September 28, 2008

Rivers Day 2008

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers had a booth up at Rivers Day on the BCIT campus in Burnaby today. It was a gorgeous day with lots to see and do.

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Hanging a temporary Stream of Dreams mural for the event.

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Byrne Creek display.

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Rivers Day founder Mark Angelo and BC Environment Minister Barry Penner.

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VIPs release cutthroat trout into Guichon Creek.

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A curious ball of fluff watches the activities.

Posted by Paul at 06:54 PM

September 17, 2008

Upcoming Community Cleanups in South Burnaby

There are a couple of community cleanups happening over the next two weeks in south Burnaby.

The first is sponsored by KINA (Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Association) and South Burnaby Neighbourhood House and will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10:00 - 12:00 at Windsor Elementary School, 6166 Imperial St.

Then two weeks later, the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association is having its autumn Clean Sweep on Oct. 4 from 10:00 - 12:00, meeting at the Eastburn Community Centre, 7435 Edmonds St. For this event, Byrne Creek Streamkeepers will also have a registration booth in the parking lot of the Edmonds Skytrain Station.

Both events feature free refreshments for participants. Bags, buckets and tongs are also provided.

Come out and join the fun, and help make your community a more attractive, healthier place to live!

Posted by Paul at 12:06 PM

September 16, 2008

Mother Raccoon, Kit Killed on Burnaby's Southridge Dr.

A mother raccoon and a kit were killed by a vehicle on Southridge Dr. in southeast Burnaby recently. I came across their carcasses at the side of the road today. Thanks to the kind soul who moved them off the bloody pavement and placed them side by side on the grass.

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It's high time people slowed down on Southridge -- the speed limit is 50kph but I'd say the average speed is around 70, with speeds of 80 and more not uncommon. It's a wide, four-lane road, but that is no excuse. When I drive the road I feel that I'm obstructing traffic if I'm moving at less than 60-65, and I am passed regularly at that speed. I often walk sections of the road and despite the wide sidewalks, find the roaring trucks, zooming cars, and screaming motorcycles intimidating at times. It would take only a split-second of distraction for a driver doing 70 or 80 to hop the curb and mow down a pedestrian.

I was going to use the headline "Mother, Child Killed on Southridge Speedway" but felt that would be too sensationalistic.

Yet it was a mother and her child...

But I guess we won't care until it is a Homo sapiens mother and child lying at the side of the road.

And perhaps not even then.

Life in the fast lane, eh?

Posted by Paul at 03:56 PM

September 14, 2008

Edmonds City Fair a Blast!

I was a "celebrity contestant" and a talent contest judge at the 2008 Edmonds City Fair in southeast Burnaby today. It was great fun! Somehow I managed to win the celebrity contest, which involved racing in a sack, carrying an egg in a spoon, putting on a dress and hat, and sprinting to the finish line. I didn't think I'd prevailed over MP Peter Julian, MLA Raj Chouhan, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, and RCMP Superintendant Rick Taylor, but that's what the judges ruled :-).

How was I included in this cast, you may ask? One of my hats is president of the Edmonds Town Centre Business & Community Association.

I was blown away by the contestants in the music contest, most of them young female singers ranging in age from seven to seventeen or so. Most were too shy to say boo to the MC, but once the music started they soared. Amazing. (And I've got some cred to be a judge as I sang in a youth choir for ten years, and won an award or two for singing a loooong time ago :-).

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My welcoming speech.

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Ronald McD grilling the celebrity lineup.

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The contestants at the end of the race.

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Me, Bonnie in the blue T-shirt, and Archie Rose, last year's talent winner, were this year's judges.

Thanks to the committee chaired by Burnaby Parks Chair Paul McDonell for organizing the event, and to all of the business sponsors whose contributions made it free to the public!

Photos by my wife, Yumi, and the judges photo by Edmonds Scotiabank manager and event organizer Debbie Zurowski.

Posted by Paul at 07:59 PM

September 10, 2008

Touring Byrne Creek Watershed With MP, MLA

I had the pleasure of taking MP Peter Julian and BC MLA Raj Chouhan on a tour of the upper Byrne Creek watershed this afternoon. I appreciate the time these gentlemen took to listen to streamkeepers' concerns, learn about efforts to enhance the watershed, and view a couple of proposed project sites.

Peter and Raj have toured Byrne Creek ravine and the artificial spawning habitat previously, but this time we concentrated on the "creek beneath the streets" -- the upper part of Byrne Creek that has long been buried and piped into the storm drain system. I took the opportunity to talk about the possibility of daylighting (bringing the creek back up from pipes) in Ernie Winch Park, and creating a rain garden/biofiltration facility at the lower end of Southpoint Dr.

Thanks again, Peter and Raj!

Posted by Paul at 08:35 PM

September 07, 2008

Canoeing, Camping Lightning Lake

We finally got away for our first camping trip this year! I'm zonked so I'll add to this later, but here are a few photos....

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Osprey on a perch.

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Osprey in flight.

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Loon in the morning mist.

The above shots were taken hand-held in a moving canoe at my Canon S5 IS's maximum telephoto of 432mm (35mm equivalent). Not bad, though I wouldn't want to blow them up to 8 X 10s :-). They were taken within about 30 minutes of each other, showing how fast the light can change in the morning in the mountains.

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Posted by Paul at 07:38 PM

September 03, 2008

Byrne Creek Foliage

A refreshing walk along Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby...

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Posted by Paul at 08:55 PM

Alternative Sidewalk in White Rock

I ran across a SEA (street edge alternative) street in White Rock today, but on taking a closer look, it appeared to be more of an alternative sidewalk. SEA streets do away with curbs and gutters, and replace them with vegetated swales to reduce the impact of rain into storm drain systems and filter out pollution. This street had small swales but it still had a curb... Hmm... There were openings cut into the curb here and there, with small guides to let street runoff in, but I don't think they would accomplish much.

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As you can see, the regular storm drain is still in place, and the teeny street diversion would not move much water into the swale.

I'm not an engineer, and I'm scratching my head on this one :-). Most such projects attempt to capture the polluted water from streets... Not nearly as much pollution on the sidewalks...

Posted by Paul at 08:26 PM

September 02, 2008

The Volunteer Blues

While talking to a friend today I made the foreboding observation that summer was over, and rather than heading into the autumn season feeling refreshed, we were both struggling with volunteer burnout.

I look at my September calendar and see that I already have 14 meetings and events lined up with groups that I volunteer with -- or nearly one volunteer item every two days. They range anywhere from an hour to four or more hours each. This is nuts!

I'm not independently wealthy, I have a business to run so that I can pay the mortgage, eat, and set aside a bit for retirement. It's time to reassess my ratio of billable to volunteer hours.

While I get great satisfaction from volunteering and helping to make my community and my city a better place, I need to take a serious look at my priorities.

Posted by Paul at 06:35 PM

September 01, 2008

Canoeing Deer Lake

We didn't get away this Labour Day weekend, but today we did at least get the canoe over to Deer Lake, just a ten-minute drive from our place in Burnaby. As we were paddling along something was bothering me, and it wasn't until we got to the far end that I figured it out -- we'd forgotten our life jackets! Dangerous and illegal....

We got back to the beach, and I zipped home to pick up the jackets. Then we did two more laps of the small lake -- I guess it was good we hadn't gone too far from home :-).

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The lillies were covered with thousands of little insects.

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Posted by Paul at 07:18 PM