Spring maintenance and heat dome preparation

What a spring – we had snow on the local mountains this past week and temperatures overnight are still hovering around 4° C. It’s hard to believe that it was about five weeks from now, last year, we saw backyard temperatures of 43° C. We have put together some tips to get ready for summer – if winter ever leaves us behind.


Heat dome


We live in a special place, on the edge of the forest at the edge of a city. We know that this intersection makes Lynn Valley special and the people who live here care deeply about our wild areas. However, there is tension between urban and wild areas and we have to take care of both – last year we spoke to the DNV Fire Rescue services about preparing our homes for wildfires

DNV Fire Rescue cooling kids off at Lynn Valley Park.

It may be unlikely we have another heat dome like last year’s extreme heat but the statistics have temperatures climbing and longer stretches of warm weather are becoming more common. A heat warning, as defined by Environment Canada, means daytime and nighttime temperatures or humidex values are expected to be higher than the average high temperature for 2 or more days in a row.

Here is what you can do to prepare:

Before:

  • Listen to local news and weather reports for heat warnings.
    • Know the humidex rating – it combines the temperature and humidity to indicate how hot the weather feels to the average person.
  • Find ways to keep cool before hot weather starts.
    • Arrange air conditioning and fans to help keep your home cool.
    • Find out where you can go to get cool such as public libraries, malls, and municipal cooling centers: last year the NVDPL opened for cooling, as did the Pipeshop on Lonsdale and there were additional misting centres. 
    • Discuss heat safety with members of your household. Have a plan for wherever you spend time – home, work and school – and prepare for possible power outages.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.
  • Ensure you have sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), as sunburned skin reduces the body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool liquids before you feel thirsty to reduce your risk of dehydration and heat-related illness.
  • Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met.
  • Make sure you know those who are most at risk in your neighbourhood, such as the elderly, children and those who are sick or in need of extra assistance.

During:

  • Stay hydrated and cool
    • Drink plenty of cool fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and check-in with children and seniors to make sure they are drinking regularly.
      • Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they can cause dehydration, which stops your body from controlling its temperature properly
    • Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day (typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
    • Dress for the heat and for your activity level:
      • Wear light, loose clothing to let air circulate and heat escape.
      • Always wear a hat and apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher before going outside.
    • Slow down your activities as it gets hotter. Move indoors and don’t work, exercise, or play outside for an extended period of time.
      • Take frequent breaks in a cool or shady area and use a buddy system if you need to be outside when it’s hot.
    • Check on your pets and animals frequently – make sure their needs for water and shade are met.
  • Check with your neighbours, friends and those at risk.
    • Pay close attention to how you and those around you feel. Following public health guidelines in your province or territory, check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours (such as children, the elderly and ill) who may require assistance.
    • Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, can happen to anyone who stays in the heat and sun for too long.
      • Watch for symptoms of heat illness, such as:
        • Dizziness or fainting

          Lynn Valley asphalt temperature last June.

        • Nausea or vomiting
        • Headache
        • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
        • Extreme thirst
        • Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
        • Changes of behaviour in children

Annual Spring home maintenance


We would all love a low-maintenance home – and the reality for that to be the case, being diligent about the little to-dos helps avoid major repair costs. Now is the time to tackle a few projects outside to maintain the appearance and value of your home. 

  •  Check out the roof

It is vital to ensure your roof is free of damage. An issue with your roof, such as damage to shingles, flashing, or leaks, can quickly impact other areas. Look for missing, torn, or curling shingles and any shingles with missing granules.

  • Clean out the gutters and downspouts

Over time, gutters and downspouts can get clogged, especially if you have many trees and vegetation in your neighbourhood. We all know that clogged gutters can cause water damage and prevent water from being directed away.

Remove any debris, patch holes in your gutter with exterior grade caulking, and check your downspouts to ensure they are properly directing it away from your structure.

  •  Inspect the foundation from the outside

Your foundation is often the source of water issues in your basement. Do a walk around the exterior, check for cracks in the foundation, and inspect the exterior walls, siding, and brick for damage. If you identify issues, contact a foundation specialist to look.

  • Check seals around exterior windows and doors

The cold weather can cause cracks or harden the caulk around your windows and doors. Inspect the seals on all windows and doors and replace them as required. This will help prevent water from getting in and help reduce your energy bill. Replace any broken or damaged screens.

  • Take a closer look at the garage doors

Check the garage doors to make sure they are working. Vacuum dust and dirt around the doors, make sure nothing could fall and prevent the doors from working properly.

  • Check the chimney

If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, it’s important to check the chimney and the unit for any blocks or damages. Look between the joints of bricks and stones.  Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence—a white calcium-like deposit that indicates your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it.


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.

Spring Break in the Wild

As things slowly return to normal there are a handful of activities to check out during Spring Break and we are pleased to expect more to be offered as we head toward summer.


Wildlife Weeks


The Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is offering both mini-camps and its wonderful Wildlife Weeks during Spring Break. Their camps are full (protip: become a member or sign-up for their newsletter to get an advance heads up for summer) but there are still in-person and virtual experiences for March 14-25 for their Wildlife Weeks. The suggested donation is $3.50 per person or $6 per family which is used to support other community organizations that share their knowledge during the Centre’s programs. Content is geared to ages 6+

“We have eight events, with six guest presenters,” said Cassie Allard, Ecology Centre education programer. “There are five online and three in-person events. We are so happy to be back being able to do something outside – to be able to look at some things,  touch some things, and even taste some things. There is a lot happening – the birds are chirping and plants are starting to grow.”

This is a great time to be out in the canyon with spring solidly on its way. There are signs of salmonberry and huckleberry bushes plumping up, skunk cabbage (one of bears’ favourite post-hibernation foods) sprouting and ferns unfurling, she said. 

“Our outdoor walks – are a bit of hiking,” said Allard. “There are lots of stairs so it is not stroller-friendly but babies that enjoy being in a carrier are welcome.”


Virtual events


Courtesy of Fur-Bearers

With the success of its pandemic pivot to online programs, the centre is reaching people from across Canada and the globe. Regular participants from the UK and New York join to learn more about our coastal rainforest, she said.

“The best chance to see some animals will be the Swoop and Soar presentation by the OWL Rehabilitation Centre.  I think the Canada’s Superhero presentation about beavers will be a good one,” said Allard. “Presenting for the first time for us is Dana Eye, a biologist who is passionate about rattlesnakes – but I don’t think there will be any live rattlesnakes at that one.”

At the Centre

If organized events aren’t your thing, the Ecology Centre is also open for visitors. 

“We have so many things going on,” said Allard. “The gift shop is freshly stocked. We have a colouring contest for Wildlife Weeks. We have two family scavenger hunts – one indoor and one outdoor.”

If family programming isn’t your thing, the centre has its gardening series launching this Saturday (scroll part way down this page for details). From starting seeds to babying tomatoes to protecting pollinators and much more are on offer. 

Following Wildlife Weeks the Ecology Centre will also be hosting its adult One Earth Series beginning April 2 which are suitable for those 15+.

A reminder: if visiting or participating in an in-person program, Lynn Canyon Park now has pay parking and residents can apply for a permit here

 


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.

Healthy goodness Valley to Shore

Inspired by her own adventures in growing food led an Upper Lynn mom to take on the mission of providing local, quality produce to North Vancouver homes. All it took was meeting the right farmer to help launch Valley to Shore Harvest Boxes. 


Planting seeds


Healthy living and eating has always been a priority for Dana Dykema. When possible she buys local or grows her own food. 

“It’s been a journey of years for me changing how I think about food,” she said. “We don’t go on extravagant holidays because I have to feed our eating habit of buying farmer direct.”

That care for her own family led to Dykema to seek out a farm partner and launch a small business this past fall. 

“I was looking on Instagram and went down a rabbit hill when I saw the name Local Harvest. I thought: ‘Oooo I like that.’ I saw the trailer for a gardening course,” she said.  

Hooked by the quality of the online course, soon Dykema was making the trip out regularly to Dan Oostenbrink’s market garden farm. 

“I was going out to the [Fraser] Valley a lot to pick up what was seasonally available, to pick cherries, ” she said. “I have been frustrated with the lack of Fraser Valley produce on the North Shore. It’s so good and it’s right there. Why isn’t it in our stores?”

As she got to know Oostenbrink, and his family, and to experience the quality foods he grows, Dykema felt compelled to offer it to other families who might not have the time to source high-quality food. 


More than a box of vegetables


Last fall Dykema tested the CSA (community supported agriculture) waters by organizing a veggie box delivery as a Thanksgiving fundraiser for Upper Lynn Elementary. Students got to learn about local food security, visit the farm first hand and help pack the boxes. The interest in that project was the proof of concept needed to launch Valley to Shore. In the weeks since Dykema has been making the trek to Chilliwack and returning with a car full of produce. 

“It’s more than just delivering a product to the North Shore,” she said. “There is a lot more in what he gives in a harvest box than a typical CSA. It tastes better. There is nothing that compares. It’s also about education and building community around this food and seasonal eating.”

Dykema takes the time to offer inspiration and information with each box. Her social feeds chronicle the dishes she cooks for her family and later this month Dykema will be launching her website, valleytoshore.com, where there will be recipes, blog posts and more. 

“Because of the way [Dan] farms there is a large variety of foods available throughout the year,” she said. “Some of the ingredients are new to people so it’s a culinary adventure.”

Some items in the Harvest Boxes might come as a surprise. Those lucky enough to grab a Christmas box were surprised with Fraser Valley grown ginger and lemons – items more typically imported from China or South America. 

“Traditionally any lemon you get at a store has been sprayed with who knows what. This lemon is pure good food,” said Dykema. “The food tastes better than anything you find at the grocery stores. It’s picked at peak freshness – not picked before so it can travel thousands of miles and sprayed with preservatives. It is often picked as I am putting boxes together.”

Local Harvest, like a handful of other Fraser Valley Farms, is not officially organic. Having chosen to invest in organic farming practices but not the bureaucracy to get certified. In addition to organic practices, Local Harvest uses no sprays of any kind, as well as regenerative practices. Regenerative gardening also considers the emissions and waste when working the land. 

 “Knowing Dan, how he farms with the practices he uses brings me a lot of comfort,” said Dykema. “Being a farmer is not easy. People will look at the box and think $65 is a lot of money but I think we are valuing quality and responding to the value of people’s hard work and caring environmental choices. Society wants quick and easy convenience but that bottom dollar idea is bringing bottom quality.”

The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging for Local Harvest. The covid pandemic has limited workers (Dykema said this is a three-fold issue – limited migrant workers means stretching local workers thinner, no students applied to work the past summer versus the typical 100 applications Oostenbrink would get and income programs lead to more part-time workers instead of full farming season help). And then there is the weather. November’s devastating floods were felt throughout the Fraser Valley. 

“I think it has shown us how important these farms are,” said Dykema. “I was making a six-hour round trip to prepare the boxes during the worst of the floods.” 


Seasonal abundance


The winter is the slow time for harvesting in the Fraser Valley. Dykema and Oostenbrink are putting together one more box for a Jan. 18th delivery before taking a break until the Spring. Boxes are $65 and can be ordered by sending an etransfer to [email protected]. Boxes are then picked up Tuesday evenings and Wednesdays at Dykema’s Upper Lynn home. In addition to North Shore customers, she has people come from Vancouver and Richmond to get their share. 

“I love being hospitable and this is a way to do that by introducing people to a farmer and showing them a different way to take care of their families,” said Dykema. “I can’t invite all these people to my house and cook for them but I can help care for their families.”

She hopes in the spring to be able to offer 100 boxes a week. Dykema will launch a “taster” box in mid-late April, with hopes to kickoff the season in May. Details will be on her website (launching soon) and her Facebook and Instagram

“These dollars stay in the community, support local farm families and in return, I get nutrient-dense foods to feed my family.” 


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.

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.

Celebrating the growing season

As the grey and the rain threaten to wash us away, we are so pleased to shine some light on the summer and fall we had by announcing the winners of our Fall Fair contest. It was a challenging year with the heat dome raging on in late June. While everyone’s grass turned brown there was still a lot of life left to be found in gardens throughout Lynn Valley.


Congratulations!


We love that more kids are getting involved in the garden – whether it was sunflowers or veggies – there were great examples of kids doing what kids do best: Getting their hands dirty. Congratulations to Eileif T. for his colour squashes.  

It was a polarizing year for gardens, we heard of bumper crops and disastrous drought depending on gardener experience. Congratulations to Megan A. for her colourful and bountiful harvest. 

The mild fall has allowed some flowers to still provide pops of colour to burst through the grey. Every year Lynn Valley has stunning ornamental gardens. Congratulations to Alexia S. we love the array she produces out of her small raised beds.


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.

Managing North Shore emergencies

The North Shore Emergency Management office has just released a plan to get residents thinking about how they will take care of their families if disaster strikes. This is part three in our series about environmental risks, wildfires, and the impacts on the North Shore.


Regional approach


A new director took the reins of the North Shore Emergency Management this past January. As Emily Dicken dove into the new role, she was pleased with the foundation built by the Districts of North and West Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver. As the risks around the province rose this summer with increased wildfire risk, it was an opportunity to see our regional plans in action. 

Emily Dicken

“The depth of capacity found on the North Shore supersedes a lot of municipal spaces,” said Dicken. “When municipalities work in silos, there isn’t the depth of capacity to manage large-scale events. On the North Shore because we have that tri-municipal program, we have been able to build incredible program capacity. We also have a huge depth of volunteer support we can draw on. We have people ready to drop everything in a time of crisis to help their community.”

As the province looked beyond the Interior to support evacuating communities, the North Shore was able to not only send firefighting resources to help, it was able to open its doors to evacuees. Residents of an Interior community came to the North Shore and NSEM supported with lodging, clothing, meals, Indigenous culture wellness – and even some fun activities, said Dicken.

  “People were coming to the North Shore because we had the capacity to support that,” she said. “It was an opportunity to test our functions and approaches without going through our own incident. We never really know what a response will look like until we’re in it. It was a chance to learn more without direct impact on our community.” 


Household approach


An early goal from Dicken was to build on the procedures in place at the municipal level and engage residents at the household level. The wildfire season was a fitting time to release the new North Shore Evacuation Guide.

“We know when people are prepared to evacuate is less traumatic and we know – even if you are prepared – evacuating is very traumatic,” said Dicken. 

“Given we had a potential for a devastating fire season and the impact on the forest from the looper moths I felt it was a great place to start with our evacuation strategy. We have a lot of work to do to communicate our expectations at the household level in an emergency. There is an incredibly rich and resilient evacuation plan and process in place for the various response agencies, but citizens don’t have access to that. What we tried to do is take the information we want people to know and break it down into action they can take in a tool that is easy to understand.”

The new guide covers the steps households should take prior to and during an evacuation. Most residents are not ready, said Dicken. People tend not to engage in preparedness unless they have gone through one before, she added. 

“It comes down to the household level to be prepared for an evacuation,” said Dicken. 

The guide begins by walking residents through the steps of their own personal evacuation plan. It covers what to pack in a ‘grab and go’ bag, as well as setting up a family and friends communication strategy. 

“We know there are some people in our community who will struggle with evacuations – people with mobility challenges, seniors who no longer drive and others who are in isolation,” she said. “There are gaps we need to close. This is ‘evacuation plan 1.0’ and it will evolve.”

The other key takeaway from the evacuation guide is to download the app Alertable

“Alertable will ensure people get information. The important part is not just the notifications that an evacuation is happening, there will be enough context provided that it will tell you where you can go safely.”

Dicken notes that Alertable is an additional tool with increased efficiency and comprehensive information but will not replace the neighbourhood or door-to-door notification will still take place by the fire department, police and volunteers in an emergency situation.


Neighbourhood engagment


Like many agencies, there have been challenges in the last 20 months for NSEM to continue its public education campaigns.

“With covid, it has been a lot harder. In normal years we would be in the schools doing presentations, we would be out at community gatherings and events,” she said. “There are these limiting factors that reduce the dialogue on what preparedness looks like.” 

NSEM has stepped up in important ways during this time. After the March stabbing at Lynn Valley Village, it moved out of its usual emergency support to leverage its provincial connections and resources to establish the Crisis Wellness Centre at Karen Magnussen providing mental health support for community members. 

When planning a response to a region or neighbourhood wide crisis, Dicken assures robust plans are well established. 

“There are almost no scenarios where we would need to evacuate the entire North Shore,” she said. “If you think of a seismic event, we won’t be using our bridges right away. We would look at other interoperable methods of transport like the Seabus until we know our infrastructure is stable.”

For a scenario like wildfire, the response will be measured. 

“There won’t be a mass exodus of the North Shore,” said Dicken. “What it will be is a very staged and focused evacuation where what we’ll do is move certain neighbourhoods out of the North Shore or into other areas.” 

If you take the time to plan, prepare your family, and download Alertable, you will be in a better position during a crisis, she said. 

“Intuitively, we know the best way out of our neighbourhoods. It can become paralysing if [government/support agencies] prescribe routes. It’s about creating a plan for your household, your neighbours and, if you work off the North Shore and have children, that you have a plan in place for them.”


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.

Stepping up for sick kids

Just weeks after leaving BC Children’s Hospital Beatrix Reilly spent her summer summiting 10 mountains. The nine-year-old is bagging peaks to bring IV medical treatments to sick kids.


A day’s play turned life upside down


Much of Reilly’s free time is spent outdoors. A typical North Shore tween she spends a lot of time in the forest. More than average kid, she thrives outside: tackling road and mountain biking, participates in a weekly forest school program and follows in the footsteps of her trail running mom. This is a lifestyle for the Lynn Valley family – her dad Ryan even runs  a business renting emergency locator beacons to weekend adventurers. It all stopped last April when a normal day of normal play resulted in a cut on Reilly’s knee and within 24 hours she was a long-term resident at BC Children’s Hospital. 

“Many people with this type of infection do not make a full recovery,” said mom Caroline. Severe necrotizing fasciitis kept Reilly in and out of Children’s and Lion’s Gate hospitals for two months. As her health improved she was offered a relatively new program that got her home and active again.

 “Towards the end of her stay she only needed to be there to get IV antibiotics,” said Ryan. “We were able to be a part of the Home IV program. It was a portable pump that went around her waist. She was able to go back to school, get back riding her bike. It gave her freedom again.”

The family was one of the first handful to take advantage of the new technology. 

“I was excited to give it a try because I wanted to see my friends,” said Reilly. 

As Ryan points out, for anyone juggling family, jobs and a sick child is difficult but a long hospital stay for a child is even harder during the covid pandemic. Visitors were very limited to only one family member. The addition of this new program frees up hospital resources and gets kids home and back to normal quicker, he said. 


From adversity to adventure


In March, before her injury, Reilly was getting excited about ‘peak bagging’ – that is the hobby of hiking to summit as many peaks as possible. The south coast has a number of informal groups and challenges encouraging people to get outside and active. In the early season with snow still on the ground, she reached three summits. The idea of continuing the challenge as part of her recovery led Reilly to launch her “Peak bags for IV Bags” fundraising challenge – on until Oct 31. The medical program is so new, Reilly’s fundraising will help with training and education materials for the Home IV program for staff at Children’s Hospital.  

“Peak bagging feels like an accomplishment more than a hike,” she said. “It’s an adventure. My favourite was Goat Mountain because it had lots of ropes and was really fun.”

Even with 13 peaks under her belt since March, like most kids, Reilly doesn’t always love hiking, said dad Ryan.

“There can be resistance, but getting to the top was her goal,” he said. “She like that we were tracking her peaks and that there was a leaderboard. She also liked seeing what [her mom] and I do for fun.”

Most of the hikes were done with family and progressed slowly to match Reilly’s improving health. When asked if the hikes were easier now, Reilly gave a clear ‘No!’

“I think you have gotten so much stronger, but you are choosing hikes that are also growing in difficulty,” chuckled Ryan, with a  look to Reilly. “The last week of September Beatrix reached Tim Jones and Seymour peaks for her ninth and 10th post-injury peaks.”


Big goals, big rewards


With the drive of helping more kids access the IV technology that made a difference to her quality of life, Reilly learned the power of setting goals. 

“I liked that I was raising lots of money,” she said. “And Slurpees at the end!”

For Reilly, the key motivation was her fundraiser but she also has other advice to get kids out, active, and bagging their first peaks:

  1. Good company – “Go with someone you want to spend time with, like a friend.” She noted little brothers don’t always make the best peak-bagging partners.
  2. Good Food – “Bring good snacks – like chocolate.” A rare treat for Reilly, who also finds gummies a good “but not as good as chocolate” choice.
  3. Good rewards – “Something like hot chocolate or a Slurpee at the end is the best.”
  4. Good timing – “I really liked sliding down when there was still snow.” A clear day also helps to enjoy the view and fully appreciate the summit, adds mom Caroline. 

To start bagging peaks all you need are some good hiking shoes, said Reilly, adding her mom carries a pack with an emergency blanket, safety gear, water, extra food and clothing, and a phone. For routes, fellow peak bagger and North Shore teen Harry Crerar has written a family hiking book

To donate to Beatrix Reilly’s Peak Bags for IV Bags challenge visit this page


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Virtual Fall Fair

With torrential rain in September and heat domes in June, Lynn Valley’s gardeners needed to adapt and innovate to make a garden worth celebrating! So many of you have. Short walks around the neighbourhood have discovered 10ft tall sunflowers – favourites of ours! – dazzling dahlias and whimsical wildflowers. The pandemic shift to gardening has stayed strong. 


Produce proud and sunflower successes


We want to share the gardening glory and hard work being invested in yards and patios. More than anything we would love to gather and look at your summer projects – woodwork, quilts and art. While we would really love to taste your jams, jellies, pickles, and pies, it doesn’t seem like the most covid-responsible idea.

Instead, we are putting together a digital Fall Fair – we want to share your hard work with our readers and Facebook followers. We are running a contest from now until Oct. 30 for residents of North Vancouver. We especially want to see the results of Project Sunflower!

We have four $25 gift cards to Maple Leaf Garden up for grabs!

Send us your photos in one of these categories.

  1. Best flowers/ornamental garden
  2. Best Veggies – garden or harvest
  3. Best basket or container of any kind
  4. Best under 13 years old – I grew it myself!

Here is how you do it:

Pick ONE entry per category.

Put the category in the subject of the email.

Email the photo to [email protected] – please send a SEPARATE email for each entry. For adults, there is a maximum of three entries, one per category and for children, a maximum of 4.

Include your name, postal code, phone number, age (if entering the child category), and any details you want to add about the photo.

Deadline Oct. 30, 2021.

By entering the contest you consent to receiving future editions of our newsletter, sent once a month. We will not distribute or sell your private information to others.


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.

Ecology anniversary

Five decades ago a very special flower blossomed above Lynn Canyon. Next month the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of education and outreach for local kids, families, and visitors to our community.  Join the festivities starting October 2. 


Early vision


As British Columbia looked to mark its centennial in 1971, the government offered grants for community projects and celebrations. The District of North Vancouver was feeling ambitious and proposed one of the largest projects in BC: an Ecology Centre at Lynn Canyon, said Isobel Rennie, graphics and display technician for the centre. 

“The Ecology Centre was the first nature centre in an urban environment. It was built in the shape of a dogwood flower – BC’s provincial flower – to mark the centennial,” she said. “People were just getting into understanding how humans affect the earth. Going through old displays in the back cupboards there was a good vision of what is important and most show issues we still talk about today.” 

It is one of the lasting legacies left by former District of North Vancouver Parks Manager, from 1959-1993, Dirk Oostindie (1928-2019). His forward thinking was transformational for the district, bringing us Maplewood Farms, the Baden Powell Trail, improving (disability) access to parks, creating Canada’s first public skate bowl at Seylynn and leaving generations of families with the Ecology Centre. 

Dirk Oostindie

Dirk Oostindie

“He grew up in Amsterdam during the war years,” said Nellie Oostindie, Dirk’s widow. “He didn’t have much in the way of school for many years. We didn’t have books, we didn’t have paper. But there were other ways and he would go to nature houses and learn there. It left an impression on him. He thought we could use one in Lynn Valley.” 

With many Centennial project options, it was good timing some trees needed to be cleared for a rain runoff culvert in Lynn Canyon Park. The new piece of infrastructure left the perfect empty spot for Dirk’s vision, said Oostindie. 

The opening exhibits – housed in each of the five dogwood petals,  discussed land use, she said, displaying a polluted, devastated forest, a pristine forest, a forest – like Lynn Valley was at the time – impacted by humans, an exhibit on garbage and a theatre. The grand opening, and a subsequent Cub Scout visit, left a lasting impression on Nellie and Dirk’s son, seven years old at the time – especially the resident live raccoon.

I am surprised that he remembers that after 50 years,” said Oostindie, adding that last week as they reminisced together he could recall the film he watched and describe the raccoon den in detail. Decades later the Ecology Centre continues to educate and delight visitors.

“There are always families who don’t dare go across the bridge and this was something they could do,” she said. “And on rainy days people would go inside. People who plan to go have a background in knowing about ecology but on rainy days, you catch the people who don’t plan to and learn something.” 

The Ecology Centre was just one project of countless others, Dirk spearheaded to make the DNV more livable for its growing community. Oostindie reflects Dirk was quite pragmatic about the changes he brought to the North Shore. 

“He said ‘That’s my job, I am paid for it – and I love my job. He felt it was his duty to do it.”


More than a building


Most locals have explored the petals of the Ecology Centre at some point. It remains one of the most accessible attractions in Metro Vancouver.  The staff adapted and innovated early in the pandemic creating online programs attracting participants from around the world. 

“It is a place where kids on the North Shore come as they grow up or as part of school and sparks interest in the environment and teaches them they have a role in caring for the environment,” said Rennie. “I think it’s a really accessible place, if teachers want to bring their classes it is subsidized, entrance is by donation for our visitors and our weekend programs are very affordable.”

In a typical year, 88,000 people visit the centre each year. Many of the guests are international or from other parts of Canada.  Over the years that is more than 3.3 million visitors from 70+ countries. 

“For people who are coming to Lynn Canyon Park and didn’t grow up here it is a place to learn who to explore, how to be safe and respectful of the animals and forests,” she said.

Centre staff encounter guests who are unfamiliar with forests and hesitate – often with concerns about bears.  

“Most come here not knowing the forest has been logged before, viewing the trees as large, ancient and old,” said Rennie. “When they get a chance to learn about the canyon’s past through the displays and learn its a very different place than it was 100 years ago, it gives a better understanding of the environment today.”

The centre’s pandemic pivot brought Lynn Valley ecology education into homes here and abroad. The centre now gets frequent participants from the US, UK and regularly teaches a class to students in Japan, said Rennie. It has also led to innovation that will enhance local programming. 

“We have a new underwater camera we hope to offer virtual underwater discovery soon.”


Celebrating a golden anniversary


Join the Ecology Centre Saturday, Oct. 2 – exactly 50 years from opening day: 

  • 12 – 4 pm
  • Nature groups will join the centre inside and out, such as North Shore Black Bear Society, the Wild Bird Trust (Maplewood Flats), the Invasive Species Council of BC, Furbearers, Streamkeepers,  DNV Trail and Habitat, DNV Rangers and others.
  • With covid procedures, visitors can walk through the centre and check out vintage film reels plus there will be crafts for kids, a colouring contest and an outdoor scavenger hunt to take-away.
  • Help create a memory wall where people can share their Ecology Centre memories.

Week-long events Oct. 2 – 8

  • Guided nature walks
  • Displays at the café mezzanine from Walter Draycott’s collection
  • Crafts, colouring contest and outdoor scavenger hunt. 

To stay up to date on events visit their website, follow on social media or sign up for the centre’s newsletter (at the bottom of the home page). 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.