BC-Yukon Division Newsletter, The Observer, March 2023

President’s Message

Well White Cane Week is over. There was information that was very useful, put your toothpaste in your mouth instead of on the floor or your clothes.

This is a very busy time of the year with WCW and getting ready for the AGM. I have been working on membership, hopefully we will have some great results soon. Hope to see lots of you at the AGM. Take care, stay safe and hope it is soon spring.

Pat Chicquen, President


CCB BC-Yukon Division 2023 AGM & Making Connections Workshops

Plans are in the works for the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) BC-Yukon Division’s 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Making Connections Workshops.  We are hoping all Chapters in the Division will send a delegate.  This year our AGM and Making Connections Workshops will be held at:

The Best Western Plus Regency Inn & Conference Centre

32110 Marshall Road, Abbotsford

And the tentative schedule is:

* Monday, April 17th –Delegate Travel Day

Evening “Celebrating Us” Meet ‘n Greet

* Tuesday, April 18th

Morning Opening &Annual General Meeting

Afternoon “Making Connections” Workshop

* Wednesday, April 19th

Morning “Making More Connections” Workshop

Afternoon “Community Connections” Open House

Evening “Connecting Again” Wind Up Dinner

* Thursday, April 20th – Travel Day home

As per our custom, the Division will pay a part of the expenses of your Chapter Delegate and their guide to the AGM and Making Connections Workshops; and Chapters will be responsible for their Delegate’s and guide’s remaining expenses to the event.  The Division will cover two nights at the hotel, lunch on Tuesday April 18th and the Wind-Up Dinner on Wednesday April 19th; Chapters will be responsible for one hotel night, travel costs and meals not covered by the Division (the hotel provides a complimentary breakfast).

We encourage your Chapter to send a Delegate to our 2023 AGM and Making Connections Workshops – it is an opportunity to learn from one another, share ideas and make new friends while having a good time.  More detailed information and the attendee form are now available; registration deadline is March 10, 2023.  For more information, please email ccbbc-yukondivision@telus.net


Membership Tidbits

Renewing Your Membership

CCB BC-Yukon Division members traditionally pay their membership dues through their Chapter.  An option for independent members or for members who find it easier to pay their CCB National dues online may go to:


Where you can either pay by PayPal or credit card.  If you do take advantage of CCB National’s membershippayment option, be sure to know your Chapter’s name; and in BC independent members or members who may not be sure what their Chapter’s name is use the Festival of Friends Chapter.  And if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Division Call Ins: Calling All Members

Thank you for listening in to our Division Call Ins. Your participation is what makes this venture rewarding!

In December, Darren Kennedy’s “Golden Oldie Trivia”  and Ian Brown’s lively singing helped make our 3rd Annual Winter Wingding a success.  Everyone present received door prizes, heard corny winter jokes, learned some winter trivia, sang along with Ian and called out answers to Darren’s trivia questions – a merry time was had by all!

In January, Rob Sleath from ASIC (Access for Sight Impaired Consumers) shared information about BC Transit.  Talking about the status of dual format signage on bus stop ID poles in Metro Vancouver and areas where BC Transit may be considering doing the same; the issue and design of “floating bus stops”; and the soon to be launched pilot for the NaviLens app.

And in February, Janine Tucker Manager of BC’s Deafblind Community Services (DBCS) presented information about DBCS and who they support.  Providing support and services for people who are living with a loss of both hearing and sight.  Working with people who are Deafblind both one-on-one and in group settings to facilitate communication, access, independence, and participation in all parts of daily life.  Contact the New Westminster office at 604-364-6967 or email janine.tucker@deafblindservices.ca or visit


And of course, we gave you several opportunities to share your ideas, your dreams and your resolutions and solutions.  The open/sharing Call Ins are sometimes lively with lots of chatter and the occasional zinger!  If you have a personal or technical dilemma and are looking for answers, bring them to our Call In, as more than one challenge has been solved!

Hoping you Zoom in with us and we hear you at a future Division Call In!


Division Call In Update

Our Division Call Ins are on Zoom the first and third Thursday each month at 10:00am.  Please join us, we hope to hear you!  Here is our Division Call In schedule:

*March 2nd: open-sharing session

*March 16th: Division’s Summer Sports Days

*April 6th: open-sharing session

*April 20th: to be announced

If you are interested and would like to join us, but have trouble with phoning in because of punching in numbers, please let us do the dialing for you and all you need do is answer your phone.  Email ccbbc-yukondivision@telus.net or phone 604-795-3885.


Sports & More

Does Your Chapter 5 Pin Bowl?

– submitted by Linda Hall

CCB Kamloops Chapter is hosting a 5 Pin Bowling Tournament and is asking if your Chapter would like to participate.

When: Saturday April 29, 2023 at 1:00pm

Where: Falcon Lanes in Kamloops

Come and join us for the fun, fellowship, celebration and of course the bowling.  For more information, please contact Linda Hall by email lhall12@shaw.ca


Summer Sports Days

The CCB BC-Yukon Division is getting ready to host our first Summer Sports Days in Langley in June!  An exciting opportunity for you to try out and experience golfing, lawn bowling and dragon boating!

Division members new to golfing, lawn bowling and/or dragon boating are encouraged to participate.  Priority will be given to novice golfers, lawn bowlers and dragon boaters; but we do need participation from experienced golfers, lawn bowlers and dragon boaters as we learn from one another and share our expertise.  And we encourage all participants to take advantage of these opportunities to play, learn and have fun together!


Coast Langley City Hotel

Cascades Casino Resort

20393 Fraser Highway, Langley, BC

Tentative Schedule…

* Tuesday June 20th

Travel day to Langley

Evening hospitality room available

* Wednesday June 21st

Morning of golf with lunch

Afternoon hike/walk

Evening hospitality room available

* Thursday June 22nd

Morning lawn bowling and lunch

Afternoon dragon boating

Wrap up Dinner

Evening hospitality room available

* Friday June 23rd

Safe travels home

Cost for CCB members to register will be $50.  More information and the registration form will be out mid/end of March.  Please feel free to share this opportunity and for more information email: ccbbc-yukondivision@telus.net


CCB 100 Mile House Blind & Visually Impaired White Cane Club

– submitted by Marilyn Vinson

– a little rhyme I made up for our Christmas party

For more than 30 years

This group has helped their peers

They helped each other

and others as well

to find their own stories

that then they could tell

Of finding their way

Tho not seeing much

To learn how to see

thru hearing and touch

Once a month We all get together

Although sometimes it depends on the weather

We welcome all,

blind or sighted

to help or be helped

you’re all invited


CCB Alberni Valley Chapter

– submitted by Jean Kanngiesser

The Alberni Valley Chapter with 20 members, including 4 Volunteers, continues to meet monthly. We attempt to have a speaker at each meeting and enjoy conversations over a coffee. At our February 1st meeting, Albert Ruel was our guest; Albert spoke of his personal journey through vision loss and enthusiastically encouraged us to never say, “I cannot do that” rather get off our duffs and try it. Albert, “Thank You” for your inspiring talk.

We will have an information table at the CNIB and VLR Mobile Hub in Port Alberni on March 28. We will also assist them with some advertising and promotion of the Hub.

After a three year COVID 19 caused delay, we have the Greater Victoria Police Chorus singing for us in Port Alberni on April 16th. We are so looking forward to their performance. Previously purchased tickets are still valid and should you now want to purchase a ticket call Jean at 250 724 1272

It is often frustrating that people, with recent vision loss, receive no guidance on where to look for assistance. Two new people attended our February 1st Chapter meeting. They are clients of Optometrists and/or Ophthalmologists. Neither had been informed of their visual acuity nor given a referral to CNIB or VLR or CCB nor were advised whether legally blind with the accompanying assistance of that designation. We were pleased to contact VLR with their contact information and provided information of the Disability Tax Credit, BC Fuel Tax rebate and ICBC discounts etc. Both were appreciative of our assistance and joined our Chapter!


CCB Chilliwack Chapter

We are happy to be up and running again after not meeting for more than two years and experiencing challenges with HandyDart availability in 2022 . Our membership shrunk due to the pandemic and not meeting in person and we are now actively recruiting members for our Chapter.

Our Chapter is once more getting busier, meeting in person on the first and third Wednesday, as well as meeting on Zoom once a month. Bowling on Monday mornings with anywhere from 8 to 12 bowlers.  And we are hoping to travel to CCB Kamloops Chapter’s 5 Pin Bowling Tournament at the end of April. Also going out for a No Host Lunch every month, to one of our favourite restaurants in town. Our list of restaurants is a bit shorter now as some have shut their doors over the last three years. It is great to be out and about again!


CCB Provincial Book Club

– submitted by Kathy Sanness

The CCB BC-Yukon Division Provincial Book Club is an organization that is run by its members. We are all prolific readers. Our members mostly come from BC, but we also have members from Ontario and the Maritime provinces. Our members choose books that they have personally read themselves, and have recommended to the group. We do not follow an approved reading list, as most book clubs do.

We meet on Zoom, at 9AM, on the fourth Friday of every month, except for December. In December we meet on a Friday before Christmas. As well as discussing the book for that month, we discuss technology or other subjects that interest us.

We encourage anyone, who wishes, to join us any time.

In February we read The Beauty of Dusk by Frank Bruni and the upcoming books are:

March, An Immense World by Ed Yong

April, The Athena Syndicate by Charles Mossop

May, Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Kathy Sanness at 250 395 0395 or ksanness@telus.net


Ruth’s Corner

Busted in Boquete

– by Ruth Bieber

During the winter months of 2015/16 I decided to try wintering in Panama.  I was living in Kelowna BC at the time, and not looking forward to another cold Canadian winter, and yes, believe me Kelowna gets full-on winter.  Boquete Panama seemed a likely destination.  In spite of my Spanish lessons, it also seemed prudent to start somewhere with plenty of expats.  Having traveled worldwide, I’ve learned to start any relocation by finding my people, which turns out to be a moving target.  When I lived in New York my people were folks from the blind community.  In Boquete Panama I dare say there were few other blind people to be found, and none of them local, but I slightly digress.  In Boquete my people were artists, and art enthusiasts.  While there I offered workshops in drama and the visual arts.  Too much fun, really.

In January of 2016 I traveled with friends to a small Panamanian town which was hosting a jazz concert.  I love jazz!  So, there I was sitting at a table with my pals, grooving to the music, looking pretty cool with my sunglasses.  I don’t need to tell anyone from the blind community about light sensitivity, but at a jazz concert in a small town in Panama, I guess I just looked really into the scene.  Having lived in New York, where I listened to a lot of really great jazz, I learned to just listen, rather than chat with tablemates.  All this to say, apparently, I had been staring at a very interested man all evening!  I learned later, he could see I was really into the music, but he also assumed I was really into him!  At least that was what he thought, until at evening’s end when I stood up, whipped out my white cane and exited with my friends.  Busted!  Said man, Mike, noticed me a few days later at a community arts event, and decided to tell me the whole story.  We both had a good laugh, and enjoyed the final six weeks of my time in Panama together.  One for the white cane!


Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC)


Participants requested to test the NaviLens app for TransLink

– from an ASIC News email dated February 22, 2023 from Rob Sleath on behalf of Megan Johnston, Senior Advisor, Public Affairs with TransLink in Metro Vancouver

Here is some important information for those of you using transit in Metro Vancouver. TransLink has launched a six-month pilot project to evaluate an app-based solution that may make the transit system more accessible for people with sight loss.

Using the NaviLens app on an iPhone or Android smartphone, transit customers can use their smartphone to receive audio and haptic cues to guide them to their bus stop in select locations in New Westminster and Vancouver and receive real-time information about bus arrivals.

The free app works by reading special codes, which are installed at 16 designated pilot bus stops, including:

*10 bus bays near New Westminster Skytrain Station;

*4 bus stops near the CNIB office in New Westminster; and

*2 bus stops near Vancouver Community College’s campus on East Broadway in Vancouver.

TransLink is asking for people with sight loss to use the app at the designated locations, and to share their user experiences through an online survey during the pilot period, which ends August 21, 2023.

How to participate in the pilot

TransLink values your participation and feedback and to show their appreciation, you will be given the chance to enter a draw to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards at the end of the online survey.

To learn more about the technology and how to participate in the pilot, please visit translink.ca/accessnav or contact us at publicengagement@translink.ca.

Please feel free to share this information with your networks. If others in your network wish to subscribe to our News Alerts list, they can send an e-mail to asicnews@asicbc.cawith “subscribe” in the subject line.


News, Views & Tips From You


New Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

– from Equalize, CNIB’s advocacy e-newsletter, February 2023

– by Gabbi Rabaa

For pedestrians who are blind or partially sighted, sound is an essential component of safe and independent navigation. Audible signals can help people to orient themselves to their surroundings, identify potential hazards, understand the flow of traffic, and determine when it’s safe to cross a street.

Enter hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs), which can be virtually silent while travelling at speeds below 20 kilometres per hour. For pedestrians who are blind or partially sighted, as well as other vulnerable road users, the lack of an audible signal from HEVs travelling at low speeds poses significant risks.

Recognizing the dangers that quiet HEVs pose for vulnerable road users, the Government of Canada has created the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 141. This standard requires HEV manufacturers to equip vehicles with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS), which creates artificial sounds comparable to conventional vehicles.

CMVSS 141 applies to the following classes of vehicles:


Multi-person passenger vehicles

Passenger cars


Low-speed vehicles

As municipal transit systems across Canada begin deploying hybrid and electric buses, governments and other stakeholders must ensure the presence of an effective AVAS to mitigate risk to pedestrians and transit riders. Blind and partially sighted transit riders waiting at bus stops could be at significant risk, as slow-moving buses that do not emit an audible signal would be undetectable.

Get Involved

You can help improve pedestrian safety in your community by writing a letter to your local councillor or municipal transit department and urging them to only purchase HEVs that are equipped with AVAS and by encouraging drivers of HEVs to make sure the AVAS remains activated and functioning properly.



– submitted anonymously

Do you have some tips for me? A good night’s sleep is rare for many, while others sleep like babies! If you have a secret to your sleep patterns or know something the rest of us should know, PLEASE SHARE!


Your Division Board of Directors Contact Information

Remember your Division Board of Directors is here to help you. Do not hesitate to email or call for more information or clarification on any matters concerning the CCB BC-Yukon Division.

Pat Chicquen, President – 250-339-3904 – patccbbc@shaw.ca

Darren Douma, 1st Vice President – 250-428-1807 – thedoumas71@gmail.com

Kelvin Adams, 2nd Vice President– 250-895-9835 –kelzar@hotmail.com

Terry Pipkey, 3rd Vice President- 250-562-1892–tpipkey@gmail.com

Ann McNabb, Past President – 604-795-7230 –ann4council@telus.net

Fraser Hiltz, Director – 604-379-0035 –fraserhiltz@gmail.com

Rose Pokeda, Director – 250-334-8565 – rospok1@gmail.com

Vern Short, Director – 250-819-9152 – vshort59@shaw.ca