Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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3 easy tips to get your lawn and garden going this spring

Topdress-lawn

The new soil from topdressing will integrate itself into the existing material in a matter of weeks, and your lawn will thank you for it. Photos by Julie Cheng

BY SOREN ELSAY

The long-awaited end to winter is finally upon us and with it comes a fresh start for your lawn and garden. Whether you loved your garden and lawn last year or would rather forget that aspect of 2017, spring is the ideal time to set yourself up for a successful green season.

While the warming weather might seem like enough to get your lawn and garden going, there are a handful of things you can do to set yourself up for a satisfying year in your own personal green space.

Topdress your lawn and garden

Topdressing is the act of adding fresh (preferably richly composted) soil to both your lawn and garden. The best part of topdressing is how easy it is to do.

For your lawn, simply apply a thin, roughly half-inch layer evenly on top of your grass. Once applied, simply let it slowly consolidate into the existing soil layer. It may be visually jarring when you first see your nice green lawn coated in composted soil, but fear not, the new soil will integrate itself into the existing material in a matter of weeks, and your lawn will thank you for it.

In your garden, apply the fresh soil by digging down  four to six inches into your existing garden bed and blend your old soil with the new, composted material.

For both the lawn and garden, the topsoil will give a much-needed nutrient boost after the long winter.

Aerate your lawn

Manual aerating tools

Manual aerating tools. The holes from aerating allow nutrients from both the air and from moisture to penetrate your lawn with more ease.

Filed into the landscaping category of “short-term hit in exchange for long-term gain,” aerating your lawn will do wonders for your grass later in the season.

While there are a number of techniques for aerating a lawn, the basic premise is the same: puncturing holes in the ground in order to improve circulation amongst the roots. By breaking up the ground, these holes allow nutrients from both the air and from moisture to penetrate your lawn with more ease.

The most common machine used for this procedure is an aerator, which resembles a snowblower but instead of spitting snow, pulls out four-to-six-inch plugs of lawn and leaves them behind. If you don’t want to rent an aerator, or are looking for a new workout fad, pitchforks have been known to work as well, though at a much less efficient pace.

If you are planning on topdressing your lawn as well, make sure to aerate first before laying on the topsoil layer. The aeration will allow for quicker and easier absorption of the new soil.

Plant new or transplant

Although Vancouver has the reputation as a wet city, the rainfall that we receive in the non-winter months is actually significantly less than your garden needs. That is why the spring is ideal for both planting new items as well as transplanting existing ones to another spot in your garden. Once the summer rolls around, keeping the ground moist enough for a freshly installed plant to thrive is very tough, so take advantage of still-wet conditions before it’s too late.

When it comes to transplanting, always make sure to fill the new hole fully with water and then let it drain before putting the plant in the ground. This will ensure that the roots will remain hydrated while they are disturbed and at their most vulnerable. Continued watering after a transplant is also key to ensure a smooth transition.

Soren Elsay is a Vancouver-based professional landscaper. He is an aspiring writer with a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Neighbourhood Small Grants Projects are back in 2018

Deadline April 9, 2018

NSG-2017-Bike-Day

Neighbours Dickson and Jackie held bike repair workshops last summer with funding from Neighbourhood Small Grants. Photos by Marina Dodis

BY SHERI PARKE

The purpose of the unique Neighbourhood Small Grants program is to help build community and strengthen connections right where people live.

Use your imagination and come up with an idea that you think would improve your neighbourhood in a fun and friendly way. Apply for a $50 to $500 grant to help fund your idea, meet new neighbours, learn more about each other and do something fun and interesting together.

It’s easy to apply. Just use the online application form (www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca) to tell us what you want to do to enhance your neighbourhood socially, physically or culturally.

Projects that were approved last year include neighbourhood clean-ups, vegetarian cooking classes, organic garden planting, knitting clubs, bicycle repair workshop, block parties, cultural celebrations, birdhouse-making projects, neighbours breakfast social and outdoor movie night. Sounds like fun, right?

This year our themes are (1) intergenerational fun, (2) Indigenous acknowledgement and learnings and (3) multicultural activities.

A resident advisory committee reviews applications and then decides which ones will receive funding. Please visit the website to learn about application guidelines.

Online applications open February 19, 2018.

Application deadline is Monday, April 9, 2018.

Apply online: www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca

Paper application forms are available at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver, BC V5R 6C9

Do you have questions? Email sparke01@shaw.ca.

Sheri Parke is the coordinator of the local Neighbourhood Small Grants.

Free bike repair day in Joyce-Collingwood

NSG-2017-Bike-Day-2

At the 2017 free bike workshop day in Collingwood, neighbours learned simple repairs like patching flat tubes, adjusting brakes and gears, and lubricating chains.

August 2017 on a Friday afternoon, there they were! Braving the heat wave that day, folks lined up to talk to workshop hosts Dickson and Jackie, who joined forces with two super-talented mechanics from Our Community Bikes, a responsible, locally minded bike shop in East Vancouver.

These bike enthusiasts listened to various bicycle issues and taught their neighbours some simple repairs like patching flat tubes, adjusting brakes and gears, and lubricating chains!

Dickson and Jackie, who are neighbours, applied for a Neighbourhood Small Grant last March. When their application was approved they went to work on their plan: to teach, do repairs and meet friendly folks in the neighbourhood! They brought their own tools, skills and knowledge.

The grant funds were used to purchase the bike repair necessities as well as provide yummy snacks for those lining up. They were able to send folks away with a small flat repair kit and safety front and rear flashing lights, also purchased with grant funds. Sweet!

This workshop was very enthusiastically received by neighbours. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response feedback Jackie and Dickson are hoping to hold another event.

They express their thanks to Neighbourhood Small Grants for supporting their project, and giving them the experience of holding it has really encouraged them to try and make it a recurring event.

“We loved getting to meet our bicycle-riding neighbours and look forward to waving as we pass them on the Greenway!”

Neighbours Dickson and Jackie held bike repair workshops in summer 2017 with funding from Neighbourhood Small Grants. Photo by Marina Dodis

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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April 2018 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News April 2018

It feels like spring! There is much to celebrate: in this issue we continue to mark the 20th anniversary of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.

This issue of the RCC News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood.

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • New photos of Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex
  • Celebrating 20 years of RCC News: The RC Soap Box
  • Collingwood Corner: Boundary Road and Rae Avenue, 1945
  • Local resident runs for director position at Vancity
  • Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin
  • Expert tips for your job interview. MOSAIC’s job fair April 10
  • Legion update: Cedar Rocket raises money for veterans

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the May 2018 issue is April 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.


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Read On: On spring

March2018WordSearchReadOn

WORD SEARCH: Save the image and print as a worksheet.

BY TONY WANLESS

We’re in that wonderful time when winter ends and spring arrives.

Soon, there will be no more looking out the window every morning to see what kind of day it will be. It could be cold and dark – as it has been for the past three months. Or it might turn sunny, tantalizing you with a hint that better, drier, warmer weather is coming. Mother nature has trouble making up her mind early in this month.

So you can be fooled. In early March, it could be just like February – cold and wet and dark when you wake up, and then later warmer and hinting at better weather to come. But on March 20, that will start to go away. Sure, old-man winter might still hang around desperately for a while hoping to beat nature and hang on.

But that’s not likely.

Every day for the next three months it will begin to get warmer and brighter in the Northern Hemisphere, in which Vancouver is situated.The sun will rise a few minutes earlier every day and and fall into night a little later. Plants will sprout, winds will soften.

That’s generally, of course. In Renfrew-Collingwood it might be a little different than in the rest of B.C. because we are in Vancouver, which is next to the Pacific Ocean. Our spring usually comes a bit earlier than the March 20 date because our coastal climate means the ocean has a strong influence over our weather.

On the coast, in early March we can be swathed in raincoat-and-boots-and-warm-hats for a few days and then suddenly it’s spring. The coats and umbrellas are thrown off, the joggers are out in only shorts and light shirts, the flowers start popping their heads out of the ground and the birds are singing.

We’re lucky that way. In much of Canada, winter still holds everyone in its grip for a few more weeks. East of Vancouver and in eastern B.C., Canadians still shudder through the worst of that season. The Prairie provinces often have to endure bitter cold, although it can be broken in Alberta by the odd warm current that wends like a train through the Rocky Mountains; the Great Lakes area is still shuddering in a deep freeze; In Quebec, the song “Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” (My country is not a country, it is winter) is still true; and in Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces, howling winds from the  Atlantic Ocean have most people still wearing winter gear.

Spring, by the way, isn’t only enjoyed by current residents of the West Coast. Its gradual delivery of delight from misery has been known for centuries by First Nations who lived here in closer harmony with nature. They learned long ago how to cope with the changing nature of early spring, venturing out of their dwellings when the light and warmth arrived and then retreating back to their warming fires when the cold and dark and rain made a return engagement.

But today, we live in cities, in artificial environments fueled by electricity, and so are often removed from the full effects of nature. As a result, we aren’t able to change our feeling so easily.

That’s why spring is so important. It is the time of renewal, of approaching freedom from darkness, from enclosure, from sameness and boredom. It’s also why, for centuries, people have celebrated spring with various festivals like the Lunar New Year, celebrated this year on February. The festival is always an anticipation of the joys of spring.

 


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Read On: How to keep your new year’s resolution

February2018WordSearchReadOn

WORD SEARCH: Save the image and print as a worksheet.

BY TONY WANLESS

Right now, most people in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood have probably started resolutions for how they hope to behave this year. This is so common, someone once named January the “be-a-better-person” month.

A resolution is an act or a series of acts that you will try to do or not do. Common resolutions are to get in better physical shape, stop a bad habit and be nicer to someone.

The problem with new-year resolutions is that they rarely last for long. Some 80%of resolution makers have failed by the second week of February. That means that most of you R-C resolution makers are already creeping up on the brink of failure.

Of course, that doesn’t have to mean the end of a resolution. In fact, it’s natural. To make a resolution continue, you must turn it into a habit. That way it will exist much longer than a resolution that only lasts until some temptation gets your attention and kills it.

Habits are behaviours that are repeated regularly so that they become automatic. Bad habits and good habits start the same way – through repetition. To start a good habit, you decide what action is required, set a time to do it, write it down, repeat it and monitor it. Eventually, this repetition places the action in your brain or replaces some (in)action you are trying to stop.

For example, let’s say you want to do one of the most common new year’s resolutions: getting your finances in order, which means paying off debts and saving money. I used to write a personal-finance newspaper column and it was a common resolution that I heard at this time of year.

Financial problems are almost always about (bad) spending habits. There are cases of poverty where there just isn’t enough money coming in for even the basics, but for many people that isn’t the problem.

Instead, they have a habit of spending more money than they have. This is most often because they are in the habit of satisfying “wants” instead of taking care of “needs,” which aren’t nearly as interesting because they’re so familiar. Because it’s new, treating oneself to a want is more powerful than the boring practice of paying for needs like shelter, food, transportation and other basics.

We can blame these bad habits on advertising and easily available credit, but we are the people who practice them, so we are the people who have to change them.

Typically, good financial habits work like any other habit – though repetition of an act. Your bad habit is a result of repetition – to urges or advertising or whatever. In this case, you replace the foolish spending habit with a healthier saving habit.

Like any other habit formation, this is accomplished by planning and working the plan – repeating desired behaviours like first paying bills and then creating a saving system until they become automatic.


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March 2018 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News March 2018

Happy spring! This issue of the RCC News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Small is beautiful! Neighbourhood Small Grants projects are back
  • Celebrating 20 years of RCC News: Cathy Folkard: The light shines on
  • Connections and Resilience Lab
  • Local youth Maggie Fong wins City of Vancouver Awards of Excellence
  • MLA Adrian Dix addresses resident concerns about homeless housing
  • Nutrition Month 2018 — Unlock the Potential of Food
  • Expert tips to get your lawn and garden going this spring

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the April 2018 issue is March 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.


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Seniors and income tax filing in B.C.

Income-tax-time

Collingwood Neighbourhood House is once again offering its income tax service for low-income households.

BY KAREN LOK YI WONG

Filing income tax is important for everyone in B.C. However, it can be challenging for some groups, including seniors.

Why is it important for seniors to file income tax?
Seniors generally have low income. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “a large share of single seniors has incomes very close to the poverty line: 44 per cent report an after-tax income between $15,000 and $25,000.”

By filing income tax, seniors are more likely to get the tax credits and benefits they are entitled to, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) credits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. If they do not file income tax, these tax credits and benefits will be cut.

To many seniors, these tax credits and benefits are survival income. Seniors rely on their limited income to pay for daily necessities, such as rent and food, to survive. These basic necessities are important for seniors to maintain their physical, mental and socio-emotional health.

What are the challenges for seniors to file income tax?
According to my own experience working with seniors, many do not know how to file income tax. The Canada Revenue Agency encourages income tax filing by computer. However, many seniors have limited or no knowledge of the computer.

While income tax can also be filed by paper, many find the form booklet complicated or cannot fill it in because of different reasons. For example, they have poor vision and can’t read the form, or their hands shake when writing so they can’t fill in the form. They may turn to family and friends for help, but many do not have this option for support. They may consider paying for an income tax filing service, but many find the service is too expensive.

What is the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program
Seniors and other people who have a modest income and a simple tax situation can consider filing their income tax with the help of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which is supported by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Through this program, community organizations across Canada help you fill out and file income tax for free. Some organizations provide the service year-round, but most only during the income tax filing seasons in March and April. The service is provided by volunteers who are either trained or have related education already, like accountants.

What are the challenges for seniors to access the CVITP?
It can still be challenging for some seniors to access the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. First, in many community organizations, there are more clients than volunteers can serve. The resulting long waits can challenge some seniors, who may feel fatigued. It’s a good idea to provide tea, coffee, water and cookies to seniors while waiting.

Second, because many seniors can’t travel to the income tax clinics, community organizations often provide outreach services. However, not many organizations have the volunteer resources to provide such outreach.

Third, many immigrant seniors do not speak Canada’s official languages, English and French. Community organizations may have volunteers who can provide interpretation services but not many have the language resources. Community organizations and the Canada Revenue Agency should continue to consider ways to improve the program.

To find a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, visit the CRA website http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/vlntr/clncs/vancouver-bc-eng.html.

Karen Lok Yi Wong is a social worker in B.C. working with seniors. She was the program coordinator at 411 Seniors Centre Society http://411seniors.bc.ca and lead the centre’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program in 2017. That year, the program served more than 1,700 clients.

Copyright (c) 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News