Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Still haven’t decided? Kelowna Election 2008

November 10, 2008

The following is a list of email addresses for the councillor candidates in Kelowna for the November 15th election. If you haven’t seen them speak or read any of their info please try emailing them your questions and concerns.

We need safe, accessible cycle facilities ASAP.

Let me know what you have here.


Matthew Reed
Dorothee Birker
André Blanleil
Kevin Craig
Donald Forbes
Gunnar Forrstrom
Joe Gates
Gunnar Forsstrom
Gretchen Gebhard
Brian Given
Mary-Ann Graham
Janice Henry
Jerry Hlady
Robert Hobson
Charlie Hodge
Graeme James
Cody Lanoue
Perry Mack
John Marshall
John Manton
Shelley Nicholl
Murli Pendharkar
Toby Pike
Andrew Powell
Mo Rajabally
J.C. Rathwell
Angela Reid
Michele Rule
Jason Rock
Lisa Simone
Luke Stack
Cheryl Stone
Mark Thompson
Bill Vaughn
Crystal Wariach
Scott Yule
John Zeger

The Glenmore Valley Community Association candidates forum Wed Oct 29th

October 26, 2008

Fellow cyclists:

Here is a wonderful opportunity to get some good publicity for cycling.
Please consider having a bit of fun and supporting cycling in our

The Glenmore Valley Community Association is having an all candidates
forum this coming wed. evening at 7 pm at the Kelowna Bible Chapel,
across Bernard Ave. from the Apple Bowl.

The format is a bit different in that the directors of the association
will be spending about 30 to 45 min. addressing the council candidates
about issues of interest to Glenmore and North Glenmore.  Once the
presentation is over the candidates will have the opportunity to take
some refreshment and meet the candidates.

I, as a director, will be speaking briefly about transportation, mainly
non motorized transport and bus service/facilities.  I will also be
speaking about a Smart Growth BC pamphlet we will be providing the
audience and candidates.

I make a point of riding my bike to all of our directors and general
meetings to let people know that a bike is a practical method of getting
around even when it is colder out and dark.

It would be fantastic if you could bike to and from the meeting.  There
is no bike parking anywhere nearby so bring the bike into the
downstairs.  This is a really effective way to make a gentle point to
our mayor and prospective council members and if we can get a lot of
cyclists to turnout may well make a difference in their attitudes once
they become council members.

Please consider turning up on a bike.  It’s time that cyclists started
to let our city know that they too have a vote.

Also please consider asking a cycling friend or two to come out in
support.  There will be coffee and cookies to recharge before heading

Thank you,

John C. Suttie
Cyclist, member B.C. Sustainable Energy Assoc.
and director of the Glenmore Valley Community Assoc.
PS There will be a door prize for someone arriving by bike.

Kelowna! How Green Is Your Vote

October 22, 2008

Dave Williams of the BC Sustainable Energy Association sent this notice about an upcoming election event. Please make time to attend and participate.

BCSEA Okanagan Chapter presents “Kelowna! How Green is Your Vote?”
Date: Saturday, October 25
Time: 2:00

Location: Okanagan College, Kelowna Campus, Room S104 (The Lecture Theatre), Kelowna BC

Are you concerned about the future of your city? Are you concerned about the rate of development in the City of Kelowna? Come on out to hear Kelowna city mayoral and council candidates speak on sustainable development, transportation, and food supply issues within Kelowna.

David Williams

To the Tar Sands Bike Trip

July 18, 2008

Hi Grant,

I’m an organizer with the Sierra Youth Coalition, planning a bike trip from Fort McMurray to Calgary at the end of the summer, joining in solidarity with communities affected by tar sands development.  I’m looking to recruit more riders, and was wondering if you were able to post our call out on your blog? I’ve pasted the call out below, and would be much obliged if you were able to spread the word in any way to your network!

Thanks so much!  Please contact me with any questions!

Marya Folinsbee
Sierra Youth Coalition / Coalition jeunesse Sierra
“Return to the Tar Sands” Bike Trip Coordinator
Edmonton, Alberta
t: 780.436.9322

In case you didn’t know

July 8, 2008

The bicycle, cycle, or bike is a pedal-driven, human-powered vehicle with two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other.

Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and now number about one billion worldwide.[1] They are the principal means of transportation in many regions. They also provide a popular form of recreation, and have been adapted for such uses as children’s toys, adult fitness, military and police applications, courier services, and competitive sports.

From July 8th, 2008.

Protection Island

April 1, 2008


A week or so ago we were visiting in Nanaimo and heard about Protection Island. Actually I was told it was a place I would enjoy as there were few motor vehicles on the island.

One afternoon we took a small passenger ferry across from Nanaimo harbour to the island – about a 10 min. ride. The ferry holds about 35 people and has bike racks for 4 bikes. See the photo above.


The ferry docks next to the pub/restaurant on the island and it is a short walk up to the road network on the island. The second photo (above) is taken at the area just up from the dock. You can see Nanaimo in the background. There were several motor vehicles parked there but mainly there were bikes, some with trailers and several electric golf carts.

The road network is made up of gravel roads and quite a few walking paths. A resident told us that there are about 300 permanent residents on the island plus quite a few who have vacation cottages. The residents have rejected paved and improved roads, liking it the way it is. In effect, the narrow gravel roads provide natural traffic calming.

It was great walking around the island. We passed quite a few pedestrians, some obviously bringing groceries (and beer) home on foot and a few driving quiet golf carts at low rates of speed. Most people walked in the middle of the road and when we were passed by one motor vehicle, the driver was very careful, drove slowly and gave a wave when we moved over.

It would appear that the owners of the few motor vehicles on the island are known and it would be quite foolish for them to drive idiotically.

Most of the houses are fairly small and most do not have huge garages beside them or taking up space in the building. More often than not, the houses had a number of bikes parked beside them and of course there were quite a few golf carts.

We didn’t see any locked up bikes – after all anyone taking a bike can’t go very far.

All in all a very rare and enjoyable environment where the motor vehicle does not rule and people are welcome on the streets.


Further to 1 in 7 kelowna residents commutes by bike

March 27, 2008

At the end of February 2008 Karen Cairns of the City told me that Jerry Dombowsky would respond to my queries about the above claim – see previous posts. I have forwarded the following email to see if I can drum up a response.



As you may recall I contacted you at the end of February regarding the
above noted claim made in the City publication – “City of Kelowna
Sustainability 2008”. You pointed me to a study done last year by
Synovate. I responded that the study indicated a rather lower rate (in
the area of 2% in May 2007) and that that was a far cry from 1 in 7

On the 2nd of March 2008, you indicated that Jerry Dombowski would be following this up. Despite contacting Jerry Dombowski by email on the 9th of March I have not had a response.

You may wonder why I would care about these figures. The City puts an
extremely positive spin on all of it’s activities saying that we are
“sustainable” – a word that now has little meaning. Unfortunately I
suppose that is to be expected. It does however confuse people who
don’t really know what sustainable is (many of our citizens) and it
gives the majority lots of excuses as to why they should not change
their ways. After all if our City is a leader in sustainability why
should we be expected to do more. We can continue on our merry way with no thought to the effects on environment, climate or our children.

Claims such as this argue that there is little need for further cycling
infrastructure – that the City of Kelowna can now relax as they have
such great cycling facilities and programs that little more must be

A couple of very glaring inconsistencies arise here – students at UBCO
cannot safely and legally ride to and from downtown Kelowna to the
campus. People commuting to and from LakeCountry take their life in
their hands trying to ride to Kelowna on either Hwy 97 or Glenmore Road; commuting just isn’t safe even though the City’s boundaries extend well into LakeCountry. Many roads with bike lanes (Glenmore, Spall, Springfield and many more) are becoming so busy that the existing cycling infrastructure is no longer adequate and safe. I could go on.

I would appreciate an answer to my queries. If this is a mistake on the
part of the City then admit it and get on with life. If it can be
justified then let me know and I will trumpet to the heavens that
Kelowna has the highest percentage of trips by bicycle in North America and that we are rivalling many European cities in this regard.

Thank you,


Green Streets

March 26, 2008

The Tyee has a great article on getting rid of a few parking spots to make our streets more attractive. You can find it here:

The author, Ruben Anderson, makes the point that public on street parking is a huge subsidy to drivers – stating that each public spot on a street in Vancouver is worth $25,000.

Adding small gardens to streets is a great idea to unite cyclists, gardeners and pedestrians. Too often these groups are working by themselves and are pushed aside for the “rights of the motoring public”. Perhaps these groups working together, with residents of streets who are tired of fast traffic and car centric planning could make some changes to our streets to make them more productive (see article for mention of food production), attractive and people friendly.



March 25, 2008

We have just arrived home from Nanaimo, being there about 12 days. Took the bikes with us (in pieces in the trunk of a small car) and got in some pretty good rides. Nanaimo has gone all out with off road paved bike/pedestrian paths. They aren’t perfect and some of the intersections of the path with industrial roads are just like Kelowna – pickup trucks driven at high speed by drivers who have forgotten every lesson they learned when they got their licence (eg. pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks).

I will comment further in future posts – for now we have to get sorted out and get our lives back to normal. I am currently in the process of applying to the City for a plumbing permit to install my own hot water solar system so this may take some time.


Further to the Province’s Carbon Tax initiative

February 20, 2008

Along with yesterday’s announcement of a carbon tax, the province released a “Climate Action” initiative. There are a number of proposals in the paper but of note for cyclists were:

– Providing relief from passenger vehicle rental tax for rentals of eight hours or less;
– Expanding the PST exemption on bicycles to include electric‐assisted two and three wheel cycles and non‐motorized adult tricycles;
– Reducing the tax payable on electric motorcycles;

Financial relief for short term vehicle rentals appears to be aimed at car share programs and will help those who don’t own a vehicle and rent or car share occasionally to supplement transportation by bike or transit.

Allowing electric assist bicycles to be PST exempt would appear to apply to “kits” such as the bionx.

You will find a summary of the Climate Action initiative here:

Climate Action Summary

You will find a summary of the Carbon Tax initiative here:

Carbon Tax summary