Sunday, July 26, 2015


Some would call it authoritarianism whenever a political or governmental body unilaterally takes over, co-opts, perverts or steals a peoples name or identity without their permission for whatever ulterior motive, however supposedly lofty the motive.
At its core, authoritarian tendencies, which start out as simple insensitive high-handedness, favour subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom. It centers on one person or persons who don’t consider themselves accountable, whether elected or unelected. Contained within it are elements that, in more dire conditions or circumstances, can potentially lead to ever more draconian, even fascist tendencies. Look at what’s happening to Greece!
But in a small potato way, this is how these things start when bureaucrats, like those in the DNV, begin unilaterally renaming all the former communities along the Western Gateway of the District, (See its new website:
Lower Capilano, Woodcroft, Pemberton Heights and Norgate - that formerly were bona-fide, self-identified, proud communities in their own right - now have been arbitrarily renamed, without any local input. They’ve been reduced from the status of full-fledged communities to mere neighbourhoods under the pre-eminent name – Lions Gate – that formerly was the name of a separate community whose identity now has been erased and isn’t even named as one of the neighbourhoods of the Western Gateway. But while one community’s identity has been erased, another phantom community – Pemberton – has been magically created. Where is it? Is it the light industrial area of Pemberton? The new C-9 zoned Marine Drive Corridor for future high-rise dwellers?
The DNV’s bureaucrats speak of the collective revitalization and vibrancy of these new neighbourhoods in the distant future. God Help Us All!
Such insolence! Such effrontery! It’s astonishing! Where will it end?

Jerome Irwin, 1398 Hope Road, Community of Lower Capilano, B.C. V7P 1W7

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Politicians at odds

Seems a couple of our local politicians the Honourable DNV Mayor Richard Walton and  BC MLA Jane Thornthwaite respectively have a difference of views on how much money has been spent in recent years on the local Highway. According to a front page story in reference to that in the July 5th North Shore News, Walton says, " has not had virtually a nickel put into it", but Thornthwaite in a letter to the North Shore News on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 claims that that she has pushed for improvements and that the total contribution ffom the Province on the local highway is $56.7 million. That's quite a disparity from "not virtually a nickel".  One would expect a rebuttal letter from Mayor Walton in the days ahead.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Due to technical difficulties with the Jerome Irwin article, I have posted this letter to the North Shore News editor from last week because it is a similar topic: The issue of changing the names by local governments of beloved neighbourhoods and facilities that needs either more public consultation or no change at all.

Who was William Griffin?

Before renaming the rec centre, let’s learn why his name is on it

 Why is it we find other people’s history fascinating, yet seem so dismissive of our own? North Vancouver District Council is contemplating changing the name of the William Griffin Recreation Centre, apparently because no one around the council table can recall very much about the man. I would think it is safe to assume that his contributions to the community must have been considerable for the council of the 1970s to think it proper to name a major public facility after him. So why have we forgotten, and why do we not even think it worthwhile to rediscover a leading citizen of the past? These stories are important because they tell us about the people who helped get us to where we are today. They are part of the truth of our collective story. How hard would it be to hire a summer intern or co-op history student, to research all the people our public spaces are named for? The findings could be posted at the entrances of parks, swimming pools and schools, so that we could all connect the name with the person, and learn something about our community’s history. In this way we could add a richness to where we live, the kind of thing we admire in other cities where history is kept very much alive.

North Vancouver

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cigarette Butt Epidemic Demands More Media Messaging by Governments

The Lynn Valley brush fire caused by a carelessly tossed cigarette butt, is just one example of the negative effect of butts in our community.  Not only are butts a major cause of fires, they are toxic to the environment, in fact the most prevalent form of litter on earth. World waterways are contaminated with 1.7 billion pounds of butts annually.   Such a tiny little item is having a huge negative impact. 

During the rainy season, butts float along streets, down storm drains; small enough to bypass catchment areas, they enter local creeks and shorelines.  Butts are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, which can take 25 years to decompose. Filters, specially designed to accumulate toxins, leach out, each containing up to 1,400 chemicals, lethal to species of fish, shorebirds, crustaceans &plankton. 

Sadly, the root of the problem is the well-intended smoke free policies that have led to an absence of ash trays everywhere, even in cars, the additional $100 cost for ashtrays prevents smokers from asking.   In July 2013, there were 28 roadside fires along the Parkway from butts discarded from vehicles.  Smoke free bylaws are just about everywhere, but they are never enforced. Toxic smoke lasts about 5 minutes in the air then dissipates, toxic butts last up to 25 years.

Vancouver Coastal Health states that only 8% of people smoke.  I guarantee, evident in the butt epidemic, about 95% of those smokers toss irresponsibly. On Feb. 28th, I picked up 1142 butts  at Waterfront Park and  1 butt can pollute 30 litres of water! Do the math!  Yet our Provincial, Federal and Municipalgovernment web sites and mainstream media are absent of any messaging  regarding this tragic epidemic.   PLEASE ask for a pocket ashtray when you purchase your smokes!  If you want to get involved in our Cigarette Butt Free Communities Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me.

Elise Roberts
Litter Free Communities/ Cigarette Butt Free Campaign