Murphy Creek Intake Funding Approved for Rossland

The Provincial and Federal Governments have teamed up to provide a number of grants to communities in the West Kootenay Region.

434034082_1a3a6517ee_m The City of Rossland was one of the recipients of this funding under the Canada-B.C. Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CBCMRIF)

More than $345,000 in funding will help the City of Rossland to improve the upper Murphy Creek intake system. This includes cleaning of the pond behind a concrete dam, refurbishing of the concrete, installation of a new intake screen and upgrading the area’s access road. Approximately 1,440 households in Rossland will benefit from these improvements.

"This investment to upgrade the upper Murphy Creek intake will make a significant contribution to the health and wellness of our local community," said Gordon Smith, mayor of the City of Rossland. "Rossland will have access to a safer and more reliable source of water, which will also support the communities continued efforts towards achieving sustainable economic development."

West Kootenay Benefits from Infrastructure Upgrades – CivicInfo BC

Read more after the jump…


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Sustainable Sewer

311944656_fa407a23c3_m Many parts of the world have no modern sewer system. In China, it is reported that about 41 trillion kilograms of untreated sewer is pumped into lakes and rivers every year. In Mumbia, one report states that there is an area where one toilet serves 5,440 people, (source: Blue Covenant, Maude Barlow, 2007). In North America we are blessed with sanitation, and considering that there is estimated to be almost one toilet in the US for every one of the more than 303,000,000 people, I think we have very little to complain about. North Americans waste billions of litres of water of water everyday, and a lot of this goes into the sewer system – that is not a sustainable situation. Locally, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) is in the process of wrapping up Stage 1 of their Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP). This stage of the process is designed to gather background material and preliminary concepts for the future requirements based on population and legislative requirements. The next stages plan out the details of a proposed system and identify costs and action items required.  Read more after the jump…


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Grain CSA

I received an email regarding subscription to a Grain CSA operating in the Creston Valley:

The seed is ordered, the fields are almost clear of snow, and the farmers are primed to get the crops planted.  The four grains that will be grown this year and their approximate proportions are wheat (40%); both Hard Red Spring and the heritage variety of Red Fife; Polish Wheat (Kamut) (25%); Oats (25%) and Spelt (10%).   Shares are $100 each for a planned yield of 100 pounds of combined grains per share. 

216921719_7b2549f863_m Since this is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, the farmers are guaranteed full payment for their efforts while the share holders must be willing to accept an amount of grain in proportion to the success of the harvest. 

We have confidence in our three farm families, all of who have grown grain successfully, but we cannot guarantee 100 percent success in this project.  This is a pilot project to re-establish grain growing in our region and the farmers will be challenged with growing a variety of grains for commercial use.  We are using the CSA model because we don’t want to make the mistakes of the past and make the farmers bear the financial risk of growing our food.  We want to make this a viable livelihood for them.  By being a part of this CSA, you are not only investing in a share of grain come harvest, you are also investing in the future food supply of this region.

Until moving to the Kootenays, I would never have considered buying into a grain Co-op. My favourite food podcast covered this last month…

Deconstructing Dinner – The Local Grain Revolution Series

Using the model of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), this grain CSA will see three Creston-area farmers commit to growing three types of grain in the coming 2008 season. Two-hundred member shares will be issued to residents of Nelson and Creston, and come harvest time, those two-hundred members, will hopefully, receive 100lbs of whole grains.

If requested, a miller in Creston and Nelson will be on hand to turn those grains into flour or flakes. This will ensure members are only using the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious product available.

When I mentioned this to my wife she was excited, "Let’s do it". I’ll let you know how we go.

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What’s with all that Grass?

330842717_0b963e81cd_m The lush green lawn surrounding a man’s castle is a particularly arrogant thing. For one, it supposes that there is no better use for the space, either for yourself, or for someone else. Secondly, it supposes that you have something worth defending, ie your castle, that should have clear areas surrounding it for defensive purposes.

Typically these days, a lawn is seen as a North American right, an irrevocable opportunity to display your status in all things grass related to your neighbours.

Now, I’m the first to admit that a patch of grass is great for the kids to play on, and absolutely necessary for a game of backyard football, but what about the vast swaths of perfectly manicured lawns that are the pride of so many men and their ride-on mowers? What is the real implication of these bowling green lawns dotted across out cities?

More after the jump….

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Xobni – Dealing with Email

Capture17-03-2008-7.59.58 PM Email is once again being recognized as the future for social networking. Unfortunately for many of us that spend a third of every day in the corporate setting, Microsoft Outlook is the email client we are given, whether we choose it or not. Now Outlook has its benefits, it’s actually pretty great as a calendar/email application. The todos are hard to use effectively, and overall message management is terrible.

Xobni steps in at this point and offers users of Outlook a solution to finding messages related to a particular person, or even people related to someone.


If you’d like a beta invite, leave me a comment here and we’ll see what I can do for you. Of course you need to be running Outlook as your email client. Check out the links above to find out more through their website and demo video.

Gmail is still my favourite app for email, and that’s what I use for all of the UrbanWorkbench accounts, but while at work, life has become much easier since upgrading Outlook with Xobni – and it’s only in beta!

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Popsicle Stick Bridge Building

UPDATE: Our Bridge won 1st prize in the adult category!

My family had fun last week building two popsicle stick bridges. The top one was designed and built by our five and a half year old. The bottom one was co-designed and built by Robyn and myself. 100 sticks, white glue, 500mm span.

Completed Bridges

Testing was scheduled at the Science Exhibition at Selkirk College on Saturday, but the loading machine broke attempting to test my bridge to failure. (Just kidding, it was already broken). There were heaps of submissions in all age categories, I’m sure the local West Kootenays APEGBC chapter will get round to testing these in the coming weeks.

I also had the opportunity to judge at the West Kootenay Science Fair. Several of the projects were truly outstanding.

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Is the Engineering Industry Keeping Up With the Internet?

Years ago, it was common for engineers to only do external learning such as Professional Development Courses via expensive multi-day events such as conferences and tradeshows. While these still have their place, in today’s information centric environment; it seems much more important that an engineer knows where to get the best information from quickly, and what the developing trends are. Professional Associations such as APEGBC, along with all Engineering learning institutions and companies need to get into the new ways of distributing information, and quickly.

Any Professional Engineer who is not reading beyond their professional magazine is doing themselves a disservice. Get an account for Google Reader and start learning from news reports and blogs around the world, it’s amazing what you might learn…

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Do You Use Social Media?

I love using the internet to communicate. But despite the hype, often it is difficult to work out what services your friends and colleagues are using. Many people have been using Facebook for friends and something like LinkedIn for business. But now LinkedIn is getting into the Facebook game with more features like "answers".

So I thought I’d ask a general question, feel free to leave comments or contact me if you’d like to connect…. what sites do you use regularly?

Here’s my list in order of usage…

  1. for bookmarks
  2. twitter for microblogging
  3. zooomr for photos
  4. googletalk for IM Chat
  5. facebook for friends
  6. linkedin for business

Some of these get regular attention, others only occasional, I think that’s the nature of relationships in general, some take more energy and time than others.

How do you communicate online? Is it just by email, or do you use other sites? Feel free to drop your user names if you want to collaborate!

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