COUNCIL HOPEFUL BLAMES YO-YO ACT ON NPA PREZ
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.
> CHARLIE SMITH
NEW WEST HOSTS THIS YEAR’S RECOVERY DAY
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 recoverydaybc.ca/.