Rent bank gets some interest

Good morning to the Tri-Cities and all the ships at sea.

Jeremy here. Today we’ve got Port Moody warming up to a rent bank but cooling down on an apartment project. But first, a correction: the asphalt work is being done at intersections on Mariner Way, not Marine Drive. (Thanks to Patricia for catching that.) Rest assured that an unpaid intern has been severely disciplined for my error.

Now, before I forget, congratulations to Mary and Nora for winning the gift card contest prize. Well done! Now, on with the news.

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To keep people off the street, the Tri-Cities needs to keep their rent bank going.

That’s the message from Port Moody Coun. Amy Lubik as she makes a bid to have Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam chip in to keep the SHARE rent bank staffed up and operating over the next four years.

  • “The cost of people ending up on the street is much higher than paying for staffing,” Lubik said.

The SHARE rent bank cost:

  • Operating budget: $95,000
  • Full-time workers: 0.6 (salary $45,000)

Offering: The rent bank offers no-interest loans to renters in need as well as connections to services and financial literacy.

In the past nine months, the rent bank has fielded 68 inquiries and helped 29 people stay housed, according to Lubik.

  • “If we can keep people off the street . . . I think it’s a really important thing for us to do together.”

Eviction can fragment families and compound the crisis of loneliness, according to Lubik, who also noted the risk of addiction.

How it started: The Tri-Cities rent bank got started with a loan from the provincial rent bank. The provincial rent bank’s role is to help, “but not for continuing support,” Lubik said.

While the details have yet to be worked out, Lubik suggested the costs could be shared among the three municipalities and weighted based on population.

Around B.C.: Across the province, the average rent bank loan is $934. The repayment rate was 59.1 per cent in 2019-20. In 2020-21, the repayment rate rose to 71 per cent.

Too small and too much of it.

That was the early verdict from Port Moody council last week as they offered their initial thoughts on a proposed three-storey, 52-unit apartment development at the 2900-block of St. Georges St. currently occupied by three single-family lots.

“Too many units,” judged Coun. Steve Milani.


Noting that 39 of the units are smaller than 500 square feet, Milani said he couldn’t imagine the development taking root in what he called: “a real family neighbourhood.”

“I don’t support micro-suites,” Coun. Meghan Lahti said, suggesting the proposal is inconsistent with what the community is asking for.

Couns. Amy Lubik and Zoe Royer each concurred, calling the density.

The only note of support for the project came from Mayor Rob Vagramov, who praised the proposal for being compliant with Port Moody’s official community plan.

Six months after his documentary was first released, filmmaker Mathew Embry’s children are not on social media.

“It’s a very, very difficult space to police as a parent,” he says.

In a bid to shed some light on the darker corner of the internet, Embry and filmmaker Holly Dupej made Dark Cloud: a 49-minute documentary that tells the tragic story of Amanda Todd. The film explores how the Port Coquitlam teen was bullied – including alleged criminal extortion – as well the legacy that today is carried by her mother, Carol Todd.

“Talk to your kids,” Carol advises in the film.

The online world is inescapable, Carol reflects.

“Hours after Amanda’s death, her death became viral,” she says. “I’m not even sure if I’ve grieved properly or if I’ve grieved at all.”

Cameras follow Todd as she talks about the regret she carries and the conversations she didn’t have with her daughter. She talks about the world of hate around Amanda, a world built by her peers. (She deliberately avoids saying “friends.”)

The documentary also delves into the fundamental equation of cyberbullying: everyone is at risk. The more you’re online, the greater the risk.

“It’s like a papercut a thousand times every day,” Dr. Wendy Craig explains in the film.

The permanence of the online world allows victims to fixate on the insults while the detached nature of the technology makes it harder to feel empathy.

For some kids it’s their “daily fun,” says McGill University professor Shaheen Shariff. She adds, “Adults do this too.”

There can be long-lasting effects, as one expert explains that brain scans of cyberbullied teens look very similar to scans of people who have suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome.

But the documentary also strikes an optimistic note as it profiles anti-bullying activist Justin Preston.

“There is hope,” Embry says. “It’s not something to be totally fearful of, it’s something to face head-on.”

Embry believes that social media offers people a chance to reach people.

“It is a very powerful tool for good – if used correctly.”

Dark Cloud can be viewed free through Telus as well as via the Reel 2 Real online film festival.

“If you have any doubts about it, don’t do it.”
That was the blanket statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at Monday’s press conference as she urged British Columbians to stay in their immediate neighbourhoods.

In and around the Tri-Cities

  • New cases in Fraser Health region: 1,957
  • Active outbreak: Dufferin Care Centre in Coquitlam
  • School exposures: 10 exposures between April 6 to 8 at Central Community Elementary, Ecole Glenayre Elementary, Ecole Riverside Secondary, Heritage Woods Secondary and Terry Fox Secondary.

The rest of B.C.

  • New cases: 3,289 over three days
  • Deaths: 18
  • Total deaths: 1,513
  • Active cases: 9,937
  • Hospitalizations: 368 (including 121 in critical care)
  • Total cases: 112,829
  • Recoveries: 101,216
  • Vaccinations: 1,112,101 (87,744 second doses)

Henry did not have the exact number of variant cases but estimated about half of the current cases are due to variant strains.

Happenings around town

In other news

One more thing

It was about 41 years ago, give or take a day, that Terry Fox took the first step on his Marathon of Hope. To mark that milestone, the Terry Fox Research Institute is sharing testimonials from researchers inspired by Fox.

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