Current Affairs

SBofT Sizzles for Food Bank

The Surrey Board of Trade (SBofT) gathered up over 700 lbs of food and raised $2876 for the Surrey Food Bank on Wednesday night, during their annual Seasonal Sizzle event at EagleQuest Golf Course in Surrey.

Over 450 people attended what is one of the Board’s most popular events of the year, and the place was packed all night. People networked with new and old friends, and enjoyed a trade show put on by various services and suppliers as well.

It’s amazing what a few peeps can do when they get together to have fun and help out a good cause.

Unfortunately the need never ends, so the Surrey Food Bank is open for donations all year. Fortunately, there are also lots of other community events where we can help at this time of year. Keep an eye on the Food Bank website for more info.

Surrey’s New Council Now Sworn In

That was interesting. I watched the inauguration of Surrey’s new council via live stream tonight. Not as intimate as being there, but the view was great. That’s the first live stream event I’ve watched of the city council.

What was really good was that they had a separate feed for mobile devices. I tried it on my iPad and it came up without a hitch. Just had to press the word “Play” and off it went.

If they hadn’t had that working on the iPad, I would never have tried again to get it up on my iMac. Seems there was a strange looking, unnamed button you had to push on a regular browser to get the stream to go active – and no, the button wasn’t all that intuitive like on the iPad.

Still, it was good to see the folks getting started for another term. I wish them the best of luck. It’s a job not many are willing to take on and they deserve as much support as we can give them.

Election Day – Update

Well the usual suspects were elected in Surrey yesterday, so I guess they’ve been doing a fairly good job.

I can’t say as much for the voters though. According to the BC Gov’t website, there were 279,051 eligible voters (out of about 400K citizens in Surrey) and only 70K of those took the time to vote. 25%???? Twenty-five percent???

People all over the world are dying for the right to vote and only 25% of our population can give up half and hour of their day every three years to express that right? Sad.

What more can I say….

Election Day in BC

I got out to vote around 9:00am, and when I sent my ballot through the counter, there were about 120 people that had voted all ready.

Later in the afternoon, I saw a tweet that said that about 50K people had voted in all of Surrey and there was only 4 hours to go in the polls. It will be pretty sad if voting doesn’t pick up. 50-60K/400K citizens in Surrey is not a great turn out.

Fingers crossed that people will vote. If they do, at least they have a right to whine too. If they don’t, they won’t. Period.

Elections 2011

Just two more sleeps before the municipal elections in BC.

Please, it doesn’t matter how you vote, just that you DO vote. And if you don’t vote, don’t complain.

I’m  not much on politics, but for what it’s worth, here in Surrey I’m tending towards a mostly Surrey First vote. They’ve been doing a pretty good job over the last 6 years, and I really can’t get on board with the issues that the opposition keeps bringing up: a ward system, and not moving the city hall.

We’ve been waiting for a downtown core to develop since I moved back to Surrey in 1992. It’s finally happening, and that’s largely due to the focus the current government has placed on building in the core. Moving the city hall downtown sends a message that the area is important and that it is on Councils radar. There is no reason that we couldn’t have some small satellite offices in all the town centres and take more of the city’s business online.

I can’t get on board with wards. All I see is a bunch of little fiefdoms at war for dollars and attention. There is no way that a group of people, each responsible to one little area in the city, will be able to work together for a better city overall. It just won’t happen.

Anyway, enough of my rant. Saturday’s the day, so please get out and vote.

This Used to be a Forest

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This area under the Skytrain, just before King George Stn. in Surrey, use to be a small, urban forest, a couple of blocks square. When they logged it out a few of years ago, I was really pissed. We had skunks, racoons and seagulls migrating around the neighbourhood for a year or two after that. We also lost a bit of nature, right in downtown Surrey.

But, there was the other side of the equation too. Druggies and homeless folks camped there all year round, leaving needles, garbage and used condoms everywhere. It was a dangerous walk through the paths, as you didn’t know who or what you would run into. The park wasn’t somewhere you’d voluntarily go after dark, that’s for sure.

Now we have an urban park called Holland Park. Fusion Fest takes place here every year. We had the Olympic Celebration there, it’s been home to Movies in the Park and a variety of other events in the City Centre.

You can (mostly) walk the concrete trails and enjoy the trees, ponds and other water works around the site, and there is a small playground for kids tucked into the south west corner of the park.

As the new developments in the background here fill up, I’m sure there will be more than a few folks happy to have Holland Park across the street. We’re already seeing more and more people walking around and the park seems to be used all year round.

I’ve said for years that Surrey’s City Centre needs more feet on the street. Now with this park, SFU, new condos and other developments in the Centre, we’re seeing just that, and more and more people are feeling safer when walking around.

It’s starting to feel like a city in downtown Surrey.

Remembrance Day

I spent a few minutes around 11:00 today thinking about our Canadian veterans. I’m sure thankful for their work and dedication to keeping us safe.

As a young man, I spent some time in the army cadets, navy league and naval reserves, but I really have no idea of what it’s like to serve in dangerous times. Some of us boomers were lucky enough to miss a war. There were various UN and NATO actions we contributed to as a nation, but so far, no all out war with another nation like there was with the two world wars.

I hope we can keep it that way, and perhaps spending a few minutes of silence with our families once a year on November 11 will help. Fingers crossed!

It’s too bad about Occupy Vancouver

The OV movement in Vancouver (and the one in Victoria) seems to have lost its way. The folks in tents seem to have lost the sympathy that many of the rest of the 99% had with the cause. Now we have a very small, more militant group (of anarchists?), trying to talk for the 99% and egging the authorities on into some form of war.

The movement started out with some ‘demands’ that I could relate to:

– It is obscene how some people are ‘earning’ millions of dollars a year, while the people that do the work for them earn a pittance

-There is a lot of pollution in the world, and there has to be a better way to deal with it

– The cost of education is getting way out of hand, especially when you consider the wages young folks make

– and others, I’m sure

Those issues should be addressed, and soon.

But, and that’s a big But, when the participants resort to biting police and throwing bottles of urine at city workers, those folks lose all credibility. That’s no longer peaceful protest. That’s assault, and that’s a crime. They’ve just invited the police in to do what they do – restore some form of civility on a mob.

Guess we’ll see what happens. It is too bad though. It started as a noble cause.

Another round of kudos to SIWC

Over the last 17 years, the Surrey International Writers’ Conference has grown from filling a school classroom, to packing the largest conference centre in Surrey, at the Guildford Sheraton Vancouver Hotel. Over 500 writers, agents, editors and students from around the world filled the hotel again this year for an immersive celebration of writing.

This conference is more of a craft conference, than say the Vancouver International Readers’ and Writers’ Conference. At SIWC, there’s more one-on-one interaction between new or established authors, and their potential editors and agents. Workshops make up the core of the event, with dinnertime keynote speakers adding inspiration and stories.

This year’s workshops ranged from writing historical fiction, to using social media, and everything in between. There really is something for everyone, and there is little chance to get bored.

For more experienced writers, Master Classes lead off in the days before. At the conference itself, daily opening sessions, workshops and lunch speakers fill up the day, and evenings are punctuated with Night Owl events, like this year’s Shock Theatre.

Everyone shares, everyone learns, everyone has fun. You hear that again and again through the weekend, as you wander the halls during breaks.

Other than a one year break, I’ve been attending SIWC since about 2002. For various reasons, this year I only managed a basic pass, with no meals. While the workshops were worth it, I missed much of the camaraderie you get with the full meal deal. Sad, but it’s a lesson learned. Next year it will be the full pass, with all workshops and meals included. I missed that immersive experience I’ve learned to associate with SIWC.

So, kudos to Coordinator kc dyer, the Surrey School District’s Tara Holt, and all the other staff and volunteers for putting on another great show. Hope you were following all the tweets posted via #siwc2009. The tweeters were sure enthusiastic, and I think you’ve expanded the audience for next year.

The news? No, thanks. I’ve seen it

It was so disappointing tonight. I was watching CTV news after dinner and there were two sections that were nothing but re-runs from earlier shows. One was about some all-in-one remote control that worked as advertised (wow).

Can’t remember the other one. It was on at the end of the news section, just before sports. There was no point in watching it once they told me about it in the pre-commercial preview they are so fond of. Boring.

What gives? Are we that short of actual news around town that we have to recycle the old stuff?

It’s not just CTV. While reading the Vancouver Sun over the last while, I’ve seen numerous articles being repeated at least twice, perhaps in different sections, but not always, but usually a couple of days apart. Maybe that made it ‘new’ news when they change the location or the timing?

No wonder people are changing their reading and watching habits. How many times can you go through a two minute news piece and still find it interesting enough to pay for? Some added value on an old piece, perhaps. But not the same story verbatim.

I know my threshold is getting shorter. How about yours?