No need to let loneliness take root in Lynn Valley

It’s no secret that social isolation is a huge problem in Metro Vancouver, especially since the Vancouver Foundation published its June 2012 “Connections and Engagement” report quantifying the extent of the issue. And although Vancouver has a reputation for being a place in which it can be difficult to make new friends, the problem isn’t just local. British coppers made headlines last year for having a cup of tea with a senior who had been driven by loneliness to make a call to the 999 emergency line.

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Lynn Valley churches welcome refugee family

After weeks of waiting and planning, a group of North Vancouver residents celebrated the arrival of their sponsored refugee family at Vancouver International Airport on Friday, January 15.

The Syrian family of five was met by representatives of their large sponsorship group. REST (the Regional Ecumenical Sponsorship Team) is composed of people from North Vancouver Anglican and Lutheran Churches (including St. Clement’s Anglican and Mt. Olivet Lutheran in Lynn Valley) and from the Sutherland Secondary School community.

IMG_6532As you can see from the faces in the photo, the first meeting was a joyous one despite the hardships the family has endured in recent months. “They are lovely people who are extremely grateful to be here,” said Shannon Muir, one of REST’s coordinators. “They even asked to talk to the media today so they could say how grateful they are to Canada.”

Arrangements have been made for the family to live in the Blueridge area, at a rent generously reduced by the homeowner. Under the terms of the blended sponsorship agreement, REST will pay the family’s living expenses for one year, with the federal government contributing six months’ of social assistance-level funding.

REST is also awaiting the arrival of a vision-impaired young adult from Somalia, who will live with one of the team members in the Grand Boulevard area, and a 20-year-old Iraqui man who will be rejoining his family here. Anyone wishing to donate to the REST refugee efforts is invited to make a donation to the refugee fund of any of the sponsoring churches: St. Clement’s, St. Agnes, St. Catherine’s, St. Martin’s, or St. John’s Anglican Churches, or Mt. Olivet and Gloria Dei Lutheran Churches.

Gifts for shelter residents welcome indeed

Whatever “the Christmas spirit” is, it is decidedly not embodied by the horrible task of spending time and money searching out gifts you’re pretty sure the recipient doesn’t need and may not even want.

It’s a wonderful feeling to find something you know is just right for a friend or loved one. But when you’re stuck trying to find something for the “person who has everything,” why not consider gifting someone else in their name instead?

You’ve heard of buying goats, chickens, or school books for families in developing countries. But one close-to-home opportunity that warms the heart of giver and givee alike is offered by the seasonal Homeless Partners website.

The organization has collected stories and gift requests from residents of shelters in North Vancouver and other areas around metro Vancouver. Here’s a typical story, from Morris:

Morris is in his sixties. He was born in Courtenay, B.C., but has been in the Vancouver area since 1972 for work. Morris worked in sheet metal. His biggest challenge right now is maintaining personal security. It is his family that helps him feel most encouraged.

Morris’s request is for running shoes or jeans. A donor can pledge one or both of these gifts, and drop them off at the housing shelter with a card for Morris (drop-off instructions are provided). There are dozens of other stories on the site, with more added as the month progresses.

So, rather than struggling to find gifts for the “have it all” people in your lives, bring some peace and cheer to your shopping by pledging a gift that you know will be well-used, and much appreciated.

Here’s what one shelter resident said about the experience of receiving a gift through this initiative:

The most encouraging thing is knowing that people care. I find it really encouraging that total strangers could care so much about someone they don’t even know.

If that sounds like the kind of Christmas spirit you’d like to share, visit the Homeless Partners website soon!

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Lynn Valley remembers

Remembrance Day events are growing in size all over Canada, as memories of past losses combine with sombre reflection about current conflict realities, risks and sacrifices.

The Lynn Valley service of remembrance has outgrown its earlier incarnation as a quiet ceremony at the cenotaph at Mountain Highway and Lynn Valley Road, and will this year be held in the Lynn Valley Village plaza on November 11 at 10:30 a.m. (In North Vancouver, services will also be held at Victoria Park and Cates Park, also beginning at 10:30.)

LV LegionThe Lynn Valley branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has put out a call for volunteer “poppy taggers” – those people who give out poppies by donation throughout the neighbourhood. Legion members could really use your help covering the many shifts that need covering in the days leading up to Remembrance Day, so if you can lend a hand, please call the Legion at 604-987-2050 as soon as possible. (Click here to learn where the $2,500,000 collected in BC/Yukon went last year!)

The Legion also welcomes the public to an open house following the ceremony, and donations of goodies would really help, too. Please drop baked goods or finger food at the Legion (1630 Lynn Valley Rd.) on the morning of the 11th.

poppies on rock

 

 

Legion invites new members – it’s good for you, and the community, too!

And here’s some more Lynn Valley Legion news from one member, Matina, who asked us to pass along the following – it’s membership renewal time, and she especially wants you to know that you don’t have to be a veteran, or related to a veteran, to join! 

  • 2016 Lynn Valley Legion #114 Membership Renewals are available for $55.
  • EARLY BIRD savings $5, deadline November 30
  • Annual Membership increases to $60, December 1

Only $5 a month includes:

  • Great prices on drinks, bring up to four non-member friends
  • Weekly live entertainment
  • Monthly jams
  • Booking venue for adult; birthdays, soccer parties, fundraisers…

The best reasons to be a member?

  •  The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #114 (at 1630 Lynn Valley Road) raises nearly $100,000 annually that goes back to schools, sports teams, groups, seniors and many non-profit organizations that need and ask for help.
  • Be part of an organization that gives back to your community.
  • Memberships available at 1630 Lynn Valley Road, 604-987-2050.

For some more interesting information about the BC/Yukon Legion, click here!

 

Mollie Nye House seeking volunteers

Many Lynn Valley citizens spent much of the fall agonizing over which way to vote in the federal election, but we can assure you there’s a much less puzzling way to improve your country – volunteer!

Mollie Nye House, North Vancouver

Mollie Nye House

We all want to live in a strong, friendly neighbourhood that offers support for all ages and stages, and it doesn’t take much to help make that happen. The folks at Mollie Nye House could sure use your help, for example, and have a few volunteer opportunities right now.

Mollie Nye House is the home of the Lynn Valley Services Society, the Lynn Valley Community Association and the Lynn Valley Seniors Society, and offers programming for everyone in the community. Just check out their website to find info about upcoming activities such as Spanish lessons, Tai Chi and ESL classes, with Christmas wreath and centrepiece workshops on the way, too.

Celeste Whittaker is the office manager at Mollie Nye, and says she is currently in great need of reception staff. We know from our visits to the House that this involves a warm, cozy post, cookies, friendly visitors and all sorts of other perks to accompany the phone-answering and people-greeting.  The shifts are mornings from 10  to 1pm or afternoons from 1 to 4pm; a little computer knowledge is helpful but not necessary.

Celeste is also looking for a volunteer to set up six bridge tables on Tuesdays at 12:30, with take down at 3:30. The bridge club’s current volunteer is on holiday until January, so if you could fill in until then it would be greatly appreciated!

For these and other opportunities at Mollie Nye, please contact Celeste at celeste@mollienyehouse.com or 604-987-5820 ext. x 13. The online volunteer application is here.

Brush up on voter basics at Democracy Cafe!

We have all, at times, been guilty of taking our democratic system for granted. Many citizens even forego their chance to vote, despite the fact that casting a ballot is a privilege denied to many in this world. But more and more “ordinary Joes” (and Jills) have been taking increased notice of our country’s governmental processes in past months, and the upcoming federal election is likely to bring out many people who have otherwise stayed distant from the fray.

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The Lynn Valley Library is hosting a Democracy Cafe that will help all of us – newcomers, old hands, super-engaged citizens or those just beginning to show their interest – strengthen our knowledge of how government and elections work, democratic values and current election issues, and overcoming voter apathy.

The discussion is, of course, non-partisan, but is sure to be lively and engaging nonetheless!

If you have a first-time voter at home, attending Democracy Cafe together
The Cafes, held in partnership with North Shore Community Resources and other organizations, will be held Wednesday evenings in Lynn Valley, beginning September 23:will provide an excellent launching point for some follow-up dinnertime conversation.

 

Lynn Valley Library

Wednesday Evenings | 7:00pm-9:00pm
September 23, 30 & October 7
Call 604-984-0286, ext. 8144 to register. 

The same series will be held in other North Shore libraries on different dates and times if  your local option is inconveniently scheduled. Click here for times, places and (free) registration details.

We hope to see lots of people of all ages out at a Democracy Cafe – and, later, at the ballot box!

Send us your best Lynn Valley summertime shots!

We’re happy to announce that Jennie Angel has won our draw for two tickets to the Jon Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia concert!

Jennifer Angel picJennie entered our “Summer in the ‘Hood” photo contest by the early-bird deadline… but there is still time to send us your best Lynn Valley shots for a crack at the Browns Social House gift cards! Here are the contest rules from our earlier post. All ages are welcome to enter!

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The rules are pretty simple – the photos should be taken this summer (June 2015 onwards) in this neck of the woods, meaning what is commonly thought of as “Lynn Valley.” The photographer should live in this neighbourhood, too, which we are defining as being within the V7J, V7K and V7N postal codes.

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LV United puts out call for music leader

Know someone with the gift of music to share? Lynn Valley United Church would like to hear from them!. *The original posting was updated on June 5, 2015*

Music Leadership Opportunity

Minister of MusicLynn Valley United Church

Lynn Valley United Church (LVUC) is on a holy adventure, taking risks to discover how “church” can support healthy communities, foster close relationships and bring peace to the world, by serving in ways that are new and uncertain. Music is a key component of the way we intend to respond to this call.  We have an open invitation to anyone who wants to join us on this adventure as our new Minister of Music. We believe the ideal candidate will bring:

– the capacity to spot leaders in any musical endeavour and nourish their gifts to help the congregation grow musically in all directions;

– the capacity to reflect theologically and to engage pastorally with people of all religious experience or none;

– the capacity for casting a musical vision in partnership with the Ministry Teams of the congregation in response to Spirit’s leading;

– the education and skills that combine musical excellence with a sacred respect for, and demonstrated experience in the process of creating community and nurturing spirituality among volunteer musicians.

Currently the Music Ministry includes;

–  leadership of the “Bring Your Own Voice” community choir,

– providing congregational song leadership in the traditional role of “cantor” and the arranging and coordinating of special gifts of music in Sunday worship,

– coordination of the North Shore Drumming Circle

– creating opportunities for the people of LVUC to explore whole new ways to serve the community and develop leadership through the music program.

And Lynn Valley United Church sees music as a key growth area in service to the community.

Reporting to the Minister, this 10 hour/week position (at present) is open to anyone of any tradition who wants to join us in our future.  Lynn Valley United Church uses the pay scale posted on the national website of the Royal Canadian College of Organists as the starting place for negotiating remuneration, commensurate with education and experience.

Interested applicants are invited to send their resume by June 15, 2015, to

Shari Gardiner, Chair, Ministry and Personnel Committee
Lynn Valley United Church
c/o 3158 Mountain Highway
North Vancouver, BC
V7K 2H5
lvuc@telus.net

Streamkeepers report boom in Hastings Creek smolt

IMG_4918While many Lynn Valley residents may have been coming home to a welcome dinner or stretching out in front of the TV Friday night, a handful of enthusiastic citizens were on the banks of Hastings Creek carefully placing a number of bucket-shaped, black mesh traps. And the next morning, they donned their gum boots again to see what had transpired while they slept.

They were volunteers from the North Shore Streamkeepers, surveying the numbers of year-old smolt in the creek to survey whether the fish population was healthy. What they found swimming in the traps put smiles on everyone’s faces.

As the fish were carefully released out of the traps and into a bucket for measuring and counting, Jan Lander tallied the numbers. The result? The best smolt trapping since 2006, with 27 coho smolts being counted, a large increase over the five or so that have been typical in the past few years. These are a sampling of the fish that were born in the Hunter Park area of Hastings Creek last year and have survived since then. Four crayfish and 12 cutthroat trout – many measuring 16 or 17 cm – were also amongst the fish counted and released.

IMG_4926The relationship between human society and waterways has not always been a respectful one. In  earlier decades, the enthusiastic growth of industry, building booms and road construction commonly resulted in polluted streams, blocked spawning routes, and diminished fish populations. Even home gardeners had a negative impact, by introducing invasive plant species such as ivy, lamium, and periwinkle to stream-side environments.

Thanks, however, to greater awareness, tighter bylaws, and good working partnerships the health of urban streams has improved in many areas. Leading the charge in Lynn Valley have been an active group of North Shore Streamkeepers who safeguard and enhance the ability of local creeks to support healthy fish stocks.

People of all ages converge on the streams throughout the year to tackle a variety of tasks, from culling invasive plants, installing and maintaining fish ladders, testing water quality,  restoring habitat and performing surveys. One volunteer even takes it upon himself to find out about new construction projects taking place near creeks; he then visits each site to ensure waterway protection rules are being followed and that filters have been placed in the storm drains. He returns to the site again once construction is complete to ensure the filters have been appropriately removed.

The North Shore Streamkeepers were established in 1993, and is a member of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation. The Streamkeepers are a program of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which provides a multi-module training manual for those volunteers who wish to learn everything from performing a habitat survey to sampling water quality to trapping and identifying fish.

Mayor to take part April 25

The Streamkeepers’ work has been recognized in a number of ways – Morten Creek was named for longtime volunteer Zo Ann Morten, and Mayor Richard Walton will be at Hunter Park at Donovan’s Pond on Saturday, April 25 at 11 a.m. to dedicate a new fish ladder installed by North Vancouver District in response to lobbying from the Streamkeepers.

What they’d really like, however, is for more volunteers to swell their ranks and learn for themselves the satisfaction of keeping our waterways healthy. To learn more, visit the North Shore Streamkeepers website or email zoann@pskf.ca.

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It takes a village to make LV Day happen!

A year or two ago, Lynn Valley Day was voted the North Shore’s best festival in the North Shore News’ Readers’ Choice Awards. That same year, Lynn Valley was voted the best neighbourhood in which to live. Coincidence? We think not.

The same things that make a great festival make a great hometown. That’s friendly people, an engaged citizenry, a commitment to our shared environment, and lots of volunteer help when it’s needed.

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