The Week – January 27

The results are in, and the Dogwood Initiative’s 2010 Pavey Award for Outstanding Achievements in Urban Sprawl goes to (drum roll please) . . . Ron Kubek!

Paving the way

The results are in, and the Dogwood Initiative’s 2010 Pavey Award for Outstanding Achievements in Urban Sprawl goes to (drum roll please) . . . Ron Kubek!

Somebody cue the applause button.

It was a close race, according to Dogwood’s Gordon O’Connor, but Kubek, the realtor and Central Saanich councillor who approved the controversial Vantreight and Senanus projects, narrowly edged out the competition.

“It’s no surprise that Kubek came out on top,” says O’Connor. “He’s one of the biggest offenders in our region, and he deserves to be honoured.”

O’Connor says Kubek has been contacted, but has yet to return the call or come in and pick up his award (pictured) from the Dogwood office. “We received emails from all over the world in regards to the awards, and it just goes to show how well we are recognizing people who are doing a great job of turning our planet into a parking lot.”

Runner-up for the award — receiving an honourable mention but no fancy prize — is Ender Ilkay, the real estate speculator promoting urban sprawl in Jordan River.

Kubek and Ilkay beat out competing offender finalists Ida Chong, currently undergoing a recall campaign for her Liberal MLA Oak Bay leadership (and who privatized 23,000 hectares of licensed tree-farm land for development), Susan Mason, the Central Saanich councillor who cast the deciding vote for the Vantreight subdivision, Stew Young, mayor of Langford who voted for Bear Mountain and Jack Mar, Central Saanich mayor who wants to change the community plan to stop protecting farm land.

With the success of the awards, O’Connor says efforts for 2011 nominations are well underway.

Plugged in

Finally, BC Transit is joining the 21st Century, and has decided to hop on board Google Maps, adding “Google Transit,” as an option for trip planning for any Victorian with access to the internet.

The program, which Google offers for free both to BC Transit and users, is now being piloted for the Victoria Regional Transit System through Google Maps—but the transit authority is relying on users to gauge whether or not the program is working.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to enhance customer service and make transit as accessible as possible,” says BC Transit communications guru Joanna Linsangan. “With the feedback we’ve been getting so far, it’s almost as though people have actually been waiting for this.”

Linsangan believes the effort will draw new customers, though BC Transit’s ridership has gone up over the last year. The authority has been working on adopting this service since spring of 2010, as it had to enter over 2,500 Victoria stops into the system. While the change has not added any new job positions yet, Linsangan says that could change if BC Transit decides to add the service to its other 81 systems across the province.

“Now, people will have three options when they’re looking for how to get around Victoria through Google Maps—foot, car and transit,” says Linsangan. “Some people have even found alternate routes they never knew about.”

For anyone bored enough to need a new way to work, your problems have now been solved.

And the beat goes on

The seventh-annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey announced this week that—for 2011—B.C. is Canada’s least affordable place to buy a house, with Victoria topping the scale right behind Vancouver. Vancouver itself is the third most unaffordable place to live of the entire survey, behind only Hong Kong and Sydney (Australia).

Other mentions of note: Saskatoon is less affordable than both Calgary and Edmonton, something that would have been unthinkable only five years ago. Meanwhile, the best place to buy a house is in Atlantic Canada, with Windsor, Ontario winning the award for Canada’s most affordable metropolitan market at a rate of almost five times more affordable than Vancouver. Time to move?

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