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WEDNESDAY

APRIL 30 2014 Vol. 105 No. 35

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Corinne Moore enjoys an outing with Floyd, a three-year-old German shepherd/pit bull cross, at Trout Lake. PHOTO DAN TOULGOET To see a photo gallery, go to vancourier.

Dogs of war unleashed at Trout Lake Sandra Thomas

sthomas@vancourier.com

Dog owners fighting to preserve the off-leash area at John Hendry/Trout Lake as unrestricted canine territory have created a Facebook page, organized a public protest and taken to the media to get their message out. The comments section of several local newspapers and on the Dog Lovers ofTrout Lake Facebook page are testament to how heated this debate has become with dog owners and other park users exchanging public barbs. Trout Lake resident Jean Routhier said dog owners

living near the park are upset because the large off-leash area was one of the main amenities that drew them to the area. “I was aware of the consultation and attended two meetings but it wasn’t until the April [2014] meeting that I had a sense of the drastic reductions the park board is planning,” said Routhier. “When we moved here we bought our house because of the off-leash area. It’s like people with kids who consider catchment areas when they buy.We chose a place to enjoy dogs.” As part of the proposed master plan for John Hendry Park, park board

staff recommend reducing the size of the off-leash area from 29,000 to 6,000 square metres and relocating it from the north end to a fenced area on the west side. At 6,000 square metres, the enclosed dog off-leash area would be twice the size of any other dog run in the city. A staff report says 72 per cent of 700 respondents want the off-leash area better delineated through the use of fences, natural dividers and improved signs.The report noted staff heard from residents also concerned because some sections of the lake loop trail run through the off-leash

area, which make some park users uncomfortable about potential dog interactions. It’s estimated there are between 100,000 and 145,000 dogs living in a city with 36 offleash areas. In a press release, the Dog Lovers group argues the off-leash area atTrout Lake is the only one of its kind on the East Side and is so popular it’s become a destination park.The group says while its members agree better delineation and signs are a good idea, none of them were aware an 80 per cent reduction was part of the plan. “We are all completely shocked,” said Routhier in

the letter. “All they talked about was increased signage and natural barriers — nothing even remotely like this. If they go ahead with this plan it would drastically change the park — and not for the better…” FormerTrout Lake resident and dog owner Corrine Moore told the Courier despite the fact she and her German shepherd/pit bull cross Floyd recently moved to Aldergrove, they regularly visit the off-leash area atTrout Lake. Moore said while more signs and enforcement might help, she’s not a fan of fencing. “It’s important for every-

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one to have access to the entire park,” said Moore. Vision Vancouver commissioner Niki Sharma said the dog owners should remember the master plan is at the consultation stage. “The off-leash area is just part of a much larger master plan,” said Sharma. “But we’re collecting input as we move forward.” Sharma said the public process has been ongoing for six months and many residents support the draft plan. “But we still want people to give their opinions,” said Sharma. twitter.com/sthomas10

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4


W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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News

Last minute appeals made to school board Cheryl Rossi

crossi@vancourier.com

With elementary band and strings apparently preserved, the most common case made at the Vancouver School Board’s final public meeting about its 20142015 budget Monday night was for retaining the district athletics coordinator. Following three packed public meetings on the budget April 15 to 17, 28 delegations signed up to address the board for the last time before trustees make final budget decisions April 30. John Puddifoot, first vice president of the board of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils and a representative of Lord Byng secondary’s parent advisory council, estimated theVSB could save $6 million if it increased class sizes by one student. Puddifoot, a business owner, suggested the district could get trades teachers and students working on school building maintenance to save money, fix facilities and further trades

certifications. “I don’t know if the contract would allow that but it’s worth investigating and you might even get money from the province as a pilot project to certify these tradespeople,” he said. Four continuing education instructors spoke to defend the threatened program. Longtime instructor James Neufeld told the board that course programmers unanimously agreed they could advertise classes so the board could cut an administrator’s position and save $88,000. Superintendent Steven Cardwell said the board is close to an agreement with a post-secondary institution that would manage continuing education classes inVSB facilities.VSB secretary-treasurer Rick Krowchuk said continuing education has lost money for at least a decade. Parents and students involved with the gifted learning disabled program asked the board not to eliminate one of its 12 fulltime equivalent education psychologists and to con-

tinue the position of gifted education consultant. Mother Robin Ferries says struggling students who aren’t properly assessed can become suicidal, depressed or develop behavioural problems that make it even harder for their needs to be met. Ferries said her son’s school experiences were “excruciating” until a specially trained education psychologist assessed his aptitudes and disabilities. Two delegations opposed cutting a South Asian multicultural liaison worker. Amir Ramola said a multicultural worker helped his family understand the school system and sort out behaviour problems and upsetting incidents. He noted a multicultural worker organizes Diwali festivities at his daughter’s school and the celebration gave her a place to show off her dancing skills with pride. The number of newcomer South Asian andVietnamese students has dwindled so theVSB proposes cutting a multicultural worker for each population, leaving

the equivalent of 2.5 South Asian multicultural workers and threeVietnamese ones. Gwen Giesbrecht and Jane Bouey, representing the Public Education Project, NDP MLAs David Eby and Jenny Kwan and parents from Protect Public Education Now argued that the provincial government must better fund public education. Activist Isabel Minty suggested seniors like her should donate $50 to $100 or more to theVSB or PACs twice a year because the district needs money and she doesn’t expect more will come from the provincial government. TheVSB faces a projected shortfall of $11.65 million for 2014-2015 and must deliver a balanced budget to the province. Staff expect to spend approximately 92 per cent of theVSB’s $497.19 million budget on salaries and benefits.The board has had to cut $47 million over the past 12 years. The final 2014-2015 budget meeting, April 30, starts at 7 p.m. at 1580 West Broadway. twitter.com/Cheryl_Rossi

Students and parents rallied before and attended the final public meeting on the Vancouver School Board’s 2014-2015 budget Monday evening. Volleyball players and wrestlers demonstrated their skills before the meeting got underway. PHOTO DAN TOULGOET To see more photos, go to vancourier.com or scan page with the Layar app.

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

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A downtown mini school is clinging to life as school board cuts threaten to reduce the number of City School teachers from two to one. Located at King George secondary in the West End, City School is home to roughly 31 students who have chosen an alternative way to learn. Instead of shuffling from different classes, the Grade 10 to 12 students learn from two teachers in two classes with excursions to places like museums and theatres to supplement the standard high school curriculum. The proposed budget released by the Vancouver School Board plans to let go of one teacher. If the budget passes, the school “would end as we’ve known it,” said support staff Sal Robinson. “To lose one teacher — it means we all could only have one class.We can’t see how we can do three grades at one time and having a teacher who’s not a specialist in everything.We can’t figure out how that would work,” added Robinson. After hearing about the proposed cuts, alumni Daniel Fazio started an online petition, which now has more than 600 signatures, calling for the protection of mini schools by removing the recommended cut from the proposed budget. Fazio said that at City School he went from the verge of dropping out of high school to falling “in

love with learning again,” thanks to a strong bond he formed with the teachers. “I was in a regular high school, very unhappy, wasn’t doing very well . . . Everyone can relate to how difficult it is being a teenager,” Fazio said. “It gave me a lot of confidence that wasn’t there before because I lost it in a regular school system. Once I started learning at City School and was successful, it gave me a lot of confidence that I could bring into the world.” Fazio doesn’t believe the cuts would help eliminate the school board’s deficit of $11.65 million. “Everyone understands how tough it is for them to make these decisions. Nobody wants to cut this school program but this represents such a small fraction of their budget that they should leave it alone.” In a statement to the Courier,Vision Vancouver trustee Cherie Payne said the reduction was proposed “because City School is facing declining enrolment,” and it’s an issue the trustees will be discussing. Tamara Hurtado, mother of a City School student, worries that students would be marginalized if alternative programs no longer exists. In addition, she said the school provides “a lens into an alternative way of providing education.” “The other teachers in King George see that and get ideas and stimulate them to think broader and how to deliver their set curriculum.” twitter.com/jennypengnow

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W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

News

City passes tougher tree bylaw 12TH & CAMBIE Mike Howell

mhowell@vancourier.com

OK, time to empty my notebook. Been a busy few weeks and haven’t had a chance to update some stuff you may be interested in. First, let me catch you up on the tree hugger bylaw. As I reported April 15, the City of Vancouver’s public release of a proposal to implement a more stringent and costly tree bylaw triggered a massive increase in the number of applications from property owners who want to cut down healthy trees. Applications went from an average of five per day to 50 before the onslaught forced the city to temporarily shut down the office handling all the requests. City council has ensured

those lineups are now history. Effective immediately, a permit may only be issued for the removal of trees that are dead, diseased, hazardous or within a new building footprint. The old version of the bylaw allowed property owners to purchase a $64 permit to remove at least one healthy tree per year, regardless of the reason and there was no requirement to hire an arborist. So, you may be thinking, what if I don’t have the cash to purchase the permit, pay the arborist and hire Paul Bunyan to get rid of my dying cherry tree? Well, city council — being the caring bunch they are — has requested city staff report back on a mechanism to provide “compassionate relief” for those who don’t have the cash for an arborist’s assessment. How much does that cost?

Depends who you call. City council amended the bylaw because a recent staff report showed between 1996 and 2013 that more than 23,000 healthy trees went timmmmm-ber! in Vancouver. Back in 1995, more than 22 per cent of the city was covered in trees and that dropped to 18 per cent in 2013, with almost all of the canopy decline occurring on private property. ••• Since I’m on the topic of the environment, I thought I’d put together a few sentences on why Mayor Gregor Robertson is suddenly calling for an end to whales and dolphins in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. The mayor, by the way, says his position isn’t sudden. “I was asked a few weeks backs and just stated my personal opinion that I would like to see a phase

out of whales and dolphins in captivity,” Robertson told reporters earlier this month. “I haven’t been asked before. Certainly, I was in support of phasing out orcas when that was a key issue.” But what about calling for an end to penguins, sea lions and fish in captivity at the Aquarium? “I’m not going to weigh in on which species at the Aquarium should be kept versus phased out,” he said. “But there’s real clarity, I feel, that cetaceans are not deserving of captivity.That’s a widely shared opinion these days.” The mayor said he wants the park board and Aquarium to work out details of what happens next. In the meantime, he added, Robertson doesn’t support a referendum on whether whales and dolphins should be kept in captivity. twitter.com/Howellings

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vancouver.ca

Development Permit Board Meeting: May 5 The Development Permit Board and Advisory Panel will meet: Monday, May 5, 2014 at 3 pm Vancouver City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue Ground Floor, Town Hall Meeting Room to consider these development permit applications: 1188 Richards Street: To convert an enclosed balcony to floor area in the existing multiple-dwelling building on this site. 1480 Howe Street: To develop a 52-storey residential tower with nine-storey podium including rental and retail uses and to construct two six-storey buildings providing retail and office uses (Sub-area A). 1461 Granville Street: To develop a six-storey building providing retail and office uses (Sub-area B). 1462 Granville Street: To develop a six-storey building providing retail and office uses (formerly 1410 Granville Street). Please contact City Hall Security (1st floor) if your vehicle may be parked at City Hall for more than two hours. TO SPEAK ON AN ITEM: 604-873-7469 or lorna.harvey@vancouver.ca

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

News

Gas prices threaten free rides for sick kids

Shriners Care Cruiser Program strives to raise money as costs rise Jenny Peng

Jennypeng08@gmail.com

The ripple of soaring gas prices isn’t just hurting drivers. A free cruiser program operated by the Shriners to transport children from all over B.C. to Vancouver for medical treatment is also feeling the pinch. Kristal Tremblay remembers when her son was sprawled out on a sofa and transfixed by the cartoons on the TV screen on one of the specially equipped buses in the Shriners Care Cruiser Program. He was unusually calm for a boy with Down syndrome during the six hour bus ride from B.C. Children’s back to their former home in Enderby. The free ride offers families a way to come to Vancouver for specialty pediatric care from as far away as Prince George,Vancouver Island and the Alberta border. The cruiser saves Tremblay about $150 per person compared to taking a Grey-

Jim Harrison is the director of operations with the Shriners Care Cruiser Program, which transports approximately 3,500 people a year to Vancouver for medical treatment. PHOTO DAN TOULGOET

hound bus from Enderby and accommodates wheelchairs and stretchers. It has a fridge, microwave, and medical supplies.

“There were times where Tucker was on medication that needed to be refrigerated. And they have a refrigerator in the water cooler

that is on the bus, so it was really great we could have access,”Tremblay said. As with drivers affected by soaring gas prices that

reached $1.50 per litre recently, the cruiser program is facing cuts reducing its operations from six to four days a week. Recent gas prices are particularly hard-hitting for the program because within the last 10 to 15 years, the Shriner’s membership in B.C. and Yukon has dwindled from roughly 3,000 to 1,600 fundraisers, according to executive director Tracy Cromwell. Cromwell says Shriners Care for Kids needs to raise more than $1 million to keep up with operating costs.The program has five cruisers and six professional drivers, and transports approximately 3,500 people a year, according to director of transportation Jim Harrison. “If we needed more money we use to be able to say to our members, we need to get out there and sell more raffle tickets, we need to get out and do more pancake breakfasts,” Cromwell said. “But we don’t have the same number of members

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to mobilize anymore, and the grassroots fundraising that we use to do isn’t working so well anymore. So we’re looking at new ways to let people know that we’re happily accepting their donations.” When Tremblay heard about funding roadblocks facing the cruiser program, her mind reeled from thinking about other families dependent on the service. “I know countless other people who use this bus to get their children to and from Vancouver and where they live. If these kids were going without these buses, they would be going without these appointments,” she said. “For my family, had we not relocated [to Abbotsford] it would have been completely devastating because we’re in an area where they’re not travelling through very often. Which would have meant less availability to get to appointments.” twitter.com/jennypengnow

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W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

News

TWILIGHT MASS at 9 PM

Two key planners move on DEVELOPING STORY

Naoibh O’Connor

noconnor@vancourier.com

Matt Shillito and Scot Hein — two longtime staff in City of Vancouver’s planning department have given their notices. Shillito, assistant director of planning, has been with the city for a decade. His last day is June 24. He’s moving back to England. “It’s been a great experience living in Vancouver and working at the city but it feels like the right time to reconnect with family and old friends, especially as our kids are hitting school age,” he told the Courier in an email. Shillito was responsible for the Marpole and Grandview-Woodland community plans. He was also responsible for other area plans, including Mount Pleasant and Norquay, and for major projects such as River District, Oakridge, Little Mountain, Pearson-

Matt Shillito, assistant director of community planning for the City of Vancouver. PHOTO DAN TOULGOET

Dogwood and the Great Northern Way campus. Kent Munro, another city assistant director of planning, is taking over the Grandview-Woodland plan, a transition that was going to happen regardless as the planning department is being reorganized on

geographical lines. Work on the GrandviewWoodland community plan and the Citizens’ Assembly won’t be delayed, according to the city. A memo on the plan is expected to go to council in June. Asked to comment on his biggest accomplishment, Shillito told the Courier: “I’ve had the opportunity to work on so many large, complex and fascinating projects in a wonderful city with a very sophisticated planning culture. I can’t single out one piece of work because I’ve enjoyed and learned from aspects of all of them but some of my favourites include River District, the Central Waterfront Hub Plan, and Marpole Plan.” Hein, a senior planner in the Urban Design Studio who’s been with the city for about 20 years, is retiring, according to Brian Jackson, the city’s manager of planning and development. Jackson said the studio started under Larry Beasley. “It was a group of big

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thinkers — people who deal with big ideas as far as urban design is concerned,” he explained, adding Hein was behind the “really creative” sketches and drawings for some of the area plans that have gone through, as well as for some of the city policies and major applications. “For both, it’s a huge loss for the department. It’s a huge loss for the city. Both are very talented planners and urban designers and it reflects the kind of robust market that we have right now for planners and urban designers, especially ones trained in Vancouver to be able to work wherever they want.” Asked whether he’s surprised that Shillito and Hein decided to move on, Jackson responded: “I wasn’t surprised to see change in the department.This is a big department. I’m always sorry to see good people go — whether they decide to retire or move to England or move down the street.” twitter.com/naoibh

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

News

Special night garners gold for Courier The Courier’s Vancouver Special project turned out to be a golden journey Saturday night at the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards. Vancouver Special, which over 14 months explored more than two dozen Vancouver neighbourhoods in print, photography, video and statistics, won the gold award in the website and online innovation cat-

egory at the awards, held April 26 in Richmond. Wrapping up in March, the project was the largest ever attempted by the Courier and involved the work of several dozen writers, photographers, graphic designers and support personnel. In awarding the gold, the judge lauded the project as “a fantastic concept.” The Courier also won silver for best newspaper

in its circulation category, edged out for top spot by Kamloops ThisWeek. The judge praised the Courier for “plenty of well-written, insightful articles and lots of community involvement.” Reporter Mike Howell won silver for best feature article for his piece on the memorial service for Rick Hofs, a homeless man who died in a Marpole back alley. “The

story lifted the shroud of anonymity from one death and gave the man’s life some scale,” wrote the judge. Entertainment editor Michael Kissinger earned bronze in the environmental initiative category for his story about artist Julien Thomas’s efforts to spur community interaction with a Mount Pleasant traffic circle. Longtime contributor

Geoff Olson won bronze for best cartoonist for his take on public street art in Vancouver. The Ma Murray awards, which honour the best in community journalism in B.C. and Yukon, follow on a successful showing for the Courier at the Canadian Community Newspaper Association awards. The national association awarded Olson a gold

for best cartoon for his “Energy Seductress,” a take on the political allure of the energy industry. Reporter Naoibh O’Connor earned a bronze for best business story for her feature examining the Oakridge Centre redevelopment. Vancouver Special rounded out the awards with a bronze for best multimedia feature. — Barry Link

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W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

Opinion Student-loan defaults not whole story

Ghostbusters has roots in early spiritualism

Les Leyne Columnist lleyne@timescolonist.com

Matthew Claxton Columnist

The high default rate on student loans to people in private training colleges was cited as one of the reasons the government is shutting down the self-regulating agency that oversees the industry and taking over that function itself. Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said he was disturbed the default rate was in the 17 to 18 per cent range, compared to seven to eight per cent in public institutions. The issue hasn’t been examined adequately, so “bringing it back into government will apply the additional rigour we can only do from our level.” But there was an earlier court case related to student loans in private colleges, and the judge’s findings raise some questions about the background to the decision to fold the Private Career Training Institutes Agency into government. Because it suggests there wasn’t much rigour on display when the government moved earlier against two such colleges. In brief, two of them sued the government — the Advanced Education Ministry and its student loans office — over how they were treated, and won overwhelmingly. The Automotive Training Centre in Surrey and the Academy of Learning in Vancouver had their designations stripped because of the default rates of their students. They went to court for a judicial review of the moves and the government’s case collapsed in short order. Not only did the government concede the main point at the outset, the judge penalized Virk’s ministry by awarding special costs to the two institutes. The origins of the case were in a warning issued to one school that its default rate was over 28 per cent and it had to take action to bring it down. There was some back and forth on the issue, then the school lost its designation in 2011. The proprietor complained that it was not told a review was concluded, didn’t know it had to make representations and information on the case wasn’t shared with the institution. He argued that misinformation and incorrect calculations were used to suspend the school. The proceedings against the other college followed a similar track.

The judge found the school was “largely in the dark about how the decision had been made in the first instance.” It hadn’t been allowed to make a submission before the ruling, and didn’t know about certain documents, or the existence of a committee that was an important part of the process. As for the default rate, it was blamed on the fact the training college student population is from a much higher-risk background than those at public institutions. There is a much higher percentage of students who are underemployed, underprivileged and facing multiple barriers to employment. The higher default rate is almost a given. There was a subsequent argument about the judge’s decision on costs.The institutes won that as well. It’s believed to be the first time special costs have been levied against an administrative tribunal.They were levied partly because StudentAid B.C. cast itself in an adversarial role, said the judge. Instead of explaining the suspension order to the court, the official became an advocate for the faulty decision.The judge was troubled that when the outfit is obliged to reconsider its own decisions, its fairness and impartiality appeared compromised. The costs order is being appealed by the government. In the meantime, the core review looked into the regulation of such schools, where there have been complaints that school operators are passing judgment on themselves when complaints arise. There was a flurry of activity in the sector. Virk ordered most of them to conduct annual audits — an expensive new requirement — and a number of new bylaws were passed to tighten up regulation. (Coincidentally, the two successful plaintiffs were elected by the membership to the board of directors last month.) Then Virk and Core Review Minister Bill Bennett concluded oversight of such schools will be brought in-house. They suspended the board and named a senior bureaucrat to start dissolving the agency, although it will take at least nine months to get the legislation done. It was never directly responsible for student loans, but the default rate seems to be in the background of the decision to take over the responsibility. If they’re planning a crackdown, they’ll have to be more careful than they have been in the past.

mclaxton@langleyadvance.com

The world is a web of strange connections. Like the connection between two bored 19th century adolescents and one of the greatest comedies of the last few decades. Ghostbusters is pretty good, right? Second best Bill Murray movie (after Groundhog Day), at least in my books. But why ghosts? Why slimy ectoplasm? What’s with those cards with the wavy lines? Let us begin at the beginning, or maybe just a little bit further back. In the early 1800s, western New York State was the site of new religious movements popping up left, right, and centre. There were folks predicting the return of Jesus (with exact dates and times, which led to the Great Disappointment), the origins of the Mormon church, and the Oneida community, a communal utopian sex cult that also made quality flatware. Out of this milieu, in the 1840s, came Kate and Margaret Fox, two teenaged sisters who seemed to be followed around by loud rapping noises. They said the noises were spirits, which began answering the questions of neighbours in the “one for yes, two for no” style. Kate and Margaret’s grown sister Leah promptly moved the two into a bigger town where they could help people with their gifts, or possibly make a bit of cash. Maybe the latter. In 1888, widowed, alcoholic and racked with doubts, the two younger Fox sisters would publicly acknowledge that they’d faked the raps. Both of them could crack their toes — like cracking your knuckles — at will. They recanted their ability to communicate with the other side. It was way too late for that. In the intervening 40 years, spiritualism had become a major social force, and had in some ways broken out to become either a new religion, or an odd offshoot of Christianity. There are still spiritualists and spiritualist churches today, though the movement died down after the 1920s. But during its glory years, spiritualism and seances convinced many people. Part of that process was that mediums came up with many new techniques, or borrowed them from stage magicians, to demonstrate their contacts with ghosts. Table rapping was similar to what the

Fox sisters did, but there were also levitating tables (usually with a foot or an assistant), making objects float around the room (wires), and even producing a weird gooey substance they dubbed ectoplasm. Sadly for those who would like to believe in ghosts, every time a skeptical researcher got their hands on some of the stuff, it turned out to be cheesecloth or chewed paper. Some mediums could swallow and regurgitate ectoplasm and other items.

Another supporter back in the glory days of spiritualism was apparently Dan Aykroyd’s great-grandfather. While magicians and escape artists like Harry Houdini often debunked such tactics, the showmanship convinced a lot of people, including prominent ones like Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Another supporter back in the glory days of spiritualism was apparently Dan Aykroyd’s great-grandfather. Aykroyd is a fourth-generation believer in spooks, spectres, and phantasms. So when he wrote a movie script that featured his family’s enthusiasm, he put in a lot of details that come from spiritualist and psychic beliefs — ectoplasm, Zener cards, poltergeist activity. A lot of the jargon was Aykroyd dredging through things he believed for weird words and the oddly specific details that made the humour come alive. Combine that with his co-writer Harold Ramis, who grounded the story in the creation of the Ghostbusters team, and you had a great script. You may have guessed that I don’t believe in ghosts one bit, and certainly not in seances. But they make for great movie characters, whether you believe or not.

The week in num6ers...

67 23 18 28 85 250

The remaining number of condominium units the city sold to the Aquilini Group (the owners of the Vancouver Canucks) for $91 million in order to finish paying off the $630-million debt for the troubled Olympic Village project.

Number, in thousands, of healthy trees that were cut down in Vancouver between 1996 and 2013, most of which were on private property.

Percentage of the city that was covered with trees in 2013, down from more than 22 per cent in 1995.

Number of neighbourhoods the Courier profiled in its 14-month-long Vancouver Special neighbourhood series, for which it won gold for website and online innovation at the Ma Murray Community newspaper awards this past weekend. See vancourier.com/vancouver-special.

Percentage of “Bronies” who are male, according to the documentary A Brony Tale, screening at the upcoming DOXA festival, about the subculture of adult fans of the children’s cartoon My Little Pony. However, there are those who maintain bronies can only be men and refer to women fans as “stegasisters.”

Amount in dollars of an offleash dog fine in Vancouver, which is the same price for not having a dog licence, which costs a mere $39.


W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

A11

Mailbox Health funding allocation needs to be fair, transparent

C O U R I E R A RC H I V E S T H I S W E E K I N H I S TO RY

Gay sailor executed at Oakalla Prison April 28, 1959: Leo Anthony Mantha, a former sailor in the Canadian Navy, dies by hanging at Burnaby’s Oakalla Prison after being sentenced to death for murdering his male lover aboard a ship stationed at the Esquimalt naval base. Mantha’s trial caused a national sensation due to allegations of rampant gay sex within the military. His bungled execution, the last in B.C. history, took place in a modified elevator shaft in the former prison near Royal Oak Avenue and Oakland Street.

To the editor: Re: “Kitsilano youth fear losing Pine Free clinic,” April 23. The recent backlash towards funding cuts to community health centres in Vancouver is a reminder that our provincial health care system will be faced with many challenges when setting priorities and allocating funds over the next few years. The B.C. government spends a large portion of its budget on health care (42 per cent) and has decided that this percentage needs to be contained. Over the next three fiscal years, the government has restricted health spending to an annual increase of 3.2 per cent versus the 7 percent increase seen in previous years.Thus, decision makers will be charged with the daunting dilemma regarding what to fund and what not to fund. In the past, resource allocation decisions have been based on historical trends — allocation based on previous years, and political factors — the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”This should be of concern to British Columbians as it suggests that our health care tax dollars are not being allocated effectively. More specifically, in a recent study, 62 key decision makers in various Canadian health regions (all senior executives and medical directors) admitted that they did not have clear guidelines for setting priorities during resource allocation.The majority claimed to rely on historical trends or political pressures. Not surprisingly, only 22 per cent of these in-

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Sanitation worker story inspires potty humour

To the editor: Re: “Worker takes city to human rights tribunal,” April 25. The sanitation worker who is appealing to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to get his job back has got to be telling the truth. Who would seriously question his claim that the sanitation department is “a toxic working environment”? Neil McBurney, Vancouver

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letters may be edited by the Courier for reasons of legality, taste, brevity and clarity. Send to: 1574West Sixth Ave.,VancouverV6J 1R2 or email letters@vancourier.com

Canucks win opening round series

April 30, 1994: Pavel Bure takes a pass from Jeff Brown 2:20 into double overtime and dekes out goalie Mike Vernon to score the Game 7 series-winning goal against the Calgary Flames in the opening round of the 1994 playoffs. It marked the team’s third straight win in sudden death overtime. The team would go on to the Stanley Cup final, eventually losing in the seventh game to future-Canuck Mark Messier and the New York Rangers.

dividuals believed their process was effective. There is a simple solution to this issue; the B.C. government should require publicly funded areas of our health care system to demonstrate the use of a systematic and explicit process for setting priorities and allocating funds. There are many frameworks to assist decision makers in priority setting and resource allocation (e.g., program budgeting and marginal analysis).These frameworks use specific criteria for judging what should be funded, incorporate evidence wherever possible, and create advisory panels to draw on expertise. Furthermore, they promote transparency and accountability of the allocation process so that resulting decisions are clear and fair. Step by step guidelines for carrying out these processes leave no excuses for key decision makers to maximize tax dollars and improve the health of British Columbians. Sarah Boorman, Vancouver

have your say online...

vancourier.com FACEBOOK TheVancouverCourierNewspaper TWITTER @vancouriernews WEB

COURIER COLUMN: “Practical Geek: Canadian networkTV apps are a bag of hurt,” April 23 Jay: I’m glad someone has finally brought this issue up.The U.S. networks offer the same shows for much longer periods of time after they air, of course we can’t actually watch them in Canada without resorting to aVPN or other means. Scott Flynn: And they still wonder why people resort to “theft” of digital media via file sharing. Our providers have to get with the times and get with the program — so to speak. Bill Dodge: It is about time someone wrote about the nonsense that is Canadian OnlineTV. What gets me is the buggy nature of it where my bandwidth is sucked up by needing to reload the program due to crashes during their insertion of poor ads. On top of that, the volume of some ads is ridiculously high! Did the CRTC not have something to say about that forTV? I agree, CBC’s Olympic coverage was fantastic; they deserved a gold medal themselves. Bottom line: networks are getting greedier, waste my bandwidth, torture me with the same repetitive ads and sometimes come close to blowing my speakers. Are they deliberately trying to extinguish the online content market? COURIER COLUMN: “Kudos and Kvetches: Un-earthed,” April 23 judyrudin: Dying! In a good way...Thank you, @KudosKvetches @thecourier for helping me keep my sanity. #HypocracyWatch COURIER STORY: “Developing Story: Fairview development proposal has sweet history,” April 25 @HeritageVan: How sweet it, umm, was —


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W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

A13

Community

Tattoos mark journey from dark past VancouverTattoo and Culture Show showcases art’s evolution CITY LIVING Rebecca Blissett rblissett@telus.net

At one end of the sound spectrum at the Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show this past weekend was the carnival barking coming from the stage where pin-up girls wiggled in military-inspired dresses. At the other end of the spectrum was the mosquito-buzz of a hundred tattoo machines. Many of the city’s artists had a table or three set up in their booths at theVancouver Convention Centre, hunched over living canvases of skin, painting on clients zoned out to the fact that they were getting inked in a convention centre along with dozens of others at the exact same time.There was a certain poetry to the sound of creation, the synchronicity of machine meeting flesh. “You have these moments where you realize so many tattoos are being created at once,” said Chris Hold, who works out ofVancouver shop Sacred HeartTattoo. “I was here until 11 p.m. last night and we were closing down. I was running my machine and I could hear somebody else running their machine in the distance — zzzzpt, zzzzpt — it was like smoke signals or something.” It’s the sixth year for the

show formerly known as theWestCoastTattoo and Culture Show headed by Tim Lajambe. StephanieVu helped out with production as she knows Lajambe through the world of metal fabrication where he is her mentor. “This is in between a boutique and a big show,” said Vu. “I moved to Vancouver from California and while there’s obviously more people there, it seems that here everybody is tattooed. It’s not even an uncool thing or a cool thing, it’s just a normal thing. So, there’s a massive community and it’s very diverse and we try to cater to that.” In addition to the more than 120 local and international artists, there was a seminar on lettering, both pin-up and Dead Dollz zombie pageants, as well as an artist and people’s choice contest. Attendees proud of their work competed in the latter competition, an informal process where winners were selected based on cheers from the audience. Of the six who signed up for the Poor Life Choices category, only one appeared. It was an automatic win for his entry — an eternity tattoo accompanied by a saying unfit for a family newspaper. He walked off the stage with a cash prize of $50, fished out from host Samantha Mack’s bosom.

Back at the booths, Hold sketched artwork for one of his regular customers while explaining that part of the appeal of getting inked at a show is being able to compare and choose styles under one roof without having travel costs. “There’s an excitement around collecting work and it’s a cheap way to get a tattoo from somebody who’s desirable,” he said. Hold had his own experience on the other side, once lucking out at a show in Seattle where he discovered the artist he happened to be talking to was San Jose’s Matt Shamah, whose work he greatly respects. “We were talking about hockey — he knows more aboutVancouver hockey than I do — as I was looking through his portfolio and I didn’t know it was him. He wasn’t advertised to be there,” remembered Hold. “So he agreed to do a tattoo. I had no money at all and I don’t know why he did it, I guess he was bored but it was awfully generous.” Hold has a background in design, including teaching at Langara College. He’s also worked in a dairy along with a long list of bill-paying Joe jobs, part of the reason he feels privileged to be working as a full-time tattoo artist. “All those guys who

Jody Blakeway, a.k.a. “Inkboy” was one of the many who attended the sixth annual Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre this past weekend. Blakeway said he doesn’t have much bare real estate on his body. PHOTOS REBECCA BLISSETT To see more photos, go to vancourier.com or scan this page with the Layar app.

tattooed in the early years didn’t do it full-time.They’d be a UPS delivery man, barber, or whatever it might be.Then they’d tattoo from 8 p.m. to two in the morning to make extra money now and then.When I think about those guys, it makes me feel fortunate that I came at it at a time when I can wake up and do it every

day,” he said. It’s the history of the art that Hold also respects about the industry. “There’s the primal, historic evolution of tattooing. It comes from primitive marks, it’s ritualistic, ceremonial and evolved into something dark — men that fought, killed… criminals…Then look at the military and the First and

SecondWorldWar where they were badges accepting that you were possibly going to die but also represented the camaraderie and brotherhood,” he said. “It meant something. But now, it’s like makeup. And that’s fine but it’s not where it comes from. It comes from a really dark, primal, scary place.”

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Offers expire subject to change without notice, not available at all locations. Your first invoice will include a Connection Fee of $15 per line to activate your service on our network. Where applicable, additional airtime, data, long distance, roaming, options and taxes are extra and billed monthly. The following monthly government 9-1-1 fees apply where applicable: 62¢ in Saskatchewan, 40¢ in Québec, 43¢ in Nova Scotia, 53¢ in New Brunswick, 70¢ in Prince Edward Island and 44¢ in Alberta (effective April 1, 2014). However, there is no airtime charge for calls made to 9-1-1 from your Rogers wireless device. Device Saving Recovery Fees and /or Service Deactivation Fee (as applicable) apply in accordance with your service agreement. 1 Unlimited Canada-wide calls on the Rogers network. International long distance, text to landline and roaming extra. Only 10-digit Canadian-based numbers eligible (excludes customers’ own number, voicemail retrieval and special numbers like 1-800/1-900). 2 Includes unlimited messages sent from Canada to Canadian wireless number and received texts from anywhere. Sent/received premium texts, sent international texts and sent/received messages while roaming extra. 3 Call Display: Compatible device required. Not all numbers can be identified. Voicemail: Records up to 3 messages; each up to 3 mins., saved for 3 days. © 2014 Rogers Communications.

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Special Deals for Spring and Summer 50% off selected items

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Offers are subject to change without notice. Taxes extra. *With new activation on a 2-year Tab24 agreement on a Smart plan. Device Saving Recovery Fees and/or Service Deactivation Fee (as applicable) apply in accordance with your service agreement. 1 Standard plans available monthly or with a 2-year Tab24 agreement. Data is a monthly service with Standard plans. Additional long distance, roaming, data, add-ons, provincial 9-1-1 fees (if applicable) and taxes are extra & billed monthly. 2 Plans include messages sent from Canada to Canadian, U.S. and international wireless numbers. Sent/received premium messages (alerts, messages related to content and promotions) and messages sent while roaming not included and charged at applicable rates. 3 Airtime includes calls from Canada to Canadian numbers only, billed by the minute. Each additional minute costs 45¢ (20¢ for Call Forwarding). 4 Additional data is $5/100 MB, charged in $5 increments. Visit fido.ca/roaming to learn more about data roaming pay-per-use rates. 5 Service includes up to 3 messages, each 3 minutes in length that can be saved up to 3 days. TMFido and related names & logos are trademarks used under licence. © 2014 Fido Solutions

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4


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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

Timing critical in choosing a summer camp Sandra Thomas

sthomas@vancourier.com

The general manager of YMCA Camps andYouth Engagement says a good place for parents and guardians to start when choosing the ideal summer camp is to determine when exactly they want their children to attend. “We start our registration the first week of January,” said Lisa Stiver. “It depends on how picky parents are about the dates.They’ll want to register early if they want their first choice.” Stiver said while some programs offered by the YMCA are already full, there are still plenty of summer day programs and overnight camps available for children between six and 17 years old and of all abilities. Stiver said a great resource for parents and guardians is the B.C. Camping Association’s website (bccamping.org), which lists accredited camps across the province.The association is the governing body that ensures quality camps play an integral part in the development of children, youth and adults and contribute to healthy communities. The BCCA achieves this by maintaining and promoting safety standards through volunteer-driven accreditation.While all camps must

meet the legislated standards within their province, an accredited camp meets additional requirements relating to its property, facility, administration, leadership, health, food service and programs determined by the provincial association. According to the BCCA, the maximum term a camp may be accredited is four years, but that only applies to the operation as seen at the time of the visit. Additional visits may be required if there are any significant changes to programs, staff, management, the board of directors, ownership and the facility. Stiver said the association’s search engine can help parents and guardians narrow down their choices. Parents can choose between religious and non-religious camps and themes ranging from environmental learning to leadership to outdoor recreation and sports to specialty camps for kids living with chronic, lifethreatening or debilitating conditions. Day campers at the YMCA participate in sports, games, boating, archery, high and low ropes, arts and crafts, themes days and other special events. Overnight camps of varying lengths, depending on the age of the child, are also available at theYMCA-operated Camp Elphinstone.

According to the general manager of YMCA Camps and Youth Engagement, there are still plenty of summer day programs and overnight camps available for children between six and 17 years old and of all abilities. PHOTO SUBMITTED BY YMCA OF GREATER VANCOUVER

TheYMCA has been offering overnight camps for more than 100 years.The Y also offers spring break camps and day camps for school professional development days. “Parents will want to look for camps that have the same philosophy or values they do and then it depends on what their child is interested in,” said Stiver.

Tips for parents

The Canadian Camping Association has tips about choosing the right summer camp: • Talking to your children about the programs they’re interested in, where they’d like to go, how long they’d like to stay and if they’re comfortable going alone or if they’d prefer to go with a friend. • Talk to friends, family and neighbours whose children have attended camp previously or who attended camp themselves when they were younger. • Contact your provincial camping association and visit their website at bccamping.org. Attend local camp information sessions or fairs. • Make a shortlist of possible camps and visit their websites. • Compile a list of questions and call the camp director. • Ask if it’s possible to tour the camp facility before making a final decision.

ACTION PACKED GYMNASTICS FUN!

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Register for WPGA Summer Camps! Sign up online at www.wpga.ca/summercamps2014 We offer over 30 fun camps, including sports, drama, junior and hands-on camps, for ages 4-15 years.

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W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

A job as a summer camp worker is guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Getting a job at summer camp

Accredited camps offer many opportunities sthomas@vancourier.com

It’s a job that’s inspired movie plots of all genres, including comedy, horror and even romance — Dirty Dancing comes to mind. But the true day-to-day responsibilities of a summer camp counsellor are less about learning how to dance and more about keeping kids safe, consoling homesick tweens and ensuring everybody has a good time while getting them to the right place at the right time — that is unless you plan on attending dance camp. Regardless,

a job as a summer camp worker is guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime.Whether you eventually want to turn those memories into a screenplay is up to you — and yes, there’s a camp for that, too. The B.C. Camping Association offers a job board on its website to assist individuals seeking summer work or full-time employment opportunities with its accredited member camps. If you enjoy working with kids, have a passion for the great outdoors and love the camp environment, the website is a great resource

and place to start. To apply for a position, send a resume and cover letter to the corresponding member camp by the application deadline.To submit a job posting, contact BCCA secretary Conor Lorimer at info@bccamping.org and submit a request including the application deadline, contact information and a link applicants can follow to the camp’s website or job posting. For a full list of accredited camps, visit the directory at bccamping.org. The Vancouver Park Board and some community centre associations also hire seasonal sum-

mer help to fill positions as playground leaders and day camp workers. For more information, follow the employment links at vancouver.ca. twitter.com/sthomas10

Saturday

Sandra Thomas

MAY 10

2014

VANCOUVER CURLING CLUB 4575 Clancy Loranger Way

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Give your budding soccer star a chance to kick it with the ’Caps this summer. ’Caps coaches ensure players of all levels are challenged, focused, and having fun. For boys and girls U-6 to U-13 July 7-11, 1-3 p.m., Trafalgar July 28 – Aug. 1, 1-3 p.m., Trafalgar August 11-15, 9-11 a.m., Clinton

Register now, space is limited. whitecapsfc.com/camps

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

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W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

Arts&Entertainment

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GOT ARTS? 604.738.1411 or events@vancourier.com

1 April 30 to May 2, 2014 1. From the peeps who brought you The Number 14 comes RIP! AWinkle inTime. AxisTheatre Company’s first adult main stage theatre production in more than 10 years is set in the Canadian north and is loosely inspired by the fable of RipVan Winkle with a modern tie-in to the true story of a Siberian family of six who were found by Soviet geologists in 1978 and had been living with no contact from the outside world for more than 40 years.The play runs April 30 to May 17 at Granville Island’s WaterfrontTheatre.Tickets at ticketstonight. ca. Details at axistheatre.com. 2. The Dunbar Theatre is throwing itself a party, commemorating the fact it’s been screening films since 1935.To celebrate, the Dunbar is kicking it old school with a screening of the 1942 silver screen classic Casablanca, May 1, 7 p.m. with pre-show musical performances from Susan Skemp, Phil Moriarity and Brent Chapman, and prizes for best costume. Details at facebook.com/DunbarTheatre. 3. Giggles & Gags features 16 performers delivering more than 15 original sketches, comedy songs and magic acts May 1 to 3 at PAL Studio Theatre. Net proceeds go towards Aunt Leah’s Place, a Vancouverbased agency that supports marginalized teens, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.Tickets at brownpapertickets.com. 4.The ninth annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival twirls it pasties and shakes its feather boa across theVogue Theatre stage May 1 to 3. Performers include the current “king of burlesque” Ray Gunn, “the feminine phenomenon” Perle Noire, and local stars April O’Peel, Burgundy Brixx, Lola Frost and Melody Mangler. This year’s guest of honour is Kitten Natividad, Miss Nude Universe for 1973 and 1974 and star of Russ Meyer’s 1979 film BeneathTheValley OfThe Ultra-Vixens. For info and tickets, go to vanburlesquefest.com. For video and web content, scan page using the Layar app.

2

3 3

4 4


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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

Notice: Public Access to BC Children’s Hospital Emergency has changed. Public Access to BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department (ED) Now Through Oak Street Entrance Only As of April 23, access to the BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department will be from Oak Street, door 11 on the west side of the building. As a result, traffic patterns and parking have changed.

28TH AVE. ENTRANCE

Clinical Support Building Child & Family Research Institute

NO PUBLIC ACCESS TO ED

ry to la bu Am

re Ca

17

BC Children’s Hospital

Parking

11

E PUBLIC New short term Emergency OAK ST. NEWACC ESS Entrance ED Department parking is available in front of the new entrance area. Nonemergency parking is available close by in the underground parkade. A parking assistant is available at Entrance 11 to help patients and families access longer term parking from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday. U Pa nde rki rg ng rou n

d

This change is necessary to accommodate the start of construction on the new Teck Acute Care Centre. We recommend that patients and visitors allow extra time to find parking before appointments. We appreciate your patience during construction. We are continue to be committed to providing the best care to our patients and families. To find out more visit www.newcw.ca.

Arts&Entertainment KUDOS & KVETCHES Who?Watts?Where?

On Sunday, the Province newspaper took a break from its regular scheduled front page programming of fear, tragedy and the daily minutia of the Vancouver Canucks to inform its readers that Surrey mayor and keeper of the feathered 1980s hairdo Dianne Watts will not run in this year’s municipal election, prompting speculation that she might take stab at a federal seat. And because Watts has such a pun-friendly name, the headline writers wisely took the linguistic gift that was bestowed upon them and ran with the headline “Watts next?”Well played, Province.Well played. We can only imagine the heated discussion that took place in the Province’s editorial dojo and led them to eventually go with “Watts next?” over “Watts happening?’ or “Watts up?” or our personal favourite “SayWatts?” Needless to say, it must have been an excruciating decision, which we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemy. Here’s hoping the Canucks don’t hire some

dude named Dick Butts or Bourne Loser as their next General Manager.Talk about a Sophie’s Choice.

Whale of a time

Earlier this week, we noticed an interesting alignment of the stars in Vancouver’s blogosphere. Over at the font-challenged Vancity Buzz website, one of its hard-nosed reporters named “Vancity Buzz Staff” wrote a “news” story called “Debunking falsehoods, misinformation: 10 reasons to support the Vancouver Aquarium.”This was followed by a series of tweets to bolster the hashtag #ISupportVanAqua. So what kind of interviews or research did “Vancity Buzz Staff” do in order to wade into the heated and complex debate surrounding the aquarium over keeping whales in captivity? Essentially they reprinted a press release that the aquarium posted on its own website.Then on Tuesday, writerTrevor Dueck penned an op-ed piece titled “Protesting theVancouver Aquarium is Hinged Upon a MisguidedWhaleTale.” Talk about synergy! Over at the eternally positive Vancouver is Awesome website, it was much the

same thing with a video post from theVancouver Aquarium and the headline “Here’s a message from theVancouver Aquarium that you need to see. #ISupportVanAqua.” VIA then proceeded to tweet said hashtag no fewer than three times in one day to its nearly 47,000 followers. All of which is fine and dandy if a blogger wants to share with readers his or her opinions, hiking photos, love for the Samsung Galaxy, or joyous experiences living in the OlympicVillage thanks to a condo and salary provided by the realtor behind the OlympicVillage. And we acknowledge that the aquarium does many worthwhile things in areas of research, rescue, education and rehabilitation. But the cynical part of us naturally wonders how the aquarium got its press release and hashtag to be promoted in lockstep fashion by these high-traffic blogs. Rather than, say, talking to journalists who might take a more nuanced approach to the story with more than one side of the debate explored. At the very least, it looks like a wellcoordinated PR campaign on the part of the aquarium — which neither Vancity Buzz nor Vancouver is Awesome are particularly upfront about.

Public Information Session-April 30 Managing Stormwater at UBC

In spring 2013, we reached out to the university community on the development of an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan to address the effects of rainfall on its Point Grey campus lands. Since then, UBC has drafted an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan for the Vancouver campus, in consultation with the university community. Please join us at a Public Information Session on April 30 to learn more about integrated stormwater management planning, why UBC has developed an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan, what it means for UBC and its neighbours, and the key elements of the University’s draft Plan. Planning staff will be on hand throughout the session to answer any questions.

Date: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm Place: Michael Smith Laboratories, 2185 East Mall, Room 101

Can’t attend in person? You can also learn more, and participate online from April 28 – May 11 at planning.ubc.ca. For more information on the public information session or about online participation, contact: doug.doyle@ubc.ca

This notice contains important information which may affect you. Please ask someone to translate it for you.


W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

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Arts&Entertainment

Brent Hodge’s A Brony Tale, about adult male fans of the children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, closes the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, which runs May 2 to 11.

Show me the brony Cheryl Rossi

crossi@vancourier.com

The first fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic you meet in A Brony Tale is a bald motorcycle mechanic with a thick goatee and a fierce brow. This biker, DustyKatt, explains he and other guys like the Hasbro animated cartoon intended for girls because it features relatable characters and “excellent storytelling.” The “manliest brony in the world” is just one of the many male My Little Pony fans director/producer Brent Hodge met on his journey around the U.S. exploring the brony phenomenon. Others include a DJ who remixes My Little Pony music at brony parties, military bronies and a brony whose other passion is pumping iron. “I was definitely weirded out at the start,” Hodge said. He learned about bronies from his friend Ashleigh Ball, lead singer of Vancouver band Hey, Ocean!, who he’d met through previous work at CBC Radio 3. Ball is also a voice actress who plays Applejack and Rainbow Dash on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and when Hodge heard she was receiving letters from adult male fans and was invited to appear at BroNYCon, he was hooked. Hodge spent a year strategically taking on film work around North America to interview bronies. A BronyTale follows Ball

as she considers attending and then appears at a brony convention in NewYork City and features the bronies Hodge met on his odyssey. He discovered bronies are a kind and generous lot. They volunteered to pick him up from the airport, showed him around town and, after interviews, wanted to hang out. Hodge interviewed psychologists who’ve studied more than 30,000 bronies and learned 85 per cent are male (female bronies are sometimes called pegasisters) and 84 per cent are heterosexual. He learned how fandom had inspired bronies to make music, art and a group, Bronies for Good, which raises money for organizations that help children. Soon, Hodge was questioning his initial cynical thoughts about men who enjoy stories about characters with pastel and rainbowhued manes. “Maybe I am kind of being stereotypical here about what it takes to be a man,” he said. “These guys… [are] kind and confident.They’re brave, clearly. These are all really great qualities that should be in a man and they have all those.” The Courier reached the 28-year-old Hodge in NewYork City Thursday as he admired the theatre where Hodgee Films’s first feature-length documen-

Do the DOXA:

tary was to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival “We’ve only doneTV projects, so this is the first time where I actually have to sit in a room with people and see what they think,” Hodge said. “It sold out four hours.” A BronyTale touches down inVancouver May 11 to close the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, which runs May 2 to 11.The pop-culture doc is guaranteed future screenings with Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame acting as executive producer and distributor. Hodge, who grew up inVictoria and now lives betweenVancouver and San Francisco, previously directed the Leo-nominatedTV documentary Winning America aboutVancouver-based band Said theWhale and What Happen’s Next about singer Dan Mangan. He couldn’t say what he’s working on now, but says his future projects will be upbeat. “A lot of docs don’t make you feel all that good, they make you feel like you’ve done a lot of wrong in this world,” he said. He wants those who see A BronyTale to be entertained, to learn a little about voice acting and to feel their perceptions about bronies shift. “It’s not even about the show,” Hodge said. “It’s about this community that they created.They have a

With more than 90 films and 78 screenings DOXA covers vast ground beyond men who love My Little Pony. The festival opens with Virunga, a film set in Eastern Congo where rangers protect a national park from those who want to exploit its rich natural resources. DOXA also includes a special presentation of To Be Takei, about George Takei who played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek and in recent years came out as gay. For more information, see doxafestival.ca.

big saying, you know, come for the show and stay for the community, so that’s the moral of the story, really, it’s all about friendship.” twitter.com/Cheryl_Rossi

For more details go instore or online @thebrick.com.

vancourier.com Strengthen a community’s voice by purchasing a copy of Megaphone’s special literary issue, Voices of the Street. Find a Megaphone vendor: Find.MegaphoneMagazine.com

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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

Sports&Recreation

School sports: what’s at stake

MAGEE

17

KITSILANO

15

Advocates claim $2 million in volunteer coaching at risk from school board cuts Megan Stewart

mstewart@vancourier.com

The Vancouver School Board saves at least $2 million in coaching and sports administration costs because of volunteers who say they cannot run hundreds of sports teams during three competitive seasons without the central administrative support of a district-wide athletic coordinator. This was the argument made by teachers, coaches, parents, an Olympian, a Toronto Blue Jays consultant and several student-athletes who pleaded with the VSB not to eliminate the position of the athletic coordinator at a final hearing Monday evening. School board trustees decide Wednesday how they will cut $11.65 million from the 2014-15 budget to make

up for a funding shortfall. In 12 years, the VSB has had to chop $47 million from public school education because of decreasing government funding and declining enrolment. One trustee asked VSB staff how leagues would operate without a central and impartial coordinator. A staff member said the work would likely fall to teachers, coaches and administrators. This, she said, “would lead to less consistency and opportunity for kids.” By cutting the athletics coordinator, a CUPE position, the VSB will save $72,000.The cost is too great, advocates argued, and several put forward numbers of their own. The $2 million in savings is the estimate of Kathleen Shiels, a single mother who homeschooled her son after

he suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was sport, volleyball specifically, that helped him integrate back into high school alongside his peers. Shiels calculated that each public school coach puts in eight hours a week of volunteer time to run a team.These hours increase during playoffs, time which is over and above the eight hours per week.The fall, winter and spring sports seasons run for 12 weeks, she argued, and at least 2,000 coaches volunteer to run 1,500 teams at elementary and secondary schools. If those volunteers, including teachers and community coaches, were paid minimum wage, the VSB would be on the hook for at least $1.9 million. The calculation stumbles on two figures. High school

Students, teachers and parents gathered outside the Vancouver School Board Monday evening to protest the proposed cutting of a district-wide athletics coordinator. Students wrestled and played volleyball on the grass. PHOTO DAN TOULGOET

RUGBY Kitsilano Blue Demon Ryan Lu lets go of the ball while in the grasp of his opponents during a boys semifinal rugby game against the Magee Lions at Camosun Park April 28. Magee won 17-15 and meets Lord Byng in the city championship at 3:45 p.m. May 1 at Camosun Park. PHOTO DAN TOULGOET seasons are 12 weeks long at most for teams that advance all the way to B.C. championships but some teams’ seasons will end after six weeks. But since the eight hours each week is a low estimate, the higher number of weeks lends some balance. The estimate of 1,500 teams is also at the high end.Vancouver high schools have roughly between 25 and 40 teams. Kitsilano had 53 teams this year and University Hill, with by far the lowest sports participation, had fewer than 10 teams.The city’s 109 public elementary schools typically have basketball and volleyball teams and also run track and cross-country. If every elementary school has six teams, that’s more than 650 teams.With 680 high school teams, that brings us to more than 1,300 teams.That figure alone is incredible to consider. In regards to the tally of 2,000 coaches, many teachers will coach numerous sports, and since each season stands on its own in these calculations, it’s correct that teachers be counted once for

every season they coach. If every team has two coaches — some high school teams have three in addition to a sponsor —now we’re talking a very high number of volunteers each season. The VSB could not provide me with an exact number of student-athletes or the number of teachers who volunteer to either coach or sponsor a team before our print deadline. The VSB also heard personal examples of the value of sport. Candy Thomson was never picked first for teams but since elementary school tried out for every team. “I was always the fifth person on the four-person relay,” she said. Undeterred, Thomson knew she’d discovered her passion and sport took her around the world with the women’s national field hockey team. “High school sports shape you into the type of person you will be for the rest of your life,” said Markiel Simpson, a Van Tech graduate who plays varsity volleyball at university. He pointed to another alum, Ken Li, who founded Apex Volleyball, which is now one of the most influential vol-

leyball clubs in the city. Here’s another calculation to consider. If an average of 18 student-athletes compete on roughly 35 teams at 18 high schools, that’s 21,000 teenagers in Grades 8 through 12.This equals roughly 7,000 student-athletes per seasons since some will play multiple sports, meaning one season an athlete could be a swimmer and the next a shooting guard. Larry Cruickshank, a father whose son plays basketball at Churchill secondary, crunched these numbers, too. He said the $72,000 saved by eliminating the district-wide athletic coordinator breaks down to a dollar amount for every child and teen who competes for his public school team. “View it as an investment of $3.50 per athlete. There is no doubt that the availability of sports within school keeps a number of students in school,” he said. “The lynchpin to all of this is the district athletic coordinator.” Without an administrator in the role, he said, “that will invariably lead to the disintegration of the whole system.”

THE COST OF VOLUNTEER COACHES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

8 hours

Average volunteer hours per coach, per week

96 hours

192,000 hours

Average volunteer hours per coach, per season

Average volunteer hours per year for 2,000 coaches

A season (there are three) can last six to 12 weeks

To run 1,300 to 1,500 teams in elementary and secondary schools

x 2000 coaches

x $10.25

= 96 hours

= 192,000 hours

= $1,968,000

x 12 weeks

Minimum wage, if paid

Calculations provided by Kathleen Shiels


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THE VANCOUVER COURIER W E DN E SDAY, A P R I L 3 0 , 2 0 1 4

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Vancouver Courier April 30 2014