Two new homeless spaces to open in Vancouver

Homeless people take refuge at First United Church in December 2011 Photo source: metronews.ca

Beds set up at the First United Church in December 2011
Photo source: metronews.ca

Winter is fast-approaching and temperatures drop, meaning Vancouver’s homeless are in need of a warm bed. While there are homeless shelters open all year, the colder months always call for additional spaces and the city just announced today they will be opening two additional temporary shelters Dec. 1st.

The shelters, which are located at 21 E 5th Ave and 862 Richards St., will be operated by Rain City Housing and offer 75 additional beds.

Other initiatives being put forth by the B.C. government and the City of Vancouver to help keep people warm and dry include a long-term housing option at 3475 E Hastings, the former Ramada Hotel, which has 40 units available and rent supplements through Carnegie Outreach Services.

The province will be providing $300,000 to the program for 40 rent supplements and pay for resources to help people that are homeless find housing.

The two temporary shelters will be opening in the first week of December, the Richards location on the 1st and 21 E 5th Ave will open on Dec. 5th and both will remain open until April 30.

 

Commerical Drive retailer the Jean Queen holding grand opening at new location this weekend

The Jean Queens new location, which will open Nov. 23 Photo source: http://jaksview3.wordpress.com

The Jean Queens new location, which will open Nov. 23
Photo source: http://jaksview3.wordpress.com

It seems like there are businesses disappearing weekly on the Drive, but a few local favourites manage to hang on through rising rental costs and the changing needs of the area.  One local retailer, the Jean Queen, has been located on Commercial Drive for 14 years and although they are shutting their doors, it’s only to open new doors just across the street.

After being at their current location 2277 Commercial since September 2000, the Jean Queen is making a new home for itself in the newly-painted pink building across the street at 2120 Commercial Dr.

To celebrate their new location and rebranding, their will be a grand opening party this Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 12:00 -4:30 p.m.

Long-time employee Amira Aboud shared some details of the upcoming event, including a list of the free live entertainment.

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Is East Vancouver’s heritage safe?

Centenary signs put out by the Grandview Heritage Group photo by Kristen Harpula

Centenary signs put out by the Grandview Heritage Group
Photo by Kristen Harpula

In a city as young as Vancouver, it seems imperative to preserve the iconic structures that mark our short, but memorable history. However, with an out-of-date city heritage register and laws that hinder the protection of heritage properties, keeping them safe might not be a viable option.

That’s how some Grandview-Woodland residents feel after one of their cherished century-old houses was given the OK to be demolished. Brookhouse, a Queen Anne-style house built in 1908, was sold to a developer a couple years ago and although concerned local groups fought to save the house, its future is uncertain at this point.

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Upcoming local fundraiser for the Philippines Typhoon Disaster Fund being held at Laughing Bean Coffee

Laughing Bean Coffee located at E Hastings and Slocan Photo courtesy of smokinglily.blogspot.com

Laughing Bean Coffee located at E Hastings and Slocan
Photo courtesy of smokinglily.blogspot.com

Laughing Bean Coffee will be donating 100 per cent of their sales on Nov. 18 for the Philippines Typhoon Disaster fund and the Canadian government will be matching every dollar.

The popular east Vancouver coffee shop Laughing Bean will be holding a fundraiser on Monday, Nov. 18 and will be donating 100 per cent of their sales from that day (from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.) to the Philippines Typhoon Disaster. The money will be going to the Red Cross and the Canadian government has agreed to match the donations dollar for dollar. Continue reading

What do proposed changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve in B.C. mean for our food security?

Map of the Agricultural Land Reserve in B.C. Photo courtesy of alc.gov.bc.ca

Map of the Agricultural Land Reserve in B.C.
Photo courtesy of alc.gov.bc.ca

Recently leaked government documents that propose major changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve in B.C. and threaten the provinces food security are causing obvious concern, but according to a Coun. Andrea Reimer “what we really need is more information.”

On Nov. 7, 2013 the Globe and Mail printed a story that revealed the details of a plan put out by B.C. Agricultural Minister Pat Pimm to “modernize” the Agricultural Land Commission. However, the plan contained some very shocking changes, including giving a portion of the land rights to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission.

The ALC was established in 1974 to protect B.C. lands when development rates were steadily increasing and has protected approximately four million hectares of farmland. It’s shocking to think these pipeline developers have the possibility to own the land rights to northern parts of the province.

Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer found the details of the report to be very shocking and said that “anyone who eats should be concerned about this.” Continue reading

East Van condo fraud has one man going to jail

Gardenia Villa, located just off Broadway and Nanaimo  Source bccondos.net

Gardenia Villa, located just off Broadway and Nanaimo
Source bccondos.net

Patrick Au, who is a former member of a Vancouver strata council has been sentenced to two years in prison with two years’ probation after stealing over $160,000 from homeowners of Gardenia Villa near Broadway and Nanaimo.

Au had been a volunteer member of the strata for the 250-unit condo building and from 2001, he took control of the strata’s finances and extracted money for himself.

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Unsafe street corners in East Van have residents rallying

Residents rally at intersection of Earles Street and Euclid Avenue Oct 25. photo courtesy of Vancouver Courier, photo by Dan Toulgoet

Residents rally at intersection of Earles Street and Euclid Avenue on Oct. 25.
Photo courtesy of Vancouver Courier, photo by Dan Toulgoet

The death of Wilma Yerex, who was hit by a car at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Earles Street, caused angry neighbours and friends to rally in hopes of having a traffic light put in.

The 20 residents put signs together and gathered on Oct. 25 at the intersection where Yerex was killed to raise awareness since their voices haven’t been heard in the past about the dangers of the corner.

Director of transportation for the City of Vancouver, Jerry Dobrovolny, told the Vancouver Courier that the city reviewed the crosswalk in 2011 and at that time there were no changes necessary.

Yet, according to an ICBC interactive crash map, there were 23 accidents at that corner, including seven casualties, from 2008 to 2012.

Dobrovolny also said that once the Vancouver Police Department completes its investigation, the city will go over it and decide if the crosswalk needs another review.

Residents have also set up a petition at change.org to push for the crosswalk to be put in.

 

East Vancouver high school wins American film award

All American High School Film Festival Source: fanspired.com

All American High School Film Festival
Source: fanspired.com

Three film students from Templeton Secondary school traveled to New York when two of their films made it into the All American High School Film Festival.

Their films, Amelia’s Spyglass and Catharsis were the only two Canadian films to make the cut into the American film festival, with Catharsis winning an award for best original score.

While the festival, created by award-winning filmmaker Andrew Jenks, is only in its first year, they have received an impressive number of applicants.  With almost 1000 applicants from 40 states and seven countries, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands and France, it is obvious the first year was a hit.

With the film industry in B.C. being in the fragile state it is now, its nice to see these Canadian youth getting a shot at venturing elsewhere and showing their talent.

With such an array of content, these awards bring out the best qualities from each genre, I`m excited to see who enters next year.

According to their website, the submission time for next years festival is coming up this month

Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society fights for East Van community art studio

Pop-up art studio put on by Magpie's Nest

Pop-up art studio put on by Magpie’s Nest
Photo source: magpiesnest.ca

Created by five art-loving women with a passion to bring their community together through art, Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society has been working hard to raise money toward a non-profit studio space.

So far, Magpie’s Nest has done 10 pop-up art studios, where artists helped attendees create works of art with paints, fabrics and other craft supplies and hosted fundraisers to get their voices out there.

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