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Cochrane’s Family Resource Network (FRN) held the last of four special events to help new Ukrainian residents create connections in the community.
The network hosted two cafes and two walks during the month of August.
FRN’s Jessica Nairne says the events were held to help the new residents to connect with each other as well as learn more about Cochrane. While no other special events have been planned but FRN continues to encourage the new residents to continue to take advantage of the services they offer.
Those services could be particularly valuable for new services with children going back to school.
It is estimated over 70 Ukrainian families have now settled in the Cochrane area.
FRN has a long list of ways to assist and navigate residents, including
The services of FRN are strength-based, trauma-informed, inclusive, supportive, and respectful, with a focus on building capacity. Services are provided in partnership with the Town of Cochrane, FCSS, Children’s Cottage, and BGC for Cochrane & Area.
To learn more about FRN, phone 403-851-2265.
Planning for future extreme heat emergencies includes short-term planning and long-term preparation in Oak Bay. Fire Chief Frank Macdonald outlined the district’s approach to council during its July 11 meeting.
More than 700 people in B.C. died last year due to extreme heat events, according to the provincial health authority, with 21 of them on southern Vancouver Island.
In response to those events, Oak Bay Emergency Services staff has been preparing for extreme summer heat events, working to reduce risks to the health and safety of residents.
Over the one-week heat wave, temperatures rose to a peak of over 40 C in many parts of the province. But different regions were impacted disproportionately, Macdonald told council. Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) in the Capital Region didn’t report the impact other areas saw. For example, Oak Bay Fire Department was not overwhelmed by medical calls to help BCEHS like their counterparts in Vancouver. There the fire department was, at one point, fully tied up in medical calls amid significant ambulance delays, leaving no resources available for fire response.
While the impacts were less severe, Macdonald noted weather scientists predict hotter summers and extreme heat events should be expected.
Heat events are classified as top-down events, meaning local emergency programs follow the lead of the province. Under the BC Heat Alert and Response System launched in June, a dedicated provincial heat committee will issue either warnings or emergency alerts, depending on different temperature thresholds. If a region is expected to see two or more consecutive days with daytime highs and nighttime lows above what is considered normal, a warning will be issued. If temperatures are expected to continue to increase day over day for three or more days, an extreme heat emergency will be declared and Alert Ready may be used. That emergency alert system should be familiar to residents as Amber Alerts and tsunami warnings on television, radio and cellphones.
Local protocols created by the Oak Bay Emergency Program include education, partnerships, communication, block watch, the Greater Victoria Public Library, Oak Bay Volunteers Services and other local governments. The partnerships focus on education, checking in on vulnerable residents during an event, and providing a place to cool for those who need.
In the event of an extreme heat event the air-conditioned common areas of Oak Bay Recreation Centre, Monterey centre and the Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, serve as unmanned cooling centres. Neighbouring municipalities confirm their cooling centres will be open to Oak Bay residents living in the area.
OBEP plans to share information through a new preparedness guide, presentations at Monterey centre, displays during the monthly night market and both traditional and social media.
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Duhacek explained that all of the food that comes through the agency’s doors goes back to people in need, with non-human consumables going to animals.
She told Lethbridge News Now on-scene that most residents were able to walk away with approximately $200 worth of food.
Duhacek said, “the food that they’re going to walk away with ranges from perishables, non-perishables, proteins, potatoes, we have huge chunks of beef, we have everything from seniors to family sizes will be covered today (June 21).”
“The food that we get is done by Second Harvest. So, our biggest partnership is with Second Harvest. Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food distribution program.”
Second Harvest ensures that Alberta Food Rescue and Distribution gets the necessary food that goes back out into the community.
“We also work with other places as well but generally what happens is, they come right from distribution centres and warehousing, and that’s how we’re able to do this.”
Duhacek did note, however, that they are struggling for funding to keep up their community efforts, so the organization is looking for corporate sponsorships. Tuesday’s event was made possible thanks to various donors, according to Duhacek.
She added that the agency first worked Mainstreet Equity Corp. in Calgary, with a potato delivery to one of their housing sites in the city. This eventually led to a broader partnership between the two bodies.
Duhacek said Mainstreet’s mandate for Tuesday’s event was to ensure no food was leftover, so, for the last half-hour of the afternoon initiative, members from across the entire community were invited to join and pick up food.
“We have families that are living with no extra dollars, but the cost of living is intense,” Duhacek said.
“It has a major strain on our food banks, our food rescues and even the housing programs, so that is why we’re working with Mainstreet.”
Duhacek added it is not just Lethbridge they are serving, but the agency has distributed food to the Piikani Nation and other surrounding First Nations. Plans are in the works to assist other communities in Alberta and eventually, help in municipalities outside of the province.
Chris Hollinger, Mainstreet’s Regional Supervisor for Calgary, Lethbridge, Cochrane and Airdrie said the organization’s partnership with the food distribution agency is very important.
He said, “we’re not just about quality of housing, we’re about giving back to the people that are living in our housing.”
“We’re here to support the people that are living in our properties and like I said, it’s not just about housing, it’s about mental wellness, food vulnerability that we’ve experienced with the increased costs of food in the grocery stores and we’re just happy that we can help out in any way.”
Hollinger said Mainstreet hopes to hold more events like Tuesday’s, alongside Alberta Food Rescue and Distribution, in the future.
Jennifer Tilson, a Mainstreet resident who was on hand for the event, said the food distribution is hugely impactful, “especially with the prices nowadays.”
She said the food options available were quite varied and helpful.
“They even [had] like individual salads and they had bananas and stuff like that, and then the big tray of meat and cheese is kind of nice,” Tilson said.
She added that other housing properties should take inspiration from Mainstreet and Alberta Food Rescue and Distribution, and host events like Tuesday’s in Lethbridge.
More on Alberta Food Rescue and Distribution is available at the non-profit’s Facebook page.
Yahoo has announced a series of Metaverse and NFT-related activities in Hong Kong, a day after Meta Platforms outlined its own metaverse plans for the region.
Yahoo, a US-based internet media company, revealed that it will host a series of virtual events and concerts for Hong Kong residents in the Decentraland metaverse.
According to Lorraine Cheung, the head of audience at Yahoo Hong Kong, the company sees the Metaverse as an attractive alternative for Hong Kong residents looking to engage in social activities while pandemic restrictions remain in force. On Thursday last week, a nation-wide mandate was introduced requiring that a negative Covid test be provided to enter all public venues such bars and restaurants.
“We hope to use the Metaverse to connect people regardless of time and physical location.”
Yahoo will also launch a non-fungible token (NFT) exhibition called The Abyss of Kwun Tong, which will see local artists virtually recreate the historic neighborhood of Kwun Tong which has been heavily impacted by redevelopment.
Creative Producer Leung Ching-hsuan said that the goal of the NFT exhibition was to “retain humanity using technology.”
On Tuesday, the social-media giant Meta put forward a strategy to work alongside local businesses and organizations such as cafes, schools and art galleries to create ‘“first-hand” Metaverse experiences for residents.
Major companies are increasingly embracing the Metaverse with international consulting firm McKinsey releasing a report this week predicting that Metaverse-related spending could be worth nearly $5 trillion by 2030.
Earlier this year, JPMorgan, the largest bank in the United States, made headlines by releasing a report that called Metaverse technology a “one trillion-dollar opportunity”, alongside opening their own virtual headquarters in the Decentraland metaverse.
Decentraland’s MANA token has rallied today, gaining a little over 14% in the last 24 hours according to data from CoinMarketCap.
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Can-Am Police-Fire Games organizers announced Wednesday residents will now have the chance to compete in a few of the events.
Space is available for 150 participants to run with and in support of first responders during the 5K (July 27 at 7 p.m.), 10K (July 28 at 7 p.m.) and 21K half marathon road race (July 30 at 7 a.m.).
There is also space for 75 participants in the Cross Country 5K (July 27 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and 10K (July 28 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
“We think this opportunity to run with and in support of our first responders will be a special memory for a lot of people. And there will be other event opportunities announced soon,” said general manager Jan Wilson.
The Can-Am Police-Fire Games is a multi-sport event which is hosted in either Canada or the U.S. every two years.
Over the six day period, the games range from more traditional sports such as softball, swimming and track, to more participant-focused events such as SWAT competitions and the Toughest Firefighter Alive completion.
Runners interested in participating can register at raceroster.com.
In addition to opening some of the events to residents, organizers also called for first responders to join the Can-Am Games Golf tournament July 26 through July 29.
Play includes two and four-person scrambles as well as individual competitions. Organizers say there is still room for players so emergency responders interested should register now.
Registration for the 2022 Can-Am Police-Fire Games is open at www.windsor2022.ca.
A handful of Dallas residents called on city officials Tuesday to change a proposed ordinance that aims to crack down on venue operators and promoters who advertise large events that don’t need a permit, with some arguing that it’s too broad and could result in unintended consequences.
Nine speakers — mostly representing businesses, neighborhood groups or public safety organizations — either criticized the ordinance or suggested tweaks at a public safety meeting at City Hall, and many asked the city to gather more input.
“I’m asking you as a city to not kill what we have spent years building,” said Julie McCullough, who has said she has produced large fashion shows in Dallas.
“We need more time,” she said. “You have said you’ve talked to stakeholders, yet I’ve talked to so many who had no idea this was going on.”
The draft of the ordinance, which was unveiled last week, is meant to boost safety at events that don’t already have oversight through current city processes. “Commercial promoters” — or those who advertise an event that doesn’t need a permit — would be required to pay a fee and register with the city.
The proposed rules were designed after city officials voiced a need in recent weeks for policies cracking down on event promoters and property owners in the aftermath of two mass shootings at events that did not have permits.
The shootings — one at an outdoor concert in southeast Oak Cliff on April 2 and the other at a spring break party at a South Dallas event venue on March 19 — left two people dead and at least 25 others wounded. The city and some attendees have filed lawsuits against the promoters and property owner over the concert shooting.
Under the proposed ordinance, promoters and venue operators would need an approved, detailed safety plan for events, and would be responsible for costs incurred if the occasion results in any emergency response.
The city already requires a special-use permit for events that meet certain criteria and attract 100 people or more. The new proposed ordinance applies to indoor events with a certain crowd size — the number hasn’t been determined — or outdoor events “of a public nature.” Examples include concerts, outdoor activities and other performances where fees are charged. Events held for or by nonprofit organizations are excluded.
Multiple speakers said Tuesday that the ordinance was too broad and could unfairly burden people who follow the current rules and have kept events safe. They asked officials to slow down and refine the ordinance’s scope.
J. Damany Daniel, who said he has helped organize events in Dallas for 25 years, said the new rules could undercut the work of small organizations and artists with limited resources by making the process onerous and expensive.
“It is within reason to take a step back, to do more in-depth conversations — not just to rush to council after a week’s worth of deliberations and a month’s worth of conversations and say, ‘This is the law of the land,’” Daniel said.
Krista Nightengale, who heads The Better Block, an urban design nonprofit group that hosts pop-up events, said the proposed ordinance creates barriers for people trying to bring the community together safely, adding that activating public spaces can reduce crime.
“I find this language to be very broad and, honestly, a bit offensive to the work so many of us are doing,” Nightengale said.
Anthony Page of the Uptown Neighborhood Association and Kathy Stewart, executive director of Uptown Dallas Inc., said they support the ordinance but recommended expanding rules to include promoters who profit from a percentage of food and beverage sales. Page asked that “DJ-themed events” also be included in the ordinance.
The city attorney’s office said it would look into narrowing the ordinance and making changes. Officials said they could try to carve out “smaller artist-type events” such as an art gallery that barely exceeds the minimum crowd threshold.
The city said it can also look into waiving fees for some events, adding that police try to make security fees affordable. City officials said they also help people with making a safety plan.
Police Chief Eddie García said there’s a difference between rushing and urgency. He said the ordinance is “important and urgent” for safety this summer, when more events are held and rates of violence typically increase.
“We absolutely do not want to stop events from occurring,” he said. “We just want those events to be occurring responsibly with safety precautions in place, because we’ve seen what could happen.”
Council member Adam McGough, who leads the public safety committee, encouraged city staff to gather more input and conduct outreach to non-English speakers, but agreed the new rules were an urgent matter. The final version of the ordinance is expected to be presented to the public safety committee June 13.
“We are just trying to make events safer in Dallas,” McGough said. “Absolutely want to do nothing that inhibits the type of vibrancy, culture and life that we want.”
Photo: City of Kelowna
After nearly five years of work, the City of Kelowna is pulling back the curtains on its grand plan to fill the calendar and support the local event industry.
On Monday, city council will take a look at the final draft of the city’s event strategy, a broad 10-year plan that aims to return Kelowna to an “eventful city.”
The city has for many years toyed with the idea of bringing a “signature event” to Kelowna. While Penticton has Peachfest and Vernon has its Winter Carnival, Kelowna has to look back decades to the Regatta since it was home to a truly iconic event.
Public consultation conducted as a part of the creation of the event strategy shows 71 per cent of residents want the city’s next signature event to be focused on music. Opportunities for retailers, history, water sports and competitions were also popular focuses.
“A city-led organizing committee comprised of community residents is currently in the process of planning a one-day family-oriented event for Saturday, August 27,” said a report to council accompanying the event strategy.
Details of the August event were not revealed.
The strategy notes that the majority of events hosted in Kelowna are either smaller events of less than 500 attendees or weddings. Most events are held in the downtown core or surrounding area.
Survey respondents reported that they felt there currently is not enough of a variety of events throughout the year, and when asked what barriers contributed to not attending events, the bulk of respondents cited lack of awareness and cost as the main reasons.
Event organizers were generally satisfied with Kelowna as a host community, although just 52 per cent of events were able to recruit enough volunteers. Rising costs, lack of marketing and aging infrastructure were also highlighted as challenges for event organizers.
Check out the video below for the story behind the Kelowna Regatta, which defined the Okanagan summer from 1906 until 1987.