February 27, 2013

Burnaby Board of Trade Supports Victims of Apartment Fire

I am taking the liberty of re-posting a letter here from Burnaby Board of Trade President & CEO Paul Holden because it epitomizes why I think the BBOT is one of the most progressive chambers or boards of trade in Canada, and why I volunteer time on a board committee. Way to step up!

Dear Burnaby Board of Trade Members,

A devastating fire destroyed a 35 unit apartment building on Smith Avenue in the early hours of February 17, 2013. Over 100 people were left homeless, most have low or moderate incomes and all are faced with the very expense task of rebuilding their lives.

The Burnaby Board of Trade is working to assist a number of organizations in helping these individuals get through this tough time.

Their biggest immediate need is to replace their identification which is very expensive. Without identification the fire victims cannot access their bank accounts or rent new accommodation.

Birth certificates are the first piece of identification needed to get every other piece of ID. Manitoba birth certificates take six to eight weeks unless you pay an extra $80.00 and there are several Smith Ave residents from Manitoba. Another fire victim was born in Alberta and Alberta requires their birth certificate applications to be notarized, which represents an additional expense. Every province charges a fee for replacements.

The Salvation Army at 6125 Nelson St, V5H 3J1 (604-437-1521) is accepting cash donations, clothing and household goods. Please consider donating whatever you can to assist the Smith Ave fire victims. Anyone willing to provide free notary services for those needing them to acquire their birth certificate should contact Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA Kathy Corrigan's office at 604-775-2414.

In addition, the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness is assisting in helping find affordable housing as a crucial next step for these Burnaby residents. If anyone has an affordable place to rent in Burnaby please contact the Task Force Community Development Coordinator, Wanda Mulholland, directly at 604-317-8114.

Thank you to anyone who can provide some support in this matter, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions.


Paul Holden
President & CEO
Burnaby Board of Trade

Posted by Paul at 04:41 PM

February 26, 2013

Bought Kobo Glo eReader Following eBook Production Workshop

I attended an excellent all-day workshop on creating electronic books presented by eBound Canada last week. By the time I walked out my brain hurt from assimilating so much information so quickly : -).

Check out their website, they have great tutorials on all sorts of issues related to producing problem-free publications.

Anyway, one of the key points I learned is the importance of quality assurance, and testing publications on as many platforms as possible.

That led to buying a Kobo Glo, from a line of readers that is popular in Canada. I think I will like the Glo - the touchscreen is nice compared to my relatively ancient Kindle model which is hard buttons only, and the Glo is superb for reading at night or in dim conditions. Am busily downloading a ton of free, copyright-expired works to the Glo as I write this.


The old Kindle on the left and the Glo with its light on to the right
with both set to their library pages.

Posted by Paul at 07:26 PM

February 24, 2013

Streamkeepers Collect Trash near Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby

Nine volunteer streamkeepers showed up in the cold, steady rain this morning to pick up trash along Southridge Drive in SE Burnaby on a steep slope just above the salmon habitat.  We filled the hatch of a Subaru Outback full with bags of garbage.

The City of Burnaby long ago installed a lovely bin with trash, paper, and recyclable glass and plastic compartments at the bus stop there, but evidently lots of uncaring folks are still tossing their trash down the slope. A rough on-the-fly analysis shows that many of these uncaring folks are customers of McDonald's and Tim Horton's, just down the hill.


Posted by Paul at 08:07 PM

February 19, 2013

Waterborne Paint

I learned something new today. There is such a thing as "waterborne" paint. If you Google it, you get nearly 1.3 million results. It appears the usage is well established, yet I had images of paint being borne by water down a street drain and into our local creek. . .

Waterborne paint is actually much more environmentally friendly than solventborne paint (solventborne - another word new to me).

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary has this to say about waterborne: "1 (of goods etc.) conveyed by or travelling on water. 2 (of a disease) communicated or propagated by contaminated water."

Neither of those fits my image of what I thought was "water-based" paint.

Whoops! I was just interrupted by one of those canned phone calls: "Congratulations! You've been selected for a free cruise to the Bahamas!"

I hung up before I became waterborne.

Posted by Paul at 02:22 PM

February 18, 2013

Final Salmon Spawning Results for 2012 for Burnaby’s Byrne Creek

I have finally compiled all of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers' spawner patrol reports for the 2012 season. Salmon typically spawn in Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby from mid-October to mid-December. Unfortunately, numbers have been on a downward trend for many years, and after a small uptick in 2011, last year saw another disappointing drop. Here's the report:

Final spawner numbers for Byrne Creek for 2012:

Female spawned        0
Female unspawned    0
Male spawned        5   (with four of these being jacks )
Male unspawned        2
Total of 7 coho

Female spawned        7
Female unspawned    0
Male spawned        11
Male unspawned        1
Total of 19 chum

Grand total of 26 spawners (down from 36 "processed" in 2011)

Noted several distinct redds over the season, 2 near the bridges, 3 in spawning channel, 2 in lower ravine

Final spawner numbers for Byrne Creek for 2011:

Female spawned        9
Female unspawned    4
Male spawned        5
Male unspawned        3
Total of 21 coho

Female spawned        2
Female unspawned    1
Male spawned        5
Male unspawned        7
Total of 15 chum

Grand total of 36 spawners

Noted 14 large redds spread between the artificial spawning channel and the lower part of the ravine.

Previous years for comparison:
2010: 5 chum/8 coho total 13
2009: 6 chum/4 coho total 10
2008: 25 chum/8 coho total 33
2007: 15 chum/7 coho total 22
2006: 27 chum/8 coho total 35
2005: 17 chum/26 coho total 43
2004: 67 chum/24 coho total 91

1) We patrolled the creek 26 times between mid-October to the end of December, compared to 22 times in 2011.

2) Fish arrived "on time" this year, with chum spotted from Oct. 15, while they were "late" in 2011, first observed on Oct. 24.

3) As you can see, we while we had several spawned coho males, we did not "process" any coho females. We did see at least one coho "couple" exhibiting spawning behaviour, so obviously a few morts were eaten or washed away. We realize it can be difficult to determine if male fish have spawned or not, but if sacs are empty, or loose, we call them spawned. If firm and full, not spawned. We will see if we can spot any coho fry this spring.

4) Chum were a bit bigger on average this year than last year, when they were on the small side. Interesting that 4 of the 7 coho males appeared to be jacks.

5) While of course we miss a few fish to predation and heavy flows, our methodology is consistent from year to year. We patrol the spawning stretch from Byrne Bridge up to the bottom of the stairs in the ravine at least twice a week, and "process" every carcass that we find. Processing entails determining species, measuring length, and cutting open to confirm sex and spawned/unspawned status.

6) Streamkeepers have training from the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, and permission from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to conduct spawner patrols on the creek. Please note that it is illegal to harass or harm spawning salmon. Dogs? Please keep your owners out of the creek from mid-October through April when the eggs laid by salmon in the creek will have hatched.

Posted by Paul at 02:37 PM

February 16, 2013

Electric Vehicle Charging at MEC

I was impressed to see several electric vehicle charging stations at the North Shore outlet of Mountain Equipment Co-op today. Cool!


Posted by Paul at 08:20 PM

February 13, 2013

Byrne Creek Observations in Upper Watershed Feb. 13, 2013

I took a wander around the upper part of the watershed of Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby today. It's an area I don't get to that often, as streamkeepers tend to focus on the lower, larger ravine park. There was a major slide on the bank of the creek on 18th some time ago, so I checked out the remediation work. They've done a major retaining wall, but the slope itself is still in progress. The matting is temporary and will eventually be replaced with planted native vegetation. I was surprised at the new stony "beach" though. Dunno if that's permanent to help prevent further erosion. . .


The retaining wall along the street, looking toward Edmonds Skytrain Station.


The matting and the "beach".


Another view of the matting and beach.


A rain garden near the corner of Edmonds and Griffiths. What's with the plastic?
I sure hope the whole thing isn't lined with it, that defeats the purpose. . .

UPDATE: City staff say the plastic is just along the edge.

Posted by Paul at 09:09 PM

February 08, 2013

Wild Salmon, Sport Fishing Trump Fish Farms, Commercial Catch in Economic/Jobs Contribution to BC

According to this item in the Victoria Times Colonist based on BC Statistics' latest numbers, wild salmon and the sport fishery are way ahead of fish farms and the commercial catch in terms of economic value and jobs benefit to British Columbia.

So where is the Government of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the wild salmon file? Why are habitat protections being gutted and habitat offices being slashed? Why is it taking so long to implement the Wild Salmon Policy? Why has there been no response to the Cohen Commission, that recommended major and immediate changes, with deadlines - several already passed unfulfilled - to realize the WSP?

Our present federal and provincial governments appear to base all of their decisions on purely short-term economic benefits.

Well, here you go. The preservation of wild salmon is a huge economic benefit in the short term, and as a protected renewable resource, in the long term.

And as this article points out, preserving and enhancing wild salmon and the habitat that they rely on would also boost the languishing commercial fishery, eh?

Posted by Paul at 10:27 PM

February 07, 2013

‘Editors’ Association of Earth’ FB Page Passes 1,000 Members in 71 Minutes


An amazing experiment in social media. Editors' Association of Canada President Greg Ioannou started a Facebook page called the 'Editors Association of Earth' and with folks inviting folks it passed 1,000 members in 71 minutes.

Check it out here.

Posted by Paul at 09:56 AM