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.

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!

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.

We Had a Little Fender-Bender, But All is Good!

Imagen driving down a very dark highway, and you are going from 80km/h to 100km/h, and way out in front of you, you see a vehicle, then from behind it, sparks at random places on the road, and they are getting closer and closer. Then an object bouncing towards you that you can hardly see becuase of its dark colour. What would you do? The quick thinking Suzette did what most of us would have done: stop to avoid the object. She safely came to a stop, just metres from the object, and this is what we saw.

The object was a metal picnic bench, painted dark green, that was being transported on the back of someone’s pick-up truck, and they never bothered to properly secured it to the deck. It fell off as they accelerated in the 100km/h speed zone, so when it hit the road, it was already travelling a 80km/h. So what we saw from behind were sparks, as it bounced along the surface of the pavement then came to rest.

An emergency stop was initiated. The vehicle behind us also had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting us, and as we heard it brake–at that moment I was happy. But then a second later, a third vehicle was not so quick, and collided into the back of the car behind us, then the car behind us was pushed into us. So now we have a three vehicle accident, and loose objects on the road. We waited, and after a ten second pause, we assessed ourselves, and looked outside. There seemed to be no other sounds of crashing cars–it was safe to go outside.

I will not go into the specifics of what happened to all three vehicles, but I will say this, no one was physically injured. All three vehicles had to be towed away, and the metal bench was taken off the road, so we were thankful that it was just our vehicles that were damaged, not anyone else. However, a few things need to be addressed here.

Let me quote Suzette’s Face Book post, using her words:

This piece of metal lawn furniture fell out of a vehicle last night on Kitimat highway just Terrace side of Hirsch Creek. It caused a 3 car fender bender, no major injuries thankfully. I stopped in time to miss hitting it. The woman behind managed to stop in time to not hit me, but the third car hit her, pushing her into my driver side back quarter. So, all 3 had to be towed. PEOPLE! tie down your loads! If I had not seen the sparks when this fell out of the vehicle, I would have had less notice of something wrong ahead, could have hit it, into my windshield and could have caused a major accident. Now my car is heading to the shop…

Two points. First, the owner of the park bench was the cause of this accident. You never move items on your vehicle without first properly securing them to the vehicle to prevent them from falling off and causing damage to the road, property, and people. This is the law.

Secondly, As a driver, you must drive in a safe manner. This means driving with enough space between you and the driver ahead to stop safely, in case of an emergency. Driving too close is not only bad driving, but in the case of an emergency, you are not going to stop in time to avoid the driver ahead of you. This is the only time, that you are one hundred per cent at fault if you cause the accident.

Anyway, we are all good.

On a side note, I told Suzette today, “we were partly responsible of closing down the Kitimat to Terrace Highway for an hour, yesterday”!

 

 

Not Enough Tom

It is beginning to cloud over, with a sprinkle or two, here in the Skeena Valley, this after an awesome two weeks of sun fill days that could cause a suntan if you are not careful. It is hard to believe it is still May here on the North Coast. Awwwww, climate change, marvellous. But that is not what I am going to blog about today. No, this is my monthly round up what is going on in my little corner of the neighbourhood. This month, I call it, “Not Enough Tom” to go around. Between the needy around my place, and all four levels of Government, my hard earned money is being targeted like Mexico paying for the “Trump Wall” along the Southern U.S. border, I keep saying “No,” but the “please” keeps sounding in my ears, louder, and louder, and louder. In our free and democratic country, the need for Taxes grows ever stronger, where “asking” turns into “taking,” and like the Internet scammer, the sound has become more demanding than ever before. The root cause in my mind is, the needy get less back from the Government, so both Government and the needy turn to the Middle-class for more. I ask, “What part of NO don’t you understand?”

In my everyday routine, the to and from work part, I get asked at least once for “something” by my neighbours, in my neighbourhood. It may vary, from hard cold currency, to material items like tobacco or access to the Internet, but in all cases, the asker is someone who is either self medicating or mismanages their income in varying degrees. Whenever I enter my car, or leave it, that is usually where someone will ambush me, and the asking starts. I am an easy target here in the Thornhill Ghetto: I drive my own car, and it is shiny and black, and I have a job–a regular job–yup, paint a “bull’s eye” on me. Even the Government is asking for more, but I have been able to hold them off for now through tax loopholes and investment incentives through reputable programs, but that is still money I can not spend for myself right now. So here is the list: from “least,” to “most often.”

ONE: The Internet scammers are working harder than ever. In the last month (April 15 to May 15, 2018) My phone has logged up an impressive twenty-six callers that use “spoof” I.D. on the call displays. Yes, I screens my calls, and if it is “friend or foe,” it either goes to voice mail, or I answer it back–but “picking up” is almost a no-no.

TWO: The Taxi service out here in the Skeena Valley is very expensive. Unless you are disabled, either through health issues, or through intoxication, walking is the only true and tried method of getting around without a working and licensed vehicle, on a pauper’s income. Most do not like walking, especially if you live way out in the “sticks,” and you want to bring back that “twenty-four Pack” from the Beer Store, to your home. If you do not have money for a Taxi, then you target your buddies who own a vehicle. I get asked at least four times per week for rides. There are only three of us who have our own vehicles here in the Ghetto. I give no rides, becuase once you open that gate, then the flood begins. We have transit, yes, real actual buses that for a small fee, and it gets you back and forth from town–and it works becuase I know from first hand experience. Forget the Taxi Service and take Transit!

THREE: Being asked for money is the most often need I get asked for by my neighbours of all. Usually, it begins with, “I need food,” while they puff on their cigarettes, to “I need money for Cigarettes.” Sadly this is a reflection on the State of Canada’s economic well being, and those who made poor lifestyle choices. We are heading down the path of great economic disparity between the rich and poor. Lines are drawn between the old and the young, the Educated and labourers, all while those who are property rich cling to prosperity, and the “property poor” pay more and more to live in shacks. We have to learn to live without, and adapt to this economic change. We have choices, and drugs and alcohol are easy once to make, you just need the willingness to do it. But most of all, food should be made the first choice over Cable TV, and so on. To date, being asked to give money is by far the most often request I get here in the Ghetto.

In closing, I like say this: there is just not enough Tom. Yes, I save, but it comes with great sacrifice, but I do it. I plan, and it comes battling forces who try to disrupt my goals to their means, but I still plan anyway. For those who do not save up for their future, or plan for it and set goals, then these upcoming days are going to be your hardest ever. The poor need to ask the Government for more, not from me, becuase Government is taking so much as it is, and they make the rules. So, there is not enough of me to go around.

Friday Evening at the Lake: Sunset Included.

Not that I am complaining about the hot dry weather, but it is warm out, and I am getting a tan. With all this goodness, I do not want to be stuck at work, while all of this awesome weather is going on outside, knowing that soon, very soon, the rainy season will be upon us here in on the North Coast. It has been a great last couple of weeks, even knowing that it is still in the middle of May, and we have summer to reach yet. Oh yes, it is Friday, and we are at the start of a long weekend, Victoria Day, or May Day, depending on where you are. So some extra intensive to wanting to get out of work even faster to start the weekend. Spending time with Suz., was the highlight of the evening’s events. Unexpectedly, we went to the beach out at Lakelse Lake, just South of Terrace.

We went to Furlong Beach, now that the camp grounds and park area are open again after the long winter season. It was loaded with people, mainly young high school kids off on vacation, enjoying the super warm weather too. But for the nice weather, and wide open park, I kind of expected more people. The beach had many who were Sun Worshippers, basking out on the sand, then there were some who just walking around, and there were a few swimmers too, though I think the water is still to cold yet. The Sun was awesome, even Suz., sat quietly under its rays, collecting the energy from it. And of course, I could not resist the photo opportunity, while the Golden Hour of the day passed by, with my cameras.

As the Earth turned away from the Sun, leaving us in the dark once again, the people started moving out of the Beach area and back to the their camping areas for the evening. We stayed around for a short while, as the sky darkened. The air was still warm, and as a bonus, the mosquitoes were not out in full force biting yet. One last walk along the beach was in order.

With all the young adults, there was a police presence. Though we saw nothing out of the ordinary, it was nice to see them patrolling the area, keeping the law and order. I remember, as a younger person, this was the time of year to “let loose and be crazy” after being stuck inside all of the time during the winter months. I can imagine that has not changed for this generation, the Millennials.

The photos were taken at Lakelse Lake just at Sunset. I was using a 30mm MACRO Lens, set at f2.8, ISO100 with my Sony A77.

No Test Alert for Me

To be honest, I kind of figured the Network Test Alert would not work on my work’s Smart Phone, nor the Internet Radio I listen to. While some phones sprang to life at exactly 1:55pm this afternoon, many did not at my work. Some said even the local FM Radio gave off the alert sound–I do not listen to off-air radio. However, I did hear it on other phones around me, but thought what if I am all alone, and the impending alert was broadcast, then what–follow the crowds, if I see them running all in one direction?

Strangely, and even more worrisome, some Smart Phone users around me had their phones go off some fifteen minutes later, and one co-worker said that he got the Alert’s text message, but no alarm sound. So the alarm was not constant throughout the local population. I see now that it is based on what type of phone you have, and whether your software can handle the carrior’s Apps for the alert.

Just add to this, my work’s phone is on the Telus Network, and so was everyone around me at my work. One would assume that we would all get the alert at the same time. This alert system appears to be ridden with bugs and very glitchy over different types of phone.

The test alert was scheduled for all of British Columbia, today, at 1:55pm. I knew about the test for today long in advance, some weeks ago. I even placed my Smart Phone on my desk, and cranked the volume up, just to make sure I would hear it. Other were near by too, so I heard their phones going off, but mine lay in silence.

What is humbling, is in the event of a real British Columbia wide Alert, or something local, I would not know it, if I was alone. Say, for instance, I was out hiking, or in some place remote, I would never know. So this made me think what else I could do, or change, that would include me in with those who would be notified? Right now, not much. Even the App’s software I installed, did not work. So I believe that our Governments still have some wrinkles to iron out, and bugs to squish, on this matter.

Missed Earth Day

Yes, I had completely forgotten about Earth Day until Suz., brought it up while we were driving through town. Normally I am on top of these events, but this year our vacations started this weekend, so I was completely preoccupied getting ready for the week, so Earth Day was the farthest thing on my mind. However, I am happy to report that we saw a few people collecting roadside trash in Terrace, BC., so there were volunteers doing their part on this day. Also, at the Junction of highway 16 and 37, we saw a largo mound of trash filled bags siting on the side of the read waiting to be picked up. There were people at other locations on side streets and boulevards, but the main highways through town seem to have the largest amount of trash per kilometre.

Sadly, when we drove out to Rosswood, BC, highway 113 there was lots of garbage strewn along side the roads. I saw everything from disposable diapers to car parts, but the most common items were paper coffee cups from the two main drive through restaurants in town. I will not mention names, but you do not need to be a scientist to figure out who they are, and to fair, it is their customers who are at fault, not the makers and vendors of the beverages. The likelihood of this stretch of road getting any attention on Earth Day is rather low, so the garbage will pile up more than likely.

When we came back into town, we saw the muster point, with marshaling station, at the George Little park for the roadside trash collection volunteers. So it appears that this is a well organized event. I have never been to one here in Terrace, so I have no idea how they operate. Perhaps next year! Suz., did say that the next major hike we go on, she is bringing a garbage bag to collect other people’s littler on the hiking trails we got on. She is right, Earth Day should be celebrated everyday, not just once a year. And Earth Hour, should be practiced 24/7.