Straight talk


The Georgia Straight - - News -

Van­cou­ver park com­mis­sioner Erin Shum doesn’t deny that she ear­lier re­joined her old party, the Non­par­ti­san As­so­ci­a­tion (NPA).

But she has an ex­pla­na­tion for why she de­cided later to run as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date for city coun­cil.

As many may re­call, Shum bolted from the NPA in De­cem­ber 2016 af­ter ac­cus­ing her NPA com­mis­sioner col­leagues on the park board of bul­ly­ing her, then sat as an in­de­pen­dent.

Ac­cord­ing to Shum, when busi­ness­man Ken Sim re­ceived the NPA’S may­oral nom­i­na­tion in June this year, she as­sumed that things were go­ing to be­come bet­ter in the mu­nic­i­pal party.

“I thought, ‘Okay, this might be some­body I could work with in grow­ing the tent,’ ” Shum told the Straight in a phone in­ter­view on Septem­ber 4.

How­ever, Shum said she soon dis­cov­ered that the party wasn’t in­ter­ested in an in­clu­sive, or “big tent”, ap­proach to pol­i­tics.

For this, she blames NPA pres­i­dent Gregory Baker.

“Un­der Greg Baker’s lead­er­ship, I was pushed out and wasn’t part of it, and this kind of shows what he was with Wai Young and what he did to Hec­tor [Brem­ner] and ev­ery­body else,” Shum said.

Young and Brem­ner orig­i­nally in­tended to seek the NPA may­oral en­dorse­ment, but they left to pur­sue their own plans with their new re­spec­tive par­ties.

As for the “ev­ery­body else”, Shum men­tioned the fol­low­ing peo­ple who wanted to be­come NPA can­di­dates: for­mer diplo­mat Rob Mc­dow­ell, for­mer Musqueam coun­cil mem­ber Wade Grant, for­mer fed­eral Lib­eral can­di­date Ken Low, and hous­ing ad­vo­cate Adrian Crook.

Like Shum, Mc­dow­ell, Grant, and Crook are run­ning for coun­cil as in­de­pen­dents. Low is re­port­edly now with Van­cou­ver First.

“I just want to make sure, you know, if I’m go­ing to be a part of a team that’s grow­ing the tent, but it didn’t seem like that. It wasn’t the case,” Shum said.

In July this year, Baker told the Straight that Shum had re­turned to the NPA and the party had ac­cepted her mem­ber­ship. Shum an­nounced on Au­gust 29 that she would be run­ning as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date for coun­cil.

In a new in­ter­view, Baker said the NPA didn’t ex­pect Shum’s move, as she had re­cently re­joined the party. “I re­spect Erin, and, you know, she’s de­cided to go down this path,” Baker told the Straight by phone.

As for reach­ing out to Shum, Baker said he has no in­ten­tion of do­ing so.

“Frankly, we’re just very busy run­ning our own cam­paign and get­ting our can­di­dates out in front to the pub­lic,” Baker said. The Prop­erty As­sess­ment Ap­peal Board has re­jected an at­tempt by a fast-food chain to over­turn a de­ci­sion by a re­view panel. Had Mcdonald’s Restau­rants of Canada been suc­cess­ful, it would have re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cantly lower prop­erty taxes at its fast-food out­let at 8191 Alder­bridge Way.

Mcdonald’s cited an as­sess­ment by Col­liers In­ter­na­tional that the ac­tual value of the prop­erty and restau­rant build­ing was ap­prox­i­mately $3.8 mil­lion. The as­ses­sor ar­gued that the land and build­ing were worth about $7.5 mil­lion.

“I pre­fer the ev­i­dence of the As­ses­sor and find the ac­tual value of the sub­ject prop­erty to be $7,531,300, with $7,491,000 al­lo­cated to land and $40,300 to build­ing,” the chair of the panel, Al­lan Beatty, con­cluded in his rul­ing last month.

A Prop­erty As­sess­ment Re­view Panel had ear­lier con­firmed a 2017 as­sess­ment at more than $6.5 mil­lion, which is what prompted the com­pany’s ap­peal.

Beatty’s rul­ing re­it­er­ated the find­ings of these ear­lier de­ci­sions, imposing the same as­sess­ment.

The de­ci­sion noted that the site is near the Lans­downe Shop­ping Cen­tre at a cor­ner lo­ca­tion with ex­po­sure to three streets, in­clud­ing the ma­jor com­mer­cial artery of Alder­bridge Way. There are three ac­cess points into the park­ing lot, though the site it­self is “com­par­a­tively nar­row and deep”, with a to­tal site area of 30,576 square feet.

Mcdonald’s pro­vided ev­i­dence of three prop­erty sales, in­clud­ing two in the area for the time cov­ered by the as­sess­ment, at $233 and $245 per square foot. Then it con­cluded that af­ter ad­just­ing for zon­ing, these sales were for $126 and $132 per square foot.

The as­ses­sor pro­vided data on four land sales, ty­ing his anal­y­sis to the “high­est and best use” of the site.



The sev­enth an­nual Re­cov­ery Day cel­e­bra­tion is go­ing to be big­ger than ever, with a live con­cert by Matthew Good and shows by Royal City Wrestling. That’s in ad­di­tion to a Tedxstyle speaker stage, a free kids’ zone, a shar­ing and heal­ing cir­cle, a me­mo­rial site, venders, and food trucks.

It takes place from noon to 5 p.m. on Satur­day (Septem­ber 8) along 6th Street in the Up­town area of New West­min­ster.

Or­ga­nized by the Re­cov­ery Day Van­cou­ver So­ci­ety, it be­gan in front of the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery and has since spread to many other Cana­dian cities. The pres­i­dent, Giuseppe Ganci, is the direc­tor of com­mu­nity devel­op­ment at the New West­min­ster–based Last Door Re­cov­ery So­ci­ety; the vice pres­i­dent, Lorinda Strang, is ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Or­chard Re­cov­ery Cen­ter on Bowen Is­land.

Ear­lier this year, the co­founder of Last Door, Louise Cook­sey, told the Straight that New West­min­ster is an ideal lo­ca­tion be­cause the city has been ex­tremely sup­port­ive of the re­cov­ery move­ment. The goal of Re­cov­ery Day is to erad­i­cate the stigma around ad­dic­tion and gen­er­ate aware­ness about re­cov­ery, as well as to cel­e­brate peo­ple’s suc­cess in free­ing them­selves from drugs and al­co­hol.

“I think one of the big­gest over­looked re­sources we have in our fight against these over­doses and ad­dic­tion is peo­ple with lived ex­pe­ri­ence that are suc­cess­fully clean,” Cook­sey said. “You don’t hear from them very of­ten.”

Any­one who’s will­ing to share their story of over­com­ing ad­dic­tion and men­tal ill­ness in a 15-minute pre­sen­ta­tion is be­ing in­vited to ap­ply to be a speaker at Re­cov­ery Day. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit re­cov­ery­

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