Thank You So Much! We did it! I’m In! Now the work begins.

I don’t think it will quite hit me until the first orientation meetings this week…. but I am extremely honoured and excited to have succeeded in this campaign.  I will be keeping this website and my Facebook page up so that you can continue to access me through it and find out about the issues happening in Port Alberni.  My own greatest pleasure is to give people information that they find useful, whether it is about computers and video projects at my work at VIU, weather info at Alberniweather.ca, or now city info as one of your councillors for Port Alberni, that will be my biggest goal and I am very excited to have the opportunity to do so,

So! With that in mind, here is the info of the day!

Election Results!

Click the link to see results from all communities in BC including the ACRD and Port Alberni.

2014 results part12014resuktspart2 Here are the results for Port Alberni. It was a very close race as was to be expected when you have 22 excellent candidates running for only six spots.

I am very excited to be working with what I think is an excellent team of councillors and Mayor.  And I want to thank John Douglas and Wendy Kerr especially for their great work in their time on council and as Mayor.

The road bridge question failed by 57% voting against. I Hope that means it is time to talk about a much more affordable and potentially beautiful foot and bike bridge instead!

Here are tACRD2014he results from the ACRD:

Congratulations to all the candidates who ran.

Also important is the referendum on the Sproat Lake Marine patrol, which City and all Valley residents participated in.  It passed easily.

And finally, the School District.

Sd70 results2014That’s it folks!  Those are your elected officials in the Alberni Valley that will represent you for the next 4 years.

I am very honoured to be one of those select few.  Please, stay engaged, keep asking and demanding questions.  Demand them of me and all of our elected officials. Democracy isn’t just voting on voting day.  It has to be a Full part of our lives every single day for it to work best.

Thanks you for sending me on this journey.  Four years from now, we will see if I’m still thanking you ;) but I know we will be in an even better place than we are now.

Happy Sunday Port Alberni!

 

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Will you vote on Wednesday?

Your first opportunity to vote in an advance poll is Wednesday November 5th! So exciting!

I will likely be voting sometime around 9AM. The Advance Poll for City voters will be at City Hall from 8AM to 8PM.

If you can’t make it on general voting day, don’t hesitate to take advantage of these advance days!  And remember: As long as you live in the City, whether you own or rent, you can vote.  If you live outside the City but own property inside city limits, you can vote too.

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And make sure you drag a friend along! I would love to have you vote for me, but no matter who you vote for, please vote! Democracy is a beautiful and still rare thing in our world.

Oh, and check out Shaw TV for the Mayors debate and the Councillors statements, including mine of course. They should have it on their Youtube channel soon too if you don’t subscribe to Shaw.

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Bike racks at 6PM. Foot/bike bridge and Nanaimo foot ferry at 7PM

Just a quick note that if you are in support of more bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure in our City today might be a good day to head to City Hall.

At 6PM there will be an official public hearing on whether the Official Community Plan should be amended to require bike racks or bike parking facilities on all new and existing multi-family and commercial businesses in the city.

Here is the full handout from the City.

My opinion: if we are serious about encouraging people to get out of their cars then this is a logical first step to make it easier for people to use their bike to get to and from work or to do their business in town.

What do you think? Get to the meeting tonight at 6PM to register your opinion!

7PM:

As usual, there is tons on the Agenda tonight at City Council.

First there will be the presentation by John Mayba for a foot and bike bridge to cross the Rogers Creek ravine near 10th Avenue or the Multiplex.

My Opinion: this is something that really makes sense. It need not be an idea that competes with that of a road bridge, however, in the grand scheme of things that we can afford and that would provide a real new benefit to our city, I believe a foot and bike bridge spanning the ravine would make for a huge improvement in the walkability and bike ability of our City. Unlike a car that only needs a few minutes to make the strip down Gertrude to get to the other side of town, on a bike or by foot, the ravine poses a huge obstacle for people to go around at great cost of time and energy.

This should be something that should be very affordable as well and also able to be contributed to by volunteers. There could also be big benefits to linking in to the walking paths and trails within the ravine. Heck, it could even be a little tourist attraction to lure people off Johnston.

Second. IMG_4960-0.JPG

There is a letter of support being requested by the City of Nanaimo to support the Island Ferries foot passenger service between downtown Nanaimo and Downtown Vancouver. With massive BC Ferry costs, this is an idea whose time has finally come.

And with the Island Ferry facility setting up shop right beside the railyard in Nanaimo it provides an exceptional opportunity to have visitors and commuters use the service to get all over the Island including here in Port Alberni.

If you were a tourist from Ontario flying into Vancouver and wanted to see Long Beach, would you consider taking the foot ferry to Nanaimo and hopping right on the train to Port Alberni to be your home base? It sure would cut car rental costs and it could be a game changer for our Coty in the summer months.

Come make your voice heard tonight!

Chris

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Social Planning Council Questions

The Alberni Valley Social Planning Council sent these questions out to candidates last week.  With their permission, I’ve reproduced them here with the answers I provided.  Our poor, and mentally and physically challenged, and especially our disadvantaged children need support.

1.     What ideas do you have about how to increase food security for low income people? What about for the general population in times of emergency?

Local food has been a growing trend in the past decade and I think this will only keep growing in future.  I am hopeful that as this trend grows that we see more and more of this local food making its way to the local food banks and into the homes of low income families and people.  The Gleaning project run by Heather Shobe through the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society Food Group has been doing this for a number of years.  I’d love to see more partnerships formed between our two very successful farmers market and the social services in our town as well.

As for times of emergency, again, the local food movement is providing some momentum that I believe we can latch onto.  While it is a Regional rather than specifically City issue, the ACRD agricultural committee and the City and ACRD in general need to make development of our agricultural sector in the Valley a top priority.  The best way to be prepared is to have as much food production as we can right here in the Valley.  We have significant amounts of protein being produced by local beef, and pig operations.

We have significant amounts of year-round vegetables as well.  Perhaps there could be a registry made whereby farmers and home growers could sign up with the Emergency Planning department of the City/ACRD and be registered as possible sources of food in the event of a disaster that cut us off from the rest of the Island for a significant amount of time.  These issues will also come to a head as we deal with climate change as well.

2.     Would you support the development of policy on mental health issues in conjunction with the regional government? What would that look like?

Yes.  While I am not directly involved with people with mental health issues in our community, I do have some experience with policies that deal with people with all manner of disabilities at my workplace at Vancouver Island University.  These policies not only provide direction to me as staff but also provide excellent support for the students.

I honestly do not know what such a policy or framework might look like for people with disabilities, or specifically mental health issues, in the City or Regional District but I would be very supportive of exploring that, learning about it and making it happen so that all of our residents have an equal opportunity to participate in our society.

3.     Do you have any plans for policies on ending child poverty in the valley?

I would approach child poverty from the direction of trying to create enough employment in the Valley to ensure that the families of those children can live on a reasonable income.  We need to provide families with resources so that they can get back into school or other training without going into debt.  We also need as a city to encourage a much wider range of businesses to setup shop in our valley so that once their schooling is done there are options for jobs here in the Valley.

I see great opportunity to bring in small businesses like tech sector, consulting, and other professional services.  Healthcare and education remain huge employers and we need to increase the number of facilities in our community in order to satisfy the demand and to create those jobs that will lift people out of poverty.  Finally, for the children directly I would advocate strongly for the city to keep supporting local daycares and literacy programs  and to lobby the provincial and federal governments to bring funding back into those critical areas.

4.     In what ways are you committed to creating social housing on City owned land in partnership with provincial agencies and/or local agencies?  What other incentives would you like the City to offer developers willing to build affordable housing units?

I believe there are many locations around the city that could be used for social housing.  The new alberni shelter on the VIHA property also needs to finally break ground.  I will continue to advocate for the government to provide the funds to do that.  The City needs to redevelop its waterfront and its uptown and downtown areas.

These could be very attractive areas to develop if the stranglehold on our waterfront from industry was loosened.  If and when they are redeveloped, the City could offer tax breaks to developers that included affordable housing units in their new developments.

5.     Do you believe the City should employ a social planner?

I would be wiling to investigate the hiring of a social planner.  In general, the City needs to do a better job of  taking into account all aspects of its decision making, from economic, to environmental, to social impacts.  This needs to happen in all departments in the City as well as at the Board level on Council.

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From 1995 – The effects of greenhouse gases on the biosphere of Canada

The following is an essay I wrote for Biology 150 at UVic in my first year in 1995.  I only recently rediscovered this essay when I was going through some old digital files on a very old Atari ST computer that I grew up using.    I’m not sure if it is a draft or the final thing I handed in.  I’ve edited it a bit… I have no idea what mark I got on it. :)

Unfortunately I don’t have the image files that would have gone along with the essay as they were likely gathered from print sources, but I’ve tried to find online representations of the sources that I have listed.

It is incredible that in the 19 years since I wrote this paper, very little has changed in terms of global action on climate change though the world did take action on CFCs and the Ozone layer.  That action is the same type of action we still must take on CO2.

Chris Alemany November 1995 95-02646  

The effects of greenhouse gases on the biosphere of Canada  

Biology 150   

 

Introduction:

Global warming is a global problem.  It affects every ecosystem, every species and every organism on this planet.  Unfortunately the blame is ours. Since the start of modern industry concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen dramatically (CO2″25%”, CH4″50%”(CDIAC 1991).

These greenhouse gases rise into our atmosphere and trap heat which would normally escape into space.  As a result climates, weather patterns and ecosystems are changing all around the world.  This essay will concentrate on the effects of greenhouse gases and global warming.  It will reveal what the consequences of expelling such vast quantities of these gases have been in the past and will be in the future.  Although the main focus is on the effects on Canada the global nature of this problem means that sources from all around the world must be considered and discussed at least in part.

Biology:

One of the biggest reasons for the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the explosion of the population of humans on the earth in the past century.  As one can see from the pie charts below the human population doubled from 1950 to 1990 and is expected to nearly double again in the next thirty to forty years.  This population increase means that there will be more industry, more cars, more burning of fossil fuel and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Obviously if ways are not found now to prevent the release of greenhouse gases the problem will only grow with the number of people.

Figure 2: [Inserting from Wikipedia]

This is a map of the “Neartic Biogeographical realm” and its provinces which often stretch across Canada and the continental United States including Alaska. The provinces which lie within the territory of Canada are : (Francis, 1982) Sitkan (1) Alaskan Tundra (5) Arctic Archipelago (9) Yukon Taiga (2) Canadian Tundra (6) Artic Desert/Icecap (10) Canadian Taiga (3) Rocky Mountains (7) Great Lakes (11) Sierra-Cascade (4) Grasslands (8) Eastern Forest (12)

Discussion:

Canada, along with the rest of the world has a major problem when it comes to CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.  Canada has already felt some of the consequences of those emissions in the form of unusually warm and violent weather.  Many scientists believe that the horrible floods which wiped out parts of southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba along with most of the farm land down the Mississippi were caused by an overall increase in the global temperature of nearly half a degree Celsius (qtd. in Fantechi, Ghazi 215).

These floods were responsible for the destruction of thousands of hectares of farmland in the prairies or “grasslands”(Francis 1982).  This is a major biogeographical province (see Figure 2) that extends from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the shores of the Mississippi and travels all the way to the gulf of Mexico.  This is the first of many examples of the chaos which can and will happen if global warming continues unchecked.  There are many more predictions of what might happen if global warming goes on unchecked.

It is revealed that an increase in mean temperature over the Canadian prairies could lead to drought.  Canada contains only “1.44% of the world’s agricultural land” (Gregorich et al. 1991) and to lose even a fraction of that would be disastrous to the economy and ecology of Canada.

If the drought scenario did occur however, soil in the central and northern parts of the prairies could be freed from the grips of permafrost.  One estimate indicates that if global trends continued “3.1 million hectares of organic soils”(Arthur, 1987) would be freed from permafrost.  This is a major change in the ecosystem of the area.  Instead of a barren land with sparse vegetation it might begin to show signs of supporting higher forms of plant and animal life.  Changes like those could seriously disrupt current ecosystems.

Global warming can not only affect prairie ecosystems but also affect ecosystems along coastal shores.  The rise in temperatures means that reduced annual accumulations of ice and snow on the poles and glaciers of the world are possible.

That means that less water is evaporating into the atmosphere from the sea than is melting or running off from land.  As a result global sea levels could rise: by “2040: + 27 cm; 2080: + 46 cm; 2120: + 69 cm”(Fantehi, Gazhi 1986)  Even though these numbers seem small the effect it could have on the present seashores could be devastating.  All current intertidal zones would be fully immersed in water and the organisms which depend on the tidal action of the area would perish.  Such organims include clams and gooeyducks which need sand to burrow through and tidal action to provide them with nutrients.If the sea level were to rise present day sandy beaches could be permanently flooded and the rocky shores which dominate much of coast of Canada could become intertidal.

Consequently the clams would have no place to burrow and receive nutrients and therefore would be required to emigrate to other locations.  This could leave a large gap in the marine food web of the region and lead to reduced biological productivity in the area.

Not only do greenhouse gases trap heat some, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), destroy the ozone layer that protects the earth from dangerous ultraviolet light.  It has been found that an increase in harmful ultraviolet light (UV-B) have had “an adverse effect on phytoplankton populations”(Macdonald et al. 1992) in the Antartic Ocean, the area with the most prominent lose of ozone.  Phytoplankton is a major component in the marine foodwebs of the world.  Canada’s west coast has a large population of phytoplankton and has many species which depend on its presence.  Therefore, if it is true that an “ozone hole” has developped “over populated regions of the Northern hemisphere”(Macdonald et al. 1992) then those populations of phytoplankton may be in danger.

Conclusion:

As one can clearly see the effects of greenhouse gases on the biosphere of Canada and the world are both numerous and dangerous.  Global warming and depletion of the ozone layer contribute to such things as thawing of the polar ice caps and extirpation of species from an area.  These huge changes of environment lead to the break down of ecosystems and a change in the basic biogeographical boundries which have existed for milions of years.

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