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June 2007 Newsletter

UrbanWorkbench brings news and views on Civil Engineering, Urban Planning and Innovative Design. The Urban Workbench blog is authored by Mike Thomas, a Civil Engineer living and working in Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada. This monthly newsletter provides a wrap up of happenings in the region and in our lives.

It’s been a while since I last wrote a newsletter, so I thought I’d better sit down and get one out the door! Life’s been busy, with the move to Castlegar, BC from Newcastle, Australia almost six months ago now, “whirlwind” is an adequate description of the transition to life in the Kootenays.

Catching Up…

Brilliant Dam Panorama Our girls are growing up fast, we’re loving our new town and the home we have purchased and work is excellent. I’m working four days a week as an Urban Design Engineer for WSA Engineering, in Castlegar; primarily with Redstone Golf and Alpine Resort, as well as with several other clients including the City of Rossland and Black Bear developments.

My wife Robyn is working on Fridays, while I’m looking after the kids, also as an Engineer for WSA Engineering. Robyn is currently working on some Civil and Structural projects, including the new design for the J.L. Crowe school in Trail, (when I first heard the name, I thought it was the Jail Crowe school, I’m sure Mr Crowe would be humored to know that his initials make me think back to high school as days of tolerable incarceration!)

Overall, life is great, I’m sitting in my messy home office, looking out onto a beautiful garden with flowers in bloom and the mountains across the valley.

Community Activities…

One of my aims for moving to a smaller city is to get involved in the community, one of the options that was opened to me early on in our move here was to get involved in the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce, a great organization that provides networking and business exposure to local businesses. I haven’t yet been to a meeting, but I’ll make time to catch up with this group soon. From their website…

Optimism is in the air for the continued growth and prosperity of Castlegar. Travelers are greeted by the awesome beauty that awaits as they fly or drive into Castlegar. The growing tourism industry has played an important role in the upsurge of our economy. Visitors looking for serene beauty, rugged adventure holidays, great golfing, fishing, and skiing find it all. Small business provide shops and services for a comfortable lifestyle. Once you visit Castlegar you’ll want to make it your home.

Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada Business and Tourist Information Kootenay Rockies

I’ve written a couple of posts on water meters and the role that they could play in a city like Castlegar. Since the City’s public meeting on the matter last week, I’ve been quoted in two newspaper, and even called Mark Thomas, (I know, my Australian accent makes “Mike” sound like “Mark” to all the Canadians in the room!). I was actually given a fair run in one of the papers, with a whole article dedicated to my opinions on water meters in Castlegar.

UrbanWorkbench Website

P5310083 Over the past couple of months, finding time to blog has been challenging, with my output ranging from two posts a day down to one a week. For those of you who blog, you’ll know that this is not ideal, from a readership, search engine optimization and monetization perspective. Readership has steadily grown since I started writing almost a year ago, as has search engine rankings, with regular hits from specific key words that I have targeted. On the monetization front, things have been slow, but pretty good none the less. I received my first cheque from Google for their adsense program last month, I’ve had a number of paid post requests through linkworth, and I’ve started making inroads into the text link ads field too, (with linkworth and textlinkads.com). I’d like to thank the companies and websites that have decided to invest in advertising on my site, and I’d be glad to accept more!

I “guest blogged” at the waterandwastewater dot com blog last week and have a $180 book on the way to me in the mail for my efforts!

Favorite Posts

P6160079It’s fun to look back on what I’ve written since the last newsletter; here are my favorite posts, click on the links to go straight to the article…

I’ve still got more to write about on the two series, but first I need to tidy up a couple of other commitments.

Other Websites

My Christian website, dcypl.com has been entirely neglected, I’m tempted to revamp it, I just don’t know where to start.

I’ve been busy for the past week designing our new church website, putting a content management system in place (drupal) to better deal with multiple authors and simplify the process of getting information onto the website. This is exciting for me, my first set up for a non-profit organization. My next external web project will probably be for WSA Engineering, and I’ll try to implement an activecollab installation for file and project management, it would be neat to be able to tie drupal and activecollab together into a module, but that is way too much work for me!

Thanks for reading and sending me emails, please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends. And don’t forget to Subscribe to my blog’s feed too if you want to stay up to date.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.