Lynn Valley leads local elections

As British Columbians consider their choices for local government this fall, LynnValleyLife wants to amplify our local voice on municipal government. Voting on October 15 is a chance to have your say. 


Lynn Valley leads candidates


There are 13 residents hoping to get a seat on council for the next four years. Six of those candidates live in Lynn Valley. In addition, there are two candidates running for mayor and seven with hopes to join the school board – one candidate from Lynn Valley. 

We asked residents on our social channels to share the issues that are important to them. With local concerns in mind, we reached out to both mayoral and all Lynn Valley councillor candidates for their views. Unfortunately, not all responded. 

First, we are sharing a little bit about each candidate that did respond, then sharing their positions on local issues. (If candidates respond post deadline we will post in order as time allows.)


Mayoral candidates


Mike Little, mikelittle.ca

Why are you running for mayor? 

I am running for Re-Election because there is still so much work to be done addressing our top priorities.  I love the work getting informed, meeting residents, preparing for decisions and implementing decisions, all while supporting Council and our Staff.  It has been an incredible honour and I am asking for the communities support for a second term.

What are you most proud of/favourite highlight of your term?

When I look back on this term, I know the issues that affected me most deeply are our responses to the Covid Pandemic and the Lynn Valley Attack.  I was so proud of how our community rallied around grieving families in both scenarios and we truly came together for a greater purpose.  In terms of political achievements, I would identify getting our priorities into the Translink 10yr vision including Rapid Transit, Bus Rapid Transit, a significant bump in bus hours, and Handydart hours. Also passing an update to our OCP took an incredible amount of work.

What would you like Lynn Valley to know about you?

I used to live on Frederick at Mountain Hwy and used to love my evening walks around the community.  It is a spectacular setting with such a vibrant close connection to nature.  You have something very special and I want to protect the best parts and continue to improve the rest. 

Mathew Bond, www.mathewbond.com

Why are you running for mayor? 

I decided to run for Mayor because after two terms on District council, I know that the status quo is not working. We lack the leadership, the long-term vision, and the political will to do what’s necessary to implement proven 21st century solutions.

Due to Council’s inaction and micromanaging, the big challenges have deepened. As I look at my daughters, I worry about the future they’re inheriting. The climate emergency is accelerating. The housing crisis has worsened. The District needs bold inclusive leadership that will make our community healthier, more socially-connected, happier, more equitable, and more resilient.

What are you most proud of/favourite highlight of your term?

For 8 years, I’ve been the strongest advocate on Council for creating more housing choices in the District throughout the housing continuum. I’ve championed and supported increasing mobility choices and improving safety for all people – including completing safe routes to schools, improving transit, and creating more cycling/rolling infrastructure that separates people from traffic. I’ve been consistent in supporting efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, supported meaningful reconciliation, and advocated for small businesses who struggle with unnecessary red tape. I think long-term and put my children’s future, and that of their peers, at the heart of my decision-making.

What would you like Lynn Valley to know about you? 

I have firsthand experience living in Lynn Valley. I’ve lived on Peters Road, in the heart of Lynn Valley on Harold Road and both of my daughters attended Lynn Valley Parent Participation Preschool.

In 2018 I left “9-5” engineering and became a “day at home dad” caring for my two young daughters during the day while juggling Council duties and engineering consulting contracts in between naps. With the cost of living, housing, and childcare, I know many young families are doing everything possible to make life here work. While I work irregular full time hours, I still think of myself as a dad first and was heavily involved in the preschool as a duty parent and Treasurer since 2019. 

I appreciate the unique community that Lynn Valley is. Although long-time residents have seen the community evolve from a blue-collar suburb to a highly desirable neighbourhood for young families, the strong community ties still exist. This is a neighbourhood that sticks together and plans for the future.

When I’m in Lynn Valley now, you’ll see me riding my red cargo bike with my girls on the back, grabbing a coffee from Morey and Negar at Waves, getting my bike repaired by Rick at Lynn Valley Bikes and heading up to the trails on Fromme for a ride or to give Digger a hand. I love the new flow trails, but you’ll usually find me riding classic tech-gnar, much to the chagrin of my new to the Shore riding buddies.


Lynn Valley candidates for councillor


Jordan Back, jordanback.net

Why are you running for council?

I want the DNV to be an inclusive community that works for everyone. If re-elected, I will to continue advocating for housing diversity, increased active transportation investments, a positive and cooperative relationship with First Nations, and initiatives that will support the small business community, involve younger people in local government, and build a strong sense of community for all residents.

What are you most proud of/favourite highlight of your first term?

Any first term Councillor is going to experience a steep learning curve, which I certainly did, add to this a pandemic and it makes for an even more interesting experience! I am proud of the work this Council has managed to do around creating housing for some of our community’s most vulnerable through it’s approval of a supportive housing project for women and women-led families, as well as the eventual approval of a non-market housing development on the site of the old Delbrook Recreation Centre. I also think we have made great strides with climate action initiatives in a number of areas. Personally, I am proud to have received support for a number of my own motions including Alcohol in Parks Pilot Program, creation of a Youth & Younger Adults Advisory Committee, a Food Trucks Pilot Program, as well as an E-Bike Purchase Incentive Program.

 What would you like Lynn Valley to know about you? 

I have lived in Lynn Valley my whole life and I absolutely love this part of the District of North Vancouver! Over the years I have worked and played in this community and now my wife Signy and I are raising our two young children here. I hope to play a role in shaping the sort of future that will allow them to have the sort of childhood I had in Lynn Valley and allow them to grow up here. While there are challenges, I think there are so many ways we can make this community even better and we’ll do it by listening to each other and working together. As your Councillor, I hope you will feel comfortable reaching out to me anytime to share your ideas for the future.   

Ellison Mallin, ellisonmallin.ca

Why are you running for council?

To build and foster complete communities. This means building housing across the spectrum, especially missing middle (duplex to midrise), better and more proactive transportation option and zoning to encourage a broader range of businesses and services in every community. Some specific focuses of mine include zoning for healthcare usage, building more affordable ownership options, defining affordability for housing, expanding recreation options, and supporting the creation of a Deep Cove foot ferry. We also need to work with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation on many projects along the waterfront, including extending the spirit trail, with better active transport along Dollarton.  

What are you most proud of/favourite highlight of your community involvement?

I am very involved in my community, both in North Vancouver and in the GVRD in general. I have coached in the North Shore Inline Hockey League for almost 10 years. I was a member of the DNV Rental, Social, and Affordable Housing Task Force, and I have been on the Community Services Advisory Committee for the last 3 years. I have volunteered for, or worked on, about a dozen election campaigns over the last 10 years, and I always strive to get other people involved in local events, issues and elections.  

What would you like Lynn Valley to know about you?

I have lived almost my whole life in Lynn Valley, and I feel like I have met almost everyone here by now, though if you see me around do not hesitate to stop and say hi! When not talking about politics, I have a million and one pastimes, and I am sure we can find some degree of connection to chat about. Though, always happy to talk politics – honestly.

 I currently work for MLA Susie Chant as her full-time constituency assistant. Through that work, I have seen how many opportunities are out there for funding for projects and partnerships. The District of North Vancouver has done some great work, but a lot more is needed to improve livability and foster community. I am ready to step up into that role. I will dedicate full time hours to being a councillor, and I will not be seeking any other positions or elected office. Municipal government is my passion and is on the frontlines of policy decisions. I hope to be able to work within this system to do the work we need to build a community we can belong in. For more about myself and my platform, check out my website at ellisonmallin.ca 

Thomas Tofigh, thomastofigh.ca

Why are you running for council? 

I hope to bring a new, fresh vision and voice to our District council and shape the future of our community. I believe that contractors of small, medium or large sizes are equally viable candidates for our district. North Vancouver is a special place to live, work, and raise a family. I have the experience, problem-solving skills, and vision to give our district a bright future and help meet its challenges.

What are you most proud of/favourite highlight of your community involvement? 

I am proud to reside in North Vancouver for the past several years. I worked for my community during these years. My daughter is a UBC student raised in North Vancouver. We need to hold each other hands to build the safest and the most peaceful community for our kids. The future belongs to our children.

What would you like Lynn Valley to know about you?

Lynn Valley is my home. I care about my neighbours, my environment, my daughter and my neighbour’s children. In one phrase, I care about everything which is in Lynn Valley.

Great communities require great leaders. We need leaders with new visions and the dedication to get the job done, and I believe in making decisions based on what we as a community need, not what I think we need. I welcome using reports, studies, community feedback, etc., to make better-informed policymaking decisions for the community across the board.

As all we know, growth does NOT stop, so we should help each other to stay on the right path going forward. Now is the time to band together as a community like never before and network with ideas, technology, and actions, make and support fair and just laws, volunteer, help, and share. I feel a good District Councillor should act as an advocate for our entire city, demanding transparency and results and going to bat for the little guy, and that is what I am good at!

I’ll always be accessible to you, and I encourage you to contact me and discuss your ideas.

I have gained so much satisfaction in applying my vast education to help people visiting and settling in Canada that I thought I would broaden my scope and make my various degrees in law, business, and engineering as well as my education in immigration and public law, available to the community while providing a hub for networking ideas, local business and resources and accessing local laws and standards. I believe a community councillor’s office should provide information on community events, recreational facilities, recycling, sustainability and city maintenance services, food banks, health and welfare support services, affordable housing, transportation/parking, EV stations, and more to make the community run smoothly.

I’m proud to have the support and endorsement of educators, families, and small business owners, and I hope that by Election Day, I will have earned not just your vote but also your trust and support. With your vote, I will be your voice for our city and serve with wisdom and fairness.

Additional candidates from Lynn Valley are Greg Robins, Betty Ford and Harrison Johnston. A full list of all candidates can be found here

School Board candidates

Linda Munro, lindamunro.ca

Why are you running for school board? 

Supporting my community is core to who I am. I have been active in supporting local education for many years prior to joining the school board, including serving as president of Lynn Valley Parent Participation Preschool and as PAC chair at Ross Road School. I believe that giving my time and energy is an investment in my community. As a current trustee, I have a solid understanding of the North Vancouver School District and the governance provided by its board. I sincerely hope to continue building on this base, representing and serving my community. 

What are you most proud of/favourite highlight of your first term? 

Since I joined the NVSD Board of Education in 2021, I’ve played a role in the combined efforts that have led to many advancements in the North Vancouver School District.  The new Handsworth Secondary has opened; anti-racism initiatives have deepened and the Board passed a motion to address ableism in the NVSD. I am especially proud of the Board’s decision to align existing and future school district policies with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As the first school district in B.C. to make this commitment, North Vancouver School District is leading the way in reconciliation through education. 

What would you like Lynn Valley to know about you? 

Lynn Valley is my home. My father was a family doctor who served this community for many years. His office was where Yyoga is located today. My grandparents lived here and I figure skated with the Vancouver Skating Club at Karen Magnussen Arena. Our family moved here in 1997, and in 2008 my husband Scott and I returned to Lynn Valley to raise our kids Rebecca and Keiran. I feel a sense of belonging amongst so many people who care about North Vancouver and give their time and energy to making things better. I love this community and am so glad to be able to live here. 

My time as a student at Handsworth School included travel to Japan, France and Germany, which expanded my world view and led me to work in India, Thailand and the UK. However, I always knew that North Vancouver was the place I wanted to return to and raise my children— surrounded by my extended family, the mountains and the ocean. 

Beyond the Board of Education, I have a career in PR/Communications which has included numerous education clients from universities, school districts to professional associations. I have worked in communications and public affairs at Capilano University since 2019.

In my free time, you are likely to find me running, walking, or hiking in and around Lynn Valley,  paddleboarding or skiing.  I love to connect and meet people, if you see me out and about, feel free to say hello and introduce yourself! 

1) What are your top priorities to improve Lynn Valley Schools? 

What we see and hear from students, employees and parents is a need for connection. Coming out of two years of COVID-19 restrictions, there is a need to focus on creating school cultures that promote social connection and improve well-being.  There is a critical need for more on-site before and after school childcare spaces in Lynn Valley. I believe the new alignment of the Ministry of Education and Childcare could bring opportunities for partnerships and funding to add more before and after school care spaces and I will be a strong advocate for pursuing them.  

2) What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Lynn Valley schools?

Space. Lynn Valley is a choice neighbourhood for families and some areas of our region are seeing rapid population growth. Many of our schools are operating at capacity. The North Vancouver School District closely monitors space management at all schools, and in the upcoming term I will grow my understanding of the challenges and opportunities schools face in addressing the ongoing pressures on their facilities.

3) As trustee, what are your goals to prioritize pedestrian safety and access to schools?

My involvement in supporting traffic safety started long before I was a school trustee. I served as a crossing guard during school drop off for three years at Ross Road School, and I began attending North Shore Safety Council (NSSC) meetings on behalf of Ross Road School when I was a PAC Chair. I have continued to support traffic management as a trustee by participating in safety mornings at schools with the NSSC’s invaluable volunteers. I am alert to the traffic safety concerns of the Eastview community and I’m committed to advocating to the District of North Vancouver for improvements.

4) Residents have expressed concerns that District (and North Shore) infrastructure is being outstripped by development with transportation, green spaces, schools and healthcare over capacity. What are your views on this issue and reopening schools like Fromme Elementary?

The NVSD’s school properties are a valuable asset. With the ebb and flow of student populations, over time some school communities have been amalgamated and some are currently rented out to independent schools. This rental income is valuable revenue that is used to support students and programs in the NVSD. The Board is continuously balancing, analyzing and reviewing its facilities in alignment with housing developments in the District of North Vancouver. I believe the decision to rent out, rather than sell, some school properties affords NVSD the flexibility over time to re-open properties when needed. 


The issues


1) What is your Number 1 priority to improve the livability of Lynn Valley? 

LITTLE: We are all affected on a daily basis by our traffic challenges, and while a solution to the bridge is years away, I am fighting for improved bus services today.  I have been successful getting a Lonsdale – Lynn Valley rapid bus included in Translink’s top priorities and hope to finally see frequent transit service to the centre.

BOND: Improving sustainable transportation options will improve everyone’s health and wellbeing. This includes more transit options, more car shares, and more safe walking/cycling/rolling options. 

BACK: I definitely want to see the completion of the artificial turf field at Argyle within the next six months, it’s taken far too long to get this project done. I would also like to see the DNV look to refresh and upgrade some of the washroom facilities within a few Lynn Valley parks, many of which are starting to show their age.

MALLIN: It is difficult to just choose one thing, as we need a whole spectrum of solutions working together to improve livability! If I had to choose though, it would be affordable housing. This means focused policies to improve the housing situation here. We need to define what affordability means. We need to create policies that encourage missing middle housing, and allow for multigenerational housing, duplexes, triplexes and coach houses much more easily. We need more affordable ownership options, especially for first time buyers and downsizing seniors. We need a short-term rental policy and we need more social housing.

TOFIGH: Sustainable peace and comfort are my Number 1 priority. We need more and more EV stations in our community to help and protect our environment and encourage people to use electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Intelligence and active public transportation system and taking out of the road of the vehicles with abnormal noises bring peace and comfort to our community.

2) What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Lynn Valley (at the municipal level)?

LITTLE: Retaining and growing the affordable options in the community.  Lynn Valley has had great co-op and townhouse options mixed into our primarily single family area, but those places are under threat of redevelopment.  In some cases, redevelopment is the way to go and we need a council that will maximize the affordability of the new units, but we also have to have the wisdom to know when to reject a proposal that may exacerbate our traffic problems.

BOND: We’re building a better world for our kids by addressing 21st century problems with 21st century solutions, but change is difficult. A few priorities I’ve heard from residents are: more safe and sustainable transportation options, more urban green space, a playground in the Town Centre, more diverse small businesses to support the local community, and more rental and affordable housing options – particularly for people on low and fixed incomes. The climate crisis is a top concern for all DNV residents. It’s not a separate issue, it’s the lens that underpins all decisions.

BACK: Since the start of the pandemic, all of our parks such as Lynn Canyon Park, have seen a big increase in the number of visitors that are frequenting them every weekend. While this can present challenges, I also think their are opportunities to capitalize on this increase in visitors. I would like to see us create some more community events that may cater to residents and visitors alike, things like farmers markets, small scale community festivals, that will work for young families and also support small businesses.

MALLIN: Traffic is the biggest day to day challenge here. There are only a few ways in and out of Lynn Valley and, if there is serious traffic, there is really no point of even trying to leave. Lynn Valley is flush with amazing natural amenities that people flock here to use. We cannot expand roads or parking lots, there is really no space for that. We can focus on building public and active transit to our most popular destinations to try to get people out of cars. We need to build smarter bike lanes that utilize side roads and trails.

TOFIGH: As a resident of Lynn Valley, I think housing, EV stations and traffic are the biggest challenges.

3) New builds typically seem to clear-cut all trees. Lynn Valley will be barren if that trend continues. What are your views on the forested-character of Lynn Valley? 

LITTLE: We have made it a priority to protect trees on publicly owned lands, and we have put in some of the toughest tree replacement requirements on private property.  Ultimately it is a balance, we want trees to be healthy, but we also must manage fire risk by creating defensible space between our homes and the forest canopies.  We are the biggest risks when it comes to forest fire, and we need to be proactive about giving the forest a fighting chance.

BOND: The North Shore forests are beloved by all and a healthy urban tree canopy is a critical part of community well being. The forested nature of Lynn Valley has changed since it was first logged more than a century ago. As we build a future for our kids, it will continue to change. With a long-term Biodiversity Strategy that is currently underway, we can identify ecosystems that need to be protected, restored, and regenerated. Many of our tree species will not survive drought and increasing temperatures from climate change and we need to be planning now for generations to come.

BACK: With the hot summers we have had in recent years, it has made it very clear that we need to protect our tree canopy across the community. This trend is one we are seeing with new builds across the DNV and one that this Council has tried to address in a number of ways, most recently by enhancing our Tree Bylaw to make it more difficult for homebuilders to clear a lot in the same way. In 2021, the Urban Tree Canopy Project was launched, which encourages residents to plant new trees on their properties by providing them with up to three free trees. It’s been a tremendous success with a total of 239 native plants planted in 146 different properties in the first year of the program.

MALLIN: I do not think we are going to see a future where Lynn Valley will be barren, but we need to make sure that developments respect the character of Lynn Valley, especially regarding our natural landscape. Developments should be built in a way that compliment the forests and, ideally, add to the green spaces we have. There are many creative solutions that should be used more, like green roofs, vertical gardens along walls and more/updated urban trails. The DNV does have a new urban canopy program, and more could be done to advertise it to folks here.

TOFIGH: Everyone who like Lynn Valley is due to the green canopy. We have to protect our green community. Great communities require great leaders, and I think if we have great leaders in our community, especially in Lynn Valley, we are going to stop the cut the trees. If a builder wants to cut a tree, they must plant another tree in our community. Although we cannot stop the growth, we can change our policy, and if we need more buildings, we can change our policy from vertical buildings to horizontal buildings and small buildings.

4) What are your goals to support pedestrian safety and safe access to schools? 

LITTLE: We have been supportive of both funding and maintaining better trail connections throughout Lynn Valley, and supporting our safe routes to schools plans with hard infrastructure such as crossing improvements and sidewalks.  I expect that to continue, but in spaces like Mountain Highway specifically, we have not left enough of a boulevard to widen the sidewalks without costly land acquisitions, so we are looking at alternatives.

BOND: Lynn Valley around the town centre has a great geography for getting around by foot or on a bike. Focussing on safe active routes to school is a top-priority. Small things, like upgrading many of the paths that criss-cross the creeks and green spaces with curb-cuts and wider bridges can make a big difference in people being able to get to schools and shopping while staying off the major roads. Where routes cross major roads like Lynn Valley, Mountain Hwy and 29th, narrowing the distance people have to cross will make crossings safer.

BACK: One of my top priorities as a Councillor has been to make the necessary investments in active transportation to make it safer for everyone to get around the community by walking or riding a bike. As the parent of two very young kids, I now have a different perspective on this and I am more motivated than ever to push for the necessary changes to road design, particularily around schools, to slow vehicle traffic and make the experience of walking or rolling to school safer and more enjoyable for all. We do have a Safe Routes to School program which looked at a number of elementary schools across the DNV and identified proposed infrastructure improvements such as new sidewalks to make these routes safer. While Eastview was not one of the schools on this list, I promise to look at what specific improvements can be made around this school.

MALLIN: Wider sidewalks absolutely need to be done. We can even combine them with bike lanes in some areas, as bike lanes should be elevated and separated from traffic by more than just plastic dividers. These should be seen as mobility lanes, where people with scooters or wheelchairs can also easily use them. Every crosswalk along a school route should be elevated as a speed hump as well. We should also look at banning right turns on red lights in certain high pedestrian intersections.

TOFIGH: I have a couple of plans. We need active and smart public transportation, and all bus stops need shelter and benches. In our community, we do not have a safe route for cyclists. We need to encourage people in our community to use bicycles, carpools, and public transportation. Still, the infrastructure must be built by the district, and I have some plans to create the infrastructure and encourage people to believe in this system.

5) What are your priorities for traffic lanes? How will you prioritize bus lanes, motor vehicle lanes, parking and active transpiration (bike) lanes?  Do you have a vision for mass transit coming to Lynn Valley? 

LITTLE: I have been fighting for Rapid Bus to come to Lynn Valley and I am happy to report that in our July meeting, the North Shore Mayors were able to work together and get a commitment from the region for a Rapid Bus that will connect the Seabus to Lynn Valley 19 hrs /day, 7 days a week, every 8 minutes.

BOND: As population slowly increases, competition is inevitable for limited road space. We will bring transportation into the 21st century, delivering solutions proven to work for neighbourhoods like Lynn Valley. It often makes sense to drive, whether in your own vehicle or car share. For short trips, it’s often quicker and less stressful to move around on bikes and by foot. We need to make walking and biking within Lynn Valley feel safer and more comfortable for those short everyday trips, while ensuring frequent and reliable transit from Lynn Valley to connect to the broader network, including Bus Rapid Transit.

BACK: Increased bus rapid transit on the North Shore is park of Translink’s 10-Year Plan and, specifically, a RapidBus connection between Lynn Valley and Downtown Vancouver. This service will greatly increase the frequency and reliability of transit in and out of Lynn Valley. I think the Lynn Valley Road Active Transportation Project, which is now under construction, will provide a number of safety improvements for people walking or rolling through this corridor. I also look forward to the eventual build out of the Kirkstone Park to Salop Trail, which will provide a safe and continuous cycling connection from Lynn Valley Town Centre to Lynn Creek Town

I will also continue to advocate that we push MoTI to build a safe connection on the south side of Lynn Valley Road, where it crosses under Highway 1. When it comes to balancing the various demands for road space, I generally am not supportive of having on-street parking on arterial roads, as these are often the most direct routes to provide active transportation connections between town centres. Where it does not compromise user’s safety, parking can in some cases be accomodated with parking pockets and drop off zones.

MALLIN: I would like to see bike lane focus shift to side streets more, and some of our trails that can be widened and used for that. I fully endorse work needed to complete Translink’s 10-year plan which may involve better bus access to the Ironworkers bridge. Bus Rapid Transit seems like a great system that can be quickly and cheaply deployed and hopefully provide some relief here, and I will always lobby for more transit options. Parking lots in top destinations should have a few more spots allocated for handicapped parking as well.

TOFIGH: Unfortunately, during the past years, by increasing the population and street vehicles, no attention has been made to the difficulties in the future. As of today, we do not have any safe routes for cyclists or bicycle riders. Around the Lynn Valley center, during the past two years, several high-rise buildings have been finished, and there is no parking for vehicles in the street around these building. It seems that during past years, they just thought about creating business for others instead of thinking for our community!

6) An issue of concern is “missing-middle” homes: townhomes, duplexes, row homes, etc – something between towers and single-family homes. Another concern is that recent developments have reduced the diversity of local businesses. What is your development vision for the Lynn Valley and the District? 

LITTLE: Modest, strategic growth.  Lynn Valley doesn’t have the same road network as our Seylynn and Lions Gate town centers, so we need to make sure that the housing we attract serves the local community.  While there may be some sensitive infill as highlighted in our OCP, the bulk of the new units in LV should be in the town center.

BOND: I have consistently advocated for more housing options to meet the changing needs of our residents. Most homes were built over 50 years ago. We live, work, commute, socialize and recreate in different and more diverse ways than we did in the 1960s.There are not enough missing-middle homes in Lynn Valley to address this evolution. By embracing diverse housing we create opportunities for young people to stay in the neighbourhood they grew up in, established residents to age in place in an accessible home, and families to adapt property they already own to support multi-generational living.

BACK: I have lived in Lynn Valley my whole life and have had a front row seat to the changes which have taken place over the years. Overall, I think the Lynn Valley Village and revitlization of Lynn Valley Centre have been been a positive evolution for the area, but I think there is much more we could do. There has been a noticable change in the demographics of Lynn Valley in recent years, as more and more young families have moved to the area. I would like to see a greater diversity of smaller, independantly owned businesses, as well as more restaurants and – dare I say – maybe even a craft brewery of our own here one day! I would also like to see a new park in the heart of Lynn Valley that features playspace for kids, as well as an off leash area for dogs.

MALLIN: Missing middle housing is a top priority of mine. It is a simple solution to get some more housing diversity without significant change to a neighbourhood or lengthy construction. Missing middle options should be more heavily favoured around large parks or community centres, as the large yards of a single-family neighbourhood are less needed there. Transit oriented housing needs to be prioritized, especially with reduced parking requirements. It blows my mind how little housing there is along Marine Drive, especially when there is a bus along there every 5 minutes (or less sometimes!).

TOFIGH: The couple of aspects must be focused and work on it. We have to ask small and middle size developers and contractors to play. The main and only player is large contractors. We have to support small businesses to establish their business in our community. If the small and middle contractor and developers are coming to play, we will have much more duplex, triplex and row homes, I promise.

7) Residents have expressed concerns that District (and North Shore) infrastructure is being outstripped by development with transportation, green spaces and healthcare over capacity. What are your views on this issue? 

LITTLE: We haven’t had an increase in lanes to the North Shore since 1968.  We desperately need an agreement between the District, the Province and the Federal Government for the eventual replacement of the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.  Our view is that the bridge has less than 20 years of full use, the Province thinks it is more like 40yrs.  We have to get everyone in the room and craft a plan for that vital regional connection.

BOND: Concerns about infrastructure are not unique to Lynn Valley, the District or the North Shore. The healthcare crisis is felt by communities small and large across the Province. Our common frustration of being part of traffic from 2pm onwards, with a long line of people who work on the North Shore trying to get home to Langley, Maple Ridge or beyond, will only get worse if we don’t provide more options for people to live here. We can create the conditions where healthcare professionals, contractors and others can live here, avoid the punishing commute and become part of our community.

BACK: I think we always have to be looking at the impact that new development has on our exisitng infrastructre and I would say, on the whole, the DNV has done a good job of accounting for this in our Official Community Plan and by regularily communicating with our various partner agencies. Parks and natural spaces have always been a defining characteristic of this area, and I would certainly support invesments in our existing parks, as well as looking to create new parks in some cases. I think planning for the future also highlights the importance of making sure we continue to have strong collaborative relationships with partners like Vancouver Coastal Health and School District #44, to make sure that all of the key community needs are looked after today and for many years to come.

MALLIN: This pandemic has really highlighted the importance of access to healthcare and recreation. We need to zone spaces for healthcare, or mandate new developments to reserve space for healthcare options as getting to the UPCC or a clinic on Lonsdale is not always possible or easy. This should no longer be seen as only a provincial responsibility – municipalities need to step up or be left behind. More walkable communities are needed, with a complete spectrum of businesses and services available, from nice restaurants to entertainment options. The District needs to step up to support this.

TOFIGH: I disagree that infrastructure is being outstripped now. But if any changes not happened and the district does not pay attention carefully to the green spaces, healthcare, traffic and housing issues, we will not have any infrastructure in any matter shortly.


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.

Events ahead of local elections

It’s that time again – four years have passed – and we have October municipal and school board elections. There are a number of opportunities to get to know our candidates.


The year of Lynn Valley


There are 13 North Vancouver residents vying for spots on District Council with six residing in Lynn Valley. There has never been a better to get to know the candidates and to make sure your views are represented on council. Additionally, there are two people running for mayor. There are seven residents throwing their hats in for the school board – one from Lynn Valley. We asked local candidates for their thoughts on issues relevant to Lynn Valley and you can see their responses here.   


Meet the candidates


Jacqueline van Dyk

It’s a good year to make sure you are engaged. There are a number of events and engagements to speak with candidates over the next few weeks. The North Vancouver District Public Library is hosting its own event on October 12 giving voters a chance to talk one-on-one with candidates during its “Speed-Canditating” at the Lynn Valley branch.

We recognize that engaging in political conversations and civic dialogue can be challenging for people for a variety of reasons, so we are simply offering another entry point for folks to engage with local politics,” said Jacqueline van Dyk, director of library services. 

The all-candidates meeting is a rare opportunity to meet one-on-one with potential civic leaders. 

“A community member might have a question that wasn’t asked at a town hall or they might have a different question for each candidate,,” said van Dyk. “They may want to discuss an issue that is deeply personal for them that they weren’t comfortable sharing in a larger group setting…whatever it is, we hope that creating this type of environment will open up the door for meaningful and personal conversations so that voters feels confident when they cast their votes on October 15.”

Community members will have a few minutes to talk with each candidate present. 

“We felt that we could create an experience for candidates and voters to create personal connections and more intimately share what is important to them,” she said. “As a community hub and a place where local residents connect with one another, we regularly host Meet Your Mayor and Meet Your MLA programs and we know our community really values the opportunity to connect with elected officials outside of council chambers.

“In this format, participants, either alone or in small groups, will have the opportunity to have their burning political questions answered. We want to create a safe and respectful environment for candidates and community members to connect over an informal conversation—and by doing this we hope that community members will be able to really confirm the candidates they most align with before casting their votes.”

For those new to the community or to political engagement, the library will also have some prompts available to offer discussion topics. 

“If attendees are unsure of what to ask, they can seek guidance from our staff so they can have a meaningful face-to-face conversation,” said van Dyk. “We will also have information on how to vote for folks who may have not cast their ballot before. This event is about creating opportunities for community connection and supporting lifelong learning. NVDPL staff are experts at guiding patrons to find the information they need and this event will be no different. To encourage conversations between candidates and votes, we will provide a wide variety of sample conversations to inspire dialogue.”

The Speed-Candidating event will take place Oct. 12 from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Lynn Valley branch of the NVDPL. 


Other election events


Advanced voting will take place on October 5, 8 & 10 at DNV Municipal Hall and on Oct. 8 & 10 at Parkgate Community Centre. Election day is October 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Polling stations will be throughout the District of North Vancouver. The location list can be found at https://www.dnv.org/government-administration/voting-dates-and-locations-2022 .

 

October 4 (7pm – 9pm) All Candidates Meeting co-hosted by the Blueridge Community Association, the Seymour Community Association, the Deep Cove Community Association, Parkgate Society Community Services and the Mount Seymour United Church (Mount Seymour United Church)
October 5 (7pm – 10pm) Lynn Valley Community Association Candidates Meeting (Lynn Valley Rec Centre)
October 5 (8am – 8pm) Advance voting day (District Hall)
October 7 (7pm – 9pm) Edgemont and Upper Capilano Community Association (EUCCA) All Candidates Meeting (Highlands United Church)
October 8 (8am – 8pm) Advance voting day (District Hall, Parkgate Community Centre)
October 10 (8am – 8pm) Advance voting day (District Hall, Parkgate Community Centre)
October 12 (7pm – 8:30pm) “Speed-Candidating” chat hosted by NVDPL. A chance to briefly speak to candidates and ask questions. Registration required. Visit NVDPL website for details. (Lynn Valley Library)
October 15 (8am – 8pm) General voting day (20 voting places located throughout the District) 

 


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.

Trees to be cleared at Rice Lake

Dam maintenance on Rice Lake will clear 200 trees and significantly change the shoreline of the lake. Metro Vancouver is currently engaging in public consultation about the project. In 2023 the north and south dams on the lake will undergo significant maintenance. The public has a chance to review and comment on the restoration until early September.


Review prompts changes


The public is invited to comment on planned changes to the north and south ends of Rice Lake through a public engagement process with Metro Vancouver until September 7. A routine review of the dams revealed they no longer fit their water licence and prompted a long-term maintenance and inspection plan, said Niki Reitmayer, senior media relations strategist for Metro Vancouver. 

“To complete this work, vegetation and trees next to each dam will be removed,” she said. “This will support effective regular inspections and monitoring of the dams and prevent roots from causing damage that would require increased maintenance.”

According to Metro Vancouver’s website, approximately 200 trees will need to be removed.  Most of these are small (less than a 30 cm diameter), and about 10% are dead and must be removed for public safety reasons, it says.

“The maintenance work will create new open spaces around the dams at the north and south end of Rice Lake,” said Reitmayer. “These new spaces provide an opportunity to enhance the visitor experience at the lake. Public feedback will allow us to do something meaningful with the new open space and it will be considered alongside technical advice and First Nations input.”


Public input


With significant land clearing required, the municipal federation is asking for public input on the proposed designs and for comments on how residents use Rice Lake. Metro Vancouver has a survey available until September 7. The survey provides some background on the project and the proposed restoration of the land after clearing and maintenance are complete. 

“In order to meet the BC Dam Safety regulations, trees and vegetation must be removed from within approximately five metres of the dam perimeters,” said Reitmayer. “The spaces near the dams will need to remain clear and open in order to facilitate effective maintenance and regular inspections of the dams.  No changes are planned along the Rice Lake shoreline, except in the immediate areas of the dams.”

The proposed designs look very different from the current shores of Rice Lake. On the south end, the small wooden pier will be removed and replaced with some shore access and public art to educate the public about Metro Vancouver’s water system. The north end has a proposed picnic area and lake viewing area. The concept has been described by Metro Vancouver as “celebrating what lies beneath.” 

“Celebrating what lies beneath is one consideration in the current concept designs,” said Reitmayer. “Creating awareness of the drinking water infrastructure at Rice Lake, which includes two dams and a regional water main, provides education on how our water system shaped the area and why we must protect it for the future.”

The proposed concepts do not reforest the area similar to the current trees and small shore pockets, instead the north and south will have open spaces to facilitate maintenance and inspection of the dams. 

“The new open spaces then provided an opportunity to work with the public, First Nations, and technical experts to create accessible, enjoyable, educational, and environmentally-conscious concepts to enhance the dam areas.”

The design proposed for the south end of the lake also includes a new interactive map. 

“The 3D wayfinding sculpture we are sharing as part of the concept designs is an interactive and tactile way for visitors of any age and ability to understand the landscape and how our regional water infrastructure interacts with the area,” said Reitmayer. “This type of sculpture would allow visitors to touch the contours of the lake, view the dam locations, and orient themselves within the landscape.”

 During the public consultation period, park users are encouraged to share why Rice Lake is important to them. 

“We are asking residents to share what they love about Rice Lake on a virtual comment wall,” said Reitmayer. “We will be sharing selected stories from here on construction signage during the maintenance work around the Rice Lake dams in 2023.”


Construction


The report from the public engagement process is expected to be complete in late fall 2022, with clearing work is expected to start in early 2023 and plans for dam restoration to be complete by spring 2023 and further site restoration throughout the summer.  

“Rice Lake will remain open during the maintenance and restoration work, but there will be crews and equipment in the area. There may be times where some trails are not available or where we will ask trail users to wait momentarily while crews and equipment pass through,” she said.  

To have your say, complete Metro Vancouver’s survey before September 7, 2022. 

All drawings provided by Metro Vancouver. 


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.

Where local government meets wildlife

There has been a lot of planning and future thought put into the development of Lynn Valley and the District of North Vancouver as a whole. Lynn Valley’s unique mountainside location has more than just human neighbours. We reached out to the DNV to learn more about the policy and planning that is going on to protect and promote wildlife in the community.   


Policy planning


In July 2021 the DNV council adopted an OCP Action Plan. It was a process to check-in on the current OCP adopted in 2011. 

“ The OCP Action Plan includes a priority action to strengthen the resiliency of natural environments, with the goal of protecting and enhancing ecosystem health,” said Courtenay Rannard, communications coordinator for the DNV. 

“Council recently directed staff to develop and implement a biodiversity strategy to protect, restore, and enhance ecosystem health within our community, including protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat and ecological networks.”


It will support a number of ongoing projects like the
Urban Tree Canopy Project that provides native trees and shrubs to residents – free of charge – to plant on their own properties, she said. The Urban Tree Canopy Project will return again this fall. 

“As they grow, these trees provide shelter and food for many species and animals,” said Rannard.


Streams and creeks


The North Shore is braided with streams and creeks. These unique features are foundations of local wildlife habitat and their care and protection are top of mind at the District. 

“We’re in the process of developing an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan, which will improve streamside habitat, reduce pollution in our creeks and streams, and improve groundwater conditions,” said Rannard.

 The DNV has designated streamside (riparian) protection development areas which aim to protect the natural setting, ecosystems and watershed. 

Riparian areas are home to many different species of wildlife and serve as important wildlife corridors throughout the district,” said Rannard. “Wildlife corridors are crucial to promote the safe movement of birds and animals, as well as respite areas in urban settings. If a resident owns a home that falls within this DPA and wants to seek a building permit, they must first go through a review with the Environment Department before a permit is issued.”

There are similarly designated areas protecting other natural areas, and like streamside protection areas, require homeowners must first go through a review with the Environment Department before a permit is issued.


Bylaws and policies supporting wildlife


Some animal protections have been put in place like the 2020 ban on anticoagulant rodenticides

“By banning rodenticides where we can, we are actively supporting owls and other birds of prey by removing rodenticide from the food web,” said Rannard. “While owls are the most studied species when it comes to rodenticide, research has shown that many other species are negatively impacted by rodenticide including songbirds, raccoons, and coyotes, as well as domestic animals like cats and dogs.”

Another key management area is to reduce the amount of invasive species in the area. 

 “Our Invasive Species Strategy guides our work to prevent and control harmful, invasive plants such as knotweed, hogweed, and English Ivy,” said Rannard. “More than two dozen species of invasive plants have established in the District. Other examples of invasive species include the European fire ant, goldfish, and many others.”

In recent years residents may have noticed a change in our forests parks. There is more material left behind after maintenance, which is all a part of a larger restoration plan. 

“We leave large woody debris in our parks when we plant restoration areas,” she said. “We identify areas where large woody debris can be left as small mammal habitat. We know that small mammals need logs to run on and, more importantly, under. Where possible, we also leave wildlife snags (standing dead trees) in these areas to provide habitat for cavity-nesting birds and other species.”


Small acts, big impacts


As we live alongside wildlife there are practices homeowners can undertake to better co-exist. 

“We all have a unique set of responsibilities when it comes to living so close to the wilderness,” said Rannard. “Properly managing household waste is one of the most impactful ways that residents can help.”

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Just this week, Lynn Valley’s first bear was sighted awake from hibernation. 

 “Each year as bears come out of hibernation and wildlife becomes more active, we work closely with the North Shore Black Bear Society to educate our community on ways to reduce encounters between humans and local wildlife,” she said. “Keeping properties clear of attractants, only setting garbage and organics carts out in the morning (never overnight), and being generally respectful of animal habitat areas are all ways our community can co-exist with wildlife.”

While we take care of the biggest neigbours there are also opportunities to support our tiniest neighbours and the good news it means less work for homeowners. 

 “Simple things can make a big difference,” Said Rannard.  “For example, by not keeping your garden too tidy in the spring, residents can support native bees overwintering in the vegetation. Planting pollinator-friendly plants can also have a big impact.


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 2022

We are in year four of the province’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax. Has the annual declaration form become routine for you? By now you should have had the form delivered. All homeowners must declare their status by March 31. If you have declared in previous years, 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 2020 tax year (third year of the program) $81 million of revenue was generated, with 86% 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.

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.


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 late January – early February in 2022.

  • Mar 31, 2022 – declaration due
  • Apr-May 2022 – most tax notices mailed
  • Jul 4, 2022 – the first business day of July tax payments are due

Trail closure approaches second anniversary

As February approaches, a local resident is asking the district of North Vancouver why an important local trail has been closed. Lynn Valley’s Emily Graydon questions the two-year closure of Hastings Creek Trail and why it’s hard to get answers from the DNV.


Unstable


Significant erosion along the eastern bank of Hastings Creek led to the closure of the Hastings Creek Trail on February 20, 2020. A staircase and viewing platform have been undermined around the mid-point of the 1.3km trail which runs between the south end of Hoskins Road and Ross Road Elementary School. 

“It’s such a great trail,” said Graydon. “It is a beautiful nature trail and a great fitness trail. From where I live on Mountain Hwy, it’s part of the perfect five-kilometre loop. You see all kinds of people on it from kids to dog walkers. It has the equivalent [elevation] to more than 30 flights of stairs so it’s really beautiful and it’s like a gym workout.”

Today, the trail has numerous signs close to the trailheads indicating the entire route is closed, as the midway point is approached the path is blocked at the top and bottom of two flights of stairs where erosion has made the route unsafe. There is a well-trodden, unsanctioned bypass that can prove slippery and dangerous in certain weather. Graydon wonders how 20 steps can take two years to get fixed. 

“For a while, I would climb around but not everyone can. There are other trails in North Van that need repairs and are temporarily closed but open again,” she said. “Look at all the trail work that has happened in Lynn Canyon.”


Trail use up, questions unanswered


Shortly after the DNV closed Hastings Creek Trail, the pandemic began. All across North Vancouver park and trail usage skyrocketed from both locals and people visiting the North Shore. 

“This is a neighbourhood trail. It’s used by kids to get to school, by dog-walkers, by active seniors,” said Graydon. “The alternative is to join Lynn Canyon trails. Those trails are so crowded. I am one of those many people in North Van that got a pandemic puppy – those trails are too crowded – leashed or unleashed – for puppies. Opening Hastings Creek [Trail] again would dilute some of that traffic.” 

Taking a proactive approach Graydon contacted the DNV for its take on the trail closure. Along with a confirmation that the trail is closed for safety reasons, she received this response:

“[P]lease know that an independent engineering firm is looking into whether they can complete the necessary work and reopen it.”

Graydon wasn’t pleased with the vague response. 

“It felt like a brush-off,” she said. “They are just passing the blame for the delay onto someone else. They didn’t give me a timeline,  another contact, or tell me which company was ‘looking into’ it so I could follow up.”

LynnValleyLife had a bit more success reaching out to the DNV regarding the two-year trail closure, however, there isn’t much definitive. 

“We are working with geotechnical and hydrotechnical engineers, who advise that we keep this portion of the trail closed and prevent public access at this time for safety reasons,” said Justin Beddal, communications coordinator.

The site itself is proving challenging, he said.

“This reach of Hastings Creek is a natural watercourse and is subject to erosion during high creek flows, and the erosion undercuts the banks and trails. This portion of the trail is located on a tricky site. When water flow is high, erosion occurs at the base of the slope. The trail was built to the standard of the day over 20 years ago. Current District practice with respect to trails in natural areas is informed by emergent information, such as more frequent severe storms and high stream flows due to climate change, modern engineering understanding of slope stability and greater awareness of environmental factors.”

While the DNV understands why the erosion is ongoing and presents a safety issue. The repair plan is not as well-defined and challenged by fisheries habitat.

We are working with both geotechnical and hydrotechnical engineers on ways to stabilize the embankment. Studies from these professionals are currently underway,” said Beddal.  “Given the location, access for heavy machinery is a major challenge. As well, Hastings Creek is a salmon-bearing creek, so any work requires environmental permits and can only be carried out at certain times of the year. Staff, geotechnical engineers, and hydrotechnical engineers continue to meet regularly to discuss this area of the District and are working towards an action plan. We hope to have identified a path forward in the next few months. We expect that work undertaken would be contracted out.”

Aware that fish habitat requires more care, Graydon points out this will be the third spring and summer without the trail, plenty of time for a plan.

“I keep going and hoping this will be the time it will be open. Is there a funding issue? Is it something else? Is there something the community can do to push for this key trail to open again? I will get on board with anything to get this open – it’s been long enough.”


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.

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.

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.

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.

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