Homelessness in Vancouver – The Howe Shelter

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The City of Vancouver is requesting public input with regards to the fate of the Howe Shelter. Until July 22nd they are asking Vancouverites to complete this survey pertaining to interim housing options.

Photo credit: seanorr on Flickr

“On any given night, at least 1,600 people in the city don’t have homes and many more are at risk of becoming homeless. The City and its partners have identified a need for at least 3,700 units of supportive housing (affordable housing with support services) in our city.” – source

Immediate response is requested as the Howe Shelter only has provincial funding to operate until July 31, 2009. Based on data collected and the public’s input the shelter could receive a funding extension through April 2010.

However, the shelter isn’t very popular in its neighbourhood which is why the City would really like the input collected in the survey.

“The closure of one of two homeless shelters on the north side of False Creek has led to a new problem in the upscale downtown neighbourhood. The 36-bed Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT) shelter at 1435 Granville St. was closed at the end of June following weeks of protests by area residents. The shelter — and another like it on Howe Street, which remains open — led to a plague of open drug use and dealing, public urination and defecation, prostitution and public sex, trespassing, theft, aggressive panhandling and harassment outside their homes, residents complained.” – CBC

Visit the City’s Interim Housing Strategy website to find out more about the options that are available and make your opinion count by filling out the survey.

International Bog Days at Burns Bog

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Burns Bog DayNext Sunday is the 18th annual International Bog Days celebration and to get in the spirit, Burns Bog in Delta is hosting a festival including entertainment, food, exhibits, and interpretive tours.

“International Bog Days are happening, once again, this summer on July 25th and 26th, 2009. International Bog Day began in Scotland 13 years ago to celebrate the world’s bogs. This day raises awareness about the need to protect these precious ecosystems as well as the benefits of bogs to the health of our planet. This fun filled day is ideal for people of all ages looking to have a good time with family and friends.” [Burns Bog]

The entertainment line up includes…

  • 10:30 Eliza and MC: Welcome, outline days events
  • 10:30 – 12:00 Doghouse
  • 12:10-12:50 Max Tell
  • 1:00-2:00 Mukutano Singing and Drumming Group
  • 2:10-2:35 Desert Rayne Dancers
  • 2:40-2:50 PFA Bhangra Dancers
  • 2:50-3:00 Sukh Dhaliwal
  • 3:00-3:15 Raging Grannies
  • 3:30 Closing Remarks, free draw
  • At 40 square kilometers, Burns Borg is the largest domed peat bog on the West Coast of North America and is a vital part of our region’s ecosystem. The Burns Bog Conservation Society is comprised of concerned citizens whose goal is to preserve the bog forever. They also host fundraisers and events that include anything from book sales to summer camps and fun runs.

    burns bog
    Photo credit: penmachine on Flickr

    Some quick bog facts:

  • Peat bogs store and filter 10% of the world’s fresh water.
  • A recent United Nations report estimates the preservation and restoration of peat bogs can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 10%.
  • Burns Bog Day will serve to education the public about this precious resource as well as provide more information about how to preserve this land. Sunday’s festivities are entirely free to enjoy and to raise funds for the society there will also be a prize raffle and Rock for the Bog performance on Saturday [PDF]. Download the official poster here [PDF] and stop by the Great Pacific Forum to participate next weekend.

    Kelowna Wildfire Resources

    Comments 8 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The Glenrosa wildfire is burning its way down the mountain in West Kelowna and over 11,000 people (and their pets) have already been evacuated.

    Used with permission / Credit: Quantummaladjustment.com

    With road closures, power outages, poor air quality, and the need for resources, residents and visitors are turning to online sources for information.

    kelowna fire
    Photo credit: jnishi121 on Flickr

    Here’s a quick roundup for those in the area:

  • Major road closures: Highway 97 is closed from Highway 97 C through Westbank & Highway 97 C is closed at Highway 5A to the interchange with Highway 97 due to smoke. Kelowna.com has information about alternate routes if you must get around the roadblocks.
  • Unofficial fire map (via Kelowna.com)

  • View Westkelowna Fire Jul 2009 #kelownafire in a larger map

  • Residents affected by the evacuation order are being asked to report to emergency evacuation reception centres at Royal LePage Place at 2760 Cameron Rd. and Mount Boucherie Secondary School at 2751 Cameron Rd. (source: CBC)
  • Concerned residents or relatives can call (250) 469-8490. Residents who are unable to reach evacuation centres are asked to call (778) 797-2269.(source: CBC)
  • For assistance evacuated your pet, you can reach the BCSPCA in West Kelowna (250) 861-7722. For horses, some of which are being left behind, call “Kim” (250) 215-0144 orthe BCSPCA at the same number. If you’re able to offer space for displaced horses, call (250) 503-8859.
  • For accommodation, donations or to provide volunteer assistance call: 778-797-2269.
  • Public can check on the air quality in the area on the Air Quality Health website or by following updates on Twitter @kelownaaqhi

  • Used with permission / Credit: Quantummaladjustment.com

    So far Global TV has some of the best coverage with an extended news cast tonight, and Kelowna.com (@kelownadotcom) along with Castanet are constantly being updated with news and information. Blogs such as No Going Back also offer personal perspectives and images. The official Twitter tag also seems to be #KelownaFire.

    Used with permission / Credit: Quantummaladjustment.com

    Unfortunately this isn’t the only wildfire burning in BC, as the Terrace Mountain Fire is currently at over 800 hectares (although no structures are threatened). You can view all alerts on the Forest Service of British Columbia website.

    kelowna fire
    Unsure if original source of this famous photo from 2003

    This is the just one of many times in the last decade that a fire of this magnitude has hit the Kelowna area as the Okanagan Mountain Fire consumed 250 square kilometers in 2003. That year it was dubbed the “Summer of Fires” in BC. Luckily reports are currently saying that the Glenrosa fire is 40% contained.

    Surrey Fusion Festival 2009 – The Music

    Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The three stages at Surrey’s Fusion Festival were busy yesterday hosting talent from the neighbourhood and around the world.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    From Greek and Bhangra dancers, to world-traveling acts and the local Surrey Talent Hour participants there was constant feet-tapping entertainment.

    Surrey Fusion Festival

    Voices of the Pacific Rim with the Vancouver Opera was a crowd-favourite as were The Fab Before from the Surrey Talent Search.

    Vancouver Opera @ Fusion Festival

    KS Makhan KS Makhan

    KS Makhan had one of the biggest crowds of the day at the 2010 Celebration Stage while Barney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Opry picked things up on the Chevron World Music Stage.

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Barney Bentall & The Grand Cariboo Opry

    Headliners Joel Plaskett & the Emergency then had the crowd singing, clapping and cheering well into the night.

    Joel Plaskett & The Emergency

    The festivities continue today at Holland Park from 11:00am until 10:00pm featuring Steve Dawson and Friends, Destineak with West Coast Contortion, Ache Brazil, Tropicana, Alex Cuba and more.

    Surrey Fusion Festival 2009 – The Food

    Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    We spent the better part of Saturday over at the Fusion Festival in Holland Park and aside from the sights, sounds, and activities at this free event, the highlight for us was definitely the food pavilions.

    surrey fusion festival
    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    We started off with our staple Jamaican smoothie, followed up with tacos from Mexico, then moved on to empanadas from Peru. I picked up some bannock to take over to my mother and later in the day we enjoyed some blueberry cookies from the First Nations tent which were soft and chewy like muffin tops.

    Surrey Fusion Festival Blueberry Cookies @ Fusion Fest

    Tickets are purchased and redeemed at the food tents with most items being three to four tickets, and beverages being about two.

    Surrey Fusion Festival

    The Fusion Festival runs all day Sunday July 19th as well so if you would like to enjoy some tasty treats from around the world I highly recommend you stop on by.

    You can view all of my photos here as well in John‘s Flickr set.