Appeared in the North Shore News – October 25, 2013
With more than a touch of petulance – having lost a camel’s-nose-in-the-tent tie vote on experimental parking, pedestrian and bicycle lanes on Argyle just two weeks earlier – Mary-Ann Booth and Nora Gambioli failed again Monday to get West Van council on side with the scheme.
Fellow Coun. Craig Cameron was absent for the previous vote. Apparently the two councillors thought he’d support the $80,000-plus “temporary” lanes proposal for the 1300-block Argyle. Wrong. Their motion was beaten 5-2. As Constant Reader knows, this corner sees the Spirit Trail as not meant for serious bicycle commuters – praise them – but for the kind of consumer/faddist who fits the shrewd description of “cycling is the new golf.” Spandex-clad show-offs not satisfied with exercising but who want to be seen to be exercising.
Note: I erred in my Oct. 6 tantrum, confusing years of staff and council plans bearing long-winded titles with lobby groups. My apologies.
In 23 years at this hot dog stand I can’t recall more, or angrier, public reaction to a proposal than to the art-gallery-plus thingee smack on the John Lawson Park parking lot in the 1600-block Argyle.
For good example, here’s bright and gritty and funny New Democrat campaigner (West Vancouver-Capilano) Terry Platt, recovering from a serious operation.
“I certainly don’t see the logic behind tearing up a very pretty parking lot to build an arts centre, with a gift shop and a wine bar,” she writes. “I like the trees. I like to be able to drive with my picnic and my folding chairs and all that other stuff one needs when they picnic and park at a reasonable distance. What about the folks with physical challenges who, while being able to drive, still have difficulty getting around and still like to picnic? “We have enough arts centres, enough gift shops, enough high-end coffee shops. And enough tearing down of West Vancouver to put up something not West Vancouver. One day we will look at what we have and lament that ‘it’s just not what we used to have before.’ Pity.”
“I hear they’re holding a party in West Vancouver for David Baines’ retirement,” joked a retired refugee from Howe Street, referring to the disgusting number of scoundrels roosting on our loftier slopes who were exposed by the great Vancouver Sun columnist.
My informant recalled one crook who moaned he had been screwed – by another crook. He chuckled, recalling he’d told Crook No. 1: “Hubert, you screwed me too.”
(Name has been changed to protect the guilty.) I’d estimate that Baines flushed out more con artists than all the business writers in Canada put together, exposing the shabby end of capitalism that the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business and the Financial Post – to say nothing of the Wall Street Journal and other vaunted U.S. papers – elaborately ignore. Very honourable exception: The Post’s editor-at-large Diane Francis.
As a card-carrying capitalist, I look on Baines with admiration and the above-named publications and countless others with derision for their usually uncritical boosterism of our flawed economic system, unless crimes reach the depths of a Bernie Madoff and can’t be ignored. You’d think they had every selfinterest in helping keep the stables clean.
Baines will be deservedly honoured with the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jack Webster Awards Dinner next Wednesday at the Westin Bayshore.
Last column I referred to a little-known device called a tontine. Briefly, it’s for some asset or prize collected by the last surviving participant in the agreement. Richmond reader Yvonne Pearson writes that in 1984 five young married North Shore couples chipped in for a tontine with a twist: The couple still married in 2000 would win the tontine.
“We met every year for our tontine dinner and contributed to the pot,” she writes. “In 2000, we celebrated the end of the tontine by using its accumulated money for all of us to go on a fully paid three-day holiday at Harrison Hot Springs. We are all retired now, and still married to the same people.” Only one, her husband Mike, has since died. “We still refer to ourselves as ‘the Tontine Group’ and meet occasionally for lunches.”
Marriage counsellors, suggest this inducement.
When, a callow youth of 19, I first vomited my way to London – seasickness, you know – Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap has already been running for more than a year. Incredibly, it’s still running there 60 years later. It’s booked till Jan. 3, 2015. Could easily out-live me. Even you.
Theatre West Van is staging this still-thrilling thriller (preview next Friday) at the Kay Meek Theatre. The North Shore theatre season is already underway, with the North Vancouver Community Players’ spoofy musical Zombies from the Beyond at the cosiest of little theatres, The Theatre at Hendry Hall. We have charming theatre at low prices – and, at no extra cost, no bridges. Be there or be square, as they say.
© Trevor Lautens, 2013