Our List of One-Mile Resolutions

Coming to You From Lynn O’Malley: Even those people who staunchly refuse to make New Year’s Resolutions must, like the rest of us, look forward to the new year and see all the potential it offers. Whether it is waistlines that need contracting or minds that need expanding, all seems – and indeed is – possible.
Some years ago a Vancouver couple made the 100-Mile Diet a household word; this year, LynnValleyLife is adapting that concept and publishing a list of One-Mile Resolutions. Whether you want to improve body, mind or spirit, we’re confident that self-fulfilment is – literally – just around the corner.

1. Beginning in January, the Lynn Valley Community Room adjacent to the library will come alive with a variety of new rec centre programs. Check out this listing of classes that offer up a variety of fitness options, from Nordic pole walking to belly dancing to self-defense.

2. If this is the year to spruce up your yard, get a hand from the GardenSmart programs of the North Shore Recycling Program. Whether it is a veggie gardening workshop at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre or the provision of an expert gardener for your neighbourhood garden party, GardenSmart is the go-to resource for green thumbs.

3. Stretch your think-box by attending a Philosopher’s Café at Lynn Valley Library. The topic for January is relativism: Are there objective moral truths?

4. Then stretch your legs with a walking club – join up with the Mollie Nye House seniors on Wednesdays, or the Sun Run Walking Group on Tuesday mornings, HQ’d in the L.V. Community Room.

5. You can stretch everything else with a yoga class – YYoga is a popular choice in Lynn Valley Village, and new drop-in, by-donation classes (including one for girls) are offered by the new youth and families minister at Lynn Valley United Church.

6. Resolve to make your neighbourhood an even better place to live by volunteering your time. Create your own neighbourhood improvement project, or join one of our local groups such as the community association or the Lynn Valley Lions.

7. Like the song goes, Climb Every Mountain – but start with our own. When conditions allow, follow in the footsteps of pioneers who walked up the Old Grouse Mountain Highway, a three or four-hour hike up the 13-km gravel road that leads from the top of Mountain Highway to the Grouse Mountain chalet.

8. How long has it been since you dropped in on your neighbour? If it’s been a while, surprise them with a banana-bread visit or some impromptu help washing the car.

9. Adopt one new healthful diet habit – ask the fine folk at Country Health in the mall or Nourish Market in the village for tips.

10. If you’ve accomplished any or all of these One-Mile Resolutions, you deserve a reward. Treat yourself to the view from Fromme Mountain (pictured at top), which is one of the best in Lynn Valley. Only one catch: you’ll have to doff your drawers. This particular vista is only seen from the grassy grounds of the Van Tan Club, the nudist colony up Old Grouse Mountain Highway that has been in operation for almost 75 years. Consider your Van Tan membership another adventure for the new year!

Hastings Manor restoration unveiled

From the desk of Jim Lanctot:

I was out walking my kids to school one morning in mid-December when I stopped to look at the renovations just finishing up at Hastings Manor, across the street from Lynn Valley Elementary. Like many people in the neighbourhood, I had wondered what had been happening underneath the blue tarps over the preceding number of months. I struck up a conversation with one of the foremen and he spoke highly of the project and the level of professionalism shown by the strata counsel. Curious, I tracked down strata Vice President Brian Kroeker and asked him to tell us more about the building’s rejuvenation. Here’s an edited version of our Q&A.

JL: What prompted the council to initiate the project?

BK: Every building will at some time experience water ingress issues. While Hastings Manor was built before the time of the leaky condo construction issues in Vancouver, nothing is invulnerable to the ravages of nature and time. Owners were beginning to see visible signs of the breakdown of their supporting balcony beams in some cases, while there were other signs of frequent water ingress at building corners and entry doors. Small areas of visibly degraded siding (from both sun and rain) were also apparent.
Luckily, two owners, one an engineer and one who works with engineers, prodded Council to get an engineering assessment done on the building envelope. This turned out to be a great move…. given our level of ignorance about construction, we needed leadership from people who knew what they were doing, who could be trusted.

JL: Once you’d had engineering reports done, what was the next step?

BK: The owners approached Levelton Engineering for a targeted repair project, and Levelton was indeed interested in working with Council on our proposal. For us, this made all the difference, and after the formulation of a formal proposal, Levelton was chosen by owners who accepted an assessment at one third of the cost of the first engineering firm’s proposal.

JL: What further decisions were made?

BK: We decided to prioritize work according to advice from Levelton into high, medium and low-priority work, so that owners better saw what they were paying for. Our top priority all the way through the project was to fix all visible rotten structure. If siding was removed from any wall and rot was discovered, it would have to be properly remediated. Council felt that leaving any rotten inner wall components would have been wasting owners’ money.

JL: Why did you feel having an engineering firm engaged was a good idea ­ was it worth the extra investment?

BK: Our overall ignorance of construction and who the “good guys” were made hiring engineers an easy decision. Plus, we wanted a document that the engineers would sign off on at the end of the project, assuring that the building was properly fixed. They also steered us toward the “good guys” in selecting appropriate bidders for our job.
Levelton’s frequent status reports (with lots of pictures!), along with their attendance at a number of owner meetings, were invaluable in providing owners with a sense of where their money was going. Seeing a rotten wall exposed, then seeing it properly fixed is a very comforting feeling.

JL: What construction firm did you end up going with?

BK: Our contractor was Ocean West Construction. Their personnel on site were very friendly, courteous and respectful of the owners’ privacy. They went the extra mile for us a number of times, giving us good value for our money and top-quality work.
They always seemed to work well with Levelton,  and were great at working out unique solutions to any challenges that arose.

JL: How do you feel the project has gone?

BK: Fantastic! Although we have not been able to accomplish every little thing, our project has met all of our initial expectations and then some. We were even able to do a few upgrades, and every owner got something to show for their money.
As with every complicated project … there were adjustments to be made, mostly correcting previous construction deficiencies and the extent of the rot discovered within our walls. We overspent the original budget by a long way, but in the end, we have many more walls fully rainscreened than was initially planned.

JL: What kind of investment has been made by the current ownership group?

BK: We spent about $1.7 million, or $50K per owner.

JL: What’s the general feelings of the ownership group about the work that has been done, and what the future holds for Hastings Manor?

BK: People have commented over and over that the building looks fantastic now! The future looks bright for Hastings Manor after many years of owner neglect. People are looking forward now to sprucing up the grounds and enjoying their new decks and patios when the weather brightens up and gets warmer this Spring. With the success of this project, more owners have a “we can fix that!” attitude.
Some owners will feel ready to sell now, but they do so knowing that there is much better value in their building now that all the hard work is done and the building looks so much better.

JL: Is there anything that stands out that makes Hastings Manor a great place to live in your opinion?

Lynn Valley has it all, and Hastings Manor is within walking/cycling distance of so much of it. Shopping, schools, the new library and great bus service straight to downtown Vancouver make Hastings Manor perfectly placed for everyone, both young and old.
There are great, friendly people in our buildings. Some have been here only a short time, while others are long-term residents who know a good thing when they see it. People are now volunteering to serve on committees to improve their buildings even more. Council is very proactive and is motivated to keep up the process of incremental investment in Hastings Manor that is sensitive to owners’ needs and situations.

Talking to Brian, I could tell that all the owners are feeling great now that the investment has been made and the hard work is done. Some of the owners who had put their real estate plans on hold for the duration of the project are now starting to revisit their plans to put their homes on the market. If you are interested in knowing more about ownership in Hastings Manor, please contact me or my RE/MAX colleague Kelly Gardiner at 778-724-0112. We’d be delighted to help you explore the opportunity.

A Christmas wish list for our community


If you’re like many of us heading towards, or comfortably settled into, middle age, Christmas has ceased being a time at which we wonder anxiously what Santa will bring us. When it comes to more ‘stuff,’ most of us need nothing.

Instead one’s thoughts turn toward others; hampers of gifts and food are prepared for those who truly do need them, cash is donated to the Salvation Army or other charitable cause, and invitations are sent to ensure no one spends the holiday on their own.

Lynn Valley is full of people who obviously care about their community, as evidenced by the hours spent volunteering for fundraising or planning projects, on children’s sports teams, the community association or the Lions. If those people could ask Santa for something for their neighbourhood, we wondered, what would it be?

So we asked some local citizens just what they’d put on their Lynn Valley wish list for 2012 and beyond.

Our first, most fervent response came within minutes, from Sue McMordie, office manager of the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub, and was clearly heartfelt:

“More park benches all over the Valley for seniors and sisters to sit and have a rest, lunch, chat or coffee on a nice Lynn Valley day. And a mailbox in the LV Library Square, please!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Then we heard from Barb McLean from the Arts Office, which is located in the heart of Lynn Valley Village and promotes arts and culture on behalf of the City and District of North Vancouver:

“The Arts Office envisions a new year filled with creative energy, ideas and community input as they embark on the development of a new Cultural Plan that will seek to invigorate North Shore arts and cultural activities for years to come.”

Another person thinking about community planning is John Gilmour, past-president of the Lynn Valley Community Association:

“I’d like to see a mixed-use lifestyle community developed right in the heart of Lynn Valley on the 11-acre Lynn Valley Centre mall site.  It would include residential, commercial and lots of community space for all to enjoy.”

No list would be complete without input from Bob McCormack, a man born and raised in Lynn Valley and whose family has done volunteer work here since 1920. Bob is actively involved in everything from the LV Lions to the Community Association to the Seniors’ Association, and much more besides. He writes:

“My wishes are to build a community that will provide the opportunity for persons to live out their lives in a dignified manner; that will be a place for all ages, and a place that allows a person to live out his or her life within the community regardless of wealth or health.
“I hope we can provide a forum for debate on what does make and will further allow Lynn Valley to become that community where everyone has the amenities to live their lives to the fullest.
“I hope we can provide a simple way of life that we can all agree on, and that we make sure our politicians are aware and are duty-bound to provide the leadership that will give those who choose to live in Lynn Valley the feeling of security in the future.
“I wish that we can all live out our dreams in a perfect world and to dare to dream to make it happen.”

Bob is one of those people who rolls up his sleeves and makes things happen, and we hope he gets lots of help to make all his wishes come true. Jay Knutson, another Lynn Valley native, is another person who enriches the neighbourhood with his labours. Jay is a founder and director of the North Shore Celtic Ensemble and is often picking up his guitar for a good cause, most recently the Lynn Valley Christmas Crawl that saw $600 raised for North Shore Harvest. Here’s what Jay has on his wish list:

‘With this new year of 2012 in front of us and the whirlwind of global activity that was 2011 in a tsunaminous wake, it may be a good time to take stock of what we’ve got here.
“The world has come together in the aftermath of some of the biggest natural disasters of our lifetime. The outpouring of relief (both financial and humanitarian) has been unparalleled. This all bodes well for our “human condition.”  Is it possible that multinational, self-serving initiatives are being displaced by public displays of sympathy, generosity and compassion? One can only hope.
“The combining of this spirit, the re-unification of soul, and the exchange of life’s energy results in the rebirth and emergence of a whole new spirit, an altruistic spirit of revolution.
“This revolution starts in our hearts and in our minds. It is one of accountability, responsibility and environmental sustainability.
“A revolution with no hidden agendas and no ulterior motives; a free, equitable and just transformation of society, based on Love, Truth, Compassion and Peace.
“It starts here in our own community.”

We couldn’t agree more – it starts in our own community, and each of us plays a part. So whatever yearnings you have for our neighbourhood, we at LynnValleyLife wish for you the imagination to dream big, the clarity needed to translate dreams into actions, and the strength to persevere until all those dreams come true.

LVL thanks conscientious carriers

It takes a village to raise a child, they say, and we’ve found the very same philosophy applies to a new business.

So we wanted to thank some of the young people in our village who have helped us spread the word about the launch of LynnValleyLife, our community website and real estate partnership.


North Shore News Winners

Left to Right: Jim Lanctot, Conner & Dalan Cruickshank, Kelly Gardiner, Jason Pascoe.

We asked the Lynn Valley North Shore News carriers to distribute the two Sunday door-hangers that were delivered to your home last month. The notices announced that local residents could receive a coupon – one at Delany’s, or one at Lynn Valley Meats – for signing up for our free LynnValleyLife Network.

Hanging our notices on each and every doorknob in town definitely took some extra effort by the carriers, and we wanted to thank those kids who took the time to do a good job.

So the North Shore News distribution department performed a telephone survey to find out which routes had had their door hangers delivered properly, and entered those carriers in a random draw for prizes supplied by LynnValleyLife.

We were delighted to give the awards (giftcards to Lynn Valley’s Browns Social House and Romance Jewellers) to brothers Conner and Dalan Cruickshank – who share the Laura Lynn townhouse route – and Jason Pascoe, whose beat includes 80-odd homes on Dempsey, Hoskins, Evelyn and Underwood.

We complimented all the boys on going the extra mile to make sure the notices were hung on the doors as requested – not stuffed in the paper, or left on the step – but they shrugged off the praise. “Just part of the job” was the common refrain.

But jobs can be done well, or they can be done poorly, and we were proud of these guys for choosing to do theirs well. And grateful – because a community website isn’t much use unless the community knows about it!

We’ll be counting on carriers like Jason, Dalan and Conner to deliver a third coupon that’s coming to your door in late January. Thanks to the first two doorhanger campaigns, we were able to meet with hundreds of new LynnValleyLife Network members when Kelly and Jim dropped off their coupons.

If you missed out on the chance to get your coupon, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out if quantities allow. And if you know a person, young or old, who would bring the same high standards to a newspaper route, the North Shore News invites you to fill out this application!


After-school art starts again in January

After-school art programs are once again coming to Lynn Valley schools in the new year! Have a look-see at this schedule and you’ll find everything from watercolours to digital storytelling. Then in January watch for our story about the new Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian art, and how some Lynn Valley neighbours are involved in this exciting Artists For Kids venture!

Girls offered free yoga

Who wants to get stretchy?

Christina Kinch, the new youth ministry leader at Lynn Valley United, is also a certified Hatha yoga teacher. She’s leading free, drop-in yoga classes for girls in Grades 5 through 12 on Tuesdays from 5 to 6:15pm. Last one before the Christmas break is Tuesday the 13th, so why not pass along this info to a girl in your life and give them a stress-busting tool to help them manage the holiday frenzy? Classes will resume week of Jan. 9. Info: christina.lvuc@gmail.com.

P.S. Adult classes are also offered, until Dec. 19th and then starting again after the holidays! Christina says:

Relax, breathe and connect to your body.  Join together to experience embodied spiritual practice.  Learn to honor your body, no matter how stiff, flexible, weak or strong you feel it is.  No experience necessary.  Please wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat if you have one. Classes by donation.
Mondays: 11:00am-12:15pm
Thursdays: 6:00pm-7:15pm

Buskers add a new element to village life


We’ve been treated to all sorts of musical offerings in our village square, from the summertime concert series to occasional performances by community groups such as the Lynn Valley Black Bear Band and the North Shore Celtic Ensemble.

Now even more lovely, lilting, lyrical life is coming our way with the addition of the Lynn Valley Busking Program, which gives performers the opportunity to put out their hat in exchange for gifting us with their unique talent – whatever that may be.

Barb McLean of the North Vancouver Arts Office (located on the third floor of the Library Building) says that it’s not just musicians who can apply for the permit. If you’re a juggler, a dancer, an actor or a fire-eater, you’re also eligible (though we might need to check with the Lynn Valley fire department about that last one).

While applying for a permit sounds very bureaucracy-bound, I can testify to the fact that people such as Barb, John and Ian at the Arts Office are truly a great resource for local artists and do everything they can to make things easy and do-able. The permits are free, and auditions aren’t required.

Right now, the Arts Office reports that students from Ross Road Elementary are ‘busking up a storm’ to help pay for an upcoming school trip to Quebec.

For more information and the permit application, visit the Arts Office site. For tap-dancing lessons, click here!


Christmas Crawl happens on Dec. 18!

Members of The North Shore Celtic Ensemble and guest musicians will perform in 3 different locations on the afternoon of Sunday Dec. 18th.
The group will be raising money for North Shore Harvest, so it is hoped that the audience will enjoy the toe-tapping tunes and donate accordingly.
The Christmas Crawl will start at “The End Of The Line”  General Store at 2 p.m., then move to The Lynn Valley Legion at 3:30, then finish at Waves Coffee House, Lynn Valley at 4:40.

Moms get a boost from Spectrum founder


Here at LynnValleyLife, we are grateful to the North Shore News for running our editor’s story about the amazing mission of Lynn Valley resident Sally Livingstone.

When you meet someone like Sally, you tend to want to do everything you can to spread the word about the work done by Spectrum, a charity she founded to match up struggling moms with caregivers and volunteer mentors.

As you can see in the story, the support the moms receive (whether it is a ride to a doctor’s appointment, a listening ear, or hands-on childcare help) has in many cases made the difference between the mom being able to successfully care for her child herself, or having to surrender her infant to foster care. In fact, two of Spectrum’s former clients are now mentors themselves!

Sally may already be familiar to some of you as she was the founding manager of the Lynn Valley Medical Clinic and worked there for ten years before becoming a full-time instructor at Capilano University.

Donations of time, money, and hampers at Christmas are always needed to help further Spectrum’s fine work amongst mothers who have few other resources. For more information, visit Spectrum Mothers Support Society.


Local author to speak Dec. 14

We’re delighted to hear that Lynn Valley author Andrea Winterbottom will be speaking Wednesday night at North Vancouver CITY Library (that’s the one at 14th and Lonsdale) at 7 p.m. Andrea will be there with Ed Griffin; together they have led inmate writing groups at Matsqui prison. Learn more about Andrea’s experience, and the anthology she and Ed published with the members of the inmates’ writing group! No registration req’d.