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 Hills Look Bright Today

A little tongue and cheek with the photo I chose for this post–a shot of down town Terrace, BC looking North East at Terrace Mountain, all lit up by the setting Sun. In the for ground is Lakelse Ave., and Emerson Street; pretty much the down town centre at the old mall parking lot. But anyway, let me get on with the post. It is Thanksgiving day, Monday, a holiday for us here in Western Canada. Me and Suz., did get out for the afternoon. There was a drive down the Prince Rupert Highway, to Ackers Point Telegraph Point, then a romp around town before we called it a day. I did get lots done at home; more or less cleaning and organizing. Oh, then there was the awesome dinner over at Suz., place, totally yummy! You could say it was a great day overall.

Yes, it did rain. We needed it. According to the forestry website, we are still in a level-four drought classification for the North Coast. Even Suz., admitted that in all of her life, she has not seen it this dry here in the Skeena Valley. Climate Change, or what! Last year, at this time, the mountains were completely white with snow. Today, they look like are in the middle of summer: dry and bare. Even with what little rain we got over these last few days, it is not even close to what we need.

Holidays, you gotta love them! Need more of them. This working life it sometimes to tough on a guy.

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!

Back to the Extreme Rating

Just a little post for today on how dry it is up here on the North Coast of British Columbia. When me and Suz., drove down onto Keith Avenue, where the Forestry, Forest Fire Rating sign sits, it was indicating that our forest fire rating is in the “Extreme” rating. Suz., finally told that, “yes, this is unprecedented for this area,” on how dry, and how warm, it is this year, she said. As we head into October, so far, this month is looking dry too.

My next door neighbour keeps a rudimentary rain gauge where the community garden lays. It indicates that for the month September, only 48mm of rain has fallen at that spot in Lower Thornhill, BC. He says that the last time he saw a year where it was this dry this late in the season was around 1976.

As for the dry weather, when I got into my car this morning, 5:00am, the temperature was a cool minus 2C, but not a cloud in the sky that I could see. The stars were out, shinning like diamonds, but no rain as far as I could see. However, this land is funny, as the weather can change within minutes. Maybe we will get some baldy needed moisture in the coming days.

Wow, A Lot at Once: Free Trade, LNG, and Inflation.

The start of October has been a busy one! In just these two past day, we have seen Canada settles its trade deal with the Mexico and the United State of America, and right after that, the announcement of the 40 billion LNG project for British Columbia. All of this leading to our local “Think Tank” saying that inflation is going to hit hard in the coming months now that prosperity is shinning through the mist, down the path. Of course, the North Coast is very familiar with the boom and bust cycle, so know is surprised–just look at the speculators are doing.

It was good news that Canada has signed the free trade deal with the other two North American countries. A lot of industry around these parts rely on trade with the US. We are like a Banana Republic, no one wants our finished goods, but sure as heck, our natural resources. Everything from fish to lumber, with a little bit of gold on top, get stripped away, and sent off down South. But, any how, our jobs will continue, and with it, the cost of our goods in the store will not be terribly over priced. Yes, I prefer shopping over at China, than our southern markets. But they say, (the Think Tank) that we will see inflation locally rise around 4 per cent over the next sixteen months. Yes, they somehow figured this out, not in terms of years, but nice round numbers over the course of months. Go figure.

The LNG project seems to be a done deal. Of course, around here, in the Skeena Valley, it is a “When I see it, then I’ll believe it,” attitude, which is the most common opinion. When they announced that “ten thousand jobs” would be created, I heard a lot of muffled, “Bull Shit,” being hurled. I guess from the last great mega project of the North Coast, that fell far short on their promises of prosperity lasting throughout the decades. So we wait–as anything can happy between now and the ends of time. But no doubt, we should start seeing the influx of people move in the area, hoping to catch that three year construction job that would hopefully pay off all the bill, pop-up. Which leads into my next rant, inflation.

Yes, all of this awesome news will spell out two probabilities. First, inflation will rise faster than normal in the area. Second, more locals will be displaced as a result of this. With jobs and the lure of new money in the local economy, comes rising real estate prices, trickling down to higher rents, and hyper low vacancy levels. This should completely kick out any hopes of affordable housing to the masses who need it. The (Think Tank) predictions are that by 2020, the effects of LNG on the area should increase homelessness by five per cent. I think that is a very conservative estimate, for the Skeena valley, but the (Think Tank) stresses that these are based the last mega project, and its effect over a five year period. But on the bright side, if you are one of the lucky one, and sang one of these supposed awesome jobs, then you are “golden.” You will live in prosperity, and can say, “Bonus”!

The Think Tank, are local group of some fifteen residence in Thornhill, BC, that comprise of aboriginal, and non-aboriginal, employed and unemployed, men and women, all younger than fifty years of age (between 20 to 50 years of age). These debates are held at random times, and have no set moderation or agendas, so topics are brought up at the participant’s request.

Loving the Autumn Colours of the Trees in Terrace, BC

We hit the weekend, and with it, super awesome weather–again. Another weekend with not a cloud in the sky, and with warm air, to “almost” make you want to throw the shorts back on. Sure, it is a little cool in the evenings, but that could be all forgotten with the amazing day we just had. So much was done today, and now so tired to type it all out that I will just cut to the highlights, and spare you the details. I took the camera out in the afternoon to shoot some of the streets of Terrace, BC, to capture the changing trees, as their leaves get ready to fall for the winter. And today is also the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is my second one. It was an action packed day.

All week I was preparing for that opportunity to walk around town to take photos of the changing colours of the trees. So I scouted the down town area in Terrace, looking for the best trees to photograph. With the help of Suz, as she drove in her car, we hit some of the locations I wanted to shoot with the camera. Our first stop was on Kalum Street, right near the Court House. There I shot the above image, right on the corner. The maple trees there are awesome, and with the right light, this looked great. The second stop was on Lazelle Avenue, just passed the Medical Building, looking East, towards Kalum Street. The whole street was bursting with colours from the trees. See image below.

You can clearly see how awesome the day was in this image. And yes, I waited for most of the cars to drive off from the street before I started shooting. Tomorrow is supposed to be as awesome!

To end the evening off, me and Suz., went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival, where we watched ten films that were submitted for the tour. Like last year, these films were awesome to watch. We really enjoyed ourselves, and were entertained. I would like to go to next years event too. I highly recommended it! The tickets were twenty dollars each, and the event was about four hours long, held at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre, in Terrace.