March 31, 2006

FM 107.9 Streamkeeping Interview

Broadcasting student Jill Batie of BCIT interviewed me a few days ago for an update on the fish kill in Byrne Creek that happened a month ago.

Jill has kindly allowed me to post the interview here. We covered the issues in depth, including an update on the kill, some positive signs that are emerging in the creek, how storm (rain) drains are connected to the creek, the issue of impermeable surfaces and urban development, sustainability, and how Byrne Creek's ongoing struggle has led to an excellent educational/art program by the Stream of Dreams Murals Society that has touched over 32,000 schoolchildren across BC.

You can download the 25-minute interview in a 2.9MB MP3 file. Hope you enjoy it!

Posted by Paul at 07:21 PM

March 30, 2006

BC Asks Public to Report Poachers, Polluters

From a BC Environment Ministry press release:

New highway signs, a website and a toll-free hotline for the public to report poachers and polluters were approved by Environment Minister Barry Penner, who is attending the 50th Annual Meeting of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) today in Penticton.

?The Conservation Officer Service is seeking the public?s help in catching people who break our environmental laws,? said Penner. ?The Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) signs and free hotline give the public an opportunity to help protect our environment ? anonymously and without risk of confronting the offender.?

The public can report violators 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting or by calling 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). The new signs, which are scheduled to be installed starting in June, will help get the message out to the public. They will also be easy to use for cell phone users by dialing #RAPP.

?We?re hiring more conservation officers this year, but the public and local communities can also help us stop environmental violations,? said Penner. ?Polluters are dangerous to our environment, our health and the economy. The water we drink, the air we breathe and the foods we eat all come from the environment and we need the public?s eyes, ears and good judgment to report known or suspected violators.?

Under the B.C. Environmental Management Act, polluters can face a maximum $1-million fine and six months in jail. Under the B.C. Wildlife Act, a poacher can face a maximum $100,000 fine and one year in jail for a first offence. Illegally taking fish or damaging fish habitat has a maximum penalty of $1 million under the Canada Fisheries Act.


I commend this step, though of course the bottom line will be enforcement. It's easy to make feel-good anouncements, it's another to follow through. Here's hoping...

Posted by Paul at 05:49 PM

March 29, 2006

Soap Enters Byrne Creek From Hedley

Yumi and I went for a walk down Byrne Creek ravine in southeast Burnaby at around 3:00 this afternoon. As we neared the bottom of the Brynlor stairs, we could see the creek had a heavy soapy flow. When we got to the bottom of the stairs I called the 24-hour spill number, and the person who answered said there was a similar complaint yesterday, and put me through to Environmental voicemail.

Yumi and I tracked it back to the Hedley Ave. outfall -- there was an obvious trail of suds down the side of the ravine over the rocks from the drain pipe. It was near 4:00 by then and the flow of soapy stuff had dwindled.

The Hedley outfall is where rain drains enter the creek from a large area bounded approximately by Hedley Ave. and Gilley Ave. east to west, and Kingsway and Portland north to south. The flow of soap was much too heavy for an individual washing a car. If you see any flows of soapy water or other noxious substances entering rain drains on a street or parking lot, call Burnaby Environmental at 604-294-7460, or after regular hours the spill hotline at 604-294-7200.

The soapy flow near the stairs in the ravine.

Yumi checking the pH. It was 6.0, not bad.

Suds trail down the side of the ravine from the Hedley Ave. pipe.

Posted by Paul at 04:51 PM

March 28, 2006

Byrne Fish Kill Update on 107.9 FM

BCIT contacted me for a radio interview update on the fish kill in Byrne Creek a month ago, and I spoke with broadcasting student Jill Batie for over 20 minutes this morning.

We covered the issues in depth, including an update on the kill, some positive signs that are emerging in the creek, how storm (rain) drains are connected to the creek, the issue of impermeable surfaces and urban development, sustainability, etc. Hope my blathering made some sense!

The interview should be aired on 107.9 FM in the lower mainland at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30.

Posted by Paul at 11:34 AM

March 27, 2006


"ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind suggests that CRAP or Content, Restriction, Annulment, and Protection, is a catchier phrase than DRM - Digital Rights Management. Why does he think this technology is crap? Once you've bought music or other content to play on one device, it won't play on any other device because of the proprietary layer of CRAP."

Great little 3-minute video!

I have yet to buy a portable digital player -- I'm still catching up on ripping my CDs to my computer -- but when I do, I would certainly want it to be free of C.R.A.P.

Yeah, what a dinosaur :-). I'd be more likely to have an iPod or other player if I still lived in Tokyo and rode the train to work every day, but having worked from home in the Vancouver area for the last six years, I've had no pressing need for one.

That said, I admit I have been getting more of an itch to get an iPod -- they're just so darn cute -- but I'd likely limit what I put on it to C.R.A.P.-free MP3s and podcasts.

Posted by Paul at 11:05 AM

March 26, 2006

Logitech Z-2300 Speakers Rock

I bought a set of Logitech "Z-2300 Extreme THX?-certified 2.1 performance speakers" for my computer at Best Buy yesterday. They were on sale for C$99.99 from a list price of C$229.99, a deal I couldn't pass up.

I've spent the last couple of hours ripping dozens of CDs to my computer, listening to the huge improvement in sound quality as I do so. These speakers pump out 200 watts of RMS power, and are very crisp and clean compared to my muddy old GNT-5000 32 watt 2.1 speakers that cost about $45 new.

I hadn't been listening to music much on my computer, but that's going to change. The Z-2300s are a joy to listen to. The wired remote is also very handy, with a master volume, subwoofer volume, headphone jack, and power/standby switch. No more feeling around under the desk for knobs, switches and jacks!

Now I'm thinking about a Creative Sound Blaster X-FI sound card to augment the built-in sound on my Intel motherboard...

Posted by Paul at 04:48 PM

Trout Repopulate Damaged Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers trapped four cutthroat trout and a dozen stickleback over the weekend in an area of the creek that was wiped out by a toxin a month ago. While the numbers are still way below average, they are encouraging because it appears that trout are are moving back into the main stem of the creek from its tributaries.

BC Environment Ministry biologists now estimate that 650 - 750 fish were killed in the creek on the Feb. 25/26 weekend based on the numbers of dead collected.

Here's a trout being measured before we released it.

Posted by Paul at 11:20 AM

March 25, 2006

Spanish Bank Spring Saturday

Yumi and I headed out to check out the cherry blossoms at the University of British Columbia and Kitsilano in Vancouver, however it was still a bit early.

We consoled ourselves with a windy stroll along Spanish Bank beach.

A view of downtown Vancouver from Spanish Bank.

The north shore from Spanish Bank.

Posted by Paul at 05:39 PM

March 24, 2006

NYC Coyote Stirs the Animal in Us

I'm enjoying the commentary stirred up by a single coyote on the loose in New York. Even the venerable Times (free registration required) devoted an editorial to the canine's adventures in humanland.

"...what makes such occasions remarkable isn't just the sight of a coyote... It's the fact that such animals appear among us on their own, as if we were the creatures in captivity and they were the ones taking a gander. Even these places were wild once, their sudden presence seems to say."

It's interesting how the inmates decided they had to throw all those resources and time into capturing it. I'm sure it would have done just fine in Central Park, as the occasional pile of feathers had already attested to :-).

Posted by Paul at 06:59 AM

March 23, 2006

Passport Office Wait Times Wildly Off

I was applying for a new passport today so I checked the Canadian passport office website for times and locations.

I was happy to see that the site had average wait times posted. I saw that the Surrey office was averaging ten minutes and the Vancouver office was at 18 minutes. Surrey is a bit closer anyway, so I took the Skytrain to the office, arriving less than half an hour after I'd checked the website.

There was a line out into the hallway when I got there around 12:50 p.m. Hmm. I was assigned a number at 1:04 p.m. My number was called at 2:13 p.m. That's 69 minutes from getting a number to getting service, or seven times the wait posted on the website. The real wait was 83 minutes, or over eight times what was posted.

I asked a staff member how often the website was updated. She shouted down the row and a guy answered that it was refreshed about every ten minutes. Right. She said the wait time was always around an hour.

While I laud the government in its high-tech, near real-time efforts, what is the point of providing wildly innacurate data? Rather than smoothing the process, it just makes clients angrier because it raises false expectations.

When I checked the website again at 3:30 p.m., the wait time was posted as 18 minutes.

Just give us the truth, OK?

Posted by Paul at 03:30 PM

Skytrain to Heaven?

I snapped this photo from the front compartment of the Skytrain in New Westminster. The spooky "light at the end of the tunnel" effect was pure chance due to a dirty window and the motion.


Posted by Paul at 01:55 PM

March 22, 2006

World Water Day 2006

World Day for Water 2006: Water and Culture

"We plan our cities near water; we bathe in water; we play in water; we work with water. Our economies are built on the strength of water transportation - and the products we buy and sell are all partly water, in one way or another. Our daily lives are built on water, and shaped by it. Without the water that surrounds us - the humidity of the air, the roughness of the river's current, the flow from the kitchen tap - our lives would be impossible.

"In recent decades, water has fallen in our esteem. No longer an element to be revered and protected, it is a consumer product that we have shamefully neglected. Eighty percent of our bodies are formed of water, and two thirds of the planet's surface is covered by water: water is our culture, our life..."

World Water Forum: UNESCO Division of Water Sciences.

Posted by Paul at 07:32 AM

March 21, 2006

Sustainability Means Changing Our Behavior

Why is it that when we talk about sustainability, so often people seem trapped by present ways of doing things? Why are people so afraid of trying anything different?

Why do we so often think we can build our way out of trouble, if only we can build in a greener manner?

Wouldn't it be a lot more cost effective to change human behavior to accommodate the environment, rather than always pouring billions of dollars into changing the environment to suit us?

Why are we still giving the few remaining pockets of nature in our communities short shrift, when we are so fortunate to have the little that remains? Cities that have eradicated nature are now pouring billions into trying to restore it. Wouldn't it be cheaper to simply protect and enhance what we have now?

Why can't we add density to already developed areas on major thoroughfares that are presently only one or two stories high? Why are we sill developing greenfields?

If we are really such an intelligent species, why can't we change?

I'm going to be thinking a lot about such questions as I take part in a discussion of sustainability in the lower mainland of BC over the next few months.

Posted by Paul at 09:44 PM

March 20, 2006

Chum Fry Enliven Devasted Byrne Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers John and Maho reported seeing over a hundred fry in the sediment pond in the artificial spawning habitat yesterday, so Yumi and I went to check it out this afternoon.

Sure enough, they were cruising around in schools of a couple of dozen fry each, and we managed to corral a few. Yumi got four in one swipe of her net -- a butterfly net with nice, soft mesh that doesn't hurt the tiny fish.

We put them in a bucket and transferred them to a jar for photos. They were chum salmon, and a welcome sight in a creek that was wiped out by a toxic spill just three weeks ago. Apparently the toxin did not penetrate all the redds, or nests of eggs, deposited by spawning salmon last autumn.

Four chum fry from overhead.

The wee tykes spread like a volley of mini torpedoes.

Here's another overhead with a tape -- they're 4 - 5 cm long.

Yumi getting set to release them back into the creek.

NOTE: Please don't try this with your kids -- it's illegal without the sanction of the DFO!

Posted by Paul at 03:17 PM

Shaw Mail Attachment Troubles Create Havoc

We received a barrage of phone calls and faxes from a client in Japan late last night regarding missing files that we had sent by email nearly 12 hours earlier.

It took until nearly midnight to resolve the problem, which initially was caused by problems with Shaw's mail server in handling file attachments, and was later exacerbated by a total loss of Shaw Internet connectivity.

It appears the problem began when Shaw's mail server would time out when uploading email with attachments. I've heard of other Shaw users complain about this issue recently. The bottom line was that our client in Japan did not receive our translations on time.

By the time we learned of the problem by telephone and fax, Shaw was down completely. Rebooting the cable modem, rebooting computers, nothing helped. Our Shaw connection was out for several hours.

I finally tried using my laptop to dial up using the ATT Business Internet account that we occasionally use on the road. I had trouble getting connected, and eventually got a message that my password had been revoked, however the dialup program allowed me to access only the ATT site so that I could re-enter my credit card number and set a new password. No explanation why the password had been revoked, however I had not used the account in seven or eight months.

Internet at last, at a blazing 26.6 kbps! I got the files to our client, and went to bed frazzled.

The ATT backup (after the revoked password issue was solved) saved our bacon.

Recently Telus has been badgering us to switch to ADSL, which is finally available in our complex after nearly four years of waiting though we're just a few miles from the Telus head office. I was tempted to get it in addition to Shaw for backup, but backed out after reconsidering the $30/month cost.

Then again, that would be a small price to pay to ensure our business has Internet access 24/7.... Hmm.... But would we really have 24/7 access? I've heard of problems with Telus, too. Sigh.

For the occasional Shaw problem, the ATT barebones dialup account for $12/month will probably do.

UPDATE: I heard from Shaw on Thursday, March 23, that its mail server had been added to the SORBS spam-blocking list in error, and that Shaw is trying to correct this as soon as possible.

Posted by Paul at 08:39 AM

March 19, 2006

Hiking Minnekhada Regional Park

After working much of the weekend, we decided to get away for the afternoon today, and drove out to Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam for a short hike.

We hadn't been to the park in years and had forgotten how beautiful it was, particularly on a sunny spring day.

Yumi going up a rocky portion of the trail.

The view from the Low Knoll.

Shelf fungus and sapsucker tracks galore!

Moss drapes branches in the forest.

Posted by Paul at 06:15 PM

March 17, 2006

Ephemeral Blogs, Computer Records

Through this entry on Doc Searl's blog I found a link to Jeffrey Zeldman's blog in which Zeldman writes:

"Anyone who has worked long and hard on a blog, zine, or web product realizes how ephemeral they are. (We are Ozymandias.) Preserving blogs is a multilayered task involving curatorial and editorial acumen, systems and programming skills, an understanding of copyright law, and more. If the preservationists do their job right, people 25 years from now will have some inkling of what we have created in this time. If they get it wrong, our work turns to sand."

I've thought about how ephemeral blogs can be unless there is some system for archiving them. If I die, or stop paying my Web host, all of the writing in my blog would disappear. Of course I keep backups, but who knows how to find and access them? Not even my wife knows. And it's not only my blog. I have all sorts of information on my computer and scattered on the Web on various services.

When I had a health scare that put me in the hospital for a week awhile back, I suddenly realized that so much of my life was on my computer, and that my wife, or an executor, would have no idea what to look for, where to find it, or what all my user names and passwords are. I'd told my wife the password to my encrypted password-management program, however she'd long forgotten it, or that the program even existed.

Or how about the Web sites I administer? I don't have many, but I do have a site for a client and a few non-profits that I volunteer with, and nobody aside from me knows how to access them. Not good.

I need to have a plan in place, and information in a safety deposit box to cover for me. Nobody likes thinking about their own demise, but people had better start thinking about what they have on their computers and parked all over the Web, and how others would be able to access that data.

Posted by Paul at 08:27 PM

March 15, 2006

Vancouver Welcomes World Urban Forum

The third World Urban Forum will be held in Vancouver from June 19-23 this year "to identify solutions to the critical problems facing cities around the globe. The Government of Canada is proud to partner with UN-HABITAT to host this historic biennial meeting, themed Our Future: Sustainable Cities ? Turning Ideas into Action. More than 6,000 participants from 150 nations are expected in Vancouver over five days. Will you be one of them?"

Registration is FREE! I've signed up, though I'm not sure how many of the events I'll be able to take in over the week.

Details and registration here

Posted by Paul at 05:42 PM

March 14, 2006

Gmail Slowing Down?

Is it just me, or is Gmail experiencing growth problems? Several times over the last couple of weeks I have run into trouble accessing the service. I use Gmail only for schoolwork, and keep my personal and business email separate, but it has been irritating on occasion. It also makes me wonder if I would ever trust all my email to Gmail or another Web email service (I use Yahoo as backup for my regular business account) -- not that I've never run into glitches with my regular mail services...

Oops indeed!

Though I have yet to use it, the Gmail chat system also seems to be having problems.


Posted by Paul at 05:26 PM

March 13, 2006

Snowy Owls at Boundary Bay

My wife and I drove down to Boundary Bay at the south end of 72nd St. in Delta this morning to check out sightings of snowy owls sent to us by a birder friend. It was a sunny day, and I took some time off to celebrate finishing another course yesterday in my MA in Communications program at Royal Roads University.

There were several families out on this spring break day.

One of many snowy owls hanging out in the driftwood.

I took the above photograph by holding my tiny Canon SD400 digital camera up to the eyepiece of my 8X binoculars. Crude and not very effective :-).

You can see much better photos in our friend Masaaki's article that he shot with a digital camera mounted with an adapter on a spotting scope.

We saw about ten snowy owls, dozens of eagles, several herons, and assorted shorebirds, gulls and ducks. It would be nice to have a spotting scope and a superzoom digital camera, or a Digital SLR with a honking telephoto lens!

Posted by Paul at 05:13 PM

March 12, 2006

Byrne Fish Survey Finds Zero Post-Kill Fish

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers conducted our annual late winter/early spring fish-trapping survey over the weekend, and came up with zero fish in an area where we'd usually trap 30-40 on average.

We hadn't been expecting much following the kill two weeks ago of over 300 trout and a few salmon after someone dumped a toxin into a storm drain in the Edmonds area of Burnaby.

While it was exhilarating to hike the ravine in the sunny weather, the result was disappointing.

Setting traps in the creek.

Checking traps the following day.

We usually catch cutthroat trout and coho smolts that we measure and then release. Please note that it is illegal to catch fish through trapping, and that streamkeepers are authorized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to carry out this research.

Posted by Paul at 09:16 PM

USB Port Zaps Computer

When I started to plug my Canon SD400 digital camera into a USB port on my main tower computer today, there was a short, sharp static hiss, and the computer died. Yikes! I'd recently read about improperly grounded USB ports frying motherboards, however I'd plugged the camera into that handy front port dozens of times with no problem.

With a final paper due for a course in my MA in Communications program at Royal Roads University later today, I was a bit perturbed, to say the least, though I'd synched with my laptop a day ago so I had a fairly recent version of the paper on it. I also have an external Maxtor USB drive backing things up automatically.

Hitting the power switch did nothing, so I unplugged the computer, waited a couple of minutes, plugged it back in and hit the power again. It finally booted, but Windows XP Pro took a lot longer to get to a login screen than usual.

I finished my paper and posted it, and then I tried the camera again. Zap. So I did the unplug routine again, and tried the camera one more time. It finally made the USB connection without shutting down the computer, however a popup window informed me that the download from the camera would be slow because I was not using a USB 2.0 port. Huh? It used to be a 2.0 port!

Rather than roll the dice on the front port again, I plugged the camera cable and my Palm cable into rear ports, however they too are now running at the much slower USB 1.1. I haven't solved the mystery yet, but if the motherboard hasn't been crippled, perhaps reinstalling the USB drivers might do the trick.

Update March 17, 2006: I checked the BIOS settings today and discovered that USB 2.0 "High Speed" had been disabled. I enabled it, and now downloads are zipping along like they used to. I'm still avoiding those front USB ports though!

Posted by Paul at 08:01 PM

March 10, 2006

Follow the Muddy Brown Creek

Setting out on our regular walk around Byrne Creek at noon, my wife and I could hear from a distance that the water was still running high, at least seven or eight hours after a rare dusting of snow had fallen overnight.

We caught glimpses of the creek through the trees as we walked along the ravine and it looked dirty.

Walking down the Brynlor stairs.

Our impression was confirmed when we reached the bottom of the stairs in the ravine. The water was high, frothy, and coffee-with-milk brown in colour, with near-zero visibility. Runoff following rain or snow is often silty, but this was opaque, and following the major fish kill in the creek just 10 days ago, we were not impressed.


We checked the artificial spawning channel and sediment pond, and could not see a thing, the water was so dirty.

Dark water pouring into the sediment pond from the Southridge culvert.

While we understand it is impossible to contain all silt and dirt in runoff, there is something wrong with this picture. This is not from erosion, for we followed the creek all the way up to where it appears from the storm drain system (it was buried years ago in the upper watershed), and the water there was nearly as bad. So the silt had to be coming from somewhere further up in the watershed.

Byrne Creek between 18th and 17th.

It's not only chemicals and other toxins that streamkeepers worry about, such silty flows are hard on life in the creek as well. Please let Burnaby environmental staff and streamkeepers know if you see dirty water flowing into rain drains (aka storm drains) on streets or in parking lots.

Burnaby Environmental: 604-294-7460
24-hour spill hotline: 604-294-7200

Posted by Paul at 03:19 PM

March 09, 2006

Vision 20/20 Opportunities Forum

Burnaby Board of Trade
Vision 20/20 Opportunities Forum

2009 World Police and Fire Games
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Chad Turpin
Deputy City Manager, City of Burnaby
Overview of the World Police and Fire Games

Burnaby is the main host of the 2009 World Police and Fire Games. The mission is to attract the most athletes ever. Games were founded in 1985 and are held every two years. Over 60 events. The next games in 2011 will be in New York, so the symbolism will be very strong on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This will result in a lot more media coverage for the 2009 event in Burnaby.

There will be a symbiotic relationship between the 2009 Police & Fire Games and the 2010 Olympics. The two will work together in training 4,000 - 6,000 volunteers.

2009 P & F Games expect 14,000 athletes from 70 countries, three times the number for the 2010 Olympics. There will be 67 events in a total of 16 cities around the lower mainland, with 17 in Burnaby and 12 in Vancouver.

2009 P & F opening ceremonies will be at BC Place with 10,000 spectators expected. Some of the athletes are Olympics hopefuls. Games open to all age groups. Tickets to all events are free, and the event is heavily based on community spirit and volunteerism.

25,000 family members are expected to travel to the lower mainland along with the athletes. So nearly 40,000 visitors, with many expected to stay on after the event for holidays.

Economic impact estimated at $100 million.

Sports tourism is the fastest growing tourism segment in BC.

Stephanie Herdman
Communications Coordinator VANOC 2010
The 2010 Winter Games ?? An Update Post Turin

We were at Turin to tell people about the Vancouver Games.

VANOC is a non-profit but is also a big business. Huge logistical issues in putting on the Games.

OGKM ?? Olympic Games Knowledge Management. New system to collate and share information on running Games among host cities. Pass knowledge on to future hosts.

VANOC now has 200 full-time staff, many of them multilingual. This will increase to 1,200 full-time and 3,000 part-time staff, and 25,000 volunteers by the time the Games are on.

Athletes and officials 5,000
Countries 80+
Paralympic athletes 1,700
Countries 40+
TV Viewers 3 billion
Media personnel 10,000
Event volunteers 25,000
Event Tickets 1.8 million

Broadcast rights
International sponsorships
Domestic sponsorships
Ticket sales
Suppliers (in kind)
Licensing, Merchandising
Donations, disposal of assets

Capital construction budget $550 million
Endowment (legacy) $110 million

Want to have all new facilities built 2 years before Games start so kinks can be ironed out.

?Olympic Winter Games University" to gain knowledge. 40 observer tours of Torino to gain knowledge in 80 areas.

Start-to-finish spectator services ties into Integrated Transportation Planning.

2007 Cultural Olympiad kicks off
2008 Test events held
2008 observe Summer Games
2009 Torch Relay over North Pole and covering three coasts.

The 2010 Games will be a 60-day event: Jan. 15 ? March 24
Jan. 15 Press Center opens
Feb. 12 ? 28 Olympic Games
March 10 ? 21 Paralympic Games
March 24 Paralympic Village closes

Brian Krieger
Director 2010 Commerce Centre
The 2010 Commerce Center ? Your One-Stop Business Information Portal

Leverage Games for long-term benefits
Connect BC businesses to 2010

In addition to 10,000 accredited (official) media, there will be 5,000 - 10,000 unaccredited media coming to the Games. They will all be looking for stories.

People spend unbelievable amounts of money when they visit Olympic Games.

BC Canada Place in Torino was a $6 million project and was the most popular attraction in Torino. 80,000 to 100,000 people visited it. Incredible media exposure. ?The power to get Italian women to buy Canadian fashion" i.e. Canadian scarves and toques :-).

IOC was very impressed with BC Place. More than 80 BC businesses participated. Power to create a new world image. ?After 1988 even Americans knew where Calgary is" :-).

$580 million in venues
$1.35 billion in operations
$2 billion in sponsors, media, teams, tourists
$3+ billion in other opportunities

Be a supplier
Be a subcontractor
Think big
Have desire
Put in the effort
Be persistent
Provide quality and consistency
Deliver on time (?the dates don?t move on Olympics")

In Sydney, 80% of business went to local firms, and U.S. businesses are already looking at the 2010 Games.

Check out the 2010 Commerce Centre for tools and resources.
BC Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Secretariat
Ministry of Economic Development

Trevor Kier
Manager of Procurement and Business Opportunities at the BC Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Secretariat
Are You Thinking Outside the Box? Games Opportunities and You!

Offers 2010 Procurement Workshops
How to bid, etc.
Burnaby Board of Trade will sponsor such workshops in the future

Don?t let geography or size get in your way. (Presented several small business success stories related to Olympic Games.)

Huge media and PR opportunities

2010 Games emphasize sustainability as a core component, and this will factor into evaluation of bids.
Environmental sustainability
Social sustainability
Economic sustainability

Corporate social responsibility

In bidding, the best solution can be more important than the price.
Watch the 2010 Commerce Website and learn as others bid.
If you?re a small company, you can approach other bidders.

Posted by Paul at 03:44 PM

March 07, 2006

BCIT TV Interview on Byrne Creek Kill

A couple of BCIT broadcasting students interviewed me about the recent fish kill in Byrne Creek, and the story should air on the Shaw Cable community channel this Sunday from 1:30 p.m.

It was another good opportunity to get the word out about how storm drains (or rain drains as we like to call them :-), connect directly to creeks in the Lower Mainland of BC.

We spent over an hour in the rain shooting around the creek -- footage that apparently will be edited down to 2 minutes. It will be interesting to see what they squeeze in!

Posted by Paul at 10:39 PM

March 05, 2006

Promising Bug Count in Despoiled Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers found a little life to celebrate today in the creek, which was hit by a toxic substance last weekend that killed hundreds of trout and some salmon.

Streamkeepers did a "bug count" of aquatic invertebrates over the weekend, focusing on areas already covered two weeks ago. They were happy to find that while the overall rating had dropped a bit, the change was minimal.

That was good news at the end of a devastating week.

Posted by Paul at 04:54 PM

March 03, 2006

Minimal Life Signs in Post-Kill Byrne Creek

We're finding a few signs of life in Burnaby's Byrne Creek, five days after a toxic substance entered a storm drain in the upper watershed, killing hundreds of trout and some young coho salmon. It appears a few fish are beginning to gradually repopulate the creek from some of its tributaries.

A biologist from the BC Environment Ministry who was collecting dead fish from the creek for further studies called me last night to say that he had placed 16 baited traps in the creek yesterday, and invited me to join him this morning to check them out.

There were a few signs of life in the lower reaches that were the farthest away from the toxin's point of entry. We found 3 cutthroat trout, 1 coho smolt, several dozen stickleback, and 1 sculpin spread out among 10 traps between the Fraser River and the golf course. They could have come from the tributaries, or found refuge in them, or perhaps whatever hit the system was diluted by the time it got down there. The 1 coho smolt was in a trap at the outflow where Gray Creek joins Byrne Creek on the u/s (Gray) side of a flood gate, so perhaps it wasn't in the main stem when the event occurred.

We also found a couple of stickleback in three traps around Meadow Bridge and the lower end of the spawning channel in the artificial habitat. The stickleback may have survived by being in the upper reaches of the overflow pond where they might have avoided the flow of deadly stuff. We often see stickleback at the upper end of the overflow pond where there is stagnant water unless rain pushes water down the spillway.

There were no fish in three traps placed near Ron McLean park upstream and downstream of a storm drain outfall we call the "Hell Hole."

So it looks deathly quiet all through the ravine and the habitat, with some signs of life starting around Meadow Bridge, and building up a bit moving further downstream below Marine Way. We've seen lots of cutthroat in Froggers Creek in the past, and there are likely more in the other tributaries, so the cutthroat will gradually repopulate.

We also spotted one free-swimming salmonid fry at the lower end of the Southridge Dr. culvert yesterday, so perhaps it popped out of the gravel after the event and the toxin didn't penetrate the redds (nests of eggs laid by spawning salmon and trout). We're keeping our fingers crossed and our eyes open! With luck there may be a few redds, both salmon and trout, yet to produce....

While the above numbers are minimal, and in no way mitigate the extent of the tragedy, some life is better than no life!

Here's a dragonfly nymph found in one of the traps. Its labium, or mouth, is extended. Cool! I'd never seen one before...

Posted by Paul at 07:11 PM

March 02, 2006

Local Papers Cover Burnaby Fish Kill

The Burnaby Now and the Burnaby NewsLeader both had coverage of last weekend's fish kill in Byrne Creek on their front pages this week.

Both papers also wrote editorials about the kill.

I don't know how stable these links are but here are the two stories:



The NewsLeader doesn't reveal direct links to stories, so the above link will no longer point to this story in a few days.

Posted by Paul at 05:06 PM

March 01, 2006

Citizens Send In Fish Kill Tips

I got a phone call this morning from a person who saw someone dump a gallon pail into a storm drain near the Byrne Creek spawning habitat. The witness soaked up some of the substance with a towel and said it smelled like thinner. He said he'd read about the fish kill in the paper, and tracked me down. I've forwarded the information to Burnaby's environmental department.

If anyone else has any tips, if anyone saw something being dumped into a storm drain in the upper watershed in the Edmonds area last weekend on Saturday or early Sunday, please let streamkeepers or the city know, and we will respect your privacy if you so wish.

Burnaby Environmental: 604-294-7460
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers fish kill messages:

Posted by Paul at 08:31 AM

Vancouver Sun Picks Up Byrne Fish Kill

Today's Vancouver Sun published a paragraph on the fish kill in Byrne Creek on page B2 based on Dan Hilborn's article that is appearing in the Burnaby Now today.

Access is for subscribers only, but the lead to the Sun story can be seen here.

Posted by Paul at 07:07 AM