One year ago tonight, I made the following presentation at the opening night of Limmud. Limmud is a British-Jewish educational charity which produces annual winter conferences and other events in Vancouver and around the world, focusing on the theme of Jewish learning. Here's my story.
I have always been fascinated by predictions.- See more at: http://www.vancourier.com/opinion/a-look-back-at-last-year-and-predictions-for-the-next-1.2138457#sthash.8j1hpmXp.dpuf
At the end of 2014, I reviewed my first year as a Vancouver Courier
columnist. Popular topics included increasing concern over the loss of
character houses, improving the tidiness of the city, whether citizens
should have greater say in the planning process, the need for improved
transit and the impact of foreign buyers on the cost of housing.
I opined that as we looked forward to 2015, these topics would continue
to be of interest to readers. Suffice it to say, I was right.
Earlier this month, I reviewed which of my 2015 columns generated the
greatest interest and recycled them into a Holiday Greeting Card. You
can find it here.
In January, I wrote about the need to fix our broken taxi system by
allowing Uber and other ride-sharing services into the city. Rather than
fight Uber, I suggested the taxi industry strive to improve our taxi
In February, I offered 12 affordable housing ideas based on a SFU
lecture. This year I will be presenting another 12 affordable housing
ideas at an April 6 SFU lecture.
In March, inspired by a tour of Paris with a former Vancouver city
planner, my column called for a master plan for our city. Many readers
agreed; sadly, Brian Jackson, the city’s director of planning did not.
But he’s gone now.
On April 1, I delivered another SFU lecture on 12 great ideas for Vancouver from around the world.
Following the talk, members of the audience made suggestions on how we
might make Vancouver a friendlier city and this became the topic for a
subsequent column. It included a proposal for Neighbour Day, when we all
make an effort to meet our neighbours.
In May, I was distressed by the amount of garbage strewn along the 100
Block East Hastings by street market vendors, and suggested Vancouver
needed a good spring cleaning. While I will never know if this column
had any influence, later in the year, city council voted to shut down
this unsightly mess.
In June, following a Heritage Vancouver house tour, I suggested we
needed to develop a greater respect for our architectural heritage, with
more incentives from city hall to keep heritage and character
buildings. This time I predict the city will follow up, and we can
expect zoning changes and design guidelines later in the year.
In July, following a decision by the Ontario government to pass
legislation to prevent “phantom bids” from realtors involved with real
estate transactions, I suggested that it was time to revise how real
estate commissions should be calculated. While most realtors disagreed, a
small minority agreed with readers who liked the idea. I predict
nothing will happen.
In August, I met UBC’s Dr. Paul Kershaw, a most interesting young man
in red shoes. He founded “Generation Squeeze,” a movement to encourage
Canadians 25 to 45 to become more politically engaged and increase their
influence on future government policies. I think the October election
demonstrated that his voice was heard.
In September, following a trip to Saint Petersburg, I reiterated a call
for a master plan for Vancouver. One day we will get one, but not in
In October, I wrote about Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM, a new community
based radio station that hit the airwaves earlier in the month. While
most Vancouverites still haven’t heard of it, I predict this will change
In November, I returned to the theme of affordable housing and reported
on the need for our Metro Vancouver regional government to play a more
active role. I predict it will try, but with little success.
At the beginning of 2015, I wrote about the need for a “world class”
public New Year’s Eve celebration in Vancouver. I am delighted to report
that this year, a public event is happening. Unfortunately, it has had
little publicity. For details, go to nyevan.com.
I will be there and I hope many of you will be, too. If you see me, I’d like to hear your predictions for the coming year.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season and 2016.