take a deep breath.  Step back for a moment.  I most certainly am not thrilled with what has happened down at city hall.  I can only imagine how you the electorate of White Rock will feel on October 20 of next year when we go the polls.  If my math serves me correctly the skyline will be filled with cranes as the aforementioned towers begin to rise across the hilltop of White Rock.  Will the visual cause a massive turnout at the polls.  That remains to be seen.

Corry Kriticos photo

I have mentioned before the solace I find comfort in.  The natural beauty of our “city by the sea.”  For instance this past Tuesday I went for a long walk at sunset down along east beach starting at Semiahmoo Park walking towards the Peace Arch.  Upon my arrival at the head waters of the Little Campbell I noticed a pair of fishermen standing on a sandbar just past the rail bridge over the Little Campbell.  Upon further investigation looking westward there was a group of 3 fly fishermen in hip waders standing out in the river fly fishing.  The beautiful colours of fall have already started along the lands of the Smemiahmoo First Nations.  I paused to reflect on the natural beauty.  I was in a world of my own.  The natural beauty was breathtaking.  I stood in silence and drank in ;my surroundings. 

During my walk along the virtually deserted beach the few people I did encounter that were walking their dogs or simply resting against a long on the beach, the smiles on their faces as they all said hello was more than evident.  As we near the fall & winter equinox the sunsets are moving back south of the point at Kwomais and starting to set right straight out over Semiahmoo Bay near Tswassen and Point Roberts.

So to you I urge you to be patient, begin to talk to your friends and neighbours to stress to them how important it is they exercise their voting rights in October of next year.  But in the mean time and in between time (a nod to wrestling announcer Ed Whalen) get out, take a walk along the pier at sunset, buy an order of fish n chips and go sit on the beach and have a sunset dinner, stroll through the beautiful forest out back of Centennial arena down through the Duprez Ravine or perhaps go for a coffee with a friend or neighbour.  Come together.

United we stand, divided we fall ladies and gentlemen.  I’m not ready to make nice just yet.  I still love living in White Rock and no matter how many times we click our heels together we are not going back to Kansas or the good old days. These ARE the good old days, make the most of it. Stay positive and stay engaged. Never ever give up hope.

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor


 

 

September 28, 2017

They're Here

 

Surrey is British Columbia’s second largest city.  White Rock would have to rank somewhere in the bottom 10% in the Province.

The streets in Surrey have been on fire over the past decade and in particular this year as the local drug war rages on.  I have to admit I have at times thought “Oh well that is up in Rootin’  Tootin' Shootin’ Newton” and not in my backyard.

That was until this past weekend.  ON consecutive weekend nights a home in the Grandview District of South Surrey was shot up.  The first attack took place in the supper hour.  The second came the following night/early morning at 5 a.m.  My thoughts.  Well they are getting closer.  Then it happened.  The Surrey RCMP and the tactical emergency response team had done a forcible entry into a home  situated on White Rock’s Goggs Avenue a half a block from the Kent Street Activity Centre.  Let that settle in for a moment.   Five persons were taken into custody at the home in connection with the Grandview Corners shootup.  It comes down to this.  That car next to you at the red light on Johnston Road may have enough weaponry in the vehicle to cause a lot of damage.

A couple of years ago I was walking down Johnston Road at sunset when I cam across a scary sight.  The RCMP had a car pulled over by the 5 Corners Diner.  Three suspects were handcuffed laying face down on the ground.  The picnic table looked like a police blotter of packaged drugs in baggies as well as a collection of three handguns.  It doesn’t stop there.  The former owner of  a Johnston Road café related to me the story of a call for delivery of breakfast for 6.  The caller identified the address.  The young girl who worked at the restaurant was charged with delivering the breakfasts.  She returned and tossed the hefty tip on the counter and said “I won’t take that money.  I walked into a very scary scene of 5 or 6 scary gangster types in the penthouse and there was evidence of drugs, money and guns.”  The same residence was the destination of the young mother who was shot and killed in her car with her baby strapped in the cuddle seat in broad daylight at Guildford.

I have also heard  the story of the local RCMP pulling over an SUV in White Rock  fully loaded with members of the UN Gang out of Abbotsford.  The story goes they were heading for a local restaurant where they knew the Hells Angels were having a dinner meeting.  They were not planning on buying a round.   I recently dined at a South Surrey restaurant that as infamous for being a gang hangout.  I was taken back that obviously all the gang-bangers had not got the message as looking around the restaurant I spotted a number of heavily tattooed steroid pumped jocks that were flashing a lot of big money rolls.

You've been warned.

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

September 21, 2017

 

Things Are Looking Up

 

You may want to make a note of this past Monday’s date.  September 18, 2017 for me will be remembered when things changed in White Rock forever.

White Rock council in a vote of 5-2 (Councillor Fathers and I in opposition) approved a 12 storey highrise at the corner of Roper Avenue and Johnston Road.  Within the next month it is expected a second tower proposed for the site of DEALS WORLD many feel is a done deal.

I scratch my head.  In the past year council has approved no less than 8 highrises in the uptown / town centre district of White Rock.  With three towers well outside of the current Official Community Plan.  To be honest these particular three towers do not even fit into the new Official Community Plan which will also be approved within the next month.

Many members of our community are scratching their heads at Monday’s decision.  Particularly those that sat and stood patiently last week at the city’s Public Hearing held at the White Rock Community Centre. 

Monday’s council chambers was barely half full with residents that were interested enough to even bother attending.  When pressed over the past few days why they did not attend the meeting, the common answer was “Why bother, they don’t care.  They (council)  had their minds made up before the Public Hearing.”  I can’t honestly tell whether or not that is the fact.  I can only speak for myself.  Having publicly stated in council and in the Peace Arch News I have never endorsed highrises below Thrift on Johnstons Road.  With that said though I sat patiently through the 5 hour Public Hearing patiently waiting to see if there was any new evidence presented that would have changed my “open mind.”  I heard nothing to change my mind.

As a matter of fact at a recent council meeting I challenged my fellow council members to hold off any development south of Thrift on Johnston Road.  I said “If you are confident the community wishes to see densification of our so called Lower Town Centre, make it an election issue.  We go to the polls in a little over a year.  The silence from the rest of council was deafening.

I have to wonder “What’s the hurry?”  With 7 towers approved in our current town centre bordered by George Street on the east, Martin Street on the West, North Bluff to the north and Thrift to the south, our city by the sea will be ripped to pieces over the next 2-3 years accomodating all the construction and traffic associated with all the construction.

It doesn’t make any sense to me unless someone fears the next elected council may not have any appetite to expand the highrise district in White Rock.  The only thing I know for sure is on Saturday October 20, 2018 when we go to the polls we will be dwarfed by towers throughout our city. 

Just remember who brought them to you!

Rest assured if you forget, I will be happy to remind you.

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor
White Rock Sun

 

 

September 14, 2017

 

How I Spent My Summer Holidays

 

Do you remember the first or second day back to school the teacher would ask us to tell everyone in a report on how we spent our summer holidays.

Like many of you “ I LIVE AT THE BEACH. “ I savour the month off from my council duties to fully enjoy all that our City by the Sea has to offer.

This summer’s highlights revolve around music.  The new focus of the CONCERST AT THE PIER on our waterfront were smashing successes.  Relaxing on the deck of a Marine Drive restaurant enjoying a beautiful meal as the sweet sounds of the eagles tribute band EAGLES EYES sailed on to Semiahmoo Bay as the sky slowly  ran the gamut of every known shade of pink imaginable will stay with me for a lifetime.

The city’s Canada Day 150 Party on August 16th will be personally reflected upon with fond memories.  THE SNOWBIRDS soaring high overhead, the music of one of my favourite bands THE WASHBOARD UNION and the evening capped off with a festival of fireworks over Semiahmoo Bay will be hard to beat.

I drank in as many stunning sunsets as humanly possible.  Picnics on the beach, strolls along the promenade and Canada’s longest wooden pier also need to be noted in my Summer of 2017 photo album.

With all that said the best and most endearing memories of this past summer are of people.  You see in my mind people make the town, the town does not make the people.  The month off of my council duties affords me the opportunity to stop, talk and listen to the heartbeat of our community.  You.

We are about to experience an explosion in our population with all the high-rises that have been approved for White Rock.  Maybe it is just me but I seem to be able to identify “newbies” on my  daily walkabouts in our community.  The ear to ear grins on their faces for the most part are a clear indication they now savour what sometimes we take for granted after all these years.

Say hello -  welcome them to White Rock.  They have not done anything wrong.  They simply “heard the call” as clearly depicted in the television commercials for the FOSTER MARTIN development.  I cherish my memories of the bygone days of White Rock.  The FACEBOOK I Grew Up In South Surrey etc. is a constant reminder of our history.  Just when I thought I had seen most of the vintage photos of White Rock residents like TOM SAUDNERS posts up a picture with an accompanying story that even causes me to slow down and take a moment to smell the proverbial roses of our past.

Yes friends and neighbours our little quaint bohemian city by the sea is changing.  How we accept those changes will have a profound impact on the quality of OUR lives.   It is going to take some doing but the decision rests with you.  My guiding light and riches of living here in White Rock are MY friends and neighbours. 

On a recent warm summer evening as I was walking home I passed by the new condo development across the street on Vidal.  My spirits were buoyed when I realized the main floor patios on the new development hosted new owners sitting on their balconies sipping a summer beverage and talking over the patio dividers to their new neighbours as well as waving and saying hello to me and others walking by.

If we don’t embrace the future we will be forever  be doomed to a life of discontent.  Don’t get ne wrong I will still stand in the fire and continue to swing for the fences.  I will always continue to slather on a coat of sunscreen and head for long walks along the tidal pools when the tide is out at the beach.  I often stand out on the sandy tidal pools and look back at the hillside and reflect on the many different homes I have had on the hillside of White Rock.  I find myself thinking, there’s Debbie’s, Monica’s and Nancy’s places.

 

Life is a gift, that is why they call it the present. Unwrap it everyday with care, love and gratitude.

 

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

 

 

August 31, 2017

 

Did White Rock Just Speed Through The Crossroads?

 

Seven high-rises approved for White Rock’s designated town centre a 13 storey high-rise outside of the town centre next to the Peace Arch Hospital, three high-rises approved for Oxford/Thrift district. These four developments all need an OCP amendment as they did not comply with the zoning of the area of the city.   Now the push for  high-rises south of Thrift Avenue along the Johnson road corridor. Two development applications that will also be asking for OCP amendments are in the system already for what is now being pawned off as "the lower town centre."

It doesn't end there ladies and gentlemen. I was recently made aware of a huge piece of property on North Bluff is on the market. It is possible this piece of property recently sold.

Future Redevelopment Potential
The City of White Rock is now entering a new transition in land use planning. A first draft OCP has been submitted to the Mayor and Council and it under review. It appears 14990 North Bluff Road’s future land use is proposed to be re-designated to a substantially higher density. In advance of the OCP adoption, which is tentatively scheduled for August 2017, City Planning is looking for feedback from residents and stakeholders in the neighbourhood.

(see the full real estate pitch for this property on North Bluff, again outside of the current ly designated town Centre where density is supposed to be corralled.)

I would have to believe you have heard from friends about the “Have You Heard The call” video currently running on television for the Foster/Martin development in the Town Centre.

Sorry to break the news to you but our “little secret” is now out.


Foster Martin – Have You Heard The Call? from Union Production Co. on Vimeo.

 

With a  city council currently showing a desire to welcome developers with open arms, how far will they go?   I can’t help but thinking our “city by the sea” is about to explode with developers flocking to our quaint little community. 

Recently “a developer” hired a helicopter to do low circular passes over the city.  The administration of the city of White rock in a statement on the city’s website told residents the helicopter would be “mapping” White Rock.   Though they did not actually identify the helicopter had been secured by a developer a phone call from our news desk to the helicopter company confirmed the mapping was being done by a developer.  Which the helicopter company would not identify due to privacy issues?

Who can blame the developers.  The spectacular ocean views afforded from high-rise towers will be incredible.  The impact on White rock from  just the seven approved high-rises will be unbelievable.

Is it too much too soon?  Sadly it would appear until a development sign appears out of nowhere in a neighbourhood, no one seems to care.  I have to believe it is the classic NIMBY (Not in my backyard) syndrome that has settled into our community.  Case in point currently a group who oppose the creep of high-rises down the Johnston road corridor have posted NO MORE HIGHRISES SOUTH OF THRIFT AVENUE around the city.  Despite the city by-law officers being instructed to remove the posters immediately, they have been up sometimes for days on end.  The latest version of the posters have listed all of our councillor’s phone numbers.  The group behind the posters urges you the residents to tell council how you feel about the expanded high-rise zoning in White rock south of Thrift. 

Care to guess how many phone calls I have received?  None, zero nada.  Not one single resident in White rock has been moved to take two minutes to make a call.

We soldier on. What else is there to do?

I will be at the beach if you need me. 604-356-3791

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

August 24, 2017

 

The poster that appeared on poles throughout the city this past Monday, immediately caught my eye.  I had two thoughts.

  1. I hope no one at city hall thinks I put them up.

  2. This must be courtesy of our friends over at the FACEBOOK site NO MORE HIGHRISES IN WHITE ROCK

Let me back up for just a moment. 

I think the creation of White Rock’s Official Community Plan was flawed.  There were  a myriad of inconsistencies in my humble opinion.  But then again the prevailing line of thinking of many at White Rock City  Hall is “Don’t get all caught up in the machinations of the plan, after all it is just a guideline!”  If that is the case then please could we change the name.

OFFICIAL Community Plan seems pretty straight forward to me.  If that is not the case, and it is in fact just a “guideline” let’s change the name to, oh I don’t know, how about GOOFY GUIDELINE that way our community will not explode in opposition when the development sign goes up in their neighbourhood, only to cause residents to wonder how the hell did this happen?

The above poster could well have come from me, but it didn’t.  As council and staff arduously over the past two years crawled its way through poorly attended public hearings and attempted engagement with the community to create the now Official Community Plan that will govern development for the next five years in White Rock, I had concerns which I publicly stated.  I don’t feel compelled to list them all here, if you have been following the process you will know my concerns and record on a number of matters.  As a matter of fact at the final meeting of council for the summer break which we are currently on, I challenged my fellow council members to hold off on the expansion of high-rises below Thrift avenue for a year, and make it an election issue when we go back to the polls in October of 2018.  Once I finished my impassioned plea no other member of council said a word.  The vote was taken. And the new Official Community Plan was given third reading. The final reading will happen in September. Which means if you have an opinion on this matter it is the 11th hour but you can still reach out to council members and the mayor and have your feelings heard. The contact info for all the members of council is on the above poster.

I believed then and continue to believe the vast majority of White Rock residents are be in opposition to the creep of high-rises down the Johnston Road corridor.  In fact the wording in the new OCP was a desire to maintain the ocean view vista as you enter White Rock heading south down Johnston Road.  How one will achieve that with high-rises along Johnston from Thrift down to Roper avenue is beyond me.  Currently there are two high-rise proposals coming before council in what is now being referred to as the Lower Town Centre.  If approved the natural assumption will be the owners of property on the West side of Johnston Road will be looking to mirror what is being proposed for the DEALS WORLD site and the LEELA THAI property.  You can’t have it both ways. The new OCP calls for allowing high-rises 12 stories in height at Thrift stepping down to 10 stories at the LEELA THAI property. Even at that the two proposals for projected high-rises are for 14 and 12 respectively. Always pushing for more those developers. I understand it. Imagine the revenue two extra stories will bring in.

This week we learned DEALS WORLD has been given notice they must vacate the property by the end of September.  In fact the owner of DEALS WORLD was somewhat surprise when the development company came into the store and began measuring out where they plan on creating their sales office inside of the  soon to be vacated building.  Really?  The developer must be very confident of approval as the required Public Hearing has not even occurred.  Rather cheeky in my opinion.

The creators of movement to halt high-rises below Thrift avenue along Johnston  have obviously touched a nerve with city hall.  Yesterday while out on my daily walkabout in the uptown area I encountered city By-Law officers dutifully removing all the posters from the poles along Johnston Road.  I have never before seen the city react in a manner like this.  One would have to think the posters have touched a nerve with someone.

…and in my opinion that’s a good thing. 

Davide Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

August 17, 2017

Who Is Your Friend?

2017 Gentlemen of Leisure's 2017 t-shirt

Tuesday evening a slow procession of vehicles snaked through the hillside roads near Redwood Park in South Surrey. 

Funeral service.  Not really.

It was the annual SUMMER SLAM of White Rock’s Gentlemen of Leisure Forever group. . The acronym being G.O.L.F. (Brothers).

For the past 11 years our club has steadily grown in size.  This year we happily honoured our newest member retired MLA, Former Mayor and all round great guy GORDON HOGG.  The admitance guidelines are rather loose, but never before in the history of the club have I seen such an instant and unanimous endorsement of a new member.  The group now is 13 strong.  Twelve members here and BRAD WEIR the president of the charter chapter in Toronto.

Our little group is not that unusual.  I see constant evidence people are enjoying the company of friends and neighbours more and more.  We tend to travel well in groups. 

In that I host and cook breakfast every Friday for the group when people hear about our weekly gatherings they often remark “Gee you must like cooking.”  I do in fact enjoy cooking, but what I value more than a stack of flapjacks is the bond and friendship this group possesses.  I remarked the other day there is not one person in this group who I could not call at 4 a.m. and say “I need you to come and pick me up.”  Without exception the first words I would hear are “Where are you, I am on my way.”

I urge you if you don’t already have a TRIBE of your own, start working on it.  There is nothing that grounds you like setting everything aside -  all the  the daily distractions (lord knows there are lots of those these days) forget all YOUR daily challenges and  life’s distractions melt away. 

We call it “bringing It To The Table.”  Not that we are a secret society or anything like that, but there have been times when individually we have all had to make life announcements to the group.  The power, love and support cannot be described. Beyond any riches you otherwise may have.

Many many years ago my early introduction into the wonderful world of Radio & Records, I was the all night DJ at my father's country music radio station in Langley. You have not lived until you have spun the hits and worked the phones in the Fraser Valley on a Friday night. In that time period GLEN CAMPBELL burst on to the music scene like a hurricane. Hit after hit after hit. Buried away on one of his biggest albums GALVESTON was this little gem written by JIMMY WEBB who also wrote virtually all of GLEN CAMPBELLO'S biggest hits. It has been a guidepost for me since I first heard it.

Someone told my story in a song.


 

So to my breakfast brothers I say, thank you. 

To you the reader I can only say TRIBE UP, get working on your little group, you can thank me later.

David Chesney
Editor/Publisher

 

 

August 03, 2017

Our little “city by the sea” will host the 68th annual White Rock Sea Festival this weekend.

Think about that for a minute.  Our Sea Festival began 8 years before we even became a city after separating from Surrey.  The area though part of Surrey was referred to as White Rock, as was Cloverdale known as Cloverdale, Crescent Beach was…etc. etc.  It adds fuel to the fire if White Rock was to rejoin Surrey WE WOULD ALWAYS LIVE IN WHITE ROCK!

But back to the matter at hand, this years Sea Festival.  You can check out the full listing of all the events this weekend by reading our WEEKEND UPDATE section.  The show piece of Sea Festival in the past few years has been the unique Torchlight Parade.  All along Marine Drive starting around 8:30 Sunday evening a variety of floats and vehicles will take part in the annual event.  Councillor Helen Fathers and I will be looking for your smiling faces and friendly waves again this year.

There has been a bit of a split in this years activities.  The sea festival is produced by the volounteer group White Rock Events.  The group has served notice to the City of White Rock this will be their final year of producing the event.  Will there be a 69th sea fest next year.  Time will tell.
This year KORKI THE CLOWN and The Semiahmoo First Nations are going it alone with the Pirates in the Park, delicious first nations salmon BBQ and the giant custom car show Sunday.  All events will occur in Semiahmoo Park

What constantly amazes me is the lack of engagement by so many White Rock residents.  Whether or not it is the Tour De White Rock, the Sea Festival generally speaking (besides the Torchlight Parade) the vast majority of our residents have embraced most of the community events.

In the summer I often sit down on the benches by the pier and savour my homemade picnic dinner.   Having lived here for roughly speaking 35 years I often wonder how I can sit there for an hour or two and not see one single person from White Rock I know.  This past year the prevalent language spoken by walkers on the promenade is Chinese or Punjabi.  What do they know that you don’t?  Is it a matter of  “familiarity breeds contempt?” 

Based on my unscientific market research the majority of new residents of White Rock are here for one reason.  The view.    I get it.  I have lived on Marine Drive, Columbia, Victoria and Prospect Avenue all with stunning ocean views.  I am not content to simply look at it.  I want to touch it, smell it, wiggle my toes in it. 

I don’t know why you would live at the beach and not go to the beach.

Come on in - the water's fine.

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

July 27, 2017

They Paved Paradise....and put up a parking lot

Stick a fork in the Official Community Plan. It is done.

Monday evening in White Rock city council chambers there wasno balloon drip like Time Square on New Years eve, no confetti cannon, and there certainly were no champagne corks popping and loud cheering. No it went out with a whimper. As a duly elected civil/public servant I am bound to remain neutral until I vote on "yes or no" on matters.

I have never felt it was "My White Rock", it is OUR White Rock. The only difference is I am a sentinel up at city hall for the residents of White Rock that punched a hole in th ballot beside mhy name. I forever will be grateful for the support.

Monday evening knowing I would have the opportunity to throw a "Hail Mary" (something you do late in the game when you have nothing to lose - beyond a long shot)

I read this prepared statement.

 

OCP STATEMENt

July 24, 2017

MOTION
Remove  from the proposed Official Community Plan document any densification on Johnston Road South of Thrift avenue.  Review in 5 years when the Official Community Plan is hopefully reviewed again

 

Our new OCP was created under the banner - Imagine 2045.

Well at this rate I can’t imagine what White Rock will look like in 2045.

This council has approved no less than 7 towers in our currently designated “Town Centre” (bordered on the norht by 16th avenue, Thrift Avenue on the South - George Street to the east and the western boundary of Martin Street.)

Our current  “town centre” will be fully under construction for the next 3-4 years, minimum.  Lord have mercy on getting around uptown White Rock.

Throughout this entire process of creating a new Official Community Plan I have attended many of the public open houses.  Coupled with emails to Mayor and Council and our recent OCP public hearing here in council chambers two weeks ago, I have never heard any residents encouraging us to expand the town centre out to the east and west, and certainly no one I have talked to or any documentation I have read did anyone for towers below Thrift on Johnston Road.

As a matter of fact the new OCP stresses how it is important to maintain that ocean vista as you travel south on Johnston past Thrift to maintain the beach/seaside feeling vista.  We currently are being asked to consider two towers below Thrift and I believe it is a safe assumption, if approved the developers will be quickly buying up the West side of Johnston.  That would leave no vista other than a straight down the road corridor.  Which is it?

I had occasion to visit Surrey’s Central City last week and marvelled at the one giant tower that now accompanies a few other highrise towers.  Most currently are grouped right next to the Skytrain station.  A perfect location.

Once the currently approved 7 towers are constructed in our town centre visually we will be equal orbe in excess of towers in Whalley/Central City.   Surrey with its population of 500,000 is roughly 25 times the population of White Rock.   Our continued push for densification is not justified in my mind.

And speaking of Surrey, why did our Planning department not have a meeting with Surrey to discuss what they have planned for literally right across the road from us?

Our previous full time planner KAREN COOPER two years ago indicated in her mind our current town centre could very easily handle the future growth of our city as we were creating this Official Community Plan.
It is worth noting we have been without a new Official Community Plan for 9 yeares now.  Our last Official Community Plan was crafted in 2009.  The previous council deferred the creation and or  review  of the Offcial Community Plan in the year of 2013 as it was on the eve of an election and that council felt it would best be handled by the duly elected council in 2014.  That is us.

In closing to summarize my opposition to adopting this Official Community Plan, I am asking my fellow council members to be content with the development we have already approved in the Town Centre.  In my opinion we would be well advised to let the current development run its course for the next 3-4 years.  Upon the completion of possibly the seven said towers the council of the day will be able to make a much more informed decision if our “city by the sea” can handle more density.

I  wish to put forward a motion to limit any further desification to be limited to our existing Town Centre.  Stop the creep of development below Thrift avene on Johnston Road.  Keep to the current 4 storeys designation.

There will be a civic election in just over a year (October 2018).  This should be an election issue and I for one am confident the majority of the residents of White Rock wish to proceed very carefully with any further expansion of density in White Rock

 

(pause for effect)

 

Then Mayor Baldwin asked for the vote.

Six in favour of adopting the Official Community Plan is it is, One vote in opposition.

It is not the first and won't be the last time I will be referred to as a "Lone Wolf" or a "Man of The People."

David Chesney

 

 

 

 

July 06, 2017

 

Have you ever found yourself watching a movie that is so slow and boring that you consider turning it off or getting up and walking out?  Well I have.  The problem with those solutions to the situation is the fear of someone at a later date saying “You left?  Oh my God so you missed the ending?”

Monday evening at White Rock city hall residents of White Rock will have the opportunity to have their final say on the crafting of White Rock’s new Official Community Plan  “Imagine 2045. “

For the past two years White Rock has made an effort to engage residents of White Rock to afford them the opportunity to feel like they have a say in how  future development in our “City By The Sea.”  Did you participate?  I didn’t think so.  To be brutually honest, as usual the disconnect with White Rock residents reared its ugly head. 

Let’s back up for a minute.  Cities are required to review their Official Community Plan OCP every five years.   We have not had a new OCP since 2008.  The council of the day in 2013 when it came time for the review felt it could be a minefield going into an election in 2014 so they set the OCP aside.  Once the current council was elected in 2014 they got to the matter at hand right away.  Over the course of the past two years through online surveys and  open houses the city asked you what you thought.  Again, did you participate?

Currently no less than 7 towers have been approved just in the currently designated Town Centre bordered by Thrift on the south, North Bluff to the north, George to the east and Martin street on the west.  I am fearful on how our little village will be turned upside down by all this development that no doubt will occur over  the next three to four years. Keep in mind that bright yellow helicopter circling low over White Rock last week for hours was hired by a developer to map out and photojournal our city. Our secret is out. Fair enough but are you comfortable with developers driving the creation of the new Official Community Plan?

We narrowly escaped two more towers south of  Thrift on the Johnston Road corridor when council denied building permits for a 20 storey and 15 storey highrise on the DEALS WORLD and LELA THAI properties  respectively.  They will be back in some shape and form.

The proposed changes to our Official Community Plan now contains the expansion of the Town Centre to an area called the Lower Town Centre which runs along Johnston  road down to Pacific Avenue along through the Five Corners district ending at the current site of the Star of the Sea hall and parish.

As a city councillor I am bound to keep an open mind until all sides have been heard and weighed out.  Help me help you.
The future  of White Rock development is in your hands.  Don’t wait for the development sign go up across the road from you and then ask “How the hell did this happen?”

 

Further details regarding the proposed Bylaw may be obtained from the City’s Planning and Development Services Department at City Hall or by contacting (604) 541-2136 | planning@whiterockcity.ca. You can also access the materials online at www.whiterockcity.ca/publicnotices
Should you have any comments or concerns you wish to convey to Council and you cannot attend the Public Hearing, please submit in writing to the City Clerk by noon (12:00 p.m.), Monday, July 10, 2017.  You may forward your submissions by:

  1. mailing or delivering to the City Clerk’s Office at White Rock City Hall, 15322 Buena Vista Avenue, White Rock, BC V4B 1Y6; or
  2. e-mailing the City Clerk at ClerksOffice@whiterockcity.ca with “Bylaw 2220” typed in the subject line.

Please Note: Correspondence that is the subject of a Public Hearing, Public Meeting, or other public processes will be included, in its entirety, in the public information package and will form part of the public record. Council shall not receive further submissions from the public or interested persons concerning the application after the Public Hearing has concluded.
A copy of the proposed Bylaw and associated reports may be inspected in the City Clerk’s Office at White Rock City Hall, 15322 Buena Vista Avenue, White Rock, BC, from Thursday, June 29, 2017 until July 10, 2017, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding weekends and statutory holidays.

David Chesney
Editor/Publisher

 

 

JUNE 22, 2017

STARDUST MEMORIES

 

Growing up in North Surrey in the 60's posed its challenges for recreational activities, but there was always the STARDUST roller rink. I mean the original one at the Guildford Shopping Centre. The final incarnation in Whalley closed a year ago moving aside for future high-rise development.

Over the course of 50 years Surrey was home to a location of the Stardust Roller Rink.  At the height of its popularity the Stardust chain had three locations in the Lower Mainland.  Richmond, North Vancouver and the Guildford Shopping Centre.

Until  last year  the remaining location for the Stardust Roller Rink  stood its ground against the rapid development of downtown Whalley in the northern reaches of the municipality.

The operators of the final incarnation of the Stardust Roller Rink has issued a request for your Stardust memories.
It’s true… not only has Stardust closed but by the end of the summer, the building will be gone forever. There will be one last “Stardust” skate, on July 8 at what-is now Central City Arena.

Where you a Stardust “regular”? Did you celebrate your birthday at Stardust? Did you play hockey at Stardust? Were you part of the Special Olympics Program at Stardust? Did your school class have a Halloween, Christmas or Year End partyat Stardust? Did you attend a Night Owl Skate or an All Night Skate? Did youparticipate in any Air Band Contests or Battle of the Bands? Were you part ofthe Rollathons to raise money for Variety Club? Did you participate in the 24hour skate for MADD or Skate for Heart? Who was your favourite band that playedat Stardust? Did you skate at Guildford, Whalley, North Van or Richmond – whichfloor was the best? Did your church or company have a skating party at Stardust? Did you take roller skating lessons at Stardust? Do you remember the horse races and limbo on roller skates? Did you win a prize for doing the hokeypokey or bird dance? Where did you go after skating? Fresgos, Olympia, WhiteSpot (or McDonalds after the All Night Skate)? Did you work at Stardust? Who was your favourite Stardust Staff member? Did you meet or significant other at Stardust?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have a memory of Stardust. And we want to you to share your memories with us. Funny,sad, goofy, poignant, or just a memory-the reflects how Stardust played a role in your life,

I only visited the Whalley location once, with two young boys who used to call me Uncle Dave and my late wife Auntie Laurie.  Stuart and Evan had come from Vancouver to spend the weekend with us, and given the fact Laurie and I did not have children of our own, it was a golden opportunity to introduce these two young lad aged eight and five years old, we thought it might be cool to take them to the Stardust Roller Rink for a Saturday afternoon outing.  As I stood at the check in paying for our admission, Stuart the oldest tugged on my arm and said “Uncle Dave I don’t know if we should go in it looks like this place is on fire!”   You see to the best of my memory the roller rink had flashing neon lights, maybe strobe lights and lasers and a smoke machine that filled the rink with a hazy cloud of smoke to augment the lights and thumping rock n’ roll music.  This is a memory that I hold near and dear to my memory bank.

But one problem.  This was not MY Stardust.  My Stardust memories harken back to when the original Stardust Roller Rink was in the Guildford Town Centre.   The rink was an open air type of affair.  Housed on the lower level of the mall the rink was located right below the original Guildford twin cinemas.  One could stand alongside of the rink and check out all the action on the rink.  All of the “skate cops” were young counterparts that wore black slacks, a black vest and a white shirt.  Most of the skate cops were very adept at showing of their skating prowess as well as their ability to quickly eject any troublemakers that may have found themselves in the rink.  The Stardust on rare occasions would sometime have local rock bands perform in one corner of the skating surface that would play as we twirled and rolled around the polished cement skating surface.  Some regulars actually had their own set of high boot rollerblades, the majority of us though were too cool to carry our skates with us to the rink.  Rentals were the way to go, if you wanted to be cool!

For 3 or  4 years in the late 60’s the rink was our home away from home.  The Stardust was ground zero for a good time if uyou lived in Surrey.   Hookups all be it innocent by today’s standards were commong.  Couples skates afforded us bashful and blushing Surrey boys the opportunity to ask a girl to skate.  First step to any lasting affair always started with holding hands.  “What are you doing after skating?  Can I walk you home” were common come on lines of the day.

The Stardust roller rink at Guildford will always hold fond memories of my youth. 

Hell, it was how we rolled in Surrey in those days..

P.S.

Is it universal for this song to be played during MENS ONLY skates?


 

 

May 25, 2017

Yell It Like It Is........ “Just Make Sure Your Are In the Right Key”

White Rock Blues Society with friends

Make mine music. 

Something a little different this week.  We take a break  from railing on injustices.  Let’s dance.

This past weekend I had the honour and pleasure of MC’ing the White Rock Blues Society’s 10th Birthday/Anniversary Party at the Pink Palace.  What a great night of music with JASON BUIE opening the night and THE POWDER BLUES celebrating 39 years of rockin’ Canada closing out the night.

WESLEY/MCGUIRE/BUIE

I have a special affection for the White Rock Blues Society.  You see this here online newspaper the White Rock Sun was in its infancy (1 year old) when I got a call from ROD DRANFIELD and JASON BUIE asking me if I would like to do a story on the new blues society they were starting.  We met up that fateful day for lunch at the Roadhouse Grill and I have never looked back. 

Over the years our friendships have grown.  JASON BUIE has been the “house band “ for no less than four of my fundraising election campaign nights..  Talk about musical memories.  I still have people ask me “You are going to run again aren’t you?”  I know in some cases they are only interested in the resulting part.  Every night has been magical.  If I had to choose one memory, it would be the final event my late wife was able to attend before her ride was here.  That particular night RA MCGUIRE/DANIEL WESLEY and JASON BUIE tore the roof off of Iguana’s on the beach with a version of “No Woman No Cry” that had even the most jaded music vets in attendance slack jawed in amazement.

Over the past 10 years the White Rock Blues Society has made enough noise that in a number of industry circles across Canada people have started referring to White Rock as “The Blues Capital of Canada.”  When I introduced ROD DRANFIELD on stage Saturday evening he in a truly classy move acknowledged the contribution Kelly & Juanita @ Blue Frog have made to our city by the sea earning this accolade.

Over the past 10 years the White Rock Blues Society for a number of years have sent representatives to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge.  Hundreds of performers compete against eachother for the honour of wearing the crown.  Every single year the White Rock Blues Society’s reps have made it into the semi finals, and two years ago Delannah and Owen Owen made it to the finals.  When you start stacking up all the musical talent around here, well, maybe we are “The Blues Capital of Canada.”

DRANFIELD/BUIE

I tip my hat to ROD & JASON and the army of volounteers (too many to name and I would run the risk of missing someone) that power the blues society.  It is a non-profit in every sense of the word. They do it for the love music as corny and over used as it is, it's true.

Next up for the blues brothers will be a big outdoor show at Camp Alexander in September.  Details to follow.

So happy 10th birthday WRBS.  Let’s hope we will all be here for the 25th.

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor and Fan

 

I would be remiss to not mention Saturday's big show also heralded the release of JASON BUIE'S third CD "Driftin' Heart"

Check out the muisc and get yourself a copy (click here)

 

May 04, 2017

Election Day

On Tuesday British Columbians will head to their local polling stations.  By the end of the day we will know which political party will govern British Columbia for the next four years.

There are a number of independent candidates on the Semiahmoo Peninsula who are hoping to become dragon slayers.  The GREEN PARTY candidates  seem hopeful to ride the coat tails of their leader ANDEREW WEAVER  into the legislature. 

Let’s face it.  Locally it will be a battle between the ruling LIBERAL party and the NDP.

Since being elected to White Rock council I have been afforded the opportunity twice to hear JOHN HORGAN speak at gatherings of  elected civic officials.  On both occasions I was moved to linger after his speech to tell him how much I enjoyed his speech. He is a very powerful orator.   I urged him last year to hit the road and get HIS message out.  I urged him not to wait until April to hit the proverbial bricks.  I indicated to MR. HORGAN I though he suffered from an identity proble, the problem I said was few could identify him. A couple of weeks back this was confirmed in an IPSOS REID poll that indicated the majority of British Columbians could not name the leader of the NDP.

Locally I attended the two main ALL CANDIDATE meetings on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.  I have to admit, I was not moved in any way shape or form by any of the candidates, with the exception of STEPHANIE CADIEUX.  Now granted she is the only sitting member of the legislature that is running in South Surrey / White Rock.  But her honesty and sicncerity rang a bell with me and it seemed to connect with many in attendance.

You can virtually draw a line across the middle of Surrey and equally divide the city into two distinct regions.  The upper half of Surrey is all NDP and the lower half is all LIBERAL.  I doubt much will change after Tuesday.

Our long time MLA GORDON HOGG is stepping away from Provincial politics which means one way or the other the most southern riding is going to have a new MLA.  In my opinion Iit will come down to NOVI PATSICAKIS of the NDP vs TRACEY REDIES representing the LIBERAL party.

Some have wondered if our riding is a LIBERAL riding, or a GORDON HOGG riding.  I can attest from personally being on doorsteps in White Rock for no less than 3 civic elections, GORDON HOGG does have a lot of friends in White Rock.  If I had a dollar for every person who asked me at their door if "I knew Gordon Hogg” I quite possibly would have had an election campaign fun that would have rivalled the WHITE ROCK COALITION.

Sunday afternoon I came home and saw the message light flashing on the message machine.  Punching up the message, there was the man himself.  “Hi this is GORDON HOGG.  The message went on to endorse TRACEY REDIES.  The call concluded with instructions to push the #2 if TRACEY REDIES could count on your support on Tuesday May 9?

What did I do?  None of your business.

Davide Chesney
Publisher
White Rock Sun

P.S.

Apparently ELECTIONS BC are handing out I VOTED stickers at the polling stations this year. A great idea. That way we will know who we should listen to if they start complaining about the outcome of Tuesday's election

 

 

April 27, 2017

Come One- Come All

All Candidates

Another election.  Another round of staged all candidates meetings.  By staged I mean, orchestrated. 

You see the hosts of all candidates meetings get  to decide who will be allowed to appear on the candidates panel.  The organizers also have the ability to limit what topics and questions may be discussed.  That most certainly is their prerogative but for my money and judging by the read on the room at all candidates meetings, most in attendance never have the opportunity to have THEIR questions directed to who THEY want to answer the question.

What makes things difficult is political correctness. 

When pressed why they don;’t simply erect microphones at the back of the room and have the line form at the right, organizers say it would cause a number of problems.  One of the reasons is they say once someone gets up to the microphone they won’t sit down, some people have terrible trouble speaking in public, emotions will run too high etc. etc. etc. 

I certainly don’t advocate or support the current trend sweeping the Peninsula of publicly hollering insults at elected officials or political hopefuls.    There are myriad of other reasons organizers of ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS will tell you why it isn’t a free for all at the microphone.  Another being is it might not look very good if no one bothered to ask a certain candidate any questions.  They would be left out. 

So stack the crowd get your brother, mother, sister, neighbour to come on down and ask you a softball question.  Everyone else will be doing it.    I simply want my ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS unfiltered, raw to the bone.  Hot topics, emotions running high, both sides presented passionately.

Heck we only get to to do it every four years.  We’ll be alright.

Tonight the White Rock Chamber of Commerce and the local branch of CARP co host their ALL CANDIDATES MEETING at the White Rock Community Centre 7 p.m.

Just Don’t look for the lineup at the microphone.

David Chesney / Publisher

 

 

April 20, 2017

The #1 pop song in April 1957

This past Saturday White Rock city staff turned our local curling rink into a beautiful banquet hall complete with white linen and  stunning decorative centerpieces at each table.  The lineup to get in moved very quickly and then the afternoon of entertainment kicked into high gear.  Mayor Wayne Baldwin on behalf of council and the city welcomed the paying guests to the official 60th anniversary of White Rock’s independence from the city of Surrey. 

Top Selling Car the year when we gained our independence

Invited VIP’s in attendance included White Rock councillors CHESNEY/FATHERS/LAWRENCE/SINCLAIR  and KNIGHT, MP DIANNE WATTS/outgoing MLA GORDON HOGG along with his fellow Free Man of the city VIN COYNE.

VIN COYNE the former editor of the Semiahmoo Sun and the original White Rock Sun newspaper regaled the audience with a selection of amusing stories from White Rock’s past. Local entertainer DOMINIK HEINS debuted his original composition "Sea Of Stories" which will be featured in this summer's play The History Of White Rock created to honour our birthday and Canada's 150th birthday.

Entertainment throughout the afternoon was shared by ALYSSA NIELSEN paying tribute to the music of PATSY CLINE and BOBBY BRUCE’S always loved NEIL DIAMOND tribute.  A beautiful lunch was served and residents who have lived in White Rock for the past 60 years were honoured from the stage and gathered for a picture with Mayor Baldwin following the official ceremony.


The #1 country song April 1957

The birthday fun continues Saturday April 29th when the celebrations move next door the much larger Centennial arena where a free full on day of family fun will roll out the red carpet to the community.

White Rock has been my home for over half my life.  From my childhood home in North Surrey we were just a hop skit and a jump from the sandy shores of Semiahmoo Bay.  I love White Rock.  Oh yes we will continue to wrestle with our water woes and the continuous push for development of high-rises, but at the end of the day I can still pull on my flip flops, Ray-Bans and shorts and stroll our world class promenade and take in the breath taking views afforded on walks out and back on Canada’s Longest Wooden Pier.

Sixty years on White Rock.  You’re nearly officially a senior, but you will always take my breath away.

Publisher

David Chesney

1957 REDUX

Prime Minister April 1957 - Louis Saint Laurent (until June 21) then John Diefenbaker

Premier of British Columbia - W.A.C. Bennett

Mayor of Surrey - Robert Merton Nesbitt

 

 

 

April 06, 2017

The Tale of Two Cities

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MARINE DRIVE MERCHANTS

First let me say right off the top, I feel your pain.  You have made a big investment of time and money to open a commercial establishment on White Rock’s beautiful  beach front.

On sunny days as you look outside your business windows you will see a ribbon of cars inching by.  Crowds of people amble along the sidewalk outside of your business.  The parking lots are full, the promenade and pier are packed.  Unfortunately I have yet to meet anyone that can actually do anything about the weather.

Last weekend the White Rock Business Association organized a “cleanup” of “The Drive” the catchy phrase the BIA created to draw attention to let the community know “The Drive IS Alive.”    Due to the inclement weather the turnout of residents and merchants was less than  the BIA and merchants expected.   Of course the usual amount of social media prophets weighed in the day after saying they had no idea the event was happening.  This may or may not be the case.  Apathy probably pays a much larger part. A shrug of the shoulder, not my problem.

The White Rock Business IMPROVEMENT Association is run by a paid staff of two as well as a volounteer board.  The BIA is funded by the city of White Rock  to the tune of $325,000.00 levy on commercial property owners.  The fact a small percentage of business owners actually own their property, many business owners are not even aware they are in fact funding the BIA.  Commercial property owners in large part simply bury the levy into the cost of the taxes the commercial property owners pay and the landlords simply bury it into the triple net rent the business owner pays.  I have to wonder if a representative went into each commercial business on a monthly basis and said “I am here to collect your $100.00 a month charge to fund the BIA, what would their reaction be?”Perhaps the city may want to find out exactly how the merchants feel about the job the BIA is doing. Each year every business has to renew their business license which would afford the city a perfect opportunity to get a handle on the perceived effectiveness of the BIA.

The BIA recently appeared before White Rock council to ask for relief of pay parking for the month of April.  The price tag was cresting on $200,000.00.  Council voted 5-2 against waving the pay parking.  Councillors BILL LAWRENCE and HELEN FATHERS voted in support of the event.  Councillor FATHERS then raised the ire of some business owners and the BIA when she stated “perhaps we can eliminate the BIA and take the $325,000.00 and put it towards eliminating pay parking for a period each year.  FATHERS also went on to say she had recently returned from a trip to her birthplace England, and she couldn’t help but marvel on how the merchants in small English villages take such care in creating a vibrant retail landscape.  Conversely FATHERS went on to say upon her return driving along Marine Drive she couldn’t help but notice on how rundown and ragged looking our waterfront commercial district has deteriorated to.

ERNIE KLASSEN the president of the White Rock BIA board of directors is quoted this week in the Peace Arch News that they will take all the info gathered at the past weekend’s event and compile it with other ideas that have come forth over the past few months, and prepare a new report/request for the city of White Rock to do something about helping to remedy the situation.  Part of the promotion on Saturday the BIA gave visitors sticky tabs and encouraged them to write on what type of businesses they would like to see in the empty stores along Marine Drive.  I whole heartedly agree it would be nice to see a better mixture of year round businesses along Marine Drive.  Businesses that regularly close for months on end, or are only open on the weekends has done nothing to add to the vibrancy of the commercial  area of Marine Drive. 

Conversely the same weekend that the focus was on Marine Drive’s inability to attract customers, in uptown White Rock in the Five Corners district LAURA’S COFFEE CORNER opened on Pacific Avenue.  From the moment the doors opened at 8 a.m. on Saturday the lineups stretched out the door.  All day long.  Sunday was a repeat of Saturday.  Friends and neighbours reconnected chatted while in line and then got their coffee and lunch/breakfast and or dinner, sat down and regaled how happy they were LAURA was back.

I have been frequenting LAURA’S almost daily since the original location opened 7 years ago.  Since the Five Corners fire destroyed her original location, LAURA and her husband GLEN have been logging long hours and fighting construction delays for months.  The result is a beautiful shop which obviously has met with a resounding positive response.

I often tell the story on how a friend who moved to White Rock a number of years back called me and said “Let’s go for coffee and catch up.”  I directed him to LAURA’S COFFE CORNER.  We stood in line exchanging pleasantries.  When we got to the counter I introduced TOM to LAURA and told her he was new in town.  I ordered my coffee and TOM ordered a cappuccino.  Fast forward to three months later TOM called me up and said hey let’s meet for a coffee at LAURA’S .  As we walked up to the counter LAURA said “Hello Dave, hello TOM, coffee Dave and TOM a cappuccino?”  He nodded yes.  As we sat down I said to TOM, “Have you been back here since I first introduced you to LAURA?”  He said “No this is my first time back since you first turned me on to this place.”  I have often marveled as I sat in LAURA’S I would hear her greet almost every customer by their name and usually some personal type of conversation about their dog, kids or how their business was doing.

I have come to refer to it as the CHEERS SYNDROME.  You know the jingle for the popular television series theme.  We all want to go “ where everyone knows our name.”  Conversely I often venture to the waterfront for long walks on the promenade and pier.  For years I have frequented coffee shops often on East Beach and West Beach.  Despite being a frequent visitor I have never once received so much as a friendly hello or a thank you from any of the servers at the waterfront coffee shops.   I do frequent a number of restaurants on “The Drive.”   I have to be honest that I never darkened the doorways of any of the restaurants that have closed this past winter.  Obviously I am not alone.  Now one could say “Well LAURA doesn’t have to worry about pay parking.  Yes that’s true, but my own independent survey tells me the vast majority of customers at LAURA’S arrive by foot so pay parking even if was there would not be an issue.  In that I do spend a lot of time on the waterfront I have been confused for years why I don’t see more White Rock residents taking in all the waterfront has to offer.  That might be a good problem for the BIA to focus on.

I  will wait with baited breath to see what  ideas the BIA comes back to council and the city with.  But in the meantime here is a little piece of my own personal advice.

“Get Some Laura” in your business.  Take pride in how your business looks and operates.  Lean into it when the weather is good so customers will be impressed enough to come back when it is not a beautiful sunny day.

Heck, it’s worth a shot, and it won’t cost you much.

Punisher / David Chesney

 

 

March 30, 2017

"Big Daddy" Signs Off

DAVE "Big Daddy ' MCCORMICK

 

If you grew up in the Lower Mainland in the very late 50's and or the early 60's odds were your radio was welded to 1410 CFUN. Before CKLG decided we should have a tiger in our tank CFUN was #1 - CFUN HAD THE HITS!

http://www.radiowest.ca/sound/cfunmontage3.mp3

http://www.vancouvertop40radio.com/Images/Audio/CFUN/1961/SwingingMen_CRC11.mp3

http://www.radiowest.ca/jingles/cfun-170.mp3

(Some old time CFUN commercials courtesy RADIOWEST.CA)

 

In my mind the best DJ of that era was BIG DADDY Dave McCormick. You see Dave was on the air from 6-10 p.m. which was the prime listening time for a pre-teen. As a matter of fact I laid there in my bed imagining it was me and my girlfriend of the day (name withheld to protect the innocent) of the day dancing around to a swinging band at the PNE.

"You'll never know how great a kiss can be when you stop at the top of a ferris wheel......"


 

Even though my father was a well known radio announcer at the time over at the adult station CKNW, my Heathkit radio was locked on to the last station on the radio dial way up at 1410. It seems to me I had some kind of copper wire running from the back of the radio to the metal window crank in my bedroom to bring in the radio station better to the hills of North Surrey.

Here is where theatre of the mind comes in to play. BIG DADDY whilst doing his evening radio show created the image that he was broadcasting from beside the swimming pool on the roof of CFUN radio. Whenever he would open the microphone to make an announcement there was ,what I now know, a tape recording of people splashing into a swimming pool, girls laughing and the sound of someone diving off of a diving board. I was young and gullible. Gullible enough to proudly announce to my father "Next time we go into Vancouver could you please drive me by CFUN radio?" My dad replied " I suppose so, may I ask why?" I smiled and said " I want to see the swimming pool on the roof of the radio station." My Dad laughed and said "There is no swimming pool on the roof of CfUN radio." I rolled my eyes thinking what the heck do you know, you don't even like rock n' roll. Fast forward to a few months later on a rare trip into the big city my Dad and I drove by 1900 West Fourth Avenue. I couldn't see the roof from the front so my Dad indulged me and went around the block and we drove down the alley. Darn it I had to admit to my Dad he was right and I was wrong. A habit I would get into over the ensuing years.

Many years later while working for CBS RECORDS out of Vancouver I came to know BiG DADDY personally and professionally. At this point in his career DAVE was producing the award winning show on CFMI called "Discumentary." Still one of the best plays on words I wish I had thought of it. Now and then I would get a call from DAVE trying to arrange an interview with one of our artists. HE was always the consummate professional and almost without fail after every interview with one of our our artist invariably after the interview they would turn to me and say something like "Wow I wish they were all that prepared and sincere."

The last time I saw DAVE was 5 or 6 years ago at our annual Christmas luncheon at Beecher Street in Crescent Beach. It was the first lunch that BIG DADDY made it to. I do believe BRIAN FORST who makes his home here on the Peninsula got in touch with DAVE and invited him out. As I poured over the messages of condolences yesterday time after time former co-workers described BIG DADDY as one of the good guys, and not just because of his CFUN moniker.

There are tales of some of the crazy stunts that disc jockeys used to pull on each other and the public back in the day. If my memory serves me correct one of the great BIG DADDY stories was how he had the night off one time and he called into the radio station and talked to the announcer on the air and told the listeners he was out at Oakridge shopping mall and to come on out and let's have a party. If I have my facts straight so many kids turned up in their hot rods and on their motorcycles the Vancouver Police Department was called in to break up the giant crowd that had assembled just to see their favourite DJ.

I think I did tell DAVE at some point in time during our friendship about those early nights lying in my bed listening to him playing the first of five in a row from CFUN FOURTEEN TEN!

If not I will be sure to tell him next time I see him, which I hope isn't any time soon.

ROCK ON BIG DADDY!

Dave Chesney

Publisher/Editor

After high school and a stint at University of B.C., including working on the campus station, he became part of local radio history at CFUN.

"They weren't very old; they weren't a rocker yet. The station was all over the place in those days. I turned it around and started rocking a little bit there and got some ratings and in the summer of 1960 a whole bunch of us turned that station into a rock 'n' roll station. Brian Lord, Brian Forst, Al Jordan and myself. We were the Good Guys at 1410. We were a really fun radio station, you ask anybody who remembers. I had 100,000 members in a thing called the Hi-Fi Club.

Wayne Cox

Of course I remembered Dave from the old CFUN days when I was kid. And couldn’t believe, all those years later, would be working with him! He was a wonderful guy to work with, an encyclopedia of musical knowledge, and we all thought he’d be the successor to Jack Cullen…but, it wasn’t to be. Eventually Dave and I both moved on from NW, and unfortunately for me….kind of drifted apart, although we’d see each other at the occasional media event. Again, my condolences to Dave’s family…
Thanks for the memories, Big Daddy!

 

B&W Big Daddy

The CFUN Good Guys just had to get out in public more. Self Image -- Public Relations -- Sponsor tie-ins; all that kind of stuff. One of our first appearances was at the PNE where we were on display in an open booth next to the "PNE Prize House" that somebody would win in a raffle after the fair. We usually, depending on the time of day, had between 50 and 100 mostly kids staring at us. We didn't like it much because we couldn't dress casually – we had to wear these double-breasted blazers with CFUN's old logo on the lapel (just the call letters and 1410) and a tie. We couldn't pick our nose or scratch or swear if something went wrong. But it was exposure.
The last week of that first year the PNE sponsored a televised "Dance Party" and because we were tearing the ratings away from CKWX like duct tape off a hairy chest (and just as painful, I'm sure) the Exhibition picked "The Swingin' Men at 1410" to host this hour-long Dick Clark rip-off. We took turns. McCormick and Forst, Landa and I paired up. None of us liked the idea, much. I had done a stint in TV so it was kind of old hat but aside from me nobody had been on television before.
Well that's not quite true. Dave McCormick and I, as I mentioned last time, had become pretty good friends and Dave took a short vacation (months before CFUN changed format) to come up and visit me in Kamloops for a few days. I was showing him through the TV station, explaining how it worked and when we got to what used to be called the "tele-cini" -- the room where film was focused onto a two foot by three foot white screen and picked up by a video camera for broadcast -- Big Daddy pointed at the screen and asked "what's that big black patch obscuring half the picture?" I told him to move his arm and it went away so Dave had, after a fashion, been on TV previously. Once. At least part of him.
Frosty Forst had heard about a fictitious individual named "Fujikami The Warrior" and a bell rung. He developed a shriek like a Japanese Samurai who had been hit with buck-shot and screamed idiotic phrases between a 24 beat rock riff with the rest of the "Good Guys" offering homage as in "yea Fujikami" like a bunch of drunken fools from the Zambezi Delta after each of Forst's jagged screeches. We recorded it but it failed to make Billboard, in fact It became irritating so we decided to get rid of Fujikami.

http://www.radiowest.ca/jingles/cfun-130.mp3

One afternoon with Dave describing the action as best he could -- being buried deep inside the radio station -- Forst and I tied 30 helium balloons to a paper maché mock-up and floated Fuji off CFUN's roof straight across Cypress street into a tree. He was found that evening in Burnaby after we had climbed among the branches and pulled him free in front of a group of kids. Nah, that wasn't embarrassing.
The television series, "The Untouchables", starring Robert Stack with narration by Walter Winchell, was a prime mark for the CFUN DJ's. A top rated television show in the early 60's, about Elliot Ness and his liquor barrel axes busting up Al Capone's booze imports ("What'za-matta Ness, ya don't like beer?"). We spent until 5AM one night cutting a sound track; I did the Winchell imitation while the rest of us wrote script and figured out clips from popular songs of the day and spliced them into a hodge-podge tale of how the CFUN Good Guys busted Al "Cornpone" Junior ‚Äì sample: narration: "The Headquarters for the new gang was Vancouver Canada..." (insert clip) Connie Francis singing the line "Where the Boys are"; "Jerry Lee Landa at the Vancouver airport reported‚..." (insert clip) Everly Bros. from "Ebony Eyes" "The plane was way overdue"; the mayor added his personal plea to Al Cornpone (insert clip)...Elvis "oh my darling please surrender" with McCormick adding his indistinguishable voice at the end answering the question "how did The Good Guys do it" ..."Simple, They were Corruptible". This record, "The Corruptibles", on the CFUN label, we gave away at one of the fast food outlets when somebody bought a chicken leg or an order of egg foo yung.
We had a tag line, read by the board man bracketing the 5PM News sponsored by the huge car dealer Dueck On Broadway: "Not Best because we're Biggest but Biggest because we're Best" Something of a tongue twister and one day I was filling in for an absent Dave McCormick and read it "Not Biggest Because we're Best but Best because we're Biggest" and bore the insane wrath of Sales Manager Doug Gregg who came flailing into the announce booth ready to fire my ass off the air on the spot‚ -- probably the first huge "on-air" foo-pas out on many down through the years.
We had a "Christmas Bureau" thing in which people were asked to send in money in Christmas cards and CFUN would donate the take to the establish charity at that time in Vancouver. One night a guy named Joe showed up at CFUN's back door with two huge Doberman Pincer's -- rang the bell, and announced to Jerry Landa he'd give a car away in a draw the 24th of December. As I was named the announcer with the most time to handle the "Christmas Bureau" promotion, I heard Jerry on the air and rushed over to the station to meet Joe. He seemed legit. He owned a Used Car lot on Kingsway and he was good to his word. We collected maybe four times the money we expected because of Joe's generosity. But it turns out Joe was a gangster who'd recently been paroled after hosing down customers at his former car lot and was currently in business illegally. I didn't find this out till December 25th when the young lady who'd won turned up to claim her Christmas present, as had been arranged. For some reason nobody had ever mentioned the make or year. It was a ten year old Chevy in terrible condition, and we, Joe and I, had to push it down Kingsway as the woman jumped the clutch and the car belched oil smoke and jerked off -- a lump of iron which must have cost her 500 bucks to get running properly. Joe said the car wasn't worth it. I could have killed him.
CFUN did these things without ever checking with management, it wasn't necessary, radio was open to any creativity within reason and CFUN played it for all it was worth..
Then Dave McCormick and I went to California and a new group came to 4th and Cypress to join Frosty, Al, Jerry, and Mike Powley the music librarian -- they included Cameron Bell, Fred Latremouille and Red Robinson and the fun carried on.


But I was off to enjoy rockin' California in the 60's.

10-2 with BRIAN "Baby Blue" LORD

 

 

March 16, 2017

Just Imagine

 

The current Official Community Plan review in White Rock is fully underway.  The city has scheduled a number of Open Houses to afford the community to speak directly with staff from the planning department.  I have personally stopped by all of the Open Houses to date.

I personally want to hear what the residents of “our city by the sea” are thinking about  the proposed changes to the 2017/2022 plan.   White Rock  is wrapping the creation of the new OCP under the banner IMAGINE 2045.  Imagine indeed because the newly created OCP Draft does very little in my humble opinion to lay out any real long term building plans.

So why have you not attended?

The turnout to say the least has been minimal.  Often the two staff members from the planning department equal or outnumber the attendees.  Are we/you still hurting from that infamous night when over 700 residents spread over two nights at the First United church spoke to the council of the day.  All those that attended will vividly remember the opposition to the BOSA towers on Johnston Road.   In that I was in attendance at both those meetings let me remind you it was not simply a push back against high-rises.  It was a push back against the process.  Overwhelmingly the community said NO to high-rises.  Overwhelmingly council said YES.

I understand where the disconnect between the City of White Rock and the residents spawns from but to me that is no reason to throw in the towel shrug your shoulders and simply walk away.   It pains me every time I hear someone say “Why bother  “they” never listen to us.    If I may be so bold as to say, “Take it from a city hall insider, they/we do care.”  Don’t think for a moment the daily head count from the Open Houses and comments are not being poured over by city officials.  They care and they ARE worried on what you have to say.

If you are unable to personally attend the Open Houses you have at the very least two options.

  1. Let your elected officials know how you feel about the proposed changes that are being proposed in the Draft Policy for our new OCP.  You can email or call all the members of council and personally tell them what you feel about the options that are being presented to you for your consideration.  (click here for personal emails and phone numbers of council.

 

  1. Before the OCP is adopted as policy there will be a Public Hearing where YOU can step up to the microphone and personally have your feelings be known.

Further development in White Rock is bound to continue.  We live in paradise.  Developers rightfully so are lined up at the gates of our community.  If all of the towers that are proposed are approved we will have no less than  7 high-rises built in the current designated town centre, plus one tower out to the West of the town centre on Oxford street.  I can’t imagine what that development alone will do to disrupting our daily lives in White Rock. 

Do you want to to see increased density approved outside of our current town centre bordered by Thrift Avenue north to North Bluff and George Street west to Martin street?

Your options?

Lead
Follow
Get The Hell Out OF The Way

It’s your move.

D.Chesney / Publisher/Editor

 

 

March 09, 2017

White Rock Transitioning?

Illustration courtesy No More High-rises in White Rock

OCP FINAL DRAFT

Monday  afternoon during a Land Use and Planning meeting White Rock council was presented a first look at the final draft for the OCP which in theory is going to be used to define development in White Rock over the next 5 years.

Some of the more interesting points are;

A step down/transition area outside of the existing town centre (bordered by Thrift to the South, North Bluff to the north, George Street to the east and Martin street to the west).  From George street the new OCP is proposing heights of up to 12 stories along North Bluff  avenue extending eastward to the Peace Arch Hospital.  In the same area along North Bluff to the West of Martin street 12 storeys will be the name of the game out to Oxford street in the West.

The other significant area scheduled to be deeply impacted by the OCP should it proceed in its existing form, would be buildings up to 8 storeys high from Thrift avenue to Roper Avenue south along Johnston Road.  The city is already entertaining two development applications for buildings of up to 20 storeys in this quadrant.  Below Roper avenue along Johnston and swinging eastward along Pacific avenue the heights would be capped at 4 storeys/.  With the exception of 6 storeys on the land currently occupied by the Star of the Sea church and hall.

There are no proposed changes for Marine Drive.

Last evening the first of four Open Houses was held at Centennial arena.  Currently there are 3 more Open Houses planned.  Council on Monday requested the city schedule a couple more sessions, with an eye to possibly holding one of  the Open Houses on a Saturday at the community centre.

Once again on Monday I I alerted staff to the fact I am very concerned they have added an entire new section called The Lower Town Centre along Johnston Road south of Thrift.  This was not put forth to the community in the first three phases of the OCP engagement with the community, and for that simple reason I personally believe this area should be removed from the existing OCP.  Possibly in 2022 when  the city will review its OCP this might be a perfect time to ask the community how they would feel about density below Thrift. 

The city planners have said the reason for the step down areas outside of the existing OCP town’s centre, came about from the feedback they received from the residents (you) of White Rock.

Following the scheduled OPEN HOUSES the final draft will be reworked and will come back before council for a first and second reading.  There will then be another final OPEN HOUSE followed a Public Meeting where any resident that wishes to. will be able to appear before council to have their views heard.

I hope the city sees a large turn out for these meetings and especially the final Public Hearing.  It is important for you to voice all and any concerns you might have about how “your city by the sea” is going to look in 5 years.

Landmark development has plans for 3 towers in the city’s town centre between Foster and Martin near North Bluff, it would appear that Bosa properties is going to go ahead with two towers on their property at Thrift and Johnston,  we have already approved the senior high-rise on Johnston where Penguin Meats used to be, and quite possibly a new proposal for the corner of Thrift avenue and George Street for 14 floors will be coming before council.  If they all proceed on schedule our uptown will see no less than 7 high-rise towers being constructed. 

Do you want to add more right now?

It’s up to you.  Don’t wait until someone erects a " new development" sign across the road from your house.

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor

* You will find all the updates for the Pop Ups and Open Houses here on the pages of the White Rock Sun.

 

 

March 02, 2017

 

WATERFRONT WOES 2

 

These days the #1 water cooler topic around town seems to be “What is happening on the White Rock waterfront?”

White Rock mayor WAYNE BALDWIN floated out the idea of creating a task force headed up by city councillor BILL LAWRENCE.   Council then decided perhaps the problem would be best served by waiting to see what came out of the for the White Rock BIA and the Chamber of Commerce held this week at Whitby’s Book Store. 

Finding a solution to the record number of empty stores along the waterfront is now well underway.  An overflow crowd of business owners attended the meeting.  The record turn out bodes well for a grasroots solution.  If there is one group of people that could well hold the solution, it is the retailers who on a daily basis fight to hang on during the slow winter months. 

In the off season since the beginning of time, White Rock’s waterfront has always seen  a slow down of visitors.   Our waterfront business section is a destination that in large part is dependent on “the weather.”   As recent as this past weekend and Family Day holiday a couple of weeks back, our waterfront was packed with people.  The draw?  The sunshine.  Which is when people normally head to “the beach.”

I was unable to gain entry into the actual meeting but the strongest recommendation heard from business owners lined up in the hallway outside the meeting room, was parking.  One long time owner of the more successful eaterries simply said “Make the parking free in the off season.”   The co-owner of HEMPYZ businesszman RANDY CAINE wondered why we couldn’t have a free or nominal shuttle service running back and forth along the waterfront from Semiahmoo Park (where parking is a flat $6.00 per day.  Yet another business owner wondered why dogs and their owners are barred from the promenade, yet allowed to navigate the busy disewalks where there is less room, year round?

Over the past month or so there have been dozens of good ideas to revitalize the Marine Drive retail strip.  I found a letter to the Peace Arch News by  OLE NYGARD


Despite being from continental Europe, I have known of this area for 17 years and will give you some advice on how to revive the waterfront in White Rock.
Close Marine Drive for motorized traffic from Elm to Martin Streets, or to Giraffe Restaurant. Make the parking lots there a green area with room for different vendors, cafés and restaurants; “Dig up a parking lot, and make it our favourite spot,” to twist Joni Mitchell’s words.


Noisy motorcycles and beefed-up cars on Marine Drive sour the experience of enjoying a walk or having a drink or a meal in one of the nice sidewalk restaurants. If a section of Marine Drive is closed, traffic could not drive through.


Add an attraction to the pier. Build a platform or bridge on the breakwater for people who like to fish, and construct an extension to the pier for the young people to jump into the water, where they are already enjoying themselves during hot summer days.
It is simple improvements to already-existing infrastructure with the potential of drawing crowds.


At one or perhaps both ends of the promenade, make room for an outdoor gym, which can be used all year round by people trying to stay fit, adding a workout to their run.


The city is promoting the heritage of the rail line. Why not revive the station and negotiate with the railroad to make stops at White Rock? It will solve some of the parking problems, and who would not like to take the family on a train ride to and from Vancouver?

OLE NYGARD

 

A common theme running through the solutions put forth by residents calls for a general sprucing up of businesses.  Many are starting to look rather tattered around the edges.  The beautifuication of the waterfront retail strip could be made a prirority by the city of White rock and the Buisness Improvement Association.  The last major injection of city money came back in 1986 when then mayor GORDON HOGG successfully bid for the many waffle iron benches that Expo 86 was auctioning off.

Another common theme seemed to be more annual events IE: The return of the Sandcastle Comeptition,  building a more community event around our famous TOUR DE WHITE ROCK which as it stands now does not draw the crowds one would expect given the calibre of the racers and the spectacular natural setting the road race covers off on the final Sunday of BC Superweek of cycling.

The aforementioned councillor BILL LAWRENCE was in attendance this past Tuesday at the community meeting.  One would naturally assume LAWRENCE will be updating his fellow councillors Monday on what actions were proposed at the meeting.

It would be unfair to lay the solution ot our problem squarely at the feet of the White Rock BIA and or Chamber of Commerce.  It has to start somewhere and I for one wait with bated breath.

D. Chesney
Editor/Publisher

P.S.

WINGS restaurant has now re-opened as ROCK CITY (nice name), CIELO'S will soon be home to a Mexican restaurant, the sushi restaurant next door to ULI'S has nearly completed their major renovations and will open soon, Bejing restaurant is now reopened as The Sandbar and the owner of the Italian Touch has been entertaining a number of inquiries.

 

 

February 16, 2017

MUSIC INDUSTRY IS OVER!

 

Having spent over half my life in the music industry  I can’t help but slow down now and then to look at the current train wreck that pawns itself as "the new music industry."   Sorry I shouldn’t say that. I will try not to be judgmental ax I look back on what for decades to come will be revered as the most exciting time in the history of recorded music.

If the British music explosion with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were part of the soundtrack of your life, you know there is NOTHING on the radio you would be even remotely interested in. 

Today no one cares.  Quick sing me a DRAKE/JUSTIN BIEBER and or KANYE WEST song.  Exactly.   This is not intended to be a diss on today’s artists.  It is not their fault.  They simply are serving up what the record companies think people want to listen to.  The statistics prove them wrong.

These days there are a number of streaming services available in North America.  SPOTIFY being the most popular.  You simply sign up and punch in the type of music and the artists you like and voila, YOUR own personal radio station.  A couple of months back I was perusing the top played songs on SPOTIFY and was not surprised none of the most played songs were not currently being played on radio stations.  Consultants to radio stations make millions of dollars telling the programmers what they should be playing.  All the while the listenershiup or radio continues to sink into the abyss.  The goal of the consultants is to ensure people do not tune out of said radio station. Well first of all you might want to figure out how to get them to actually tune in!

The exception of that malady  here in Canada is the continued growth of listeners to CBC radio.  Intelligent reflection of our communities.  I can’t imagine weekend mornings without North By Northwest with host SHERYL MACKAY.

I was bored the other day with everything on NETFLIX so I logged into YOUTUBE and  punched in The Beatles.  I could very easily still be there.  One of the interesting concerts I came across was the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS (British Music Magazine) 1965 annual concert at the Empire Pool @ Wemblely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geFglXSMZMc&t=2153s

Over an hour and half the pop stars of the day took to the stage in front of the sold out audience to perform a few of their current chart toppers.  The lineup of talent was a who’s who of the British music scene. THE ROLLING STONES, ERIC BURDON, HERMAN’S HERMITS, THE BEATLES and the list goes on and on and on. 

The next five years alone brought us JIMI HENDRIX, THE DOORS, GRATEFUL DEAD, JANIS JOPLIN, no less than two LED  ZEPPELIN ALBUMS in 1968, BOB DYLAN, THE BEACH BOYS, THE BYRDS an on and on.  Get the idea?

So all lyou man bun wearing millennial, with trembling hands we pass the torch. 

The only problem is the torch went out years ago. 

It’s up to you to figure out how to light it.

Good luck with that.  Thank God we didn’t get rid of all our record ceollections.

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

editor@whiterocksun.com

 

 

 

February 02, 2017

 

WATERFRONT WOES

Flogging a dead horse (alternatively beating a dead horse, or beating a dead dog in some parts of the Anglophone world) is an idiom that means to continue a particular endeavour is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided.

Where oh where have all the people gone?  That is the proverbial $64,000.00 question being asked around White Rock these days. 

A record number of restaurants and other commercial businesses are dark and empty along the once thriving “waterfront strip.”  Sadly not unlike the Moby Dick story on White Rock the outside media have missed the point by a country mile.  Of course rents have increased in White Rock.  Where haven’t they.  Costs of food have risen exponentially, labour costs up and the list goes on and on.  A local restaurant informed me the profit margin on food these days due to the high cost, is about 10%.  Without liquor sales (which by the way are also way down) it is almost impossible to make ends meet.

For many years White Rock proper had very little competition.  Cloverdale, Langley and the Guildford area were your other dining options.  Now it seems almost monthly another restaurant opens in the South Surrey area.  Gone are the days of turning on the OPEN sign and sitting back and rolling up the $20’s.  Every commercial outlet in White Rock is now under pressure due to increased competition in the fastest growing area of Canada, South Surrey.

So what should be done Dave?  Glad you asked.

I personally asked CATHY JAMES the head of the newly created White Rock Tourism initiative Monday evening at the council meeting if White Rock Tourism had any long range plans to specifically promote tourist visits to White Rock?  Her reply was right on the mark.  JAMES said her organization only needs to identify what they have to market.  Empty stores and tumbleweeds blowing down Marine Drive does not seem to foot the bill.

Currently the city of White Rock collects through a levy on commercial properties  over $300,000.00  which funds the White Rock Business Improvement Association.  The aforementioned White Rock Tourism costs the city $100,000.00.  That is a lot of money.

In my opinion it is time to try something different.  One could debate over and over the pros and cons of both the aforementioned organizations.  The proof is in the pudding.  Our waterfront is dying and our other shopping districts are not faring any better.

Time to bring in an Economic Development officer.  We need a makeover.  We already have over $400,000.00 on the table.  A first class Economic Development Officer might run us $75-$100,000.00.  Couple that with $200,000.00 from the war chest for promoting our existing businesses while also creating a plan to attract a better mix of shop keepers to the waterfront.  Richmond’s Steveston area and Fort Langley seem to have done quite nicely.


This is not going to be an easy fix.  But then what is?

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

January 26, 2017

Coalition Council

White Rock Coalition councillors l-r Megan Knight/Bill Lawrence/Grant Meyer/Lynne Sinclair

It is only natural that one of the most asked questions of me as a first time councillor is "How can an elected official sit in judgment of a person who has contributed to their election campaign fund?" It is a very easy question to answer. It is legal. That's right elected officials at every level of government do not have to identify a conflict of interest and excuse themselves from judgment when a cash contributor to their campaign is being judged by elected officials.

In the case of the White Rock Coalition the city's website clearly indicates they received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers. There is nothing in the Community Charter or Local Government Act that calls for said elected officials to step aside and declare a conflict of interest.

White Rock council is not unique in their make up. North of us in Surrey, every member on Surrey council is a member of the Surrey First electoral party which received over a million dollars from developers for their campaign war chest.

The reason for developers wish to control councils is simple. Development is the one area at the civic level where supportive decisions could mean millions of dollars in profit. It is a time honoured game and I don't see any change in the near future. Vancouver council which is heavily influenced by developers as well recently agreed to look at possible elections changes. An Independent Election Task Force" was struck last year and they will be bringing forth their recommendations this Spring. Don't hold your breath.

The “Independent Election Task Force” with terms of reference approved by Council on February 3, 2016.

The Key Strategic Actions the task force will look investigate are;

1: Reform Campaign Financing
2: Adopt a Proportional Voting System
3: Conduct an Online Voting Pilot
4: Increase Voter Turnout by:
a) Increasing positive cues
b) Targeting voter registration
c) Extending voter rights to permanent residents
d) Employing best practices for other jurisdictions
KSA 5: Make Anonymous Balloting Data Available in Open Data Format

On the Provincial front there is also a move for reform. British Columbia Premier CHRISTY CLARK recently felt the press pressure, in particular from the The New York Times, hammering her and her party's long standing rubber chicken fundraising dinners. Which in itself is a time honoured practise of fundraising. What did cause raised eyebrows was the fact CLARK was paid personally to attend.

MICHAEL SMYTH of The Province recently published his opinion on the matter

(click here)

A new start up group called IMAGINE X is now attempting to raise public awareness in advance of the May provincial election

(read their manifesto on their website - click here)

The BC provincial election this May is quickly approaching. Campaigns are already starting with the same old rhetoric we have heard before. The BC Liberals say that they are “…getting to YES on job creation and growth” while introducing populist policies that hurt the economy and our well-being. The BC NDP seem to have trouble producing coherent policies between their labour and environmental factions and even more trouble running a scandal-free campaign.

The BC Greens are labeled as a one-issue party and will remain perceived as so by undiscerning voters. BC politics has been reduced to a chess game of politics driven by the election cycle fueled by big money. Instead of creating comprehensive visions for BC, political parties resort to announcing fire hose policies designed to influence a demographic to capture votes. As New York Times reported, BC politics is the “Wild West” of Canadian politics.

We can do better than this. Politics in BC needs a reset.

As Imagine X, we want to re imagine politics in BC and bring it back to its original intent: elect MLAs that represent you and your community. We are a group of self-motivated and self-funded regular citizens who are frustrated with the current state of politics, but also inspired by the possibilities for political change. We are inspired by exemplary political leaders, such as the two-time independent MLA Vicki Huntington of Delta South, who did not vote-split, but instead defeated the BC Liberal MLA and Attorney General Wally Oppal to initially earn the seat in her riding.

The navel gazing will continue in perpetuity. There will be no significant changes. You see those benefiting from the largess will be the ones voting on whether or not to scrap their meal ticket.

Fear not though, there is a mechanism in place that you as a citizen can utilize.

It is called an ELECTION! Imagine if more than the usual 3 out of 10 (30 %) residents of White Rock exercised their right to vote?

We have a Provincial election in May and a civic election in October 2018.

 

If you don't like what you got, why don't you change it?
If your world is all screwed up, then rearrange it?

Raise a little hell, raise a little hell, raise a little hell!

Raise a little hell, raise a little hell, raise a little hell!

If you don't like what you see, why don't you fight it?
If you know there's something wrong why don't you right it?

Raise a little hell, raise a little hell, raise a little hell!

TROOPER'S Raise A Little Hell

 

D.Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

January 19,2017

Canada 150/ White Rock 60th Anniversary Memories

Our corner store Clow Road & Hjorth Road

This year marks Canada’s 150th annivearsary of being a country.  This year will also mark White Rock’s 60th anniversary of independence from Surrey.

Part of the city’s planned celebrations in addition to a big musical concert,  will be a stage play  on our history, courtesy of Peninsula Productions.  The play will run at some point  this year at the White Rock Playhouse. 

One of the organizers has been soliciting  “ White Rock Memories” from a wide cross section of White Rock residents, old and new.

My childhood was spent growing up in the  district of North Surrey .  In those days given the sheer size of Surrey when people asked you where you lived you specified the actual are of Surrey you lived in.  Fleetwood,  Port Mann, Green Timbers, Newton, Cloverdale etc.  To be more specific my family’s property was  on 148th street (Bon Accord road) a  5 acre parcel of land which butted on to what is now the Guildford shopping centre.

Reprinted from Surrey Facebook

Bev Yeadon 1:32am Jan 14
Remembering fun times growing up in Surrey from the fifties. Far beyond the building of the Port Mann Bridge , Guilford Shopping Mall , Surrey Place. Going for late night coffee at the old Round Up Cafe . Going for NINETEEN CENT HAMBURGERS and FIVE CENT ICECREAM CONES at the first Burger King in Surrey , roller skating at Guildford Mall then the new rink in Whalley . Well of coarse a little drag racing the Whalley Strip .I worked at the Dog & Suds Drive Inn on 104th street a great hang out place for lots . Sneaking in to the Drive In Theater by the Pattulla Bridge , the King George and the one on the Fraser Highway !!! Playing kick the can and hide and go seek with great neighbours . The days when we used to get lots of snow even on Halloween night . Letting off fireworks and fire crackers ect. ect. Swimming down at Bothwell Park and doubling others on our bikes to get there . NOW THOSE WERE THE DAYS ........

In my pre-teen years I was introduced to “the beach” of White Rock.  Quite often my father would phone home from work to tell my Mom to pack a picnic basket and get the towels and bathing suits ready.  When my father got home from work we piled into the car and headed for the area of White Rock off of  Semiahmoo Park.  In the 50’s and 60’s this was the only area of White Rock I knew much about.  I really don’t remember venturing to the pier on West Beach, that would come later in my teen years. After our swim and dinner on the beach we quite often would have a little fire and roast marshmallows. Funny how sounds, sights and smells stay with you. On very rare occasions that someone overnight will have a fire on the beach, when I am walking along the promenade and get a whiff of it, I am pleasantly transported back to my childhood.

The area behind the band shell in Semiahmoo park in that era had a public campground of about 20-30 campsites right along the side of the train tracks, and I do mean right along beside the tracks.  When I think back on it now I don’t ever remember being woken up by the passing trains which couldn’t have been more than 30-40 feet from the back of the tent.    My father would load up all the camping supplies and set up Camp Chesney for a week in the campsite.  My father would get up early and go to work, leaving my mother and sister to plan our our whole day of collecting sand dollars, chasing  flat fish through the many tidal pools, building sandcastles and plunging into the ocean whenever we got too hot.  I distinctly remember gingerly making my way up over the crushed gravel to cross the train tracks to get to the beach.  The first couple of days I was in possession of lily white pink bare feet that made for  a hard time navigating back and forth in my bare feet.  Within a couple of days the soles of my feet toughened up enough that I could scamper back and froth with ease.

Fast forward to my teenage years.  White Rock was a popular destination for carloads of guys and girls to head to “the beach” for a day of fun a frivolity.  This era of my White Rock history was now spent in large part in and around the pier area.  It seemed to be where all the teenagers hung out.  Swimming in the tank at the end of the pier, renting kayaks from the rental shop at the end of the pier and of course a lunch of french fries on the back deck of the Dolphin restaurant located just a little ways out the pier on the left hand side.  There was a dining room which I seldom ventured into, most of my Dolphin visits were spent on the big outdoor deck on the north side of the restaurant where there was a convenient take out window for food.

Dolphin Restaurant

When I was in my early 20’s and ready to move out into my own home the first destination I considered was “the beach.”  I think over the following two decades I lived in rental houses on virtually every street up the hillsides.  Marine drive, Columbia, Royal, Prospect and finally Victoria avenue @ Martin street.  Around that time I also began a decade of driving into Vancouver for work, first at CFOX radio and then CBS RECORDS. 

On  the first day of work at CFOX, STERING FAUX who was an announce on our  AM sister station CKLG came up and introduced himself and said “Hey I  hear you live in White Rock?  I live down on Columbia near Maple.”  Just then another staffer was walking by in the hallway and STERLING  said, “Hey Bill meet DAVE CHESNEY our new music and promo director on FM.  He lives in White Rock too.”  BILL BOWNESS looked me up and down and said “Really I don’t recall ever seeing you around.  Where do you live?”  I told him I lived on Marine Drive by the pier.  BILL laughed and said “Oh no wonder. I never go down there. There is nothing but drug dealers, strippers and bikers.”  It was the 80’s. On any given Friday night, Saturday and Sunday afternoon you could sit out on your sun deck and watch "the cruise" of custom cars and motorcycles edge by along Marine Drive. Stereos blasting.

So White Rock I say “I salute you.”  Our "City by the Sea" will  continue to change and grow now that the word is out how beautiful our little village is. I hope you have some strong memories of days gone by. Please remember -   buildings don’t  define  a town, the people do..

I love you all.

David Chesney
Publisher

P.S.

If you would like to share a WHITE ROCK MEMORY drop me an email and I will forward them on to the producers of the play being written for our big party.

editor@whiterocksun.com

 

 

January 12, 2017

If You Build It They Will Come. Or Will They

This week a special guest commentator, Richmond Councillor CAROL DAY.

Given her political and personal proximity to the George Massey Tunnel, DAY has a vested interest on the future crossing of the Fraser River.

Contact Carol Day - carol@carolday.net

 

In 2006, the BC Liberal government’s Gateway Program looked ahead to “twinning the George Massey Tunnel under the south arm of the Fraser River between Richmond and Delta.” That meant adding another tunnel tube in order to increase the capacity by at least two lanes.


However, the Gateway report stated, “The project is on the back burner in part because it would put pressure on traffic bottlenecks to the north, requiring expansion of the Oak Street and Knight Street bridges into Vancouver or a new bridge into Burnaby."


As we begin 2017, the Oak and Knight bridges have the same old capacity, with no plan to expand them or add a bridge from Richmond to Burnaby. Nowadays, Vancouver is more likely to turn car lanes into bicycle lanes than to add car lanes, so increased bridge traffic into Vancouver would only add to the bottlenecks there. 
Contradicting its own 2006 logic, the province now wants to demolish the tunnel and build a ten-lane bridge. It has paid lip service to considering three other options to expand the crossing’s capacity, but in its B.C. environmental assessment application those options have the same high capacity as the ten-lane bridge.


The province’s assessment process, inadequate for this purpose, will allow the province to get away with that, even though Richmond and Metro Vancouver have reasoned for limited expansion that is consistent with the province’s 2006 logic. Their calls for moderate options have been ignored.


It is as though the views of the local governments do not exist. Who knows better than the Metro Vancouver Mayors Council how to enhance our Metro Vancouver transportation system?


There are still ways for the provincial government to save face while pausing for a sober second look. One is to ask the federal government to begin a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency review. It would include options that meet the needs of Metro Vancouver and Richmond, consider environmental effects in a wider and cumulative way, and enable independent decisions.


Richmond Councillor Carol Day

 

 

January 05, 2017

January 05, 2017

 

Hello 2017.  Come over here and give me a great big hug.

I have a problem with all the sad reflections on 2016.  I doubt I will file it under the Banner Year category but all in all I would take another one of them.

The majority of teeth gnashing and hand ringing I have heard and read pertains to Donald Trump being elected president of the United States.    Gee I don’t know,  I was in Blaine the other day and they seemed the same to me.   I am fully aware on the larger stage international trade embargos could well impact our economy, I do consider the ramifications the actions of America will wash eventually over our border, but I refuse to let it consume me.

Personally I would rather dwell on the matters at hand.  Living everyday to its fullest.  On my office wall I have a framed picture of this saying;

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a gift,
That’s why we call it the “present.”

My wish for me personally and for my loved ones is health.  Without our health we have a whole new existence to deal with.  I am forever thankful for my friendships.  I am blessed with having a group of friends  that meet once a week for breakfast.  Do you have a tribe?  If not, try to build one.  Our group is not totally unique.  I often see postings on social media of friends gathering on a regular basis.  Look around the coffee shop the next time you are having your morning cup of joe.  Odds are you will notice a knot of men and or women hunkered down spending quality time together.  I have always been rather magnanimous.  I love people.  I enjoy hearing and experiencing their stories.  My cross sections of friends runs the full gamut of society.  Each one is as precious to me as the other.  I can proudly list off a number of friends that have been an important part of my life  in some cases for nearly 40 years.

Building a maintaining a “tribe” takes effort.  The end result is well worth it.

Years ago I decided to celebrate all things local.  The very reason I started this online newspaper 11 years ago and the same motivation that inspired me to run for a seat on White Rock city council.  YOU can make a difference.  Cherish the little things.  The recent Christmas holidays provided us WASPS a perfect opportunity to reach out and tell someone how important it is to you to have them in your life.  Personally I would like to see us create more celebrations like Christmas.  What if with each changing season we held seasonal celebrations?  The start of each new season would afford us the opportunity to come together to be give thanks for what we have.

I recently learned if we live to be 82 years old, we will have had the opportunity to enjoy 30,000 days.  I guarantee every one of you reading this have lost a loved one., it happens.  When I am having a so called bad day I never lose sight of the fact that if I was to walk through the sixth floor palliative care unit at Peace Arch Hospital, every single patient would be more than happy to trade their day with me, in a heart beat.

So with that said I will turn my collar up to the chilly wind and get into the game.  I am thankful for that.  I will concentrate on the things I have the ability to change.  So come on, jump in the water is fine.

Like most communities in Canada our little city by the sea is at a crossroads.  Our secret is out.  Developers are at the gate and ready to build.  I can’t blame them.  We live at the beach.  What I can blame them for and some of my fellow councillors is the trampling of our OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN.  I bristle when I hear it brushed aside as only being a guideline.  If that is the case then it is time for a name change.  I urge you to become engaged.  It is only two years until the next round of civic elections in British Columbia.  Be thankful you have the opportunity to have a say at the polling station.  Not to be too heady, but there are millions of people around the world that are dying for that ability.

So I say to 2017, welcome. 

I have never met anyone that can do anything about the past, other than to learn from their mistakes.  On the other hand today and tomorrow are canvases we can paint our pictures with freedom. 

Just do it. 

Start with the little things.  Hold the door open for someone, help a senior navigate a slippery sidewalk, check with a neighbour to see if they are doing  alright. 

Think local, act local and oh yes – turn off that TV!

David Chesney
Editor Publisher





December 15, 2016

My Back Pages Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray/CFOX announcer Liz McKinney & Yours Truly

 

This is the third and final installment of what I have now referred to as My Back Pages, or my life as an under assistant West Coast Promo Man.

As previously mentioned of the dozens of platinum and gold albums I received for my work with various artists, only three proudly hang in my home.  Barney Bentall, Charlie Daniels and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Working at a major record label afforded us the opportunity to receive advance music that the label was planning on releasing in the future.  I was blown away the first time I listened to that advance copy of Texas Flood in 1983.  Our head office, as they were sometimes want to do decided to run a promotion amongst all the promotion reps.  Whoever did the best job would receive a prize at the upcoming CBS convention.  I immediately went to work.  I ordered in a couple dozen copies of the advance cassette.  I then proceeded to “seed” the advance music with known blues lovers in the media, and music scene in Vancouver.  By the time I actually walked into CFOX radio with the record there was a buzz around town about SRV.  CFOX radio thanks to DON SHAFER and RICK SHANNON were the first Canadian radio station to play Stevie Ray Vaughan.  At one point in time Vancouver accounted for 60% of all the SRV records sold in Canada.  Our normal percentage was 10%.  At the subsequent convention I won the award for the best promotion nationwide – my prize?  A compact disc player.  One of the first ones in Canada.


The song that started it all - Love Struck Baby

Trivia - The video was filmed at the Cherry Tavern in New York City. Vaughan recalled: "We changed the name of the place in the video. Four years ago I got married in a club where we used to play all the time called the Rome Inn. When they closed it down, the owner gave me the sign, so in the video we put that up behind me on the stage."

Over the ensuing years I had the pleasure of working with Stevie Ray, drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon on numerous occasions.  We were so starved to get Stevie into Vancouver the first appearance by him was opening for MEN AT WORK at the Coliseum November 22, 1983.  Not the most ideal gig but it built on his popularity in Vancouver.  We quickly brought him back to headline his own show at The Commodore in June of 1984.  An instant sell out.  The demand was so great the following August (1985) SRV was back for two sold out nights at the legendary Commodore Ballroom on Granville.  DREW  BURNS who owned and operated the Commodore in those days had seen it all, believe me, yet during the sound check that afternoon of the two sold out shows, I was sitting in DREW’S office shooting the breeze when he said “Hey Ches, you know I don’t often ask this favour, but I would like to meet this young man.”  After the sound cheek I marched STEVIE into DREW’S office, they hit it off like a house on fire.  We sat around and bullshitted about everything for an hour or so. For years STEVIE after graduating from playing the Commodore would want to stop in and say hello to his buddy DREW.

  It is interesting to note the night before the Commodore shows SRV sold out the Royal Theatre in Victoria.  I was standing backstage watching the sound check when one of the security guys came up to me and said “Hey there is a young guy at the back door and he would like to meet STEVIE.  I went with him and when he opened the door there was a young guy with a guitar case in his hand. He was wearing a big floppy hat like STEVIE used to wear, complete with a big boa feather.  I introduced myself and asked him his name.  He said DAVID GO GO.  And that he would love to meet STEVIE.  I invited him and after the sound check I introduced STEVIE  to GO GO.  STEVIE immediately took a liking to DAVID and the two trundled off back to the hotel to jam and visit.  Months later when I heard STEVIE had “so called discovered” a young Canadian guitar player I immediately thought it was DAVID GO GO, but in fact months after that meeting in Victoria STEVIE met another young guitar player out on the Prairies.  His name?  COLIN JAMES.

Around this same period of  time I had booked an interview with STEVIE and the band at CFOX radio to promote a show.  We arrived at the designated time only to find the interviewer had been called away and he would not be back for an hour or so.  No problem we would just grab a beer and burger.  In those days one block from CFOX was the Nelson Place hotel.  Downstairs was home to Champagne Charlie’s an exotic dance emporium.  I thought well we can get a booth in the back and get a beer and burger. When we got to the bottom of the stairs I made a hard right in order to get as far away from the stage as possible.  I flopped down in the booth and  only then realized STEVIE, TOMMY & CHRIS were stopped dead at the bottom of the stairs staring at the dancer on stage.  I got up and walked back and said “Hey I have a booth over here”  STEVIE said “Dave this dancer doesn’t have a bottom on?”  Living in Vancouver in the 80’s I didn’t understand their fascination.  Having probably played every blood bucket honk tonk known to mankind I was surprised how shocked they were.  Henceforth the band always stayed at the Chateau Granville, just a shor two block walk to their new favourite Vancouver attraction Champagne Charlie’s.

I could go on for days with SRV stories but let’s jump to the end.  In 1989 STEVIE RAY played sold out shows at Vancouver’s Orpheum theatre on May 6 and then he was back in December at the same venue for another sold out show.  The next year 1990 STEVIE was on tour on a double bill with JOE COCKER.  They played the Coliseum on July 22, 1990.  Having  been on tour through Vancouver no less than twice in the previous year there was very little press to do.  By this point in his career STEVIE had beaten his  much celebrated drug and alcohol problems.  He also had now graduated from the Chateau Granville and was staying at the Four Seasons downtown.  We spent a couple of hours that afternoon sitting by thedesereted swimming pool laughing and talking about our many escapades including me presenting him with his first ever Gold Album. I have purposedly ommitted  our hellraising times here to protect both our reputations.

I was so happy this artist who over the years had become a friend had finally found peace and happpiness and sobriety.  Following the Coliseum show that night with JOE COCKER we said our goodbyes and vowed to stay in touch.  There would be another album and another tour to look forward to.

Just over a month from that day on August 26 I got the news Stevie Ray had died in a helicopter crash as he was leaving a show in East Troy Wisonsin.  I will never forget that morning when I heard the news.  I cried.

After all these years as I type this recollection I find myself tearing up. 

God bless you Stevie, your music and memories will live on forever. 

I will always remain “In Step” thanks to you.


SRV & TDM

Dave Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

December 08, 2016

The Devil Went Down To Georgia

(see background story below/BARNEY BENTALL & The Legendary Hearts)

CHARLLIE DANIELS

 

December 08, 2016

I grew up in a home deeply steeped in both styles of music.  Country & western.

You can imagine my joy when “country rock” came bursting  out of the radios in the mid-60’s  We could debate the pioneers for years, but I credit THE BYRDS with mixing up the first batch of  country cookin’.

The CHARLIE DANIELS BAND gained tremendous notoriety with their breakthrough song and album “The South Is Gonna Do It Again.”  The year was 1974 and I was in Nashville for a country DJ convention.  Don’t ask.

Rather than taking in one of the many homogenized country shows of the day, I journeyed off to CHARLIE DANIELS BAND second annual Volounteer Jam.  Outlaw country with Waylon and Willie had not yet rocked Music City to its core, but that night was a harbinger of things to come.  Long haired country boys in groups like THE OUTLAWS, THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND AND 38 SPECAIL served notice to Nashville the walls were coming down.  The host of the jam was the CHARLIE DANIELS BAND which must have numbered 12 -15 players on stage.  I mean who ever saw a country band with two drummers?

So fast forward five years and I was just starting a 12 year run at CBS records and in the first year I was with the company, CHARLIE DANIELS had a huge hit with “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”    The song would has become CHARLIE’S signature song to this very day. 

Any record person will tell you country acts were always the best to work with.  Always appreciative (in that they could go weeks on tour without ever seeing anyone from the record label) they were always incredibly accommodating and very hard working.  CHARLIE epitomized all of those attributes and more.

CHARLIE  made a habit of keeping meticulous notes on everyone he met .  Mailing address,  spouse’s name, family birthdays, home mailing address on and on and on.  CHARLIE and any recording artist on tour faces endless boring hours of travel.  What CHARLIE would do is dig out a box of  CHARLIE DANIELS BAND postcards and begin to drop a note to DJ’s, record people, music reviewers, concert promoters etc.    For about 10 years even after leaving CBS records I still got a Christmas and or birthday card from CHARLIE.

Two quick insights into the man under the hat.

  1. He was an avid golfer.  He often would get off the tour bus at the Douglas Border crossing and get dropped off at Peace Portal golf course, or as he referred to it “Pete’s Porthole.”  It worked well for me living here in White Rock because I would just pick him up at the end of his game and  get him to the show or hotel. As you saw at the beginning of this story, CHARLIE without his signature hat could pretty much walk by anyone on the street without anyone blinking an eye.  I have a fond memory of walking into the dressing room at the old Gardens auditorium one night and CHARLIE had the whole band gathered around him like a campfire meeting and was telling everyone about how I had dropped him off at the University golf course, and he got paired up with three vacationing Scotsmen.  Well let me tell you you have not lived until you hear a good old southern boy trying to affect a Scottish accent.

 

2. At the 1979 Country Music Awards in Nashville, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” powered CHARLIE to a #1 single, #1 album and the coveted  Entertainer of the Year Award.”   I felt a certain sense of pride in breaking that record.  It did not come easy for the Charlie Daniels Band.  I turned off the TV and went to bed.  In the years that I worked in downtown Vancouver and lived here in White Rock, I had a habit of leaving home shortly after 6 a.m. to beat the traffic backup at the tunnel.  I was usually at my office in Kitsilano by 7 a.m.  This worked very well in that I did a lot of work with Eastern Canada. 
So there I was the morning after CHARLIE’S big win when I heard the office entry buzzer.  I opened the door and there was a Western Union courier.  He was holding an envelope and asked me if I was Dave Chesney.  I signed for the letter and closed the door.  I had never received a telegram before in my life.  What the heck was this all about.  I opened the envelope and read these words.

Hello Dave;

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work for The Charlie Daniels Band over the past few years.

There is nothing more beautiful than when the maple leaves in Canada turn platinum.

Thank you my friend,
Charlie.

What a class act.  I knew instantly this was a personal note, but not the only note that would have been sent out the previous night.  I learned a few years later the night CHARLIE won all those awards, instead of relaxing and basking in the praise at some post awards party, he went straight back to his manager’s office and began to send out telegrams.  Probably to hundreds of recipients.

To this day I am betting those hundreds of recipients feel the same way as I do about CHARLIE DANIELS.

"The Big Man With The Big Hat and the Big Heart"


“Be proud to be a rebel, cause the south is gonna do it again.”


Dave Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

December 01, 2016

MY BACK PAGES

BARNEY BENTALL / LEGENDARY HEARTS 1988

Visitors to my home note mounted on the wall down the hall leading to the bathroom there are three Gold/Platinum albums.  The remnants of  3 decades in the Canadian music industry.  The only three albums that I still proudly display were presented to me for my promotional work with THE CHARLIE DANIELS BAND, STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN and BARNEY BENTALL & The Legendary Hearts.

First time visitors understandably so, want to know the story behind the plaques.  So for the next three weeks I will tell you the back-story of “my back pages.”

Before there was BARNEY BENTALL & the legendary hearts there was BRANDON WOLF.  That was the original band name which they recorded their debut EP  and a follow up EP for A&M records.  I have to admit I only in passing had heard of BRANDON WOLF.

When MUCHMUSIC went to air in the 80’s bands were scrambling to produce homemade videos as the nation’s music station was starving for Canadian bands to meet their Canadian content regulations as they attempted to mirror the success of MTV in America.    MUCHMUSIC in an attempt to cover the whole country, broke their programming into coastal shows, MUCH EAST and MUCH WEST hosted by Terry David Mulligan.  If my fading memory serves me correct MUCH WEST aired on Sunday evenings.  It was there that I first saw the original video for a song called “Something to Live For” filmed at Vancouver’s Town Pump nightclub.  I immediately loved the song.  I tracked down Barney and introduced myself and asked him what was he doing with his career and did he have any plans for a record.?  He told me he was planning a trip to Toronto and was hoping to set up some appointments with record companies and potential managers.

I asked Barney if he had any demos recorded, to which he said yes.  I asked him if it would be possible for him to drop off a copy of the demos and video to my office in Kitsilano and I would see if I could drum up some interest in our head office in Toronto.  I dutifully shipped the package off to the head of our A&R Department, JEFF BURNS.  At that time our label CBS Records one of the largest companies in the world which like so many Canadian labels had concentrated on signing Toronto bands.  The breakout band from the West Coast on CBS RECORDS was LOVERBOY in 1981.

JEFF BURNS was not immediately blown away with BARNEY BENTALL & THE LEGENDARY HEARTS but I was able to convince him to meet with BARNEY when he flew out to Toronto.   I talked to BARNEY and things seemed to be locked in for a first meeting.  At least that is what I thought.  ON the designated date of the meeting I was at my desk when my secretary told me BARNEY BENTALL was on the phone.  I picked it up and BARNEY proceeded to tell me he was sitting in the lobby of CBS RECORDS in Toronto having arrived for his meeting, only to find out JEFF BURNS had called and was not coming in to the office that day.  I told BARNEY to hold on for a minute.  I put him on hold and phoned the A&R DEPARTMENT and spoke with DAVID BENDETH who was then the assistant A&R rep for CBS Records.  I explained the situation to BENDETH and asked him if he would do me a huge favour and take the meeting with BARNEY.  Having not heard the demo and not seen the video BENDETH said he wasn’t sure what he could do but at the very least he would go out to the lobby and bring BARNEY into the office.

My wife Kath and those 4 kids were the reason I was poised to quit my fledgling career in 1987. We were broke and living in a basement suite. My mother in law Penny lived upstairs and she saved the whole ship from running aground on many occaisions. But… before one quits… there’s this relentless voice in your head whispering “ya gotta give this one more try”. Our band, at the time and to this day, “The Legendary Hearts” saved enough money to send me to Toronto to grovel on behalf of our sorry assed souls. We had just parted ways with Bruce Allen’s Management Organization. I was desperate and also happened to have had my two front teeth knocked out. Hell of a salesman. But… there is power in a song. We had recorded “Something To Live For” and had made an independent video for it. This was being played heavily on Canada’s Much Music channel and consequently, I was able to see all the record company execs (sans front teeth) at a time when they were at their zenith. Heady times. I managed to get the band a record contract with Columbia/Sony Records and a management deal with my good friend Bernie Finkelstein. The next 10 years were a fun, exciting and soul-stretching ride that we all somehow managed to survive. There was never a manual written for this kind of thing.

During that meeting when BARNEY mentioned he was in Toronto to talk to record labels and to try to get a manager to handle his affairs, BENDETH asked him what managers he was meeting with.  BARNEY mentioned a couple of Toronto managers.  BENDETH said “What about BERNIE FINKELSTEIN, he manages BRUCKE COCKBURN and we distribute his record label True North.”  BARNEY said  he would love to have the opportunity to speak with BERNIE but he had no way of getting a meeting.  BENDETHH said, “Hang on.”  He picked up the phone and called FINKELSTEIN and explained the situation of the artist sitting in his office.  FINKELSTEIN said “Send him over.”  And as they say the rest is history, as FINKELSTEIN liked what he heard and saw and began to manage BARNEY and work him through the system eventually signing him directly to EPIC records a subsidiary of CBS RECORDS.

Once the record deal was signed the next challenge was who would produce the debut album.  I am not sure exactly how British producer DAVID TICKLE was chosen but he was pitched the project.  TICKLE who was busy in Los Angele working with ROD STEWART liked the demos he heard and agreed to fly up to Vancouver to see the band play live.  The only gig they had on the books at the time TICKLE was available to fly up to Vancouver, was a gig in Chilliwack at The Answer nightclub.  I picked up TICKLE at the airport and we headed out for Chilliwack making small talk.  Arriving at the club we went backstage and made some small talk.  TICKLE and I then settled into our seats in the club.  Almost immediately TICKLE indicated he liked what he saw and heard and was very interested in recording the album as soon as he finished up the ROD STEWART album.

The debut album was recorded at Mushroom studios in Vancouver.  TICKLE was an interesting character.  He suspended crystals and pyramids over the recording console in the recording studio control room.  The big song everyone agreed was going to be a newly recorded version of the song that got everyone interested in the first place “Something to Live For.”  During the tracking of the album BARNEY & the hearts  had booked some shows to help offset the costs and to pay their rent.  The band had to leave for Victoria one Friday mid-afternoon and TICKLE felt they still did not have the right vocal for “Something To Live For.”  As the band waited patiently in the lobby waiting to catch the ferry to Victoria to play Harpo’s nightclub, emotions and tempers were being tested in the control room.  TICKELE and BARNEY had a bit of a verbal set to, BARNEY insisting the last take was the best he could do, TICKLE insisted BARNEY do one more take, somewhat miffed BARNEY agreed he would give it one more shot but he wasn't;t sure he could do a better version.  With emotions running high BARNEY stepped back into the control room and nailed a new and last vocal take on the song.  

That song launched the career of BARNEY BENTALL & the legendary hearts.  “SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR” became the calling card for BARNEY BENTALL and the band. The album went on to be certified gold and platinum with a string of hits that would continue over the following decade.

Over the years I was presented with numerous gold & platinum albums, but BARNEY BENTALL & the legendary hearts will always have a special place in my heart and in my home.

As BARNEY says in the song “Tun It Up!”

Dave Chesney


The second version of a video for "Something To Live For" recorded at the Town Pump where the original video (lost in the ozone) was shot. The outside shots wer all filmed along 88th avenue in Surrey.

 

Legendary Hearts Where Are They Now?

Drums JACK GUPPY - Works building sets in the movie industry

Bass BARRY MUIR - Continues to write songs and works as a stockbroker

Keyboards CAM BOWMAN - Plastic surgeon

Guitar CoLIN NAIRNE - works for Vancouvear based management firm handling ELVIS COSTELLO, RY COODER & LYLE LOVETT

Sixth Legendary Heart and co writer on all the first songs of the band GARY FRASER - Vancouver Lawyer

Vocals & Guitar BARNEY BENTALL - continues to tour as a solo artist as well as performing in a trio called BENTAL/ULRICH & TAYLOR

 

9 a.m.

SIDEBAR - We Get Mail

Soon after publishing my musical memory of "THE HEARTS" I received this email from the former head of the sales department of CBS/SONY Don Oates.

One more thing to add...were you aware that the 1st copy of Barney's gold album was presented to Lino Scicente's wife in Montreal at Barney's request?...Lino was in a coma from an operation and "Something to Live For" was dedicated to him at our convention in Orillia where Barney first played for the troops...unfortunately Lino never came out of his coma...

D. Oates

 

 

November 24, 2016

 

Tuesday evening the city of White Rock hosted a Public Hearing regarding the proposed 121 unit twin towers (24 & 21 storey) development on land formerly owned by EPCOR water utilities.

The piece of property is located at the corner of Oxford Street and Thrift avenue.  The proposed construction site is 4 blocks west of the city’s town centre as designated by the current OCP Official Community Plan.   The developer at Tuesday’s meeting indicated to staff and council if approved the foundations for both towers would be built at the same time.  The requested approval is for what is called a phased development permit which would mean the developer would only be bound to build one tower initially if that is what pre-approved sales warranted.  The second tower could be built as long as ten years after the completion of the first tower.  The development  was back before council again this year as the developer and the city have agreed  that a Phased Development project would be the best way to proceed with the project.  This change caused Tuesday’s meeting and subsequent request for approval again.

So there you have the Coles Notes background.

This same project came before council almost one year ago on December 07, 2015.  At the end of the 2015 Public Hearing a vote was taken and the project was approved  by a vote of 5-2 by this council, subject to meeting a number of conditions.  That evening roughly double the audience in attendance this past Tuesday spoke passionately against the project.  The hearing in 2015 like this past Monday saw a large number of residents from outside of White Rock speak in support of the project.  Those that spoke then and again on Monday evening felt the development would perhaps one day allow them to move to White Rock into what they deem will be a high quality/high end building.  If approved “The Elegant” development most certainly will be in the high end category.  The main floor suites are predicted to go on the market in excess of one million dollars.

What I found interesting about Tuesday’s meeting was the small amount of White Rock residents that turned out for the Public Hearing.  Those that did appear before council to oppose the project were very passionate and well informed of the background of the project.  A large number of those opposing the project lived in close proximity to the proposed Elegant development.

Where was the rest of White Rock?

From personal experience the chatter on the streets and in the coffee shops would indicate the majority of White Rock residents would prefer to see densification occur in the city’s town centre  Judging by the massive amount of petitions and letters of submission, if asked to sign a piece of paper many residents are willing to voice their opinion.  Coming out to a Public Hearing, not so much. I understand the hesitancy of some of the people that will use that excuse.

The average person ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. The truth is, this fear could be hurting your professional and personal life.

The other reason I often hear is people will say “Why bother council never listens to what I say?” 

This certainly was in evidence in 2005 when nearly 700 residents stood patiently in line at the Public Hearing for the Bosa Towers.  My rough estimation would put the opposition as high as 90%.  I was not a member of council at that time and I  was one of those 700 people.  When council approved the Bosa development I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach.  That particular council sat stoically on stage wt the White Rock United church for two nights of speakers, then dropped the gavel and approved the Bosa Towers, which to date under its phased development sits half completed.

Thank God we live in a democracy and are at the very least afforded the opportunity to publicly state our feelings.  The rabble about the U.S. election continues, which I fear willcontunue for some time.  Remember only 50% of the American populace  turned out for their recent election.  In our civic elections we call it a blue ribbon election if 30% turn out to vote.

Does the remaining 70% simply not care?  Does the  30% that do vote now feel they have done their civic duty and it is up to the elected council to do the right thing?

I suppose we will find out on December 12th when this project will be voted on by White Rock council. 

.................or perhaps we will have to wait until November 2018 when we next go to the polls in White Rock.

D.Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

November 17, 2016

They're Still Calling It News  

 

CRTC To Investigate CKNW radio for publicizing photos of dismembered body along roadside in Langley. The gruesome photos clearly showed body parts spread along the side of the road in the rural part of Langley. The RCMP believe the incident is tied directly to the latest outbreak of violence between rival crime groups.     

 

On Tuesday November 1st, 2016, British Columbians watched in horror as news broke of a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary, a tragic event which claimed the life of 13-year-old student Letisha Reimer, and injuring another. As if that wasn't disturbing enough, video soon surfaced thereafter of the stabbing. While most media outlets refrained from sharing the video out of respect for the families and at the request of the Abbotsford Police, Global BC chose to blatantly disrespect those wishes by both airing the horrific video on their evening news in addition to publishing it on their website. Jill Krop, news Director for Global BC, spoke out to CKNW's Linda Steele and Drex on the station's decision to air the video, citing "public interest," "sensitivity" and "journalistic principles."

However, there is absolutely no way in my mind to justify the publication of that video, and by choosing to air the video Jill Krop and the rest of the staff at Global BC are re-victimizing those directly affected by Tuesday's incident. As such, we have created this petition calling for Jill Krop to immediately resign from Global BC.  (click here to sign the petition)   

Why doesn't it surprise me the news media has sunk to this level?   The listening and viewing audiences of radio and televsion news outlets have gone the way of the newsprint industry. Simply put, they have TUNED OUT. For this very reason News Directors have chosen to sink to the lowest common denominator - shock.  Back in the day when I worked in and alongside the Vancouver media cabal CKNW was the Top Dog, and deservedly so. There was not a day that I didn't drive by the courthouse in Vancouver and see at least two CKNW newscruisers and the same number of CKWX news cruisers inside the law courts keeping up to date on top of REAL - BREAKING NEWS.  Those were the days. In my decade plus of promoting artists for CBS records here on the West Coast I was in and out of virtually every newspaper, radio and television outlet in the Lower Mainland. Every media outlet had a radio tuned to CKNW to keep on top of the news. After all CKNW had a legion of reporters on the streets. Nowadays they have a couple of news people and a host of interns hoping someone calls in with the news.

The last time I had a TV in the home (over 5 years ago) I actually saw CHRIS GAILUS on Global wrap up his newscast with a plea to their listeners "If you see any news call us, send us a video. Now to back up a bit this was not uncommon. CKNW proudly offered a cash bonus if you called in the best news tip to their newsroom, but remember this was only to augment their first class news operation. Not in place of news reporters.    Old habits die hard. As the publisher of The White Rock Sun I subscribe to CKNW and WX1130 for their BREAKING NEWS alerts. This is how I actually saw the images of the body parts along the rural road in North Langley prior to common sense or negative listener response. I was shocked that the once mighty TOP DOG had sunk to publishing pictures taken from their EYE IN THE SKY traffic airplane reporter.  There are no filters left on our media. In the day news directors were challenged with what stories would actually make it on to the evening newscast. But now with 24 hours news outlets the amount of content one needs to stay fresh is staggering. Now virtually anything goes to air with no research or background checks. We need it, and we need it now.  The other aspect of today's news organizations is the disclaimer of "Such and such other news outlet is reporting......" That sound you hear is of long gone news directors spinning in their graves. No self respecting news organization in days gone by would ever credit another new source. NEVER!  If you watch the 6 o'clock news on any given day I challenge you to time out when the actual news is over. My unscientific market research leads me to believe somewhere between 5 after and 10 after the hours the News is over. Then it is a quick shoulder roll into, the Health Show, Sports, Weather, on and on and on.

But no news.

D.Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

November 10, 2016

 

“Where were you when the world stopped turning?”
Alan Jackson

 

I turned off the news election night when it was obvious to me DONALD TRUMP was on his way to being the 45th President of the United States.  I sleep with the radio on quiet in the background and my worst fears were confirmed when I briefly woke around 3 a.m.

Now yesterday morning, the morning after, I marvel at how the talking heads on the radio this morning are all pushing their agendas. 

It was a backlash against women.

It was a “whitelash” whatever the hell that is.

It was America saying they are tired of immigrants.

It was a backlash against gays.

I disagree.

What the election of DONALD TRUMP is all about is the simple fact America and to a certain extent other elections are being decided by a frustrated and disgusted electorate.

In the summertime I sat down with former Premier BILL VANDERZALM and had an inspiring insightful conversation about the upcoming election.  I marveled at the polar opposites of the candidates.  At that time BERNIE SANDERS was very much in play in the run off for the Democrat leadership, you had CLINTON and then there was “The Donald.”  I will remember it like it was  yesterday.  BILL said “David, people want REAL change.  They are tired of politicians lying to them and once elected never live up to their promises.” 

That is what the election was all about.  Stop the B.S. 
A number of times during the results last night reporters out on the streets were told time and time again  “I voted for TRUMP because he is a straight shooter. “  And we know how America likes their guns.

So there you have it.  I am not as worried as some might be.  The media will now really try to fan the flames of white, black, gay, straight and any other groups they can whip into a frenzy.

Take a big deep breath.  The real ruling party will take TRUMP into the back room and lay it out for him how it is going to be.  TRUMP is no more going to get his hands on the wheel than OBAMA or any other President did.

In closing the only thing I can say about HILLARY CLINTON is a poor loser is exactly that.  Her supporters must be shaking their head.  Win, lose or draw you have to step on stage and be gracious in a loss or a win.  Shame one her.

This was a free vote ladies and gentlemen, you and I may not like the outcome but TRUMP we have to believe won it fair and square.  It boiled down to a simple popularity contest.  Two people faced off.  Heck I doubt if I stood at North Bluff & Johnston today very few people could tell me the names of the running mates of Clinton or Trump.

In the short period of time I spent watching the results come in, the best interview I saw was with radical filmaker MICHAEL MOORE.

He described whet was happening as middle America fed up with the economy and the general hopelessness they were feeling about the American system, were using DONALD TRUMP as a political Molotov to blow the system up.

 

Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids - all while the very rich become much richer.

Bernie Sanders

 

Time will tell if in fact the system does blow up.

I leave you with BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD – For What Its Worth.


 

David Chesney
Editor/Publisher

 

 

 

November 03, 2016


 

 

I was happy to hear from friends here in White Rock the turn out for Halloween was big this year.  Most homes had 3 -4 dozen little goblins banging on their doors.

I was beginning to worry that Halloween was on the wane.  The constant stories about the urban myth of razor blades inserted into apples, is exactly that, a total urban myth.  NO ONE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD has actually found a razor blade in an apple.

I grew up in North Surrey and part of the 50’s and 60’s were prime  candy gathering years.  Halloween ranked right up there with Christmas and my birthday.  I don’t ever remember  going to any great extent as far as my costume was concerned, but I do remember the fun night.  In those days there were not a lot of houses really close to each other.  So  it was a bit of a hike from one house to the next.  But you would constantly be encountering kids you went to school with or your friends.  A quick update on who had candy apples this year and we were off.

It was different in those days.  I knew the name of virtually every family that lived within a half a mile from my house.  And they knew MINE.  So we weren’t about to be egging anyone’s house as our identity would immediately be recognized.

Our evening was normally ended with with my father putting on a fireworks display in our front yard for all the neighbourhood kids.  The night was capped off with the burning of the schoolhouse fieworks in the box.

The lead up to Halloween was always a big deal at school as well.  There would normally be a Halloween party in our classroom, with goodies baked by our parents.  We would decorate up the windows of our classroom with cardboard cut outs of witches and pumpkins.  It was wonderful.

For a few year it seemed to me parents were losing interest in Halloween and all that was involved.  I often heard from parents about why they were not buying into it because of the possible danger to their children from pedophiles and poisoners.   Come on, really?  At running the risk of sounding like an old coffin dodger, let me tell you how it was kiddies.  We used to be able to buy up to 3 – 4 inch “bombs” by ATOM.  A couple of these babies wdged into the base of a mailbox on a wooden post (something every home had in the day in North Surrey) and that mailbox post would be airborn.  We ran like wild animals up and down the road throwing firecarackers up in the air and watchimg them blow up.  Constanly lit from “punks” which were sort of like incense sticks but once lit they would last for an hour or so and then you didn’t have to keep lighting matches.  Of course there was the problem of someone thinking they knocked the end off of their punk and then jammed it in their pocket which held their stash of firecrackers and well I think you know how this ended.  Every corner store had a variety of firecrackers, from the little baby “lady fingers: up to the aforementioned bombs.  Those bombs when they went off sounded like a shotgun blast.  It dawned on me this week with all the talk of animals being scared, not once did our parents ever warn us about the danger we might cause pets.  I find that a little strange.

Then there was the candy.  I asked a couple of friends if they still make and sell “Halloween candy kisses.”  They came in the dark and the light type shade of some God forbidden sugar concoction.  They were separated post trick or treating and they were the last thing to be doled out by our Mom who woul scoop up our Halloween goodies Halloween night and doled out to us over the coming weeks.

So to you parents that  got into the mood of Halloween, I say bravo.  Now let’s get ready for Christmas.  Don’t let the traditions die folks.  These events if nothing else bring communities together.

And that is a good thing.

D. Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

October 27, 2016

Raise A Little Hell

 

It is now been very well documented by the media and social media  of my trials and tribulations at White Rock city hall, whilst trying to  represent the residents of White Rock.

I am a pretty religious person, though not a practising Christian.  It’s  funny how if you keep your eyes and ears open the universe will give you what you need.  Monday around 2 p.m. I was running a bit behind schedule as I set out walking to my inevitable censurship at an IN CAMERA meeting scheduled at city hall for 2;30 p.m.  Five minutes into my walk I had a stranger walk up to me and say “You are councillor Chesney correct?  I confirmed I was indeed.  The gentleman related how his brother and I went to school together in North Surrey in the 60’s.  We parted with him telling me “ Hang in there down at city hall.  Just remember there are a lot of us that support your efforts.”  How could he have known I had a knot in my stomach the size of a basketball?  I had just regained my composure as I crossed the Central Plaza parking lot, when BAM an elderly lady virtually parroted  my previous conversation minus the personal school anecdote.  Let me say this is not an uncommon occurrence for me, but still the timing could not have been more perfect.  Glancing at my watch I was going to be cutting it short to make the meeting.  I stepped up my pace,  somewhat keeping my eyes down.  It didn’t help.  Here comes round #3.  I thanked this gentleman for his kind words of support, I did not want him to think I was being rude so I simply bid him adieu and off down the hill I went. This type of personal outpouring from the community is not uncommon in my daily life, but three in a row is a little outside of the norm.

The knot in my stomach had somewhat eased but I knew exactly what I was in for.  I had no doubt the majority of council would jump me and endorse the censurship.  I was right.  So who voted for or against?  Sorry I was not in the room when they discussed the matter.  Like a petulant schoolboy I was relegated to the hallway.  My one and only confident and friend on council HELEN FATHERS could not even tell me how the vote went down.  I can imagine.  Given the shroud of secrecy council has wrapped this matter in, you and I may never know. 

I was not happy with the parameters of the censurship which have not fully been released either.  But at the very least I felt when we went out of IN CAMERA downstairs and convened for the public council meeting in the council chambers, a motion would be passed and there would have to be discussion.  Well played council, I didn’t see the Press Release angle coming at all.  By doing so there was no opportunity for me to explain my actions to the residents of White Rock.  As I relate this tale today, I am not sure if I will ever be afforded that opportunity.

This council and city administration has been soundly criticized over the past two years for being secretive and conducting business IN CAMERA away from the prying eyes of the public.  My censurhsip and this latest act of secrecy has literally poured gas on the issue.  The wide variety of conjectures that many in the community have jumped to, is unbelievable to be quite frank and  has taken even me by surprise.

I thank each and every one of you that have reached out expressing your continued support.  I will hold my head up high in OUR community.  Tuesday   following Monday’s events again the parade of well wishers and supporters continued to  exhibit their undying support for representing them at city hall. 

We are just barely half way through our 4 year term. It has been a very toxic working environment and I feel an unproductive two years by this council.  We seemingly stumble and stagger from one disaster to another.

Hang in there folks, this is OUR White Rock.     The time to soldier up is now!

Take me home TROOPER!


Editor/Publisher/Lone Wolf

David Chesney

 

October 20, 2016

 

Do You Know About The Ghost Cities In China? 

A number of cities with no one living in them have popped up across China.  I first learned of this phenomenem a number of years ago when 60 MINUTES news program did a long feature on their consturction.

(click here to learn more)

I am starting  to feel like I live in a ghost town.  As I walk through the various districts in White Rock I can’t help but notice more and more vacant shops dotting our landscape.

Take for instance our West Beach area.  The previous home to the Italian touch, Cielo’s and Jimmy Flynn’s former locations all sit empty.  The rumour on the street is the Italian touch will soon have a new restaurant opening.  A little further down the strrip heading West the one time location of BOOSTER JUICE has sat empty for years, next door another empty brown paper windowed location and the old White Rock Market has sat empty again, for years.

The city of White Rock imposes a levy on commercial property owners.  The roughly 300 commercial property owners receive a tax of roughly $1,000.00.  That war chest of roughly $325,000.00 is dedicated to the creation and operation of the White Rock BIA, Business Improvement Association. 

The beleaagured White rock BIA took another turn for the worse recently with the departure of former executive director DOUGLAS SMITH.   The BIA’s “Mission Statement” according to their website is;

 

Economic Development


The White Rock BIA and the City of White Rock work in partnership on economic development and investment strategies. BIA initiatives focus on retail needs, retail attraction and business retention to create successful cross-pollination among local businesses. The goal is to develop a diverse retail mix that serves the needs of consumers from local and surrounding communities.

Street Beautification & Enhancement
Marketing, Advertising & Promotions
Communications
Community Relations and Advocacy
Economic Development
Festivals & Events

 

I have never felt it was the job of the commercial property owners to take care of street beautifuication and Enhancement or for that matter creating festivals and events.  The city of White Rock has staff that is dedicated to hand both these endeavours.

 

I have steadfastly defended shopping local, simply because, it is part of the fibre of community that I  cherish.  But alas the empty storefronts and the ever growing impersonal  new shop owners are taking the heart out of “my community.”

The City of White Rock and White Rock Council have given the White Rock BIA a 5 year extension.  It is time some due diligence was done on the effectiveness of its operation.  Checks and balances.  How many new businesses have opened in its history.  An annual performance review by its membership should be a must.  I know from personal experience the vast majority of  the businesses in White Rock are not owned by the shops that inhabit the locations.  The commercial property owners simply roll the BIA levy into the triple net rent and Bob’s Your Uncle, the shop owner is not engaged in the process andin fact believe they don’t pay for the BIA.

So always wanting to present a positive solution, here it is.  The commercial property owner must renew their business license every year with City Hall.  Let’s see how commercial property owners would feel if their business license had a $1,000.00 annual levy attached to it?

I predict one of two things would happen.  The business owners would finally become engaged and put forth some effort into working with the BIA to create vibrant shoping districts.  The other result from the action would be the White Rock BIA would fold.

Drastic times demand drastic actions.

David Chesney

Publisher White Rock Sun

 

 

October 06, 2016

 

Gordon Hogg’s announcement this week that he will not seek the South Surrey/White Rock  Liberal nomination in the May 2017 Provincial election, did not catch me by surprise.

When the rumours started to swirl throughout the community I have to admit I landed squarely on the the “He Won’t Run” side of the debate.   Call it a gut feeling.  I proudly list Gordon as a friend.  But long before I ever met the man he earned my respect.  I have admit here and now during GORDON’S tenure first as a city councillor and subsequently the mayor of White Rock, I was not as observant  or caring of civic politics as I became in the  late 80’s when I moved back to White Rock from Vancouver.

While living in Vancouver in the 8O'S during my then early morning ritual of sharing The Province newspaper with my late wife Laurie, she turned to me and began to quote from a story about White Rock.  “Check this out” Laurie said.  " This story here is about the former mayor of White Rock turning up at a Hells Angels funeral."   As usual the newspaper got the story wrong.  The funeral was for White Rock resident MERVIN MAYES who had been a member of the forerunners to the White Rock Hells Angels chapter, the Gypsy Wheelers.  The funeral was not a Hells Angel event, despite a couple of the members being in attendance.  Hogg when pressed by the media on why he was attending a Hells Angels funeral, quickly said “ This is not a Hells Angels funeral, it is a funeral for a gentleman who I played  Little League baseball with attended school with. I received a personal call from MERVIN'S mother requesting LAVERNE and I attend the ceremony at the Elks Hall.

The next time GORDON HOGG was on my radar was 1999 when I made my initial decision to seek a seat on White Rock council.  Out of respect to the man and his work I called HOGG’S office and requested an appointment to speak with GORDON.  Basically I wanted to introduce myself to GORDON and inform him of my intentions.  I told him I was sitting in his office to afford him the opportunity to ask me any questions he may have of my intentions and history.  It was a very cordial meeting.  GORDON imparted me some advice that day.  He said, “Dave you need to be known for something, Pro Development, the Green candidate, advocate for seniors, take your pick, what do your friends think of you as?.”  Without any hesitation I told him my friends have always deferred me to as “the guy with the good ideas.”  Voila my first campaign material bore the moniker “The Good Idea Guy.:”  A mantle I still proudly wear.

 

Me/Ra McGuire & Gordon - Campaign fundraiser Blue Frog 2014

Over the years our friendship grew.  I became inspired by how tirelessly GORDON worked for our “city by the sea,”  Some detractors may say “What has GORDON HOGG done for White Rock?” 

Let me count the ways.  First and foremost I know from personal experience as a councillor whenever he was in town HOGG attended every single civic event I had the pleasure of attending.  His office door and phone line were always wide open for the residents of the Peninsula.  No matter was too small to not be dealt with personally by HOGG. His personal day-timer would cause most mortal men and women to crumble under the weight.

During my no less than 5 election campaigns to secure a seat on city council, I cannot count the number of times I stood on residents doorsteps with my campaign literature in hand, which often was swept aside with the simple statement “Do you know GORDON HOGG?”  Upon explaining I did in fact know GORDON and held him in high esteem.  Subsequently the potential voters began to regal me with personal stories of “Good Old Gordie.”  He personally touched a myriad of residents in our community.

I will always be thankful for GORDON turning up at my last fund-raiser held at Blue Frog studios in 2014.  I had been anointed.  Those in attendance at my fundraising dance quietly whispered “Hey GORDON HOGG is here.”

I have had the pleasure of witnessing first hand the tireless effort GORDON has put forth in making himself available to our community.

Today I wish GORDON, his executive assistant VERNA LOGAN and his wife LAVERNE sunny days.  They deserve our respect and thanks.

Thank you GORDON for always inspiring me to set my personal issues aside and striving for the better of our community as a whole.

David Chesney

Publisher/White Rock Councillor

 

 

Septemnber 2016

R.I.P.

W.P. (BILL) KINSELLA

Back in the early to mid 80's I lived on Marine Drive above what was most recently Jimmy Flynn's restaurant. In that I have always been an early morning person and have always loved bicycling, I quite often would get up before sunrise and take a tour of the neighbourhood as it was on my mountain bike. Despite there being a recently posted sign no bicycles on the pier I felt, in that there was never anyone else on the pier at that time of the day except for me and the seagulls, and they didn't seem to care, I could always get a quick lap out and back on the pier without there being any trouble.

Except there was trouble, and it came in the form of what I can only describe as a curmudgeon. On more than one occasion said curmudgeon who was also a dawn breaker would be out on the pier for his early morning walk. Without exception he would always take me to task and start yelling at me to get off the "Gosh Darned (my words) pier with that friggin' (my word) bicycle off the pier, can't you read blah blah blah. I chose to ignore him, yet without exception the many times we would cross paths on the pier in the early morning it was the same dialogue over and over Ad nauseam.

Well imagine my surprise when I discovered said curmudgeon was actually an author of a book I had enjoyed. Dave, meet WP Kinsella author of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Initially the book found a home amongst the literary and baseball circles here in Canada. When Hollywood optioned Shoeless Joe for a movie his star began to shine. The movie when released became what many feel is the definitive baseball movie, Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.

Our relationship never improved. I subsequently found out he shared an apartment with his wife above Cosmos Greek restaurant at the end of West Beach. Still the #1 dining spot in White Rock in my humble opinion. Later when the movie money kicked in I heard he bought the condo next door and turned it into an office space where he continued to write. That period of time spawned another of my other favourite WP KINSELLA'S novels, "The Thrill of the Grass."

During that period of my life I worked for CBS RECORDS out of Vancouver. A privileged position indeed. One of the perks was to receive passes for the sneak peak previews of movies. It is still fresh in my mind watching Field of Dreams at Capital 6 cinema on Granville. When the movie ended I sat there numb. Like most middle aged men all I wanted to do was call my dad up and go have a game of catch. The movie haunts me happily to this day.

A few mnths later I was sitting around home on a Sunday evening with nothing to do and as I scrolled through the Peace Arch News I noticed the White Rock Twin Cinemas (the original ones in the mini walk through mall next door to where BIN 101 is now located) was showing Field of Dreams. I took off traight up the hill, bought my ticket and got my popcorn. As I was walking through the empty lobby I noticed the owner's wife taking down the Field of Dreams poster as it was the last night the movie was showing. I asked her politely if I could have the poster and the graciously gave it to me.

I walked into the empty movie theatre and found the optimum seat mid way down dead centre. Just as the lights dimmed I saw out of the corner of my eye a shadowy figure slip into the theatre. I wasn't really interested in who it was but when a bright scene in the movie came up I glanced over and lo and behold, you know who it was - WP KINSELLA.

"I'm Not Worthy."

When the movie ended WP/BILL seemed lost in thought so I quietly waited for him in the lobby. When he emerged I asked him if he would be so kind as to sign my poster. He graciously signed my poster and we both walked off into the night.

I will never know if he recognized me as that son of a******* that was always riding his Go* Damned bicycle on the pier.

For the second time in my life I will say, "Thank you for all the wonderful stories Bill."

Kinsella was 81. He was the author of 27 novels, short story collections and books of poetry, including Shoeless Joe, a “magic realist” tale of an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield where disgraced baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson appears to play.

Released in 1982, it was made into the hit Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams in 1989.

(click here to watch CBC archival interview with W.P. on the White Rock promenade)

 

 

September 15, 2016

Happy Trails To You

 

Jammed Up At The Piper

White Rock's Sandpiper Pub is closing tonight.

That is correct “The Piper” will be no more.

There has been a lot of controversy raging about the $20.00 cover charge for this evening’s event.  Most feel it is unfair or gouging by the owners of the Sandpiper.

I currently sit next to one of the co-owners BILL LAWRENCE every other week as we are both White rock councillors.  We don’t talk a lot, we exchange pleasantries.  This past Monday evening I mentioned to Bill “So Thursday night is the big final jam Bill. What is YOUR last day?”  Bill replied “Thursday night is THE FINAL NIGHT for me and The Piper.”    Say I hear the pub may re-open as a Chinese restaurant.  Bill replied “Well that is one option until the owners begin construction of the new building on the site.  They bought all our kitchen stuff and furnishings so it is one of the options they are considering.  The  new owners daughter has restaurant experience so that is one option they are pursuing.”

So back to THE JAM. 

Upon my arrival home Monday evening from council I couldn’t help but notice social media was on fire about the proposed charge of $20.00 for THE FINAL JAM.  Given there has never been a charge for the long running jam sessions held at The Piper for years, it struck me as odd the final night would see a $20.00 charge. 

Tonight (Thursday September 15) is THE FINAL FINAL NIGHT for The Sandpiper it might make sense that there is a charge for the final big blowout.  But with that said, that is how it should have been promoted, handled to avoid the current blow-back from our very strong and opinionated musical community.  Would it not have been a good idea to make up commemorative Sandpiper t-shirts that would have been included in your admission price?  I don’t really think Bill and his partner are trying to gouge their customers. 

GLEN PEARSON who has hosted the jam for the past coule of years off and on, declined playing the last night of the jam when he heard there would be a $20 charge. His perogative. The owners picked up the phone and called JASON BUIE on Vancouver Island and asked if he would host the last jam. It seems synchronistic given the fact Jason started the Jam some 12 years ago. He will be on stage from 5-9 p.m.

No matter how you cut it, the Sandpiper will be jammed tonight.  There will be a live band and of course “the regulars” will be imbibing in their favourite " big kid drinks " and regaling each other with a raft of “Do you remember stories…”

I won’t be there tonight.  I was never a regular at the Sandpiper.  My watering holes were always on West Beach. I will leave tonight to the Piper regulars.

D.Chesney
Publisher

 

 

September 08, 2016

Follow The Money

The story of how the ever shrinking advertising dollars has hurt the newspaper industry caused Ottawa to spend a quarter million dollars to commission a study, has found a very interesting statistic.

Ottawa is a big part of the problem.

"Between 2008-09 and 2014-15, the proportion of ad spending by the federal government fell by 96 per cent for daily newspapers and 31 per cent for community newspapers while increasing by 106 per cent for the internet."

Over the past decade ad dollars have not only affected the major newspaper chains. It has also affected the Provincial and Civic ad revenue.

It is not only the newspaper industry that has felt the crunch. Radio and television ad dollars have also moved to online advertising.

The mandate for the past couple of years has been for national advertising dollars to be devoted to "local" advertising. It is for this very reason local newspapers like our local Peace Arch News continues to see massive flyer inserts in our local newspapers. Canadian Tire is a perfect example. There is not a week goes by that the packet of flyers in the Peace Arch News does not contain a Canadian Tire flyer. The Peace Arch News and other community newspapers promote the fact their free newspapers will land of thousands of doorsteps in the very footprint where there is a Canadian Tire store.

One would naturally assume local radio like the new PULSE FM in Surrey should benefit immensely from such a shift in advertising dollars. The major drawback is more and more radio listeners are tuning out from commercial radio and dialing up commercial free CBC radio and or satellite radio in their cars. Radio listenership has steadily fell over the past decade. CBC radio has also felt the effect of ad dollars. CBC Radio 2 appealed to Ottawa a fews years back to allow them to break with tradition to enable them to sell advertising for the first time ever on CCBC radio. In case you are not aware of the fact, Ottawa has never allowed paid commercials on CBC radio as it is fully funded by Canadian tax dollars, as is CBC television which has always been allowed to generate revenue through advertising to off set their operating costs. CBC Radio 2 received bad news last week.

No more paid ads for CBC's Radio 2 and ICI Music, says the CRTC.

The CRTC has denied an extension applied for by the CBC that would have allowed the broadcaster to continue playing ads on Radio 2 and ICI Musique, beyond August 31 and through August 2018.

In making its decision, the CRTC stated that the CBC had failed to demonstrate its continued investment in radio, part of the initial criteria the broadcast regulator demanded when it granted permission allowing it to play paid ads, noting that operating expenses had decreased from $283 M in 2012-2013 to $262 M in 2014-2015.

The CRTC also argued that since the Liberal government has promised funding of $675 M over five years, the CBC no longer needed commercial revenues to sustain the broadcaster. The CBC argued otherwise, countering that although the $75 M they'll receive this year and the $150 M they'll get in subsequent years is vital for stabilization, the extra commercial revenue is needed to finance its services.

As a result of its decision, Radio 2 and Ici Musique lost the CRTC's authority to air paid advertising as of yesterday.

(CBC cuts ad dollars - story Courtesy FYI MUSIC)

So what is the answer?

Online advertising.

Ad revenue for online advertising has exploded over the past five years and the trend indicates there is no sign of slowing down. IF anything more and more advertisers are splitting their ad dollars across many online portals. Local, local, local!!

Since 2005 when we began The White Rock Sun has seen our readership steadily increase over the past 11 years. On average roughly 1,000 people turn to the White Rock Sun on a daily basis. It is this very reason THE SUN endeavours to create fresh new content on a daily basis. Newspapers, radio and television fall victim to the "one look (newspapers) or one listen (radio/television). When its gone its gone. Online advertising offers advertisisers the opportunity to maintain a constant presence with their online advertisements. The key to the success of online advertising is a constantly updated website.

This has proven to be somewhat of a stumbling block for many local advertisers. We constantly talk to potential local advertisers who bemoan the fact they spent a lot of money to have a website created and now find themselves having to pay a large amount of money to have a webmaster keep their website up to date.

An interesting by-product of the popularity of online advertising is the need to identify if bloggers, publications like The White Rock Sun and media influencers will be required to identify if their promotion of a product was actually paid for. A number of companies have been very successful in securing the services of 20 somethings to pull up to their computers on a daily basis, to troll the INTERNET and post glowing endorsements of certain products, without having to identify the are actually being paid to promote the product.

Advertising Standards Canada, the ad industry's governing body, is in the process of revising its rules regarding bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers who mention companies, products or services in their posts in exchange for payment.

The new rules, expected to be implemented by early 2017, will require such individuals to disclose whether they've received payment — either in the form of cash, free products or other considerations — in exchange for the mention.

Read the Advertising Standards report - (click here)

Read the full Ottawa report on advertising (click here)

 

 

August 25, 2016

This week forme Premier Bill Vanderzalm weights in on the LIberal government's 15% foreign ownership propery tax.

Foreign Investor Tax

 

When our premier, Christy Clark, was first elected, almost immediately after, she traveled to Asia to seek foreign investment for our Province.  A good decision and really only what every other previous premier had done.  It was also politically popular because it showed that foreign investment mattered, created economic activity and jobs.


In 1988 my government tackled the archaic Land Titles Fee program, it was also viewed as a means of diverting some of the tax burden from the middle income earner to property by using much of the proceeds to lowering the Provincial Sales tax.  It was much maligned by the opposition, both NDP and Liberal.  At the introduction of a Bill to establish the “Property Transfer Tax” we also reduced the Sales tax by 15% with the promise to lower it further after we knew better what revenues were produced.   It was always my view that the Middle and Lower income earners, in relative terms, paid the most tax.


In the next election, the NDP was elected government, they suddenly embraced the Property Transfer Tax but now also increased the Sales Tax.  The following election saw the government changed again, now to the Liberals.  They now loved the revenue from the Transfer Tax but again increased the Sales tax even further.
For a variety of reasons, none the least of which was “Quantitative Easting”, the printing of money with nothing to back it, offshore investors, especially those from Asia, sought to buy property especially on the West Coast in B.C.   Dollars poured in, property values increased dramatically, building boomed, more jobs than people, B.C. now again led Canada economically.


A problem developed, too many young people loved the “Night Life” and wanted to live downtown Vancouver but found themselves unable to compete with what Asians were able and willing to pay.   Despite pressure from the NDP opposition, the Liberals wisely resisted and some argued that starting in the Fraser Valley or elsewhere in B.C., until able to afford the higher city prices, was not a bad place to begin.  The pressure continued and increased, an election was nearing, the Liberals caved and introduced an unprecedented and very hefty “Foreign Buyers Tax” of 15% on the value of the property.  
It has now been a month, home sales in Metro Vancouver have plunged, soon construction jobs will begin to suffer and our reputation of being a friendly place to invest may be shattered and could well become a lasting legacy.


The young B.C. voters still can’t afford a Metro Vancouver home and with all the present rules, regulations and delays it is not likely to change.


I would like to recommend, to the Provincial government, the real long term solution.  In the early Eighties, as the Minister for Municipal Affairs & Transit, I introduced the “Planning Act”.  It made its’ way right to the legislature where, as  expected, the NDP opposition, Regional Districts and some Municipal and City bureaucrats, and even some special interests, like big developers, mounted their protests.   Their main complaint was the requirement for Municipalities and Regional Districts to develop a 5 year plan that clearly delineated lands available for development.  The plans were subject to Provincial approval and for possible amendments.  An application from a person or developer had to be dealt with in 60 days.  If approval or disapproval was not granted within the 60 days, the application was automatically approved and subject only to an appeal by either party to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.   It was considered by the Ministry to save, a person wanting to build or buy a home, many, many dollars and time and to quickly respond to a housing shortage at any time.   The protests by special interests grew and Premier Bennett and my cabinet colleagues decided to pull the Bill, old timers may recall me calling them “gutless”.  Reintroducing the Bill, or one very similar, and enacting it, instead of cutting foreign investment and jobs, is the best solution.


Keep in mind – the time will come when another Premier, another time, will travel to Asia to entice foreign investment and find the welcome mat gone.
Keep in mind – the hefty 15% tax may appear to be popular for a time but the time will fade quickly, interfering with the  “Free Market Place” tends to backfire very quickly.


Sincerely
Bill Vander Zalm
Former Premier

 

August 11, 2016

 

August 3 at 10:07am

Dean Berkley


Good Morning, So I had a chat with (Burk Madsen) bmadsen@whiterockcity.ca at the City of WR engineering dept. I was trying to get some information on what is going to happen with light pole and benches that (in memory of ) plaque's are on. This is because the City has a new tender out to revitalize the promenade. BID # WR16-015. I was informed that the City has no intention of replacing the plaque's and will be scrapping them. EXCUSE ME!
I paid over $2,500.00 for that light pole and plaque to placed on my City's walk way to be shared with everyone as did many others. The excuse I got was, that the time has passed and we need to move on. REALLY YOU MOVE ON BUDDY! I urge all local and ex WR's who have interest in the community to flood City Hall and voice your concern in writing. You can bet I will be. Come on people enough is enough. There seems to be no concern for the tax payer past and or present!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also here is Mayor Wayne Baldwin's email: wbaldwin@whiterockcity.ca

And the rest of council:
David Chesney dchesney@whiterockcity.ca
Helen Fathers hfathers@whiterockcity.ca|
Megan Knight mknight@whiterockcity.ca
Bill Lawrence blawrence@whiterockcity.ca
Grant Meyer gmeyer@whiterockcity.ca
Lynne Sinclair lsinclair@whiterockcity.ca

 


Sandy Waddell

Sadly the mayor and council doesn't give a damn about the residents of WR...past or present...unless it's from someone who is lining their pockets...in my opinion !!!


Good Morning, So I had a chat with (Burk Madsen) bmadsen@whiterockcity.ca at the City of WR engineering dept. I was trying to get some information on what is going to happen with light pole and benches that (in memory of ) plaque's are on. This is because the City has a new tender out to revitalize the promenade. BID # WR16-015. I was informed that the City has no intention of replacing the plaque's and will be scrapping them. EXCUSE ME!
I paid over $2,500.00 for that light pole and plaque to placed on my City's walk way to be shared with everyone as did many others. The excuse I got was, that the time has passed and we need to move on. REALLY YOU MOVE ON BUDDY! I urge all local and ex WR's who have interest in the community to flood City Hall and voice your concern in writing. You can bet I will be. Come on people enough is enough. There seems to be no concern for the tax payer past and or present!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also here is Mayor Wayne Baldwin's email: wbaldwin@whiterockcity.ca

And the rest of council:
David Chesney dchesney@whiterockcity.ca
Helen Fathers hfathers@whiterockcity.ca|
Megan Knight mknight@whiterockcity.ca
Bill Lawrence blawrence@whiterockcity.ca
Grant Meyer gmeyer@whiterockcity.ca
Lynne Sinclair lsinclair@whiterockcity.ca

 

 

Doug Feltis

I spoke with the Burk Madsen fellow yesterday about this. I believe in positive solutions so this is what I suggested: either use all the removed plaques to create a hollywood style walk of fame, embedding the plaques into the cement walk, or create a memorial wall in one of our rather neglected parks and mount all the old plaques on it. Part of the problem they are facing is that, for example, Joe and Tina got a plaque put up for their Mom when she passed away at 90.....back in 1965! Joe and Tina, her only relatives, were in their 50s - now everyone is dead and there is no contact or person to give the plaque to, hence my suggetions.

 

August 04, 2016

Rail relocation in urban areas and community impacts: Case 2

In its consideration of the potential impact on public safety of railway operations in urban areas, the Committee used as an example the situation that exists in one area: the cities of White Rock and Surrey, British Columbia. Since the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway began running trains along the beach in White Rock in 1909, the amount of rail traffic traversing the communities has increased dramatically, as have the volume of dangerous goods being transported and the length of the trains themselves.

Aside from concerns about the long-term stability of the waterfront terrain on which the rails are built, the municipalities testified that they are particularly worried about trains that stand in urban crossings for long periods of time. The municipal administrators advised that they recognize the economic value of having the rail service in the area, but are wary of the risks to the population of the seaside community of Crescent Beach, which has a permanent population of 1,250, when a stationary train blocks all access for residents and first responders.

A representative from the City of White Rock testified that it has called on the federal government to:

  • confirm that the track complies with the Railway Safety Act;

  • change the grade crossing rules that sanction the current situation;

  • investigate the cause of stoppages of BNSF trains blocking access to the Crescent Beach community; and

  • support relocation of the railway pursuant to the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act.

    A representative of the Canadian Transportation Agency testified in more detail on the practicalities of invoking its authorities contained in the Rail Crossing and Relocation Act. One of the principal requirements for Agency intervention pursuant to the Act is that the parties negotiate and submit an accepted transportation plan for the region. According to the Agency’s Chief Compliance Officer, “the intention of that plan is to really to identify how the transportation network of that entire region is going to properly function after the proposed relocation.”91 Another condition that potential applicants must meet under the Act is a financial one, as the Agency’s “powers may only be used when certain criteria are met, including a determination by the Agency that any such relocation or rerouting would occur at no net cost to the railway company.”92 It appears that the financial condition for Agency intervention in a rail relocation project, which may cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more, is a considerable obstacle to would-be applicants for rail relocation projects. The Committee was advised that there have been no applications to the Agency under the Act since 1987.

    Representatives from the BNSF Railway, which owns and operates the line through Surrey and White Rock, suggested that its rail line is a strategic link in the trade route between Canada, the United States and Mexico. The company testified that “BNSF's service to Canada's Pacific gateway provides Vancouver with the unique strategic

advantage of being the only port on the west coast served by three class 1 railroads.”93 The Amtrak passenger rail service between Seattle and Vancouver also uses the track.

The BNSF Railway testified that safety is its core value and claimed that the company exceeds Transport Canada’s requirements for inspections of its track and structures. They advised that the company inspects busiest mainline track daily, uses technology to detect flaws and reinforces areas showing signs of erosion. The company’s investment of $37 million in its track and bridges in British Columbia since 2013 have included “replacing bolted rail with continuous welded rail and by replacing the bridges over the Little Campbell and Serpentine waterways.”94 The BNSF Railway has also increased the resources devoted to policing its right-of-way and, in collaboration with the municipalities, is making improvements to fencing in the area to reduce the risks to trespassers.

The representative of BNSF Railway expressed sympathy for the community that becomes inaccessible when trains stop unexpectedly. To mitigate the impact of blocked access to the Crescent Beach community in Surrey, the railway company signed a Stopped Train Protocol with the City whereby it would break the train to let emergency vehicles through the crossing. The railway representative conceded that, according to its records, the railway did not follow the protocol on one occasion but that “we are taking actions to address that, and we continue to listen to our communities and try to be responsive.”95 BNSF also reported that there were 10 “major track blocking events resulting from mudslides” in the past five years.96

The railway company’s records were contradicted by the Chief of the Surrey Fire Service who advised the Committee that “in the past few years we have seen several incidents where a stopped train protocol should have been exercised but was not.”97 The Surrey Fire Service testified that Transport Canada is investigating the City’s recent complaint but, to date, has not sanctioned BNSF for not complying with the operating rules that prohibit a standing train from blocking a crossing for more than five minutes. The discrepancy in the information provided by the two parties signals a problem for the enforcement of the railway operating rules.

Representatives from the BNSF Railway indicated that the railway would consider relocating its operation from the beach in Surrey and White Rock but suggested that “it would be very, very expensive.” Less expensive alternatives might include building an underpass, which could cost $35 million or more, or establishing some emergency services in Crescent Beach.

 

Reprindted from South Surrey/White Rock MP DIANNE WATTES - Summer Householder

D.Chesney

Publisher

White Rock Sun

 

July 21, 2016

I Don’t Do It For You

 

For the past 11 years with the able assistance of DOUG E LACHANCE we here at the White Rock Sun have prided ourselves in making our entertainment column THE NIGHT OWL the “go to place” for music news.  Who’s playing where, who has a new CD coming out, who is in need of the musical community’s assistance, you name it, we promoted it.

So just to back up a tad here, for those that are not aware of my personal and professional background, I worked for the world’s top record company (CBS Records) for 15 years based out of Vancouver.  Handling press, publicity, promotion, live events, Video production, executive production skills and on and on and on.  Upon leaving CBS records for a number of years I handled the personal careers on the management side for a number of Canadian artists.  I know of what I speak.

I get it.  Musicians in large part are about as competent in the business side of the music industry, as I am at playing music.

What got me bent out of shape recently was the the lack of information I receive from groups, artists and live music venues.  Hell the aforementioned DOUG E actually has to take time out of his busy schedule and life in Vancouver to call one of the local watering holes on a weekly basis to inquire what live performers they have at the venue on the upcoming weekend.  Duh?  Am I missing something here?

You see over the years The White Rock Sun has established itself as a news and entertainment leader South of the Fraser.  Yet we still have to hound bar owners, artists, managers friends and family to keep on top of what’s happening on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

There are notable exceptions.  The White Rock Blues Society, ROCKIT BOY production and Blue Frog Studios come to mind.  Hmmmmm.  Let me see now, it seems to me these individuals and organizations are very successful in their musical endeavours.  I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these groups and the invidivudals that do their level best to keep the flame burning.

To the rest of the ne’er do well layabouts that are constanlty bitching about people not supporting live music, I say to you “A Terrible Thing Happens If You Don’t Promote – NOTHING!”

BRYAN ADAMS “may do it all for you” but not me. 

I do it for the readers and supporters of the White Rock Sun.

David Chesney

Publisher

 

 

July 14, 2016

“It Takse People Like You……”

 

I was somewhat uncomfortable when I read DON PITCAIRN’S  The Naked Truth this week. 

This past June 02 the White Rock Sun turned 11 years old.  Using a handy on-line  “how old is your dog calculator, that would make The White Rock Sun 82 years old.” 

You see with the help of contributors like DON PITCAIRN and members of our community we have been “dogging” the local news for years now. As a matter fact just as I am posting this editorial I have received a not from the aforementioned ace cub reporter DON PITCAIRN he has sniffed out what could turn out to be a bombshell story.

My media background told me in the 90's traditional forms of media were in a downward tailspin.  First the record companies, then the newspapers and most recently the television networks have been broadsided by technology. Yet studies indicated people had a voracious appetite for local news.  Enter the White Rock Sun.

I have always marveled how most print media can get the story so wrong, or simply choose to ignore a story.  Gathering the news has not been easy on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.  The local offices of the RCMP, Firefighters and White Rock city hall have been less than co-operative.  Having worked in newsrooms across the Lower Mainland I am well aware of how relationships are forged with members of the media and the gatekeepers. One of the junior positions in newsrooms of old, would be to call the local fire, police and hospitals early in the morning to see what had happened overnight. Gone are those days. The clampdown is fully enforced. In days of old "nothing much happened" was welcome news. Now it is interpreted as meaning inefficiency.

I was somewhat taken back reading local and Vancouver news stories on what occurred at the Pacific border crossing last week.  If you click back to the main page you will see we were incredibly lucky and fortunate to have TONY TOXEPOUS provide us with a birds eye view of how the events played out.   I am still scratching my head on why the White Rock Sun is the only news outlet that has identified the young South Surrey resident who was arrested and charged with an attempted arson at the Semiahmoo Band office just hours after the Five Corners fire broke out.

I have read the local community newspapers wherever I lived.  The Peace Arch News is a good newspaper.  I respect their reporters Alex Browne, Tracey Holmes and the recently departed (moved) Melissa Smalley. They all do a commendable job of reporting on the local news.  Lance Peverley the Editor is very true to the community.  I can’t help but wonder what this collection of ink stained wretches  could accomplish if they were turned loose and the handcuffs of their corporate world were removed.  I know that is a pipe dream.  I doubt it will ever happen.

But then again I believe.....you can’t soar with the eagles while you are staring at the bottom line.

Mr. Black tear down those walls!

 

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

June 30, 2016

 

(Read what's happening in the local broadcast industry - click here)

By Gerry Siemens

 

In an era where radio stations often adopt and abandon formats at a somewhat alarming rate, it seems almost unthinkable that Today’s Hot Country, 93.7 JRfm is about to celebrate it’s 30th Anniversary on Canada Day! Thirty years, one format! Very few stations, anywhere in the world can report such a record. As a former team member that spent more than 23 years as part of the JRfm team, I was recently asked to write a piece helping to commemorate the stations amazing history.

The station launched itself as JR Country at precisely 9:37 am on July 1st, 1986 to the driving sound of Waylon Jennings, “Are You Ready for the Country” a classic song written by Neil Young. Excitement was high, but the timing could hardly have been worse. Country music in 1986 was in a decided slump. Just a few months previous, the New York Times had actually declared country music as being, “dead!”

Well, it wasn’t dead, but neither was it healthy. Country music in the mid-80’s was in a full fledged identity crisis. The traditional country artists such as the fabulous George Jones, George Strait and the incomparable Merle Haggard were still making great music and attracting significant airplay. The so-called “Outlaw” movement featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr and others were having a great impact but often recorded music that was more rock and roll than country. And then, there were artists such as Barbara Mandrell, Restless Heart, Ronnie Milsap, Crystal Gayle and many others that were releasing music with lush production and a heavy emphasis on strings. That music that could just as easily have been heard on an easy listening station, but was being pushed as country if only because it was produced in Nashville. The result was kind of a mish-mash of music that was very hard to combine into a single format and left listeners confused and mostly indifferent.

All of that, combined with the fact that the Canadian country music of the day really wasn’t very good meant that JRFM launched at a time when the format was struggling almost everywhere in North America. The station got off to a very slow start and it took years before it was able to get out of the shadow of long-time country music giant, CKWX. It seems odd today, to consider that an FM station would struggle against an AM competitor in a music format. However, in the mid-80’s listening to AM music formats wasn’t uncommon and in fact, many cars did not yet come equipped with an FM radio.

I was not part of the early days of JRFM, not having joined the company until 1993. In fact, in 1985 I was part of a team from Alberta that had filed an application with the CRTC for a new country music station in Vancouver that was in direct competition with Pattison’s application. Coming from Alberta, I don’t think we fully appreciated the impact that Jim Pattison had in Vancouver and British Columbia. That was especially true in 1985 just a few months before Expo was to launch, which of course, was Jimmy’s baby. I will never forget Pattison’s General Manager at the time, Harvey Gold speaking to us during the hearing. We knew his words, were true “nice application boys but this one is in the bag,” but it still made us mad. Of course, he was right and Mr. Pattison got the Vancouver station, as he should have.

When I joined JRfm in the spring of 1993 the station was finally starting to find its legs. As great a competitor as CKWX had been, the transition of listeners finding their favourite music on FM, rather than AM was well underway. Country music had found a new direction and was getting more and more healthy, led by the charge of newcomer Garth Brooks. In fact, the first time I met Jim Pattison he said to me, “you can’t miss with that FM.” He turned out to be right. He almost always is.

We sped up the demise of CKWX by taking long time WX Morning Man Jim Fraser and moving him to JRfm, where we teamed him up with former ITV News Anchor, Tamara Stanners. It wasn’t long after Fraser left that CKWX adopted the very successful “news wheel” format and became News 1130, which it remains today.

As JRfm approaches its 30th anniversary, I have been asked if we ever considered changing format. Over 23 years of ratings success and occasional ratings disappointment, of course there were times that the subject was tabled. However, nothing ever presented itself that made more sense that staying the course and being the only game in town, in a country format. Plus, as the only country station in the market we were somewhat “bullet proof” as it was quite unlikely that another station would change format to attack us.

As the years went by, JRfm continued to grow and became a major influence in the Canadian country music industry. The fact is JRfm played a very significant role in the development of any number of Canadian country music stars. The close relationship JRFM developed with the artists was mutually beneficial. Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, Dean Brody, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Johnny Reid, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, Farmer’s Daughter, Rick Tippe, One More Girl and many others came through door of the station and became fast friends with the entire staff.

We were lucky enough to have a small theatre in the middle of the station, and dubbed it the JRfm Fan Jam . Luck

JRFM Live Lounge. JRfm listeners were often invited to join us for up close and intimate concerts with some of the top stars in country music. Included in that number were Aaron Pritchett, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, the Corb Lund Band and even Lady Antebellum.

Over the years, JRfm developed a stellar reputation in both the broadcast and music industries. Twice JRfm was named “Station of the Year” by the Canadian Country Music Association as well as two station of the year awards from Canada Music Week. The BCCMA also recognized JRfm as station of the year on numerous occasions.
Further, any piece on JRfm has to include “Basics for Babies” now in its 23rd year. B4B was created as a result of local food banks being chronically short of baby food and formula. It has become a significant part of the station’s fabric, and it too has received National recognition, being named as the Community Service event of the year on two different occasions by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

Mostly, when I look back on my 23 years with JRfm I remember an amazing team with an absolute passion for making the station the best it could be. Plus, an incredible cast of characters that may someday turn itself into a book.
The list is long and includes (but is not limited to) some truly awesome, talented people such as Campbell McCubbin, Jack Marion, Greg Douglas, Scott Barratt, Sharryn Graham, Tom Mark, Jim Benny, Jim Fraser, Steve Darling, Nick the Guy, Tamara Stanners, Frank Callaghan, Dave McCormick, Greg Sherrat, Susan Sierra, Chris Coburn, Crystal Darche, Colleen Troy, Carol Alexander, Ian Pawer, Bob Saye and many, many others. The current on-air line includes Vancouver’s longest running morning show featuring Clay St. Thomas and Karen Daniels. That team, backed up BarBara BeaM, Docc Andrews and jaXon Hawkes may well be the best roster that JRFM has ever aired and I would put them up against any team in Vancouver.

The station will be celebrating it’s anniversary with the real people that made it possible to stay in the format for 30 years, and that is the listeners. The station has a large family style event planned for Langley’s Willoughby Park on Canada Day as well as a series of concerts around the Canada Day weekend at the Roxy. Details can be found at jrfm.com

Happy Anniversary to everyone at Today’s Hot Country, 93.7, JRfm.

Gerry Siemens

 

June 23, 2016

You Deserve A Break Today

 

Have you been to a McDonald’s restaurant lately?

If not you might be a little surprised on who is dining at Mickey D’s these days.  Seniors, that’s who.

Like most Baby Boomers I had a period in my life when I would pop in for a Filet of Fish and a small order of fries.  Total cost, about a dollar.  So that will give you some idea of how long it has been since I dined at McDonalds.  I never was one for their burgers.  The legendary Big Mac always seemed wet to me.  One of the constants up until fairly recently was the French Fries.  That was until very recently when I read a startling expose on how McDonald’s makes the fries and from what kind of potatoes.  (You can look it up).

These days if you stop into your local McDonalds you will more than likely see the fast food restaurant inhabited by the grey brigade.  Yes from my unscientific research I have come to the conclusion (with the exception of Saturday and Sunday mornings) in large part the majority of the diners are in their senior years.

I doubt it is due to the thinly upholstered hard plastic seats.  So what is drawing seniors to McDonalds?  Price baby, price.  You see you can get a coffee (with refills) and let’s say a carrot muffin for under $2.00.  Judging from local research visits, free newspapers (Vancouver Sun & The Province) are a big draw with the senior diners.

The fact there is such a large collection of fellow seniors it is not uncommon to see groups of seniors visiting and dining on an affordable dining experience.

While doing a little research on this topic I found numerous articles about how McDonalds is closing a large number of their restaurants due to dwindling revenues.  That should come as no surprise to most people.  With the ever growing focus on what we are putting into our bodies McDonalds has tried for years to re-jig their menu items. 

In large part one of the main problems seems to be price.  You can’t get a burger anymore for a quarter or a cheese burger for 30 cents.  The prices have steadily climbed to a point where it no longer is affordable to roll up and pick up a meal for a car load of kids for under $10.00.

So Mickey D, thanks for the memories of hot apple pies, quarter pounders with chesse, and who can forget the Pirate Packs.

Nope not for me, I will take a muffin, coffee and oh yes how about one of those free newspapers that if I bought it at the store would be a couple of bucks.  I’ll be sitting right over there when my order is ready.

Dave Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

June 16, 2016

Father Knows Best

Chesney, Joe (1919-2001)
Joe Chesney holds the distinction of founding British Columbia's first full-time country music station and providing support to the careers of country artists. He was born in Saskatchewan and moved to British Columbia after leaving the air force at the end of World War II.

He began his radio career as a trainee announcer at CFJC Kamloops in 1946. After a few months, he moved to CJAV Port Alberni. The following year Chesney left to join suburban Vancouver station CKNW New Westminster, where he progressed to the morning show in October 1947. At 'NW he became to be known as "Uncle Joe" and both his popularity and that of the station grew.

Chesney put the wheels in motion for his own radio station in the 1950s. As he was perceived to be competition at then mostly country music programmed CKNW, he left the station. In the interim he worked at Vancouver's CJOR, and in 1962 his application for a new station in Langley, 40 kilometres southeast of Vancouver was approved.

His new station, CJJC (the "JC" for Joe Chesney) officially signed on with 1000 watts at AM 850 Saturday January 19, 1963 as "City and Country Radio". For a decade, Chesney's station was the only one with a country music format in the B.C. Lower Mainland. That changed in March 1973, when 50,000-watt powerhouse CKWX Vancouver picked up the format. In June 1975, CJJC moved to AM 800 with a subsequent power increase to 10,000 watts in an attempt to better penetrate the Vancouver market. However, over the next few years much of CJJC's audience slipped away.

While at the helm of CJJC, Chesney continuously promoted country music and worked with several musicians who turned out to be country legends. Those included Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, whose career he helped to develop by booking shows and acting as master of ceremonies when she toured.

Chesney sold City and Country Radio, and on May 17, 1985 the CRTC approved application for authority to transfer effective control of CJJC to Saskatoon Telecable Limited and Mr. Sam Folstad.

During the years, Chesney was politically active, even running as an NDP candidate in the area. In 2001, he became the 17th inductee into the B.C. Country Music Hall of Fame and was presented with an award to mark his achievements during the B.C. Country Music Association's 25th Annual Awards Show held in nearby Cloverdale.

"Uncle Joe" Chesney passed away Saturday, November 10, 2001 at the age of 82.

 

Chesney is not a common name.  I thank country singer KENNY CHESNEY for appearing on the scene, I spell my name a lot less these days.

As a result of having such a unique name, coupled with the fact your father is heard on the radio (CKNW  (mornings) then later (afternoon) CJOR) when people heard my last name, the common inquiry would be “Any relation to Uncle Joe?”  My pat reply was “Yes I am Joes’ Son.”  I actually considered for a short period of time changing my name to “Joe’s Son.”

There are a myriad of memories that come flooding back from my formative years on Bon Accord road in North Surrey.  Life began for me on 5 acres of wilderness that bordered on what is now the Guildford Shopping Centre. 

Ours was a humble family of four.  Mom, Dad and an older sister Marlene.  Dad was thrifty, almost to a fault.  It was a common occurrence for us to take a weekly Sunday drive in our aforementioned (Mother’s car in later years) 1953 Mercury.  We traversed the Lower Mainland from Britannia Beach to Allouette Lake.  One of my lasting memories of those drives was Dad seeing a 2x4 laying on the side of the road.  He pulled over and picked up the board and placed it or tied it into the trunk.  Once he got home he cut out the portion that might have been broken, banged out the nails and straightened them out and added them to his nail cache.  The now usable piece of 2x4 was carefully tucked away into an ever growing pile of wood that would be used at a later date.

It seemed Dad was always building or adding on an addition to the house.  The wood also came in handy for the creation of a camping accessory for the car.  Roof top box for the camping gear on the old Mercury and later for a handy dandy camping box for the rear portion of one of many station wagons we graduated on to.  I am sure somewhere in a backyard there are these “built to last edifices of the outdoors.”  It seems to me most of the diagrams for the aforementioned creations came from one of the many back issues of Popular Mechanics that Dad always seemed to be reading. 

In addition to woodworking Dad had a passion for electronics.  Our home including my bedroom was outfitted with Heathkit radios.

Back in the 50’s when Dad was a radio personality he would often be called upon to act as the master of ceremonies at ladies bowling leagues= banquets, little kid skating pageants at the North Surrey rece centre, and later the host and promoter of local country music shows.  I recently somewhere saw a picture of my Dad on stage with Buck Owens performing at the Cloverdale Community Centre. 
As you have read in the preamble to this story, in the early 60’s Dad was awarded a radio station license for a country music radio station located in Langley, CJJC radio 850. 

I was young and had no idea my life would entail me following in my father’s footsteps.  In grade 4 at Harold Bishop elementary I had a teacher by the name of Mr. Don Black.  He had a huge impact on me.  When the school bell rang at the end of the day, Mr. Black took us boys outside and taught us how to play soccer, baseball, how to high jump and broad jump.  He was an all round athlete that reveled in challenging young boys.  When I arrived at Johnston Heights Junior High I discovered there was a teacher (Mr. Berkenthall) that did nothing but teach athletics to the boys.  I thought “Could it get any better than being a PE teacher?”

Obviously things didn’t work out that way.  I would accompany my father in the early stages of the building of CJJC radio.  In the summer Dad would drop me off at the transmitter site for the day.  I was left with a bag of baloney sandwiches, some kool aid and gallons of brown stain that I diligently applied to the transmitter radio shacks.  At the end of the day when Dad would pick me up, one of the perks I was afforded was being allowed to drive the car down the access road to the main road.

It just seemed natural to hang around the radio station.  Once the station went on the air, on Saturdays I would go with Dad to the station.  While he did whatever work he had to do, I would cut the grass, change the readograph on the side of the station, and then slip into the record library.  Now given my musical tastes at the time did not include Hank Snow or Johnny Cash, I would leaf through the albums to try to find something to listen to.  I quickly discovered an album with a guy who didn’t look like a Nashville star despite the fact he was wearing cowboy boots in the album cover photo of him relad]xing in a directors chair.  My first introduction to Canadian talent – GORDON LIGHTFOOT.

I gradually morphed into working full time at the radio station once I was through with school.  Now working for your father can be a challenging experience.  I often tell people I had two choices.  Just be the boss’s kid, or make life doubly difficult by learning every aspect of the radio business from the ground up.  Rock n’ roll was in my soul.  Eventually I left CJJC and went to work under the tutelage of the rock n’ roll radio icon ROY HENNESSY at the swtich over for CKLG-FM to CFOX radio and later on to CBS Records.

But back to Dad. Because after all, this is about my father.  Looking back on it now I can only describe my father as a Praire Philosopher.  The Sage of Saskatchewan. He often quoted life’s little lessons like “You sleep in the bed you make.”  It wasn’t until years later that I realized what a profound impact those little life lessons had on me.

So you see where my broadcast  / music DNA comes from. 

Politics?  In the 70’s while still operating CJJC Dad was motivated to run for the NDP in Langley.   It was a natural.  I have vivid memories of visiting my grandfather John Chesney at his home in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan with the family.  The backyard had numerous huge Tommy Douglas billboards stored for upcoming or previous elections.

They say everything goes full circle.  A moment of pride for me with my father, was a concert at the Queen Elizabeth theater, where a group I was managing at the time The Blue Shadows  opened for The Rankin Family.  I took Dad backstage to meet the bands.  Déjà vu all over again from all those great Stars of the Grande Ole Opry Shows he promoted over the years at the same venue.

Dad’s other passion I have not mentioned here was his love for flying.  In the early 70’s Dad bought a little two seater 1948 Taylorcraft plane which he kept at the Langley airport.  Later he upgraded to a 4 seater Cessna 172.  Hours and hours of bouncing around the skies prepared me for later life when it seemed I was often in an airplane flying somewhere with bands on tour.

The morning in 2001 that Dad passed away, I got up early and drove from Vancouver to the Langley Hospital to visit Dad.  I walked into the room and quietly sat down next to Dad's bed and held his hand.  He slowly opened his eyes and looked out the hospital window and saw it was a beautiful sunny day.  He turned to me and said “Good morning Dave, it looks like a good day for a flip.”  A term he often used for taking the plane out for a trip.  That was my final exchange with my Dad.

Thank you Dad.  I wish we could take one last flip and have a long talk.

 

David Chesney


 

 

June 09, 2016

 

This past Sunday the Pacific Inn in South Surrey was the converging point for everything that is good on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

  1. Beautiful weather

  2. Spectacular location

  3. Great Music

  4. Good Friends

  5. Community Helping Each Other

 

Let’s back up for a minute.  When the smoke  from the fire cleared at Five Corners our community immediately kicked in to help each other.  Sadly some of the residents did not have fire insurance.  I don’t think we need to vilify or publicly shame the residents that did not have their homes insured. The simple fact is, members of OUR community were hurting. We could help.

 

Because of my personal and professional connection with the local musical community, within a couple of days I was approached by a friend who wanted to organize a musical benefit to raise some funds.  We had one quick meeting and put the project in gear.  We were just starting to get up to steam when I received a note from GLEN PEARSON and the WHITE ROCK BLUES SOCIETY.  They had a date, the venue and bands booked.  We graciously stepped aside and threw our support behind the Fire Benefit.

Glen Pearson

The life of a musician has never been easy.  These days it is even tougher to carve out a living playing music.  Especially original music. 

Sunday was a spectacular day.  The White Rock Blues Society in large part  presents it's concert series at the Pacific Inn in the Rhumba Room on the main level.  The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Sunday afternoon’s show was the beautiful outdoor garden area just off of the convention meeting room where the concert was already in full flight.  Mixing and mingling amongst small knots of people spread out across the lawn, was a collection of who’s who on the local music scene.  Band members joked and laughed with fellow musicians who they seldom get to see as they work the same nights and time slots around the Lower Mainland.  They casual laid back affair also afforded musicians to bring their significant other along to a show that didn’t run into the wee small hours of the morning.  It was so cool to be a fly on the wall and watch the various musicians drifting in and out from the patio to check out their peers. Some cool jams erupted, like HARPDOG BROWN jumping on stage with THE BLUE VOODOO.

Blue Voodoo with special guest Harpdog Brown

The event raised over $6500.00 to help some of the residents to get back on their feet.  There were many highlights during the afternoon of music and presentations, but I think the highlight had to be when SCOTT BOOTH the president of the local White Rock Firefighters local climbed on stage to announce our firefighters were contributing $1,000.00 to the effort.  LAURA CORNALE the owner of Laura's Coffee Corner which was also destroyed from the fire was also in attendance. Within hours of the fire breaking out, LAURA began a fundraising effort which brought in over $22,000.00!

Scott Booth/Rod Dranfield President of the White Rock Blues Society - chillin'

Do you still want to try to tell me White Rock is not a special place to call home? 

I hope we can keep that  feeling of community, love and friendship  alive.

We have what it takes folks.

Now that I have drank from the cup, I want more.

David Chesney

Publisher

 

 

June 02, 2016

Should White Rock Rejoin Surrey?

 

 

The following is a list of dates of civic elections in White Rock along with mayors and councillors elected, as well as information such as by-elections, resignations, appointments and other significant events defining the terms of office of politicians in White Rock.
                                                                                                                                                           
1956   December 15
Referendum was held Surrey-wide to determine if White Rock should secede and incorporate.

Surrey voters
            Yes – 3,565
            No – 3,188

White Rock voters
            Yes – 755
            No - 595
                                                                                                                                                           
1957   January 5
Provisional Council established by the Department of Municipal Affairs.

Provisional Council Chairman
            Defieux, Charles Morris

Provisional Council Members
            Hodgson, William Tickner
            Mitchell, Alexander Malcolm
Offer, William Ralph
            Parker, Leonard
            Shields, William C.
            White, Charles Edward
                                                                                                                                                           
1957   April 15
12:01 am White Rock officially became a city.
                                                                                                                                                           
1957   April 17
Provisional Mayor and Aldermen sworn in.

Provisional Mayor
            Defieux, Charles Morris

Provisional Aldermen
            Hodgson, William Tickner
            Offer, William Ralph
Mitchell, Alexander Malcolm   
Parker, Leonard
            Shields, William C.
            White, Charles Edward

* Timeline and photo courtesy White Rock Museum & Archives

 

The recent fire in the 5 Corners District of White Rock has once again renewed the call for White Rock to rejoin Surrey.

The impetus for the latest round for amalgamation is the fact White Rock  called in the Surrey fire-halls to assist them in dousing the fire.  It has also now been reported how White Rock utilized an emergency hook up system, whereby we could tap into Surrey’s water supply for fire fighting purposes.  To that I can only say, THANK GOD on both fronts.

I am squarely on the fence on whether White Rock should rejoin Surrey.  First of all is Surrey even interested in absorbing us?  Provincial legislation has been in place for years that with the stroke of a pen a number of communities could be instructed to merge their operations.  Our neighbours over in Langley and Langley city come to mind.

As I have reported at length before, White Rock has been part of my DNA practically since birth.  In the 50’s my family camped in Semiahmoo Park behind the band-shell.  A practise I would love to see the Semiahmoo First Nations re-visit.  It is often bantered about that property taxes would drop if White Rock merged with Surrey, some say dramatically.  As we at city hall continue to farm out or contract out services for the city, in my mind we are simply greasing the wheels for said merger.

This past year alone we have sub contracted our Tourism initiatives as well as commercial garbage pick up.  Sitting on the back burner is the option of privatizing single family home garbage pick up.  When will the spotlight be turned on our police and fire services.  In my mind this would be the final nail in the coffin if we were to amalgamate our emergency services with Surrey.

Monday evening Surrey council once again discussed at length the future development of British Columbia’s second largest city.

 (click here to read the report in its entirety)

 Surrey given it’s size has clearly identified there are a number of districts within their boundaries.   One of the designated 7 town centres would be for South Surrey.  That town centre build out would occur at 20th avenue and 152nd street.  Call me crazy but I believe that town centre is more likely to be centred at 16th avenue and 152nd, the actual border between Surrey and White Rock.  I simply believe Surrey is not publicly stating where their actual town centre is, as 20th avenue is not the natural town centre on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

If White Rock did in fact become part of Surrey again, the current population boom in South Surrey would create a completely different optic of what we were dealing with back in 1957.  The city of White Rock in those days was referred to as Ward 7 (see accompanying diagram) in those days the city of Surrey felt compelled to have representatives from each district on council.   Something in my humble opinion Surrey should reconsider given its massive geographic footprint that encompass many different regions with their own challenges.

Have I danced around the original topic enough? 

I ran for White Rock council numerous times before successfully gaining a seat on White Rock council. I thought  then and continue to believe we had a real shot at creating a truly unique community that would be the envy of neighbouring communities. Heck we live at the beach. 

I will be frank with you, the only way White Rock rejoins Surrey is if Mom and Dad (The Provincial Government) tells us we have to. The only other way it will happen is two fold. We approach Surrey and they agree to take us, and then with the full support of every member of council it is presented to the residents of White Rock in a referendum.

What do you think the odds are of that happening?

Personally I would support putting the item on a referendum if that was the wish of the majority of the residents of White Rock. NO matter the outcome I would always live in White Rock.

D. Chesney

Publisher

 

 

 

May 26, 2016

5 Alarm @ 5 Corners

 

I am not sure if it was a 5 alarm fire, but quite obviously  given the fact the White Rock fire hall and no less than four fire crews from different halls in Surrey responded, that’s close enough for me.

That fateful day, a week ago this past Sunday, my friend and columnist for the White Rock Sun, DON PITCAIRN called me just before 6 a.m. He said “Holy Cow there must be a huge fire over near 16th avenue and 148th street go outside and have a look.”  I pulled on my housecoat and went out on the deck and looked in that direction.  Nothing. As I turned around I faced south and that is when I saw the giant black billows of smoke coming from down Johnston Road somewhere.

I jumped into my clothes and headed down with my camera in hand.  When news breaks out, we break in.  Arriving on the scene the first person I encountered was fellow city councillor Bill Lawrence who was standing out front of his Johnston road Sandpiper liquor store.  A window was smashed out and Bill stood patiently waiting for the RCMP to arrive on the scene.  As I made my way the half block down Johnston to the barriers across Johnston Road I could instantly tell this was a fire of great magnitude. 

Given it was now close to an hour from when the fire broke out, the majority of the residents had already been transported in a bus to the Centennial Arena where city staff were setting up an emergency help location.

In short order I witnessed TIM HORTON’S coffee and donuts and muffins magically appear on a table that was set up on Johnston Road, free for the taking for anyone.  As the crowds grew one could sense the feeling of hoplessness we were all feeling.  I knew a lot of people by sight that lived in the condo that was destroyed.  You see most of them like myself, were regulars at LAURA’S COFFEE CORNER located in the commercial frontage section on Pacific Avenue.

Upon hearing the news and witnessing the devastation with her husband Glen that morning, LAURA quickly put in motion a fund-raiser online to help her friends and neighbours.  She thought perhaps she could raise $10,000.00.  Within 24 hours she eclipsed that figure and within the next 24 hours she raised an additional $10,000.00 totaling $20,000.00 which she has donated to SOURCES to administer for the displaced residents.

By the middle of the afternoon when I visited the relief centre at Centennial Area to see if they needed any assistance or if there was anything I could do, my heart swelled as I saw so many volounteers helping wherever and however they could.  By that time it had been determined no one would have to stay in Centennial Arena.  Friends and family had rushed to the aid of the displaced condo owners.  As the days passed social media was alive with requests to help people.  Yesterday (Wednesday) I dropped into the United Church in White Rock.  An area has been set up for clothing to be dropped off for people who lost everything.  The church staff had also set out tea, coffee and cakes and goodies and arranged tables for people to just to be able to sit and talk and ease what must be a huge feeling of isolation.  These poor people have lost everything.

But what we didn’t lose ladies and gentlemen, is our sense of community.  When the smoke had cleared  what I saw was MY White Rock shining through like a beacon in the night.  This is why I love to live here.  This is MY White Rock. 

This is not the time to bitch and moan point fingers on who did what, or what we as a city could have done better.  I assure you there will be no stone unturned when all the cards are counted.

But for the time being.  Tell someone today you love them.  Give them a great big hug, and be thankful we live in such a wonderful caring community. 

I give thanks everyday.

David Chesney

 

 

May 05, 2016

Thinking of Mom

Sunday marks the official Mothers Day ceremonies.  For some strange unexplainable reason, despite my mother being gone now for a number of years, I find myself tearing up pretty quickly when I see the myriad of Mothers Day notices, pictures, cutes saying and videos.

The only thing I can think of that has brought on this very public showing of grief is I have attended my fair share of Celebrations of Life this past year.

I have often found it interesting that many of my “rough and rowdy friends” have such a close bond with their mothers.  They will be the first to tell you they love/loved their fathers but Mom was ALWAYS there.  I know the feeling well.

For one thing I was adopted at birth. I have never met my birth mother. I have had but one mother in my life and her name was Peggy Chesney. And let me tell you she was one hell of a lady. I am not proud of some of the trials and tribulations I put here through, but I made sure she left this world knowing she was loved. As a matter of fact she passed away while I was living out at UBC. On what was to be my last visit with her, I decided to take a big adventure and journey via B-Line bus out of UBC to the Skytrain station at Commercial Drive, then on to Whalley and then a connector bus that would get me close to our hold stomping grounds, and where she was residing in a care home. We had a lovely visit and I distinctly remember as I walked out the door saying "Di you get your hair done today Mom?" She replied "yes I did." I said "Well you look beautiful. I love you." The next morning at 5 a.m. I got the call she had passed away in her sleep at the age of 84.

One of my formative years (5-6 years of age) were spent almost entirely in the company of my mother.  It seemed every single kid of play age in our neighbourhood of Hjorth Road went to school one year before me.  That left me and Mom to go it alone.  We had a ball.  I was her co-pilot in life as we roared around the wilds of North Surrey in her 1953 Mercury.  A car which was capable of a vapour lock at any given time.  You know it is funny with the recent partial closing of the Patullo Bridge, I will always remember how my Mom was deathly afraid to drive over the bridge because it was so narrow.  Solution?  Drive as fast as humanly possible to get the hell over the bridge.  The lane of choice for Mom was the curb lane and heading into New Westminster those railing were flying by like picket fences.

My mother and father divorced when I was in my early 20’s.  After all it was the era where you stayed together for the kids.  I would often call up my Mom and take her out for dinner every other week or so.  You see I was all the family close by she had.  My sister had moved to Alberta years before, so again it was me and Mom. 

I’m sure in defiance of my father never allowing alcohol in our home, my Mother would now and then have a “Pink Lady” with her supper.  Oh how I wish I could once again spend some time with my mother.  Those of you that are fortunate to still have your mother here with you, for God’s sake, not just this Sunday but all throughout the year, let your mother know how much she means to you.

Sunday I will be thinking of Peggy Chesney.  Hell I might even have a “Pink Lady.”

D. Chesney / Publisher

p.s.

While composing this tome to Mom - CBC radio The Early Edition was encouraging listeners to call in and tell them of a song that they identify with their mother. This song was the first song that popped into my head.


 

 

April 28, 2016

Second Time Around

I don’t care who knows, I shop regularly at White Rock’s Second Hand boutiques.

Let’s back up for just a moment. 

I often hear some residents including friends who turn their noses up at the proliferation of second hand stores in White Rock.  I don’t view these friends as elitists.  They simply cannot understand how and why we have seen such an expansion in the number of second hand stores in our “city by the sea.”

I have one theory.  Given our large inventory of seniors I think it is possible that when Mom and or Dad pass away, the family arrives at their dearly departed parent’s home only to face the immense challenge of cleaning out the residence. 

Given the fact these people already have a well established home, it is doubtful they need another toaster oven, blender, fry pan etc. etc.  So what to do with it?  Well we could donate it to a local  thrift store.  Problem solved.

My personal favourite store is the SUPERFLUITY shop on Prospect avenue which was established by the Peace Arch Hospital Women’s Auxillary    .  If you have never frequented the store you are missing  a truly wonderful shopping experience.  My description to the unwashed is, “It is just like panning for gold, you never know what you are going to find.”  When you do come across something you need, you will be shocked at the price.  Given the store’s inventory arrives at the back door for free, and in large part the store is staffed by volounteers, the combination allows items to be sold dirt cheap. 

Interestingly enough over the past year I have often encountered women in small groups talking amongst themselves as they make a morning of shopping at our various second hand outlets.  You might also be surprised to see some of the high end vehicles parked in the lot out front of the Superfluity.  Everyone loves a deal.

In two short blocks from Thrift avenue heading south on Johnston Road you can browse through World Serves, Salvation Army, Super Fluity and     .  of course The White Rock Hospice store located over on 24th avenue in South Surrey rounds out the Semiahmoo Peninsula second time around retiail outlets. 

Don’t forget no matter which store you shop at the profits go to help a number of needy organizations.  Super deals and your money goes to help others in need.  How can this be a bad thing. 

Yes I would like to see a bit of improvement in our retail landscape in White Rock but obviously the market research does not encourage the chain stores and high end boutiques opening outlets in White Rock.  So as the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

If you still have a problem with second hand turnabout stores in White Rock. Good.

All the more for us that know about this little secret I just shared with you.

Here is a list of the locations of the 5 shops between Uptown & 5 Corners White Rock.

D. Chesney

*All stores are on Johnston with the exception of SUPERFLUITY

WORLDSERVE (Hillcrest Mall) 1401 Johnston Road

THE LOCAL 1391

SALVATION ARMY 1327

SUPERFLUITY 15163 Prospect Avenue (one block off of Johnston Road

THE LIVING ROOM 1233 Johnston

 

April 21, 2016

"Instead of Axl’s trademark writhing, sinewy, sexy dance moves—which, granted, would have been neutralized anyway given his corporal neglect—the Coachella audience was left with what seemed like a story time session, featuring a largely unrecognizable rock star sweating profusely in his chair, as if enduring a particularly painful deposition, while driving any shred of his badass legacy he had left further into the ground. "

 

Sometimes these weekly mind musings just flow. 

Case in point.  This week PAUL MCARTNEY/ AXL ROSE and AC/DC inadvertently provided the inspiration.

First of all screw Sir Paul McArtney and or any other acts that gouge the hell out of their fans.  The Rogers Arena concert with Sir Paul would have set you back as much as $4,000.00 for a pair of tickets.  Let that sink in for a minute.  For row 15 on the floor you will be paying $2,000.00 per tickes.  Hell they don’t even let you buy the front `15 rows, this must be for some inner circle super priced group of seats.  These days the greedy rock stars are charging to come back to meet the band get an autograph and if you are lucky, a photo.  That will cost you hundreds of dollars.  BON JOVI last year actually sold tickets at a premium so you could come backstage and have dinner, wait for it, THE CREW.  Nope no Bon Jovie time, just lasagna and salad with a bunch of smelly workers who have been in the hall since daybreak setting up.  Yee haw where do I sign up.  Laugh if you will but they sold out EVERY NIGHT of the last BON JOVI tour.

Now we have a situation where it has come to light the B.S. AC/DC was spinning about lead singer BRIAN JOHNSON losing his hearing if he went back on stage again. JOHNSON  over the weekend spilled his guts.  He was kicked to the curb.  Fair enough, inner band problems whatever.  So what does AC/DC decide to do?  Enlist AXL ROSE of GUNS n’ ROSES to step in and front the band for the remainder of their summer tour.  And people still wonder if GN’R got back together for money.  You can bet your bottom dollar on it.  When you make fast cash like rock stars do, it runs through your fingers like water.  You start spending like it is never going to end, but end it does.  The rock n’ roll jungle is full of sad ass stories of down and out rockers dieing penniless under an overpass living in a cardboard box.

AXL ROSE while sitting in a custom made recliner this weekend while performing at the Coachella festival in California, brought ANGUS young from AC/DC on stage to give the world a sneak peak of what is to com.  Due to cracking a bone in his foot just prior to BUMS AND HOSERS (Guns N Roses) launching into their “go on take the money and run” summer tour, AXL busted up his foot.  So now he will perform sitting down in a custom built chair which THE FOO FIGHTERS made for their singer a few months ago.  My good God do none of these acts have any shame?  Hey I have an idea, how about you put recliners in the venues and we can all lay back and watch the show, after all we are getting older you know.

AC/DC not just graciously calling it a day is beyond me.  There must have been some weird ass kind of guarantee they signed and if they do not fulfill their tour dates, they too could be bunking up under an overpass.  No matter how you cut it though, AC/DC has now become the highest paid TRIBUTE act in the world.

Could Blue Frog  be next?

Rock n’ roll never forgets.  B.S.


AXL & GUNS N' ROSES rocking & relaxing in Mexico City this week.

Dave Chesney

Publsher

 

 

April 07, 2016

 

SHOOTING UP SURREY

www.surreyshirts.com

 

This week Surrey recorded it’s 32nd shooting in just over 12 weeks.  To put things into perspective in the entire year of 2015 the city recorded 60 shootings.  At the current pace 2015’s figures wi9ll double. 

Can’t anyone stop it?

The bloody biker turf war in Quebec was allowed to carry on for a number of years.  Many in that city claimed the prevailing sentiment was “Who cares they are just killing off each other.”  Then a young boy playing in his front yard was fatally injured when a car  bomb planted in a vehicle outside of his house went off mid-day.

Monday’s brazen gun battle on the streets of Surrey bear Bear Creek Park could have been just such a breaking point for the people of Surrey.  Mid afternoon in broad daylight in a residential neighbourhood near an elementary school, the wanna be gangsters opened fire on a victim as he sat in his vehicle.  The victim was taken to hospital with non life threatening injuries.

Tuesday morning Newton MLA Harry Bains took to the airwaves to chastise the RCMP for not doing enough.  One has to remember that last year the BAINS family was rocked when ARUN BAINS the nephew of HARRY BAINS was gunned down.  The RCMP shocked the BAINS family when they publicly stated ARUN was known to them insinuating he was involved in some sort of activity that caused rivals to deal with him in a hail of bullets.

DON PITCAIRN who writes weekly here on the electronic pages of The White Rock Sun in his NAKED TRUTH column has written numerous articles about the violence in Surrey.  As a matter of fact he came under personal attacks from Surrey City Hall when he launched a brand of less than complimentary t-shirts designs (SURREY SHIRTS).  PITCAIRN still maintains he was driven to create the shirts as a giant wake up call for Surrey’s police force and politicians.

Scott Road (12oth street) is the boundary between Delta and Surrey.  On one side (Delta) you have a private police force which operates under the banner “no call too small.”  Very hands on approach to policing.  Across 120th/Scott Road we find the RCMP patrolling British Columbia’s second largest city, Surrey.  IN recent days the open line programs were filled with Surrey residents pleading for the police and their elected officials to do something about the fear that has gripped their neighbourhoods.  A common theme  regarding council’s seemingly late and ineffective response to this crime wave, was the fact many cited – Surrey council is  made up of members of one political party SURREY FIRST.    One caller felt the city of Surrey has had a “too cozy” relationship dating back to the DIANNE WATTS days.  Had Surrey not voted to renew their RCMP contract a couple of years back it quite well l would have been the death knell for the RCMP in Canada,  Did you know half of all of the RCMP officers in Canada are based in Surrey?

Every time I hear about an overnight shooting in Surrey without exception I know the shooting will have occurred on the Surrey side of the boundary.  The rough boundary for the vast majority of the shootings is 64th avenue to 104th Avenue on the North South boundaries, and King George Highway to 120th Street.  Now caustically being referred to as Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Newton.

As cliché as it sounds there is not quick fix for this problem.  Our justice system turns these criminals back on the streets faster than the paperwork can be processed.  The RCMP claims they need more resources,  The gang bangers are flush with money and can afford the finest lawyers to find every loophole possible to have charges dismissed.  It goes on and on.

Unfortunately the gang war continues.   Many Surrey residents feel it is going to take the death of an innocent bystander before any changes happen.   Don’t hold your breath.  Last year an elderly Abbotsford man who was simply taking his garbage out was cut down in a hail of bullets in his driveway the victim of a wrong address for a drive by shooting.  His death largely went unnoticed.

Be Safe Surrey.

D. Chesney
Publisher

 

 

March 31, 2016

I May Be Old....But I Got To See All The Cool Bands

First of all, do you recognize this young fellow?

His name is ANDY GRAMMER and he is one of today's biggest stars. Don't feel bad it was news to me as well. This is the song that made GRAMMER a household name 2 years ago.

"Honey I'm Good"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0R8pB1JODs

Something like 6 million people worldwide have watched his video. His subsequent releases (singles//songs) never lived up to his breakthrough offering.

The point of this exercise is simply to illustrate how the music industry has changed. There used to be such a simple formula. Record a song, get it on the radio, tour tirelessly. Make lots of money.

Those days are gone and are never coming back.

Today with free downloads, YOUTUBE type services, peer sharing, streaming services and God knows what else, there is not easy formula for stardom. Or is there? More on that later.

If you are a Baby Boomer (a person who was born between 1946 and 1964) you were fortunate enough to grow up during the Golden Age of music, especially rock n' roll. In one short 5 year span from 1965 - 1970 we saw and heard and musically devoured The British Explosion and the start of the Psychedelic Years. The Beatles & Roiling Stones to Hendrix and the whole San Fransisco sound explosion in one fell swoop.

I don't consume a lot of new music to be quite frank with you. My main source of radio listening is the CBC in the a.m. hours and afternoon drive if I am working in the home office. It is very rare CBC 1 plays any music. Fine by me, if I want to hear music I will stroll over to the Wall of Fame and grab a couple of CDS throw them in the 5 disc CD player and hit shuffle. Radio Free WHite Rock is now on the air.

I have a number of musicologist friends that turn me on to some cool new music. I appreciate their musical offerings but quite frankly not much has moved me over the past decade.

I was spoiled. Having worked in the rock n' roll racket for 3 decades I devoured music intensely. I never imagined it would ever end. I/we had no idea we were living in a special time. As my good friend BOOMER said recently paraphrasing an old gangster movie "What does Rico want? RICO WANTS MORE."

We lapped it up, we checked out every branch of the musical tree. Blues, funk, soul, folk,rock, country, country rock. What was a poor boy or girl to do. So many tunes, so little time.

I may or may not have related this story before, but if I did bare with me.

The year was 1992 and I had left my position as the West-coast promotional rep for CBS records to strike out managing acts. One of the first acts I proudly worked with was the group The Blue Shadows. I was on tour with "The Shadows" in Toronto and the band performed on the nationally televised CBC Ralph Benmurgi show which aired Friday nights. The following night the band headlined their own sold out show at Toronto's legendary Horseshoe Tavern on the hip Queen Street in Toronto.

When the show ended I was standing downstairs with the boys in the band visiting with friends and fans, and these three stunningly beautiful 20 something hipsters came down the stairs. They looked like they had made a wrong turn somewhere between hip & cool. I was intrigued by their presence. I walked over to the group who were standing off by themselves. I said hello and asked them how they had ended up at the show. One of the young ladies said "Well you see I was sitting home last night and watching the Ralph Benmurgi show and this band came on. I picked up the phone and called my friends and said "Turn on the your TV to CBC, check out this band." She said "Man we were tuneless and when I heard The Blue Shadows I said to my girlfriends, we've got to get down to the Horseshoe Tavern tomorrow night - THEY'VE GOT THE TUNES."

I hope I am not coming off like some old fart regaling how great the music of old was, and how there is no good music anymore. There is lots of great music out there.

Strangely enough even though music is everywhere, it is harder to find these days.

D.Chesney


Publisher

David Chesney

 

P.S.

The JUNO AWARDS (tape delayed from Calgary) Sunday evening 7:30 on CTV

(click here if you care)

 

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2016

 

The radio crackled with breaking news Tuesday morning as my day was beginning. 

ROB FORD has passed away in a Toronto hospital.  I was not totally surprised.  I had been in touch with FORD’S office over the past couple of months hoping to speak personally to former Toronto Mayor and city councilor ROB FORD.

Let me back up for a moment.  I have a long time dear friend who has lived in Toronto all his life.  My buddy BRAD knowing I have always been somewhat of a political junkie, started feeding me stories about the out of control ROB FORD long before the national media picked up on the alcohol and drug fueled craziness of FORD’S life once he became Mayor of Toronto.

The book by Toronto Star reporter ROBYN DOLITTLE title CRAZYTOWN The Rob Ford Story - dealt with all the sordid details of how FORD’S life had begun to unravel shortly after becoming mayor of the largest city in Canada.    The book offered little new information for me as I had been fed all the details from my friend in real time.

The book that followed CRAZY TOWN the one that you should read if they really want to know what FORD was really like and how he got to where he did, is titled  MAYOR ROB FORD: UNCONTROLLABLE by author MARK TOWHEY.  TOWHEY was hired to head up FORD’S bid for the mayor’s chair.  In his book he provides the untold story of how FORD ended up in the mayor’s chair despite seemingly insurmountable odds. 

Three passages that stayed with me after reading UNCONTROLLABLE are;

  1. TOWHEY talks about how in his early days of working with FORD he would pick him up at his modest home in Etobicoke to take him to the Mayoral All Candidate meetings.  On the ride to the events TOWHEY would try to emphasize to FORD the hot button issues of the burrows they were going to be attending.  FORD would brush off all talking points and simply say “I don’t need any of that shit, I just go on stage and let it rip.  And let it rip he did, bringing down the house night after night.

    2. Often as TOWHEY and FORD would be driving from one event to the next, FORD would pull out yellow writing pads and begin using his cellphone to call people.  The conversation would normally go something like this “Hello so and so, this is Rob Ford returning your phone call,  What can I do for you?"  The person would normally then identify a problem he had.  FORD would make detailed notes and arrange to follow up on the phone call with a visit to the person’s home to see first hand what the problem was with the street out front of the guys house or whatever the problem was.  Upon arriving back at City Hall TOWHEY noticed when FORD was finished with the yellow pads he would throw them in a legal box in his office.  TOWHEY asked him “Rob what do you do with all those yellow pads?  Do you keep the boxes?" FORD told TOWHEY “Oh hell yes, I have hundreds of them out in the warehouse of the family’s business warehouse.”  TOWHEY could not believe his good fortune, he arranged to have all the boxes brought in from which he created a massive database of people FORD had helped.  He started having his staff contact the people by phone or email to ensure they would be supporting “their friend” ROB FORD in his run for the mayor’s chair.

3.During the camp/aign in the early stages all the Bloor street moneymakers and the unions avoided contributing FORD’S campaign as they thought he was a joke candidate.  IN the final stages of the election when it looked like FORD did stand a chance, though many still thought it was a long shot, the unions and power-brokers started sniffing around trying to give the FORD campaign money.  FORD rebuffed their advances and said “I didn’t need your help or money in the beginning, and I sure as hell don’t need you now!”  As the story goes the night of the election TOWHEY, FORD and the rest of the inner sanctum of FORD’S campaign ended up at FORD’S mother’s home (the matriarch of Canada’s answer to The Kennedy’s – her words.)  As everyone settled in at 8 p.m. in the living room to watch the results of the election announced on the television. there was a feeling in the room that it would be a hell of a long shot but there was a slim chance ROB could take it.  BOOM!!  Twenty minutes after the polls closed BREAKING NEWS banners appeared announcing ROB FORD had been elected Mayor of Toronto.

 

TOWHEY in his book explained how FORD got all the names on those yellow legal pads.  When pressed on their origin FORD said “Well ever since I was first elected as a councillor in Toronto, I have passed out fridge magnets to everyone I meet with my home Phone# on it and I tell them if they have a problem to call me.”  FORD then installed a phone in his home that took all the messages and his wife would compile  from the phone messages all the info and pass it along to Rob.

Following the recent civic election in Toronto back in 2014 when Rob stepped aside from running for Mayor and simply ran as a city councillor due to his cancer diagnosis, I took the time to have a look at his councillor webpage.  Sure enough there was the phone# to call Rob with any problem you had. 

I placed a call because I wanted to talk to FORD.  You see I was somewhat  surprised to see FORD had for years hosted COMMUNITY CONSULTAIONS in the various burbs in and around Toronto.  I thought, “Gee this seems dangerously close to my idea for COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS, my monthly meetings which I have hosted at the White Rock library on the first Saturday of every month.  I waited a couple of weeks and when I got no call I called the other office number that was provided.  I spoke with FORD’S secretary and explained I had left a message for Rob but I had not heard back from him.  She recognized my name and that I was a White Rock councillor and that Rob did get the message but due to his recent battle with cancer, he was back in for treatment but she assured me Rob was looking forward to talking about his COMMUNITY CONSULATIONS with me.

I never got the call.  Instead I got the news ROB FORD was gone. Like most of you I couldn't look away from the car wreck ROB FORD drove himself head first into.

I hope in time we will remember what drove ROB FORD originally, his love for his community. I get that.

 

David Chesney

Publisher

A Toronto television station compiled a tribute to ROB FORD on Tuesday when he passed away.

(Click here)

 

March 10, 2016

Charter of Freedom & Rights

 

This week the Peace Arch News editorial department took the White Rock council to task over stripping away in their mind, the freedoms and rights of members of our community.  The main points seemed to be White Rock council eliminating Question Period and instituting a new code of conduct for council chambers. Councillor Fathers and I voted agains the elimination of Question Period, for what that was worth.

Click here to read the PAN editorial

Long before being elected to council I took advantage of Question Period to address issues with the council of the day issues  I felt were of importance to our community.  I was never happy with Question Period in that it did not offer an open dialogue with elected officials.  For years Question Period was scheduled at the end of the regular council meeting.  Which meant sometimes sitting for hours before one had the opportunity to address council. 

I believe in part it may have been intentional, but that is just a personal opinion.  Eventually a few years ago Question Period was moved to the beginning of the council meeting and it actually drew more engagement from the community.  For reasons unexplained it was then moved back to its regular place at the end of the agenda.

Enter Roderick Louis.  Louis since the discontinuing of Question Period figured out he was able to appear as a delegation before council.  Which for the past number of months he has done with great regularity.  Appearing as a delegation afforded Louis the opportunity to take up to 5 minutes to address council.  The abolished Question Period was always limited to just one minute and you had to frame your inquiry as a question.  There was nothing that stipulated any answers would be provided under Question Period. Why more individuals and groups have not taken advantage of appearing as a delegation is beyond me/

The conduct issue is also a contentious. Over the past 6 months the conduct of some residents in council chambers has escalated exponentially.  The practice of the audible laughs, grunts and groans are very distracting to council members. The continuation of this practice from the gallery led Mayor Baldwin exchanging verbal barbs with certain members in the council chambers.  Sadly the verbal exchanges escalated to the point Mayor Baldwin threatened to call in the RCMP to maintain order.  Former councillor Margaret Woods who has butted heads with Mayor Baldwin for years,  was the subject of Mayor Baldwin requesting the RCMP attend a recessed council meeting, to remove Woods.  The RCMP claimed they did not have the authority and left.  Eventually the council meeting proceeded, but the harm was done on both sides.

During my election campaign I had the opportunity to come in contact with so many talented and connected residents in our community.  For the most part. the majority of these residents would no more appear before council or sign up for a committee than fly to the moon.  I vowed then and there if elected I would host monthly Community Conversations.  Which I began over a year ago.  On the first Saturday of every month I have booked a room at the White Rock library and invited residents to take advantage of conversing with me in a very relaxed and informal environment.  To be very honest council chambers everywhere are designed in my mind to give the look and feel of a court of law.  Not exactly an inviting design.

I do not feel slighted at all for the Peace Arch News omission that I have made every effort to afford residents an opportunity to be heard.  I invited the entire council, as I always felt it  should be open to all members of council.  As a result of extenuating circumstances that occurred between myself and the majority of my fellow council members, I was informed they would not be attending any of MY Community Conversations.  That is with the exception of councillor Helen Fathers.  Councilor Fathers has been a valued friend before I was elected and will always be a friend of mine whether or not the future holds another term for either of us.  Given Councilor Fathers was re-elected with the most votes out of any of the candidates, I would have to think her position is secure for another term when we go to the polis in 2018.

I have two words in response to the editorial and the critics of council conduct. 

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION.

The next community conversation will be Saturday April 02 @ 10 a.m. 

Come on in.  The water’s fine.

David Chesney
Publisher


 

 

March 03, 2016

 

Radio Committed Suicide

 

First  some backgrounder.  My father “Uncle Joe Chesney started British Columbia’s first 24 hour a day country music radio station in Langley in the early 60’s.  Prior to  owning his own radio station he was a disc jockey at CKNW and later CJOR hosting his popular afternoon drive show “Melody Ranch.”  Radio has always been a part of my life. 

It was a natural path for me to follow my father into radio.  Which I did.  My direct radio days ended when the legendary Real Roy Hennessey hired me to assume the music director duties at CKLG-FM in the late 70’s.   It was a wonderful ride that led me to a 14 year  career with CBS records. 

I will never know whether or not I would have the love for radio that I do have, had I chosen another road in life.  I can distinctly remember when I was elementary school I would go to bed early, just so I could lay awake and listen to the rock n’ roll songs pounding out of CFUN radio with Happy Pappy Dave McCormick the evening jock.  Damn I could close my eyes and image I was at the PNE as I listened to Freddy Cannon’s “Palisades Park.”

You see radio had the tunes.  Growing up in the wilds of North Surrey in the 50’s & 60’s it was THE ONLY option to hear music.  Later the Ed Sullivan show would take us into the magical world of the British music explosion.

In the 80’s when MTV went on the air (Music Television) their first day of broadcast kicked off with a song by the British group The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star.   The cry went out.  Radio is dead!


 

In the 80’s it might have been a tad early to order the casket.  No it did not happen overnight.  It was a slow death spiral.  As radio began to  see the great migration from AM to FM radio begin to disappear, in desperation they brought in consultants to save the day.  Consultant.  Derivative of con and insult.

Every single radio station in Vancouver and every major market across this great country, is now owned by one of 3 or 4 multi faceted corporations like Rogers and Bell.  The small independent voice has been silenced by  homogeneous nondescript radio stations controlled from ivory tower in another galaxy.  That is except for one sector of radio.  Ethnic broadcasters.

Surrey is home to a number of Indo Canadian radio signals.  They are now joined by a brand new English speaking radio station PULSE FM located at 107.7 on the radio dial.  Over the past decade as listeners to radio disappeared the corporations that own the said stations, in a desperate attempt to improve the bottom lines of their ledgers, they began to slash and burn by cutting staff.  

I can only imagine when PULSE FM put the word out they were launching an English speaking radio station for British Columbia’s second largest city (Surrey) the lineup must have stretched to downtown Vancouver.  I wish the new station all the luck in the world.  They will need it along with a bushel of hard work.  If launching The White Rock Sun (Canada’s  FIRST  Independent Newspaper 10 years ago) has taught me one thing, go local, go local until it hurts.  In today’s cyber world of a million signals and sources for information, the niche that is poorly served is “local.”  Lost pet announcements, community happenings, music from the kid down the street and overall reflect our communities back to us.

In large part the top radio stations in every market across North America is Talk radio.  I mean really, does radio still think only they have the tunes?  From in dash mp3 units to satellite radio and even old school compact disc players why the heck would you listen to radio for music alone.  Hell I know it is 7:15, I know it is sunny and I sure as hell know traffic is backed up on HWY 99, I AM SITTING IN IT!!

So today I salute Surrey’s new FM PULSE radio.  They have a shot at revolutionizing radio.  I know it is a long shot, but I have been watching and playing long shots all my life.

You see. They are the ones that pay off biggest.

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

February 25, 2016

Trump Is A Joke


Most people in my circle of friends and acquaintances thought DONALD TRUMP'S campaign for the president of the United States was nothing more than a joke. Is the joke now on us and the people of America?

I still don't buy it. TRUMP is playing "the media" like a violin. He knows shocking headlines get readers and listeners. Think of the DON HENLY song Dirty Laundry. "Get the widow on the set, we need dirty laundry." TRUMP must wake up in the morning fling open the proverbial campaign window and throw out a fresh meat for the media jackals to feed on. Perhaps it is wishful or fearful thinking that makes me believe when the rubber hits the road and our next door neighbours go into the poling station this November, TRUMP will not emerge victorious. Fingers crossed.

TRANSLINK had to go South of the Border to hire their most recent CEO KEVIN DESMOND. I hope to be able to get my welcoming letter off to him this weekend. IF you are a regular reader of THE SUN you will know how I feel about transit. Simply put, the people that design and operate it, don't use it. I will be urging MR. DESOMND to get out of his car for a month and use transit solely to get around. I hate to be defeatist but I think I know how the challenge is going to end. IN the past when I have proposed this option for understanding the woes of transit, I have been met with responses lime "Ha Ha I couldn't possibly use transit, I have places I have to be." Therein I believe lies the problem. If our Mayor WAYNE BALDWIN and his wife JANE had stood for up to a half an hour waiting for a community shuttle bus to come, only to see the readograph on the bus spelling out "Sorry bus full" you can bet there would be stomp table thumping and demands for Transit officials to get the ass out to White Rock to answer some hard pressing questions about the future of transit on The Peninsula. Also Mr. DESOMND will discover as I did this week when I purchased by ticket for the Canada Line in Richmond to downtown, that I was in fact traveling TWO ZONES and note one like the ticket I bought. Would you not think from Richmond to Vancouver it would be 1 zone? No, it is a two zone fare. So when I arrived at Granville City Centre and strolled up to the fare gates to nonchalantly swipe my COMPASS card, it denied me access to the outside world. I tried once again before I realized what had happened. I would have upgraded my fare ticket, but guess what. ALL the fare dispensers were on the other side of the gates I couldn't get through. . No problem I just waited for someone to come along and when they swiped their card I just exited with them. You can't make this up!

The Syrian refugees are back in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. Again I blame the media. IF we are to believe the story that is going around "The Syrians" are complaining that they do not have access to all of the things they were "promised." REBLE MEDIA hosted Ezra Levant out of Calgary tee'ed off this week and claimed the refugees that have arrived are far from refugees. His claim is they have been living in nice apartments for up to two years to be processed. Is it true? Well judging by the way all other media outlets backed away from this story, I think it is safe to say there is very little validity in the story. The once proud media, the Fifth Estate should hang their heads in shame. Their operations have been cut to the bone, they now have replaced accredited news reporters and researchers with TMZ trawling info gatherers. In their haste to be first, unknowingly they are now battling for worst on a a daily basis. Fact check? Go to hell, we go to air in two minutes.

....and finally it's here. The future. Over lunch this week with a friend visiting from The Big Smoke/Toronto he told me how this past weekend his daughter and son in law drove from their home in West Vancouver to Granville Island without touching the steering wheel. Yes they had the brand new Tesla to drive while their other Tesla was in for servicing. The family's journey traversed over highway and by-way and finally pulled up out front of my friend's condo on Granville Island. The Tesla which had the address programmed in cruised slowly along the street until it found a parking spot and parked itself. The future is here indeed.

Like DONALD TRUMP - I am just not ready for a self driving car. In fact I simply put, might not be ready for the future. I kind of like the present.

David Chesney

Publisher

 

February 11, 2016

Foreign Ownership

Real Estate signs on Victoria Avenue/White Rock

I don’t own a home in White Rock and short of winning Lotto 649 there is not much chance of that happening. 

Time to play the old could have, should have, would have.  Everyone has a story of a home they DIDN’T buy.  Mine is a home on the up slope of Marine Drive coming from East Beach (pictured below).  My wife and I in 1981 seriously considered purchasing the home which was listed for $54,000.00.  The home a rock solid 50’s style home still stands proudly with its over hanging eaves and set back window frames.  No leaker here.  The dirt alone for the lot I am guessing given other recent assessments is hovering in the $900,000.00 to $1,000.000.00 mark.

There is not a neighbourhood on the Semiahmoo Peninsula that does not have a large inventory of homes sitting vacant that have been purchased by off shore investors.  Personally I know two people living in the Elgin district of South Surrey  that are surrounded by numerous vacant homes that have now sat empty, in some cases for  years.  Canada is one of the few countries in the world that do not tax heavily off shore investors that simply purchase homes as an investment.

The idea of Canada Revenue Services possibly investigating the source of money being used by said off shore investors caused shock throughout the real estate market.  Would such a move of more diligent investigations of the source of money cause potential investors to park their money in another market?  Time will tell but since that first mention of the possibility of closer scrutiny by CRS we have not heard a single word. 

The plain and simple fact of the matter is I am doubtful any level of government would consider turning off this tap of potential cash flow into the economy.  It is not unlike the situation where casinos in the Lower Mainland have been investigated for allowing patrons of the casinos to drag hockey bags of money through the front doors of said casinos in a clear money laundering operation.  The Provincial government receives 75%+ of the revenue derived from gambling in British Columbia.  Hundreds of millions of dollars are then pumped back into local communities.  Do you really think this revenue source is going to come under closer scrutiny.

Over the past couple of years I am sure you have noticed the abundance of Asian realtors popping up across the White Rock/South Surrey landscape. It is now not uncommon to see said signs printed in Chinese.  There is a website that reflects the large Asian population on the Peninsula. www.chineseinwhiterock.com.  I heard from a very reliable source recently an off shore investor dropped $38,000,000.00 on real estate in White Rock in one afternoon.  Due to confidentiality concerns the source could not reveal to me what exactly the investor purchased, but the rumour mill also churned out the majority of Central Plaza was sold by one of the two owners of the landmark shopping centre on 16th avenue around the same time period.

We should welcome the influx of investment in our city.  If and when the major development that are on the books in White Rock, the city coffers will receive somewhere in the range of $20-$22 million dollars in CAC’S.

 (Community amenity contributions (CACs) – are negotiated amenity contributions agreed to by the applicant/developer and local government as part of a rezoning process initiated by the applicant/developer. CACs can take several forms including the provision of amenities, affordable housing and/or financial contributions towards amenities. The agreed-to CAC is obtained by the local government, if the local government decides to adopt the rezoning.

Some concern has been registered the Provincial Government may be stepping in to limit the amount of  CAC’S a city or municipality can collect sighting the Province believes the CAC’S are hidden costs that are driving up the real estate market. Don't get me started on that one that was buried in the Throne Speech delivered by the Liberals in Victoria on Tuesday. Premier Clark dodged and weaved around putting any kind of surtax or additional fees on offshore investors as recently as yesterday. Premier Clark did more than an about face on the Province getting tough on crooked real estate deals that may be involved in laundering tens of millions of ill begotten wealth. Read the whole story in yesterday's PROVINCE newspaper (click here)

The New York Times recently (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/us/us-will-track-secret-buyers-of-luxury-real-estate.html?_r=1) did a full length feature on the global problem of offshore investors. Concerned about illicit money flowing into luxury real estate, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that it would begin identifying and tracking secret buyers of high-end properties.

Your guess is as good as mine on where this will all end, but like all good things, it will come to an end.

D. Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

January 12, 2016

Goodbye Robin

 

Goodbye Robin

In the past two weeks I have lost two friends to cancer.  Many of you will nod your head and silently say “Welcome to the club.”

In fact I am a member in good standing having lost by wife to cancer 6 years ago.

I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my friend Robin following his diagnosis.  His form of cancer spread very quickly.  Within 3 months he left us.  On my subsequent visits to spend time with Robin, if for no other reason than to just get his mind off of his daily routine, we would talk about a lot of things.  Our friendship goes back to our days in junior high school in North Surrey. The milestones were many.

One of the feelings I wanted to impart to Robin was the conclusion I came to as my wife slowly deteriorated.  I said “Robin don’t ever lose sight of the fact you are one of the lucky ones.  You will have many conversations with your wife Shelagh.  You will have a last kiss and a final squeeze of the hand as you step through the curtain of life.”  I know this because at the time of my late wife’s sickness I did not fully embrace this thought.  You become engrossed in the minute details of daily routines you fall into.  

When a loved one passes there is no one size fits all.  I would never ever tell anyone in this situation “I know how you feel." B.S.” we don’t know how anyone feels, we can only imagine how we would feel in that situation.

On one my trips to visit Robin I ibrough him a jar of homemade soup for him and Shelagh to enjoy.  As I was aware one of the first things that is affected is the appetite of someone who is ill.  I also harkened back to the days following my wife’s passing when friends and neighbours would turn up at my door, not knowing what to say or do, they all came armed with a container of homemade soup.  I smiled each time I opened the fridge door and did a headcount of the various soups and the loved one associated with them.   Perhaps  one day I will write a book about that experience.  I will call it - THEY BROUGHT SOUP.

If you are reading this and are in the throws of losing a loved one or recovering from a loss I would like to offer you two pieces of guidance that helped my recovery.

1. My good friend Larry Anschell gave me a book called  WALKING  YOUR BLUES AWAY – How to heal the mind and create emotional well being. Larry knew I loved to walk and this beautiful thoughtful gift became a large portion of my road to recorvery.

2. My second piece of advice is to contact the White Rock/South Surrey  Hospice Society.       www.whiterockhospice.org

Shelagh & Robin

Robin passed away in the comfort of his home with his wife Shelagh and her sister Becky at his bedside.  It is funny how sometimes you simply get a feeling about something.  I woke early Monday morning around my usual time of 5 a.m. and laid in bed for a few minutes to take stock of the inventory of my life, somehow I got the feeling, today was the day Robin would set sail.  Within hours we heard from Shelagh in fact Robin had slipped away.

 

Shortly after Robin passed over Monday morning at 8 a.m. Shelagh posted this picture on her FACEBOOK. The sunrise @ 8 am this morning taken by Mark Heide..you went out with a beautiful sunrise Robin Peter Richards

I will never beable to look at the sun coming up behind Mount Baker and not think about Robin and all the good times.

Please do me a favour. Hug your babies today tighter and longer than you normally would.

DAVID CHESNEY

PUBLISHER

 

 

December 23, 2015

2015 The Year That Was

 

It is time to close the book and chapter on the past year of my life.  My first year as an elected official was not without its challenges.
I did not  enter into 2015 with my rose coloured glasses on.  Far from it.
On election night November 2014 as Councillor HELEN FATHERS and I congratulated each other in the council chambers where we had watched the returns.  I distinctly remember commenting to Councillor FATHERS, “Based on the election results” we better make  couple of friends or it is going to be a long year.
No friends.  Long year.  I wish I could tell you I believe 2016 is going to be different.  Sadly I do not possess that optimism.  I  have and will continue to try to develop a better rapport with Mayor Baldwin and the Coalition Council.  Wish me luck.
The COALITION won fair and square.  Their election campaign was financed by developers.  As were the campaigns of most councils throughout the Lower Mainland.  They have the hammer.  They have a vision and I don’t have any information before me today, that would indicate their direction to continue to build out and up to satisfy their financial supporters, is going to change.
In a short 12 months we have in my humble opinion, shot ourselves in the foot on no less than four separate occasions. To wit.

  1. Multi family & commercial waste removal.

  2. Clear cutting of The Hump

  3. Rezoning of EPCOR Oxford property in the middle of the creation of a new OCP.

  4. The purchase of the water utility back from EPCOR.

I wish I was at liberty to discuss some of the aforementioned topics.  Unfortunately due to the fact the vast majority of the water deal has been conducted IN CAMERA I am unable to even discuss this matter.  Rest assured though, this is far from over.  In the coming months in 2016 at some point the water purchase will be made public.  I can confirm we have been pushing hard from inside to ensure what can be shared with the community is under review.  Stay tuned.

I still firmly believe we have a golden opportunity to create a community that is the envy of our neighbours in the Vancouver Fraser Valley footprint.  I mean, for crying out loud we live AT THE BEACH.  To put things in perspective never lose sight of the fact if everyone in White Rock went to a Canucks game, we would only account for only slightly above the capacity of the arena.  Our land mass is two square miles.  We are on top of each other.  Turn around in a circle and you can pretty much talk to at least four of your neighbours.

So what is holding us back?  B.S. that’s what.  I am much like the proverbial square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  The amount of wasted navel gazing, committee striking and report reading and shelving is staggering.  No wonder nothing ever gets done.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I know my LEAD/FOLLOW/or get THE HECK OUT OF THE WAY is not how the typical mode of governance occurs.  Is there not a middle ground?  Somewhere there must be a happy medium.


I hope 2016 brings happiness to each and everyone of us.

Let's work together for OUR CITY BY THE SEA


Councillor Chesney

 

 

 

DECEMBER 09, 2015

MEET THE SUCCULENT SEVEN


Definition

Rich in desirable qualities, affording mental nourishment

 

Monday evening the regular meeting of White Rock council also included a Public Hearing into the rezoning of the piece of property currently owned by EPCOR water utility at the top of the Oxford Hill near Thrift avenue in White Rock.


In a nutshell the rezoning of said property allow high density development would mean a $12 million dollar lift to EPCOR from the developer should the project be given the green light by the majority of council.


I have attended a number of Public Forums as a  regular citizen n the past.  This would be my maiden voyage sitting at the front of the room with the mayor and my fellow councillors.  We were cautioned to arrive at said meeting with an open mind and set our personal preferences aside. 
For the next four and a half hours everyone and anyone (not just White Rock residents) would be afforded the opportunity to address council and identify their opposition or support for the project.  Speaker after speaker stepped up to the microphone and identified where their residence was located and then proceeded to make their case. 


I found without exception those that spoke in opposition to the project had White Rock addresses.  Conversely it seemed a large number of the supporters did not in fact live in White Rock.  Not a problem.  Those are the rules.


What I did find interesting was in large part we were addressed as a group.  Something that certainly does not apply to council, other than in name.  We do not  conduct business as a group.  Councillor Fathers , Mayor Baldwin and I sit as independents.  Councillors SINCLAIR, MEYER, LAWRENCE and KNIGHT were all elected on a slate/coalition.  This fact seemed to cause some residents concern in that the aforementioned coalition had accepted $12,000.00 from the owners of said development we would be adjudicating on.  Again.  No harm no foul, that is the law.  Though some may feel there is a conflict of interest, the law governing civic government does not agree with that stance.  There is no conflict for an elected official to take thousands of dollars to support their election campaign from developers and then pass judgement on the validity of future development applications that come before council for approval.  I didn’t make the rules.


It has now been well documented here and in the Peace Arch News when it came time for the vote on the project, the vote went down 5-2 in favour of  the developer Elegant’s application to have the property in question carved out of the existing  zoning and moved to high density.  Councillor Fathers and myself voted in opposition.  Councillors SINCLAIR, MEYER, LAWRENCE, KNIGHT and Mayor Baldwin voted to approve the project. 


What was most interesting on a personal note was the passion in some of the speakers for and against.  As a sitting councilor I felt I owed each and every speaker my undivided attention when they spoke.  As a result one spends a considerable amount of time reading the faces of the audience to pass the time. 


I could not help but being attracted to a number of residents and their mannerisms as they waited to speak.  Some shifting in nervousness of having to speak in public, which the stats say generally ranks right up there with a root canal to most people.


In particular I had a perfect line of sight to an elderly couple that were sitting close to the front of the room.  They had an ongoing running conversation after each speaker.  I am sorry I did not get the gentleman’s name as the speaker list went by very quickly, but all of a sudden the gentleman heard his name called and he made his way to the microphone.  He laid out his notes on the podium and prepared to deliver his thoughts.  He began his speech by addressing all of council as THE SUCCULENT SEVEN.  I will be very honest up to that point I only referenced the term succulent to a certain style of plant that I have had great success in killing. The gentleman was very well spoken. He like so many other speakers before him the speaker felt the rezoning of the property could well be tied to the EPCOR water sale. If council did not rezone the property to allow Elegant's development to proceed would EPCOR be out the 12 million dollar asking price for the piece of prime real estate?

Following the vote the expected elation from the YES side and the dejection from the NO side was fairly palatable as I moved through the crowd on my way out. The NO side felt the vote only added to their concern about the direction of city hall for the future.

A little voice in the back of my head was paraphrasing the popular Canadian anthem by the rock group TROOPER.

 

If you don't like what you've got, Why Don't You Change It. If your world is all screwed up, re-arrange it.

Raise A Little Hell.

 

David Chesney

Publisher White Rock Councillor

White Rock City Councillor

 

 

 

November 19, 2015

Refuge for Refugees

 

I am confident I have mentioned before  in this space that I proudly donate my time to  local group in White Rock called FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY.


FRIENDS OF THE FAMILY basically was born out the desire by two ladies TAMMY RITCHIE and LORI ISHIKAWA to make our community stronger.  TAMMY & LORI were amongst the driving force behind White Rock’s NITE OF HOPE which raised a great deal of money for Breast Cancer research.  When that endeavour grew to the size that it was almost becoming  full time job, the organizers folded the local evening into Richmond’s Nite of Hope.


Still wanting to help build our community TAMMY & LORI somehow came up with the idea to help refugees with furnishings, household goods, basics for babies and a little gift certificate to help get their pantry set up.  When I first began helping the third and not so silent partner in this endeavour was TAMMY’S husband JOE.  We hit it off immediately and I am thankful for the friendship that our meeting has blossomed into.  Since then we have seen the crew expand to include FRASER, KEES, JAY, LORNE and a couple of other “lifters” who’s names escape me right now.
Through our efforts I have seen first hand what a difference just a few people and a big truck courtesy of Hallmark Carpets in Hillcrest Mall, can make.  I can’t begin to describe the feeling I encounter when we roll up to our destination and start unloading, lamps, dining room tables, beds, televisions, stereos, pots and pans and simple things like tea towels, bedding, towels etc.


In talking with their case workers the refugees we deal with, who are mainly housed in low rent apartments in the back of  Whalley and over  on 128th street in Surrey almost immediately become fully engaged citizens of their new country.   I expect many of the refugees (projected to be 900 in Surrey) we are taking in from Syria will end up in these two areas.  Sadly every time I hear about another shooting in Newton I hold my breath as without exception the majority of the shootings occur along the track we travel when delivering to the refugees.


The alarmists are pounding the tribal drums that by so quickly accepting so many refugees the government may not be doing due diligence in vetting the refugees.  I say we take our chances.  I don’t believe for a moment members of ISIS will be arriving here under the guise of being refugees.  If I understand the story of ISIS correctly they are consumed with creating a new home for their movement in Syria and Iraq.


Is there a chance some members of ISIS will slip into Canada.  The odds are slim and I am prepared to take those odds. 
And welcome the Syrians with open arms.

As the horror of the details of the mass shootings in Paris filtered out here are some of the headlines that caught my eye.

David Chesney

Publisher

 

Read GWYNNE DYER'S full editorial from the GEORGIA STRAIGHT on the Syrian refugees - CLICK HERE

Would you like to help?

ISS of BC is the organization that is providing boots on the ground services to help refugees to Canada. Learn more information.

(click here)

The TYEE has posted n excellent background article on the process for the arrival of the Syrian refugees. (read it here)

 

November 12, 2015

Remembering Remembrance Day

As I was finishing my morning coffee yesterday I happened to look at my FACEBOOK account and I saw a posting from one of my favourite local singers PAT CHESSELL.  I will post the link at the end of this story.  Basically the song stopped me dead in my tracks when Pat related the inspiration and story behind “Waltzing Matilda.”


I don’t think I have ever missed a Remembrance Day ceremony in my life.  I can still feel those itchy wool socks held up by garters lighting my calves up as I stood silently with the rest of my Cub Pack at the Whalley Legion ceremony.  It wasn’t until many years later I came to witness the gathering of the clan inside the Legion post Remembrance service.   The two local legions pray to have crowds on a regular basis, like they see on Remembrance Day.


White Rock is in possession of a wonderful grassy area which surrounds the city’s cenotaph.  The topography of the area affords visitors a perfect opportunity to gather in a semi circle round the cenotaph.  If you are a regular reader of the White Rock Sun, you will know we are all about friends, neighbours and the desire to bring our community together.


Yesterday due to an appointment with a constituent who resides in the are of city hall, I arrive a little earlier than usual.  Even at 10:30 there was a large crowd that had already gathered.  It did my heart good as the crowd mixed and mingled and exchanged pleasantries.    I thought how wonderful it would be if we could entice these same people to come together in such numbers for other occasions hosted in our city.


New this year to our Remembrance Day ceremonies were RCMP officers in the crowd who were carrying rifles.  One veteran of the Afghanistan war leaned over to me and said “That’s the same rifle we used in Afghanistan.”  I assume give the tragic shooting of the Armed Forces reserve guarding the war Memorial no less in Ottawa  has brought about the increased security.


There are roughly 75,000 veterans still living who served in  the Second World War .  Their average age is 91.  In our lifetime there will be none. 
Thankfully the tradition of gathering together on Remembrance Day looks to be in good health.

As promised I close this week's edition with a beautiful rendition of "Waltzing Matilda." Until I read PAT CHESSEL'S story behind the song I had no idea of its origin. Yesterday and perhaps in the future as I honour our fallen heroes, this song will be running through my mind.


 

Waltzing Matilda is a song written by Scottish-born Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle. The song is an account of a young Australian soldier who is injured at the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

David Chesney/ Publisher

 

November 05, 2015

How Can I Miss You

...if you won't go away

 

While sitting visiting with  friend this past week, he managed to muster up enough fortitude to divulge to  a table of his peers “The kid is moving back home.”
The kid?  I thought your son was in his 20’s, late twenties at that, said one of the lunch committee members.  “Yes he is 27.”
Times have changed.


Being a proud baby boomer I can attest that along with all my peers, we couldn’t wait to move out and get our own place.  It had nothing to do with not loving our parents.  Far from it.  We simply felt the need for independence.  Time to get on with our lives.  Fly the proverbial coop.
Young people these days do not feel the need.  As kids we dreamt of owning our own car, getting our own joint, playing the stereo until the wee small hours of the morning.  The ability to come and go as we liked.  My first vehicle was  1955 Vauxhall which did not have a key to start it, you simply pushed  button on the dash.  The ignition had been wired to be permanently on.  It made some embarrassing moments coming out of a bar late at night only to find my car was missing.  Usually absconded  by someone who knew the push button secret.


I personally moved out of my parent’s home when I was 18 right out of high school.  My first abode was above the Langley glass Shop n the late 60’s.  The two room flat consisted of two rooms with the washroom down the hall.  Home sweet home.


Nowadays I get the distinct impression most young kids have no hopes of owning their own car unless Mom and Dad buy them one or hand them down the family vehicle.  Getting married, owning a home perhaps having a family?  Yes, like that is going to happen.

Here is an interesting link.  Granted it is from an American publication but I think you would be hard pressed to disagree with the statistics.


http://www.lifezette.com/momzette/spoiled-teens-tune-out/?utm_content=buffer7bfec&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=laura_ingraham_buffer

 

This is the generation that will soon be running the world.

How confident are you? You're the expert.

 

It's You World Now by The Eagles

A perfect day, the sun is sinking low
As evening falls the gentle breezes blow
The time we shared went by so fast
Just like a dream we knew it couldn't last

But I'd do it all again if I could somehow
But I must be leaving soon, it's your world now

It's your world now, my race is run
I'm moving on like the setting sun
No sad goodbyes, no tears allowed
You'll be alright, it's your world now

Even when we are apart
You'll always be in my heart
When dark clouds appear in the sky
Remember true love never dies

But first a kiss, one glass of wine
Just one more dance while there's still time
My one last wish, someday you'll see
How hard I tried and how much you meant to me

It's your world now, use well the time
Be part of something good, leave something good behind
The curtain falls, I take my bow
That's how it's meant to be, it's your world now
It's your world now, it's your world now.

Publisher / David Chesney

 

 

October 22, 2015

Good Thing WE Had a Plan B

Not having the benefit of cable TV in the home, my Cariboo Queen and I settled in to watch CBC live streaming on YOUTUBE Monday evening to watch the election results come in.  It was déjà vu all over again.  At precisely 6:50 p.m. PST - PETER MANSBRIDGE broke into the broadcast to inform all of Canada we had elected a Liberal government.  The local polls would be closing in 10 minutes.  More on that later.


Now all we had to do is wait to see what was going to happen in our riding of South Surrey/White Rock.  And wait we did.  Time dragged on, the crawl across our television brought us the results of God knows where in Eastern Canada.  The west coast results? Who cares? Certainly not anyone at CBC Toronto. 


I worked for a large multi-national record company (CBS Records) for over a decade in the 80’s/90’s.  The west coast accounted for 12-15% of the total music sales in Canada.  The decisions on the priorities for the company were based on the Ontario and Quebec market.  Frustrating yes, but the reality was that portion of Canada accounts for over 50% of ANYTHING in Canada. 


Ontario has 106 seats in Parliament.  Add that to the Quebec total of 75 and that total of 182.  There are 338 seats total in our federal parliamentary framework. British Columbia  has a mere 36 seats.  A tad under 10%.


The best part about the equation is also the worst part.  At the end of the day don’t kid yourself into believing anyone in Ottawa gives a rat’s ass about us.  And that might not be a bad thing.  We used to have a saying at CBS records.  “We are three hours behind and in no hurry to catch up.”  Our isolation was also our saviour.


My good friend KATHERINE MONK (movie reviewer/film maker extrodinaire) called me up a number of years ago and invited me to be her guest for a media event.  The then publisher of the satirical political magazine FRANK was speaking at the Vancouver Media Club.  Being a big fan of FRANK MAGAZINE I was very interested in hearing his speech.  At the end of his speech the Publisher said “Let’s throw it out to the floor for any questions.”  A gentlemen rose in the back of the room and said “I am just wondering why given all the wild a crazy antics of politicians in British Columbia, why does FRANK magazine seemingly ignore what is going on in British Columbia?”  Without a nanosecond of hesitation the publisher said “We don’t care about you.”  BINGO!  An Easterner finally said it.


Locally it was a nail biter with Liberal candidate JUDY HIGGINBOTHAM nipping at the heels of Conservative candidate DIANNE LYNN WATTS.   Well if your were only getting updates every 15-20 minutes it was a nail biter.  WATTS went on to win as predicted.  Given the fact RUSS “The Ghost” HIEBERT pulled down over 50% of the votes in this riding the last election everyone including WATTS  felt this would be a slam dunk.  The red tide of Liberal support almost swept South Surrey/White Rock.  How close would it have been had HIGGINBOTHAM had the full some odd 78 days to go head to head with WATTS?  Well we will never know.


Congratulations to MS. WATTS.  It is going to be a long and lonely 4 years on the back bench in Ottawa.  Flying back and forth to Ottawa on a weekly basis will be hell on MS. WATTS health. 

It is a long flight to Ottawa.  It is a short walk across the House of Commons floor.


D. Chesney
Publisher

 

Here is a complete list from Elections Canada of all the various political parties that participated in the 2015 election.


Leading
(Electoral Districts)
%of electoral districts Bar graph of percentage of electoral districts Number of votes %of Votes Bar graph of percentage of votes
Animal Alliance/Environment Voters 0 0.0 %
1,761 0.0 %
ATN 0 0.0 %
136 0.0 %
Bloc Québécois 10 3.0 %
818,652 4.7 %
Canada Party 0 0.0 %
270 0.0 %
CAP 0 0.0 %
429 0.0 %
Christian Heritage Party 0 0.0 %
15,284 0.1 %
Communist 0 0.0 %
4,382 0.0 %
Conservative 99 29.3 %
5,600,496 31.9 %
Democratic Advancement 0 0.0 %
1,187 0.0 %
Forces et Démocratie - Allier les forces de nos régions 0 0.0 %
8,298 0.0 %
Green Party 1 0.3 %
605,864 3.4 %
Independent 0 0.0 %
40,879 0.2 %
Liberal 184 54.4 %
6,930,136 39.5 %
Libertarian 0 0.0 %
37,407 0.2 %
Marxist-Leninist 0 0.0 %
9,105 0.0 %
NDP-New Democratic Party 44 13.0 %
3,461,262 19.7 %
No Affiliation 0 0.0 %
9,026 0.0 %
PACT 0 0.0 %
90 0.0 %
PC Party 0 0.0 %
4,472 0.0 %
Pirate 0 0.0 %
906 0.0 %
Radical Marijuana 0 0.0 %
1,626 0.0 %
Rhinoceros 0 0.0 %
7,349 0.0 %
Seniors Party 0 0.0 %
158 0.0 %
The Bridge 0 0.0 %
121 0.0 %
United Party 0 0.0 %
57 0.0 %

Polls Reporting: 73,451 of 73,568 (99.84 %)

Voter Turnout: 17,559,353 of 25,638,379 registered electors (68.49 %) -- does not include electors who registered on election day.

 

 

October 15, 2015

 

The figures for the advance voting this past weekend are in, and if one can believe the figures, there is going to be a massive turnout for Monday’s federal election.  Three and a half million people turned out to cast their vote early.  This is a 70% increase from the 2011 federal election.
I am not sure I believe that assertion.  Many  people I talked to who voted over the weekend told me they just simply couldn’t wait to put an X beside the candidate they feel will best represent the South Surrey/White Rock riding. 


The turnout for the ALL CANDIDATE meetings has been very strong.  Last night’s Southridge School and last week’s United Church in White Rock ALL CANDIDATE MEETINGS drew close to 300 people.  The other ALL CANDIDATES meeting I attended at the Zion Church meeting last week also drew a at capacity crowd.


All of the meetings are very controlled.  There is no microphone at the back of the room where members of the audience can simply step up and direct a question to any candidate they wish to have answer  specific question.  The Zion church meeting was specifically focused on homelessness and housing.  Organizers of that meeting also asked the audience to hold all applause until the end of the evening.  Eliminating ones ability to get  any sense of the support for various candidates .


Tuesday’s Southridge school did not have the same restriction.  The  audience seemed equally split in their support for Liberal candidate JUDY HIGGINBOTHAM and Conservative candidate  DIANNE WATTS. 


Having attended three ALL CANDIDATES meetings  a pattern has emerged.  Many in attendance felt Green Party candidate LARRY COLERO was the best prepared and best spoken candidate t the meetings.  Despite his efforts all of the people I talked with have said basically the same thing.  This is not the election where we can afford a Green vote. 


One must remember we do not vote for the Prime Minister in Canada.  When it was announced the Conservatives had secured former Surrey mayor DIANNE WATTS as their local candidate most politicos felt it would be insurmountable for any candidate to knock off “Queen Dianne.”   
Liberal candidate JUDY HIGGINBOTHAM came into the race late when the Liberal leadership felt their original candidate JOY DAVIES stance on medical marijuana  conflicted with their national stance.  Not so much in principle but simply put some of DAVIES personal statements on the use of medical marijuana collided with the national program.  HIGGINBOTHAM has years of experience on Surrey council,  many with DIANNE WATTS as a fellow councilor.  A formidable opponent.


PIXIE HOBBY a first time candidate has done an excellent job but it would be a long shot to think there will be an “orange crush” spreading across our riding. 


The advance polling clearly put the Liberals ahead of the Conservative.  Ever so slightly.  The NDP is not far back or in some polls actually showing the NDP in some cases sitting in second place.


Polls schmolls.  If you are topping the polls you think they are  a valid reflection of the electorate.  Personally I don’t have any confidence in advance polls.  Let’s not forget the so called polling experts had the recent civic election up in Surrey pegged as a dead heat three way race between DOUG McCALLUM/BARINDER RASHODIE and LINDA HEPNER.  HEPNER won with a landslide doubling her two opponents vote count.


Monday we will know which party will form the federal government.  I can only hope YOU will exercise your democratic right by casting YOUR vote.


D.Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

October 08, 2015


 

In case you missed it let’s start by reviewing THE MERCER REPORT.

I have been a fan of MERCER dating back to his days on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.   His ability to inject humour into cutting criticism is what makes him relevant in my world.  It is impossible for me to remember a time one of his rants did not hit the nail right on the head. The topic in the video is the much talked about topic of what will it take to engage youth in our voting process?


One should not confuse America’s ROCK THE VOTE and the recent STORM THE DORM movement here in Canada to get the youth vote out, as having any association with a particular political party.  These are grass roots organizations with no political alliances.


NO POLITICAL PARTY is looking to encourage a mass of the great-unwashed IE; the youth to enter into the voting paradigm.  They cannot be controlled and after all, that is what every election is about for any party.  Who can best get out THEIR supporters.  Right now there is no pattern to study so no one including all the election strategists can get any idea on how the majority of the youth would vote.  The Liberals have come out and said, “Elect us and we will cut tuition fees.”  The Greens have said they put some form of student loon forgiveness program in place.


The Council of Canadians who recently organized a cross Canada push on a number of campuses to get the student vote out came up short on their online registration to get 10,000 students to make a pledge to vote.  All they had to do was type in their name and they would be registered. The desire of the Council of Canada was to simply have 10,000 young people register.   The response?  793 students actually took the time to enter their name.  Less than 10% could even bother to perform that simple task.


In our riding of South Surrey/White Rock the Conservatives won their seat in 2011 with 32% of the vote that turned out.  The sad part of that equation  was that was virtually the same number of residents (34%) who did not even bother to vote.

A number of Canadian singer songwriters have penned and filmed videos of GET HARPER OUT themed performances. In large part the appeal of said artists do not appeal to youth. Where are DRAKE & JUSTINE BIEBER?

If you really want to get the youth vote out, try this simple solution.

Promise free IPHONES to everyone between the ages of 18-25 if they can make it down to a polling station.

Then stand back and see the cavalcade of young voters heading for the polls on October 19!

D.Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

 

October 01, 2015

 

Last week the Union of British Colombia Municipalities (UBCM) hosted their annual convention at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. Representatives from 189 communities and 6 first nations assembled to discuss the current affairs of local government as well as to vote on and pass resolutions that ill be put forth to the two senior levels of government. More on that.

Hundreds of mayors and councillors from throughout the Province were in attendance to renew old relationships and develop new alliances. A full complement of White Rock council was in attendance. In that this was my first conference I operated to a certain extent as an observer. Roughly 50% of the attendees were first time councillors or first time mayors. The 2014 civic elections saw a massive turn over in the make up of councils throughout the Province. As a result I did not witness a great deal of "Hello Fred, how are things in Omaha?" a typical greeting at most other conventions I have participated in.

Prior to the convention the City of White Rock had arranged a series of private ( all be it very short) meetings with Provincial representatives to discuss the possibility of relocation of the rail line from our waterfront, financial aid for necessary work and expense we will incur from climate change and its negative effects on our waterfront, in particular East Beach. We also have formally requested the Province's financial aid for support in our acquisition of our own water source this year. All of the meetings were adjourned with a promise to meet again in the future. Our MLA GORDON HOGG helped broker these private meetings and was in attendance with our council.

The days were long with speakers delivering their messages to huge ballrooms full of participants. The days were also dotted with breakout meetings where the participants were able to discuss various topics. Of the many breakout meetings I attended I was particularly impressed with two topis. Medical marijuana and how cities in particular Vancouver are currently dealing with the matter. TONIA WINCHESTER a U.S. lawyer who worked for a citizen's coalition to legalize marijuana, pointed to parallels with Vancouver's current situation, noting Seattle began issuing business licenses to control the spread of illegal pot shops. WINCHESTER clearly identified Vancouver was a perfect test market for issuing medical marijuana. And possibly the eventual legalization, the route Washington State followed. White Rock is currently dealing with a request for a business license for a medical marijuana dispensary. Close to 200 residents of White Rock and South Surrey currently use the drug to deal with a variety of medical issues.

The other breakout meeting that resonated with me was "Engaging your Community." This was far and away this meeting was the best attended that I saw on the schedule. It is obviously a hot topic for the newly elected. It makes sense. The round table discussions produced a variety of interesting options. I took the opportunity to discuss the origin and the current state of my "Community Conversations." I was excited to see such a positive response from those in attendance. Locally the monthly community meetings have not met with as much enthusiasm from my fellow council members outside of councillor HELEN FATHERS, who herself takes advantage of being the manager of the White Rock Farmers Market, to engage and speak with members of our community on a regular basis. I have subsequently been contacted by a number of councillors to discuss further the format and pros and cons of engaging your community.

The membership passed hundreds of resolutions through electronic voting (yes or no). I must say I couldn't help but feeling like a bunch of kids sitting around setting out demands they were going to make to Mom and Dad when they got home. "O.K. so we are going to ask for double our allowance, we want to stay up until midnight and we don't ever want to see anything green on our plates. Everyone agree, show of hands. Great we will present these to Mom and Dad when they arrive." I think you can imagine how that would end. Laughter or grounded. For instance overwhelmingly the membership of the UBCM passed a resolution to allow on line voting in 2018 when we have our next civic election. The move would need the approval of the Provincial government. I saw a number of media outlets pick up the story and basically pass it off as faite de complete! Shortly after the vote during a recess I had the opportunity to speak to an MLA in attendance. "What do you think our chances are of online voting being passed by the Province?" The MLA smiled and said "None. We have already decided there will be no online voting in 2018 in British Columbia."

I can only hope all of the passed resolutions don't suffer the same fate.

The convention also provided me an opportunity to hear Premier CLARK address the convention. Outside of the odd news flash like most British Columbians, I had not had the opportunity to see or hear how she fared as a public speaker. I would definitely give her a passing grade. She seemed very passionate in her speaking and for the most part her speech came across more as a conversation as opposed to a lecture.

D. Chesney

Publisher/White Rock Councillor

 

 

September 17, 2015

Battle Cry

At the conclusion of this past Monday's White Rock council meeting, it was announced TEXOR HOMES a local development company, had withdrawn their application to build a 15 storey tower at the intersection of Nichol Road and North Bluff (140 st @ 16 avenue).

Had there been more than a lone protestor left in chambers there most likely would have been a huge roar of approval from the multitude that had packed the chambers earlier in the evening. The crowd of protestors had descended on city hall calling for White Rock mayor WAYNE BALDWIN to step aside following remarks he had made in a Letter to the Editor regarding how many more residents White Rock was in his words "legally bound" to accept under METRO VANCOUVER'S population projections for the next 25 years. (see story below)

The area surrounding the city's currently clearly defined town centre has been under pressure of late with a sizeable number of development permit requests being submitted to White Rock's planning department. All of these requests to build high-rise towers do not fit into the city's current Official Community Plan For this reason a large number of very vocal locals have besieged council and the mayor with a constant stream of emails and phone calls to register their disappointment in the direction they see their city heading.

The TEXOR TOWER was unique in that it seemed to inflame a whole new sector of White Rock's residents. Those living on the west side of White Rock cried out in anger when they heard of the proposed tower in their neighbourhood. Most felt it had no place so far away from the designated town centre. Some felt a couple of blocks was one thing but clearly nearly 10 blocks from the city centre just wasn't going to fly.

The location at Nichol and North Bluff has been the subject of at least two other proposals that were turned down by the previous council. Those developments were not for a tower but townhouses and or homes with carriage houses. Both were defeated. Neither of the previous defeated proposals were from TEXOR. According to the owners of TEXOR this would have been their first foray into building in White Rock. The sale of the land was contingent to council's approval so it remains to be seen if TEXOR moves on or reinvents a design they feel will fit better into the neighbourhood.

The tribal drums of the protestors are beating loud and clear claiming victory for those that oppose densification outside of the city's town centre. They also were buoyed by the statement from KAREN COOPER the Director Planning and Development  for White Rock that the downsized projections of population growth would mean White Rock now only had to project accommodating 3500 new residents over the coming years as opposed to the previously projected 7,000. COOPER stated the lowered number would put pressure on the existing town centre to absorb the increased in population.

What will this mean to the three development applications of two 12 storey towers on Thrift @ Oxford and the twenty one and twenty four storey towers on Oxford?

Your guess is as good as mine but I believe we can rest assured the current group of residents wishing to see densification corralled in the Official Community Plan's town centre, continue their pressure and presence to continue.

D. Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

September 03, 2015

Two Different Tales of Towers

Our small seaside community is reeling as development permit applications pop up across the landscape. Applications for 12 storeys, 7 storeys, six storeys and 15 storeys have all appeared in the past month. With the exception of one application (the six storey proposed by AVRA) in the actual town centre, all other applications are clearly outside of the designated town centre in our Official Community Plan.

City staff and certain members of council support Mayor Baldwin's assertion the Official Community Plan is simply a guideline.

As criticism of the rapid push to develop outside of the OCP's town centre, Mayor Baldwin decided last week to put proverbial pen to paper and issue an email to the Peace Arch News (below).

The response from residents taking Mayor Baldwin to task was immediate. A number of letters and statements began to circulate through social media.

 

Reprinted from Letters To The Editor - Peace Arch News/August 31, 2015

Legally obligated to grow


It would be useful for the people of White Rock to understand the connection between the Regional Growth Strategy and the Official Community Plan (OCP).
To begin with, White Rock is a member of Metro Vancouver (MV) and, as such, is required by provincial law to operate within the restrictions of the approved Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). One aspect of the RGS is that each municipality must take its share of the forecast growth within the region.
It is forecast that there will be one million more people in MV by 2041. White Rock’s share of that is about 7,000. With our present demographic, that will require approximately 4,000 new dwelling units.
The RGS requirements were approved by a previous council in March 2011 and incorporated into the RGS when it was approved by the Metro Board in July 2011.
This is the law and we must follow it, and the numbers must be incorporated into the amended OCP.
This growth will be gradual over the next quarter century. White Rock has the lowest growth rate in the region. This is unlikely to change.
It will be up to council, with the advice of staff and input of our citizens, to determine how best to accommodate the number of housing units required within the allowable area. The final decision will have to include the consideration of many factors, including usage, density, building height, lot coverage/green space, view blockage, tree retention, transportation corridors and infrastructure requirements.


In the end, some tough choices will have to be made for the overall good of the community.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin, White Rock

 

Third term councillor Helen Fathers submitted the following letter to The White Rock Sun as well as to the Peace Arch News.

Dear Editor;

I have been copied on Mayor Baldwins letter to the Editor Re : Regional Growth Strategy.

As Members of Council we are advised by the City Lawyer to only write to the "Letters to the Editor" page under extreme circumstances or to correct information.

The Regional Growth Strategy clearly states on page 68 footnote 1:
"The projections are to assist in long range planning and are guidelines only. "

There are no measures nor policing techniques to enforce compliance with a document that is meant as a tool to help Metro Vancouver's Member Municipalities plan cities. It should be used as intended; to help support housing polices, transportation issues and environmental concerns.

As with all Bylaws and Policies they are up for interpretation. Mayor Baldwins interpretation of the Regional Growth Strategy in my opinion supports his penchant for densification of our City and his inability to listen to our residents who are clearly saying " No. No. No ! ."

Helen Fathers
Councillor City of White Rock

 

Read the PEACE ARCH NEWS front page story in response to MAYOR BALDWIN'S claims (click here)

 

 

 

August 27, 2015

The Lypka Letter(s)

Dennis Lypka White Rock Civic Election November 2014

 

It is well documented the number of times I ran for White Rock council, before successfully winning a seat this past November. Over the campaigns I have had the pleasure of encountering a wide variety of fellow candidates.

This past November (2014) DENNIS LYPKA a former executive with BC Rail put his name forth for the 2014 civic election. Our paths crossed almost immediately. It seemed no matter where I was door knocking or main streeting, there he was. I was duly impressed with his commitment and the support of his wife who was never more than a foot or two from his side throughout the campaign.

In short order we were heading down the friendship trail. I am proud to call DENNIS my friend.

Normally when an election is over, the vast majority of would be candidates simply fade to black and disappear into the woodwork. But not DENNIS LYPKA. He remained fully engaged. Despite losing he dragged the city of White Rock into Provincial court over the development/expansion of the Evergreen Care Home.

I am not sure how I would categorize DENNIS. The city's conscience? The official opposition?

What I do know is he possesses an innate ability to compose the most on point - fact supported letters to the various departments at White Rock city hall and the Mayor and Council.

To say he gets under the skin of a lot of people at city hall, would be an understatement.

The last council meeting before the summer break (July 27) saw KAREN COOPER the Director Planning and Development  address council and update the progress of what can only be classified as an "interim Official Community Plan." I was unable to attend council due to prior commitments but I did take the time to watch the proceedings. I must say I walked away from the television scratching my head. Even though KAREN COOPER seemed to indicate the city had heard loud and clear from the community it wanted highrises contained in the existing town centre, along North Bluff Road or the Lower Johnston corridor, the city was now "going west young man." On the table were developer applications for no less than 5 towers outside of the designated town centre.

I knew it would only be a matter of time before we all received a LYPKA LETTER. Two days ago the letter below arrived in the mailboxes of all the members of council, the mayor and senior staff.

D. Chesney/Publisher

 

August 25, 2015

Good Morning Karen:

Knowing that you are on an extended vacation, and knowing that the Peace Arch News is not delivered in Vancouver, I wasn't certain whether your Planning Staff would save you a copy of the August 7, 2015 edition providing the results of the PAN's previous week's "Question of the Week". Since it was just as "unscientific" as the "unscientific" OCP Review Survey carried out by the hired consultant, CitySpaces Consulting , that the City commissioned to carry out this task, I thought I would share it with you.

The Question was "Should White Rock revise its official community plan to allow more highrises?" and the results were:

yes 18% no 82%

331 responding"

How interesting that a one time "Question of the Week" by the PAN would generate more responses - 331, than the "approximately 320" responses that the City's costly so called "Visioning Survey" triggered. It is amazing the results you get when you ask a very clear, very straight forward question, isn't it?

And this transpired despite the significant effort and cost the City undertook to publicize its own consultant's survey. Quoting a bit from your July 27, 2015 Report to Council entitled "Imagine 2045 - Official Community Plan Review Progress Report 2":
"Launched on the City's engagement platform: Talk White Rock, the survey was available in
digital and paper formats from May 13 to June 17. Respondents could complete the survey

online at home, on lap tops at the Visioning Fair, or on paper copies. Paper copies of the survey

were available at City Hall, the White Rock Community Centre and other civic facilities, the

Library, the White Rock Farmer's Market, the Visioning Fair and the Community Safety Fair.

The survey was advertised on the City's website, Peace Arch newspaper, social media channels,
on posters around the City, and via email to a number of stakeholder groups. The survey was also
promoted by way of a postcard notice that was mailed to all addresses in White Rock."

Yet despite all of this, the PAN's simple Question of the Week elicited more participation from the Public than the City's survey. It would bode well for the City to ensure that it takes full and sound measure of the results of the PAN's survey.

One last point. Much discussion and correspondence took place earlier between Citizens and City Hall over how
pro-developer interests attempted to skew the City's OCP Survey to their advantage as the City's survey was designed in such a way with so many loop holes that anyone, anywhere could submit the survey and have their opinions relied on to the same degree as those living and paying taxes here in our 1.9 sq. mi. City of White Rock.

You also wrote on July 27th:
"The survey was primarily intended for White Rock residents, business owners, and other community stakeholders, however, it was accessible to residents and non-residents. The high quality of survey responses indicate that the respondents are quite familiar with the community, and likely to be residents of White Rock and possibly South Surrey."

Some residents have expressed concern that members of the development community had completed surveys to skew the results in a way that might favour their development interests in White Rock. After careful review of the survey results, staff are confident that there are no apparent or identifiable skews (e.g., slanted responses, repetitive answers to questions, incomplete surveys, etc.) that favour any particular developer. All comments received from the survey are included in the appendix to the Community Visioning Survey Results report to ensure full transparency.

Approximately 320 surveys were submitted and analyzed by CitySpaces Consulting. Their report, Imagine White Rock 2045 Community Visioning Survey Results, has been distributed

separately to Council and is publicly available online on the City's website at www.whiterockcity.ca/imaginewhiterock. "

I would suggest that few, very few Citizens share your staff's "confidence" about the survey. Funny how you chose to write the phrase "likely to be residents of White Rock and possibly South Surrey" to attempt to brush away any concerns about how the survey was tainted by special interests. A cursory read of the "cut and paste" of all the survey comments that CitySpaces put in their 180 page Report found here http://www.whiterockcity.ca/assets/Council/Documents/2015/Community%20Visioning%20Survey%20Results%20-%20July%202015.pdf, particularly Section 4, will tell the reader that many respondents freely acknowledged that they lived in Surrey and one even declared that they lived in Mission.

See page 164; only 290 of the "approximately 320" respondents answered the question "How long have you lived in White Rock?" This should have raised some flags. See pages 165-170; there are about a dozen respondents who clearly state that they live somewhere else outside of White Rock. This too should have raised some flags. See page 171; 309 respondents answered the question "Which of the following describes your situation in White Rock (check all that apply)?", and of those, only 220 stated that they were either a full time or part time resident of White Rock. This too certainly should have raised some flags with you, your consultant and your staff and triggered you to question the confidence in the survey that has been so loudly professed by your office.

Your survey is what we told you what it is - tainted and skewed.

Take a good long study of the results of the PAN's Question of the Week. That will tell you much better and much more succinctly what the tax paying residents of White Rock think about City Hall's efforts to gut the current OCP to try to enable high density projects in neighbourhoods where they do not belong.

Dennis Lypka

President, Belaire Strata Corporation - BCS 2206

 

 

August 20, 2015

Who Is Your Friend?

The Gentlemen of Leisure 2015

I believe I have spoken of the Gentlemen of Leisure before. We are a group of friends who come together every Friday morning for breakfast. If everyone is in town and not travelling there are 11 of us present. The picture above was taken at our annual Summer BBQ earlier this week.

I have always been a rather magnanimous person. I love people. In particular I like having friends. Not hundreds of friends, those are acquaintances. I mean honest to goodness friends. Anyone of the gentlemen pictured above, I could call at 4 a.m. in the morning and say "I need a ride." The only words I would hear from them as they were pulling on their pants would be "Where are you?"

I am a lucky man.

Conversely there are so many people in our community that suffer in silence and isolation. My heart breaks when I think of another friend who has no family close by and is finding it difficult to meet and simply talk with people. There are a number of services available within our community and society to help end that loneliness and isolation. In the next couple of days I will see if I can help my friend get connected with one or two of these community resources.

This week there was a Celebration of Life held for JOHN REFEEN the crossing guard at White Rock elementary that just passed away. In talking with another friend of his BONNIE she told me one of the things that JOHN talked a lot about was something he had seen on the news. Many schools across Canada are now installing "buddy benches." What a buddy bench is, is simply a bench placed in the schoolyard where a child if they are feeling left out and alone, they can simply go sit on the bench and the other kids will know they are feeling alone and sad. From what I can tell these buddy benches are wildly successful. Perhaps we could make a "big kids buddy bench?"

In the mean time today would be a good day to take that extra moment to stop and talk to a stranger on the street. Lean over the back fence and find out how your neighbor is doing. What the heck you have nothing else to do if you are standing in line at the grocery store. Strike up a brief conversation, if nothing else it will make the tie in the line up seem more bearable.

Who is your friend?


 

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

August 13, 2015

R.I.P. BIG JOHN

JOHN THE CROSSING GUARD

Like so many other people in my life, I don’t  really remember the first day I met JOHN REFEEN.


No doubt it was while he was performing his duties as a crossing guard on Johnston Road for the White Rock elementary children.  Having lived for a number of years down near the beach, the bench by John’s crossing guard station was a welcome stop on my slow and steady ascent up the hillside to the shopping district uptown.


Over the many years I ran for a seat on White Rock council, politics played a large part in our conversations.  I know for a fact JOHN each and every election got me a number of votes from the many people he talked to.  The downside of his political support was a large number of his “friends” stood no more than three feet tall.


I will always cherish those mornings or afternoon B.S. sessions that were punctuated by children calling out “Hi John, Hi John” their walk hurried up and smiles stretched across their faces as they hurried to talk to Big John.  He would always urge them to pay attention to their teachers and listen to what their Mom and Dads told them.  His sage advice always resonated with them.  Judging by the heartfelt messages that have appeared on cards and slips of paper at a memorial for JOHN at his crosswalk/crossing a few of the school kids that know JOHN passed, it has hit them hard.


Through rain, howling wind or blazing sun JOHN was always turned out very neatly in his Frontiersman uniform.  Quite often I would see JOHN sitting on the bench outside of Howe’s Market or Peoples Drug Mart on Johnston road busily scratching away at his scratch and win lottery cards.  JOHN would often say “If you don’t see me tomorrow Dave you’ll know I hit it big!”


The other place I would often encounter JOHN was out back of Pelican Rouge coffee shop in Central Plaza.  Like so many coffee shops in White Rock, a group of regulars often gathered out back on the patio to discuss the topics of the day.  BONNIE one of the regulars at Pelican Rouge took the difficult task of informing me JOHN had passed away. 


I knew JOHN was in Surrey Memorial.  In early June I noticed someone else manning JOHN’S crossing.  In that the last time I saw JOHN he was walking with a cane.  He told me he had “bunged up” his hip a bit but he would be alright.  When I saw the other gentleman there three days in a row I asked him where JOHN was.  He told me I could call the shift dispatcher for more info but he heard JOHN was in the hospital.


I hate hospitals.  In particular the Peace Arch Hospital.  I said goodbye to my wife on the sixth floor of Peace Hospital a few years ago.  I planned on getting up to see JOHN and to say hello, then I heard he was transferred to Surrey Memorial Hospital.  Around this time my brother in law had a heart attack at his home on Gabriola Island, I went to visit him in Nanaimo General.  He seemed to be on the mend but then took a turn for the worse and they medi-vacced him to St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver.  In order to visit him I would have to carve out at least a half a day.
Not getting up to see JOHN is my loss.  I kept trying to make time to go out to the Surrey Memorial.  I am sorry I didn’t get out there.  I do know this though, JOHN left this world knowing how much I valued his friendship.  I told him that often.


JOHN REFEEN was a giant amongst the people he worked with, literally and figuratively speaking.  In my mind the Prospect Avenue/Johnston Road crosswalk will always be JOHN’S CROSSING.  As I pass their daily I will always honour his memory and thank the universe for the time I knew JOHN.

D.Chesney

Publisher

 

 

August 06, 2015

 

 

THE ART OF POLITICS

STEPHEN HARPER has agreed to participate in tonight's leaders debate. Otherwise watching Prime Minister HARPER on your television at well orchestrated media events will be the only time you see the Prime Minister succumb to any kind of public interaction. The press releases have firmly stated NO ONE will meet with or interview STEPHEN HARPER without being fully vetted by the PMO. The reason?  One good sound bite could sink his ship.  Fearing one of the other candidates for the top job in Canada coughed up a question that would embarrass the Conservative Party and or Harper himself, the logical thing in his/their mind for Harper to do is to simply not engage. Let the public think what they want. Just don't give them ANYTHING to hang on to. This fact alone should cause even the staunchest Conservative membership to hang their heads in shame.  What could be their reason for supporting the move?  “Oh they are all going to gang up on the Prime Minister” just doesn’t cut it with me or anyone else of sound mind.


South of the border DONALD TUMP may just be a stooge that has been thrown into the mix designed to draw attention away from the other two candidates?  Will he run for a period of time, gobble up the media attention and then simply pull out of the race for some unexplainable reason?  On the other hand one should not under estimate how much TRUMP may resonate with the common man in Middle America.  He is pushing all the right buttons.  Those that simply push him aside as a buffoon are woefully out of touch with reality. Time will tell if this hurts Trump in the polls, but since he has the social subtlety of a baseball bat, the empathy of a cinder block and the political acumen of a pot roast, I wouldn’t be surprised if he maintained his lead. TRUMP has a better handle on working the media than anyone else on the hustings. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN once sang in the 90's "57 channels and nothing on." Well nowadays you can change that number to 5700 channels and nothing on. Throw social media and the internet in whole into the mix and you have a staggering number of options for your information. A clear example of the media mix is, FACEBOOK is co-sponsoring tonight's Republican debate alongside of FOX NEWS.

Fox News has announced the line-up for tonight's prime-time Republican presidential debate, and here's who qualified: 

Real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

I also wouldn't be surprised if more Canadians watch the U.S. debate than the Canadian leaders debate.

10 stories that were far more important than anything DONALD TRUMP said in the past two weeks. The only problem is the media never covered them?

(read them here)

....And if that isn't weird enough have a look at Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has demonstrated an inventive way of cooking bacon


 

D. Chesney / Publisher

 

July 09, 2015

Civil Servants

back row l-r Councillor Lawrence, Meyer, Chesney, Fathers

front row l-r Councillor Sinclair, Mayor Baldwin, Councillor Knight

As most of the regular readers of The White Rock Sun know, I ran a number of times (5 to be exact) for a seat on White Rock city council.  The November 2014 civic election became historical on a personal front.

Over my time here on this big blue marble I have bristled when I hear people say “I can’t make a difference, no matter what I do they just do what they want.  “They” are politicians at every level.  It is not by chance all levels of government have shut down any form of criticism or civic engagement.  Unless very tightly controlled by their handlers.


I would like to share a few words of wisdom regarding dealing with politicians, shared with me by my father, Uncle Joe Chesney.  My father believed if “they” got one letter they would probably throw it in the garbage.  If hey received 10 letters on a topic they would create a file.  If they received 50 letters “they” would call a meeting to discuss the mater.  If “they” received 100 letters from citizens on a topic, the odds change was imminent.
For the past four months my fellow councilor HELEN FATHERS and I have hosted Community Conversations at the White Rock library.  Coincidently the start of the Community Conversations coincided with White Rock council discontinuing Question Period at council meetings.  Not a great loss under the old format.  Rather than throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water, a new and better system should have been implemented.


At this past Saturday’s meeting those in attendance somewhat bemoaned the fact that no matter what residents tried to do, nothing ever changed.  Let me tell you something.  From the outside it might appear no one is listening.  From inside the coven let me say there is concern the residents of White Rock are starting to wake up.  The flash point for the must recent discontent in the city came as the city cut loose over 300 commercial properties and all the multi family residences, to arrange their own garbage pick up.  The result of a number of residents discontent led to 150 protestors on the front lawn of  White Rock city hall.  As the media descended on city hall us elected officials could not ignore the numbers.  Senior staff and the Mayor and Council seemed to heave a huge sigh of relief as the fire storm of protest seemed to burn out very quickly.  I have heard from a number of sources the “condo coalition” will rise again.  In what form no one seems to know.


I urge you to watch this TED TALK video.  No truer words were ever spoken.  You also  have a very real opportunity to speak directly with members of council and senior staff at the conclusion of each council meeting.  Simply turn up at a council meeting and wait for the conclusion and then approach whoever you would like to talk to.  It is also feasible you can encounter most members of council in the community.  I do not encourage you to interrupt private time with elected officials, but if and when members of council are out and about at public events, jump at the opportunity to personally speak with an elected official or senior staff member.


Case in point.  Recently there was a letter writing campaign that circulated a form letter regarding opposition to the proposed twin towers on Oxford Street on the EPCOR land.  All of us members of council received the same 10-15  form letters from various residents.  I do not wish to dismiss their efforts but I can tell you honestly the letters were brushed aside.


Please watch this video, then get writing and soldier up so to speak when you know members of council will be out and about.  After all WE ARE CIVIL SERVANTS.  I personally wear that mantle with pride.

Scroll down to the third TED TALK Omar Ahmad Political change With Pen & Paper

http://www.ted.com/playlists/270/small_ways_to_change_the_world


D.Chesney
Publisher/Councillor

 

 

July 02, 2015

If you don’t promote a terrible thing happens.  NOTHING!


I  should check but I am sure over the years I have used that saying before to bemoan the fact on how little the City of White Rock actually does to promote itself outside of the city.  For that matter the actual promotion within White Rock is equally as poor.

Cases in point.  The Tour De White Rock is two weeks away.  Have you seen any sign of promotion or publicity heralding its arrival.  The Daniel Wesley Canada Day concert banner on the pier went up last week, less than 7 days before the show.  Instead of having the banner up on the pier for a couple of weekends prior to the big Canada Day By The Bay,  the sign on the pier was an institutional sign noting the many years Rotary has been operating on the Peninsula.  Certainly a worthy cause, but it could have been up when we did not have a plethora of local big events, like Canada Day, Tour De White Rock and our Sea Festival.

I paid close attention over the past week to see if White Rock would receive the same kind of free publicity other cities in the Lower Mainland did surrounding their Canada Day celebrations.  The answer simply is NO.  All of the newspaper and radio reports I heard about the schedules of Canada Day events locally, failed to make any mention of White Rock.  Surrey, Richmond and of course the Vancouvercelebrations are all I heard of.


Now some might say, “Well look how busy the White Rock beach was yesterday.  We couldn’t have handled very many more people.”  And that is a good point and well taken.    One thing for sure, the fireworks are the big draw  for White Rock’s Canada Day celebrations.  I tip my hat to  the city for finally stepping up and opening the public purse for a substantial headliner for the seaside stage.  Surrey may bave had BLUE RODEO out on their dustbowl, but White Rock boasted DANIEL WESLEY entertaining on stage as the cool ocean breezes wafted over the crowd.


I wish I could say White Rock at the very does a good job of at the very least of promoting to its own, but sadly, in my unscientific survey again this year, very few people knew about what was going on again this Canada Day. At least this year the posters went up more than a couple of days before the event, which is the normal rigeur. 


We need to do everything we can to capitalize on the crowds that are drawn to our city by the sea because of the gorgeous weather.  Get them here in the summer, make a good impression on them and then invite them back in the off season.


Let's all pull together. 

Start talking up the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK (July 17 & 18) and our annual SEA FESTIVAL July 31-August 02.

Charity and publicity both begin @ home. Make a game of it, try to work the TOUR and the SEA FESTIVAL into your conversation today.

D. Chesney/Publisher

 

 

June 25, 2015

Wake Up Call

If you are a resident of White Rock, may I ask you if the card pictured above looks familiar to you?

You see the city of White Rock mailed out over 9,000 post card sized notices to each and every home on the city's tax roll. The first meeting that was identified, the Water Utility meeting last week drew 50-60 people. Last night it was time for the second of three in a row. The Urban Forest meeting drew somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30-40 attendees. It is not expected there will be many more at next week's Single Family Garbage Community Forum.

Why so low? Did the time of the meetings have an impact. Some have criticized the 5:30-7:30 scheduled times of the meetings as being inconvenient as they are held right in the middle of the dinner hours. Some have said a large number of White Rock residents are still motoring don HWY 99 on their ay home when the meeting is being held.

Both of these may be contributing factors, but it is my belief it is only a small part of the problem. I spoke to many people regarding the upcoming meetings in advance asking them if they planned on attending? The look on their face closely resembled what I feel would have been the same look had I asked them "Would you like to come to my dentist for a root canal with no freezing?"

It pains me that people feel they cannot make a difference.

It is not just White Rock, the lower mainland, the province or for that matter the entire country. Things have not gotten bad enough yet. That is until decisiions made by the city directly impacts their daily routine. As long as SOMEONE picks up the garbage, there are NO TREES in their view corridor and water comes out of the tap when they turn it on, we're good to go.

As a socially engaged citizen and a recently elected official (White Rock council) I feel an ever growing sense of frustration. Everyone talks a good talk. Few walk a good walk. I sense an overpowering feeling from people they feel their voice is never heard or listened to.

May I suggest you YELL A LITTLE LOUDER!

D.Chesney

 

 

June 18, 2015

Medical Marijuana

The debate on the pros and cons of the use of medical marijuana to treat a wide variety of medical ailments, came rolling up the front steps of White Rock City Hall  Monday evening.

Local businessman RANDY CAINE the owner and operator of two businesses in White Rock, (HEMPYZ novelties and RELEAF a medical compassion referral outlet) appeared alongside his daughter TARA who manages RELEAF.


In his short and impassioned presentation to the Mayor and Council CAINE clearly indicated the current news item of the unregulated medical marijuana outlets in Vancouver could very well be heading for White Rock and all points east.  Currently there are nearly 100 self appointed medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. 


One simply cannot discount the validity of all of the locations, but one would have to have been living under a rock to honestly believe a number of the outlets and their members are bogus.  Currently Health Canada has licensed roughly 50,000 Canadians the right to purchase and use medical marijuana to treat a wide variety of medical problems.  It is very basic.  Health Canada is a federal agency.  They have approved the use of medical marijuana.  Then just like the administration of our MSP in Canada, they turn that portion over to the Provinces.  Here is where the rub is.  Even though it is legally federally, the Provinces and civic levels of government have done nothing to put the delivery system into place.  Thus the wild west of stores in Vancouver.  Now the city of Vancouver is left to spin out of control trying to solve the problem.


If I might, I would like to interject something here. I have had a personal experience with medical marijuana.  In 2008 my wife Laurie was diagnosed with inoperable cancer.  The medical experts at the cancer clinic gave us no more than 3-6 months together before the cancer would surely put an end to Laurie’s life.  Stunned I said to the presiding doctor at the Canadian Cancer centre, “You don’t offer us much hope do you?”  He replied “Mr. Chesney we are not in the business of hope.”  We were.


Our journey of life changed immensely.  Early in our battle against cancer Laurie’s doctor recommended medical marijuana to complement everything else we were doing to beat the cancer back into submission. 


In the end Laurie and I had a two year long sweet goodbye.  I wish I could emphatically tell you the medical marijuana was the reason we extended our odds.  Can I definitely say that was the reason?  No.  But I can tell you that the use of medical marijuana greatly assisted my late wife in her battle with cancer.


It is a shame so few people fully understand the legality of medical marijuana.  When Laurie was diagnosed she was sent with her doctor’s prescription to the lone approved medical marijuana dispensary in the Lower Mainland which as in Vancouver.  Remember this was only a few years ago.    Laurie had her picture taken and was registered into the databank.  Given we lived in White Rock she was allowed to buy a one month supply of the various forms of medical marijuana.  In the final few months of her life, when driving in and out of Vancouver was not feasible I was allowed to take her I.D. card and visit  the dispensary to renew her prescription.  She would have to phone them prior to my visit.  The dispensary had a very clear set of rules, regarding the transportation and smoking, consuming of the marijuana.  Any violation would cause an immediate suspension from the dispensary.


The landscape is changing.  Please do not mistake the use of medical marijuana with the call for the legalization of the drug.  Simply look at the facts.  It is here and it needs to be regulated.  Former federal Health Minister Alan Rock and former premier of British Columbia Ujal Dosanjh both are morally and financially involved with the distribution of medical marijuana in Canada.  The proof of the effectiveness of medical marijuana is beyond reproach.


I sincerely hope my fellow members of council are able to separate the difference between the use of marijuana as medicine and recreational legalization.  Which is a conversation for another day.

Council acknowledged Mr. Caine’s request to create a template for the distribution of medical marijuana to White Rock & South Surrey patients.  In their 3 month existence on Pacific Avenue they have already registered 300 patients in our “city by the sea.”   I fully support his request.  I can tell you from my experience marijuana is a tremendous aid for a wide variety of medical applications. 

You are reading this on the internet.  A simple click to GOOGLE search and inserting “medical marijuana in Canada” found no less than 5 million stories.  Yes you read that right -  5,000,000.


Let’s not repeat the reefer madness of the 50’s  Let’s help the sick.  I will tell you from experience, legal, illegal, moral or immoral when you are on the road my late wife and I traveled,  if necessary we would have bought it off of some shady character in a trench coat at Main & Hastings.

David Chesney/Pulisher

 

Learn more about the use of medical marijuana in Canada (click here)

 

Read this week's column on medical marijuana in the Georgia Straight (click here)

 

 

 

June 04, 2015


HAPPY 10TH birthday

It was a milestone for The White Rock Sun. 


On June 02, 2005 I proudly pushed the button on my computer and put the first edition of The White Rock Sun into cyberspace.  Over the following decade I have slowly built the readership through word of mouth, street posters and stickers.  I  never tire of the sense of discovery when we welcome a new reader.  “You have been publishing for 10 years?  Wow, I am glad I found you!”  We’re glad you found us too.

Nothing could have prepared me for the spike in traffic to the website thanks to Mayor Baldwin and some of my fellow council members.  As the sordid tale of my being censured played out behind closed doors at city hall, the interest and awareness of the White Rock Sun rose expotentially.  It seems the old adage “There is no such thing as bad publicity” has played out in my favour.  Then the planted story in the media of my now infamous comments about maternity wear  increased the readership beyond my imagination. 


We have all said things we regretted once afforded a moment to reflect.  It is just that very few of us have our comments fed to FOX NEWS and CTV NATIONAL, the GLOBE & MAIL and the CBC. 


So to celebrate our 10th anniversary I would simply like to say to my detractors, THANK YOU.
Thank you for making The White Rock Sun the most read internet newspaper in Canada.  I couldn’t have done it without you.


…and to the rest of you wonderful readers.  Thank you for reading and writing. 

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor
White Rock Sun

 

 

 

May 21, 2015

Post Mother's Day. For Mother Nature

 

 

 

May 14, 2015

This Is Dedicated To "Somebody"

 

The city of White Rock just got over the blow back of public indignation over the handling of the garbage pickup, when all hell broke loose on the waterfront.


Tuesday of last week work crews descended on the area known as “The Hump” which is the large green space that separates East Beach and West Beach on the city’s waterfront along Marine Drive.


The city of White Rock requested and received approval from BNSF railway to do something called vegetation control.  The rather ambiguous description of vegetation control would later be revealed to include the cutting down of over 70 trees.
This topic has been beaten to death by walkers on the promenade, armchair political quarterbacks and the hot topic along lunch counters in the city.  “What can be done?”


This seems to be what everyone is asking, what can be done to register one’s displeasure with not only what is happening in our city by the sea, but what can be done on a larger scale.  Federally Bill C-51 is now law in Canada.  There were lots of commentaries and editorials created over the contentious security bill that the federal government passed recently.   It’s not just White Rock city hall, it is everywhere.


Besides “What Can Be Done” the other thing most often said by residents is “Somebody” should do something about this, “Somebody” should do something about that!    It  is natural for people to want to stay in the shadows, out of the line of fire, out of the court of public opinion.
I understand all too well the searing sting of public ridicule.  The mocking, the dismissive attacks and the lowest of lows, unrelated attacks on your loved ones Desperate people do desperate things.


I know what I CAN DO. 

Now all I need to do is to find that SOMEBODY.  If you run into them please have them give me a call.


Even better tell them they can make a difference, as you can.  It starts with something very simple like a community conversation.

Come together with your friends and neighbours just once a month for  a relaxed kick back kind of a morning coffee session.  The first Saturday of every month in the White Rock library.  You are invited, and you will be welcomed.


Next meeting Saturday June 6 @ 10 a.m.  Spread the word.  It is the least we can do.
David Chesney
Publisher

 

 

 

 

April 30, 2015

 

CHESNEY CENSURED OVER “DEFAMATION” was the headline in yesterday’s Peace Arch News.  It only told part of the story.

Shortly after being elected to White Rock city council on November 15, 2014 Mayor Baldwin sent out an email requesting the new council get together for a “meet and greet.”  The date was set and I looked forward to the opportunity to come together as a council.  On the day before the scheduled luncheon at city hall I received a call from a secretary at city hall informing me no one else would be able to make the scheduled meeting but the mayor was wondering if I would still be able to make the meeting.  I confirmed my attendance.


Upon my arrival to Mayor Baldwin’s office we made the perfucntionary small talk before he took me by surprise and urged me to divorce myself from the White Rock Sun.  Mayor Baldwin felt I would find myself in a very awkward position trying to operate as the editor/publisher of Canada’s first online newspaper, and my performance as city councilor.  I informed the mayor I would not be stepping aside.  When in fact if I stepped aside, the White Rock Sun would no longer exist.  I perform the yeoman portion of the heavy lifting in creating a fresh daily online newspaper serving White Rock and South Surrey..  He stood up and walked over to his desk and began to read from a file folder that had been created on various articles written by outside writers (in large part) that he wanted to use to illustrate his point. I graciously told the Mayor I had no desire to debate past editorials point by point.  I also informed him anything written regarding council in the White Rock Sun would probably account for no more than 5% of the content of The  White Rock Sun.  The mayor then informed me “Be careful and that he would be watching me.”


It didn’t take long for all hell to break loose.  On Monday February 9 all hell broke loose.  DON PITCAIRN who has written a weekly column titled NAKED TRUTH  for  a number of years in the White Rock Sun wrote an editorial pertaining to rail safety.  I value his input and have proudly watched his nose for news and writing style develop over the years.  You can read the article in question here;


(click here / scroll down to February 9)


I felt I should bring the article to the attention of the mayor, the councilor mentioned in said article and to the city manager.  Which I did via email.  I heard nothing, until the next day.
I was summonsed to the mayor’s office, as in his words he was willing to allow me the opportunity to dig myself out of the hole I put myself in by allowing PITCAIRN to say what he had.  The mayor and I ended up in a heated conversation in his office.  He told me to remove what he felt was offensive content. I disagreed.  He accused me of releasing private information said in an open meeting of council at the community centre, with council and senior staff in attendance.  Again I disagreed with his ascersion. 


The following Monday I was informed due to my lack of an apology I was going to be censured by council.  As we entered into the council chambers that evening, I walked over to the mayor and asked if I might speak to him in his office.  I asked the mayor if a portion of the original editorial was removed would this make this whole matter disappear and stay out of the public eye?  The mayor asked me to remain in his office while he went in to confer with the city manager, and I found out later, with the offended councilor.  The mayor returned to his office and told me if I was willing to do the following three directives the whole mess would disapper.

  1. Remove the line that the mayor and the councillor termed as an offensive reference

  2. Apologize to the councilor who felt slighted

  3.  Place an apology to the aforementioned councilor on the pages of the White Rock Sun.

I agreed to the three points.  I was hoping by doing so we could avoid a huge rift in the council chambers.  This was no way to start our term.  Upon the completion of the council meeting I asked the offended councilor if I could speak with him in private.  Meanwhile my fellow councillors were scratching their head at what had happened, in that when we entered the council chambers they were under the impression I would be censured.  Councillor Fathers in particular came over and said “What happened?”  I said I will talk to you later but right now I have to apologize to the councilor who was apparently upset according to the mayor..  Councilor Fathers who by this time was standing in the lobby of city hall watched as the councillor inq uestion and I carried on our conversation behind the glass door in city hall leading into the inner offices.  I explained to the councilor neither I or Don Pitcairn intended to leave anyone with the impression he could be characterized as anything other than how he already was known in our community.  The councilor said he had no problem with anything I or PITCAIRN writes about him in the White Rock Sun, but he did not want to be associated with the metaphor that PITCAIRN had used in any way shape or form.  I informed him I respected his wish, I aplogized and informed him I would remove the line from the editorial within the hour.  He said let’s set this aside we have four years to work together, we shook hands (which was witnessed by councilor Fathers) and we could move on.  I thought that was the end of it.


Immediately upon my arrival at my home office that evening, I went online and removed the quotation in question.  Two down, one to go. 


Now all I had to do in my mind was complete the third portion of the agreement.  I submitted a proposed apology to the mayor, the councilor and the city manager and waited for approval.
Instead of an approval I received a new set of directives and a notice from the mayor saying the councilor did not accept my apology as he felt itfelt to be insincere and disingenuous.  It is interesting to date this councilor has never said this to me.


It was at this point that I felt I was under siege.  I informed the mayor I was more than happy to follow the original remedy we discussed and agreed to.  Period.


IN CAMERA (unable to discuss anything that happened)


I contacted a lawyer in Vancouver who came highly recommended as one of the top lawyers dealing with civic affairs.  At our first meeting MR. MURDY informed me he did not feel they had a leg to stand on using the city’s Respectful Workplace Policy, he aptly pointed out the matter did not happen in the workplace.  There were a couple of other small points, he compiled a letter to the city and their solicitors and we waited.  The choice to move forward with censure was made.  I would like to note here, I was not in a financial position to fight a prolonged legal battle with the city.  Plus I continued to hope this whole sordid affair could be resolved out of the public’s eye to avoid embarrassment for council.  To no avail.
It is now well publicized what  actions council has approved against me.  The whole mess has cost me thousands of dollars.  One might think there would be a huge backlash against me from the community.  Far from it. 


Since council released the rotation of the deputy mayor duties and the newly revised committee members at the April 13 council meeting, the conjectures have run wild through the community why I was being punished by “the mayor.”   Some of the conclusions people have jumped to have been very creative.  I was still willing to just ride it out and try to get on with the job we were elected to do. 


That all changed about 10 days ago.  On an early morning visit to SAVE ON foods in search of Creamo for my morning coffee, a total stranger walked up to me and said “Hey you’re councilor Chesney right?”  I acknowledged I was.  He then said “I understand the mayor is after you for something that you printed in The White Rock Sun.”  I probably turned about as white as the Creamo I had in my hand.  I attempted to laugh it off and walked away.  I immediately went home and sent an email to the mayor stating what had just happened as well as expressing my concern. Was it a wild guess on the gentleman's part or had somehow the details of the IN CAMERA meeting been leaked to the community by someone. Either way I reagarded this development as being very serious.


For those of you that are unaware under the Community Charter which governs civic politics, if a councilor releases information from an IN CAMERA meeting they could be taken to the Supreme Court and removed from council. It has only be used in a couple of isolated cases successfully.  I didn’t want to go there, no matter what my chances were.  


In my email I wanted the city mayor to know the heart of the matter might now be out in the community and we should get out in front of this and shut down the rampant conjectures as quickly as possible.  Within a week I received an email from the city manager informing me he had been made aware of my request. 


In a meeting this past Monday prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of council (which included an IN CAMERA meeting prior to the regular council meeting) I attempted to negotiate with the mayor and the city manager some minor changes in the press release that would be released at the end of the council meeting on Monday.  I requested it to be noted publicly who on council had supported my censure as I was excluded from the IN CAMERA meeting that dealt with my punishment.  I also requested the line that indicated I was the one who had requested the whole matter be kept IN CAMERA be removed.  I put forth my case to no avail. Which I cannot discuss as that conversation happened IN CAMERA.   The city would maintain I was the one who wanted this matter be kept private.  The only conclusion I can come to why this was included in the statement submitted Monday at council, was a clear misinterpertation of my wishes by council.

IN CAMERA (uable to discuss proceedings)


Through the entire process Councillor Fathers was the only member of council that personally contacted me to hear my side of the story.  The weekend before my censuring by council, I reached out via email to my fellow council members with an offer to make myself available over the weekend to allow them to hear my side of the story as I had not had the opportunity to tell them my side of the story, which I had hoped they would be interestd before voting on my censure motion.  No members of council  took me up on my offer.


IN CAMERA


In closing I am sorry this whole mess proceeded to the point we find ourselves at today.  I honestly believe I did everything in my power to avoid my censuring.  Given the fact a large portion of this matter was handled IN CAMERA in large part without me present, there is nothing more that I can say.  Failure to adhere to  the guidelines of the Community Charter and releasing any information from an IN CAMERA meeting it would be possible for council and the city to move forward with my removal from council.  It is a serious matter and I do not take that lightly.


Throughout this very stressful situation which has cost me thousands of dollars due to lawyer fees and the loss of my Deputy Mayor duties, I have been buoyed by the dozens of phone calls, emails and personal conversations I have had with members of the community  who have all expressed shock and dismay what has been going on with me and the duly elected council.  Following the story being published yesterday in the Peace Arch News I expected there would be some blow back from the residents of White Rock.  I imagine there are some that read the article and said “Good nail the bastard to the cross.”  I have not heard from them, what I did hear yesterday was an even more heightened distaste for the actions of council pertaining to my punishment. 


Last night when my Caribbean Queen and I arrived home from a fish n’chips dinner down at the beach to clear our heads, I discovered a phone message from the wife of a gentleman who was a candidate I met on the campaign trail in one of my numerous election campaigns.  Though we were rivals in principle a mutual respect and friendship soon developed.  The phone message nearly brought me to tears. The beautiful and touching message articulated on how they were standing behind me every step of the way.


There are  a multitude of wonderful caring people that call this city by the sea their home.  I know.  Every three years I have knocked on their doors or engaged them in conversation on the street seeking their support for my desire to represent them on council.  I will continue to live up to my election promises.  One of which is my monthly Community Conversations. (Saturday 10 a,m,) @ the White Rock library.

So now you know my side of the story, the parts I can openly discuss.  What do my fellow council members have to say?  Your guess is as good as mine. They’re not talking ,not even to me, with the exception of Councillor Fathers who noted in Monday’s Peace Arch News we are working in a very toxic environment at city hall.  Clear indications of this situation were revealed by two recent motions I tried to put forth to city council.  My motions to have our pier designated as Canada’s longest pier turned into a laughable public debate.   My subsequent motion trying to engage the city in saving and restoring of the rotting totem pole in the yard at White Rock elementary with the aid of the Semiahmoo First Nations was soundly defeated with a very public chastising of my motion.


As this very stressful process played out behind closed doors I was unable to comment to the numerous inquiries from residents regarding “What the heck is going on down at city hall?”  I will cherish my meeting with an elderly lady on the streets one day.  The lady a total stranger walked right up to me and said “You are councilor Chesney aren’t you?  I replied yes I am. “  She said “How are things going down at city hall?  I said “Well we are having some challenges but that might be just to the newness of council.  I have myself in a bit of a hot spot.”  She smiled and then she held up her hand and said “Great!, that’s why we voted for you.  Give me a high five!”

David Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 

Apil 23, 2015

Surrey – Streets On Fire

Tuesday evening over 700 residents of the Newton area of Surrey made their way to a local school auditorium.  The crowd stood silently (for the most part) as city and RCMP representatives tried to assure the crowd they are doing everything they can to address their concerns over the shootings over recent weeks.


In the past two weeks there have been nearly two dozen (22) shootings reported.  Note I say reported.  How many mini-gun battles have occurred that were not reported? 


The Surrey RCMP took the unusual step of releasing the names and pictures of the young men they believe are the key players in the on going very public battle, over the local street level drug trafficking industry.


Let’s hit rewind for a moment and reflect on the much publicized bike war in Montreal.  The Hells Angels squared off against The Rock Machine for supremacy of the street level criminal activities.  Between 1994 – 2002 the body count rose to 150, and for the most part no one cared.  The standard response as, “What’s the problem as long as they are just shooting each other?”  Then it happened.  An 11 year old boy was killed when a bomb went off in a jeep that was parked nearby to where the young boy was playing.  Immediately hundreds took to the streets.  It took that to get the politicians and the RCMP off their collective asses.  Is it possible their line of thinking was the same ?  “What’s the problem?”


I hope that is not the case to what is happening in Surrey these days.  Though I must admit I have heard that statement.  One must remember these street level gang bangers are not expert marksmen.  It is a miracle that an innocent bystander has not been hit by an errant bullet yet.   It is only a matter of time.  These punks tat were raised on video games where the most sought after content for a decade has been kill, kill, and more killing.  They have had their finger on the trigger since they were knee high to a grasshopper.  And now they are out in the streets hanging out being tough guys with guns jammed in their pants, swaggering around striking fear into  the hearts of anyone they cross.


To date none of the identified combatants have cooperated with the police.  I am on record and I will reiterate my stance on that.  You turn up at the hospital with a slug in you and don’t cooperate with the police, we hand them their jacket and tell them to go home and have Mom or Dad dig the bullet out.  A little harsh?  Really?


Tell me how you would feel if one of your loved ones gets taken out by the over spray.  If you can’t imagine how you would feel, perhaps you could ring up Surrey MLA Harry Bains. 

He knows the pain.  The one fatality of this war happened Saturday night. 

His nephew was shot dead in the streets.

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

April 16, 2015

Don't Come To White Rock

Today's inspiration came as dawn was breaking over the high rises in uptown White Rock.

  • Don’t come White Rock if you don’t like the sound of seagulls chattering away to each other. We have lots of seagulls.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t love to see eagles floating high on the local thermal updrafts or perched in majestic fir trees that still dot our hillside and waterfront

  • Don’t come to White rock if you don’t like sand in your shorts.  We have 4 km of majestic tidal pools that front our “city by the sea.”

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t love poking around second hand stores.  Our uptown district has no less than six turnaround shops with slightly used books, music, clothing, household goods and furniture.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t enjoy strolling through the dozens of booths at our Farmer’s Market.  Our market operates in uptown White Rock from May-October.  Our Farmer’s Market was nominated this year as one of the top markets in all of British Columbia.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t enjoy live music in a world class recording facility.  Blue Frog studios presents a wide variety of jazz, folk, blues and show bands in the confines of Canada’s largest performance/recording facility.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you do not enjoy dining on an ocean front patio as the sun glistens off the Pacific Ocean.  White Rock’s waterfront district is home to the largest concentration of dining establishments in the Lower Mainland.  The 1 km stretch of West Beach has restaurants serving mouth watering menu items from Japan, China, India, Greece, Viet Nam, Ireland and France.  And of course fish n chips and casual burger and beer restaurants.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t enjoy watching the slow cruise of hot rods, custom cars and hand crafted motorcycles.  White Rock has hosted weekend cruises along Marine Drive since the 50’s and it is still  going strong every weekend.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you are offended by clothing optional beaches.  Right next door at Crescent Rock in Crescent Beach, the local nude beach is second only to Wreck Beach in Vancouver for clothing optional inclined sunbathers.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t love fresh caught crab.  Semiahmoo Bay is home to one of the biggest crabbing beaches in all of the Lower Mainland.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t have your breath taken away watching one of North America’s oldest bicycle races, The Tour De White Rock.  Our race is the anchor for BC’s Superweek of cycling.  This years event runs to days, July 17 for the criterium uptown and July 18 (Sunday) the road race which traverses the hillsides and waterfront.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t love sea festivals.  Our White Rock Sea Festival is one of the oldest in Canada.  The torchlight parade draws thousands to the waterfront for a night of beautifully decorated and lit up floats, marching bands and community vehicles with local celebrities and politicians. August 1-3, 2015.  Torchlight parade August 2

  • Don’t come to White Rock unless you enjoy leisurely strolls along the ocean.  Our 4 km promenade affords visitors a breathtaking vie of the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful homes that are perched on the hillside above the waterfront.

  • Don’t come to White Rock unless you want to see Canada’s longest pier.  The White Rock pier is 1660 feet from one end to the other.  Upon your arrival at the end of the pier you will see crab catchers, young children and their parents fishing, boats coming and going from the docks and local children jumping and diving into the ocean.  A time honoured tradition on the 100 year old pier.  1814-1914.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t like trains.  The BNSF rail line runs the entire distance of White Rock’s waterfront.  Passenger and cargo trains run through White Rock virtually every hour of the day.  Please exercise safety when you are in the vicinity of the tracks.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t like public art.  Our latest installation is a life sized brass sculpture in front of the White Rock museum.  Named “The Passenger” the bronze man has become one of the hot spots for photos for visitors.  Uptown White Rock has no less than 10 wall murals inspired by our world famous Whale Wall on Johnston Road.  The mural was painted by California artist WYLAND who has painted dozens of giant whale and sea mammal murals around the world.  The White Rock Whale Wall was the second mural painted by WYLAND in 1984.  In 2014 the wall was touched up by local artist Elizabeth Hollick who has painted many of the walls in White Rock, including the giant mural on the side of the White Rock Playhouse located kitty corner from the Whale Wall.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t love the feel of a small town, where friends and neighbours still say hello to strangers, casually wave thank you when cars stop to let you cross the road (we call it the White Rock Wave).

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t like sunshine.  Our “city by the sea” receives over 25% more sunlight than the rest of the Lower Mainland.

  • Don’t come to White Rock if you don’t like the most beautiful sunsets around.  As daylight wanes the vista out over the Salish Sea affords a breathtaking view of the San Juan and Gulf Islands

Feel free to add your own reason, these are the ones that just rolled off the top of the old noggin'

Damn I love White Rock!

David Chesney

Publisher White Rock Sun/White Rock City Councillor

 

 

April 09, 2015

What's That You Say?

Despite it being a holiday weekend and a gorgeous day in White Rock this past Saturday, dozens of residents made their way to the White Rock library for the second monthly community conversation.

Many of the attendees had come to the inaugural meeting in March and some in fact brought a friend or neighbour with them to the second meeting. The topics were slightly more varied than the first meeting which concentrated mainly on the issue of garbage removal in White Rock. That topic was discussed and then the conversation moved forward to other topics including rail safety, the need for traffic lights and the perceived increase in crime in White Rock.

Once again councilor HELEN FATHERS was in attendance.

The part of the community conversation that resonates with me the most, is people's willingness and joy in sharing with the community topics that are front and centre on their minds. Especially poignant was the young gentleman who shared the personal story on how the increased coal train traffic has very negatively impacted his family's lives

WATCH THE VIDEO FROM THE COMMUNITY CONVERSATION - CLICK HERE

I have already received overtures regarding the format of the community conversations by an organization that has been retained by a number of other local communities that would like to figure out how to open up communication with their residents. Representatives will be attending a future community conversation to see first hand how this simple and obvious method of keeping the community informed

The by product of the community conversations also affords the platform for residents to put forth their "good ideas." Following the first meeting I was contacted by a gentleman who did not feel comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but he wanted to pass along an idea to promote White Rock. His idea was having someone, the BIA, White Rock Tourism, the city or a local business owner produce a cheap plastic license plate holder that said WHITE ROCK on the top and "City By The Sea" on the bottom. What a wonderful idea, to have hundreds perhaps even thousands of mini rolling billboards all over the Fraser Valley reminding people of White Rock.

Another question that came out of the first Community Conversation was a resident inquiring whatever happened to the big round brass plaque that sat in front of the Bank of Nova Scotia at Johnston and North Bluff? Good question. In checking with city staff I learned the big brass coat of arms is safely tucked away in the works yard on Keel Street. Plans are for it to be erected in city hall once the renovations are complete.

Rail safety and crime were topics at Saturday's Community Conversation. The ongoing coal train problem as addressed first hand by a resident who lives on Marine Drive on East beach who stated he has to clean his blinds a couple of times a week, and they are forced to keep their windows closed due to the adverse effect of the coal dust on his wife's asthma.

Another resident expressed concern about two recent robberies of business owners and or workers in uptown White Rock. Though no statistics have inked the increased crime to any certain group of individuals, those in attendance concurred the recent crackdown by Surrey RCMP in their cleanup in the Newton area had pushed a lot of street crime into our community.

The next Community Conversation will take place on Saturday May 02, 2015 at the upstairs meeting room of the White Rock library. Tell a friend, tell a neighbour. Be part of the conversation, be part of the solution.

Listen to our post Saturday meeting conversation with JIMM GODDARD on the Goddard report

 

March 19, 2015

Do You Care?

As the old 351 bus from Vancouver eased into White Rock centre yesterday afternoon I glanced out the window and noticed there was a young lady decked out in a VOTE YES jacket trying to engage transit users in meaningful conversation.

When she approached me I informed the young lady I had made up my mind and I was VOTING NO. She smiled and said "Thank you for being polite to me about it." Perhaps I am jumping to conclusion here but I am assuming other commuters that were being canvassed were not so articulate and concise in explaining their voting choice.

I have to wonder if you and your friends are discussing the proposed bump in the Provincial sales tax recommended by the Mayors Council is a hot topic amongst your group? I know it only comes up in my circle of friends when I engage with my fellow transit users. Believe me in my circle the NO side is miles ahead of the YES side.

For this reason I am assuming the YES canvassers at bus stops are now actually trying to secure the support of the actual users of the system. The push now seems to be, if we could just jam some more people on transit, those privileged car owners could zip around with more ease, cut time off of their commutes and spend more quality time sitting at the lake side with their loving family.

"Desperate People - Do Desperate Things." Case in point the late in the game hail Mary by appointing JIM PATTISON as the keeper of the cash. As the Mayors Council was making this announcement it might have been an idea to brief PATTISON on his involvement so he wasn't left twisting in the wind unable to answer even the most basic questions on what his involvement would entail. In researching this editorial I visited the YES web portal. Imagine my surprise when front and centre there was a picture of former Canucks goalie KIRK MCLEAN with the caption "Let Kirk Tell You How To Get To The Game B Bus." Really? Do you think for a moment Captain Kirk is riding the bus to the game? Please don't insult my intelligence. The last time MCLEAN was on a bus, was probably in the same time frame as Surrey mayor LINDA HEPNER and White Rock mayor WAYNE BALDWIN were on a bus.

The YES side is spending hundreds of thousands dollars to try to convince residents of the Lower Mainland that the slight bump in the Provincial sales tax is going to solve all our transit problems. The .5 percent increase in the tax will not be added to the millions of dollars (projected $250 million) Translink already drills out of your hard earned bank account on the Transit tax at the gas pump. Next time you are filling do the math. 17 cents per litre goes straight to Translink. Ballpark 20 litres and you will be peeling off slightly less than $3.50 for transit.

So next time someone asks you how you are voting, look them straight in the eye and say "What did you do with all the money I already gave you?"

David Chesney/Publisher

 

Top Five Myths about the Transit Vote

Too many 'facts' giving you a headache? The Tyee's here to help (click here)

P.S.

Do you speak Tagalog?

  1. Tagalog is an Austronesian language with about 57 million speakers in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, central and southern parts of Luzon, and also on the islands of Lubang, Marinduque, and the northern and eastern parts of Mindoro.

Your voting package is printed in English. Translations of the voting package are available in the following 17 languages:ArabicChinese-simplifiedChinese-traditionalDutchFarsi,French, GermanHindiItalianJapaneseKoreanPortuguese,PunjabiRussianSpanishTagalog and Vietnamese.

 

 

March 05, 2015

NO MEANS NO TRANSLINK

 

At the end of this month your mail will contain a mail in ballot asking you if you are in support of a .05 increase in the Provincial Sales to fund future TRANSLINK expansion and service in the Lower Mainland.


The phone rang here at Melody Ranch last night and imagine my surprise when I heard on the other end of the phone “Hello this is Surrey mayor Linda Hepner.  WOW, I had no idea she even knew who I was.  Oh, wait a minute it is a recording.  Mayor Hepner was inviting me personally to partake in a town hall meeting.  I grabbed a pen and paper to ready myself for the information on when and where the meeting was going to be held.
Mayor Hepner went on to invite me to an over the phone  Town Hall meeting.    I was urged to be by my phone ( I believe tonight) at 7 p.m.  Hepner went on to further explain on how I could join the conversation, oh pardon me there would be no questions taken, just information dished out from herself and one can only assume some transportation experts who were in support of the Surrey Light Rail and Broadway corridor skytrain projects.


Whether or not White Rock mayor would be joining in the conversation was not indicated.  But then why would Surrey mayor Hepner ask Mayor Baldwin join in the conversation, over anyone else from the Mayors Council.  There is nothing  for White Rock in the war chest of  transit goodies being spread over the Lower Mainland .  Unless the addition of a B-Line bus from Newton  to White Rock centre, sets your heart a flutter.


Mayor Baldwin recently hosted a VOTE YES forum at the community centre in White Rock.  As reported in numerous media outlets, the attendance was very poor.  In walking around the room I distinctly got the impression the majority of those in attendance were not in favour for the YES vote, but felt it their civic duty to at least hear out the experts. The low attendances at other YES vote rallies is cause for major concern amongst the rah rah crowd. The invited panelists and the TRANSLINK employees that joined mayor Baldwin all arrived by vehicle. I know because I asked.   Therein lies the rub.


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I no longer have any patience for people who don’t use transit, telling me and the rest of the commuting community what is good for us.  The big broad strokes of reducing traffic jams, cutting back on air pollution, speeding up drivers commutes etc. etc. , don’t scare me and don’t cause me to want to jump on the JUST SAY YES BUS!


Mayor Baldwin at the local info session explained the mayors had exhausted every avenue to identify a flow of funding.  This was was good as it gets.  Baldwin went on to  explain if the YES VOTE  was not successful , the other option that had been considered was raising property taxes.   Something he and his fellow mayors did not want to entertain.


The next time I am riding on a packed 351 bus from White Rock into Vancouver, I am seriously considering standing up at the front of the bus and calling out, “How many people on this bus own their own property?”


I am betting the NO’s outweigh the YES’s.

David Chesney

p.s.

Tonight Thursday March 05 Surrey Mayor and TransLink Tax side supporter Linda Hepner is holding a telephone town hall for residents of Surrey and White Rock. She will be trying to convince voters to vote YES for higher taxes for wasteful TransLink.

Mayor Hepner has already said that the light rail planned for Surrey will go ahead regardless of a NO vote, and the province has said the Patullo bridge will be replaced no matter what the result of the TransLink tax referendum.

Mayor Hepner has decided to spend somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 of Surrey taxpayers' money supporting the YES side. That's right, she just raised property taxes and is now spending your own money to try and buy your vote.

So please call into the Telephone town hall this evening and let Mayor Hepner know what you think of the TransLink Tax and the her use of taxpayers' money on a political campaign.

The town hall is between 7pm and 8pm tonight, Thursday, March 5th. Just dial 1-877-229-8493 and the punch in the access code: 114095#.

 

(click here)

 

 

February 26, 2015

Say buddy “Can You Spare A Dime?”

 

You may not be able to fight city hall, but it would appear you can buy it.

 

In past years each local community was charged with collecting the campaign funds information for civic elections.  This year marked Elections BC stepping and overseeing the local elections, at least in the sense of documentation on individuals and organizations contributed to the various candidates election campaigns.


Now that the contributions for the candidates in White Rock and Surrey have been made public, the figure that is grabbing the headlines, is how much money was spent by the winning candidates.


Surrey hands down once again elected the entire slate of SURREY FIRST.  SURREY FIRST has admitted to spending over a million dollars in order to  secure every seat on Surrey council.  In White Rock the WHITE ROCK COALITION was financed to the tune of $98,000.00 in order to control White Rock council.  It is worth noting the WHITE ROCK COALITION adamantly stated they were a group of individual thinkers who were coming together under the banner of the WHITE ROCK COALITION, but that each member of the coalition would be voting as an individual, and not as a slate as such.  We will judge the WHITE ROCK COLITION by their actions.  In Surrey if history repeats itself SURRY FIRST will stand united as a group.


This was my sixth campaign for a seat on White Rock council, and I am proud to say all my hard work has finally paid off.  Running an election campaign is not unlike introducing a new product into the marketplace.  It boils down to brand recognition, or in this case name recognition.  I spent $5,010.00 to get my message to the voters in White Rock.  Councillor HELEN FATHERS who received the most votes of  all of the candidates in the November election spent $3779.00.  FATHERS who is entering her third term as a councilor has obviously built a strong brand for her name with the voters in White Rock.  One would have to assume coming off of such a strong showing at the polls, FATHERS will seriously consider a shot at the mayor’s chair in 2018.


The election clearly indicates money talks when it comes to being elected.  First time  White Rock council candidate DENNIS LYPKA spent $10,000.00 on his campaign.  That figure coupled with a very personal door to door campaign allowed LYPKA to make an incredible showing for a first time candidate.


The term for elected civic officials has now been extended to a four year term, up from the previous term of three years.  I urge you to stay engaged to ensure White Rock and Surrey’s elected officials continue to listen to your concerns, all year long and not just during an election year.  We are civic servants, public servants.  I wear that mantle with pride.


During my 2014 election campaign I promised if elected I would host monthly Community Conversations.  Informal regular get togethers to communicate directly with the residents of White Rock.  I stated I these Community Conversations, though hosted by myself would be a forum for all members of White Rock council.  To that extent I am happy to report the first Community Conversation has now been confirmed for Saturday March 07.  The meeting will take place at the White Rock library at 10 a.m. in the upstairs meeting room.  Tell your friends, tell your neighbours.  I have informed  and personally invited my fellow councillors and our mayor  to the first Community Conversation.  You are now able to join a FACEBOOK created to continue the conversation between the regularly scheduled  monthly meetings which will be held the first Saturday of every month at the White Rock library.
Facebook.com/whiterockcommunityconversations

Sincerely
David Chesney
White Rock Councillor/Editor-Publisher White Rock Sun

 

 

February 19, 2015

Question Period Gone - Any Questions?

 

Monday evening White Rock council joined the ever growing list of communities that have discontinued their “Question Period” portion of regular council meetings.  The reaction was swift and sure by some residents.


Question Period you see has afforded citizens far and wide to feel their voice was being heard.  I am not so sure that was the case in White Rock.  For the past decade I have appeared before a number of councils.  It became an annual event for me to march on down to city hall in the Spring to “ASK” the council of the day, if this might be the year they put some pressure on the White Rock RCMP to hand out tickets to motorcyclists who operated their bikes with straight pipes, which basically have the same effect as no mufflers. Year after year the council of the day sat politely and patiently while I and other residents took advantage of Question Period.  As it is not called ANSWER PERDIOD there was never any reply other than, thank you good night. 


A couple of years back council decided to move Question Period to the beginning of the council meeting fromits home at the very end of the council meeting where it had been relegated for years.  The change actually in my humble opinion brought a few more residents out to use the forum.
In that I am now a honourable member of White Rock council I was challenged with the future of Question Period.  In one of the previous readings for the abolition of Question Period I supported the motion.  I thought in it’s present form, back at the end of the council meeting and now limited to only Questions associated with what had already been discussed by council, it had run its course.


I instantly heard from  3 residents  who  felt I should reconsider my stance.  Which I did.  The main reasons I changed my vote and my mind for this past Monday’s vote was two fold.  Why not try to fix Question Period, could we not make it more useful?  As well I realized the history books would note I VOTED TO HAVE QUESTION PERIOD suspended.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.


So what do we do now?  Well rather synchronistic ally I had just received word that I now have a home for my campaign promised COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS.  On the campaign trail I discussed at length with residents about my idea for the creation of a very informal inclusive forum for us as a community to come together.  Many residents have difficulty getting up in front of an audience and talking into a microphone.  The newly refurbished White Rock council chambers are beautiful, but they still are about as inviting as a courtroom.  Most council chambers follow this decorum.


In my campaign literature I promised if I as elected I would invite my fellow councillors and mayor to join in the conversation.  To that extent I have distributed an email to my fellow councilllors and Mayor Baldwin inviting them to attend.  I have not heard back personally from Mayor Baldwin but Monday evening in his preamble for why he thought Question Period had run its course, he identified the many methods residents can inter act with us, their elected officials .  One of the new initiatives he alluded to was the possible creation of monthly informal get togethers.
The first COMMUNITY CONVERSATION will take place at The White Rock Library on Pacific Avenue on Saturday March 07 @ 10 a.m.  You are invited.  Tell your neighbours, bring your friends. 


On my numerous trips down that campaign trail I heard so many great ideas from the citizens of White Rock. My idea for Community Conversation was born on White Rock doorsteps. It had nothing to do with Question Period being good, bad or indifferent.

Let’s come together as a community in a very relaxed environment and begin the conversation on how we can make “Our City By The Sea” even better.  Of course there will be some bitching and griping born out of frustration, but here's hoping there will be a positive tone to the meeting.
I can only do my part.  The rest is up to you.


D.Chesney
Publisher/Editor
White Rock Councillor

 

 

February 12, 2015

I Hate To Be The Bearer Of Bad News

 

 

 

January 21, 2015

No Means No

Vote taken up to January 16, 2015

Will you vote yes or no in the upcoming Translink  referendum?  To review, the referendum Translink is asking the Provincial government to add .5 percent on to the sales tax, with the money collected dedicated to transit improvements in the Lower Mainland.


The biggest push back for a YES vote is the lack of confidence most people have in Translink’s ability to manage their present budget, let alone an increase of millions of additional dollars flowing into their operating budget.  Bloated salaries for top officials and poor management of recent expansions to the system

IE: The Compass card system which now apparently will not be instituted until 2016.  Yes you read that right, 2016. 


The big winners if the YES vote is successful will be Surrey (North) and Vancouver.  Former Surrey Mayor DIANNE WATTS created a template for a massive light rail system that would connect Whalley with Guildford, Newton and Langley.


There is little in the new plan that will positively impact residents of South Surrey and White Rock.  Talk of a B LINE bus that would run back and forth between White Rock and Whalley along the King George Highway corridor would be very welcome by commuters. Presently the main bus from White Rock to Whalley (321) takes forever to get you from one end to the other.  A similar situation exists with the Guildford bus that runs along Johnston Road from White Rock.  The bus stops every two blocks.  If you quickly do the math that means there are no less than 44 stops along that route.  I personally have been caught on that bus in rush hour coming home, and it takes close to 45 minutes.  And still they wonder why we don’t want to give up our cars.


Therein lies the rub.  Taking the bus is not a pleasurable experience.  Most of the buses between White Rock and Whalley and the SKYTRAIN are filthy.  Conversely the 351 into Vancouver on HWY 99 is passable as are our Community Shuttle buses.  Which brings me to my main point of this rambling piece.  I will not be voting YES until I have an assurance from TRANSLINK that they will at the very least restore our community shuttle buses to their previous service.  Plus I want those plastic cylinders at every bus stop on the metal poles.  To the best of my knowledge there are only 2 bus stops in White Rock, where you can see hen the next bus is coming.  White Rock centre at 16th and Johnston and in front of the museum on Marine Drive.  In all of South Surrey you might be able to add 6-8 other stops with schedules.

Oh yes NO FARE INCREASES for the next 5 years, PERIOD!!


TRANSLINK is on record that all the extra money that will be raised will be directed to a special fund and will ONLY be used to fund the future products, not for increased wages, helping pay off the Compass Card debacle or any other sundry expenditures.


But then again the Federal government said they would never dig into the CPP funds and use it as regular revenue either.

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor

editor@whiterocksun.com

 

 

January 08, 2015

Welcome To Our Nightmare

Here we go again. 


New Years Day brought thousands of  visitors and brave soul swimmers to the White Rock waterfront.    It also brought a whole ne collection of rail line trespassers. 


Due to the fact there were so many people trying to leave the area of the White Rock beach near the white rock itself, hundreds of people caused for a  slow exit towards the pier.  A number of members of the crowd decided it would be a whole lot easier to climb over the newly installed fencing and walk along the rail line where there were only a few other daredevils like themselves.


Missing from this whole equation were members of the CN police, the RCMP and the White Rock by-law officers. The CN police and the RCMP are both able to issue trespass tickets. The exact number of tickets issued by the CN police remains a mystery. An inquiry to the local media relations officer for the CN police for information on how many tickets were issued in the past year, has gone unanswered. The RCMP are able to issue tickets but according to Mayor Baldwin the RCMP will only be on duty issuing tickets when personally requested to be present by the city.


Recently Transport Canada issued an olive branch to the city of White Rock and its residents by removing the need for train whistles blowing all day along the waterfront.  I am of the opinion White Rock should show it appreciation and continue to work with Transport Canada and BNSF to seep those tracks clean of walkers, runners and photographers seeking a “cool shot of someone standing on the tracks.”  Which is exactly what I witnessed standing at the head of the pier one day over the holidays.  A large tour group arrived en masse at the pier and decided posing for pictures while straddling the rail line would make for a nice pic to send back home.


It is time for the clampdown on violators of the No Trespassing/Keep Off The Tracks/Stop Look and Listen postings on the rail line.  When we had the dust up over the boat launch and subsequent erection of the fence at our boat launch on West Beach, for a couple of days I actually saw a CN police present on the promenade.   In fact I personally witnessed the CN police officer issue a ticket to someone who was walking on the tracks.   The gentleman who received the ticket proceeded to crumple the ticket up and throw it on the ground.   The CN police officer informed the man he could do what he wanted with the ticket, but be warned the man the next time he tried to leave the country by plane or car he would immediately be arrested for not paying the ticket as failure to pay would result in a bench arrant being issued.  Case closed.  The gentleman then bent over and picked up the ticket and put it in his pocket.


I am betting he won’t be walking on train tracks anytime soon after paying the $175.00 ticket.

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

December 17, 2014

It Doesn't Take A Big Man To Pull A Knife

South Surrrey Skate Park Memorial to DARIO BARTOLI

The tragic stabbing death of  South Surrey and Earl Marriott student DARIO BARTOLI is the topic most people are talking about these days.  Coupled with the tragic story of a mother driving around South Surrey with the body of her 8 year old daughter in the trunk the two incidents have left our community reeling.


What we know so far is DARIO BARTOLI was a happy go lucky skateboarder who often frequented the local skate parks and according to friends he was always happy and a good friend to everyone he met.


A number of overheard conversations have wrestled with the question, “What was he doing out at that time of the morning?”  I would guess having fun until the evening turned tragic.  I don’t really believe the time of the attack had a lot to do with the outcome. It could have happened just as easily at 8 p.m.  Locals that live in the area of Bakerview Park where the attack took place have  talked about how the park is a regular place that youths hang out on the weekends.  The park on most weekend mornings is littered with beer cans and empty booze bottles.  The gatherings must be rather small as the South Surrey RCMP attachment’s community volounteer police force does not check the park out on a regular basis.


What disturbs me the most is the rising incidence of knives being carried by so many of our youths.  A couple of years back the weapon of choice was a handgun.  Given the severity of the charge if you are caught carrying a gun compared to knife, has made the knife the go to weapon.
Why do young kids feel the need to carry a knife?  I am assuming it is some form of sick peer pressure.  My parents used to say “If Kenny robbed a bank, would you rob a bank too?”  The other reason young people are obviously carrying weapons is for protection.  The good old days of a fists or feet fight are long gone my friend.  As a matter of fact as opposed to the old days, when a combatant hit the ground the fight was over.  Now it appears that is when the action really starts and everyone jumps in.


I may be way off base here with DARIO BARTOLI but having been gainfully employed at a private college recently for a number of years and having the opportunity to interact with young people my non-scientific focus groups have left me with the feeling many of them are full of rage.  The exact source of their anger is hard to identify, but it is there.  They are willing  to strike out on a moment’s notice. 


Having the opportunity to interact with young people on a very one on one basis I have been afforded the opportunity to have a couple of questions answered.

  1. How hard is it for a teenager to buy a handgun?  About as easy as it was for you and I to find a bootlegger when we were growing up.

  2. Do you feel safe when you go out downtown on the weekend?  No.  They make sure they travel in a group when they go clubbing, because if they don’t they will be set upon by another group of punks out looking for some action.

It is a different world out there these days and no one seems to have an answer, except the kids and they aren’t talking. 

To anyone.

D.Chesney / Publisher

 

 

December 10, 2013

Watts Mahal?

While getting my hands dirty reading the morning PROVINCE yesterday I came across the story of a contractor that is suing the city of Surrey for unpaid bills associated with work his company did for the construction of the new Surrey city hall in downtown Whalley.


According to THE PROVINCE story the contractor filed the lawsuit papers back in October, so the matter has been a matter of public record for nigh on 2 months.  So where was the media on this?  Why did it take 2 months to come to light, and was there a concerted effort to hold the information until the pomp and glory of the swearing in of the new Mayor and Council Monday had occurred?  The timing seems rather suspect.  But then again I have often been accused of being a conspiracy theorist.


Unlike some of her detractors, I think generally speaking outgoing Surrey mayor DIANNE WATTS has done in large part a good job of re-branding Surrey.   Don’t get me wrong all was not golden during the reign of WATTS.  In particular the gentrification of Whalley stands out as what will no doubt be a long drawn out “work in progress.” Whalley is home to a large number of affordable low rent apartments.  It has and continues to be home to Surrey’s main street drug bazaars as well as the highest concentration of “ladies of the night.”  A few new towers and a brand new city hall as done nothing to abate the spread and proliferation of both of these illegal activities.  How many times have you heard about the revitalization of Gastown?  Don’t kid yourself, it is still a war zone down there.  Residents are not strolling through the cobble streets picking up their groceries on their outings.    Whalley will always conjure up some rather unsettling images as long as the high concentration of low cost housing exists in Central City.


Insiders say the lawsuit filed by the contractor is just the first of other lawsuits set to be filed for unpaid bills. 


How is it that the information of the lawsuit (which would have been public) escaped the two local Surrey papers, THE NOW and THE LEADER?  Did they simply just not know about the lawsuit?  There was a time when newsrooms had reporters that would be checking things like the court records in addition to having “insiders” at every level of government that would drop the proverbial dime to tip the media off on matters exactly like this.

There are a lot of things one could say about DIANNE WATTS, one of them is the media has always loved her.

 

 

November 19, 2014

As most of you the readers of the White Rock Sun know by now I was successful this past weekend of winning a seat on White Rock council.  If you voted for me, a heartfelt thank you.


It was an interesting election this year.  There was no shortage of mud-slinging and innuendo circulating through our community.
You see there was and still is a lot at stake.  The White Rock Coalition a pro-development slate (according to mayor Baldwin) has control of White Rock council.  The Coalition has four members on council.   With four votes ANYTHING can be passed through council.  Through the whole process the Coalition maintained they were individual thinkers.  Time will tell.


Helen Fathers who got more votes than anyone else this election is the only other independent candidate besides myself.
Already a number of council watchers have stated I will have my work cut out for me holding The Coalition accountable should they block vote.  To be very honest I am not concerned what the coalition’s agenda is, if they in fact do have one.  For me it is patently clear what my duties will be for the next four years as a councilor on White Rock council.


I will do everything I promised the residents of White Rock I would do in my election pamphlet.

  1. Vote to limit all future densification applications inside of the Town Centre area of White Rock.  I understand the OCP will be reviewed very quickly in the new year.  If the residents of White Rock are offered an opportunity to contribute their thoughts, I will adhere to their wishes should they wish to change the town centre boundaries.

  2. Rail Safety.  We can do far better with dealing with the issues around the rail line through our community.  I will press for fence mending with BNSF rail and Transport Canada.  Nothing good can come out of us fighting with  either party.

  3. A more open and responsive council and city hall.  I pledged to host monthly Community Conversations in a very relaxed atmosphere.  I have heard so many wonderful ideas from the citizens of White Rock.  I want to encourage and foster a more open form of communication between city hall and the residents of White Rock.  As I mentioned if the other members of council wish to attend, great.  If not, that is their purgative.  I promised it not them.

  4. Developing an Arts Community.  With my decades of music/arts/entertainment history I am the most qualified member of council or city staff to help craft and direct an exciting Arts Program for “our city by the sea.”  I have dozen of ideas I am excited about possibly instituting.

In closing I must say I was humbled by the individual support I received this year.  I did not receive directed support from any service groups or organizations  in White Rock.  My campaign was as grass roots as humanly possible.  It was eerie at both he All Candidates Meetings at the community centre.  As I sat there silently waiting to be called upon as I scanned the room I came to the realization that I could probably name roughly 80% of the attendees by first name.  Believe me if you really want to know who your true friends are, just announce you are seeking public office.


My campaign was as “grassroots” as they came.  My fund raiser dances are now a  thing of musical legend.  I cannot begin to thank all the musicians over the years that have come out and offered up their voices to ensure the community voices will be heard. My campaign is also about  friends and neighbours phoning their friends and neighbours, me knocking on doors and spending as much time as humanly possible talking to residents on the streets and in the local coffee shops. To have a total stranger walk up to you and thow her arms around you and say "Oh David I am so happy for you." is not something I will ever forget.

Thank You

David Chesney

Publisher & Councillor-Elect

 

 

November 13, 2014

Talk Is Cheap. White Rock's Future Is Not

We are now just a little over 48 hours before we find out who will be sitting on White Rock city council for the next four years.  Yes you read it right, 4 years.  The civic elections will now mirror the Provincial and Federal election terms of 4 years.


There has been a tremendous amount of misinformation circulated as well as character assassination like I have never witnessed before.  The reason in my mind? There is a lot at stake here.  A conservative estimate would put it into the multi millions category.


The last election saw all the candidates  with the exception of Helen Fathers bank roll their election campaigns with money from developers.  The rather strange part of that equation is virtually every city and municipality is in the exact same position.  Developers are taking control of city councils and driving the agenda straight into the future.


What does your White Rock look like?  Do you want to see the entire hillside dotted with highrise towers?  Then if that is your wish, it is patently clear The White Rock Coalition is the group for you.  Incumbent Mayor Baldwin on his website has even referred to this group as pro-development.
White Rock is already one of the densest cities in all of British Columbia.  The previous Mayor and Council (Catherine Ferguson  & Council 2008-2011 went to a great deal of effort to create a charrette a template for future densification in White Rock.  It was made very clear to all the citizens all buildings over 3 storeys would be curtailed to the area between Thrift to the south, North Bluff to the north, George Street to the East and Martin street to the west.  The  majority of the present council for the past 3 years has continually referred to the OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN as nothing more than a guideline.  This must stop.


The rail line through White Rock has been a hot topic for the past 12-18 months.  There has been a lot of talk, a task force was created headed up by councilor GRANT MEYER.  The result?  Legislated fencing, horns on trains blowing at all hours of the day and night and our mayor posting the phone# and email of the local Transport Canada representative on the city’s website so we could contact said rep and tell him to back off.   Oh yes and councilor MEYERS plan to extend the promenade westward to the Coldicutt ravine.  For what reason, isn’t the present promenade long enough?
This past August at the UBCM  (Union of BC Municipalities) in Whistler the annual each city had the opportunity prior to the meeting to put forth any issues they would like to discuss.  Smithers and Terrace submitted a request to have the train whistles decreased going through town, and asked about the possibility of the relocation of the actual rail line.  White Rock?  Nothing! 


There has also been a lot of talk about coal trains and the air quality along the Semiahmoo Peninsula corridor.  New Westminster two months ago filed for intervening status against the expansion of the Surrey docks to handle increased coal exports.  Initially White Rock did nothing for two months and only this week along with Surrey got off their collective butts and got around, partially in my mind, out of embarrassment, and filed their intervening status.  When I first submitted the youtube video of the decaying train trestle over the Little Campbell River on Semiahmoo land to council, nothing happened.  Six months later a better video appeared and I forwarded that to the mayor and council imploring them to look into the matter.  Again nothing, not a reply, no action.  Then the  rail tragedy inthat killed 47 residents of Lac Megantic, Quebec. All of a sudden everyone including our mayor and council was very worried about the state of the bridge.   Subsequently BNSF now has plans to  replace the bridge.  Unfortunately nothing has happened except the bridge has deteriorated even more while BNSF tries to come to an agreeable compensation package for the Semiahmoo First Nations who are denying access until they are compensated.  Meanwhile, watch the video and see if you don’t agree we need to do something, soon.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH RAIL BRIDGE VIDEO


Friends and neighbours, we deserve better. A lot can happen in four years, good or bad. 


It my be rather cliché saying the future is in your hand.  But it is, your voting hand. 

Please vote on Saturday and make your vote count.

David Chesney

Publisher

 

 

October 29, 2014

I Don’t Watch Television

God Help Us!

When my life took a turn into the Caribbean aka Kerlande’s arms I discovered to my chagrin, she did not have a television.  Fair enough.  I still had one at my house.  When we began to cohabitate Kerlande made it patently clear she was not thrilled with having TV in our home.  Not a television itself, but cable TV.


Other than endless SEIFELD re-runs and sports I did not gain much enjoyment out of TV.  Even sports was going downhill with most teams coasting until they had to make a run for a playoff position.  Heck the hockey playoffs are a season unto themselves.
In being the Publisher of this online newspaper I have to avail myself to a lot of media to stay informed.  So I could not help but notice last year something about some hillbillies on a show called HONEY BOO BOO or something like that.  And I thought we had hit ground level zero with previous supposed reality shows.


It sickens me to think we are a society who sits back and chuckles at this Southern family being portrayed as a “white trash trailer park family.”  This week the TLC (I assume that does not stand for The Learning Channel) had cancelled Honey Boo Boo.  The reason being the matriarch of the show one Honey Boo was carrying on a relationship with a man who was recently released from prison for sexually abusing Honey Boo Boo’s daughter who was 8 years old at the time he had her perform oral sex on him.


Really folks.  This type of behaviour damn near signifies Armageddon  is at hand.  How can we as a nation be enamoured with watching the sickening trials and tribulations of this family?  DUCK DYNASTY which I have seen a portion of was highbrow compared to Honey Boo Boo.
As television stations and networks expanded at a rapid rate the search was on for cheap fast and cool television shows.  There was so much air time that had to be filled up the networks were picking up and airing any piece of crap.


I remember seeing one of the very first Trailer Park Boys shows.  I have to tell you I honestly thought it was some cable access program that was probably never going to be seen again.  At the time I was writing an entertainment column for the local SURREY NOW newspaper and I alluded to stumbling across this piece of Canadiana.  Having grown up in Surrey I personally knew a lot of Trailer Park Boys, and indicated that in a subsequent column. Within days MIKE CLATTENBURG the producer of the show dropped me a not and thanked me for the kind words and publicity and for being one of the first to “get it.”

So if you see me with my moon face pressed up against the window of a local eatery, I am not trying to pry into your personal life.  If you would  just move over a bit I would like to see the television set hanging from the ceiling.

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher

 

 

October 22, 2014

Council Coles Notes - "I Can See Clearly Now"

Centre Street Road End

 

It is interesting to watch the wind up/wind down of White Rock council.   Three of the councilllors, FATHERS, LAWRENCE and CAMPBELL have been devoting hours heading up task forces for major community projects.


LAWRENCE has been tasked with the East Beach Improvement Task Force.  Monday evening at the council meeting an overview of the proposed changes to the East Beach landscape were presented to council for consideration.  The anchor point for the re-design of the waterfront and shoreline has not met with positive approval from environmental groups.  The addition of cement referred to as hard scape along the waterfront  in creating a plaza/gathering point has been shall we say “in the wind for years.”  The feature would also have a cement sculpture of a whale breaching out of the water.  Like so many other things on our waterfront, great to look at, but not very practical in revitalizing our decaying commercial sector.  With a very  hefty price tag  council voted to simply “accept” the report.


Councillor FATHERS has been chairing the Centre Street Road Allowance committee.  A small bit of back grounder here, the city of White Rock has millions of dollars of view lots running up and down the hillside, which they refer to as road ends.  When the grid for the city was  created it was deemed these particular slopes were too steep to construct roadways on.  As a result over the years with  and without the city’s permission residents that live alongside these 5 road ends have slowly expanded out their property lines enhancing their property with hedges, additional parking and driveways.   A number of  community meetings were held, with just the property owners next to Centre Street and with the members of the community.  A final design with a very hefty dollar figure ($800,000.00) has now been tabled before council.  The cost of the project  may be a big stumbling block for the development of the road ends as people places.  In the mean time while the city tries to find the revenue to complete the job, would it not be possible to clean up the existing road end, erect sign age so more people are aware of their existence?   If you would like to see this particular road end it begins at the end of Centre Street at Columbia Avenue.  Just walk through the Alice In Wonderland tunnel in the hedge and enjoy your stroll down the hill to the Eagle Tree on “The Hump.”


Councillor AL CAMPBELL couldn't have imagined the headaches he would encounter by heading up the Johnston Road Beautification Task Force.  CAMPBELL has generally been able to stay below the radar, for the most part in his two terms as a CPR elected councilor.  The backlash to his committee’s original plan for cutting down the trees along Johnston Road between Russell avenue and North Bluff, the removal of the crosswalk in front of Penguin Meat, and the removal of the left hand turn lane into Central Plaza northbound on Johnston Road,  put  CAMPBELL’S name front and centre for all the wrong reasons.  Quickly his detractors which included business owners and environmentalists, labeled CAMPBELL as “Asphalt Al.”  Not exactly what one could wish for on the even of an election.  The entire project will now sit until after the election next month.  Even  CAMPBELL’S critics will admit there are some good points in the report, but unless this whole council is returned (minus HUTCHINSON who is not seeking re-election) one can only imagine it might be back to square one.  There is work that needs to be done immediately to rectify the bulging sidewalks being torn up by the roots of the trees along Johnston,  and some beautification implemented.  

When they pass around the hat with the new council it will be a hot potatoe someone is going to have to handle.


If you would like to read the background on these three projects in depth visit the city’s website (click here)


You will have to scroll down THE AGENDA to see exactly what pages the various reports are on.

 

David Chesney

Publisher/Editor White Rock Sun

 

 

 

October 15, 2014

BUS RIDERS

Mayoral candidate DOUG MCCALLUM and Community activist SHEILA SWIFT

 

Upon my arrival at the Kiwanis Place housing project in Ocean Park yesterday the first people I recognized when I walked in to the meeting room, was  former Surrey mayor DOUG MCCALLUM accompanied by 3 members of his Safe Surrey Team.  The rest of the audience in attendance was comprised largely  of the residents of Kiwanis Place, who almost solely depend on the Community Shuttle bus.  The large complex is so popular on the transit route there is an actual stop right outside their front door.


The event was organized by White Rock resident SHEILA SWIFT  who like so many transit users on the Semiahmoo Peninsula felt there as nothing she could do about the cutback in service.  Following numerous conversations with fellow bus riders who were upset, SWIFT decided what the heck she couldn't just sit back and do nothing.


Just to back track a bit.  I alerted our community back in the Spring that Translink was considering cutting our community bus service from half hourly service to hourly service.  I was tipped off to this fact by one of the long time bus drivers in our community. I contacted TRANSLINK and got a lot of double speak, but not an out right denial.  I knew I was on to something.  I next contacted DAN BOTTRILL our city manager in White Rock to see what he and the city knew about the pending cutback in service.  BOTTRILL said he had not heard about the proposed cutback in service.  As our mayor WAYNE BALDWIN is our Translink representative BOTTRILL indicated he would check with the mayor and get back to me.  He got back to me to say the mayor was unaware of any proposed changes.


On September 1 the cutback in service began much to the chagrin of bus riders.  It is interesting to note here that TRANSLINK first informed me the actual ridership was calculated based on the numbers inputted by the driver.  Meaning the driver had to manually push a button each time someone got on the bus.  For the next couple of weeks I conducted a less than professional survey but I did notice it was rare to see the driver actually using this form of tabulation.  I then personally asked a number of drivers how often they do the count, and they said rarely.  I informed TRANSLINK of this fact prior to the service being cut back.  SHIELA SWIFT when she contacted TRANSLINK about the same inadequacy of tabulation was informed the buses had  lasers that counted the people.  Huh?  SWIFT checked with a driver who right in front of her phoned head office and was told there are no laser and continue to manually input the numbers.  SWIFT also is concerned about the lack of bus shelters throughout the Semiahmoo Peninsula, which is a problem when the grey rainy skies return, and return they will.


DOUG MCCALLUM informed the crowd that he lived near Kiwanis Place and quite often used the 351 to get in and out of Vancouver when he had to attend meetings.  He did not indicate he had used the community shuttles.  Though he did sate he was instrumental in instituting the shuttle bus service when he was mayor of Surrey and the head of Translink. MCCALLUM also offered up the fact IAN JARVIS the CEO of Translink lived near him in Ocean Park. When pressed if he knew whether or not JARVIS actually used the bus to get to and from work, he stated he did not know.


MCCALLUM promised SWIFT and the audience if he forms government in Surrey he will very quickly  make every possible effort to have our bus service returned to its original schedule.  MCCALLUM also says he would push for more community shuttle buses.  It would be part of his transportation platform which he will unveil in the  coming weeks.  When pressed he did divulge SAFE SURREY would endorse light rail with three lines emanating from Whalley to Guildford, Whalley to Langley, and eventually Whalley to White Rock.


Here’s hoping MCCALUM is a man of his word.  Here’s hoping MCCALLUM along with every other civic politician begins to use transit.  They will learn more about the inefficiencies of the current system, than a hundred reports would yield.

 

D.Chesney

Publisher

 

 

October 09, 2014


JUST SAY NO TO SLATES

I sent the club a wire stating : “Please accept my resignation.  I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”
Grouch Marx

 

It is official, White Rock will have a slate on the ballot in the upcoming civic election.  White Rock Coalition will be clearly indicated next to six names on this year’s ballot. 


Oh they can spin it any way they like about being six individuals with original ideas but mark my words it is a slate.  What is the old saying  “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it is a duck.”


The desire to distance themselves from using the word slate is quite obvious.  One only needs to look back to see the fallout from our last slate in White Rock, CPR Citizens For Positive Renewal.


CPR rose out of the ashes of community backlash to the approval of the two Bosa highrise towers in uptown White Rock.  The disdain for the development and process was fairly palatable.  CPR was only able to certify 5 candidates.  The entire rookie slate was elected.  Their slate consisted of LYNNE SINCLAIR  (a member of  White Rock Coalition) sitting councilor HELEN FATHERS, JAMES COLERIDGE  later removed to falsifying information during his campaign, councilor AL CAMPBELL, former councilor DOUG MCLEAN.   MARY WADE ANDERSON was re-elected as an independent.   CPR did not put forth a mayoral candidate and as a result former councilor CATHERINE FERGUSON was elected mayor.  For the next three years we witnessed what can only be described as a dysfunctional council.  The disdain between FERGUSON and the CPR slate was obvious and toxic.  If FERGUSON said UP, CPR said DOWN.  If FERGUSON said LEFT, CPR went right.  It was a  very non productive period for our community.


Believe me I understand the financial need for a slate if you are running in an area which is large like, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver or Burnaby.  It has been published to run any kind of campaign in Surrey for instance, the cost is nearly $100,000.00.  With numbers like it is obvious unless you are independently wealthy (and how many of those people have you seen running for city  councils) you have to reach out to supporters to finance your campaign.


I will once again finance my campaign with a community dance this Friday at Blue Frog.  When the dust clears I will probably have made $3,000.00 or so.  I will personally top up that amount with a couple thousand dollars of my own money, and we will be off and running.  In past elections and this year again I was approached by organizers of slates and rebuffed all advances.  In doing so I no doubt lost the opportunity to walk on to council.  I would rather earn my seat.


Can my "lone wolf" system work? 

Well in the last general election in 2011 and subsequent by-election due to the passing of councilor Mary Wade Anderson, I was the next candidate that would have been elected.  I am confident this election I will push those numbers even higher.


I hope you will support my  position and send a “true” group of individuals to city hall this November. 

D.Chesney

Publisher White Rock Sun

 

 

Setpember 24, 2014

CIVIC ELECTION Handicap

Politics Really Make For Strange Bedfellows?

 

ELECTION PREDICTIONS 2014

As most of you know I will once again be seeking a seat at the city council table.

D. Chesney/Publisher


It is probably for that very reason that many in our community believe I have insight into the election and may be able to give them some backroom machinations for the upcoming civic elections on November 15.  Fair enough


First let’s cast our eyes to Surrey.  The slates are in place.  LINDA HEPNER has been handed the mantle for the popular (under DIANNE WATTS ) political party SURREY FIRST.


Former Surrey mayor DOUG MCCALLUM is back with a slate that is running  under the banner of   SAFE SURREY.


Surrey councilor BARINDER RASODE on announcing her candidacy on Saturday has not identified if she is part of an electoral group (read slate) or announced who will be supporting her bid for the mayor’s chair.  She has stepped out under the catch phrase of “Tough Mother.” Which seemingly has already clickedin with many Surrey residents given the crime scene of murders, home invasions and daring daylight gun fights (and that was just this week) that are happening up in Surrey.  As DON PITCAIRN identified in his editorial this week, safety will be the #1 issue in Surrey this election.


Down south here in White Rock there have been a  few candidates that have  gone public prior to the October 10 final nomination date.  Myself and Pat Petrala have announced we will run for council while BROOKE COLBIE may or may not be running for mayor.  In a carefully orchestrated news release to selected media  BROOKE COLBIE announced he ould carry on his father’s legacy (former Alderman) and oppose any future highrise development in White Rock.  Since that announcement COLBIE has turned into Casper the ghost.  Calls to COLBIE to comment on the rumours that he is already out of the race have not been returned to the White Rock Sun or other local media outlets.  Was his nomination a simple smoke screen to keep other possible candidates out of the Mayoral pool?  Time will tell.


With the exception of councilor HELEN FATHERS no other present member of council has officially come forward to say they are running, yet. With the exception of one or two sitting members of council  look for them all to bid for their return.


That brings us to the big rumour floating around the coffee shop council chambers.  Pundits are a tither with the rumour of a pair of ad hoc slates are being put together in the back rooms and strategizing sessions being held secretively around town.


Where as Surrey’s hot topic is front and centre with SAFETY, it would appear if these groups debut as rumoured, the hot button issue for White Rock will be DEVELOMENT.


On the supposed PRO-DEVELOPMENT ticket  The rumour mill has the following candidates showing interest in partnering up.


SITTING COUNCILLORS
Grant Meyer & Bill Lawrence
FORMER COUNCILLORS
Lynne Sinclair & Cliff Annabele
HOPEFUL  NEW COUNCILLORS
Megan Knight, Doug Hart,
All in support of MAYOR BALDWIN
*Emails for confirmation of this group have not been responded to by former  councilor LYNNE SINCLAIR or Mayor BALDWIN.


If this rumour is true that leaves sitting councillors HELEN FATHERS, AL CAMPBELL and LOUISE HUTCHINSON to go it alone as independents.


On the other side of the development issue is the the ANTI-DEVELOPMENT group  which is presently only inhabitated by a pair of  local residents ho have become poster boys for slowing down what they believe is over development of White Rock.


SCOTT KRISTJANSON who ran on a caring father and family man in the 2012 White Rock election.  Since that election KRISTJANSON has been a tireless advocate for slowing down development on what he often refers to as the “second densest city” in all of British Columbia.


DENNIS LYPKA who rose to some level of prominence over the Evergreen Care home issue expansion  this past year.  LYPKA a resident of the Bel Air tower on 16th avenue and Oxford street attempted to shine a light on what he felt were backroom deals that may or may not have greased the wheels of the application.  A personal introduction on to how city hall works seemingly has inspired LYPKA to consider step forward and is expected  to announce any day no.  The group is presently looking to add more names to their movement. Stay tuned.


Rounding out the “others” list include former councilor and White Rock mayor HARDY STAUB and former councilors DOUG MCLEAN & MARGARET WOODS.
So print off your score card and see how we fare when the final nomination papers need to be filed on October 10 @ 4 p.m.

D.Chesney

Publisher/Editor White Rock Sun

 

 

September 17, 2014

Rail Relocation

Last week as I thumbed through the agenda for the return of the White Rock Council from their summer break, my eyes came rest on an addition to the end of the agenda.
Mayor Baldwin submitted the following motion for consideration by Council at the September 8, 2014 meeting:
THAT Council directs staff to initiate the relocation of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) rails from the waterfront of the City of White Rock in accordance with the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act.

Councillor HELEN FATHERS quickly added an amendment to the motion to bring the motion into line by adding “Instruct Staff TO BEGIN the process….”

Interesting I thought.  As I was not fully aware of the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act I searched out the act to see exactly what was involved in the process. 
The Act (read it in its entirety here) states  in part an application can only be made after all avenues of discussion between said  railway and city has occurred, and a financial projection for the cost of relocation has been completed.  Neither had been done, and it will be months perhaps even years before just these two points are met.
I can’s say for sure Mayor Baldwin was imply politicking, but if he was, to a certain extent he accomplished what he set out to do.  I have actually heard White Rock residents chiming in “Did you hear the mayor is going to have the train tracks moved within 5 years?”


Did you hear I am going to win Lotto 649 in 5 years?  In my opinion the  odds of me winning 6/49 are about as likely as the rail line being moved within 5 years.  When this topic is floated around for discussion amongst the “coffee shop councillors” time and time again it is pointed out BNSF is presently upgrading the trestles across Mud Bay with massive cement structures and have  plans to spend millions on replacing the old swing bridge at the Crescent Beach marina.  The rumoured expenditure to date just on the work that has been done is 15 million dollars.
I feel for the residents of White Rock and Crescent Beach that are watching their houses devalue long term, and in the short term the negative impact on their health through loss of sleep  due to train whistles in the night, as well as difficulty breathing due to the coal dust escapement.  I understand they want to believe with all their hearts relief is in sight.  You can’t ever give up hope, but……


In previous editorials regarding the rail line through White Rock I went on record with my frustration at the lack of reaction on two separate occasions when I forwarded shocking videos that surfaced over a 4 month period of the apparent rotting rusting old rail bridge over the Little Campbell river by Semiahmoo park.  Not the mayor, and not one single council member saw fit to even reply.  Then the tragic rail derailment in July of 2013 occurred in Le Megantic Quebec and all of a sudden everyone in White Rock and Surrey city hall were worried about the  rail lined.
Surrey organized a meeting at the Pacific Inn and White Rock was invited to attend to present  a unified front.  Since then to the best of my knowledge, nothing has happened.  Other than Transport Canada has wrapped the city of White Rock’s knuckles for failing to address their safety concerns and has no ordered the erection of mesh fencing along East Beach.  What’s next?  How long ill it be before West Beach comes under fire?


So if you disagree with me opinion, that is your right.  Keep on pushing to have the rail line relocated.  I too would like to see the rail line moved away from our waterfront.


I would also like to win Lotto 6/49

Dave Chesney

Publisher/Editor

email - editor@whiterocksun.com

 

September 10, 2014

All Aboard!

Who cares? 

That seems to be the response when I mention to people there has been a dramatic cut back in the bus service in White Rock/South Surrey. 
Effective holiday Monday September 1, our Community Shuttle buses have been directed to alter the service to the following.

 

C50 Ocean Park/Peace Arch Hospital
Permanent

Weekeday Frequency is every 60 minutes from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

C51 White Rock Centre/Ocean Park
Permanent

Weekday frequency is every 60 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
C51 White Rock Centre/Ocean Park

C52 Seaside/White Rock Centre
Permanent

Weekday frequency is every 60 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m.
Saturday frequency is every 60 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Sunday and holiday frequency is every 60 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight

C53 Cranley/White Rock Centre
Permanent

Weekday frequency is every 60 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. with two additional trips at 9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.
Saturday frequency is every 60 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday and holiday frequency is every 60 minutes from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

For residents on the Semiahmoo Peninsula that depend on the bus to get around to visit the doctor, do their shopping, social outings etc. this cut back in service has hit them hard. 


This past Saturday when I boarded the C-52 in front of the museum on the waterfront I was fortunate enough to get the last seat available.  When the bus arrived at Maple and Columbia a woman waiting at the bus stop was waving her arms frantically.  The bus driver pulled over and explained to her he as full and she would have to wait for the next bus, the woman explained on how she had already been waiting an hour and the prospect of a further hour wait as simply not in the cards for her.  She was going back home.  The bus driver muttered something about this being a very common problem until people realized there as a new bus schedule.


The bus changes have been posted (all three of them) at White Rock Centre (16th & Johnston) but in large part most stops do not have any information.  For that matter there are only approximately 10 bus stops in all of White Rock and South Surrey that have the projected time the bus ill be arriving.


In that I am a regular user of the bus service I was alerted to the coming changes back in June by one of the local bus drivers.  When I inquired to white Rock City Hall, our city manager DAN BOTTRILL had not received any information on the cutback in service.  Mayor Baldwin is our representative on the Translink Board and if he knew of the cuts he failed to forward the information to the administration or the community.
So who cares?

I do.

Do you?

Call or email TRANSLINK and our MAYOR AND COUNCIL and tell them WE DESERVE BETTER.

WHITE ROCK CITY HALL - 604-541-2100


Dave Chesney
Publisher/Editor

 

 


August 14, 2014

Last Friday the peaceful afternoon was shattered by the continuous and very loud blowing of the horn on  a freight train heading north along the rail line on the White Rock waterfront.  A number of residents called and emailed the White Rock Sun to see if we had any idea what was happening. 
The loud horn blast was followed by a terrible screeching of metal on metal and the banging of the rail cars as the train made an emergency stop.  The brief silence was then punctuated with emergency vehicles sirens blaring as they raced to the East Beach area of White Rock.


From what we were able to ascertain, two or three youths decided they were going to lay on the rail line and play a game of “chicken” with the freight train.  By the time the train actually stopped the offending youths had scampered off down the beach.  Police were unable to make any arrests.
In that the city of White Rock has recently had an ongoing upgrading of safety relationship with BNSF the rail company and Transport Canada, I can only imagine what the phone call to Transport Canada from BNSF must have entailed.


Perhaps something along the lines of “We thought you had solved the problems with unwanted trespassers on our rail line along the waterfront.”  Recently BNSF publicly stated of the thousands of miles along which they operate their rail lines, the 2km stretch along the White Rock waterfront is the most dangerous area on the entire rail line.  Trespassers on the tracks and people darting across in front of the train has become a problem of epic proportions.


So what is the city of White Rock doing?  Well the openings in the fencing along west beach where foot traffic could easily cross the tracks have been filled  in.  There has been a fence erected at the end of Bayview park by the boat launch, and the boat launch has now been shut off to vehicular traffic until the city installs the mandated lights, bells and wooden arm crossings.  White Rock has also erected a number of LOOK LISTEN LIVE signs from one end of the beach to the other.  There is also talk White Rock is considering installing a form of metal mesh on the metal railing along the West Beach section of the promenade. 


The CN police have tried to increase patrols, and some tickets have been issued to people trespassing on the tracks. 
Something more needs to be done.  There seems to be some confusion whether of not our By-Law officers are able to issue tickets.  But in the mean time those by-law officers should step up foot patrols and direct trespasser to get off the tracks.  The RCMP and the community policing volounteers should also be down there sweeping people off the tracks.


Unless BNSF and Transport Canada get the message loud and clear White Rock is doing everything they can to mitigate these safety violations,  I fear the rail line is going to push to have fences erected, at the very least along the West Beach promenade from the pier west to the boat launch. 
Failure by the city to address this ongoing problem ma force the rail line and Transport Canada to institute the next step for safety and I fear 6-8 foot fencing that is  prevalent along other portions of the BNSF line will be installed.  Believe me once they go in they won’t be coming out anytime soon.

D. Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

August 07, 2014

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

White Rock Players Artistic Director RYAN MOONEY

 

The White Rock Players Club has been rocked by a scandal centering around the current Artistic Director RYAN MOONEY. The Players Club which has operated the White Rock Playhouse for 60 years, up to now has had an unblemished image within our community. MOONEY it was revealed in a story in the NOW NEWSPAPER last Friday was convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl. MOONEY received a one-year conditional sentence and three years' probation. He was also ordered to provide a DNA sample and his name was added to the sex offender registry for 20 years. The incident did not happen in White Rock.  In researching a story on an upcoming production The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged in which MOONEY was to be one of the three cast member the NOW reporter through a simple Google search of MOONEY'S name in search of some background information discovered the charges.  The production has now been removed from the White Rock Players schedule.  It like many other aspects of this story is unclear.  Has it been cancelled?  Or just postponed?  Your guess is as good as anyone’s.


When the news broke I submitted a request to KATE STADEL  the vice president  and publicist  for the Playhouse to provide me with clarification on the situation at the Playhouse.  I have yet to receive a response.  Yesterday I heard a rumour she had resigned her position at the Playhouse.


Late last week news broke MOONEY had resigned and STADEL was considering following him out the door by handing in her resignation.  An emergency meeting was hastily called of the executive of the board which was held holiday Monday.  The meeting did nothing to clarify the situation.  In fact it only muddied the water further. 


Following the closed meeting rumours circulated through the community MOONEY had in fact not tendered his resignation.  He would remain with the Players Club as would STADEL.  What did transpire was it seems the President of the Players Club ANGIE KOROPATNISKY  and the treasurer of the club GWENNE FARRELL had submitted their resignation.  Are you still with me?


The rumours continue to circulate through the community.  The remaining members of the Players Club have chosen to duck and cover seemingly hoping the matter blows over.


Really?


The White Rock Players Club has posted the following information regarding their upcoming AGM.
2014 Annual General Meeting Sunday August 17th 2014, Where: Coast Capital Playhouse When: August 17th 2014 2pm Reminder: members must be in good standing to vote, so please renew your membership before the meeting.

Membership is open to anyone in the community by simply purchasing a membership through the box office for $20.00 . 
One can only imagine how the local financial company COAST CAPITAL which has its name emblazoned on the playhouse, is feeling about all this negative publicity.  Many of the questions the community is pondering will be addressed at the AGM.
I signed up and got my membership yesterday. I will attend the AGM, maybe then I and in turn you will know what the hell is going on at our Playhouse. The real crime here is allowing so many damaging rumours circulate throughout the community. 


We Deserve Better.

D.Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

July 31, 2014

The Only Way For White Rock To Grow - Is Up

Mayor Wayne Baldwin


Is White Rock a Ghost City just like the ones that are popping up all over China? Vast cities are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost uninhabited ghost towns. It's estimated there are 64 million empty apartments.

I read with interest the recent front page story in Surrey’s NOW NEWSPAPER by Christopher Poon.  The basis of the feature story was  an interview with White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin.  Baldwin reaffirmed his public stance the future for White Rock is “looking up” as in the city is in need of more high rises due to the actual small inventory of land in the city which is only 1.98 square miles.


White Rock is already the second densest city in British Columbia.  One only needs to take a walk out the pier and look back up the hillside of the city by the sea.  It seems virtually every street on the hillside has a number of new houses being squeezed into the small hillside lots.  The reason is obvious, an ocean view.  I understand that having lived in numerous hillside houses over my 25 plus years of living in White Rock.

 
What I don’t understand  though about the mayor’s logic is densification to this point in time has done nothing to create a vibrant community.  Our commercial district uptown is dotted with vacant shells of commercial space.  Our waterfront in particular East Beach is a mish mash of run down seasonal businesses that will once again go dark come October, leaving the waterfront looking like a ghost town.  Presently the main reason to come to White Rock is simple.  The sun.  Few restaurants on our waterfront, and I isolate restaurants, because outside of a couple of touristy dress shops, there is not much of a year round retail base on the waterfront.


If the existing towers were  supposed to make White Rock a desirable  vibrant year round community to live in, well in my humble opinion we failed miserably.  I have watched with interest on how quickly the recent developments become a beehive of activity of  residents coming and going, shopping, taking part in community events.  To date I have seen no evidence of any increase in residents.  They are becoming ghost towers.  One only needs to drive through the uptown corridor and glance and any of the developments to realize they have very few residents. 


In fairness to Saltaire and the Avra they are new projects and it might take time to push through the sales.  The Miramar Village aka Bosa Towers is another matter entirely.  I hope for the developer’s sake the vast majority of darkened suites in both the Bosa Towers actually sold to off shore investors who had no intention of living in White Rock.  But what we are left with is darkened silos as a gateway to our city by the sea.
I am not against highrises.  Far from it.  If this is what the community and taxpayers wish to have, bring it on.  But bring it on 16th avenue.  Build 75 storey highrises for all I care all along 16th avenue.  The great wall of White Rock where there are four lanes to get the traffic in and out.  No shadows on towers along 16th avenue would negatively impact any residents of White Rock. 


We painstakingly over the past 5 years created with our elected officials and input from the residents a designated area for density.  Yet the creep and crawl continues outside of said town centre/densification area.


Where it will stop is anyone’s guess.  But if you are concerned pay very close attention to whose name you put an X beside on November 15 during the civic election. 


Our quality of life and the future of White Rock is in your hands and mine.  I know I will have something to say about it on the campaign trail this Fall.
D.Chesney
Publisher/Editor
editor@whiterocksun.com

 

 

July 24, 2014

Tale of Two Task Forces

 

A couple weeks back whilst relaxing in the “blue room” with some local musicians at Blue Frog studios, the topic of rail safety, fences, coal shipments, noise etc. emerged as a very hot topic.  One of the long time White Rock residents sat silently listening to what everyone was saying before he piped up with the observation “White Rock Is Full Of Bitchers and Complainers.”  He went on to add he was tired of reading the comments in the local fishwrap slamming the railway and everything that goes with having a rail line through our community.  He correctly identified the rail line used to run up through Cloverdale and on into Vancouver before Surrey( in those days) talked the railway into relocating the route along the waterfront through White Rock and Crescent Beach.  The local then went on to say, “Did the people bitching and complaining not see the rail tracks before they bought or decided to move to “the city by the sea?”

The past couple of weeks the hot topic around White Rock coffee shops is the planned redesign of Johnston Road in uptown White Rock.  The section of the main thoroughfare  between Thrift avenue and North Bluff ( 16 avenue) has struck a nerve with many residents in our “city by the sea.”  Last week the Task Force headed up by councillor AL CAMPBELL  heard loud and clear at a public meeting in the community centre, to slow down and engage the community before you start erecting barriers down the middle of the road and cutting down all the trees.  The Task Force is now regrouping and discussing how they can meet the resident’s demands while still accomplishing what they had originally set out to do.  In large part the Task Force is working off the design in the charrette that was created by community planners at the urging of  former Mayor Catherine Ferguson for our town centre's future.  The tree situation is unfortunate.  When the trees were planted along Johnston Road they were planted  the wrong way.  One only needs to walk up Johnston road into Surrey and marvel how our neighbours to the north have magic trees (much larger than ours) that do not buckle the sidewalks at all. The barrier fence down the middle of the road has already been thrown in the trash.  One of the other hot topics is the proposed removal of the left hand turn lane just south of 16th avenue that leads into Central Plaza.  If you know the lay of the land figure out how difficult it would be to get into the mall  if this is instituted.  The left hand turn lane has never been a problem before now.  With the densification in the uptown area in the highrises the traffic has naturally increased, causing traffic to somewhat bunch up at this intersection.  Thank God the aforementioned towers have very few residents, one can only imagine if they were occupied the wagon trail called Johnston Road would be gridlock night and day.  Yesterday the Task Force had another meeting at City Hall to contemplate what they heard from residents.  There was no prior consultation before the initial report was made public.   Councillor Campbell  at the first public meeting was taken back by the criticism for not engaging the community to which he noted all people in attendance just wanted to be negative and complain and for this reason their opinion was not solicited.

Conversely Councillor HELEN FATHERS and her task force have been working diligently on the Centre Street Road End redevelopment.  In case you are unaware, and most White Rockers are, the city owns millions of dollars in real estate of running up and down the hillside in White Rock between Columbia Avenue and Marine Drive.  No less than 5 “road ends” are now scheduled to receive a makeover and promotion to encourage residents and visitors alike to drink in the breath taking vistas afforded anyone walking up or down the “road ends.”
FATHERS has hosted no less than 3 public sessions and 6 private sessions with the residents that live on either side of the Centre Street road end, and the residents that live close by.  With the help of a landscape architect the Task Force has painstakingly proceeded at a snail’s pace making every effort to accommodate the wishes of the residents.  Talk to any of those residents though and you get the impression this whole matter is being rammed down their throats without any consultation. Given the fact the design created for Centre Sreet will form the template for hundreds of other residents living next to road ends I was shocked NOT ONE SINGLE resident from other road ends bothered to turn up to observe the proposed changes. Get ready for the hue and cry if and when the city ever proceeds with their long range plan.


So which way is going to be White Rock?  You sit back and complain but don’t get off the couch and get engaged until it is all  over then you sit back and moan about how you were not consulted.  It seems no matter which way the city proceeds with change everyone wants to just sit back and attack.
My dearly departed father instilled in my a guiding life lesson when he told me “Don’t just sit back and bitch about something.  If you are not prepared to roll up your sleeves and help change something, then we really don’t care to hear what you have to say.”  

Uncle Joe is looking down at you and I friends and neighbours.

D.Chesney

Publisher

 

 

June 26, 2014

Don't Fence Me In

 

The recent rail fence protest turned into  something far more than perhaps organizers expected.  The back story here in case you missed it was Transport Canada expressed concerns about the lack of due diligence by  the city of White Rock as it pertains  to safety along the waterfront rail line.  White Rock officials as we now know, jumped the gun and erected a locked gate at the kayak launch on West Beach.  The gate became the fire storm for festering opposition in general to the rail line - period!


At last Friday’s protest a cross section of residents turned out to the 3 scheduled protests to highlight their personal agenda.  We heard from people that flat out want the railway moved.  SMART RAIL an organization that has made the Semiahmoo Peninsula its home for years is in possession of a binder of documents that contain a raft of research that clearly indicates the movement of the rail line off the waterfront is most certainly possible.  Residents who have concerns about the dirty coal trains being dragged through the city were joined by others who have grave concerns about the other more toxic and explosive products shipped by rail through our front yard also turned up.  Last but not least a number of residents were on hand to push for noise cessation, in particular the quieting of the  train whistles, in particular during the overnight hours.


The protest may have fizzled out a bit given the fact the city of White Rock and Transport Canada agreed the upgrades to the kayak crossing were sufficient to remove the gate, that never should have been.


It was very interesting to see how “bad news travels like lightning” circulated through the community.  Everyone it seemed was under the impression soon there would be 8 foot fall black fences stretching the full length of the city’s promenade.  Blocking out the scenery and prohibiting access to the beach.  Well that was never the plan, but the knee jerk reaction and hastily caused press conference in front of the aforementioned gate, by Mayor Baldwin did nothing but inflame the situation. Baldwin later publicly stated he was wrong, but in his words "others at city hall were wrong as well."


I have lived in White Rock for over 25 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how few actual White Rock residents go to the waterfront.  I often sit down on the promenade on one of the benches near the pier head, and over the course of an hour or two I may see 1 or 2 people I know.  Why don’t White Rock people go to the beach?  Is it a simple case of “been there done that?”  When pressed why they don’t utilize and enjoy our waterfront most simply say “There’s nothing down there I want to see or do?”  Really?  The smell of the ocean air, the lonesome cry of a seagull, eagles soaring over your head, breath taking sunsets?  I could go on and on.


The by-product of the Chicken Little “the sky is falling the sky is falling they are fencing in the waterfront" was I have never seen so many people drawn down to the flash point of the gate the city erected on the waterfront.  Threaten to take something away and just watch what happens.  So thank you Mayor Baldwin, Transport Canada and White Rock city staff.  You have done something many have tried and failed to accomplish.  The initial backlash certainly brought us a ton of media exposure.  All be it negative. The story must have been picked up by at least one media outlet that spread it nationally, as I received two phone calls from Eastern friends who have fallen in love with White Rock due to previous visits.  The story played out they were fencing in the White Rock waterfront and eliminating beach access.


Unfortunately the real story wasn’t as sexy and headline worthy, very little, if any Vancouver media covered the protest, so there may be a large section of people out there thinking the fences are probably being erected or are already up.


It is a good thing White Rock is set to host a  number of summer events like Canada Day By The Bay, The Tour De White Rock, The Snowbirds Wings Over White Rock and the 65th edition of our Sea Festival will all provide a golden opportunity for our community stakeholders to get the word out,  that we are wide open, come on in the water’s fine. 

Well  that might be pushing it a tad.

D. Chesney

Publisher/Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 1, 2012

60's Bullying - Surrey Style

Yesterday was the national day of anti-bullying. As I prepared stories pertaining to the event I got to thinking of my childhood growing up in Surrey in the 60's. If you were to look at my elementary school pics from Hjorth Road elementary and Harold Bishop you would see the entire class was white. It was not until Junior High (Johnston Heights) that we had our first Chinese student. I can even remember his name. Ken Wong.

This is not to say there was not bullying in my childhood. But it was not race based. It was based on toughness. Some of you readng this will know who I am talking about when I allude to a certain Surrey tough who's favourite saying, and one that sent chills through your entire body when you heard "YOU birthday boy. You and two of your friends outside." You see this particular fellow student felt it would be somewhat of a fair fight if you and two of your friends partook in a Beatle boot battle at "the rock" after school. Oh those fights were nowhere near as volent as from what I understand happens now. A couple of quick shots in the head perhaps a flick of the boots in the nether region and you and your two buddies were on the deck. Did we tell the principal? Did we tell our parents? No to both of those questions. We just sucked it up and went on with our lives.

As I thought about what it might be like nowadays with all the social media and other forms of mass communication, how far reaching it must be when a fellow student decides to besmurch your good nature.

My thoughts also went back to a young fellow in our school named Kelvin that because of his appearance which was rather gangly and his coke bottle glasses became the target of abuse from a sector of our Junior High School, Johnston Heights. As I was pretty much a jock and not that far seperated from the "in crowd" of the school I was pretty much accepted in all the cliques in our school. One day I wintessed a group of students tormenting Kelvin and I couldn't take it any longer. I stepped forward to his aid and informed the group if I ever heard or saw them bullying Kelvin again they would have to deal with me. A symbiotic relationship with my crowd of friends and Kelvin soon developed. We used to pick him up on the weekend and take him out partying with us. Our group would turn up at the A events on the social calendar with Kelvin in tow. People were always asking "What the heck is Kelvin doing here?" People just shrugged and said, he's with THEM.

So fast forward to about 10 years ago and one evening I was watching the 6 o'clock news on TV when a story came on about a fire in one of those trailer parks on King George Highway in the Newton area. The focus of the story was the heroism of a young man that ran into the burning trailer and rescued an elderly woman who was trapped by the fire. I thought, well that's a nice story. As the camera panned around to the hero of the day I nearly fell off the couch. It was Kelvin kind of smduged up with black soot, his ever present thick glasses somewhat askew. The reporter asked him if he felt like a hero? Kelvin without any hesitation said "No, I just knew Mrs. So and So was trapped in her trailer and as her neighbour I knew I had to help." My face broke out in a smile a mile wide. I thought, good on you Kelvin. I always knew you were a good kid.

I never felt compelled to go to the trailer park and look up Kelvin. Then a couple of years passed and I was at Central City Plaza at some kind of rally that was attended by numerous mayors and MLA's. As I was looking to get a good photo for the paper, I pushed my way up to the front of the barrier to get a better angle. As I finished taking the shot I was putting my camera away and I heard someon call my name. "Hey Chesney!" I tuned an looked in the direction of the shout out and there hanging over the front of the railing about 30 feet away was Kelvin waving his arms in the air. Though it had been about 40 years since I last saw Kelvin, he came flying around the crowd and gave me a big handshake and fist pump, like it was yesterday we were hanging out.

I told him how proud I was of him and his daring rescue. He just shrugged it off and said it was no big thing. And it probably wan't for a stand up guy like Kelvin.

Dave Chesney

 

February 20, 2012

Cash Grab

NOTICE: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Notice is Hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the White Rock Business Improvement Association will be held on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 – 7.00pm at Blue Frog Studios, 1328 Johnston Road, White Rock, BC.

First of all a little history. Five years ago as the owner of a home based business (White Rock Sun) I was awarded the first associate membership in the White Rock BIA. In that I was only paying a nominal fee of $100.00 I would have the privileges of membership but would not be allowed to have a vote which all other commercial business owners would have. On average the commercial business owners pay thousands of dollars annually to fund the operation of the BIA.

In rather short order my membership was summarily withdrawn for apparently "looking for the story" that arose out of a simple inquiry of where the money was being spent? I took the attitude of Grouch Marx "I wouldn't want to be a member of any organization that would have me as a member." My long time friend and commercial property owner LARRY ANSCHELL of Turtle recording studios on the waterfront, had his interest aroused when he heard the story. ANSCHELL who has paid roughly a $1,000.00 annually was not as forgiving.

ANSCHELL began to ask some of the same questions I was asking. A long drawn out well publicized rift between the BIA and ANSCHELL eventually wound its way into BC Supreme Court. The final judgement from the courts was the BIA were in fact not following their mandate. A new election of officers was ordered by the court. ANSCHELL'S camp which included me were trounced by the stacked membership at the special meeting of the BIA, with the exception of one of our candidates gaining a seat on the BIA. The transparency of the BIA came into place and it appeared for a brief moment in time things were back on track.

The White Rock council of the day despite their efforts to remain at arms length were drawn into the battle. Council now being alerted to there being some problems in the operation of the BIA put the BIA on probation and renewed their grant for a probationary period of 1 year, as opposed to the 5 year extension the BIA was seeking. Council also voted and approved the way the BIA would be funded. The negative vote which was used (think Rogers cable) to renew funding, was dependent on the membership voting continuation. The problem some saw including council at the time, was the lack of engagement of the commercial business owners. Simply put, if you did not vote for the continuation of the BIA you were counted as a vote in favour of continuation. Council initially seemed to have a problem with that, but following a number of IN CAMERA meetings they changed their stance and the BIA as they had proposed would not move to a positive vote. Under that process the BIA would need an affirmative vote of 50% plus 1 of the hundreds of business owners indicate they wanted the BIA to continue.

When the dust cleared the executive director of the BIA, Russ Davies announced he was leaving his position and taking up a similar position in Kitsilano. CYNDIE RICHARDS who had been working as DAVIE'S assistant in short order became the acting executive director. Within a year RICHARDS was informed her job was being posted for new candidates. She would be more than welcome to apply. A new director SHERRI WILSON MORRISSETTE was appointed. RICHARDS lawyered up and the BIA paid her a small severance.

As my true motivation, despite what some of the directors and business owners thought, was to see a viable commercial business community in White Rock. I had a business interest in White Rock succeeding, and a personal interest. I shop local. I don't have to be told to shop local. I simply prefer to be able to walk to do the majority of my shopping. I also have a long standing desire to know the butcher, the baker the candle stick maker. Not ever being one to simply sit back and criticize I put my name forth and was duly elected to the board of the BIA last year. I figured perhaps the BIA could benefit from my decades of media, marketing and special event production. I dutifully attended monthly meeting where the directors were supposed to be coming together to brainstorm, provide feedback from the various districts in White Rock and review the effectiveness of the business improvement initiatives in place. I resigned after 6 months. It was one thing to give up precious personal time, but when it became patently clear the BIA board did not in my humble opinion have any idea on how to improve the commercial viability of the BIA. The board of directors by no means should wear all the blame for the ineffectiveness of the BIA. On at least four occasions notices were sent out to the membership announcing informal get togethers of the membership and the directors to get feedback and to reach out to gauge the effectiveness of the BIA according to the membership. The response was pitiful. One or two members turned up for the coffee klatches. Part of the reason for this is the business owners unless they actually own the commercial property where their business is located, don't even see what THEY are paying into the BIA through a levy brought forth by the City of White Rock. During the ANSCHELL inquiry I helped Larry distribute notices (see below) to every single business owner in White Rock. Over the course of one entire evening we walked the streets of White Rock and either put the notice on the door window or put it through the mail slot where available. The notice encourage the business owners to step up and ensure the hundreds of thousands of dollars they were committing was being spent in a manner they felt was advantageous to their business success. Over 200 businesses received the notices. ANSCHELL received ONE PHONE CALL, and that was from a store owner that felt the flyer coming through the front door may have set off her alarm.

In the years that have followed nothing has changed. The business owners bitch and complain about pay parking, road closures and generally speaking, a lack of engagement by City Hall to help their businesses exceed. The Mayor and Council sit back and wonder what the hell they are talking about. They feel they did their part by instituting the levy that now with annual increases is cresting just over $300,000.00. Think about that figure for a moment. Over a quarter of a million dollars.

Now you may be asking yourself "Where the hell did the money go?" Glance back to the beginning of this story to see what happened to me when I had the nerve and audacity to ask that very same question. Nothing has changed. The business base in White Rock is dieing. Monthly another business goes under. When a restaurant closes on the beach as has FRONDS and IGUANA'S there is no shortage of people that seem willing to step forward and fill the space. One would have to think a business could succeed on our world famous waterfront. A few do. They are the ones that never sight pay parking as killing their business. Instead they roll up their sleeves and get to work at making their businesses successful. They aren't sitting back waiting for the BIA or the city of White Rock to make their ventures profitable.

Tomorrow evening at Blue Frog studios in White Rock a handful of insiders and the directors of the BIA will gather and rubber stamp a budget that will be presented to the Mayor and Council for another year of funding. If past AGM's are any indication, there will be no public outcry from the membership. Hell there won't even be more than a small select group of business owners or their representatives present.

If you are a business owner you may want to have a read over the budget that is being proposed (click here)

Note - over 33% of the budget is eaten up in "operations" wages, rent etc. Ask yourself this. Do you even know where the BIA office is located?

Then you may want to read where your money went last year (click here)

If the business owners in White Rock can't take ONE NIGHT A YEAR to show some interest in their financial future, why should I are? . Why should ANSCHEL and a small contingent of business owners care, and for that matter why should the City of White Rock care?

 

December 27, 2011

Christmas Rush, To The Head

I have never equated a successful Christmas with the amount of money one spends. I love Christmas, it allows us WASPS a golden opportunity to dish out a hug here and there, a handshake to a casual acquaintance, a little gift or Christmas greeting to someone that would never expect to receive such an acknoledgement.

Heck if I had my way I would have a "solstice celebration" four times a year, when the calendar switches seasons. Go easy on the presents, but pick up the phone and call an old friend, taka neighbour over a jar of your homemade pickels, whatever inspiration of friendship you feel.

You know what was strange this year? The lack of crowds. Heck I picked my frozen turkey up at Price Cutter December 24 at noon and then strolled over to the liquor store for my final shopping stop. I did not wait in a line at either place. IN my conversations with friends, the encountered the same lack of excitememtn at retail all week.

In conversation with a shop owner in the area that specializes in spa treatments, she told me on average she normally sells somewhere around 100 gift certificates annually. This year she sold 5.

In contrast in phone calls to family and friends in Alberta, woe were they. Massive traffic jams, huge lineups, stressed out sales people inhabited their Christmas shopping experience. Funny what some good old fashioned oil money can do for you.

Driving along Marine Drive in White Rock yesterday the Japanese, Chinese and Indian restuarants were the only shops open. In fact looking at the morning PROVINCE paper paper this morning, there were some shops on Robson Street yesterday that opened on Christmas Day no doubt catering to those residents who do not celebrate the Christian holiday. Makes sense, if we lived in Thailand I am sure on certain days they celebrated religious holidays, we would be looking for a cappuccino.

As we get ready to enter into 2012 I caution you to hold on tight. This is going to be one hell of a wild ride we are facing down. We are in a recession, whether or not the media cares to speak about it. The slightest cause of concern may cause the people still spending money to put their wallets and purses away. When that happens, next stop depression!

I know. It depresses me too. Hold your babies tight.

 

 

December 22, 2011

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...ALBERT EINSTEIN

Once again the debate on whether or not the pay parking regulations should be relaxed even further during the winter months, has reared its head.

A representative from the local BIA business improvement association and a shop owner from West Beach appeared before council on Monday evening imploring the newly elected mayor and council, to do something to ease the pain of decreased traffic into her business. Said shop owner MAUREEN COROLIUC owner of Angelic Tea Pot informed council her business if off 25% at least since the city imposed $1.00 per hour winter parking a couple of years ago.

Council agreed to create a task force and look into the matter yet again. The task force will be created in January. The results of the task force are predictable. The city needs and wants the revenue from pay parking to keep property and commercial taxes down.

Now considering this delegation appeared before Council on Monday evening, imagine my surprise as I was making dinner Tuesday evening while listening to the CBC Evening News in the living room, on comes said two members of the delegation that appeared before council, being interviewed by Rene Filipone on the CBC Evening news, publicly parroting the same message they delivered to the new council, the very night before. The message was clear and simple. Business on the White Rock waterfront is dieing.

Well two things spring to mind. One the frustration of some merchants on the waterfront has hit the tipping point. Second point is the optics of the news report the very next evening after appearing before council. To many of the council members it may appear, as it did to me, they were being given no time to address the request of the parking delegation.

,

In fact after I spoke with Maureen yesterday morning, it became apparent the timing of the CBC news story was coincidental., You see a couple of weeks back the CBC was in the area looking for reaction from local businesses on cross border shopping and how it was impacting their business, with a loonie that has hovered for months now at par with the yankee greenback. In that original interview with IAN HANOMANSING Maureen made mention another challenge the waterfront businesses have, and that is the pay parking in the winter. Tuesday was obviously a slow news day and some news editor was no doubt looking for some retail Christmas shopping tie in story, and the light bulb went off and a reporter was dispatched to White Rock to get a story for the evening news, any story.

The "to pay or not to pay" issue on the waterfront has been ongoing for years now. Council feels they have bent over backwards to assist the concerns of the businesses and residents alike by lowering the cost of parking from a summer high of $3.00 per hour to a winter low of $1.00 per hour. Some merchants still long for the days of free winter parking though.

So what is a business owner to do? Well how about we take a look at the BIA. The name says it all. Business IMPROVEMENT Association. The city of White Rock taxes commercial property owners to the tune of $300,000.00 annually to fund the operation. The BIA has been operating now for 7 years and one may ask how effective it is? Is business flourishing in White Rock? Are new shop owners flooding into the area? The answers to both of those questions is obviously NO.

Most waterfront business owners along Marne Drive feel they need a long hot summer, to generate enough revenue to hold them through the lean winter months. This past year our summer came very late, and was very short, making this a very difficult winter for shop owners on the beach.

There is an old saying 'THE SINS OF THE FAMILY FALL ON THE DAUGHTER." The White Rock the twist may be 'THE SINS OF THE BUSINESSES MAY FALL ON THE BIA."

It is interesting to note there was quite a crowd of shoppers and diners along the waterfront yesterday, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. After all who goes to the beach when the weather is crappy? And I believe therein lies the real problem, not pay parking. Steveston and Fort Langley have proved it is possible to create a unique shopping district with the right mix of businesses. The WHITE ROCK waterfront in large part is fish n chips shops, ice cream shops and a few restaurants that have built up a steady client base, built on great food, affordable prices and good service.

Who are those restaurants? The ones that aren't bitching about pay parking!

Sorry to hear another business owner is hanging it up on the waterfront. IGUANA'S restaurant will be closing after the 27thth. Drop in for a splash.

 

 



 

December 14, 2011

If You Can Make An X - You're My Kind Of Person

G.Boyle 22 Minutes

The sting of my defeat in the recent White Rock civic election this time as particularly difficult. To refresh your memory I ran for a seat on White Rock council in 2005, 2008 and in the subsequent 2008 by election when Councillor James Coleridge was kicked to the curb for circulating false information during his election campaign.

Again I must say why does this rule not apply to Federal and Provincial elections? I suppose the solution to and the answer to that question will mean the eventual discontinuing of it even at the civic level.

If I do say so myself I ran a very focused election campaign. I believe I made my opinion on the most profound issues facing White Rock, very clear.

I received tremendous feedback from some of my fellow candidates that based on their connection with the community, they felt I would be a "shoe in" this time. I took nothing for granted. I built on everything I had done in the three previous attempts to gain a seat on council.

When the first election results came flickering across my TV screen election night, even though it showed me in 6th place I knew it was not to be AGAIN. I made my way to a pre-arranged gathering of friends. The mood was less than celebratory. I think in some cases my friends took my loss it a little more personal and harder than I did.

On Sunday November 20th I woke up, thank god for small mercies, and made my way into the bathroom. As I lathered up for my morning shave I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror. I asked myself "Well did you do everything you could?" My answer was a simple and honest "Yes."

Don't ever let anyone tell you there is not a period of evaluation when you put yourself up for what basically ends up as a popularity contest. The only thing that still resonates with me following the election is the poor turnout at the polls. A mere 29% could even muster up enough energy to exercise their given right to participate in the formation of the government of White Rock for the next three years. Particularly upsetting for me, is on a nightly basis images from across the world flicker on our television sets of citizens in foreign countries that are willing to die for that very basic right.

The only conclusion I can come to is the apathy we witnessed in the low voter turnout is a clear indication things are pretty good for the vast majority of the residents of White Rock. For the record in the 2005 and 2008 civic elections in White Rock 36% and 39% of the electorate got out to vote. So despite receiving the highest percentage of votes I have ever received, I once again narrowly missed securing a seat on White Rock council.

I will not be deterred. I will stand on guard for thee, White Rock and me. But be forewarned if you didn't bother to get out and vote, I really don't want to hear any bitching out of YOU! I will not carry your water for you.

You may want to call YOUR councillors up at City Hall.

Click Here For Breakdown on Voting in White Rock 2011

 

 

November 28, 2011

“Marijuana prohibition is — without question — a failed policy,”

Those are the words of four former mayors of Vancouver. SAM SULLIVAN, PHILLIP OWEN, MIKE HARCOURT and LARRY CAMPBELL have all endorsed a letter that has been sent to every MP, MLA and Mayors and Councillors across the country.

In a moment of clairty the four former mayors have come to the conclusion publicly that most have known for years.

1. The illegal pot industry in British Columbia is the fuel for the local gangs. Some member of local gangs have estimated 80% of their revenue is derived from marijuana sales.

2. The illegal pot industry is conservatively extimated to be worth 7 billion dollars annually. Roughly that would mean 3 billion dollars in tax revenue straight into the Provincial coffers.

So why is ther noe appetite for this type of "grass roots movment?"

In a television interview last week when former Vancouver mayor SAM SULLIVAN was pigeon holed by a local reporter and asked "Why didn't youlaunch this movement when you were mayor?" SULLIVAN with a slight smile on his face replied "Well I wanted to get re-elected."

I am not kidding, those were his exact words.

It is only a mater or time before marijuana is legalized in this country. Advocates of the legalization of marijuan site the United States hesitancy is the biggest stumbling block for legalization here in Canada.

 

 


November 19, 2011

THANK YOU.

Yes thank you to each and every person I buttonholed on the street, every bus rider that patiently listened to my spiel as they waited for their bus home at the Canada Line, all the wonderful people my girlfriend Kerlande had the pleasure of speaking to on the telephone over the past week. Meeting so many wonderful people is just one of the numerous by products of campaigning.

Today you the residents of White Rock will hopefully once again best the Provincial average at the polls. We go high tech this year with electronic voting. The new method of voting will ensure we receive the election results much quicker than in past years. At times if there was a heavy turnout at the polls the counting of the ballots could take hours. Difficult on the nerves of the candidates.

Once again I chose to throw my hat into the proverbial ring. I had hoped after the 2008 election we may have gotten it right. I have no negative things to say today about the last three years of governance, I just think we deserve better.

Our beautiful little city of White Rock is on life support. The massive development in South Surrey of all the big box stores, in a lot of cases has rendered White Rock retail redundant at best.

It pains my heart, in previous editorials I have expounded on how I love to walk uptown and stop off and visit the many merchants as I start my shopping day. A quick coffee or breakfast at Lauara's Coffee With No Attitude or breakfast over at the legendary Five Corners Diner is a great way to fuel up for the day. The Bread Box, Hillcrest Bakery, Buy Low, Penguin Meats? What more could you ask for. Oh yes maybe a little shopping at the Superfluity Shop? (Think of it as panning for gold).

Often on the campaign trail I would get asked "So who are you voting for?" I am sorry if I was unable to answer you question sufficiently for you. I guess in this case I am a product of my environment. I can distinctly remember my Mom and Da keeping who they voted for a secret even from each other. I still maintain this practise.

In addition to having the opportunity to interact with so many of you residents of White Rock, I was also afforded the opportunity to get to know my fellow candidates. A fine lot they all are. They are all on the campaign trail because they are passionate about White Rock.

Believe me it is not monetary gain that drives any of us. One could make more money picking fruit seasonally.

So today to my fellow candidates, good luck, and to you - I say thank you.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have the opportunity to really thank a number of people.

VOTE TODAY!

Millions of people around the world are fighting for that very right.

 

November 09, 2011

TWO TIME PAROLEE GONE AGAIN

The tragic story of a young man that tried to do what he thought was the right thing to do and ended up losing his life resonated with residents across this country.

GRANT DE PATIE was working the night shift at a gas station in Maple Ridge when DARNELL PRATT decided he would leave the gas station without paying for his gas. DE PATIE ran out and tried to intervene and was subsequently dragged alongside the car by PRATT until DE PATIE fell to his death after being dragged over 7 km

The horrific incident resulted in what is called Grant's Law. This is why you now have to pay in advance for your gas. Though I never met GRANT DE PATIE I think of him every time I fill up my gas tank.

Grant De Patie

GRANT DE PATIE was eventually arrested, charged and sent to prison. He came up for parole in June 2010. Within 48 hours he violated his parole and he was back in Con College (jail). Then last week DE PATIE was once again granted parole despite a litany of infractions in prison, including possession of drugs, being drunk, verbally abusing officers and physically assaulting another prisoner.

Well guess what DARNELL PRATT only took his normal 48 hours before he violated his parole. He is on the lam and there is a Canada wide warrant out for his arrest.

Would someone please tell me who was on the parole board that looked at all the facts and said "Have a nice life Darnell." My heart goes out to the DE PATIE family. I don't know if I could control my rage if that had been my son that was dragged like a rag doll down the highway, then have to sit back and watch the legal system twist the knife of sorrow time and time again.

So what can we do? Simple write someone. Write your MP, write your MLA hell write your Mayor and Council. Tell them enough is enough. Don't throw in the towel, don't give up!

We can make change if we all get together. If writing a letter or sending an email is too much work, then damn it pick up the phone and call any of the above. Don't just sit there and shake your head and mutter how terrible this is.

Draw a line in the sand. It stops here, if you really want it to.

 

On another matter. The contract with the RCMP is in negotiations for renewal for another 20 years.

Constable CATHERINE GALLIFORD

GALLIFORD came into our living rooms for years, first as the media rep for the RCMP in the Air India crash, then as the spokesperson for the Pickton Pig Farm case. According to GALLIFORD from the very beginning when she graduated from the RCMP academy, the torment began. GALLIFORD has been off work with pay for 4 years. Statistics tell us 225 RCMP officers in BC alone are on extended leave. 48 of those cases are related to work place conflicts and harassment.

Another 20 years of this?

Send Langley Mayor PETER FASSBENDER an email if you are sick and tired of hearing about the sickening cases of mis-conduct by the RCMP. FASSBENDER is heading up a local task force into whether or not the RCMP should have their contract renewed.

 

 

October 29, 2011

Politics.

Trick or Treat?


As you are no doubt aware there is a civic election coming up Saturday November 19th.  I am running for the fourth time.  In 2005 and 2008 and subsequently in 2009 when the recall of Councillor James Coleridge occurred, along with the other candidates we went to the poll for the third time in 4 years.  On all three occasions I came very close to gaining a seat on White Rock Council.


I anguished over whether or not I would mount another campaign.  The time, energy and financial aspects of running again all played into my decision.  With a good base of community support and the backing of my friends I chose to undertake another run at White Rock council.
The upside of campaigning is the opportunity to speak to so many residents of White Rock.  I find talking to people on the streets and on their doorsteps interesting to say the least.  If elected I will continue to engage the community in conversation.  Prior to the last election the CPR Citizens for Positive Renewal indicated they would support Town Hall meetings.  For the uninitiated a Town Hall meeting is an informal gathering of the elected officials and the community. Unfortunately CPR only lived up to their promise with one poorly organized, promoted and poorly attended event at Centennial Arena’s Healthy Living facility.  We deserve better.  I monitor our council meetings more than most.  I could list what I call “the usual suspects” those that attend council on a regular basis.  I applaud their efforts, but somehow we need to open the avenue of communication from City Hall to the electorate.


Having been out on the campaign trail for the past week a few aspects of elections have struck me up the side of the head.  I have a difficult time with people (other candidates) ostracizing me and other candidates simply because they are seen talking with certain other candidates.

 
I am interested in hearing what EVERYONE has to say.   By being seen publicly speaking with Mayoral candidates WAYNE BALDWIN our former city manage, LYNNE SINCLAIR former Councillor and another mayoral candidate and former Councillor CLIFF ANNABLE -  some candidates have indicated their displeasure with me by rebuffing my advances to engage them in a dialogue.  Some of these people I actually thought were my friends.  As they say politics makes strange bedfellows. 


I feel it is important to hear what all the candidates have to say, what is their vision of White Rock?  Do they have any ideas that could be implemented to make White Rock a better city for all of us.  I also personally have to make up my mind on how I will cast my vote.


This brings me to another point.  I am sure the other candidates will tell you, quite often when speaking to residents about the upcoming election they will ask you “Who are you voting for?  Who do you think would make a good mayor, a good councilor?”  Now I understand they may feel I/we have more insight into the candidates than they have.  On a personal level though, I was brought up in a home where my mother and father never even told each other (at least not publicly) how they voted.  My interest in civic politics and the value of having a vote were also instilled in me by my parents.


White Rock thankfully has a much higher voter turnout than most cities and municipalities in the province.  The high turnout I believe is a direct result of our disproportionate seniors population.  Many of the seniors have seen tough times.  They know how important it is to have strong leadership.  Unfortunately as you slide down the age demographic the engagement decreases.  I believe by instituting mandatory voting as they have in Australia, we would see a wider cross section of voters turnout at the polls.  But don’t expect to see that any time soon.  NO political party would ever support such a move.  The highest turnout for voters occurs at the federal level.  On average roughly 50% of Canadians vote federally.  Each political party has a tight knit group of supporters that they can motivate to get out and vote.  The winner of every election is simply the party that gets their membership out in the greatest numbers.  There is no appetite to bring the remaining uncontrollable 50% into the equation.  Critics of mandatory voting claim you would be adding great numbers of voters who are not informed of the issue.  Simply put I say BALDERDASH.
PLEASE take the opportunity to attend next week’s two All Candidate meetings.  The first meeting is Wednesday November 2 @ 7 p.m. at the White Rock Community Centre in uptown White Rock.  The first all candidates meeting will be hosted by Democracy Direct.  The following evening the BIA Business Improvement Association at the same venue will host a second All Candidates meeting.  The final all candidates meeting will take place Wednesday  November 9th  @ the First United Church next to City Hall.  That meeting will begin at 7 p.m.


For information on who is eligible to vote, when the advance polls are and how you can even vote if you are out of the area perhaps snow birding down south – visit the City of White Rock’s web site.


Now it is time to pull my jacket and boots on and hit the campaign trail again.  I look forward to talking to you out there. 
To keep up to date on my locations and thoughts on the developing election issues please visit my FACEBOOK.


Sincerely Yours
Dave Chesney
Publisher White Rock Sun

 

October 10, 2011

White Rock Election 2011 Part 1

On Saturday November 19 across the province and here in White Rock we will have the privilege to cast a ballot and have a say in forming our local governance.

Unfortunately very few citizens will take advantage of the situation. It is not only here in White Rock where the turn out will be low, but right across the province. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20-25% (if we're lucky) will actually exercise the privilege. The engagement in elections goes up slightly in Provincial elections (perhaps 35-40% if we are lucky) and then capping out somewhere around 55% for Federal elections. In my opinion that seems off base. I personally would like to see more voters engaged at the civic level, given the fact it is the level of government that can most quickly impact and change our day-to-day lives. But that is a story for another day.

Today let's take a look at what we know and what we hear from the tribal drums on who is in, and who is out in White Rock.

present White Rock council

Sitting mayor CATHERINE FERGUSON is definitely out. The one term mayor is on record publicly she is leaving the mayor's position to pursue other endeavours. Even a casual observer of White Rock council can easily understand FERGUSON'S choice. It has been a very tough year for her up in "the big chair."

The only other official withdrawal comes from councillor DOUG MCLEAN. MCLEAN who time and time again topped the polls in White Rock with the most votes, has been on council for a number of years and now feels it is time to step aside. Councillors Fathers, Anderson, Campbell, Meyers and Sinclair are all expected to seek another term.

In fact tomorrow (Tuesday 11) one of the above Councillors will make an announcement they are going to seek the position of mayor of White Rock. When that announcement is made at least one other local business owner will more than likely throw his hat into the ring for the position of mayor. Stay tuned.

The only other candidates that have gone public are yours truly, former city manager WAYNE BALDWIN, former councilor CLIFF ANNABLE and BRAD FORSTER husband of long time councilor and mayor JUDY FORSTER

Rumoured to be considering another term on White Rock council, is former councillor JAMES COLERIDGE. COLERIDGE you will remember sat as a councilor for a number of years before relinquishing his council seat for a run at the mayor's chair against JUDY FORSTER where he was defeated. COLERIDGE then took a term off before returning as a councilor. In 2008 in his bid for another term he was called to task by sitting councilor MATT TODD who lost his seat and subsequently launched a successful recall of COLERIDGE who had been elected. TODD knowing the civic election act inside and out was able that COLERIDGE had been re-elected by stating publically false information. The recall was successful and COLERIDGE was removed forcing a by election which saw newcomer GRANT MEYERS top the polls and secure a seat on council. The other name that is now floating around is long time resident, and community activist BARRY BELEC. BELEC has been at the forefront of numerous contentious issues facing White Rock including the ongoing contemptuous debate of the city's tree by-law or lack thereof.

The period for candidates to submit their nomination papers ends this Friday at 4 p.m. One can only assume there are a few other potential candidates sitting back taking a reading on the landscape before they publicly make their intentions known.

This next week is going to be very interesting. By Friday all the horses will be saddled up and into the chutes, the real race begins Friday @ 4 p.m. Check back Friday afternoon for a complete list of White Rock council and mayoralty candidates. One thing we do know for sure, the race will be interesting. White Rock politics always are.

UPDATE OCTOBER 13 - As expected Councillor LYNNE SINCLAIR has made public her bid for the Mayor's chair. White Rock businessman LARRY ANSCHELL this week also filed his papers for the mayoralty race. In the growing names for council you can add local realtor LARRY ROBINSON.

 

September 21, 2011

Randall Hopley suspect in kidnapping case being led from Cranbrook court

 

The sickening child abduction case of the little Kienan Hebert in Sparwwod, B.C. has left us with more questions than answers of what really happened.

Last week following the return of Kienan to his unlocked empty home, under the cover of dark had everyone wondering how that could have happened. At the centre of the malestorm was the RCMP. Over 60 RCMP descended on the small town of Sparwood near the Alberta / BC border.

There is no expectation the RCMP would make the public through the media how the investigation into the case was progressing.

I was listening to CBC Early Edition with host Rick Cluff and was drawn into a conversation Cluff was having with the lead RCMP office on the ground in Sparwood. Corporal Mukaluk (In 2007, Dan was promoted to the rank of Corporal and was transfered from Penticton to Osoyoos as a detachment supervisor. Within two years, Dan would transfer to "E" Division Strategic Communications Section in Vancouver and work as a Senior Media Relations Officer assigned to both the Southeast and North Districts.)

During the casual conversation with Cluff Mukaluk became agitated at some of Cluff's questions. Testy responses would be an understatement. The next day when news broke Randall Hopley the alleged abductor of Kienan Hebert had been captured in a remote camp near the Alberta border, the RCMP kicked into damage control.

At the subsequent press conference to announce Hopley's capture the RCMP brought inRCMP Inspector Branda Fitzpatrick to handle the resutling media firestorm resulting from the capture of Hopley. The last thing the RCMP needed or wanted at this conjuncture was a public testy exchange with the media.

Vancouver Sun report IAN MULGREW documented the majority of questions most people were asking. Read his story

Political commentator ALEX TSUKAMIS dropped a bombshell when he provided information about the arrest of alleged abductor Randall Hopley in the same area last May (link)

If and when this whole sordid affair ends up before the courts hopefully the vast majority of the questions will be answered. The problem being though is does the RCMP really need another negative story being added to the almost weekly revelation another member of the RCMP is under investigation for God knows what.

I simply can't believe the RCMP are not on standing on special guard and making sure every t is crossed and every I is dotted. Can you?

All through his life there were warning signs going off like rockets that RANDALL HOPLEY was a danger to the public (Read More)

 

September 07, 2011

Goodbye to the "Cookie Lady"

There are some people that mock and joke that White Rock is becoming the junk store capital of the world. I don't necessarily believe their criticism comes from looking down their noses, instead like so many prejudices, it is ill founded. I wonder if they have ever been into any of the second hand, turnaround stores?

I will openly admit to enjoying poking through the treasures at the Superfluity Shop on Prospect Avenue and a little store I have always called Granny's House, though as I now know it is called The Living Room Store.

The Living Room store is located on Johnston Road just up from 5 Corners and across from White Rock Elementary. The store is very small in size and to be quite honest, from a pickers point of view, The Superfluity is the one all will be judged by.

The proceeds from the sale of items at the Living Room Store goes to local church charities. The store is staffed by volounteers.

I stopped in my tracks last week as I walked past The Living Room, there posted on the front window was the announcement "The Cookie Lady" had passed away. I felt a wave of emotions come over me. Though I had seen her working in the store for a number of years, I did not know her name. To me, and obviously to a lot of people, she was "The Cookie Lady."

The days "The Cookie Lady" worked were marked by homemade delights she had made up to bring to the store on the days she worked. She didn't make a really big deal about it. The cookies were just there, not unlike her. Just there, doing wonderful work for those less fortunate in our community.

I don't need (yet) to shop at second hand stores. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. I liken it to sifting gold, from a lot of muck and rock a few gems will emerge. As a matter of fact a couple months back I had a dream purchase come true.

A number of years ago I saw a feature on kilts being made by a Seattle company. I thought, those look cool. Not your typical tartan dress type kilts, no these were made from denim, had lots of pockets and shiny snaps. What more could a guy want? Well a more reasonable price might be in order. These new style kilts are priced from a couple hundred dollars up to five hundred dollars. A little rich for my blood, not knowing whether or not I would actually even wear a kilt. Well about three months ago on a Sunday when the Living Room was closed, I noticed as I walked by, it appeared they had something that resembled a kilt in the window, or maybe it was just a big pair of shorts. I was there when the door opened on the Monday morning at 9 a.m. BINGO! I bought the kilt that had arrived in a box, brand new never worn. Gentlemen if you are reading this, let me answer the question I know you are all asking yourself. "Yes they are that comfortable, maybe the the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever worn. Ladies I also know what you are thinking. And no I will not break the code of the kilt.

So to The Cookie Lady I say God speed, and thank you for your kindness and neighbourly gestures. Today I am a little poorer with your passing, but I will be richer in the long run – even if I only knew you as THE COOKIE LADY.

 

 

August 25, 2011

YELL IT LIKE IT IS

Jack Layton's Goodbye;

Part of the letter to Canadians written by Jack Layton, written as he neared the end in his final days, and given to his wife to publish only after his passing. The letter contained one portion that surely will resonate with those suffering with cancer and especially those who have lost a loved one;

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

Not many days go by that I don't come in contact with someone who has lost a loved one from cancer or is presently watching someone close fight the fight of their life.

Having lost my beloved wife nearly two years ago to cancer, I know the road they walk. In the coming months I plan on organizing and publishing a database of information on complimentary medicine and cancer treatment. I strongly object to the term "alternative medicine." Alternative to what? In this case anything other than massive doses of radiation (chemotherapy) is considered alternative.

The format of our present medical system horribly fails anyone wishing to treat their illness with something other than the gobbling of pills. Don't get me wrong, modern medicine (Western medicine) save my life twice. But in my lexicon of medicine it is one of the spokes in the wheel, not the wheel itself.

Next week we will introduce you to a lady we met who has been diagnosed with cancer. She beat the first diagnosis, but not unlike Jack Layton another form of cancer has returned.

Next month she will host a special Evening of Gratitude. Gratitude? Giving thanks for what?

It is a beautiful story about one person's strength and determination.

I will always remember the visit my wife and I paid to the cancer centre at the Surrey Memorial hospital. The "expert" doctor analysed my wife's diagnosis and crunched the numbers in his head. His forecast was like an elephant sitting on my chest. We didn't even know what to expect at the cancer centre. We thought they might have some ideas we could consider for the treatment. The doctor then said "In the best case scenario your wife may live 6 months, in the worst case scenario she will be gone in 3 months." I was stunned. I asked him if I heard him right. Laurie may be gone in 3 months? He then looked me in the eye and said "I wouldn't get your hopes up too high, her lung could clog and she could be gone tomorrow." I told him he didn't offer us much hope, then the bombshell "Mr. Chesney, we are not in the business of hope."

We put on our jackets and left. We were in the business of hope, and if you are a loved one has been diagnosed, Find some hope.

Monday Kimberley will tell us how she maintains her hope.

 

August 2011

Coucillor Meyer Calls for South Surrey to Join White Rock

Meyers Swearing In

If I am reading the lay of the land right, Councillor Grant Meyer may have shot himself in the foot when he made a public call for South Surrey residents to join White Rock.

For years there have been grumblings about White Rock rejoining Surrey. Many of the reasons White Rock succeeded back in 1957 no longer are issues. In the 50's all the development was centred in the northern area of the then municipality of Surrey. White Rock sitting way down at the south end of the municipality was constantly complaining they were getting the short end of the stick for the tax dollars they were contributing. With the blink of an eye, White Rock seceded in 1957.

Back to Meyer. First I would have to question his timing. As the next civic election will take place in November, was this a vain attempt to up his profile. Something he has woefully lacked during his first term as a White Rock councilor. Take a moment and try to think of anything else he did in the entire three year term other than try to champion a stop for the AMTRAK train at the White Rock train museum station. Critics called the idea a pie in the sky idea, a non-starter. Their feeling were born out when a few months back AMTRAK confirmed they would not be adding a stop in White Rock anytime soon.

The backlash was instant. Starting at the top, Surrey Mayor Diane Watts could barely contain her laughter when asked about the possibility. Surrey Councillor Linda Hepner weighed into the discussion. NAÏVE AT BEST. In all practical and logical senses it is a non-starter. White Rock Councillor off base. South Surrey join White Rock. Residential tax base 50% more, business 20% more. Reverse more logical
Meyers took to the radio airwaves on Tuesday August 09 on the Bill Good Show on CKNW. Replacement host Michael Smyth put forth many questions regarding how the amalgamation might affect South Surrey and White Rock residents. Meyer seemed at a loss to answer even the most basic questions.


(Click Here) to hear an archived copy of the interview Hour #1 Tuesday August 9

Then what I call the community crows, those that do a lot of squawking and little else weighed in.

(read their comments in the local paper paper)

I began to wonder why no one from the media bothers to ask Meyer's fellow White Rock Councillors and our Mayor this question. How many others on Council feel this way. So I forwarded a personal email to each Councillor for their opinion. Here are their replies.

back row l-r Meyer/Anderson/Mayor Ferguson/Fathers/McLean front row l-r Campbell & Sinclair

 

Lynne Sinclair's reply;


I'm on break, spending time with family, so I haven't really been following this. As an elected representative, it doesn't matter what my personal feelings are and Council has never discussed this.

Regards

Councillor LYnne Sinclair

 

Alan Campbell's reply;

I want our 5 sq miles of real estate being the best that it can be. Walkways to Crescent ,trains stopping and parts of other Munis amalgamating has never been a priority of mine which I made clear during my campaign. Others see it another way.

Safe and accessible roads, clear open sidewalks and intersections, sound infrastructure for the future. Spend money where needed to maintain and improve quality of life here in the City. These things are all do-able on our budget and have been my focus.

Alan Campbell
Councillor, City of White Rock
"For our City by the Sea"

 

Helen Father's reply;

Here are my thoughts, this issue has been around for ages , long before my stint on Council.

The concept of South Surrey joining White Rock seems to me to be a bit "back to front" . I would understand more if the concept were the other way around. You have to ask "what benefits would there be? for both White Rock and South Surrey. As the only Councillor who works in the community , what I hear from the word on the street is that Mr Meyer needs an election issue - is this it? who knows maybe?.

Helen Fathers
Councillor City of White Rock
'Believing In Our Family Friendly City By The Sea'

+Note the Mayor's office replied she was on vacation and would comment in September when she returned. Councillors Mclean and Anderson felt no obligation to reply.

 

Over the past week the local paper paper ran an online poll. Readers were asked the simple question;

Should White Rock hold a referendum asking if the city should disincorporate and seek to rejoin the City of Surrey?

Over 200 votes were cast and 75% replied YES while only 25% indicated they did not wish to see a referendum.

Perhaps at the end of the day Meyer wanted to gauge whether or not there was support to have White Rock join South Surrey, but as a Councillor that could be disastrous, so by reversing the merger it would look like he was trying to draw South Surrey in, rather than White Rock re-joining Surrey.

The idea has been around for years. As a matter of fact the Provincial government has already created legislation that would see the amalgamation of White Rock with Surrey, merging the two Langleys, grouping up the Coquitlams and Port Moody and joining North Vancouver city with the district and West Vancouver.

The provincial Liberals recently announced the possible creation of an auditor general to oversee civic level spending. The B.C. Liberals have sent out a questionnaire to local politicians and councils, seeking input on Premier Christy Clark’s controversial proposal to establish an auditor-general to oversee municipal governments.

The survey was mailed to the province’s almost 200 local and regional governments on July 27, returnable by Sept. 9.

Super cities have been created right across Canada. It is only a matter of time given the ever tightening revenue flow from taxpayers that the Province will move towards eliminating widespread duplication of services. It is thought the Lower Mainland could see everything west and North of the Fraser merging, while South of the Fraser became another electorate district.

It is just a matter or time.

 

August 05, 2011

On Line Advertising Surpasses Paper Papers

Let me tell you, when I read these stats I got all tingly. The International Advertising Bureau just released its figures for 2011.

Online ad revenue exceeds print in Canada

Online advertising revenues have surpassed those of newspapers in Canada and are expected to grow further in the coming years, according to a study published Tuesday.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) said online ad revenues exceeded expectations to rise by 23 percent to Can$2.23 billion ($2.32 billion) in 2010, making them second only to television in terms of media ad revenue.

IAB President Paula Gignac called the rise a "watershed moment for the digital community in Canada," adding that the future looks "extremely positive" considering the rise of mobile and interactive advertising.

Advertising revenues for print media grew a mere four percent to reach Can$2.1 billion in 2010, while television revenues grew 9 percent to reach Can$3.4 billion, according to the report.

Search advertising continues to lead, accounting for Can$907 million, or 41 percent, of online revenue, followed by display advertising -- such as banners and ads on websites (31 percent) -- and interactive ads (26 percent), according to the report, which cited figures from a major industry group.

Online video advertising grew by 85 percent from 2009 to 2010, while email advertising declined, but both account for a small percentage of overall digital ad revenues, the study said.

In Canada, the Internet accounts for 15.9 percent of all media advertising revenue, a higher percentage than in the United States (15.4 percent) or France (15.6 percent).

As I have professed time and time again, I love newspapers. I have been reading newspapers as long as I can remember. It was a number of years ago that I discovered I could read The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, or a variety of Canadian newspapers from the comfort of my home office.

It was one of the contributing factors for starting Canada's FIRST on line newspaper The White Rock Sun. One of the other reasons was I was dismayed how the independent voice was disappearing from the media landscape. It has only worsened over the past decade. A handful of media corporations now own virtually all the media outlets including television, radio and print.

The two local papers that serve the Semiahmoo Peninsula are under extreme pressure from their parent companies to improve their bottom lines. As is clearly indicated there is a paradigm shift in advertisers priorities in ad placements. An internet portal of either of the local papers fully maximized can only generate 10% of the ad revenue of a traditional paper paper. The only other option to improve the bottom line of any organization if you can't increase the flow of money coming in, you need to cap the money going out. Cut staff. Both local papers are now arming their reporters with digital cameras. Negating the need to have a photographer who looked like he was on a photo shoot for National Geographic clogging up the payroll. I don't think anyone other than industry watchers like myself would even have noticed.

Where I do have a personal problem is the actual content of the paper papers. Again I feel I have to reiterate I love newspapers, have read them for years and mainly relied on them to keep me informed about MY community. To be very honest I can't remember when I last read an actual piece of investigative reporting done in either local paper. I have a fairly good idea on how many staff these papers have on the payrolls and unless something dramatic happens, which really why would it, we can only expect to see deeper cuts in the staffing. Given the cutting will come from the top, don't expect any "senior" people to feel the sting. Invariably it will come as it usually does when corporations scale back, the front line – the foot soldiers.

The digital revolution destroyed the music business as we knew it. Now the print industry is reeling as entire book store chains close their doors as customers prefer not to have the clutter of actual books and have switched to digital download of the latest books. The newspaper industry has been watching their numbers slip for the past couple of years as people's news reading habits change. The strong will survive. The local rags don't do everything bad. For instance

 

July 19, 2011

 

The Tour De White Rock is North America's Oldest Cycling Road Race - So Why After 32 Years Are The Crowds Getting Smaller?

So here we go again. Why do I feel like I am yelling down a mine shaft? Year after year I yell, rant rave and try to engage anyone that will listen to me about White Rock's Tour De White Rock. I have been very critical in the past regarding the organization, promotion and the execution of the event in large part have fallen on deaf ears.

Who am I to tell anyone about anything? Well I think 3 decades of marketing, media and event planning has earned me the right to speak up when I see something going so terribly wrong.

Earlier this year the former Executive Director of the White Rock Business Improvement Association Cyndie Richards, at my urging joined me in a meeting with the local tourism rep and the then stop gap point person for the "Tour", Lisa Kempton. I say stop gap because for some 26 of the 32 years the event was overseen by the former Leisure Services Director Rita Clarkson who departed her position with the city, and withdrew from organizing the Tour as well.

Following the meeting with the Lisa Kempton I got to work and put a lot of ideas on the table for discussion. On my own hook I secured graphic designs for consideration of this year's tour. Following the meeting I was in touch with Lisa Kempton, until one day I stopped receiving responses from my emails and phone messages. After a couple of weeks I contacted Cyndie Richards and asked if she knew why I was not hearing back from Lisa. Cyndie told me Lisa had been gone for weeks, she had departed working for the city.

EDITORS NOTE - Might have been a good idea to disconnect of put a notice on her phone and email to that extent.

In that I was donating my time and services I decided well perhaps if I hear from the next director of the Tour De White Rock, I would be willing to roll up my sleeves and see if there was anything I could do to assist. The call never came.

Having attended over 20 of the 32 Tours De White Rock. I have seen a few improvements. One being the restaurant owners along Marine Drive now trying to make a go of opening their doors. The 9 a.m. race start is a reasonable hour, yet for a couple of hours there is virtually no one along the full length of West Beach. The owner of Jimmy Flynn's Irish Pub was out handing out 2 for 1 coupons, Linda Adams had Iguana's up and running, so did Tyson Blume at Uli's. Toni Veltri the owner of the Ocean Beach Hotel offered up free coffee and donuts to all comers. Toni's generosity was based largely on the fact the city does not allow him to serve food until 11 a.m. daily because of his liquor license.

The other improvement I was thrilled to see was actual Tour De White Rock T-shirts for sale to the public. For years I have been trying to buy a T-shirt to no avail. They were only for the volounteers. Friday night when I saw the booth at the Hillclimb I almost fell over. Not having my wallet with me I asked the vendors if they would be out at the Hillclimb on Saturday and the road race Sunday. They assured me they would be there. Well the demand must have been so incredible they sold out everything because I did not see them out Saturday or Sunday. So here's hoping next year the T-shirts are made again, and perhaps this time even sold a month or so in the local shops to drum up interest.

I could go on and on about all the screw ups I witnessed this year (shuttle bus to nowhere?), but why plough the same old ground.

What I am urging the city to institute is a;

A Needs Assessment is a systematic exploration of the way things are and the way they should be. These "things" are usually associated with organizational and/or individual performance.

Why design and conduct a Needs Assessment?

  • What learning will be accomplished?
  • What changes in behavior and performance are expected?
  • Will we get them?
  • What are the expected economic costs and benefits of any projected solutions?

Race Time?

ALL of the stakeholders and that includes the residents of White Rock, need to be engaged in why White Rock's race is the most poorly attended of the four other races in BC Superweek. The UBC Grand Prix this year in its first year of operation drew large crowds, as did the return of the Giro Di Burnaby and don't get me started about how Delta capitalizes on the Tour De White Rock.

This year there was another race in the Okanagon. More riders than normal pulled out of racing here Sunday and headed for the Cascadia Race which begins on the Monday following our race. Countless riders that did participate in this years road race didn't even bother to finish the race.

So White Rock it's over to you. The Tour should be one of the anchors for our summer tourism schedule. As it is, it is an embarrassment for all of us. Every year the riders I speak to rave about the natural beauty of White Rock, saying it is the most spectacular course they race on all year. They too scratch their heads on why no one comes out to see it.

Simply saying the city does a poor job of promoting the event is a cop out. It is part of the problem, but at the heart of the matter we have a much more serious problem. What is it?

I'm not sure, but a full investigation of ALL the stakeholders should be undertaken now, while it is still fresh in everyone's mind.

 

 

July 07, 2011

The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.

Mayor Ferguson

Mayor Catherine Ferguson and a portion of her Council recently hosted an information session for citizens of White Rock. The room at the White Rock Community Centre seemed to be an appropriate location. The room was full to capacity. Following the Mayor's address a representative from the outside planning group spoke at length and elaborated on the many diagrams displayed on easels around the room.

As a regular at community engagement sessions I was pleasantly surprised to see in addition to what I call "the usual suspects", a clique of people who are concerned enough about their community, they attend everything including the mind numbing biweekly Council sessions.

The focus of the "charrette" was the long range design for development of our town centre which will be bounded by Thrift Avenue on the south, 16th Avenue on the north, George Street on the West and Martin Street on the western boundary.

Throughout the evening the theme of the information centre focused on green spaces and the free movement of foot traffic throughout the long range plan for the future development of the 20-25 year development plan.

As expected given how our city is geographically challenged in actual size, there were various designs presented that would be anchored by up to 5 high rise towers. The design panel made up from Council members, planning experts and average citizens one could see there had been a major effort put forth to address the concerns of all involved.

Once the presentation was completed the evening turned to a question period. The tone of the meeting thankfully in large part was very positive. One could not help but notice the citizens in attendance were encouraged by the openness and consultative tone of the meeting. Residents up to this point had been asked for their input as the basis of the framework was worked through to get us to the stage we now find ourselves at. It was announced in September or October there will be another opportunity for the community to have additional input.

Sitting amongst the 40 or 50 citizens in attendance, I could not help but think if this same process had been followed prior to the Miramar/Bosa high rise tower been instituted, there would not have been the now infamous rift in the community. The evening was a great step in the right direction to heal the division created in White Rock by the way the Miramar project was literally dropped into our laps. I personally will never forget reading the headline in the local fish wrap " White Rock Whale Wall Coming Down" or something to that effect. In that first article then Councillor Cliff Annabelle extolled how when the proposed high rise development commenced it would be very likely our famed whale wall would have to be removed. Like the majority of the residents in White rock this was the first we learned about the proposed 4 high rise development located in our "town centre." Having lived in White Rock for over 30 years I questioned that anyone up to this point had ever referred to the area around Hillcrest Plaza as our town centre.

There is no need to constantly revisit and dwell on the past indiscretions of the Mayor and Council of the day.

The charette was unable to start with a fresh slate. Every discussion obviously was centred around how to best move forward around the major development of Miramar village which will soon commence phase 2 with the addition of two additional towers. The Avra high rise tower located on the opposite side of Johnston Road from Miramar is now fully in construction mode and the corner of Thrift and Johnston will also apparently begin development in the next calendar year.

During the final stages of the public question period some members of the community in attendance identified they had participated in similar public information sessions a number of times of the years. Though there had never been such a comprehensive long term plan put forth to the best of my memory.

I think the Kodak moment came when local realtor Larry Robinson stood and addressed the panel of experts and citizens in attendance. Robinson in my humble opinion hit the proverbial nail on the head when he said "White Rock has been getting by on it's good looks." So true. As I write this editorial the sun is breaking over Mount Baker to the East. It is 6 a.m. and a group of kayakers are already heading out for a paddle on Semiahmoo Bay that is still as a sheet of glass. The birds are singing, the smell of the ocean air wafts over the hillside and dozens of early morning walkers are charging up and down our famed pier and along the beautiful seaside promenade. There are so many things we take for granted. Our beauty andits ability to fucntion as a liveable city certainly one of them.

To paraphrase TROOPER – "If You Don't Like What You've Got Why Don't You Change It?"

The charette was a good first step. Now it is time for all of us to join into the discussion if we honestly care about our home's future. IT IS MY WHITE ROCK, and if you want, it can be YOUR WHITE ROCK too.

 

 

 

June 17, 2011

I Need A Hug

On a part time basis I teach at a private college in Vancouver that prepares young men and women for a career in the recording/music industry.

I have learned a lot over the past 5 years from these young people. They are full of rage. In large part they are ticking time bombs.

As our institute is a private facility it is not bound by the same rules these young people have been used to in the public school system. Don’t get me wrong we have a manual that looks like the phone book of rules and regulations. The one big difference is discipline. The school allows each teacher to assess a situation and deal with them individually.

Given I have little propensity for B.S. I have had to discipline some of these students in a swift and decisive manner in order to not disrupt the rest of the class. On numerous occasions I have found myself thinking perhaps I was a little rough on this student. With out exception after the class has adjourned these students come up to me and THANK ME. Thank me for caring enough to give them s@#t.

From such a small sample group one cannot paint all youth with one stroke. But I have seen the pattern that erupted last night, take shape well in advance. Facebook, twitter and cell phones may be referred to as social media, but give it a quick spin and you have anti-social media, which facilitated the rioters . How many times on television last night did you see young people mooning for the cameras?

Time and time again I witnessed the students organizing a place to meet up to go as a mob to events like the big fireworks, which are a summer event in Vancouver. The students feel the need to travel in large groups for safety, as they will no doubt encounter large groups of people looking for a fight. And a fight nowadays does not end when someone hits the ground, sadly that is when everyone piles on. The news this morning has crackled with information that over 150 people ended up in St. Paul’s and Vancouver General hospital. A couple of the injured suffered serious injuries.

The Vancouver Police Department should have a lot of tough questions to answer today for their inaction. I also have years of experience with large groups at concerts. As soon as a troublemaker can be identified they need to be removed from the area immediately, before they rile up the other patrons. Last night it appeared the police were content to simply stand back and let it burn, hoping the crowd would eventually burn themselves out. Well they did burn themselves out, but not before they burnt out and destroyed a portion of downtown Vancouver.

Want to start the healing and the prevention? Start handing out those hugs Mom and Dad.

 

June 09, 2011

Wham Bam Thank You Zalm

June 12 anti-hst organizer and former Premier of British Columbia visited White Rock for a town hall meeting. Prior to his arrival Bill took time out to speak with us.


Bill you and to a lesser extent Chris Delaney have become the faces for the anti-HST movement. What motivated you after all these years of being out of politics to step back into the proverbial ring?


Every Premier and every finance Minister since the time of Bill Bennett had been approached by the Federal government to assume the HST. It is intended to be a National tax, of equal value throughout the country, and eventually a Global tax. The argument has always been that we want a world wide level playing field for business and trade. Not unlike what they’ve done in Europe. Every premier and finance Minister, including Carol Taylor for the B.C. Liberals turned down the request as a bad deal for B.C.. The B.C. Liberals during the May 2009 provincial election told us they were not bringing in the HST and also told us that the B.C. deficit would not exceed $ 450mm. When after the election they had to admit that the deficit was more like $ 2.5 billion and it was discovered that they had been secretly working with the Feds. for introducing the HST and that they had accepted a $ 1.6 billion federal bribe to fill the big hole they had left us, I decided to begin the “Initiative movement”.

Your grassroots movement certainly captured the imagination of tens of thousands of British Columbians. Are your spirits buoyed by such a strong response from average citizens?


In B.C., unlike anywhere in the British Commonwealth, we have legislation for direct democracy. It’s called referendum, which had been introduced by Social Credit under Bill Vander Zalm. The rules are extremely difficult and have again been changed by the B.C. Liberal cabinet, but the people are overjoyed at having the opportunity of, for the first time in our history, being able to tell their elected representatives what they want rather than the elected representative telling the people what they’re going to get. The response has been overwhelming and I’m excited about the benefits for democracy regardless of which party governs.

Do you think we have reached a point of hardship in British Columbia that we will be seeing more and more citizens initiatives?


We live in the computer age and people are far better informed than what they would have been 50 years ago. People now have a chance to fight an elected dictatorship and having to accept whatever a party and its leader dictate. We will see many more initiatives and referendums though, because it is extremely difficult and demanding, it will be limited to major issues affecting practically all the people.

The Liberals have claimed if the majority of the people in British Columbia vote against keeping the HST, they will be forced to return somewhere in the neighbourhood of a Billion dollars to Ottawa. Do you buy that figure given it has been such a short period of time that the Provincial government has been collecting the tax?


The B.C. Liberals entered into an agreement with the Feds. to repay the “bribe” should the tax be cancelled. The B.C. government has already received $ 1 Billion for which repayment would have to be negotiated. The Federal government now collects an additional $ 300mm in income tax from B.C. because what used to be a tax deductable expense for B.C. business is now, since they are rebated tax paid, a taxable expense. By the time the B.C. Liberals finally cancel the tax (they’ll drag it out as long as they can) this will probably be double the amount. Regardless of what the repayment, it’s a bargain compared to the $ 24 billion consumers will pay over the next 10 years.

When Kevin Falcon was recently criticized in a television interview for allocating millions of dollars of taxpayer's money in an advertising campaign to urge British Columbians to retain the HST. Falcon in his own defence claimed it was justified in that it is the job of the government of the day to keep the populace informed. Could I please have your opinion on spending all the money on advertising and Falcon's comment.


A giant waste of money. An insult to the people. Money that should be going to neglected needs such as families with autistic children. These are not information ads, they are pure and simple politics. They are the government promoting the HST for their big corporate friends (the people that fund their campaigns) and for their own tax grab to pay for mismanagement.

A number of business owners have come out in support of the HST. Many businesses claim switching their computers and cash registers back to the old system will cost them hundreds of dollars. Do you have an opinion or a comment for these people?


If the tax is so good for business, they should already have benefited enough to simply push a button on the computer and change over. Small business, especially in the big economic contributors in the smaller communities of this province, depend on the consumers for their survival. Taking billions of dollars away from the consumers will not help business – especially so in those communities dependent on tourism.

Yourself and co-anti HST advocate Chris Delaney will be here in White Rock this Sunday afternoon. What can we expect from your visit?

We hope to convince everyone to vote YES to extinguish the HST and go back to the old GST and PST on a limited amount of goods and not on services. Our competition is not Ontario, Quebec or New Foundland nor Greece, Spain or Portugal, our competition is Alberta, Saskatchewan , Manitoba, Idaho, Washington etc. where they do not have an HST. Today in Canada, only the provinces without the HST are creating new jobs and have the lowest unemployment.

No doubt you have a number of these events planned before mid-July when the vote is over. How many of these events will you be partaking in? How far throughout British Columbia will you be travelling?

We have already travelled to every part of the province, I have not missed a meeting and don’t intend to.

Will your lovely wife Lillian be travelling with you to White Rock Sunday?

It’s in the afternoon and Lillian will be with me, lovely as ever.

Final question. Were you at all surprised at the outcome in the recent Federal election. One would assume after all the years you spent in politics you must still do some armchair quarterbacking.


Somewhat pleasantly surprised, we finally have a much needed, for the time, majority government – they can now do the things they believe in and presumably stand for.

 

 

 

May 11, 2011

Trust Me

On Sunday May 1 the BREAKING NEWS banner scrolled across television sets throughout North America. The President of the United States Barack Obama was schedule to address the nation.

Warnings like this tend to make me feel slightly uneasy. I have a clear view of America out the front window. Living next door to the United States of America has a long list of advantages and conversely disadvantages.

Obama's speech is now firmly ensconced in the history books.

I have some very basic problems with how the story unfolded.

1. In his broadcast that Sunday evening Obama stated how the killing of Bin Laden was a joint effort between the United States and Pakistan. By Monday Pakistan was vehemently denying they had any knowledge of the U.S. operation.

2. Initial reports stated Bin Laden used a woman as a humans shield. The next day it was revealed in fact Bin Laden's wife was with him in their bedroom when the Navy Seals burst in. She moved towards the captors and was shot in the leg.

3. Bin Laden was killed in a fire fight when the Navy Seals finally located him in the compound. Now come reports from Bin Laden's daughter who was in an adjacent room in the compound. She has stated her father did not resist, was captured and then executed.

4. Monday morning the Internet was full of images of the Bin Laden corpse. The photos were quickly dismissed as old photos that were photo shopped showing half his face blown off. Within hours the U.S. stated they had photos of the deceased Bin Laden but they would not be releasing them in fears it would be perceived as "spiking the ball."

5. Within 24 hours the United States announced they had buried Bin Laden's corpse at sea. In line with Muslim tradition of a body must be buried within 24 hours. Burying him at sea would prevent any type of shrine being erected in his honour.

The list goes on and on. The official story is constantly changing, and you know the spin and story changes are just beginning.

Do I believe Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York's World Trade Centres? I am not sure, again there are so many conflicting stories of what exactly happened that day that will forever be etched in out memories. I have to ask if he was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Centres, why is that not stated for the record on the FBI Most Wanted list?

 

Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death


Osama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.
REWARD
The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden. An additional $2 million is being offered through a program developed and funded by the Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association.
CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

I don't know what happened, and that bothers me. The United States entered the soverign soil of a foreign country, captured and executed a foreign citizen that had not officially been charged with ANYTHING. Indicted yes, but that is hardly sufficient reason in my world to murder anyone.

Let's for a minute reverse the situation. Imagine if Al Qaeda covertly entered the United States, captured an American citizen and executed them stating they felt the individual was a war criminal. Imagine America's outrage and subsequently how we as Canadians would react.

If we are to believe the official story, the Navy Seals monitored the compound Bin Laden was apparently holed up in since August. Would it not have been possible to inform the Pakistan government of their suspicions. Lock down the compound, wait him out and arrest him and bring him back to the United States to stand trial? Dead men don't talk.

The Soviet War in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan[15] against the indigenous Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers. The mujahideen found military and financial support from a variety of sources including the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Egypt, China and other nations. The Afghan war became a proxy war in the broader context of the late Cold War.

It is time to dampen the U.S.A. rhetoric. Our next door neighbours are in financial ruin. Could this event be nothing more than an up with America morale booster. 'We're Back Baby!"

At the end of President Obama's appearance on 60 Minutes this past Sunday evening, he ended his interview by stating. "Anyone that disbelieves the person we got in Pakistan was Osama Bin Laden, needs to have their head examined."

So where is that examination room?

 

Further Reading;

The now famous war room picture of President Obama, Vice President Biden, Foreign Affairs Minister Hillary Clinton and the Chiefs of Staff.

For some unexplained reason the supposed live takedown footage of Bin Laden went dark for 24 minutes. None of the 27 Navy Seals that took part in the raid have been identified?

Read More

Has the announcement of Osama's demise lessened the Taliban's resolve?

(what do you think?)

 

 

May 03, 2011

 

ORANGE CRUSH? Not Really

 

Alright I give up. I will now start to take polls a little more seriously. I scoffed when the pundits had Christy Clark walking through the competition to take the Liberal leadership, and very honestly I was suspect of the predictions Quebec was experiencing an “orange crush” of NDP support.

We all make mistakes.

With that said from the comfort of my armchair when the early picture of the Conservative majority and NDP official opposition was announced just 40 minutes into the British Columbia broadcast, well like everyone else I was shocked. Not because the Conservatives did so well, but lord have mercy on the support of the NDP in Quebec of all places . I suppose you had to be there.

My gut tells me there was an undercurrent spreading across the country no one really saw prior to, during or for that matter post election. I think what we saw was the inevitable backlash from Canadians saying “I am sick and tired of the Conservatives and the Liberals playing political keep away.” I don’t for a minute mean to insinuate the NDP did not run a strong campaign. Locally SUSAN KEEPING of the NDP fared very well at both all candidates meetings. In fact she made huge strides which resulted in her beating the Liberal candidate HARDY STAUB for second place amongst the candidates.

We woke up yesterday morning and by 8 a.m. MICHAEL IGNATIEFF had fallen on the sword, and resigned. GILLES DUCEPPE conceded defeat election night and ELIXABETH MAY got her wish, one seat in Ottawa.

MAY will be a force to be reckoned with. She’s little but she’s loud and she has proven she does not suffer fools well. Welcome to Ottawa Ms. MAY.

There were a few seat changes in British Columbia but generally things remained status quo, unlike the rest of the country. What does that say about us? Well I guess life is pretty good for the majority of people in British Columbia. The voter turnout in B.C. was not much more than the last federal election which set an all time low.

Setting differences aside today I congratulate RUSS HIEBERT on his win. I would also personally like to acknowledge three of the other candidates locally. LARRY COLERO of the Green Party and Independents AART LOOYE and DAVID HAWKINS. The only three candidates I had any type of interaction with leading up to the election. How and why did I meet them? Well I met them out on the streets of the riding.. The fact they all turned their collar up and gave it their best shot ranks them pretty high in my books.

 

We'll talk in four years. Damn it feels good saying that.

 

 

April 21, 2011

I want to pitch for the New York Yankess. Hear the roar of the crowd as I strike out the last batter to win game 7 of the World Series. Is it going to happen? Only in my dreams.

After sitting through two nights of All Candidate meetings in White Rock, I am convinced all of the candidates would like to be the MP for this area. They can get in line right behind me, and my dream.

I do not mean to casually dismiss any of the candidates. Their intentions I believe are sincere in varying degrees. But at the end of the day RUSS HIEBERT is heading for Ottawa and I am not bound for Cooperstown.

Roughly four hours of mind numbing rhetoric from all the candidates did not change anyone in the audience’s minds. Those in attendance arrived ready to support their friends or the party they like, and there was nothing new to hear.

If I was to turn up in Florida at the Yankees training camp hoping to take the place of Mariano Rivera, before I went I would work 18 hours a day for a year for my one shot. I can pitch but I am not in the same league as Rivera. Heck I was once the starting pitcher for the Hjorth Road Yankees, does that count? Much the same way for the candidates that turned up this week at the Star of the Sea and at the United Church.

I am not sure what to make of the news this week that the NDP is leading the BLOC in the popularity polls in Quebec. Is there something going on in the East we have not seen here on the west coast?

I spend more time than most of you walking the hillside of White Rock . I have only encountered one candidate out door knocking and main streeting. Green Party candidate LARRY COLERO was making his way introducing himself to people along Marine Drive last weekend. That’s it. I have not received any campaign literature in my mail. The advertising dollars spent to date is minimal. I have not had one of the candidates or their supporters knock on my door looking for my support. Over the two all candidates meetings the only candidate that highlighted they have a web site or are using social media was SUSAN KEEPING of the NDP.

Unless there is ground swell afoot that I have missed this is the non election, election. Could it be we are simply burned out on voting? Will the youth get out the vote this year and make a difference. It seems to be the only ground swell I have seen out there. Though I have not heard or seen any sign of that happening in this riding. The average age at the two all candidate meetings was tipping 70+.

None of the established political parties in Canada shows any appetite to bring forth some form of legislation that would increase the turnout at the polls. The simple method is adopting the system used in Australia. If you don’t vote you get a notice on your income tax that you are being billed $100.00 . So for all the rhetoric from all the parties stating they would like to see more Canadians participating in, don’t expect it to be instituded in our lifetime. Winning an election is all about getting YOUR supporters out. Some parties are more adept at mobilizing their party members.

So what the hell is the solution? You tell me. I have to suit up and get back out there on the mound to work on my change up. I can't just turn up.

 

March 30, 2011

Well I didn’t take very long for the Federal Election to snap into the goofy section of the public opinion meter.

ELIZABETH MAY federal leader of the Green Party was informed again this week, “thanks but no thanks.” Last year it was due to the fact the Green Party was not running candidates in every riding, well as history showed us - after the public outcry MAY was welcomed to sit down at the table with “the boys.” You could hear the teeth gnashing clear across the country. You see ELIZABETH MAY does not owe anyone – anything. She is a loose cannon that cannot be controlled and constantly will go “off the script.” Nothing could be worse for the other candidates. Elizabeth does not play fair. IGNATIEFF, HARPER, DUCEPPE and LAYTON spar with each other on a regular basis. Ask anyone who has climbed into the ring what is like to face someone you know nothing about. Do they have a good left hook? Do they like to fight inside? What’s the deal?

It is only a couple of days since the news release was issued by the consortium television networks. Given they couldn’t trot out last year’s excuse again, the spin doctors huddled down in the back room and came up with this year’s excuse. IGNATIEFF couldn’t run for a microphone quicke enough to say how he would welcome MAY to the debate. Do you not think for a minute all the other leaders didn't sign off on this proposal before it was made public. If you believe the leaders were not consulted first, I have a sinkhole in Semiahmoo Park to show you.

Of course IGNATIEFF now would like to see ELIZABETH MAY at the table for the debate. IGNATIEFF has little to lose compared to HARPER. If anyone is going to get hammered by MAY during the debate it will be HARPER. There could be some collateral damage to the Liberals, but it is mainly HARPER and to a lesser extent the NDP that will be in the cross hairs of ELIZABETH MAY.

A vote for the GREEN PARTY is not a wasted vote. Most people I think would like to se the GREEN PARTY expand their platform from what is perceived as nothing more than an environmental group. It is interesting to note tough, the GREEN PARTY is the largest political party in the world, based on membership.

What kind of democracy excludes a party with the support of one million of its citizens?

What kind of democracy allows a handful of TV executives to decide that a party that only runs candidates in one province has more right to be in a national leaders’ debate than a party with candidates in every riding?

In the last election, your voices won Elizabeth her rightful place in the debates. We can’t believe that we have to ask you to rally on her behalf yet again. But we do.

Here’s what you can do:

Vote in CBC’s poll on whether Elizabeth should be invited to the leaders’ debates
Donate to support Elizabeth’s battle for inclusion;
Sign our petition
Send a text message to the Chair of the Media Consortium, Mr. Troy Reeb of Global TV on his cell phone at 647-261-3752
Email the news directors of consortium members CBC, CTV, Global, TVA
Email party leaders Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe
Forward this message to your friends and family

Note:

(The Green Party broke 1% of the popular vote in the 2004 federal election, when it received 4.3% and qualified for federal funding. Its support has ranged between 4.5% and 14% since the 2006 federal election and it has not polled below 5% in any opinion poll from 2007 onwards. In the 2008 federal election, the Green Party of Canada was invited to the debates for the first time[2] and achieved a high mark of 6.8% of the popular vote. With just under a million votes, it was the only federally-funded party to receive more votes than in 2006, but it still failed to win any seats.)

 

 

March 02, 2011

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

 

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear, read or see a news item that makes me scratch my head. For instance here are stories and my take that occurred in the past week.

Countries around the world are seizing foreign funds held by MUMMAR AL GADDAFI the well known dictator/despot of Libya since 1969. The first number I heard stunned me. Apparently GADAFFI has 39 BILLION squirreled away in foreign bank accounts. Stop for a moment and let that number sink in. Those are just the funds the family has stashed away OUTSIDE of Libya. What kind of wealth are they sitting on in the country. A country rich in oil that is home to many people that subsist on sand sandwiches and rancid goat entrails. Within a day or so the news dropped GADAFFI has at least 2 BILLION in Canadian banks.

As all this was unfolding Victoria singer NELLY FURTADO( possibly believing the best defense is an offense), came out Monday and stated she had been paid a million dollars for a 45 minute performance for the GADAFFI’S back in 2007. The fact the private concert was held in Italy is little consolation in my mind. Who the hell advised her this would be a good idea. I know the money is staggering, but would you play a picnic for Willie Picton? How about a backyard prison barbeque for Charlie Manson. FURTADO was obviously concerned a number of names had already come out in the U.S. press of American stars that have bellied up to the tyrant trough. FURTADO is offering to donate the million dollar fee to charity, now. Not a word about the interest which would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Over the weekend the wireless crackled with news our foreign affairs department were earnestly trying to secure the release of a Canadian citizen who was grabbed by the Taliban. Was he soldier? A Spy? Was he part of a covert military operation? Nope. He was in Afghanistan on holidays. Who the hell goes to Afghanistan on holidays? Again I understand if you were there working with an aid agency that would be one thing, but holidays in the Afghan highlands?

Roll up the rim, and roll up the cot. Monday night things were so busy at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New West, a half a dozen patients to the emergency ward were warehoused in the Tim Horton’s café off the lobby of the hospital. No one ends up at emergency in a relaxed easy going mood. NO a tragedy has hit your life or that of a loved one. Put yourself in the position of the patients or loved ones sitting in Tim Horton’s waiting for a doctor to see you. What is wrong with this picture?

Health Minister Speaks on Tim Hortons story

Colin Hansen calls last night's decision by Royal Columbian Hospital to treat patients in the Tim Horton's coffee shop "appropriate care," says no investigation necessary.

Imagine the furor if it was the Hansen family that was sitting there holding their loved ones hand next to the donut rack.

CHARLIE SHEEN. If he wasn’t a millionaire living behind giant walls in Beverly Hills his friends would be dragging him off to the psych ward or rehab at the very least. If you saw CHUCK on any of his recent television appearances you surely could see the guy was operating with just one oar in the water. Here’s hoping intervention happens sooner than later. That time bomb is ticking.

BEV ODA’S whole flip flop and fly over the insertion of (not) into an official government document was classic case of get the Spin Doctors on the set we need help here folks. After a couple of days of dodging the hard questions and spinning stupid stories out, the spin doctors came up with an aide used a stamped signature of Bev on the document without her knowledge. This when ODA contradicted that statement two days earlier. A week has passed and the story has disappeared. Actually kind of knocked off the Conservative radar by the latest news the Conservative party at the federal level was washing election funds fraudulently through local MP offices. Beautiful. And even that is sinking off the radar.

 

 

February 23, 2011

I was wrapping up my "sunny work in the yard" weekend on Sunday, watching the 6 o’clock news when a story caught my ear.

It seems a young married father up in Surrey was diagnosed with liver cancer a short period of time back. The cancer advanced faster than expected and his life expectancy was cut short. Steve Martin had always had a dream about building and owning a race car. A particular style and model of a Mazda that he used to watch at local speedways. When Steve’s buddies heard the sad news they went to work to complete Steve’s dream. Working around the clock for days the group of mechanics and body men completed the building of the car in a couple weeks. A job that would normally take months.

Last Friday they called Steve’s house and told him they had a surprise for him and that they would be over after lunch. They trailered the race car to the end of Steve’s street, fired it up and roared down his street. The friends expected from what they had heard about Steve’s condition he might only be able to come to the window. But nope, not old Steve. He pulled on his sweat pants and marched out into the street to inspect the car. Hugs were passed out all around, Steve smiled, his family cried, then Steve went back into the house. He was gone by the next morning. The will to live is a marvelous thing. But there comes a time when cancer sufferers KNOW.

A young lady in Surrey by the name of MEGAN McNEIL also showed amazing strength in the face of cancer. Still in her teens when she passed away a couple weeks back MEGAN fought the scourge of cancer with everything she had. Being a singer and a songwriter MEGAN felt she wanted to offer hope to other cancer sufferers. With the help of a Vancouver studio and producer Garth Richardson MEGAN and a group of other cancer patients went in and recorded the song “Will To Survive.” You can watch the haunting video by visiting her websit www.willtosurvive.org. MEGAN too passed away very quickly surrounded by loved ones.

If cancer has not come crashing into your life in a very personal way, thank your lucky stars. Statistics put 33% of Canadian women being diagnosed with cancer and 29% of Canadian men suffering the same fate. Take a moment and image 1 in 3 of your close personal friends are going to be struck with cancer. And the numbers are not getting any better. The very alarming statistic not many people talk about in childhood cancer. A decade ago it was a rarity. Not so much anymore.

So if the imagery of F_________CANCER bothers you, I am sorry. Sorry for you that you have not gone through the horror of the cancer ride.

Yet.

 

February 2, 2011

Such Big Country – Such A Small Talent Pool

 

Do you recognize this lady? Her name is Marilyn Dennis. For YEARS she was the host of some woman’s hair chat show on CITY-TV out of Toronto. The show was carried locally here on City-TV 13.

One day last year she was gone. Pffft, vapourized. Can’t say I was sad to se her go. Though I had only watched nano seconds of previous shows, I couldn’t help but thinking how long is this woman going to be on the air? Don’t tell me it was because she was getting good ratings. Either she knew someone high up at City-TV or she worked cheap, or a combination of both.

In June 2008 after hosting City-Line for no less than 19 years, Dennis announced she will be hosting a new show, The Marilyn Dennis Show, on CTV. Little more was heard about this until June 2010 when CTV announced that the program would premiere in fall 2010. But due to studio construction the program premiered on January 10, 2011 on CTV

DENNIS was replaced by a striking black woman, who almost immediately went out and got pregnant, periodically as I surfed by the channel it was painful to watch this woman trying to navigate around the set as her baby bulge grew bigger and bigger. Once she popped the baby she was right back to work. No mat leave for this woman. Not when you have waited in the wings as long as she had for a national show.

But back to MARILYN DENNIS. Damn if I didn’t snap on the TV earlier this month and CTV has picked her up. Huh? Do we not have anyone else that could do the job?

In addition to us only having a dozen television actors, it appears now television is also going down that rabbit hole. Heck the cancel Corner Gas and spin off at least three shows starring “the stars of Corner Gas.” Give me a break.

There are a ton of talented gifted actors in this country. Come on networks spread your tiny wings and fly away. Let’s get some new blood on out TV’s. Who knows we might even be motivated to turn the boob tube on a little more often if we thought for a moment we might see something different.

I have to think I am like a lot of people that thought if I see one of those Vicki Gabereau commercials one more time about how to drive through a traffic circle, well there could be a hostage taking. They were on every commercial break for months then they disappeared. A new flight of Gabba Gabba Gabereau’s has appeared but she is toned down considerably.

Maybe it can all be explained by a local phenomenon in White Rock. ELIZABETH HOLLICK has painted a number of public art pieces throughout White Rock and South Surrey. I have heard the silent bitching from other artists. “Why does Elizabeth get all the good gigs?” Well let me answer that for you. ELIZABETH is a talented artist who gets out there and hustles herself. Then she turns up and does a professional job.

I don’t think it is as simple as that to why we only have 10 TV stars and a dozen actors in this country. I think it is born more out of laziness, on the part of the producers of Canadian television.

Certain actors have become like comfy old slippers. They don't bring attitude, they turn up on time, they work well with others and they aren't that expensive to hire. Sort of like JIM BELUSHI stateside.

 

January 25, 2011

 

What You Gonna Do?

The newest link in TRANSLINK’S network, the Canada Line which runs from Richmond to Downtown Vancouver could soon be shut down by a labour dispute.

Workers on the Canada Line which includes control room operation workers, maintenance workers and attendants.

After one year’s operation the workers are looking for a better deal specifically reagarding health and welfare benefits and pensions.

The 180 Canada Line workers hired by operator Protrans BC certified with the BCGEU in August 2009. Since then talks have been ongoing attempting to conclude a first collective agreement.

As a regular user of the Canada Line I applaud the efficiency and cleanliness with which the system is operated. I know the “old” SKYTRAIN is 25 years old, but there is no comparison.

Due in large part the Canada Line is a P3 project which means there is a private investor (Protrans owned by SNC Lavalin) that has a contract to operate the Canada Line for 35 years.

The workers are in a legal position to issue 72 hours then hit the bricks. How would this impact bus travel? Well the obvious solution would be for the buses to resume their old routes of driving right into downtown Vancouver. I am confident Translink and Coast Mountain Bus Company have already looked into the feasibility of simply going back to the old system. On the face of it one would think that would be an option.

But hold it a minute. Bus drivers and staff at Coast Mountain Bus company as well as Skytrain employees are also now in contract negotiations. My goodness can you imagine if they all walked out at the same time. Can you say gridlock?

Speaking and the lack thereof, the new bus lane on Highway 99 from the King George Highway to Highway 91 cut off is nearing completion. Millions of tax payer dollars have been spent on this project. I am still befuddle on why?

There is NEVER any traffic backup on this section of HWY 99 unless there is an accident, which would also limit the use of the bus lane. I can’t seem to get anyone to answer the simple questions of “Why?” for love nor money. I have been bounced from Victoria to Ottawa more times than a Russ Hiebert flight plan. Speaking of which Hiebert was trumpeting as recently as last week how wonderful the Conservative Government was for putting up the lion’s share of the 12 million dollars for the project. I once again ask the question why was there not an extension put from HWY 10 up to the existing bus lane heading into Vancouver? If they were serious about this new bus lane from King George Highway, why have they designed it in such a manner that the buses will have to merge back into traffic in the short distance. Once over the Serpentine River and once again over the BNSF rail overpass?

Norht of the Massey Tunnel another important link in the bus lane system is set to open in the next month or so. Once completed this will mean bus riders from South Surrey and White Rock will roar past idle traffic on Highway 99.

Commuters in their automobiles should not be surprised to see the smug looks on our faces out the windows of the old #351.

Now if TRANSLINK could improve the bus experience, oops sorry I was dreaming!

 

Backgrounder Journal Chamber of Commerce


A new northbound shoulder bus lane is being built between the King George Highway and Highway 91 in Metro Vancouver to improve transit service and reduce traffic congestion for commuters travelling from White Rock and Surrey. The project is a result of a partnership between the Government of Canada and the province.


"The Government of Canada is proud to work with our provincial partners on infrastructure projects that will create jobs, stimulate the economy,and improve highway safety for residents and visitors alike," said Russ Hiebert, Member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "This highway improvement project will go a long way toward easing traffic congestion and improving commuting times across metro Vancouver."


"Transit expansion is happening at a critical time in Metro Vancouver," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond. "At the rate the region is growing, we are investing in key projects to get people out of their cars and into transit. More people using transit will help their communities become healthier places to live, work and play."
The new six-kilometre northbound shoulder bus lane will open this spring.


The Province is investing $110 million for transit and road improvements on Highway 99. Improvements include 17 kilometres of separate shoulder bus lanes. A shoulder bus lane from Westminster Highway to Bridgeport Road is now open. Work continues to add more lanes north and south of the George Massey tunnel in both directions.


The Government of Canada is contributing $6.5 million toward this project. In total, the federal government has contributed $24.5 million toward transit improvements on Highway 99. The federal contribution to this project comes from the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, which provides funding to provincial, territorial and municipal construction-ready infrastructure projects. Since March 2009, over 400 projects have received a total federal investment of over $500 million under the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund across British Columbia.


On Dec. 2, 2010, the Government of Canada announced it is extending the construction deadline for a number of Economic Action Plan infrastructure projects. Proponents of projects under the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, the Building Canada Fund Communities Component Top-Up, the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program and the Knowledge Infrastructure Program will now have until Oct. 31, 2011 to complete their projects.

Editor's Update - It was anounced after prees time that HWY 99 will in fact be widened to accomodate bus traffic over the Serpentine River. There are presently no plans to widen the road over the BNSF rail tracks along that sectin of HWY 99 northbound. Buses will merge back into the flow of traffic at the rail overpass.

 

January 19, 2011

Not In My Backyard

You heard the news, everyone was talking about it at the coffee shop last week.

A group of condo owners on the UBC grounds were up in arms because a development sign went up in the neighbourhood proposing a 12 bed hospice to be built down the street from their condo.

The reaction was swift and sure. The residents of said condo tower had all paid in the niehgbourhood of a million dollars for their homes, and would not in any way shape or form support a hospice being built n their neighbourhood.

The reason? Their cultural customs dictate that living near where people die is terribly bad luck. Fine by me. If that is your culture, adhere to it. Small problem though it is not the custom of “ours.” Now I realize many will say a statement like that only advances an us and them division of society.

First things first. The right to die with dignity and respect is part of “our” culture. Having recently walked that road I canot tell you from personal experience how important it was to my wife’s departure from this world, to have The White Rock Hospice Society located in close proximity to the hospital. Not so much for my wife but for me. I can’t imagine how long I would have stayed in a state of suspended reality had it not been for the assistance I received from the hospice. Now one must note the local hospice does not house terminally ill patients, that is left to the Peace Arch Hospital across the road.

The condo complex in question boasts 80% Asian owners. The representative for the condo owners I saw on television stated “This hospice should not be built here, it is against our custom to live near where people die. By allowing the hospice being built we will suffer not only mentally but financially. We will not be able to sell our condos for anywhere near what we paid if this building were to go ahead.”

Well both of these statement may be true. I suppose other Asian real estate seekers may have a problem with moving into a condo that is in close proximity to a hospice. I doubt if anyone I know would pass on the condo for that simple reason.

The battle has quickly dropped off the news radar. How do you deal with this topic and not run the risk of being branded a racist. Not good for business folks.

Me? Not so much. I am all for immigration. Immigrants developed this country that in the scheme of things is a very young country. The first wave of settlers were European. They too brought their customs with them and they became the groundwork for the very fabric of Canada. The simple fact we have only 33 million people in the second largest country in the world should tell you we need more people and a greater tax base. The fact we even have a paved road from coast to coast should not be taken for granted.

But and isn’t there always a but I support a modicam amount of assimilation into the society you are joining. Oh don’t get me wrong I don’t expect Indians to rip off their turbans and join the Kinsmen the first week they are here. But I do expect they abide by the same rules that govern the rest of us. Not wearing a helmut when you are riding a motorcycle in Canada because it will not fit over your turban is a perfect example. Helmut does not fit? Then you are not free to operate a motorcycle in Canada. Straight clean and simple. There is no grey area here. Immigrants to ANY country certainly should be encouraged to carry on and practise their customs, in private. Once your customs impact someone else it is a new game.

So to the residents of the condo tower at UBC I say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!” Your protest is two layered in my mind, first there is the stated cultural problem, but without exception every condo owner I heard speak on this matter, the topic quickly moved to how it would devalue their property.

I applaud the members of the Asian community that have come out full force swinging at the debate. A large number of recent immigrants believe the statements put forth by these owners does not but widen the gulf between the two communities that have co-existed and prospered side by side.

Can we not move past this debate? Perhaps sell your condo and move. Developments happen all the time, there is always a “not in my backyard” argument floated out there no matter what form the development comes in. As a matter of fact this group of Asian condo owners is not the first group to stand in the way of the development. Nope. The orginal site for construction of the hospice was next door to a frat house on the university grounds. The students registered their concern about the development to the University brass. Turns out the sorority boys felt their "kegger all night blow out parties" might be upsetting for the residents of a hospice.

Now that's Canadian.

 

 

January 06, 2011

YELL IT LIKE IT IS - Suffer The Little Children/Old Folks and Animals

You heard it. I know you did and your reaction hopefully was similar to mine. Just a day or so into the New Year, the news crackled with a story about how a 3 month old puppy was beaten to death in a motel room in Victoria.

I was almost sick to my stomach. As a matter of fact I found myself changing the channel or turning the volume down as the story was repeated adnauseum for a day or so. Slow news day?

I cannot sit idly by and watch anyone mistreating a child, an elderly person, a woman and any animal. Many years ago I was sitting in the Dell Hotel in Whalley in the middle of the afternoon (“Hey I was waiting for someone”) when a couple sitting in the sparsely occupied beer parlour got into it. I just figured it was none of my business. That was until the gentleman decided he was going to start pounding on his lady friend. I snapped like a cheap elastic band and jumped into the fray and tried to stop him from beating on her. That didn’t end too well because as I was rolling around the floor with buddy, the little woman decided to el kabong me with an empty beer pitcher. So things don’t always work out well when sticking my noise into other people’s business.

Back to Victoria. It turns out the guy was looking after a friend’s 3 month old pit bull in his motel room, when for reasons unknown, the dog angered him and he beat it to death. Just typing the words makes my stomach flip.

Police apparently responded to a number of 911 calls from other patrons of the motel. The young man was taken into custody and charges were being considered. BEING CONSIDERED? This person needs help. What kind of rage do you have building up inside yourself that you can actually kill a puppy with your bare hands? The guy is a ticking time bomb.

I have no problem with someone disciplining an animal or a child. Where I do have a problem is with bullies exhibiting their machoism on the aforementioned disenfranchised sector of our society.

Not on my watch.

 

December 29, 2010

 

LINGERIE - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

 

I decided for Christmas this year I would entertain purchasing the new girlfriend some lingerie. I can well imagine every woman reading this right about now is saying “This is not going to end well.”

Well it did end well. This year I decided I would adhere to the comments made by a number of women in my life over the years about purchasing lingerie. “Men always buy totally the wrong thing. Items that cut bind, lift separate, pull, push, squeeze are not comfortable for any period of time.” Funny I didn’t think you would be wearing said item(s) for hours. But that’s another story.

This story is about the different shopping habits of men and women. I and most men I know could pull up front of Mark’s Work Wearhouse, put on the four way flashers dash in, grab a pair of 33/34 boot cut jeans, grab a pack of t-shirts and a couple dress shirts and sweaters and be out in less than 10 minutes tops, barring any lineups.

Not the case with women. A true exhibition of the popular self help relationship enforcer MEN ARE FROM MARS-WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. Most women pride themselves on their shopping ability. They will discuss amongst themselves different techniques for improving on the shopping experience. Arrival time is all important. Door crashers are for losers. A well seasoned female shopper will circle her prey with the cat like maneuvers of a cougar. Mid morning from my extensive experience watching women shop, seems to be optimum. Arrive around 10:30 do a low level pass over a couple of stores, take a lunch break visit with shopping mate and then go cross furough back over the ploughed retail landscape.

Oh yes well we are on the subject of the differences between men and women shopping, here is a tip for all you struggling woman’s retail outlets. GET SOME CHAIRS! I can guarantee we will be less apt to be breathing down our wife/girlfriend’s necks if we are comfortable. Hell I even encountered a story in Los Angeles that provided a cappuccino and some reading material along with the comfy chair. My late wife showed her appreciation monetarily.

So this brings me to a visit over to the Morgan Crossing/Grandview Corners location of La Vie En Rose. Lovely store, helpful staff yet over an hour to spend $50.00 gift certificate. Now I realize everything was 50% off but still, how can it take that long to spend even $100.00? See male method above for shopping. For men, time stands still when you are waiting for your significant other to do some shopping. All the while a little voice is screaming in your head “How Long Have We Been Here?”

So let’s just leave it like this. Men and women shop much the same way we make love.

A man walks right in, sees what he likes, picks it up and takes it home. Conversely woman will want to check out the entire lay of the land so to speak. Compare them, size them up, weigh out the attributes of each item/suitor. Well you get the idea.

Me? I am just happy that New Year’s Eve I will be celebrating all the wonderful differences between men and women. If you know what I mean!

 

December 22, 2010

YELL IT LIKE IT IS – Adios 2010

 

As we get ready to fold up 2010 and place it in the memory box I can’t help but thinking about what 2011 will hold for us.

A month before the Christmas rush the news channels and fish wraps were heralding how bad it was going to be at retail. What were they thinking. Did they not take into consideration their very own sales forces would be walking through these same retail outlets looking for ad dollars? You can well imagine the response from hard up against it retailers. In the past week or so there was a complete about face about how on average we would be spending $1,000.00 this Christmas. These reports came to us live from the shopping malls with very little human traffic in the background.

Watch for the announcement in the first quarter of 2011 how we are dangerously close to entering a recession. Really?

Stats Canada last month released a shocking piece of info. Sixty percent of Canadians polled stated they would be in dire financial straits if they missed ONE PAY CHEQUE. Look around you for God’s sake. We have been in a recession for months. It is just the Government and the Media do not find it beneficial to make the announcement.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not a prophet of doom. Just a realist. The strong will not only survive they will succeed. The marginal fringe players will disappear as a natural attrition occurs.

We have “too many” of everything. In last week’s column I lamented I did not think a little town like White Rock could support 7 sushi restaurants. It is not just White Rock, it is everywhere. If you eliminated 50% of __________________(fill in the blank) the remaining businesses would pick up the slack and prosper.

I look forward to the new world of retail that will emerge in 2011. The smart business owners will continue on the same personal service path they have followed for years, and perhaps even ramp it up a tad more. As consumers we will drive past a number of businesses where “people call us by our name.”

It is the CHEERS principle and I for one welcome it.

 

Political commentator BILL MAHER posted this Christmas greeting. It pretty much says it all. (CLICK HERE)

 

December 15, 2010

Sue Sue Sushi

Last week the inevitable happened. JUST FRIENDS CAFE went under. To be truthful it doesn’t really surprise me. In that I spend an inordinate amount of time uptown I quite often use coffee shops and restaurants as rendezvous points to meet people I may want to do an interview with or whatever for this newspaper.

I am a pretty fine chef if the truth be known, so I am at times overly critical of the food and service industry. I bristle when I am paying for someone’s learning curve. I also object to paying $5.50 for a coffee and muffin. But that is a story for another day.

So when I saw JUST FRIENDS had bit the dust I asked one of the girls in BUY LOW if she knew what was going into the space. She told me it was going to be a Sushi Restaurant.

Well you could have pushed me over with a stiff breeze. Does White Rock NEED another sushi joint? Counting from 16th Avenue and heading south, there will now be 6 sushi restaurants from 16th Avenue to 5 Corners. A mere two blocks..

KAPPA on George Street is the “grand old dame” that has been around the longest and offers the most authentic tatami room style of dining. The other joints I have tried and not to say they are not average to good, but they all fall short of one of the finest sushi joints perhaps in the Lower Mainland. TAKA’S @ 5 Corners is world class.

In a past life when I had an expense account and ran with the elite of the rock n’ roll industry TOJO’S on Broadway was the top restaurant visiting rock stars wanted to visit. His reputation preceeds him. So I know of what I speak when it comes to sushi.

TOJO on Broadway is spectacular, a little pricey, but worth the extra green. At least I used to feel that way until TAKA and MIGOOMI rolled into White Rock a couple of years back straight from the hotbed of sushi - Austin, Texas.

If you have not been to TAKA’S and you like sushi, do yourself a favour. There are only a few seats at the sit up bar and a couple of tables that seat 3-4 people. Most of the business TAKA does is take out. Tray after tray fly out the door as you sit and dine.

But back to the new sushi joint BLACK TUNA SUSHIE in Hillcrest Mall. I have to figure they did due diligence and checked out heir competition. To me and a number of people I have talked to it seems like overkill. Canthat many sushi restaurants in a 2 block strip in a town of 18,000 (mainly white) citizens survive?

It's called free enterprise folks, and if it does succeed it will be at the cost of at least one of the peripheral sushi restaurants closing.

As a lady friend said when I told her we were getting another sushi joint, she replied “Oh great I can go get my nails done, buy some used clothes and eat sushi. Welcome to White Rock.” She may be a little harsh in her observation, but......

 

 

December 08, 2010

Bus Service To Grandview Corners

The plight of White Rock businesses has been beaten like an Afghany beats his yak. But get ready for another round of teeth gnashing and hand ringing.

Beginning Monday White Rock’s community shuttle bus (Cranley) will extend his route on 24th avenue over Highway 99 smack dab into the middle of what some believe is retail mecca, Grandview Corners.

Big box stores abound, Wal-Mart is open 24 hours a two block long shopping district I like to call “Anywhere USA” will welcome the increased business from White Rock and South Surrey.

I was talking to someone the other day and they asked me if I shop much outside of White Rock. I explained I didn’t, in that I am able to do the majority of my shopping on foot. I am shopping for one, so I don’t need to hit Costco up for 100 rolls of toilet paper. As a matter of fact it has now been slightly over a year since my wife passed and I think I just finished up some of the aforementioned toilet paper we bought in 2009 at Costco. Damn near had to put an addition on to the house for that package of paper.

My trap line includes, The Bread Box for fruits, vegetables, sliced meat and cheese. Hillcrest Bakery for bread and baked goods. BUY LOW my go to store for just about everything I need food wise. For a store that is not that big I have never not found an item I am looking for. They may not have 4 different types of oyster sauce but they will have one. Then it is on up to Penguin Meat for my chicken, fish and meat. Semiahmoo Mall has my one stop health store NUTRITION HOUSE and if I do need a pair of socks or whatever in the clothing department it is off to Zeller’s.

Do I shop locally to support businesses in White Rock? I suppose inadvertently I do, but I will not shop locally just for the sake of it. The aforementioned outlets are purveyors of what I call “leaning into it.” By that I mean they have great prices, friendly service and a good selection and it is all within walking distance from my home.

I fear now that the bus services is going to be extended on Monday to Grandview Corners our local business owners are going to take another hit, that most can ill afford.

Times are rough out there. No one else is will admit it, but let me tell you folks WE ARE IN A RECESSION. Don’t believe me. Stats Canada two weeks ago came out with the bombshell survey results stating 60% of Canadians would be in dire financial straights if they missed one pay cheque. Let that settle it in for a moment.

Am I concerned? You bet I am. I think I will go for a walk!

 

November 22, 2010

Where Are The Great Leaders?

The Liberals who themselves are in a state of disarray after the implosion from the resignation of Premier Gordon Campbell, must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Last week the NDP also faced a cross roads. Could CAROLE JAMES lead the party to success in the next Provincial election? Well if we are to believe the figures from the NDP emergency meeting on Saturday, the membership is 80% behind CAROLE JAMES. Really? Yet the sidebar to Saturday’s gathering was the fact sitting MLA’s in the NDP party do not share the same high percentage for approval rating. JAMES likely will not face a full leadership review until a year from now. Great, right on the eve of the next Provincial election they may or may not change leaders. If they do in fact face the obvious, which is, CAROLE JAMES who has lost two Provincial elections as the leader of the NDP is not capable of winning the election. So where is the rationale to elect a new leader on the eve of the Provincial election, leaving no time for them to establish and exhibit their leadership qualities.

I admit in my heart of hearts IF I HAD TO CHOOSE a particular political party based solely on their platform, it would probably be the NDP. In principle I support what the NDP used to stand for. My grandfather was an organizer for the CCF Party and Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan. My father, “Uncle Joe” Chesney put his name forward as a candidate for the NDP and ran in Langley a Socred stronghold. He had his hat handed to him by BOB MCLELLAND.

God where are the new faces on the political scene? I keep hearing that politics can’t attract great people. I don’t buy that. I think the problem lies in attracting candidates that are committed to making the world a better place. Not in making their bank accounts better places. Ask yourself this. Where are all the NDP MLA’s that suffered the scorched earth results when the Liberals swept to power. Where are they now? Are they back in the business world leading Fortune 500 companies? Not likely. Hell former NDP Premier GLEN CLARK was ill suited for any type of employment. A part time union organizer and some time bar tender hardly prepared him for the return to real life. I maintain someone dropped a dime and called in a favour to get him a job with the JIM PATTISON empire. How good would it look for a former Premier to literally be out of work?

The best PATTISON could come up with when questioned why such a capitalist would hire a devout left wing person to run anything in his company. PATTISON is on record as stating “Glen Clark deserves an opportunity to make a new life outside politics, and he’s got a family to feed.”

So here we are once again sucking it up, holding our noses and preparing to vote for the lesser of two or three evils. Is there another Trudeau type in the wings? Someone that can capture our imagination of a nation? Names from the past like GORDON WILSON and RITA JOHNSTON are rumoured to be considering pumping some like into something called the B.C. Conservative Party

Someday I hope to see a woman elected as Premier or Prime Minister in Canada. The “are they capable” seems Neanderthal to even debate.

But it certainly won’t be CAROLE JAMES. Canada has had women twice lead political parties. (One at the Provincial level, RITA JOHNSON Premier of British Columbia (3 months) and KIM CAMPBELL Conservative Prime Minister (5 months). Neither was elected to that position, they both came by default.)

Time will tell, but I for one am getting tired of waiting!

 

 

November 08, 2010

 

Have You Ever Been Fired?

Does anyone ever get fired anymore?

Does anyone have to pay the consequence for their actions. Let’s take a look at a few recent news items that make my blood run cold.

First of all what do you think about the Provincial Liberals pouring a half a BILLION dollars into a retractable roof for BC Place? You would have to be living in a cave to have not heard our retractable roof does not retract in inclement weather. Pardon me? Someone please wipe the egg off their face, step up and take one for the team. Whoever signed off on this asinine expenditure should be fired. No stories. Tax dollars poured into a black hole. Tell a senior that is living from week to week on a meager income watching government services slashed time and time again impacting their very existence.

What about the construction company that decided to extend the road closure on HWY 99 the other morning to facilitate the paving of the “bus lane to nowhere.” Commuters were backed up for miles cueing up for the one lane northbound into Vancouver. Was it because there was a threat of rain on Friday that caused the construction crew to say “What the heck, we’re up and rolling now, let’s get this thing finished?” Who knows? But again at the very least there should be a massive fine levied against this outfit, but again, WHO MADE THE DECISION? One would have to believe it was a foreman out on the Highway and not someone in an ivory tower. Should they have to walk the plank?

Is anyone at AIR CANADA in China going to have to wear the security breach that allowed the young male Asian traveler with some rubber mask of an old man board a flight out of Hong King? When I first heard the news I thought it happened this mid-week when the news broke. Nope it happened late last week ladies and gentlemen. It appears some agency was doing everything possible to keep this one under the radar. Trying to piece together what happened is very difficult. AIR CANADA reps claimed they had concerns but airport officials overruled their concerns. Never mind splitting hairs, who the hell was the final checkpoint that cleared a passenger supposedly with an AEROPLAN frequent travelers card and a boarding pass? Our minister of Public Safety VIC TOEWS when alerted to the latest breach of security seemed to brush the incident off as nothing out of the ordinary with the exception of the rubber mask. Statistics may support his stance. Over 10,000 illegal travelers arrive in Canada annually. 50% of the claimants are released from custody to await their fate.

Call me crazy, but again publicly humiliate this person and make an example of him. He should be on an airplane heading home as we speak. Those legal immigrants that wish to immigrate to Canada must be even more livid than I am.

Why should someone at AIR CANADA or the CANADIAN BORDER SERVICES be fired? Because the next time someone is thinking of sluffing off on their duty, they may stop for a moment and say “Whoa, wait a minute. I just thought of something. They made that guy that blew a half a billion on the roof, the clown on Highway 99 and that jackass at Air Canada walk the plank and suffer the public humiliation. Gee maybe I should take a little more care than I had planned on.”

We’re talking about serious mistakes here. Its not like you put a file in the wrong folder in a filing cabinet at work, bought the wrong kind of coffee for the lunchroom?

Today in Surrey Provincial court CAROL BERNER will appear for sentencing in the death of young ALEXA MIDDELAER who was struck down by CAROL BERNER as she fed horses on the side of the road in Delta. ALEXA'S parents think the rumoured 3-5 years in jail for BERNER is an insult. Sadly I hope they are bracing themselves for a sentence less than 3-5 years.

No one pays.

 

October 26, 2010

Our Man In Victoria?

Basi/Virk WE THE SHEEPLE

I feel sick. With each passing day and new revelation about the BASI/VIRK trial I find myself getting angrier and angrier.

My God how stupid does the Provincial Government think we are. Obviously they credit us with very little intelligence and even less gumption to stand up and say “Enough is enough!”

Last week on the eve of former Finance Minister Gary Farrel Collins being called before the courts to answer questions on the sale of BC Rail, all of a sudden MSSRS. VIRK and BASI after clogging up the courts for no less than 7 years, had an epiphany and decided they would cop a guilty plea and collapse the trial. Shut it down, sweep it under the carpet and run for cover.

I don’t care to go into the machinations of the trial itself, I am sure you have read the political spin over and over. No one in Victoria seems to be able to get their story straight, on who in fact signed off on the stinking deal. Initially the cost to the taxpayers for the trial was pegged at 6 million dollars. That quickly ballooned to $11 million dollars after we dutifully swallowed the $6 million dollar pill without much more than a whimper.

Those outside of the mainstream media who are not beholding to the government for advertising largesse have been screaming from the top of the mount. Mainstream media pundits have vacillated back and forth on the topic. Kid gloves would be an appropriate description for the easy ride that is being dished out by many well respected political scribes. One must remember all levels of Government, from civic to provincial to federal are the top advertisers for mainstream media. Let’s face it if the White Rock Auto Mall was a big advertiser of a media outlet, do you think you would see any “Cars Are Bad” articles? Doubtful.

So they have hunkered down in Victoria and they are waiting out the male storm of discontent amongst the electorate. Campbell trots out a little cabinet shuffle to try to divert the media, he has an Address To The Province tomorrow evening. Some observers think CAMPBELL will step down as the leader. Presently the approval rating for the BC Liberals is hovering in single digits (9%). Don't bet on CAMPBELL stepping down.

You may be asking yourself, what the heck can I do? Well I’ll tell you what you can do. You can send a letter, and email or make a personal visit to the offices of our local MLA’S Hogg, Falcon and Cadieux. These people were elected by you and I to represent us in Victoria. Their silence is sickening.

Do none of them have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say “This Is So Wrong!” I am doubting it, but I will be pleasantly surprised. Surprised because you will probably read this and think, “Yeah someone should do something about that.”

Let me give you a little piece advice my late father “Uncle Joe” passed along to me at a very young age. PUT UP OR SHUT UP! My father taught me if politicians get one letter, they toss it in the garbage, if they get 10 letters they create a file, if they get 100 letters they have a meeting. If they get a thousand letters, they do whatever they are told/asked. Don’t believe me? Just give it a try. You can make a difference. One at a time we can do it.

If you’re not prepared to PUT UP well then as UNCLE JOE used to say - SHUT UP!

Send GORDON HOGG a letter (CLICK HERE)

Send KEVIN FALCON a letter (CLICK HERE)

Send STEPHANIE CADIEUX a letter (CLICK HERE)

 

October 06, 2010

Young People in White Rock About To Be Very "Bored"

A month or so back a group of skateboarders, long boarders to be specific were up in arms the city of White Rock was enforcing a by-law that had been on the books for a number of years. The by-law specifically bans the operation of skateboards, long boards and in line roller blades in the most highly populated areas of uptown White Rock.

The group staged a ceremonious skate complete with a police escort from Bakerview Park in South Surrey to City Hall. Upon their arrival at City Hall Mayor Ferguson afforded them an audience to address their concerns. The boarders felt they were being unfairly targeted by the police and by-law officers. It was rumoured that some skateboards were actually seized by the authorities.

Mayor Ferguson listened to the delegation and then subsequently informed them they were free to appear before council as a delegation if they felt they could make a case to rescind the present by-law.

Mayor Ferguosn meets with media and boarders

Well stick a fork in those long/slate boarders, it is all over for them. This past weekend a boarder in Abbotsford was critically injured when struck by an SUV. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for possibly being impaired and eye witnesses claimed the boarder went right through a stop sign before colliding with the car. A couple of months back there was a horrifying accident when a young girl skateboarding down Mount Seymour Parkway had some difficulty and collided with a vehicle killing the young boarder instantly.

Locally last week tragedy struck really close to home. The mother of a good friend of mine, PAT L’ORANGE was knocked down by a boarder as she was walking to her home on Thrift. L’ORANGE was more than willing to praise the young boarder who stayed with her and followed the ambulance to the hospital where she was treated for broken bones. PAT is 90 years old folks. She had her legs torn out from underneath her and fell hard breaking her wrist in numerous places.

Anyone who has been uptown especially walking along Johnston Road south of Thrift all the way down to Buena Vista has witnessed skateboarders rocketing down the sidewalk. Oh they will tell you they can control their boards. Sure unless someone steps out from behind a car or steps out of a business and walks right into their path.

It’s over boarders. Pack up and head for higher ground. No matter how remorseful the boarder who hit PAT LORANGE was, there is not a hope in hell the Mayor and Council are going to rescind the present by-law. As a matter of fact after this most recent incident look to see the by-law enforced with a heavier hand. Today I was uptown and two lon boarders roared by me on the sidewalk, both not wearing the mandatory safety helmet.

Stick a fork in them and point them to the skate park.

 

September 20, 2010

Heroes

 

Today 10 White Rock fire fighters and their support crew will leave Hope on the final leg of their grueling 2 week bicycle tour of Canada.

On Tuesday August 31 the riders dipped the wheels of their road bikes into the Atlantic Ocean off of Halifax. It has been a steady grind since as the group faced the expected weather, health and automotive problems. But soldier on they did.

I have driven from Halifax to Vancouver. Making good time IN A CAR it can take 6 days, of very long driving days. Our fire fighters have done it in just 14 days. You have got to be rocking and rolling to be keeping up that kind of pace.

So today somewhere around 2 p.m. the cavalcade of the 10 riders and their support team will ride back into their hometown. I pray to God we give them a heroe’s welcome.

This group of gentlemen have spread the good will and good name of White Rock from COAST2COAST. The very least we can do is go for a walk in the sunshine today and give them a wave, a two thumbs up or a salute as the returns home.

The goal of the ride over and above simply wanting to complete an almost insurmountable task, is to raise awareness and money for the good work VARIETY does. There will probably be a bucket or something at the big wrap up party at the parking lot by the museum today, or if you would like to make a donation in the name of the fire fighters – follow this link.

In the coming months we will be bringing you exciting news on another front from the White Rock Fire Hall. Very quietly and without a lot of fanfare a group at the local hall, located one of our heritage fire trucks and have been rebuilding it in their spare time. The truck is close to being completed and it will become a show piece for our city at numerous fairs, parades and community gatherings in the future.

There is a very popular television show these days way up on pay tv called SONS OF ANARCHY. The series is sort of what THE SOPRANOS was to organized crime, but this time it takes the viewer inside the world of an outlaw motorcycle gang. What struck me when I watched an episode of it, being a big fan from the beginning with THE SOPRANOS, was the “tribe mentality.”

A very good book I read this year was called TRIBES by Seth Godin. We all want to be a member of a tribe, whether or not we are even aware of it. Joining a sports team, becoming a member of an organization, it is a time honoured tradition to gather. In early times it was necessary for survival.

Fire fighters are a TRIBE. They wear uniforms to inform us of their tribe. The congregate and travel in groups. Safety in numbers. Safety in a tribe.

You and I are also members of a tribe. We are the White Rock tribe. No other town in the Lower Mainland has the community spirit we possess. Oh we can, and I do bitch and complain about it at times, but it is here bubbling under the surface.

Privately we go on and on to people how wonderful it is to live and play in White Rock. Today between 2 & 3 p.m. – SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD.

Welcome home to all the riders and their team. You did us proud, SHORE2SHORE.

 

September 13, 2010

DIANNE WATTS

 

Does She Promote Surrey To Promote Herself?

Years of gainful employment in the media has afforded me to witness first hand cetain people that have a way with the media. TERRY DAVID MULLIGAN famous for being famous, OZZY OSBOURNE reality television madman, BRUCE ALLEN the mouth that roared, and to that list I can now add Surrey Mayor DIANNE WATTS.

The media is in a frenzy lately to hang GORDON CAMPBELL from the tallest fruit baring HST tree. To make the story palatabliele and to breathe life into it, there must be a successor. The two names most commonly batted about are former cabinet minister CAROLE TAYLOR and Surrey Mayor DIANNE WATTS. Presnt day Health Minister KEVIN FALCON is thrown in to the mix just to avoid reverse sexism charges.

DIANNE WATTS draws the media like moths to a flame. My years of media manipulation also tells me there is a puppet master behind WATT’S curtain that has not, and may never step from the shadows. In the last 72 hours alone The Province newspaper has carried a front page story (Friday) on homelessness in Surrey and WATT’S battle to solve the problem at the local level. Tired of waiting for Victoria to offer up a solution the mayor of the second largest city in the province has become pro-active. Sunday’s Province carried a long editorial on how WATTS is going to the mat to ensure her city receives its fair share of transit dollars.

This past week in an interview on CBC Radio when the question of whether or not she was going to seek the top job in Victoria, Watts evaded the question brilliantly by saying “I am really enjoying what I am doing right now.” HUH?

That response can be spun a million different ways. It is not a denial or a confirmation on the actual question.

Even though The White Rock Sun and DON PITCAIRN may have been the first media outlet to actually go out on the end of the diving board and ask the question if in fact DIANNE WATTS was interested in throwing her hat in the ring, in the back of my mind I could see the scenario whereby WATTS might be a dark horse. But in the last 30 days as the heat to roast CAMPBELL has increased, the profile of WATTS has gone through the roof.

Conspiracy theorists can form at the right. The big question is could WATTS turn the fortune of the British Colubia Liberals around before the next election?

Certainly, if they get to it sooner than later. How that could roll out remains to be seen. First step is to get her elected and that would have to wait until the next election, unless one of the local MLA’S like KEVIN FALCON or GORDON HOGG were to step down and force a by-election. I can't see wither MLA doing that. So what the scenario could possibly be if it is being worked on for the time being is information that is only being shared in the backrooms by the spin doctors. They could wait until the next Provincial election in 3 years and run her in one of the ridings locally, take their lumps in the Provincial election and re-group with WATTS at the helm for the next Provincial election in 8 years.

That is a long time to be in waiting Mayor WATTS? Therein may be the problem.

 

 

September 8, 2010

If you live in or around White Rock for the past number of months at public events you have probably seen the White Rock fire fighters information tent. The fire fighters leave Halifax harbour today Wednesday September 8).

Over the next 14 days and nights a group of 10 fire fighters will cycle in relay from coast to coast. Now just stop to think about that for a moment. Halifax to Vancouver in just 14 days. I have made that drive and it can easily take 6 days in a car. I suppose given I have made that drive I can get a sense of the monumental task these fire fighters have taken on.

This past long weekend I drove with a friend out to Calgary for a wedding. I often found myself imagining during that drive what it would be like to cycle just through the Rockies.

The whole idea for the ride was hatched a couple of years ago when a couple fire fighters were sitting around the hall on an overnight shift. With the exception of a couple of the riders, none of the other fire fighters had ever ridden any long distance. Since the concept of the ride was hatched, the riders partaking in the SHORE2SHORE ride have trained extensively, made huge personal sacrifices and spent thousands of dollars out of their own pocket to purchase cycles with the help of the local cycle shop O’HAGANS PENINSULA CYCLES. In addition to financial considerations DAMIAN from PENINSULA CYCLES will also join in the ride.

TERRY FOX started the trend in Canada of coast to coast journeys to raise awareness and funds in 1980. STEVE FONYO who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately did his cross Canada run in 1984/85. RICK HANSEN did his part when he completed his trip around the world in a wheel chair by crossing Canada.

Since then it seems like there is someone or some group that is crossing Canada to raise funds and awareness for personal reasons. In the case of the White Rock fire fighters two of their members have family members that have benefited by the generosity of VARIETY. The decision on who to raise funds for once the ride was set was an easy decision.

Our White Rock fire fighters this past year staged a very public information campaign when it appeared the Mayor and Council due to financial constraints were considering thoughts of merging the White Rock Fire Department with Surrey.

When I ran for a seat on White Rock Council in 2005 and again in 2008 the fire fighters were front and centre in having the candidates identified who would and who would not support White Rock the fire department maintaining autonomy. I went on record in both elections as stating any change in the fire services for White Rock was a matter for a referendum. I feel the same way today. Something as profound as a change like that to our emergency services should be a decision made by the electorate, not the elected.

I go for a ride now and then on my mountain bike. Give the topography of White Rock one normally encounters a hill at some point on a ride. Now I wouldn’t for a moment try to spin the fact I am a health nut, but I do try to get my share of exercise through walking. A simple ride up Marine Drive to Crescent Beach reminds me constantly my mind may be writing schedules my body can’t cash.

I am in awe of what our fire fighters have set out to accomplish. I look forward to their triumphant return to White Rock on September 22. Keep reading THE SUN to keep up on how the ride is going. We will also be your source for all the information on the “Welcome Home” ceremonies.

In the meantime if you feel compelled to make a donation you can simply

(CLICK HERE)

WRFF – WE SALUTE YOU!

 

August 30, 2010

We are now half way into our second week of boiling our drinking water in White Rock. A sight inconvenience for most, perhaps a tad more dire for the restaurants in White Rock who are loading in ice cubes and buying drinking water at an alarming rate.

Funny how something that we all take/took for granted for so long can cause some people to enter into a state of hysteria.

Like the majority of White Rock residents I heard about the boil water advisory on the late news on Friday evening (11 p.m.) I immediately went to EPCOR’S and The City of White Rock’s web site. Neither had any information posted. My day began the next morning around 5 a.m. as I tried to cobble together any information on the situation for the pages of The White Rock Sun. EPCOR and The City of White Rock still did not have any information on their site. It was not until somewhere between 7 & 8 a.m., that I noticed both the sites had been updated with information on the water problem.

To some this may seem strange. Not to me. As an internet pioneer I long ago stopped setting my hair on fire when confronted with an entire sector of our society in charge of matters like this do not put as high a level of importance on the internet as I do. Hell I started a paper because I believed it was the wave of the future.

By mid Saturday morning the downtown news media was in a flap. Camera crews and reporters were dispatched to the far reaches of Semiahmoo Bay. Then the monkey see monkey do syndrome kicked in. By Sunday evening the local media had fanned the flames of a minor news story into a full blown national disaster. All of the national newscasts Sunday evening carried the WHITE ROCK DISASTER? story at the top of their newscasts.

Like most of you I started to receive the emails and phone calls to see if I was alright. Did we have another Walkerton on our hands?

STOP RIGHT THERE!

Unlike the water from the taps - the information from EPCOR was now flowing just fine. Media updates were being provided and the water provider for White Rock had kicked into gear to identify and rectify the problem as quickly as possible.

Could they and the City of White Rock done better. You bet they could have. But as the old saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Thank goodness we got a warning that turned out to be not of the serious nature. I believe all parties involved including Fraser Health are heaving a huge sigh of relief, as they should be. Quite possibly we dodged a serious bullet here.

As we move forward I hope cooler heads prevail on a number of fronts. The three White Rock Councillors MCLEAN, MEYERS and SINCLAIR that ran to the media to express their concerns should be taken out back behind the proverbial woodshed in my humble opinion. I applaud their concerns if they are well intended. I castigate them if this is just political grandstanding at its worst. A behind closed door meeting of Council quite possibly may be warranted to answer questions the Councillors have. But broadcasting it from the top of the highest hill is reactionary at the very least.

The tribal drums in White Rock are pounding out loud and clear “CHLORINATE THE WATER!!!” Here too I hope all the stakeholders are able to step back and in the light of aftermath seriously weigh out our options as we move on.

The water system in White Rock dates back nearly a hundred years. We are one of the last cities/municipalities in the Lower Mainland that has a private water system.

Within the past year EPCOR circulated a questionairre with everyone’s water bills asking how residents felt about adding chlorine to the White Rock water. I do not have the exact numbers but far and away they heard loud and clear there was no appetite to alter our beautiful natural water.

Has this recent situation changed the minds and swayed public opinion in White Rock? It is too early to tell at this point so lets just all sit back, take a big deep breath and seriously examine all the possibilities as we move forward. It has not yet been determined beyond a shadow of a doubt what caused the problem. Was it human error? A breakdown in the water system. Who knows. Certainly not any of the “let’s set our hair on fire gang.”

At the end of the day I tip my hat to EPCOR for erring on the safe side. As I said, “Could they have done better?” Probably. They’re human. I will continue to think they did their very best until proven differently.

To the City of White Rock. Let’s get a first alert system in place as soon as possible. Enter all the phone numbers and email addresses you can lay your hands on and develop a data base that is used ONLY in the case of an emergency. The future of our drinking water is just one element we should be concerned about. The other being the trainloads of hazardous material that is dragged by our front doors on a daily basis causes me more concern. If there were to be a toxic spill in the area the first notice we would receive at this point in time, is the sucking of the air out of our lungs as the hazardous cloud drifted up the hillside.

I hope there will be a full accounting of the situation once the problem is identified and solved. A town hall meeting is in order. After all this Council promised when elected two years ago they would ensure a more open and transparent governance of White Rock was about to unfold. Well since then I have not seen the promised Town Hall meetings. What I have seen is an unprecedented damn “In Camera” meetings.

We’re waiting.

 

August 23, 2010

While conducting an interview with Councillor bon vivant HELEN FATHERS I asked her how she would describe White Rock. I thought it was a fairly easy question until I noticed her hesitation.

It is not as easy as you might think.

Here is how I would describe White Rock;

White Rock is a beautiful little town on the outskirts of Vancouver. Unlike most of the other urban sprawl stretching out from Vancouver, you have to be coming to White Rock to get here. It really is not on the road to anywhere. I think Ladner and Steveston have a similar feel due to their geographical locale. Though neither possesses quite as breathtaking scenery.

In the early morning hours I still hear the odd crab fisherman taking his traps out to the end of the pier. The clickety clack clickety clack of the little cart that carries the many traps perched precariously is a sound of White Rock I remember from my childhood.

The early morning smell of a still smouldering beach campfire takes me back to the days of a “mickey” of Canadian Club shoved down your cowboy boot standing around a campfire at 1,000 steps.

The roar of an outlaw motorcycle strangely enough gets the synapses going. Back in the 70’s White Rock was home to one of the very few motorcycle gangs in the Lower Mainland. The Gypsy Wheelers later morphed into the Satan’s Angels and then into one of the first chapters of the Hells Angels in Western Canada. The “gang” was a major part of the fiber of White Rock for years. I remember back in the 90’s while living in Vancouver I was reading the morning Province newspaper one morning when I saw some headline to the effect; MLA attends Funeral with Hells Angels - White Rock. As my White Rock radar was always on high, I read the story with interest. Our then and still MLA Gordon Hogg had attending a funeral for a gentleman who had been associated with some of the member of the Hells Angels. His name was MERVYN MAYES and was an original Gypsy Wheeler. Hogg when confronted by the media outside the church, very succinctly told the reporters he was here to attend the funeral of a friend he had played Little League baseball with, gone to school with and attended Scouts as a child. He then told the media to look somewhere else. for a story, he was here to honour a friend’s memory. Plain and simple a bond between two young men over rode political correctness. It probably wouldn't have happened elsewhere.

The White Rock Wave, which I have spoken before about, is one of my favourite descriptions of White Rock. We all do it. When crossing a street and a car stops to let us cross we all invariably in a variety of different ways acknowledge the drive. Usually with a polite little wave – the White Rock Wave.

Breakfast at the Five Corners Diner or the Roadhouse Grill. Comfort food and comfortable homey welcoming atmosphere. It doesn’t get much better.

Lunch at Sugar & Spice uptown. A true haven for the seniors in our community. The owner of this lovely little soup and sandwich shop Helen, dotes and fawns on her customers. It truly is something to see. Most are greeted by their name.

The Whaling Wall on Johnston road is always a source of pride to take visitors to see and nonchalantly say “Oh yes, the whaling wall it is quite beautiful isn’t it” like everyone has one in their city. Painted in the 70’s thank goodness the location that was chosen was not in direct sunlight. Though it might be time for us to get a fund going to have the artist WYLAND jump on a plane and come back and touch it up a bit.

And finally in my description of WHITE ROCK I would have to say, the people. As I walk quite a bit to get around town, I meet a myriad of people that are more than willing to sit and talk about the past, the present or the future and maybe solve a few of the world problems while we are at it. Just go for a walk along the pier or the promenade early one morning. If you look someone in the eye you will usually be greeted with a friendly good morning. I call them “dawnbreakers.” The same person in the middle of the day in the same locale might just walk by in silence.

Finally our weekend water advisory also exposed the underbelly some of us are fortunate enough to call home. People were forwarding email alerts, I would bet you also got a phone call or two from friends and family that live outside the area expressing concern for your well being, it was the talk of the Farmer's Market on Sunday and a handmade sign was taped to the front door of the Buy Low warning residents that may not have heard there was a water advisory in place. People taking care of each other. It is called community and I cherish it.
So there you go. My White Rock. What makes up YOUR White Rock?

David Chesney
Editor/Publisher
White Rock Sun

 

August 16, 2010

This Little Sign Says a Lot About White Rock.

The little homemade sign has been hanging in THE BREAD BOX on Johnston road for about 6 weeks. If you are not a regular patron of the BREAD BOX just up from 5 Corners you may have a little trouble understanding the meaning of the sign.

You see the regulars that shop for the best deals on vegetables, fruits, sliced meats and farm fresh eggs take ownership of The Bread Box. The staff very quickly become like members of your extended family. Andrew the owner of the business somewhat takes a backseat to Mary the Madam of the Market. And Beata and newcomer Toni all have their own distinct personalities that enrich your shopping experience.

Shoppers at THE BREAD BOX will patiently stand in line, sometimes for up to a half an hour. Imagine that ever happening at a Big Box store. While in line the customers of the BREAD BOX socialize, get caught up on the local news, watch the ever present music DVDS that are running in the store on the TV, or simply just take the time to unwind and let life slide by at a manageable pace.

A few months back THE BREAD BOX was in need of a new refrigerator. Any other store would just gone out and bought the fridge. But not the folks at THE BREAD BOX. You see not only did “they” need a fridge, but “we” needed a fridge.

Nearly 6 weeks back a jar appeared near the cash register with the little sign you see above this article. People would toss in a loonie or a twoonie, no one from the store staff ever said anything other than thank you very much.

Well lo and behold if someone didn’t smash out the door window in the early morning hours one night and grab the jar and make off with $60 or $70. It was more than just the loss of the money jug. Andrews insurance would go up, he would have to pay a deductible, on and on. But jug #2 magically appeared a couple of days later. Well lo and behold if someone didn’t grab that one too. This time during store hours in the confusion of the crowd or whatever, someone slipped the jug under their coat or in their bag and made off with the second jug. So now we are on to jug#3.

I have to feel sorry for whoever took the money. I can only assume they have some trouble in their lives that have dictated this ill begotten behaviour. If they were in trouble financially and needed a litle food I am confident Andrew and Mary would have ensured they didn't go hungry. Sadly it was probably not food the money was spent on.

The poor souls. They have never had Mary lean across the counter and give you a big hug,seen that beautiful big smile of Beata that lights up the room or Andrews dry sense of humour as he kids with the regulars. Toni is the quiet one, but we're sure she will loosen up she's new. When Beata started work at The Bread Box she was shy & quiet. Of course next to Mary a stan up comedian would seem shy and quiet.

So don’t worry about “us” and "our" fridge. We’ll get it. We’re in no big hurry. If we were, we wouldn’t be shopping at The Bread Box.

 

 

July 20, 2010

Street Of Dreams?

Sometimes Even If You Build It They Don't Come

Under gorgeous sunny skies the 31st annual TOUR DE WHITE ROCK went off seamlessly. Oh I can imagine there had to be some hair pulling and teeth gnashing in the background. Anytime you stage an undertaking as large as a three day event there are always problems. If no one notices the organizers have done their job.

I have been critical in the past of the marketing and promotion of the event, and that will continue again this year. With a slight twist. I will offer up to the organizers some very basic "marketing 101" ideas that they may or may not choose to implement. I fully understand over the years I have rubbed some people the wrong way. (some?)

For the past 3 decades I have been gainfully employed to market and publicize events. Try to put yourself in my shoes. Take your profession, and then imagine having to sit by year after year and watch someone totally inept trying to do your job. It is frustrating, but I am taking the high road and going to keep it as positive as possible. I will not digress into name calling and finger pointing. I don't and this town certainly does not need any more negative energy.

So let us begin.

Step #1

Publicize the race sooner. The posters promoting the event went up around town just 7 days in advance. This is too short a period of time for people to plan their busy summer schedule. Three weeks minimum. Also design a poster that is eye catching. This year's poster just faded into whatever surface is was attached to. TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Simply hammer home TOUR DE WHITE ROCK, the dates and then direct people to your website for further information. Period. Make the poster so beautiful that people will actually want to take them down carefully and frame them. Sell them in a merchandising booth on the waterfront. More on the merchandise a little later

Step #2

It might seem like a small thing, but print on both sides of the banner that you hang up over Johnston Road to promote the event. It cost a fraction more to do both sides.

Step #3

Take a cue from the TOUR DE DELTA when it comes to bus board advertising

Tour De Delta

Tour De White Rock

The TOUR DE DELTA is very effective in that the event is giant, large and grabs your attention. If you live in the White Rock/South Surrey area you can't tell me you did not notice the TOUR DE DELTA bus boards. Conversely yesterday afternoon when I was up at the bus exchange waiting for the community shuttle buses to come in and out to take these pictures, a bus driver came over and asked me what I was doing. I explained I was taking pictures of the two different bus boards on the buses. He replied "Were there any for the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK?" I pointed to HIS bus just down from us and said "There Is One Right There." It might be worthwhile to get a better bang for our buck to join forces with the TOUR DE DELTA and share the cost of bus boards. More bang for your buck. I am not sure how many bus boards White Rock purchased, but in the half hour or so that I stood up at the exchange I saw 6 TOUR DE DELTA and just 1 TOUR DE WHITE ROCK.

Step #4

Getting free publicity is always a challenge. I can understand the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK does not have a big war chest to go out and buy expensive television advertising, but if worked properly we could very easily see the media coverage expanded on.

Case in point on Sunday morning I was watching the morning news on GLOBAL with "Double J" Jay Janower in the first hour 8-9 and he did not make any mention of the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK. In the second hour 9-10 following a far too long story on weiner dog races, just as he went to the commercial break he blurted out "In the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK last night (Saturday) so and so won." It sounded like the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK was over. Now I know from years of working with the media it is a challenge to get them to buy into what you are trying to promote. It can be done.

Here is another free idea. Each Sunday morning Global TV does a small town BC. A feature they run all morning long on a small town, they tell you a bit about the city, show some pictures etc. etc. Get out in front of it now and make sure next year White Rock is the "small town" on the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK weekend. Tons of free publicity. CHRISTIE GORDON the weather person on Global on the weekend grew up in Crescent Beach. She is well aware of the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK.

Step #5

Merchandise aka FREE ADVERTISING

the 2010 version

last year's model

Each year the TOUR DE WHITE ROCK creates t-shirts for their volunteers to wear the day of the race. Great idea. Emblazon VOLUNTEER big across the back. Then take the ordinary shirts and get the local merchants to wear them in the weeks leading up to the event. Put them for sale in the gift shops around town. Have you ever tried to buy a White Rock souvenir t-shirt period. Most of the crap that is sold around town says BC, GASTOWN or whatever. The sale of the t-shirts easily will cover the cost. It becomes a wash and all that promotion is FREE OF CHARGE.

In closing I hope my critique and proposals are taken in the proper light. I do it because I LOVE WHITE ROCK. I make sure every year I invite a friend from somewhere to come to White Rock and enjoy THE RACE with me. In the past I have had TOUR DE WHITE ROCK parties. Some years you can hear the noise coming from all kinds of deck parties. This year nothing. Along Victoria Drive where I live near the pier, in the past dozens of people came out to their back gates and set up lawn chairs and cheered on the riders. One lady is all I saw this year. Sad but true.

The only way we are going to turn this event around is if we all pull together. I am prepared to do my part. I could go on and on, but to be quite frank this is what I do for a living and I have to get out there and service the people that pay me to promote and publicize their careers and events.

Thank You

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher

White Rock Sun

 

 

 

July 14, 2010

(Click Here To Order Book)

Dear Dave,

Native Americans believe eagles are messengers and guides to the other side. Now so do you as I. Thank you for sharing an extremely personal time in your life. Laurie must have been an exceptional person. I hope you're doing okay.

Here is a shot from the snows of Dec 2008. When you read the book you'll understand the significance of this picture.

with respect

Jeff

 

"The Circle of Healing"
by Jeff Guidry

Jeff Guidry with Freedom


Every day at Sarvey Wildlife Center we witness first hand the incredible battle for life that our animal brothers and sisters go through. This is a story of one Bald Eagle's magnificent spirit and sheer will to live.

It was mid-summer when a call came in reporting a fledgling Bald Eagle had fallen out of a nest on a Seattle golf course. Our very own Crazy Bob went to the rescue and transported her to the Center. She arrived with two broken wings. When asked to take her to the vet, I jump at the chance.

When I load this hurt and terrified baby into the car, she neither whimpers nor fights; she can't even stand. This is not a good sign; she is obviously in very bad shape. As I drive to Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital, I constantly look back to check on my very special passenger. She stares at me with big beautiful brown eyes, her mouth slightly agape. I drive a little faster—this Bald Eagle must live!

She is operated on and has both wings pinned; they are now immobile. Back at Sarvey we lay her in the bottom half of a huge carrier filled with shredded newspaper for support.

The fight for her life begins.

Twice a day a tube is pushed down her throat so that food and medicine can be pumped into her. A week goes by with no change; she still cannot stand up. At three weeks, there's a slight change, but it's for the worse. I'm getting scared for this young Bald Eagle.

Working at the Center, you begin to recognize a look, a look that indicates death is winning. This bruised and broken Bald Eagle was losing the battle but not her dignity. The struggle for her life was not over.

Every chance I get I talk softly to her, telling her to hold on, to fight, to live. Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know.

Four weeks go by and she is still on her belly. There is nothing so heartbreaking as seeing the life force of this majestic bird slowly slip away.

At five weeks we are approaching the end.

Sarvey Wildlife Center believes in giving every soul that comes in a chance to live; but when it is painfully clear that death is the only way out, the decision is made to let that particular spirit continue on its journey. We were at this juncture; this beautiful baby eagle was given one week to see if she could, or would, stand up. This was a crushing blow. Every day that next week I checked to see if she was up. The answer was always the same... "No."

On the following Thursday I could barely face going to the Center. As I walked in not a word was spoken but everyone wore a huge grin. I raced back to the young Bald Eagle's cage, and there she stood in all her glory!

She was standing! She had won. This girl had cheated death by a mere 24 hours. She was going to make it. She was going to get her second chance.

After another week the pins in her wings were removed. Her right wing was perfect, but her left was not. She couldn't fully extend it. We tried physical therapy and hoped a little time was all she needed, but there was no significant progress. Her wing was too badly damaged. She would never fly, never soar the skies with her people. At least her life was saved, but for what? Was she doomed to live her life in a cage? Not exactly, for this was a special soul.

Bald Eagles normally want nothing to do with humans and will go to great lengths to get away from them. This girl liked people; she wanted to see what you were doing, to follow where you were going, and to see whom you were going with. She was very curious.

About this time our director suggested that I try to glove train her. She had the right temperament; maybe she could do educational programs. Wouldn't that be something? Very few eagles are able or willing to be handled, much less remain calm in front of large crowds. The work began.

I started getting her used to the glove, a little at a time. At first she was thinking, "OK, I'll step on your hand but only with one foot." Then, "OK, I'll use both feet but only for a second." Later, "Yeah you can take me part way out of my cage, then I'll jump right back in." And finally, "OK, I'll let you walk around with me on your arm. Hey, this is fun!"

At this point, every day a volunteer would take this Bald Eagle out for a cruise around the clinic. It was time for her final test—jesses, the leather straps that attach to the ankles of birds-of-prey to give control to the handler and to protect the bird from injury or escape. I put the jesses on her—a piece of cake. It was as if she were born with them on. This was certainly a very mellow Bald Eagle.

Now it was almost time for her first program, but she needed a name. None that we could come up with seemed right, and then Paula, a volunteer, said, "Hey, what about Freedom?" That was it; that was her spirit and her spirit was why grandfather sent her to us. She was ready.

Freedom is now four years old and one of Sarvey Wildlife Center's premier ambassadors. She clearly enjoys our programs and really knows how to turn on the charm. She is a star. Freedom has been on national television, on the front page of major newspapers, and is known across the country.

She is also one of the great loves of my life. She will touch her beak to the tip of my nose and stare into my eyes. At that moment our spirits are one.

I am the luckiest person on Earth.Thank you, Freedom.

(editor's note)...Jeff said, "Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know."

Now we all know why:

Freedom is alive because Jeff fought for her life, and there is no doubt that Freedom sensed his love and commitment. Jeff gave Freedom the support she needed to want to live.

When Jeff was later diagnosed with a serious illness requiring chemotherapy, he found himself turning to Freedom for support. Two or three times a week, whenever he felt well enough, he would drive from Bothell to Arlington to walk with Freedom around the grounds. Now it was Freedom's turn to give Jeff a reason to fight for his life.

Only a short time ago Jeff was informed there was no trace of the disease left in his body. He immediately left for the Center.

When he took Freedom out of her flight, she did something she had never done before: She extended her wings and wrapped them around him.

The circle of healing was now complete.

 

 

July 1, 2010 Canada Day

Tuesday afternoon under a brilliant blue sky I White Rock to take a friend up on a dinner invitation at her trailer in Birch Bay. She had been asking me for a couple of years, but going near the border on a weekend when she is usually at her trailer, did not appeal to me. Last week she mentioned she was taking the week off and why didn’t I come down for dinner on Tuesday? Why not indeed? Surely I should be able to just breeze across the border in the late afternoon. Mistake #1. Seems the kids got out of school and everyone was hitting the highway to beat the rush. I don’t do lineups very well. Take a big deep breath.

As a 30 year resident of White Rock many of you fellow old times will remember there was a time when you could and would pop across the border with the greatest of ease to pick up cheap groceries (read beer) get some gas and be back home all within a half hour or so. Then came September 11, 2001. 9/11 changed our lives and our freedom of movement across the invisible 49th parallel.

As it had been a couple of years since I drove into the States I forgot that all travelers entering the United States now needed a passport in their possession. This dawned on me as I was being waved up to the customs booth. The border patrol officer asked me the usual questions, “Where do you live, where were you born etc. Then the bombshell dropped. “Could I see some ID please?” As I handed him my driver’s license he looked at me incredulously. “Do you not have a passport?” I explained I did in fact have a passport but given that it had been a couple of years since I drove into America I simply forgot it. He took my driver’s license gave me a lovely orange sticker for my window and told me to pull around and go inside to get my drivers license back. Back exactly, that was where I thought I was going, Back To Canada.

I parked my car and mistakenly thought I would just walk in get my license and be on my way home. As I entered the building I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a lineup that resembled something at Disneyland. Thinking I was just going to be a minute I had left my digital camera on the seat of my car with the door unlocked. As I turned around to go out and lock the car I was informed once in I could not leave the building, I explained my situation to no avail. I was somewhat relieved to see more cameras than NBC television on all corners of the building. I figured well if someone grabs the camera it will be on video. I took my place in line. As I glanced around the room I saw there were two signs they wanted you to make no mistake about. No cell phones or PDA’s and we do not have a public washroom. No problem I don’t need either one of them right now. Two hours later as the line snaked around the stanchions I was beginning to wonder if the no washroom was going to be a problem.

When I reached the front of the line I was summoned to the counter by an officer. He took my fancy little orange sticker I was given at the booth outside. He began to run a series of questions, mostly centering on why I did not have my passport in my possession. When I explained that I had already told the officer outside that it was an honest mistake on my part, if he would be so kind as to give me my driver’s license back I would return to the, true north strong and free. Nope, not going to happen. The border officer continued to hammer away on why I did not have my passport. Once again I attempted to explain my predicament. I punctuated the explanation that as a long time resident of White Rock I considered Blaine, Birch Bay and Bellingham to be my neighbours. Wrong thing to say. He immediately launched into how I should consider America a foreign country just like Mexico, which I had explained to him, is where I always use my passport. After his stern lecture I made my second big mistake. I asked him if it was necessary for our American neighbours to show a passport to enter Canada. This turned a tense situation up a level or two. I should have shut up right then and their, but again thinking I was going home I said “I am not in the habit of asking my neighbours to show three pieces of ID when they come to visit.” Big Mistake #3. I know better. As previously mentioned being a frequent border crossing until the last decade, I know a little bit of honey, a few well placed YES SIR - NO SIR’S go a long ways.

I found myself now sitting in the middle of the room where I was directed to sit while the officer decided what he was going to do with me. Vanishing Point was playing out in my mind. How could I have been so stupid? After a series of questions that were hollered out to me over the crowd, I was summoned back up to the counter. I now figured there were two places I might be going. Home and god forbid a backroom. The officer sat solemnly staring at my drivers license, then slid it back across the counter and told me he had flagged me and I would NEVER be allowed to enter the United States of America without a passport. Have good day. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, or so I thought at the time.

I arrived hours later for dinner, had a lovely all be it short visit. Around 10 o’clock I excused myself and said I had to get back home. As I drove from Birch Bay towards the truck crossing I had a feeling of calm and a sense of security that I was going to be welcomed home and waved right on throughBig Mistake #4. When I pulled up to the Canadian Customs booth, the young lady asked me where I had been, where I lived and could she please see my passport? Passport? I don’t have one with me. She then began to question me when and how I got into the United States without a passport. I told I really did not have the answer to that but a quick call across the road my shed some light on it. Frustrated she then asked me “What hospital were you born in?” I explained to her I did not know in that I was adopted at birth, could have been Kamloops or Vancouver. Puzzled as to what to do with me she leaned a little out of the booth and held up my drivers license like a first place prize at sports day and with great seriousness said “Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?” Are you kidding me, this is the last line of defense we use to ensure terrorists don’t enter the country? I blurted out STEPHEN HARPER. She handed me back my license and said “Have a nice evening.”

As I drove the final leg north I thought well did you learn anything today Dave? Yup!

Next time take a passport when going to America and always remember - THERE ARE NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS not for me, not for you.

Not very neighbourly if you ask me.

 

June 21, 2010

 

Scared? Who Me?

 

Will the HST be the downfall of the Liberals? More importantly to White Rock and South Surrey residents will it signify the end of GORDON HOGG’S tenure as our MLA?

I think there are more sinister movements a hand that will decide the future of GORDON HOGG and this area.

Follow the bouncing ball, here is my armchair quarterback take on things.

HOGG fell out of favour with Premier Campbell a couple o years ago when he had the Mines Ministry under his belt. HOGG and CAMPBELL were rumoured to have crossed swords. Before you could say bye bye HOGG landed in the back bench of the Legislature.

Now comes talk the HST proponents may start recall proceedings in November if the government does not repeal the HST.

HOGG in an interview with his buddies over at the local fish wrap pontificated how happy he was the electorate had spoken in such large numbers here in South Surrey and White Rock against the HST and inevitably against the Liberals. Huh?

Here is where the water gets murky. I have heard KEVIN FALCON recently moved into the Ocean Park area, which would entitle him to run in the riding HOGG presently holds. This would free up FALCON’S riding over in Cloverdale for, oh let’s see, maybe Surrey Mayor DIANE WATTS. Or anyone else they may want to parachute into Victoria. Cloverdale after all the blacktop FALCON laid down is a lock for anyone on the Liberal ticket.

So what happens to HOGG? Well having served two terms in Victoria and being over the age of 55 he is fully pensioned with a gold plated pension the likes a common man would never see in 40 years of service, let alone 8.

HOGG has been rumoured to be putting together a kabal of former Councillors and city staff and plans, if you can believe the tribal drum, are afoot for a run at a complete takeover of White Rock City hall in the next civic election.

Could there be any truth to this conjecture and collection of rumours? Only time will tell and we won’t have long to wait. The civic election is in November 2011.

 

 

June 21, 2010

The images of four RCMP officers tasering ROBERT DZIENSKI Polish immigrant and first time visitor to Vancouver will forever be etched in our minds. The citizen shot video footage has been run adnauseum. Thank goodness for that.

If you remember back to 2007 when this tragic incident unfolded on the arrival level of Vancouver International Airport, the young man who shot the footage had to fight to get the video returned to his possession from the RCMP.

Commissioner THOMAS BRAIDWOOD described the actions of the four RCMP members as "shamerful conduct." I don't think anyone other than a blind loyal booster of the RCMP would describe it any other way. If the four officers who respnded to the call of a disturbance by Mr. DZIENSKI at the airport were unable to resolve the situation without the use of any kind of a weapon clearly indicates there is a problem with the training of our police forces. This "pump four shots into him and proceed with caution" is a clear indication a good number of our peace officers are inept at executing their job. Their job is to keep the peace. Perdiod.

Officers MILLINGTON and ROBINSON along with Constables BENTLEY and RUNDEL I hope are truly remoreseful for their actions. MILLINGTON has been suspended for providing the force with false information in another matter, while the other three members are on medical leave. Whether or not they are sufereing medically or this is just a ploy to keep them out of reach of the media is a debate left for another day.

BRAIDWOOD was also very critical of how he believes there is a "conflict of interest" when the RCMP investigates a Mountie related death. Our Attorney General has promised a new means of investigating police officer related incidents will be set up this year.

Fully one third of this country's RCMP are based in British Columbia. Their contract is due for renewal next year. Coincidentally there has been talk this week of the RCMP forming a union. Perhaps in advance of any new deal the government may be looking at making with them for future services.

Finally a Special Prosecutor has been appointed to review the BRAIDWOOD inquiry to see if charges are warranted against any or all of the RCMP officer caught on tape beating down ROBERT DZIENSKI three years ago.

Don't hold your breath. I personally don't believe there will be any charges laid. There will be a lot of paper shuffling, further inquiries and a boatload of recommendations. The mother of ROBERT DZIENSKI earlier this year negotiated a private compensation deal with the RCMp for the loss of her son. At the end of the day that will be it. Sadly.

 

June 04, 2010

It was June 04, 2007 that I threw the switch and launched The White Rock Sun. What a wonderful journey it has been.

Regular readers will be well aware during that time period my best friend, life partner and wife Laurie was diagnosed with lung cancer. To say I put everything on hold would be an understatement. The medical experts guesstimated she would live 3-6 months. We fooled them all and milked two wonderful years which came to a close this October.

For the past 6 months since Laurie’s passing I have been somewhat in a fog. I am fortunate enough to have a strong support group around me, but her death still blew my world apart. It is called life. It goes on within and without you.

On to a happier note.

My 3 decades of gainful employment in the media industry, newspaper, radio and media marketing provided me with an early insight into the future of newspapers. Do I predict the total demise of newspapers? Absolutely not. What I did predict and continue to predict is the newspaper industry must reinvent itself and make some form of connection with their readers.

To that extent the survey numbers continue to highlight the only level of newspapers that are holding steady or showing a slight growth are the “community newspapers.”

The trend to the 300 channel universe and on demand news day and night has greatly impacted how the news is delivered daily. Daily newspapers like THE PROVINCE and VANCOUVER SUN are in a desperate tailspin to remain vital. Over the years they have slowly and systematically reduced their staff in an effort to maintain their profit margins. If you can’t increase the money coming in the front door you have to limit the money going out the back door in wages. Subsequently some of the truly brilliant columnists at the two local newspapers were washed out on the streets. Locally some have landed on their feet at the news portal THE TYEE. The online only news service presents what one would have to call unfiltered news. Its validity is constantly debated by its detractors, but the existence of portals like THE TYEE, ALTERNET and THE WHITE ROCK SUN throw a wrench into the control and spin of the content we receive as news.

The three levels of Government Federal, Provincial and Civic are for the most part the #1 advertisers at all levels of media. If you don’t believe me next time you are reading THE SURREY NOW count the number of pages of advertising paid for by the City of Surrey. In White Rock the city on a weekly basis purchases either a half page or a full page of advertising. This is not a public service provided by the newspaper. No the city is the biggest advertiser. Put yourself in the place of the Publisher or Editor. Now ask yourself would you be running very many stories that were critical of your #1 advertiser? I think not. It is rather Orwellian but I didn't make the rules. You should understand them though.

I find a new sense of renewal and commitment to the development and success of The White Rock Sun. I thank each and every one of you that read THE SUN on a regular basis.

I thank PD TAYLOR, MARILENA FLUCKIGER, DOUG E LACHANCE, LEIGH MORROW, DON PITCAIRN, and EVE LEES that contribute articles on a regular basis.

I thank the community activists like PAT PETRALA, TONY INTAS, JEAN KROMM, PHIL LEGOOD, LISA NOLAN, DAVID DICKINSON, BARB COOPER, COLLEEN PEPPER for providing information for the readers of THE SUN on a regular basis. As well as the multitude of you that take a moment now and then to point us in the right direction of an interesting story about our home(s).

Then there is my IT support. Headed up by KEITH “Lefty” MONTGOMERY, with more than able assistance supplied by JON ROWTHORN and RA MCGUIRE that kick my ass on a regular basis driving me deeper into the cyber world.

The sun will soon return our personal solar panels will be topped up. Then just watch us grow.

Thank you for reading & writing.

David Chesney

Editor/Publisher

White Rock Sun

 

May 13, 2010

There is a line of thought that loud exhaust pipes on motorcycles – save lives. I suppose in theory that line of thinking holds some weight. A motorcycle that sounds like the very fissures of hell just opened, is hard to ignore. Therein lies the rub and the downside of loud pipes on motorcycles that roam and roar the hillsides of White Rock unfettered.

One has to wonder why White Rock's anto noise by-law is not enforced by the local chapter of the RCMP. Our East Beach is actually posted as being a QUIET ZONE with the signs along Marine Drive stating any violation could result in a massive fine. The local detachment of the RCMP was unable to supply to me last year and the year before how many tickets had actually been issued for this blatant violation of our city bylaw. In today’s computer age I have a difficult time understanding why this information is not a click of a computer mouse away.

I recently appeared before White Rock council and posed the question of why nothing is being done about this annual pollution in our quaint seaside town. Make no mistake IT IS POLLUTION. Noise pollution may not have long term effects like other forms of pollution to the environment, but it is still pollution.

Before anyone wants to get a rope I must confess once again I love the low throated rumble of a big motorcycle. I am not being anally retentive about this matter. I am singling out the small sector of the biking community that flagrantly violate noise by laws that are prevalent in every community in British Columbia.

The geography of White Rock’s hilly terrain affords some bikers to crack throttles their wide open in order to climb the hilly streets that criss cross the grid of roads locally.

This past Mother’s Day weekend brought droves of visitors to White Rock for the annual Mother’s Day brunches and a stroll along our waterfront promenade and pier. When I didn’t live in White Rock I too was one of those weekend interlopers that arrived to sample the fare of our beautiful city. I understand the attraction. What I don’t understand is why a simple concerted effort by the local RCMP cannot be executed to send a clear message, this type of activity that infringes on residents and locals alike, is being tolerated.

The two weeks ago when I spoke to city council when I turned to return to my seat I noticed a bevy of head nodding of approval from the others in the public gallery.

I was assured by Mayor Ferguson our city manager Peggy Clark would contact the local RCMP office to see if there was anything standing in their way from enforcing the existing by-law.

I will wait patiently and hopefully when the answer comes I will be able to hear it!

 

MAY 18, 2010

Reply from White Rock City Manager PEGGY CLARK:

The RCMP S/Sgt has advised us that they are actively continuing to check the pipes of motorcycles to ensure that they are legal. In addition speed checks are being done for both cars and motorcycles on all streets, but particularly Marine Drive. The Sgt. visits all motorcycle shops in the area and advises them to let their customers know that those with illegal motorcycle pipes will be fined in White Rock.

Last year the RCMP advised that they stopped over 400 motorcycles during the summer and only 2 had illegal pipes. The problem is motorcycles make noise and it is the accumulation of them going by (particularly on a sunny day) that is noisy not an individual one.

The RCMP have also said their efforts will be maintained trying to alleviate this problem as much as is legally possible.

 

April 30, 2010

Monday evening White Rock Council reviewed the success/failure of the recent free parking program instituted on the waterfront at the behest of the waterfront merchants.

Council was dismayed to hear that from the 82 questionnaires circulated to the business owners to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the program, the city only received 10 replies. To add further insult to injury of the 10 returned only 5 actually took the time to itemize the impact directly felt by their business as a result of the free parking Monday-Thursday for two months.

Council subsequently passed a motion to suspend the free parking for 2010. The disdain for the lack of feedback was very obvious in Council chambers. Councillor Lynne Sinclair wondered how the merchants could fill the council chambers last year pleading poverty and undue hardships brought on by the pay parking, yet when it came time to participate and provide feedback, the response was minimal.

Mayor Ferguson who has affected the mantle of the champion of the business community urged Council to not throw the proverbial “baby out with the bath water.” A subsequent motion was added to explore if and how the Economic Development Committee may be enlisted to help build a healthier business community.

This all comes on the eve of a $1.00 per hour increase in the parking rates on the waterfront. The $2.00 per hour charge will jump to $3.00 per hour commencing this Saturday May 1. I can guarantee you this will come as quite a surprise to a large number of business owners along our waterfront. It is only this week I have heard some grumblings from the business owners. Does the saying “a day late and a dollar short” spring to mind?

The merchants have circulated a petition to present to City Hall to protest the suspension of the "free parking" for 2010. The point the business owners hope to make is, they were informed the $1.00 increase in pay parking was being instituted to offset the loss to the city's coffers during the "free parking" time frame.

It has been well documented and debated ad nausea about the negative impact the massive big box stores and shopping districts springing up in South Surrey have had on our retail base in White Rock proper. Yesterday I saw one of our community shuttle buses totally wrapped in an advert paid for BEST BUY – Now Open in South Surrey!

If the suspension of the free parking, the increase in the price of parking during our peak months, and the onslaught of competing retail to the north wasn’t enough this morning while listening to the radio I heard an advertisement on the radio urging all the shoppers in the Valley to COME ON DOWN TO BIRCH BAY – Because we don’t have any HST! Well that didn’t take long. Someone is thinking.

Mayor Ferguson is planning on convening a consortium of local business people in the very near future to open up the dialogue with hope some solutions can be found to save the dwindling retailers in White Rock. I wish her and her committee luck. There is no simple solution to the problem in White Rock.

At Monday’s Council meeting Councillor Mary Wade Anderson lamented how she had been down to the beach on numerous occasions during the “free parking” period to see first hand its effectiveness. Anderson stated she was shocked at the number of businesses that were closed in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.

Seldom open ice cream shops, junk t-shirts merchants who have very little actual White Rock souvenirs, a grocery store that sets its operating hours seemingly with a Ouija board, and over priced restaurants serving pedestrian food is not a landscape that encourages shoppers to return on days that are not sunny.

Are we our brother’s keepers? I think not. I do believe city hall has an obligation to promote White Rock as a year round destination. But I don’t believe it is the job of our elected officials to actually ensure the businesses are successful. If anyone disagrees with me, talk to the owners of Cielo’s, Giraffe and the Ocean Beach Hotel that just spent tens of thousands dollars on a major re-fit and Cosmos Greek restaurant. These businesses seem to be doing just fine year round. Oh I am sure they would like to be doing better business wise, who wouldn’t? But instead of sitting around bitching about the pay parking and blaming everyone else for their economic situation, they have rolled up their sleeves and are hard at work building their business. They are leaning into it.

Interesting concept isn’t it?

 

April 19, 2010

Mayor DIANE WATTS over the weekend inadvertently garnered even more support than usual when she took a tough stand against the organizers of the Vaisakhi parade in the Newton area of Surrey. Watts was assured ahead of time there would be no floats carrying images of martyrs or terrorists, depending on how you look at the actions of some Sikh extremists.

WATTS is by no stretch of the imagination a shrinking violet. She is a very hands on as she navigates British Columbia’s second largest city into the future. In the past couple of years she has rebranded Surrey as the place where “The Future Lives”, opened a beautiful Spirit Square in Holland Park bringing new enthusiasim for the development of Whalley. WATTS also ponied up millions of dollars for Surrey to become a host city for the 2010 Olympics. Tens of thousands of people jammed Holland Park nightly to enjoy the outstanding lineup of talent that performed nightly.

Not a week goes by that WATTS is not in the news. She has a battery of media/press people employed to guarantees Surrey gets out the “good stories” to offset the perception Surrey is some kind of gang banger headquarters.

I grew up in Surrey. Yes I have heard all the “Surrey Jokes” some of them are actually quite creative. Given the massive physical size of Surrey, growing up there in the 50’s and 60’s and I suppose to some extent even today, residents would identify where they lived in Surrey. Given its size if you said you lived in Surrey the next question would be, “Well where in Surrey.” Thus dozens of locales such as Fleetwood, Green Timbers, Whalley, Crescent Beach, Cloverdale, Newton, Port Mann or where I grew up first North Surrey then more specifically Guildford.

I Love Surrey, and I did before the local fish wrap tried to brand themselves with that catchy phrase. I have many fond memories of Surrey and I may have tossed out the odd Surrey joke, but I would quickly rise to its defense when I heard some urban yuppie from downtown mocking my “hometown.”

There are many that believe PREMIER GORDON CAMPBELL will not run for a third term in the next Provincial election. The tribal drums keep beating WATTS will become the next leader of the Provincial Liberal Party which will invariably lead her to becoming our next Premier.

I’m not sure I will be able to support the Liberal party if for no other reason than their about turn on gambling, but I can tell you one thing. I will support Mayor DIANE WATTS.

She gives it to you straight. I like that in a person. I love it in a politician.

 

 

April 13, 2010

HIGHWAY TO HELL

Well it has now been 6 weeks since the Provincial Liberals announced the creation of a new Bus Lane along Highway 99. Regular readers of THE SUN will know my stance on the matter.

Based on the limited knowledge I have which was contained in the Press Release that announced the infusion of $13 Million Dollars Into The Local Economy, I have yet to receive a clear answer to my question of “Bus Lane? Great idea but why in the chosen locale?”

First a quick recap The announcement heralded construction of a bus lane along Highway 99 heading north between the King George Highway and Highway 91 the East/West connector to the Alex Fraser Bridge. If you use the bus service into Vancouver on a regular basis you too must be scratching your head. This section of Highway 99 NEVER incurs traffic backup, with the exception of when there is a major accident along that stretch of the highway. Hardly worth the expense.

I have written letters to our MP Russ Hiebert (ignored), MLA Gordon Hogg (looking into it), White Rock Mayor Catherine Ferguson(waiting for information) and finally when no response was forthright from Hogg or Hiebert I went straight to the Ministry of Transportation in Victoria. Here is the nearest thing I have received to date of an explanation:

King George Highway to Highway 91 - 6.2 km-long,
4-metre wide shoulder northbound from the Highway 99A interchange
on-ramp merge onto Highway 99 to the north west end of the Highway 91
interchange on-ramp merge to Highway 99.
o Status: Tender in August 2010.
o Completion: March 30, 2011
o Benefits:
- Addresses the final key congestion point along the corridor, as south
of Fraser buses servicing the King George Park and Ride are impeded by
traffic along Highway 99 entering from a congested King George Highway.
Traffic along this corridor experiences speeds of less than 60 km/hour
in the AM peak hour.

Jeff Knight
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

In the email I received from Jeff Knight it clearly identified plans are in place to put a bus lane from the north end of the George Massey Tunnel to connect with the newly created bus lane that leads to the Canada Line. There are also plans to extend the Southbound bus lane from the Oak Street Bridge area to the existing bus and HOV lane heading south on Highway 99.

Back to the new extension heading north. Once completed this would leave an entire section of HWY 99 heading north without a bus lane in the congested area north of Highway 10 between the #10 overpass and the existing bus lane near the “dump curve” on HWY 99.

Call me crazy but the rationale of this infusion of $13 million dollars for a bus lane going “nowhere” is beyond me.

All this at a time when the Provincial Government is pleading poverty and cutting important community services. This past year alone White Rock lost its valuable “Home Share” program which operated under a $160,000.00 annual budget. Home Share allowed seniors that may be experiencing difficulties getting out to perform the simplest tasks like a doctor’s visit, grocery shopping, a hair appointment or something as simple as a visit with a neighbour. The program aided seniors that may be living in a situation where one of the partners is confined to the home due to sickness or old age and is unable to be left alone. Home Share provided a vital link for seniors in our community. Just try to imagine yourself in the position.

Shame on the Provincial Liberals.

I will be happy to apologize if and when anyone can give me a rational answer to the bus lane expansion along the identified stretch of Highway 99.

Even after 6 weeks I am still waiting patiently.

D. Chesney/Editor - Publisher

 

*DONNA PASSMORE a true community activist takes me to task, sort of, on any kind of bus lane expansion along the HWY 99 corridor

FROM DONNA PASSMORE

I'm blind copying some of our transportation academics and CAW 111 folks. And I'm blind copying some of our wildlife and fisheries friends.
>
> As you may have read in my email last week, in its 2010 Budget, the BC Government announced expansion of Highway 99 from South Surrey to Highway 17 to include a fast bus lane in either direction.
>
> My initial reaction was alarm because it is farmland the full length of that corridor, and critical wildlife habitat. HOWEVER, This morning I took a much closer look and there appears to be set back for most of the route. (wide grassy areas that are outside the farm/wildlife fences, that almost appear to have anticipated this move). In short, the government will be able to defend itself against allegations of taking a run at farmland for most of the route...
>
> There are still very disturbing aspects of this proposal:
>
> 1. Shortly after announcing Gateway, Falcon announced (with Val Roddick's enthusiastic support), plans to double the tunnel next. As someone who has taken the bus from South Surrey for the last 15 years, I don't believe a fast bus lane is needed (especially given that the frequency of buses doesn't support it).
>
> What happened with the HOV lane along Highway 99 (from Richmond to Vancouver) is they reduced the # of passengers from 3 to 2, so it is almost as full as the other lanes now. I think that is what they are planning with the Fast Bus Lane. They'll create it, using public transit to appease the public, and then they'll just open it up to a regular HOV lane. As volume will quickly increase to fill the highway, they'll be able to use the same rationale that they did with Highway #1 and justify twinning the tunnell.
>
> 2. The expansion of the Highway will result in increased traffic (and will suck millions of $ out of the public purse that SHOULD be used to actually buy more buses and hire/train more drivers - putting more buses on the road would do more to increase efficient movement than just building more laneway...). I need to talk to Jim Houlahan about this and make sure we're all on the same page. This is another Gordon Campbell sleight-of-hand that puts money into the big engineering companies and deprives us of truly sustainable transportation.
>
> 3. There is still the issue of wildlife habitat. This is critical Boundary Bay corridor and we are looking at losses of easily 200 acres of habitat that will be lost. I know that the grassy verges alongside the highway aren't the best habitat, but we are losing so much already along this corridor that I believe every inch of habitat we lose will force that wildlife onto the farmland, and will therefore increase competition for whatever the adjacent land can produce. Additionally, it will take the traffic closer to the actual ALR and increase the area of agricultural/wildlife habitat exposed to diesel and other particulate. As well, the road widening will have to include several bridge/overpasses over important fish-bearing waterways (Serpentine and Nicomekl).
>
> Given all of that, I can't believe that these arrogant jerks would yet again announce a transportation project without bothering with an environmental assessment process.
>
> Your thoughts???

David, I've worked on sustainability and transportation issues for 25 years. I've read the studies, gone to the conferences. I'm sure your gut instincts are very good on some things, but on this the science is solid.

The Sightline Institute has established that for every new 1 kilometre of new lane produces 50 tonnes of new greenhouse gases - and that ain't from buses.

I've got a lot of farmland stuff to get to, but if you want to explore it online there are lots of sources. Victoria - Todd Litman's organization, I think it's the Victoria Transportation Institute, the Sightline Institute - check with Bill Rees (UBC School of Community & Regional Planning - he and I were on the Clouds of Change Task Force 20 years ago, or Larry Frank, who holds the Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation at UBC. or Gordon Price, Chair of SFU's Cities Program, or Dr. Mark Roseland (Mark was a brilliant young grad student hired by the Clouds of Change Task Force, now he runs SFU's Sustainable Communities Program). In short, there are loads of places to go for information...

cheers!

 

 

April 02, 2010

Well well well. Call up The Irish Rovers and have them drop by to sing a chorus or two of “Wasn’t That A Party.” Wednesday evening’s election of a new board of directors for the White Rock BIA may have been a shocker to some, but having spent the last 3-4 weeks canvassing on behalf of Democracy First it came as no real surprise to me.

The court ordered election set forth by the Supreme Court of British Columbia was designed to clear the air and allow one group to guide the future operation of the White Rock BIA. If in fact there will be a BIA. It was the hope of the judge the election would unite the business community, allowing it to prosper in these tough difficult times. We are not there right now.

Instead the election clearly has driven a stake through the business community. Commercial property owners and business owners themselves have felt forced to side with one party or the other. Given the fact the vote like any other vote in Canada was secretive the business owners I talked to who emphatically stated they would be there to vote, stayed away in droves. Fear of retribution and a loss of business were threats dished out to the local business owners.

The proxy votes had to be counted with the court appointed parliamentarian on Monday evening. The count put our side Democracy First just slightly ahead. One look around the room on Wednesday and I knew it was going to be even closer than I had predicted.

In the end as you have already read here in the electronic pages of Canada’s First Internet Newspaper only one of our candidates Alec MacKenzie was elected to the new board. The new/old board is made up of a mixture of past directors and a couple of new reps who share their vision.

The whole reason this debacle took place was the plain and simple fact the old directors of the BIA refused to open their accounting books when requested by a member who felt there were some shortcomings in their reporting of expenditures. That problem still remains. With the election of Alex Mackenzie (Democracy First) to the Board of Directors those tough questions will now be answered. Trust me.

In the meantime there will be a special White Rock Council meeting on Tuesday evening, scheduled to try to ram through a first, second and third reading of the budget put forth by the old BIA. Presently the BIA sits in limbo until the city funds the operation of the BIA. Their 5 year mandate ended at the end of March. Until such time as the business community through a vote with the city occurs there is no BIA money forthcoming.

It has been rumoured the City of White Rock is planning on conducting a “negative vote” with the commercial property owners and business owners. If you are not aware of what a negative vote is, remember back a couple of years ago when Shaw Cable attempted to raise their rates through the same type of vote. What it means is if you don’t come to them and say I don’t want it – you get it. The uproar over that proposal is still ringing in the ears in the ivory towers.

Wednesday evenings vote at the Star of The Sea accounted for 176 votes cast. This is out of a possible 540 votes available, which is the combined number of commercial property owners and business owners. Roughly 33%. Not a majority by anyone’s stretch of the imagination.

If you are a commercial property owner or a business owner reading this, I encourage you to send an email to the Mayor and Council through the link below. Tell them at the very least THEY MUST conduct a positive vote, which would mean a notice sent to each commercial property owner and each business owner with a clear reply form that says YES or NO to the continuation of the BIA.

White Rock Mayor and Council (CLICK HERE)

 

*Note - click on each individual Councillor's email. The other link under each name does not go directly to the Councillors. It is first filtered by staff at City Hall.

 

On the Democracy First front is it over now? Not really and it won’t be until ALL the questions are satisfactorily answered. The inability of the old BIA to account to date of tens of thousands of dollars spent is one of the points. Another point that is going to cause some big headaches for City Hall is why certain commercial property owners in White Rock had their BIA levy capped while other business owners paid thousands of dollars more annually? Lawyers have already been contacted from what I can tell through conversations with some of these commercial property owners.

Democracy First will not rest until the stink is blown away by the crisp clear ocean air that blesses “this place we call home.” It never was about control for the BIA that Democracy First was after. It was the truth. Sadly even after all this we are not there yet.

Editor David Chesney

 

 






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