The B.C. government has approved the transit referendum question put forward by the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation, with some tweaks.

While the mayors had proposed a 0.5-percentage-point hike to the provincial sales tax, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it will be a new Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax that will be voted on by the region.

Stone also confirmed that the vote will be a mail-in ballot plebiscite. Ballot mailing will begin on March 16, 2015, and voting will end on May 29, 2015.

Here's Stone's letter to the mayors' council:

Re: Mayors' Council Recommendations

A fire has closed Main Street at East 48th Avenue.

Here are a couple photos of the scene.

The embattled Coalition of Progressive Electors has lost its executive director.

Sarah Beuhler resigned today (Decemer 17), taking responsibility for the party's failure to include $12,500 in donations in a November 4 disclosure of campaign contributions.

That money came from Canreal Management Corporation ($3,000) and the commercial real-estate company’s president, Raymond Bergen ($9,500), and its acceptance by the party was roundly criticized as contradicting COPE's policy of not taking donations from developers.

First, CKNW apologized on air for the "offensive to women" segment that "crossed the line".

Then Global TV tweeted that journalists Chris Gailus and Squire Barnes were "blindsided" by the Jeff O'Neil Show on Tuesday (December 16), and they "disapprove of the content and tone of the discussion".

Finally, CFOX and the hosts of the Jeff O'Neil Show issued an apology for suggesting Gailus ask Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau whether he'd "F[uck], kill, or marry" Health Minister Rona Ambrose; Laureen Harper, the prime minister's wife; and former governor general Michaëlle Jean.

Premier Christy Clark has announced that the B.C. Liberal government has granted approval for the building of the Site C dam on the Peace River.

The potential cost of the dam has climbed from $7.9 billion to $8.775 billion, including a $8.335 billion capital cost estimate and $440 million reserve fund. As well, the construction start date has been pushed back to summer 2015.

Lower Mainland residents can attend a vigil planned for tomorrow (December 17) in memory of 132 children and nine adults killed at a school in Pakistan earlier today.

The gathering is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at Holland Park at the corner of King George Boulevard and Old Yale Road in Surrey, across the street from the King George SkyTrain station.

An email sent by the event’s organizers emphasizes that anyone can attend. It suggests that people bring candles.

Listeners of CFOX and CKNW were treated to those Vancouver-based, Corus-owned radio stations' first-ever simulcast today (December 16), illustrating the dangers of media concentration in Canada.

On the Jeff O'Neil Show, Global TV "personalities" Chris Gailus and Squire Barnes were asked a series of offbeat questions while apparently drinking beers.

Gailus was preparing to interview Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. A radio host suggested that the TV anchor ask Trudeau whether he'd "F[uck], kill, or marry" Health Minister Rona Ambrose; Laureen Harper, the prime minister's wife; and former governor general Michaëlle Jean.

Fast-forward to 7:25 in the following clip to hear the disgusting banter:

You might have seen a disturbing video that went viral two years back. In it, a man on a New York subway sticks his hand up the skirt of the woman sitting next to him and sexually assaults her while she's asleep.

No one on the subway stopped the attack. But one man videotaped it and posted it online.

Elisa Lopez was the woman sleeping on the train. She didn't even know that she had been assaulted until she saw the video online.

Two years later, she's speaking out for the first time, supported by the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback. In a video, she says she is "tired of being afraid".

Here's a disturbing holiday story.

A registered sex offender, Norman Burback, was hired to dress up as Santa Claus at a McDonald's restaurant in Texas, according to KPRC TV in Houston.

The station reported that back in 1998, Norman Burback, 54, was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in Ohio.

Kids sat on his knee while he worked as Santa in McDonald's, KPRC revealed, but police couldn't arrest him because he hadn't done anything illegal.

2014 was another eventful year for Vancouver.

Highlights included the B.C. teachers' strike, municipal elections, Oppenheimer Park tent city, Burnaby Mountain protests, and assorted Bitcoin stuff.

Here's a selection of my favourite photos that I took this year in and around town.

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