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By David Broadland, December 2013

City officials ignored three red lights as they drove Sebastien Ricard’s dreamy bridge design into a solid concrete wall.

By David Broadland, November 2013

Rich Coleman says LNG development is about “generational opportunity”—it’s for his grandchildren. We follow the money.

Between 2005 and the 2013 election, EnCana Corporation made 52 contributions to the BC Liberal Party totalling $791,270. EnCana is an Alberta-based company that produces and markets oil and natural gas in several North American locales, including northeastern BC. The company is second only to mining giant Teck in the amount of money it gives to the Liberals. EnCana isn’t the only natural gas producer in BC providing financial assistance to the Liberals. Other donors include Spectra Energy, Talisman Energy, Apache Corporation, Crew Energy, Nexen, Devon Canada, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, ConocoPhillips, Arc Resources, and Penn West. 

By Rob Wipond, November 2013

Secret police chief association records provoke serious questions about lack of police oversight in this province.

As I read through hundreds of pages of records from two BC associations of chiefs of police, I discovered that a letter I had sent to the West Vancouver Police Department Chief Constable had been turned over to all of Canada’s major banks, Canada Border Services, CSIS, and the US Secret Service. This certainly made a mockery of my privacy rights. Yet I realized that much more than privacy was at stake. These previously secret records—a drop from a much vaster pool—painted a worrying picture of unchecked police powers.

By Leslie Campbell, November 2013

Two initiatives aim to give a more values-based direction to our economy.

As I watched the news the other night, wildfires raged in Australia. In Alberta, a derailed train full of propane and crude oil was also burning out of control. Later I listened to a report about Hurricane Sandy, and learned that its damages have been pegged at close to $70 billion.

Cameron Fenton

Fossil fuels, climate change and costly disasters go hand in hand. Yet we, as a society, seem largely inert—stuck in tarsands and pipedreams.

By David Broadland, November 2013

The original architect of the new Johnson Street Bridge has left the project, and now engineers appear to be struggling with the mechanical challenges of his problematic design. 

Drawings of the new Johnson Street Bridge obtained by Focus through an FOI show the extent to which the structure has been changed from previous iterations. And even though construction has already begun, the drawings provided suggest project engineers still have not settled on a mechanism for supporting and moving the lifting span. Over the past four years engineers have floated eight or nine different ideas for making the ungainly bridge lift.

3-d schematic drawing of new design  

By Briony Penn, November 2013

Permits for development over First Nations’ burial grounds raise the question: Would the government ever say “no”?

In the heart of Victoria lies a peaceful sanctuary of century-and-a-half-old gravestones and trees called the Pioneer Square Cemetery, the “Old Burying Ground” for pioneer families. Currently underway are respectful repairs to its gravestones, paths and landscape. Meanwhile, Grace Islet, a tiny picturesque ancient Coast Salish burial site amongst ancient oaks and juniper, just off Salt Spring Island shores, lies desecrated by proposed residential development. 

British Columbia’s Archaeology Branch, after a year of deliberation, chose Reconciliation Week to extend a provincial heritage site alteration permit to an Albertan businessman so he could build his luxury waterfront vacation home atop this First Nation cemetery.  

By Simon Nattrass, November 2013

Warriors are essential given competing visions for indigenous peoples’ traditional territories.

For many of us, the landscape is a neutral backdrop to our daily lives—the place in which we play out our activities and the source of resources with which we meet our needs. For cultures that have existed here since time immemorial, the land has been as much a character in life’s drama as any friend or family member. Prior to the arrival of settler culture, the land was in turns a teacher, a provider, and many things besides as part of a complex relationship between indigenous peoples and the places with which they lived—a relationship which the process of colonization has endeavoured to suppress for a century and a half. 

By Judith Lavoie, November 2013

Musings on the difficulty of turning a looming catastrophe into a compelling story, and where hope for change lies.

"The warming of the Earth is unequivocal and it’s most likely due to humans releasing greenhouse gases,” Dennis Hartmann of the University of Washington’s department of atmospheric science told journalists at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting seminars I attended in Seattle in September.

Hurricane YawnThe Institute, based at the University of Rhode Island, tries to ease the often-difficult conversation between reporters, who want clear, cause-and-effect answers, and scientists, who prefer to talk about climate models and probabilities.

By Gene Miller, November 2013

Despite some foot-dragging, trends are pointing to a revitalized Downtown.

When I drove by on a mid-September Saturday morning, the crane truck was lifting the word “PUBLIC” into place above a steel-frame marquee at The Hudson, Townline Development’s residentially and commercially re-purposed Hudson’s Bay store. The next day, it had been flanked by the words “VICTORIA” and “MARKET.”

By Amy Reiswig, November 2013

Thelma Fayle has written an ode to Canada’s father of photojournalism,Ted Grant.