Opinion

COLUMN: Handing out the BADies of 2012

The naughty and nice list is so last week. This week it’s time for another annual tradition, although calling something in its second year a tradition is dubious. Just as dubious are the Burnaby Awards of Distinction, a.k.a. the BADies, since they’re the creation of an aging keyboard curmudgeon.

The BADies acknowledge the newsmakers and the issues making news in Burnaby in 2012, some of them for the right reasons and others for not-so-right reasons.

A good place to begin is with the obvious. Christine Sinclair established herself as a Canadian sports superstar by winning the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete in 2012. Her glow in the media included many references to Burnaby, which is proud the quiet girl it raised has become a force on the national scene.

In the same vein, the city also saw Joe Sakic receive his sport’s ultimate honour being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Burnaby Joe’s entry into such a hallowed shrine, and Sinclair’s national nod, are on a much higher level of prestige than the BADies, but good on them anyway.

A temporary resident of Burnaby in 2012 gained national attention for, alternately amusing and frightening residents with its presence.

The snakehead fish in a Central Park pond caused so much consternation it is definitely worthy of a BADie.

Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy received two BADies in 2011. He only gets one for 2012. It would be better for him if he got none.

Last year, he received a BADie for his meteoric rise into cabinet as the only MLA to back South Burnaby native Christy Clark for BC Liberal leader. He received another for the bumbling and stumbling that led to him being booted out of cabinet.

Bloy kept up his downhill roll in 2012, chairing a committee looking into Burnaby Hospital. As the year went on it became evident it was a botched partisan attempt to have the Liberals reclaim the Burnaby-Deer Lake riding from the NDP’s Kathy Corrigan.

However, Bloy shares the BADie with Liberal Burnaby backroom organizer Pamela Gardner whose emails to other party operatives revealed the committee’s reason for existence was political in nature and not an altruistic attempt to benefit the community.

Almost by association, Burnaby North MLA Richard Lee should get a piece of Bloy’s BADie, but Lee’s participation on the committee seems too inconsequential to deserve it.

Developers deserve a BADie as well, although labeling it a good “distinction” depends on your view of urban growth.

High rises and office towers are sprouting to record heights in the city. There are plans for not only more buildings exceeding 40 storeys, but even some over 50, 60 or possibly as high as 70.

They are being erected around and over top of SkyTrain stations with the belief rapid transit should be surrounded by high density. They will add a much-needed dynamic to Burnaby, a city that while being clean attractive and well run, lacks identity.

It was hilarious to hear a North Delta resident at a public hearing into a proposal for a 30-storey high rise declare “we don’t want North Delta to turn into Burnaby.”

And being known for endless decrepit strip malls and tedious treeless subdivisions is preferable? Keep them in North Delta, and Burnaby will gladly take the benefits density brings.

An under-the-radar BADie goes to Kinder Morgan for its proposal to twin its pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby.

It hasn’t received the notoriety its northern cousin, Enbridge, has received but it surely will create more of a negative noise than it already has as the process evolves.

That’s it for the 2012 BADies. Can’t wait to see who and what distinctions 2013 brings.

 

Grant Granger is a reporter

with the NewsLeader.

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