Thursday, July 20, 2017

Is the North Shore Ready for Fire?

Like everyone else I've been watching the wildfires in the interior of BC, and even had family members unable to get to their home near Kelowna.  It's all a good reminder that we're also sitting on the edge of forest, and sometimes the woods get pretty hot and dry.

Here on the North Shore we have a regional body that coordinates emergency services - North Shore Emergency Management. From their offices above the RCMP detachment in North Vancouver they offer workshops, training, and try to anticipate what kinds of disasters might befall us, and how we might survive.  They do good work.

Still though, if you scour their site you'll see a whole lot of "be prepared" advice - fill up your closets with food, water, and Grab and Go bags, and don't forget about your cats and dogs -  but not much about what is in place after the Big One arrives.

In working with the NSEM people the one thing I took away is that you really need to think about your own circumstance, how you might find yourself isolated if one or more bridges are blocked, and a realisation that it will quickly come down to every person for themselves.

As much as we might snicker at the Preppers south of the border,  we should understand that our local and provincial governments probably won't have resources available to help everyone who needs it.

This month, as soon as this year's fires abate, you can expect a series of stories describing a lack of resources for people who have lost homes or jobs,  shortfalls in government services, and complaints about mean-spirited insurance companies.  And, if we're lucky, an examination of how many of the recommendations that followed the 2003 Firestorm Review were actually acted on.

In the meantime we should all be talking to our elected officials about what we can expect in the event of an earthquake or major fire.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Sunny Days!

(Not a reference to either Trudeau or Lighthouse.)

We have a new government in BC, one which the Vancouver Sun is already painting as Dangerous and Socialist.

We have survived a sesquicentennial, that most pointless of celebrations, with only minor faux pas, aside from irritating the peoples who lived here before 1867.

The Grouse Grind is open, thousands of weekend hikers have come out of hibernation, and North Shore Rescue are working overtime to keep up with the demand.

Al Neil's cabin is being renovated, and kids of all ages are heading into sports, academic, Bible, or music camps.

Lynn Valley Days are a faint memory, but Harmony Arts is fast approaching.

So, is anyone still thinking about municipal politics?  Or does the North Shore find it impossible to tear itself away from the Bar-B-Que?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Meanwhile in Ottawa

In the Middle of the Road we have Justin Trudeau, who seems to be disappointing everyone except his mother.  On the far Right we have Andrew Scheer, a name and face unknown to probably 98% of Canadians, now leader of the Conservative Party.

And on the Left* there's another leadership campaign, except that probably 85% of Canadians don't know about it, in large part because the media doesn't seem all that interested.  My vote, if I were a member, would be for Chuck Angus, but that's mostly because I'm a major fan of his old band, the Grievous Angels.

Still though, I thought I'd toss up some tweets from some of  the other contenders:

Niki Ashton is probably too far left for the contemporary NDP, but hope springs eternal.
Apparently Atlantic Canada is the place to be for aspiring NDP leaders.  Just avoid Barrington Street.

I'm guessing that the "bilingual" comment is a thinly veiled reference to Kevin O'Leary?

With the next federal election coming up just another couple of years I have to wonder what the next campaign season will bring us.   Anyone care to guess?

(* The NDP of today steers clear of "controversial" positions, support Free Trade and Israel, and you would be hard pressed to find the word "union" on any of their campaign materials.  They may be "left" of the Tories and Liberals, but many people don't see them as anything but centrist.)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Branding the North Shore

You have to hand it to the City of North Vancouver - they've got their marketing on track, selling LoLo as the hip place to be, with condos, nightlife, and easy improved Seabus access to Vancouver.  In many ways the City has been pretty successful at reinventing itself.

So if Lower Lonsdale is the place for bearded, tattooed, flat white drinking  hipsters, who is the District aiming itself at?  Their web site doesn't really offer a clue, it's strictly nuts and bolts stuff.  The Official Community Plan talks about adding 40,000 more people to the North Shore, but doesn't spend a lot of time considering who those people will be.

Families? Townhouses in our strata have just passed the $1 million dollar mark, so a lot of small families will surely be priced out of Lynn Valley unless they have inherited wealth.  Seniors? A growing group all over the country, but they too are facing financial squeezes as pensions fail to keep up with rising living expenses.  Foreign investors and immigrants?  That seems to be where West Vancouver's real estate has been heading.

The question for the District of North Vancouver is probably pretty simple: do we keep trying to maintain whatever we are now (or believe that we have been in the recent past), or do we try to plan for a new type of community and population?  Do we keep believing that because the last few decades were about single family homes, that the next half century will be the same?

Or is it time for a laissez-faire approach, just hoping that everything will work itself out?

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where—" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"—so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Chickens Redux

Get ready to flock down to the District next Tuesday evening for the Public Hearing to discuss Bylaw 8211 – Keeping of Backyard Hens.

Keeping of Domestic Hens Bylaw 8211, 2016
Purpose of Bylaw:
Bylaw 8211 proposes to regulate and allow for the keeping of backyard hens in a safe, humane, and sanitary manner that is sensitive to the needs of neighbouring properties and the environment. The bylaw will permit from two up to six hens in the District of North Vancouver in any of the Single-Family Residential Zones (RS), subject to compliance with the bylaw.

Agenda here
Public Comments here
Report to Council with more information about chicken keeping than you ever thought you would need (132 pages) here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Council Chamber, Municipal Hall
355 West Queens Road,
North Vancouver, BC