Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Take A Deep Breath! Aaah!

Having lived in several of the world's then 10 most air-polluted cities - I can say from experience: Nelson - 25 Aug. - is right up there with them!

When the air is bad elsewhere: in a city farther away or really far - like Beijing - our news-media talk with great relish in great detail about their air-pollution and its detrimental effect on children and seniors particularly. Bad, bad government! 

With actually every day density of pollution measured in Beijing on an index easily understood, compared, remembered - when it reaches a sooner-than-later killer-level: schools close; parents keep children indoors; seniors go out as little as possible; the general public wears face-masks and keeps physical activity outdoors to a minimum. Outdoor-sports are out - run for your life! Only cars with odd/even plate-numbers are allowed on streets.
This pollution-index - a scientific check-then-prediction of air "content" plus wind-currents - forewarns to allow for preparations on an individual and from there group level.
Out of concerns for children: sealed, air-conditioned/filtered sports-complexes have been built lately in affluent Shanghai schools. Thus physical activities can be on-going - no matter how much harder pollution may (and is expected to!) hit!

On the CBC out of Kelowna - it's not called air-pollution but haze or at worst smoke! Sunny skies with. All day long, every day - in every weather update. Smoke - in silly banter! - is relegated to being an acceptable/accepted sideshow. 

For us in Nelson this is not a joke, Mr. Walker!  

Smoke only gains importance when we add the word inhalation to it (but we don't!) - as in smoke-inhalation. Notching-up its reality-factor significantly: we know that people die of smoke-inhalation in house-fires. As they may here - just over more prolonged stretches of painful time! Less for smokers!

Daily Smoky Skies Advisories - on - do not call the situation what it is: heavily air-polluted. And while they give some of the advise above to those who access this website: density of pollution - if actually measured across affected areas - is not communicated in simple, clear pictures to the average effected/affected through a pollution-index.
Bits of these advisories are sometimes sleepwalked by local media online - never within a local context. There is generic sameness to them: the repetitive becoming repetitious and who cares. While an index does exist - why isn't it in daily use for the general public?


With little wind thus little movement - trapped car-exhaust hovering within the fug (this urban combo never mentioned - think our valley-location!) - the area-weather-pattern is not expected to change in the foreseeable future. The sky just filling-up with more smoke+ - making it denser!

Super natural BC smoke - heavy pollution by any other name ...!

Up In Smoke!
Particulates - small but not that small burned-stuff bits - go up as/in smoke. The thicker the smoke - the more threatening to health because the more stuff enters the body as unacceptably poisonous matter. Some leaves - too much doesn't. And if this process goes on for a while - accumulation is hazardous. Eventually possibly kick-starting emphysema, lung-cancer, etc. etc. etc. in adults - developmental problems in children. Even may have more immediate results! I simplify - but there (here!) we have it: lumpy air! And the more rapidly we breathe - the more of the stuff we shovel in.

Like at some point when writing this getting-up to stretch: I see a long line of smallish children - some carrying bags - and several supervising adults - teachers? - jogging along High St. towards downtown, the same at the same time along Front below. Hordes of them in a hurry! And who knows what they will be expected to do (outdoors?) when they get there. Under prevailing circumstances - I can't see Elephant Mtn. from High! - not in these children's interest. And irresponsible of minders/planners - even though not forewarned hint-hint! - who should know by looking up and connecting the dots.
The local camp-ground still is completely full. What are happy campers doing all day/waiting for?

Blowing Smoke!
While today's weather-updates on the CBC - in a parallel reality - announce a sunny sky with heavy smoke for Nelson.Totally disregarding the literally in-your-face severity of lasting heavy smoke: to me today - 25 Aug. - far more severe and already longer-lasting than any other wildfire-smoke situation here ever; they do not mention that this blanket is so solid-thick that the sun barely makes it through - so we certainly don't have what's a sunny sky to them! This is incomprehensible - particularly with the CBC's man-on-the-spot - Bob Keating - located here.

Back to China. In the 90s air-pollution is measured in major cities - all very polluted - on an index with 300 whatever the worst. Published official measurements never reach even close to 300 anywhere: resulting loss of face for one city over another is not an option. While everybody knows that most measure off-the-charts consistently.
It's sort of the same all over the BC map: some haze, haze, smoke, rarely heavy smoke - air-pollution is not mentioned! Ever! By the Ministry of the Environment in co-operation with the Interior Health Authority, originating flat general reports for this and that wider area via theweathernetwork. Routine content and wording day-after-day.

They couldn't possibly be that stupid; so - getting down to it now - I wonder whether all this low-density info is generated - from Ministry to media - just to keep tourists coming! Conspiracy theories? The norm in Canadian politics! Rhetorical questions: Would tourists still come, knowing BC air-pollution in places has reached dangerously way-too-high levels? More important - that a tan is out? And if they do come - will they make it back home?


Reality-based local info from local news-media - as opposed to the sunny smoke-screen or no info at all - for those without a leave-or-stay option - may prompt locals to make essential day-by-day adjustments/preparations for the dog, kids, parents, gran. And the wife!

Daily pollution-index-based online announcements and forecasts for tomorrow!

This is serious!

Sooooo .... health or wealth? As in coughing all the way to the bank!

Installations: Berndnaut Smilde  

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Community Mailboxes: Mad Hatter's Tea Party (Part 3)

This post follows
Community Mailboxes - The Latest Latest (Part 2)
Community Mailboxes - The Latest (Part 1)
immediately below.

Hamilton (Jon Hamilton, spokesperson with Canada Post - CP) added that Canada Post is open to negotiating the placement of boxes.
On average, Hamilton said, Canada Post has moved about 15 to 20 per cent of the new community boxes based on feedback from area residents.
Canada Post agrees to move community mailboxes on St. Vital street
                                                           , 17 Aug. 2015

This is about residents complaining about a particular community mailbox (CMB) placed in a location with dangerous access: heavy, fast traffic in between and no crosswalk towards it.

Hamilton said however the move will take several months as Canada Post will have to figure out a new and appropriate place to install them.
                                                 Same story, CTV Winnipeg, 16 Aug. 2015

Another paradox: what may happen in Nelson. While negotiating ostensibly will include all - not all have been provided with the means to negotiate.
For those who did receive questionnaires and are frustrated over them not allowing for expanded input: Ottawa simply doesn't care - otherwise they would have asked and made provisions for it  - hello! So they surely won't read your stuff - no matter how you get it to them! Expecting reasonableness, a logical approach is a waste of energy. Regardless of how bizarre it may seem that a project of this size - years in the making - could be so disjointed. We're stuck inside the reality of Alice in Wonderland: the faster they go - the behinder they get!

This St. Vital news-item is emblematic of the wonderful, wacky world of CP: If they were seriously interested in negotiating: why did 15 to 20 per cent of the CMBs installed have to be moved? Moved after how many months? More silly questions: Isn't placement-planning the bottom-line of the proposed step-by-step involvement of residents? If not this - what? Wouldn't all-around satisfactory negotiating (before!) moot or at least minimize the need for feedback (after!)? But on average 15 to 20 per cent and nowhere near done? At what cost!

Example - gotta love this: The Montreal mayor's recent feedback with a jackhammer on the concrete base of a not negotiated placement!


I've been mainly focusing on non-availability of questionnaires to many renters here. Attempting to demonstrate how little the great unwashed matter in how this whole conversion-thing has been put (un)together: resulting in no more than Potemkin villages! And seemingly planned to never be more than that!

With only far-up-the-ladder intimates knowing what's what: very-low-rung Ken Merritt of the local P.O. doesn't and neither does Norm Ouellet, his district-supervisor in Castlegar. Our point-men - both are winging it! Poorly!
Merritt still hadn't received his sample-questionnaire and all-purpose instructions the day after forms had been delivered - by his own carriers! - to street-addresses in Nelson.
Ouellet justified impromptu why no questionnaires have gone to many legit renters and weren't made available at the local P.O. with: illegal basements and people would take bunches from the P.O to make up stuff in them.

Spokesman Jon Hamilton: Ottawa's voice of reason - a jumping jack.

But never mind all that - don't let the Mad Hatter's tea party confuse you: JUST VOTE!


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Community Mailboxes - The Latest Latest! (Part 2)

A week ago I see Ken Merritt - local P.O. Supervisor - about only a single Community Mailbox (CMB) questionnaire sent to individual local street-addresses, disregarding multiple/separate mail-receiving occupancies/households at the same address. With eventual decisions on CMBs' location, etc. supposedly to be based in all-inclusiveness. Go figure!
But then we've already had - thus should not be surprised at anything -
The head of Canada Post says seniors have told the corporation they want more exercise and fresh air, in answer to a comment how the elderly will be especially hard-hit by the cancellation of home mail delivery.
                                           Leslie MacKinnon, CBC News, 18 Dec. 2013

Merritt says he will connect with someone in charge about my concerns and let me know.  

Community Mailboxes - The Latest! (Part 1)
following immediately below this post.

But not having heard from him within the following week: I now write to Ottawa directly and go to see Merritt again! at the P.O.

Letter First -
(These addresses are rather indirect - but with all that CMB info available on
no email-address is provided for the CMB nerve-center specifically. Of course not! The only contact possible through 1.877.761.9076 - with the old how-may-I-be-of-service-today shine-on. Thus no printed comprehensive record possible.

Please forward to the appropriate office:
Almost two weeks ago CMB First-Step Questionnaires were delivered in Nelson BC. With only a single questionnaire sent to one street-address - seemingly targeting a no-name owner (present on the premises or not: immaterial). 
Seeing that Nelson houses/buildings frequently have additional/separate permanent mail-receiving occupants: those did not receive this questionnaire - thus may not even know and will not be part of the promised step-by-step process towards CMBs in their neighborhood.
Summarily excluded! Making results of the First Step  incomplete/inconclusive and escalate into all following steps becoming less-and-less reality-based: ostensibly skewing the eventual result drastically!

Initially it baffled me that Canada Post (CP) made no allowances for basic urban renters' accommodation. But maybe we are just not as essential in this process as we have been led to believe. As CP  could not possibly be unaware of renters: this - to us renters! - looks like deliberate manipulation of the process to keep CP's separate reality compact and simple. Clearly - the fewer of us Nelsonites can address our overall topographical unevenness - steep hills in winter, etc. - the easier it may be for CP to disregard this fact as negligible.

Regardless - benefit of the doubt! - for the sake of Nelson within CP's step-by-step plan: provisions should have been made for input of permanent mail-receiving non-owners to be included in the conversion-process. This could have been (still could be!) easily done by having stacks of questionnaires available at the local P.O. and its sub-stations, with a press-release alerting the general public and the submission-period of 4 weeks extended.
But then - I suggested this at the local P.O. one week ago: and - nothing!

I could not resist in this re-telling adding some emphatic! clarifications to the letter. And if Merritt should ever let me have the promised CMB email-address in Ottawa (see under The P.O. - Again! below): I will send this version+! CMB email-address or not - small steps but steps nonetheless - keeping at it is the thing! 
In a generally more responsive Nelson - walking-the-talk - streams of individuals/groups would make their opinions known at the local P.O. Have a sit-in! Disrupt! In Victoria and Ottawa! But - again and again! - where are they when not talking-the-talk over their low-fat-sprinkled-soy-latte? 

And where are the Nelson Star (self-appointed community newspaper) and The Nelson Daily? 

While I feel more and more: we're brazenly getting steamrollered by Deepak Chopra - President & CEO (Tel. 613.734.8440), his 21 Vice-Presidents and Presidents plus - of course - the Harper. With this step-by-step public-participation-conversion mostly a P.R.-stunt!

A possible glimmer at the end of the tunnel: Chopra's contract will expire in 2016, and with Harper then gone - I envision Chopra and their boxed vision following him forthwith! But we must disappear Harper first!

The P.O. - Again!
This time Merritt tells me he indeed had contacted his "manager" about additional questionnaires, etc. but hasn't had a reply. One week! Right! I ask him for the definitive CMB email-address - he says he'll get it for me soon, right now he's too busy. Then leaves and not too busy returns with the general-CMB-matters phone-number. And earnestly promises to CC to me another email to his manager - this based on my now more in-your-face position.

In the meantime - the 4 weeks for sending-in questionnaires have dwindled down to about 2-and-counting, and even if Ottawa were to send an additional few thousand pro forma: extending the 4-week period - not to their advantage - surely would be a no-go anyway!
Like - the longer they drag out this farce - the more directly they can stick to whatever plan behind the plan: with minimal irritating/complicating push-back from us!

Debbie Bird, Union Vice-President, informs me of a rally:
Mon. 17 Aug. 2pm
City Hall Plaza

So - go already!


And when the time comes: Vote Mulcair!
I mean - how could you not! 


Monday, 10 August 2015

Community Mailboxes - The Latest! (Part 1)

Last week Nelson homes, apt. buildings received a questionnaire from Canada Post - the first step towards shaping the where and how of it all. To be mailed back within 4 weeks - 3 left now!

Steps outlined in:
How Nelson's community mailboxes will be installed
Bill Metcalfe, Nelson Star, 6 Aug. 2015

Questionnaires were not sent to identified owners, renter-occupants. Just 1 per address!

Seeing that many addresses do have more than 1 - often many - occupants: this first P.O. step will of necessity lead to missteps to follow. With preparations then based on incomplete/conclusive information can't you just see the mess!

If one-and-all should actually represent a voice in the shaping-process - one-and-all must fill-out/send-in this questionnaire! We can't foresee how much influence our input will have - but must assume it to be considerable!

Discussing this with Supervisor Ken Merritt at the downtown P.O. - he concurred with my concerns and promised to have - upon my suggestion - Ottawa make available stacks of questionnaires at his (and any sub-) location.
Furthermore - I suggested to have Ottawa do this across Canada - wherever a change-over is on the table.

He will call me when these questionnaires arrive. But how many Nelsonites will actually think this through on their own all the way, and what if there's no Ottawa press-release on forms available at the P.O. to one-and-all?

So this needs an end-result focused follow-up by the Star. For starters: How many permanent, mail-receiving renters/multiple occupancies are there? Against - how many questionnaires were sent to Nelson addresses?


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Stop - in the name of love!

The logical time - even though late - to refresh, redraw Nelson's white/yellow lines to give traffic, parking, etc. a structure for order: by the end of June.

Logical - because summer here officially starts with lots of cold brewskies around July 1. Traffic increases with often hapless tourists not knowing where/what/how: these markings give meaning to their lives and Nelson a clean and fresh image.

Late - because old markings always(!) are pretty much gone by the end of winter. With contractors wanting to keep the overhead down: cheaper paint - thinly applied yet! - just doesn't last long.

The job - curiously - is never done by the holiday - but this year seemingly later than ever. City Works possibly want to wait for the Hall redo to be finished first. If that's the case - with the job not nearly complete - there won't be much point in repainting at all this year. With summer tourists soon gone!

Whatever the reason: the result is a disconnect from public safety and an economically advantageous image of the whole. Lest they forget: one basic responsibility of a city is its citizens' safety on every level.

Usually a matter of course: in other cities safety has been the reason behind these white/yellow broken/solid markings of lanes, intersections, turns and - the biggie: stop-signs, street-lights and pedestrian-crosswalks! These days - not so much in Nelson.
With markings now hardly visible any longer - drivers' stops at stop-signs, street-lights and pedestrian-crosswalks are often just vaguely come to or ignored completely. Then there's distracted driving, with Nelson drivers generally not the most with-it anyway. Add to that pedestrians often heedless of signals and even clear markings to begin with: they may ignore crossing-rules more frequently - jay-walk more, too! Plus - deep breath! - trance-walking tourists....!
We've been lucky. So far!

We all know probable trouble-spots - like Vernon/Hendryx and Vernon/Ward! As do the cops - who ought to nudge City Hall to have something done about the situation! Now!

Specifically - nudge the otherwise omnipresent CAO!

The Supremes - Song-Lyrics: Stop in the name of love! 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!

On Friday the City of Nelson and Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) will hold a Stores to Shores business appreciation celebration from 4:30 to 7pm, in the Hall St. plaza, below the new social steps and public patio.
Contributed(?) - Nelson Star
Aug. 4, 2015

Appropriately held below the social steps and public patio: in the parking lot. That's finished - and full. And most important! And will remain full: what with the Co-op soon opening close by with almost 100 fewer parking spaces than initially required - a gift from the City. So the NDCC and somebody at City Hall now need parking elsewhere bigtime!

And never mind what we were only vaguely (thus cleverly) led to believe we'd be getting in that stretch: benches and trees. It used to look/feel better - more Nelson - before it became new and improved. "They" actually said new and improved!

Those going at the appointed time won't see this block in every-day mode - because there surely won't be any parking then, as there won't be on only special occasions in the future.

To get an idea of the whole thing on an average day:
From Baker/Hall you will not get much of a view of social steps and public patio because of parked cars forming a sort-of wagon-circle. What's going on behind this is monochromatic beige/sand: also not inviting distinction/differentiation from farther away - cars/no cars. 
So it is questionable that tourists will be drawn to steps/patio. But if they should be and sit there - in the heat and does it ever get hot! - their gaze may languidly roam over: cars parking/parked - perpendicular - on the left and cars parking/parked - perpendicular - on the right. As far as. With a whiff of exhaust delightfully lingering!
Aaah... Kootenays!

This being Phase 1 of Stores to Shores: we should be concerned with what's next. We still don't know!

Joni Mitchell - Song-Lyric: Big Yellow Taxi 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

No Comment!!!

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
                                                                                   Oscar Wilde


COLUMN: When do we start calling this the apocalypse?
Will Johnson, Nelson Star (Star), 5 July 2015
Inside we watched as skeletal tree-detritus was hurled from the sky and cringed as the windows tinkled and banged with the sound of flying debris.


Nelson publishes payments to businesses, organizations and staff.
Bill Metcalfe, Star, 28 July 2015
From the list of individual earners:
10 cops: over-to-way-over 100.000 bucks - expenses n/a.
4 Hydro linemen: way over 100.000 - expenses of 1 close to 4000.
1 Hydro electrician: over 100.000 - expenses over 2000.
1 fireman: over 100.000 - close to his chief's - over 1500 in expenses.

1 Comment

I could go on. Comments (and the lack thereof) in the Star - reactively inane mostly/usually - are an indicator of uber-progressive Nelson's general mindset.

The same Nelson with a voter-turnout - in the last federal election - below the average of the BC Southern Interior.

This heat is just too darn hot! To! Think!