Governance & Politics
December 29, 2018

BC’s Public Health Crisis — Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide (map)

This week, during my chat with Karen Ward about the human toll of the opioid, health and homelessness crises all running in lockstep on Vancouver’s downtown eastside, I referenced the mortality rate from opioid overdoses…and it struck me later that this needed a proper, not off-hand, fact check. (Price Talks Ep12—listen here.)

Is the situation in our inner city really as bad as in places like Lesotho or Guatemala? (“Exercise a high degree of caution” about these countries, says the Government of Canada.) And should this neighbourhood carry the stigma of crisis and chaos on its own, or are there issues of significance elsewhere in the city…in the region….or across the province?

The animated map on this page tells the story, courtesy of data provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the BC Coroners Service — you can access their public data on the topic of overdose deaths here.

Note the tiny spot in the inset map; the downtown eastside neighbourhood has consistently been at South Africa-Honduras levels of homicide death rate since 2010 — of course, not from homicides, but from drug overdose deaths, typically correlated with measurable levels of tainted drug supply (and within that, typically fentanyl).

Overall, the scope and pace of tragedy across our province is unprecedented and utterly alarming.

Where’s our travel advisory? Where’s the emergency response?

And is the brightening of the colours for 2018 indicative that we’re nearing the light at the end of this tunnel, or will Q4 numbers cast a darker shadow over even more of the province?

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After the majority of council in the City of Richmond busily carved up the best agricultural land in Canada — in their jurisdiction, sadly — the Minister of Agriculture is finally ready to step in.

As reported by the National Observer, the days of exploiting loopholes in Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) legislation may well be over; the ALR is all about protecting the best arable lands in Canada, and so the Province of British Columbia stated publicly that this land should be, well, exclusively farmland.

With the McMansioning of Class 1 agricultural land at epidemic level in Richmond, the Observer spoke to Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham about this central idea, and the reality that this is happening in other areas in the province too. Her response is telling.

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Sightline out of Seattle is on a roll in B.C. with a new initiative that Exec Alan Durning thinks ” is just a fabulous, natural campaign for some enterprising activists”:

British Columbia prides itself on a commitment to renewable energy. Yet many British Columbians are forbidden from stringing up the simplest of solar devices: the clothesline.

These laundry-drying bans are written into the bylaws of strata corporations, which govern most of British Columbia’s condominiums, apartments, duplexes, and townhomes. Condos are a big and fast-growing housing choice in the province. In just 20 years, the percentage of Vancouverites dwelling in them has nearly doubled from under 25 percent to more than 40 percent. …

More here.

 

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