Tag Archives: City of Vancouver

World Clean Up Day September 21, 2019

18 Sep

world_cleanup_day_2019_27836This Saturday, September 21st is World Clean Up Day and honestly, this planet could use a little help.  Did you know that last year’s World Clean Up Day brought out 17 million people spanning 158 countries? Many people have seen videos or photos of the volumes of plastics and micro plastics floating in our oceans. We are all connected by these waters and as a City that is surrounded by water, the little things we do or don’t do every day have an impact on our environment. We are regularly surprised, amazed and disappointed how much litter is tossed in our local waterways, streets, sidewalks and parks.  Living along the Fraser River in SE Vancouver, we regularly see the total lack of any thought for the urban wildlife that is home to this area.  This area regularly sees visits from hummingbirds, chickadees, sparrows, eagles, hawks, crows, ducks, seagulls, Canadian geese, mink, beavers and most recently a deer along with the odd sea otter sightings.

Seeing the wildlife on a daily basis, residents in this area of Vancouver are passionate about regularly picking up broken glass, garbage, plastics, bottles, cans, fishing line, fishing hooks, straws and much more. There are of course garbage bins around, but for some reason, it’s too much effort for some to carry their own items a few feet to a bin.  Many of us were brought up with Don’t Be A Litterbug, but the more recent generations have had a much stronger focus in school on recycling and protecting the environment. There is a disconnect. We don’t know quite know how that happened as it’s there, we see it daily.  But what IF every resident took 15 – 20 minutes in their own neighbourhood and did bit of a clean up. The City would look a look better. Wildlife would thank you. We would thank you.

You can do something to help make the world a better place on World Clean Up Day, or every day.  Start a new habit, make a commitment to do something different. Donate clothing to a charity or thrift shop. Repurpose something. Fix something instead of throwing it away.  It can be small, small steps is where we all start.  If you are up for tackling something bigger like a neighbourhood clean up, the City of Vancouver has you covered.  To learn more about organizing a clean up or participating in one that’s already organized, visit Clean Up Party.

If you decide to tackle some clean up in your East Van neighbourhood, send us a photo, comment or email, we’d love to hear what you did.

The Napier Greenway: The City of Vancouver is Renaming Without Consultation

3 Jul

So, every once in a while, we happen across things that make us shake our heads. What we are about to share is one of those things.  For the last few years we have featured the East Van Garden Tour, which is a fundraiser for Britannia Neighbours who do an amazing job of beautifying and maintaining what we all know as the Napier Greenway. For those who don’t know it, this space is located off Commercial Drive at the entrance to Britannia Community Centre.  This is a great community space created in 2001 by the City and Britannia Neighbours (a group of community volunteers), under the City’s Green Streets Program and which has been lovingly tended to by Britannia Neighbours for the last 18 years.   We have to say we were rather surprised when we stumbled across a letter from Britannia Neighbours to the City of Vancouver about the renaming of this space to Margaret Mitchell Plaza.

For those who may not know the name, Margaret Mitchell was a Vancouver resident, social worker, and activist who was elected to the House of Commons four times to serve the riding of Vancouver East. She was the longest serving female MP when she left in 1993 after 14 years in which she boldly advanced women’s rights.  This is without a doubt someone who is worthy of recognition.

Now, getting back to the Napier Greenway, Britannia Neighbours is a group of local volunteers who started working with the City of Vancouver in 2000 to create the Napier Greenway and has, since its completion in 2001, maintained it.  They have weekly work parties, they rake and weed and prune and plant new plants and move old ones, they clean up graffiti on benches, and do other repairs as needed. They also hire someone from the nearby Kettle Friendship Society to pick up litter daily and hire someone else to water all summer.   This greenway is a gathering space that regularly hosts free community events such as Artful Sundays, the Stone Soup Festival, and activities during Car Free Day and Italian Day.  The Napier Greenway was created and is regularly invigorated by the community that surrounds and cares for it.  With no disrespect to Margaret Mitchell, the renaming of it dismisses and disrespects the hard work this community and its volunteers have put and continue to put into this space.NapierGreenway7

We have learned that there is actually a Naming Committee at the City of Vancouver which makes recommendations about places that need new names; the previous Council, however, made this decision without consulting either Britannia Neighbours or its own Naming Committee. During an in-camera meeting, the previous Council agreed, by a majority vote, without any consultation whatsoever, to rename the Napier Greenway Margaret Mitchell Plaza. The initiative for the new name we understand was led by then Vision Councillor, Andrea Reimer. The ‘without consultation’ is the part that really gets under our skin whether this issue or others that affect the communities they represent. Elected officials serve residents of the City, that includes ALL of us, those that may not have such a public face, but serve their communities tirelessly and don’t get the public recognition they deserve.

The Napier Greenway is a space residents and volunteers are proud of and we feel they have the right to maintain the name.

Margaret Mitchell was a tireless advocate for some of the poorest areas in Vancouver, so we think it is fitting that Vancouver’s second temporary modular housing facility at 2132 Ash Street was named Margaret Mitchell Place. This space creates housing for 52 members, teaches life skills, has health teams and support, and employment programs, as well as a community garden.  We think this new housing facility is a fitting tribute to Margaret Mitchell and is reflective of the work she undertook. The Napier Greenway was created and has been maintained for 18 years by Britannia Neighbours, who may be nameless and faceless, but who are worthy of recognition. All they wish to do is retain the name they created for this community gathering space, Napier Greenway.  We hope the current City Council rights this wrong.

 

What Does Community Really Mean? Notre Dame Neighbours Are Learning It Doesn’t Include Them

28 Mar

NotreDameNeighboursLogoFor those that follow us regularly, you will know we are big fans of East Van artist, June Hunter.  We have a mutual love, admiration and respect for urban nature and wildlife that call East Van home.  June Hunter and many of her neighbours organized last Fall to form a peaceful group called Notre Dame Neighbours to oppose a large stadium and artificial turf field.  This development application was proposed in 2004 – 2005 by Notre Dame School located in Hastings Sunrise. The school is just steps from June Hunter’s home.  In 2004-2005, Notre Dame School had revealed plans for a new campus, sports stadium and removal of the perimeter poplar trees.  Residents were fine with the new building, but opposed the sports stadium and tree removal.  So after some back and forth, a compromise was reached and Notre Dame School agreed to build a grass practice field instead of the stadium and keep the trees.   The building was finished a few years ago, but the sports field construction never took place.NotreDameNeighboursConcerns

In September 2018, residents learnt purely by accident that Notre Dame School had submitted a request for a minor amendment to the 2008 building permit to the City of Vancouver. But the amendment was far from minor, it was basically the original development plan submitted in 2004-2005 that was opposed by residents. This time around, funny thing, neither the City of Vancouver or Notre Dame School informed the residents of the proposed changes to the development application.

Last winter Notre Dame Neighbours started a letter writing campaign to get more information which continues you to this date with Freedom of Information requests and minimal helpful response from the City of Vancouver.

Hundreds of local residents have signed a petition, citing urgent concerns around parking, traffic safety, noise, and loss of green space and asking that the matter be moved to a new building permit process so that all of those important matters can be properly studied. Notre Dame Neighbours will hand this petition over to the City next week. If you wish to get a sense of the timeline of events, Notre Dame Neigbhours have prepared one, see Timeline.

We appreciate development and change are necessary as part of a growing City, but the communities we live in are shared by everyone who lives and works there.  That includes the wildlife and birdlife that June Hunter regularly features in her art work and on her blog.  She truly provides a bird’s eye view into the variety of species that call East Van home.  June Hunter is committed to saving her urban forest and on doing research on the topic, learnt that urban forests play an important role in climate change. June also learnt of an interesting new project called Citizen Cool Kit being discussed by the University of BC Forestry Department.  It’s an initiative encouraging local neighbourhoods to come together to lower their carbon footprint.  The view is that it is an all community based effort to combat climate change.  An important aspect of this is maintaining and enhancing our urban forests.

What we don’t like about development in Vancouver is when the City slamming the door on residents trying to get access to information about what’s happening in their own neighbourhoods.  The Notre Dame Neighbours were hopeful with a new Council having been elected last fall that there might be more transparency and although they did get a few ears after much persistence, they do feel left out of the process. Considering the repercussions that residents would have to deal with including extra noise, traffic and a host of other issues, Notre Dame Neighbours should be party to the discussions that affect their daily lives.

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There is an Open House happening at Notre Dame School, 2880 Venables Street on Wednesday, April 3rd from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The timing is a little suspect, as those with families, working and commuting, may find it challenging to make that time.

We at ILiveInEastVan are passionate about community, we all share the spaces we live  whether apartment buildings, churches, schools, streets, roadways, parks, the air, all of it.  So this one has us a bit perplexed as it’s Notre Dame Secondary School, a school which is founded on God and Community and espouses values to its student, faculty and alumni. This is what they state as their values on the school’s website and we quote (our emphasis in bold):

LOVE

We are committed to loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds, and to loving our neighbours as ourselves.

SERVICE

With Jesus Christ as our model we serve our own community and respond to the needs of the greater community through prayer and good works.

COMMUNITY

Students, teachers and staff, parents, pastors and parishes, and alumni work together as the Notre Dame community. We foster healthy relationships  between  all members of the community and we respect. 

So when they speak of community, do they mean only amongst themselves?  It certainly is the impression that the Notre Dame Neighbours are left with at this juncture.

If you wish to contact the City about this development application, you are welcome to write to Project Developer, Andrew Wroblewski at email Andrew.wroblewski@vancouver.ca or Director of Planning, Gil Kelly email Gil.Kelly@vancouver.ca.  If Vancouver wishes to continue touting itself as one of the Greenest Cities In The World, they may wish to try and keep more of what makes it green.

If you wish to learn more, visit Notre Dame Neighbours:NotreDameNeighboursStopTheStadium

Web site: www.notredameneighbours.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ndneighbours/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ndneighbours

 

Learn To Make A Provencal Vegetarian Dinner at Trout Lake Community Centre March 6th

27 Feb

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Looking to cook something new, healthy and easy for dinner? How about a Provencal Vegetarian Dinner?  Valentine of Tartine & Maple will be leading a delish cooking demonstration on Wednesday, March 6th at Trout Lake Community Centre.  She will introduce you to some food and recipes from southern Europe. During the class, Valentine will demonstrate how to make homemade Olive Tapenade Crostinis, Provence Vegetable Tian and Almond Panna Cotta. You are requested to bring a container with you so you can take leftovers home with you.  The cost is $57.14 and made through City of Vancouver. For more information, visit Tartine & Maple.

Photo Credit: Tartine & Maple

Side Glance With Al Tee: Civic Election Edition – The Top Twenty?

17 Oct

AlTeeSideGlanceTopTwentyLess than a week away and there are enough candidates running for mayor on the random ordered ballot to stage a basketball tournament. In fact, that’d be my suggestion for whittling down the number of candidates for mayor. Divide them up into four teams, play some round robin hoop, and the team with the most wins is the 5 people who get to be on the ballot. Simpler for the voters and more entertaining. Who wouldn’t want to see Wai Young dish to Fred Harding who then dunks on Ken Sim? Of course my suggestion is not treating city politics seriously and this election is serious business. It’s Vancouver’s most important in a generation, or at least that’s what it says in the mailing I got from the Kennedy Stewart campaign.

Twenty, yes twenty people want to be your mayor. Are they the twenty smartest, most imaginative, learned, insightful people in Van City? The top twenty? You decide. The candidates run the gamut from front runner Kennedy Stewart to Roller Girl and among the things all 20 have in common is a solution to our affordable housing issues.

The problem is, what exactly is affordable and what does it look like? The livable wage – that which covers your monthly expenses – is $20.91 an hour in Vancouver. Assuming you’re fortunate enough to have full time work, and are only spending 30% of your income a month on housing, you’re still looking at a minimum $1,000 per month.

What do these 20 good people, who feel you should pay them to sit in the big chair at 12th and Cambie, think a minimum $1,000 should get you? Six hundred square feet? Four hundred square feet? A half a shipping container? A studio in a forty story rabbit hutch beside a Skytrain station ?

My suspicion is that in the end affordable, presuming you’re making a livable wage, is the market rate.  Just once I’d like to hear a candidate say;

“ It’s too late. We need to focus on transit. Improve transit cause
people have to live farther out. “

Of course any candidate for mayor who would say that, would never make the top twenty.

By Contributing Writer Al Tee

What’s On East Van: February 23rd Edition

23 Feb

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Our weekly feature What’s On East Van sets out lots more cool events for the upcoming week.  Beyond the week, we invite you to check out our Event Listing which is updated daily and features events for the month and beyond.

East End/Strathcona History Walk With James Johnstone- February 24th 

James Johnstone invites you to take a walking history tour this Saturday, February 24th.  James will regale you with the history of East Vancouver on his 3 hour tour which begins at 10:00 am from 696 East Hastings Street at Heatley.  There is a cost, last we heard it was $20 per person. For more information, visit his website History Walks In Vancouver.

Tamar Ilana’s Ventanas & Lache Cercel’s Roma Swing Band – The Russian Hall – February 24th

A celebration of  Balkan, Flamenco and Sephardic music happens at the Russian Hall Saturday, February 24th.  Experience an evening of live music and dance.  Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the room.  Doors open at 7:00 pm with festivities kicking off at 8:00 pm. To learn more, or purchase tickets, visit Caravan BC.

Lanterns In The Garden –  Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens – February 23, 24 & 25

To help celebrate Chinese New Year, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens have thousands of beautiful lanterns on display in their gardens.  Come at night and be prepared to be dazzled.  There are themed lanterns handmade by local artists as well as do-it-yourself lantern making, a photo booth and more.   Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children and seniors or $45 for a family package.   Event happens from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To purchase your tickets online, or to learn more about the event, visit Lanterns In The Garden. 

Ways To Reduce Your Family’s Exposure To Toxins – Trout Lake Community Centre – February 28th

An interesting workshop is coming to Trout Lake Community Centre on Wednesday, February 28th.  You are invited to learn about small changes you can make in your environment to help with allergies and preventing disease.  The cost is $15 and registration is through the City of Vancouver.

Latte Art For Beginners – Platform 7  Coffee – March 1st

Have an espresso machine and want to up your latte game? Platform 7 Coffee‘s East Van location has started offering Latte Art Classes For Beginners every Thursday night from 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm.  No experience required. Cost is $60 per person.

Comedy, Live Music & Entertainment

If you love animated shows, you may wish to check out The 19th Annual Animation Show Of Shows happening at the Rio Theatre this Sunday afternoon. The Talking Stick Festival continues into the weekend and you can check out the Kin Balam Quartet at Café Deux Soleils on Saturday night. They blend music from various cultures including Indigenous Central and South American. The Winter Farmer Markets continue with Saturday’s being held at Nat Bailey Stadium from 10 am to 2 pm and Sunday at Hastings Parking 10 am – 2 pm.  To see more of what’s on in East Vancouver, check our Event Listing.

Image Credit: June Hunter

 

 

Emergency Preparedness – Just Do It!

26 Jan

EmergencyKitRecently Vancouver Fire & Rescue sent out a tweet which summarized some recent events which we will now quote:

“We’ve had numerous “warning” events: ’15 windstorm, ’15 earthquake, wildfires, port fire, and the recent tsunami and railyard fire.  Have you started building a Grab-n-Go bag and 72-hr Preparedness Kit? Don’t wait for the next event, start TODAY.” 

So have you started yet?  We are fairly organized and have kits in various spots including the closet at home, a bag in the car, one at the office and after attending an Emergency Preparedness Workshop offered by the City, we now have a ‘Grab N Go Bag’.  Are these kits perfect?  Absolutely not, but they are a start? Yes.  Once you start, items can easily be added.

There are so many simple things anyone can do to prepare for an emergency such as keeping a pair of walking shoes in the car.  After that, add a first aid kit and a blanket. At work, again keep some walking shoes handy along with a change of clothes. The Grab N’ Go should have some essentials like medications, cash and your insurance papers.   We found keeping a typed list of the items in each bag printed out made updating and replacing items easier.   There are many other considerations such as for your pets, communication plans for members of your family, becoming familiar with disaster routes in the City.

If you haven’t already started a kit, we recommend some simple steps to get things started including buying and setting aside a bag, add a blanket and some water. Next grocery run, pick up some bottled water, add some food. While putting your kit together, keep your kids and pets in mind.  We find adding things as you go is more manageable cost wise and time wise.   What we highly recommend is taking the 1 hour and 1 ½ hours to attend a free workshop offered by the City of Vancouver.  These workshops have valuable information on things you may never have considered.  Workshops are geared to families, seniors and are even provided in different languages.   So whether an emergency is an earthquake, flood, fire, or something else, you are somewhat prepared. As the Nike slogan said so well “Just Do It!”

On that note, we are setting out some links for the City of Vancouver one of which shows you how to Build Your Own Emergency Kit.  If you wish to get your pet prepared for an emergency, visit Pet Emergency Preparedness. Become familiar with the City’s Disaster Route Map. Did you know 41st Avenue and Boundary Road are 2 main routes?   If you live in a condominium with a number of units, we understand that the City will come to you to present to a group of residents.  Contact them directly for further information. Either way, if you haven’t already, get started on a plan.

To sign up for one of the free workshops, visit City of Vancouver.  If you are interested in volunteering in the event of an emergency, the City needs people to do that in all areas of the City. To learn more visit, How You Can Help In An Emergency.

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