B.C. fish futures uncertain following warm winter

Owen Bird first got into the fishing industry during high school, working at Deep Bay Auto Court and Fishing Camp on Vancouver Island in the ‘80s. In his thirty-year career in the fishing industry, he has never witnessed a winter with such low mountain snow pack. And this concerns him.

“It does seem like climate change is upon us,” Bird, now the executive director of the Sport Fishing Institute of BC, said. “If we’re now into a regime where snowpack is down to nothing and we do that for the next 10 years well then it’s a whole different story.”

The relationship between snow pack levels in the mountains and the fishing industry may seem far removed, but they are quite closely linked. Salmon in British Columbia spawn in the late summer and fall months, and rely on rivers and streams to have an adequate flow of water that is sufficiently cold. During particularly warm, dry summers, much of this cold water supply comes from the melting snow in the surrounding mountains. If this snow pack melts away early, surrounding rivers’ and streams’ water levels could drop, while temperatures soar.

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Citizens group looks to limit First Avenue traffic

The sound of cars driving by the window fills the room, as Jahmira Lovemore sits on her bed and describes what it’s like sleeping metres away from Vancouver’s busy First Avenue every night. She’s only lived in her house on Woodland Drive and 1st Avenue for six months now, but has become used to the noticeable noise level from cars speeding down the heavily-used street.

“The noise now?” Lovemore asks. “Oh, this is really quiet compared to other times.”

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Jahmira Lovemore sits by her front door and looks out at the busy traffic along First Avenue.

A community group that has been empowered by the city to make recommendations for the neighbourhood’s future is hoping to reduce the speed of drivers travelling down 1st Avenue by drafting a recommendation to implement off-hour parking on the busy street. The Grandview-Woodland Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendation is one of many that will be part of their community plan that will be presented to the city in June. The goal of this specific recommendation is to change the dynamics of the street into a neighbourhood-first road rather than a main thoroughfare.

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Former attorney general Wally Oppal condemns Conservative’s no-parole bill

Former attorney general Wally Oppal.

Former attorney general Wally Oppal.

Wally Oppal has condemned the Conservative government’s recently proposed legislation that would prevent those convicted of particularly brutal first-degree murders from applying for parole ever, claiming it would put the safety of corrections officers at risk.

Under the current system, those convicted of first-degree murder are eligible to apply for parole after 25 years.

While talking to a Langara College journalism class on Mar. 6, Oppal said the proposed bill “makes no sense” for a number of reasons. Giving inmates no hope of ever leaving the prison system gives them no incentive to behave well, he said.

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Port Metro Vancouver power imbalance

Port Metro Vancouver is making decisions that favour industries represented on its board rather than the citizens in the region, said local politicians Feb. 27.

“All of the decisions are made in the interest of the very corporations who benefit from the Port,” said Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan, one of several mayors and councillors who grilled port officials at the Metro Vancouver meeting Friday.

Port Metro Vancouver’s board of directors is made up of 11 members, seven of which are appointed by the federal government by industry recommendations. Only one member of the board represents the 16 municipalities that border Port land. At the Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee meeting on Friday, Corrigan expressed his dissatisfaction with this power imbalance.

One example he gave of this is the use of the Vancouver terminal over the Fraser Surrey Docks. Corrigan said the Port should be looking to “short-sea ship” goods through to the Fraser Surrey Docks rather than trucking them from Vancouver and through the Lower Mainland, increasing pollution and congestion.

“It seems to me ridiculous that we are trucking out of the port, across bridges, through my community in order to get goods into the Fraser Valley,” Corrigan said. “It hasn’t occurred because many are controlling that industry from the Vancouver port.”

Corrigan said this is due to the governance structure of the board favouring industry interests.

“If this were an independent, impartial, objective board appointed in the public interest they would be looking seriously at those issues,” Corrigan said. “But as long as it remains a corporate board appointed to certain interests of the corporations that are working in the port, you’re not going to find those tough decisions being made.”

2014 crime spikes blamed on small group of drug-addicts

Vancouver property crime, commercial break and enters and theft from vehicles jumped in 2014, something that police are blaming on a small number of drug-addicted chronic criminals.

According to the Year-end 2014 Key Performance Indicator Report presented at the Vancouver Police Department’s board meeting on Feb. 19, between 2013 and 2014, property crime increased by 9.5 per cent, commercial break and enters increased by 27 per cent and theft from vehicles increased by 20.5 per cent. Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard said that this is due to a small number of drug addicted people.

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Changing the services system

Scott Clark on Commercial Drive.

Scott Clark on Commercial Drive.

Scott Clark sits outside of a coffee shop on Commercial Drive wearing a black sweater with the words ‘QUIET’ on the front, but he may one of the loudest voices in the aboriginal services community when it comes to changing the current system.

Clark has been the executive director of Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society (ALIVE) since 2009, an organization that seeks to improve the social, economic and cultural health of aboriginals in Vancouver.

“We go head to head with virtually everyone, we’re not well received by a lot of them,” Clark said. “I don’t give a shit either.”

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Immigration system begins ‘fundamental overhaul’

A massive change to Canada’s immigration system – one sure to affect many east Vancouver residents – entered its first phase on the last day of January.

The Express Entry system, which officially started on Jan. 1, released its first draw of permanent resident applicants on Jan. 31. This initial draw allowed 779 people to apply for permanent residency based on their Comprehensive Ranking System scores.

Geoff Meggs, Vancouver city councillor, said that this is part of a “fundamental overhaul of [the] immigration system”

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