Burnaby NOW • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 • A05
City’s portfolio sits at roughly $679 million Stefania Seccia staff reporter
In 2012, the City of Burnaby predicted that 2013 would be hard on its investment portfolio, but despite the low annual yields the city did marginally better than last year. By Dec. 31, 2013, the city’s cash and investments totalled more than $679 million, up from $610 million at 2012’s yearend. “A portion of the portfolio’s investments is held in money market instruments until cash is required for expenditures. As such, the city’s investment fund is directly impacted by any movement in short-term interest rates during the year, particularly from July onward, when the investment fund reached a high of over $1 billion upon receipt of tax revenue and then decreased to approximately $600 million in May,” Denise Jorgenson, finance director, states in her report. Generally, last year saw low annual yields, as the Bank of Canada’s bank rate opened and closed around 1.25 per cent. The city’s investment strategy gener-
ated a $38.3 million return on investment, which was more than the $36.6 million Jorgenson forecasted last year. In 2012, the city’s return was $37.7 million. According to the report, the city has $558 million wrapped up in long-term investments (one year or more). For 2014, the city is projecting a lower annual yield and $36.5 million for investment income – $7 million of this is forecasted in the operating budget, while the rest will be distributed to reserve funds. RBC Capital Markets, TD Securities and CIBC-Wood Gundy were the city’s lead investment bankers. The city invested with Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Coast Capital Savings, Gulf & Fraser Credit Union and North Shore Credit Union in B.C., among others. “In 2013, central banks maintained a low interest rate environment and other economic stimulus measures to encourage continued economic growth,” Jorgenson states. “While there are many positive signs in the global market, economic indicators continue to provide a mixed picture heading into 2014.” twitter.com/stefania_seccia
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Burnaby NOW • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 • A07
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Keep Heights sustainable continued from page 6
pleasant streetscape atmosphere because the HOV lane turns our local shopping street into a freeway for commuters every weekday afternoon, right when many people run their errands on their way home from work or school. The 1991 Hastings Street Official Community Plan (OCP) is a quarter of a century old, and the strategies and planning of it date back to the 1980s, when Burnaby was less urbanized than it is today. It was written long before the towers at Brentwood were a twinkle in anyone’s eye. As we suggested at the council meeting, the Heights Merchants Association wants a review of the 1991 OCP to consider modest adjustments that could result in longterm sustainability for our community, so that there can always be a thriving local shopping street in the middle of this treasured neighbourhood. Isabel Kolic, executive director, Heights Merchants
Democracy? Not so much Dear Editor:
Re: Don’t insult the city’s electorate, Letters to the editor, Burnaby NOW, Jan. 29. I got quite a laugh from that writer Gord Larkin who seems to think that citizen volunteer groups are an effective opposition to Burnaby’s current BCA-dominated government. Does he really think that anyone who’s opposed to any of the mayor’s policies gets appointed to any citizen volunteer group? Don’t make me laugh. I certainly didn’t read much opposition from Mr. Larkin.
I know because I’ve applied to a couple of those volunteer groups in the past and only received the sounds of silence. If he wants an example of our Burnaby dictatorship, he should just take a look at the public hearing on a proposed 53 storey highrise at Brentwood Mall, set for Feb. 25. Sure there’ll be a chance to make comments. But no public debate will be allowed. Welcome to China or Russia. The whole Brentwood expansion plan was pre-approved by council before it went to a public hearing. This lack of chance for public debate is one way in which the current council keeps getting re-elected. At election time, you’ll have one chance to ask one question after waiting in line with other disgruntled citizens at one poorly advertised public meeting in your area. This means that the same council could probably get reelected by holding no public meetings at all. This was proven by our own Jane Shin of the NDP, provincially last year in North Burnaby. So long as the electorate can be kept discouraged by the election process and ignorant of the issues, as Mr. Larkin seems to be, the more likely a government is to get re-elected.
continued from page 6
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Heights, here she comes
Re: Heights merchants wary of booming Brentwood, Burnaby NOW, Feb. 5. Rest assured that once Brentwood becomes another Metrotown mayhem, I will be shopping more on the Heights to avoid the crowds and traffic. I don’t think I’m alone in this thought! Carol Beatch, Burnaby
Report: Tragic lessons from short life that is designed to help aboriginal children, a system she notes “virtually collapsed” around the traumatized girl. And as Turpel-Lafond notes: “If she was not First Nations, living on-reserve, it is very likely she would not have been left as isolated, invisible and unsupported.” This report, in many ways, is a sequel to Turpel-Lafond’s report from last fall that showed more than $66 million was handed off to aboriginal child-care agencies without there being a single shred of evidence that one cent of that money was actually spent on child protection. The common thread in these two investigations is that government agencies are extremely reluctant to demand accountability from First Nations in a number of ways, whether it’s monitoring spending or ensuring the safety of a vulnerable person “trapped” on a reserve.
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The previous investigation did not turn up any evidence of children being put in harm’s way because the $66 million in funding didn’t go towards protecting them, but that wasn’t the focus of the investigation. Nevertheless, given the fact many aboriginal bands are mired in deep poverty and have members who experience some of the worst health outcomes in the country and suffer from high levels of substance abuse, we can infer that some child somewhere suffered as a result. Turpel-Lafond has told me she fears there are indeed similar cases to the one she has uncovered in her latest investigation, and if she is correct that means somewhere, right now, another child may be living a nightmare on a reserve and everyone may be looking the other way. The child in the latest report is now unknown outside a relatively small group of people.
Only a few clues about her identity were unearthed in the report: she was small in stature, had serious dental problems, liked to listen to music, was a star wrestler on her school team, had emerging mental health issues of her own and cared deeply for her three-year-old baby sister, whom she protected from their violent mother whenever she could. Her name will likely never be made public. But hopefully, as always, some valuable lessons can be learned from her short life and her tragic death. The politics and political correctness of aboriginal child care need to be put aside in favor of real action and professional help. As Turpel-Lafond’s two reports make clear, the time for talking and obeying the “sensitivities” of the topic is over, and the time for action is now. Keith Baldrey is chief political reporter for Global B.C.
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A18 • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 • Burnaby NOW
continued from page 17
Monday at Deer Lake United Church hall. Beginners are welcome. The sessions are held at 10 a.m. on Mondays. Call Georgie at 604-522-5647 for information.
Rocky Horror fun
This is an early headsup, but it sounds delightful, so I thought I should let you know in time to get it on your calendars! Burnaby Mountain Secondary is putting on a production of The Rocky Horror Show in March. The twist? It’s an entirely student-run production. Isaac Caverzan, a Grade 12 student, is directing and starring as Frank-N-Furter. An email from student Allegra Wright let us know that Isaac is taking an Independent Directed Study course based off Directing 12, and he has recruited a team to assist him in all aspects of the production – including dance, vocals and lights. He ran auditions and cast students from grades 9 through 12. “This production is entirely student-run (with the exception of two alumni), and we have been rehearsing together two days a week since November,” Allegra
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wrote. “We are extremely excited about this upcoming show.” It’s onstage March 5, 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. Watch for more as the date approaches.
Here’s another early heads-up – this one for choral music lovers. Mark Saturday, March 8 on your calendars – that’s the day that the Amabilis Singers are bringing Of Heaven and Earth to the stage. It runs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 at New Westminster Christian Reformed Church, 8255 13th Ave. in Burnaby. Tickets are $20, or free for children under 12. Call 604-437-9200 or buy from choir members; they will also be available at the door. See the website at www.AmabilisSingers.org for more details. (Author disclaimer: Yes, I sing with Amabilis. You’ll find me in the alto ranks, so if you come to the concert, be sure to say hi!) Got an idea for Lively City? Send arts and entertainment stories to Julie, jmaclellan@ burnabynow.com. You can also find her on Twitter, @juliemaclellan.
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SATURDAY JUNE 14, 2014 HOLDOM SKYTRAIN PLAZA, BURNABY
KID’S CHALLENGE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH COAST KINETICS
Burnaby Family Life is hosting their 3rd Annual BFL Kid’s Challenge on June 14, 2014 from 1:00pm - 3:00pm, and you’re invited! Enjoy a fun-filled 2 hours with an agility course, strength training circuit, and much more! Bring your friends, bring your parents, bring the fun! Additional information will follow shortly on how you, or your organization can help support some of the most vulnerable children in our community. Help us make a difference! For more information please call 604.659.2200 or visit www.burnabyfamilylife.org
Burnaby Now February 12 2014