Appeared in the North Shore News – October 11, 2013
All praise to some West Vancouver councillors for a good night’s work Monday – stiffing a fool plan for Argyle Avenue, and elsewhere listening to Eden Place residents.
Victories for good sense (a career specialty for Bill Soprovich, which explains his years of poll-topping) and neighbourhood sensitivity. And perhaps a harbinger, literally and figuratively down the Argyle road, for squashing the hugely unpopular art gallery on the John Lawson Park parking lot.
Throw in Mayor Michael Smith’s tonguelashing of TransLink, and the good councillors earned their keep.
On a tie vote – Smith, Soprovich and Michael Lewis (hurrah!) opposed, and Nora Gambioli, Mary-Ann Booth and Trish Panz (boo!) in favour – council turned down a wacky plan to divide Argyle “temporarily” into lanes for pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicles and parallel (no longer angle) parking, which would lose crucially needed spaces, a disputed number running from 13 to 50.
Soprovich led the opposing charge, pointing out that with construction of the Grosvenor complex at 13th and Marine and other Ambleside edifices in coming years, parking space will be even more needed than now.
Argyle works splendidly as it is. It’s a classic example of a solution looking for a bureaucratic problem. And bureaucrats Raymond Fung, director of engineering and transportation, and John McMahon, manager of roads and utilities, were there to make the case for the plan, while conceding it required “compromises.”
The cost would be “only” $88,000 and simply kick the can further down the road – “a waste of money,” as lone public gallery opponent Paul Hundal said – until that glorious day, perhaps, for former Green Party candidate Coun. Gambioli or more radical types, when the automobile is wiped from the face of the earth and we live in a pure, 27-speed, Spandexclad, Birkenstock-shod, politically perfect Eden? “I’d be really embarrassed to vote against this plan,” Coun. Gambioli moaned, demanding that the names of the six supporting groups be reread – mouthfuls of grey eminences, mostly fronts for cyclists, whose radical wheelmen have become so detested that even the High Priest of the Environment, David Suzuki, recently slammed their excesses and law-breaking.
Speaking of Eden, council paid close attention to several Eden Place homeowners – alerted to the issue only the previous Friday – whose peace and property values would dive if the Milliken Development Corp.’s 110-bed Maison seniors assisted living residence (old folks’ home) is built on Taylor Way at Keith Road. They got sympathetic ears.
Council unanimously sent this one back for more study and neighbourhood consultation. They clearly want to weigh this one carefully.
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Roy Peterson was the Beethoven of editorial cartoonists. A genius in the trade.
No exaggeration. Roy’s technique was virtuoso. He won a ton of honours including more National Newspapers Awards, seven, than any individual ever – this in the golden age of Canadian newspaper editorial cartoonists, the age of the Toronto Star’s bone-crushing Duncan Macpherson and wittily tootling Sid Barron, and Roy’s colleague and friend at the Vancouver Sun, the hugely funny and popular Len Norris (who, I suspect, wasn’t the competition-entering type). Their successor, Graham Harrop, a gem of innocent, creep-up-on-you originality, paid tribute to Roy in a cartoon last week.
Roy’s peers acknowledged him as world-class. In fact he topped a world salon of cartoonists in 1967. He won the respect – adulation isn’t too far off – of competitors, notably Province cartoonist Bob Krieger, who was among a group led by colourful West Vancouverite Jack Lee that backed Roy for an Order of British Columbia. That failed – ironic, since Roy already had an Order of Canada.
He was not only a selfless mentor but spurred demands for proper recognition and pay for his peers, illustrated by a splendid anecdote by Pete McMartin and John Mackie in a full-page Sun tribute last week.
He was a class act. His quiet manner and understated wit – he was amused by the shameless self-promotion of a profoundly-inferior eastern cartoonist – cloaked a steely core. Wife Margaret handled the business end of the enterprise. No team could be more devoted. Their children Laurie, Gillian, Lisa, Karen and Geoff were, in our other language, models of bien élevé, well-raised. Margaret’s death was devastating.
McMartin and Mackie have the clout to be truth-sayers, and they state Roy’s departure from the Sun in 2009, in a cost-cutting move – “no reason to sugar-coat this” – embittered him. It did.
Roy had earlier reversals.
A new editorial-page design painfully shrank the size of his cartoon, and the paper’s switch from oil-based to environmentally kinder water-based ink, weakened the depth, musculature and sinews of his drawing.
Roy died of a heart attack Sept. 30 at his West Vancouver home. Decades ago we arranged a tontine, a medieval term, in this case a miniature bottle of scotch sent back and forth on our birthdays, the survivor to drink it. I may not.
© Trevor Lautens, 2013