Looking forward and planning for the future

The District of North Vancouver is reaching out to residents to think about the future of the district. It is in the middle of a “targeted Official Community Plan (OCP) review.” It has assembled background documents in four topic areas and is asking for feedback from residents. It’s a lot to take in and it may be intimidating but it is a chance to have your goals for the future of Lynn Valley. Our neighbourhood has seen rapid changes, many forecast by the OCP and still, the community seemed surprised at times. This is a chance to get out in front of community issues. 


What is the OCP?


The Official Community Plan (OCP) helps a local government describe its long-term vision for the future. The objectives and policies help guide elected officials and employees in land use, transportation, sustainability, and many other areas of managing a municipality.  According to the DNV our current OCP was completed in 2011 and over 5,000 people participated in its development.

“It works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centres’ Implementation Plans, the Transportation Plan, the Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan, and others,” said Justin Beddall, communications coordinator for the DNV. “Many of the changes you see today in Lynn Valley, Lynn Creek, and Lions Gate Village, for example, originated from the direction and policy in the 2011 OCP.”


Why should this matter to you?


A scan of local social media there is a lot of back and forth from residents about the changes to Lynn Valley. Some love the densification and the opportunity for more people to make this great community home. Others agree but find the growth puts the community financially outreach for a diverse community. Some don’t like the growth direction at all. For local mom, and now rental housing advocate, Kelly Bond wishes she engaged earlier in the OCP process. 

“As one who was in the throws of raising tots and teens during the years leading up to the OCP adoption in 2011, I didn’t take the time to learn or understand the importance of being engaged in the process. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know what an Official Community Plan was,” said Bond, even as a very active community volunteer, at the time the process didn’t grab her attention at first. “ If I had taken a moment to become fully informed, I might have understood that the very OCP being created put my (and that of 60 other) family’s purpose-built rental housing and its luxurious green space that surrounded it at extreme risk of redevelopment.  I would have more strongly advocated for a greater inclusion and protection of purpose-built rental units for town centres areas over the more widely considered strata and investment options.”

As Bond was forced into action to advocate for more diverse housing, it led to a better understanding of all OCP issues and how they relate to each and every resident. 

“While replacement rental housing is what brought me to be actively engaged in municipal action, I now see how intricately that transportation, economy, recreation, education and climate issues co-relate and I frequently choose to make my thoughts heard to the decision-makers as they debate resolutions and motions,” she said  


What is the review?


This current review process was requested by district council to take a closer look at four specific areas to ensure the OCP continues to support the current vision and goals for the community. 

“The targeted OCP review seeks to address the biggest issues facing the citizens of the District of North Vancouver – housing, transportation, climate emergency, and the economy and employment lands,” said Beddall. “This engagement is an opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions and views to help shape the actions the District will be taking to address the biggest issues facing this community.” 

The DNV is open to all residents, business owners, and employees that work in the district to give their input through May 16. 

“In particular, families, seniors, students, disabled, new immigrants, and renters should actively participate and add their voices into the four areas established for targeted review,” said Bond.

For the district it helps gauge the current climate which has moved on from 2011. 

“The goal of the targeted review is to ensure we account for emerging issues, challenges, and trends in these four areas, and set guidance through an action plan as we continue to implement the OCP through 2030,” said Beddall.

The district’s webpage dedicated to the review gathers documents on transportation, housing, the climate emergency, and economy and employment lands for residents to review and a survey to offer feedback. 

“We’ve made efforts to help people engage in ways that works for them, while staying safe during the pandemic,” he said. “District residents have told us that many people prefer to participate in civic matters when it works for their schedules, rather than at specific times, so people can participate in a survey online at DNV.org/OCP-review. We’re making an effort to be respectful of peoples’ interests and available time to devote to something like this, so participants can choose to share their thoughts about all four areas or choose the topics that they are the most passionate about.”

For Bond, it is an opportunity she hopes others will take, and it could have a direct impact in the years ahead as the district updates its direction within Metro Vancouver’s 2050 regional growth strategy. 

 “Public input in the targeted OCP review can potentially impact what share DNV commits to as far as growth and population for the immediate years ahead,” she said. “The questions are fairly self-explanatory and presented in layman’s terms. If you feel less strongly about one particular topic, but have strong opinions or new ideas about another, your comments are equally vital and valid. All feedback provided helps establish the direction the district will seek and which experts would need to be further consulted to ensure the community’s priorities are acted on in strategy and policy formation.”  

There were also a number of virtual workshops to join, the last occurring May 10th. Details can be found here: DNV.org/OCP-review.


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 space for digital storytellers

The goal of enhancing the community’s digital literacy has led to an innovative maker space at the Lynn Valley Branch of the North Vancouver District Public Library. The StoryLab’s covid-delayed public debut allowed the library to seamlessly pivot to its pandemic programming, and now it is open for creating.


Evolution of storytelling and literacy


“The original goal was to launch in April of 2020,” said Maryann Kempthorne, manager of innovation and learning for the NVDPL. “But a silver lining was we had this space and resources to take the library digital [during the pandemic restrictions]. We had a studio that allowed us to continue our programs online.”

The new StoryLab facility is a new creativity and learning space. Essentially it is an audio-visual maker space stocked with computers, digitization equipment, an audio booth, and a film studio – complete with lights, mics, and a green screen. It’s a technology hub that builds on the North Shore’s tradition of storytelling, said Kempthorne. 

“Maker spaces are a trend in libraries,” she explained. “We went with audiovisual instead of a sewing machine or 3D printer to suit the community. There is a lot of impact from the district and the shore that is visual and very media. We have North Shore Studios right here. We have an opportunity to influence storytelling in an audiovisual way.”

With a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the StoryLab is also an effort to support more people. 

“Our library has a really strong background in creating readers,” said Kempthorne. “Literacy can be digital literacy – podcasting, film, green screen production.”

But more than that, the StoryLab is about meeting patrons where they are and helping them grow, she said.  

“There are people who are not interested in our anchor services around print. We are able to reach them with content we make that is more accessible. Youth who can’t see themselves reflected in other services might see themselves in digital media learning. It also allows us to support multilingualism.”

When the StoryLab is not booked by the public, it is used by staff to enhance the digital collection, to run online programs and events, and to record audiobooks by patron request.

There are other practical uses for the space. In a pandemic world and the rise of video conferencing and digital connection, people without resources at home or the knowledge to participate can be helped by the StoryLab, said Kempthorne, giving the example of a senior needing to attend a virtual court hearing.


Collaborative creation


The original plan was to have a space where creators could come together to innovate. There is an entire room still on covid-hold that will host technology education sessions in the Digital Learning Lab. As the pandemic pivot continues the NVDPL has plans to host virtual sessions from expert creators, think filmmakers speaking in a similar way to an author talk. 

In the short time, it has been open, the current vision of collaboration has shifted and is supporting creators, small businesses, and local organizations. 

“One of the best examples is North Van Arts was completing one of their local videos and wanted to get people in to record in alternate languages.”

The space is also part of a larger collaborative North Shore vision between NVDPL, the North Vancouver City Library, and the West Vancouver Memorial Library as they all explore maker spaces and aim to provide complementary services with little duplication, said Kempthorne.


How it works


Users can now book the film studio, audio booth, computer stations, or digitization stations. Staff will have a quick consultation to see how much support a creator might need and offer reading materials, digital resources, or other prep materials to make their session a success. Users will need to utilize cloud file transfers or their own portable storage to save their projects and they are also welcome to bring in their own equipment. 

Kempthorne is excited about the innovation opportunities the StoryLab will provide. 

“We have an opportunity to attract and develop storytellers and digital media artists. Having more storytellers in residence at our local library is really exciting. One of the founding projects we did was for youth. Some of my podcasters we have now, came and attended when they were 12 – that’s the continuum of digital literacy and learning.”

This project is the first step in an evolving vision, said Kempthorne. Just as patrons can recommend books they can chat with and make requests with the digital services librarian to improve the space and further innovate.  

 

Visit the Lynn Valley branch or its website to learn more. 


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.

Speculation tax for 2021

For the third year, the province has sent out its Speculation and Vacancy Tax declaration forms. Our area was scheduled to have them mailed early February, so you should have received it. All homeowners must declare by their status by March 31. If you have declared before, you still have to declare again this year, even if there is no change to your information.


Money, money, money


The program shows 99.9 percent of British Columbians are exempt from the tax. In the 2019 tax year (second year of the program) $88 million of revenue was generated, with 92% of the revenue coming from foreign owners, satellite families, Canadians living outside BC and “other” non-BC resident owners. The government had originally estimated it would receive $185 million for that period.

The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency. In addition, the tax rate varies based on whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a satellite family.

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

  • 2% for foreign owners and satellite families
  • 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are not members of a satellite family

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

B.C. owners are eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,000 on secondary properties to offset their tax payable. The credit is limited to $2,000 per owner and $2,000 per property (in the case of multiple owners) per year.

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

If a residential property has multiple owners, tax is divided among each owner based on their ownership share. For example, if you and your spouse are equal owners of a residential property in a taxable region, you’ll each owe tax on 50% of the home’s assessed value.

Exemptions are based on how each person uses each residential property. If you’re the co-owner of a residential property in a taxable region and are exempt, but the other owner isn’t exempt, the other owner will have to pay tax based on their percentage ownership of the residential property as listed with the Land Title Office.

All owners on title of a property must complete the declaration in order to claim an exemption or to determine eligibility for a tax credit. Owners are exempt from the tax if it is their principal residence, they rent it at least six months of the year, they are disabled, the property was just inherited, it’s valued at less than $150,000, or a person was away and it was vacant due to medical reasons, residential care, work or spousal separation.


New exemptions


How to declare

The fastest and easiest way to declare is online. If you can’t declare online, you can declare over the phone. Call 1-833-554-2323 toll-free and they will help you complete the declaration. Translation is also available at the above number. If you have not received your letter, the province asks you to also call the number above. 

What you need

  • the speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter, which includes:
    • Your Letter ID, Declaration Code and other information you need to declare
    • A list of all the residential properties you own in the designated taxable regions
  • your social insurance number (SIN)
  • your date of birth

Ooops I forgot

If you miss the deadline or forgot to declare by March 31 you will receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate. However, all is not lost! You can still complete your declaration to claim an exemption even after you’ve received a tax notice.

Timeline

Speculation and vacancy tax letters were mailed to North Vancouver Feb 4-5, 2021.

  • Jan 18, 2021 – declaration period opens
  • Mar 31, 2021 – declaration due
  • Apr-May 2021 – most tax notices mailed
  • Jul 2, 2021 – tax payment due

Mental wellness in the time of covid

As the Covid-19 pandemic marches on, we wanted to take a break from our usual neighbourhood boostering and take on a more direct approach to check-in and ask ‘How are you doing?’

The community has been in a state of anxiety and stress for almost a full year. It feels exhausting to be constantly on edge or without control. As we all move forward too, the team at LynnValleylife.com wanted to share some FREE, low-barrier options to support your mental health. If you are thinking of suicide or self harm call 911 or 1-833-456-4566 toll free, 24/7 or visit www.crisisservicescanada.ca.


More than self-care


For many people stepping back and taking a bath or a hike isn’t going to be enough to recharge your batteries and refresh your mental wellness. Figuring out what you need and how to get mental health support is another exhausting task. The first step is to have a chat with your family doctor – if you don’t have one, visit a walk-in clinic you trust and feel supported at. 

Programs to support families and kids

Parenting is hard. Teaching is hard. Working is hard, and now you are doing all three, all day – everyday. Confident Parents, Thriving Kids is a free program (referral required) that supports families. There are two streams for the program – one to help with behavioural challenges and the other to help support children and youth with anxiety. This is a program that uses online modules and one-on-one phone coaching to support parents. 

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre

Children’s Hospital has a wealth of resources for parents at the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre. From clinicians to covid support to peer compassion, there is a lot on offer here. The Parents in Residence (PiRs) offer non-judgmental, compassionate peer support to families, parents, and caregivers from anywhere in B.C. There are three PiRs who work at the Kelty Centre. They have lived experience as family members who have children and/or youth with mental health challenges, and provide support to parents and families. 

Child and Youth

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has Child and Youth Mental Health teams throughout the province. If access to private counselling is unaffordable or the waitlists are too long, you can visit (in person or virtually) an Intake Clinic. Locally, it is at 301-224 West Esplanade and does intake on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The intake interview will take about 45-90 minutes. Upon completion of this interview, you will be provided with information and details about the next steps and what to expect in the process.

Foundry

North Van has a Foundry Centre supporting youth 12-24. It provides access to access to mental health and substance use support, primary care, peer support and social services. It offers support to youth and parents virtually and in-person. To learn more about their services call The Drop-In Support Team Monday – Thursday  1 – 5 pm 604-984-5060 or email foundrynorthshore@vch.ca. If you are a youth in need of urgent support the Youth Urgent Response provides urgent and short-term services to youth ages 12-19 living in North or West Vancouver who are experiencing thoughts, feelings or behaviour and/or substance use which is seriously interfering with their daily functioning. They are accessible Monday to Friday 9:30 am – 7:30 pm – 604-230-0389. 

Youth and adults

Another accessible free option is BounceBackBC. It offers support for youth 15+ and adults dealing with anxiety and depression. The program is delivered online or over the phone with a coach, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness. The program is now self-referral and does not require a doctor’s visit. 

Online courses

There are a number of free online courses available through CMHA Kelowna’s Discovery College. The online programs are taught live with experienced facilitators. They tackle topics from Current Events (covid) to parenting to resilience and self-regulation. There are also programs specifically supporting youth. All programs are virtual and 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.

Loving in Lynn Valley

There is a busy weekend coming up to celebrate all kinds of love. With back-to-back holidays of Valentine’s Day and Family Day, and ongoing requests to stay in your community, February is the perfect time to celebrate with homegrown activities, gifts and treats.


Valentine’s Day


This is a year parents might get off a bit easy. Most schools are sending notices downplaying Valentine’s events. In class treat exchanges are a no-go and it’s a class-by-class decision to paper Valentine exchanges. 

If schools are thinking outside the box, we have put together some options that go beyond chocolate to celebrate February 14th this year. 

MaxFrut

Lynn Valley’s Rizzo family is behind the local favourite frozen fruit bars MaxFrut. They are offering a special on kid-sized bars all dressed up for Valentine’s Day. The healthy, whole-fruit bars are made locally, have no artificial flavours and do not use sweeteners. They have boxes of 10 kids-size bars for $20 – they have lots of flavours on their website, plus you can try new, limited-edition flavour Chocolate & Peppermint. Order can be picked up in North Van or they offer free delivery on orders over $40. Email: sales@maxfrut.ca or text 778-708-3355.


Stuffies


Just down the hill from Lynn Valley, near Phibbs Exchange is the Stuffies Pastry Cafe. Based on the South Korean, filled, animal-shaped waffle-like Stuffies offers sweet and savory options. The pastries are vegan and gluten-free – our pick for Valentine’s are the sweet bears filled with jam or strawberry creme. They have many rotating flavours, plus larger treats. For a quick lunch they have options like ham and cheese and for a larger dessert, Stuffies has vegan soft serve in their fish shaped waffles. Yum. A dozen of the small treats starts at $8. 


Dessert in a box


Our newly discovered neighbourhood caterer Folia Events is offering two specials for Valentine’s – a limited-edition LOVE grazing box with a slightly pink and red theme and heart-shaped offerings, and a Valentine’s Dessert box – the perfect way to share some sweetness with your family this year. 


Can’t beat classic flowers


Twig and Plum Florists at Mountain Market have beautiful options for all kinds of Valentines. From the single rose to a beautiful bouquet from cheerful tulips to their usual stunning centerpieces. Drop by or send them an email to make a custom arrangement for your special someone. 


Family Day and Valentines – two days of love


The Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub has put together a special treat for Valentine’s Day and is inviting families in (until 9 pm) for Family Day (typical family hours are M-F 11 am-2 pm, Sat & holidays 11 am-4 pm and Sun 11 am-9 pm). For February 14th the Black Bear is offering a special of Lobster Linguini with the option of adding its Chocolate Nemesis. This feature was a major hit last Mother’s Day and it is delicious. Dinner and Dessert is $27.00 per person or  dinner alone is $22.00 per person. Of course, that is a Sunday so it is also Prime Rib night.

The District of North Vancouver Public Library is celebrating all kinds of love this month. Join its Stay Home and Read Book Club that is marking  February with the theme of Family, Friendship, and Love. This ‘club’ encourages you to settle in with a good book February 6, and connect on social media @nvdpl to show what you’re reading when you Stay Home and Read. You also find theme books featuring love and family on the book displays this month, plus a Zoom Valentine’s storytime Feb. 12 and a Family Day trivia night

For more Family Day Fun

For some neighbourhood family fun there is skating and swimming available at Karen Magnussen Rec Centre – but the spots do fill up fast so book NOW! 

The Ecology Centre is hosting, by donation, Nature Drawing. Learn how to draw some of the animals that live in the temperate rainforest, and hear more about them! Connect to the internet, bring paper and something to colour with (felts, crayons, pastels, or pencil crayons). Drawings will be simple and easy for the whole family to follow. Suitable for ages 4-10 but all ages welcome. While this program is free, the suggested donation is $2 to help them continue to offer these amazing programs from the Ecology Centre.

Enjoy some time family together: 

  • Trade board games or puzzles with another family or neighbour and try something new. 
  • Talk a wander through the woods looking for geocaches
  • Come up with a family random act of kindness plan – kids love to be sneaky – why not do it for good? Pick up some treats or coffee, write a heartfelt note and drop it off with a loved one or friend.
  • Do some green cleaning – while doing a family wander bring along a garbage bag and make the forest a bit cleaner as you go. 
  • Host a family quiz day – reach out to family or friends to create some Kahoots and take turns hosting. The site also has premade quizzes but more giggles are guaranteed from homemade ones. 
  • Online Pictionary – If you can Zoom you can play Pictionary! Set up a meeting and engage the “whiteboard” feature. Suddenly you are in the game! 

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.

Good Neighbour 2020

Every year we have the joy of recognizing a local resident and the good work they do. This has been a challenging year and many, many people have stepped up to support friends, family, neighbours and strangers. People put out the calls for help and others answered. There were huge undertakings like the North Vancouver Cares Foundation which evolved early in the pandemic. This organization is an outstanding accomplishment but this year we also wanted to highlight that the decision to do good can be small and slowly ripple out to deeply impact Lynn Valley, North Vancouver and beyond.


Walkstar


Almost six years ago Dawn Moore and her friend Ann decided they wanted to get moving, be more active and try to be a bit healthier. 

“We thought if we made a commitment to each other we would stick to it,” said Moore. “Pretty soon there were five or six of us and it grew from there.”

Today that promise to a friend has snowballed into a group approaching 1000 that gets together every week to walk and connect. The Walkstars has about 200 semi-regulars who drop in now and again and a core group of 40-50 who join the Sunday walks as much as they possibly can. Dawn and her husband Paddy coordinate routes, the sign-up (which in a covid world means contact tracing), and an optional donation.

“Over the years we have offered a lot of support to Covenant House,” said Moore. “People share a loonie or a toonie and I save them up until there is a donation matching opportunity. We just donated $700 for part of this year.”


Impact


Not all people have close extended family, they don’t belong to faith groups and as the years go on, some have lost their partners leading to more solitary lives.  The Walkstars have created a network of support for its participants.

“We have a lot of people who live alone or don’t feel comfortable walking alone, or are newcomers to the North Shore,” said participant Fiona Lewis. “This is really important to their social connection.”

A sentiment echoed by fellow walker John Kennedy.

“It’s been a lifesaver,” he said. “My wife died seven and a half years ago. I live alone, if I get a little bit down, being able to go for that Sunday walk is really important. It is written in ink on my calendar.I look forward to every single time and I miss it like nobody’s business when I can’t.”

He added that some reading he has been doing lately shared the fact the chief indicator of long life is the ability to socialize. For Moore the thriving group has changed much of her social life – adding so many she would never have met if it weren’t for weekly walking. 

“North Vancouver is very diverse, but sometimes we don’t have the chance to really get to know others,” said Moore. “Going for a walk has allowed me to meet people I would have never had a real conversation with, and now we are friends.”

Some are even more than friends, Moore laughed. 

“It changed my life,” said Lewis. “I lost my husband five years ago and this man who is now my partner. It is so important to our lives.”

Over the years Moore has gathered about 40 different routes the Walkstars rotate through. 

“We live in a car society,” said Kennedy. “There are places on the North Shore I would not have discovered if it hadn’t been for the walks.”

Each week the group aims to walk for two hours then share a social coffee at a local shop. They vary the routes aiming for easy and medium terrain. The walks are guided by a leader and have a sweeper at the end – valuable volunteers, said Moore. 

“It’s not always the same group but there is a core group that is usually there,” said Lewis. “So you are connecting with people you know and meeting new people each time.”


Covid


The pandemic brought on a short term hiatus, that was felt deeply, said Kennedy. However, Moore pushed through offering virtual options and then establishing smaller walks with covid distance protocols, said Lewis.

She created an online walk across Canada and invited Walkstars members to log in and record their individual steps walked,” said Lewis. “This was a great way for us to stay connected and be motivated to keep walking.  We finally reached Newfoundland virtually by August!”

Initially a bit skeptical about the virtual events, Kennedy said the group deepened its connection as they met around zoom each week and virtually explored where they “were” in Canada, sharing stories and photos of past trips through the areas. 

“It brought back wonderful memories for us,” he said. “It turned out to be a marvelous way to share stories with each other.”

Moore spent many hours pouring over the changing covid protocols and making plans for a return to in-person Walkstars. 

“We reduced the number of participants, and broke into two groups,” she said. “We wanted to make sure everyone felt comfortable and safe and we didn’t want to disrupt other trail users by having a large group.”

“Dawn is kind and compassionate, but it is worth saying she is tough,” said Kennedy. “She was excellent at instilling discipline into a group – “of a certain age” – that all have habits we don’t like to change and tends not to pay attention. Well, we all pay attention to Dawn.”

Currently on hiatus to respect the current Provincial Health Officer orders, they hope to be out soon – regardless of weather, said Moore.


Creating community


The Walkstars began with a friendship to encourage each other to be healthy and has grown to be a North Shore wide community of caring for many. In a society where lasting social connections can be hard to foster, the simple act of gathering and putting one step in front of the other, has formed a web of support for its members and at the centre is Moore. 

“People always say she is very sweet – and she is,” said Lewis. “A very kind person. She is concerned about the people around her. She is intelligent and thinks of others before herself”

Kennedy agrees.

“I generally don’t walk around with a frown on my face,” he said. “But if you’re down, Dawn will notice. She is sensitive to others and will ask if she feels you’re just a bit off. 

“Dawn and Paddy are intelligent people so they know they are doing something good, but I don’t know if they understand on an emotional level how deeply I feel about what they are doing. I am not sure they really know how big the impact is on the community.” 

The future

For any community group in a pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty. While in-person walks are not an option at the moment, Moore plans to start another virtual walk and zoom coffee soon. She hopes to plan future Walkstar travel adventures which in the past have taken the group to Mexico and she is figuring out the future of Walkstars beyond the pandemic. To learn more about Walkstars visit them on Meetup


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.

Virtual worship

This time of year community often draws together. Most years that would mean churches and meeting halls are flooded by people celebrating the season. Still an important religious time and a tradition for many families, local churches are taking their celebrations online. From month-long advent activities to candlelight Christmas Eve, the community can come together virtually.


Local church information


Many worship communities are wrestling with the changing covid-19 restrictions. Plans laid months ago are being adapted. We have done our best to track down what is happening but for the most up-to-date information visit each church’s website closer to Christmas.

St. Clement’s Anglican Church

This year, St. Clement’s Anglican Church has invited the community to join in celebrating the universal themes of Advent – Hope, Peace, Joy and Love – through online and outdoor activities, including a photo challenge and a virtual Lynn Valley Advent Calendar.
Online celebrations in the lead up to Christmas will include a virtual nativity pageant – including a retrospective of the last dozen years of the church’s originally written pageants  – and a traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols that will include carols and scripture readings from all of North Vancouver’s Anglican and Lutheran churches.
A live-streamed service will take place in the early evening of Christmas Eve, and be available for viewing throughout the night and onwards. A recorded Christmas Eucharist and message will be posted on Christmas morning.
Further details will be posted over the weeks to come on the St. Clement’s website.

Mount Olivet Luthern Church

Mount Olivet Luthern Church will be having its usual Christmas Eve candlelight service via Zoom this year, with wonderful Christmas carols to sing along to, pre-recorded with a brass ensemble by its music team.  The service will begin at 7pm on Christmas Eve.  Folks who want to join are most welcome and are asked to RSVP to Sheila at the church office (molc@telus.net) to get the Zoom call-in info. For more information on Mount Olivet Luthern Church visit its website.
Hillside Baptist Church
Hillside Baptist Church has both live-stream and recorded sermons on its website.
Lynn Valley United Church

The Lynn Valley United Church has been offering virtual services via Facebook. They have weekly options for connections.

Mondays offer Spiritual Practices via Zoom and Saturday morning coffee and questions via Zoom. December 24 they will have family services at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm and more extensive service at 9pm.  at To learn more visit its website.
St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish
St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish has a list of available virtual masses on its website. There is a mass scheduled at 10:30am December 25.
Valley Chruch
The Valley Church has been offering virtual services via Facebook Dec. 24 at 4 and 6 pm. To learn more visit its website.
Westlynn Baptist Church
The Westlynn Baptist Church has been offering virtual services via its website Dec. 24 they have a service at 6pm. To learn more visit its page.

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.

Mollie Nye House is showing an ‘old dog’ can learn new tricks

As the covid pandemic unfolded, it was a hard day to close the doors of Mollie Nye House and an even worse day when the board had to lay off staff. The organization has used the time to reflect on the community centre’s role and how it can adapt to continue to serve. For all the times the Mollie Nye House has supported the community, in 2020, it could use a bit of support itself.


Locking the door


It was a grim task for the Lynn Valley Services Society to shut the doors of Mollie Nye House, not knowing what the future held, said Margret Fraser, president of the board. 

“It was myself and Matina [Spiropoulos, executive director] contacting everyone and all the rentals and getting their input,” she said. “Initially some wanted to continue but by the end of March everything was shut down.”

Like the shuttering of many community amenities, the loss of programs at Mollie Nye house was felt deeply. 

“Generally speaking, we have 1000s of visitors a year,” said Spiropoulos. “We have our rentals, we have the programs we run for seniors, we have groups that use it in the evening, there are classes – everything from puppy training to Weight Watchers.” 

“There were days we were jammed packed,” added Fraser. 


New reality


Fast forward several months everything has changed. 

“The biggest issue is loss of income. With no rentals and nothing going on we have no income. We can’t even do drop-ins,” said Fraser. “We were lucky we got a little bit of extra funding that we were able to muddle through.”

The income was essential to providing other services. 

“A lot of our programs are supported by our rental revenue, so when small community groups aren’t meeting, celebration parties aren’t happening, birthday parties aren’t happening – nobody is engaging in anything,” said Spirolpous.

The closure, however, was not wasted, said Fraser. They embraced the time as a resource that has been missing. 

“One of the key things is we have been able to take some time – we have never had that before,” she said. “Small organizations are go-go-go. We can think about doing things differently.”

They focused on outreach and connecting with clients.

“We have done some survey work to find out what people want,” said Fraser. “We don’t need to do things as they have always been done just because we are Mollie Nye House.” 

The pair know how important this process is to the long term success of the Mollie Nye House as they expect to never return to as it was. 

“We had a group that met here on Sunday mornings and now they have discovered they can do the exact same thing on Zoom. We will never get that revenue back,” said Fraser. 


Community support


The organization is heralding the call for fresh and innovative ideas, as well as interested members of the public to join their board. 

“People underestimate themselves,” said Spirolous. “They have a lot of ideas to bring to the table. People think board members need to be specialized – they don’t.”

“Now, we need some new thinking and new ideas,” added Fraser. “We can get that from the public but we need new board members who are prepared to see it through.”

Being a small organization they are adaptable, said the pair.  

“We are a community centre, we are a place for the people. A lot of people think only of the NorthVan Rec Centres, but we are a community centre too – we try to engage people and work with people. Our doors aren’t shut and our lights aren’t off. Most of the people we are serving are seniors but we aren’t limited to that,” said Spiropoulos. 

“If someone comes to us with a new idea – we can work with them to find the right space for them. We want to help create what we can,” said Fraser. 


Innovate


The time to reflect has also spurred some new activities.

“We have started back with programs with the most interest, we have to offer limited spaces and we have waiting lists,” said Spiropoulos. “We are offering a small free bingo on Zoom. The idea is to engage people to use Zoom. For those who may have never used it for whatever reason, in the past can contact me and I can run them through a small tutorial and show them how to do it.”

The goal is to support elder seniors who have never used the internet for their entertainment and are having to learn something new. Elder seniors are extremely isolated at this time and online is one way they can connect, but the technology can be intimidating, said Spiropoulos. 

The other side of the coin is to offer resources that will help them generate revenue to keep their programming going. 

“We are limited by covid, and we are limited by capacity – so we are at 25 percent of our revenue,” Spiropoulos. We are between a rock and a hard place. We want people to know we are here, we are open-minded. We are a community centre and we want to involve the community.”

In addition to volunteering for the board, for maintenance or IT support, the public can help LVSS and Mollie Nye house with  Individual and corporate monetary donations to support ongoing programs. As well as engaging with them online. Following activities and fundraising campaigns is a good way to show support. Follow LVSS on Facebook, Instagram, or check out their website.  

Portions of Mollie Nye House are back open for rentals, but in a much smaller way. The staff welcomes discussions with organizations that need space. 


Other community groups in need


Other community groups are also being hit hard by the pandemic. Two local schools have had to cancel fundraisers essential to supporting their programming and services.

The Lynn Valley Parent Participation Preschool was unable to run its most important community event and fundraiser it’s Great Pumpkin Patch. The annual event is a favourite of local families and is essential to keep their programs affordably accessible. As a registered charity, the school can offer receipts for donations. LVPPP is a favourite local organization of ours, so we have maintained our donation to the event. We hope families will consider a small donation to support the school.

 


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.

Provincial election 2020

Four candidates are vying for the North Shore-Seymour seat on Oct. 24’s provincial election. The coming weeks won’t see the door knocking and handshaking of previous campaigns. We reached out to all registered candidates to learn a bit more about them and their visions for Lynn Valley. 


Covid election 101


Polling day might look a bit different in a couple of weeks. Unprecedented numbers have already requested mail in ballots. If you still have time to request yours. You can do that by visiting the Elections BC Website with some government issued ID and clicking on the grey box at the bottom of the page. If you did not register to vote prior to the online deadline, you can still vote in person.

To learn more about voting procedures and protocols in a pandemic, Elections BC has created a page to address such concerns. You can learn more and stay up to date for changes here.

There is also an increased need for elections staff as some of the seniors who typically support the polling centres opting out this year. To learn more about elections employment opportunities visit this page.


Get to know: Susie Chant, NDP candidate


What is your biggest priority specifically for Lynn Valley or the riding?

As a registered Nurse I have worked in community health for years, active in initiating a more sustainable model of health services, partnering with patients and families to access comprehensive care – cradle to grave.  To achieve long term health, we must also commit to achieving environmental health, a strong value for myself and the BCNDP.

Specific priority related to Lynn Valley/North Vancouver-Seymour: Affordable housing

The subsidized and lower income housing has been replaced with market share that is not affordable for young adults or seniors who wish to remain in their community.  Many folks who provide service –  nurses, police, retail staff and so on, cannot afford to live here.   This also dovetails with homelessness, an increasing characteristic of the NShore.

Why are you the best candidate for our riding? 

I have lived, worked and played in NVan/Lynn Valley, as have my children and my parents, thus I feel I am an able representative for North Vanocuver-Seymour.   My work in healthcare on the North Shore allows me ample experience as an advocate and  problem-solver, valuable skills at the legislative table. 

Anything else to add?

Through my adult lifetime, I have worked full time as a nurse, part time as a Naval Reservist, and have volunteered with school, community, provincial and national organizations.   I am a wife, mother of two daughters, and my husband and I fostered children for 12 years.  I  was the adult child of my senior parents until they passed.   All of these opportunities have provided a broad base in working with, and for others.  Thank you for the chance to address the LynnValleyLife community. 

What is the best way to learn more about you? 

Website: susiechant.bcndp.ca

Phone:  236-412-0432

Email: susiechant@shaw.ca

Instagram.com/susiechantnvs

Twitter.com/susiechant_nvs

Facebook.com/susiechantnvs

To Donate: https://action.bcndp.ca/page/contribute/nvs


Get to know: Harrison Johnston, Green Party candidate


What is your biggest priority specifically for Lynn Valley or the riding?

When I was three years old, my family moved out of the apartment where I was born into a new house in Lynn Valley. Many other young families moved into the community around that time and as a child I loved playing street hockey and tag with the other young kids in the neighbourhood. Lynn Valley was a beautiful, strong and vibrant community.

Since then housing prices have gone through the roof, young families can no longer afford to move into the community. Our public transit system has been neglected, leaving people stuck in traffic every morning. Small businesses are suffering because their workers have to commute from other communities.

My top priority for Lynn Valley is to ensure that our community is affordable and equitable. Young families should be able to move here and workers at local small businesses should be able to live in the community where they work.

Why are you the best candidate for our riding? 

Lynn Valley is the community I love and where I want to raise my own family. I am truly committed to serving this community and ensuring that it is strong and vibrant for future generations.

I am a young person and a renter, studying to become a high school teacher. I have worked as a landscaper, a retail worker, a chairlift operator and a math tutor. I am a climate activist and organizer of the September 2019 climate strike which brought more than 100,000 people to the streets from across Metro Vancouver.

I understand the challenges that people of Lynn Valley are facing and I will champion bold, compassionate and responsible solutions.

What is the best way to learn more about you? 

To find out more about my campaign, go to my website harrisonjohnston.ca or follow me on Twitter @Harrison4NV.

You can also send me an email at harrison.johnston@greenparty.bc.ca.

To Donate: https://action.bcndp.ca/page/contribute/nvs


Get to know: Jane Thornthwaite, BC Liberal Party candidate


What is your biggest priority specifically for Lynn Valley or the riding?

I first entered into politics because I wanted to make a difference for my family and other families on the North Shore, and that is why I still care so much about making life better for North Vancouver residents and am asking for another term as MLA. The number one issue for many years has been transportation. I am proud of my record in delivering the $198 M Lower Lynn Interchange Project currently under construction at the foot of the cut. It will dramatically change traffic flow for Lynn Valley residents once completed with easier access to the highway and a direct road from the east of Seymour to Lynn Valley without having to merge on to the highway. However, there is more still that can be done to improve infrastructure; if elected I would advocate investing in extending the exit 21 ramp off to Lynn Valley Rd and in much-needed Phibbs exchange upgrades. Tragically this year, too many Lynn Valley families have been personally affected by COVID-19 at the Lynn Valley Care Home. Another key priority of mine and the BC Liberals is investing in better senior care.

Why are you the best candidate for our riding? 

It’s been an honour to serve my community, the community have called home for most of my life, and where my children grew up. Having an impact has always meant a lot to me, that’s why I first ran for school board. I wanted to ensure my kids and yours were getting the best education possible in British Columbia.  I have a proven record as an MLA to deliver for North Vancouver, investments in schools such as the new Argyle Secondary and the Windsor bubble, highway infrastructure, Lions Gate Hospital including the new HOpe Centre and in transit with a new B-Line route and Seabus. If re-elected I will continue supporting under-represented communities, a long-time advocate of LGBTQ+, including SOGI policies and women’s rights, advocating for sexual assault services and importantly for additional childcare resources. The other critical aspect of my public work has been advocating for a seamless mental health and addictions system in British Columbia.

Anything else to add?

If there is a specific issue that matters to you, contact my campaign office and we can get you more information!

What is the best way to learn more about you? 

 Voters in North Vancouver-Seymour can always contact me via email or at my campaign office. I also continuously update my social media with key policy ideas and what I’m working on throughout the campaign to earn your vote. Here is how you can contact me:

 Email: Jane.thornthwaite@bcliberals.com

Office: 1325 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver BC

Social Media: @JThornthwaite on all platforms


Get to know: Clayton Welwood, BC Libertarian Party candidate


What is your biggest priority specifically for Lynn Valley or the riding?

As an area that is home to many families with school-aged children, I believe that education is a top issue for Lynn Valley. To ensure access to quality education for every child, parents should have more choice in determining the way it is delivered.  A one-size-fits-all approach results in far too many students being left behind; having more approaches will leave fewer students behind.

COVID-19 has offered an opportunity to test out alternatives like online learning, homeschooling and private tutoring.  Education should be an innovative process in normal times as well, where the exploration of new methods can lead to better matches for individual children.

The BC Libertarian plan is to move as much decision-making as possible away from the Ministry of Education and toward local school districts, where parents can have more input. We will consult with educational providers on how to introduce a system whereby education funding follows the student, and can be used at parents’ discretion within an expanded menu of educational options.

Why are you the best candidate for our riding? 

Because all of the solutions I propose will not prevent Lynn Valley residents from following their own path to a better life.

Anything else to add?

ICBC’s monopoly needs to be revoked. Not only is it the source of high premiums for good drivers, and poor service for many, in order to control costs, the provincial government wants to implement a “no-fault” regime. While this may help ICBC’s battered finances, it would deny accident victims pain and suffering damages, access to legal representation for their care and recovery, and would ultimately make our roads less safe. If elected I would call for repeal of the no-fault legislation, conversion of ICBC into a co-op, and allow everyone full choice of auto insurers.

What is the best way to learn more about you? 

Email: clayton.welwood@libertarian.bc.ca

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/linkelei


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.