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WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 Vol. 104 No. 59 • Established 1908

Winning Little League

23

MIDWEEK EDITION

THE VOICE OF VANCOUVER NEIGHBOURHOODS

NEWS: OneCard a hit 4/ OPINION: Government cuts 10

Citytodecide onwhocontrols HastingPark STAFF RECOMMENDS PNE BOARD RETAIN GOVERNANCE SANDRA THOMAS Staff writer

A

photo Dan Toulgoet

A TROUBLED LIFE REMEMBERED: Friends of John Salilar, including Jean de Dieu Hakizimana, attended a memorial for the illegal immigrant from Africa who was known to some in the Downtown Eastside as a Robin Hood but to the courts as a chronic thief. Hakizimana believes more should have been done to help the illiterate Salilar long before he died of a massive stroke July 12. See story page 12. Scan page with Layar to see a video.

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minister who lives and works near Hastings Park says it’s getting harder for the surrounding community to use the park’s public spaces. That’s why David Bornman wants Hastings Park designated as permanent parkland and says the park board should take over governance of the park and the Pacific National Exhibition. “The way the situation is now, it’s like giving governance of Stanley Park to the [Vancouver Aquarium],” said Bornman, who said a recent picnic held by a Christian school he helps run was stymied by fences and confusing access to the park thanks to various events going on. Some of the picnic participants almost gave up after they couldn’t find their way in. “Despite the fact there’s a lot going on historically, it needs an objective governing body,” he said. Hastings Park, governed by the non-profit PNE’s board of directors, is undergoing a massive $310 million redevelopment. The final phase up for approval is to decide governance and city staff has asked for public input while recommending the PNE board retain control. A third option is to have a city department, such as engineering, manage the property. Friends of Hastings Park and the Hastings Park Conservancy and Hastings Community Association said in May they want the park board to take control of the property. See PARK on page 4

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*Price Matched Look for the symbol in store. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIMIT QUANTITIES (note that our major supermarket competitors may not). Due to the fact that product is ordered prior to the time of our Ad Match checks, quantities may be limited. We match select items in our major supermarket competitors’ flyers throughout the week. Major supermarket competitors are determined solely by us based on a number of factors which can vary by store location. We match identical items (defined as same brand, size, and attributes, and carried at this store location) and for fresh produce, meat and bakery, we match a comparable item (as determined solely by us). Guaranteed Lowest Prices applies only to our major supermarket competitors’ print advertisements (i.e. flyer, newspaper). We will match the competitor’s advertised price only during the effective date of the competitor’s print advertisement. We will not match competitors’ “multi-buys” (eg. 2 for $4), “spend x get x”, “Free”, “clearance”, discounts obtained through loyalty programs, or offers related to our third party operations (post office, gas bars, dry cleaners etc.). We reserve the right to cancel or change the terms of this promise at any time. Quantities and/or selection of items may be limited and may not be available in all stores. NO RAINCHECKS OR SUBSTITUTIONS on clearance items or where quantities are advertised as limited. Advertised pricing and product selection (flavour, colour, pattern, style) may vary by store location. We reserve the right to limit quantities to reasonable family requirements. We are not obligated to sell items based on errors or misprints in typography or photography. Applicable taxes, deposits, or environmental surcharges are extra. No sales to retail outlets. Some items may have “plus deposit and environmental charge” where applicable. ®/TM The trademarks, service marks and logos displayed in this newspaper ad are trademarks of Loblaws Inc. and others. All rights reserved. © 2013 Loblaws Inc. Customer Relations: 1-866-999-9890.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

IN THIS ISSUE

21 06 07 11 20 23 NEWS

ILLUMINATING OPERA BY CHERYL ROSSI Canada’s first lesbian opera, When the Sun Comes Out, premiers at Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival.

CENTRAL PARK: HATCHET JOB BY SANDRA THOMAS

VANCOUVER PHOENIX GYMNASTICS SUMMER CAMPS

Who cut down a ceremonial cherry tree at the Burrard SkyTrain station? The park board did, but it’s also replacing the tree.

Half Day Camps still available at the St. James Jungle Gym location

CLASS NOTES: SHAKE IT UP

BY CHERYL ROSSI

The school board picks a ‘terrible time’ to seek public response to seismic upgrading proposals for Kitsilano secondary school.

OPINION THE ROYAL WHEEZE BY FIONA HUGHES Beyond the joy of knowing a loving couple has given birth to a healthy baby boy, why should we care about the Royal baby?

KUDOS AND KVETCHES BUS A MOVE BY TEAM K&K A bus is not a restaurant, a bathroom or a telephone booth.... and other helpful hints for riding public transit.

SPORTS LITTLE MOUNTAIN HIGH BY MEGAN STEWART

15

Looking for SUMMER FUN for the kids?

Little Mountain 9/10 little leaguers used their awesome batting power to come from behind in key games to win their first B.C. title.

SENIORS

SEE MORE WITH LAYAR Additional content in this issue available through the Layar app includes: P01: GALLERY AND VIDEO A photo gallery and video of a memorial held to remember the troubled life of Downtown Eastside resident John Salilar.

P19: ENTERTAINMENT: PICKS OF THE WEEK Videos and website links to events and artists coming to Vancouver this week.

P22: PHOTO GALLERY A photo gallery of Vancouver Canadians pitcher Eric Brown as he plays in his third season with the C’s.

Download the free Layar app to your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet. The Vancouver Courier, a division of LMP Publication Limited Partnership, respects your privacy. We collect, use and disclose your personal information in accordance with our Privacy Statement which is available at vancourier. com. For all delivery problems, please call 604-942-3081. To contact the Courier’s main office, call 604-7381411.

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newsfront A4

THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

Publicsnappingupparkboard’sOneCard AS OF JULY 8, 18,000 CARDS HAVE BEEN ISSUED JENNIFER THUNCHER

Contributing writer

D

espite controversy and confusion surrounding the park board’s new OneCard, it has proven popular, at least in its first weeks. According to Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Niki Sharma, in the two weeks since the OneCard was released July 8, 18,000 cards have been issued to Vancouver residents. Sharma said she knew there was a need for the card, but its early popularity came as a surprise. “We were very excited that so many people picked up a card,” she said. According to the City of Vancouver website, the OneCard is meant to work like a library card and allows Vancouver residents to access park board pools, rinks and fitness centres no matter where they live in the city or their income level. The customizable card is currently available for free at 23 park board-operated facilities across the city, but residents must still pay for community centre services. The card also includes a built-in 50 per cent subsidy for those on a low-income who qualify. The board’s plan is to have the OneCard available at all community centres in the

photo Dan Toulgoet

Residents can now use the OneCard to access the pool at Hillcrest Aquatic Centre. city by September. Vancouver resident Juan Garcia said he got his OneCard at Killarney Community Centre and thinks it is a “great idea.” He says he and his wife use the Killarney pool often. So far he hasn’t gone to any other community centres, but plans to. “I don’t have to have a membership, but I can go,” said Garcia. But Killarney Community Centre Association president Ainslie Kwan says Vancouver

residents like Garcia have been misled by the way the board has promoted the OneCard. The membership situation is “absolutely not clear,” said Kwan. Kwan said membership is needed to access some programming at community centres in Vancouver. For example, the OneCard will allow access to the Killarney pool, but to use the fitness centre requires membership in the Killarney community centre association because the fitness cen-

tre is funded entirely by the association. As previously reported in the Courier, Kwan says a main concern of community centre associations toward the OneCard is a loss of membership lists. The provincial Society’s Act requires that organizations have a membership list to qualify as non-profits. For individuals, taking out membership at a local centre means having a say over how that centre operates, said Kwan. Not all park board commissioners are onside with the OneCard. On Monday night, NPA park board commissioner Melissa De Genova brought forward a motion, which was shot down by the Vision dominated board, asking staff to create a strategy to explain to the public that even though all the centres are listed on the OneCard, it cannot actually be used at all facilities. “There is a lot of confusion over where it can be used. This is typical of Vision to unroll something without public consultation,” said De Genova. Vancouver resident Nora Larockque doesn’t know anything about the controversy surrounding the OneCard, but she likes the idea behind it. “It is a good idea to go to different places where they have different courses and programs ... and to meet new people,” she said. Negotiations between community centre associations and the park board on a new joint management agreement are ongoing, but six associations continue to refuse participation in the talks. thuncher@shaw.ca

Park board still wants control of PNE CONTINUED from page 1

photo Dan Toulgoet

It’s expected the governance of Hastings Park and the PNE will be decided by Vancouver city council July 24.

At the time, Vision Vancouver park board commissioner and vice-chair Aaron Jasper brought forward a motion recommending the board seek governance of the PNE, which passed unanimously. Jasper said that recommendation still stands. “It hasn’t changed,” said Jasper. “It’s still our official stand.” Bornman believes the park board will be more objective in how Hastings Park is managed. He also believes the board is legally required to govern it because the land was originally deeded to the city as park land by the provincial government in 2004. “And in that case the park board is automatically in charge,” said Bornman. PNE chief operating officer Michael McDaniel told the Courier there’s a delicate balance between community and commercial use within the park. He added it’s the PNE’s commercial ventures, including the annual fair, Fright Nights, concerts, hockey and more, which help pay to maintain the park. Hastings Racecourse and casino are also located on the property. “The commercial operations are the way we pay for maintaining the park and infrastructure,” said McDaniel. “We don’t get any government

subsidies, so we need to generate revenue.” He added the PNE pays for everything from staff to machinery including leaf blowers and pressure washers. McDaniel is concerned the park board won’t have the ability to raise the money needed to properly maintain Hastings Park and the PNE. He noted under the PNE’s management, Hastings Park generates $140 million annually towards the provincial economy with $115 million of that remaining in Vancouver. The PNE also generates $95 million in wages annually, with $80 million of that staying in the city. “If the park board does take over, that could compromise our ability to fund the site because it will no longer be financially sustainable,” said McDaniel. Vision Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie reiterated he will not recuse himself from voting on the issue despite the fact some community members believe there’s a conflict of interest in allowing the councillor, chair of the PNE board, to vote on that same group’s continued governance. City council is expected to decide on the park’s governance Wednesday, July 24, at 9:30 a.m. at city hall. sthomas@vancourier.com twitter.com/sthomas10


WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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news Directions emerge for Downtown Eastside ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TRANSPORTATION AND ‘AGGRESSIVE’ HOUSING PART OF PLAN

DEVELOPING STORY

with Naoibh O’Connor

A

ffordable housing was the top concern among participants at an open house last week giving Vancouverites their first look at the early stages of the Downtown Eastside local area plan. The event, at the Japanese Language School on Alexander Street last Thursday, was the first of two city events showcasing the plan which was released July 18. The plan deals with neighbourhoods in the area bordered by Clark Drive to the east, the industrial area and train tracks to the north and south, and Richards Street to the west. More than half of the area’s residents are 45 or older. People in the Downtown Eastside have the lowest capita median income — $13,691 per year, according to city statistics. The local area plan has been under discussion for months with input from a committee among whose members include low income, Chinatown, Strathcona, and Gastown residents, as well as business association representatives. “The plan speaks to local economic development, housing, transportation, parks, public benefits — all the same areas [as other community plans] but of course there’s a focus on the affordable housing component, which is such an issue in this community,” explained Kevin McNaney, the city’s assistant director of planning. “We have created an approach to housing in the area that is innovative and aggressive, but we believe achievable, so we’ve set some 10 year targets to complement our housing

strategy that really focus on creating housing for the homeless as a top priority, fixing and replacing some of the SROs, building more social housing and encouraging the development of more market and non-market housing.” In particular, McNaney cited directions for the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District, which he called “the heart of the area.” “We’re looking at creating essentially a rental housing district where at least 60 per cent of that is social housing or below market rent,” he said. In the Hastings corridor, he added, the city is looking at rezoning that would deliver 25 to 30 per cent affordable housing similar to the Wall project at 900 East Hastings, which delivered 20 per cent. Remarks written on a comment board by visitors at the open house included: “More affordable housing,” “New Development must be appropriate and welcoming to the existing low income and homeless folks already in the community,” and “No monster condos.” Harold Lavender, who’s lived on East Georgia for a decade, called the plan “evasive.” “I basically believe the low-income community in Vancouver is in great threat and in danger of being kicked out of the community,” he said, adding he opposes measures that would benefit “the rich and developers.” “I’m here to say no to gentrification and yes to taxpayer-funded social housing and programs,” Lavender said. “City hall is run by people putting interests of developers first. [There’s] nice rhetoric in the plan, but it’s a question of what’s actually going to happen and holding them accountable. [The Downtown Eastside] is totally vilified in many people’s minds. There’s lots of things that could be improved, but it’s a community with a life and a heart of its own.” Lavender, 62, survives on a disability pension of $906

a month and said others are in far worse situations. He wants a definition for social housing, which he insists must be defined at welfare and pension rates. “The plan is murky and unclear. What we want is clarity and clarity is what we’re denied,” he said. “I’m not sure if the plan is a C or an F.”

Colleen Boudreau, who represents sex workers, said she too is concerned about wording and also wants social housing to be defined based on the welfare rate. Anne Kennedy said the city is on the right track but she worries about potential loopholes. “It all looks good on paper

— it’s just whether we’re able to achieve it or not,” she said. Her sentiments were echoed by Edmund Ma whose family has a building in Chinatown. “Overall, everything seems to be moving in the right direction. But I’m concerned some language is ambiguous

and could be interpreted in different ways,” he said. Full details about the local area plan are on the city website. Feedback will be accepted on an online questionnaire until Aug. 16. McNaney expects the draft plan will be out in the fall. noconnor@vancourier.com twitter.com/naoibh

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

news

12TH ANNUAL

July 24–25, 2013

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Axed cherry tree an urban whodunit

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photo Dan Toulgoet

A stump is all that remains of a ceremonial Akebono cherry tree that was planted in 2006 at the Burrard SkyTrain Station plaza.

T

he whodunit regarding the mystery of the missing cherry tree from the plaza of the Burrard SkyTrain station is over. Last week I heard from Cherry Tree Blossom Festival organizers who were perplexed after a ceremonial Akebono cherry tree planted in 2006 was cut down with no explanation. All that remained in its place was a stump, 20 centimetres in diameter, topped with a small orange cone. A photo provided by festival staff shows five dignitaries, including former park board commissioner Al De Genova with shovel in hand, at a planting ceremony in 2006. Later photographs show just how much the sapling had grown in the past seven years. But then last week, the tree disappeared. According to park board general manager Malcolm Bromley, the tree had been damaged irreparably and was cut down by staff unaware of its significance. He adds the damage could have been caused by too much water, too much rain or simply the weight of the branches. “We had a couple of cherry trees go at the same time, ironically,” says Bromley. He adds because there was no marker near the tree, parks staff had no idea of its importance so no one notified the festival. Bromley met with festival executive director Linda Poole Monday afternoon and assured her a replacement tree will be planted and there will be a marker or plaque in place to identify it as symbolic.

Poole is delighted by the park board’s response to the issue. “They’re very committed to rectifying the situation,” says Poole. “We’re going to work together to determine a proper place for the tree and creating a plaque to indicate the special status of that tree.”

TREE LIFE And while we’re on the subject of trees, the park board is asking the public to once again do its part in keeping newly and recently planted street trees alive by watering them during these dog days of summer. Park board crews water new trees through their first two years of life, but also welcome help from the public during that time period and after. According to the park board, watering is important to a tree’s growth and health and they require even more water during hot spells like the one we’re experiencing now. Extreme hot weather is damaging to newly planted trees, which are establishing root systems. Trees planted within the last five years — many with “water me” tags attached — would benefit most by watering at this time. Vancouver residents are asked to keep an eye out for young stressed streets trees adjacent to their property, typically indicated by leaves turning brown or falling. The best practice is to apply at least 12 to 20-litres of water (five to 10 minutes with a slow running hose or a couple of watering cans full) two to three times per week over the roots. Regional water restrictions do not apply to trees and shrubs. In the past five years, the park board has planted more than 15,000 trees bringing the total across the city to about 140,000, with an estimated value of more than $500 million. sthomas@vancourier.com twitter.com/sthomas10


WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

news SeismicfeedbacksoughtforKitssecondary CLASS NOTES

with Cheryl Rossi

T

he contractor for Kitsilano secondary school’s seismic renewal is to be chosen by the end of the summer and the school board wants feedback on the competitors’ proposed designs. The Vancouver School Board is holding an open house on the seismic renewal at the school Aug. 1. “We are trying very hard to make sure the community is aware and to get input from them,” said board facilities planner Anne Lee. “It is a terrible time, but we’re doing the best we can given the circumstances.” The project board, composed of provincial and school board representatives, didn’t want to delay the open house and slow the project down, Lee said. Lee couldn’t share details of the designs that will be unveiled on display boards at the open house, due to an agreement with Partnership B.C., the provincial entity that deals with major infrastructure projects

such as hospitals, roadways and bridges that is managing the renewal project. Teams from Bouygues Building Canada, EllisDon Corporation and PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. are competing for a design and construction contract. The Ministry of Education approved the nearly $60-million project in late 2011 and decided Partnership B.C. would steer the renewal. The retention of a 1927 heritage façade and phasing of construction to allow the school’s 1,500 Grade 8 to 12 students to remain on site make the project more costly and complex. The project board has changed the requirements for the scheme to allow for greater design flexibility for proponents to meet the project budget. The building size was reduced from 17,952 to 16,000 square metres. The school board approved the use of portables so the successful proponent won’t have to renovate space in the school for interim classrooms. Wider but half-height lockers for students will be required to allow more daylight into the school design and the all-weather field won’t need lighting. Parents and residents have provided input on an advisory committee and were informed of the changes to the project requirements. The company that wins the contract for

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The West Kitsilano Residents Association has started a petition to save the old yellow schoolhouse at General Gordon elementary. The timber building was to be retained and relocated to another corner of the school site during the school’s seismic renewal, but any move means the city would require upgrades to the structure that money from the provincial government doesn’t cover. A staff parking lot is slated to go where the old schoolhouse stands and residents want the parking lot placed elsewhere. But Jay Hiscox, project manager for the school board, said the city’s engineering department wants to widen the 12-foot lane between Sixth and Seventh Avenues to the standard width of 20 feet. The schoolhouse’s present location obstructs that goal. Discussions with the city and residents continue, according to Hiscox. crossi@vancourier.com

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community

THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

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you one of two $250 London Drug gift cards just for selecting one of the top 10 entries as your Viewers Choice favourite in the Courier’s Vancouver Minute video contest. All of the videos are surprisingly well done, entertaining to watch, only one minute long and show our gorgeous city to great effect. A pretty enjoyable 10 minutes could win you that $250 gift card. We had a viewing party in the Courier’s editorial department last week and voted for the top 10. Choosing that select group was not easy. So now it’s up to you, Courier readers. You can vote for one, several or all videos, as many times as you like — but only once per session on the voting website. So come back often to ensure your favourite filmmaker wins the Vancouver Minute Viewer’s Choice award. Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #VancouverMinute. The video project is an offshoot of the Courier’s ongoing Vancouver Special series, a bi-weekly profile launched in January featuring 26 of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. This past Friday, July 19, we featured the West End. To complement the entire project entertainment editor Michael Kissinger has been creating short videos, including the recently completed, extremely popular “The Fresh Prince of Donair,” to accompany each feature. To check out the videos and to vote, visit contest.vancourier.com. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 2.

VARIOUS LOCATIONS Beginning this week some coffee bars in Gastown and on Commercial Drive, Main Street and Broadway will be taking part in the first Polish book crossing event in Canada. Polish books, translated into English, will be placed at coffee shops and cafes in those neighbourhoods. A book crossing is best described as the “world’s library,” combined with a social networking site that celebrates literature and a place where books get new life. Book crossing is the act of giving a book a unique identity so, as the book is passed from reader to reader, it can be tracked to connect its participants. The event was planned to give Vancouverites an opportunity to discover Polish literature and, by extension, what that country’s intellectual culture has to offer. The list of books includes works created by popular Polish writers of different genres, starting with fantasy stories by Stanislaw Lem and finishing with reportages by Ryszard Kapuscinski. Every book released will be marked with a special book crossing label, which will include special identifying features to help track its travels by readers at bookcrossing.com. For more information, visit Facebook.com/BookPolishing. sthomas@vancourier.com twitter.com/sthomas10


news IronworkersBridgesidewalkstogetmakeover PUBLIC INPUT WANTED ON HOW TO IMPROVE SAFETY JENNIFER THUNCHER Contributing writer

C

hanges to the sidewalks that span the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge can’t come soon enough for cyclists who cross it regularly. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is asking members of the public to come to an open house and discuss proposed safety improvements to the bridge, which is sometimes known as the Second Narrows. Teacher Amanda Reynolds is training for the Granfondo bike race coming up in September and often uses the bridge as part of her training. “I am afraid every time I cross that bridge,” she said. In addition to the height of the railings that run between the road and the sidewalk, which she says are just

“not safe,” her two other concerns are the narrow sidewalks that don’t leave enough room to manoeuvre and the lack of markings to show cyclists and pedestrians which way to cross. “People don’t go with the flow,” she said. “I almost hit a guy who was walking towards me.” Reynolds says she prefers to take the Lions Gate Bridge if she can because it has better markings to direct both pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclist Chris Hajek agrees people going against the flow cause dangerous exchanges on the bridge’s narrow sidewalks. Hajek crosses the bridge daily on his commute to his job at North Shore Bike Shop. He says it is a popular route for many cyclists. Each time he crosses over the bridge he says to himself, “I just want to get off this thing.” He says surviving it each day makes him breathe a sigh of relief. According to Jay Porter, senior project manager with the Ministry of Transportation, the planned $20-million upgrades are set to begin this fall and will include widening of the sidewalks from 1.2 metres to 2.5 metres. “The sidewalks will be installed in precast concrete sections which will create less joints and a smoother rid-

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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BEST BUY - CORRECTION NOTICE NEWSPAPER RETRACTION FOR THE BEST BUY JUNE 19 CORPORATE FLYER In the July 19 flyer, page 12, the Asus Laptop with Intel® Core™ i7-4700HQ Processor (WebCode: 10256772) was advertised with an incorrect spec. Please be advised that this laptop DOES NOT have a Blu-ray drive, as previously advertised. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our valued customers.

ing surface,” said Porter by email. Construction will take place one side at a time, at night only, and through the winter months. Upgrades will also include converting bridge lighting to LED and installing a new threemetre high safety fence. Hajek likes the idea of having wider sidewalks and taller fencing, but he wants pullout areas to allow cyclists and pedestrians to stop and let others pass by or for people to just stop to enjoy the view. “People get frustrated,” said Hajek. He says he has heard of fights breaking out between cyclists and pedestrians mid-span as they try to navigate around each other. Figures gathered by Eco Counter show that between September 2012 and April 2013, there were more than 4,000 crossings on the east sidewalk and close to 3,000 on the west sidewalk. The open house is tonight, July 24 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary School, 555 Lillooet St. in Vancouver. Ministry staff will be on hand to answer questions and take suggestions about the planned safety improvements. thuncher@shaw.ca

! N i W d n a E T o V , W E Vi The deadline for entries has closed in our Vancouver Minute Video Contest—thanks to all those who entered. Now the voting begins—view the top ten submissions at contest.vancourier.com, cast a vote for your favourite video and you could win a $250 gift coupon for London Drugs!

your home in sixty seconds For voting rules and regulations go to contest.vancourier.com


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THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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Government cuts less drastic this time

B

ill Bennett, the minister responsible for the core review of government operations, sounds like a dentist when describing the process. As in: “This won’t hurt a bit.” He was the soul of reassurance and compassion while explaining the B.C. Liberals’ second effort in 12 years to rethink government. That’s because as far as the bureaucracy is concerned, the first one turned into a dragon that struck fear into the hearts of everyone who encountered it. The idea the first time around was to take a searching look at everything government does and ask if it was essential, affordable and producing measurable results. It produced all kinds of upheaval on the government flow charts. (My favourite was when they fired the entire board of directors of the PNE, right in the middle of the fair.) Numerous offices and functions disappeared as the government was downsized by about 25 per cent, mostly by way of voluntary buyouts. Bennett was clear in the legislature that the upshot of the latest review won’t be nearly as drastic. The target they have in mind is $50 million in savings in each of the next two years. (Another $30 million is supposed to come from general belttightening in the current year.) That doesn’t sound like much, but $50 million is about 30 per cent of the government’s margin when it comes to balancing the budget. Regardless, the focus won’t be on dollars and cents, he said. “It will be more around how a ministry delivers the services... Are there better ways to deliver those services?” If they find better ways, the money saved will be a byproduct. And the savings may wind up simply being spent somewhere else, where it would be more effective, he said. The big distinction between the two efforts in Bennett’s mind is that the first one had a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick off. He said it produced $1 billion in savings, and the current effort won’t come anywhere near that. B.C. Liberals whittled the civil service down to about 28,000 jobs, and have been fairly successful at keeping that work force from growing. “Because the circumstances are so different this time around, we would expect not to find as many dollars. We’re going to focus more on the mandates and how things are done. Cost is part of it, but not the main focus.” The terms of reference are to be released next month. Bennett said he wants to bring external groups like non-profits and business organizations into the process, but isn’t clear on how. “We know that in terms of finding better ways to do things, you’re not always going to find those better ways by asking the people that are doing the things.” He said they have to make sure “that it isn’t purely elected people on this side of the house and public servants doing the review.” Pressed for details by New Democrat MLA Shane Simpson, Bennett said: “If the member needs some assurance from me... that we’re not out to hurt people, I can certainly provide that assurance.” The exercise gets rolling next month with the release of the terms of reference. A parliamentary secretary — Liberal MLA Dan Ashton — has been named to help lead the team. Based on an hour or so of questioning, it’s still a bit hazy. Premier Christy Clark was somewhat clearer last month when talking to media in Kamloops. “We’re going to go through, line by line, every ministry of government and think about the things that are essential to providing good service to people in a society that’s fair, where we care about each other, and then think about the things that we don’t need to do anymore.” She said there’s a need to focus resources, because “we only have so much money from the public, and I’m determined not to go back and ask for more. “We’d better figure out how we can focus our resources and do things better, which means we need to probably start doing fewer things.” lleyne@timescolonist.com twitter.com/LeyneLes

LES LEYNE

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letters

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

WE WANT YOUR OPINION

Hate it or love it? We want to know... really, we do!

Reach us by email: editor@vancourier.com

The Royal Ennui delivered in 779 words

A

s I drove my soccer mom minivan into work on Monday morning, news of the impending arrival of the “Royal Baby” came over the CBC Radio airwaves. Not long after, an email from a local PR company arrived in my work inbox about how “Canadians are in a tizzy over the birth of the royal baby” and the only way to celebrate would be with a certain brand of Champagne, which I will joyfully not mention here. Buy an ad and keep journalists employed already. It’s amazing how many people still want free ink in newspapers despite all the evidence that suggests we’re about to go extinct. Yet, that vaunted “news clipping” PR people so desperately seek remains such a valuable commodity to show their clients. Ironic, indeed. I digress. Back to dull-as-dishwater Kate and the birth of her first child with balding Prince William. I can’t say I spend much time thinking about Kate (sorry, but I don’t know her official title and you can probably guess why) and her hubby William. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m in anything close to a tizzy over the birth. What I am is indifferent. But before you label me an anti-monarchist (go ahead, though, if you must because I am — I grew up in Quebec with Scottish immigrants for parents. ’Nuff said), let me say how glad I am that Kate is a little on the bland side. Who needs another toesucking Fergie or off-kilter, may-she-rest-in-peace Diana, who was off-kilter because of how her Royal inlaws treated her. Being on the boring side makes a celebrity less of a media target, which, if you’re a member of the Royal Family, is a darned good thing. The birth of a baby, however, should always be glorious news — except I suppose to those who really didn’t intend to get pregnant and don’t want the baby or are having their eighth and very unplanned child, like my mother did. She grew to love me, though. I have one photo to prove it. The joy of a first baby for Will and Kate or any breeding couple can’t compare to anything else in life. Falling in love comes close, but having a baby is like falling in love 100 times at once. It is the sun rising within you over and over and over — until of course you’re functioning on two hours sleep and wearing the standard new mother uniform that is an oversized milk-stained T-shirt and apparently acting as a human soother for your baby whose ear-piercing screams can shatter crystal the next street over. I generally can’t equate my life to that of a celebrity’s, but when it comes to expecting your first baby, your water breaking and racing to the hospital to go into excruciating labour pain, I know exactly how Kate is feeling. Terrified and keyed up. Ouch, is that the 15th needle prick up my spine for an epidural, you resident anesthesiologist? You need to try again, you say? Off with your head. A Royal birth does at least provide a distraction for some in what is a constant negative news cycle in our “if it bleeds, it leads” media universe. What was exciting — even if you’re not a monarchist — was if Kate had given birth to a girl, she would have been in line for the throne. British Prime Minister David Cameron said that every country in the Commonwealth had agreed that if the royal baby had been a girl she would have become Queen. He also said a 300-year-old law change was to be enacted to ensure a first-born daughter would become monarch even if she has younger brothers. The historic change, as the Daily Mail Online reported in its “Great Kate Wait” coverage, was approved by the Queen just four months ago to ensure it was on the statute book ahead of the birth. The leaders of all 16 Commonwealth realms agreed to change gender discrimination laws before the birth. But apparently, only three countries outside Britain — St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Canada — have changed their laws to enact the change. Most European monarchies, by the way, have already established an equal law succession, except for Spain, Liechtenstein and Monaco. But the law is all for naught. Kate had a boy. I feel cheated and it’s all William’s fault of course. Off with his head. Then again, the boy could turn out to be a real queen. Though I’m not a Royal watcher — despite devoting 779 words to the topic — I wish Kate and her baby nothing but good health and happiness. fhughes@vancourier.com twitter.com/HughesFiona

FIONA HUGHES

FISHING AT HASTINGS POND A FAILED EXPERIMENT To the editor: Re: “Duck death blamed on fishing hook,” July 17. Our most important resource is our young people, and teaching them what they need to know to become adults, is our most valuable role. With that in mind, let’s look at the lessons of the Hastings Park Sanctuary. It has become so dangerous for nesting wildlife that we have lost the battle to call this area a sanctuary at all. Since stocking the pond this year coincided with the birth of a family of seven baby mallards, we have lost the mother and one baby. The second family of 11 baby mallards survived until recently with eight, then dwindled in the past weeks to six. One of those six suffered an injury to its foot, but left alone with careful monitoring seems to have made a complete recovery. The most cruel part of this switchover to allow fishing in the park is the fact that some of the most remote parts of the pond, the least accessible to people, are now the most dangerous because of the left over or lost hooks, line and discarded bottles. Fishing in this area is a poor conservation choice. If we managed our natural resources on a larger scale the same way, with the same per square foot, use of space, the results would be catastrophic. Let’s call it a failed experiment. Let’s return to managing this area as a nature resting spot, for use by science teachers and students throughout the city as a way to study the effect of the encroaching city on what’s left of the wildlife who survive the already treacherous terrain. There are coyotes to spot, hawks, eagles, osprey, and many types of birds and insects, and from what I have seen many young people today need to

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letters may be edited by the Courier for reasons of legality, taste, brevity and clarity. To be considered for publication, they must be include the writer’s full name (no initials), home address, and telephone number (neither of which will be published), so authorship may be verified. Send to: 1574 West Sixth Ave., Vancouver V6J 1R2 or email editor@vancourier.com

learn to have a healthy “hands off” experience more than they need to have a hunting experience. Leah Sonne, Vancouver

blocked road at Cypress Bowl is hysterical, to say the least. Rob Cardinal, Vancouver

GODZILLA CRITIC HAS IT WRONG

‘GOLDEN MILE’ CLOSURE NOT ABOUT SAFETY

To the editor:

To the editor:

Re: “Godzilla filming causes giant inconveniences,” Letters, July 12. I take exception to Steve Grant’s rant regarding the filming of Godzilla in the Vancouver area. Regarding his cyclist comments, I believe some cyclists are far too aggressive in their riding and expectations of others. Many pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists try to accommodate each others needs/rights by playing fair. Cars stay on the road, most pedestrians use the sidewalks, but aggressive cyclists use all three with impunity. On Cypress, I have witnessed cyclists whipping down the hill faster than the legal speed limit. Many cyclists also rode up to get a look at the filming of Godzilla. Happens all the time. The film industry is being wrongly hammered by people. Many of your neighbours probably make a portion of their living from it and spinning off those dollars at stores, restaurants and into taxes (to pay for bike lanes). Bad press will only lead to more film and TV production going elsewhere. Dan Gamble, Vancouver

••• To the editor: I found Steve Grant’s letter remarkable in its display of ignorance in regards to the valuable gift the film industry provides the province. Whether the final product is viewed as trash or art, by the general public is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that the film industry, in which I personally have worked for several decades, employs thousands of people. Mr. Grant’s reaction to a temporarily

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Re: “Vision not doing math on Pt. Grey Road, says NPA,” July 19. The city’s proposal to close or partially close Point Grey Road from Macdonald to Alma in the name of safety for cyclists and pedestrians is not based on fact. From 2008 to 2012, ICBC reports no crashes involving cyclists or pedestrians on that stretch of PGR. Furthermore, city proposals will dump up to 15,000 more cars a day onto four intersections with the highest crash rates of any intersections west of Granville. It appears that city proposals for PGR west of Macdonald are largely about removing cars from the “Golden Mile.” It is well known that the proposal to close PGR came from homeowners who have long been agitating to close their road to through traffic. While we would all like to get rid of traffic in front of our houses, it is not an equitable solution to take traffic off one road and divert it onto alreadycongested roads elsewhere. This is especially senseless when traffic is being moved from a relatively safe road to already dangerous ones. If traffic calming is a goal, let’s talk about ways to calm traffic. If access to the waterfront is a goal, let’s talk about ways to increase beach access. If an upgraded active transportation connection between Burrard Bridge and Jericho Park is the issue, we can achieve this without massive infrastructure changes, disabling of a key arterial, and huge negative impacts on the community. Let’s not make this into a polarizing issue about bike lanes. Linda Light, Vancouver

SOCIAL MEDIA COURIER VIDEO: “West End: The Fresh Prince of Donair,” July 18. Jonny Wakefield @jonnywakefield: This @ MidlifeMan1 vid has a former pro wrestler, donair, & a Littlest Hobo reference. Truly a delightful fever dream. Rebecca Blissett @rebeccablissett: What a catchy song! Graeme McRanor @GraemeMcRanor: I found @ VanCourierNews’ Fresh Prince of Donair suitably amusing Follow us on Facebook: The VancouverCourierNewspaper and Twitter: @VanCourierNews


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cover story

THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

Chronic thief or modern JOHN SALILAR LED A TROUBLED LIFE FROM THE MOMENT HE ILLEGALLY

food, booze and clothes for himself and friends. His lengthy criminal record is dominated by convictions for theft, with a few entries for assaults against women. The result of his downward path was jail. That is where he spent a good portion of his life, with some of that time served while his unsuccessful claim for refugee status played out in immigration hearings. For 21 years, he is believed to have had no fixed address and flopped on friends’ floors and couches, collected welfare at one point and was married for a short time. Along the way, there were people such as Jean de Dieu Hakizimana who tried to steer Salilar away from the bottle, get him some housing and fulfill his dream to read and write English. Salilar, who spoke Swahili, had no identification, no work permit, no bank account, no social insurance number. “It’s a sad, sad story for him,” said Hakizimana, a former political refugee from Rwanda who operates the Neighbourhood Care International Association from a small office on East Hastings. “It was like a war for him every day.”

photo Dan Toulgoet

About 40 people attended a memorial last Thursday for John Salilar at the Dodson Hotel in the Downtown Eastside. Salilar, who was ordered deported from Canada in 1995, died of a massive stroke July 12. MIKE HOWELL

T Staff writer

he nightmare began when John Salilar shut his eyes. He saw a dead man, without a face, in a coffin. Then he felt somebody pulling him in to the coffin, only to have the dead man push him out and tell him, “It’s not good for you to be here.” Another nightmare would come. In this one, Salilar is consumed with fear of being deported to his birthplace, Liberia, where he witnessed the murders of his parents during the west African country’s civil war. “I couldn’t do anything to help my parents because I was a kid [of] 12 years old,” he told a clinical psychologist through an interpreter in April 1995. “The head is full of pain and it feels like it is going to blow up.” Salilar’s pain ended two weeks ago. He died July 12 after suffering a massive stroke. He collapsed at a friend’s house in Surrey on a Wednesday and was dead by Friday. He was 46. A doctor told friends gathered around Salilar’s hospital bed there was nothing the medical team could do to keep him alive. Half of Salilar’s brain was filled with blood. “This is a situation where his brain has no chance to recover,” the doctor said a few hours before Salilar died. “John will never be the same person. He’ll never wake up and it’s a condition that’s terminal. That’s end of life for him.” His death upset the two dozen people in the African-Canadian community who turned up for prayers at a Richmond mosque and subsequent

burial in Chilliwack. His many friends in the Downtown Eastside, who remembered Salilar at a memorial at the Dodson Hotel, were equally somber about their friend’s passing. It is tragic, they say, that a man who tried to make a better life for himself in Canada never got the help or structure he needed to keep him from going to dark places.

But imagine a boy “ who cannot write

or read,who lost his parents at 12 years old and he comes to Vancouver. — Jean de Dieu Hakizimana

He was assessed with a Grade 3 education, couldn’t read or write in any language and, at just over five feet tall, was an easy target for predators who inhabit the notorious East Hastings corridor. Health records and photographs taken by friends show he was beaten a few times — the latest occurring at the Balmoral Hotel in June — and he suffered from headaches. His situation, his friends say, was desperate. He drank and became a prolific shoplifter, stealing

BUT, AS immigration documents reveal, Salilar was never destined to stay in Canada as long as he did. Upon his arrival in January 1992, he told immigration officials that he stowed away on a ship from Monrovia, Liberia to Bombay, India. There, he boarded the vessel MV Hoegh Duke with four other stowaways and continued to Halifax. Salilar disembarked with no travel documents or identification but made it to Vancouver — his friends believe by bus — and was in jail almost a year after he came to town. A fight at a bar, where police recovered a knife from the floor, led to convictions for possession of a dangerous weapon and theft of a mickey of rum from a liquor store. Soon after, his application to be classified as a “Convention refugee,” which applies to people unwilling to return to their home country because of fear of persecution, was rejected. “The Government of Canada is put in a very difficult position when a person arrives at Canada’s shores as a stowaway without any documents and then provides virtually no information to assist officials in confirming or determining that person’s true identity,” said Justice Jean-Eudes Dube of the Federal Court of Canada’s trial division during a 1995 hearing. “You have been given the benefit of Canada’s refugee determination system and were found not to be a Convention refugee. The Government of Canada, therefore, has an obligation to remove you from this country.” Despite Dube’s strong words, he stayed a charge against the shipping company responsible for transporting Salilar on his journey to Halifax. He was also unwilling to put the 28-year-old on a ship when there was no country willing to receive him. “There is no evidence that Bombay authorities will accept him and Canadian authorities are not suggesting any other port of entry,” Dube said at the time, noting immigration officials unsuccessful attempts to confirm Salilar’s country of origin. “Thus, it does appear at this stage that without a stay [against the shipping company], Mr. Salilar would become a forlorn passenger sailing forever on the world’s seven seas.” A removal order was initiated against Salilar in 1995 but why the Canada Border Services Agency didn’t deport him is not something the agency would discuss with the Courier.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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day Robin Hood?

ARRIVED IN CANADA. COULD MORE HAVE BEEN DONE TO HELP?

photo Dan Toulgoet

The day before the memorial, Moe Tully (l) and Jean de Dieu Hakizimana (r) attended a ceremony at Richmond’s Jamia mosque to say goodbye to their friend John Salilar.

photo Dan Toulgoet

Ayisha Appiah signs the book of condolences at the memorial for John Salilar last Thursday. Faith St. John, a spokesperson for the agency, said in an email that the Privacy Act sets strict parameters on what it can release about an individual’s case. But, she said, sometimes there is a delay in removing a person because of appeals and legal proceedings, criminal matters, lack of travel documents or the government is unable to establish a person’s identity. The same year Salilar was ordered deported, hislawyerappearedtoaccepthisclient’sfateand fileda“noticeofdiscontinuanceandwithdrawal of application for leave and judicial review” with the Federal Court of Canada’s trial division. Eighteen years later, Salilar was still here, with police very aware of his whereabouts as he continued to run afoul of the law. DOCUMENTS FROM immigration, the courts, health agencies, jail records and a report from a clinical psychologist all point to alcohol and the lack of structure for Salilar’s criminal behaviour. Clinical psychologist Elizabeth Herman concluded Salilar suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder related to the murders of his parents and that he “self-medicated” himself with alcohol. Herman strongly recommended Salilar be referred to therapy for the disorder and that officials ensure he followed up on his desire to join an alcoholics anonymous group. “He will be vulnerable until a consistent ther-

apeutic intervention becomes available to him,” Herman wrote in her 1995 report. It’s not clear from the documents whether Salilar received treatment for his disorder or alcoholism, although lawyer Darryl Larson noted in a 1995 immigration hearing what probation did for his client. Larson said a one-year probation order imposed on Salilar in 1993 for the bar fight offered some hope. The order included abstaining from alcohol. “It gave him structure, it gave him duties to report — an obligation to report [to his probation officer],” Larson said in the hearing. “And as soon as he was off that, he was back into a series of problems.” Jail records and guard reports show Salilar to be “a quiet inmate who keeps to himself.” He watched television from the back row of the common room and “tries to communicate with other inmates but finds this very hard.” A mental health screening showed he had “limited intellectual abilities.” He participated in a “Tylenol plan” for his headaches and “could be abused, taken advantage of on [the jail] unit.” A sentencing plan noted his “poor English skills but willing to try whatever opportunities comes his way.” He expressed a desire to learn English through a “learning group” in jail but didn’t attend “due to ill health.” WHEN HE wasn’t in jail, Salilar — who was known as Mudi to many friends — could be

found most recently at the Brandiz pub on East Hastings, where he liked to drink beer. Though he spent time in Surrey, Burnaby and North Vancouver, he was a common sight in the Downtown Eastside. Single mom Robin Raweater, who attended last Thursday’s memorial at the Dodson Hotel, said she met Salilar about 16 years ago at a party near Broadway and Fraser. Raweater said Salilar provided her and her children with stolen food and clothes that she accepted because her welfare cheques couldn’t cover all her costs. “At birthday parties, he would supply everything,” said Raweater, who now works for a moving company. “Every time he was around, there was always meat — an abundance of everything that he supplied himself.” The day before the memorial, Moe Tully attended a ceremony at the Jamia mosque in Richmond, where he said goodbye to his friend. He lay in a casket draped in an emerald green Muslim covering. Tully said he knew Salilar’s cousins growing up in the east African country of Tanzania. He believes Salilar’s relatives fled Liberia to Tanzania during the civil war, which devastated the country in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. He met Salilar in Vancouver in 1995 and the two were able to determine the family connection in Tanzania. Their last visit was last year at a Caribbean festival on the North Shore. “He was nice to people, especially the kids,” Tully said. “We used to tell him to follow up to get his documents — to get his papers to stay here — but he wasn’t capable of doing this. It was tough for him to come here, with no family, no language.” FOR JEAN de Dieu Hakizimana, he believes his friend’s death illustrates how agencies tasked with the settlement of refugees in Canada ignore the plight of some newcomers.

Yes, Salilar drank, Hakizimana acknowledged. Yes, he was a thief. “But imagine a boy who cannot write or read, who lost his parents at 12 years old and he comes to Vancouver. Immediately, he’s minus 50 per cent to fail. He needed to have good guidance to get out of that cave.” Hakizimana then pulls out his iPhone and scrolls through photographs he took of other desperate-looking African men roaming the alleys of the Downtown Eastside. “This guy here,” he said, stopping at a photograph, “is from Burundi. His life is degrading. He would be better to be in a camp where there is food and a shower.” His hope is that Salilar’s story will get the attention of governments to make changes on how people who arrive on Canada’s shores are treated — whether destined to stay, or not. He drew up a petition that people signed at Salilar’s memorial and planned to take it to Mayor Gregor Robertson’s office. He wants the mayor to set up a task force to address homelessness and other social issues affecting residents originally from Africa. “Agencies getting all this money to help people like [Salilar] are not doing a good job for us,” he said. “John Salilar is the result. He’s dead. This is a community wake-up call.” FINAL NOTE: Current provincial court records for Salilar, whose aliases included John Sala, Abdul Mohammed Said and David Bindu Moddy Mohamed, indicate 51 files associated to him. The majority are for theft. Salilar was scheduled to appear in courtroom 511 at the Vancouver courthouse on Oct. 18 for a trial. The charge was possession of a stolen credit card. His record suggests he would again be going to jail. mhowell@vancourier.com twitter.com/Howellings


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THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

CITY LIVING

GOT AN EVENT WE CAN SHOOT? LET US KNOW! 604-738-1411 | events@vancourier.com

1 photos Rebecca Blissett

HISTORIC WALK

This past weekend, photographer Rebecca Blissett put on her walking shoes and took part in the Historic Japantown Walking Tour, led by Linda Kawamoto Reid of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby. Japantown, the preferred name of the neighbourhood around Oppenheimer Park and along Powell Street by early residents, has changed considerably since the early 1900s when it was home to stores, factories, schools and approximately 8,000 Japanese Canadians. But evidence of that history still remain, with the 37th annual Powell Street Festival taking place Aug. 3 to 4. 1 . Linda Kawamoto Reid holds up a photograph of the Secord Hotel that was located at 401 Powell St. 2 . The buildings across from Oppenheimer Park on the Powell Street side all boast replicated wooden facades, added during the1980s, to mimic what the original buildings would have looked like in the 1890s. 3 . Vancouver resident Madoka Okuma took part in the walking tour with her mother, Shizuko Okuma, and father, Ryuta Okuma, who were visiting from California. 4 . Oppenheimer Park was home to the popular Japanese Canadian baseball team called the Asahi from 1914 to 1941.

2

See related story and photo gallery at vancourier. com, or scan this page with your smartphone or tablet using the free Layar app.

3

4

Go to vancourier.com for the City Living online gallery


WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

seniors vxmo{pz pnsmwu{v{y| lmputwm

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July 2013

SENIORS FEEL THE ADVANTAGES AT KITSILANO NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE

Contributed by Micki Cowan

S

eniors at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House at 7th Avenue and Vine Street are well taken care of.

The house offers a number of programs including a knitting circle, Osteofit classes, the senior links program and a seniors drop-in service. Kits House is being redeveloped to include more housing and give the space an upgrade, but programs will continue amidst the ongoing renovations. Part of the redevelopment plan will see the creation of the Vancouver Courier Community Corner, a community gathering space outside the centre. The design is centered on the idea of bringing neighbours to connect. “What we’re really interested in is informal meeting spaces where people can gather, not only seniors but everyone in the neighbourhood,” said Program director Emily Palmer.

Seniors Resource Centre

A big hit and brand new this year, the Seniors Resources Centre helps seniors connect other seniors to programs across the city, and builds connections between peers.

connect somebody to a service they didn’t know about or make a connection for them, it’s a very rewarding experience for the volunteers,” said Palmer. For Ann Mew, volunteering at the centre allows her to continue to care for others – something she was interested in after working in a hospital for years. Since all volunteers receive information training, the centre has allowed Mew to continue to learn into her senior years as well. “As I help others, I also help myself to find information. Information changes a lot. The rules change. Phone numbers change,” said Mew.

Knitting Circle

Palmer said the knitting circle has become an intergenerational group, open to seniors and nonseniors. The program also welcomes those new to Canada who want to practice their English. Many of the items knitted in the circle, such as teddy bears, get donated to the less fortunate.

Seniors Links Program

This program connects seniors that might need some

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help with odd jobs to young people at a reasonable rate. For $10.25 per hour, seniors can be connected with a student or young person who can help with gardening work, house cleaning and more. “What we’ve realized is there’s a huge need out there,” said Palmer. “Home support has been scaled back a lot. There are a lot of seniors who want to live independently but need help.”

Seniors drop-in

The drop-in program at Maplecrest Apartments at 2229 Maple Street has existed since the 1970s and gives seniors who aren’t already connected the chance to do so, and just gather and socialize. There is also hot soup available for $3. The program is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday. For more information call 604-736-3588 or visit www.kitshouse.org


THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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seniors

“Neighbourhood Connections”

FREE SENIORS LINK PROGRAM CONNECTS VOLUNTEERS TO HELP WITH ODD JOBS Contributed by Micki Cowan

F

or those seniors looking for assistance with occasional tasks and errands, the Jewish Family Service Agency can help link individuals with volunteers willing to help out.

Aside from help with a task, the program allows people in the community to connect, and provides a sense of ease for those who need some help while living independently.

The JFSA’s Neighbourhood Connections program is volunteer-based and completely free for all Westside seniors seeking help with occasional tasks. Westside neighbourhoods include Oakridge, Kerrisdale, Arbutus Ridge, Dunbar, Kitsilano, Fairview, and Downtown.

All volunteers are screened by the JFSA before they are connected with seniors and the program is funded by the United Way of the Lower mainland.

Tasks volunteers can help with include picking up and delivering various items, help with errands or even a lift to an appointment. These tasks should be more one-off than things that require regular assistance.

Example tasks:

• Taking a vacuum to be prepared • Picking up dry cleaning • Picking up speciality grocery items • Sorting out books to be donated • Volunteers can not help with cleaning, feeding, etc. The program is unique in that the folks who help out are all volunteers and willing to give a hand. Many of these tasks might not be worth paying someone to do, but can provide a lot of relief to have help with.

From Basic to Beauty

Programs at the JFSA have been running for 75 years

and are available to all people in the Jewish and wider community. This year the Neighbourhood Connection program helped connect 30 volunteers and seniors. For more information and to connect with a volunteer, contact Talia Mastai at 778-999-3939 or visit jfsa.ca/seniors

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

A19

GOT ARTS? 604-738-1411 | arts@vancourier.com

2

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OUR 1

The Museum of Anthropology and the downtown Satellite Gallery present PARADISE LOST? CONTEMPORARY WORKS FROM THE PACIFIC featuring works by artists from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Papua, New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu working in video, installation, sculpture, painting and photography, including Maori artist GEORGE NUKU. The exhibition runs July 24 to Sept. 29. More details at moa.ubc.ca.

PICKS 2 JULY 24- 26

For video and web content, scan page with

The fact that they have their own sub-category of jokes is a strong indication that drummers don’t always get the respect they deserve. Even the ones who can speak in full sentences. Percussionist extraordinaire LAURI LYSTER steps out from behind her drum kit to take centre stage and showcase her writing, acting and comedic skills, as well as her musical chops, in THE DRUMMER GIRL July 25, 8 p.m. at the Orpheum Annex. Tickets at northerntickets.com. More details at thedrummergirl.com.

3

Dependable but often overlooked Austin, Texas outfit HEARTLESS BASTARDS bring its raw blues and garage infused rock action to the Biltmore July 24, 8 p.m. in support of its critically acclaimed album Arrow. Psychedelic rockers Writer open. Tickets at Red Cat and Zulu Records. More info at biltmorecabaret.com.


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THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

arts&entertainment KUDOS& KVETCHES TRANSIT TIPS

Riding public transit can be less than awesome at the best of times. We say this from personal experience and the weekly griping of co-workers. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. Here are some friendly suggestions for riders to follow and make the ride better for the rest of us. 1. Public transit is not your bathroom. Pretty obvious. But we’re surprised how many times we see people flossing their teeth, applying makeup and clipping their nails while riding the loser cruiser. Everyone knows you clip your nails at the office. 2. Public transit is not a restaurant or lunchroom. We realize you’re in a hurry. You’ve got stuff to do, people to see, websites to surf, Miami Vice fan fiction to write. But eating on the bus shows a weakness of character. Have some respect for yourself. It’s bad enough that you inflict Subway and Tim Horton’s on your pale, flabby body, but how about doing it in private, preferably with a deep feeling of shame. Nobody wants to smell your stinky food, let alone watch you stuff it into your slop-covered garburator of a mouth. 3. Public transit is not a dance club or concert hall. We get it, you dig music — it’s what you and your dorky oversized headphones live for. But we have our own soundtrack that we’d rather hear — it’s called the rhythm of the night. (It’s

an El DeBarge song — look it up.) Same goes for all you dirty hippies who think the rest of us are charmed by your noodling guitar antics. We aren’t. Unless of course you can cover “Crazy Horses” by the Osmonds, which you probably can’t, because it’s pretty wicked. 4. Public transit is not a telephone booth. We realize telephone booths don’t even exist anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to recreate them on the bus by having inane conversations on your cellphone about how your mom is starting to lose it or how you’re really looking forward to telling Tara to go eff herself because she’s had it coming ever since she started dating Doug, who really needs to see a dentist, cuz that sh** he’s got going on in there is gnarly.

BIRTH OF A NOTION

News that the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy Monday and not a badger wearing a crown rippled through K&K headquarters like a jar of marmite in a crumpet factory. We don’t even know what that means. We do know, however, that judging by the recent behaviour of some of our friends on Facebook that maybe we need to look into getting some new Facebook friends. We can handle posts about going on holidays, Instagram photos of meals and the occasional passively vague status update like “Worst day ever.” But we draw the line at Royal baby watching and subsequent gushing. Besides, everyone knows Facebook is for linking to cute cat videos and seeing how old and puffy former high school classmates have become. twitter.com/KudosKvetches

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

E21

arts&entertainment

Lesbian opera shines light on present day issues STATE OF THE ARTS with Cheryl Rossi

C

anada’sfirstlesbian opera premieres at Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival that runs July 24 to Aug. 9. Composer Leslie Uyeda jumped at the chance to create an opus for the sixth annual festival because she yearned to see herself reflected on stage after four decades of working in opera. “I’m tired of so many women characters in opera having to die. I’m sick of it,” said Uyeda who still loves Verdi and Mozart. She wanted to create a dramatic opera about samesex love that would appeal to a broad audience and wasn’t wholly depressing. Uyeda believes the ups and downs in her and poet

Rachel Rose’s work, When the Sun Comes Out, will make the story compelling for diverse audiences. Rose agrees. “It’s really the story of our times,” Rose said. “When you look at forbidden loves like Romeo and Juliet, of course that still happens all over the world to some extent between men and women, but right now where the pushback is happening and where the dramatic change is happening is in gay and lesbian relationships.” Set in an imaginary country called Fundamentalia where violationofgenderrolesispunishable by death, When the Sun Comes Out illuminates a love affair between Lilah, a young, sheltered, wealthy married mother, and her English as a second language teacher Solana, a gender outlaw and rebellious outsider from Montreal. Their relationship in a country where same-sex love is punishable by death is further threatened when Lilah’s enraged and unpredictable husband Javan discovers the affair. The opera explores the oppression that

When the Sun Comes Out runs Aug. 5, 7 and 9 as part of the Queer Arts Fest. For web content, scan page using the Layar app. queers face and the risks they take in nations where homosexuality is illegal. Personal experience compelledRosetowriteaboutwhat it’s like as a same-sex couple to face immigration battles and to feel like you have no home. Rose, who’s a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., and her partner who’s originally from France, faced obstructions 20 years ago, and Rose recognizes such struggles continue. “In Russia if you’re gay you can be arrested and imprisoned even if you’re a foreign tourist and yet Russia’s hosting the Olympics and so every country is going to

have to grapple with that in terms of human rights,” she said. “And in Uganda they’re debating whether or not homosexuality should result in the death penalty.” Uyeda,whoservedaschorus music director for Vancouver Opera for years, has composed music for the five-piece ensemble that’s meant to reflect the extroverted, “somewhat spiky” but vulnerable Solana, the more desperate and tender Lilah and the gruffer Jovan. The music moves with the story as each character embarks on his or her own journey. When the Sun Comes Out was performed as a workshop

with piano only to a sold-out crowd at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre last year and received a standing ovation. The Pride in Art Society that organizes the festival commissioned Uyeda and Rose to create an opera for the festival of visual art, music, dance, theatre, literary and media arts. Uyeda commends the society for supporting the production that’s directed by James Fagan Tait, with a set and lighting by the Belfry Theatre in Victoria’s Bryan Kenney and costumes by Mara Gottler of Bard on the Beach. Teiya Kasahara plays Solana, Julia Morgan plays Lilah and Aaron Durand is Jovan. ®

The Queer Arts Festival and community group Rainbow Refugee are holding a discussion forum July 28 to give voice to true-life stories connected to the issues raised by the opera: homophobic violence, migration and the search for community and home. Attendees will see a sneak preview of When the Sun Comes Out. The free event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at SFU Woodwards World Art Centre, 149 West Hastings. St. When the Sun Comes Out runs Aug. 5, 7 and 9 at the Roundhouse. For more information, see queerartsfestival.com. crossi@vancourier.com twitter.com/Cheryl_Rossi

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

GOT SPORTS? 604-738-1411 | sportsandrec@vancourier.com

SPORT SHORTS BANTAM B BURRARDS WIN B.C. GOLD

The Bantam B Vancouver Burrards won the B.C. championship in a close decision over Langley Sunday at the Ladner Leisure Centre. The Vancouver Minor Lacrosse team was led by captain Liam O’Connor who lifted the Burrards with six goals in the semifinal. Corvin Mack was named to the allstar team and Dimitri Cunning received the fair play award.

PITBLADO BEST IN CANADA WITH B.C. RUGBY St. George’s graduate James Pitblado scored the goahead try in the dying minutes of the national final to lift B.C. to a second U19 Canadian rugby championship July 21. Trailing 13-10 for the majority of the second half, a charge by Abbotsford scrum half Jorden Sandover-Best closed the gap and invited Pitblado’s late heroics as B.C. spun the ball wide and scored the pivotal try for the 15-13 win over hosts Prairie Wolf Pack. “We were down but had most of the possession for the final 20 minutes,” said B.C. head coach Kris de Scossa in a news release. “We were very good at using our bench throughout the tournament and again it really helped when we brought on fresh legs. We stuck to the process and were creating scoring opportunities and finally it came with under a minute to play.” The two sides had previously met the day before in the final match of the round-robin when B.C. came out on top 33-15. B.C. reached the final undefeated, outscoring their opponents 9847. Ontario took home third place with a convincing 53-3 win over Ontario East-Quebec reps, the Voyageurs.

BAKER WINS GOTHIA CUP WITH ‘CAPS

Central defender Kathryn Baker hoisted the Gothia Cup with the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite after the Vancouver team went undefeated in seven games at the international U19 tournament in Sweden. The ‘Caps swept through Group 2 and scored 13 goals while allowing only two in four games. In the semifinal, Vancouver defeated defending Gothia Cup champions AIK FF of Sweden 4-0 before eliminating another Swedish team, Eskilsminne DIF to advance to the final on July 19. Striker Summer Clarke of Richmond netted eight goals for the Caps and opened scoring in the seventh minute of the final to lead Hovås-Billdal IF/Billdals BK. Surrey’s Chelsea Harkins added a second goal and the Whitecaps won 2-0. —MS

Pitching for promotion MEGAN STEWART Staff writer

V

ancouver Canadians starter Eric Brown slowly dug a ditch into the pitchers mound each time he aimed for the strike box. With each pitch of the finite count allotted him each game, Brown’s lead foot slid along the same path and the trench slowly got deeper. On Saturday night against Brown at Nat Bailey Stadium, visiting Eugene Emeralds pitcher Erik Cabrera futilely pushed around the loosened dirt to smooth out the mound. Brown didn’t seem to notice. The right-handed pitcher isn’t getting too entrenched with the C’s. He likes the organization but it’s nothing personal that he doesn’t want to be here any longer than necessary. It’s already been nearly three seasons since he was drafted from the UBC Thunderbirds in 2011. The coaches and C’s manager Clayton McCullough feel the same about him. “We don’t want to see too much of them,” McCullough has said of players, touching on his responsibility to teach the Blue Jays’ systems and see the young athletes succeed by advancing from the short-season single-A club. The minor leagues are development teams designed to serve MLB clubs like the Oakland Athletics, the C’s previous affiliate, and the Toronto Blue Jays, the C’s current parent club and the franchise that drafted Brown and invested in his potential. “The lifeblood of any major league team is the players that are signed and developed internally,” said Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava. “Everyone who touches that player in our organization, whether it be the manager, the coaches, the coordinators they, all pitch in and come up with ideas as to make that player better.” LaCava couldn’t disclose the Jays’ individualized player plan for Brown, but said the pitcher’s progress, achieved under the added scrutiny of competing in his university town, hasn’t gone unnoticed. “He’s definitely having a nice season and we’re exited for him,” said LaCava. Brown, who was drafted in the 50th round, has to prove himself with consistent performance and also put up respectable numbers. He pitched four innings and allowed one run in two games for the Lansing Lugnuts, the Jay’s full-season Class A team, during their playoff run in 2011. Afterwards he returned to the C’s. Because he wasn’t an early draft pick, Brown is working hard to surpass the expectations many would have of a player selected 1,519th overall. “It’s tough after the first few rounds,” he said. “They don’t probably expect a whole lot from the guys that aren’t signing for big money but that’s why once you get your foot in the door, you go out

photo Dan Toulgoet

At the midpoint of the season, Canadians pitcher Eric Brown is one of the best in the Northwest League. To see photo gallery and added web content, scan page with your smartphone or tablet using the Layar app. and do everything you can to prove to them that you deserve to stay here.” Brown, six-foot-one, is listed as 185 pounds, bats left and grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont. and says he was always working to earn recognition. His current goal is consistency and command of his different pitches, a fastball, change-up and slider. He hurtles the ball just shy of 90 mph and could get faster yet. “Right now he’s pitching better than he has in his whole life,” said Canadians pitching coach Jim Czajkowski. “He has real good feel of what all his pitches can do, where he can throw them, and is confident he can throw any pitch, any time in counts. He’s very focused when he’s out there and the game probably seems pretty easy to him right now because he’s capable of doing what he wants to do. That’s being locked in.” The Jays employ number crunchers who study much more than a pitcher’s ERA, but Brown is second in the Northwest League at 1.35. He’s stared eight games for the C’s and is listed at 5-0 with 42 strikeouts, also second-best in the league. This is a marked improvement from his 4-5 record in 2012 when he pitched 6.20. “His stuff is good and he just needs the opportunity and he’ll get that,” said Czajkowski. “I look forward to that day.” Numerous minor teams represent multiple moving pieces. Brown is doing what he can to advance on his own merit, but a roster spot also needs to open. “There’s all sorts of scenarios that could happen for a guy to get moved up,” said Czajkowski, who’s known as “Cy” or “Zach” to the players. “A guy could get injured and if looks like it could be longer than a two-week stint they take someone up for that. There’s releases — someone could get released, so movement comes up. We just had a draft, we’ve released some guys even from our own ball club,

and there’s been movement from the lower levels up to here.” When two rookie pitchers were drafted this summer and sent directly to Lansing, a seasoned pitcher there was sent back to the Canadians. The opening might have been Brown’s but he wasn’t called up. “I know Eric was a little bit disheartened because of that but he’ll get his chance,” said Czajkowski. McCullough, Czajkowski and batting coach Dave Pano watch as green athletes become more seasoned and, from time to time, they help players manage their expectations and maintain focus. Brown may be on the edge of promotion and he can’t waver now, said the pitching coach. “I understand his frustration, but in the big picture of the Blue Jays, that’s the picture he doesn’t see. I don’t’ see it sometimes, it’s not my call. If it was my call, he’d be out of here. But that’s a higher-up call. “As long as he has a uniform, as long as he’s doing the things he needs to do, he’s being recognized for it. Things will turn out. If he concentrates on what he has to do on the field — all the preparation that he does — then he can’t worry about the distraction of what if [and] why should I be here. They’re all distractions, and the fewer distractions, the better chance you have to be focused on the mound.” ••• The Canadians won their fivegame home series against Eugene but dropped two clutch games at the end of the first-half of the season and relinquished a guaranteed seat in the playoffs. The club hit the road Tuesday for games in Spokane and Eugene. They return to Nat Bailey July 31 to host the Hillsboro Hops. mstewart@vancourier.com Twitter.com/MHStewart


WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

A23

sports&recreation

LittleMountainbatsbackfromthebrink LITTLE LEAGUERS WIN FIRST 9/10 B.C. CHAMPIONSHIP IN 63-YEAR HISTORY

HASTINGS ON DECK

MEGAN STEWART Staff writer

Y

ou’ve heard of the comeback kids. Little Mountain’s 9/10 Little Leaguers have another name. “We we’re dubbed the cardiac kids,” said manager Blair Shapera. After erasing deficits in two playoff games to reach the Little League B.C. Championship SaturdayatVictoria’sLayritzPark,thenine-and10-yearold boys from Little Mountain drubbed the host team 12-0 to win with confidence and bring home the club’s first 9/10 title in its 63-year history. “The final was a bit anti-climactic. Getting there was just ridiculous,” said Shapera. “The best thing is coming through adversity… It built such character in that group. They really came together as a team and supported each other. We were just saying to them: You’ve just got to believe you can do this.” Before they rallied their bats and self-belief, Little Mountain fell behind, twice. Against Victoria’s Layritz last Tuesday in a must-win playoff game, Little Mountain sank into a six-run deficit before the first inning was even over. “It was, I think, two bunts, two errors, two walks a hit batter and a blooper single,” said Shapera. A Layritz runner also raced in from third to score on a wild pitch. “And all of a sudden it was 6-0.” Little Mountain scored in the third when Sawyer “Huck” Henstridge’s line drive brought home Gareth Wintjes but Layritz answered in the bottom of the inning to keep a six-run lead. With two outs in the fifth, Little Mountain

photo Lyle Stafford, Times Colonist

Catcher Gareth Wintjes jumps into coach Art Van Gorkum’s arms as Little Mountain celebrates its victory over Layritz in Victoria, July 20. scored three runs to close the gap at 7-4. Pitcher Lucas Yang struck out two batters to close the inning and Little Mountain answered at the plate with three runs to tie the game at 7. In the seventh (and final) inning, Wintjes and Yang each brought in a run to give Little Mountain the 9-7 lead and the win. Against Layritz, pitching favoured Little Mountain, said Shapera. “The big difference was the amount of pitching we had versus what they had. They used their couple of best pitchers to beat White Rock and they didn’t have much left.” But Little Mountain’s uncontainable power came off their bats. “This was the best hitting team we’d ever had,” said the coach of 20 years. “Despite the trouble they’d get into on the field, the bats never stopped.” The same story played out in the semi-final against New Westminster on Friday in Victoria. Little Mountain made two errors and allowed

Public Notice of Open House Ironworkers Memorial Bridge: Sidewalk Safety Improvements

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure invites the public to attend an open house to preview plans for sidewalk safety improvements on the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. Two drop-in open houses are scheduled for the following dates and times: Tuesday July 23, 2013 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Lynnmour Jaycee House 1251 Lillooet Road North Vancouver, B.C.

Wednesday July 24, 2013 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary School 555 Lillooet Street Vancouver, B.C.

threerunsbutansweredwithpowerfulhittingto trail 3-2 after the first inning. In the next inning, New West doubled their score on three walks with the bases loaded. Thomas Iverson threw out a base runner at home to protect the score and end the inning trailing 6-2. Wintjes tripled in the third for a single RBI and the score held at 6-4 until the fifth inning when Little Mountain scored two more to tie the game. With two out, New West scored two runs to go ahead 8-6. Going into the final inning, Shapera asked the lowest batter on the rotation, Jenmark Ramos as he prepared to lead off: “Do you believe?” Hesitant at first, Ramos wasn’t used to starting the rotation. “If you go up there like that, you’re already out,” said Shapera. “You can hit this. You believe it.” Ramos answered with a triple. Carson Buschman-Dormand eventually brought him home with a single and Little Mountain trailed by only

one with the bases loaded. New West walked the batter to score the tying run for Little Mountain and then, the bases still loaded with Keegan “Dusty” Lott on third, Lewis Antonuk smacked a hard grounder to the short stop who fired the ball home for the force out. “The throw was a little high,” said Shapera. “Dusty slid in to home as the catcher leaped to catch the ball. It was a very close play but he was called safe — game over!” The final didn’tdeliver the heart-stopping tensionorexcitementoftheprevioustwogamesbut the result still favoured Little Mountain. They met the Little League from Layritz a second time and this time blanked the hosts 12-0. Little Mountain allowed no runs and scored in each of the game’s four innings before the mercy rule kicked in. Wintjes had a single and three RBIs and Little Mountain’s output totalled five runs in the third inning. mstewart@vancourier.com

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Hastings Little League defends its B.C. title this week at the 2013 provincial championships at Elm Park in Kerrisdale. As last year’s champs, the Hastings All-stars went on to win nationals and represented Canada at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Unbeaten in two games, Hastings (2-0) met North Van’s Forest Hills (3-0) Tuesday in their third game of the seven-game round-robin tournament. They play White Rock (2-0) 3 p.m. Wednesday. Dunbar (1-2) played last year’s hosts Trail (0-3) yesterday and meets Kerrisdale (1-2) 6 p.m. Wednesday. Kerrisdale Little League hosts the provincials at its home park on 41st Avenue and the final is scheduled for 2 p.m. July 28 at Elm Park. — MS

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A24

THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

sports&recreation

Thomas ‘swims big’ despite small stature MAGEE STUDENT COMPETES AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SUNDAY

G

rowing up, Noemie Thomas studied ballet. She loved the combination of grace and strength. Dance fed her artistic appetite but left Thomas’s competitive spirit feeling hungry. That’s one of the reasons she decided to exchange her ballet slippers for a swimsuit and goggles.

JIM MORRIS

“I like to see the rewards of the hard work,” said the 17-year-old who swims for the UBC Dolphins Swim Club and attends SpArts, the sports program at Magee secondary. “What you put in is what you get out of it,” she said of swimming and the timed precision that determines a winner. “It’s very black and white. What I didn’t like

about ballet, you got judged all the time. It’s not evident who is better or not. It’s just the judge’s opinion. This is very clear.” Thomas gave up her dreams of dancing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet but will perform on an international stage this weekend when she competes at the FINA World Swimming Championships

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What you put in is what “ you get out of it. It’s very black and white. ” —Noemie Thomas in Barcelona, Spain. It’s her first senior, long-course international competition and a step on the road to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. At five-foot-four and 130 pounds, Thomas isn’t an intimidating figure. But what she lacks in size she compensates with potential. “She’s got a pretty big upside,” said Tom Johnson, the Dolphins’ head coach. “It’s early days.” Like a rough diamond, Thomas still needs polishing. Johnson explains she is still learning the difference between “a performance and becoming a performer.” Thomas’s best events are the 50 and 100 metre butterfly. To race these distances, a swimmer must move through the preliminary heats, to the semifinals and then the final. Like a young dancer learning an arabesque, Thomas is still trying to master going fast enough to advance but saving something in the tank for the final. “Part of it is really learning how to manage yourself in the high-end arena,” Johnson said in a telephone interview from the Canadian team’s staging camp in Torremolinos, Spain. “In the early days of her career she would always swim pretty fast in the preliminaries but never really be able to lift another notch in the final. We have been working on that throughout the year. I’m trying to teach her to understand to play the whole event as opposed to just a single minute of the event.” Thomas has proven herself in short-course events, which are held in 25-metre pools unlike the 50-metre Olympic distance. She holds the Canadian short-course record in both the 50m and 100m fly. To win an Olympic or world championship medal, she must make the transi-

tion to the longer pool. “You kind of need to have a more detailed strategy as to where you want to put your effort in,” Thomas said. “You don’t have the breaks with the walls where you can get extra push and extra power. You have to swim those extra metres.” It was Thomas’s small stature that persuaded her parents to enroll her in swim lessons when she was young. “I couldn’t touch the bottom of the local pool,” Thomas said with a laugh. “My parents said: ‘She’s not that tall. She needs to learn to swim.’” Johnson said competitors quickly learn not to overlook Thomas. “She swims big in the water,” he said. “She is only taking 20 strokes on the first length and 23 strokes on the second length. People who are five or six inches taller than she is are doing the same number of strokes. The length of her stroke is pretty good for someone of her stature.” The world championships open Sunday with Thomas swimming the 100m butterfly. It’s a tough test but one Johnson is confident Thomas can pass. “She has never been in a meet like this,” Johnson said. “She is a pretty quick study. She is swimming very well right now, very consistently. “It’s her first shot at it. It will be fun.” Thomas accepts she is a long shot to win a medal in Barcelona. Her goals are more modest. “Enjoying the experience, being proud of the all the work I’ve done,” she said. “Not being intimidated by all the big names out there. That’s what I’m really trying to work toward.” Jim Morris is a veteran reporter who has covered sports for 30 years. Reach him at morrisejim@gmail.com.


E28

THE VANCOUVER COURIER WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

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Vancouver Courier July 24 2013

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