June 20, 2008

Adera Donates $10,000 to Streamkeepers

Today Adera Development Corp. handed a $7,500 cheque over to the Pacific Salmon Foundation that is designated for projects by the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers. Adera has already printed colour brochures for the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, so the total donation is $10,000.


Photo by Cindy Sommerfield

Adera has built several developments in the Byrne Creek watershed, and wanted to give back to the community by supporting the efforts of the streamkeepers. Byrne Creek Streamkeepers plan to use the funds on stormwater management facilities such as rain gardens and biofiltration ponds that would naturally filter and slow flows into the creek, in conjunction with the City of Burnaby.

Posted by Paul at 07:41 PM

June 18, 2008

Remembrance Day Poppy Changes

Going through boxes of old stuff the other day I ran across a Canadian Remembrance Day poppy that must date from the early 1960s, judging by the rest of the mementos. I was surprised at how much smaller it was than recent poppies.


Posted by Paul at 03:06 PM

Sleeping on the Job

No, not me, Choco the cat. But with her relaxed in my arms, there's not much I can do.

She's taken to doing this several times a week recently. She'll be sleeping in the living room upstairs, and I'll be working in my basement office, when I hear the jingle of her collar and a plaintive, lonely meow.

She ambles into my room with a just-woke-up slinky slowness. I pick her up, and that's it for work for 15 or 20 minutes, or as long as I can hold her until my arms start to ache. Nothing to do but close my eyes too, and try to nap sitting up...


Posted by Paul at 02:07 PM

June 17, 2008

New Sandals Reek of Rubber, Chemicals

I got two pairs of sandals today (Coast Mountain Sports had a buy one pair get the second at 50% off sale), a pair of Keen Newport H2 Hybrids that are designed to get wet and should be perfect for canoeing, streamkeeping, and beach walking, and a pair of North Face Sea Wrath Convertibles for more mundane everyday use over the summer. One of my old sandals blew out the other day, beyond gluing repair...

(BTW who comes up with these names? I checked the "Sea Wrath" labels several times, and yes, they really say "Sea Wrath" whatever that means... Was it supposed to be "Sea Wraith" and something got lost between here and China? As for the Newport H2 Hybrids, well Newport has the flair of a famous port, but H2? H20 as in water? Tough as a Hummer H2? Hybrid as in eco-friendly? Hybrid as in land and sea?)

Anyway, I think I'll like both sets of shoes, but man, that "new car" smell! When I brought them home I put the boxes in my office and opened them up to show them to my wife. When I went back down to my office a few hours later, whew! A rubbery, chemical odour had pervaded the room. I immediately put them in the garage to air out.

What with the news the other day of the toxins released from plastic shower curtains, the odour from the new sandals appeared to be cause for concern. I have no idea if the smell is associated with harmful chemicals, but when something turns your stomach, it's a good bet it isn't friendly to your system.

I don't intend to finger these two companies in particular, as I'm sure their competitors use similar materials. I've heard both try to do their bit for the environment. I just wonder about that initial smell!

Posted by Paul at 08:06 PM

June 16, 2008

Canadian Govt Reclassifies Pristine Lakes as Toxic Waste Ponds

According to this CBC article, lakes across Canada are being classified as mining-tailings waste sites, using an obscure mining regulation to apparently trump the Fisheries Act that prohibits the dumping of toxins into any fish-bearing waters.

This is insane.

Both the government and the businesses involved must be confronted on this issue. The government for failing to protect the environment, wildlife, and everyone's health, and businesses for proposing this idiocy. I run my own business, belong to my local board of trade, my neighbourhood business association, and this sort of cavalier destruction sickens me. These companies are getting a free ride with no real accounting of the associated environmental and health costs. Where does the death of a watershed touch the profit-loss statement or balance sheet?

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Loyola Hearn should resign for failing his department's mandate to protect our watersheds and fish.

[Counterpoint, June 17] OK, I was riled and while I stand by my post, I should acknowledge that without the mining industry, I wouldn't even be able to have a blog :-). Think of all the metals in my computer... the coax cable that connects me to the Internet... the server farm that hosts my site... The electricity plants that make it all run. Not to mention the pervasive use of metals in all sorts of items I use daily. Would I give up my watch? My cameras? My shower?

Yet I do believe there is a huge disconnect between what we pay for products and what their true cost is. Some inputs into the raw-materials production and manufacturing processes are not accounted for, and neither are most unacknowledged outputs such as garbage and toxins.

Posted by Paul at 09:25 PM

June 15, 2008

Streamkeepers Tackle Invasive Plants

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers tackled masses of invasive plants that had overwhelmed native plants and trees planted by the City of Burnaby on the sides of the access ramp to the creek off Southridge Dr. Unfortunately, the City has no invasive species plan or coordinator, or apparently any budget to maintain what it has planted.

Streamkeepers to the rescue!

Thirteen volunteers put in a total of 32.5 hours this morning unearthing conifers, ferns, salmonberry, and other native plants from the clutches of Himalayan Blackberry, Morning Glory, English Ivy, and Scotch Broom. We filled two heaping truckloads of invasive plants and took them to the City's recycling centre on Still Creek.

One of the areas we worked on. It was so overgrown that these conifers were not even visible. As we cut down 2-meter high blackberry we came across more stunted trees.

Hauling the invasive plants up the ramp.

Filling the truck.

Posted by Paul at 06:28 PM

June 14, 2008

New Edmonds Library Groundbreaking

The City of Burnaby held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new public library that is being built in the Edmonds area. The new library is part of the impressive revitalization of the Edmonds area that has been underway for several years now, and that will continue with many more projects including a new community centre and public swimming pool.

The Edmonds area was home to Burnaby's first City Hall, but has gone through a few challenging decades. The City, developers, businesses, the RCMP, and community groups have been doing a great job at turning things around.

L-R: Councillor Dan Johnston, Mayor Derek Corrigan, Library Board Chair Ruth Hardy.

Sorry, I didn't catch the name of the RCMP constable...

The Library Board in no particular order: Ruth Hardy (Chair), Gary Wong (Vice Chair), Andy Chiang, Iqbal Dhanani, Linda Eaves, Ernest Maitland, Karen Purdy, Mondee Redman.

L-R: MLA Harry Bloy, Councillors Garth Evans, Nick Volkow, Dan Johnston, Gary Begin.

L-R: MP Peter Julian, RCMP S/Sgt. John Buis, MLA Raj Chouhan.

I invite businesses and citizens to join the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association to help in the revitalization of the Edmonds area. The ETCBCA will have a website up soon. We are breaking for the summer, and our next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., at the Eastburn Community Centre on Edmonds St.

Posted by Paul at 06:00 PM

June 11, 2008

Griffiths Overpass, South Spur Urban Trail Opening

The beautiful pedestrian bridge over Griffiths Dr. in southeast Burnaby was officially opened today. I attended wearing two hats: president of the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association and president of the Stream of Dreams Murals Society. A refurbished Stream of Dreams mural was also officially unveiled on another bridge just down the trail. It used Dreamfish salvaged from the original Stream of Dreams mural that was at the corner of Kingsway and Edmonds for about six years.

The soaring arc connects the urban trail and Byrne Creek Secondary on the east side of Griffiths to the trails and Edmonds SkyTrain station on the west side.

Ian Wasson of the City's planning department MC'd the event.

Mayor Derek Corrigan.

MLA Raj Chouhan.

Stream of Dreams Executive Director Joan Carne.

Untying the ribbon -- the new sustainable way :-)

L-R: Mayor Derek Corrigan, SDMS Artistic Director Louise Towell, SDMS Executive Director Joan Carne, MLA Raj Chouhan, Burnaby Parks Chair Paul McDonell, Councillor Sav Dhaliwal.

Checking out the renewed mural.

One part of the mural had an eye shape, so SDMS Artistic Director Louise Towell created a special Dreamfish to highlight it.

Posted by Paul at 05:29 PM

June 08, 2008

Burnaby Environment Awards

Burnaby City Council and its Environment Committee held the 2008 City of Burnaby Environmental Awards Reception this afternoon.

Byrne Creek Streamkeeper and Stream of Dreams Murals Society co-founder Joan Carne was among the recipients.

Joan with Councillor Dan Johnston


Several Byrne Creek Streamkeepers attended the event, and were happy to see a Stoney Creek volunteer receive an award as well.

Posted by Paul at 05:40 PM

June 07, 2008

Hello Streamkeepers!

"Hello Streamkeepers!"

The cheerful shout caught me off guard as Yumi and I were trundling across Ron McLean Park in southeast Burnaby on our way to do our usual ramble down and up Byrne Creek.

I turned and saw a young boy happily charging across the grass, and shouted back "Hello, wonderful day, isn't it?"

He waved, turned, and ran back to his family, and we forged onward, me with a lump in my throat and a welling in my eyes.

That's community, and it feels wonderful.

I don't know his name, but I recognized him -- he'd been involved in a fish release in the last year or two.

Thanks, kid. You recognizing us as streamkeepers meant a lot more to me than any newspaper or TV coverage!

Posted by Paul at 08:34 PM

June 02, 2008

Lovely Ukrainian Interpretation of Japanese Songs

My aunt Roma clued me in to these beautiful renderings of Japanese songs by Nataliya Gudziy, a Ukrainian singer, bandura player, and Chernobyl survivor. My Japanese wife was impressed with Nataliya's pronunciation and beautiful voice. I'd love to see Nataliya in a duet with Angela Aki!

Posted by Paul at 08:45 PM

June 01, 2008

A Trip Down Software Memory Lane

It's office cleaning time, and I'm purging the shelves and filing cabinets and storage boxes of stuff I'll never use again. Today I ran across a couple of boxes of ancient software -- no, not 5 1/4" floppies, those I got rid of some years ago -- but a lot on 3 1/2" floppies and CDs.

I found several versions of DOS, Windows 95 and 98, memory managers like QEMM and RamDoubler, all sorts of defunct utilities, etc. XyWrite, Word Perfect 5.1, ECCO, ProCom Plus, Central Point PC Tools.... Ten-year-old versions of Norton Utilities and Norton AV. Yikes!

It got me thinking about all that lost code, and the tens of thousands of person-hours that went into creating it. It's too bad it just falls by the wayside. It would be great if a lot of the old programs were open sourced, so the code could be studied and used in other initiatives. I loved a lot of those programs in their day!

I tossed most of it, just keeping a few editions of DOS and early Windows for nostalgia purposes. I also kept an ancient oddity of a DTP program called PFS First Publisher, because I ran across a backup disk of newsletters in PFS format that I used to write for a running club I belonged to when I lived in Japan. Dunno if I can even install it on any of the machines I have now...

Posted by Paul at 09:33 PM