AUGUST 23 - AUGUST 29, 2012 www.northshoreoutlook.com
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HISTORY CLASS Queen Mary elementary is just a brick shell until renovations are finished, but the historic school is still filled with decades of memories » 10
ART THERAPY Coping with mental illness through painting
BITE OUT OF CRIME
A N. Van hockey player’s 48 Chief speaks at the U.N. about hours with the Calder Cup WVPD’s low crime stats
2 Thursday, August 23, 2012
Mentally ill North Van killer sentenced to at least 12 months at psychiatric hospital
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The B.C. Review Board sentenced Jordan Campbell Ramsay to the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam TODD COYNE S TA F F R E P O RT E R
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mentally ill North Vancouver man who beat his father to death with a wrench and put his mother in a coma last July will spend no less than the next 12 months in a Lower Mainland psychiatric hospital. But the sister of the deceased â€” and aunt to the 28-year-old killer Jordan Campbell Ramsay â€” says her nephew should be locked up indefinitely. On Aug. 15, a B.C. Review Board panel ordered Ramsay, who suffers from severe schizophrenia, into the immediate custody of the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam. Under order of the three-member panel, Ramsay must remain under the authority of the psychiatric hospital director, must be of good behaviour, must present himself to the panel when required and may not â€œacquire, possess or use any firearm, explosive or offensive weapon.â€? Ramsayâ€™s custodial sentence is open for review after 12 months, on Aug. 15, 2013. Ramsay was found not criminally responsible for the second-degree murder of his father, Donald Ramsay, 53, and the attempted murder of his mother, Wendy Ramsay, in the familyâ€™s North Vancouver apartment, by a B.C. Supreme Court
judge on July 6. In her findings, Judge Deborah Kloegman blamed the Ramsay familyâ€™s decision to replace Jordanâ€™s prescribed antipsychotic drugs with a controversial multivitamin therapy regiment for contributing to the brutal attack on the Ramsays as they slept in their West 28th Street apartment last November. â€œHad he remained on the medications he had been on prior,â€? Jordanâ€™s aunt, LeeAnn Ramsay, told The Outlook on Thursday, â€œmy brother would be alive today.â€? Wendy Ramsay, 54, barely survived the severe head injuries she suffered that night. But now recovered from her coma, Wendy asked the review panel last Wednesday to remove the no-contact order barring her from seeing her son. â€œShe is on board with his treatment and is anxious to help with his recovery,â€? said LeeAnn in an email exchange with The Outlook. LeeAnn added, however, that she believes 12 months is too soon to review her nephewâ€™s sentence and that to do so would be a dangerous mistake. â€œThe prospect of him being released in the future is disconcerting and I wish that due to the horrific nature of his offence that they could work in increments of far greater than one year,â€? LeeAnn said. â€œHe should remain there for the rest of his life.â€? Jordan Ramsay had been battling schizophrenia for two decades and was on leave from the psychiatric ward at Nanaimo General Hospital when he attacked his parents in the early-morning hours of Nov. 5, 2011.
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Man accused in sled dog slaughter likely to enter plea in North Van court by end of the month The lawyer representing Robert T. Fawcett told a North Vancouver court judge last Thursday his client will plead on Aug. 30 TODD COYNE S TA F F R E P O RT E R
he lawyer defending one of the largest ever cases of animal cruelty in the country told a North Vancouver Provincial court judge last Thursday his client will enter a plea to the court on Aug. 30. Greg Diamond is the Whistler lawyer representing Robert T. Fawcett, the man accused of killing as many as 100 sled dogs in a mass slaughter in April 2010. Diamond gave no indication to the court how Fawcett would plead, but told Judge Steven Merrick that as of that morning, Aug. 16, he had obtained the final documents required to properly advise his client. The case will proceed to an arraignment hearing on Aug.
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30 where Fawcett and his lawyer are expected to enter a plea on the charge of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal. Fawcett was the operator of Howling Dogs Tours Whistler, a sled-dog tour company which found itself over-extended in the post-2010 Olympics tourism lull. Fawcett allegedly described shooting and stabbing the dogs in a WorkSafeBC claim for post-traumatic stress in the days following the incident. Those details led to international outcry from animal rights groups and even brought death threats against Fawcett. Those threats were cause for the trial to be moved from the provincial court in Pemberton to the more secure North Vancouver courthouse. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thursday, August 23, 2012 3
‘Looks as though someone attempted to conceal the body’: IHIT in North Vancouver A body found Saturday in North Vancouver could be the remains of a murder victim
CRIME SCENE? - An RCMP forensics unit at the scene in the 2000-block of Curling Avenue Monday morning. Justin Beddall photo
TODD COYNE S TA F F R E P O RT E R
omicide investigators believe human remains found Saturday in a North Vancouver neighbourhood may be those of a murder victim because the body appears to have been intentionally hidden from view. The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team were called to an area just off a gravel foot path in the 2000block of Curling Road Sunday morning after the North Vancouver RCMP confirmed human remains were found there the night before. The advanced decomposition of the body has left investigators in the dark as to the age, gender and identity of the victim, but it does suggest the person has likely been dead for some time. The BC Coroners Service was scheduled to perform an autopsy on the remains Wednesday, but it could be weeks before any results come back. “There are many unanswered questions in these early stages and much of the details of the findings can’t be released at this time as we are pursuing this as a homicide investigation, “ said IHIT spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Pound in a press release on Monday. Pound told The Outlook, however, that because the body appears to have been intentionally hidden from sight, the victim may have met with foul play. “It looks as though someone attempted to conceal the body, so it appears more suspicious than just finding human remains in the bush,” Pound said. Police would not confirm whether the remains were buried in the ground or concealed in some other manner. Neighbours in the 2000-block of Curling Road told
reporters at the scene that the area behind the Travelodge motel on Marine Drive where the body was found is frequented by transient people and drug users. IHIT remained on-scene Monday afternoon with the BC Coroners Service, the Integrated Forensic Identification Section and a forensic entomologist, who studies insects found on human remains to determine a person’s time of death. If the remains prove to be those of a murder victim, it will
be North Vancouver’s first homicide of 2012. Neighborhood canvassing continued throughout the day Monday and investigators were expected to remain on-scene during the week to complete their processing of the site. The foot path from Belle Isle Place to Curling Road remains closed. IHIT is asking anyone who may have information about this homicide to come forward and speak with investigators. email@example.com
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4 Thursday, August 23, 2012
From West Vancouver to the world: Police chief tells U.N. why his is the most successful police department around TODD COYNE S TA F F R E P O RT E R
n West Vancouver, crime is down by a third and one-half of all reported crimes get solved. The common denominator among those best-inB.C. crime stats is what West Vancouver police chief Peter Lepine calls his “prolific offender management” strategy. And if the opinion of the United Nations department of economic and social affairs means anything — it does — he might be on to something. Earlier this month, Lepine was invited to speak about his department’s crime stats at the U.N. headquarters in New York, as part of the International Police Executive Symposium. There, Lepine schooled police chiefs, lawyers, criminologists and judges from around the globe on how West Van’s bad-apple targeting model has put the district atop the crime-reduction pile in the province, and maybe even on the planet. “The fact is, we solve more crime here than any other police department in British Columbia,” Lepine told The Outlook on his return home to the North Shore. That’s at a time when crime in this province has fallen faster in the last decade than anywhere else in the world, Lepine added. “So that said, West Vancouver’s drop in crime has even surpassed [B.C.’s] in particular over the past two years. So we’re doing this rate of drop faster and we’re also doing it in an environment where low crime rates already exist,” Lepine said. “It’s easy to drop when you’ve got crime coming out the yin-yang but try to do it when you’re already at the bottom of the barrel — this is the discussion that they [at the U.N.] wanted to hear from me.” And many, skeptically, wanted to see the numbers too. Like West Van’s reported 33.75-per-cent drop in crime from 2009 to 2011, the department’s solved-crime clearance rate of 49.4-per-cent is also the highest rate in B.C. Compare that number with runners-up like Vancouver, whose next-best clearance rate was more than 13 points
CHIEF BRIEFS - West Vancouver police chief Peter Lepine is just back from speaking to the U.N. International Police Executive Symposium in New York. Outlook file photo
lower at 36.1 per cent, followed by Abbotsford with 34.6 per cent, Delta with 32.6 per cent and Burnaby at 30.6 per cent. North Vancouver district is down the list in the No. 7 spot with a clearance rate of one-quarter, or 25.6 per cent of all crimes. “In an environment here where we don’t have a hotspot issue like the Downtown Eastside,” Lepine said, “the key to our success has been the prolific offender management program.” That means targeting known offenders where they live — almost always outside of West Vancouver and often in the Downtown Eastside, Lepine admits — and reminding them they’re constantly being watched. “The fact is that we will go to other communities in order to track down our prolific offenders and then monitor their behaviour,” Lepine said. “It’s all about the extra mile.” But carrying out surveillance on citizens outside his department’s West Van jurisdiction is both expensive and amounts to what some might consider undue harassment. For Lepine, though, it’s money and time vigilantly spent. “If somebody gets released from the courts and has a curfew to abstain from drugs or alcohol, well then we have an obligation — so that we can reduce crime — to ensure that they are abstaining from drugs or alcohol,” Lepine said. “Preventing crime is far cheaper than having to investigate crime.” The chief estimates there are between six and 10 prolific offenders under the watch of his department at any one time. “And just by focusing on that key group as opposed to trying to catch every criminal, we get the best bang for our dollar,” he said. Before departing on his WVPD-funded $2,600 trip to New York, Lepine was given yet another stat to brag about. In late July, Statistics Canada released its crime severity index for 239 Canadian communities with populations over 10,000. West Van ranked in 215th place for the overall prevalence of severe crime, while North Vancouver city and district placed 99th and 210th, respectively. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Concerts in the Square
Discover the Spirit Trail
Saturday, August 25 from 5pm - 10pm Shipbuilders' Square (Foot of Lonsdale)
The Spirit Trail is a unique waterfrontoriented, multi-use greenway that provides pedestrians, cyclists and people with wheeled mobility aids access across the North Shore. While some sections of the Spirit Trail are still being planned, many sections are complete and ready for you to explore.
Are you enjoying the free outdoor summer concerts at Shipbuilders’ Square? This Saturday, Concerts in the Square delivers another great live lineup. Headliners Neil Osborne of 54/40, country singer Jessie Farrel, and Dave Genn share the day with roots/rock recording artist Wil. Opening acts include North Vancouver locals Headwater, The Whethermen, Babe Gurr, and Carli and Julie Kennedy. As well, 'Art on the Pier' will showcase local artists, artisans and vendors. Details at www.cnv.org/ConcertsInTheSquare.
Strawberry Tea Afternoon Concert A SPECIAL AFTERNOON CONCERT FOR SENIORS Sunday, August 26 from 12pm – 4pm Shipbuilders’ Square (Foot of Lonsdale) Calling all seniors! You’re invited to enjoy a free afternoon of Strawberry Tea and the Dal Richards Orchestra. This Sunday, the popular Concerts in the Square series features live music by Dal Richards Orchestra, Swingin’ Dixie and North Shore Celtic Ensemble, plus free strawberry shortcake and refreshments for seniors 55 years and older. All ages welcome! Find more information at www.cnv.org/ConcertsInTheSquare.
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The trail at Moodyville Park is approximately 1.5km and offers a peaceful, tree-lined path – perfect for a stroll or a walk with the dog. Kings Mill Walk features spectacular views of the water, a separate off-leash dog area and connects to the impressive Harbourside West Overpass, a 280-metre long pedestrian bridge that provides a vital link to West 1st Street over the train tracks. From here, you can walk, run, cycle or inline skate all the way to Lions Gate Bridge. For more information, including a map that shows completed sections of the Spirit Trail along with alternative cycling routes and suggested street connections, visit www.cnv.org/SpiritTrail.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 5
Confusion over sanctions keeps Iran aid money in Canada Newly explained exemptions should allow the North Shore Persian community to send money to earthquake victims in Iran MICHAELA GARSTIN S TA F F R E P O RT E R
he North Shore Persian community is still looking for ways to help people in Iran after two deadly earthquakes hit East Azerbaijan province last week, killing 306 people and injuring another 3,000. But Canadian sanctions against Iran, coupled with the fear aid might not successfully reach the area, have left many confused about what to do. “A lot people want to donate money but aren’t sure exactly how to do it and are scared what may happen if they do,” Nassreen Filsoof, president of the North Shorebased Canadian Iranian Foundation, told The Outlook. Money desperately needs to get to the survivors of twin earthquakes that hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in a region along the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia on Aug. 11, she says, which reportedly affected 300,000 people by leveling villages and heavily damaging roads. The foundation has set up a fund at VanCity, raising around $3,500 already, but confusion over how to send money to Iran has kept the funds in Canada. Canadian sanctions against Iran were heightened in November 2011 in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s assessment of the country’s nuclear program. Under the sanctions, Canadians are forbidden from providing money to anyone in Iran or for the benefit of Iran. But financial donations can still be sent to Iran for humanitarian reasons, said Canada’s department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in a press release on Aug. 21. Up to $40,000 can be sent in a transaction to family members in Iran, provided that it is for non-commercial use. Another exemption for “activity that has as its purpose the safeguarding of human life, disaster relief, or the proving of medicine or medical supplies” can also be used to help victims of the earthquake. In both cases, it is up to the person sending the money to prove to the financial institution it is for non-commercial use and for disaster relief. “[The exemptions] make our work much easier. We can
send the money directly to Iran ourselves,” says Filsoof. Donations will likely go through the Red Cross, says Filsoof, adding that many people are hesitant to help because they feel money raised for the survivors of a 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran — which killed 26,000 people and injured 30,000 — wasn’t used properly after it left the Canadian Red Cross’s hands. Helping people in Iran has been difficult because of the adverse relations between the Canadian and Iranian governments, said West Vancouver MP John Weston, who is also the government liaison to the Persian community. “We don’t have the freedom to respond in the way we responded to the earthquake in Haiti, and the way we Canadians respond to disasters in other countries, because of the tension between the governments,” he told The Outlook. “[Sanctions] are an uncomfortable and awkward tool, but they are essential as an alternative to military action,” said Weston, adding the Canadian government has a problem with the Iranian government, not its people. Even with strict restrictions on sending money, Weston said the sanctions will not stand in the way of helping victims of the earthquake. “We have no quarrel with Iranian people, and we’ll be there shoulder-to-shoulder to work with them and help them in their time of need. It’s the government of Iran which Canadians have a quarrel and we hope that will not impact Canadians’ efforts to help afflicted people in Iran at this difficult time.” The Canadian Iranian Foundation’s goal of raising $20,000 will be difficult, said Filsoof, but it could easily be met if all Iranian-Canadians on the North Shore donated. “We have many thousands of Iranians on the North Shore. If each person gave only $5 or $10, that would be a huge amount.” And any amount really does help, said Filsoof, mentioning she recently talked to a man who said he didn’t have much money, but wanted to donate $6, a dollar for each person in his family. The Canadian Iranian Foundation is coming up with other ways to boost their donations, including hosting the
HELP NEEDED - Nassreen Filsoof, president of the North Shore-based Canadian Iranian Foundation, holds a photo of a woman searching through rubble after twin earthquakes in Iran on Aug 11. Michaela Garstin photo
Shanbehzadeh Ensemble at Centennial Theatre on Sept. 22. All proceeds of the Iranian folk band performance, which will feature traditional music from the Person Gulf, will go towards victims of the earthquake. Donations are being accepted at VanCity bank (ask for the Canadian Iranian Foundation’s account 53470) or at the foundation’s office at 145 West 1 St., North Vancouver.
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6 Thursday, August 23, 2012
Exhibit showcases painter who uses art to help cope with mental illness Leef Evans says painting has saved his life by helping him battle severe depression
MICHAELA GARSTIN S TA F F R E P O RT E R
ancouver expressionist painter Leef Evans sits forward in his chair, seemingly in high spirits, as he eagerly explains the process behind his artwork, but it took him hours that morning to work up enough energy to chat with The Outlook at a coffee shop in Deep Cove. Evans, whose real name is Eric Howker, has depression, a debilitating mental illness that forced him to quit university half way through third year, eventually leading him to a hard life in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. After graduating from high school, the skilled athlete went to South Carolina on a soccer scholarship, where he quickly became “king of the school” landing on the dean’s list for earning top grades. Then a serious bout of depression hit, one that he wasn’t prepared for but, in hindsight, had all the tell-tale warning signs before it quietly snuck up. After leaving university and spending time in different hospitals, he continued to experience episodes of deep depression, eventually losing his home and car and winding up homeless on the streets of Vancouver. But times changed when Evans started taking painting classes through Coast Mental Health seven years ago, a decision he says saved his life by helping him battle his daily struggle with depression. “I don’t know where I’d be today if it wasn’t for art,” says Evans, standing outside the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver, where his paintings will be on display alongside other formerly homeless artists until Sept. 2. Evans says he hasn’t suffered a major attack of depression since he got in touch with his creative side, although he has to constantly deal with the mental illness, carefully taking one day at a time. Fighting with art Evans is like other formerly homeless artists who have found a way to cope through art, says his art instructor Jeanne Krabbendam, who organized the exhibit and is also showing her artwork. “Transitioning from living on the streets to an apartment can be very difficult. I’ve heard of quite a few times
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when people who used to be homeless sleep on their balconies at night because they’re not used to being inside,” Krabbendam tells The Outlook at her quaint studio on Granville Island, filled with abstract paintings and sketches. Krabbendam, who has volunteered with Coast Mental Health once a week for eight years, picks up “Through the Keyhole,” a painting that is now hanging on the wall at the exhibit in North Van. In it, a homeless man’s face is gazing through a large keyhole, unsure if he’ll be able to survive living in a tidy, small apartment, living quarters most people take for granted, but somewhere he is no longer used to. “They’ve told me they have to sleep on their balcony — it’s what they’re used to — but they also say it’s the first night they’ve been able to keep their eyes and ears closed,” says Krabbendam, who was startled to see how people lived in the Downtown Eastside after emigrating from Holland 12 years ago. Like the two other once-homeless artists in the show, Evans says his life is back on track, at least compared to the way it once was. He likes to paint the mundane and arbitrary, ordinary sights most people are quick to overlook, around bustling downtown Vancouver, often featuring apparently rough and unpleasant areas that aren’t usually captured in art. “I’m not looking at anything new; I’m just seeing it in a new way. This is our job,” says Evans, as he raises his hand, motioning how he paints with a large brush and quick strokes. The key to Evans’ success is using brushes no smaller than his thumb, which help him overcome a tendency to obsess about making paintings perfect. Before he discovered this technique, he once spent a month on a single painting, carefully making each line precisely straight, but in the end didn’t enjoy the frustrating process. Now applying gobs of paint with long strokes and quick flicks of the wrist, Evans enjoys painting and is much more pleased with the end result. “If I make a mistake, that’s fine. Some of my best art is made from a mistake,” says Evans, who is also critical of his own work, adding that his paintings were “awful” when he first started because he didn’t know how to mix colours.
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ART THERAPY - Artist Leef Evans (top) and his art instructor Jeanne Krabbendam (above) have works on display at the Seymour Art Gallery until Sept. 2. Michaela Garstin photos
“I take horrible photos,” Evans confesses, “but it doesn’t matter because all I’m looking for is interesting compositions. If I can get this right, I’ll use the photo as a guide to start painting.” Evans’ paintings, along with his instructor’s work and multimedia art by two other men coping with mental illness, can be seen at the Seymour Art Gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week until Sept. 2. For more information about the exhibit, visit seymourartgallery.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thursday, August 23, 2012 7
He answered the bell for 31 years “The adrenaline, the unknown, I really love firefighting. The danger didn’t overcome the confidence. We were well trained and had good equipment. You’re in the business of protecting people, you have that mentality anyway.” He still remembers his first nightorth Vancouver City Fire Department Fire Chief shift. It was a Sunday and he was Barrie Penman will need a new weekday wardin his early 20s. “They always said robe. On Aug. 31, the chief is retiring after 31 Sundays are quiet,” he says, sitting years on the job. back in his black leather chair. That means no more crisp white-and-black uniform But not that night. There was a big Monday to Friday. fire at the Venice Bakery warehouse “I’m going to have to buy my own clothes,” says on Brooksbank Avenue. Penman, a smile flashing across his face. “The thing was going right through The chief, a solidly built guy with an old-school flat top, the roof,” he recalls. “It was all night. low voice and friendly manner, has a lot of things on his It was big.” mind with his retirement just weeks away. He knew he’d chosen the right career His office is lined with yet-to-be-built bankers boxes NVCFD Fire Chief Barrie “I never regretted this job, ever.” and he’s got three decades of memories to sift through. Penman. Justin Beddall photo A rookie in 1981, Penman became But he hadn’t thought about his closet full of uniforms assistant fire chief in 1998. Three until now. “They love this place.” years later he was deputy fire chief, and in 2005 he was While he may have to buck up for some new casual Penman admits the initial decision to leave the firehall chosen fire chief. wear, the veteran firefighter is looking forward to civilian was nerve-wracking. My whole family was proud,” says Penman, whose famlife. Now 53, Penman admits over the last decade and “[It’s the ]biggest change in my life; I’ve been here a ily has strong roots in North Vancouver. half he’s pretty much forgotten what it feels like not to be long time.” Penman’s life has been played out in a fairly close stressed. But he’s content with his decision. After all, he went proximity to the station that he’s sitting in today. He was Perhaps one of most liberating parts of retirement will from bottom to top — from scrubbing toilets as a rookie to born across the street at Lions Gate Hospital, played ball be the luxury of not being reachable. running a department with an annual operating budget of at Mahon Park and attended Carson Graham secondary “It’s a stressful job. You carry your phone 24/7 — even $7 million and 66 personnel. just down the street. He now lives in his childhood home when you are on vacation. The phone doesn’t leave my “I’ll miss this place because I adore the fire service and in the Grand Boulevard area that he purchased from his hip,” he says. I love the place but I also feel fulfilled in my career.” parents. So whether he’s watching his son Cole play basketball And he’s not planning to sit around reliving his glory Penman’s younger brother, Victor, is the fire chief of the at Carleton University or vacationing in Cancun, Penman days. He plans to travel to Ottawa to watch his son District of North Vancouver has always had to be ready for the call. Emergencies and Cole play some more games at Carleton, follow stepson “I’m very proud of him too,” says Penman, who has two fires don’t take holidays. Jackson on the road with the Vancouver Giants and play daughters, Brittaney and Brooke, two sons Jordan and And the higher you move up the ranks, the more some golf, maybe even Pebble Beach. He’s also got plans Cole and a pair of stepsons, Jackson and Marcus Houck. responsibility you shoulder for the overall safety of not to travel with spouse Joanne. First stop: England, where And there may be another Penman in uniform soon. only for your firefighters but also every resident of the his mother is from. They’re also considering a trip to Rio His son Jordan is seriously concity. for the Olympics in 2016. sidering a career in firefighting, “It’s a just-in-case business,” he As of 5 p.m. on Aug. 15, he won’t need to be reachable email@example.com while stepson Jackson will think says. “We’re at the ready.” twitter.com/justinbeddall but that doesn’t mean he won’t stop by the station. about it if he For Penman, some of the doesn’t play pro toughest decisions he’s had to hockey. make over the years came when Along the hallway JUSTIN BEDDALL » EDITOR his crews were inside burning to Penman’s office buildings. hang photos of each “’You do have to make deciand every firefighter to ever suit up for A NEIGHBOURHOOD SHOWCASE sions to make people safe — tough decisions to not make the NVCFD. He knows a lot about the it more serious by leaving people in too long.” A great place to relax and unwind while enjoying department’s 105-year history and has a Firefighters are by nature a fearless, hard-charging thousands of exhilarating musicians, dynamic photo circa 1907 of the original firehall breed — meaning retreat isn’t their natural instinct. dancers and special guests from across BC. on 4th Street with a horse-drawn fire “People or no people, we fight fires from the inside,” truck parked in front. explains Penman. “You can’t put out a fire from a side“The two horses were Tom and Jerry,” walk.” he says. But he must temper that hard-charging mind-set with Penman believes the department can caution, carefully considering the potential for collapsing ceilings, explosions and other danger lurking in the flames always adapt and improve, but it should always maintain a connection to the past, when it comes time to call out the troops. Fortunately in like for instance, maintaining the departits history the NVCFD has never lost a firefighter in the ment’s unique colour scheme — black and line of duty. red — which was modeled after the first Penman saw plenty of action inside burning buildings fire department in Chicago. as a young firefighter. Competitive by nature, Penman, a “I respect all those guys — the guys star athlete growing up who earned a baseball scholarbefore us,” he says. ship to the University of Western Washington, was always Many retired firefighters still drop by. eager to hop aboard the fire truck when the bell rang.
NVCFD Fire Chief Barrie Penman retires after a bottom-to-top career in firefighting
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— GUEST COLUMN —
ICBC mishandled The BC Liberals have completely mishandled ICBC, and the proof came last week, when a review showed that the company has been hiring boatloads of senior managers and paying them more each year — with the government apparently oblivious. There are 32 per cent more managers than in 2007, and they are paid (as a group) 70 per cent more than managers received in 2007. Fifty-four of them made more than $200,000 each in 2011. The Liberals insisted, on taking office in 2001, that ICBC didn’t need to be privatized, nor did there need to be complete competition in the auto insurance sector. They have also insisted, especially in recent years, that substantial dividends from ICBC go back to the shareholder — the government. This means that all ICBC customers, and that’s everyone who owns a vehicle, are paying additional insurance premiums to boost government revenues. It’s a tax grab, hidden in the guise of insurance costs. The government has now, very belatedly, said ICBC needs to cut its management costs and manager compensation. This comes just after ICBC has boosted insurance rates by 11.2 per cent. The simple fact is this: ICBC is being used by government for all sorts of purposes that are far afield from its ostensible role as a public car insurance company. This isn’t new — the NDP did this with ICBC back in its earliest days. But it certainly points out that the Liberals are just as good as the NDP at mismanaging Crown corporations and sticking taxpayers with extra costs. ICBC needs to be privatized. There is no real need to have government operate a car insurance company that forces all drivers to buy at least basic car insurance.
MUSIC IN THE PARK Pack a picnic and blanket and find a spot at Cleveland Dam on Sept. 3 for a free outdoor concert, from 3 to 7 p.m. Along with a variety of music genres, from jazz to contemporary harp, there will also be visual arts displays and demonstrations. The lineup includes: Colette Gariepy (3-4:45 p.m.), David Blair (3:155 p.m.), The Grand Trine (3:15-5 p.m.), Lora Bird (4-5:45 p.m.), Lorna and Mark Fortin (4:30-6:15 p.m.) and Lynn Canyon Band (5:15-7 p.m.). There will also be art displays and demos by Maria Josenhans, Eileen Fong, James Elton, Gary Eder and John Winkler. Pictured here, clockwise starting top left: David Blair, Lynn Canyon Band and Grand Trine. Music in the Park is presented by Metro Vancouver and the North Vancouver Community Arts Council. For more info visit nvartscouncil.ca/ events/music-park.
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— LET TER TO THE EDITOR— MP Weston’s message to the people of Iran Editor, This is a condolence and this is a lament. This is a condolence for the persons who mourn those who perished in the earthquake in Iran. Many people in Canada who are of Iranian background have moved here recently and are in close touch with the victims and with those who mourn. On behalf of all Canadians, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird expressed his heartfelt sorrow to the “resilient people of Iran”. I join with him in aspiring for recovery by the afflicted communities. This is a lament because we as Canadians cannot respond to the tragedy in the manner that we would if relations between our governments were friendlier. After its earthquake, we sent to Haiti thousands of troops to maintain the peace and, among other things, to rebuild an airport, and otherwise to bring recovery and relief.
I am confident that Canadians are scrambling in our typical fashion, innovating to find resourceful and generous ways to help the stricken people of Iran. Meanwhile may you join me in longing for the day of peace and friendship when, no matter where the need arises, the people of Iran and Canada may work together more readily for our mutual welfare. John Weston, M.P., West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast Sea to Sky Country Government Liaison to the Persian and Iranian Community
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Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available for the Prudential Sussex Realty* Gordon Harmon Memorial Golf Tournament at Furry Creek Golf & Country Club - Sept. 7th, 2012 By purchasing a sponsorship, or making a prize donation, you will be showcasing your business to an elite group of successful North Shore REALTORS® and their participating colleagues. You will also helping to support two great causes... the Sunshine Kids Foundation Canada and the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation. A variety of affordable sponsorship options are still available, or prize donations are also welcome. For inquiries, please contact JACK YING 604.626.5775, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org *Voted #1 ‘Favourite Real Estate Company’ - North Shore News - Readers Choice Award 2012 * Voted #1 North Shore Real Estate company - The Outlook- Best of Contest - 2012 An independently owned broker member of the BRER Affiliates Inc.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 9
2 Catherine Barr.com Follow entertainment / events columninst Catherine Barr on these social media outlets
alse eyelashes have recently made a huge comeback in the fashion world. Linkedin But take heed ladies, because when it comes to “falsies” these are not your grandmother’s lashes anymore. Extensive leaps and bounds in the technology means that not only can you leave those tacky latex glues behind but now you can keep them on night and day. Enter Mara Uhrle and Lisa Tomanik – two enterprising West Vancouver ladies who realized that there was a big need for the service here on the North Shore. Together they opened Lash Fabulous on Marine drive with a summer bash that saw friends, family and invited guests toasting the occasion in style. Complete with funky purple décor and a luxurious lounge setting, this specialty spa is bound to be a hit with lovely ladies everywhere.
5 Cat’s Eye online
B Lash Fabulous owners Mara Uhrle, left, and Lisa Tomanik are batting 1000 with the latest trend in lash extensions. C Let’s hear it for the girls of West Vancouver. From left: Lori Shea, sister Cindi George, MJ Thompson and Andrea Armstrong. D Dropping by with best wishes for the new business are friends Natalie Golan, Yuval Golan and Sandra Weber. E Joining in the friends and family party are Linda van Mook, left, Georgina Marsom and Diana Pascuzzi. F Guests Ana Knight, left, and Jacqueline Filippone join in the opening celebrations with a toast and some bubbles. G Misencil lashes and product rep Matt Audet joins PR gal Diana Zoppa at the opening of the spa.
10 Thursday, August 23, 2012
D History class By Michaela Garstin
Queen Mary elementary is just a brick shell until renovations are finished, but the historic school is still filled with decades of memories
onna Skalmerud went to Queen Mary elementary at a time when girls could only wear long dresses — absolutely no jeans allowed — and were restricted to half of the large brick school, out of reach of rough young boys. Today the nearly century-old school is a hollow shell as construction crews tear down the classrooms inside, leaving just the three-storey historical brick facade behind. Skalmerud, who now lives in White Rock, remembers being daunted by the school’s long cement staircase and towering front doors on her first day of Grade 1, nearly 65 years ago. Nervous and unsure, she walked through the right-hand door labelled “GIRLS” to the entrance hall inside where other students and staff quickly made her feel at home. “I consider myself privileged to have attended this stately school for my first eight years,” says Skalmerud as she reminisces about her early education in the late 1940s, a time when North Vancouver’s population was rapidly growing. Despite the outbreak of the First World War, Queen Mary Elementary was built in 1914 to accommodate an ever-increasing number of young students whose parents settled nearby to take advantage of North Vancouver’s economic boom. The opening of North Vancouver Ferry and Power Company and Wallace Shipyards earlier that century brought an unprecedented number of people to the North Shore. By 1906, acres of land were being cleared for residential lots, which followed streetcar lines servicing Lonsdale Avenue, Lynn Valley and Capilano communities. Large plots of land were leveled for parks and green spaces, creating Victoria Park, Grand Boulevard and Mahon Park, all of which still exist today. Thanks to electricity and telephone service arriving on Lonsdale Avenue in the early 1900s, the Hotel North Vancouver, Bank of North America, streetcar service and The Express newspaper set up shop in the up-and-coming city. Following the opening of St. Paul’s Indian Residential School in 1898 and Central School in 1902, Queen Mary was built close to
the foot of Lonsdale, the busiest part of North Van. The school’s classic architecture looked much the same when Skalmerud attended some 30-or-so years later.
Boomer years North Vancouver was a much quieter place when Skalmerud stepped foot in Queen Mary nearly seven decades ago, but it was beginning to bustle. New subdivisions, such as Norgate and Capilano Highlands were under construction, brought on by more people owning cars and the demise of the streetcar system in 1947, the year Skalmerud started first grade. During the post-war “baby boom” years, North Shore residents worked in the lumber and shipping industries on the North Van waterfront. Wallace Shipards, which by this time was renamed Burrard Dry Docks, was a major employer in the city, keeping crews busy with government contracts for naval and coastal ships. Even though the company closed down in 1992, many of the shipyard buildings are still standing at the foot of Lonsdale. In the next two decades to come, construction of the Second Narrows Bridge and the Upper Levels Highway, along with the Lions Gate Bridge completed in 1938, made getting from downtown Vancouver to the North Shore much easier. Condos have now replaced the single-family homes Skalmerud remembers surrounding the school. There was even an empty lot nearby, a handy shortcut to school for Skalmerud and her friends. “On the school grounds was a big, oldish brown house which housed the minister of St. John’s Anglican, Reverend and Mrs. C. Bishop and their three children. It’s gone now,” says Skalmerud, as she thinks back to a time when she looked forward to buying penny candy at a small shop inside the school. “I have not been able to find a black jawbreaker with a cinnamon-seed middle since the store closed,” she says, remembering a happy childhood memory.
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Thursday, August 23, 2012 11
FLASH BACK - Once renovations are complete, Queen Mary elementary will look similar to this photo taken in 1920. North Vancouver Museum & Archives photo
Queen Mary elementary, now a well-known heritage building renowned for its Edwardian Baroque architecture, was the work of English-trained architect William Charles Frederick Gillam, who also designed Ridgeway School in North Van and the Provincial Normal School in Victoria. The school’s rows of sash windows are characteristic of the time and were required by the province to allow ample natural light into the classrooms. The image of the imposing but elegant school is firmly set in Skalmerud’s mind, who remembers her early years fondly with a few exceptions, including students falling on the cement floor of the make-shift gym in the basement that was separated in half into boys’ and girls’ sections. “Unless I have buried the bad memories, I really don’t recall anything other than a little bullying and name calling, as there was somewhat of a division between the kids who lived south of the school and the kids north of the school.” It’s been a long time since Skalmerud first practiced cursive writing by dipping her pen in an inkwell, but she still keeps in touch with old friends from Queen Mary 65 years later. They last met up as a group in 1989 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of school’s construction. Now that the 100-year mark looms near, local historians are happy the historic character of the school will survive, while also providing up-to-date amenities for students.
A new school for a new era Queen Mary’s $19-million renovations are slated to finish in September 2013, just in time for the first day of classes a year from now. The interior will be completely replaced and upgraded to meet current building and seismic codes, while preserving the outside historical character. “The original school had the separate boys’ and girls’ entrances and those carried up all the way to the third floor, so in the new design we create a three-storey atrium space to visually connect all three floors,” James Kao, the project’s architect with DA Architects + Planners, tells The Outlook. A spot in the centre of the atrium is being set aside for a totem pole and other carvings.
when she saw the original shell was kept in place. Preserving Queen Mary’s heritage look was important to planners as well, says Kao, who plans to preserve the school’s first paint colours, including returning the window trim to its original light-yellow. “The community around Queen Mary was not very vocal about retaining the school, but it is from 1914, and in discussions with the city we felt it was important to retain as much as we could and restore it back to its original condition,” he says. Students are going to school a few blocks away at Cloverly elementary until the new school, which will accommodate 350 elementary and 120 kindergarten students, is completed. “No longer will there be corridors with no sense of what’s happening on other floors. From the centre por(With documents and photos from the North Vancouver tion, you can look down and see what’s happening, all the Museum & Archives) way down to the first floor,” he says, adding that new play areas with basketball nets and all-weather fields will be added around the school. The elementary school will even get a high school-sized gym at the back, which NEW will be used by community members as ! well. In line with this century’s environmental concerns, the new school will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards, produce lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to older schools and cost up to 60 per cent less to operate. Aging areas on the historical brick exterior will be restored to their original conshows dition, says Kao, a move that pleases Skalmerud, who is grateful the facade is 3pm, 5pm being kept in tact. & 7pm “When the demolition first started, although I had read the plans, I was mortified to see how [the school] looked amongst the rubble.” But, after driving by five months ago, she changed her mind
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12 Thursday, August 23, 2012
BACK TO THE FUTURE - West Vancouver artist Bill Koochin stands behind â€œPassionate Pursuit,â€? a metal sculpture that was once shown at the New Design Gallery. Michaela Garstin photo
The indelible history of WVâ€™s New Design Gallery West Vancouver Museum is currently showing paintings and sculptures once displayed at the trailblazing contemporary art gallery that opened in West Vancouver in 1955 MICHAELA GARSTIN S TA F F R E P O RT E R
hen the New Design Gallery opened in West Vancouver, contemporary art was anything but popular, especially among â€œstuffyâ€? Vancouverites who preferred traditional landscapes over abstract designs. That was 57 years ago, a time when brave people were still settling into communities as they pioneered the rugged North Shore. But a close-knit group of artists who were ahead of their time â€” especially in Canada â€” built homes on vacant forested lots in West Van, creating an artistic hub for those pushing creative boundaries. Strongly influenced by Europe, modern art was just emerging on the scene in British Columbia. When the New Design Gallery launched in 1955 on the 1400-block of Marine Drive above a jewelry studio, a crowd gathered but few people actually bought anything, Bill Koochin recalls as he examines a wooden sculpture of his that was shown at the gallery on opening night. Bringing back fond memories from the past, the West Vancouver Museum is currently showing paintings and sculptures once displayed at the New Design Gallery in an exhibit that runs until Sept. 15. Leading the way, the New Design Gallery was one of the very first galleries in Canada to be dedicated exclusively to modern art. It filled a niche when it opened in West Van in the mid-1950s. North Shore artists, who were becoming well known on the West Coast and internationally, had few opportunities to exhibit and sell their work locally. â€œThere was hardly any money in art at the time,â€? says Koochin, as he strolls around the museum pointing at friendsâ€™ paintings he hasnâ€™t seen in more than five decades. â€œIf anyone made $100 it was a big story, but still we all enjoyed being artists.â€?
But the scene was about to change for these artists, allowing a certain few to make a living at their craft. In December 1955, shortly after arriving in Vancouver from the United States, Alvin Balkind and Abraham Rogatnick opened the gallery. Having studied art and design at university, and influenced by local architects Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey, they brought new perspectives about contemporary art to the Lower Mainland, an area that lagged behind Europe in the art scene. â€œThe gallery was very instrumental in promoting art,â€? explains Koochin, adding that although people didnâ€™t buy much at first, they were still being exposed to design they werenâ€™t used to. The New Design Gallery showed other North Shore artists, including Gordon Smith, Bill Mayrs, B.C. Binning, Zoltan Kiss and Don Jarvis. Their paintings can currently be seen at the West Vancouver Museum, much in the same way they were almost 60 years ago, three blocks away at the New Design Gallery. â€œBeing an artist back then was much different than today; they werenâ€™t as accepted in the community. But there seemed to be a lot of artists here, especially in West End rooming houses,â€? says Koochin, adding that he was one of few contemporary artists who did sculpture instead of painting. The gallery received attention across Canada, including in the local papers. â€œI herewith stick my neck forward at an unbecoming angle and say that even the most discriminating shopper among us will find a gift that would be acceptable to the most discriminating recipient,â€? wrote Vancouver Sun columnist Penny Wise soon after the grand opening. The New Design Gallery served as meeting spot for North Shore artists for three years, until it moved downtown on West Pender Street, where it merged with the newly formed Arts Club. For more information about the current exhibit, visit westvancouvermuseum.ca. Bill Koochinâ€™s sculptures, including his newest â€œportrait masks,â€? can be seen at billkoochinsculptor.com. email@example.com Twitter.com/MichaelaGarstin
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