April 11th 2007

What we can learn from the Australians- More than a top ten

So four of us sat around (Cdns all) and collected the “best”ideas we found.

1. Every city uses the same system of garbage collection like Vancouver. A WCB initiative, you are given standard garbage holders (more than a can) which you wheel to the curb. The truck comes around and a robot arm picks up the can and dumps it. One man, one truck.

2. BYOB laws. There are unlicensed restaurants near “bottle shops” (Liquor stores). Go to the bottle shop or bring bring your plonk from home and open it at your open air or inside table, they provide the glasses. (Never ate inside all the time I was there). No drama!

3. Every toilet has two buttons. One half flush and one full flush. Simple and required by building code.

4. Sun sails. Open spaces (School yard, back yards, restaurants etc) are shaded by these classy and stylish sun sails. Not lightweight cheap stuff but really well fixed-in units that serve for sun and rain covers.

5. Food courts that have really good food in them. We had some of our best and tastiest lunches in food courts.

6. Open air markets . Granville Island market would be a very small market in australia. Fill every parking lot at vancouver airport on Sunday with stalls and you have a mid sized market. And these really only operate Saturday and Sunday mornings (early). Best fresh food (meat and veg) plus all kinds of other things at good prices.

7. E-chemists. You (or your doctor) can order and receive your prescriptions online for less than at the store. Oh govt post mail delivery is really fast.

8. Flavoured tunas. Chil and pepper, lemon and sweet pepper, sweet thai sauce, there are dozens of combinations of flavoured tuna at 99 cents a tin ( albacore, yellowtail etc) Really tasty and they are all pop top.

9. Move over Vancouver, let the aussies teach you about fireworks displays. Off roofs. bridges, quays plus on barges. You have never seen anything like this. Sydney at New Years is one example.

10. Transit systems that work and are integrated. Buses arrive as trains and ferries drop off passengers. Off peak fares start at 10 through to 3 weekdays and all weekends. Bus drivers who give change. The cities are not sold out to the car. Free shuttles around the core to encourage you to use buses not cars. It works.

11. If you make a mall in a main street like Granville street, make it permamant, no traffic just people. Eliminate curbs, build restaurants, cafe’s and bars in the middle of the street and let people sit outside under sun sails. Build wide sidewalks so restaurants can put tables under permanent covers out. Yah Yaletown, extend the roofs!
12. Free electric BBques in picnic sites. no brickettes, no smoke, no flame.

13. If there is a famous area to visit – charge a preservation tax . Ie for the barrier reef every visitor pays a reef tax.

14. Use roundabouts not traffic lights in smaller places – really efficient. Not good when events let out.

15. In cities have some major intersections (Burrard and Georgia etc) where all traffic lights go red and pedestrians can cross corner to corner and criss cross the street. How many times do you have to wait for two lights to get across the street? Cars can wait a bit more.

16. Meat pies. Come on local bakers, learn how to really do this to make flaky pastry and yummy fillings, not salty!

17. Screen doors and windows. How to make really robust and secure ones. No more flimsy ones. These you can lock and they have security grills.

18. Pub lunches where you have the roast of the day with 5 to 7 veggies. They really do this well. Rarely do you make a mistake picking a pub lunch. Fresh and tasty. ( But it comes with chips)

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