December 2010

Posted by: Erin Brown John on December 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Food security. The city awarded grants to SOLEfood Farm and the DTES Kitchen Tables Network this week for their projects to create employment and food security in the Downtown Eastside. SOLEfood provides employment for DTES residents on an urban farm, while DTES Kitchen Tables is planning to open an incubator program at Save-On Meats that would help people learn how to start food businesses.

Supporting local food. The Tyee’s coverage of local food this week focused on sharing equipment and other solutions for supporting local food economies.

Social housing. Housing activists are planning a sit in at the Olympic Village to protest the reduction in the number of units dedicated to social housing, a result of budget shortfalls and sluggish sales.

On a more positive note, the Station Street housing complex opened this week, the first of 14 new purpose-built social housing developments around Vancouver meant to get people off the streets.

Bliss? Posts from local blogs will no longer be included in the civic news round-up that is sent out to staff at City Hall.

Washrooms will remain open. The City has revised the budget for the Parks Board, making money available to reverse cuts to washroom maintenance and a decision to charge users of sports fields made last week.

Expanded Playland and PNE. But in spite of opposition from nearby residents for expanding the amount of space dedicated to Playland and the PNE, the Hastings Park revitalization plan was approved this week.

Image source: Gerry Kahrmann/Canwest News Service, NP

Posted by: Erin Brown John on December 13, 2010 at 4:49 pm

SOLEfood. A scrapyard on Hastings Street may be the location of the second SOLEfood Farm in the Downtown Eastside. The farm is run by United We Can and provides seasonal employment for residents in the Downtown East Side.

Big debut. The Vancouver Police Department inaugurated their new twitter accountwith a marathon session of tweeting every call they received in a 24 hour period. It just so happened that this allowed them to tweet about the lockdown at Gladstone Secondary but they say that they will likely only be using it for traffic and safety announcements in the future.

Hastings Park. The plan for the renovation of Hastings Park unveiled last week has come under fire from the local community for increasing the size of the PNE and the number of tradeshows hosted in the park.

Internet billing. City Council is voting tomorrow on a motion to oppose the CRTC’s approval of usage-based billing for internet service. The CRTC decision will likely result in increased costs for users, making access to information more difficult for those who can’t afford it. Council has no ability to change the decision but they want to raise the profile of the issue.

Powering the city. Scout Magazine takes a walking tour of electrical substations around Vancouver.

Red army. In the early 1930s the unemployed took to the streets of Vancouver and had their concerns largely ignored. Past Tense has a bit of interesting history about the political unrest at the time and the rise of the Communist Party in Vancouver.

Image source: Dan Toulgoet, The Courier

Posted by: Erin Brown John on December 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm

East Hastings. The renovation of the Waldorf has been wildly successful and has developers and city planners looking at future development in the neighbourhood.

Changing behaviours. The Vancouver School Board is trying to save energy in a pilot project that has students controlling the thermostats. The project is aimed at changing the behaviour of building users and promoting good energy saving habits.

Earthquake. Insurance companies are warning that much of Vancouver’s infrastructure and buildings would not withstand a major earthquake. They state that the lack of government investment in infrastructure maintenance puts people at risk and would result in the disruption of business activity. There is a 30% chance that there will be a major earthquake in BC within the next 50 years.

Alternative energy. Finally some good news from the Olympic Village! The heat-from-sewage facility in the Olympic Village has turned out to be far more efficient and cost-effective than originally planned, so the City is able to offer residents power at a rate below BC Hydro while still making a profit.

Robson Square. There’s more talk at city council about the possibility of permanently closing off the street at 800 Robson to create a public square.

Image source: Kris Krug, via flickr.