Appeared in the North Shore News – May 6, 2016
Hey, let’s have some benefit to show for West Van’s fat 6.87 per cent property tax rise.
First, restore the trash cans – why were they removed? – at each littered end of the 5400-block Marine Drive. Sure, that’s my block, and why not exploit my dandy print pulpit for selfish interests now and then?
Second, bring back the portable toilet during baseball season at Cypress Park and other such sites. I’ve sometimes been obliged to take a whiz in toilet-scarce West Van woods, inviting charges of exposing myself. Which would be embarrassing, considering my dignified age and status, harrumph.
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The North Shore Zone Festival of Plays at Presentation House Theatre is an annual week-long treat that deserves higher recognition – and attendance: Affordable, and no bridges to cross. The intimacy and yakking of the festival crowd come at no extra cost.
It’s not too late. Tonight’s play is Art, tomorrow’s a stage reading by West Van secondary school students of Crushed, and announcement of awards.
Weird: West Van Theatre just closed a second edition of Fawlty Towers, a sold-out smash – but for years hasn’t taken part in the festival. Why? Fear of winning. Can’t afford to go to the provincial competition (this year in Chilliwack, Jill-of-all-theatre-trades Anne Marsh reports). There’s a film/play comedy script lurking in there.
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Mayor Michael Smith is delighted that the Grosvenor development will include an Earls restaurant – which will grant a reprieve to the mellow Hollyburn Sailing Club. Not his original vision, but the pieces fell neatly into place.
“Earls is a positive step for Ambleside and makes a development at the sailing club less of a priority,” Smith notes. “I would expect the facility to remain as it is for some time. Earls will bring a lot of people into Ambleside … a key part of our plan to develop a restaurant offering.”
Any jubilation was stepped on by the coincident protest over the Earls chain switch from Alberta beef suppliers to U.S. sources with greener practices – cleaving the Canada-first left from the environmentalist left.
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A touch of irony: While Park Royal Shopping Centre was making ill-considered moves in the Big Chess Match that became nation-wide news of an unwelcome kind, the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce anointed the centre’s longtime executive Rick Amantea as its Business Person of the Year.
Amantea – who was not, repeat not, the exec who ordered the chess players to move out – is publicly sensitive to Ambleside business concerns, personable, and always accessible to the undersigned. A worthy choice by his chamber peers.
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All praise for Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang – in real life, note, a UBC psychology professor who teaches and does research on the causes of mental illnesses – and rare kudos from this observer for Vancouver authorities too for not backing down from the city’s closure notices to aberrant marijuana shops.
Of course the protesters defy the law. It’s what they do.
Hardened law-breakers. As the marijuana business wafts upward from small-fry shops past ex-police chiefs and old pols who have seen the light, like Kash Heed and Mike Harcourt, toward greedily waiting “respectable” corporate oligarchs and stuffy banks offering marijuana business loans, what a farce that what the media call “activists” are plain and simple business operators and promoters. Is the president of Ford an activist for car ownership, or just selling cars?
Predictably, pot legalization is in a confused legal and health snarl.
The claim that the “war on drugs” was a failure that wasted police resources is as hollow as the drug-pushing mind: The cops will have plenty of employment patrolling under-age kids, stopping stoned drivers, and chasing a continuing, I’d predict expanding, illegal market.
On that point: A long-time regular but light pot smoker told me he opposes legalization – because prices will explode under state regulation and government employees’ union wages. Bizarrely, the stuff he buys illegally costs about the same as legal but maxi-taxed pipe tobacco – 50 grams of which, about two ounces, cost an astonishing $55, nearly $500 a pound, at Victoria’s elegant 1892-founded Morris Tobacconists.
Where is legalization-pusher Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew, now that we really need him to defend the mare’s nest of consequences of the normalization of marijuana as just another consumer commodity?
Maybe he feels outflanked by his and my former colleague Pete McMartin, who recently urged legalization of all drugs. All? Including the currently in-the-news killer ones?
To resurrect the once-trendy question: What have you been smoking, Pete?
© Trevor Lautens, 2016