Living/Working March 19, 2021


March 19, 2021

Terminal 2 biofilm restoration recipe gets mixed reviews

Port authority’s plan to mitigate environmental damage not realistic, critics say

The operator of GCT Deltaport at Roberts Bank is pursuing what it says is a more practical alternative to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Terminal 2 container cargo handling expansion plan | Chung Chow

Can the creation of new habitats for migrating shorebirds reduce the expected environmental impact of a proposed $3 billion container cargo terminal at Roberts Bank?

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA), which is behind the bid to build the massive Terminal 2 expansion, believes it can and is developing a manual on how to create the biofilm similar to that found at the Fraser River estuary adjacent to the project.

But local environmental groups are skeptical about replacement of the biofilm that could be destroyed by the multibillion-dollar project that will affect 177 hectares of the estuary area.

The biofilm is a layer of organic substance found in intertidal mudflats like the Fraser River estuary. It provides a key part of the diet of migrating birds like the western sandpiper on their way to breeding areas in western Alaska from as far south as Peru.

Duncan Wilson, the VFPA’s vice-president of Environment, Community and Government Affairs, said officials have been working to address concerns about the biofilm and western sandpipers since 2012.

“During the [2019] public hearing for the project, we heard concerns regarding the potential project-related effects on biofilm habitat,” Wilson said in a statement, “so we committed to developing a manual to describe methods, techniques and best practices to construct, restore and enhance biofilm habitat, using case studies of projects that have successfully created habitat-supporting biofilm.”

He added that an initial draft of the manual has already been shared with Indigenous groups and federal agencies.

“Based on this work, we remain confident that, with mitigation, there will be more than enough biofilm at Roberts Bank after the project is complete to continue to support the western sandpiper population during their migration. The manual is focused on how to create the type of biofilm that grows in intertidal or periodically wetted freshwater, coastal marine, and estuarine environments such as the Fraser River estuary.”

Roger Emsley, a Delta resident and a member of Against Port Expansion, has been opposed to the construction of Terminal 2 since the project was first proposed in 2013. Emsley, who cited a February report in the Wiley Ecology and Evolution Journal calling the Roberts Bank biofilm issue “complex” and “a critical link in the Pacific Flyway stopover chain for shorebird populations,” said he is disheartened to discover that the VFPA’s biofilm manual has not been shared with the public – and may not be until the project approval process nears its end.

He said that one of the key areas the manual focuses on is the question of recreating biofilm if it is destroyed.

“And scientists – including those at Environment Canada – have always said it’s impossible and not feasible to create biofilm on the scale needed to replace what they will be destroying with Terminal 2.

“To me, this [Wiley Ecology report] is a very important new scientific paper that officials need to consider. But the concern that we have is that this is nothing more than going through the exercise.… The public consultation, when it comes, will it be enough for the federal ministers to stop it?”

Emsley said he remains encouraged by the opposition to the project from not only environmental groups like Fraser Voices, Raincoast Conservation and the Georgia Straight Alliance, but also municipal governments in Richmond and Delta.

But he said he is also disheartened that the VFPA is continuing its push to convince Ottawa to approve Terminal 2 and its doubling of Vancouver’s container cargo-handling capacity even though it might not be necessary, especially given the less environmentally sensitive option of increasing that capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert.

The Terminal 2 application process was pushed back last year after federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told the VFPA that Ottawa requires more information on how the port plans to address a list of concerns raised during the 2019 environmental impact assessment public panels in B.C.

The VFPA initially said it planned to issue a mitigation plan by the end of 2020, but it has since delayed that release to Ottawa until sometime later this year.

The VFPA contends that the additional container terminal space is needed to ensure that Vancouver does not run out of cargo-handling capacity by the 2030s; opponents argue that a significant portion of the port’s business is shipping goods produced in the United States, which reduces the benefit to the Canadian economy.

A rival project at Roberts Bank – GCT Canada’s Deltaport Berth 4 – is also going through regulatory approval and has been touted by its proponents as being a smaller, less expensive and more sustainable container capacity expansion option.

GCT operates the Port of Vancouver’s GCT Deltaport container terminal at Roberts Bank and Vanterm in Vancouver.

The VFPA has said it wants another operator at Terminal 2 to keep a competitive balance in the local container terminal market.

It is unclear if Deltaport Berth 4 would proceed if Terminal 2 receives its approval first. •


A skeptic’s guide to the real business returns of remote work options

We know we will be vaccinated and the pandemic will continue to persist when we make the crucial calls on whether to resurrect our white-collar workplaces.

Many offices will remain dormant and dust-collecting. Pressure will persevere to work remotely full time or part time. Judging by our Research Co. survey this week, the last year has persuaded plenty that permanent stay-at-home labour is viable and optimal.

I am a skeptic.

I don’t think the experience of the last year has been any kind of actual litmus test of whether remote work will work. I worry we believe it has been.

Don’t get me wrong: I admit there are many workday-related inefficiencies – getting up and ready for a particular time, commuting with recurrent snags, keeping fed away from home at a cost, waiting for meetings to start and to end, distractions and interruptions galore.

Who wouldn’t want to shed these drawbacks to create a wonderful new normal? I would, but hold on. Greater convenience does not guarantee effectiveness.

The pandemic’s test of the work-from-home experience has been an artificial one. We fled offices and have stayed home for the purpose of our personal safety, not for the advancement of our contributed work. We might be reconsidering the value of work in a larger way, but one thing we can’t assume is that we can reap all the benefits of remote work without their drawbacks.

Our current conditions misguide us on work-from-home’s sustainability: subsidies for wages and rents and programs to prop many elements of the economy will soon disappear, probably around the decision day about a return to the workplace.

Then the authentic test will begin. Only then will we be able to judge if we can produce and prosper away from the office setting without that significant safety net. We will have to move from maintenance to growth. Will we not just pivot but innovate? Will we not just retain but grow?

I am skeptical.

From personal experience, at home I can fulfil my work duties (my place is never cleaner, too), but I don’t generate ideas with the same regularity. The work gets done, but the inherent progress I seek of it doesn’t materialize as it did. I need the presence of colleagues and contacts to help – as do most others, I’ve observed. My best work emerges when I collaborate, and I have seen the same this year in others.

It is wonderful for many of us to have been sheltered from the coronavirus with considerable personal expediency, but that is hardly the ideal framework for work. The old routines were built for a reason, the settings for them matter, and in trading them away in the pandemic many of us convinced ourselves that a suitable substitute had been found.

I am skeptical of that, too.

The trade-off has been illusory in convincing some of us we can individually produce without the full benefit of the critical mass. We can feel personally industrious but fail to see how workplaces are greater than the sum of our individual efforts.

What we sacrificed as we scampered home a year ago was significant: the hundreds of substantial and nuanced experiences that come with workplace connection and creativity. Inarguable as workday inefficiency is, so can be the ineffectiveness of remote work.

The recent technology of Zoom, Teams, Skype, GoToMeeting, Discord and the like is the undeniable heaven-send of the pandemic – where would we be without it? – and in our case at BIV served us well in staging podcasts and virtual events beyond our numerous staff discussions. But again, I fret we are giving over the social and cultural values of the workplace to technological determinism. Just because we have tech, we don’t need to fall into it.

Yesterday, I walked over to our managing editor in the office to discuss what our newspaper cover should look like and state. In the course of about a minute, we used mostly body language (masked body language at that) to reach accord on the plan. He and I found comfort in the decisions by reading each other in three dimensions with all sorts of nuanced messaging. No way a screen and a laptop microphone could replicate that. No way an online gathering could achieve that in short order.

When our socially distanced sales team meets at the start of the week, we communicate on entirely different levels than we do when we conduct our end-of-week review online. This short-cut creativity is why we work together as employees and not independent contractors, and the longer we deny ourselves these features, the more time it will take for us to rebuild better.

True, there are some solitary functions that can be done remotely indefinitely with the same or even better efficiency. But not many. Most occupations require the input in real time of colleagues, their presence an important governance on our daily toil.

If we’re headed for the dissolution of the office, I’m afraid I won’t fit in for the time ahead. If you’re trying to convince me of your argument, I’m afraid I don’t have time to see if I’m wrong.

You see, I’m a skeptic. •

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of BIV and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.


Epic brunch restaurant reveals opening date for Burnaby location

They're all about that all-day breakfast lifestyle

OEB Breakfast is known for its "soul" inspired all-day brunch dishes, including many that are served in generous portions in bowls | OEB Breakfast Co (Yaletown)/Facebook

OEB Breakfast is known for its "soul" inspired all-day brunch dishes, including many that are served in generous portions in bowls.OEB Breakfast Co (Yaletown)/Facebook

When you serve epic all-day breakfast dishes, it only makes sense to open a location with the name "Amazing" in it, and that's just what's happening with OEB Breakfast Co and their upcoming Burnaby debut.

The Calgary-based veteran spot known for its creative and crave-worthy brunch eats has just announced it will open the doors to its second British Columbia location on April 5 at Burnaby's Amazing Brentwood.

OEB, which stands for Over Easy Breakfast, is all about that all-day breakfast lifestyle. They feature some seriously over-the-top creations, too, including their signature "Soul in a Bowl." They've got potatoes fried in duck fat, breakfast poutine, all the epic pancakes and French Toast you can imagine, as well as more traditional straightforward brekkie and lunch fare, too.

The restaurant will use as much local product as possible in creating its array of eye-catching dishes; they have partnered with Arctic Meats in Port Coquitlam to source all-natural, premium sausages and poultry, and Cubic Farms in Langley for fresh microgreens, and you'll spot lots of B.C. brews and bottles on the beer and wine list.

“We care about where the food comes from and what happens to it before it hits the table,” said Mauro Martina, owner and founder of OEB, in a media release.

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The egg-centric eatery always works the versatile egg into its decor, and that will be the case at Brentwood. The 2,200-square-foot space, which seats 72 inside and 25 on the patio at full capacity, boasts high windows to bring in maximum natural light, an open kitchen, and "custom live pantries" in the dining room. Designed by Janks Design Group, the new OEB will also have something for the shutterbugs: A "Fill the Soul" Instagram wall, and lots of key decor touches like the restaurant's signature egg lights, and exclusive to Brentwood, a morning farm-themed 3D paper art installation.

“Breakfast means so much more to me than just the first meal of the day,” added Martina. “It’s about elevating the whole breakfast experience. That’s what OEB is all about.”

OEB's first B.C. location opened in May 2018 in Vancouver along the waterfront in Yaletown. The brand began over a decade ago in Alberta, and now has multiple locations across Western Canada.

There have been a number of exciting developments when it comes to the food offerings at Amazing Brentwood, along with some setbacks. Familiar names to Vancouver food fans like La Taqueria, Japadog, Small Victory, and Bella Gelateria will be among the offerings, along with outposts of buzz-worthy Japanese speciality spots like Saboten, Kaneko Hannosuke, and Gram. Recently, major B.C.-based restaurant chain Cactus Club confirmed it has pulled out of the mall expansion; Shape Properties says it’s working on a deal for another major chain restaurant to move into the space previously reserved for Cactus Club, which already operates a restaurant on Lougheed Highway just a few blocks west of the Amazing Brentwood. 


This Metro Vancouver drive-in movie theatre is open during spring break

You can catch showings of Tom & Jerry, School of Rock, Clueless, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and more

The Twilight Drive-In offers movies under the stars. Photo via Twilight Drive-In

While you won't be able to catch a flick indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Metro Vancouver drive-in theatre offers movies under the stars. Photo via Twilight Drive-In

While you won't be able to catch a flick indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a local drive-in theatre offers physically distanced movies under the stars.

The Twilight Drive-In is located in Aldergrove and is currently showing movies every day over spring break. This week, you can catch showings of Tom & Jerry, Wonder Woman 1984, School of Rock, Clueless, The Great Muppet Caper, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Mummy, Singin' in the Rain, The Lost Boys, Space Jam and The Goonies. 

Twilight broadcasts the film’s sound via FM radio, so you can tune in with your car stereo.

Children ages four and under do not count toward passenger total. Additional attendees can be added at the gate for $10 each. (Please note: The box-office is cash or Interac only).

There is a maximum of six people in a vehicle at this time.

  • a vehicle with one or two people: $30.00
  • a vehicle with three people: $40.00
  • a vehicle with four people: $60.00
  • a vehicle with five people: $70.00

Your advance ticket purchase guarantees you entry. The gates open 45 minutes prior to the first show, and 30 minutes prior to the second show.

Please refer to Twilight's FAQ's (COVID-19 edition) for full drive-in policies, rules and etiquette.

Twilight is one of just a few remaining operating permanent drive-in theatres in Canada, and one of only a couple left running in British Columbia. They first opened for business in 2005, and operate typically from late winter to late fall, and they show new films only–not classics.

Twilight Drive-In is located at 260th St and Fraser Highway in Aldergrove

With files from Lindsay William-Ross.


Vancouver brewery partners with Kevin Smith to release a Jay and Silent Bob beer

There's also one named after the director's podcast 'Smodcast'

Fans of beer and Jay and Silent Bob unite!

Actually, that Venn diagram is probably pretty much a perfect circle.

All the same, the two worlds are officially meeting at Main Street Brewing, where director and Silent Bob himself Kevin Smith has partnered for two brews.

"Say hello to the Smodcast ‘Have a Week’ Juicy Pale Ale and the Jay & Silent Bob ‘Beers! Beers! Beers!’ Lager," states the Main Street Instagram.

On one of the cans, Jay and Silent Bob are standing in front of a Mooby's, the fictional fast-food restaurant from the View Askewniverse that's come alive in Vancouver for part of March.

"The Jay & Silent Bob ‘Beers! Beers! Beers!’ Lager celebrates the dynamic cinematic duo (and Silent Bob’s longtime — ahem — Mewes) in a perfectly crisp, clean and easy drinking 4.5% ABV lager for all occasions. Or, y’know, hanging out in front of the neighbourhood Quick Stop and harassing passersby. It’s inspired by Jay’s rap from the iconic Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back entry in the View Askewniverse," states the brewery.

This is the rap they are referring to. Warning, it's very NSFW.

That pop-up burger joint is actually sticking around a bit longer, too; Dublin Calling, which is hosting Mooby's right now, has announced they'll remain the host until March 28.


What are we reading? March 18, 2021

Getty Images

Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Kirk LaPointe, publisher and editor-in-chief:

Finally, someone has shown what we know to be true: People walking while reading their phones cause us trouble. – The New York Times


Songwriting has changed in this hyperactive, video-driven world. It’s important to get the most attractive elements to the listener much faster. This visually and aurally fascinating treatment tells us how we now listen differenty. – The New York Times


Gotta go. We’ll talk again soon. Hate to cut it off there, but . . . There are better ways to end conversations, this essay tells us. – The Atlantic


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor

A study following the money of Canadian consumer habits reveals some some interesting purchase trends over the past pandemic year. Among them: swimming pool sales rose 51% from June to September 2020. – Global News


The real estate seller’s market in B.C. and beyond will continue, with the Canadian Real Estate Association forecasting a 16.5% rise in prices this year as demand overwhelms supply. – Georgia Straight


Nelson Bennett, reporter:

The conundrum of solar power in the desert. Building massive solar farms in the desert in places like the Sahara could have the dual benefit of providing a whole lot of carbon-free electricity and also “greening” the desert by raising the temperature (heat reflected from solar panels) and causing more moisture to form in the region. So, double win, right? Trust scientists to come along and spoil the party, though. A new study suggests that covering massive amounts of desert with solar panels might actually contribute to global warming, not through the release of CO2, but from the albedo effect of reflecting heat. The study found that “there could be unintended effects in remote parts of the land and ocean that offset any regional benefits over the Sahara itself.” -- The Next Web


You’ve got hand it to Qatar -- when they build things, they go epic, and futuristic. Qatar is now planning to build a massive, floating, rotating hotel that would generate power while it slowly rotates. –


Hayley Woodin, executive editor:

Total indebtedness grew more quickly in Canada during the pandemic than it did in any other country. In good times and in bad, Canadians rely heavily on debt to sustain their living standards. It isn’t sustainable, argues a new report. – Business Council of British Columbia 


Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Forget 5G, the hype machine is already being cranked up for 6G. – IDTechEx 


How about instead the world starts investing more in slowing down the rate of information access and exchange so that humans can be provided with meaningful education and critical thinking skills? Regurgitating social media bilge gathered on the fly is not doing the world much good.

Meanwhile, here is another list of tech trend forecasts. Technology democratization as corporate innovation engine appears to be top of mind for Canadian executives. It puts IT repair and customization abilities in the hands of the non-IT masses. Liberating, if true. – Accenture


Heavy metal? Death metal? How about memory metal? Meet nitinol. – The Verge


Glen Korstrom, reporter:

Here’s a good long read about the meal-delivery sector that looks at the phenomenon through the eyes of restaurant owners and drivers. – Economist


I found this article interesting in that it shows that humans can carry and transmit serious viruses, such as Ebola, over periods as long as five years because the virus can be stored in eyeballs or testes. This enables the virus to be triggered anew even after it was thought to be under control. – Live Science