Is the Problem Excessive Speed or Distracted Driving?

In the relatively short time that my family has lived in Coquitlam there have been serious motor vehicle collisions at the corner of Como Lake Ave and Gatensbury that have resulted in cars or trucks landing in the front yard of homes on each of the four corners of the intersection.

Como Lake and Gatensbury
Como Lake and Gatensbury

The most recent collision happened this weekend just gone. As you can see in the photo above, the white SUV landed upside down and almost cut in half by the fence that the vehicle landed upon.

First Responders on Scene
First Responders on Scene

The collision – and I purposefully use the word “collision” because these collisions are NOT accidents. These collisions are caused by the choices that people make – they do not happen by accident.

Anyways, I digress, the most recent collision caused Como Lake Ave to be closed from Porter Ave east to Shoolhouse Ave from 6:45pm until nearly midnight. At midnight they were finally able to remove the SUV from the front yard of the home on the corner.

For hours after the collision there were at least ten police cruisers, five ambulances, and at least four fire/rescue vehicles on the scene. Later in the evening three or more tow trucks arrived to remove the vehicles involved in the collision.

Northwest Corner
Northwest Corner

In the picture above you can see how there is a very well established hedge and then the new, little trees. That is a result of a violent collision that sent cars hurtling through this family’s hedge to land in the yard only a few metres from their living room.

On all corners of Como Lake and Gatensbury there are similar scenes. Vehicles collided so violently one time that one of the vehicles was pushed east on Como Lake Ave until it ran into the side of the nearby apartment building.

Half an hour before the most recent collision took place I was standing with daughters at the exact spot where the SUV landed. If we had played at the new Como Lake playground for thirty minutes more I would have been standing at that exact spot with my daughters.

What makes these spectacular collisions all the more curious is the fact that the speed limit, not the recommended speed, but the actual legal, posted speed limit on Gatensbury for many blocks in either direction of Como Lake Ave is 30kmh.

Of course the speed limit on Como Lake Ave is 50 kmh. A speed limit that is rarely, if ever enforced.

The question is, how is that when two vehicles collide on a corner where the speed limit is 50kmh on one street and 30kmh on the cross street, how is it that one of the vehicles can become airborne and land in the front yard of a nearby home?

Of course that is completely disregarding the question of how did two or more vehicles traveling in opposite directions enter the intersection at the same time.

Southeast Corner
Southeast Corner

To get to the bottomline, I understand that distracted driving is a serious problem. But do we really need police officers standing at the corner of Como Lake Ave and Clarke watching for people who look down at their phones while they are stopped at the red light while they disregard the drivers who routinely ignore the red light?

What is the point of having speed limits if they are not enforced and obviously not followed?

At what point do we say enough is enough?

The Coquitlam Munch

In the past I have blogged about growing food close to home and I will say it again, I believe in growing food close to home! I also like the idea of urban gardening where food plants rather than decorative plants are grown on city lands. You can imagine how pleased I was to see that the city of Coquitlam is also embracing the idea of growing food close to where we live.

Bush Beans
Bush Beans

The “Coquitlam Munch” is a partnership with the Austin Heights Business Improvement Association (AHBIA) which will enable the public to taste and share food grown on public land.

Forty planters along Ridgeway and Austin Avenues were planted by AHBIA members and other community partners at a launch event held May 26.

Adjacent businesses will keep the planters watered and weeded, and the public will be invited to tour the planters from June to October to taste the crops and learn about small-scale sustainable gardening.

I will be visiting the garden boxes in the coming days to see how the gardens are progressing. Stay tuned!!

 

Enforcement of Distracted Driving Laws

Earlier this week I had lunch at Raw Cuts, my favourite little sandwich shop on the Burnaby-New West border. While sitting in the shop and enjoying my lunch I watched the RCMP on the Burnaby side of 10th Ave pulling in drivers who dared to look at their mobile devices while they sat stopped at the red light.

Random picture for you to look at
Random picture for you to look at

I couldn’t help but notice that while the police were very busy enforcing the distracted driving laws, they paid no attention to the people who ran the red light or made illegal left turns at the corner. As a side note, the fine for distracted driving is now $500.

However, it was also interesting to see that each time the light turned red, at least two cars would sail through the light. I’m not talking about a late yellow light – I’m talking about people in cars, trucks and motorcycles entering the intersection as the light turns red. The police paid no attention to the cars and trucks running the red lights.

However, if you were one of the drivers stopped at the light and you looked down at your mobile phone, you could expect a police officer to pull you into the parking lot and give you a fine for distracted driving.

A really ridiculous thing though, once the drivers crossed the intersection and were moving away from the watchful eyes of the police, the drivers would once again pick up their phones and continue driving while making calls or texting or checking my blog.

It appears that the distracted driving enforcement only focuses on people who are stopped, but not actually driving in their cars.

I’m not sure what the answer is but since I have started carpooling more often, I get to watch people in other cars more closely and I’m just going to say it, people are not getting the message about distracted driving. Many, many people continue to use their phones while driving. The current method of enforcement is clearly not working.

Joe Fafard Exhibition; Retailles 

Internationally renowned, Joe Fafard is one of Canada’s most recognized and prolific artists.

Joe Fafard; Retailles
Joe Fafard; Retailles

Mr. Fafard is one of Canada’s leading professional visual artists and has exhibitions of a wide variety of work in galleries and museums across the country and around the world, including the United States, Great Britain, France and Japan.

He is widely recognized as being at the forefront of his art, and his outstanding contributions to the arts have significantly raised the profile of both Saskatchewan and Canada on the national stage

In the early 1970’s, much of his sculpture used clay as a medium.

In 1985, he shifted to bronze as his chief sculptural medium, successfully establishing a foundry in Pense.

His insight and humour characterize his portraits of neighbours, farm animals, wildlife, and famous artists that he came to respect as he learned his craft.

His work in bronze is displayed across Canada and his cows have become one of his trademarks. Some say that Joe Fafard adds a sense of humour to his depiction of the everyday through his artwork; Joe says that he never really took it out…

Fafard’s current exhibition titled Retailles offers an insight into his exploration of the laser-cut process featuring laser-cut and welded metal sculptures along with embossed and woodcut prints.

Fafard’s current exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery opens  on Thursday, June 23. There will be an opening reception at the BAG from 7-9pm for Joe Fafard: Retailles.

The Burnaby Art Gallery is located at 6344 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby.

Coquitlam’s Tree Watering Bags

For the second year in a row, Coquitlam has installed watering bags to help out young trees and is inviting neighbouring residents to help keep the trees healthy by adding water to the bags during drier spells.

Tree Water Bag
Tree Water Bag

The City of Coquitlam is committed to supporting a healthy urban forest that includes 2,800 young trees. To that end, once again this year, the City’s Parks crews have installed watering bags to help trees grow strong and healthy during the drier summer months.

The watering bags, which will be filled by City staff once every two weeks, are a more efficient – and effective – way to deliver water to street and park trees.

Similar to last year, residents neighbouring these trees are requested to supplement the City waterings, especially during extended periods without rain. Instructional letters have been mailed to affected residents asking for their assistance. While not required, this added boost helps the trees to be more vigorous and more pest resistant.

In 2015, the newly introduced watering bags lead to an increase in the establishment and survival of young and newly planted trees, with the City losing very few trees despite a record drought and many severe weather events.

The tree watering program runs from late May until late September and the bags will be removed in the fall so they can be reused in future years.

Residents with questions or concerns about the tree watering program may contact Parks at 604-927-6300.

Canada Day in Coquitlam

While the neighbouring community of Burnaby is hosting their annual Canada Day celebration at Swangard Stadium, this year will be Coquitlam’s eighth Canada Day celebration and more than 60,000 people will gather in Town Centre Park on July 1st for ‘Coquitlam Celebrates Canada Day’.

 

The Canada Day celebration in Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park is a free community festival featuring live music and entertainment, food, beverages, family activities and fireworks.

As part of the Coquitlam 125 anniversary celebrations, the 2016 event will recognize the City’s past, present and future with a new site configuration and special activities.

Photo opportunities abound at this colourful event, from the red and white face paint and clothing, to the live performances on three stages, to the spectacular fireworks display over Lafarge Lake.

The free Canada Day Celebration is an all day event culminating with fireworks at 10 p.m.

Limited parking is available on site and event-goers are encouraged to walk, bike, carpool or use transit or the free shuttle. A free shuttle bus will run from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. between the site and Gleneagle Secondary (1195 Lansdowne Dr.) and a free bicycle valet service will be available.

Buses that stop within a block or two of the site include the 97 B-Line, 179, C27 and C28.

Come on down to Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park to celebrate Canada Day!

Coquitlam 125 Partnership; Keeping Waste Out of Landfills

As thousands of people prepare to attend the Coquitlam 125 anniversary celebrations this year, the City’s special events staff are devising a plan to keep more than a tonne of discarded food, packaging and other recyclables out of the landfill.

A single large event such as Coquitlam’s Canada Day celebration can produce almost 900 kilograms of food, recycling and refundable items, plus another 130 kilograms of garbage.

Diverting as much as possible from the landfill is a key goal for Coquitlam 125 events of all size. Big events such as the Kaleidoscope arts and culture festival July 23-24, the Heritage Picnic Sept. 27 and Lights at Lafarge Nov. 26 will attract thousands of people and together will generate more than a tonne of waste.

The City will be working closely with Westcoast Plastic Recycling at these three signature Coquitlam 125 events to make sure waste is sorted correctly on site and disposed of properly afterwards. As part of its role as the official Coquitlam 125 Recycling Partner, Westcoast will be helping manage all forms of waste during the three events.

For example, Westcoast staff will be on hand to help event-goers sort their waste into bins for organics, mixed recycling, refundable recycling and garbage at stations located throughout the grounds.

At the end of the day, organics and garbage will be removed by the City while Westcoast will haul away all recyclables. Back at their facility in Richmond, the company will further sort the recyclables and prepare them for remanufacturing.

The partnership with Westcoast is saving the City approximately $9,000 in disposal costs while providing high-quality recycling services at the events, helping the environment and conserving valuable non-renewal resources.

According to Westcoast, plastics generally take 1,000 years to decompose and are one of the biggest forms of pollution at landfills because they take so long to break down.

For more information about upcoming Coquitlam 125 events, visit www.coquitlam125.ca.

The Irony of Anti-Spam Legislation

It is more than a little amusing to me that so many people get so bent out of shape about receiving what they believe are spam emails.

In fact, the government of Canada, acting on behalf of the segment of our population who have so much negative energy about receiving what they think is spam email, actually passed legislation making it incredibly difficult for organizations to communicate electronically with their customers!

Really though, what is the big deal? You receive a piece of spam – or 2, or 20 or 40 – what do you have to do? Select them and delete them. That. Is. It. Done. The spam is gone forever.

Anti-Spam Legislation
Anti-Spam Legislation

And yet twice a week I come home to a scene like this. Or on a rainy and windy day I come home to find the papers strewn all over my yard. Soaking wet. So I have to gather them up, carry them to our recycle bin.

I keep the mess of wet and messy newspapers in the bin for the the rest of the week. On the day when the recycle truck comes around, before the birds are awake, I have to crawl out of bed, in the rain, snow, or shine, I have to carry the recycle bin out to the curb.

The bin that is full of newsprint. Newsprint made from trees that have been cut down from our forests. Trees that would, if they were still alive, convert the stuff we breathe out into oxygen we could be breathing.

And have you ever tried to stop receiving the junk that comes in the mail? Good luck. It is almost impossible to stop the delivery of newspapers to your home.

But do we see any laws stopping the newsprint spam that is delivered to our homes? Nah. But they passed anti-spam legislation to deal with the electronic spam. Great.

 

Canada Day Festivities Planned for Burnaby

While the City of Vancouver continues the tradition of keeping Canada Day celebrations pretty low-key, neighbouring communities like the City of Burnaby continue to grow their Canada Day festivities.

This year, the City of Burnaby will play host to a free Canada Day concert and fireworks at the Swangard Stadium on July 1st for the third consecutive year. The event marks Canada’s 149th birthday and highlights include: top-notch entertainment; activities and exhibitors for the whole family, and spectacular fireworks for the grand finale.

Canada Day
The Trews

“We are so pleased to offer this unique opportunity for Burnaby families to gather with friends and neighbours to celebrate Canada’s birthday in grand fashion,” says Mayor Derek Corrigan. “We know that this will once again be an evening of exceptional entertainment – all at no cost, in honour of our country’s birthday.”

2016 boasts another spectacular lineup headlined by Canadian rockers The Trews. Joining them will be country/pop singer, Madeline Merlo along with Vancouver reggae band Purple Soul.

The event will take place Friday, July 1st at Swangard Stadium located at Kingsway & Boundary Road in Burnaby. The concert is free to the public and gates open at 5:00pm with the fireworks show slated for dusk.

A Restonic Mattress and the Importance of Sleep

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad   and Restonic Mattress for this promotion. As always, full editorial control stays with me. 

Just over seven years ago my life changed forever when I became the father of twin daughters. Before my kids were born I would go to bed at some point in the evening, usually about 10pm, and sleep through the night until I woke up to an alarm clock, usually around 6am.

After my kids were born that part of my life ended. I have not used an alarm clock since their birth. In fact for the first two years of their lives I rarely slept for more than an hour at any one time.

The fact that our kids were born significantly prematurely made my wife and I hyper-concerned about their well-being. Yes, we instilled in them poor sleeping habits and we continue to live with the consequences of our choices to this day.

Restonic Beds
The King of Rest

As a result of my inability to sleep at night, I learned strategies to get sleep where and when I needed it. For example, staff meetings were great places to catch a few winks. That was until my colleagues got tired of me snorting and snoring while they discussed important issues like where the microwave oven should be placed in the staff kitchen.

Restonic Beds
The King of Rest at Work

They elected me chair of the meetings – while I was sound asleep! No more sleeping at staff meetings. Coincidentally, at the next meeting which I chaired, we managed to decide where to place the microwave oven!

Restonic Beds
The King of Rest

Another place that I found to sleep was in my car. While driving home I would often pull into a parking spot and catch a few minutes of sleep. When I got home my wife would ask where I had been and why I was so late getting home; I would blame my late arrival on heavy traffic.

Restonic Beds
The King of Rest

My ability to sleep in bizarre places went from being hilarious to my friends, to being downright annoying to them. Who wants to invite someone to a sporting event when you know they will simply fall asleep and probably drool on your shoulder?

Being someone who needed some serious help with my sleep habits, how could I refuse when Restonic asked me to partner with them on a blog post about sleep? I couldn’t!

The reality is that I am not at my best when I do not get quality sleep in the night. Sleeping during meetings or on my way home was not meeting my sleep needs. So I started reading from the Restonic Sleep Blog to learn more about sleep and sleep habits.

Some of the key points I read hit close to home  

  • We can’t be nice to our kids or partners if we don’t get enough sleep. 
  • We can’t be good at our jobs if we don’t get enough sleep.
  • And we don’t have the energy to exercise, play with the kids, or make dinner – if we don’t get enough sleep.

That was me.

  • Me not being nice to be around.
  • Me not being productive at work; what was I contributing to my work environment when I was sleeping during meetings?
  • Me being too tired to get any exercise or to go to the park with my kids. 

While my kids’ poor sleep habits have had an impact on my sleep habits, that is only part of the reason why I don’t get enough restful sleep. The reality is that I sleep on a terrible mattress. A mattress that was purchased with the only consideration being how much it cost. That decision continues to cost me plenty.

If people have a good mattress, and thus get a good sleep their day to day lives will benefit from that. And that is why I am seriously considering a new Restonic mattress of my own.

If you are like me and are thinking seriously about your sleep and how rested you get after a night’s sleep, you need to check out Restonic’s Sleep Blog or follow them on Twitter to learn about how a quality mattress can improve the rest that you get each night.

You can also find a Restonic retailer near your home for when you want to visit a Restonic retailer.

If you are interested in winning a very lovely Restonic mattress, feel free to enter the Restonic giveaway – details and how to enter listed below.

GIVEAWAY

By entering below, anybody has the chance to win a queen sized HealthRest® Mattress from Restonic.  Invest in your health with one of Restonic’s HealthRest® Brio™ Mattresses. Layered with latex and TempaGel® by Restonic and supported with a Trucomfort core™, a healthy, supportive night’s sleep is yours for the taking.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad   and Restonic Mattress for this promotion. As always, full editorial control stays with me.