More than books – how the NVDPL managed Covid-19

With a mandate well beyond books, the North Vancouver District Public Library, was a local leader in providing innovative programming and access to its materials and services. The move to take traditional paper and pivot to virtual services was quick and provided a much needed escape and community connection in early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


When everything changed


As the Covid-10 March closures unfolded throughout our community, it was perhaps the closure of the North Vancouver District Public Library that was felt most widely. From social seniors to parents and babies, from those on the society’s fringes to community-building groups – and everyone in between has always been welcome at the library until the doors were forced shut.  

 “For many of us, early March was a challenging time as we started to hear about COVID-19 impacting our community here, and particularly as we learned about the devastating outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre where we make regular trips for Home Library Service Patrons,” said Jacqueline van Dyk, director of library services.  “Our hearts were with our community as we navigated the challenges presented by the pandemic in real time, as they were unfolding before us.” 

The NVDPL was asked to close its doors by the local health authority on March 16. Many people hearing the news took the last few hours to stock up on materials. 

My initial thoughts were focused on how we could keep our community and staff safe,” said van Dyk. “While everything was still very day-to-day, the one thing that became clear was that our service to the community is so vital.” 


More than just books


The library and its staff are well aware of the place it has in the community – well beyond just books. Their mandate to support all residents coloured their priorities as the organization addressed its role for the coming months. 

“During this time of encouraged social-distancing and increased isolation, connecting with our community’s most vulnerable, and getting stories and resources into the hands of readers, was never more critical,” said van Dyk. “ And that we needed to continue to provide services to help our patrons during this time—whether that was for entertainment and educational purposes while we were all staying closer to home, or for our community’s most vulnerable populations who needed help staying connected and engaged.” 


Going virtual


The NVDPL saw an immediate uptick in digital circulation: an increase of 60 percent. 

“We know that there are many library users who were cut off from access to technology and the internet,” she said. “West Vancouver Memorial Library spearheaded a partnership with TELUS that all three North Shore libraries partnered on to help bridge that digital divide. A TELUS donation through the Take-Home Technology initiative provided many in our community with the opportunity to connect with friends and family, and library and government resources.”

The library plays a vital role in North Vancouver supporting those in social isolation and those in need of learning opportunities. The closure of meeting rooms and social spaces was felt deeply.

“The shift to digital content and virtual programs has been great for some, and in some ways, inadequate for others. This is a gap we’re looking at closely.”

van Dyk recognizes the larger community was incredibly supportive of the library, but it was the efforts of her staff that made all the difference. 

“I am grateful for the leadership and support from the local health authority, District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, and our municipality in the District of North Vancouver,” she said. “When many other libraries ceased almost all operations, our staff remained committed to delivering library service in North Vancouver. Our buildings may have been closed to the public, but our services remained open. I am immensely appreciative and proud of the work the NVDPL team has done to innovate and retool our services.”


Supporting the most vulnerable


One of the most valued services provided by the library is getting materials in the hands of people who can’t actually visit its facilities. Services the staff were dedicated to maintaining during this most challenging time. 

“Many of our patrons have mobility and visual and perceptual challenges that make it impossible for them to leave their homes,” said van Dyk. “Even as a coronavirus outbreak took place in our community, NVDPL staff remained committed to supporting Home Library Service and Talking Books patrons. We checked in with care homes and individuals who we regularly deliver to and adapted our procedures to ensure that these patrons had access to the content they rely on for entertainment and mental health purposes.”


Feeding the appetites of innovation


The importance of library materials as entertainment, education, escape and mental health tools were all key motivators for staff to think outside of the box and adapt. 

Within a week of closure, our staff had developed a proposal for an initiative to safely deliver physical books to our patrons,” said van Dyk “Restaurants and businesses were operating in this new way of curbside pickup, and we thought…can we do this too? Library Takeout at NVDPL was born, and our staff worked tirelessly to make it happen. 

“We took about a month to really think about the impacts, develop our plans for review by local health authorities, and receive training from infection control officers at North Vancouver District Fire and Rescue Services.”

To say the service has been successful is an understatement. Each week about 7000 books are borrowed through Takeout. The program was so well developed it has been adopted by other community libraries. From operating procedures to health and safety considerations, and even the Library Takeout logo were shared with other librarians who approached them for guidance on how to initiate similar programs at their libraries, said van Dyk. The programs and methods used by NVDPL have also been highlighted throughout the province, including by WorkSafe BC. 


The future


Like the school system, recreation facilities and other public institutions, the NVDPL can’t forecast what the future will look like. They have to negotiate the fine line of providing services while maintaining the health of their staff and patrons. 

“The reality is that we’re all in uncharted territory, and creating the path as we go,” said van Dyk. “Thinking back to how we were operating in early March, it’s hard to forecast what life will look like for us in 12 months—or even 12 weeks.” 

The first week of July, staff were able to offer a modified service – NVDPL Express – at all three of its locations. 

“We are so thrilled to welcome our community back for self-service holds pickup, browsing of Quick Picks, public computer access and printing, and some in-person help with accounts and accessing materials. This is our first step towards reintroducing in-person services in our facilities since March 16.” 

The staff are continuing to offer the community its virtual programs and services and innovating ways to restore more in-person services. 

“Establishing a phased reintroduction of services will help continue to slow the spread of coronavirus as well as ensure our ability to scale back or push forward, contingent on provincial health directives and how our community is responding,” said van Dyk. “The two things I am confident in right now are that the health and safety of NVDPL patrons and our staff remains our top priority, and that we will continually develop, grow, and adapt our services to ensure that we support our community through this time.”


This summer


Summer programs are still continuing  this summer. van Dyk offers these recommendations:


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.

Hitting local trails with kids

With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s call to stay close to home, to stay active and get outdoors, a new book is aiming to support local outdoor adventures with your kids. Local teen Harrison Crerar’s second book, was published by Rocky Mountain Books just last month.


Foster a love of the outdoors


Still a teen himself, author Harrison Crerar has brought a unique perspective to his new book Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore in hopes other kids will love the outdoors as much as he does. 

“I have been so lucky to grow up on the North Shore,” he said. “I have so many fond memories of fun adventures. There are so many parks and so much to explore.”

His family made the time outside a part of regular life. His North Shore childhood focused on adventure and discovery, which just so happened to take place on trails. 

“I have been hiking, really, since I could walk,” said Crerar, a biology student at McGill University. “One of my earliest memories is hiking up Goat Mountain when I was young.” 

Focusing on exploration had him looking for salmon along local creeks, finding a particular plant or trying to spy particular Howe Sound peaks across a view.


Give kids credit – and time


Harrison Crerar

“Kids can do a lot more than you think they can,” said Crerar. “They love nature a lot – give them something to explore, something that is fun and they will want to go on hikes.”

He encourages families to focus on the journey, slowing the pace and allowing kids to investigate in the ways they want to.  

“[For me] there was a lot of discovery involved,” he said, adding Crerar remembers his parents hiding Easter Eggs or helping the family find Geocaches. “If you give kids time and space, they will enjoy it.”


The new book


Similar to his first book, with co-authors Bill Maurer and David Crerar, Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore, this book focuses on local mountains from Lion’s Bay to Deep Cove, along with some Howe Sound Islands. 

“This is a family hiking guide for the North Shore, including lots of hikes in Lynn Valley,” said Crerar. “When it comes to Introducing kids to hiking you have to start small like an easy walk around Rice Lake or the Varley Trail – something to get kids interested and then as you go on, introduce longer and more interesting hikes. And it never hurts to have a bit of chocolate for the end to motivate them to go a little bit further.”

When writing the book last year he re-explored many of the trails with his young siblings. 

“I have a different perspective than most authors,” he said. “I have three younger siblings and we did a lot of these hikes together as I researched the book. I recalled what I liked about these hikes but also what my seven-year-old brother liked about the hikes.”

This led Crerar to think about each route and how it would specifically appeal to families. 

“In each of the descriptions we have included what we think might be fun for kids that adults may overlook. Like a rock – to adults a big rock is just a big rock but to kids it can be fun to run around, to climb up or maybe it becomes a castle,” he said.

Ranging from first-timer easy to moderately challenging, the routes are accessible from reliable roads and popular staging areas. Each route includes: detailed directions to trailheads, colour maps and photographs, seasonal information, round-trip distances, trail commentary, and difficulty ratings, plus step-by-step directions. 

“One that is more on the adventurous side is Kennedy Falls,” said Crerar. “It’s becoming more popular but it is still a bit of a hidden gem. Many people are aware of the old logging camp which is half way along between the tree and the falls. It is a good way to explore some of Lynn Valley’s history. Of course, there is the falls itself to explore and a giant old growth tree that is a nice resting spot.”

WIth a bit more family time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is a great time to get outside, he said. 

“Hiking is a great way to destress and enjoy some family bonding time without being trapped in the house 24/7,” said Crerar. “The important thing is to stay six feet from others but the North Shore has lots of wider trails where you can do that. Also do your research, Provincial Parks are closed [Ed. Openings will be limited as of May 14, not in the Lower Mainland]. Most of these trails aren’t in Provincial Parks and are still open.”

Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore is available at your favourite book shop or online retailer.  


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.

Giving back to community builders

Supporting our community’s local businesses throughout the COVID-19 outbreak is very important, how can you help?


Time to think and act local


Many small businesses in Lynn Valley are suffering during these difficult times, and it is time to look out and support the members of our community. You may think that it is hard to support a business from the comfort of your own home, although it may be easier than you think. If the community works together to help our local businesses. There are many ways that you can help, some examples include purchasing gift certificates or utilizing delivery services.

These are the same businesses that donate to our schools, teams, churches and community groups. They invest in the success of Lynn Valley year in and year out. Now is the time to go a but further and help them out.


Nourish Market


Nourish Market in Lynn Valley Village is still thriving. They have physical distance practices in place and are still getting their supply of quality organic produce. This is a great way to support local – with restaurants closed many local organic producers have lost a huge portion of their sales, but it’s a win for small markets like Nourish.

They are also a much closer place to collect from local bakery Bad Dog Bread and Two Rivers Meats. No need to hop in the car, get them at Nourish.

Plus they are now offering grocery delivery for Lynn Valley – call them at (778) 340-4030. Their pandemic hours are 10am-5pm.


Westlynn Bakery


Westlynn Bakery is fighting the COVID-19 crisis on two fronts. The family-run business at Lynn Valley Centre is trying to stay afloat with Paul hard at work in the bakery and Lisa on the frontlines as a registered nurse at VGH – even their kids are helping with deliveries. If there was ever a time to invest in this neighbourhood institution, now is probably it. Westlynn is now offering telephone orders for easy pick up and deliveries.

Westlynn has delivery hours Monday-Saturday afternoons if you cannot make it into store, please call 604-985-1622 or email westlynnbakery2014@gmail.com to place your orders.  Order before 2pm for the NEXT day delivery.

PAYMENT OPTIONS-

  1. Card reader, allows you to pay (tap) at drop off.
  2. Correct cash payment will be accepted at drop off.
  3. You can call Bakery and pay over the phone with credit card.

ORDER & DELIVERY DETAILS

Please, include contact details – name, address and telephone with orders. They can email you the receipt prior to drop off if you leave email addresses, also continue with your loyalty program (if you are signed up).

Please, on some products will sell frozen or freshly baked, see this PDF product list  and be specific with orders.

All bread is sliced, UNLESS, you REQUEST UNSLICED.

Free delivery for orders over $25. There is a small $4 charge for orders under $25

Friendly reminder: They will package in plastic bag, but some breads will soften, like the Turkish, Ciabatta and Focaccia. If you prefer your bread in paper, let them know.


Tommy’s Cafe


Lynn Valley’s iconic brunch spot Tommy’s Cafe,  located on Ross Road is closed currently. They are working towards selling gift cards online in order to keep business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit their website https://www.tommyscafenorthshore.com for updates on their status. You can also phone and leave a message requesting information about gift cards. 


Yama Sushi


 

Yama Sushi is a local sushi restaurant located in the strip mall across the street from the Lynn Valley McDonald’s drive-thru. They are still open for business but are currently not seating customers, only fulfilling takeout and pickup orders. Their current hours have slightly shifted to 11:30 am-9 pm from Monday to Saturday and 12 pm-9 pm on Sundays. Their menu can be found on their website www.yamasushi.ca. If you are able to pick up, you can grab gift cards at the restaurant that do not expire. This helps out Yama Sushi immensely. The community could help out tremendously by ordering food from the restaurant and buying gift cards. 


More to come


If you would like to include your business give us a shout – we would love to add your details to this list. Please email us.

1) Business name
2) Optional – Business type,if you think people might not be familiar with your business
3) Website, contact info and current hours and type of hours (in store, pickup, delivery)
4) Any changes to services being offered (reduced menu? New delivery? Curbside pickup)
5) How to order? If you have a PDF of the menu/services being offered, Email it and we can post it.
6) Are there new services? Like, purchasing gift cards for use later?
7) How can the community best support your business right now?


Special contribution


Special thanks to guest contributors, Argyle Secondary students:

Alex Bulbrook


Sarah Johnstone

Finding HOPE in Lynn Valley

Walking down the street you might find some hope on Wellington Drive.


Family tradition


There is a house mid-way down the block that is always decked out for holidays. 

For decades the Tindales have been celebrating Christmas and Halloween with home and yard displays, but in the last few years, daughter Jennifer has stepped up their holiday game in a big way. 

“I have such great memories as a kid of how my family celebrated holidays. We keep adding and adding. In 2017 I started with all the plywood displays. Last year was the biggest but we are reaching a point we almost need a shed to store all of this,” laughs Tindale, 43. 

The displays mean more to Tindale than just giving her parents a great yard. She has been unable to work as a result of a workplace injury and its resulting condition. 

“Doing these displays is part of my mental health therapy,” she said. 


Giving hope


The thought and work on the displays goes on almost all year round. Preparation for Christmas 2020 was already well underway as the COVID-19 situation moved towards North Vancouver. 

“I was out in the backyard already cutting for next year and I had this sign already done and waiting at my home,” said Tindale. “It is my little piece of putting the spirit out there. This is hope for everything going on now. It’s my passion doing these displays but it is also a nod to the HoPE Centre.”

The Greta and Robert H.N. HO Psychiatry & Education Centre, (The HOpe Centre) at Lions Gate Hospital was opened in 2014. It brings together both inpatient and outpatient mental health services under one roof and also houses both the Djavad Mowafaghian UBC Medical Education Centre and is a permanent home for BC Ambulance. Tindale is both a patient and supporter of the centre. 

“The displays give me purpose,” she said. “I am tied to this community. It’s where I was born, grew up and went to school. It’s so special on our street, there are people I went to school with that are now buying their parents homes and raising their kids here. So they grew up with our family being into holidays and now they get to experience it with their kids.” 

The seasonal displays at the Tindale home kicked off a trend much of Wellington Road has embraced. With the Dovercourt Crypt around the corner the area has become the destination for Halloween in Lynn Valley. 

“There is so much appreciation from the kids and parents too – it gets me emotional thinking about. Last year we had 360 kids come by. It warms my heart. Every year, the kids can pick out what I have added. They bring their friends who don’t live here and show them.” 


Win-win


Laughing, Tindale shared she wanted to embrace the nationwide trend of putting out Christmas lights to bring some sparkle to Lynn Valley during this state of emergency but her parents weren’t on board. It was too big a job to tackle right now.

“In the times of what are going on right now, people are drawing together. Really it’s the simple memories of family and community that will get us through,” she said. 

The large letters of HOPE, with its double meaning of supporting mental health and community spirit are having the impact Tindale wanted.  

“People have gotten emotional when they see it. People have shared this is what they think this community needs,” said Tindale. “ I appreciate how the community as a whole is stepping up with what they are good at. Small businesses are trying to get creative to stay in business. 

“ It’s a sign of me being me. This is something I could offer our street, our neighbourhood.” 


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.

Special Delivery for Lynn Valley Care Centre

We have launched Project Special Delivery, a community-wide effort to share heartfelt good wishes for everyone in the LVCC.


We have heard from many of our readers who are searching for a way to show their support for the residents of Lynn Valley Care Centre and all who are working so hard to provide them with care.

So we have launched Project Special Delivery, a community-wide effort to share heartfelt good wishes for everyone in the LVCC. You can participate right from your home!

Please write or draw your positive message on a letter-sized piece of paper, using a large font or clear handwriting. German and Farsi speakers, messages in your language are especially welcome! And kids’ art always helps brighten people’s day. Just photograph or scan your contribution and send it to info@lynnvalleylife.com (subject line: Special Delivery) as soon as you can.

We are aiming to have at least 200 well-wishes by the end of Monday, so we can deliver a strong message of love and compassion to the LVCC on Tuesday.

We understand that people want to help and that Lynn Valley is generous so we will let people know of any further specific requests for aid.

We know you’re up for this, Lynn Valley! Thanks in advance for your participation and feel free to share this project with friends and family.

 


Helping out in other ways

“Staying at home” is often easier said than done. That’s where we want to lend a (well-washed!) hand. If you are under the weather but need something picked up or delivered (be it groceries, medication, a school child or ??), please let us know if we can help you or if you might be available to help others.

Email us or text Jim Lanctôt 778.991.6284 or Kelly Gardiner 604.644.3936. If we can’t do it personally, we’ll do our best to find someone who can.

Let’s look after each other. It’s what neighbourhood is all about – in good times and hard times. And remember: confidence, hope, and good cheer are more contagious than any virus. So let those be the weapons we bring to this battle!

Resources

The latest information from Vancouver Coast Health Authority.

The latest information from the BC Centre of Disease Control. Answers for kids questions and a video.

How to prepare for a pandemic from North Shore Emergency Management. Hint: it doesn’t include hoarding toilet paper. There are links to register for notifications of outbreaks or pandemics.

Details on the proper way to wash your hands.

If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, call 8-1-1 for an assessment.

Celebrating Easter in New Ways

With Easter coming up on April 12th, we’ve had to put some thought into how to honor this annual celebration in new ways. Here are a few creative community building and celebratory ideas we’ve come up with to keep the Easter spirit going (since the Easter Bunny is a good friend of ours).


DECORATING SPIRIT

We’d like to see some community Easter spirit! We’re suggesting that you decorate your home, garden, or front windows for Easter so that people out walking can enjoy some Spring vibes. Dig out those pastel colored Christmas lights, paint rocks to look like eggs, add some artificial or real flowers to your garden or draw some sidewalk chalk art. It’s a great time to get creative and makes for an entertaining project for kids.

 


CONTEST ALERT

Follow us on Facebook where we are posting a daily WHERE’S BUNNY? photo search contest.

Then email us directly with your best guess of where in Lynn Valley the photo of our Easter Bunny was taken and you’ll be entered to win a super awesome (yet to be determined) Easter Prize!

Facebook fun boosts RCMP profile

Have you been wondering about the face behind the North Vancouver RCMP’s Facebook page? We have! The force’s Facebook and Twitter posts have become ever more winsome and chuckle-worthy over the past months, and we finally decided we had to meet the clever keyboard copper behind them.

 


RCMP social media savvy


Well-respected former media relations officer Richard De Jong saddled up and left town to enjoy a well-earned retirement a year ago, and we had yet to sit down for a chinwag with his replacement. But the force’s Facebook and Twitter posts have become ever more winsome and chuckle-worthy over the past months, and we finally decided we had to meet the clever keyboard copper behind them.

LynnValleyLife was founded on a philosophy of using its communication platform to help strengthen the already-great community we live in. We were therefore delighted to meet up this week with Sgt. Peter DeVries, who similarly believes in using storytelling, humour, and well-chosen images to engage people and build relationships.

That means posting photos of Pilot and Mabel (his dog and cat respectively), before-and-after shots of his efforts dying a uniform shirt to wear on the recent annual Pink Shirt Day, and contests such as one asking people to name the two-dimensional lifelike police officer who stands at various locations curbside, posed with radar gun extended (the winning name chosen was “Radar O’Reilly.”) DeVries charmingly ensures lucky contest winners get their day in the sun by awarding them an “RSE”—a “randomly selected emoticon.”


Community engagment


Meeting up at a coffee shop near the detachment, Sgt. DeVries acknowledges that some of his fellow officers were a little dubious about the incorporation of “fluff” into their public image. But they are being won over as they see the resulting conversations and engagement that simply wouldn’t have happened had the force stuck with using social media only to issue copies of staid press releases. And they can’t help but appreciate the public’s frequent online comments expressing gratitude for the officers’ ongoing efforts to keep the community safe. After all, who doesn’t like getting a pat on the back every so often?

An English literature and philosophy graduate, Sgt. DeVries enjoys bringing both a creative and analytical mind to his role. Twenty-two years ago, when DeVries was a new officer, he says all media requests would have been sent straight to a watch commander, who more times than not would respond with a terse “no comment.” But times have changed, with the media liaison role gradually being developed and the force – like many institutions – becoming more transparent in its day-to-day workings.

Sgt. DeVries credits new North Vancouver Officer in Charge, Superintendent Ghalib Bhayani, with giving the media office even greater license, telling him that “[DeVries’] creativity is the limit.” DeVries and newly hired media office colleague Alexandra Yallouz are rising to the challenge, determined that citizens get a glimpse into some of the untold and unknown workings of the force that even DeVries hasn’t been aware of to date.

DeVries clearly has a great deal of respect for the fine work of his fellow officers. At the same time, he is determined that everyone on the force should see their role as one that is not just about law enforcement, but about healing the community. “We have a huge opportunity to show compassion every day,” he says, pointing out that even small gestures can be hugely impactful when someone is vulnerable or experiencing a difficult circumstance.  It might just be a sandwich offered by a beat cop, or it might be the moving thoughts offered online to North Vancouver’s Iranian community following the devastating airplane crash in January. Building and maintaining trust – steadily, through means as humble as awarding someone a “randomly selected emoticon”– encourages people turn to police officers for help when they need it.


What can LynnValleyLife readers and local citizens do to help the RCMP?


When asked, DeVries thought for a long moment. It would be easy to ask people to “like and follow” their Facebook page, he said, but that could end up being a one-sided conversation.  “Get to know us,” he said instead. “Tell us what you need.”

Talk to officers in the street, attend the occasional Coffee with a Cop events, and share your story. DeVries thinks everyone – organizations and individuals alike – can find a way to help those around him. He is clearly eager to play a role in making that happen, and is happy to respond to emails sent to peter.devries@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Just before we close, Sgt. DeVries invites citizens to keep an eye out in the months to come—he is “very excited” by some of the innovative initiatives he and his new media office colleague will be launching. Thanks for the heads up, Peter…we’ll be watching!

To follow the comings and goings of the North Van RCMP yourself, you can search them out on the following platforms:

Twitter:

@nvanrcmp

Facebook:

@nvanrcmp

 

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen

Lynn Valley electrified

If you are still driving in Lynn Valley and managing to avoid road closures, construction delays and the chaos of the Lynn Valley Centre parking lot, you may have noticed a smaller project underway at the corner of Lynn Valley Road and Mountain Highway. Petro Canada has selected Lynn Valley for a new electric charging station.


One of four


The new “Electric Highway” will eventually stretch from coast to coast. Currently there are four stations planned for the Lower Mainland. Two are operational in Langley and Abbotsford, and two more in the works – one in downtown Vancouver and one in Lynn Valley. We reached out to Petro Canada for more information and opening dates but they chose not to respond to LynnValleyLife.

The project is bringing a fast charge station with both the CCS and CHAdeMO connectors with the capacity to charge most vehicles in under 30 minutes. 

From Victoria, B.C. to Stewiacke, N.S., electric vehicle drivers have access to 50 locations along the Trans-Canada Highway. The initiative is supported by $4.6 million in funding from the federal government Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative. 


BC hotbed for EVs


B.C. leads the way in Canada for the shift to electric vehicles. There are already over 30,000 electric vehicles on the road and over 1,000 public charging stations. The push in B.C. for electric vehicles is supported by B.C.’s supply of clean energy. More than 95 percent of B.C.’s electricity is from clean sources (unlike many jurisdictions which burn fossil fuels for electricity).

In 2018, there were 44,000 zero-emission vehicles sold in Canada. Double the sales of 2017. It works out to less than one percent of vehicles on the road nationally and just under two percent in B.C.  For the year 2018, in British Columbia, Tesla made up the largest block of zero-emission vehicles sold at 2,500, followed by the Nissan Leaf at 1,019 and the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid at just under 1,000.


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.

Year two of the speculation tax

For the second year in a row the province has sent out its Speculation and Vacancy Tax declaration forms. 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 government expects 99 percent of British Columbians to be exempt from the tax, said Minister of Finance Carole James. The ministry estimates 32,000 people, about one percent of homeowners, will have to pay the tax, which targets properties left vacant for months at a time.

Through the tax, the province collected $115 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019. The ministry forecasts revenue of $185 million in 2019-20

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
  • 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


You may recall some cabin owners in Indian Arm and around Belcarra were fighting to have their aged-family cabins removed from the tax inclusion zones. The government got creative for the second year of the tax and has decided that water-access-only properties will also be exempt. Also added to the exemption this year are military families. .

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 Jan 20 through Feb 21, 2020.

  • Jan 20, 2020 – declaration period opens
  • Mar 31, 2020 – declaration due
  • Apr-May 2020 – most tax notices mailed
  • Jul 2, 2020 – tax payment due