Category "Vancouver"

22Jul

Popular sunset viewpoint in Vancouver now open to public drinking, with no toilets in place

by admin

Nearest public toilet to alcohol-friendly Volunteer Park is adjacent to a children’s playground.

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Alcohol in Parks Pilot signs are up at one of Vancouver’s most beloved sunset view parks, with no plans in place for needed washroom breaks.

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Volunteer Park is on Point Grey Road just west of the bottom of Macdonald Street in Kitsilano — opposite the home of a former B.C. premier and a few hundred metres east of Chip Wilson’s mansion.

The park is a regular gathering spot for evening picnickers as it offers stunning sunset views and leads to Volunteer Beach — giving the same view as the Point Grey Road waterfront residents.

However, the nearest washroom is several hundred metres to the south at Tatlow Park — across the road — and adjacent to a children’s playground.

In a statement, the parks board said there are no plans to install portable toilets at Volunteer Park.

“We carefully monitor and identify needs for each site through feedback from our staff, partners and the public,” the parks board said.

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Signs at the park ask users not to bring alcohol within 20 metres of a playground, to avoid large gatherings and practise social distancing of two metres between groups.

The Alcohol in Parks Pilot began in 22 parks across the city on July 12 and runs until Oct. 11. The project stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, when drinkers were not allowed into bars.

Unlike many of the other 21 public parks in the drinking pilot, almost all of Volunteer Park has been set aside for drinking alcohol between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Collingwood Park in Renfrew Heights has just the northeast corner and a row of trees accessible, while David Lam Park in Yaletown has set aside a strip along the waterfront, and only the north tip of Kitsilano Beach Park is open to drinking.

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Sgt. Steve Addison of the Vancouver Police Department said most of the recent challenges with public drinking had occurred outside the pilot parks.

“The majority of the challenges we’re facing involve people drinking alcohol in places that are not designated parks — places like beaches and in the entertainment districts,” Addison said in a statement.

“This has led to a significant amount of street disorder. We continue to encourage people to research where open alcohol is permitted, and to understand that they could be ticketed if they are drinking outside the designated places and times.”

Two months ago, the owner of a newly built home adjacent to the park and Volunteer Beach was forced to take down a spotlight on the beach that was triggered by people walking past or partying at night.

The parks board said it wants public input during the trial submitted by calling 311 or through its website.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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7Jul

Vancouver to allow booze in 22 city parks starting Monday

by admin

Starting next Monday, it will be legal to crack a cold one in designated parts of certain parks in the City of Vancouver.

The Vancouver Park Board has announced the details of its alcohol in parks pilot project, which will permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages in 22 city parks.

Read more:
Vancouver Park Board votes to allow drinking in 22 public parks, but legislation still needed

The board initially approved the plan last July, but the initiative was delayed because of the need for provincial legislative changes.

Under the pilot plan, people will be allowed to have a drink between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily, until Oct. 11.

Drinks will only be permitted in specific parts of the parks, which will be marked with signage. You can see maps showing which part of the parks will permit alcohol here.

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The city says the parks were chosen in an effort to include one or two parks in every neighbourhood.

Read more:
North Vancouver to allow public drinking under COVID-19, but not Vancouver

Emergency vehicle access, washroom facilities, cycling and transit access, parking and potential disruptions to neighbours were also considerations, it said.

The city says the pilot is an effort to create more outdoor spaces for people to socialize, particularly those who do not have a private yard, and in recognition of COVID-19 safety concerns.

North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam both rolled out drinking in parks pilot projects last summer, and have reported minimal problems associated with the initiatives.

Read more:
Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver mayors give drinking in parks a gold star

Last year, the City of Vancouver also approved a plan that allows alcohol consumption in select public plazas.

Vancouver’s pilot project will apply to the following parks.

  • Collingwood Park
  • David Lam Park
  • Fraser River Park
  • Granville Park
  • Harbour Green Park
  • John Hendry (Trout Lake) Park
  • Kitsilano Beach Park / Hadden Park
  • Langara Park
  • Locarno Beach Park
  • Maple Grove Park
  • Memorial South Park
  • Memorial West Park
  • New Brighton Park
  • Pandora Park
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Quilchena Park
  • Riverfront Park
  • Robson Park
  • Rupert Park
  • Stanley Park
  • Vanier Park
  • Volunteer Park




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

27Jun

B.C. heat wave update for June 27: Dozens of heat records fall | Vaccination clinics moved indoors | How to keep pets cool | B.C. Hydro reports extreme energy demand

by admin

Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley is experiencing record-breaking heat wave this weekend, with temperatures hitting the high 30s and even into the 40s in some areas.

It’s unprecedented hot weather for this region.

Authorities are urging residents to drink lots of water and check on elderly neighbours, and of course never leave a child or a pet in a parked car.

Here’s a roundup of the latest news concerning what Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling a “dangerous long duration heat wave.”


Read more:

B.C. heat wave: Here are 15 ways to beat the heat and stay cool

B.C.’s heat wave: Intense weather event is linked to climate crisis, say scientists

Heat wave has put elderly, young and those with chronic illnesses at risk

Temperature records broken during heat wave in B.C. on Monday

Extreme ‘dome of heat’ to descend on Metro Vancouver this weekend


LATEST NEWS on B.C.’s heat wave

SUNDAY

10 a.m. – Five tips to keep your pets cool in a heat wave

Is your pet feeling the heat? The BC SPCA says the best thing to do for pets is to keep them at home, and follow these tips to help them feel more comfortable:

1. Provide lots of water: Keep fresh bowls of cold water that are easily accessible to your furry friends. You can also keep the bowl cool by adding a few ice cubes to it.

2. Make a frozen treat bowl: Freeze kibble or their favourite treats in a bowl of frozen water, and your pets won’t be able to control their tongues. For added flavour, combine water with chicken or beef stock mixture and they’ll really be excited about this tasty treat.

3. Give them a cooling place to sleep: This might mean ensuring they remain on the lower level of the home where it’s cooler as well as providing a cozy area for them that’s out of direct sunlight. You might also want to close blinds and curtains.

4. Keep a fan going: If you don’t have AC, have a fan going while you’re away from the house to keep fresh air circulating inside for your pet.

5. Treat them with a frozen Kong: Try lining the Kong with some peanut butter or their preferred treat, and freezing the kong, for a refreshing cooling twist on the treat.

Click here for BC SPCA’s full list of tips.

9:45 a.m. – BC Hydro says heat wave leads to record-breaking electricity demand

BC Hydro set a new record for summer electricity consumption on Saturday as B.C. residents cranked up air conditioners and electric fans in an effort to keep cool.

The utility recorded the highest peak hourly demand of the season — 7,972 megawatts — on Saturday, breaking the previous record of 7,897 megawatts set last Aug. 18.

The record is expected to be short lived, however, as BC Hydro expects demand to increase even further as the temperatures continue to climb. They are predicting peak hourly demand will reach 8,300 megawatts on Monday.

“BC Hydro wants to assure its customers that its clean, hydroelectric system can meet the additional demand,” the utility said in a release.

BC Hydro says it has cancelled the majority of its planned outages and is temporarily suspending suspensions for non-payment.

 


People deal with the heat wave at Ambleside beach in West Vancouver.

Francis Georgian /

PNG

9 a.m. – Dozens of heat records fall in B.C.

Several hot-weather records were smashed on Saturday as a so-called heat dome brought sizzling temperatures to British Columbia.

According to preliminary data from Environment and Climate Change Canada, 46 B.C. centres broke temperature records Saturday, including Vancouver where it reached 33.7 C near the harbour.

A number of B.C. weather stations registered temperatures above 40 degrees including Lillooet (43.1),  Pemberton Airport (40.3 C), Osoyoos (40.1 C), Kamloops Airport (40.7 C), and Lytton, which didn’t set a record but still managed to be the hot spot in Canada with a high of 43.8 C on Saturday.

Other B.C. heat records set Saturday:

• Blue River 35.5 C
• Burns Lake 34.7 C
• Callaghan Valley 35.8 C
Cathedral Point 33.6 C
• Comox 34.0 C
• Creston 36.7 C
• Cumshewa Island 22.9 C
• Discovery Island 30.7 C
• Entrance Island 30.0 C
• Esquimalt Harbour 27.3 C
• Estevan Point 27.9 C
• Fanny Island 35.2 C
• Grey Islet 23.7 C
• Herbert Island 25.2 C
• Holland Rock 18.5 C
• Howe Sound – Pam Rocks 30.5 C
• Kindakun Rocks 18.1 C
• Lucy Islands Lightstation 20.4 C
• Malahat 36.1 C
• Nakusp 35.7 C
• Pitt Meadows 37.8 C
• Port Alberni 38.9 C
• Princeton 38.8 C
• Puntzi Mountain 35.5 C
• Race Rocks Light Station 30.4 C
• Sand Heads Light Station 26.2 C
• Saturna Capmon 36.7 C
• Saturna Island 29.6 C
• Sheringham Point 30.7 C
• Sisters Islets 30.5 C
• Sparwood 31.7 C
• Squamish Airport 39.0 C
• Summerland 36.9 C
• Tatlayoko Lake 36.0 C
• Victoria Gonzales 32.5 C
• University of Victoria 35.7 C
• Warfield 39.6 C
• West Vancouver 37.2 C
• Whistler – Nesters 38.3
• White Rock 34.6 C
• Yoho National Park 31.1 C


Saturday

8:45 p.m. Fraser Health shifts vaccination clinics indoors

Because of the excessive heat in the coming days, Fraser Health has taken the precaution of changing venues for those vaccination clinics that were to have been held outdoors.

Beginning Sunday, anyone going for testing or an immunization after noon will be redirected to a cooler indoor venue. The switches will be in place through Monday, at which point Fraser Health will provide an update on the situation.

Here’s a list of the affected clinics and the alternative locations:

• Burnaby COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Christine Sinclair Community Centre instead

• Mission COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Chilliwack Mall instead

• South Surrey COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit South Surrey Recreation Centre instead

• Coquitlam COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Haney Place Mall instead

• Langley COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Langley Events Centre instead

• Surrey 66 COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Cloverdale Recreation Centre instead

• Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre Immunization Clinic: Visit Gateway Church instead.

5:45 p.m. The City of Maple Ridge has opened a cooling centre for temporary relief from the heat

The City of Maple Ridge has temporarily opened the Greg Moore Youth Centre as a cooling centre to provide residents with relief from the heat.

The centre is located at 11925 Haney Place in Maple Ridge with the entrance opposite to the north entrance of Haney Place Mall and will remain open until Monday. Additional days may be added as this weather system moves through the region.

This site will be staffed by City employees, Emergency Support Services volunteers and security personnel who will be providing guests to the facility with bottled water, washroom access and seating to provide some comfort from the heat.

The city will continue the spray parks that were activated on the May long weekend in its two largest parks, Maple Ridge Park and Albion Sports Complex. Small water spray features will also be located at some other parks. The City’s Parks teams have also reactivated the water fountains in downtown parks, which were previously closed down due to COVID-19 protocols.

3:30 p.m. Metro Vancouver issues poor air quality advisory

Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory for eastern Metro Vancouver and the central Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone.

High concentrations are expected to persist for a few days during the hot and sunny weather. The current weather forecast indicates extremely hot temperatures through at least Monday, the region said.

Metro said ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents and other sources) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.

Residents are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.

Exposure is particularly a concern for people with underlying illnesses and for those who are socially marginalized, such as people experiencing homelessness.

1 p.m. – B.C. Hydro says extreme heat causes record energy demand

B.C. Hydro says on Friday night the peak hourly demand record for June — the hour customers use the most power — was broken for a second time this week.

B.C. Hydro expects demand for power to continue to increase this weekend and it will likely peak on Monday – the day when temperatures are expected to hit 40ºC or higher in some parts of the province.

The last summer record was set on August 18, 2020 when peak hourly demand reached about 7,900 megawatts. Monday’s peak hourly demand could reach up to 8,300 megawatts, shattering the previous record, Hydro said.

B.C. Hydro continues to insist it can meet the additional demand. It has also taken important steps to protect the safety of its customers and employees, including canceling the majority of planned outages as well as suspending disconnections for non-payment.

B.C. Hydro is providing some tips to save energy:

• Closing the drapes and blinds: Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.

• Shutting doors and windows: If the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.

• Using a fan: Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.

• Being a star: Purchase an Energy Star air conditioner as they use about 30 to 40 per cent less power than standard units.

• Opting for smaller appliances: Use a microwave, crockpot or toaster oven to avoid the extra heat produced by larger appliances when preparing meals.

11:30 a.m. – Mission School District closes schools on Monday because of heat wave.

Mission schools will be closed on Monday because of the heat wave, as temperatures around 40 C are expected. The school district said it will reopen on Tuesday.

11 a.m. – Fraser Health rebooks vaccines because of heat wave

Due to the extreme heat wave that is currently affecting Abbotsford and other areas of B.C., Fraser Health is rebooking COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre that were scheduled for 1 p.m. or later today.

The heat wave is causing elevated internal temperatures in the clinic and, as a result, Fraser Health says it has made the decision to rebook these appointments to protect the health and safety of staff and clients.

People who have been affected by this temporary measure are asked to call 1-833-838-2323 to rebook their appointment.

Alternatively, people may walk-in to another location.

9:30 a.m. – Heat dome primer

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon explains the phenomenon and what to expect in British Columbia.

What is a heat dome?

A heat dome is caused by a strong ridge of high pressure that traps warm air underneath it. Although not a term commonly used by Environment Canada scientists, the heat dome gets its name because the ridge acts like a dome, allowing the sun to crank up the heat below and create a heat wave that lasts at least a few days.

How often does this happen?

Ridges of high pressure create hot spells in B.C. most years but they typically occur in July or August. Another memorable heat wave occurred in July 2009, when there were several heat-related fatalities and some B.C. weather stations smashed temperatures records. On July 30, 2009, the Vancouver airport set its current local record of 34.4 C.

How significant is this?

This year’s ridge is much stronger and earlier than usual. The temperatures for this time of year are unprecedented and parts of B.C. are going to set some all-time records, certainly a lot of June records and probably daily maximum records.

Are there particular parts of B.C. you’re keeping an eye on?

The whole province is pretty much under heat warnings, except for parts of the northwest near the Yukon border and some coastal areas like West Vancouver Island up to Haida Gwaii. Some of the hot spots will be places like Lytton, Osoyoos, Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley and Prince George in the north. Environment Canada is forecasting six days of 40-plus temperatures in Kamloops, which has never seen 40 C in June on record.

How does a heat dome go away?

Eventually there will be a ridge breakdown, when the province transitions to cooler weather. Usually that is accompanied with thunderstorms because of built-up energy from the heat. Once the province gets some destabilization of the atmosphere and some troughs coming in, that usually kick-starts some convection and thunderstorms. If accompanying rain showers are limited, that can create a high risk of wildfires.

— Canadian Press

7 a.m. – Unusual heat wave will set records in Pacific Northwest

Heavy rain in China, an expanse of warm water stretching across the North Pacific, and kinks in the jet stream are combining to drive an unusual heat wave that will set records in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle and Portland may post their hottest June days in history, while heat warnings are posted in Canada as far north as the Arctic Circle. The dangerously hot temperatures raise wildfire risk, may worsen air pollution, and pose public health threats in a region where many don’t have air conditioning.

The warmth is building under a so-called heat dome that may have been exacerbated by climate change. It’s similar to the weather pattern earlier this month that led to a California heat wave, according to Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections. Kinks in the jet stream have pinned summer weather in place leading to prolonged heat waves and drought, as well as storminess and flooding.

“The unusual waviness of the jet stream was associated with a pattern we have been seeing more often in summer, which has been connected to human-caused climate change,” Masters said.

The current heat wave over the Northwest started with flooding rains across China on June 23, said Masters. That fed energy into the jet stream across the North Pacific, making it stronger than usual and setting off a chain reaction of weather patterns that led to the high pressure ridge building over western North America and driving temperatures up in the U.S. and Canada.

The heat, as well as the conditions that have caused widespread drought across the U.S. West, may have been made worse by warm water stretching across the North Pacific, as well as parts of the Bering and Chukchi seas near Alaska, said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Center. That pattern may have been exacerbated by less sea ice in the Arctic this year, a situation made worse in recent decades by climate change.

The worst heat will center on the Northwest and then seep east into Idaho by Monday, though California will also see oppressive conditions. The Golden State’s power grid manager said it’s closely watching the situation. Excessive heat warnings cover areas east of Los Angeles, where temperatures could reach 110 F (43ºC) Sunday and Monday, and other parts of the state.

– Bloomberg


Friday

5:30 p.m. – COVID-19 protocols takes back seat during a heat wave

B.C. medical health officers say people should be able to access cooling centres during the ongoing heat wave, even if there are concerns about crowding or physical distancing.

They also said people wearing masks who have difficulty breathing should remove the mask, whether indoors or outdoors.

High temperatures are associated with an increase in deaths in the Lower Mainland, said Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and Interior Health.

Especially vulnerable are the young, elderly, those working or exercising in the heat. People with chronic heart and lung conditions, people with mental illness, people living alone, and homeless people are also at high risk.

3:30 p.m. – Environment Canada issues heat warning across B.C. 

Environment Canada issued a slew of heat warnings across B.C. including Metro Vancouver due to a “dangerous long duration heat wave” starting Friday until at least Tuesday.

Record-breaking temperatures are likely, with daytime highs expected to hit 29 to 38 C. There will be little respite at night as overnight lows will only dip down to 18 to 21 C.

With humidity, it could feel like the high 30’s and low 40’s, warned the federal weather agency.

2:30 p.m. – English Bay beach closed to swimmers due to high E. coli levels

If you’re looking to cool down from the heatwave with a dip in the ocean, don’t do it at English Bay beach.

The popular downtown Vancouver beach is temporarily off limits to swimmers Friday afternoon after high levels of E. coli was found in the water.

Swimming in waters with high levels of the bacteria may increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin and eye infections, said Vancouver Coastal Health.

— Cheryl Chan

8:20 a.m. – Here are 15 ways to beat the heat and stay cool

It’s finally summer, and B.C. is kicking it off with a long-lasting heat wave expected to hit Friday and linger until next week.

Temperatures are forecast to hit highs of 29 to 38ºC. With humidity, it could feel like the low 40s.

Such extreme heat isn’t something we’re used to. But don’t sweat it. Here are some heat wave hacks to help you cool down when the temperature rises.

— Cheryl Chan

8 a.m. – B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety issues tips to stay safe, cool during extreme heat wave

British Columbians are being asked to take precautions this weekend, as Environment Canada predicts a dangerous, long heat wave beginning Friday and lasting until at least Wednesday.

HealthLink BC has these tips for keeping cool and healthy:

• Never leave children alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52ºC within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34ºC. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Drink extra water even before you feel thirsty and if you are active on a hot day. Ask your health-care provider about how much water you should drink on hot days if you are on water pills or limiting your fluid intake.

• Keep cool. Stay indoors in air-conditioned buildings or take a cool bath or shower. At temperatures above 30ºC, fans alone may not be able to prevent heat-related illness. Sunscreen will protect against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but not from the heat.

• Plan activity before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is the weakest.

• Avoid tiring work or exercise in hot, humid environments. If you must work or exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Rest breaks are important and should be taken in the shade.

• Avoid sunburn. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on exposed skin and an SPF 30 lip balm, and reapply often.

• Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.

• Regularly check older adults, children and others for signs of heat-related illness, and make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids.

• Check on those who are unable to leave their homes and people with emotional or mental-health challenges whose judgment may be impaired.

• Heat also affects pets. Never leave a pet in a parked car. Limit pets’ exercise, and be sure to provide them with plenty of water and shade.

• Home treatment for mild heat exhaustion may include: Moving to a cooler environment; drinking plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids; resting; and taking a cool shower or bath.

If symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause concern, contact a health-care provider.

Elevated heat also increases the risk of wildfire, and British Columbians are being urged to do their part to prevent human-caused wildfires and help keep communities safe. To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

8 a.m. – B.C. Ferries reminds travellers to bring water

B.C. Ferries is reminding travellers this weekend to bring extra water because of the heat wave.

B.C. Ferries anticipates higher volumes of traffic, and the terminal is unable to offer facilities while waiting to enter the ticket booth.

THURSDAY

Environment Canada issues heat warnings, says record-high temperatures loom for B.C.

Jeremy Cain spent Thursday overseeing a team of outreach workers in Kamloops in a race against an impending heat wave that he worries will put the city’s already vulnerable community members at even greater risk.

Their cars are loaded with water bottles and sunscreen that they plan to distribute around the city over the next week with temperatures set to soar to 40 C and beyond by Saturday as part of a near-provincewide heat wave.

“I’ve lived in this community my whole life and the temperatures they’re calling for are alarming to any person in the general public, these are extreme temperatures where anyone can come to harm,” said Cain, who is director of outreach and clinical support services for the ASK Wellness Society.

— The Canadian Press


TOO HOT TO TWEET

 

27Jun

B.C. heat wave update for Jun 27: Fraser Health moves vaccination clinics indoors | Metro Vancouver issues poor air quality advisory | B.C. Hydro reports extreme energy demand

by admin

Here’s a roundup of the latest news concerning what Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling a “dangerous long duration heat wave.”

Article content

Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are in for a potentially record-breaking heat wave this weekend, with temperatures expected to hit the high 30s and even into the 40s in some areas.

It’s unprecedented hot weather for this region.

Authorities are urging residents to drink lots of water and check on elderly neighbours, and of course never leave a child or a pet in a parked car.

Here’s a roundup of the latest news concerning what Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling a “dangerous long duration heat wave.”


Read more:

Temperature records broken during heat wave in B.C. on Monday

Environment Canada issues heat warnings, says record-high temperatures loom for B.C.

B.C. Hydro says it will weather heat wave, customers won’t see outages like in some U.S. states

Extreme ‘dome of heat’ to descend on Metro Vancouver this weekend


LATEST NEWS on B.C.’s heat wave

SATURDAY

8:45 p.m. Fraser Health shifts vaccination clinics indoors

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Article content

Because of the excessive heat in the coming days, Fraser Health has taken the precaution of changing venues for those vaccination clinics that were to have been held outdoors.

Beginning Sunday, anyone going for testing or an immunization after noon will be redirected to a cooler indoor venue. The switches will be in place through Monday, at which point Fraser Health will provide an update on the situation.

Here’s a list of the affected clinics and the alternative locations:

• Burnaby COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Christine Sinclair Community Centre instead

• Mission COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Chilliwack Mall instead

• South Surrey COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit South Surrey Recreation Centre instead

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Article content

• Coquitlam COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Haney Place Mall instead

• Langley COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Langley Events Centre instead

• Surrey 66 COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Cloverdale Recreation Centre instead

• Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre Immunization Clinic: Visit Gateway Church instead.

5:45 p.m. The City of Maple Ridge has opened a cooling centre for temporary relief from the heat

The City of Maple Ridge has temporarily opened the Greg Moore Youth Centre as a cooling centre to provide residents with relief from the heat.

The centre is located at 11925 Haney Place in Maple Ridge with the entrance opposite to the north entrance of Haney Place Mall and will remain open until Monday. Additional days may be added as this weather system moves through the region.

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This site will be staffed by City employees, Emergency Support Services volunteers and security personnel who will be providing guests to the facility with bottled water, washroom access and seating to provide some comfort from the heat.

The city will continue the spray parks that were activated on the May long weekend in its two largest parks, Maple Ridge Park and Albion Sports Complex. Small water spray features will also be located at some other parks. The City’s Parks teams have also reactivated the water fountains in downtown parks, which were previously closed down due to COVID-19 protocols.

3:30 p.m. Metro Vancouver issues poor air quality advisory

Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory for eastern Metro Vancouver and the central Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone.

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High concentrations are expected to persist for a few days during the hot and sunny weather. The current weather forecast indicates extremely hot temperatures through at least Monday, the region said.

Metro said ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents and other sources) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.

Residents are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.

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Exposure is particularly a concern for people with underlying illnesses and for those who are socially marginalized, such as people experiencing homelessness.

1 p.m. – B.C. Hydro says extreme heat causes record energy demand

B.C. Hydro says on Friday night the peak hourly demand record for June — the hour customers use the most power — was broken for a second time this week.

B.C. Hydro expects demand for power to continue to increase this weekend and it will likely peak on Monday – the day when temperatures are expected to hit 40ºC or higher in some parts of the province.

The last summer record was set on August 18, 2020 when peak hourly demand reached about 7,900 megawatts. Monday’s peak hourly demand could reach up to 8,300 megawatts, shattering the previous record, Hydro said.

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B.C. Hydro continues to insist it can meet the additional demand. It has also taken important steps to protect the safety of its customers and employees, including canceling the majority of planned outages as well as suspending disconnections for non-payment.

B.C. Hydro is providing some tips to save energy:

• Closing the drapes and blinds: Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.

• Shutting doors and windows: If the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.

• Using a fan: Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.

• Being a star: Purchase an Energy Star air conditioner as they use about 30 to 40 per cent less power than standard units.

Advertisement

Article content

• Opting for smaller appliances: Use a microwave, crockpot or toaster oven to avoid the extra heat produced by larger appliances when preparing meals.

11:30 a.m. – Mission School District closes schools on Monday because of heat wave.

Mission schools will be closed on Monday because of the heat wave, as temperatures around 40 C are expected. The school district said it will reopen on Tuesday.

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11 a.m. – Fraser Health rebooks vaccines because of heat wave

Due to the extreme heat wave that is currently affecting Abbotsford and other areas of B.C., Fraser Health is rebooking COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre that were scheduled for 1 p.m. or later today.

The heat wave is causing elevated internal temperatures in the clinic and, as a result, Fraser Health says it has made the decision to rebook these appointments to protect the health and safety of staff and clients.

People who have been affected by this temporary measure are asked to call 1-833-838-2323 to rebook their appointment.

Alternatively, people may walk-in to another location.

9:30 a.m. – Heat dome primer

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon explains the phenomenon and what to expect in British Columbia.

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What is a heat dome?

A heat dome is caused by a strong ridge of high pressure that traps warm air underneath it. Although not a term commonly used by Environment Canada scientists, the heat dome gets its name because the ridge acts like a dome, allowing the sun to crank up the heat below and create a heat wave that lasts at least a few days.

How often does this happen?

Ridges of high pressure create hot spells in B.C. most years but they typically occur in July or August. Another memorable heat wave occurred in July 2009, when there were several heat-related fatalities and some B.C. weather stations smashed temperatures records. On July 30, 2009, the Vancouver airport set its current local record of 34.4 C.

How significant is this?

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This year’s ridge is much stronger and earlier than usual. The temperatures for this time of year are unprecedented and parts of B.C. are going to set some all-time records, certainly a lot of June records and probably daily maximum records.

Are there particular parts of B.C. you’re keeping an eye on?

The whole province is pretty much under heat warnings, except for parts of the northwest near the Yukon border and some coastal areas like West Vancouver Island up to Haida Gwaii. Some of the hot spots will be places like Lytton, Osoyoos, Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley and Prince George in the north. Environment Canada is forecasting six days of 40-plus temperatures in Kamloops, which has never seen 40 C in June on record.

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How does a heat dome go away?

Eventually there will be a ridge breakdown, when the province transitions to cooler weather. Usually that is accompanied with thunderstorms because of built-up energy from the heat. Once the province gets some destabilization of the atmosphere and some troughs coming in, that usually kick-starts some convection and thunderstorms. If accompanying rain showers are limited, that can create a high risk of wildfires.

— Canadian Press

7 a.m. – Unusual heat wave will set records in Pacific Northwest

Heavy rain in China, an expanse of warm water stretching across the North Pacific, and kinks in the jet stream are combining to drive an unusual heat wave that will set records in the Pacific Northwest.

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Seattle and Portland may post their hottest June days in history, while heat warnings are posted in Canada as far north as the Arctic Circle. The dangerously hot temperatures raise wildfire risk, may worsen air pollution, and pose public health threats in a region where many don’t have air conditioning.

The warmth is building under a so-called heat dome that may have been exacerbated by climate change. It’s similar to the weather pattern earlier this month that led to a California heat wave, according to Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections. Kinks in the jet stream have pinned summer weather in place leading to prolonged heat waves and drought, as well as storminess and flooding.

“The unusual waviness of the jet stream was associated with a pattern we have been seeing more often in summer, which has been connected to human-caused climate change,” Masters said.

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The current heat wave over the Northwest started with flooding rains across China on June 23, said Masters. That fed energy into the jet stream across the North Pacific, making it stronger than usual and setting off a chain reaction of weather patterns that led to the high pressure ridge building over western North America and driving temperatures up in the U.S. and Canada.

The heat, as well as the conditions that have caused widespread drought across the U.S. West, may have been made worse by warm water stretching across the North Pacific, as well as parts of the Bering and Chukchi seas near Alaska, said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Center. That pattern may have been exacerbated by less sea ice in the Arctic this year, a situation made worse in recent decades by climate change.

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The worst heat will center on the Northwest and then seep east into Idaho by Monday, though California will also see oppressive conditions. The Golden State’s power grid manager said it’s closely watching the situation. Excessive heat warnings cover areas east of Los Angeles, where temperatures could reach 110 F (43ºC) Sunday and Monday, and other parts of the state.

– Bloomberg


FRIDAY

5:30 p.m. – COVID-19 protocols takes back seat during a heat wave

B.C. medical health officers say people should be able to access cooling centres during the ongoing heat wave, even if there are concerns about crowding or physical distancing.

They also said people wearing masks who have difficulty breathing should remove the mask, whether indoors or outdoors.

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High temperatures are associated with an increase in deaths in the Lower Mainland, said Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and Interior Health.

Especially vulnerable are the young, elderly, those working or exercising in the heat. People with chronic heart and lung conditions, people with mental illness, people living alone, and homeless people are also at high risk.

3:30 p.m. – Environment Canada issues heat warning across B.C. 

Environment Canada issued a slew of heat warnings across B.C. including Metro Vancouver due to a “dangerous long duration heat wave” starting Friday until at least Tuesday.

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Record-breaking temperatures are likely, with daytime highs expected to hit 29 to 38 C. There will be little respite at night as overnight lows will only dip down to 18 to 21 C.

With humidity, it could feel like the high 30’s and low 40’s, warned the federal weather agency.

2:30 p.m. – English Bay beach closed to swimmers due to high E. coli levels

If you’re looking to cool down from the heatwave with a dip in the ocean, don’t do it at English Bay beach.

The popular downtown Vancouver beach is temporarily off limits to swimmers Friday afternoon after high levels of E. coli was found in the water.

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Swimming in waters with high levels of the bacteria may increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin and eye infections, said Vancouver Coastal Health.

— Cheryl Chan

8:20 a.m. – Here are 15 ways to beat the heat and stay cool

It’s finally summer, and B.C. is kicking it off with a long-lasting heat wave expected to hit Friday and linger until next week.

Temperatures are forecast to hit highs of 29 to 38ºC. With humidity, it could feel like the low 40s.

Such extreme heat isn’t something we’re used to. But don’t sweat it. Here are some heat wave hacks to help you cool down when the temperature rises.

— Cheryl Chan

8 a.m. – B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety issues tips to stay safe, cool during extreme heat wave

British Columbians are being asked to take precautions this weekend, as Environment Canada predicts a dangerous, long heat wave beginning Friday and lasting until at least Wednesday.

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HealthLink BC has these tips for keeping cool and healthy:

• Never leave children alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52ºC within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34ºC. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Drink extra water even before you feel thirsty and if you are active on a hot day. Ask your health-care provider about how much water you should drink on hot days if you are on water pills or limiting your fluid intake.

• Keep cool. Stay indoors in air-conditioned buildings or take a cool bath or shower. At temperatures above 30ºC, fans alone may not be able to prevent heat-related illness. Sunscreen will protect against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but not from the heat.

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• Plan activity before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is the weakest.

• Avoid tiring work or exercise in hot, humid environments. If you must work or exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Rest breaks are important and should be taken in the shade.

• Avoid sunburn. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on exposed skin and an SPF 30 lip balm, and reapply often.

• Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.

• Regularly check older adults, children and others for signs of heat-related illness, and make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids.

• Check on those who are unable to leave their homes and people with emotional or mental-health challenges whose judgment may be impaired.

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• Heat also affects pets. Never leave a pet in a parked car. Limit pets’ exercise, and be sure to provide them with plenty of water and shade.

• Home treatment for mild heat exhaustion may include: Moving to a cooler environment; drinking plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids; resting; and taking a cool shower or bath.

If symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause concern, contact a health-care provider.

Elevated heat also increases the risk of wildfire, and British Columbians are being urged to do their part to prevent human-caused wildfires and help keep communities safe. To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

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8 a.m. – B.C. Ferries reminds travellers to bring water

B.C. Ferries is reminding travellers this weekend to bring extra water because of the heat wave.

B.C. Ferries anticipates higher volumes of traffic, and the terminal is unable to offer facilities while waiting to enter the ticket booth.

THURSDAY

Environment Canada issues heat warnings, says record-high temperatures loom for B.C.

Jeremy Cain spent Thursday overseeing a team of outreach workers in Kamloops in a race against an impending heat wave that he worries will put the city’s already vulnerable community members at even greater risk.

Their cars are loaded with water bottles and sunscreen that they plan to distribute around the city over the next week with temperatures set to soar to 40 C and beyond by Saturday as part of a near-provincewide heat wave.

“I’ve lived in this community my whole life and the temperatures they’re calling for are alarming to any person in the general public, these are extreme temperatures where anyone can come to harm,” said Cain, who is director of outreach and clinical support services for the ASK Wellness Society.

— The Canadian Press


TOO HOT TO TWEET

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26Jun

All-season PNE amphitheatre upgrade approved by Vancouver council

by admin

The business case is strong with full payback of city-fronted capital, but what can’t be quantified are the priceless experiences and memories that will be created for new generations of music lovers.” — Sarah Kirby-Yung

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The Pacific National Exhibition’s amphitheatre will get a major facelift, after council directed staff this week to upgrade the venue to allow for expanded capacity and year-round operation.

The amphitheatre renewal project, which council approved unanimously, will feature a covered stage, floor and bleachers, allowing the venue to host concerts through the rainy months.

The total PNE amphitheatre project is estimated to cost $64.8 million over the next five years. At Wednesday’s meeting, council approved city staff’s request for $6 million for planning, design and preliminary infrastructure upgrades associated with the amphitheatre project, as well as another $1.1 million for other infrastructure renewal at the Hastings Park site.

The upgrade will expand venue capacity from 7,000 to 9,340, seeking to “fill a major gap in the local venue market,” a city staff report says, and increase the number of events outside the annual PNE Fair from five to 49, boosting annual revenue from $1.4 million to an estimated $9.7 million. The project is forecast to pay for itself within 12 years.

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Over the last six decades, the existing amphitheatre has hosted touring acts like Hall and Oates, and local legends like Doug and The Slugs. But, the report says, the open-air concert venue is “is now in poor condition and no longer meets the needs of performers, artists and guests. … The venue includes out-of-date concession areas, limited washrooms, and poor accessibility for guests, hindering the venue’s ability to leverage the space to its potential.”

The upgrade will also introduce permanent back-of-house infrastructure and improved guest amenities.

The Pacific National Exhibition’s amphitheatre will get a major facelift, after council directed staff this week to upgrade the venue to allow for expanded capacity and year-round operation.
The Pacific National Exhibition’s amphitheatre will get a major facelift, after council directed staff this week to upgrade the venue to allow for expanded capacity and year-round operation. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

In a city press release, OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle called the amphitheatre project “a public investment that will benefit Vancouver for decades to come.”

Independent Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said: “Seeing concerts and shows at the Amphitheatre is quintessentially Vancouver. … The business case is strong with full payback of city-fronted capital, but what can’t be quantified are the priceless experiences and memories that will be created for new generations of music lovers.”

Kirby-Yung asked staff to endeavour to expedite the project, aiming to have the venue operational earlier than the original 2026 completion date.

dfumano@postmedia.com

twitter.com/fumano

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30May

Dan Fumano: Lack of Broadway subway washrooms has advocate ‘pissed’

by admin

Analysis: Advocates, councillors raise concern about lack of public bathrooms, a long-running problem in Vancouver.

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Vancouver council recently tackled an issue that concerns a particularly large special interest group: people who use the bathroom.

In other words, everybody.

Last month, a “virtual groundbreaking ceremony” marking the start of major construction of the Broadway Subway drew five B.C. cabinet ministers, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo, and federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna.

The online press conference struck a celebratory tone.

“Today’s a great day,” McKenna said. “We’re celebrating a really important milestone in the lives of so many folks in the Greater Vancouver area: the beginning of construction of the Broadway Subway.”

It is, indeed, a big project: a $2.83 billion, 5.7-kilometre rapid transit connection linking Vancouver’s east and west sides, with ties to the downtown core and several neighbouring municipalities.

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But less than a week later, Vancouver’s council — most councillors support the Broadway subway project and want to extend it to the University of B.C. campus — unanimously expressed their “serious accessibility concerns” about a key element of the project: the lack of accessible public washrooms (indeed, any “public” washrooms) at stations.

But the push for accessible public washrooms at the Broadway subway stations goes back at least four years, to before the federal and provincial governments even funded the project.

The council motion was introduced by Green Coun. Michael Wiebe, council liaison to Vancouver’s persons with disabilities advisory committee. That committee advises the city on improving inclusion for people with disabilities, unanimously approved a motion in 2017 calling for “universally accessible gender-neutral public washroom facilities be installed at ALL stations along the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and be considered for ALL TransLink stations.”

In 2018, TransLink’s board approved a policy to increase access to public washrooms at transit stations. At that time, Laura Mackenrot, a member of the persons with disabilities advisory committee member, told Postmedia News she welcomed the transit authority board’s decision as “a great first step.”

Mackenrot said she and her committee colleagues believed the board’s decision meant there would be accessible public washrooms on Day 1 of the Broadway subway. But she was “dismayed,” she said, to learn last year that wasn’t the case.

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Laura Mackenrot, a member of Vancouver’s persons with disabilities advisory committee, with Green Coun. Michael Wiebe at the construction site for a Broadway Subway station.
Laura Mackenrot, a member of Vancouver’s persons with disabilities advisory committee, with Green Coun. Michael Wiebe at the construction site for a Broadway Subway station. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

A Ministry of Transportation representative confirmed last week that when the Broadway subway starts running, slated for 2025, “All stations will have single-occupancy washrooms accessible from the public areas of the stations with the assistance of a SkyTrain attendant, similar to the existing situation throughout the SkyTrain network.”

Mackenrot said that is not acceptable. A locked bathroom only accessible by asking a SkyTrain attendant — who may need to come from a couple stations away — to unlock the door, Mackenrot said, is “basically a staff bathroom.”

Frequent SkyTrain riders might be surprised to learn there are bathrooms in the existing stations that can be accessed by asking an attendant to unlock them.

“They’re secret,” Mackenrot said. “No one knows about them.”

The Ministry statement said two Broadway stations — City Hall and Arbutus — “will be designed to accommodate accessible washrooms in the fare-paid zone in the future.”

But that simply means those two stations have space for a hypothetical future public washroom. And, Mackenrot points out, when someone has to pee, a hypothetical toilet is not helpful.

Mackenrot’s committee’s call for accessible washrooms was also backed by Vancouver’s children, youth and families advisory committee, the transportation advisory committee, and the seniors’ advisory committee.

Wiebe said it was unusual to see four distinct advisory committees get together around a single issue like that, and it speaks to the subject’s importance.

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When Wiebe’s motion came to council last month, many councillors used strong language to express their support.

“I think it’s absolutely absurd that we have to be begging to get washrooms in transit stations,” said COPE Coun. Jean Swanson. “We’re supposed to be a civilized country.”

Independent Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said: “It is unfathomable and shocking that it’s just not a given we would have washrooms in facilities.”

Some councillors described close calls they’d experienced riding transit with young kids who needed bathroom access.

The only councillor not to support Wiebe’s motion was independent Coun. Colleen Hardwick, who abstained, saying while she supports more public bathrooms, she is opposed to the Broadway Subway.

Green Coun. Pete Fry called it “bizarre” public washrooms are not a fundamental part of the planning of Metro Vancouver transit stations, the way they are in many other cities around the world.

Wiebe’s motion also raised another concern: the lack of paired elevators in all stations. Current plans include a single elevator in most stations, which means one out-of-service elevator renders the station inaccessible for many people. The Broadway-City Hall station is an exception, and will have paired elevators.

For Mackenrot, the lack of paired elevators at the station closest to Vancouver General Hospital is particularly “ridiculous,” considering its proximity to all kinds of health facilities, including the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, B.C. Cancer agency, and the Mary Pack Arthritis Centre.

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In an emailed statement, TransLink spokeswoman Jill Drews said: “In the past, factors like safety and cost have been reasons to not provide TransLink owned and operated washrooms in fare-paid zones.”

Following the board’s support for the new washroom policy in 2018, Drews said, TransLink is developing an “implementation strategy” to increase washroom accessibility at high-volume SkyTrain stations and bus exchanges.

“Costs are being determined,” Drew said. “The next step would be including washroom implementation and operation in a future investment plan, as set by the Mayors’ Council.”

In other words, it sounds like it’s up to Stewart, now armed with his council’s support on Wiebe’s motion, to make the case to his colleagues on the Mayor’s Council for getting public bathrooms into the Broadway stations now under construction.

This problem isn’t unique to the Broadway subway. Vancouver has a long and well-documentedshortage of public washrooms, as do some other big Canadian cities. Last month, a feature in the British newspaper The Guardian described Toronto as a “no-go area” due to its “unreliable patchwork of restrooms.”

For Mackenrot, the correct direction is clear. The issue might be particularly felt by some groups — including people with disabilities, seniors, and parents with kids — but, Mackenrot says, “this is an everybody issue.”

Asked to describe her feelings on Metro Vancouver’s transit station washroom situation, Mackenrot said: “I’ll tell you the word I generally use because I like the pun: I’m pissed.”

“I think everyone is going to be pissed … that there aren’t going to be accessible public washrooms in the SkyTrain stations,” she said. “How can we be a world-class city without washrooms?”

dfumano@postmedia.com

twitter.com/fumano

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

28May

Carol Volkart: Just say it, we’re cutting your bus stops

by admin

As for the promise of more comfortable rides with less stopping, starting and lane changing, I suggest it’s a hint that TransLink doesn’t understand its own purpose.

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Down the block and just around the corner from me is a bus stop where, for more than four decades, I’ve waited for the east-bound bus along Vancouver’s West 25th Avenue. It’s a fine, recently refurbished stop right across from busy Lord Kitchener Elementary, with a Plexiglas shelter, a bench, and a big new slab of concrete for easy bus access.

I haven’t been using transit during the pandemic, but passing the stop recently, I was stunned to find a sign announcing that it, along with others along the route, is being removed. The reason: “To provide faster and more reliable service.” The nearest stop, the sign said, “is a three-minute walk or roll away.”

I thought a lot of things at that point, but one of the first was about the jauntiness of that phrase, “walk or roll.” Is it an accident that it rhymes with “rock ‘n’ roll”? Doesn’t it sound light-hearted, maybe even fun? Sure, some transit users are young and may arrive at bus stops with skateboards in hand. But in the real world of transit users — the elderly, the disabled, people hauling groceries or children, or just trying to get to another grueling work shift — that wording has a touch of unreality. “Bus much?” we might ask its authors.

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As I dug further into the bus-stop plans, it was clear the jauntiness of the sign wasn’t a one-off. It was a deep dive into the chirpy double-speak we’ve come to expect from authorities these days — the euphemisms that paint over unpleasant realities and seem irrelevant unless you’re the one trudging extra blocks with a bum hip, a heavy load of groceries, or a squalling child.

What’s happening at bus stops isn’t cuts, folks, it is “balancing.”

The Bus Stop Balancing Project so far has slashed stops on the No. 2, the No. 17, and the No. 25 routes, and if your route hasn’t been affected yet, it soon will be. Go to the busstopbalancing website, and you will learn that you have been spoiled so far. Two-thirds of bus stops are closer than the recommended 300 to 800 metres apart (a five- to 10-minute walk), and it won’t hurt you a bit to trudge a little farther.

Removing the excess stops is a “win-win proposition,” says TransLink’s breathlessly upbeat site. For riders, it means shorter travel times, more reliable service, more comfortable rides and reduced operating costs, “which can be reinvested as longer hours or higher frequency of service.”

For non-riders, it’s equally great. Former bus stops can serve many other uses — “patios, bike racks, pedestrian bulbs, queue jumps, short-term loading zones, or on-street parking.” Fewer bus stops free up sidewalk space “to enhance physical distancing and accessibility.” And — bonus for bus riders watching cars zip past while they queue in the rain — it improves traffic flow.

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Some anomalies rear up amidst all the happy talk. When green-minded governments are supposedly encouraging transit use over cars, why kill bus stops and gloat that they can be used for on-street parking? Or tout fewer stops as a way of improving traffic flow? This plan may cut actual travel times, as TransLink promises, but is it counting the extra minutes — painful and difficult for some — it takes to reach the stops? One of the oddest suggestions is that fewer stops means “more space on buses for physical distancing due to evenly distributed passenger loads.” There is no explanation of how bigger crowds at fewer stops will help distribution or distancing — on or off the buses.

As for the promise of more comfortable rides with less stopping, starting and lane changing, I suggest it’s a hint that TransLink doesn’t understand its own purpose. Local transit service is just that — the frequency of its stops is not a slow and bumpy hindrance, but the very reason it’s accessible and serves the needs of locals without cars. Riders know that close, convenient stops for others also means convenient stops for themselves.

Don’t expect to stop the process, which TransLink considers such a success that it will be extended by four to eight routes per year. My own protests — through a survey and letters to TransLink, the provincial transportation minister, and Vancouver city council — got nowhere. However, I was reminded that TransLink had listened enough to some complaints that it reinstituted a handful of stops on the three routes, including one (1!) on No. 25.

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Despite my annoyance at the happy talk, I understand TransLink’s difficulty. Hammered by plummeting passenger numbers and revenues due to COVID, no wonder it’s clutching at the promise of saving $3.5 million a year by cutting stops on 25 of its most frequent routes.

I’m resigned to losing my convenient bus stop, along with five others in my immediate area, and to trudging up a hill or across a busy street for the bus. But after a year of government blundering and obfuscation throughout the pandemic, I fantasize about what an honest “bus balancing” announcement would have looked like.

How about: “Hey folks, we’re in deep financial trouble. It will be inconvenient and difficult for lots of you, but we have no choice: We’re cutting your bus stops!”

Carol Volkart is a former Vancouver Sun editor and reporter, now retired, but still fascinated by civic issues.


Letters to the editor should be sent to sunletters@vancouversun.com. The editorial pages editor is Hardip Johal, who can be reached at hjohal@postmedia.com.

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email vantips@postmedia.com.

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16May

Vancouver Police clear crowds at English Bay on Saturday

by admin

There was heavy police presence at Vancouver’s English Bay on Saturday for the second night in a row.

Despite current COVID-19 restrictions, the warm weather brought out large crowds of people, especially around sunset.

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Video of the party shows a DJ performing and people dancing in front of the public washrooms.

Vancouver police had shut down a portion of Beach Avenue to car traffic.

At least one person was arrested, but no word yet why.

On Friday, police called in support from the RCMP’s Air-1 helicopter to light up the beach and encourage crowds to head home.


Click to play video: 'Premier expresses outrage at potential ‘super-spreader’ events in Vancouver over weekend'







Premier expresses outrage at potential ‘super-spreader’ events in Vancouver over weekend


Premier expresses outrage at potential ‘super-spreader’ events in Vancouver over weekend – Apr 19, 2021




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23Jul

Discount Flair Airlines launching flights from Victoria to Vancouver

by admin

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Flair Airlines is returning to Victoria.

The discount airline announced Thursday it will offer flights to Vancouver starting Aug. 23.

There are options for connections to several other Canadian airports, including the resource centres of Prince George and Fort McMurray, as well as Saskatoon and Regina — all new destinations also announced on Thursday.

The Edmonton-based airline, which is using four Boeing 737-800 jets, also flies to Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Kelowna.

Jim Scott, chief executive of Flair, called the return to Victoria “a much-anticipated” move.

“We continuously receive requests from our passengers to service these communities,” Scott said in a statement.

“Many of these areas are experiencing reduced accessibility, and we know that Canadians need affordable air fares now more than ever. We are committed to supporting these communities across the country as they safely reopen to travel.”

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