Archive for April, 2008

Nice weather we’re having

Nice day for it

So I hope you took advantage of the ridiculously good weather on Saturday, followed by the merely pleasant Sunday.

And I’ll have no more complaints about the weather until it rains again, okay?

Reaper is filming, we’re all saved

IMG_0247, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Well okay the return of Reaper film crews to Vancouver is not exactly going to save anyone, but the fact that Hollywood is back filming after the WGA strike will help the local film industry.

Port Expansion Roberts Bank BC 2008 04 12

It may be a really stupid idea, given that the US economy has gone into a tailspin, US freight and container imports in particular having been in decline for the last two years. It has also miserably failed any objective environmental assessment. And the port is actually under utilised at present. But the construction of new container berths at Deltaport continues.


A story in this morning’s Vancouver Sun emphasizes why this development has to be stopped.

An international team has discovered why half the world’s western sandpipers touch down on a specific tidal flat just south of Vancouver every spring. The secret is in the mud, more specifically in the snot-like “biofilm” coating the mud.

The tiny shorebirds, weighing about 30 grams each, suck a remarkable 20 tonnes of the sticky slime off the mud every day as huge flocks swoop down to refuel during the spring migration, the scientists estimate.

This is not a trivial issue. The port expansion has always been dubious from an environmental standpoint. Now it stands condemned. The response from the federal government (ports are a federal not a provincial responsibility) should be firm and swift.

Piccadilly Pub and Hotel

The Sun has extensive coverage this morning of the Piccadilly Pub and Hotel on Pender Street. This is one of a number of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels which seemed likely to be lost for their current purpose as the greater rewards of the Olympics loom.

The owner blames a company he leased the hotel to, and the occupants.

Buying the hotel wasn’t done to “satisfy his penchant for charitable work or for helping the most unfortunate,” but as a business decision

And therein lies the cause. Our various levels of government have almost given up on social housing, and those wth a combination of mental health and addiction problems. In fact the mental illnesses are as much cause and effect of “self medication” for people who should probably be in resident care. But the resources for the mentally ill were lost when the psychiatric institutions were closed and not replaced with adequate care in the community.

The City through its bylaws tries to ensure safe and affordable housing – but clearly this policy has failed dismally as the province has been buying up SROs in an attempt to provide basic accommodation. But as the recent count of the homeless showed, there is not nearly enough. And just providing a room at a rate barely covered by social assistance is hardly an adequate response to the problems that are region wide but tend to be concentrated in downtown.

Oasis Airlines Shuts Down

Oasis AirlinesYou know it really wasn’t all that long ago that Oasis Airlines started offering great fares ferrying people back and forth between Vancouver and Hong Kong. In fact it caused much hoopla with it’s inaugural promotion of free flights.

It also wasn’t that long ago that Jetsgo our local discount airline went belly up. Now due to rising fuel costs, this discount airline to Hong Kong has also suddenly stopped service. Stranding many and leaving many with useless tickets.

I got caught up in that whole Jetsgo issue and luckily had paid for my ticket with my credit card where I was reimbursed. Hopefully the card companies will be equally accommodating to anyone who got stuck this time around with fares paid for with Oasis.

Cathay apparently will be increasing their flights to help pick up the slack as will Air Canada. More details are on the Oasis Site here.

Amtrak Cascades Mud Bay Surrey BC 08-04-2005 10-28AM

This is not really just blowing my own trumpet. I put this image on flickr back in September, and it has had nearly 500 views since then. But recently it got “faved” by someone calling themselves WSDOT. Now that is not unusual with transport fanatics. Some of my friends have been gently chided for appropriating official logos and stuff such is their devotion to certain corporate entities. But it turns out that WSDOT is just what it says it is.

We are the Washington State Department of Transportation. We get some amazing photos from crews working across the state and we thought Flickr would be a great avenue to share them with all of you.

And you can see them here. And in a rare self denying ordinance I will say nothing about BCMoT or Mainroad.

Wired on Vancouver bait-car program

free room and board, originally uploaded by Rebelr@t.

Wired Magazine’s website has a very interesting article up on Vancouver’s long running bait-car program, which apparently is far more of a novelty than I thought [wm]. Truthfully I figured every major city had a program similar to it, but apparently it’s pretty cutting edge.

Sprawling, exurban Surrey used to be one of the car-theft capitals of North America, with 8,000 vehicles stolen in 2003. The government responded by forming the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team, or Impact, a squad armed with infrared-camera-equipped helicopters and license-plate readers that pick out stolen cars in traffic. Impact recruited detective Scott Cooke, who had started a bait-car program in Vancouver in 2002. Since he got this larger version running four years ago, auto theft in Surrey has declined 50 percent.

Vancouver Five: Vancouver STFU


There’s a few things that I’m tired of hearing about around town. Be warned these five things are on notice.

5) The Hollow Tree in Stanley Park [gm]:  It’s a tree, it was killed by God.  That’s the way nature works.  If it was torn down to put up a Starbucks, yeah then we can have some sort of fit about that.  It’s not a metaphor, it’s a damn tree.  Get over it.

4) The dollar: I get it, it’s crazy that our dollar is so strong against the American one.  Yet it’s been like that for months now.  You can also add any story about how Product X is so much cheaper in the US now because of the dollars’ values.  We all get it.  It’s boring now.

3) The Canucks: Let’s just ignore the losers and hopefully they’ll all return to Sweden and never come back.  Instead let’s talk about (soon-to-be) former Canuck Trevor Linden [bb] whose far more interesting.  Though keep it to a minimum, he’s getting pretty close to going on the list to.  Remember he’s a hockey player, he only walks on frozen water.  For a team that actually wins something try the Whitecaps [wcfc].

2) How the Olympics are destroying everything: People were homeless before we won the Olympics and they’d still be homeless afterwards.  Let’s be honest we as a society don’t give a shit about the problem of the homeless, and if 2010 was not going to be in Vancouver all the money spent on the Olympics would not instead have been used to feed and clothe those who need it.  The money probably would have been spent on magic beans, ferries that we’ll never use or a space program.  The Olympics make an easy target because it’s billions spent on things like watching men in superhero costumes slide down a frozen tube in a piece of fiberglass, but they’re nowhere near the root cause of the problem.  Show some intelligence and try to find that root instead of just raging against the wrong machine.

1) How the Olympics are really going to revitalize the city:  Right because the thing holding back Richmond from becoming a world class suburb was the fact that it didn’t have a giant speed skating rink. 

Vancouver Canucks :: the blog post-game show

Canucks Jersey Retro - Front

If you’ve been living in a cave, or only watching American television, for the last week you know that the Canucks are now out of the playoffs. Another year of dashed hopes and spoiled dreams, and it’s time to start talking about what needs to be done for next year [cbc].

Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund are both free agents. Trevor Linden is most likely leaving, or if he stays will be little more than a totem on the bench having long past the days when he could drive the team game after game. Roberto Luongo fled town as soon as he could, one of the few players to do the jersey any credit this year.

So what’s the blogosphere say? Find out after the jump.


Where’s Waldo… in Vancouver

After a heads up from Carolyn I discovered that there is a larger-than-life Waldo (of Where’s Waldo fame) somewhere on a rooftop in Vancouver.


It appears that this is a part of “Where on Earth is Waldo“:

For my graduating project at the Emily Carr Institute of Art Design and Media, I am creating a Google Earth Wheres Waldo inspired game. Players will be given the hint that Waldo is hiding somewhere in Vancouver and he can only be seen via Google Earth. In order to do this, a giant Waldo painting is being constructed and placed on a rooftop! The project will be exhibited at the Emily Carr Graduation Exhibit 08 opening May 3, 2008. [Where on Earth is Waldo]

So… any guesses as to where Waldo is lying?

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