Category Archives: Health

Metro column: Cycling plan goes beyond lip service

08 June 2009 05:21

Last week, while cycling home from the office, I was almost flattened by a car charging through a red light. This came moments after I was nearly run off the road by another careless motorist who mistook my bike lane for a turning lane of his own.

Welcome to Bike Month in Metro Vancouver.

This being June, the annual push is on to get locals onto this more sustainable mode of transport.

But don’t be fooled by the cheery speeches or beefed-up Critical Mass rides: Bike mode share — the number of cyclists on the road compared to motorists, transit riders or pedestrians — is disappointingly small in this region. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Events, Health, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: Time for smokers with kids to butt out

After midnight tonight, British Columbians who smoke in their vehicles with children present will face more than just social disapproval. They will become outlaws.

That’s because, to mark World Health Day tomorrow, our provincial government is putting new anti-smoking legislation into effect, which takes direct aim at this behaviour.

All I can say is, it’s about time. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Environment, Health, Law and Order

Metro column: Very different spirits arising over the same trail

16 March 2009

It’s nice to see the growing focus on pedestrian and cycling greenways and trails in Metro Vancouver these days. Local governments are finally responding to demand for transportation choices that are easier on our wallets, and better for our health and environment.

A good example is the North Shore Spirit Trail, a 35-kilometre pathway connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.

For walking and biking enthusiasts from across the Lower Mainland, the trail promises to be a recreational jewel. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycling, Environment, Green Space, Health, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Transportation, Urban Planning

Vancouver Province column: It’s time we paid more attention to the troubling side of two-wheeling

Monday, August 18, 2008

Forget about beach yoga, kiteboarding or the Grouse Grind. The hippest outdoor activity in Metro Vancouver this summer is riding a bike.

The weekend warriors and the tourist hordes are, of course, a regular sight along the region’s seawalls and bike paths. But thanks to brutal gas prices and our society’s push to go green, more folks are cycling to work, school or the grocery store as well.

Good for them, I say.
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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Green Space, Health, Law and Order, Politics, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Rats may not be a huge health threat, but they certainly can hurt tourism

Monday, September 01, 2008

A couple weeks ago, I found out that a neighbour in my condominium building was having problems with some urban wildlife, and I’m not talking about squirrels.

It turns out that rats have been hanging out on his otherwise idyllic patio.

Worse, during one of the few hot days this August, when his sliding door was left open, a long-tailed rodent brazenly scampered into his living room.

In the spirit of keeping these supersized mice away from our premises for good, my neighbours and I have banded together and hired the services of a pest-control company.

Apparently, we’re not alone.
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Filed under Environment, Food and Dining, Health, Neighbourhoods, New York, Tourism, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Why plague people with trash talk when they’ve got worries enough?

Forget about manicured front lawns, white picket fences and the sound of children at play. According to a growing legion of pundits and “peak oil” theorists, the tidy suburbs of today are the forsaken slums of tomorrow.

A recent article in The Atlantic Monthly by Christopher Leinberger argued that once-idyllic cul-de-sacs are about to become the domain of poverty, social disorder and physical rot.

More recently, Smart Growth B.C., the Vancouver-based not-for-profit with a focus on creating “more livable communities in British Columbia,” made the link between sprawling, auto-friendly suburbs and the grim spectre of childhood obesity.

Given sky-high gas prices, the new carbon tax and a growing number of “for sale” signs popping up in family subdivisions, there’s no doubt that B.C. suburban dwellers are facing a financial and psychological squeeze these days. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Commuting, Environment, Green Space, Health, Immigration, Law and Order, Media, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Real Estate

Mercer Consulting: Best cities for… wait for it… quality of living

The cities rankings continues — this one from Mercer Consulting.
It’s a bit more serious-minded that Monocle’s, and geared for those who are uprooting for work.

Some survey highlights:

“European cities dominate the rankings of locations with the best quality of living, according to Mercer’s 2008 Quality of Living survey. Zurich retains its 2007 title as the highest ranked city, followed jointly by Vienna (2), Geneva (2), then Vancouver (4) and Auckland (5).

The highest entry for the United States is Honolulu, appearing at number 28. The cities with the lowest quality of living ranking are Ndjamena (211), Khartoum (212), Brazzaville (213), and Bangui (214). Baghdad, ranking 215, retains its position at the bottom of the table.

The survey also identified those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries. Luxembourg was top, followed by Bern, Geneva, Helsinki and Zurich, all equally placed at number 2. Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are noted amongst the safest cities in the US, all ranking at 53. Baghdad (215) was the world’s least safe city followed by Kinshasa (214), Karachi (213), Nairobi (212) and Bangui (211).

The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while Baghdad scores 13.5. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city which has an index score of 100.”

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