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My Sunday school trip, or “there and back again”

After my trip to Kitisilano, two official crow greeters welcomed me back to the Fairview neighbourhood.

Usually I sleep-in on weekends but Sunday morning (June 25) I was nearly up with the crows, if not the sun. That was because I was going to school—the General Gordon Elementary replacement school, to be precise.

I made the trip for a post I’m writing about the use of polyethylene-filled, aluminum composite material (ACM) cladding on buildings in Metro Vancouver. A construction worker friend of mine led me to believe that a renovated school, domewhere off West Broadway Avenue, between Arbutus and Macdonald Street was clad with this type of ACM—the same type of external cladding which helped turn the Grenfell Tower fire in London, U.K, into a lethal inferno, which took at least 79 people’s lives.

There are, in fact, many low-rise buildings in Metro Vancouver which are covered in flammable ACM cladding, however, the new General Gordon Elementary School is not one of them; it is clad in what looks like fire resistant squares of cement board. It’s also a replacement, rather than a renovation.

Which is to say that I’m all but certain that I ended up going to the wrong school. But a pleasant bike ride on a beautiful day is never a waste, especially if I can squeeze a blog post out of it.

And wouldn’t you know it, I took photos along the way.

Read more…

A “three alarm” emergency response on West Broadway

One of three fire trucks in front of the Simply Computing Store in the 1600 block of West Broadway.

Sometime late this morning (June 26), Vancouver Fire and Rescue crews responded with three fire trucks to an emergency of some sort in the 1600 block of West Broadway Avenue. The focus of the response was the Simply Computing store on the southwest corner of the block.

When I showed up, a minute before noon, Fire and Rescue crews, which had earlier evacuated and cordoned off street access to the Simply Computing store, were just giving the all clear signal for staff to reenter their store.

I asked one of the staff, stuck holding a door for his coworkers, if the emergency response had involved lithium-ion batteries—the store being an Apple-reseller and servicer, was equipped,, as per Apple’s regulations, to deal with the significant fire hazards posed by fully malfunctioning Lithium-ion batteries.

The staff member answered unequivocally that the emergency response had not involved Lithium-ion batteries.

When I asked him what had triggered the emergency response, he volunteered that he thought that it had to do with “something in the mail.” Click the image to enlarge it.

Unexpectedly unhappy car-ffiti in Mount Pleasant

They say that eyes are the windows to the soul but what about the windows themselves—are they eyes looking out of the soul or what? And how about car windows in particular?

More to the point, what about the message that I saw Monday (June 21) penned (or fingered) by some poor soul into the dusty rear window of a car in a particular Mount Pleasant parking lot:

“It’s hard to wake up everyday and know that none of the things that you do have a purpose besides the context they’re derived from.”

That could almost be depressing if it weren’t so difficult to understand. Read more…

Leeward Apartments sells for millions—another 48 affordable rents gone?

Leeward Apartments; a concrete building covered in stucco—gilding the lily if you ask me.

We all know which way the wind is blowing in Vancouver—real estate-wise. Today (June 20) I learned that another batch of affordable rental housing in the Fairview neighbourhood has likely gone with that wind.

One of the tenants of the Leeward Apartments, located at 1686 West 12th Avenue, tells me that the building has recently been sold for something like $15 million.

The 11-storey, 48-unit apartment highrise has been listed for sale since at least May of 2017, with an asking price of $21,950,000, which is a little more than 117 percent of the property’s total 2016 assessment of $18,787,000. Read more…

A most beautiful moth visits Fairview and we save its life

Wow! A polyphemus moth gets a hand (or two) from the Green Guy.

Early this evening my homeless pal the Green Guy (who is a friend to all living things) did what he could to save a beautiful polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) that was caught in traffic..

This North American member of the giant silk moth family Saturniidae may have been struck a light blow by a car. It was certainly disoriented when the Green Guy found it sitting prone in the path of traffic in the eastbound lane of the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue. Read more…

Picture my surprise—VPD guns on a dumpster-dived phone!

A photo from a dumpster-dived phone of a Walther handgun tagged with a Vancouver Police Department case number.

Yesterday I was manually deleting personal information contained on an old 2011 HTC Amaze Android phone pulled out of a dumpster, when I realized that some of the photographs in its internal memory appeared to be of firearms that were labelled as having been in the property of the Vancouver Police Department.

I wanted to use this phone but, for technical reasons stated at the end of the post, I could not simply erase it with a factory reset—I had to manually delete all user content and settings.

There was no SD card but the phone’s internal memory contained over 800 photos and videos (about a gigabyte-worth). Being a bit nosy I skimmed the images.

Nestled among snaps from trips and hockey games and soccer matches and various restaurant meals and notable spots around Vancouver, there were a handful of photos of firearms.

My first assumption was that the photos—all circa 2014—were of firearms that the phone’s former owner had collected or had considered buying. There is nothing inherently unusual about this.

There are lots of gun collectors in Vancouver; I know a few of them and without exception they seem to be surprisingly sane and well-adjusted people.

However, there was something odd that did catch my eye.

Many of the firearms were tied with official-looking paper tags, all neatly labelled with the words “evidence” and “disposal”. And when I did a search on the first and last name that was on most of the tags, the results showed that there was a Vancouver Police Constable by the same name. Read more…