Vancouver Tweetup Heatup

Comments 14 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Update: There is now an official TweetupHeatup site.

With the homeless population in Vancouver at a despicable level, watching the city get covered in inches of snow and ice has made everyone even more concerned about how they’ll cope with life on the streets.

The mayor of Vancouver and police are trying to find options for compelling homeless people to move off the streets in sub-zero temperatures following the burning death of a woman who had lit a fire in a makeshift shelter to keep warm.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said he had a discussion about the matter with Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu on Friday.

“There is an issue of civil rights there that we have to grapple with, and that is the challenge right now, particularly with people who choose to remain or are convinced that they belong outside,” Robertson said.

The 47-year-old woman’s body was found burning in a makeshift shelter built around a shopping cart at Davie and Hornby streets around 4:30 a.m. PT Friday, police said. [CBC]

So far this season I’ve seen, been aware of, and been a part of more fundraisers and opportunities to volunteer than any other year. If I can’t be out there helping, the very least I can do is write about these efforts.

Yesterday someone was inspired to put the call out on Twitter about having a meetup (or Tweetup) as we call them in Twitter land. The focus would be to raid your closet of anything warm that you could donate, then meetup on the streets of Vancouver to hand out the goods to those in need of clothing and warmth. It was dubbed the VancouverTweetupHeatup or the TweetupHeatup and it appears that many individuals took to the streets with to do what they could to help (such as Steve, Gillian, Tris, and more).

The point of social media is to connect, communicate, and build discussions. If events like this are the result of social media powers in Vancouver, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of such a community (and more excited to celebrate it).

If you are unable to give things like blankets, jackets, gloves, etc. shelters around the city are also in need of basic personal care items and toiletries.

Daniel Reed, associate pastor of Cloverdale Christian Fellowship, said Monday about eight people came in each night over the weekend to his 10-bed makeshift shelter. Most declined an offer to stay the night. “A lot them are drug addicted, and they don’t like four walls, so they’ll come in, use the facilities, have some cocoa and something to eat, but then they leave,” Reed said. [Surrey Leader]

The date and time of the next TweetupHeatup are yet to be determined but you can keep on top of these flash-mobs-for-good by following the trending topic on Twitter.

Update: Gillian has some great coverage here for the Vancouver Sun and Steve’s got a post up on Ubertor’s blog.

iTunes Gift Card Giveaway

Comments 16 by Rebecca Bollwitt

While writing my entry about the new Robson Safeway I discovered how many gift cards you can actually get in store, from The Home Depot to The Keg. However probably the most attractive impulse buy item for me at either Save-On-Foods or Safeway is the iTunes gift card (or some of that 70% cocoa dark chocolate mmm).

It just so happens that I have a $25 iTunes gift card to giveaway on my site so I’m going to have a quick happy holidays music contest:

  • Write a blog post between today (December 21st) and Wednesday (December 24th, Christmas Eve) about your favourite tunes and you’ll be entered.
  • The entry should include music – it could be your favourite holiday songs or even a YouTube video of that new single that’s stuck in your head.
  • Include the words “Miss604 iTunes Giveaway”
  • Leave a comment on this post so I can find your entry (or make sure to trackback).
  • With your iTunes gift card you can get pretty much anything from the itunes store, from music to TV shows, apps, and movies like Centigrade.

    If you do not have a blog on which to post, you can donate any amount to my Skate for A Cure campaign (benefiting the BC Childrens’ Hospital) and I’ll add your name to the draw.

    This contest is for Canadian residents only as the gift card is for iTunes Canada.

    Update: This entry is the winner – congrats Linda!!

    Tiny Bites Does Menu for Hope Vancouver

    Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Karen Hamilton of Tiny Bites has added her blog to the global Menu for Hope campaign, helping give hope and education to children worldwide while educating us all (and offering up prizes to boot).

    Menu for Hope has been organized for the past 5 years by the legendary Chez Pim, with proceeds going to the United Nation’s World Food Program. This year, Menu for Hope targets the development of a school food program in Lesotho, Africa. There is also hope that whatever is raised in 2008 meets or exceeds last year’s global collection of $90,000.

    When you donate $10 to this cause you will get a raffle ticket and have the chance to win $600 in prizes donated by other local food sites and businesses such as Social Bites, Farmstead Wines, and Rouxbe.

    To be eligible for the prizes you need to be in Canada or the USA, however there are some international prizes available from Chez Pim, Hooked on Heat, and the Abstract Gourment.

    Choose your prize at Chez Pim, make your donation (clarifying which prize you’d like to be in the running for in the ‘personal message’ section). There are some specifics available on TinyBites in case you’d like to purchase more than one ticket/make a larger donation.

    Snow Etiquette in Vancouver

    Comments 13 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Over a year ago I did a post about umbrella etiquette and I think it’s time to share some information, laws, and common courtesies regarding snowy conditions in our fair city.

    No driving through the park, eh

    Last night we witnessed about 3 accidents in the alley behind our house as it is not sanded or plowed. Alleys aren’t really a priority for the city so I can understand this, however if you’re driving around town and see a back lane, covered in ice, and on a incline the first thing that pops into your head should be, “how about I take another route”.

    City Priorities for Clearing

    1) Street
    The City of Vancouver first focuses its efforts to control snow and ice on the arterial streets, transit routes, and major collector streets. These are designated ‘Snow Emergency Routes’ and are treated immediately after a snowfall. Sufficient equipment is available to treat all such routes within a few hours under usual snowfall conditions.

    2) Bridges
    Bridge decks are very susceptible to icing. These are also given top priority by the snow and ice control personnel for patrolling, salting and sanding.

    3) Residential hills and designated bicycle routes (that is, integrated routes on city streets, rather than strictly recreational routes such as along the waterfront) are also considered a high priority. Every attempt is made to treat them on the first day.

    4) Frost and snow on steep streets
    In some cases, steep streets such as Oak from Broadway to 6th. Avenue will be barricaded off to prevent cars from attempting to drive on the hills.

    5) Sidewalks
    Sidewalks are not cleared by City staff, except on bridges, pedestrian underpasses and overpasses, public access walks and stairs, and in bus stop landing areas.

    6) City-owned parking lots
    Some City-owned parking lots may be cleared by City staff, but this work receives the lowest priority.

    Vancouver has many awnings and we’re very prepared for rain and the need cover. As such, snow has been building up on these slopes that hang above the sidewalks. I saw someone get showered by a sheet of snow that fell off an awning. Business owners, please head out there if you can, grab a broom, and pull down those snow sheets before someone gets hurt – same goes for icicles.

    Finally, sidewalks. As the city states, they’re only cleared by their staff when they’re on public property. If you have a sidewalk or path in front of your home you are responsible for clearing it.

    Vancouver property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalks that surround their property by 10 a.m.

    The City’s snow removal by-law applies to all property owners in the city except one- and two-family residences outside the downtown peninsula — south of Burrard Inlet, north of Terminal Avenue, False Creek and English Bay, west of Main Street, and east of Stanley Park.

    Property owners who fail to remove snow and ice as required by the by-law may be subject to a fine of up to $2,000, or the City can have the snow removed and bill the owner for the cost. [City of Vancouver]

    As the sun is coming out to shine over us (with only 4 shopping days left) things will melt and also freeze up again at night. Travel safe, walk and drive slowly, and avoid slippery icy patches whenever you can. It also helps to be a good neighbour and clear off the walk for someone who might not be able to get out and do so themselves.

    Update: Suggestions and more helpful tips from Twitter – @JenniferPriest “Also, clean snow off the top of the car. Rather blinding as it goes flying at the driver behind.”