How to make your home unattractive (to criminals)

With increasing notifications from social media, it can feel like our neighbourhoods aren’t the idyllic places they were “back in my day.” The reality is: North Vancouver experiences 39% less crime than the national average and you can participate in one key pillar of that safety: Blockwatch. 

BC’s second biggest Blockwatch

North Vancouver remains an incredibly safe place to live, work and play and that is in part thanks to citizens taking responsibility to prevent crime. More than 11,000 people work with 800 Blockwatch captains and co-captains across the shore to reduce crime.

Breanna Caruth

“Blockwatch provides a means for a community to take responsibility for its own safety by reducing an opportunity for crime,” said Breanna Caruth, Blockwatch coordinator with  North Vancouver RCMP Community Policing.   “A successful Blockwatch neighbourhood presents itself as an unattractive target for criminals.”

Despite the vast network of homes and streets participating in Blockwatch, the program would like to continue to grow and strengthen.  

“It does not involve patrolling your neighbourhood or chasing burglars or intruding into the privacy of your neighbours,” said Caruth. “It requires you to be familiar enough with your neighbours that you notice something is not normal.”

How to get involved

The program needs captains or co-captains – particularly in Upper and Lower Lynn areas – to take on a leadership role within their neighbourhood block. Beyond the initial training, it requires a commitment of less than an hour a month.

“Each block has a captain and co-captain that sets up communication between neighbours and acts as a link between the Blockwatch and the North Van RCMP,” said Caruth.  “To be a Blockwatch captain or co-captain they must first submit a police information check – to be completed every five years – and then attend an information session at the North Van RCMP headquarters. The next step is to gather information about their block by canvassing door to door. Once the contact information is collected it is submitted as a participant list to our office. After that, they are responsible for sending out information from our office to their Blockwatch participants.” 

Participants receive information on crime prevention, how to be a good witness and guidance on when to call 911 versus non-emergency reporting. 

“As a [household] participant you are part of the email chain and are asked to be as concerned about your neighbourhood as you would about your own property,” she said. “Report suspicious captivity to the police and your neighbours, and to be aware of your surroundings as you go about your day-to-day life. 

Caruth says participants are guided to participate in Blockwatch from a foundation of respect.

“Participants are educated to look for suspicious activities but to be conscious of their preconceived notions, bias or discriminatory practices enter into their mind as they assess whether someone is suspicious or not,” she said. “Part of our code of conduct is to encourage all Blockwatch participants to engage in kindness and compassion to treat everyone equally regardless of race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, political beliefs or socioeconomic status.”

Tips to remember from Blockwatch

When to call 911:

  • When someone’s health, safety, well-being, or property is at risk 
  • A crime is in progress. 
  • There are suspicious acts that indicate a crime might be imminent. 

When to call the non-emergency (604-985-1311) or report a crime online

  • The crime has occurred in the past
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an ongoing criminal act (but no immediate risk)

To learn more about or join Blockwatch visit its webpage or email [email protected].  

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Pancakes, performances and a parade

The grand tent will be coming back to Lynn Valley Park and the parade will hit the streets as Lynn Valley Days return June 23 & 24. With the community stage booked to capacity and volunteers stepping up, the Lynn Valley Lions are excited to be drawing the community together. 

Community tradition

The Lynn Valley Lions have been the stewards of Lynn Valley Days for 53 years, said Tania Newman. That is almost half of its 111 years.

“This year is feeling a bit like a breather,” said Newman. “We missed some years for covid and that affected our momentum, and last year we were concerned if we weren’t careful it could turn into a super spreader event. This year we can feel the difference – we are so excited to bring back the traditions like we have in the past.”

The key to the success of Lynn Valley Days is simple, said Newman: Just come. 

“We feel the energy around – we think people are excited. We just need the community to attend. We could use more volunteers, we could use more sponsors but really, we just want the community to come, support Lynn Valley, support the Lions and celebrate our community.”

The two days of events kick off Friday evening, June 23, with the annual 19+ gala under the tent at Lynn Valley Park and continues bright and early Saturday with the pancake breakfast and parade on June 24 followed immediately by the community festival.

Pillars of support

The annual Lynn Valley Days events have been supported for years by a partnership with volunteers from Argyle Secondary. 

“They are invaluable,” said Newman. “We had such a long [covid] break we lost some of the connection with families that came year after year but we are re-engaging. We have parents and students working the cook shack and you would see the same parents behind the grill. It’s a partnership that is invaluable – we need their help and we make a donation [to Argyle Athletics] that they can decide how to best use.”

That most support has typically come from the girls’ soccer and the boys’ football teams. This year the Lions are also reconnecting with Sutherland Secondary athletics, said Newman. 

“If there are any profits from Lynn Valley Days – its goal is not to be a significant fundraiser but rather a community engagement event – but if there are profits we direct that back to our school programs.”

The Lions take the helm on helping schools fundraise by supporting parent advisory council BBQs and pancake breakfasts. With the Lions taking care of equipment and cooking as well as leveraging their buying connection with Save-On-Foods it allows the PACS to maximise fundraising profits for essentials.  

“Just in May and June, we helped out six schools,” said Newman. “It’s a challenge. We get interest from all over the North Shore. We’ve had to turn down schools because we can only do so many.”

An ask

The Lions are pleased the parade remains on its traditional route but also recognize this is an inconvenience for some members of the community. 

“This year we would like to see a bit more caution and patience along the parade route,” said Newman. “The RCMP can only be at so many places, district staff can only be in so many places, we can only be in so many places, so we rely on members of the community to be respectful of safety.

“The parade route is where we have to stretch our volunteer capacity. Look out for your neighbours and people trying to cross the road. Being community friendly but also saying ‘Hey it’s not a safe time to cross the road’ or sharing an alternate route if someone is trying to access a road. The more eyes we have to help with safety the better it is for everyone.” 

Volunteering for the parade typically wraps up around 11-11:30 am and leaves people free to enjoy the fair portion of Lynn Valley Days, said Newman. Those interested in volunteering for the parade or any other part of LV Days can email [email protected].

Like many organizations, the Lions are seeing a reduced number of sponsors and would welcome more support. 

“We are looking for sponsors – across-the-board sponsorship is down. That’s not just with us, it’s the same with most organizations and the economic climate.”

The plan

The gala will kick off Lynn Valley Days on Friday evening with the band Side One.

“We had rave reviews about them last year,” said Newman. “There was no question they would be back, they brought the tent down. We are looking at being more strategic this year. We have changed a couple of things with the gala to make it more intimate but it will be a fabulous evening.”

The pancake breakfast will begin at 8:15 am followed by the parade scheduled for 9:15 am (road closures beginning at 9 am) and wrapping up late morning giving way to the fair and festival at Lynn Valley Park. 

“We are so excited about the community stage this year – it is growing with acts, entertainers and groups,” said Newman. “We will have Jordan Back – he is so talented. We plan to get the schedule up on the [Lynn Valley Centre] video boards so people will know when to come for their favourites.”   

For all the latest info and updates on Lynn Valley Days visit its webpage.  

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Music for the community

The Lynn Valley Library won’t be so quiet this month when the North Vancouver Community Band brings its music for an evening concert on May 31.

A place for all that love to play

For two decades musicians have been gathering together for their love of music. The group aims to make music accessible to everyone in the community regardless of age, skill level or socioeconomic status. They are currently welcoming new members. 

Ned Booker

“We welcome everyone 13 and up,” said trumpet player Ned Booker. “We might even take a precocious and motivated 10-year-old – it’s all negotiable if they love music.”

The band strives for a supportive environment that encourages new members to pick up forgotten instruments, learn new instruments or enhance their current skills, according to its website. It was a warm and welcoming place for Judith Nitsch who took up the clarinet as she approached 50. 

“I saw my eldest son playing in the school band and I thought I would like to do that,” said Nitsch. She began with lessons with a teacher and about a year later was encouraged to give the community band a try. 

“It is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I am glad I didn’t take up piano or guitar – something that I played by myself. I had never been a part of a band program,” she said. “I felt like a fish in the deep blue sea.”

During the first nervous practice, she was guided to her section, supported by another player.

“I didn’t play a lot,” laughed Nitsch. “There is a lot to pay attention to and our conductor gently guided me to play the first note of each bar. I was so welcome and I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Music for all

Booker felt just as welcome but in a completely different way. A musician for more than 25 years he has played most of his life since the age of six.

Judith Nitsch

“I haven’t been in Vancouver long, nearly two years,” said Booker. “I got to know our current conductor and found a place in the band.”

He was drawn to the band’s goals of bringing music to those who might not have access.

“I just love community performances,” said Booker. “I grew up in a rural area and I loved community music. When you go you see everyone in the audience, children, parents, seniors – it’s by the community for the community.”

The NV Community Band’s goals to allow all to experience music are embraced by the players. 

“It tends to be folks with kids in high school and a bit more time, or people who have retired,” said Booker. “People often have to take a break from their music. The musician who sits next to me played in high school and he came back to it decades later. He’s a great player. I don’t want to turn anyone away.”

Today the band has musicians between 20 and 80. The pandemic impacted their numbers and they would like others to join them. Practices are held Thursdays from 7:30 – 9 pm in the music room at Carson Graham Secondary School. 

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be a tiny part of a whole,” said Nitsch. “I don’t play in a band to be heard, I play to make music that I couldn’t make by myself.”

Upcoming concert May 31

The North Vancouver Community Band will bring a variety of lively pieces to the Lynn Valley Library on the evening of May 31. There will be well-known melodies from movies, a medley of Duke Ellington, a Gaelic piece as well as the exciting Jitterbug by North Vancouver’s Robert Buckley. If you can not make the May 31 concert, the same set will be performed at the North Vancouver Band Fest on June 11 at the Shipyards. 

“It’s fun – stuff we like to play and we hope people like to listen to,” said Booker, adding “It’s a bit bittersweet. Our current conductor is departing after 20-plus years with the band. These performances are to say thank you – not goodbye.” 

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Argyle gymnastics team at risk

It’s a stressful week for the provincial champion gymnasts at Argyle Secondary as BC School Sports considers the future of the sport. There is a push from other regions of BC to drop the sport from the high school roster – but Argyle and the North Shore are fighting to keep it.  

Communications errors

For decades the Argyle gymnastics team has been flourishing. Just this past February students took home the provincial championship – again. In fact, according to team sponsor Darren Rath, it’s thriving throughout the North Shore, however, that is not the case in all parts of BC.

2023 Provincial Champions

“Programs at school are successful that have teachers that have an understanding of the sport and a capacity to connect all the pieces,” said Rath. “Not all schools have the equipment or knowledge to teach a program like gymnastics – that doesn’t mean they don’t have gymnasts and that those athletes can’t compete.

“What I understand to be happening is a communications breakdown between the schools and the [community] clubs.”

Roth explains that some schools are feeling overwhelmed by late competition registrations and the late fees associated. Schools without a teacher sponsor can still enter students in high school competitions. 

“It’s a communications disconnect – not a problem with the sport,” he said.

The disconnect is growing. While gymnastics is strong on the North Shore, some other parts of the Lower Mainland, and Prince George, the voices of schools in other parts of the province against gymnastics are growing.

A sport for all

Generally speaking, there are two categories of sports in high school – team sports (football, rugby, basketball, etc.) and individual sports scored as a team (gymnastics, wrestling, skiing,  cross-country, etc.). It’s the second category Rath is passionate about – the sports that students can join and thrive having never tried the sport prior to high school. 

2022 Provincial Champions

“Gymnastics is actually quite unique – with a few others like track, cross-country and wrestling – that are open to new athletes starting at the beginning,” he said. “Our team had about 60 gymnasts this year, the vast majority of athletes are new to the sport or participated when they were very young.”

He explained that high school gymnastics has five levels. Levels one or two are for beginners, level three is for those who have progressed or with prior experience and levels four and five are for active community athletes.

“All sports have community athletes – 99 percent of high school soccer players are also community athletes,” said Rath. “The majority of our gymnasts are in levels one or two.”

If an athlete places consistently at the top of their tier, they move up to the next, so students can have success where they are. 

“Gymnastics is a fundamental core sport. It teaches coordination, balance, and muscle strength. It has so many benefits,” said Rath. “And it’s here. Let’s not take that away.”

Rath said the teachers find it rewarding to see a student trying gymnastics for the first time in class and suggesting they give the team a try – giving them an opportunity to succeed in a sport the student may have never considered.

“In the past, we had a student who was competing at the national level. What’s great about gymnastics, is that for the team, that student’s score counts only as much as a student new to the sport. We need them both to win.

“At Argyle, 95 percent have never done gymnastics before – we had a student join this year in Grade 11 and he was competitive because he was able to compete at his level.”

With 60 students on the roster, 40 qualified for provincials in 2023.

Sport for the sake of sport

As Argyle and the other schools on the North Shore navigate this potential change, they are getting excellent support from the school district and the Sea to Sky Zone (its sporting region), said Terry Mitruck, Sutherland Secondary’s gymnastics coach. 

“If we lose this sport, what other sports will be next on the chopping block?” he asked. 

Rath agrees. 

“Schools have different facilities, teacher knowledge and sponsor capacities,” he said. “Not all schools have mountains but we still have mountain bike and ski teams.”

He says there is support from gymnastics clubs throughout the province, some have partnerships where student-athletes can join just for the school season. He thinks schools could get creative like the North Shore has by running joint practices and inviting students with lesser facilities (like Handsworth) to train with Argyle.

This would still leave the fundamental communication error plaguing some other regions.  

“If schools don’t have a sponsor or coach, I think this could be resolved by identifying athletes within the school who compete in the community and learning early if they want to compete for their school.”

If gymnastics loses its status as a high school sport, Rath is unsure what the future will hold.

“We would have to find another solution to help this sport continue,” said Rath. “Perhaps it would be taken on by BC Gymnastics but we can’t guarantee an alternative. While gymnastics is an opportunity for all students to get involved, the majority are female [Argyle’s team was 80% female in 2023]. If it’s gone, it’s taking away a female sport.”

For now, Argyle and other schools on the North Shore are waiting to see what unfolds at the BC High School Sport meeting this week. Those wishing to share their support can sign this petition. Current and past participants in high school gymnastics and their families can email letters of support to Terry Mitruk

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Pulling a bike off the shelf

This summer you could possibly check out a pair of wheels from the North Vancouver District Public Library. Inspired by Lynn Valley’s Duncan Wilcox and his passion to help others embrace active transportation, DNV councillor Jordan Back helped pass a unanimous motion at council Monday bringing a Bike Library one step closer to launching.

Getting ready to roll

The District has earmarked a potential budget of $60,000 to bring an e-trike, and e-cargo and e-utility bikes to NVDPL to help the public become educated and aware of the diversity of active transportation options. 

“Duncan is an e-bike enthusiast who saw financial barriers to families with this type of transportation,” said Back. “There isn’t an opportunity to try these types of bikes out. It’s not a huge investment and there are some other revenue streams and grants.”

This is a relatively new idea but there are bike libraries in the US and Europe.

“It has been done in other parts of the world, in Europe in other countries. There are a number of examples in states, it just hasn’t been done here,” he said.

“For Duncan, it was important it was done by a non-commercial place where everyone is welcome – that is barrier-free. Here the options would be a community centre or the library. The NVDPL is quick to try things and offer pilot projects. The pandemic was a good indication of how the library can pivot to serve people in a variety of ways.” 

Information sharing has led to the NDVPL and District considering a Bike Library for a two-year pilot project. 

Family transportation

Interest in cycling has boomed over the last few years. There are a number of bike shares in the Lower Mainland.   

“Lime Bikes serve a purpose,” said Back. “But they aren’t cargo bikes. Box cargo bikes and  long-tails, like I have, can be a second car replacement. They can carry kids and stuff but there is nowhere to go and try to see if this is a fit for your family. ”

It’s an active transportation shift Back and his family of four have embraced. 

“If I am not leaving the North Shore, I don’t even think about taking the car,” he said. “We head down to Lonsdale and we love Moodyville Park. We spend a lot of time there. With an e-bike, it’s not that hard.”

For his family, one of the biggest advantages to using a cargo bike is that they now have a journey, rather than being boxed in traffic. 

“We like to stop. If the kids see something we can stop and take a look, like the construction of the Argyle Field. It’s easy to stop, so we stop and take a look.” 

For those new to cargo bikes, local North Vancouver E-bike manufacturer Ohm has some examples of how longtail bikes can be configured.


The pilot project still has a number of matters to resolve. District staff are exploring issues around liability and insurance. The managing partner of Reckless Bikes, Lynn Valley’s Tony Sun, has been helpful with his experience in the rental market, said Back. 

E-bikes have opened up transportation and fitness to people, but the barrier of the unknown and the cost associated with e-bikes might prevent people from giving them a chance. Allowing citizens to experience the bikes might make them more comfortable investing in their own, said Back. 

“It’s a chance for more people to try them. It’s an easier way to get around than a lot of people think. Perhaps the older generation who haven’t ridden a bike in a while and it allows them to ride a bike.” 

Safety is at the top of Back’s mind – especially if people haven’t tried the larger cargo-style e-bikes.

“They will have the manufacturer’s limiter of 32km/h,” he said. “Perhaps there will be additional speed limiters on them. Certainly orientation, safety-training will be a part of checking these out with the addition of a waiver. There might be a video or something. You can’t sign these out and immediately hit the road.” 

For now, the matter lies with staff doing research and the NVDPL board but Back hopes people will be able to check out the e-bikes by late May or early June.

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

A home run for dinner

The smell of grilled onions slowly drifts over Upper Lynn. The sounds of kids playing and bats cracking aren’t the only sensations coming from Kilmer Park these days. If there is baseball in the field, there are likely volunteers behind the concession. The Lynn Valley Little League tradition of fundraising through food is by far the best bargain for dinner in Lynn Valley.

A grand slam on and off the field

Four evenings a week and most of the day on Saturday, the Kilmer Park Concession opens its doors under the watch full eyes of

Michelle Buxton and Christine Halicki

LVLL’s concession coordinators Michelle Buxton and Christine Halicki (The full schedule is at the bottom of the post). They oversee hundreds of volunteer hours each year – every one spent for the same goal – to get more kids playing baseball. 

“It’s a bit about feeding the kids and parents before and after baseball but it’s important fundraising for the league,” said Halicki. “It keeps fees down so more kids can participate and helps buy equipment.”

One candy bag at a time, the concession typically nets around $20K. The fundraising helped reduce the fees this year in some age groups, said Buxton. That has translated into a record year for LVLL with more than 650 boys and girls participating this year, said registrar Becky Carlsen, adding the hard work of Halicki and Buxton is essential to making the league accessible. 

Remarkably, a hamburger still only costs $6 at the ballpark.

Best value

In a world of climbing food costs, the league is walking a fine line between fundraising success and affordability. As one patron said Tuesday: “It’s cheaper than Mcdonald’s and it helps the kids.” 

“It isn’t just for players and their families, we get hikers and bikers so happy to enjoy a burger after the trails,” said Halicki. “It felt like we had half the community here last Saturday.’

But it’s still a bit of a secret. What a fun evening to walk up to Kilmer, grab some food and watch some T-ball from the hill. 

“I think the prices are reasonable and who doesn’t love concession – there is something nostalgic about it,” said Halicki. “Maybe it’s remembering when we were kids. It is so fun to see a tiny kid walk up with their 10 cents to buy a piece of gum – or these days tap their parents’ credit card. For little kids, this is often the first place they buy something on their own.”

The menu at the ballpark has all the classic fare: burgers and hot dogs – both meat and veggie, chips, and Gatorade.

“The candy bags are huge,” laughed Halicki. “We switched to paper bags a few years ago to be environmentally conscious but the mystery of what is in the bag has boosted the sales. I try and make a mix of sweet and sour and always include one big candy.”

Other favourites that stand out are slushies and freezies when the weather warms up.  


Somedays the crowd around the concession may look large, but a closer look reveals that is not necessarily a line. It is the gathering place at Kilmer Park. 

“I can’t count the amount of people I have met at the concession,” said Halicki. “I have spoken with people I have seen at my kids’ school but never had a chance to talk with. I stay in touch with parents from past teams.”

Each team is asked to cover at least one shift at the concession with older teams taking on more. 

“It’s a bit of teambuilding for the parents too,” she said. “It helps break the ice and helps parents get to know each other better.”

It’s not unusual to see grandparents stepping up either. 

“The other day there was a Grandma on the grill and her daughter was also helping out,” said Halicki. “That is three generations at the park that day – how cool.

“Everyone volunteers for the kids. It’s very important that when the costs of so many sports are going up and up, Little League is accessible. Kids are outdoors, playing in their neighbourhood – it’s the best.” 

The Lynn Valley Little League concession is open weather dependent Monday to Thursday 5 – 8 pm until April 20th – and 5:30 – 8:30 pm after April 20th and Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm. The last day of the season is June 24th. With it being only about $9 for a burger, chips and pop – this is our pick for dinner this spring. 

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

North Shore solution to take on bike theft

A local mountain biker is aiming to disrupt the rampant bike theft market tormenting Vancouver, and anywhere bikes are ridden, with hidden GPS technology and some mentoring from a Dragon, Fraser Vaage has launched Snik.

Reaction to inaction

When the pandemic slowed the job market North Vancouver’s Fraser Vaage saw an opportunity to tackle a problem plaguing biker riders like him: bike theft.

Fraser Vaage

“Bike theft is a real problem,” said Vaage, Snik co-founder. “Coming from competitive downhill mountain biking I had four of my core friends have their bikes stolen in a really short time. It’s a bad state in Vancouver – and really everywhere. We have seen a jump in users through the pandemic and an increase in bike value – there are bikes worth $10,000 sitting in unattended communal storage areas.”

The North Shore RCMP agree.

“It’s a problem here,” Cst. Mansoor Sahak, media relations officer for the North Vancouver RCMP. “I don’t have any stats of stolen bikes. But I can tell you that we get a lot of reports of stolen bikes.”

With more people on bikes and more people living in condos – some of which forbid bikes in hallways preventing in-unit storage – Vaage was frustrated with the rise in thefts. Friends were seeing bikes stored in ‘secure’ storage with multiple locks disappear. 

“Bikes are most vulnerable in these low-traffic public storage areas and more often they are the only option for riders.”

Shifting gears

With a solid background in biking and a decade in marketing, Vaage started looking at theft in a different way. The rise of technology like Apple Air Tags was a step forward but not a gamechanger. 

“No one is tackling bike theft in a new way,” he said. “I should be able to know when my bike moves.”

Three years later, Vaage and his team launched Snik on March 1. 

“It’s a bike security technology,” he said. “It is integrated inside your bike to let you know if your bike moves without you. It’s been engineered specifically for biking. When I hop on it pairs with Bluetooth and knows it’s me. When I finish my ride and walk away it unpairs and it is monitoring my bike. If it moves it triggers a notification and from there I can look at a live map, I can send out a community alert or I can send a text message with a live link to the police.”

The RCMP are intrigued by what they have seen.

“I think the device is a great idea to keep track of your property. We encourage people to find ways to safeguard their personal property, ” said Sahak. “This device would definitely help police track stolen bikes and retrieve them.”

Snik slides into the stem of a bike and is secured using a lock also used by the US military and CIA. It looks like a normal stem cap, said Vaage, but hidden inside is a battery and GPS system with its own cellular signal. Coming in at $150 at launch including a year of monitoring, it falls well under the rule of thumb to invest 10% of a bike’s value in security. After the first year monitoring will be $7.50 a month. 

“We want to make it approachable,” said Vaage. “We want to give peace of mind to someone with a $1500 commuter or a $10,000 downhill bike.”

Innovation and buzz

There has been a lot of interest in the new technology. Vaage is being mentored [not financially backed] by former Dragon’s Den funder and tech venture capitalist Lane Merrifield, who just so happens to be a former boss. Talks are underway with e-bike manufacturers to incorporate the Snik at the factory level and local police have expressed interest in using the Snik as part of the bait bike programs in Vancouver and Whistler. Vaage says they are particularly interested because of how the location information in the Snik app is also paired with proof of ownership. 

“When you get the Snik app you enter your bike details, from there it goes into a database, with all the parts populated and its registered with the serial number and the value so we have all that information. An officer told me that if a thief is smart they simply say it’s their bike and now they need to go to court to prove it’s not. That proof of ownership is essential,” said Vaage.

“If your bike is taken and you aren’t comfortable knocking on someone’s door – like the downtown eastside, at that point you call the police – say this is what is happening, here is my registered bike, here is the route they took, here is proof of ownership. The officers don’t need to be on the Snik app, you can send them a web-based link with all the information.”

The app will also engage the community to get more eyes looking for the stolen bike.  

“Officers don’t tend to spend a lot of time because the odds of getting the bike back a few,” said Vaage. “I am trying to empower the community here. You can send a message and notify the 50 closest people – they are green, the bike is red and there is a chat below. I am not trying to encourage vigilantism but in the case of a stolen bike knowing where a bike is key.”

And with accurate information, Sahak says the police will be able to help.

“We don’t encourage citizens to put themselves in harm’s way in order to retrieve their property,” he said. “We ask that they call police and let us help them.”

The built-in, rechargeable battery is designed to last for months on standby, he said.

“We have designed this to only use the battery when there is a theft. When you are riding it is on standby, when it’s stationary it’s on standby. It’s only using the battery when it is moving without its owner,” said Vaage. 

Once the Snik is activated it pings every five seconds to produce a real-time record of its movements. With communication every five seconds the battery is expected to last two and a half days but can be adjusted remotely to reduce battery use and extend battery life. 

“If it goes out of service or gets low on battery it will divert to the same technology as an Air Tag,” said Vagge, extending the tracking substantially.  

Vaage hopes that when used with other security devices like locks the Snik will give riders peace of mind. 

“People aren’t using their bikes because they are afraid they will be stolen,” he said. “Maybe I will go enjoy a coffee or a beer after a ride because I will know if my bike moves.”

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Making a mortgage work for you, not the banks

Returning to his roots Dave Bruynesteyn is back in Lynn Valley offering mortgage clients options to meet their financial and life goals. Slotting in the final piece of the puzzle in Lynn Valley’s one-stop shop, MortgageDave now shares offices with’s real estate services, David Fiteni’s insurance offerings and Kay Manabe of Senju Notary to cover all the bases for Lynn Valley residents.

Meet MortgageDave


Walking the streets of Lynn Valley as a child and teen, Dave Bruynesteyn loved this place. Starting his early career in finance, it’s where he bought his first home. With a life that has taken him to different parts of BC, he is excited to be back where it all began.

“Lynn Valley is a part of me,” he said. “I love that I can go grab a coffee and I am seeing friends, past clients – current clients. I was walking by Safeway last week and ran into a client and we caught up on life and I did a mortgage review right there.” 

MortgageDave’s foundational philosophy is that if you support a community, it will support you. He was a past co-chair of Lynn Valley Days, he was a founder of the Christmas Tree Parade, he has worked with the Lynn Valley Community Association and even lent his time to educate students at Argyle Secondary in financial literacy. 

As an independent mortgage broker for more than 18 years, MortgageDave, is ready to be back in Lynn Valley.

“I am excited to be working here – around these people,” he said. “Everyone is so busy, if we have real estate working alongside mortgage, alongside insurance and a notary, we have just made it easier for people. It’s not just about convenience, it’s about working with good people, ready to collaborate and take care of each other’s clients. I love the energy.”

Mortgage broker 101

It has been a volatile time in the financial sector. Lending rates and inflation have climbed, and savings rates have remained stagnant. For those entering the real estate market or looking to renew in the coming months, it’s time to talk to a mortgage broker – not a bank, says Bruynesteyn.

photos by Myshsale

“A mortgage broker is an independent party that helps people arrange residential financing,” he said. “I love it because I don’t work for a bank – I work for the client. It is at no cost to the client. We are paid by the lender, so the only goal is to get the best deal for the client 

“You get all of my expertise and at no cost – it’s a no-brainer.” 

From his work in traditional Canadian banks – and as a past customer himself – MortgageDave says he has learned how not to treat clients. Appalled by bonus structures that encourage bank employees to offer higher rates, when he changed track in 2006 to be an independent mortgage broker he vowed to do things differently. 

With two big factors working in his favour, convenience and access to more lenders, he is confident he is able to provide not only better service but also better products. 

“A bank has its one product and I deal with 40 different lenders. I talk to the client and figure out what they want today, but also what they want in five years, in 10 years because we have to set them up properly to reach their goals,” MortgageDave said. “I also just make it easy. I work around the client’s schedule – if you want to talk at 8 am or you want to talk at 8 pm on a Tuesday night – we do that. 

“I am always looking for what is easiest for the client. I can meet you in Lynn Valley or at my office in Lion’s Bay or Lower Lonsdale. I can also come to your home. If you are really busy we can do an application with [a digital docu sign] and a quick zoom meeting. A bank will want you in their office at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon – you don’t have time for that.”

In Canada, mortgage brokers are compensated by the lenders based on the mortgage amount, not the rate. The commission varies little and doesn’t link bonus structures to rates (as helped contribute to the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States in the late 2000s). For brokers like MortgageDave, a happy and informed client is what matters. And closing clients with the best deal leads to returning clients and referrals. 

“I am proud of the five-star rating I have on Google – I earned that, and if I didn’t have five stars you bet I would be learning to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

Today’s rates, triggers and reversals

The mortgage market of early 2023 has changed substantially from a year ago. For the first time, some homeowners are hearing terms like ‘trigger rate’ and seeing payments double. 

“The mortgage market now is uncertain – and the market hates uncertainty,” said MortgageDave explaining that we used to be in a “North American market,” following about six months behind the US, but there has been a shift to a global market. 

“While the conflict in Ukraine is devastating for its people, subtler impacts are far-reaching. If the war ends, it would settle the bond market and stabilize the fixed rate mortgage market.”

He credits the Bank of Canada with some aggressive action that has stabilized inflation, but the consequence has been high rates.  

“I don’t see prime going up, barring any worldwide events,I think we have seen the plateau,” said Bruynesteyn. “We may see a reduction by the end of the year but I don’t really expect it until early 2024.”

Context is important. Rates today aren’t devastatingly high, they are just not as extreme as we have seen recently, he said. 

“We went so historically low. Rates aren’t insane. We just went so low we were spoiled rotten. I have always suggested a variable rate because they have been better over time but when rates were sub-two percent, I put many clients into a fixed rate.”

The fluctuations have influenced how some clients are choosing their mortgages. 

“Typically clients get a five-year term. Right now I am putting a lot of clients into two-year terms because we don’t know where we are going. Two years ties into the US election which typically sees a reduction in rates.” 

The changes to variable rates have been difficult for some homeowners.

“It is tough on some of my clients on variable rates, some of my clients on variable rates saw payments almost double,” he said, adding he doesn’t like trigger rate products. Whenever possible, MortgageDave chooses to put clients with lenders that ensure payments rise with interest rates going up, rather than being hit with a significant trigger rate.

 “If you don’t change your payment as the rates go up you are paying more and more interest. I don’t like those products as they are not best for my clients. Payments should go up with interest rates. People don’t want to manage their mortgage – that’s my job.

“When you get a mortgage with me, you are going to hear from me on the anniversary, and every time  the Bank of Canada reviews their prime rate – eight times a year – you get my newsletter discussing what this means. As you get closer to maturity I will communicate with you nine months out, six months out and four months out – because you have a life and don’t need to be worrying about your mortgage – that is my job. Dump that stress on me – it’s my job to get it done.”

One of the biggest trends MortgageDave sees is families leveraging equity to help adult children get into real estate. 

“The cost of living in Lynn Valley is high. I am seeing parents wanting to help their children stay in the city. There are more people looking at reverse mortgages to start the wealth transfer now rather than later.”

What to do now

With the typical mortgage locked in for five years, mortgages coming up for renewal in the next year are maturing in a completely different atmosphere from when they were signed.

“A lot of people are feeling the pressure of variable rate mortgages as rates have climbed,” he said. “The beautiful thing about a variable rate is that you can get out of it at any time for three months’ interest. It’s not a big penalty – so recently I have been helping clients get into the stability of a two year so they know what their payments are and they added in some debt they have had to take on.  Re-amortizing the mortgage is another option. Everyone’s situation is unique but there is a lot we can do.”

To ensure the best financial position, homeowners should begin the process earlier rather than later, said MortgageDave.

“One year out, bring the mortgage renewal up on your radar. Six months out, get in touch with a mortgage broker, we can hold rates for four months,” said MortgageDave. “So I can start watching the rates and hold one if a good rate comes up. If, in two weeks, a different bank offers a better deal, we grab that and hold – you don’t have to worry about rates.” 

MortgageDave says it’s simple: it’s a conversation with a broker and it’s free.

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

RNB expanding to meet demand

With one lease ending soon, the RNB Dance and Theatre Arts Society is planning on doubling its studio space in Lynn Valley. The community-based not-for-profit is hoping the community will lend a hand to help it grow.

Local arts booming

A plan is afoot for RNB Dance to take over the former Blue Shore space at The Valley Centre. 

Brianna Giles

“We have been looking for years,” said Brianna Giles, principal and artistic director of the RNB Dance and Theatre Arts Society. “We found lots of spaces in the industrial parts of North Vancouver but that wasn’t what we needed.”

RNB has noticed an interesting trend over the last few years. And it all began with a major provincial infrastructure project.

“We got a lot of intakes when the highway construction at the Iron Workers [Memorail] Bridge began,” she said. “Families could no longer get to studios in Deep Cove or Lonsdale easily. Families are so busy sitting in traffic for an hour and a half just wasn’t feasible.”

The studio’s strong reputation for quality family programs had already led to an expansion at Lynn Valley Village (a lease which wraps up this year) but despite the added space, its less-than-ideal layout made it imperfect for growing demand.

“There are two posts in those studios that limit our class sizes.”

The society never stopped looking and exploring other options. 

“We have gotten feedback from our families that they love how central our studio spaces are. We know families are looking for dance. With all the condos being built in Lynn Valley we are seeing more inquiries than ever for three- to five-year-olds.”

For more than two years RNB has been working behind the scenes to develop its expansion plan around the new space. 

“The size is a dream come true!” said Giles. “We will be able to add two additional larger studios, similar to our Mountain Hwy studios for classes of 20 kids. We got in first to see the space right away and knew it would work. [Now] with the bank removed, it is a blank slate. We have to put in a few walls for change rooms and the dance floors.”

With the hope to open in September of 2023 the RNB Dance and Theatre is kicking off a fundraising campaign

Affordable family options

Unlike most dance studios, RNB is a not-for-profit society.

“We are unique,” said Giles. “It means we can keep our fees lower and more accessible, it also means we can access some provincial funding, but all that money goes back into the studio. There is no owner taking a profit. Everyone who dances with us is a member. Everyone who is working or volunteering with us is doing it for the kids.”

It is a choice that has given more students access to dance than would otherwise be possible, but it does create some challenges.

“We can’t use dance fees to cover renovations,” she explained. “We are having our biggest-ever fundraising drive.”

The society is aiming to raise $450,000 – and provide charitable tax receipts – to cover the expansion. 

“Every little bit helps. We are hoping with the expansion that we can probably double the number of dancers.”

The society plans to display all donor names on a plaque in the new studio lobby with a range of donation tiers: Bronze Donors – $25 – $5000, Silver Donors – $5001 – $10,000, Gold Donors – $10,001 – $25,000, and with Platinum Donors – any donation over $25,000 – also being given naming opportunities of the new spaces.  

Fiscal responsibility

The society’s long-term plan aims to build on the successful partnerships it already has. 

“We get asked all the time by people wanting to rent our space – there is a need for community studio spaces,” said Giles.

The society already shares its space with Lamondance a performance dance company which uses the RNB space mornings and early afternoons when most RNB dancers are in school.

“It’s an excellent partnership – they invite RNB dancers to participate in their performances.”

For the last 10 years, RNB has also been supporting the North Vancouver School District’s Peak Performance Program that allows high school students to balance elite-level dance training with their high school education, said Giles. 

The little studio that could

RNB began more than three decades ago at the – then – Hendry Ave YMCA in 1989 – where Giles was one of the first students. In 1993 it was able to negotiate with the District of North Vancouver for a former church space on Mountain Highway which has become its main studio ever since.   

“Mountain Hwy will remain our home base for as long as the District will have us. We are known best for being welcoming to families and we don’t want that to change,’ said Giles.

With recreational programming that starts dancers moving as young as two years old, RNB has helped guide dancers into international competitions and professional companies. 

“For me, it’s amazing to see the growth and change,” said Giles who first came through the doors of RNB as a child and has gone on to dance all over the world, returning to teach in Lynn Valley. “I am now seeing my students from 10 – 15 years ago, bringing in their own kids. It’s cool to see that full circle – that RNB has been so important to them.”

But it’s also Lynn Valley’s growth that is motivating the society to plan for the future. 

“There are so many new families moving to Lynn Valley – they want to dance and I want people to know that we are unique. Donations to the studio go back into the community offering more spaces for students.”

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.