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.

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

Good Neighbour 2019 – Matina Spiropoulos

We say it over and over. We love Lynn Valley. Sure, the trees are great and the trails fantastic but what makes Lynn Valley our home is the community of people. We are so proud to shine the light on the good work that happens throughout the year. This year we are excited to announce Matina Spiropoulos as our Lynn Valley Life Good Neighbour!


Spreading the love


Matina has her hands involved in so many aspects of our community – not just Lynn Valley but also across the North Shore. She is a connector. A community needs people with vision of its entire being; someone who knows what is needed and has the willingness to organize those with resources to help. Take this year’s partnership between the Mollie Nye House and Argyle Secondary. Matina connected the sewing class to help with much needed updates. 

She is a year after year supporter of the Mollie Nye House and has joined the board of the Lynn Valley Services Society. She is the chair of the marketing committee as well as the vice-president. She loves the cross-generational support it provides to Lynn Valley.

“Matina is passionate about our community and goes beyond the call of duty,” said Maria Roney, operations manager for the LVSS. “Whether she is fighting for change to protect our natural resources, volunteering at the many community events or developing and executing a social media plan for Mollie Nye House, she does so energetically and with passion and commitment. She is a true asset to Lynn Valley and the North Shore.” 

Matina’s work extends to those younger as well. She has been an important part of the Argyle Parent Advisory Committee. Helping with a variety of fundraisers and representing Argyle’s PAC at the district level. 

She is also passionate supporter of music – for years spearheading the open mic Sunday Jam at the Lynn Valley Legion (supporting also as a member). This is a resource to musicians across the North Shore. 


Beyond Lynn Valley


Reaching beyond our little neighbourhood, Matina volunteers with the District of North Vancouver on the Community Services Advisory Committee. This is a volunteer driven committee that reviews grants submitted to the DNV. She discusses, with the committee, social and cultural concerns that affect the quality of life in the municipality. Last month also marked a milestone for countless hours of lobbying Matina invested in bettering our parks and environment. She was a key voice in the fight to have all types of smoking/vaping banned in ALL district parks and greenspaces.  

Also this year, Matina has become an ambassador for Foundry BC, She helps increase awareness of Foundry and its services to support mental illness (ages 12-24). She liaises between community and Foundry at booth events throughout the year to help reduce stigma and increase community engagement.

“Matina has a passion for our community and supporting the work that many of us do,” said Nicole Kennedy, prevention educator for Foundry BC- North Shore. “She is dedicated to ‘getting the word out,’ informing community  members (at events) of how to access services, and always has a bright smile on her face. We are truly lucky to have her as a volunteer with Foundry North Shore.

We are so lucky to have Matina investing in Lynn Valley and beyond – thank you for the hours and hours contribute to so many parts of our community and beyond. Congratulations on being our 2019 Good Neighbour. 


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.

Think Red for the Holidays

With the busyness and frantic obligations of Christmas and the holidays, we are featuring some of Lynn Valley’s best options for holiday solutions. From finding that perfect something for that hard to buy relative to finding something small and sweet for someone small and sweet: we want you thinking red for the holidays.


Childhood delights at Red Door


Tucked away on the campus of the Vancouver Waldorf School, 2725 St. Christophers Road, is a Red Door. Inside you will find a non-profit, parent-run shop dedicated to the wonders of childhood.

“We take great consideration in choosing the toys and art supplies that we offer in our school store,” said Ella Pedersen, manager of the store and Waldorf School parent. “Many of the companies we order from hold values similar to ours in their care for quality, tradition, sustainability and inspiration to engage the senses of children in their development.”

The little shop is elegantly packed with items just calling for a child’s touch. The wooden figures have soft rounded corners and simple paint jobs. The felted dolls have delicate features but simplistic beauty. There are the occasional quality handmade item contributed by Waldorf family, hard to find children’s books, rocks and crystals, even parenting books and sought-after wet weather gear by Abeko.

“We carry quality items – like gorgeous dolls and wooden figures from Germany,” said Pedersen. “We carry good quality craft supplies so it lasts and it’s a pleasure to use.”

Most of the items and supplies in store are hard to find in Vancouver and have artists and art teachers making the pilgrimage to Lynn Valley to pick up molding wax and drawing materials from Stockmar and Lyra.


Whimsy and wonder


Delightful, hard to find books will immerse children in nature and the wonder of the season.

Quality wool felts and felting supplies are a treat for the eye and hands. They are wonderful to work with. Abeko products are sought after in Lynn Valley – they’re essential for outdoor kids.

The details in the tiny dolls & wooden figures are beautiful & thoughtfully created. The designs encourage hands on play.

The carefully curated art supplies are both ethically and environmentally responsible. They are long wearing and natural – perfect for small children.

A chat with the mayor – and you can too!

Once a month you can head down to the Lynn Valley Library and have a face-to-face chat with the mayor. The open invitation is a longstanding and unique North Vancouver tradition.


Meet your mayor


Following in the tradition of past elected officials North Vancouver District Mayor Mike Little visits the Lynn Valley branch about once a month for residents to ask questions, share concerns and create an opportunity for open dialogue. 

“I enjoy it,” said Little. “Sometimes people bring a case they want to bring to my attention. Sometimes they raise macro issues like climate. I get everything from dead cedars that need attention to concerns about international agreements.”

The experience is quite different at each of the libraries he visits, said the mayor. At Lynn Valley participants are often initially quite quiet and reserved about talking at all in a library but warm up. Other Meet Your Mayor locations are more separated and have lively discussions. But sometimes no one comes at all.

“I have been skunked – no showed up,” laughed Little. “Whatever someone comes to talk about is a concern to them. It’s something affecting their life and they are asking for help or more information. It keeps me on my toes and gives me insight into the changing concerns of the different neighbourhoods.”

With the current crop of councillors this is more important than ever. Previous councils had a natural geographic mix of representatives but the current group councillors and the mayor reside in the eastern side of the district, he said. Making the Meet Your Mayor sessions an important part of understanding what is happening in the district. 

It doesn’t appear any other mayor in the Metro Vancouver area holds such regular and open engagement with the public. The City of Vancouver Mayor held one afternoon last spring with pre-booking required. If anything, this is a practice that will expand, said Little

“They are a valuable experience,” said Little. “I can better respond and these meetings have changed how I approach issues. We will hopefully expand to a new library space opening at the bottom of Capilano Road and I hope to use that to engage with that corner of the district. I have also gotten some feedback about adding some weekend times.”

You can meet the Mayor the first or second Tuesday of the month. The dates and times can be found here.


Mayor Little’s thoughts on . . .


Traffic and parking

I think one thing we have not managed well . . . we have to be forward thinking about how to get people out of their cars but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to manage the cars that are there now. There are some neighbourhoods that are really under pressure now. The Sunnyhurst/Ross area. That was a place where we went from 1.6 car spaces per unit to 1.2 and now you really see it. On 27th it is about design. The Evergreen development all has outdoor entrances so people don’t want to use the parkade. The street is full but if you walk around to the underground garage there is lots of space. 

Lynn Canyon

It’s a trending issue region wide – what is happening is people are moving into smaller and smaller spaces. Where [people] might have gone into [their] backyard, instead [they] now engage in destination recreation on a Saturday and Sunday. Destination recreation is getting out of the house because there is no space there. We are on the edge of this. More and more people are coming to anything that is free: Deep Cove, Panorama Park, Lynn Canyon. The North Shore is now playing backyard to the entire region. 

We have had major traffic problems to and from the North Shore during the work week and what we are seeing now it’s the same on the weekends. We are going to have to engage in the regulatory side with parking . . . we are going to have to do some more traffic demand management techniques where we are paying for parking or we are paying for access. I think we have to look at it so we are responsible with our neighbours and our residents are protected from the popularity. We have talked about issuing a free annual pass with your taxes so residents can access for free. For far to long it has been too easy for tour groups to use our public parks.

Changing character of Lynn Valley

We were under some pressure to put a cap on height and the council of the time was supportive of that. But there were arguments raised that said “If you ever want to do something like the Kiwanis building again – purpose built rental, supportive senior housing – don’t lock down height because you won’t be able to do it.” So the justification on height was the rare unicorn of an amenity and then all the developments come in pushing for height. I think we should have locked down height earlier in the OCP and LAP then we would have been in a better position. Then maybe we could have budged for affordable social housing but not high-end luxury housing that is going for $1000 a square foot. 

More playgrounds and updated community centres

There is a pot of money that is set aside for a youth centre that will be tied into the Kirkstone space on the Karen Magnussen side of things. We see Karen Magnussen as an aging facility that needs to be redeveloped [Ron Andrews top the priority list, as an older facility]. 


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.

Highway Interchange Update

Some big progress is taking shape on the Highway and Mountain Highway/ Keith Road intersections. We’re excited to see some of these new improvements in use soon. For example, the new bridge connecting the Seymour area to Lynn Valley, removing the need to get on and off the Highway heading westbound.


Cranes positioning girder for installation

A new onramp from Mountain Hwy onto the highway heading westbound is also coming along nicely and will ease the pressure off the Lynn Valley Road onramp. Highway 1 will also be widened with the construction of additional lanes including the construction of two 2-lane bridges on either side of the existing 4-lane Lynn Creek Bridge.

The Mountain Highway/Lynn Creek, Keith Road/Seymour Parkway and Main Street/Dollarton Highway Interchanges will be upgraded in four phases. Improvements will address safety, queuing and delays and will help to improve travel times along Highway 1 and the Lower Lynn Interchanges.