Community – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Thu, 08 Apr 2021 01:06:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png Community – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 Students needn’t worry about taxes because of COVID-19, experts say https://www.langaravoice.ca/students-neednt-worry-about-taxes-because-of-covid-19-experts-say/ Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:36:43 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48820 By Maxine Ellis Despite many students having taken advantage of CERB, EI and other government benefits this past year, experts say students can expect a similar tax return in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic had created many different financial challenges for students in the past year. Many people were laid off and took advantage of CERB […]]]>

By Maxine Ellis

Despite many students having taken advantage of CERB, EI and other government benefits this past year, experts say students can expect a similar tax return in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic had created many different financial challenges for students in the past year. Many people were laid off and took advantage of CERB and EI payments. Some students believe that these allowances will make for an even more complicated and stressful tax season.

According to the Canadian Revenue Agency website, those who applied for CERB will have each cheque taxed as if it were their regular monthly income, so most students can expect to owe a similar amount to the one they owed the previous year. The key will be to make the most of online resources and allowable deductions.

Do-it-yourself taxes

One of the most efficient tools for students during tax season is TurboTax, according to Vikas Darmaraj, a recent business graduate from Simon Fraser University.

“It’s pretty idiot-proof. They can integrate a bunch of information from the CRA website,” Darmaraj said. “You can import a bunch of information and it’s already pre-filled out.”

Students can obtain a T22 form from their school, which outlines exactly how much of their school expenses they can deduct from their total income.

Chantelle Hechanova has been working toward getting her finance licence while shadowing Darmaraj during his financial education sessions.

“Make sure you’re mindful and keep track of things throughout the year, what are big things you will be taxed on and get deducted off. School is a big one of course,” Hechanova said.

For students who are working jobs and are taking classes from home, one benefit is the new work-from-home tax credit, which allows Canadians working from home to deduct up to $400 from their income for employment expenses.

SOURCE: Government of Canada

Free help with filing is available

Marcella Baratta Ribeiro from the Langara Accounting Club said that Langara students can reach out to the club members, as well through social media, for help with their taxes. Ribeiro also suggested students use the free SimpleTax program to file their taxes and emphasizes the importance of being organized before tax season comes around.

“One thing that is key for tax filing is organization,” Ribeiro said.

“Consolidate all your slips or documents in the same place during the year like medical expenses and employment slips. The main thing is to have all your documents together ahead of tax season so you can file them on time.”

For many students filing taxes on their own for the first time, this is an excellent opportunity to become more financially literate, said Darmaraj.

“If I gave you $1,000 and you had to pay $500 away in taxes or you [could] pay $400 in taxes, which one would you choose?” Darmaraj said.

“Essentially the government has created vehicles for us that we can use to acquire tax efficient growth with our money. We just don’t have the education to know what those vehicles are because our schooling system doesn’t teach it to us.”

Sarah Fleming is a second-year Langara photography student who has her parents help her file her taxes. She said she has been thinking of running her own business one day.

“I think it would be useful as a small business owner to learn how I have to file my taxes when I start making enough income [to create a small business],” Fleming said. “It would be cool if there were free classes or videos on how to apply for those things.”

Watch Marcella Baratta Ribeiro talk about how to file taxes below:

 

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Compost this coffee pod, just not in Vancouver https://www.langaravoice.ca/compost-this-coffee-pod-just-not-in-vancouver/ Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:13:56 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48856 By Sena Law A new compostable coffee pod has been created by UBC’s Zachary Hudson, though things may not be as green as they seem. In the right facility, the product can be fully composted. In Vancouver, our green waste facilities are unable to do the same. Hudson, a Vancouver-based chemist, launched the Nexe Pod […]]]>

By Sena Law

A new compostable coffee pod has been created by UBC’s Zachary Hudson, though things may not be as green as they seem. In the right facility, the product can be fully composted. In Vancouver, our green waste facilities are unable to do the same.

Hudson, a Vancouver-based chemist, launched the Nexe Pod along with Nexe Innovations in February, marketing it as a fully compostable coffee pod that will keep coffee fresher for longer, which other recyclable coffee pods have struggled to achieve.

The problem with bioplastics

The pod is made up of a bamboo outer jacket and a bioplastic inner capsule — the latter making it possible to be properly composted only in special organic waste facilities, like Surrey Biofuel which was opened in 2018.

In these facilities, the new coffee pods turn into compost in as little as 35 days.

But in Vancouver, biodegradable or bioplastic products, such as the Nexe Pod, are nearly guaranteed to end up in the landfill, according to Kai-lani Rutland, a representative from Vancouver Landfill. Rutland said this is due to the fact that bioplastics are labelled as contaminants and cannot be processed properly.

“Contaminants are most likely to be removed from composting and recycling streams and then disposed of at landfill or incinerator,” Rutland said. The city encourages food vendors and residents to choose reusable alternatives wherever possible.

Michael Levenston, executive director of City Farmer, a group that operates the city’s compost hotline, said bioplastics are labelled as contaminants because of the majority of facilities’ inability to distinguish between them and conventional plastics.

The Surrey Biofuel facility, which opened in 2018, participated in the development of the Nexe Pod to ensure the product would be fully compostable. Photo: City of Surrey

No guarantees in the world of garbage

“You’re dealing with the garbage world, which is a mysterious world,” Levenston said. “You want to think all the green waste does go to a compost facility, but unless you’re on the trucks, you don’t know where it’s going.”

According to the City of Vancouver’s Doug Thomas, the city’s compost has two destinations. Green waste is routed to GFL Environmental in Delta, while yard trimmings head to the Vancouver Landfill. At both sites, the material is turned into compost, but neither is fully equipped to process bioplastics. When included, these products degrade the quality of the finished compost.

Vancouver has no plans to develop an organics processing facility, Thomas said.

Currently, a Keurig-compatible K-Cup is available online, and Nexe Innovations plans to have Nespresso-compatible pods out for late 2021.

Over 40 billion similar coffee pods find their way into landfills per year. Each pod takes around 100 to 150 years to fully decompose, Hudson said.

Hudson said that he believes the Nexe Pod is thriving because of its convenience when it comes to recycling, and that even if the product ends up in a landfill, “it’s not going to be any worse than a regular plastic pod.”

“All of the regular plastic pods are going to landfill anyway,” he said. “The recycling rate is less than one per cent.”

“We are looking to displace all kinds of single-use plastics,” Hudson said. “Coffee is really just the first sort of target market that we have.”

Zachary Hudson shares his thoughts on bioplastics and waste management in the video below.

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Video: Bike boom rides second wave as supply chain remains tangled up https://www.langaravoice.ca/video-bike-boom-rides-second-wave-as-supply-chain-remains-tangled-up/ Wed, 07 Apr 2021 20:18:21 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48674 By Norman Galimski The second wave of the pandemic bike boom is well underway and the domino effects from last year are stressing the supply chain for bike shops. The changes in who is cycling in Vancouver are becoming visible. In early 2020, bike shops had full inventories of new bicycles, plus any left over […]]]>

By Norman Galimski

The second wave of the pandemic bike boom is well underway and the domino effects from last year are stressing the supply chain for bike shops. The changes in who is cycling in Vancouver are becoming visible.

In early 2020, bike shops had full inventories of new bicycles, plus any left over from the year before, to meet the sudden spike in demand, said Erich Jurgens, owner of The Bike Doctor. But still, many bike shops were sold out by the summer.

“It was a rush unlike anything, I think, the industry has ever seen,” Jurgens said.

However, Jurgens said the bike shortage in the second wave of the bike boom is a symptom of supply and not only increased demand.

Some store owners have said there is no way to even estimate the extent of demand because they can’t get enough new bicycles into the shops to know.

A man rides in the bike lane across the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Norman Galimski)

Worse than last year

This year, bike shops still aren’t fully restocked and continue to struggle to get new bicycles and parts in.

Amrik Boghar, an employee at Denman Bike Shop, said their store still has around the normal demand, if not more, for bikes, but said that there are about 50 per cent fewer bikes available. This is because suppliers are only working at about 45 per cent of what they normally would pre-pandemic, he said.

One of the biggest changes in the supply chain now is how suppliers are delivering new bicycles to retailers. The economy of scale weighs more than ever on smaller retailers.

“Whoever sells more gets more bikes, and whoever doesn’t sell more doesn’t get it,” Boghar said.

Before, suppliers used to sell their bicycles and parts on a first-come first-serve basis, said Boghar. But now they are supplying to shops that buy the most quantity of bicycles first, which makes it even more difficult for those who can’t buy in large quantities to operate.

The Bike Doctor now gets sporadic deliveries of 20 bikes at a time instead of getting a one time delivery of 500 bikes.

“This year is different because supply is going just as quickly, if not a little quicker, but [bicycles are] not available in one big drop,” Jurgens said. Instead, he said, their supply comes in “fits and starts.”

Changing demographics

The spike in new bike owners over the past year has visibly changed the demographics of cyclists in Vancouver, said Jeff Leigh, the HUB Cycling chair for Vancouver and UBC.

“We have seen a huge number of families with kids on the bikeways – and in routes that we wouldn’t have seen them on before,” Leigh said.

A man rides tandem with a child along the Seawall in Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Norman Galimski)

 

Vancouver’s cycling lanes and routes are much better than in other cities because the city perceives cycling as important, said Rebecca Mayers, a UBC PhD student whose main field of research is city cycling.

Cycling advocates have a strong voice in the city through groups such as HUB Cycling, among others, that have all affected the building and improvement of cycling infrastructure in Vancouver, Mayers said.

One of the most influential and important factors for Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure, both Leigh and Mayers said, has been the 2017 Complete Streets Framework. This policy gave the city engineer the authority to design and plan city streets independent of council, skipping the often-lengthy city council process.

Mayers said Vancouver cycling benefits from abundant cycling data that the city and third parties, like UBC researchers, collect. This abundance of data helps make the city implement data-based decisions for cycling infrastructure that give confidence in its implementation to the city and its engineers, she said.

Leigh said he believes the majority of new cyclists from the pandemic bike boom are here to stay and will continue to push Vancouver in a more cycling-positive direction.

Watch the video  below to hear from experts on the changes in Vancouver cycling one year into the bike boom:

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East Vancouver neighbourhood ‘drowning’ in takeout garbage https://www.langaravoice.ca/east-vancouver-neighbourhood-drowning-in-takeout-garbage/ Thu, 25 Mar 2021 01:06:43 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48564 By Emily Lyth Every day, David Faber cleans up the litter that has accumulated on his front lawn on Victoria Drive with a bucket and trash picker in hand. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, trash from local businesses has been increasingly ending up on the lawns, streets and alleyways of the Victoria-Fraserview neighbourhood. Faber has […]]]>

By Emily Lyth

Every day, David Faber cleans up the litter that has accumulated on his front lawn on Victoria Drive with a bucket and trash picker in hand.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, trash from local businesses has been increasingly ending up on the lawns, streets and alleyways of the Victoria-Fraserview neighbourhood.

Faber has lived in the neighbourhood since 2011 and said that the trash problem is getting worse.

259 million takeout containers were disposed of in 2020

“We’ve seen a real increase, especially over the last year, in the amount of street garbage in our neighbourhood,” Faber said.

A recent waste composition study surveying disposal facilities in the Metro Vancouver Regional District revealed that an estimated 259 million takeout containers were disposed of in 2020, compared to 179 million in 2018. Containers left on the streets remained unaccounted for in those estimates.

According to Faber, the proximity of the McDonald’s, Starbucks and Tim Hortons at the intersection of East 41st Avenue and Victoria Drive has increased the amount of takeout waste found in the neighbourhood.

“I think they’re ashamed,” said Faber, who sent letters to all three businesses demanding accountability. He has yet to receive a response.

A manager at the Tim Hortons, which opened in 2020, said that while building staff clean the restaurant’s exterior on a regular basis, Tim Hortons employees only do so if business is slow.

Managers at the neighbouring McDonald’s and Starbucks said that their employees are required to clean up litter on their company’s property, but any garbage found on the surrounding streets is not their responsibility.

Tim Blunt, a lifelong South Vancouver resident, said that people are also discarding large pieces of furniture and debris in the alleyways over the past few years.

“It’s just a daily mess of people dumping garbage bags, and construction stuff, and more mattresses,” said Blunt. “It’s disheartening for me, I guess, because it shows a lack of pride in the community.”

‘Disposal does come at a cost to the city’

Vancouver city councillor Pete Fry said that the disposal fees for mattresses lead to their illegal dumping.

“It does take a delicate balance, because obviously disposal does come at a cost to the city,” said Fry. “The real barrier is a lack of convenient places to dispose of things.”

Monique Koningstein, executive director of the Victoria Drive Business Improvement Association, said that garbage cans are “crucial” to have near takeout businesses.

Prior to the pandemic, the Victoria Drive BIA employed Coast Mental Health Foundation workers to clean the area five days a week.

The foundation has had to cease all clean-up operations during the pandemic due to safety concerns.

Koningstein said the Victoria Drive BIA is negotiating a new contract with the foundation. In the meantime, the area’s cleanliness depends on weekly litter collection service provided by the City of Vancouver.

“That’s why we’re still seeing a lot of garbage on the street,” said Koningstein. “But as far as businesses and their responsibility, that’s something we feel they have to deal with themselves.”

Faber said placing a garbage can next to the bus stop in front of his home would encourage people not to litter.

“If people don’t deal with it now, we’re going to drown in our own garbage,” said Faber.

Video by Emily Lyth below…

 

 

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Langara College rezoning application unanimously approved by the city https://www.langaravoice.ca/five-new-langara-campus-buildings-planned-for-the-next-25-years/ Wed, 24 Mar 2021 23:43:59 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48468 By Alaina Saint Amour Vancouver city council on March 11 unanimously passed an application to increase density on the Langara College campus. The development plan intends to feature five new buildings across the campus and is expected to take place over a 25-year period. The large-scale redevelopment is designed to meet an increasing number of […]]]>

By Alaina Saint Amour

Vancouver city council on March 11 unanimously passed an application to increase density on the Langara College campus.

The development plan intends to feature five new buildings across the campus and is expected to take place over a 25-year period. The large-scale redevelopment is designed to meet an increasing number of students.

“Langara College has recently experienced a period of rapid and unprecedented student growth that has put a strain on its existing physical resources,” rezoning planner Tiffany Rougeau said at the public hearing on March 11.

The master plan for Langara’s redevelopment will involve larger buildings with more capacity, including a maximum height of six storeys for three of the buildings.

“[The plan] allows the flexibility for the college over the next 25 years as things change at the college to decide what their priorities are and what goes into certain buildings,” said Wendy Lannard, lead consultant for the facilities master plan.

Neighbours not thrilled

Local resident Tony Ditmars, who lives close to the Ontario Street bike route, is worried that more traffic will be routed to residential areas with the redevelopment. He opposed the application during the public hearing.

“I don’t think that the plans to curb this traffic are firm enough. I’ve lived at my address for 35 years through a number of college expansions. And every time there’s an open house, the planners suggest that there will be efforts to curb the traffic out of this entrance. But nothing ever changes,” Ditmars told the councillors.

Helen Nichols lives across from the college on Ontario Street. Nichols is worried about parking.

“Parking when students return is challenging, as many people accessing the college park in resident-only zones,” Nichols said at the public hearing. “This problem will be intensified.”

Building designs and funding pending

Rezoning sketches show where the buildings will go, but not what they will look like. Architects will work with planners in the future to design the sites and when this begins, Langara intends to consult staff, students and residents on what they want to see.

“Langara has not secured funding for this project yet and when it does, an architect will be hired and programming for the building will be done. Programming involves consultation with the college community on what goes into the building,” Lannard said in an email statement.

Additionally, there are plans to construct an Indigenous meeting house on the northeast corner of the campus, with unspecified Indigenous landscaping surrounding it.

“Our Indigenous students come from many different places and traditions, and maintain cultural connections through ceremony and ritual; Indigenous architecture, art, and landscape would meaningfully express their Indigeneity on Langara’s campus,” said Shyanne Boudreau, Indigenous education and services coordinator in an email statement.

Lannard said Langara has identified in its own strategic plan that it wants to develop a replacement for the A Building first, the oldest and largest building on the campus. The A Building replacement will be on the east side of campus which is currently a parking lot.

“At this point there is no building designed, so we don’t have a timeframe,” Lannard said.

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Some South Van residents pay extra for security systems, peace of mind https://www.langaravoice.ca/some-south-van-residents-pay-extra-for-security-systems-peace-of-mind/ Wed, 24 Mar 2021 23:33:10 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48478 By Sena Law Break-and-enter rates have decreased since the start of the pandemic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Vancouverites feel safe in their homes. In the neighbourhood around Langara College in South Vancouver, nearly every house has a sign advertising it is protected by private security. For some homeowners, concern for their personal safety is […]]]>

By Sena Law

Break-and-enter rates have decreased since the start of the pandemic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Vancouverites feel safe in their homes.

In the neighbourhood around Langara College in South Vancouver, nearly every house has a sign advertising it is protected by private security. For some homeowners, concern for their personal safety is why they opted for private security.

Denise Lumaj, who recently installed a security system in her home near King Edward Station, said it made her feel more secure, especially during the pandemic.

“I feel much safer now, considering how much I am staying in due to COVID,” Lumaj said. “It just makes sense to splurge a little on home safety.”

Jinny Lai, who lives just a few doors down from Lumaj, said that as a Chinese person she is concerned about recent hate crimes.

“I have heard about the kidnappings and also the hate crimes against Asian people,” Lai said. “It’s truly terrible, I am just glad to feel safe at home with security.”

Lai said purchasing a home security system was one of her first priorities when she moved into her home years ago. She said it is the responsibility of homeowners as a part of a community to take home security seriously.

According to Statistics Canada there were 359 instances of breaking-and-entering in January 2021 a decrease compared to 478 in January 2020. Uttered threats increased from 78 instances to 108 during the same period.

Sgt. Steve Addison, Vancouver Police Department media spokesperson, said that some crimes have gone up in the city during COVID-19, including an increase in hate crimes against people who are East Asian or appear Chinese.

“This is quite possibly linked to some of the racist rhetoric that some people are using related to COVID,” Addison said.

Private security deters break-and-entering

Addison said that private security systems are helpful from a policing perspective, because residents should do whatever they can to feel safe and to deter crime from happening in their neighbourhoods. He added security systems often include cameras which can also benefit police investigations of other crimes.

Ross Hickey, a UBC Okanagan economist who studies crime rates, said having private security increases the chance of police responding to home invasions. It also increases the chances of police being called to a false alarm and could make neighbourhoods without private security more vulnerable to crime.

“There is a benefit people can get from the protection of others at some level, but on the other hand if a bike thief goes to that community where there are bike locks for sure they are going to take the bike that’s not locked.”

Addison agreed that security systems are a deterrent for thieves, and break-ins are more likely to occur in houses without home security. He said the VPD encourages all residents in the city, whether renters or homeowners, to take precautions to protect their property and to deter thieves.

In this video homeowner Jinny Lai demonstrates her home security system.

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Video: Addling – Park Board’s solution to Vancouver’s goose problem https://www.langaravoice.ca/addling-park-boards-solution-to-vancouvers-goose-problem/ Wed, 24 Mar 2021 19:15:55 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48353 By Tyson Burrows On March 3, 2021, Vancouver Park Board reached out to the public to try to get them on board with addressing the city’s goose problem. The city wants the public’s help to identify the nests of Canada geese by reporting them online. After identifying the nests, Park Board employees will addle the […]]]>

By Tyson Burrows

On March 3, 2021, Vancouver Park Board reached out to the public to try to get them on board with addressing the city’s goose problem. The city wants the public’s help to identify the nests of Canada geese by reporting them online.

After identifying the nests, Park Board employees will addle the eggs  – a practice that they stress is supported by both the B.C. SPCA and PETA.

The practice of addling, a process by which embryo development is stopped, requires permits issued by Environment Canada under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Experts weigh in on what addling is and why it is necessary.

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Side jobs trend as pandemic gives rise to job insecurity https://www.langaravoice.ca/side-jobs-trend-as-pandemic-gives-rise-to-job-insecurity/ Thu, 11 Mar 2021 01:03:56 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48107 Reported by Jan Bevilacqua  Nearly one year after sweeping COVID-19 restrictions closed many Vancouver businesses and left thousands jobless, many locals have found creative ways to earn a living. Many are now making a profit off their hobbies For some, the layoffs were an opportunity to turn hobbies into opportunities to make some cash. As […]]]>

Reported by Jan Bevilacqua 

Nearly one year after sweeping COVID-19 restrictions closed many Vancouver businesses and left thousands jobless, many locals have found creative ways to earn a living.

Many are now making a profit off their hobbies

For some, the layoffs were an opportunity to turn hobbies into opportunities to make some cash.

As the global health crisis spread, unemployment rates in Vancouver surged, with 256,000 jobs lost between February and April. According to Statistics Canada, one in three Canadians did not have enough savings to manage even three months without work.

For Lara Manalo, a former supervisor at Vancouver International Airport, baking was a way to pass the time after she was laid off following the province-wide shutdown.

New to baking and with no business experience, Manalo started selling her Filipino pastries after having been encouraged to do so by family. She named her new business Ava’s Bakeshop after her two-year-old daughter.

“I know it’s simple because it’s just food,” said Manalo. “But for me, making [customers] happy and satisfied, that’s the most fulfilling part.”

Manalo has recently returned to work and now only bakes on Sundays, even so, Ava’s Bakeshop is busier than ever. A variety of baked goods are offered, ranging in price from five dollars to $25.

Side jobs soon became a sustainable source of income

Paige Roeske decided to turn her love of vintage fashion into an online business to stay afloat while unemployed.

“I was laid off in March 2020, and the COVID relief plan only went so far,” Roeske said. “So, I decided to start selling some of my vintage clothing that I already owned, and that kind of became its own little business.”

Roeske was surprised at how quickly she found success through her online shop, Twinn Vintage. To keep up with demand, she started sourcing vintage apparel from thrift stores and online auctions.

Since starting the venture, Roeske has made over 100 sales. With most items priced upwards of $50, the income generated helped provide for expenses that government aid was unable to cover.

After returning to work as a lifeguard, her business slowed to a trickle. Though most of her time is spent at her job, Roeske does her best to maintain her business presence.

Looking back, Roeske’s only regret is that she didn’t start up her vintage shop earlier.

Bee Higgins is used to maintaining several jobs at once. In addition to their job at retail shop Make Vancouver, Higgins offers a wide range of services online from petsitting to home decluttering.

With more people staying home during the pandemic, there was less interest in their in-house services, though Higgins continued to offer them online, nonetheless.

Higgins was able to stay afloat with help from the COVID relief plan. Without spreading their time across multiple services, they were able to spend more time beading, which they see as a core way for them to connect with their family and Métis culture.

“It’s very important to me that I keep my work online and keep my work available to people who will need it — Indigenous Peoples first and foremost,” said Higgins.

While beadwork helped boost their income until they eventually returned to their job, for Higgins, the biggest benefit wasn’t financial. It was emotional.

“Beading is just teaching me to love myself again, teaching me to be kind to myself and teaching me patience,” they said.

 

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Collingwood Neighbourhood House fosters community engagement amidst pandemic https://www.langaravoice.ca/collingwood-neighbourhood-house-fosters-community-engagement-amidst-pandemic/ Thu, 11 Mar 2021 01:02:22 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48041 Reported by Patrick Wachter Despite the COVID-19 pandemic halting group physical activities and community get-togethers, Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) has continued to offer programs and events virtually and in person by following B.C. government social distancing protocols and regulations in all its community gatherings. A snapshot of Collingwood Neighbourhood House in 2020 Alison Merton, who […]]]>

Reported by Patrick Wachter

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic halting group physical activities and community get-togethers, Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) has continued to offer programs and events virtually and in person by following B.C. government social distancing protocols and regulations in all its community gatherings.

A snapshot of Collingwood Neighbourhood House in 2020

Alison Merton, who is the director of the early years program at CNH, reflected on what it was like in March 2020 when the neighbourhood house went into lockdown.

“At that time, the government was indicating that it was still safe to operate childcare. So, we closed all our other programs. Everything, our family programs, recreation programs, language classes closed down,” Merton said. “Nobody was coming into the building except a few skeleton staff that could deliver these [childcare] programs.”

According to Merton, Collingwood Neighbourhood had reopened in just “a couple of weeks” after its were shut down. Both its Main House at Joyce Street and its Annex site on Vanness Avenue now offer physical fitness programs like yoga, zumba and gymnastics and community classes like mixed media, Chinese caligraphy and parent/tot activities. Residents of South Vancouver can sign up to attend CNH activities over the phone or through email, as there is a limited number of participants allowed for each program event, and must wear masks when attending. Through CNH’s programs, it fostered community support for low-income families who lacked food security and seniors who were experiencing loneliness amidst the pandemic.

“There were a lot of food security issues for families and low-income families and seniors,” Merton said.  CNH implemented an outreach program to deliver groceries to people’s houses and also applied check-in programs for seniors over the phone, Merton said.

Ana Mateescu, family development coordinator at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, works with low-income families in the Joyce-Collingwood area. Mateescu said that CNH wanted to keep the program closed, but Mateescu explained to CNH that families need the program more now because of the pandemic.  Since her program recommenced, she’s been supporting families who’ve lost their jobs amidst the pandemic, who are dealing with domestic violence issues while quarantining and lack food security due to lack of access to food banks.

“Most [families in the program] of them lost their jobs,  got into a lot of domestic conflicts and had a really hard time in their day by day existence and for good reason I decided to support them.”

Nowadays, Mateescu said the program has a maximum capacity of 20 people, which includes four to five families and staff and involves “physical activities for the kids” in association with Red Fox Healthy Living Society, “parenting circles” every Monday followed by a communal dinner in the evening.

New program Walking the Mycelial Web

There are more events and programs coming to CNH in 2021. Its most recent is Walking the Mycelial Web: Community Art & Ecology Project Introduction, in collaboration with mycologist Willoughby Arevalo and artist Isabelle Kirouac. The program is a series of artistic activities inspired by ecology and fungal life, taking place primarily outdoors in three parks of the Renfrew-Collingwood neighborhood: Renfrew Ravine Park, Gaston Park, and Cariboo Park.

“It is a series of community engaged artistic activities that are inspired by ecology and fungal life,”  Arevalo said. “The events will be free of charge for anyone who is interested.”

Merton hopes to re-establish most of its programs by September.

“We hear from our participants in every age group that they want to come back to Collingwood, that they missed that connection with each other… there’s baby steps happening right now,  our recreation programs are starting to open. Everybody’s hope is that by September, there’ll be some kind of return to normal.”

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B.C.’s daylight debate: morning or evening sun https://www.langaravoice.ca/b-c-s-daylight-debate-morning-or-evening-sun/ Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:37:10 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48146 By Alex Antrobus With Premier John Horgan hinting this spring will mark the last time B.C. observes Daylight Savings Time, British Columbians will need to revisit an issue that experts are divided on: whether our mornings or evenings should receive more light. When the B.C. government conducted a province-wide survey in 2019, Horgan offered only […]]]>

By Alex Antrobus

With Premier John Horgan hinting this spring will mark the last time B.C. observes Daylight Savings Time, British Columbians will need to revisit an issue that experts are divided on: whether our mornings or evenings should receive more light.

When the B.C. government conducted a province-wide survey in 2019, Horgan offered only one alternative to the practice of time change: permanent DST, which was selected by 93 per cent of participants. Permanent Standard Time, which adds an hour of morning sunlight, was never an option offered.

But while proponents of DST have cited economic benefits, health experts favour Standard Time, emphasizing the importance of our sleep cycles.

Healthy sleep cycles vs. democracy

Dr. Raymond Lam, a UBC psychiatry professor specializing in mood disorders and mental health, is one of such experts.

He, along with five others, signed an open letter to the B.C. government in October 2019. In it, they argued that DST reduces exposure to morning sunlight throughout the year, which can lead to “sleep deprivation and social jetlag.”

“If we use Daylight Savings Time throughout the year,” Lam said, “there’s more of a disconnect between our internal clock and the available daylight, which is kind of the natural clock.”

UBC economics professor Werner Antweiler, who advocates for permanent Daylight Savings Time, has cited energy savings in the past as a reason to stick with permanent DST, but now points to broad popularity as the primary reason for his position.

Energy conservation was the original main reason for DST. The argument was that with more daylight, people would be using less lighting and therefore less energy.

“Of course, that has become a completely obsolete issue now that they have efficient lighting,” said Antweiler. “Especially now that we have all moved to LED in the last sort of decade.”

Waiting for West Coast U.S.A.

Horgan said last October that if the United States didn’t get its act together, he would suggest “this is the last season of falling back and springing forward.”

But Horgan may have been hinting at a change that won’t happen as soon as he’d hoped, said Antweiler.

For economics’ sake, Antweiler believes it is likely the change will be delayed until Washington, Oregon and California pass their legislation first, allowing for easier collaboration with cross-border business partnerships.

“For British Columbia, the big question is when will the United States move, because the argument is that we shouldn’t be moving towards a different time schedule (without them),” Antweiler said. “It has always been tradition that we are in sync with the United States and their time zones.”

Students not so interested

Ultimately, Langara students interviewed cared little — if at all — about whether DST or Standard Time should be adopted. Instead, any focus was largely on getting rid of it.

“There’s a lot of issues that I care a lot about. Daylight savings: not one of them,” said Sarah Conway. “I’m not usually in favour of the economic option, that’s my go-to. But yeah, whatever the doctors say is good, I’ll take. I like light.”

Sebastian Ley, a student in the Studio 58 acting program, said the practice is archaic.

“It comes from a time when 90 per cent of the middle and lower class was doing hard manual labour and they had to get to the factory and get back before sunset,” said Ley.

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