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Posts Tagged "metro vancouver"

16Jul

These 5 washrooms are finalists in an annual search for Canada’s best

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What’s your favourite local loo?

It might seem like a strange question, but the restrooms in five Canadian businesses are finalists in an annual contest to find the country’s best.

Two of the top contenders in this year’s search, put on by restroom supplier Cintas Canada, are located in Vancouver.

Bauhaus Restaurant was named one of Canada’s best 100 places to eat earlier this year. 

A few months later, the West Cordova Street spot that specializes in contemporary German cuisine is being recognized for a different feature: its bathrooms.

“Bauhaus Restaurant was inspired by the early 20th-century design movement ‘Bauhaus’ which was famous for its unique approach to architecture and design, where every form had a function,” a statement announcing the finalists said.

“The restaurant’s Berlin street art-inspired washrooms were commissioned by Olliemoonsta, an art duo from Spain with a background in Fine Arts and Graphic Design.”

Its walls include quotes from Bauhaus School founder Walter Gropius, original graphic designs and graffiti that all match the theme.
 

Bauhaus Restaurant
 

Also in the top five is Laurence and Chico Cafe, named after designers Laurence Li and Chico Wang.

The coffee shop on Bute Street is described by Wang as a “surreal opportunity…through a space that combines elements of design, furniture and home décor with a culinary experience.”

Those behind the Best Restroom contest praise its whimsical wallpapers, tiles and furnishings that replicate the clothing designers’ signature prints.

“You can Instagram every corner of the café, including the washrooms, which offer customers an escape from reality,” the statement issued by Cintas Canada Tuesday says.

“One of the washrooms is rubber ducky themed where if you look up, you’ll see the ceiling adorned with them. Another is a floral-themed washroom featuring paper mache flowers.”
 

Laurence and Chico
 

Heading east, the next restaurant to make the top five is located in a gas station in a hamlet in northeastern Alberta.

Lac La Biche is home to a population of about 2,300 and, apparently, one of Canada’s best restrooms. The loo that made the list is at the Beaver Hill Shell station.

It was designed with comfort in mind, contest organizers say.

“Unlike conventional rest-stops, they feature luxurious details throughout. Clean lines like herringbone-patterned wall and floor tile, paired with sleek wall sconces, shining chandeliers and large, decorative mirrors create a modern yet rustic look,” Cintas Canada said in the statement.

“Meanwhile, simple details like relaxing artwork and warm, wooden stall doors make the washrooms stand out.”
 

Beaver Hill Shell
 

Cluny Bistro, in Toronto’s Distillery District, is also a finalist, praised for its solid oak walls, cement flooring and white marble countertops.

The restrooms in the restaurant located within the heritage site of the Gooderham Building were designed by Studio Munge, Cintas says.

“The washrooms feature warm woods, delicate gold fixtures and frosted glass. Meanwhile, the tiled floor is decorated in shades of yellow, orange and duck-egg blue.”
 

Cluny Bistro
 

Rounding out the top five is Cosmos Cafe in Quebec City.

“With its eclectic décor and modern style, the Cosmos Cafe carries an atmosphere worth experiencing,” contest organizers said.

“The artistic elements found throughout the cafe flow into the washrooms where you’ll find sinks made of rock with waterfall faucets and touchless amenities.”

Among the features highlighted in the announcement were the restrooms’ one-way mirrored fish tanks.
 

Cosmos Cafe
 

The top five were selected based on criteria including cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements, organizers say.

Votes from the public will determine which toilet triumphs, which facility flushes out the competition.

Lavatory lovers can cast their bathroom ballots online.

The winner will be given a place in Canada’s Best Restroom Hall of fame, and a prize of $2,500 in facility services from Cintas.

Last year’s winning washroom was St. Albert Honda, which beat out four others including Vancouver’s Anh and Chi


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14Jul

Tiny Village of Deep Cove needs big solution to address ‘growing problem’ of crowds

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Hundreds, if not thousands, flock to the tiny Village of Deep Cove each day in the summer to enjoy the area’s picture-postcard beauty.

The crowds in recent years have increased so much that officials had to introduce new parking rules and a limit on how many people can use the local trail.

But some businesses and locals believe more measures are needed to handle the influx of visitors.

“The locals, for lack of a better word, have resigned to the fact that they have no ownership of the cove for six to seven months of the year,” said Arash Memarzadah, who runs the family-operated Pomegranate Grillhouse and Café.

Memarzadah said many of his regular customers avoid the village in the summer because of parking and overcrowding issues.

He said the experience isn’t always a positive one for visitors, either.

“You spend 20 minutes trying to get down into the cove. You spend another 20 minutes trying to find parking. You get out, it’s way too busy. There’s no corner store, there’s no tourism centre, you go down to the restaurants and everyone has wait times.”

The District of North Vancouver has been trying to combat the overcrowding on its popular hiking trails.

For the second year in a row, it introduced a restriction on the number of hikers for Quarry Rock.

It also implemented new parking rules, including adding more permit parking spots and overflow parking lots; limiting how long people can stay in some lots; and increasing enforcement.

District Mayor Mike Little said the issue is not unique to Deep Cove.

“It’s a growing problem. It’s a growing concern. It’s something that we’re going to have to manage traffic in more than just Deep Cove — in several sites across the District of North Vancouver,” he said.

But Memarzadah said parking is just one of the issues and businesses are finding themselves having to deal with other tasks.

“We just have people walking in needing an ATM, needing cigarettes, needing washrooms, needing to know which direction is Quarry Rock,” he said. “We didn’t sign up for that. It’s not Pomegranate Café and Public Washroom.”

Little said none of the recreation destinations on the North Shore have publicly funded information centres, including Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge.

He said many of the visitors are from other parts of the Greater Vancouver Area and a long-term solution would require collaboration from the region and the province.

“We’re seen as the backyard playground for much of the Lower Mainland. It’s something that’s going to take a regional response,” he said.

Memarzadah said he would like to see a big-picture solution that changes the dynamic of the village.

“It’s not that we don’t want people coming down to the cove. We have to decide, what do we want to be? The infrastructure was not built to handle this many people,” he said. 


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12Jul

Forestry workers reject mediator after asking for help: union

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VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.

The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.

Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.

Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.


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12Jul

Mediator rejected after forestry workers asked for help: union

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The Canadian Press


Published Friday, July 12, 2019 1:17PM PDT


Last Updated Friday, July 12, 2019 3:52PM PDT

VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.

The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.

Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.

Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.


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9Jul

‘Displacement to nowhere’: Surrey tent city residents vow to fight city’s plan to dismantle encampment

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A homeless encampment in Surrey will need to be dismantled for safety reasons, according to the city, but the campers that call the wooded area home say they plan to stay.

Residents of what’s known as the “Sanctuary” tent city on King George Boulevard between Bridgeview Drive and 132 Street say bylaw officers told them last week that the site would need to be dismantled by this Tuesday.

Video taken by homeless advocates shows bylaw officers in a truck near the site Tuesday morning.

“Eventually it might happen, but not this morning” a bylaw officer told members of Alliance Against Displacement when asked if they were there to begin removing the tent site.

The City of Surrey’s Acting Manager of Public Safety Operations, Kim Marosevich, told CTV News by phone Tuesday that the city is monitoring the situation closely and is concerned about structures on site as well as the use of open flame and propane.

“We’re concerned about safety on the property,” Marosevich said.

Residents living on the site told CTV News on Tuesday they do use fire for cooking, but say it’s used safely and they have fire extinguishers and shovels.

“When I do make a fire it’s so small and minute, it’s just enough to cook on,” said Jennifer Rouse, who moved into the camp after previously living alone in a tent in Newton. “This is my home so I take very good care of it. If anything were to happen to it, it would devastate me.”

According to the Alliance Against Displacement, the camp has been up and running for several years and about 50 people are currently living there.

Many of the campers, including Wanda Stopa, who moved to the site about five months ago, say they ended up there after being displaced from a stretch of 135A street in Whalley that served as a homeless encampment for years before being cleared out by the city.

 

“The amount of stress you go through every day is unreal,” Stopa said Tuesday. “A person shouldn’t have to live like that. They shouldn’t be treated the way we’re treated by bylaw. It’s just not right.”

The city says it’s working with the Surrey Outreach Team to try and support residents and find safe housing for the residents before the camp is dismantled.

But Dave Diewert with Alliance Against Displacement says housing options for the homeless in Surrey are limited and modular housing brought to the area simply cannot support the number of homeless people in the city.

“This is a displacement to nowhere,” Diewert said. “This is an absolutely crucial site for survival, for organization, for support, for human community in the midst of what is a terrible housing crisis in Surrey.”

The City of Surrey could not give a timeline of when it would move in to dismantle the site, calling the situation “fluid”, and noting they are working with multiple agencies to make sure the campers have somewhere else to go.

Residents are not only vowing to stay at the camp, they are also asking the city for amenities including water, garbage pickup and washroom facilities as they wait for what they consider adequate housing solutions.

“People are still in shelters. People are still in the bush. We need real solutions. We need real housing,” Diewert said.




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8Jul

Uber in B.C.? Regulations give ride-hailing service the green light

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The B.C. government says the Passenger Transportation Board will start accepting applications as of Sept. 3 in order to have the service in place this fall.

ICBC says it will offer a blanket, per kilometer insurance product and will only apply when a driver is offering the service. All other regulations will come into force on Sept. 16, which means ride-hailing is a go once the PTB approves applications.

PTB will need to consider appropriate operating areas, fleet sizes, and rates.

Other regulations announced via a government release include requiring drivers to have criminal and driver record checks. Those operating illegal services could be fined up to $100,000 a day. A 30-cent “per-trip” fee is also being added to help fund programs to increase accessibility.

The regulations released today come after a number of studies and consultations into the issue of ride-hailing.

Earlier this year, a legislature committee issued recommendations including there be no boundaries or limits on how many ride-hailing vehicles are allowed on the road. The committee also suggested the minimum cost for ride-hailing needs to be more than the cost of taking transit.

Another recommendation – that drivers be required to hold a Class 5 license was previously rejected by the minister.

In June, a report from B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board found there was a “public need and desire for ride hailing.”

In 2017, the NDP government commissioned Dan Hara to speak to the taxi industry and stakeholders about how to move forward.

Parties have fielded the issue as a political hot potato for years. The Liberals, in power for 16 years failed to introduce regulations and the NDP broke a promise to bring in ride sharing by the end of 2017. Observers and critics accuse politicians to bowing to the taxi lobby and refusing to alienate voters in key battlegrounds like Surrey.

An overview of the regulations provided by the government follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here for a compatible version.


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8Jul

Uber in B.C.? Ride-hailing companies, advocates worried regulations too restrictive

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Imagine working for a cab company, ending your shift late and not and then not being able to get a taxi to stop and take you home.

Christiana Virtue said that’s exactly what happened to her.

“I was off at three o’clock in the morning waiting for a cab and the cab drove past me multiple times,” she told CTV News.

She blamed the early morning hours and the location. The Victoria-area resident estimated over the past year, she’s probably had a cab not pick her up for various reasons about 10 or 15 times.

Like others, Virtue likes the idea of having the option to ride-share. It’s a reality that’s a step closer, as the province unveiled regulations Monday that companies will need to abide by. Yet something that wasn’t addressed in those new rules is what advocates say may be the biggest roadblock ahead.

“We are very concerned around the Class 4 licensing that will reduce the amount of the supply on the road, which is ultimately the problem and the challenge that we’ve been experiencing for so many years here in B.C.,” said Lyft Canada’s Managing Director, Aaron Zifkin.

Lyft insists the requirement for the commercial Class 4 licence and not the standard Class 5 most people have won’t mean more vehicles on the road.

B.C. Ridesharing Coalition’s Ian Tostenson told CTV the Class 4 requirement makes it easier for those already driving taxis?to make the switch — which doesn’t increase supply. He’s also worried the requirement will be too cumbersome and costly for moms and students who, in other jurisdictions, have signed up to drive.

“It could cost someone upwards of $1,000 and several months to get it and we’re concerned it’s the only place in North America, practically, that people are required to get it,” Tostenson added.

In a teleconference speaking on behalf of Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, who is ill, North Vancouver MLA Bowinn Ma said the Class 4 requirement was “non-negotiable.” Ma chaired an all-party legislature committee that recommended the standard Class 5 license.

Ma also noted the Passenger Transportation Board will start accepting ride-hailing applications as of Sept. 3 in order to have the service in place this fall. She added she believed the government had struck the right balance in terms of the existing taxi industry, passenger safety and choice.

Other regulations include requiring drivers to have criminal and driver record checks. Those operating illegal services could be fined up to $100,000 a day. A 30-cent “per-trip” fee is also being added to trips in non-accessible vehicles to help fund programs to increase accessibility. All companies will be charged an annual fee of $5,000 a year – an amount government officials said was “conservative” when compared to other jurisdictions.

The regulations announced today will come into force on Sept. 16, which means ride-hailing is a go once the PTB approves applications.

PTB will need to consider appropriate operating areas, fleet sizes, and rates. Consultations with ride-sharing companies and the taxi industry are expected to start Tuesday.

In a statement, Uber says it will review the information and “evaluate how they may impact our ability to provide British Columbians with the same ride-sharing experience they already enjoy in cities across North America…”

ICBC will offer a blanket, per kilometer insurance product that will only apply when a driver is offering the service. The rates will be detailed in an application expected July 19 and the BC Utilities Commission has been given until Aug. 8 to approve the new rates. In a technical briefing, staff said taxi insurance rates would be used as a benchmark to determine rates.

The regulations released today come after a number of studies and consultations into the issue of ride-hailing.

Earlier this year, a legislature committee issued recommendations including there be no boundaries or limits on how many ride-hailing vehicles are allowed on the road. The committee also suggested the minimum cost for ride-hailing needs to be more than the cost of taking transit.

That resulted in blowback from ride-sharing companies and organizations like MADD who argue there’s no evidence to support the claim Class 4 licenses lead to increased safety. Several other Canadian provinces allow drivers to use class 5 licenses.

Parties have fielded the issue as a political hot potato for years. The Liberals, in power for 16 years failed to introduce regulations and the NDP broke a promise to bring in ride sharing by the end of 2017. Observers and critics accuse politicians to bowing to the taxi lobby and refusing to alienate voters in key battlegrounds like Surrey.

An overview of the regulations provided by the government follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here for a compatible version.


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4Jul

$1.5M in spending for Vancouver recommended in 2019 social grant report

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A new report by Vancouver’s managing director of social policy and projects is recommending City Council authorize more than $1 million in child care enhancement and other grants this year.

Sixty-one new social grants totalling $1,422,864 are recommended by Mary Clare Zak in her report, which is set to be tabled at Vancouver City Council’s next meeting on July 9.

“Social grants are investments that contribute to a healthy city for all. They support non-profit community-based services that facilitate the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of people,” wrote Zak in the report.

The bulk of the funds would be split between 46 separate grants to support “licensed group child care, preschool, school-aged care and occasional child care programs serving high need families.” 

The total of the 46 grants is $976,140 according to the report.The next largest line item is a grant worth more than $300,000 to support the operation of the Collingwood Gymnasium and Annex in East Vancouver.

Seven social policy capital grants would be provided to improve the “safety, accessibility, and operational needs” of non-profit childcare and service organizations, and five grants worth nearly $50,000 would be given to support start-up costs for “new or expanded childcare operations, assist with financial restructuring to address financial crises, and support innovations in early learning and care.”

The grants would be funded by the 2019 Social Policy Grants operating budget for childcare.


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3Jul

Illegal Airbnb hostel operator’s human rights complaint dismissed

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Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver


Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:24PM PDT


Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:33PM PDT

A North Vancouver townhouse owner whose strata tried to shut down her 15-bed Airbnb rental has had a human rights complaint denied.

Emily Yu filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleging her strata violated her rights when it told her she was breaking their bylaw by running a short term rental out of her home.

In her complaint, Yu said the strata’s demand discriminated against her disability, which she said requires her to rent out her unit for income. 

However, tribunal member Devyn Cousineau cited a previous Supreme Court decision on the same dispute that said there was not enough evidence of a mental disability. 

“There is a one-paragraph letter from what appears to be a general practitioner, which states that she has long-term post-concussion issues and ongoing disability. This is simply, not enough, in my view,” the Supreme Court judge’s decision from 2018 says.

Cousineau’s decision released on June 26 said the B.C. Human Rights Code allows the tribunal to dismiss a complaint that “has been appropriately dealt with in another proceeding.” She pointed out that this was not the first time Yu and her strata had filed formal complaints against each other.

In 2017, following an application from her strata, Yu was ordered by the Civil Resolution Tribunal to shut down her rental, known as the “Oasis Hostel” operating out of her townhouse on 13th Avenue near Chesterfield Avenue.

“The owner used (the unit) as an ‘Airbnb’ unit since at least May 2016, whereby she rented out as many as 15 beds and (had) up to 20 short-term boarders at any one time,” the CRT decision says. 

“The Airbnb use is not disputed and is supported by various witness statements and documentary evidence, including ‘Craigslist’ ads provided to the tribunal, with the owner apparently charging between $50 and $102 per night for each bed.” 

Background information in the CRT decision also noted that Yu never had a business licence with the City of North Vancouver and that the city had ordered her to stop running the Airbnb on multiple occasions as it went against its bylaws. 

As a result of the CRT’s decision, Yu was fined $4,600 for running the Airbnb. That’s when the matter came before the Supreme Court, when Yu tried to appeal CRT’s decision. However, in 2018, she lost. 

In the case of the recent human rights complaint, Cousineau felt Yu’s issue had already been adequately dealt with by CRT and the Supreme Court and could not “support the re-litigation of the same issue.”  


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19Jun

Parents worried Drake Street bike lane will impact access to school

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A proposed bike route along Drake Street has triggered concerns from some parents that the project could make it harder to access a nearby elementary school.

The City of Vancouver is hoping to install a protected bike lane on Drake between Burrard Street and Pacific Boulevard, filling a gap in east-west cycling routes through the downtown core.

Only one other protected bike lane currently crosses Granville Street, and it’s seven blocks north along Dunsmuir.

Proposed bike route

But parents at Yaletown’s Elsie Roy Elementary School worry it could make an already busy drop-off, pick-up area even more hectic, particularly for the families of students with disabilities.

“There are some kids that really need to be picked up right here, right in front, because they can’t walk or they have some issues,” said Colette Tan, whose daughter goes to Elsie Roy. “We have to spare a thought for those kids and their parents as well.”

The bike lane proposal has already prompted a Change.org petition that’s been signed by about 160 people so far.

Officials note the route ends on the other side of Pacific Boulevard from Elsie Roy, and won’t impact the block directly in front of the school. But the two options put forward for the project would remove anywhere from 50 per cent to 88 per cent of parking spaces west of Pacific on Drake.

Parents say that could result in more drivers trying to snag the sought-after parking spots across the street from Elsie Roy, clogging up the road even more.

Some also questioned the need for a protected bike lane so close to the Seawall.

“Most of the people go to the Seawall. It’s better to cycle there than here,” said Tan, who sometimes bikes with her daughter to school.

Paul Storer, manager of transportation design for the city, said Vancouver has been eyeing a bike lane on Drake Street since 2012. It’s already a popular route for cyclists, despite a lack of protection that makes them vulnerable to accidents like “dooring,” when cyclists are struck as motorists are stepping out of their vehicles.

According to the city’s bike lane proposal, dooring accidents account for 40 per cent of crashes between cyclists and drivers on Drake, compared to 15 per cent across the city as a whole.

“Drake Street has been on the map as a street to improve that’s important for cycling,” Storer said.

Officials also said they can make additional parking changes on Drake if the bike lane ends up causing chaos outside Elsie Roy.

“If there is an issue in terms of parking in that area, we would have tools to be able to manage the parking to ensure it’s really used for what really needed for – pick-up and drop-off for the school is one of the key things,” Storer said.

More information on the city’s Drake Street bike route plans are available online.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Regan Hasegawa


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