Published by the University Neighbourhoods Association Volume 6, Issue 2
FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Final ruling on new UEL home rests with Deputy Minister in Victoria
Metro Plebiscite: UNA supports tax increase UNA joins Yes coalition
Model of proposed house on Newton Wynd went on display at public hearing in late January. Since the model was created, the owner of the property—represented by Formwerks Architectural Inc.—has agreed to replace the palm trees with “trees of local ecology”.
Development permit approval is contested by 13 neighbours; public hearing is held locally John Tompkins The Campus Resident Editor
A deputy minister in Victoria will rule shortly on the hotly-contested development permit for a spacious house at 5915 Newton Wynd in the University Endowment Lands. The UEL administration approved a development permit application for this corner property two months ago, allowing certain ‘variances’ from the building code: its triangular shape and significant slope made it “hard” to build on. However, a group of 13 local residents contested approval of the permit application to the provincial government. On January 30, Becky Denlinger, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, heard a formal appeal of the development permit at St. Anselm’s Anglican Church hall on University Boulevard. Under the UEL appeal process, Ms. Denlinger has 30 days in which to decide on the appeal.
Jim Bussey, architect representing the new owners of 5915 Newton Wynd, told the Denlinger hearing his clients preferred their new home to be “West Coast Mediterranean in style”. Many concerns have been raised in the UEL community about the style and character of the proposed home, but Mr. Bussey said the UEL Design Guidelines clearly state “there is no attempt to dictate a particular style or type of design for homes in University Hill.” Eight UEL residents spoke at the hearing before Deputy Minister Denlinger and her three assistants (an in-house counsel and two members of administrative staff), all from Victoria. Residents expressed concern over loss of view if this house is built to its proposed height. They complained that the decision of the UEL manager Jonn Braman to issue a development permit for the proposed home at 5915 Newton Wynd would “impact” on existing homes. Mr. Bussey admitted to this in part, but countered, “Your homes impact other homes.” The residents saw the proposed development as an expression of self-interest out of line with community interest. Mr. Bussey said, “I feel this will be a nice house. It is allowed to be this size under the bylaw. It will be a high quality injection into the neighbourhood.” UEL continued on Page 2
By a wide margin, the University Neighbourhoods Association voted to join the Yes side of the transit tax debate which has broken out in Metro Vancouver. With all eight members of the UNA Board present at the February 10 meeting, the vote on a motion that the UNA supports the proposed provincial sales tax increase of 0.5% to fund the contentious Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan passed seven to one—only Resident Director Charles Menzies went against the grain. The UNA Board encouraged residents to vote in the upcoming March-May plebiscite—though they stopped short of actually telling residents how to vote. UNA continued on Page 2
Happy Lunar New Year!
Young students at Norma Rose Point School dance their way happily into a Lunar New Year. Chinese and Korean families united to produce a colorful event at the school February 5. For an account of the event, please turn to Page 10. Photo credit: Dowon Ha.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
UEL continued from Page 1 Pat Oswald, who lives two houses away, argued—through a representative—that her view of the North Shore mountains would be affected if the building proceeds in line with the decision of Mr. Braman. The house occupies 39% of the lot, which is double, even triple, what houses around it occupy, her representative said. “Why didn’t the owner buy a bigger lot?” According to Mrs. Oswald, public concern about the size of the proposed home has reached unprecedented proportions in the UEL. Rick Nelson, who lives next door to 5195 Newton Wynd, foresaw the proposed development “casting a big shadow” over his life and the life of wife Gayle. Mr. Nelson quoted the definition of ‘privacy’ from Webster’s dictionary as “the state of being alone, of being away from other people, of being away from public attention.” He argued that the house next to them will destroy the privacy their house affords. “It will shatter our sense of ease.” Gayle Nelson continued where Rick left off, saying such a “massive house next to us will assault our peace of mind.” Ms. Nelson, an executive coach, spoke of the time she and her husband spend enjoying their home on Newton Wynd.
UNA continued from Page 1 A second motion saw directors vote 6-2 in favor of the UNA joining the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition (BTTC), a new coalition —supposedly the biggest and most diverse ever in B.C. — supporting the mayors’ plan to significantly improve transit and transportation in the region. UBC appointed Director Andrew Parr and Resident Director Charles Menzies voted against this motion. The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, representing 23 communities in Metro Vancouver, has worked together for over a year to develop a common vision and action plan for a Metro Vancouver transportation system that will protect the regional economy, the environment and quality of life of residents. The Mayors believe the plan they formulated will reduce congestion and provide local residents with improved transportation choices. For drivers, the mayors envision improved transit service providing a real alternative to driving. For transit users, they envision an improved and extended bus service, increased HandyDart service and an expanded regional rapid transit system. On March 16 to May 29, Metro Vancouver is set to vote in a plebiscite, and a million voters in the region will have an opportunity to say Yes or No to a proposed 0.5% increase to the provincial sales tax dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan. Introducing discussion at the UNA Board meeting, Richard Alexander,
She said they spend as many waking hours as possible in the garden, in which they have invested significantly, and this enables them to enjoy wonderful views of the North Shore mountains. However, the project next door threatened to drive them indoors, and “there is no view if you don’t go outside to enjoy it.” Jaymie Ho, who has lived a block away from 5915 Newton Wynd for the past 16 years, called for the contentious property to be designed more in line with the character of the community than it is. Ms. Ho, formerly an investment banker with JP Morgan in New York and Citicorp in Hong Kong, recalled that when she and her husband designed their home in the UEL, they did so “with consideration for the community.” Ms. Ho, who sits on both the UEL Community Advisory Council (CAC) and the Advisory Design Panel (ADP), said that approving construction of the home as it was now designed “could have an impact in the millions of dollars” on the neighbourhood. She said she did not support what Mr. Braman had allowed. Newton Wynd resident Michael Karton, a lawyer, referred to the street on which he lives “as the most beautiful street in North America”, and argued the new owner of 5915 Newton Wynd “should have known the restrictions (hardships) on building there before he bought the
lot.” UEL resident Kimberly Smith, editor of the community newspaper UHill Connections, described the design as “not acceptable” and warned it would have “a profound impact on the community.” Bruce Stewart, who lives “two doors down”, argued the developer of 5915 Newton Wynd was aware of the irregular shape of the lot in advance of buying there, and that any “hardship” associated with building on a lot this shape—along with the fact the lot slopes significantly—was “self-manufactured.” Margaret Stewart, wife of Bruce, spoke in a similar vein, saying the design “did not fit with the community.” In summing up, Mr. Bussey, of Formwerks Architectural Inc., said he did not take kindly to hints some residents had made of so-called “behind-the-scene goings-on” between the owner of 5915 Newton Wynd and the UEL administration. “That’s just nutty,” he said. He defended the right of the owner to choose a design of his liking even though it varied from the designs of surrounding houses, saying, “There is no single design.” In response to Letters of Appeal from members of the UEL community, Formwerks Architectural stated that they have revised the proposed design of the house to comply with the recommendations of the UEL ADP made in June 2014. “Giv-
en such site hardships presented on the irregular shaped steeply sloping lot and factoring the similar non-conformities of the existing home, we believe that the three variances requested are within reason”. Mr. Bussey praised the development process on the UEL and the way this development application was handled by Mr. Braman and staff, but he regretted the way members of the community had “politicized the process.” In a brief interview with The Campus Resident following the hearing, Mr. Bussey called the impact of non-affected neighbours on the process “disgusting.” He said it allowed for “half-baked concepts to spoil the work done by technical staff.” Following the hearing, Deputy Minister Denlinger and her assistants toured the homes affected by the development permit. Newton Wynd runs gracefully through the northern edge of the UEL, and homes there fetch multiple millions of dollars. The new owners of 5915 Newton Wynd—Wei Xing Zhong and his wife— bought the property in mid-2012. The lot size is 27,760 sq ft, and the property is currently assessed at $12 million. The current home on it, fallen into deep disrepair and due to be torn down, went up in the 1950s or 1960s.
Chair, said the proposed provincial tax increase would fund, among other initiatives, rapid transit along the Broadway corridor. “Rapid transit on the Broadway corridor would greatly improve service to UBC that would benefit students and residents,” Mr. Alexander said. UBC appointed Director Carole Jolly said she was very supportive of the motion and the idea of getting the community engaged in the debate. Alma Mater Society appointed Director Tanner Bokor said, “This is the best chance for rapid transit in 25 years. The students want to see this go through.” Maria Harris, Electoral Area A Director and a member of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, said, “I am happy with the decision of the UNA Board to endorse the Yes side and to join the BTTC, because this signals their understanding of the Mayors’ Plan and implicitly encourages residents to vote Yes.” Ms. Harris said, “The UNA Board made an informed and carefully considered decision, and their resolutions represent a clear endorsement of the proposed 0.5% PST increase to fund the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan. I applaud the directors for the leadership they have shown the community they were elected to represent. And I look forward to working with them to assist UNA residents in participating in this critically important vote.” Campaigning in the plebiscite has got well underway with the positions of the Yes side and No side becoming clearer every day.
The campaign for the Yes side claims the tax would fund a plan that would increase bus service by 25 per cent across the region and reduce commutes by up to 30 minutes per day. It also says, it would more than quadruple the number of BLine routes, build a rapid transit line in Vancouver and oversee the construction of light rail transit in Surrey and Langley. Visit the Yes side campaign details:
http://www.bettertransit.info/. The campaign for the No side claims the proposed sales tax would take about $250 million a year out of the pockets of Metro Vancouverites, working out to about $258 per household. It argues TransLink needs to do a better job of managing its money. No side campaign details: www.notranslinktax.ca/.
Team up with our fun and energetic leader for an action packed party! Book a Saturday birthday party now!!
604.822.9675 or email@example.com
6308 Thunderbird Blvd @ UBC
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Editor & Business Manager John Tompkins phone: 604.827.3502 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Design Production Rebecca Ind phone: 604.822.9675 email: email@example.com
Published monthly by the University Neighbourhoods Association #202-5923 Berton Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6S 0B3
Advertising enquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Page Metro Vancouver Transportation & Transit Plebiscite Pages 3-4: Do you support a new 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayor’s Transportation and Transit Plan? Yes or No. Why I say Yes to 0.5% sales tax increase
Charles Menzies UBC resident, elected UNA Director and UBC faculty member
Ying Zhou UBC resident and elected UNA Director Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the writer alone and are not to be inferred to represent UNA or UBC policy.
At the inaugural UBC Community Conversations co-hosted by the UNA and UBC in January, which I attended, transportation issues were the most discussed. Transportation will remain a priority concern for UBC residents as the population of our community increases—especially because our area is geographically isolated from other parts of Metro Vancouver. I have no doubt that the transit plebiscite, which proposes a 0.5% sales tax to fund the Mayors’ Council Transportation and Transit Plan, provides a marvelous opportunity for UBC area residents. Do you realize that we are currently experiencing transportation challenges? For example, have you considered traffic congestion on Wesbrook Mall after school hours? Do you know how long the line-ups are at the UBC bus loop every afternoon? Do you know how hard it is for many seniors in our community to use transit to enjoy retired life and to reunite with friends while living on a quiet campus with opportunities for continuing studies? How long does it take to travel from UBC to North Vancouver by transit to enjoy skiing during the winter? Do you know that air pollutants emitted from cars are believed to cause cancer and contribute to many health problems? Do you realize the population of Metro Vancouver is expected to increase by one million more residents over the next 30 years? In order to achieve a high quality of life
Say No to social theft
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the writer alone and are not to be inferred to represent UNA or UBC policy.
Ying Zhou and have more travel choices, in order to protect the sustainable environment and reduce car dependency, I will vote Yes in the transit plebiscite. By voting Yes, I shall support the Mayor’s Council’s vision of reducing congestion and providing local residents with improved transportation options. One of the specific benefits of the plan for our community is new rapid transit: a Millennium Line extension to Arbutus Street, tunneled along the Broadway to serve current and future demand along the region’s busiest bus corridor. And a new B-line: Joyce-Collingwood to UBC via 41st Avenue. From the financial point of view, a 0.5% increase to the PST is the most affordable choice for all households. The average cost per family is about $125/year or just 35 cents per day. And, some families will get by with one less car, enabling them to save $10,000 per year. For many families, the increased tax could be seen as a long-term family investment. In order to vote, you need to register online at www.elections.bc.ca. After that, you will receive a ballot through the mail from Elections BC. You will be able to vote by mail from March 16 to May 29, 2015.
Public transit is an important public good. If funded and designed well, public transit makes our communities better places to live. If underfunded and used as a political football, public transit will never achieve its potential. Our current regional transit system is managed like a quasi-private corporation. Executives are paid outlandish salaries. They are beholden, it seems, to next to no-one. The regional mayors, for their part, lack the real courage to stand up to the regional transit authority. The provincial government has managed to absent themselves from meaningful involvement. The entire system is, true to B.C. form, all about political one-upmanship. One almost wishes for the days of highway patronage of the old style Socreds who built highways to win votes. Everyone sings the chorus to “we want sustainability,” but they are so off tune and dysrhythmical as to sound worse than a run-of-the-mill Sunday church choir. One wonders if any one of the mayors, MLAs or pundits lobbying for more transit dollars could define sustainability if asked. And, if they could define it, if any of them would define it the same way? I suspect not. The current transit referendum asks us to vote over millions of dollars for a transit system that kind of works with little idea of what the real plan is. Here’s one problem with the idea of a sales tax: the underlying basis of that tax is that it will disproportionately affect those least able to pay and most likely to take transit. That is, poorer people who spend a higher percentage of their disposable dollar on basic needs will end up paying more for the basic items they need. To add insult to injury, those with lower incomes are more likely to live further out on the transit system, to have to rely upon the system more, and will already be paying an exorbitant amount
in transit fares. From a purely local UTown perspective, improved rapid transit to UBC will only increase housing density. Increased density—while making money for the developers tied to UBC’s business operations—will only decrease the quality of life for those of us already living in UTown. Fundamentally, the transit referendum is about subsidizing the real estate development industry of the Lower Mainland. It is a wealth transfer from the majority to the elite minority who are raking in big dollars by revalourizing land through the development of public transit. This is not a new plan. It’s one used by developers historically and the world over: use the mechanisms of the state to take money from the majority to fund the profit making ventures of the minority. UBC, for example, wants a subway, so that they can realize the highest rate of return off the land they have. The same goes for each of the town centers created by the regional plan and the expansion of public transit. The push for transit in Metro Vancouver isn’t about ecology, sustainability or making our communities nicer: it’s about using public means to facilitate the accumulation of profit by a minority of developers. It’s a form of social theft. So when I get my mail-in ballot, I’ll vote No to social theft, No to developer subsidy.
Transportation & Transit Plebiscite articles continue on Page 4
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Metro Vancouver Transportation & Transit Plebiscite Pages 3-4: Do you support a new 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayor’s Transportation and Transit Plan? Yes or No. Chinese translation of article by Ying Zhou on Page 3
Chinese translation of article by Charles Menzies on Page 3
Ying Zhou UBC居民、UNA董事会成员 编者注：本文所述纯属作者个人意见, 不得推论为代表UNA或 UBC的政策。 在参加今年元月份第一次由UNA和UBC联 合举办的UBC社区对话的时候，我发现交 通运输问题已经成为热议的话题。随着 社区人口的发展，交通问题会持续成为 我们首要面对的问题，尤其是对我们这 个在地理位置上相对独立的社区。我毫 不疑问的认为交通公投议案：新增0.5% 的消费税作为市长委员会的改善交通状 况的基金，可以为UBC社区的居民提供极 佳的解决方式。 您是否意识到我们的交通状况日益严 峻？例如，放学时间段Wesbrook Mall的 交通已经变得拥挤。您是否留意到每天 下午UBC公交车站的长龙排队等车状态？ 对居住在我们社区众多的老年人，为了 选择居住在这个安静的并提供良好持续 学习环境的社区，而被迫放弃更多享受 退休生活与朋友们相聚的快乐时光，只 是因为交通状态已然造成出行的一大难 题。您知道为了在冬季可以滑雪，从UBC 乘公交车去北温需要多长时间吗？您知 道因为汽车而产生的空气污染物被认为
会致癌并引发其他健康问题吗？您意识 到30年后大温地区的人口可能会达到一 百万吗？ 为了提高生活质量，保持生态环境， 减少对汽车的依赖度，同时也可以提供 更多的出行选择机会，我投票支持这次 的交通运输公投，支持市长委员会关于 改善交通拥挤状况和为本地居民提供更 多交通工具的选择方式的愿景。 对我们这个社区而言，这个计划的特 别好处在于计划新增了一条快速干线： 一条千年线路会从VCC-Clark延伸到Arbutus街, 连接Broadway 街角，可以为 现在和将来本地最繁忙时段公交车提供 服务。同时也新增一条B-line, 通过41 街从Joyce-Collingwood到UBC。 从财务管理的角度看，增加0.5%的 税收附加到PST上，是对每个家庭最容 易负担的选择。每个家庭平均每年增加 $125支出，每天仅新增35分的支出。同 时，有些家庭如果可以减少一台用车， 每年就可以节省$10000。对很多家庭来 说，可以将新增的税收视为长期的家庭 投资。 如果您要投票，请先登录www.elec tions.bc.ca网上登记注册。然后，您会 收到从Elections BC寄出的选票。投票 时间为2015年3月16日到5月29日。
Register now for the 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite The Campus Resident encourages readers to register to vote in the 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite. The plebiscite will be administered by Election BC. If you are a registered voter in Metro Vancouver, you will be able to vote by mail from March 16 to May 29. Make sure you’re ready to vote in the plebiscite by registration or updating your voter registration. Elections BC offers two ways to register: • Register online on BC Election website
www.elections.bc.ca. • Call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683. The only information you need to have at hand (apart from your address) is your B.C. driver’s license number or the last six digits of your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Elections BC is the independent, nonpartisan Office of the Legislature responsible for administering electoral processes in B.C. in accordance with the Election Act, Referendum Act, Recall and Initiative Act and Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
“Translink, how don’t I love thee? Let me count the ways” Gary Gibson Hampton Place resident Re: TransLink and the Congestion Improvement Tax with a slight nod to Saint Valentine and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861). “TransLink, how don’t I love thee? Let me count the ways”: First— $240 last year for TransLink gas tax @ 17 cents per litre; Second— $23 last year for Regional transit levy (plus GST) appearing on my BC Hydro bill (@0.0624 cents/day); Third— $210 last year for TransLink tax levy appearing on my property tax bill @3.3% of assessed value of my home. So far that adds up to $473 that I paid to TransLink in 2014. I may have missed a tax somewhere because they show up in such sneaky ways. But there is more. Fourth— I paid an uncalculated amount for TransLink parking tax when I needed
to park at a lot downtown, at a university, at a theatre and at a hospital @ 21% plus GST. Wow! I paid tax on the tax – twice! Sneaky, eh? How don’t I love thee? I mean, really don’t love thee. Well, now you want to add an additional 0.5% tax for most goods I purchase. That will add an extra $232 from the wallet of a average-income, retired senior (based on last year’s moderate spending). That’s an unloving total of FIVE separate taxes for the same cause with a personal price tag of at least $705 annually! There is something wrong with this unromance with TransLink! It’s time to end it! There has to be a Plan B to help re-build the relationship. Perhaps Plan B could be to get rid of the first four taxes and replace it with the proposed 0.5% increase in the PST. TransLink has to stop niggling at my wallet in the manner they are doing now!
Charles Menzies UBC 居民、选任UNA理事、以及UBC教师 编者注：本文所述纯属作者个人意见, 不得推论为代表UNA或 UBC的政策。 公共运输是重要的公益服务。如有充分 的资助和良好的设计，公共运输会让我 们的社区成为更好的居住地。但如果资 金不足，同时被用作政治足球时，公共 运输永远无法发挥其潜在功能。 我们当前区域运输系统的管理像是一 家半私营的公司。管理阶层支领的薪酬 异乎寻常。他们似乎是 几乎不对任何 人负有义务。至于区内的市长们，也缺 乏对抗区域运输主管当局的勇气。省政 府已经成功抽身，不做任何有意义的参 与。这整个体系完全只是卑诗政治上一 如往常，贬低他人以突显自己高人一等 的作风。这让人几乎不禁期盼能有当年 因为筑路以求胜选的社会信贷党人而获 得的公路赞助。 现在每个人都高声唱和 “我们要可持 续性”，但是大家唱得如此走调，缺乏 节奏感，以至还比不上一个普通的星期 日教堂唱诗班。让人不禁怀疑，在所有 这些游说投入更多运输资金的市长、省 议员、和专家学者当中，是否有人能够 明确定义可持续性。如果他们可以提供 定义，是否又能给出同样的定义呢? 我 想答案是否定的。 当前的运输公投要我们决定注入数百 万元给一个没有具体计划的运输系统。
销售税的问题之一是: 税金的根本 问题在于它将会不成比例地影响到最缴 不起税而又最需要使用公交者。换言之, 把更高比例的可支配收入用于基本需求 的较穷困者将会在基本所需上支付更多 费用。更糟的是, 收入较低者通常住在 离公交系统较远的地方,必须更倚赖这个 系统, 因此本就已经要为公交支付很大 一笔费用。 从单纯的大学城观点来看, 改善到UBC 的捷运只会增加住房密度。而增加住房 密度虽然可以为和UBC的商业运营绑在一 起的开发商们赚钱, 却会降低已经住在 大学城里的人的生活质量。 基本上, 这次运输公投是为了补贴大 温哥华区的房地产开发业。它是把财富 从多数人转移到少数有钱有势者, 而这 些人通过利用公共运输的手段重新定价 土地以赚入大把的钞票。这不是什么新 计划。自古以来开发商们就在全球采用 这个手段: 利用国家机制, 从多数人手 中取财以资助少数人的营利事业。 例如 UBC要建地鐡, 以便于获得他们所拥有土 地的高报酬率。至于根据区域计划所创 设的各个城镇中心和公共运输的扩建亦 复如此。 在大温哥华区力推公交无关于生态、 可持续性、或改善我们的社区:它只是要 利用公共手段以帮助少数开发商积累利 润。它是一种社会盗窃。 所以在我收到寄来的选票时,我会投拒绝 票,拒绝社会盗窃,拒绝补助开发商。
Why I say No to 0.5% sales tax increase Thomas Beyer Chancellor Place resident I object to the unconditional UNA support of the proposed Metro Vancouver referendum to raise provincial sales taxes by 0.5% without any clear benefits to UBC residents. The Millennium line extension to Arbutus should go all the way to UBC. As such, while the UNA may support the mayors’ transit plan, the UNA should at the very least make mention of this grave oversight in light of extensive density increase at UBC and soon, Jericho lands, and more traffic between UBC, Jericho Lands and downtown or elsewhere in the region. This is not exactly rapid transit. It will also not help ever increasing traffic congestion at Wesbrook Village. I also note that neither the UNA nor Metro Vancouver have shown the necessary backbone to force parking fees sharply upwards. As such, they make a mockery of stated “sustainability” goals. If we want less congestion, we need less cars on the roads, i.e., we need not only RAPID TRANSIT alternatives but also far higher car use costs in both driving and parking. More buses are not the answer nor are car use fees that are not increased. A provincial sales tax increase of 0.5% without increased parking fees is poor public policy, poor leadership and not good environmental stewardship. Furthermore, in a $5.5B budget across the 20+ Metro Vancouver municipalities, surely operating efficiencies can be
found—efficiencies such as outsourcing rather than hiring or continuing to employ unionized employees at twice the outsourced rate. It is critical to analyze major spending items and reduce them, for example through outsourcing. From 2005 to 2013, municipal revenues in Greater Vancouver grew from $3.6 to $5.6 billion — 55 per cent, compared to 11 percent growth in consumer prices. This often overlooked item is conveniently swept under the carpet in any discussion. Only when expenses are optimized should politicians ask for more money. To end on a positive note, the UNA shows great leadership here with outsourced landscaping and well-paid, but not overly overpaid, non-unionized, inhouse administrative staff—unlike many of the Metro Vancouver municipalities!
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Co-Chair speaks up for funding of multicultural programs Residents do not want to see programs stop, says Florence Luo The UNA Multicultural Committee (MCC) has afforded the University Neighbourhoods Association great service. It has brought campus residents— many from distant lands—together in bountiful fashion. It has created a considerable number of opportunities for new residents from China, Korea, the United States, Spain and a host of other countries to adjust successfully to life at UBC. Florence Luo, a Co-Chair of the MCC with UNA founder Jim Taylor, emphasized these facts in a presentation to UNA directors at their February 10 meeting at the Old Barn Community Centre. Ms. Luo attended the meeting to petition the Board not to cancel or reduce funding for the five or six sub-committees spawned by MCC. People in the multicultural community are concerned about the prospect of reduced financial support, Ms. Luo said. The community has grown accustomed to a series of programs to which the Multicultural Committee has given birth, and there has been strong response to the news that programs may be eliminated due to funding cut-backs. “People do not want programs to stop,” Ms. Luo said during an address. She hoped the UNA Board—due to report on the results of its review of the management and funding of cultural programs in March—would hear the voice of the people in the community. Ms. Luo indicated how prolific the programs had been in attracting devoted followings: an average of 87 people joined together ten times last year in the Let’s Cook Club; an average of 32 members of the UNA Community Youth Band joined together in either practice or concerts 38 times last year; an average of 15 members of the Seniors and Friends Club met 48 times in the year; and so forth. Attendance figures like this should keep financial support flowing, Ms. Luo said. Directors listened to Ms. Lo, a researcher at UBC, describe a conversation with one campus resident. “She had come here three years ago and found herself so lonely that she had returned to China. Now she’s back a second time, and having been introduced to the multicultural committees, she vows not to return to China again. She bared her heart to me.” Ms. Luo made the observation that people—all of us—need to be recognized to some degree or other. “Jim (Taylor) and I saw the need for people on campus to have interaction and dialogue with one another.” The programs offered by the MCC provide this kind of social and cultural sustenance, she said. “It’s part of the integration process.” She proposed that the programs generated by the MCC become permanent programs of the Old Barn Community Centre.
Soccer Centre parking plan seeks to minimize impact on neighbours Access to new Soccer Centre will be across Wesbrook Mall from Hampton Place
UBC has released a new parking plan for the Thunderbird Precinct which aims in
part to minimize impact on neighbourhoods. In the plan, the University states, “The goal for the precinct is to provide parking that is easy to access, well managed and with minimal impact to the adjacent neighborhoods.” Specifically, the plan—unveiled at a recent Open House—calls for: • 12 new drop-off and pick-up spaces near the National Soccer Development
Centre across Wesbrook Mall from Hampton Place; • a to-be-determined number of new surface, short term parking stalls adjacent to the National Soccer Development Centre; • 70 additional parking stalls at Thunderbird Stadium. The image below highlights both existing and proposed new parking and access to the precinct.
Driver charged following accident on crosswalk in front of school on 16th Avenue The RCMP has charged a driver under the Motor Vehicle Act after a 20-yearold female was struck by a single vehicle in the crosswalk immediately in front of University Hill Secondary School—between Wesbrook Mall and East Mall—on 16th Avenue. The incident took place about 9 am Thursday, February 5, and as a result, the woman required treatment in hospital. On February 12, Cpl. Brenda Winpen-
ny, Community Relations Officer with the University detachment of the RCMP on Wesbrook Mall, said, “The pedestrian was released from hospital with major bruising. The driver was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act.” Col Winpenny issued a general reminder to both pedestrians and drivers. “As the weather is dark and rainy, please be vigilant in observing your surroundings.
“Make sure to press the button to activate the pedestrian indicator lights for the crosswalk and make eye contact with the driver to ensure they see you. “Also, drivers, please be cognizant of the pedestrians on our roadways and be cautious that there may be pedestrians in crosswalks without the lights being activated.”
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
UNA Volunteer Awards 2015 UNA Volunteer Awards Nomination has started Each year the University Neighbourhoods Association recognizes the great contributions of individuals and groups who volunteer their time and skills to provide services and programs in UNA community. Nomination will open on February 20 and close on March 20. Thank you for taking the time to nominate a volunteer from our community! Nomination Criteria • Nominees must be someone who provides volunteer service to UNA community. • Adult or youth volunteers, who meet the following criteria, are eligible for a UNA Volunteer Award: - Makes an outstanding contribution in building a caring, connected and sustainable community through volunteer service; - Demonstrates exceptional commitment, service, cooperation or leadership; - Inspires others to engage in volunteer service and serves as a role model for others in the community;
- Improves the overall quality of life of residents and the community as a whole. • Length of volunteering, time commitment and contribution in the year of 2014-2015, the number of people who have benefited from their work and impact they have created within the community are important factors in the award selection. • Use examples and stories to make a stronger and more complete application. • Youth nominees must be aged between 12 and 18. • Nominators may nominate one person only.
Award Selection Process A UNA Volunteer Recognition Committee will be created to review all nominations and decide on the award recipients. The Committee will consist of UNA staff members as well as three UNA residents. Anyone who is interested in joining the Committee, please contact Qiuning Wang at 604.822.3799 before March 20, 2015. Successful nominees will be invited to at-
tend a ceremony on April 21, 2015 at The Old Barn Community Centre to receive their awards and attend the reception. As the nominator, you will receive a letter in mid-April, informing you if your nominee is an award recipient or not. Please contact Qiuning Wang at 604.822.3799 if you have any further questions.
Award Categories Community Development and Leadership: Lead, advise and enhance civic and community engagement through strategic planning, policy development, and/or program delivery that helps shape the future of the UNA community. Sustainability and Environment: Lead and support initiatives that lead to the achievement of the UNA’s sustainability goal and a green UNA community. Education, Art and Culture: Lead, support and engage community members to foster a welcoming and inclusive UNA community through education, art, dance, music and the sharing of cultures. Recreation and Health: Lead and support programs and activities that enhance the physical, social and mental health of members in the UNA community. Supporting Children, Youth or Seniors: Lead and support initiatives that improve the physical and social wellbeing of children, youth or seniors in the UNA community. Outstanding Youth Volunteers (aged 12 -18): Lead, support and participate in programs and activities that enhance youth leadership, communication and participation in the UNA community.
2014 UNA Volunteer Award Winners: L-R Back: Brenda Stewart, Della Chen, Sabrina Zhang, Keri Zhang, Justin Wang. Front: Mike Feeley and Ofira Roll.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Cycling on NW Marine Drive: the good, the bad and the ugly Jens von Bergmann UBC resident and renown recreational cyclist
This past fall an inconspicuous sign on the hill of NW Marine Drive created a big kerfuffle. The sign, installed by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MOTI) which manages NW Marine Drive, directed cyclists to use the sidewalk ‘only’, making cycling of the road illegal in the uphill direction. It was almost universally ignored by cyclists, the pathway just beyond the sign is wedged between the barrier and a drop-off, less than 70 cm wide in spots and affords zero wiggle room. Cycling there is a truly agonizing experience. I have done it once, the first time I cycled up that hill, and I doubt anyone who tried it came back for a second serving. Yielding to pedestrians is physically impossible, as is riding it with a child trailer. The sign made no sense at all. But on September 28 last year an RCMP officer begged to differ, stopped a group of people cycling up the hill on the road and issued a warning notice for a $121 ticket. Photos of the RCMP officer pointing at the sign made the rounds on social media and found their way into the mainstream news. Online petitions ensued, followed by an unauthorized removal and prompt re-installing of the sign. At that point, the Ministry still insisted that “there was no problem before the removal of the sign”, but by mid-October MOTI reversed course, authorized the removal of the sign and added ‘share the road’ signs at the top and bottom of the hill. A single RCMP officer had managed to kick into motion what eluded cycling advocates for more than 10 years. The inadequacy of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure along NW Marine has been well known but apparently of low priority at the Ministry. In 2012, MOTI spent $600,000 on extensive road rehabilitation work without addressing any pedestrian concerns and with ambivalent impact on cycling. For cyclists, it improved road surface and drainage issues, but at the same time added new serious safety concerns with the raised reflectors that were placed right into the cyclists path at the edges of the road. Cycling advocates sent a formal letter to the Ministry in May 2013 asking for changes to the road, including dealing with the sign and the reflectors. MOTI responded that there was no plan to take action on any of this. So what is the effect of the change in signage? The good: Cycling uphill on the road is legal now and at the end of January the hazardous raised reflectors were removed from the hill section of the road, presumably by the Ministry. The bad: Cycling uphill on the pathway is now illegal. Why is that bad? Only the bottom 200m portion of the pathway is dangerous. After that, a break in the concrete barrier—the only break along the length of the pathway—allows access to the rest of the path that is 1.8m wide, with the exception of a short section
where the car pullout eats into the pathway. And this portion is used by many cycling uphill. The concrete barrier locks people cycling on the road away from the pathway, denying them the possibility to stop and rest or to sit down on a bench to enjoy the view. The pathway gave people who are not comfortable ‘mixing’ with traffic on a 50km/h windy unlit section of road a safer uphill option away from traffic. After all, that section is out of character with the City of Vancouver part of NW Marine Drive, which is a 30km/h signed bicycle route that additionally features the parallel Seaside Greenway that is separated from traffic. The ugly: The issue is symptomatic of the access routes to UBC. Walking and cycling is an afterthought, if at all. To give two more examples, Chancellor Blvd has no continuous cycling or pedestrian infrastructure, but allocates 4 lanes to cars. Even though at either end it is a 2 lane road with bike lanes and sidewalks. 16th Ave was just re-engineered for efficient high speed car throughput that rules out red light crossings for school children. Speeding is endemic on the access routes, making crossing them or cycling along them even more dangerous. I still have hope that the Ministry can be compelled to build infrastructure that is safe and convenient for all road users, including people walking and cycling and especially children walking and cycling to school. That’s why BikeWalkUBC.org was formed and is starting the discussion on what we want the roads on campus to look like. On their website https://bikeWalkUBC.org people can read about the roads, pin issues or suggestions on the map, comment on them and participate in the discussion. And find more details on issues along NW Marine and other roads that could not possibly find space to fit here. Editor’s Note: In a letter of January 9 to David Eby, MLA for VancouverPoint Grey, Transportation Minister Todd Stone thanks Mr. Eby for bringing the Northwest Marine Drive cycling issue to his attention on behalf of a constituent, and writes, “Whenever possible, the Ministry encourages cyclists to use shared-use pedestrian and cyclist pathways to get around. In this case, however, due to the narrowness of the sidewalk (on Northwest Marine Drive), it was determined that cyclists uncomfortable with using the path should be permitted to ride on the road as an alternative. As a result, in October, the Ministry’s staff replaced signs you mention with ‘Share the Road’ signs to notify drivers and cyclists travelling in both directions of the change.”
Cyclists stop on sidewalk for view of mountains from beside hilly Northwest Marine Drive.
Join us on FACEBOOK!
The Old Barn Community Centre and The University Neighbourhoods Association
Published monthly by the University Neighbourhoods Association
Advertise with us! Old Sign
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Voice of Campus Youth Hockey dream comes true for Mikayla Winny Sun University Hill Secondary Grade 11 student
Ever since receiving the assignment to interview Mikayla Ogrodniczuk, I felt nervous yet excited. It was my first time interviewing a young, aspiring hockey player. I was afraid that my interviewee might not understand or even laugh at my lack of hockey knowledge because the closest contact I have ever had with hockey was sitting far away in a gigantic stadium and watching a Vancouver Giants’ Game. All my worries had been for nothing. Mikayla, a high school senior and the only player from Vancouver on the BC Female Hockey Team at the Canada Winter Games, is considerate, friendly and thoughtful. Sitting in the Old Barn Community Centre, she began telling me her story. Just as one would be immersed in exciting actions in a movie theatre, I was
Mikayla on the ice
engaged in Mikayla’s adventure. Mikayla was born in Edmonton. Her family moved to UBC campus when she was only a few months old. The excellent facilities of the community have given her the valuable opportunity of exploring her interests at a young age. When she was little, she watched hockey games every Friday. She cheered for her father, wowing at his agility, power and strength; she also admired the enthusiasm and energy of the UBC team. She was thrilled recalling her early encounter with hockey. Almost a decade has since passed, but her passion for hockey is not diminished. Originally a spectator, Mikayla, through her hard work and dedication, has transformed into a star player. While Mikayla improves and progresses, UBC campus has also undergone significant changes. The demolition of the old hockey stadium did not erase her childhood passion; the establishment of a new ice rink in fact affirmed her decision to play hockey and inspired more energy, spirit and eagerness. Recently, Mikayla accepted a scholarship to play hockey on the UBC Women’s Varsity Hockey team for next year. Let’s all look forward to Mikayla’s amazing performance! Even though hockey is an important aspect of Mikayla’s life, she began as a skater. She began skating when she was able to walk, and the enjoyment of flowing on ice has accompanied her ever since. Nowadays, skating helps her avoid worry, pressure and distraction. Mikayla loves this dream world with the white glimmering surface and the chilling yet refreshing air. She started playing hockey when she was in Grade 4. Compared to her fellow players, Mikayla had a late start. To overcome this disadvantage, she had to work harder. Eight years have since passed.
In 2012 BC Winter Games, Mikayla, as a team captain, led her group to a silver medal. She is also captain of the Fraser Valley Phantom team, which has been provincial champion for the last two years. The early disadvantage has not in any way prevented her from succeeding. Her determination, persistence and hard work has enabled her to shine in the past and will allow her to fly through even broader skies. Hockey is a vigorous, strenuous and intense sport. Three to five times a week after school, Mikayla has to travel to Langley— which is an hour away— to practice with her Phantom Team. The stress and pressure from major and minor hockey games are overwhelming. When I ask how she stays energized, she says without hesitation, “I just love hockey so much.” Many high school students have trouble managing their time well, including me. For Mikayla, time management is extremely crucial. She travels between home, school and ice rink; she switches between playing hockey, studying and traveling between locations in buses. Even though she is very busy, she does not sacrifice studying. She has the same amount of schoolwork as any other highschooler. She also excels at both English and French. Because she wants to become a sports medicine doctor, she treasures every opportunity to learn. Teamwork in hockey has taught Mikayla to be supportive, understanding and patient. As the team captain of Fraser Valley Phantom Team, she encourages and takes care of her teammates. “There is a lot of responsibility,” Mikayla says. “As the team captain, I represent not only myself but also my team.” She leads her team, but her team also gives her immense support. “I help my teammates. They also help me become better. We
Mikayla Ogrodniczuk, hockey player par excellence are Phamily (contraction of phantom and family).” This month, Mikayla welcomes another climax of her life. She plays for Team BC at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George. Mikayla, a Grade 12 student with a big dream, is determined to go beyond her limits and to reach even wider horizons. When little Mikayla watched her dad play hockey, she might not have envisioned herself representing BC at the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Now, however, the mature and thoughtful Mikayla isn’t afraid to dream wildly for Team BC. Their first game was against Quebec on February 14 . All the event’s updates are online at Canada Games TV. Let’s all give Mikayla and the rest of Team BC our greatest support and encouragement! Go Team BC! Best of luck in the Canada Winter Games!
Kids for Charity: Joining the fight against childhood illness Iva Jankovic Founder of Kids for Charity
It is impossible to understand what it feels like for a child to be hospitalized until you go through it yourself. In October 2014, I was unexpectedly thrown into just such a situation—an experience that has changed my life forever. My name is Iva Jankovic. I am fifteen
From the left, Kiana Karimi, Dar Jankovic, Iva Jankovic, Amily Yao, and Vuk Jankovic.
years old. A few months ago, I was sent to BC Children’s Hospital with a heart rate of 27 beats per minute. Nobody was quite sure what had happened. So, the hospital became my home for the next week or so as I took every test imaginable and worked hard to maintain my heart rate and recover. I was not allowed out until my heart rate was at least 45. It was difficult for me to accept what I was going through back then. I was a kid who loved more than anything to be outside, with friends, at school. And here, I was hooked up to a monitor and confined to my bed day and night. I was scared for my life, of course, but my sadness was greater for the fact that my life was now on pause. With full recovery usually taking months, even years, I knew it would be a long time before I got back to enjoying the life I once had. I cried every day. More than anything, I just wanted to go home. But as I left the hospital, I realized that my own sadness could be nothing compared with that of many other patients. For there were hundreds of kids around me with destinies much worse than
mine. Babies with mechanical lungs, children with leukemia, teens my age going through cancer chemotherapy. It was harder to watch them suffer than to even think about my own struggles. Their bravery in the face of suffering truly inspired me and reminded me to feel lucky for how easily I passed through the hospital system. I would be out of there in a few days time. They could be here forever. What made my stay at the hospital bearable was the kindness and devotion of the hospital doctors, nurses and staff. They not only assembled a team of experts and took a really good care of me, but also tried to make my stay fun. Their care makes all the difference in my and other children’s stay at the hospital. The life-saving work of the staff and heart-wrenching stories of the patients have inspired me to contribute all I can to the fight against children’s illness, especially terminal illnesses that so profoundly affect the lives of young people. Now that I am released, I have been working very hard with my community program, Kids for Charity, to raise funding for the BC Children’s Hospital.
You may have heard of us: we are a student-led youth-involvement initiative, supported by UNA Community Grant and The Old Barn Community Center, that contributes to both local and global causes by doing fundraising projects within the UBC area. Over the past year, we have held many events and workshops designed for kids and youths of all ages, and even parents, and have grown to be quite popular in the neighborhood! Holiday card making, Easter craft workshops, bake sales, and portrait painting at the Canada Day and Barn-Raising celebrations are just some of our past events. 100% of the profits collected are donated to charities such as the Canadian Red Cross, World Vision, and Unicef, or local initiatives, such as fundraising for Norma Rose Point’s new playground. I had a great help from my friends Amily Yao, Sabrina Zhai, Jennifer Wang and my two brothers, Vuk and Dar, to run this program. All our past, current and planned events are listed at our website www.kidsforcharity.org kindly created for us by my father. CHARITY continued on Page 9
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Students publish recycling guide in two languages Students Lincy Zhu, Grade 9, University Hill Secondary, and Amily Yao, Year 2, University Transition Program, have published a recycling guide available in two languages: English and Chinese.You may find copies of this guide at The Old Barn Community Centre. Lincy and Amily of the Youth Recycling Club, say that according to statistics, organic waste makes up about 38% of the total waste that is produced by residents. “By the lift of a finger or the lift of a lid in this case, this waste could actually be recycled and create a cleaner and greener neighbourhood for everyone.” CHARITY continued from Page 8 After my experience in the hospital, we decided to devote this year’s Kids for Charity initiatives to helping sick kids and the BC Children’s hospital. We started with an animation workshop where kids created short animated movies that will be presented at our fundraiser KidsFest 2015. The information on the date and place will be updated on our website and marketed on our posters. We invite all interested to come meet our young animators and see the movies. A few bake sales are also in plan, so when you see us selling cookies, do taste those homemade treats and contribute to our cause. But the project we are most excited about will be to participate in the BC Children’s Hospital 2015 ChildRun to help collect over $1 million dollars for childhood illness research and treatment!
Recycling Guide- English and Chinese The run is on Sunday, May 31, and our goal is to raise $500. We are creating a team and beginning group training for the 5 km run for all interested kids and youths. We will meet for our first practice on Saturday, Feb 28, at 3:00 pm in front of the Old Barn Community Center – rain or shine. Posters are out with more details and you can also check our website! All practices are totally free, as part of the Kids for Charity program, but we ask you to register for the ChildRun as a part of the Kids for Charity team at www. childrun.com and join us. We are also looking for sponsors that will support this effort, by matching our registration fees through donations on The Kids for Charity website. All donations will be given to BC Children’s Hospital! Run with us at ChildRun 2015 to help fight childhood illness! Look for our team at www.childrun.com and join us!
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Happy Lunar New Year from Norma Rose Point School! Korean and Chinese families share traditions with the community Jeannie Lee Co-coordinator, Lunar New Year Celebration
It is usually busy after classes at Norma Rose Point School (NRP), but it was unusually busy on February 5. People were coming and going. Some parents rushed to a room and, after putting down the big dishes they had brought, started to bring out tables and chairs in the hallway. Some of them looked for their kids and took them into a room helping them to dress up, put on make-up and tune up musical instruments. At the same time in the Gym, school staff hastily checked music and microphone systems. The walls and stairs in the hallway, Gym and multipurpose room were decorated with vivid colored balloons and red paper flowers. Time was heading towards 5pm, and almost one hundred students and their parents hurried to get ready for the guests. On that night, NRP School had Lunar New Year’s Celebration which has been a school and family initiated annual event since 2013. The events have been coordinated by Korean and Chinese families. In
2013, the event was a small size family pot-luck dinner with some craft activities. In 2014, looking forward to moving in to a new school building on campus, this event was designed to boost fundraising activities. The Lunar New Year’s Celebration attracted the attention families needed to help build the school playground, and has become the successful event which everyone in the community looks forward to. For the school year 2014-2015, NRP grew in size to over 500 students and almost 100 students were involved in the event’s programs. More than 300 parents and siblings attended the event along with the guests from the Vancouver School Board. The evening started at 5pm with a welcoming speech from NRP’s principal Ms. Fazio. Performance, activities and food were the three highlights. Five performances were held in the Gym: small drums, Korean fan dance, orchestra, fashion show and Chinese choir. The students in these teams had been practicing twice a week since January, and the performances reflected their hard work and the beauty of each culture. In the hallway, fourteen activity tables were set up and run by students and families. Activities included Korean and Chinese traditional games and crafts such as Tta-ji-chi-gi, Je-gi-cha-gi, paper-cut, Zodiac Wheel, costume try-on, dumpling making, naming in Korean and
Korean small drum performance. Photo credit: Dowon Ha.
Traditional Chinese Orchestra. Photo credit: Jason Kim. more. Introducing authentic food, Korean and Chinese families donated big savory dishes. Around 6:30pm, people gathered in the multi-purpose room to share with others what they brought for the event. Fortunately, there was enough food for everyone. The night was a huge success. As an initiator and one of the coordinators, I have been involved in this event for three years and have seen much value in this annual school event for fami-
Norma Rose Point
lies, school and the community. First of all, this event is driven by families and supported by school and the Parents Advisory Council (PAC). This creates a strong bond between the school, the PAC and the families. Secondly, through this event, the Korean and Chinese families promote positive images of themselves. Thirdly, the preparation period provides opportunities for the kids involved to learn the traditions of different cultures and feel proud to share these with the community. Finally, with all the three components above, this event contributes to the creation of a healthy and vibrant community. I genuinely hope this Lunar New Year’s event becomes a tradition at Norma Rose Point School. Happy Lunar New Year! Editor’s Note: Norma Rose Point School is appropriately named in memory of Musqueam Elder Norma Rose Point (affectionately referred to as Rose Point) for her outstanding lifelong contributions to First Nations education and establishing the first pre-school on a First Nations reservation. A tireless advocate of Aboriginal education, Rose Point worked for many years with the Vancouver Board of Education, Musqueam band and the UBC Community. The school is located on Musqueam’s traditional land, within the University Endowment Lands, neighbour to UBC and part of the University Hill secondary and elementary family of schools.
Traditional Chinese fashion costume show. Photo credit: Dowon Ha.
Join us on FACEBOOK! The Old Barn Community Centre and
The University Neighbourhoods Association
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Biodiversity in your backyard Native plant feature: Camassia Taisha Mitchell former UBC Botanical Garden workstudy student There are many native plants on Point Grey that offer us sweet fruits throughout the summer or even some vegetables in our gardens that we plant and anxiously watch grow, awaiting them to ripen for picking and eating. Certainly, we are not the first or only ones to appreciate the food plants provide: the First Peoples have long utilized plants for the necessities of life such as shelter, medicine and of course, food. Many plants have been used for millennia by Coastal First Nations for nourishment, each with specific methods for harvesting, preparation and in some cases, storage. The Coastal First Nations diet included botanicals such as fruits, berries, sprouts, leaves, seaweed, the inner bark or cambium of certain trees (known as “slime”) as well as roots and bulbs. One important bulb is camas (Camassia), which served as a carbohydrate rich staple. In the Pacific Northwest, you are likely to come across both common camas: Camassia quamash and great camas, Camassia leichtlinii. These two blueblossomed species are found in meadows
and grassy bluffs at low to medium elevations on southeast Vancouver Island. These edible perennials have long been collected, prepared for eating and stored by First Nations with each step executed in various ways according to group tradition. Typically camas bulbs are gathered over many days by entire families—dug from the ground with pointed digging sticks during or after flowering between May and August. The harvesting of camas amongst Vancouver Island Coast Salish can be viewed as a “semi-agricultural.” Plots of camas beds were divided between individuals and passed on from generation to generation. Each season the beds were cleared of brush and debris, sometimes by controlled burns. The soil was lifted— to collect larger bulbs— and replaced, leaving smaller bulbs to grow. The bountiful harvest of camas bulbs often provided for a communal feast within villages. Camas bulbs were usually steamed in pits for eating. To steam the bulbs, a rock-lined pit in the ground is heated by a fire, and once heated, the coals removed. Then branches are placed atop the hot rocks, then the bulbs, more branches, soil, and finally mats or sacking. A small hole remains open to pour water into the pit to steam the bulbs, which are left to
cook for a day and a half. When cooked, the bulbs get to be brown, soft and sweet and were eaten on their own or used to sweeten other foods. Cooked camas bulbs were sometimes sun-dried for storage and trade. Camas bulbs can be found at UBC Botanical Garden in our Garry Oak Meadow and Woodland Garden. A word of caution! The poisonous, highly toxic, potentially fatal and appropriately named ‘death camas’ (Toxicoscordion venenosum) has a similar looking bulb and grows in the same habitat as the edible common camas. Do not make the mistake of picking this creamy-white flowered relative! Resource: Turner, N.J. (1975). Food Plants of British Columbia Indians Part1/Coastal Peoples. British Columbia Provincial Museum, Victoria BC. In the Collections: With all of the warm weather we’ve been having, it is time to plan your garden. Stop by UBC Botanical Garden’s Shop in the Garden and Garden Centre for seeds, tools, soil and everything you need for a successful start to the gardening season. You can also learn to ID trees on the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s Campus Walk February 21 at 10:15 am. Be a bug and snap a selfie in the exhibition shutterbug opening March 11.
Camas growing in the Garry Oak Meadow and Woodland Garden at UBC Botanical Garden. Photo credit: Daniel Mosquin.
Look for your copy in the mail in the coming weeks!
Spring & Summer 2015
Online registration opens on March 13
www.myuna.ca/registration Join us on
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Published monthly by the University Neighbourhoods Association