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 chill sent throughout the entertainment industry in the wake of The Interview fallout continues.

Although Canada has been spared having to endure the film due to Sony's cancellation of the film's stinker's film's theatrical release due to safety concerns, another Hollywood film set in North Korea has been canned.

It was another good year for hiking around Vancouver. But isn't it always?

Highlights for me included Mount Harvey, Mount McGuire, Alouette Mountain, Levette Lake, and Mount Crumpit.

Meet the Snoopy the northern saw-whet owl. 

I first saw him at A Midsummer Fete in Colony Farm Regional Park back in 2011.

Now he's the star of HootSuite's designed-to-go-viral take on the Yule log video.

It's not all self-promotional social-media marketing.

HootSuite is selling $20 stuffed animal versions of its Owly mascot, with all proceeds going to the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (O.W.L.). Well, until January 10, at least.

Twenty-five years ago tomorrow—on December 19, 1989—Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson played the 86 Street Music Hall.

For me, it didn't get any better than that. I'd been a huge fan of Hunter ever since I first heard his old band, Mott the Hoople, and Ronson...well, if you liked David Bowie in the '70s you liked him.

Hunter and Ronson had been collaborating for years, starting with Hunter's self-titled 1975 solo album, the one with that awesome version of "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" (not to be confused with Great White's version, referred to below).

When they came to Van they were touring behind the YUI Orta album, which I really loved, especially the track "Women's Intuition".

Saskatchewan-based News Talk 980 has reported that the former head coach of the SFU Clan football team is bound for Regina.

The Saskatchewan radio station cited unnamed sources saying Jacques Chapdelaine, a former Canadian Football League slotback, will become the Roughriders new offensive coordinator.

Chapdelaine was offensive coordinator of the B.C. Lions before taking over as head coach of the SFU Clan earlier this year. The Clan posted a 2-9 record as the only non-American team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Looking for something to do tomorrow? The Straight’s got you covered. Here are six events happening in or around Vancouver on Thursday, December 18.


CONCERTS

Portland pop trio the Lower 48 (pictured above) performs with Catlow, Combine the Victorious, and the Lion at Hindenburg.

Vancouver swing quartet Van Django performs nostalgic favourites, jazz standards, and pop tunes at the Michael J. Fox Theatre.

 

DANCE

Southern-rock heroes Lynyrd Skynyrd have just announced a show at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver.

And it's on a Friday, which is pretty close to a "Saturday Night Special."

As anyone who's followed the band from its early-'70s beginnings knows, Skynyrd's story is composed of the highest highs and lowest lows.

The lowest was the bizarre 1977 plane crash that killed original singer Ronnie Van Zant and fiercely talented guitarist Steve Gaines, as well as Gaines' backup-singer sister Cassie and the group's road manager, Dean Kilpatrick.

Check out good ol' Steve-O goin' to town with some slide on "T For Texas" back in '77.

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.

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