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Posts Tagged "solution"

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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2Jun

Prince George struggles to find public washroom solution | CBC News

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City council in Prince George is trying to find ways to increase accessibility to public washrooms in the downtown area.

There are few options available for people, and many businesses have chosen not to grant public access to their facilities because of fear of overdoses and safety concerns. 

City staff presented a report to council this week, which highlighted there are no perfect solutions and that other cities are also struggling with this issue. 

“This is a really tough topic, and I think if I were able to pull some themes it would be…that providing access to public washrooms for everybody that needs to access them, and ensuring that they are clean and safe, is challenging,” said Chris Bone, city manager of social planning.

“My research has shown that no community has figured out how to do this effectively and that some of the communities that were seen to be ahead of the curve are now faced with having to rethink initial solutions because we’re working in a very different world now.”

After a heated debate, council agreed to try one of city staff’s recommendations to provide additional funding to social service providers, such as Saint Vincent de Paul, which already grant public washroom access.

Many of these providers have restricted access to their washrooms in the past because they don’t have the resources to monitor them. The funding is intended to offset the cost of having an assigned washroom monitor during peak hours.

Other cities

One of the other options staff proposed, was giving businesses $500 to open their bathrooms. However, this was tried in Yellowknife, and most businesses weren’t willing to do it for that amount.

Another option considered was bringing in self-contained stalls — called a Portland Loo — which are difficult to vandalize.

The town of Smithers introduced them two years ago. However, staff received mixed reviews from other cities that had them because of concerns that opioid users would overdose inside.

Cost of opening washroom doors

The Prince George Public Library is one of the few places that offers public washrooms, but it’s come at a cost.

In the past, library staff have had to call paramedics because of overdoses, and the security budget has now increased from $55,000 in 2015, to more than $150,000 this year. 

Amy Dhanjal, communications coordinator for the library, said in a recent count, staff found that between 20 to 40 people were using the washroom per hour. 

“We looked at percentages and we saw that about 14 per cent of those people are just coming in to use the washroom and then they’re leaving the library,” she told Daybreak North’s Nicole Oud.

Everyone needs washrooms, says Dhanjal

However, despite challenges the library has faced from opening its washrooms to the public, Dhanjal believes it’s important for the city to be accessible. 

“I know often when people think about public washrooms and people are advocating for public washrooms, the conversation sometimes focuses on people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“But, there are so many other people that need to use the washroom; people that have Crohn’s, people who are menstruating, people that are elderly sometimes need a bathroom right away.”

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But in downtown Prince George, it can be hard to find somewhere to do so. Nicole Oud reports. 8:31

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28Feb

Daphne Bramham: First Nations’ solution to a modern, medical crisis

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Ending Canada’s opioid overdose crisis will likely require much more than sophisticated drug therapies. In fact, it might mean following the lead of First Nations health-care providers and transforming how we think about and deliver medical services.

First Nations people are dying of opioid overdoses at three times the rate of the general population. Hidden in that data are Canada’s most-neglected victims — Indigenous women.

Unlike in the general population where men comprise 80 per cent of the victims, Indigenous women are as likely to overdose or die as their brothers, fathers, husbands and sons.

They are eight times more likely to overdose than other women, and five times more likely to die from an overdose.

It’s not really surprising, says Dr. Evan Adams, the First Nations Health Authority’s chief medical health officer. The terrible numbers track other devastating indicators of how their health and longevity diverge from those of other Canadians.

“A lot of First Nations women who have substance-use disorders are exploited women. They are women who are victimized by the sex trade. They’re victimized by their partners,” said Adams, who worked for five years in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside, the epicentre of Canada’s opioid crisis.

What the opioid crisis highlights for him is the endemic problem of the western medical model, where people go passively to doctors’ offices and say, “Heal me.”


Dr. Evan Adams is the Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority.

Jason Payne /

PNG

“Our (First Nations) model is that the doctor gives you a chance to get better. But, you make yourself better,” he said. “It’s your family that does most of the work of helping you get better, not that doctor who you visit for 15 minutes every week, if you’re lucky.”

Unlike in the western model, healing and wellness in the traditional Indigenous way involve mind, body and spirit. For First Nations men and women to achieve wellness, Adams said they require much more than medicine.

“They need healers who can do ceremony. Maybe they need love. They need justice.

“How can a woman recover from opioid use disorder when you won’t let her see her children? It’s disgusting,” he said.

The day Adams and I met, the FNHA offices were being “swept” by a group of elders carrying cedar boughs and candles using traditional ceremonies to restore the spirits of the people who work there.

“Some people would say an elder is less trained in opioids than an addictions physician,” Adams said. “But wouldn’t it be nice to have both?”

It’s not that FNHA rejects modern medicine. It continues to expand access to opioid agonist treatments such as methadone and Suboxone, which quell cravings, making it available at all FNHA nursing stations and at four of the nine FNHA-funded residential treatment centres. FNHA reimburses treatment fees charged by private clinics and has spent $2.4 million in grants to 55 communities for harm-reduction programs.

Yet, for Adams and his staff, drug therapies are only a small part of what he calls harm reduction’s suite of services.


The Crosstown Clinic in downtown Vancouver.

JONATHAN HAYWARD /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

“Harm reduction is not just, ‘Let’s make sure you don’t overdose.’ It’s the whole person that you have to treat, not just this one aspect of the person that is craving opioids.”

To incorporate First Nations wisdom into other programs, FNHA created two peer coordinator jobs at the Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. Its compassion inclusion initiative has engaged another 144 Indigenous people with lived experience across B.C., and its Indigenous wellness team has taught indigenous harm-reduction and wellness programs in 180 communities.

“Opioid use disorder is everyone’s business. It’s yours and it’s mine and it’s everyone around us. It’s not just the domain of physicians with 24 years of training,” he said. “Why can’t Grandma help, or a family member?”

What concerns Adams about the response to the opioid crisis that is heavily grounded in the medical model is that it could widen the gap between his people and mainstream Canadians.

Indigenous people don’t necessarily trust health providers who don’t look like them or where there is no acknowledgment of the historical trauma they have suffered and their unique experiences in the world.

That’s just one more reason why the FHNA, which is unique in Canada, is so adamant that it must transform the way health care is delivered to its people so that they are empowered to help in their own healing within their own circles of trusted friends, family and elders.

This current crisis is rooted in the western medical model. The seeds were sown by an aggressive marketing campaign by Purdue Pharma, which falsely promoted its Oxycodone as being non-addictive. What followed was an epidemic of opioid over-prescription by physicians and other health-care professionals that eventually created a demand for synthetic opioids on the black market.

With so many deaths and no end in sight, this might be the time for all of us to reconsider whether the best responses to this crisis ought to be done within a much broader context of healing and an expanded understanding of what wellness really means.

[email protected]

Twitter: @bramham_daphne


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