Burnaby Beacon makes it to second anniversary, then cuts staff loose

  The Burnaby Beacon, at least in its current form, is no more. It is the latest move by Overstory Media Group (perhaps its OMG abbreviation inadvertently tells part of the story) to stem its losses in a brave but apparently foolhardy attempt to resuscitate community journalism online. The Beacon’s two remaining staff members have been laid off. Much has been said about Overstory’s promises and ownership, particularly when it laid off half the staff at its flagship online outlet, the Capital Daily in Victoria. That move came just before it was announced that there was a unionization drive underway. The Beacon served Burnaby - a difficult community for local media. When I was a student at Langara journalism school, we were told by program director Nick Russell that “Burnaby was the graveyard of weekly newspapers.” Many had come and gone by that time (1977). Another one started up soon thereafter, and one of my classmates even took a job there. That newspaper and its staff are long gon

Many mayors packing their bags after a host of defeats on municipal election day

The voters have spoken - and that means many mayors are packing their bags. In the areas I was paying attention to (Oct. 13 blog post ), mayors in Surrey, White Rock and Langley City all lost their jobs. Meanwhile, in Langley Township Councillor Eric Woodward is the new mayor, and five members of his Contract With Langley slate will hold a majority on council. Former Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, who easily won his provincial seat in six elections, finished a distant third and his Elevate Langley slate did not elect anyone to council. Delta Mayor George Harvie easily won and his Achieving For Delta slate holds every seat on council.  In Mission, incumbent Mayor Paul Horn easily beat two challengers. It was all part of a wider trend across the province that saw 37 incumbent mayors lose their seats, and many more councillors fall by the wayside as well. In cities where there has been more political stability, incumbents had an easier time of it. In Langley Township, Coun. Pet

Out of the COVID sickroom to check out some 2022 municipal campaigns

A stroll through the 2022 municipal election campaigns in the two Langleys, White Rock, Delta, Surrey and Mission There’s nothing like COVID-19 when it comes to restricting access to everything - including municipal election campaigns. A bout of the virus in late September kept me from participating as a moderator in debates and candidate gatherings in Langley City, White Rock and Surrey. Thus my firsthand knowledge of what was taking place in each of those races to win seats on those three councils for the 2022-26 period has been significantly diminished. Fortunately, I was again healthy and able to take part in a candidate meeting for Langley Township candidates last week. The energy shown at that meeting has inspired me to post some comments about the local races, which will be decided by voters on Saturday. Former deputy premier Rich Coleman is seeking election as mayor in Langley Township  The Township is a good place to start. There is a four-way race to replace outgoing mayor Ja

Reconciliation starts at home

Frank Bucholtz photo Joanne Charles, councillor with Semiahmoo First Nation, shared some powerful words about reconciliation with an attentive audience at the Semiahmoo Spirit Stage on Monday night, as part of a  community discussion on reconciliation, diversity and equality/ The event was one of a series of community discussions hosted by organizers of the Gordie Hogg Liberal campaign in the federal riding of South Surrey-White Rock. With her on stage is emcee Deb Saih. The discovery of unmarked grave sites at four former residential school properties has changed the tenor of discussion about Canada’s relationships with indigenous people. Local governments have an important role to play in the process of meaningful reconciliation - as do all of us as citizens. Delta council has gone a fair ways down that path, largely due to a treaty with the Tsawwassen First Nation,  and White Rock’s relationship with the Semiahmoo First Nation is improving considerably, after some rough patches a fe