Living in a looper landscape

Mid-July if you took a walk through the forest, you likely ran into hundreds of tiny hanging caterpillars. The larvae were lunching on hemlocks and other conifers, in the matter of weeks turning the hillsides from green to brown. Unfortunate timing also brought a heat dome to Lynn Valley and the result is a forest stressed and facing long-term deterioration. We spoke with UBC’s Dean of Forestry for his thoughts on looper moths, cedar die-off, and the future of local forests. 


Local impacts


The change was fast. The forests on Mt. Fromme and through Lynn Canyon were green – dry from lack of rain but still green. Then in just a couple of weeks, some ridges clearly seemed more brown and red than green. The quick change took even forest experts by surprise. 

“When someone told me about earlier this year I was quite surprised because I do spend a lot of time in the North Shore mountains,” said John Innes, a West Vancouver resident, professor, and dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. “The hemlock looper is actually quite localized, but where it is occurring it is significant. You may have noticed that the moths are now flying. We had exactly the same last year.”

Despite his many dog walks, it wasn’t until Innes flew over the area last month that he saw the full impact of the hemlock looper moths on Stanley Park, parts of Lighthouse Park, and the Lynn Valley area. Other portions of the North Shore remain largely untouched.  The native insect is in the middle of a three-year cycle, he said. They defoliate hemlocks, firs, and other trees. 


The loopers


“Normally the insect effects beginning in early July, so that is why you see very rapid effects,” said Innes. “The trees aren’t actually dead. The foliage is affected. The foliage has died but it is possible – it’s not a 100 percent certain but it is possible – these trees will recover in a year or two or a bit longer.”

As the North Shore forests are midway through a natural multi-year cycle that occurs every 11 to 15 years, some trees were also hit hard last year. 

“What we know is the ability to recover is strongly linked to the amount of defoliation and so we are seeing that if trees are completely defoliated there is a lower chance of recovery,” he said. “The other problem is that if the tree was affected last year, its reserve would be depleted. If this year it is again defoliated, that depletes its reserves again and it may not produce foliage next year and it may die.” 

There is some question of where we are in the looper moth cycle. The District of North Vancouver states we are in the last year of a three-year cycle, whereas Innes has a different opinion. 

“We had one last year, there is this year and we may get another one next year, and then it should die down again.”


The long-term impacts


Lynn Valley’s forests are not just dealing with a looper moth outbreak, they are also impacted by climate change and the sudden heat dome that occurred in late June/early July. 

“The heat plays a role in overall forest health – particularly cedars,” said Innes. “We are seeing over the years an increase in mortality for cedar across the North Shore mountains, particularly young cedars. 

“Within the forest, there is always some mortality. Like the human population, there is always one or two people who get an illness and ultimately die, unfortunately, and age-related mortality. Trees can reach a very old age but very few trees that grow in the forest actually reach that old-growth status. The majority die before then for all sorts of reasons, so what we are seeing is accelerated mortality. If it is bad, it can change the nature of the forest.”

Cedars are the cornerstone of North Shore forests. Without young trees slowly growing there will likely be a shift in the local ecosystem, he said. 

“There is going to be a problem in the future because there are no young cedars. There will be hemlocks and firs but we will lose the cedars are the oldest living trees in the forest and that will be quite significant in the future,” said Inness. “What we also can get is destabilization.”


The slope safety


Our mountainside community relies on the trees to keep the forest where it is – on the hillsides. The roots of healthy trees retain the soils that help bushes and younger plants grow – continuing the cycle. 

“Dead tree roots slowly decay. What we have seen is that it takes three to four years for the soils to be affected,” said Innes. “If you have a very strong rain or the soil is saturated, the soil’s ability to hold in place is at risk and you may see a landslide.”

The District of North Vancouver is aware of the shift in forest health. 

At this time, we do not know how many of those distressed trees will survive and we likely won’t know until next spring,” said Cassie Brondgeest, communications coordinator for the DNV. “There are many variables that will contribute to tree recovery including looper moth activity and future weather patterns. District staff are working closely with subject matter experts, our neighbouring municipalities, Metro Vancouver and the Province to monitor the situation and to determine next steps. This is a dynamic situation and much will depend on what happens next year.” 

Typically, if remediation is required it would involve replanting trees, said Innes. 

“We have a period of a few years where there is a high risk until the new roots gain enough strength,” he said. “It isn’t everywhere but it is a problem for certain slope conditions.” 


Immediate concerns


While slope destabilization is an issue to closely monitor, Innes feels there is an immediate concern residents should more fully educate themselves about: fire risk.

“Just because it is a rain forest does not mean that it’s not going to burn in the right conditions. And this year has given us the right conditions,” he said. “I don’t think we are quite ready. People in the interior are familiar and know about evacuation orders, but if that situation were to happen in the District of North Vancouver a lot of people would not know how to respond or what to do.”

Despite this week’s rain, the heat of summer and looper moths have created a situation that remains high risk. 

“Once trees drop their foliage, the red browns stuff is very dry and it does increase risk. If the trees are dead they will gradually break down and increase the risk,” said Innes. “In terms of the North Shore, the primary risks are the availability of fuel, dryness of the fuel, and the igniting effects. What you would be looking for, on the North Shore is the human risk.”

Big fires on the North Shore are not unheard of, he said. Exploring Cypress Bowl is one place where we can see the effects of local forest fires. He emphasizes we aren’t immune and need to learn more about fire prevention

“I was out walking and I was thinking that this is so, so dry and it would easily be set off by a cigarette.”


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.

Election 2021

Last month, LynnValleyLife reached out to all of the candidates with a list of questions about the election and how Lynn Valley factors into their vision of the future. Unfortunately, only one candidate took the time to respond. 


Election 2021


The early election called by the Trudeau government will take place on Sept. 20. Voting will take place throughout the region. Some Lynn Valley residents will head to the polls at Lynn Valley Centre, others at Capilano University,  Lynn Valley Legion or Lynn Valley United Church.  Check your voter registration card or visit elections.ca for more information.  Advanced poll days are Sept. 11-13 or you can vote by mail before Sept. 14 at 6 pm.


Les Jickling – Conservative Party of Canada


Please tell us about yourself and your connection to the North Shore. 

I was born in LGH and live in the Edgemont area with my wife Michelle and son Benjamin. I have family in Lynn Valley who have been helping on my campaign. My father taught in schools in North Vancouver. As a young boy I remember tobogganing on the local North Shore mountains (and later skiing), fishing, hiking and bike riding. As a parent I appreciate all the wonderful resources the North Shore offers young families.

Why are you the best person to represent Lynn Valley (and all of North Vancouver) in Ottawa? 

I have a vision for a safe, healthy and sustainable community. Recently, mental health, COVID-19, job losses, unaffordable housing, traffic congestion and climate change have threatened our way of life. These big issues can only be addressed by taking actionable steps. My past successes, as an executive for a healthcare company, raising funds for palliative care, as a three-time president of VOWSA, or navigating the entire Blue Nile in support of access to freshwater, were only achieved by breaking down big challenges into actionable steps. I will do the same for big issues impacting life in North Vancouver.

What issue do you think is most important to Lynn Valley, specifically, and how is this a priority for you?

Recent tragic events in Lynn Valley require us to make mental health a top priority in our community. Canada’s Recovery Plan, under the leadership of Erin O’Toole, will double the current healthcare transfer payments to 6%, injecting an additional $60 billion over 10 years and providing $150 million in grants to nonprofits delivering mental health programming. A 25% tax credit will be offered to employers offering mental health coverage and a nation-wide, three-digit suicide prevention hotline will be implemented.

How do you feel about calling an early election during a pandemic and BC’s devastating wildfire season?

The election-call during the pandemic was reckless. Canadians neither want, nor need, an election. Arguments to the contrary are disingenuous – legislation was passing through the house. The wildfires are tragic, alarming and require immediate action. The Conservative climate plan will get us to our Paris targets.

What three party priorities best support North Vancouver? 

Healthcare, including the COVID response, mental health action and increases in transfer payments. Jobs and economic recovery including recovering the 1 million jobs lost during the pandemic and climate change including implementing the Conservative climate action plan.

Which non-political achievement are you most proud of in your life? 

My wife Michelle and I are adoptive parents. Of all the things I’ve done in life, I consider jointly raising my son Ben as my greatest and most rewarding achievement. I also wrote a humorous book about paddling the world’s most famous river which is one of my proudest achievements.

How do you spend your non-professional time? 

My son is six years old so I like to spend time with him riding bikes, hiking in the canyon, going to the pool, camping and playing in the park. When I have adult time with friends, I like to hike the Grouse Grind and explore the North Shore’s fine craft breweries.

What would you like the people of Lynn Valley to know about you? 

I would like them to know I am a reasonable and thoughtful person with genuine care and concern for the community.

To learn more visit his website.


Other candidates


We did not get responses from the other candidates. They are:

Tammy Bentz New Democratic Party Website
John Galloway People’s Party of Canada Website
Archie Kaario Green Party of Canada Website
Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal Party of Canada Website

Elections Canada looking for poll workers

Go to www.elections.ca and apply online (faster) or fill out an application at the North Vancouver Electoral Office at Capilano mall (where Sears used to be, parking lot entrance)

Who can work?
  • you must be a Canadian citizen
  • you must be at least 16 years old on election day
  • you must speak English. French and other languages are an asset (Farsi, Mandarin,…)
To be employed by Elections Canada, you must agree to refrain from any partisan political activity during the term of your employment.

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.

Bears at risk in Lynn Valley

This past weekend, the plan was to kill Lynn Valley bears. Two traps were set up Friday night. It’s becoming an all too common problem. The last weekend in July a Lynn Valley bear spent its day as high as it could go in a tree, trying to evade the traps and guns of conservation officers. Neighbours of the ongoing incident were watching. One placed a quick call and soon Luci Cadman, executive director of the North Shore Black Bear Society (NSBBS), was also on scene, advocating the best she could for a bear with a death sentence and educating the homeowners with unsecure chicken coops (DNV bylaw require an electric fence) that created the situation.


It’s normal for bears to be around in the day time


The images and anecdotes are flooding social media – but bears aren’t new to Lynn Valley. These furry neighbours will – hopefully – always be a part of the community and we can all master more best practices to live alongside them. 

Bears have been a part of the community since well before settlers arrived in Lynn Valley. The headlines and viral images we see today aren’t really a matter of more bears, but of more reporting, said Cadman. 

“On social media, we are seeing more images as more people are out in the summer,” she said. “But the bears have been active since February.” 

Luci Cadman

We will always have bears in our community – always because they are here for safety whether there are unnatural food sources or not, it’s a natural place to be, said Cadman. 

“We are seeing a pattern of people being at home and Dr. Henry encouraging people outside. Especially in areas like Capilano Regional Park, Mosquito Creek, Braemar, Fromme Mountain, Lynn Canyon Park, there are reports of more daytime bear activity. I believe recreation is pushing bears out of the forest into the community where it is a little bit quieter. We see bears are just resting at the back of people’s yards away from the hikers, bikers, and dogs. They are seeking peace and quiet and going back into the forest at night.”

The society also noticed in 2020 the impact of closing provincial parks led to unsanctioned bike trails on Mount Seymour pushing local bears into neighbourhoods. During education outreach at trailheads, Cadman also has had a number of reports from the public of misinformed individuals aggressively moving bears from their natural areas and food sources with airhorns or bear bangers because the public wants to recreate in the area. 

“The bears in Lynn Valley are the more vulnerable bears, the mom, and cubs, the teenagers, older bears, right now there is an injured bear. These bears live on the periphery of our environment and can’t go higher up in the mountains because that is where the dominant bears are.”

When it comes to the dangers of living with bears, there are few. It is far more dangerous for the bears to live near us, said Cadman. In 2019, 542 black bears and 162 grizzly bears were killed in BC. 

“We have the statistics,” she said. “They are in the community without incident, their intention isn’t to hurt people and we know this because we get hundreds of reports every year without incident. It is very rare for a black bear to make physical contact.”

Even those bears people think are dangerous are not – statistics show a mother bear is the least dangerous bear – her instinct is to retreat from humans. They live near neighbourhoods because it is less dangerous for her – away from dominant bears, said Cadman.

It’s up to us, as residents, to facilitate cohabitation.  


Bears can learn boundaries


The NSBBS believes education will lead to our best co-existence with bears and the role the public can play has evolved over the years, said Cadman.

Photo by Tony Joyce

“These animals are teachable. They are very intelligent. Back in the day it was bang pots and pans and used an air horn but many of our bears are adapting. Don’t expect a bear to run away,” she said. “If they did that every time they saw a person, they would get nothing done. They are comfortable with people – at a distance – never step into their space. 

“Just because a bear is walking down the street in the daytime does not mean they are bold or aggressive.” 

If a bear does enter your yard, Cadman offers this advice: “From a safe place like a deck or window, with eye contact and a firm tone, speak to the bear [in any language, as the key is tone, not words]. It will usually move on. They can be taught this is not a place to be. Be consistent and do it every time they are in your yard. 

“We have had a lot of success with bears changing their routes by people doing that.” 

If you meet a bear in the wild it’s a different procedure and likely not the one you learned as a kid. The typical thought to make yourself large as possible, to glare and threaten the bear in a loud voice is incorrect as Cadman because it may make the bear feel threatened. 

“If you suddenly, closely encounter a bear on a trail or in your yard speak in a calm tone and slowly back away,” said Cadman, adding this behaviour allows you to demonstrate you are giving the bears their space to carry on.


Challenges leading to bear deaths


There are numerous challenges facing local bears, says Cadman. Some are institutional, like the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) and local governments, others are more about individual resident actions.  

“People believe that conservation officers relocate bears,” she said. “In June of this year, in BC, 75 bears were killed. Only one was relocated.”

The false assumption by residents that bears will be relocated leads to behaviours that put bears at risk.

“We always try to educate and I have heard it before, ‘It’s not a big deal [the bear is trapped], it will be relocated like last time,’” said Cadman. “No, the bear will be killed, just like last time.”

She also struggles to get accurate reports on bears from the BCCOS so she can direct the NSBBS’s finite education resources to where it’s most needed. 

“If people don’t report the bears to us, we don’t know what questions to ask the BCCOS,” she said. “We can’t hold them accountable.”

The District of North Vancouver is making progress to be more supportive of bears cohabiting in the community but there is still more work to do, she said. 

“In January the district passed a bylaw regarding bear attractants and they are using it as a next step when our education isn’t working. First, we want people to talk to their neighbours, but if that isn’t working they can let us know or the DNV and we can provide education. We send a welcome package to all new residents to help them understand bears in our community. We are still working with the district to improve the waste bins. The locking waste bins are not bear-proof and continue to be a problem.”

Revisiting last month’s bear visiting chicken coops, Cadman is pleased to have the bylaw in place, as education didn’t seem to be working. 

Bear Season in long

Bears are in our neighbourhoods from late February to November. They need year-round support. The NSBBS is slowly expanding its small team of volunteers.  Donations are a quick way to make a difference. Self-education can be found on their website (new site coming soon). 

There are actions residents can take now to support our bear neighbours:

  • Report bear sightings online here for tracking, if there is immediate need text or call: 604-317-4911.
  • To report problem attractants use this online form.  
  • Remove all food as soon as possible: veggies, berries, and fruit. 
  • Do not install or remove bird feeders (taking in at night is not sufficient as bears are here during the day). 
  • Keep waste bins in locked sheds or in your home, if possible. Regularly, clean green waste and garbage bins with a vinegar or bleach solution, layer garden waste on top of food waste and freeze scraps when possible only placing them in the cart on pickup day. 
  • Burn off BBQs for 10 minutes and clean after each use.

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.

Fire ready North Van

As fire destroyed Lytton just days ago, it might be a good idea to refresh what Lynn Valley residents can do to make themselves FireSmart and take preventative measures to help support the District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service’s efforts to protect the community.


Well resourced


DNVFRS members working north of Lillooet.

As a community on the border between wildlands and urban areas, the District of North Vancouver has a comprehensive Community Wildfire Protection Plan. One that continues to evolve, grow and provide additional resources to DNVFRS. In fact, it is something they are so good at, firefighters have been deployed this week to help protect communities in the interior.

“In the last three years, I would say it’s doubled, and then doubled again,” said Capt. Conrad Breakey, public information officer for the DNVFRS.

To protect against wildfire there are now two structure protection units (sprinkler systems that protect up to thirty homes) and another on its way, he said. There are also plans to add to their fleet of initial attack vehicles so each hall has one ready to go. These trucks are more like pickup trucks than firetrucks equipped with pumps and forestry gear that can access more areas than a typical firetruck. 

“We have close to 75 percent of our crew have structure protection training through FireSmart,” he said. “If a forest fire was breaking through to houses we would go and set up sprinklers ahead of time to create a hydrobubble so those embers can’t jump from house to house to house.”

In further reaches of the district the fire service has combined thoughtful resources with education. As summer approaches it is now implementing strategies to be as ready as possible – especially in the Woodlands neighbourhood north east of Deep Cove where the setting is quite remote, said Breakey. 

“We have found a spot that in high and extreme times we are going to stage equipment up there so it is ready to go and we will have crews patrolling all summer, monitoring the gear and equipment,” he said. “It includes a HydroSub – not only can the roads be difficult but hydrants as well; this allows us to throw it off the end of a dock and pump seawater up to where we need to be.”


Ounce of prevention vs pound of cure


The FireSmart education being undertaken by the DNVFRS in Woodlands is something they want to expand to other areas bordering the forest – including Lynn Valley. 

“Our major effort is to mitigate – to stop fires from impacting homes before they even start,” said Breakey. “That is the easiest and the cheapest option. We can help educate homeowners to have them in a better position should a fire come through the area.”     

The ultimate goal of the FireSmart program is to unite neighbours to be proactive about making better choices. Plans for outreach in Lynn Valley are in the works, with support from grants from the Union of B.C. Municipalities.  

“The easiest, affordable approach – and not talking about swapping out construction materials like cedar shakes for asphalt shingles – I would say is removing all the fuel from around your house,” said Breaky. “Remove the overhanging branches, clean your eavestroughs, remove pine needles from your roof. Take a look at the spaces under decks where leaves and dead brush might accumulate. 

FireSmart assessment in action.

“I know people like having their firewood accessible but move it away. What you have to consider is that if there is a forest fire it is like a snowstorm of embers. Those embers can travel hundreds of metres and land in the woodpiles or a pile of brush. And that tiny little ember will become a fire that was nowhere near the initial fire.”

With the goal to have homeowners take action now, the DNVFRS is offering support to help neighbourhoods be FireSmart. 

“We would like to encourage communities that are near the first to connect and reach out to the fire department, so we can get out into the neighbourhood – especially Lynn Valley,” he said. “We can do those community assessments and put a report together. Reach out to us – to me and we can send out a local FireSmart representative and get the process started. We would love to organize a group and have a community champion but anyone who has questions or concerns can talk with us.”

DNVFRS also plans this summer to be present in local parks for fire education and perhaps a spray or two for the kids. A sort of pandemic pivot of their previous year’s Hot Nights outreach. As for the ongoing wildfire prevention programs, Breakey thinks the education and action are paying off.

“We are making quite a few efforts and a lot of progress at the moment.”

Breakey recommends checking out the extensive resources at FireSmart and following the DNVFRS social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) to stay up to date with the latest safety orders or emerging events. 


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.

Stitched with love

A local artist experienced in healing is leading the Lynn Valley Love sewing project. Quilter, artist, and instructor Berene Campbell is hoping the works will help reclaim the Lynn Valley Library and Village after the March 27th attack.


Lots of love


Berene Campbell

As an artist and creator Campbell has felt a need to respond when communities she cares about are struck by tragedy. She uses her work to foster social justice and healing.   

“There is a call – even from far away – when you see your fellow human beings suffering to do something about it,” she said. 

After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing Campbell was inspired to found the community project To Boston With Love. She and others voiced a call for handmade flags supporting the community, the injured and to recognize those that were killed. The project debuted during the month of April 2014 at the Boston Museum of Fine Art to mark one year after the bombing. 

Her initiatives for collective healing continued in Toronto where she was living at the time of its April 2018 van attack. She received over 2000 peace and love flags from across the world that were pieced together to form banners. The project, once completed, was placed in the North York City Centre where it filled a vast space with colour and positive messages.

“The overall idea is to turn this community hub into a space filled with beauty, comfort and love – like a big visual hug,” she said at the time.  


From loss to love


Campbell’s motivation remains much the same after the March 27 stabbing that killed one, injured six, and left the community as a whole reeling. Compassionate, the past projects have been deeply meaningful to Campbell, but with this tragedy taking place in her home community, this one is special.

“My son and his girlfriend were here at the exact time – just one week prior,” she said. “For so many of us, it was just timing that kept us away that day.” 

In May of this year, she partnered with the NVDPL and the District of North Vancouver to begin the Lynn Valley Love sewing project. It is a two-part project set to be unveiled this month at the Lynn Valley branch. Earlier in the spring, the public was invited to pick up simple sewing kits to help stitch the community back together. The felt and cotton pieces were simply sewed at home by residents and dropped off for Campbell and her team to stitch together. The X’s of love have been received from other parts of the world as well as crafters saw the project launch online. 

For some it was an act to send love, for others participation is an act of their own healing and to reduce stress and anxiety.

It’s very repetitive. There is something zen about doing the stitching,” she said.

The second part of the project involves more elaborated quilted banners that will hang in the stairwell of the library. Campbell and her team have a vast network of quilters willing to contribute to the ‘visual hug.’ Banners have arrived from near and far. 

Campbell’s community action goes beyond public displays. She has also established the Handmade Collective Awards, a bursary (financial aid) fund for BIPOC, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ students at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her website also has a number of tutorials and projects for sewers. 


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.

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.