Voted! Civic Election in Thornhill, BC, 2018

There, the deed is done. Me a Suz., voted around 3:00pm today at the Thornhill Community Centre, where we voted for our School Trustee, and Regional District Representatives, being that Thornhill (aka Electoral Area E) is an Unincorporated community, we do not have a Mayor or Aldermen to choose from. And as always, it felt good to get out vote. I was also happy to say that we saw a few people there also out voting too, including Suz’s. folks. However, I did notice while I was looking at the lists of registered votes, few were checked off, but the day was still young, and the polls close at 8:00pm tonight.

So hopefully all of you got out and voted. The people that run your community are the ones who effect you the most, so these elections are the most important in terms of where the rubber meets the road in your neighbourhood. These guys will be controlling everything from your roads, to the schools that your kids go to, so that makes it kinda of important. Sadly, voter turn-out is traditionally low. Maybe this year, will be the year the voter turn-out will break records?

I cannot wait and see the results tonight!

UPDATE: 11:00pm

Well it appears that in my little corner of the Skeena Valley, our Regional District election, we have a new person in that seat! According to the Terrace Standard, “UPDATE: Eric Nyce defeats Harry Nyce in Nass Valley, Meziadin.” October 20 2018. Quoting the on-line news article, “In the regional district election, Jeff Hammond has defeated incumbent Ted Ramsey, 181 votes to 169.” What shocks me, is that there are about four thousand people who live in Thronhill, BC, (aka Electoral Area E), and only 350 voters came out to vote. According to my Math, I get a total percentage of 8.75% of the people of Thornhill who went out and voted. Wow!

Congratulation Jeff Hammond.

ADDED: The 8.75 percent is based on the total number of people who live in Thornhill, BC, not the total number eligible voters. This would bump up the percentage of voter turn-out by a few percent. I do not have that information at the moment.

 

Canada Cannabis Day

Happy Cannabis in Canada Day. Today marks the day that smoking, or doing, cannabis becomes legal, all across Canada. Now, for the record, I am not “on board” with this, but this is what the people voted for, so, far be it for me to impose my beliefs against the Will of the People. Instead, I wish everyone in Canada, Happy Cannabis Day, and for those who wanted to get their first legal puffs off, I guess the place in British Colombia to do that was in Kamloops, the only legal store that was ready to do so here on the West Coast. That store opened at 10:00am this morning according to CBC News. But from what I heard, there is plenty of illegal weed to feed the masses with, so there is no shortage of the stuff around here.

This is also my fourth attempt at writing this post, before I settled on this one. Simply put, I was either too harsh, or too Liberal in my statements, so I just stuck to being very neutral in choosing my words. I had some nice size rants, around the fifty-five hundred word mark, but I deleted those and went for this post instead. Short, sweet, and to the point, reining in my personal feelings on the topic.

I wonder if this will be the dawning of a new National Holiday? Anyway…

So far the people who live around me are not smoking the stuff. However, the 2:00pm happy hour started at the far end of the apartments, from where I am, so alcohol is still the choice among my neighbours that I can tell. I guess this is day one, of many to come, so we will see what the weekend will have in store for us here with legal cannabis.

As for when the Skeena Valley getting cannabis stores, I only heard from our local news paper that only four store are applying for the permits to sell cannabis in Terrace, BC, yet none in Thornhill, BC. The article did say, as of today, you can buy cannabis through the Liquor Distribution Branch–on line, so not many options for the North Coast as of yet, to get your first legal took going. Please read, “Four Marijuana Stores Looking at Terrace” from the Terrace Standard News paper for October 17, 2018, for more information on this source.

Well, that is it for me on this fine October day. Rock’n the time off from work, so peace, and chill out.

A Frost Morning In Thornhill BC

Yawn! It is not even a Friday, and this does feel like a Friday the Thirteen kind of day. Lets see, where to begin… The Septic is backing up, and the Land Lord just happen to be here doing various maintenance projects, so he is currently working on that. This is the start of some vacation time that I have owed to me from my work. I have a meeting with my Bank, and so far to, and it is not even 10:00am, five scammers have called; some are down right funny. Anyway, it is a cold one, so let me being the Post.

First thing, it is cold outside. It is just at the freezing mark, and there is some wind, but not much. My windows have no frost, but my car is just covered. I took off to Walmart around 8:30am, for some items I needed for breakfast, and I had to chip away at my windshield, as it was encased with a thick layer of frost. The last two days have been dry ones, with lost of sun, and clear skies, so it is no big surprise that the night time temperatures are falling below the freezing level. During the day, we have been getting close to 18C, so no big complaints there.

Second thing, and a real big issue, not life threatening, the septic system is backed up. I think it needs the sewage-sucker machine to come in and slurp the tank out. Thornhill does not have sewer service, so all properties must have their own septic fields. This is why so few like to live here, or own land, it is pricey to put on in now-a-days. So, my toilet started making “gurgling” sounds, and would not flush properly. This went on for a couple of days, and I was thinking that maybe it was plugged. I phone the caretaker, and he said it was the sewage tank being full, and that he will get someone on it as soon as possible. So, as I type this out, there are two guys under the crawl space of the compartment, working on the plumbing, and a sewage sucker truck outside, sucking up the sewage from the septic tank.

Third thing, I spend the last part of the day, yesterday, trying to set up a meeting with my Bank for a mortgage, or the possibility of getting one. As the housing market shots upwards, I figure I might as well see if I qualify, now that I have over a year’s time living here, and a year with my car loan. So I have a meeting set up, but the lady at the Customer Counter, told me that they are swamped with requests, as everyone wants to move here with the promises of well paying jobs on the horizon. So I spent some time this morning getting my documents ready that she said they needed to my assessment. My fear, the Bank will take too long, as the housing market slips away to unreal prices, and all the good deals are gone–leaving only million dollar homes left over that no can afford.

Lastly, five phone SCAMMERS in a row! Yes, I had some funny ones. I had, what looked like a local caller, from the Grand Forks area of British Columbia, but never bothered to answer that one. Then two from India, as it was real easy to ID the callers on the web. One was a robot voice that said I was going to jail becuase of my income tax. The other said I was in trouble by the IRS in the United State of America, becuase of goods tax not paid on some perches I supposedly made there. They left messages, at least. I do not buy from the U.S.A., as I am personally boycotting them right now. I would rather buy from China. But it was the East Indian Ascent, from the very young sounding girl, that gave that away, right off the bat. Next was a guy claiming that my PC had a service ticket issued on it, and that he was going to up-date my OS. I answered that one. Hum, let see, Oh, I run only LINUX on my machines, and there is no outside support for that OS, so SCAMMER. I was chuckling, and I hung up on him. The last one, for now, was an American sound lady, with a very sexy voice, sounding like she was from Texas, claiming that my Life Insurance Claim was being issued, and I had to give her all of my personal information, including Banking information. I hung up on her becuase I was getting ready to type out this post.

So that has been my day so far, and it not even 10:30am, on a Saturday morning.

So, You Want to Move to the Skeena Valley?

Over the last couple of days, since the news that a 40B dollar LNG project will get the go-a-head in Kitimat, BC, the wave effect in the housing market has started its upward climb. Now, living here, one town away, seeing the effect spill over here into the Skeena Valley, is no big surprise. In just a few days, prices for homes have increased, and several were scooped up within in hours after the big announcement. Let the gouging being!

To give you some examples, one home that I was keeping an eye on, that house on Molitor Street, went from 199k to 299k in one single leap up. At the other end of town, on Olson Street, a home that sold a few months ago, went back on the market, selling for almost double the original price–while still under construction in renovation. 

The fear in the coming months, on the current rental markets, are that rate of renovictions will start increasing. Now that the Vancouver market has perfected the practice, is almost certain that this will evolve into the Pacific North Coast. As the new NDP government has not shown signs of changing the law, many low income people that I have talked to are very, very scared. Yes, land lords want in on the money too, so marginalized citizens of the Skeena Valley will be the victims of the economic success in the coming months.

The underline message is that unless you get that $35 (plus) dollar per hour employment, do not move here. The Skeena Valley is no stranger to the boom-bust of the business cycle. When I lived here as a kid, I remember the highs and low of the ’80s, and ’90s. I kept an eye on the boom cycle here in the 2011 season, lasting about five years. So the patterns are well imprinted here. This boom cycle will no doubt yield that same results. The good news, for the well settled person, with deep roots here, the effects should be “life as normal.” If you are already a home owner, and with good employment, your worries are few. Market demands, are just that, and you will pay for that if you want to break into the job market here–so bring your money. Welcome to Boom Town!

The Day of Getting Stuffed

The start of day was like any other on a long weekend, I slept in a little, and got up, then laid back in bed for an extra few minutes. Just the way I like it. Tonight we had the Thanksgiving dinner over at Suz’s parents place, but before all that, we drove around town, did a little shopping, spending time with each other. Before we hooked up together, we started our day with getting our personal chores done around our homes. She has a lot of yard work, and I had more unpacking and sorting at my compartment. But first, I checked the Real Estate listings on-line in the Terrace area, for that morning routine and amusement.

With shock, and awe, the listings I kept on a favourite’s list, were gone: sold. The news on the 40 billion dollar LNG plant really hit–homes were being scooped up. I checked the Kitimat, BC listings, and was equally shocked to find that their housing inventory was next to sold out too. I got in my car, and drove into town because I wanted to see one of the listings for myself, just to see if this was real. It was, as the “Sold” sticker gleamed under the rainy sky; the realization that this was very real, hit me. I just got out-priced of the market!

I was a little sad, but in away I was grateful at the same time. I have a great job, and for now, a great place to live, where I can save without scarfaces. However, having my own home would be the security I crave, in other words; no landlord to renovict you when times start to roar forward in the economic landscape.

The dinner was awesome! We stiffed ourselves with turkey, and yams, and enjoyed the atmosphere of the family environment. The feast was just that, a feast. and I cannot leave out the load of leftovers I took home with me. Yes, a weeks worth of turkey sandwiches are in my future. I love it!

The day was awesome. And with the official holiday tomorrow, sleeping in tomorrow will be equally as awesome. I will stay up for a little whale longer, then slither off to bed, hopefully keeping my mind off the housing markets. Good night!

The Long Weekend is here: We Made it for Another One!

I have been basically preparing for it, getting as much done ahead of time as I can, here at my work, so the short week coming up will be a smooth one. Normally, I get the “Friday Rush,” as everyone else from other businesses, that I deal with, are trying to do the some thing. My Friday was filing up with just the little items of work that normally precede a long weekend. October 8th, will be Thanksgiving Day, here in our neck of the world, so most of the country will honour it; there are few places that are hold-outs, but I am sure the people will stand and demand it too as a statutory holiday. And finally, rain, it is happening, the clouds have moved in above, and there is the odd sprinkle when I drove home. The badly needed moisture could, once again, soak us, giving the forest the rain it needs. All of this is making the next seventy-two hours looking great!

So, work, I was feeling great when I locked the doors for the weekend. As you know, I deal a lot with logistics, so getting all my shipments out to their destinations, is a big part of my day. But I received stuff too, and the normal rhythm of every long weekend is getting hit with an extra amount of incoming goods to process. Hey, I do it too, as I go through the shipping flurry, on long weekends too, no doubt causing extra grief to my counter parts in the valley. Today, was different. My receivings was just like any other normal work day–just a few items, taking only a small part of my day them processed. I will say that this is just part of the season, though my experience is still short, comparing to last year, it was a slow time too. Nonetheless, I was happy knowing that I have no loose ends to deal with when I come back on Tuesday.

Apparently not all of Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day with a stat. holiday. I was, some what shocked, to learn that there are provinces that only “observe” it: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. But we are also several weeks early from our neighbours down South too, from when they celebrate it, but my point is, it is nice to have it off from work. I do believe we will be having turkey also on Saturday, so Monday is just a day for getting rested up, and doing lots of household cleaning chores.

The rain has come. So far, just overcast skies with the odd sprinkle here and there, but we are scheduled for some significant rain showers throughout the long weekend. The Skeena River is super low, and many here in the valley are noting that too–finally. And the mountains all look like the Southern mountains becuase they have no snow on the tops of them yet, just dry and dusty looking. This is not normal to go so long into the fall season without seeing snow covered mountain tops here in the Skeena Valley.

Well, I must go and get organized for the day. I am doing laundry right now, having a few issues with the washing machine–dealing with that right now. Everyone, have an awesome, super great, long weekend, (you to on East Coast) and Happy Thanksgiving!

Looking Back Through a Different Lens

It has now been just over fourteen months since leaving the Lower Mainland, with the hustle and bustle of Vancouver lifestyle in Langley, BC, and my quality of life has improved ten fold. This morning while going to work, during my very short commute, I pondered on how much my life has changed since the move back to the North has been. So many life altering changes have taken place. Just so many.

Today is significant becuase I just checked my savings, and I hit my milestone a whole year ahead of schedule! Yes, I have a means to save at a rate that was mere impossible while living in the Lower Mainland. The primary reason is simple, the cost of living seams more on the surface, but a deeper look reveals that rent, fuel and cheaper utilities break the scale, and to a large part, recreational activities and entertainment is on a whole different playing field. Just these factor alone are huge savings. However, there is one main reason why the cost of living is better.

My employment tips the scale between where I came from, and where I am today. Here, even though the wages are roughly the same, living with factors like a seven minute commute time, bringing fuel cost way down, and the ability to go home for lunch, or time to bring a lunch from home, saves huge. Back in Langley, I was facing a forty-five minute commute, and the uncertainty of being late if a train or accident would block my route. Now that is stress! But nonetheless, I gladly gave that up to live more like a human again, or better quality of life–period.

So, looking at my overall health, wealth and well-being, it is in stark contrast from what my life was over fort-teen months ago, a doubling of its value. But I do give a word of caution if you are reading this, and thinking of migrating to the North: it is not for everyone. It is a totally different way of life. You may not get the dream job you are seeking, and finding accommodations is getting very familiar to what Vancouver was just a few year ago–harder. Rents are getting close to Lower Mainland prices are, and home are starting to go through the sames patterns.

Homes are slowly creeping up in prices. I should point out that here in the Skeena Valley, the main home that are in inventory on the market are huge luxury homes, built by contractors. I am seeing these houses well into the $600k range now. Although more reasonable priced homes come up onto the market from time to time, they are quickly scooped up, and so to does the cycle of speculation leading housing prices to climb. So, if looking for a home, wait, and be patient.

Although I have not purchased a home yet, I feel I am closer to the goal. I am still renting, and paying a very reasonable price for that service, and I bought a newer car, so saving is a reality even with the payment. (I should point out that went through my Bank for the car loan, not a finance company.) I guess I would say I am very lucky in that respect. But anyway, time to enjoy time with my best friend! It is dinner over at her place. Yummy!

Wetter Weather and Thoughts On the Great Melt-Down 10 Years Ago.

We are getting hit with rain, as the rainy season kicks in, though seemingly earlier than last year, it is welcomed. And I just realized that this week marks the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Great Melt-Down, that crashed the markets and change the world, unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In all, the week is going good. Work is chugging along, and I am almost finished unpacking all of my boxes from the time I moved here to Thornhill, BC.

I was surprised that the Forest Fire Rating was set back to Low so quickly. We are only less than two weeks into the rainy season, and the rains seems lighter this year, so I was looking at the Forest Rating sign a little puzzled, as the arrow was placed in the green section. I thought that this might be to soon. Well, even the website says it “Low,” so who am I to argue. The good news, the campfire ban is lifted, so get out, in the rain, and have a camp fire. Oddly, camping season is also over too.

I was checking my journals from a decade ago, and came upon an entry from September, 27 2008. At the time I was living in Fort Langley, BC, working for Bell Canada. I wrote about all the news of the Melt-Down, and how it seemed, “over exaggerated.” Boy was I wrong; the news was correct, as my work saw over 150 employees in October 2008 get laid-off. All around me, nothing seemed secure and talks of lower Interest Rates and Buy-Out for Banks, blanketed the news. The cause and effects, they said would last for years.

Reading an on-line article on the BBC’s website, today, about the effects of the Melt-Down, the developed nations around the world have been experiencing lower than predicted birth rates. Yes, I only need to look at the schools around the Skeena Valley, to see this. The schools are half the size they were when I went to them. Home ownership is another one, as more younger people are renting because they cannot afford the market value for homes. And then there are the lack of good paying jobs. Yes, lots of low-paying jobs to go around, but few sustainable jobs to build a family with. So it looks like Generation Screwed is going to morph into the following generation with these market effects. The BBC article did say it could take another twenty years before we see the glory days of the pre ’08 era back, but the Market landscape has forever changed.

This week, I should have all my boxes sorted and unpacked. A few weeks ago I bought four sets of shelves, and that so far, has made unpacking nicer. I have a very small “compartment,” and brought an entire house with me. So, a sizable amount will live in boxes, until need, but the good news is, have more living space. I hope I find better living arrangements soon.

Golden Coloured Lawns

The little bit of a wet sprinkles we got from the overcast sky, that was not enough to quench the parched earth of nearly three weeks of awesome summer weather, and even before the hot weather set in, moisture was scares to begin with before that. It is hot and dry, and next week’s forecast is giving us more hot weather to come. The forest Fire rating sign is pushed all the way over to the right, in to the “Extreme” zone, to camp-fire bands are everywhere throughout the valleys and beyond. If it makes a fire, it is prohibited in the forests in the Skeena Valley. But water restrictions are everywhere too. If your lawn is a rich green, then that means you are probably using more than your share of the water that you are allotted to use. So, it is cool to have a golden coloured lawn, as it means you are doing you part in water conservation.

During drought like conditions, having a golden coloured lawn is cool to have. You can imagine that there are people who will break the rules and try for the perfect green lawn, just becuase they want to stand out from all the rest of the lawns in the neighbourhood. Sadly you are just wasting water. Your lawn will retain it green wonder once the cooler season returns. You just need to be content until then. But sadly, some will not take heed to the restrictions, and water their lawns with everything they can pour out of their water pipes. Meanwhile, once the water supply dwindles, then we all suffer.

So it was with great dismay, seeing this property owner vigorously watering his lawn by leaving his sprinklers on all night long, for more then three days (that I could tell) we hung our heads with shame.

Perhaps the city fined him? I do not know.

Everywhere you look, the heat wave’s effects are showing. Even some of the trees are showing signs of drying up, along with the bushes and marshy areas in the valley. So far this is a hot summer for North Coast Standards, and more is on its way.

The Kool-Aid Dude Running For Mayor of Terrace, BC

It looks legit, and according to the Terrace Standard, it appears to be not fake news, the Kool-Aid man is running for Mayor of Terrace, BC. Yes, you heard me right, “The Kool-Aid Man,” is running (or at least applying) for Mayor in the up coming election this October, in Terrace. No doubt his slogan will be “Oh Yeah.” As far as I know, we now have two people running for the position in the City, so this could be very well a race. But, the question everyone must ask is, will Kool-Aid man be an effective Mayor, or another Mayor Rob Ford in the media circus, like what Toronto, Ontario, went through?

So I laughed, and I think it was good thing to laugh, after all Danny Nunes (a.k.a. The Kool-Aid Man) is a comedian, and from Kitimat, so why not stir the pot a little and have a good time with it. With the last election just eking out a voter turn-out of just over thirty per cent, Terrace does need a little pick-me-up to get voters out voting. In essence, he only needs over fifteen hundred voters to win, based on the 2014 election. And will this be a race for the next Mayor of Terrace? Who knows?

So stay tuned, as I am sure there will  be more news coming very soon about the Terrace, BC Municipal Election 2018. Remember, it’s the Kool-Aid Man, though I wonder if there are copyright issues here; Cool-Aid is a much “Cooler” name I think. But that’s just me.

Source: Terrace Standard, “Kool-Aid man to run for Terrace mayor” https://www.terracestandard.com/community/kool-aid-man-to-run-for-terrace-mayor/ July 28, 2018.