Construct work on Burrard Bridge set to begin in February

Finally the much needed repair work to the Burrard Bridge is slated to start. This from the Engineering department of the City of Vancouver:

RE: Burrard Bridge Improvements

The City of Vancouver will be undertaking structural improvements to the Burrard Bridge starting in February 2014. The work involves replacement of expansion joints on the bridge deck, replacement of bearings under the bridge deck, and concrete repairs to the underside of the bridge. The expansion joint work will be the most impactful due to lane closures on the bridge and is expected to take five months to complete. The bearing replacement and concrete repairs will take seven months to complete but have little impact to the public.

During construction, you can expect the following:

· Lane closures on the bridge deck: Starting in February, one northbound vehicle lane will be closed and the contractor will begin the joint replacement within this lane. Continuing in March, a second vehicle lane will be closed reducing the bridge to three vehicle lanes. The bridge will operate with two lanes northbound and one southbound from March–July. Dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians will be maintained throughout construction.

· Weekend and overnight work: To minimize traffic impacts, some of the work will be scheduled on weekends and overnight. This is expected in April and May.

· Noise typical of construction work: Please note that noise during the overnight work will be minimal.

If you would like to learn more about the project, please visit the City’s website at or contact Richard Franco at 604-873-7623 or

Richard Franco | Structures Project Coordinator | 604-873-7623 |
City of Vancouver

Living forests and oceans: BC’s supernatural climate allies, Thurs. Jan. 30, 12:30 pm


The next Carbon Talk, “Living Forests and Oceans: BC’s Supernatural Climate Allies”

which is taking place next week on Thursday, January 30 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM.

BC is a supernatural part of the world in many regards. Our forest and marine ecosystems are amongst the most effective natural carbon sinks on the planet and play an important role in addressing global warming by sequestering emissions. However, human activities are threatening these forests and coastlines; logging of old-growth forest and development in coastal zones are leading to the loss of vital seagrass and salt marsh ecosystems. Climate impacts like the Mountain Pine Beetle crisis and ocean acidification are threatening the ecological integrity of our natural carbon sinks. Increasing protection of our forests and coasts is one of the most beneficial actions we can take to mitigate climate change and protect sensitive ecosystems. Please join us at our dialogue to learn about BC’s forests and oceans as natural carbon sinks. Find out more by reading Betsy Agar’s blog post “Myths and insights about trees, old and new” at

Panelists include:

Dr. Colin Campbell – Marine Campaign Coordinator, Sierra Club BC

Colin spends his time working on climate change outreach, steering committee work for the SeaChoice seafood campaign, and pursuing a goal of broadening Marine Protected Area policy to include protection of habitats that support critical biogeochemical processes, specifically the sequestration of ‘Blue Carbon’.

Jens Wieting – Forest and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC

Jens works primarily for the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest and to raise awareness about the threat of global warming and the increasing emissions from BC’s forests and fossil fuel exports. Prior to coming to Canada, Jens worked as forest campaigner in Germany and in a rainforest reserve in Nicaragua.

All of our Carbon Talks are free and open to the public. Please feel free to let your colleagues know about this event.

When: Thursday, January 30 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Where: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St., Room 1600

Registration: Please reserve your seathere

West End Plan goes to public hearing on Thursday January 23 at 6 pm

covLogowrFrom the City:

The West End Community Plan was approved by Vancouver City Council in November 2013. The plan will be the future road map on areas ranging from housing and land use to transportation and public spaces.
As part of the implementation of the plan, amendments have been proposed to the Zoning and Development By-law for social and market rental housing, residential and commercial developments, and to the Downtown Official Development Plan and Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan. The proposed changes include adding definitions for “social housing” and “secured market rental housing”, and rezoning on Davie Street, Lower Robson Street and Robson Village.

City Council will consider the proposed amendments at a Public Hearing on:
Thursday, January 23, 2014, at 6 pm
City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, Third Floor
Council Chamber
For information or to register to speak, please call the Public Hearing Information Line, at 604.829.4238 or email

for info on the proposed by-law changes read them here
City of Vancouver
Planning and Development Services | Rezoning Centre
T 604.873.7038 | F 604.873.7060

Mysteries of a feasting forest, Monday Jan. 13, 8 pm, WECC


From Stanley Park Ecology Society

Like us, trees enjoy a great feast. But in the great Canadian Boreal Forest, nitrogen for proteins is hard to come by.   Nicole Linfoot, a biologist from Alberta’s Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory, has been brought to the Lower Mainland on a very special opportunity to share  a visual presentation about this ecological mystery.

Date:     Monday, January  13  2014
Time:     7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: West End Community Center,  870 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L8
Free to attend; donations appreciated.   

Bring your friends, but please call to register so we’ll have enough seats ready:    604-257-8333

We hope we’ll see you there!


Patricia Thomson
Executive Director
Stanley Park Ecology Society
PO Box 5167
Vancouver, BC   V6B 4B2
P: 604-718-6523 F: 604-257-8378

A little new park at Main St. and 18 Avenue with no name.

new park
Over the holidays I took a little ride with my daughter to check out a new park in Vancouver on Main St. and 18 Avenue. Curiously the park does not have a name yet, which would really help to create a sense of place. The park is a little plaza in front of some commercial and retail space. While being a small area the park is good example of what can be done to activate a space with some landscape architecture and street furniture. The Park Board describes the little park “…as a gateway to the mid-Main district and serve both the Riley Park and Mount Pleasant communities.”
You can read more about the park here on the Park Board website.

The park is also home to a work of public art which is designed by Gisele Amantea, “The Main St. Poodle”. You can read more about the artist and the project here .The Main St. Poodle also has inspired a Twitter account, @MainStPoodle, which is has a very caustic sense of humour and is worth a follow.

Here are some more photos of the park here.

Bikes, snow and Vancouver

north east side of burrard bridge
It’s always exciting when it snows in Vancouver. It doesn’t happen very often and when it does, it is a real test for transit users, pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and city staff. The buses are more packed with wet and soggy people. It is hard slogging for pedestrians with the extra force of the snow to be overcome and there is always the real threat from cars, directly or in what they splash up on the sidewalks.

Cycling in the snow is doable, but it is hard. In north Europe like in Copenhagen biking in the snow is no big deal. They do it and they are proud of it. Also, in Copenhagen the bike paths and sidewalks are cleared of snow first. I think Vancouver is getting better with removing snow on bike routes and paths, but we are not Copenhagen yet. Some areas were rough and I had to walk my bike. But I was pleasantly surprise with the Burrard St. Bridge and bike tracks downtown they had all been cleared.

Here are some photos that pop off with my phone on my little ride. photos

Urban Health: My community, my health. The city wants your feed back

The city wants your feed back on its “A healthy city for all: Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy 2014 – 2025”
city survey
If you fill the survey out you have a 1 in 500 chance to win a iPad. More importantl,y you will be giving important data to the City, regional health authorites and Metro Van that will give a better understanding of income, health and city building.

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival this Saturday, Dec 21

The days are certainly becoming short. I’m really feeling the darkness of winter closing in on me. Good news after Saturday the days get longer so we have gone through the worst of it. It is the 20th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival this Saturday produced by the Secret Lantern Society and their artistic director Naomi Singer. As the society likes to describe the event, “one festival, many neighbourhoods”. This year the festival is at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, False Creek and Roundhouse Community Centres. New this year is a late night dance at Astorino’s. The event always needs volunteers and please make a donation, these events run on a shoe string budgets and they are professional artists who need to be paid.

Here is link the Secret Lantern Society’s website for more info:here

Letter to the Port of Metro Van opposing expansion of coal terminals

You can submit your own comment to the Port here

Port of Metro Vancouver

Re: Expansion of Coal Terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks

As the son of an autoworker who was the sole financial provider for our family, I am familiar with the sense of being dependent on an industry. Growing up in Hamilton, Ontario has also given me a keen insight to the importance that a particular industry can have to the economic livelihood of workers and their families.

We know that coal is a huge contributor of Green House Gases (GHG) that are causing climate change. It is clearly evident that the use of coal will have to be dramatically decreased. With the proposed idea of a “carbon budget” and many realizing that much of the resources that produce GHG should not be used, it is imperative that alternative sources of energy need to be used. To expand the port’s capacity to ship coal at this time is short-sighted and significantly problematic on many levels.

A recent article in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives noted that, “As we move toward a low carbon future, encouraging workers to move into coal sector jobs is wrong.” full article. While there may be an increase in jobs in the short-term with the expansion of the coal terminal, it is wrong to encourage people to take jobs that have inadequate prospects.

We know that coal has limited future and recognize that coal is an important material in making steel and its not going to disappear. But also we know that its use will have to be substantially reduced.

Demand for coal in China is also dropping. It is a problematic business case to be spending capital dollars on expanding a terminal with limited market growth.full article

Not being an expert in Environmental Impact Assessment process myself, I read with keen interest the open letter from 35 experts who questioned the Ports methodology and conclusion. I would urge you to consider the points they have raised. Open letter to Port of Metro Van

I urge the Port of Metro Vancouver to critically examine your mandate to the people of Canada to consider the broader consequences of expanding coal terminals in British Columbia.

Brent Granby

Why I joined Vision Vancouver


I want to be in a position to affect progressive change in a way that aligns with my values and that is why I have joined Vision Vancouver. The policy initiatives that Vision Vancouver has embarked upon have been ambitious. I have been actively engaged in my own community and neighbourhoods throughout the City to making Vancouver’s economy more vital and ecologically sustainable, while putting a priority on the health and happiness of residents.

The challenges that face Vancouver require broad based consensus in finding sustainable solutions for the homeless, for supportive housing, and ensuring services for people with mental health issues. Affordability for young people and their families continues to remain a priority.

Our local governments receive only 8 cents out of every tax dollar paid. Cities need to be pressing senior governments on a range of issues from climate change, health and wellness, housing, and infrastructure investment.  A dialogue of cooperation and a willingness to work together is required to solve the issues facing our City.

I want to continue my work with community groups, activists, faith based communities, academics, the artist, the business sector and decision makers to grow our City in a sustainable and responsible way.