Altitude: Sustainable Living on Burnaby Mountain

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SFU Community Trust Board of Directors David Gillanders, QC Board Chair and Associate Counsel Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP

Brian Taylor Partner Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP

Gordon Harris, FCIP President and CEO SFU Community Trust

Allan Waisman President Intercon Capital Inc.

Dr. Robert Anderson Professor School of Communication Simon Fraser University

Bruno Wall President Wall Financial Corporation

Jane Bird President and CEO Columbia Power Corporation Cathy Daminato Vice-President University Advancement and Alumni Engagement Simon Fraser University Lee Gavel Chief Facilities Officer / University Architect Simon Fraser University Anne Giardini, QC President Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. Dr. Patricia Hibbitts Vice-President Finance and Administration Simon Fraser University Barry Macdonald, FCA Partner PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Howard Nemtin President Nemtin Consultants Ltd. Ravi Patel Student Senator Simon Fraser University Dr. Mark Roseland, MCIP Director Centre For Sustainable Community Development / Professor, Department of Geography Simon Fraser University

SFU Community Trust Staff Gordon Harris President and CEO Jonathan Tinney Director of Community Development Suzan Fairfield Controller Dale Mikkelsen Manager of Planning and Sustainability Nicole Young Executive Assistant / Manager of Office Administration Jesse Galicz Planning Analyst Pansy Hui Community Relations Assistant Cheryl Stronach Administrative Assistant Contact SFU Community Trust Suite 150 8960 University High Street Burnaby, BC V5A 4Y6 604.291.3000



Above: Entrance to UniverCity

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AND CEO Moving into 2011, we are planning for continued growth which will not only generate revenue to support teaching and research at SFU, but will also create new opportunities for innovation in green development. This continued growth will provide homes for new residents, bring new students to the elementary school, and attract new customers to the High Street shops – all of which directly supports our project goals.


It would have been a bit optimistic to imagine in January of 2010 that the SFU Community Trust would enjoy the success that it did during this last year. Facing a still-uncertain market as the region began to emerge from the economic downturn, we set out in 2010 to anticipate challenges, but also to position ourselves for a return to growth. Looking back, I am proud to see how well that strategy succeeded. We could not have been better prepared to take advantage of 2010’s improving market conditions. We also made our own luck by keeping major commitments that helped maintain development momentum and built confidence in the UniverCity vision. Most obvious in this category were two projects critical to the sustainability and livability of this community. The first was the opening of Nesters Market, which brings a number of essential services within easy walking distance of every UniverCity resident. The second was the University Highlands Elementary School, which already serves more than 160 students, highlighting just how attractive our community has become to young families. I have no doubt that these projects contributed directly to the successful completion of new residential land parcel leases with Porte Development, Mosaic Homes, and Liberty Homes this past year. Another milestone – and another advance in building real value – was the City of Burnaby’s passage

Left: Gordon Harris, President and CEO, SFU Community Trust

of our Phase 3 zoning. Trust staff worked diligently with their municipal colleagues toward a new zoning bylaw for UniverCity that will permit 1.2 million square feet of new residential floor space governed by North America’s first set of comprehensive green building requirements. We are delighted to see our development partners embracing these new requirements, committing to green projects that are also creating homes that are among the most affordable in the region. Moving into 2011, we are planning for continued growth. We are on track to lease new parcels sufficient to add between 200 and 300 housing units annually. These new leases will not only generate revenue to support teaching and research at SFU, they will also create new opportunities for innovation in green development. They will provide homes for new residents, bring new students to the elementary school and attract new customers to the High Street shops – all of which directly support our project goals. Several other critical projects are also on the agenda for 2011. Firstly, we will open the new childcare facility – aiming to be the first structure in Canada certified as a Living Building™, making it the most sustainable building in Canada. Secondly, we will establish UniverCity’s new district energy system. Developed in partnership with Corix Utility Services, this project will drastically decrease greenhouse gas emissions by heating all new buildings through

a centralized hot water system fired by wood waste diverted from regional landfills. Thirdly, TransLink and the Trust will finish the business case for the proposed Burnaby Mountain Gondola Transit Project, examining how a gondola might integrate into the regional transit network – determining its costs and confirming its benefits. This would be a significant innovation, reducing UniverCity’s environmental footprint, while also saving taxpayer dollars and improving access to and from Burnaby Mountain. Finally, the Trust team will continue advancing the next phases of UniverCity. We will set out detailed plans for the fourth phase, known as the Slopes, and we will start integrating the existing Discovery Park area into the future South Neighbourhood. As UniverCity continues to transition from a great idea to a great community, we are increasingly in a position to share our story. We were extremely successful in 2010 at increasing the UniverCity profile among homebuyers and developers. We are also attracting an increasing amount of attention – nationally and internationally – as a model of sustainability and livability. Looking forward to 2011, we will continue to build on this reputation by doing what we do best, continuing to conceive and implement exciting innovations in sustainable community building on Burnaby Mountain. Gordon Harris, President and CEO



“When we look back at the history of this project, I think 2010 will be remembered as the year that UniverCity reached a real critical mass as a community.” Gordon Harris, the President and CEO of SFU Community Trust, is talking about what he considers to be a breakthrough year for the growing community on Burnaby Mountain. UniverCity, the model of urban sustainability adjacent to Canada’s leading comprehensive university, has been on the drawing board for nearly half a century, Harris says: “What we’re seeing today is the realization of a vision that architects Arthur Erickson and Geoff Massey inspired when they submitted their first drawings of the Simon Fraser University campus.” Back in 1963, Erickson and Massey imagined SFU anchoring a dense, walkable community on Burnaby Mountain. Just such a community has been emerging ever since the project began in earnest in early 2002. “But,” Harris says, “some of the changes that occurred this year have really brought that vision to life. UniverCity is no longer just a beautiful place to buy a condo; it’s a place to live and play, a place to work and shop, and a place to study, whether you’re eight or 80.”

The community took its first big step of 2010 with the opening of Nesters Market in January. The 23,000-square-foot store removed immediately and forever the need for residents to trek down the mountain to secure the necessities of life. Nesters offers a full selection of groceries, meats and produce, including a wide array of the organic and local, as well as a deli-bistro featuring sandwiches, take-home lunches and dinners, and a bakery. Add the pharmacy and post office and you have an informal gathering place that makes this a real community. For more than 20,000 students and 3,000 residents, Harris said, “the opening of Nesters was a gift of time and convenience.” “It has changed the character of the High Street,” says Harris. “It brings people out after six o’clock, generating activity in the evenings and on weekends. All of a sudden the community feels bigger than before.”

Left: Official opening of the Nesters Market at UniverCity on January 14, 2010. From left to right: Derek Corrigan, Mayor of the City of Burnaby; Gordon Harris, President and CEO of SFU Community Trust; and Dan Bregg, President and General Manager of Buy-Low Foods.

The next change was marked by the commencement of classes at University Highlands Elementary School. UniverCity was already developing as a family-oriented neighbourhood: a recent survey of the community revealed that 29 percent of UniverCity households had children, which is one point higher than the regional average. Now those children – many of whom had been snoozing through long commutes back and forth to school – have a place to learn that is within easy walking distance from their homes. Funded by the Trust, the Burnaby Board of Education, the BC Ministry of Education, and the City of Burnaby, the school occupies a former university building that was expanded and renovated to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) Gold standards. In addition to energy efficiency upgrades, water-efficient landscaping, and smart meters, the school has an outdoor amphitheatre and classrooms, all designed to complement a curriculum focused on sustainability and community engagement. And after hours, much of the building will be operated by the City of Burnaby as a community centre and available to local residents – introducing another “centre” of community. The overlapping themes of familyorientation and sustainability leadership were also evident in an


undertaking that kicked off a little earlier in the year. On July 21, the Trust broke ground on the new childcare centre which, when completed in the coming year, will be Canada’s greenest building and aims to be the first in the country to be certified as a Living Building™. Projects of this quality are only possible because of the support and creativity of SFU Community Trust’s partners – including, in one particularly prominent and positive example, the City of Burnaby. On July 27, the City approved a new zoning bylaw for Phase 3 of the UniverCity development. “This is an innovative and far-sighted bylaw that will put the City of Burnaby, SFU, and UniverCity at the forefront of the global sustainable building movement,” says Harris. The Phase 3 zoning bylaw sets a minimum standard that will see new buildings built at UniverCity that are at least 30 percent more efficient than conventional buildings – and it offers a 10 percent density bonus to developers who can increase their building efficiency by another 15 percent. All facilities built within the newly approved zone must use interior finishings that are largely free of volatile organic compounds and other potentially harmful chemicals. New buildings must also manage storm water on site.

“These requirements sound stringent – they are stringent – but they are also achievable,” says Dale Mikkelsen, Manager of Planning and Sustainability for the Trust. “We’ve worked very hard to ensure that our development partners can meet our standards and create attractive and affordable projects.” The zoning bylaw creates 10 new building sites with an allowable total of up to 1.2 million square feet of residential floor space captured within 1,250 new condos and apartments. “It sets the stage for the next five to seven years of development,” Mikkelsen says. Stepping immediately onto that stage are three high-quality regional developers, certain, with their effort and investment, that UniverCity’s success will continue apace. Porte Development and Mosaic Homes have each launched low-rise, wood-frame urban apartment-style projects along the eastern portion of University High Street that will fit perfectly into the existing fabric of the community. Both developers saw the market respond very favourably to their projects. At the end of 2010, Porte Development had successfully pre-sold more than half of the 75 units in their Origin project, while Mosaic Homes had pre-sold approximately 80 percent of their 80-unit Nest project.

“We’re delighted to be working with Liberty again,” Gordon Harris says. The developer’s last project in UniverCity was the Hub, a mid-rise concrete building housing 146 condos as well as the Nesters Market retail space. “That was a great project. It was a six-storey, concrete building right in the middle of the High Street. Liberty did a great job of delivering an incredibly attractive and high-quality project.” But the Trust isn’t just thinking about new development. “While we do think a lot about the people who we hope will move to UniverCity in the future, we also have a big obligation to the people who are already here,” says Harris.

Explaining his company’s view of the community, Kerry Kukucha, Development Director at Porte, says, “We could really see the potential that is evolving as UniverCity becomes a more complete community – especially with the new school and Nesters. The vision and the work that Gordon Harris and his team are doing is creating a great environment that is enhanced by the natural attributes of the mountain itself.” The third new development announced at UniverCity in 2010 will be a 12-storey concrete tower located at the northeast corner of Highland Court and University Crescent, in the heart of the UniverCity community. Built by Liberty Homes, the tower will include 109 new units – and Liberty has committed to achieving energy efficiency that is 45 percent above conventional standards.

According to a recent survey of the community, there is a strong positive sentiment among current residents: 95 percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their new community, up from 89 percent in a similar survey taken in 2007. “It’s also a point of interest that 41 percent of current residents have some immediate connection with SFU – as students, faculty or staff,” Mikkelsen says. “On one hand, that means we are providing a complete community – a place to live and work. But it’s equally interesting that another 59 percent of residents have chosen to move here exclusively because of the quality of the community and the strength of the amenities. It’s gratifying that so many people regard UniverCity as a destination in its own right.” The survey also indicates that the community is enjoying success in keeping its environmental footprint small. Top: Porte Development’s Origin project sales office. Bottom: Banners line the streets at UniverCity.

“ Some of the changes that occurred this year have really brought our vision to life. UniverCity is no longer just a beautiful place to buy a condo; it’s a place to live and play, a place to work and shop, and a place to study, whether you’re eight or 80.”

In addition to the 22 percent of the people who walk to school or work, another 36 percent commute on transit – that’s more than three times the average elsewhere in Burnaby. Minimizing the community’s environmental footprint will continue to be a central focus for the SFU Community Trust moving into 2011. With the completion of new residential projects, the Trust and its partner Corix Utility Services will begin implementation of what will be one of the largest community-based energy utilities in North America. The system will ultimately provide heat and hot water to more than three million square feet of residential development and may be expanded to serve the adjacent SFU campus. Neighbourhood energy utilities have the capacity to save energy and money by providing heat and hot water from a single generating source, rather than forcing each building owner to buy and install separate heating units. It is proposed that the utility will generate energy from waste biomass that might otherwise have found its way to a landfill, and in the future, may harvest waste heat generated by the university’s growing computer data centre.


“One of the great aspects of new master-planned developments is the opportunity to establish this kind of foundational infrastructure,” says Mikkelsen. “A neighbourhood utility service would be incredibly difficult and much more expensive to retrofit into an existing community. We have the chance here to do things sustainably and cost effectively right from the start.” There may also be a chance to build another innovative and iconic piece of infrastructure that will further reduce the community’s energy usage and physical footprint. Through 2011, the Trust will be working with Translink to explore in more detail the feasibility of a gondola to replace many of the buses that currently provide service up and down the mountain. “We have a mandate here to build a different kind of community, to do things differently,” Harris says. “The gondola provides a real opportunity to improve access to our community, to decrease the carbon footprint of thousands of people traveling up and down the hill, all while saving money. You have a blank sheet of paper, you can think seriously about doing old things in new ways – and to everyone’s benefit.”

As for 2011, the SFU Community Trust is looking to this as a year to build on the incredible success to date. In the year ahead, Porte and Mosaic will be building their projects, while sales will begin early in the year for Liberty’s upcoming project. Starting early in the new year, the Trust will begin to release new development parcels that will continue to add between 200 and 300 new homes each year to the community. The coming year will also see the completion of the new childcare centre, which along with the school and the grocery store, were identified at the inception of the project as the three essential components of the community to be built on Burnaby Mountain. “We are very proud of the work done to date – and very conscious of our responsibility to protect and enhance the quality of life on Burnaby Mountain, even as we continue to show the world that you can develop sustainably and affordably in a manner that is respectful to the surrounding community and gentle on the natural environment,” says Harris. “That’s our goal, this year and for every year to come.”


The very notion of transportation “choices” seems limiting: we have cars, Skytrains, buses, bicycles or feet. But different places bring their own transportation challenges – and some creative problem solving might also bring some innovative but practical solutions. The gondola being considered for Burnaby Mountain is just such an innovation. An initial study conducted by SFU Community Trust suggests that a gondola could become a vital part of the transit infrastructure serving Simon Fraser University and the UniverCity community. New gondola technology allows for the movement of up to 3,000 people an hour in less than half the time it takes to cover the

same distance by bus. This could see a gondola accommodating a significant proportion of the approximately 25,000 transit trips to and from Burnaby Mountain each day (a figure that will rise to 40,000 a day by 2030). Given its inherent energy efficiency, it is estimated that a gondola would reduce greenhouse gas emissions initially by 1,870 tonnes per year and 3,400 tonnes per year by 2030 – through the elimination of 50,000 hours or more of diesel bus operations. As a gondola is also cheaper to operate, replacing those diesel buses could also save TransLink millions of dollars each year.

And all the while, the gondola would improve service. Even though a bus leaves the SFU transit loop every 90 seconds during peak hours, big lines and long waits are the norm during the morning and afternoon rush. The gondola, on the other hand, would fly up the mountain. It would be a quick, quiet, wheelchair accessible and environmentally sustainable ride, and reliable even on those days when snow and ice play havoc with bus and vehicle traffic. At an estimated $70 million, however, implementing the gondola is not a decision to be made lightly, and so far it’s important to note that no decision has yet been made. Through the first part of 2011, TransLink will be working on a business case – crunching the numbers and doing the research to better understand how a gondola might integrate into the regional transit network, and confirming what the benefits might be. As part of this work, SFU Community Trust is working with TransLink to carry out an ongoing process of public consultation. So while there is still a lot of work to do and decisions still to be made, perhaps the next time you take a gondola ride, the mountain may be in Burnaby and the destination: UniverCity.

Left: Whistler Blackcomb’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola.


We asked Jeremy and Lindsay Levin, busy parents of two young children, to talk to us about their life at UniverCity.

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When Jeremy Levin, videographer at the Vancouver Aquarium, isn’t traveling through the Arctic on a Canadian Coast Guard ship (not seeing land for three weeks) in order to capture images of the elusive narwhal and polar bears, or perched on the bow of a small boat trying to get close-up footage of killer whales up in Haida Gwaii, you can often find him at home at UniverCity – or possibly out on one of the many mountain bike trails on Burnaby Mountain. “Apart from getting to do a job that takes me on adventures to places most other people will never personally visit, I enjoy working for an organization that shares my dedication to conservation and the environment,” says Levin, who with his wife, Lindsay, and their two young children have lived in the Serenity complex for three years. “In many ways, that’s the same reason why my wife and I decided to buy a home at UniverCity.” We asked JEREMY and LINDSAY Levin, who works at The Cross Design in Yaletown and takes interior design courses, to talk to us about their life at UniverCity. How did you find out about UniverCity? JEREMY My wife and I went for a drive to the top of the hill a few years back. At the time we lived at the bottom of the mountain. When we saw what was going on, we wanted to move to the top. LINDSAY I might have heard something on the news about it, but I remember Jeremy had seen a listing and we went to the open house and I fell in love with the unit. We put in an offer though our house wasn’t even listed at that point. We took a huge risk but it really worked out.

What first interested/ impressed you about the community? JEREMY We noticed a couple sitting down for dinner outside. They looked happy and content to be there, the fact that they were also surrounded by trees and were on top of a mountain helped as well. LINDSAY It’s really like a small town, and both Jeremy and I grew up in small towns so we were looking for that and this is the best of both worlds because we live so close to Vancouver. What are the best things about living at UniverCity? JEREMY Either jumping on my mountain bike at eight in the evening, after a BBQ and blasting down the trails or playing soccer with my son on the SFU astro turf. Does living at UniverCity impact the sustainable choices you make in your daily life? JEREMY The Community Transit Pass program has allowed me to keep my car at home most days, instead of driving downtown. The road down the hill also inspires me to ride my road bike to work on sunny days. Getting back up the hill, I’m inspired to use the bus pass again. LINDSAY I wasn’t looking for that at first, but when I found out about the sustainability features I was impressed.

“ The best thing is the feeling of living in a small town that has a sense of community. And I love that it snows up here; I am used to that and look forward to it.”

Recently when I went into my son’s Grade One class, the kids asked why the lights went out when the sun shone and the teacher explained that this is one of the special features of the school to save energy. I think that’s so cool. How do you envision your future at UniverCity? JEREMY Actually, I look forward to teaching my kids how to be active members of a community, how to grow it and maintain it. I also look forward to challenges from any young punks who would like to race this old man down the Burnaby Mountain trails. Left: UniverCity residents Lindsay and Jeremy Levin.


Lori Driussi, the principal of the brand new University Highlands Elementary School, is showing Minister of Education, George Abbott what a decade of collaboration by the Province of British Columbia, the City of Burnaby, the Burnaby Board of Education, Simon Fraser University and the SFU Community Trust has accomplished. Trailed by news media, they are walking through the upstairs classrooms where the hall widens into a spacious communal area surrounded by four classrooms. A brilliant late autumn sun is streaming through the windows and the huge skylight, illuminating the entire space. Driussi points to the neatly lined up blue bins that recycle different kinds of paper and bottles and talks about the commitment to green principles that is part of what makes this school so special. “And over here, we have the rooftop garden, now under a lot of snow but normally covered with native species grasses and plants,” she smiles. She hasn’t stopped smiling since the official opening ceremony just an hour ago, a day of record setting cold temperatures and record setting achievement. Abbott is smiling too; in his opening speech he says that he is envious of the 160 students who get to attend ‘this wonderful school’. And that comment makes the kids smile as well.

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The ceremony took place in the school’s gymnasium, a space that doesn’t look like gymnasiums of old. Like everything else in this school, this gymnasium reflects a dedication to design as well as green and sustainable building principles that are expected to eventually earn the building a LEED™ Gold certification by the Canada Green Building Council. The school is housed in an expanded and repurposed former university building, and along with the building’s green credentials, the curriculum will also feature a unique sustainability focus utilizing the aspects of the school itself, the grounds and surrounding community to teach students about their impact on the natural world around them. “We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the school project,” says Dale Mikkelsen, Manager of Planning and Sustainability of SFU Community Trust. “From the building to the educational goals of the curriculum, this school just fits perfectly with the goals of the UniverCity community.” Parents are equally enthusiastic. Leanne Dalton, Associate Director of Student Success at SFU, has three children, and her oldest, Oliver, attends Grade Six here. She says Oliver is ‘loving it’ because he made friends very quickly in a school where many of the kids already knew each other.

“There is a collective desire to turn it into a community place, and it has become a part of the SFU community really fast and created a holistic community feeling,” she commented. Another young mother, Grace Hu, a recent PhD in Women’s Studies at SFU, is here with Millie, her 10-year-old daughter. Hu thinks that the school is exciting and convenient since it takes her all of two minutes to walk from her home. Millie says she likes her teachers. After the ceremony, everyone reassembles in the multipurpose room for some carrot cake and coffee. This room, along with the gymnasium, will be operated during non-school hours by the City of Burnaby and will be available for use by the community at large. As Diana Mumford, Chair of the Burnaby Board of Education points out, this is a 20-year-old campus building that was turned into an amenity for the entire community. Harris agrees; he says the vision for the school was part of the plan for UniverCity from its inception, and now that the school and the students are finally in place, “there is nothing like it in the world – a beautiful school in a beautiful setting.”

“ At University Highlands we’re proud to say we’re building a community day by day, come through our doors and we’ll welcome you, with love, laughter, learning, and song.” – A line from University Highlands Elementary official school song

Top Left: Official opening ceremony for University Highlands Elementary School. Clockwise from the top left: Claudio Morelli, Superintendent of Schools for the Burnaby Board of Education; Andrew Petter, President of SFU; Gordon Harris, President and CEO of SFU Community Trust, Sabrina Siniscalchi, Co-Chair of the University Highlands Parent Advisory Committee; Lori Driussi, Principal of University Highlands Elementary School; Hon. George Abbott, Minister of Education for BC; Lisa Turunen, Co-Chair of the University Highlands Parent Advisory Committee; Leo Turunen, student; Diana Mumford, Chair of the Burnaby Board of Education; Derek Corrigan, Mayor of the City of Burnaby; and Harry Bloy, MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed.

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UniverCity’s new childcare centre will employ an innovative educational approach taking full advantage of the building’s groundbreaking green design

The outside play areas will give children plenty of opportunities to explore and engage in imaginative play in a naturalized environment.

Imagine a building that combines what is best for children with what is best for the environment. The new childcare centre at UniverCity tries to do just that. This new project, currently under construction and slated to open in late 2011, combines a building that aims to be the first in Canada to meet the Living Building Challenge™, with an educational approach – Reggio Emilia – that Newsweek magazine has called the best preschool program in the world. When most of us were young, we had plenty of freedom to explore the world on our own terms. Those rich memories of ‘explorative play’ are what people recall when they think about their childhood, says Pat Frouws, the Executive Director of the SFU Childcare Society. UniverCity’s new childcare centre is going to offer that experience of freedom to the 50 local children who will

attend each day. “That’s why the environment is so important; and since this will be a dedicated space designed to meet the requirements of the Reggio program, it will be a 21st century model of what a childcare space should be,” commented Frouws. Developed by SFU Community Trust, and planned to be operated collaboratively by the SFU Childcare Society and the SFU Faculty of Education, the building and the outside play areas are designed in such a way that they become, along with the local community, additional teachers to the centre’s students. This is part of the approach of the Reggio Emilia philosophy whose basic premise is that children are individuals who are naturally curious and creative. The idea is that educational goals

Top: Artist sketch of the play huts made of local and natural materials that will be part of the outdoor play areas of the childcare project. Left: Pat Frouws, Executive Director of the SFU Childcare Society, and young UniverCity resident Bailey Vose at the official groundbreaking of the childcare project. Right: Children use modelling clay and popsicle sticks to illustrate their ideas for the new childcare centre as part of a charrette organized by the project’s designers.

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are best served when we foster that curiosity and creativity by letting children decide what they study, with the teacher, the environment, and the community acting as facilitators in the learning process. Staying true to that concept, the building’s designers, Hughes Condon Marler Architects and space2place landscape architects held two planning meetings for some 40 youngsters aged three to five. Lead architect on the project, Karen Marler, commented that it was probably the first time architects have tried to involve pre-schoolers in the planning stages of a building. “It was really interesting; we asked them to model what they wanted with play dough, and we got answers like wind, water and sand,” she said. Frouws thinks that they learned a lot: “Children like to go fast and they like to ‘fly’, so we have a skylight on the roof where the kids can look down, and we have a covered slide off the roof – that’s the fast part.” In addition, there will be a large net hanging from the high ceiling in the entry that will give children another opportunity to look down instead of always looking up, and the outside play area gives children plenty of opportunities to explore and engage in imaginative play in a naturalized environment. Frouws says that the very first project the teachers are tackling is to ask the kids what they like about their new building and to develop a learning module from their answers. “This building provides everything they need and we want to know what they think about it,” she said.

TEACHING CHILDREN IN A LIVING BUILDING™ The UniverCity Childcare Centre is being built to be Canada’s most sustainable building. The new centre has been designed to meet the Living Building Challenge™, the most stringent green building standard in the world. Created by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, the “challenge” requires that the building generate more energy annually than it uses, recycle or harvest from rainwater more water than it uses, be free of toxic materials, and that the majority of its materials come from within a 400-kilometre radius.

Though relatively new, the Living Building Challenge™ is taking off all over North America, with some 50 projects currently under way, four of them in BC. The UniverCity project is aiming to be the first project in Canada to fully meet the challenge. And if that wasn’t enough, SFU Community Trust is expecting to see the building constructed for as much as $200 less per square foot than other more traditional childcare centres built elsewhere in the Vancouver region – proving, rather decisively, that green buildings need not be more expensive than their conventional counterparts.


When the first residents moved to UniverCity six years ago, they were welcomed by a small group of merchants eager to provide goods and services to this new and growing community. Since that time, retail and service options within the community’s University High Street commercial area have expanded and diversified.

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Now, with over 25 shops and services, including two licensed restaurants, a full-service grocery store and pharmacy, UniverCity merchants can look around and say, we have come a long way. With roughly half of the anticipated retail and commercial floorspace now built and occupied, the High Street has reached a critical mass providing for nearly all of the daily needs of local residents and the SFU community, especially for those who like to eat. Faculty, students and residents can choose from Indian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as well as a number of other quick food options, and there is no shortage of great coffee. Nature’s Garden Organic Deli has been part of the food scene here for six years and is still evolving and growing, according to owner Dolores Storness-Bliss. She says that providing organic food for budget-conscious students is an ongoing challenge, but that they are continually sourcing costconscious organic options and

Himalayan Peak Indian Cuisine has been serving up classic Indian cuisine since 2005. Owner Arti Kapoor says that as the restaurant tries to provide good food and service, “we have had great support from the local community.”

Printing have joined Scotiabank, Simon Fraser Dental Centre, and Bell at Celltown to provide more services for residents and students alike. Robert Crowe of Re/Max Real Estate recently opened his office at UniverCity, though he has been specializing in the area since 2005. “The community has been fantastic; it’s a wonderful place to be,” he said, adding that he expects to be part of UniverCity for many years to come.

New businesses such as Club Ilia, Spicy Stone, Plum Garden Noodle House, Pearl Fever Tea House, Booster Juice and Subway are creating more variety and choice. Nesters Market carries a huge variety of produce, fresh baked goods and everything a busy young mother or a time-pressed student needs. As the largest store in the Nesters chain, the UniverCity location also houses an attractive café offering ready-made meals and sandwiches to shoppers and students with laptops.

Crowe, Storness-Bliss, and many other business owners have recently formed the Burnaby Mountain Business Association with a mandate to engage the local community. So far the association has held two fundraisers benefiting the proposed observatory at SFU and the new playground at University Highlands Elementary School. StornessBliss sums it up: “Our mandate is to donate time and goods to promote the community and we are more than happy to do it.”

But it’s not just about food, Re/Max Real Estate, Your Dollar Store and More, and Cornerstone

Left: One of the cafés in the Cornerstone building along the High Street. Above: Street sign near the High Street’s shops and restaurants.

attracting some young families as well. “Parents want to introduce their children to healthy eating, so they come and enjoy themselves.”

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With the average North American meal traveling some 2,400 kilometres from the farm to the plate, much of what we eat has a significant impact on the environment, not to mention the negative impact on nutritional value and flavour all that travelling has on your average tomato or strawberry. Fortunately, a growing trend toward more locally-sourced produce in your neighbourhood supermarket, as well as an increasing number of farmers’

markets throughout North America are providing another option for the local food buying public. At UniverCity, this trend is being heartily embraced by local residents as well as by the students, staff and faculty of Simon Fraser University. The SFU Pocket Farmers’ Market offers a host of produce and food products with an average food distance of less than 50 kilometres – supporting local meals that are healthy and sustainable.

A partnership between the SFU Local Food Project and the Coquitlam Farmers’ Market Society, and supported by SFU Community Trust, the Pocket Farmers’ Market began in 2008 to increase the amount of fresh produce available on Burnaby Mountain and to raise awareness about the benefits of local food.

Below: SFU Pocket Farmers’ Market

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Pocket markets differ from traditional farmers’ markets because they are staffed by trained volunteers, who sell on behalf of the farmers so they can continue to do what they do best – which is work in the field.

Visitors to the market benefit from the energetic, friendly environment that includes a weekly series of live music, as well as advice from the on-campus nutritionist who often drops in to answer questions about healthy eating.

The market is held each Wednesday in UniverCity’s Town Square from May through October, and brims with fresh fruit and vegetables, artisan loaves of bread and other mouth-watering baked goods, jams, preserves, pickles, and salsa. Items hail from nearby farms in the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan and are free of preservatives, artificial flavours and additives.

“The unique thing about the pocket market is that we focus on the experience of going to the market,” says Charlene Ponto, project coordinator of the SFU Local Food Project. “So it’s very different from going to the grocery store.” Clientele at the market ranges from residents buying groceries for the week to students grabbing

a snack on the way to class. It’s one of several programs that bring students, staff, faculty and residents together, building a community on the mountain. “One of the great things about the market is there’s always that atmosphere of sharing,” says Alaina Thebealt, pocket and winter market manager of the Coquitlam Farmers’ Market Society. “We’ll be talking about what you can do with kale, and then suddenly everybody around us is either listening or throwing in their ideas. It’s a great community building tool.”

The market is held each Wednesday in UniverCity’s Town Square from May through October. Summer: Portabello Steaks on the BBQ – Courtesy of Richmond Specialty

In the spirit of sharing, here are a few tantalizing seasonal recipes, using ingredients you can find at the SFU Pocket Farmers’ Market.

Mushrooms, Aldergrove

Spring: Chicken, Feta and Strawberry Salad for One – Courtesy of Deanna Ibbitson

1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp liquid honey 4 large portabello mushrooms

1/2 cup fresh strawberries 1/2 cup olive oil 3 tbsp strawberry vinegar or white wine vinegar 1 shallot, chopped 1 tsp honey, maple syrup, or sugar salt and pepper 1 1/2 cups spinach leaves 1/2 cup cucumbers, sliced ¼ cup sweet peppers, sliced 3 tbsp feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled A handful of pecans, cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts, chopped A handful of basil leaves, chopped 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast To make the dressing, blend the strawberries, vinegar, shallot and honey in a blender or food processor. Slowly blend in the oil until the dressing has a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about one cup. Rub the chicken breast with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350°F until cooked (This will take about 25 minutes, depending on the size of the breast). Slice into bite-sized pieces. Toss the greens with a desired amount of strawberry vinaigrette. Top with the chicken, sliced veggies, fresh strawberries, feta or goat’s cheese, chopped nuts and basil.

Preheat barbecue and lightly oil the grill. Mix the soy sauce with Worcestershire and honey, then brush both sides of the mushroom caps with this mixture. Grill until richly brown with visible grill marks — two to three minutes per side. Serve immediately. Fall/Winter: Mashed Winter Squash with Roasted Garlic – Courtesy of Deanna Ibbitson

1 winter squash, roasted (any variety except for spaghetti squash) 1 bulb of garlic, roasted 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Scoop out the flesh from the cooked squash and put it in a bowl. Add butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and add to the squash. Mash with a potato masher. Depending on the type of squash used, the skin can be edible after roasting and can be mashed along with the rest of the squash.

Top & Bottom: SFU Pocket Farmers’ Market


When Jason Wegman’s family visited him last summer, he and a cousin decided to take a short break and go for a bike ride. While getting ready on Wegman’s front patio in UniverCity’s Serenity complex, his cousin asked how long it would take to get to the bike trail. Above: Hikers on a trail in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. Right: A mountain biker on a trail in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.

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“He said, ‘Well, how far do we have to drive to the trails?’ and I said, ‘Dude, this is the trail head. In two seconds we’re going to be on the trails’,” Wegman laughs. “And he was so jealous.” Wegman lives about 20 steps away from the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, one of the

largest outdoor recreation areas in the Lower Mainland. Each day, hundreds of visitors explore 600 hectares of lush terrain via more than 65 kilometres of multi-use trails and pathways, on Burnaby Mountain. An Ontario native, Wegman and his wife Penny moved to a townhome

at UniverCity (after a short stop in Whistler) in 2006. As active bikers, runners and hikers, they wanted to live in the kind of natural environment where bears, deer, coyotes, bald eagles and other wildlife were the norm. And access to a prime Lower Mainland mountain biking destination was a definite plus. “To be able to open my front door and basically be in the forest is a pretty amazing experience,” he says. “It’s as close to your doorstep as you can get without actually living on the trail.” Depending on your fitness level, the trails can provide an intense cardio workout or a relaxing stroll. And if you reach the bottom of the mountain and don’t have the resolve to ride back up, you can always take public transit with your bike instead.

Nature lovers relish the rich variety of flora and fauna found in the area, from 200-year-old cedar trees to spawning salmon in one of the mountain’s many creeks. “The benefits of the trails are immeasurable,” says Henry deJong, park designer with Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. “The health benefits, the joy that people get, I don’t even know where to start. They just give you a beautiful outdoor experience in the middle of the city.” Now that Wegman’s family has grown to include two young daughters and a golden retriever, he appreciates the kinship the trails offer. “One of the other neat things about the trails is they really foster a sense of community,” he says. “A lot of my closest friends

in the neighbourhood are guys that I bike with. You start talking with people about how it’s fun to bike here and you find out they live two steps away from you. Then you go riding all the time and before you know it, your families are hanging out.” Next year, trail die-hards can look forward to an upgrade of the existing ‘Velodrome’ trail, which will mimic the legendary Grouse Grind – but with a much shorter elevation of 240 metres. According to Wegman, you simply can’t beat the proximity to nature that life on the mountain provides. “We didn’t want our contact with nature to be on a weekend excursion, when you leave the city and go to a remote natural place,” he says. “We wanted home to be like that.”


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SFU Community Trust is creating a model of sustainable development while building endowment wealth for teaching and research at Simon Fraser University. Who We Are SFU Community Trust manages the development of UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain, the model sustainable community adjacent to Canada’s leading comprehensive university, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Acting as trustee of the lands that comprise UniverCity, the Trust oversees the provision of zoned, serviced, and subdivided sites to developers on a prepaid, longterm (99-year) leasehold basis.

What We Do Developed through a collaborative and integrated planning process, UniverCity is designed to be a compact, mixed-use and transit-oriented community founded on the principles of sustainability. The initial idea to build a community on Burnaby Mountain was developed along with the plans for Simon Fraser University in 1963. In the 1990s, SFU agreed to transfer 332 hectares of university-owned land to the City of Burnaby to

double the size of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, and in return, the city approved an Official Community Plan (OCP), in 1996, allowing development of the residential community to begin. Throughout each stage of UniverCity’s design and development, the Trust has worked with key stakeholders to ensure that the new community would integrate residential, commercial, and academic uses in a manner that benefits the University while fostering innovative solutions to sustainable living. UniverCity is currently home to more than 3,000 residents and will accommodate at least 10,000 when fully built out. Development sites will accommodate both owned and rental market housing and some will be developed as non-market, and affordable staff and faculty housing projects. Additionally, there are four mixed-used parcels along University High Street (two of which have been developed) that combine residential development with office and retail uses in order to better meet the day-to-day needs of residents and an expanding campus community.

Why We Do It


SFU Community Trust has two primary goals in developing the UniverCity community: firstly, to create a model of sustainable community development on Burnaby Mountain that supports university life while furthering broader goals to create a more sustainable society; and secondly, to generate endowment wealth in support of teaching and research at SFU.

Since the first of the more than 3,000 residents now living in UniverCity moved in in 2004, one in four new Burnaby residents have chosen to make their home on Burnaby Mountain. UniverCity will ultimately be home to more than 10,000 people.

UniverCity is internationally recognized for its innovations in green building and community design. Over the past few years UniverCity has received the American Planning Association’s inaugural National Planning Excellence Award for innovation in green community planning; a Gold Award in the Sustainable Projects Category at the UN-backed LivCom Awards; and an Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence: the Americas for best practices in land use and development. The community is founded on four ‘Cornerstones of Sustainability’ - Environment, Equity, Economy and Education – these principles continue to guide the development today. The project has also been successful in supporting the mission of SFU. To date, the Trust has distributed more than $25 million to SFU to support the university’s endowment with a goal of generating between $150 and $170 million (in today’s dollars) by the time the community is built out. The growing community on Burnaby Mountain directly supports campus life through the provision of new services and housing options for faculty, staff, and students, and the ongoing development of UniverCity provides opportunities for student internships, research projects, teaching activities, and employment.


UniverCity residents report a 95 percent satisfaction rate with the community. They say that the outdoor recreational opportunities, access to public transit, nearby shops and services, and the community’s sustainability focus are just a few of the reasons why they love living on Burnaby Mountain. Residents are given priority access to the facilities on the adjacent SFU campus including the art gallery, aquatic centre, library, health and athletic facilities, and a very well stocked bookstore. With an elementary school, childcare services, and parks,

UniverCity is very family-friendly, as evidenced by the 29 percent of households with children – a proportion slightly higher than the regional average. About 40 percent of residents have an affiliation with SFU as students, faculty or staff members. Everyone else moved to the community simply because they like what UniverCity has to offer. The majority of new residents moved from elsewhere in Burnaby (32 percent), Vancouver (24 percent), and the Tri-Cities (12 percent). Supported by Canada’s only community transit pass program, 36 percent of UniverCity residents use transit as their primary mode of transportation – three times the average transit use elsewhere in Burnaby.

Looking forward to 2011, we will continue to do what we do best – building a remarkable, sustainable and livable community on Burnaby Mountain.

Printed at Hemlock Printers, Burnaby BC. Greenhouse gas emissions from the paper lifecycle, the transport, and the printing of this item have been offset through investments in energy efficiency and non-fossil fuel energy technologies.

Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled fiber.



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