Two entries ago in this space, I revealed how many loonies some members of your city council earned while serving as directors at Metro Vancouver.
The extra change, I’m sure, is appreciated by the likes of Vision Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson, who last year pulled in $24,000 for his Metro duties on top of his $64,000 councillor’s salary.
Now I see a Metro Vancouver report to be discussed Friday requests that some of its directors travel to far off places such as Senegal for conferences.
The report doesn’t suggest which directors should go but I imagine there will be a battle among the elected bunch to enjoy an all-expenses paid trip outside the country.
First on the calendar is the 2012 World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy, Sept. 2 to 6. The United Nations established this organization to examine rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, policies and climate change.
The topic of this year’s conference is “the urban future.”
Relevance to our neck of the woods?
The report doesn’t say.
Next on the list is the International Urban Development Association conference in New York City, Nov. 11 to 15. The conference is billed as “an opportunity for delegates to assess U.S. approaches to integrated urban development and what New York City and intermediate and smaller communities in the area are accomplishing.”
Again, the report doesn’t say.
Also in the fall is the “Thriving neighbourhoods conference” in Melbourne, Aus., which runs from Nov. 12 to 14.
“The conference will focus on emerging approaches to the planning, design and management of local neighbourhoods that are set to radically improve health, social engagement, environmental quality and productivity in communities,” the report says.
“Although there is limited influence for Metro Vancouver with respect to program and agenda setting, the conference provides a learning opportunity on the important issue of cities and resiliency.”
Then there’s the “Meeting of the World Council” in Dakar, Senegal, Dec. 1 to 3.
As far as I can tell, Metro Vancouver is a member of the World Council and it’s important that a director be in Senegal to talk about Metro Vancouver’s solid waste proposal, “build partnerships for the proposal and define the program within the United Cities and Local Governments” agency.
So what will it cost to send civic politicians to all these places?
That’s not in the report.
I phoned the report’s author Heather Schoemaker, the department manager of corporate relations for Metro Vancouver. Her voicemail says she’s out of the office until Friday.
Another question: If the primary focus of civic governments in the Lower Mainland is to get more green, more sustainable—and Metro Vancouver just recently hosted the 2012 Sustainable Cities International Network Annual Symposium that attracted 66 international delegates from the U.S. Chile, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Costa Rica and Spain—then why bother sending directors all over the world to learn more about what they already seem to know?
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In my last entry, I mentioned I had never seen Mayor Gregor Robertson on his bike without a helmet.
Apparently, I don’t regularly check the NPA boosting-blog CityCaucus.
I was sent a link to Robertson riding his bike over what looks like the Granville Bridge during a Critical Mass ride. His helmet is on his handlebars and his hands are in his pockets.
Robertson was an NDP MLA at the time.
Considering his comments Monday about the importance of wearing a helmet, I take it the mayor has become more diligent about wearing a brain bucket.