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Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks Work Towards a Poverty Free BC 

Lettuce Turnip the Beet on Poverty Reduction Campaign

Meet CCEC Member, Vancouver Neighbouhood Food Networks (VNFN) and Ian Marcuse, tong-time CCEC Member who is one of the sponsors for this group.  Ian works for the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, one of the 14 neighbourhoods across Vancouver who belong to this Food Network.

The VNFN’s are a grassroots network of people, organizations and agencies collaborating on food initiatives to ensure that all community members have access to healthy, culturally appropriate and sustainably produced food.  Ian says, “We know that food brings people together and help to build connections, but it also divides us as a community.  There are too many people that don’t have enough money to pay for food.”  Financial constraints have been identified as an underlying cause of food insecurity by groups including the Dieticians of Canada.

That is why Ian and the other Network Coordinators are working with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition to bring attention to the fact that British Columbia remains the only province in Canada without a formal plan to reduce poverty; and that having an effective and comprehensive poverty reduction plan is critical for achieving food security.  Ian says, “In our work, we engage with the most marginalized community members, witnessing first-hand the detrimental impact that barriers to accessing food and abject poverty can have on a persons’ health and well-being. It is often those with the greatest need for high quality nutritious food that face the most difficult barriers to accessing it.” 

He shares with us the story of one of the participants in the Bulk Buying Program.

"When I first met her just over one year ago, she said, “I am literally starving”, and now she says, “this program has saved my life".   I’ve worked 9 years in this job and no-one in Vancouver has said to me that they were starving.  I then learned that Anne is a pensioner, on a low fixed income, has multiple health and mobility related issues related to eating an unhealthy diet for many years.  She didn’t have money for healthy food.  Then her doctor told her she was malnourished and must eat more fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods.

Being in the program has given her the option to eat more veggies.  Anne now enjoys trying new foods she would not normally eat, such as kale.   She also describes the community connection that has helped her.  Anne told me she feels that the program is not just a food pick up, but an event to look forward to and a chance to connect with others and share health and cooking tips and what works for others."

Ian tells us that the Food Networks campaign, Lettuce Turnip the Heat on Poverty Reduction – Vote!  is designed to make the connection between poverty and food insecurity.  He says, “Poverty is an election issue. We are working to raise our voices together to show candidates in the provincial election that we’ll be voting for politicians that commit to a strong and thorough poverty reduction plan.”

For more information and to see the the infographics developed by the VNFN group that show the impacts on each pillar on alleviating hunger, visit http://vancouverfoodnetworks.com/vote/  
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Former CCEC GM Jill Kelly was honoured with the Gary Gillam Award at last week's Central 1 Annual General Meeting. The award goes to individuals who exhibit exceptional leadership, as volunteers and otherwise, in the pursuit of community economic development.  Jill was recognized for her achievements in the world of credit unions (especially as a pioneer at CCEC), childcare, co-op housing, LGBTQ rights, worker co-ops, and community healthcare. Jill currently sits on the board of the Reach Community Health Clinic. Hooray for Jill!  With humility, in her remarks she expressed her appreciation and noted that all the items listed were done jointly with others. She asked that the cash award be directed to Groundswell Education Society and the Cooperative Development Foundation.

The other award winner was another CCEC member.  Catherine Ludgate served on the CCEC board for nine years, during which time she went to work for Vancity.  There she carried two projects; the Living Wage campaign and Each One, Teach One Financial Literacy campaign. These initiatives lead to her being recognized under this awards program as well. Congrats to both Jill and Catherine!

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Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member says, "A month ago I started a new job and with it embarked on a learning curve that has been a real eye opener. "  As the new Green Jobs BC Co-ordinator, my first observation is that there is no lack of global leadership on the topic. Labour, environmental and financial leaders are rallying for change and scalable solutions that provide good jobs and reduce carbon emissions. As recently as last week, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney noted the transition to a green economy is a trillion dollar opportunity for businesses and national economies

In the absence of policy however, citizens in Canada are taking matters into their own hands with grassroots initiatives like Iron and Earth. [ttp://www.ironandearth.org/] I&E is a worker-led group formed by unemployed oil sands workers who recently signed an MOU to build six offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada.

A new study from Berkeley  is reporting that 500,000 people are now employed in California’s renewable energy sector. The study credits state policy for the remarkable growth in good jobs that lower carbon emissions.  

Imagine what could be accomplished in Canada with effective policies and investment in a green economy. The Green Jobs BC Conference is November 24th and 25th. Come and join the discussion about how BC can transition to green and just economy.

Green Jobs BC is an alliance of labour and environmental groups with a shared vision of an inclusive, sustainable economy that provides good jobs, are socially just, protects the environment and reduces carbon emissions. 

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July 7:  Raising funds to pay for garden supplies and programs.  Join up at Britannia School Garden with  community members who care about school gardening, socialize, have fun, and support a great cause. An in-the-garden event featuring a gourmet dinner, live music, silent auction, homemade pies, and games and activities for all ages.
Tickets: $30 adults, $15 youth, children under 6 are free. Tickets at Britannia Info Centre.

"The Britannia School Garden is one of Grandview Woodland Food Connection (GWFC)'s  main programs, acknowledging that healthy food choice should start at a young age.   We work with approximately 100 students, connecting them to the food they eat, learning and growing.  For most students, planting seeds, caring for the garden, then harvesting and eating veggies that they grew is an empowering experience."  CCEC member Ian Marcuse,  GWFC Coordinator (a Neighbourhood Food Network member) which support food access for Grandview Woodland and nearby residents who are struggling financially. 

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Hitting the reset button and working on their credit, the Rangel family overcame some financial difficulties by following the roadmap laid out by CCEC staff.  Giomar says, “CCEC has kept at our side and supported us through this hard time.”  She continues, “Pamela (CCEC Branch Operations Manager) didn’t stick us in the box that all banks limit themselves to…instead she worked with us and gave us options and ideas on how we could reach our goal.”

The Rangel family has been CCEC members since arriving in Canada in 1996.  For the last 20 years, Giomar says, “CCEC has been of great help to my family.  CCEC has helped us, but she (Pamela) has also helped both our daughters.  My eldest, with the help of CCEC purchased her first home this year.  My other daughter is currently on a financial path Pamela laid out for her which will allow her to hopefully be a home owner next year.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Rangel’s have a family operated painting business, Colcana Painters,  for almost ten years. They recently acquired a very big painting contract and, Giomar says, “Thanks to your support, we have been able to grow as a company and look forward to continuing growing now that my children are starting to take the reins of the company.”

The Rangel family is moving into their new home at the end of June with all the joys and challenges that come with home ownership. 

All of us at CCEC wish you and your family best wishes in your new home.

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Meet CCEC member, John Hemsworth, lead design architect with Hemsworth Architects, who received a 2016 Governor General's Medal in Architecture for his BC Passive House Factory design located in Pemberton. 

John says that he got involved in passive housing as a client, Durfeld Constructors, who had assembled Austria House (the first Passive House in Canada built for the 2010 Olympics) contracted him to design their state of the art factory. 

                                                        

Why we belong to CCEC:  

"We have been members of the CCEC for a number of years now
and very much appreciate the small town feeling of the bank.  
In a world dominated by multinational corporate self interest, 
it is always a pleasure  to walk into the CCEC and feel welcomed.”  

John Hemsworth

 

 

The factory, for which he received the design award, is the first of its kind in North America and will facilitate the advancement of sustainable, energy-efficient, wood-based construction.  John says, “There is a growing interest in North America for solid wood construction, ie glulam and cross laminated timber.  And BC is a leader in the design and production.”  The client, BC Passive House (BCPH), mandated that the design and construction of their new facility exemplify their investment in wood construction, prefabrication, energy efficiency, and sustainable design practice.  The new 1,500-square-metre facility is used for the manufacturing of prefabricated Passive House panels and was conceived as a simple, light-filled, wooden box.

So, what is passive housing?  Watch the video to learn more in 90 seconds: 

Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds from Hans-Jörn Eich on Vimeo.

John says that the key advantages of passive housing are:  90% reduction in energy use; no furnace so no fossil fuels; and overall better air quality in the house

Matheo Durfeld, CEO BC Passive House says, “Hemsworth Architecture exceeded our ambitions for our project by designing a stunning, yet robust and cost effective building…that reflects our commitment to sustainable design methods.”

John applies his diverse experience in architectural design, mechanical engineering, environmental initiatives, and community development work to further our commitment to an environmentally sustainable and culturally sensitive architecture.

With over 16 years of architectural experience, John has been involved with all aspects of architectural services, including: feasibility studies, programming, design, contract documents and construction administration. His work has been recognized with numerous provincial and national awards.

Congratulations, John! 

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Say NO to Kinder Morgan.

The National Energy Board has approved the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline with numerous conditions.  “It was always likely to be approved.  But we know this megaproject is not in the economic and social interests of our members” says Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member.  Vancouver Mayor Robertson says, “NEB pipeline process a 'sham,' new Liberal plan not much better.”  Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee says, “The NEB has ignored and wasted the time of countless communities, First Nations and individuals who have stood up to oppose this irresponsible pipeline proposal.” 

McCartney continues by saying, “British Columbians have made it crystal clear this pipeline is not welcome in our communities.  No new process is going to change the widespread Indigenous opposition, the unacceptable risk of a spill, the massive climate impacts or the shoddy economics of this project.”

You may recall that CCEC Credit Union was granted Intervenor status, the only financial institution to do so.  We held a public forum in June 2014, over concern that the NEB process was not open, accessible and objective.  We wanted to make the debate more public and complete.  Read the blog

We need everyone to turn out to the meetings in the coming months to show Ottawa and the rest of the country that when we say no – we mean it.  We also need to turn the heat up on our MPs in the Lower Mainland.  Write letters, call offices, show up at events.  Our representatives must put a stop to this! 

Speak Out Against Kinder Morgan!  Learn more – see the map posted by the Wilderness Committee of community and First Nation concerns, and a pledge form where you can find out details of the meetings as they become clear.

 

BACKGROUND:

Click the articles for more information:

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We all know the Georgia Viaducts are being removed.  But what happens to the traffic?  Many on Prior Street want the traffic rerouted.  What is the best option between Malkin Avenue or National Avenue to move the traffic in and out of the City? 

It is clear that Malkin should NOT be considered as it forces profitable businesses, this urban ‘produce row’ for food distribution, and their employees out of Vancouver.  Truck services to the 6 food wholesalers on Malkin cannot be handled on the street if it is to be a traffic artery.  This food hub is key to city residents, city institutions and hotels, cruise ships and more. It is a food security issue in the event of an earthquake. This is urgent!  Time is short as City staff are to release a draft plan to the public in June, produce a final plan in the summer, with the recommendation scheduled to go to council in the fall.

Click here to see the list of Councilors, their email addresses and phone numbers.  Email, phone and Tweet to get the Councilors to Vote NO to Malkin Avenue.

So, what’s at stake and what is the background? 

The issue has been under discussion for a few years.  Key considerations stated in the False Creek Flats Prior/Venables Replacement document to guide the decision include:

  • The impact on three community gardens: Cottonwood Community Garden, Strathcona Community Garden, and the Purple Thistle; and
  • The impact on ‘Produce Row’ where currently 6 of the City’s 9 produce wholesalers* are found along Malkin Avenue, representing approximately 450 local jobs.  These businesses combined receive approximately 4,000 truck deliveries a week, and often block traffic on Malkin while manoeuvering. 

* Including CCEC Member, Discovery Organics who recently relocated to Malkin Avenue.

Click here to read the Open House information boards

Randy Hopper, Co-Owner, Discovery Organics says, “If we are forced to move to the suburbs, this will likely increase fruit and vegetable prices by 3%, and other companies down here are suggesting 6% when the costs of new buildings and millions of dollars of new coolers are factored in.”  Currently, the Food Bank and Agencies serving food secure vulnerable populations in the City with community kitchens, community meals and food distribution programs will lose their capacity to pick up donated produce for use in their programs.”  He continues, “Vancouver will be one of the very, very few major cities in North America without a produce distribution centre in close proximity to the city core.  And, the independent, small local grocery stores and restaurants will lose their capacity to pick up daily from several suppliers in close proximity."

So, it make sense to NOT choose the Malkin Avenue option but to choose an option that minimizes impact to Cottonwood Community (and other community) Gardens; avoids impact to Produce Row; contributes most to the City’s Greenest City Action Plan; creates local green jobs; and builds our City’s capacity to be one of North America’s most robust local food economies.  A Tyee article in 2010 on creating a local food hub stated, “The distribution houses on Produce Row have, for over a century, done a great job of keeping Vancouver, and all points east, fed.”  It also quoted our new City Manager S. Johston as saying, "Over 25% of an individual's carbon footprint is related to food,"  He continued by acknowledging that, “the city recognizes the strong need for an urban distribution centre for local food.”

In 2103, Motions forwarded to Council from the Transportation and Environment Committee discussing the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts that were unanimously approved by Council states:

THAT Council direct staff to incorporate…an urban agriculture "centre of excellence", including the potential for an "urban food" production centre with an expanded future garden system, through optimizing the existing assets in the area, which include: Strathcona and Cottonwood Gardens; and the key food warehousing and shipping infrastructure on Malkin Street.; and

THAT a guiding principle be modified to read:  to "maintain an efficient network of arterial streets essential for goods movement to support jobs and the economy.”

Recently, a Produce Row business sent a letter to his customers urging them to forward it to City Council.  In the letter, it says, “It’s very likely that several, if not all Produce Row businesses will be forced to relocate or close.  It will be an end to their history in the community and the jobs they provide.  This will also mean considerably reduced availability of produce for my business and my customers.  Food quality will decrease and food prices will rise due to longer transportation routes.  It also means fewer much-needed donations to nearby food banks in Vancouver, as the produce supply will be too far away to transport economically. Finally, it probably means the loss of potential economic synergies and job opportunities that could come from fostering the growth of a hub of food and food-related businesses in this area.”

Ian Marcuse, CCEC Member and the Grandview Woodland Food Connection Coordinator who has spoken at Council against the Malkin Avenue option says, "Our mandate to support healthy and equitable food access for the roughly 20% of individuals and households living in Grandview Woodland who are food insecure, is strongly supported by the Malkin Avenue food wholesalers from which we purchase quality produce for our Bulk Food Club.”  He continues by saying, “In fact, the only reason that we have been able to make this bulk food program affordable for the 60 or so households dependent on it, is due to the close proximity of these food warehouses.  The potential loss if these food wholesalers from the inner city and inevitable increase in cost for us if we have to travel much further to access food will have significant impact on our community members who are struggling". 

Councilor Geoff Meggs speak in support of protecting Produce Row and the importance of it for our food system, for people’s livelihoods and for small businesses across Vancouver. Despite this support, it is not enough.  With all the arguments against the Malkin Avenue option and direction from Council, why does it seem that city staff continue to push for it?  We urge CCEC Members to write to City Councilors and City staff working directly or indirectly on this to NOT choose Malkin Avenue. 

Click here to see the list of Councilors, their email addresses and phone numbers.  Email, phone and Tweet to have Councilors Vote NO to Malkin Avenue.

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Smarter.  Brighter.  Better.

CCEC is converting to a new banking system on JUNE 1, 2016.  There will be service interruptions from Tuesday, May 31 at 3pm to Wednesday, June 1 in the late afternoon.  If you have further questions, please visit our website for more information or phone 604.254.4100.

BE PREPARED

During this conversion period, if you have any questions concerning your account we encourage you to contact the branch through email info@ccec.bc.ca or by phone to 604.254.4100.

After conversion, if you have specific problem with your card or online access, please provide us with as much detail as possible about the issue, to assist us in tracking down the source of the issue.  Details would include the date and time, location (ATM or retail outlet), exactly what you were trying to do, and the exact error message.

Nothing is perfect and we ask you to check on your Future Bill Payments to confirm that bills were paid if they were scheduled during the conversion period.  Bill payments scheduled for June 1 will not be processed at the beginning of the day as usual, but will be processed in the afternoon, after the conversion is complete.

Q:  Why are we converting the banking system?

A:  We are converting to a new banking system to provide you with increased reliability and to increase our capacity to provide you with new services.  During the conversion, we will be doing everything we can to minimize any member impact; however, there will be some changes that will be necessary and important to note.  For updates, visit our website at www.ccec.bc.ca .

Q: When is this happening?  And, can I get money from an ATM, do online banking, and make purchases?

A:  We are converting to this new banking system from Tuesday, May 31 at 3pm to Wednesday, June 1 in the late afternoon.  

 

BE AWARE:
You can deposit cheques or cash in an ATM.
BUT,
the funds
deposited at ATM’s during this period will not be available for withdrawals.

 

Q: Will my cheques and pre-authorized debits and credits be cleared?

A: On Tuesday, May 31, we will process the clearing files as usual.  We anticipate we will next process the clearing file on June 1 in the afternoon, after our upgraded banking system is up and running.

If you have important transactions or special requests from May 31 to June 1, please get in touch with us ASAP so that we can address your concerns.

Q:  So, what can and can’t I do during this time?

A: See our Service Interruption At A Glance chart:

 

Telephone Support

Branch Banking

ATM & POS

Online, Mobile & Telephone Banking

Monday, May 30

 

Closed as usual

Available

Available

Tuesday, May 31 before 3pm

Business as usual for account and transaction processing up to 3pm.

Open 10am-3pm

Available

Available

Tuesday, May 31 after 3pm

We are available to answer questions until 5pm.

Closed

Limited. We cannot process transactions after 3pm.

Not Available. Transactions cannot be processed after 3pm.

Wednesday, June 1

We are available to answer questions from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Closed

Limited. We cannot process transactions until late afternoon.

Not Available. Transactions cannot be processed until late afternoon.

Thursday, June 2

Open 10am-5pm business as usual

Open 10am-5pm business as usual

Available

Available

 

Q: What changes will I notice in the new banking system?

A:  We’ve listened. The new system reflects a few of your requests.  You will see more features and easier navigation.  The system will provide greater reliability and give us the capacity to add new services.

  • NEW in Online Banking: You can download account activity to a PDF file; and we’ve added the Recurring Bill Payments feature to save you time to pay the same amount on regularly scheduled bills.
  • NEW in Telephone Banking: The phone numbers will be changing.  The new number for local calls is 778-588-6811 and toll-free is 1 844-588-6811.  Listen carefully as the order on the menu options has also changed and we do not have a Loan Payment option.  Navigation is easier.  Changes include:
  • Press * to go back to the previous option;
  • Use * key for decimal point when entering amount of the bill.
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On behalf of the board, we are pleased to announce that Tracey Kliesch will be joining CCEC Credit Union as our General Manager as of May 15, 2016. Tracey is coming to CCEC after more than 12 years at Vancity in both operations and community investment. 

“It’s an honour and pleasure to welcome such a strong advocate for co-ops and community organizations to CCEC,” remarked Tammy Lea Meyer, Co-chair of the Board of Directors. “As a champion of co-operative economics and an active leader in the community, we are extremely pleased to have her take on this leadership role at our credit union.”

Tracey has spent the last five years as a Community Investment Portfolio Manager, where she has focused on building meaningful partnerships with mission-based organizations, as well as managing the Youth Community Advisory Committee and online forum. Outside of her work with Vancity, Tracey teaches Cooperatives and Community Economic Development at BCIT, and has worked internationally to promote and strengthen the cooperative model and help build the cooperative movement.

Ms. Meyer continued, “CCEC stands for Community Congress for Economic Change, and as an agent of change, we promote social justice and economic democracy.  It is clear to us that Tracey shares this commitment.  Her proven managerial skills in the financial service industry and a broad understanding of the social profit sector give us confidence that she will represent the values of our members and member communities.  She is well prepared to take on this leadership role at CCEC.”

“I am very excited and deeply honoured to become CCEC’s next GM and I look forward to stewarding the credit union’s continued success,” said Ms. Kliesch. “I have had the pleasure of serving community members in Squamish, Vancouver, East Vancouver and Burnaby for over 12 years with Vancity and look forward to continuing that work in support of CCEC’s members and community organizations. I look forward to working with the Board, our managers, our union and staff to continue to build an organization that is sustainably successful and true to our founding values. I am proud to take the helm of this local, autonomous and independent credit union that so clearly lives and advocates for cooperative values.”

Ms. Kliesch will be replacing Ross Gentleman who is retiring after leading the credit union for three years, having been an active volunteer and contributor for over 35 years. Although he will be missed as GM, we expect he will continue to volunteer in some capacity.

CCEC Credit Union provides financial services to non-profits, co-ops, social enterprises and progressive small businesses, and to individuals affiliated with these community organizations.  As a community development credit union, CCEC has worked with many projects associated with housing, childcare, health, environmental stewardship, gender equality, and free expression.


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