Vancouver Sports News

Burnaby SkyTrain service resumes

Vancouver Sun - 4 hours 13 min ago

SkyTrain service in Burnaby resumed around 11 p.m. Monday night after being disrupted for most of the evening.

Both the Expo and Millenium lines were affected.

During the disruption Millennium line trains were running between VCC-Clark and Production, and from Lafarge to Lougheed. Expo line trains were running between Waterfront and Braid.

Bus bridges were set up between Production and Lougheed and Braid and Lougheed.

The Canada LIne and Expo line to King George were not affected.

Around 10 p.m. Monday night TransLink said on Twitter that there was no estimated time when things would be back to normal.

#SkyTrain M-Line running between VCC-Clark & Production.Expo Line running between Waterfront & Braid. M-Line running from Lafarge to Lougheed. Bus Bridge between Production & Lougheed Stn & Braid-Lougheed Stn Canada LIne & Expo Line to King George not affected . ^jkd

— TransLink BC (@TransLink) June 19, 2018

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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

District of North Vancouver moves forward with Emery Village development

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:58

The District of North Vancouver approved a proposed development in Lynn Valley that would create 411 new homes but displace 61 families.

In a 4-3 decision, council voted to grant Mosaic a rezoning permit for Emery Village, a purpose-built rental housing complex the developer purchased over two years ago.

The plan is to replace the 51-year-old complex located on a treed five-acre lot with 411 units and six buildings. The new units will be made up of 327 market condos and 84 rental units, evenly divided between market rentals and affordable rentals.

“I can’t say I’m shocked but I’m thoroughly disappointed, and in fact, devastated,” said Emery Village resident Kelly Bond.


Councillors who supported the project said it provides much-needed rental housing stock in the district, which has a 0.3 per cent rental vacancy rate.

“The application is consistent with the OCP (official community plan) and the Lynn Valley plan which has gone through a rigorous planning process,” said Mayor Richard Walton, noting that the proposed development has a density of 2.15 FSR, less than the 2.5 FSR allowed under the plan.

Coun. Roger Bassam said the housing that will be created will be affordable to many families, and that it is in the community’s best interest to allow rentals to be built as quickly as possible.

Critics said the impact on the vulnerable residents of the rental complex is too high a price to pay.

It is unacceptable for residents to be “collateral damage,” said Coun. Jim Hanson.

“If we are judging this rezoning against the criteria of housing affordability and the curing and solving of the housing crisis in North Vancouver, this rezoning fails,” he said.

“It doesn’t achieve enough around housing affordability to make it worthy of our support.”

Coun. Lisa Muri spoke emotionally about why she rejects the application.

“We’re gentrifying our community. We are not as diverse as we used to be because we are pushing out people who cannot afford these condos,” she said.

Muri later appealed to the developer to put the project on hold until the city can move forward with a temporary housing project in Maplewood that could house displaced residents.

Mosaic has offered a compensation package to residents that includes three months of free rent and $2,000 in moving expenses.

Some longtime residents have already moved out, but Bond estimates about 45 families still remain.

Bond, who pays under $2,200 a month for a four-bedroom townhouse for her, her husband and four children, said other alternatives on the market are at least $700 more per month.

“Ultimately what (the compensation package) comes down to for most families is it’s a band-aid,” she said.

The demoviction would affect seniors, single parents, and families — many of whom aren’t able to find an affordable rental in the neighbourhood, she added.

“All of us are looking at very grim possibility of leaving the North Shore because there’s nothing affordable here.”

Despite the decision, Bond said the fight is not over as the project still needs to go through the development permit process for each phase.

“Council may have voted to advance this, but we are certainly not going to go hide in the corner.”


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Park board looking at revitalization of public courtyard in Chinatown

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:22

The courtyard in front of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown is crying out for revitalization, says Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung.

At Monday’s park board meeting, Kirby-Yung’s motion to work with the city and community leaders to explore a redesign of the neglected but valuable space received unanimous support from park board commissioners.

The courtyard is barren and bricked-over. It feels unwelcoming, yet it is surrounded by important historical and cultural organizations such as the Chinese Cultural Centre and the Chinese-Canadian Military Museum, as well as the beauty of the garden itself.

A quick walk around the sun-drenched courtyard reveals boarded-over broken windows, snarls of electrical wire and garbage.

“The electrical is a real concern,” said Kirby-Yung. “Imagine what would happen if you had a fire in an important heritage area like this.”

The Sun Yat-Sen Garden operates in partnership with the park board, and the board also manages the adjoining park and public courtyard, said Kirby-Yung.

Although seniors use the space occasionally for tai-chi and exercise, Kirby-Yung said the poor sightlines from the street and frequent vandalism have raised issues of safety. “People feel worried about coming in, that they are not safe.”

The courtyard can be entered off Pender Street, or via a fire lane off Carrall Street.

Kirby-Yung, who serves as the park board liaison to the Sun Yat-Sen Garden executive, said the garden’s board and the Chinatown Historical Area planning committee want to find a long-term solution for the space in consultation with the community.

With the city pursuing a UNESCO World Heritage designation for Chinatown, now is the right time to address the issue and begin community consultations, said Kirby-Yung.

Vincent Kwan, executive director of the Sun Yat-Sen Garden, said the courtyard “has always been an issue.” Although it is the heart of a valuable cultural area, “vandalism and unwanted activities are taking place,” said Kwan.

Kwan suggests lighting and landscaping could resolve some of the problems and make it more inviting. “We need to ask how we can leverage unique spaces like this as a way to add to Chinatown as a cultural asset.”

Kwan imagines the space becoming a hub for Chinese culture, art and food. “Art and food are important assets that we want to celebrate. It’s worth a conversation with the wider community.”

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Remains of two people found near Ucluelet; police major crimes unit investigates

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:27

RCMP say it is too early to tell if the remains of two people found near Ucluelet are those of two men who disappeared last month.

Ryan Daley and Daniel Archbald were last seen leaving the dock in Ucluelet on May 16 after paying for a month of moorage on a sailboat they had sailed from Panama.

In a news release, the Mounties said the Vancouver Island major crime unit is investigating and officers are in contact with the families of the missing men, whose disappearance police have called suspicious.

Police said the remains were found by a woman walking her dog late last week, but they do not say on what day or exactly where the discovery was made.

Officers are working with the B.C. Coroners Service to identify the remains.

Daniel Archbald, 37, and Ryan Daley, 43, were last seen leaving the Ucluelet harbour on foot on May 16.

Shortly after the RCMP news was released on Monday, a “Find Dan and Ryan” Facebook page was shut down. It had been originally set up after they were reported missing to help coordinate communication and search efforts.

In recent days, Daley’s family updated a GoFundMe page set up to pay for searches for the two men, suggesting Archibald’s family were preparing for the worst-case scenario.

“As Dan’s family begins planning for the unbelievably difficult possibility that they will have to live in a world without him, our family will continue investing in search efforts to bring them home,” they wrote.

Among future plans, the Daleys had hoped to hire thermal drones to continue the search in the area their son and his friend were last seen.

“We hope to hire thermal drones in the coming days and explore the possibility of working with a missing persons investigator.”


Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Temperature records fall amid heat warning for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:02

Temperature records fell across B.C. on Monday after a heat warning was issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The hottest place in B.C. was Pemberton, which shattered a 41-year-old record, posting a high temperature of 37.4 C. The previous record was 35.6 C in 1977.

Five other Environment Canada weather stations saw new records set for June 18: Comox Airport’s high was 33.3, besting 1958’s 32.2; it was 36.1 in Kitimat, breaking the previous record high of 35 set in 2004; another 2004 record was broken, as Malahat, on the west coast of Saanich Inlet, hit 32.1 Monday, breaking the previous mark of 30.4; Nakusp recorded a high of 32.9, breaking a more-than-century-old record, 1912’s 31.7; and in Stewart, the high was 31.8, breaking a third 2004 record, 30.9.

Four communities came close to setting records: Dawson Creek hit 30 C, just 0.6 degrees shy of the previous record; Lillooet, where it was 37.1, just 0.1 degrees short; Port Alberni’s high of 34.6 was one degree short of the record; and Pitt Meadows, where the high was 32.8, 0.2 degrees short of the record.

The heat warning remains in effect for Tuesday, with temperatures in the low 30s, which is approximately 12 to 14 degrees above the average for the middle of June, as a strong ridge of high pressure remains in place along the coast.

“The interior is still under the influence of a low,” Environment Canada’s Michel Gelinas said.

The sun and the heat will stick around through Wednesday, he said, when things are expected to start cooling down.

“From Wednesday onward you’re looking at a cooling trend.”

Environment Canada and the Lower Mainland Medical Health Officers expect an increase in health and safety risks from heat and are advising the public to take precautions.

WorkSafe B.C. reminds employers and workers of the risks of heat stress, which, left untreated, can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. WorkSafe says it accepted 30 claims in 2017 for work-related injuries caused by heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat stress occurs when your internal temperature increases faster than the body can cool itself. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excess sweating, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps. Symptoms of heat stroke include cessation of sweating, an increased breathing rate, confusion, seizures and even cardiac arrest.

Landscapers and horticulturists, welders and metal fabricators, longshoremen, logging and forestry workers and construction workers are most at risk of heat-related injuries.

“People who work outdoors face many risks when the weather gets hot,” WorkSafeBC’s Dan Strand said. “Employers are required to know if their workers are at risk, and need to perform a heat-stress assessment and implement a mitigation plan accordingly.”

How to stay safe in the heat:

• Drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty and stay in a cool place. (One glass every 20 minutes.)

• Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric such as cotton.

• Check on older family, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water

• Reduce your heat risk. Schedule outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day.

• Seek a cool place such as a tree-shaded area, swimming pool, shower or bath or an air-conditioned spot like a public building. When working be sure to take breaks in shaded areas; employers should provide shade and water.

• Do hard physical work during the coolest parts of the day: before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Employers should assign work duties during hot periods on a rotational basis and look to modify processes to reflect weather conditions.

• When working, don’t work alone and have first-aid and emergency procedures available.

• Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.

• Ask a health professional how medications or health conditions can affect your risk in the heat.

• Watch for the symptoms of heat illness: dizziness/fainting; nausea/vomiting; rapid breathing and heartbeat; extreme thirst; decreased urination with unusually dark urine.

• Plan ahead for work-rest cycles before workers feel ill; it might be too late if you wait.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan with adopted babies by 'bureaucratic nightmare'

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:46

Five B.C. families adopting children in Japan are caught in limbo after the Canadian government put a pause on issuing visas for their new children as it tries to figure out whether Japanese rules have changed.

The couples had each received a letter of approval for the adoption from the B.C. government before leaving for Japan. After getting that letter, the Canadian visa for the child usually only takes a few weeks.

Three families have been stuck waiting in Tokyo for more than two months, while two other couples have been waiting for six weeks — a debacle that has caused the new parents serious financial and emotional strain.


The reason for the delay, Ottawa says, is an update on the U.S. State Department’s website on May 15 that says the Japanese government recently informed the U.S. that all inter-country adoptions must be authorized by Japanese courts under Japanese law. Ottawa asked Japan on June 7 whether that rule applies to Canadians.

“The way these families did this is the way its been done in probably 200 other cases in the last 10 years in Japan,” said Alex Stojicevic, the Vancouver-based lawyer representing the families.

A spokesperson for the federal Immigration Department also confirmed that seeking Japanese court approval has not been part of the process for Canadian families. The official said the adoption processes cannot be completed until the issue is clarified with Japanese authorities.

Ryan Hoag and his wife Wiyani Prayetno are awaiting a visa for their newly-adopted daughter before they can return to Coquitlam.

For Ryan Hoag and Wiyani Prayetno, a couple from Coquitlam, it was an instant attachment when they first met their 10-week-old adopted daughter. 

“I instantly fell in love with her. You feel happy, warm and excited. She’s a beautiful baby,” said Hoag. “She’s engaging with her mother, and giggles when we sing and dance with her.”

But Hoag was forced to return to B.C. to work in early June, after being in Tokyo for more than a month. Now separated from his wife and child, Hoag calls the situation a “bureaucratic nightmare.”

“It’s a horrific situation,” Hoag said. “She’s been put in a situation worse than a single parent. She doesn’t have any friends or family to support her. And it’s just dragging on and on.”

The families have all been staying at the same hotel. Three spouses have had to return to B.C. for work and to meet family obligations. Some of them have resorted to second mortgages and lines of credit to pay for the additional costs.

Hoag and his wife have already paid about $10,000. Each day costs the couple an additional $500 for the hotel and food, plus buying baby equipment they already have in B.C.

Lee Fodi and Marcie Nestman from Vancouver, have been stuck in Tokyo for two months awaiting a visa for their newly adopted baby boy. The parents have requested the baby’s face be blurred out.

For Lee Fodi and Marcie Nestman from Vancouver, who spoke using Skype from Tokyo, the difficulties have been similar.

“We already live in one of the most expensive cities in the world in Vancouver and now we’re setting up home in another expensive city in the world,” said Lee Fodi.

The lack of information from Canadian authorities has caused anxiety for the parents, some of whom are in Japan on a 90-day travellers visa.

“We’re just left in limbo not knowing how long,” Nestman said. “We were confident that our visa was going to come right away.”

Stojicevic said that Canadian adoption law, specifically in B.C., is very different from American law.

“B.C. doesn’t have a requirement of severing the (biological) parent and child relationship at the time of a transfer of custody. It can happen later. The United States requires that at a federal level for immigration purposes,” he said.

Concerned with time, Stojicevic said he sought multiple legal opinions himself, which he passed on to the federal government. He said one report, by a law professor who is a former  Japanese judge, states that Japan does not require its family courts to approve adoptions by British Columbians.

“Our hearts go out to the prospective parents, who have travelled to Japan to adopt children,” said a spokesperson for the Immigration department. “We understand and sympathize with their very difficult situation, however IRCC must respect its obligations under international and Canadian laws.”

But each day that passes Hoag says it’s valuable time lost where the families could be starting the next chapter of their lives.

“What’s lost in the mess is that there are five Canadian families that have spent months or years taking courses and training for this. To be faced with this is such an unfortunate situation, and really something that nobody should have to face.”


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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Ian Mulgrew: B.C. policing tougher on taxpayers than crime

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:43

Former provincial Liberal public safety minister and solicitor general, erstwhile municipal police chief, ex-Vancouver street cop-turned-academic, Kash Heed needed no prodding.

He erupted in disbelief at RCMP Asst. Commissioner Dwayne McDonald — Surrey’s police chief for two years after being at the heart of gang investigations before that — begging for more officers and funding.

“More money!” scoffed Heed incredulously, who is now a public safety consultant.

For a generation, he has advocated for a complete overhaul of B.C.’s policing system.

“The reasons are even more persuasive today than they were more than 20 years ago — we need an effective, accountable police service for the people of Vancouver and B.C.,” he insisted Monday.

“I have a lot of respect for the men and women who are out there every night trying to make a difference. My disdain is held for the police leaders maintaining the status quo, which seems to be what their political masters want.”

It’s a Cadillac but balkanized system that is not doing its job.

“Gang violence — we have had minimal effect,” Heed said. “We have police leaders advocating for the same system that has moved them up the ranks over the years. You don’t have police leaders who will say, ‘this is what needs to be done.’ There’s no will for change — and municipal politicians will never demand change.”

In political office from 2009-2013, Heed tried in vain to achieve regional policing in the capital, the Lower Mainland and central Okanagan. He believes more sophisticated crime and the more complicated job of policing in the 21st century requires the old military model to be transformed.

The Mounties (a third of the national force operates in the province), and B.C.’s patchwork quilt of municipal and other policing agencies aren’t tough on the crime we face, they’re tough on taxpayers — $1.8 billion a year, Heed added. 

“Yet never has the auditor general scrutinized how that money is spent,” emphasized Heed. “I wanted to change it.”


That was political suicide.

Yet ask yourself: is the system working? The recent execution of two teenage Surrey kids minimized as “targeted.” Some 200 unsolved murders, multiple bailiwicks that seem to have bedevilled every major investigation since B.C. serial killer Clifford Olson nearly 40 years ago — Willie Pickton, the Air India bombing, the Canada Day terrorism plot farce, ongoing organized crime prosecutions …

The jurisdictional shell game coupled with the lack of transparency and accountability would be an ongoing joke if there weren’t also a lengthening victim list: Frank Paul, Ian Bush, Robert Dziekanski, the 2007 Oak Bay family murder-suicide, the scores of murdered women and girls, the Surrey Six …

Who was surprised to learn it had taken 10 years for the family of Lisa Dudley to hear her dying words and of the callous laughter of those responding to that tragically bungled call of gunshots in Mission?

Similarly, nearly a decade later we still don’t know the full story of Mountie misconduct in the Surrey Six investigation or why charges were dropped against accused mastermind Jamie Bacon.

“It’s ridiculous, there’s no will, there’s no understanding, the bureaucracy works so hard at influencing the politicians,” Heed maintained.

“Municipal politicians are just as bad because they will not provide the leadership.”

He had no optimism — “none whatsoever.”

“In Victoria, they really don’t get it. They don’t understand. You have a bureaucracy that is primarily former RCMP officers and the politicians don’t have the will or the understanding to change it.”

Municipal police departments and the RCMP all but thumb their nose at civilian oversight and the people who pay their exorbitant bills.

In 2013, the federal Parliamentary budget officer reported the crime rate had fallen 23 per cent over the previous decade, the cost of policing had jumped 41 per cent.

Federal or provincial, it all comes out of the same pocket — taxpayers’.

“We need more oversight of it,” Heed insisted. “Never, never has the auditor general come in to see how the province’s policing money is spent. The people in power in Victoria wouldn’t let me go to the auditor general. Quote me on all this. They are absolutely fearful of the auditor general.”

He and his deputy minister did their own internal audit, Heed said — “to this day that report has never seen the light of day.”

Heed’s career certainly didn’t benefit from such contrarian views.

Across the country, provinces and big cities are facing outrageous costs for cops while crime rates remain at lows unseen in generations.

“Throw a few dollars at this program? Throw a little bit more money? Placate the community. It’s the default political response. Throw a few dollars at it until the public outcry blows over. Or launch a committee to look into it. Let’s look at guns and gangs again — Jesus Christ, how many reports do we need? Accountability, they need to be held accountable.”



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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

REAL SCOOP: Jimi Sandhu behind bars in India

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:22

In December 2015, Jimi Sandhu testified at an immigration hearing that he had turned over a new leaf, had married and was starting a business in Edmonton.

But he was deported a few months later for serious criminality.

Now he is in jail in India for allegedly being part of an international ketamine production and smuggling operation.

I got details from some Indian news reports and am trying to get more information, which I hope to have in the coming days. For example, I couldn’t confirm Monday than another Canadian arrested, who India is calling Nguyen Manh Cuong, is actually Dhak associate Ken Cuong Manh Nguyen. I believe he likely is, but need more confirmation of that.

Here’s my story:

Deported gang associate arrested in India for running drug factory KIM BOLAN Updated: June 18, 2018 A longtime Abbotsford gang associate deported to India two years ago has been arrested there for allegedly producing the drug ketamine at his factory in Goa.

Jimi Singh Sandhu once tried to convince an immigration board official that he was a changed man and had left his criminal life and gang associations behind.

He begged for another chance to stay in Canada, the country he had lived in since the age of seven.

“I would just like one chance, one opportunity to prove myself to you,” he said at the time. “I won’t let you down.”

But the Canadian official said she was unconvinced that Sandhu was reformed and that he minimized his role in violent assaults in 2010 and 2012.

He was also charged with killing rival Red Scorpion gang leader Matt Campbell in Abbotsford in January 2014, but the charge was stayed a year later.

Sandhu was deported in early 2016 for serious criminality.

Now 28, he is in judicial custody after being arrested June 14 in India and charged with running an illicit drug manufacturing plant, according to Indian news reports.

Another man identified as Canadian Nguyen Manh Cuong was also charged, along with nine others — two of whom are British nationals who live in Goa.

The Hindustan Times reported that Cuong told Indian police that he met Sandhu in Vietnam and was helping him make connections to sell ketamine there.

Cuong also claimed that he agreed to travel to India to guide Sandhu in processing ketamine at the Goa factory.

Police seized 308 kilograms of ketamine, 2,000 kilograms of precursor chemicals, as well as opium, cocaine and hashish.

The Times also said investigators believe the drug gang was smuggling its product out of India and selling it to traffickers in Canada and Africa.

Sandhu was once closely associated to Jujhar Khun-Khun, Sukh Dhak and members of the United Nations gang. Some of his friends have been part of the gang conflict that has left dozens dead across the Lower Mainland over the last three years. Khun-Khun pleaded guilty in Kelowna on May 1 to conspiracy to kill Red Scorpion Jonathan Bacon in 2011 and was sentenced to 18 years minus pre-trial credit. Dhak, who was behind the Bacon murder, was shot to death in November 2012.

Abbotsford police were so concerned about Sandhu’s gang involvement that it took the extraordinary step in 2015 of warning the public to steer clear of him or risk getting caught in the crossfire.

Sgt. Brenda Winpenny of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit said Sandhu was “long-known to police here for his involvement in organized crime.”

“This is just another example of these individuals tied to the criminal lifestyle here in Canada that have left and continued on with their criminal paths in another country,” Winpenny said.

Sandhu himself acknowledged to the immigration board that he knew he had to change his life.

At his hearing two and a half years ago, he said: “I know that path is either go to jail or you die.”



Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Lee Poirier: Salmon farming provides for our families, and feeds the world

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 19:00

I am writing to voice my support for salmon farming, and hopefully shed some light on the financial and environmental reality of this important coastal industry.

I am a partner in Tidal Enterprises, a small Nanaimo-based business that provides ropes, mooring tackle, and similar equipment to the aquaculture and fishing industries. In addition to myself and my business partner our company employs five people — with good, family-supporting jobs. Myself, I’ve raised my three kids by working within both the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries — all three of my children have completed their education here on Vancouver Island and will be a part of the future on our coast.

We spend significant money with domestic manufacturers here in B.C. and across Canada such as Polysteel Atlantic, Northwest Plastics, Canada Rope and Twine, to name a few. We are constantly traveling the coast so I’m certain the hotels and restaurants in these small communities appreciate the ongoing business.

Since Tidal Enterprises was founded 12 years ago, 80 per cent of our growth has been directly related to B.C.’s growing aquaculture industry. This was generally influenced by the wild fisheries dramatic decline and much-required conservation programs implemented over the past 25 years.

When I was younger, in the late ’70s and the ’80s, I worked as a deckhand on commercial fishing boats.

I realized then just how efficient we had become at filling our holds with wild salmon. In time, it became clear we needed a sustainable strategy to relieve pressure on wild fisheries. We would need a solution to prevent what could be comparable to the collapse of the Atlantic northwest cod fishery in 1992.

We cannot keep fishing out wild stocks for food. People are not going to have a choice. If we want to eat fish it needs to be a blend of farmed and wild.

B.C.’s salmon farming industry is a best fit solution.

Fact is, more than half the fish humans eat today is farmed, and the UN recently projected that will grow to two-thirds by 2030. Way back in 1973, Jacques Cousteau wrote that with declining fish stocks we would have to learn how to farm the seas. Look it up — he was a visionary.

Any industry is going to have challenges, but with good decisions and regulations those challenges can be addressed.

In B.C., salmon farming is done right. There is plenty of informative and real science to support salmon farming sustainability in B.C. waters. Today, B.C. is a global leader in salmon farming, so much so that fish farmers from other places around the world are now getting ideas about how to farm more sustainably from what we do here. It is sustainable, well-regulated, and contributes greatly to the province’s overall economy.

Without industry we don’t have the money needed to build or maintain the things we love about our province. If we want to live on B.C.’s coast, we need some industry like salmon farming to pay for our services. We need to create jobs — especially in our smaller communities.

Salmon farming also provides a product we eat here in B.C. and a wonderful export opportunity to feed the world one of the healthiest foods on the planet. That relieves pressure on wild salmon.

That alone should be enough to inspire all British Columbians to support the industry.

We are hopeful that the overwhelming amount of supportive information that is available to the public and our government is made available and taken seriously.

Any further restrictions to the industry will have real impacts on real people’s jobs, their families, their communities, and on wild fish. To a small company like ours, salmon farming is vital.

Lee Poirier is a partner in Tidal Enterprises, which provides marine products including rope, chain, buoys, netting, and rigging hardware.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones: Transition salmon aquaculture to closed containment

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 19:00

The time has come to transition to closed containment salmon aquaculture in British Columbia.

It is time to transition British Columbia’s open net salmon aquaculture industry to closed containment.  Momentum is gathering globally — and close to home — for very good reasons.  Today, industry and communities face significant challenges which are serious cause for concern.

From a business perspective, the global industry is operating in an increasingly unpredictable environment.  The biological costs to control sea lice and viruses are rising.  The industry is not able to control stock losses or escapes.  Licenses are very difficult if not impossible to secure.  Public support for the status quo is attenuating.  Globally, capital is being invested in closed containment facilities, and British Columbia and Canada should not miss this important shift.

From an environmental perspective, there is mounting evidence that sea lice and virus transfer threaten wild salmon stocks.  Norway has put a moratorium on open net farms due to the sea lice problem.  Last summer’s complete net pen collapse in Washington State resulted in an outright ban within two months of the disaster. All Washington State licenses will have expired by 2025.

From a science perspective, in May the results of the multi-year Strategic Salmon Health Initiative study led by Dr. Kristi Miller in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Genome BC and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, found that the PRV virus known to cause disease in farmed Atlantic salmon causes disease in Chinook salmon in British Columbia.  As a result the non-partisan Pacific Salmon Foundation has stated that open net salmon farming poses biological risks to the abundance and diversity of already depleted wild Pacific salmon.  It is calling for a transition to closed containment and that governments take immediate action to remove open net farms from migratory routes.

From an Indigenous perspective, most — not all — Indigenous communities are opposed to open net farms in their territories.  Innovation presents the potential for industry and First Nations to be enterprise partners.  Transitioning to closed containment is a way for nation to nation collaboration in pursuit of business opportunity, trade and a healthy natural environment.

From a trade perspective, Canada is a trusted global leader in high-value, safe, secure, sustainable food.  The potential to develop our agri-food sector, particularly in light of recent trade agreements, is exceptional.  Farmed salmon produced in Canada is a first class consumer product.  Through technology and innovation in the sector, Canada can bring farmed salmon to global markets, create jobs and strengthen the economy.

For those familiar with the recommendations of the Cohen Commission, the promotion of the farmed fish industry should be the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture.

As British Columbians, there is nothing more perfect or more respected than wild salmon.  The province of British Columbia and the federal government are poised to work together to protect wild salmon, to grow Canada’s agrifood exports and to foster positive Indigenous relations.  Other countries are moving faster.

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, has introduced a new Fisheries Act, restoring essential protections lost under the previous government.  The forward-looking legislation honours sustainability, the precautionary principle and ecosystem management.

Now is the time to take a regional approach to aquaculture in Canada and to explain how we plan to transition to closed containment on the west coast of British Columbia.

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones is the member of parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Meggs reels in the racist, toxic times of salmon strikes on the Fraser

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 06:00

Strange New Country: The Fraser River Salmon Strikes of 1900-1901 and the Birth of Modern British Columbia

Geoff Meggs | Harbour Publishing

$22.95, 224 pages

Fishing for salmon has always been difficult, demanding work, and this book records an important struggle to determine who in B.C. would benefit from that work.

Ever since salmon and human populations colonized the coast of what is now B.C. as the last ice age ended, the big migratory fish has been an important source of human nourishment, nourishment gained by tough and sometimes lethal work.

For the First Nations of this coast, the big fish were not only a source of food. They were woven into religion, art and culture on a terrain that was in part shaped by the volumes of marine proteins they brought upstream each year.

Geoff Meggs’s deft new history, Strange New Country, tells the story of a crucial moment in that complex struggle, the time of fishermen’s strikes on the Fraser in 1900 and 1901.

But by the turn of the 20th century, a new relation to salmon was being forged as settlers from Europe and Asia (particularly Japan) confronted the descendants of the First Nations that had lived in balance with the salmon runs for so long, engaging in complicated, multi-cornered conflict (among themselves and against a domineering master class of “canners,” businessmen buccaneers led by the domineering Henry Bell Irving) as the fisheries on B.C.’s big salmon streams were being wrenched into a new, uglier, industrial model.

Geoff Meggs’s deft new history, Strange New Country, tells the story of a crucial moment in that complex struggle, the time of fishermen’s strikes on the Fraser River in 1900 and 1901.

Meggs, whose current day job is as chief of staff to B.C. Premier John Horgan, tells this complicated story in lucid, well-researched prose, and argues persuasively that we need to understand the events of those tumultuous two years if we want to understand our modern province.

This is a colourful story, full of vivid characters such as Bell Irving, a quintessential and rage driven capitalist oligarch, George Kelly, the resourceful Tsimshian leader who later assumed the ancient and powerful name Lig’ex, Yasushi Yamazaki, the violent, mercurial descendent of a traditional samurai family who moved from the union side to the anti-union side as class conflict roiled the Fraser’s waters, and Frank Rogers, militant longshoreman who led fishermen in fierce conflicts with the canners and was later shot dead on the Vancouver docks.

This is a book of labour history, a book about racism and its toxic effects and an exciting story of adventure. Anyone who wants to understand B.C. should read This Strange New Country.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. The closest he ever got to the fishing industry was a short stint working in a warehouse during the herring roe fishery years ago. He welcomes your feedback and story tips at:

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Vancouver man will build you a laneway house for free — but there's a catch

Vancouver Sun - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 04:00

Duane Laird wants to build you a laneway house for free.

The catch? (Because you knew it was too good to be true.) Laird gets the rental income for 12 years before handing over the keys.

The local businessman came up with the idea to address Vancouver’s affordability crisis while looking for a tiny home himself.

“I live in an apartment right now, but I would like an independent home,” he said. “If you did this, I think you’d have a lineup of people who wanted to live in the city.”

On his website,, Laird outlines the steps he’d take if he found a willing property owner. First, the property would need to be evaluated to ensure it could support a second dwelling. The businessman figures more than 25,000 Vancouver properties fit the bill.

If the property was suitable, Laird would enter into a contract with the property owner, who would essentially hire him to build a laneway house. Instead of paying him, however, the property owner would agree to let Laird control the rental income for a period of time, about 12 years.

At the end of that time, the debt would be deemed paid, and the laneway house would be at the property owner’s disposal.

As Laird put it: “They’re lending me their backyard for a time.”

The contract would also make provisions for several possible scenarios, such as the property owner deciding to sell the property partway through the contract, or a family member wanting to move into the laneway house.

Laird would have final say on the home’s design as it needs to stay within his budget, but he’s committed to collaborating with the property owner to ensure it fits within the neighbourhood. He’s already chosen a company to supply the prefabricated steel.

“When people build (laneway homes) themselves, they tend to make little jewel boxes,” he said, admitting “I’m not really interested in cherry hardwood floors. That’s not how you make money.”

Laird said he has enough capital to build several laneway homes, and he believes he could interest private investors if his idea took off.

He cannot finance the construction with a bank loan because he would not actually own the property.

Asked why a homeowner would agree to his scheme rather than building a laneway home themselves, Laird said many Vancouver homeowners are already overextended or at their credit limit. “This is a way to do it without having to pay for it.”

Laneway homes have been identified in the city’s Housing Vancouver affordability strategy, which will be voted on by council next week.

Along with the creation of a $2-billion affordable-housing fund, the plan is focused on increasing density in single-family neighbourhoods. City staff have recommended duplex zoning in formerly single-family zones, as well as changes to zoning regulations for the laneway house program, which would make it easier and faster for property owners to build laneway homes.

The city predicts about 4,000 new laneway homes will be built in Vancouver over the next decade, 50 per cent of which are expected to be two-and three-bedroom units suitable for families.

More than 3,300 permits for laneway houses have been issued since the program was introduced in 2009, according to the city. About 90 per cent of all laneway houses are built in conjunction with a new house, likely due to construction affordability, while about 45 per cent of all new houses are built with a laneway house.

A city survey found most laneway houses take less than one-and-a-half years to develop and cost under $300,000.

Increasing the housing supply, including the creation of a “greater diversity of housing options in our low-density neighbourhoods” is a key component of Vancouver’s affordable housing strategy. The goal is to make half of the 72,000 homes built in the next 10 years affordable to households with incomes of $80,000 or below.

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Photos: Main Street Car Free Day

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 19:43

The best way to get to know a neighbourhood is by foot, and that’s exactly what thousands of people did Sunday at the Main Street Car Free Day festival, the largest car-free festival in Vancouver.

Over 21 blocks, from Broadway to 30th, the popular summer festival showcased musicians and entertainers on 15 stages, independent shops and businesses, and a plethora of food vendors.

Car Free Days aim to reclaim thoroughfares from traffic and promote them as pedestrian-friendly, community-focused public spaces.

Jeff McLellan carries 8yr old daughter Madison on his shoulders as thousands enjoy Car Free Day on Main street in Vancouver, BC, June 17, 2018.

Jeremy Pang jumps obstacles on Car Free Day on Main street in Vancouver, BC, June 17, 2018.

Thousands enjoyed Car Free Day on Main street in Vancouver, BC, June 17, 2018.

Justin Brokop sits in the shade under a mural as thousands enjoy Car Free Day on Main street in Vancouver, BC, June 17, 2018.

Dani Barnes of Village Vancouver (working to build sustainable communities in cities) enjoys Car Free Day on Main street in Vancouver, BC, June 17, 2018.

Thousands enjoy Car Free Day on Main street in Vancouver, BC, June 17, 2018.

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Dermot Kelleher: A medical school gets its own education

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 19:00

One day last month, the star attractions at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver were not performers, but newly-minted practitioners of medicine: the 2018 medical graduates of the University of B.C.

Our “hooding ceremony” — an event for MD students that complements UBC’s larger graduation ceremony — takes a bit longer than it used to, and for good reason: Few medical schools in North America have grown as fast as UBC’s over the past decade. Our medical school program now ranks as the fifth largest in the U.S. and Canada.

But even more notable than the number of students is the diversity of paths that brought them to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre that day. More than a third of those nearly 300 graduates attended most of their classes and clinics far from Vancouver — some in northern B.C., some in the Interior, and others on Vancouver Island.

UBC, along with Université de Montréal, were the first schools in Canada to fully decentralize medical education, and many of our peers have created variations on that theme. After 10 years of bestowing ceremonial hoods on students who were educated around the province, we now consider it a fundamental part of our school’s structure and culture, woven into our institutional DNA.

Yet if it had been up to us, we probably wouldn’t have done it.

Academia prizes its autonomy and independence, most laudably in the freedom we bestow on faculty to express themselves and to choose their avenues of scholarly research. The flip side to that autonomy is the notorious context of the “ivory tower,” where academic institutions are seen as isolated from responding to the needs of society.

We were largely standing apart in 2000, when residents in Prince George staged a rally to protest the region’s chronic shortage of physicians. Although UBC had the only medical school in the province, it seemed to be a distant problem for us at the time — perhaps regarded in some quarters as something for the politicians to solve. After all, most of our administrators and faculty were clustered in Vancouver, 800 kilometres away, working and teaching in large urban hospitals.

Fortunately, B.C.’s leaders turned to UBC — in partnership with the University of Northern B.C., the University of Victoria, and later with UBC’s Okanagan campus — to help fix the persistent imbalance of physicians across the province.

Our goal, we decided, was a medical education program that taught and trained a large share of students where doctors are most needed. By exposing students to a variety of communities, especially in rural and remote areas, we hoped more of them would consider pursuing their careers in such locales.

To make that happen, we had to venture far outside our comfort zone. We collaborated with other universities to create regional campuses. We worked with hospitals to reconfigure spaces for learning. We invested in sophisticated information technology to connect our students and faculty across vast distances. It amounted to nothing less than re-working a century-old model of centralized, mostly urbanized medical education.

Changing an educational model and broadening the horizons of the next generation of doctors are long-range undertakings. But after a decade, we are seeing results. More than 100 physicians now working in northern B.C. have been trained in our programs there, either as medical students or residents — perhaps 100 more than would have been there if we had continued standing apart.

In the process, our medical school has been transformed — not just in how we teach our students, but in how we see ourselves.

Standing apart is no longer an option. Social accountability is now a fundamental tenet of our strategic plan, as demonstrated by our recruitment and support of Indigenous students, more than 80 of whom have graduated since we launched our distributed model. And there is hardly a health question or health challenge that our researchers are not tackling.

Schools and universities are often reluctant to take it upon themselves to undertake such dramatic transformations. But we must be open and willing to embrace the needs of society, even if that means venturing out of our comfort zones.

It was hard for us to grasp at the time, but the province’s push to make our medical education program more publicly responsive was necessary not only for British Columbians, but for us. If the public comes to regard universities as cloistered enclaves of detached scholars, irrelevant to the problems and crises of our particular time and our particular communities, then we will see our support shrivel. We might also find it difficult to replenish our faculties with society’s most curious, innovative minds.

So, just as we broadened our students’ horizons by teaching them in the province’s remote communities, universities should be ready to broaden their own horizons. We owe it to the public — and to ourselves.

Dermot Kelleher is dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of B.C.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Caitlyn Vernon: Time to stop dangerous wishful thinking about LNG Canada’s climate impacts

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 19:00

With the debate over the Trans Mountain Pipeline and tankers project at fever pitch, another project with enormous climate impacts is slipping under the radar. After B.C. announced new climate commitments in May, LNG Canada’s CEO hinted construction will start soon. More recently, the Malaysian multinational Petronas announced a 25-per-cent stake in the LNG Canada project.

LNG Canada’s final investment decision is imminent.

The only way this fracked gas terminal can be built is if the B.C. government chooses to fail at meeting climate targets, or if all other sectors of the economy drastically, disproportionately — and perhaps impossibly — reduce emissions.

Premier John Horgan and the B.C. government seem to think they can have LNG while also taking meaningful action on climate change. This is wishful thinking.

Defending our communities from climate impacts means doing more than setting weak climate targets, with vague talk about somehow meeting them sometime in the future. Being a climate leader means making the tough decisions today to stop investing in new fossil fuel projects and instead directing political support and subsidies toward readily available and affordable renewable energy and efficiency solutions.

These energy alternatives are becoming cheaper by the day and create many more jobs per dollar invested than fossil fuels. With government leadership we can ensure a just transition in which workers, families and communities have abundant choices and thriving post-carbon economies.

Instead, B.C. recently abandoned its legislated 2020 targets for emissions reductions and announced a (still weak) 2030 target instead. In other words, we have failed to reduce carbon emissions as promised, so the government has kicked the can farther down the road, with no interim accountability.

Rather than getting lost in the numbers, let’s see the big picture: B.C.’s new climate targets are not strong enough to keep us below the amount of warming that global leaders committed to in the Paris climate agreement.

No one ever said dealing with the problem of climate change would be easy. But then again, living through unprecedented wildfires and severe flooding — with worse to come — isn’t easy either. Climate impacts are already here, and a number of countries are taking serious action to stop things from getting worse. Sweden has legislated a goal of zero emissions by 2045.

By setting weak targets, the B.C. government is creating a fantasy world in which so-called climate leadership and new LNG terminals co-exist. Yet in the real world, the LNG Canada project and associated upstream fracking operations would increase B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tonnes, with even more emissions in overseas markets from burning the gas.

In March, the government said that LNG projects must “live up to the Province’s climate commitments.” Only in a Trumpian alternative reality in which facts don’t matter can we increase emissions while at the same time reducing them. It’s either that, or we admit from the get-go that we will fail to meet our targets.

Over the past decade, provincial emissions have failed to go down. But climate impacts — and the costs of responding to climate-induced disasters — have ramped up.

In the real world of uncontrollable wildfires and floods, we need aggressive targets that drive a rapid transition to a post-carbon economy. The government should be setting targets for 2020 and 2025, as well as a stronger 2030 target (half of 2007 emissions).

We also need to address the fracking and LNG industry’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane leakage — which is 82 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Environmental assessments of major industrial projects should include a robust climate test that considers upstream and downstream emissions, ensures all projects are consistent with emissions targets and keeps us within our remaining carbon budget.

We’ve had a decade of talk about climate leadership in B.C., but virtually no progress to show for it. A decisive course change is needed. With viable alternatives already on offer, driving post-carbon innovation and creating good green jobs is a no-brainer.

Actively building new LNG terminals — while willfully ignore their impacts — is nothing short of a climate crime.

Caitlyn Vernon is campaigns director at the Sierra Club B.C.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Delta woman urges municipality to ban sale of shark fins

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 18:23

A Delta woman is calling on city council to ban the sale and distribution of shark fin.

Kendra Luckow, a veterinary technologist, was inspired to act after learning about the impact global demand for the controversial delicacy has on sharks and ocean conservation while living in Australia last year.

She also learned that Canada, despite a long-standing ban on the practice of shark finning, is one of the top importers of shark fin, which is often used in soup traditionally served at Chinese wedding banquets and celebrations.

“It was shocking for me to find out we are the second-largest importer of a product of this horrible act that is having a great effect on our oceans,” said Luckow. 

Conservationists estimate up to 73 million sharks are killed for their fins every year. Typically, fishermen remove the shark’s fin and throw the maimed animal back into the ocean. Unable to swim, the sharks die from suffocation, blood loss or predation.

In March, Luckow launched a petition that has collected close to 50,000 signatures. She has submitted a proposal to Delta city council, one of 20 items of external correspondence coming before council Monday.

There are no restaurants or stores that sell shark fin in Delta right now, said Luckow, but by putting in a ban, the municipality can get ahead of the issue.

“It’s easier to prevent it from occurring than dealing with it once it’s happened,” she said. “By putting this into law now, you don’t have to go through a backlash.”

She also hopes a municipal ban would help convince the provincial and federal governments to act.

There have been efforts to ban the importation of shark fin into Canada, most recently last year by Conservative Sen. Michael MacDonald, who called the practice “inhumane and wasteful.”

In B.C., Green party MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a private-member’s bill to restrict the possession and distribution of shark fin last fall. The bill died after the first reading.

In 2012, Port Moody became the first municipality in B.C. to ban shark-fin sales. It was followed by Coquitlam, Nanaimo, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford.

Vancouver and Richmond, which have a large concentration of Chinese restaurants, haven’t followed suit.

In Toronto, a 2011 ban on the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin was overturned by an Ontario court, which ruled council overstepped its bounds.

In 2012, Delta council decided against a ban due to concerns it would be challenged by the business community. It opted instead to lobby the upper levels of government for an import ban.

Luckow said she has spoken to restaurants and businesses in Delta that have the potential to sell shark fin and received unanimous support for a ban.

“It’s six years later now, ” she said. “We should be one city that acts on this.”

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Photos: Thousands turn out for World Partnership Walk

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 18:07

Donning sunglasses and sneakers, thousands participated in the World Partnership Walk at Stanley Park in Vancouver on Sunday to raise money to combat global poverty.

The walk, an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, has grown from its humble origins in 1985 to a national campaign held in 10 Canadian cities, including Vancouver and Victoria.

Funds raised go to support the foundation’s development programs in Asia and Africa on initiatives that improve access to education, health, food security and economic opportunities.

Scenes from the World Partnership Walk in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC., June 17, 2018.

Scenes from the World Partnership Walk in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC., June 17, 2018.

Scenes from the World Partnership Walk in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC., June 17, 2018.

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Surrey violence sparks new call for creation of municipal police force

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:39

Ditch the Mounties and spring for a local police force in Surrey, says a new municipal political party fed up with the enduring gang violence that has plagued that city.

Doug Elford, the president of Surrey Community Alliance and a council hopeful, said it’s time to see a heavy “boots on the ground” style of policing that would make criminals think twice about operating in Surrey. That is one of several ideas on policing that have been aired by prospective candidates ahead of a local election in which crime-fighting could be a key issue.

“Maybe it’s come to the point where you’ve got to start harassing people and say, look, if you want to be a criminal and live in Surrey, you’re not welcome. If you choose to live here and do business, we will make your life frickin’ miserable,” Elford said Sunday.

Elford said too many young people have been killed in the city.

“It has to stop.”

Doug Elford, president of Newton Community Association and a council hopeful, says it’s time to see a heavy style of policing that would make criminals think twice about operating in Surrey.

Elford’s comments come after a recent rally at city hall against gang violence and a candlelight vigil for a pair of Surrey teens gunned down in a targeted shooting. The bodies of Jaskarn (Jason) Singh Jhutty, 16, and Jaskaran (Jesse) Singh Bhangal, 17, were found in the 18800-block 40th Avenue about 10:30 p.m. on June 4, according to police.

Family members of the deceased arranged the vigil held Saturday, Elford said.

“Maybe we should be challenging the way we police in Surrey,” he said, adding that every jurisdiction is different, and for an urban municipality like Surrey, the RCMP may not be the right fit.

Mounties did not respond to a request for comment Sunday. Surrey joined other B.C. municipalities in signing a 20-year contract with the RCMP in 2012.

Elford said police should be more visible than they are now, pulling people over for traffic violations when they happen, and making connections with residents so they get to know members of their local force.

Elford is from Newton, an area that has seen several high profile and disturbing murders in recent years, including the fatal attack of Julie Pascal outside a local recreation centre in 2014. The Surrey Community Alliance was in part created in response to the ongoing violence residents were seeing, Elford said, adding that the ruling party, Surrey First, “hasn’t seemed to have a proper grip on what’s going on.”


For Tom Gill, a Surrey councillor with Surrey First and a mayoral hopeful, ending gang violence is not as simple as putting more police on the ground. He said Surrey hired an additional 100 officers while it was under the rule of outgoing mayor Linda Hepner.

“The solution is not just hiring officers,” Gill said. “The solution is a combination of a number of issues, including providing youth with opportunities, whether they’re ice rinks, aquatic opportunities, rec centres. It’s about keeping these kids busy.”

Surrey First councillor and mayoral hopeful Tom Gill says the solution to gang violence includes providing youth with more opportunities, not just hiring more police.

Gill said that, when looking at gang activity in the Lower Mainland, “it’s not the L.A. model, it’s not the Chicago model.”

“Many of these kids are coming from homes that are well-established, that are middle income families,” he said, adding that there is no real need for them to get involved in this type of crime.

Bruce Hayne, a Surrey councillor with Surrey First who is also considering a mayoral run, previously told Postmedia the city needed to work with the Canada Border Services Agency and port authorities to try to tighten up the import of handguns that end up on the streets.

Surrey-Newton Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal said gang violence is an issue that requires the entire community and each level of government to get involved.

Asked by email whether he’d like to see a major increase in officers on the streets, Dhaliwal said the federal government is “always ready to listen to the needs of the community, and we look forward to a dialogue with the City of Surrey and Surrey RCMP on what they need to effectively keep our city safe.”

He said he planned to meet with the public safety minister this week on the topic of violence in Surrey.

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Seniors care in B.C. Months in hospital waiting for residential care not uncommon

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:33

Wayne Greggain lived at Sechelt Hospital five months, but not because he needed treatment.

Unable to walk and sliding into dementia, the former mill worker languished on a waiting list for residential care on the lower Sunshine Coast.

Greggain went into the hospital for a brain biopsy on Oct. 12 last year, after months of neurological symptoms and increasing fatigue.

Until then, his wife Liz Szymanski-Greggain struggled to care for him at home, with only one hour a week of homecare assistance.

He was eventually diagnosed with cerebral amyloid angiopathy with inflammation of the brain, which is largely untreatable.

“The biopsy was very hard on him and he couldn’t walk or stand after that, even after weeks of physiotherapy at Lions Gate Hospital,” she said. “It took three people to get him up to exercise.”

His quick decline after the biopsy made returning home impossible, but the area’s residential care facilities are full. Residential care provides 24-hour nursing to people who cannot be cared for at home.


So Greggain was in limbo at Sechelt Hospital, paying about $1,000 a month for his care. How long people are stranded is hard to predict because residential care waiting lists are not first-come, first-served.

Placement in residential care is determined by a detailed assessment of each client’s need for daily support, access to assistance and other criteria including spousal unification, time spent on the waiting list, transfers to a preferred facility and whether the client is in a hospital bed rather than living in the community.

Patients with special needs may need to wait for a bed with the appropriate support. Greggain was finally admitted to Totem Lodge and greeted by a number of patients he came to know while they were all stuck in Sechelt Hospital.

Sadly, there is nothing unusual about his story. In the Northern and Vancouver Island Health regions and in rural pockets across the province, hundreds of acute care hospital beds are occupied by people who should be in residential care.

Residential care is for people who require 24-hour medical supervision, mainly near the end of their lives. The median stay is about 450 days.

About two thirds of seniors accepted for residential care in B.C. are admitted to the so-called first appropriate bed within 30 days. But in some regions, the wait can be long.

In the Vancouver Coastal Health region, half of eligible seniors are placed in six days or less. In the Northern Health region, the average wait is 73 days. On Vancouver Island, the average wait was 62 days last year.

While the numbers fluctuate, about 400 hospital beds are occupied by people who are no longer receiving treatment while they await placement, according to the seniors advocate’s monitoring report. Proportionally, the numbers are highest in the North and on Vancouver Island.

A handful of communities in the Coastal Health region — like the Sunshine Coast — also struggle to accommodate seniors who cannot care for themselves in a timely way.

Vancouver Coastal Health has an agreement with Trellis Seniors Services to build and operate a privately owned, publicly funded residential care home. The project is intended to replace two aging facilities — Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe in Sechelt — and to also add 20 new beds.

Thirteen people are waiting for residential care in Sechelt and nearby Gibsons, according to the health authority.

But the project has become a political football and a focal point for protest in the community and by unionized staff at the government-owned facilities to be shut down. Opponents consider privately run facilities inferior to those staffed by government workers.

When the District of Sechelt dragged its feet approving a site for the new facility, Trellis was welcomed by Gibsons. But that would have left no beds in Sechelt.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has since announced a deal with the Sechelt First Nation to build on their land.

Access to residential care and assisted living in B.C. has declined by 20 per cent over the past 16 years, as measured by the number of beds relative to the population aged 75 and older, according to a 2017 report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Access to home support has declined 30 per cent over the same period. Though more seniors receive care at home, they each receive fewer visits by workers, according to the report Privatization and Declining Access to B.C. Senior’s Care.

The waiting times for placement in assisted living and residential care dropped modestly last year, but Isobel Mackenzie, the seniors advocate, is concerned that the growth in residential care spaces is not keeping pace with our aging population.

“While there has been a 1.5 per cent increase in subsidized residential care beds since last year, the population aged 75-plus increased by 3.5 per cent,” according to Mackenzie.

Fraser Health led the way, adding 294 new residential spaces last year. The Northern Health region added just one, while the number of publicly funded beds in Vancouver Coastal dropped by 24.

In Vancouver Coastal, there are 113 people waiting for residential care, 37 of them in acute care hospital beds, according to the Health Authority.

“There is only going to be more demand,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “This is why we have to take action on home and community care.”

For patients, it’s a waiting game.

“Two whole floors of our hospital are full of people who should be in a care home,” said Szymanski-Greggain. “Think of the difference that would make to the hospital.”

Navigating Seniors’ Care

A seven-part series:

Part 1: How the system works (or doesn’t)

Part 2 (June 18): Wait times long for residential care

Part 3 (June 19): Home care support stretched thin

Part 4 (June 20): The problems with residential care

Part 5 (June 21): Food and nutrition

Part 6 (June 22): Challenges for relatives providing care

Part 7 (June 23): Dementia patients and the B.C. system

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Mountaineers to re-create 1920s climb of B.C.'s tallest mountain

Vancouver Sun - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:10

In June of 1925, B.C. mountaineering legends Don and Phyllis Munday made an ascent of Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island with their friend Thomas Ingram.

On the way down they took a break to take in the view.

“The Coast Range towered in a violet wall out of Georgia Strait,” wrote Don Munday, who was also a journalist. “Shining upper levels merged with bright clouds piled mountainously along nearly 200 miles of the range.”

Then Phyllis spotted a peak that towered above the others.

“Phyl’s eyes shone as she handed me the binoculars and pointed to a tall mountain nearly due north through a new cloud-rift,” Don wrote.

“The compass showed the alluring peak stood along a line passing a little east of the head of Bute Inlet and perhaps 150 miles away, where blank spaces on the map left ample room for nameless mountains.”

The Mundays dubbed the unknown peak Mystery Mountain, and decided to climb it.

“It was the far-off finger of destiny beckoning,” Munday wrote.

Don and Phyllis Munday on the summit of Mount Victoria in the Canadian Rockies, 1925. Photo courtesy of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, inventory number 5560.

The couple had discovered Mount Waddington, the highest peak solely in British Columbia. In July, 1926 they were rebuffed in their first attempt to reach the summit of the 13,186 foot (4,019 metre) mountain, but two years later conquered its northwest peak.

Inspired by their story, a group of amateur mountaineers will be setting out in July to replicate the Mundays’ climb — in period gear.

“We are going to be using only gear, equipment and clothing they would have used, and only eating food they would have eaten,” said expedition leader Bryan Thompson.

“So hobnail boots on our feet, wool clothes, canvas raincoats coated with oil and wax. No helmets, no harnesses, hemp rope, everything exactly as what they would have done.

“The Mundays made their own tents, their own pack frames, their own sleeping bags, so we’ve done all that as well, using the same materials that they would have used.”

The six climbers in Thompson’s group will also retracing the Mundays’ route to the mountain up the Homathko river valley, which “is no walk in the park.”

“We’re leaving from Quadra Island on July 5th, and travelling by an old schooner called the Misty Isles,” said Thompson.

“(It’s) taking us up Bute Inlet for a nine-hour voyage, (then) dropping us off at the head of Bute Inlet at the Homathko river estuary. Following the Homathko river valley for 10 days is going to be the biggest challenge, because we have some dangerous rivers to cross where we’ll have to cut down trees with an axe — I’m talking 100 foot, 150 foot trees — to throw over the river to cross.

“And then we’ve got quicksand to seal with, and we’ve got devil’s club, which is this horrible brush that tears the flesh off you because it’s thorny. And we’ll pretty much be running into a grizzly bear every day.”

Photo of Mount Waddington by Don Munday, who discovered the mountain with his wife, Phyllis. Undated, but probably 1930s — Munday stamped it with his address 373 Tempe Crescent on the back, where he and Phyllis moved in 1931. Province archives.

It sounds like the makings of a great documentary, and in fact filmmakers Greg Gransden and Kirk Rasmussen will be filming one. Gransden also did the doc Hobnails and Hemp Rope, which focused on Thompson’s recreation of a 1916 climb of Bugaboo Spire near Radium Hot Springs by another Canadian mountaineering legend, Conrad Kain.

The 49-year-old Thompson has been climbing for just over a decade. In his other life, he’s a building superintendent in Toronto.

“I run a not-for-profit highrise building for the Salvation Army,” he explains over the long distance line. “We work with a lot of folks with mental illness, help them get to a better place in life.”

A history buff, “I love reading about the exploits of the mountaineers who went out exploring when the areas they were exploring weren’t even on a map.”

A lot of this was happening in the 1920s and ‘30s, when Don and Phyllis Munday were among Canada’s most prominent mountaineers.

“What’s amazing about Don and Phyl is that they formed this incredible climbing partnership,” said Thompson. “They’re probably the most famous climbing couple in history. Not just Canadian history, world history.”

Another thing that’s remarkable about Don Munday is that he continued to climb after suffering a terrible injury to his left arm during the First World War.

“A shell exploded near him and tore his arm to shreds,” said Thompson. “Basically he had shrapnel right through his whole left forearm.”

Don met Phyllis in 1918, and they married two years later, raising a daughter in a cabin on Grouse Mountain. For a couple of years Don earned a living cutting a trail up Grouse, but eventually their mountaineering brought them such renown their climbs were sponsored by the Sun and Province. They were so famous, they have a mountain named after them, Mount Munday.

Don detailed the couple’s exploits in stories for the papers, and in 1948, wrote a book, The Unknown Mountain, about discovering and climbing Mount Waddington.

It’s now regarded as a classic of Canadian mountaineering — and Thompson will be bringing a copy of it when he climbs B.C.’s tallest mountain in July.

Phyllis Munday on Mount Goodsir in the Canadian Rockies, undated. Photo courtesy of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, inventory number 9783.

B.C. pioneer mountaineer Don Munday. Pic ran April 1936. W.H. Best/Vancouver Sun archives.

Don Munday in 1949, the year before he died. Tony Archer photo.

B.C. mountaineering legend Phyllis Munday, undated. Vancouver Sun archives.

Phyllis Munday on the Franklin Glacier, undated. Photo courtesy of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, inventory number 9782.

The back of a photo of Mount Waddington by Don Munday, who discovered the mountain with his wife, Phyllis. Undated, but probably 1930s — Munday stamped it with his address 373 Tempe Crescent on the back, where he and Phyllis moved in 1931. Province archives.

Don Munday’s report on his first attempt to climb Mystery Mountain (now known as Mount Waddington) ran in the Province on July 25, 1926.

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