villagevibe October 2007 : News and views from the heart of Fernwood
>> by Susan Salvati and Su Hallatt “Excuse me, does this coffee cup go in the organic compost bin or the paper bin?”
uch was a common refrain heard over at the Zero Waste area during Fernfest, Fernwood NRG’s annual neighbourhood music festival. “Here’s one for ya – this gnarly chewed up dog ball… plastics or garbage?” Never to be stumped, the zero waste volunteers found a place for everything … well just about. Ok, so there were a few mishaps when we weren’t looking – like the hot dog in the plastics bin, but for the most part, Fernwoodians were very good humoured about the whole exercise. It’s a bit overwhelming to go to the trash can only to be met with nine bins demanding that you analyze your ‘waste stream’. We could not have done this event without the help from key players in the recycling world. Jason at reFUSE.ca jumped on board for the cause
and dropped off the compost bins. His company was able to take all the organics – including the Phillips Beer corn-based cups – away to make compost. Elaine at the CRD Recycling Office offered invaluable advice on how to avoid zero waste disasters and she was able to lend us the equipment to collect all the beverage containers. The good folks at Pacific Mobile Depots were able to take the soft plastics, milk cartons, chip bags and even that nasty dog ball. Stellar volunteers Chris Whitehead and Tracey Veldhuis spent the entire day on Saturday, roaming the bins and fine-tuning the signage in response to the ways in which people were using the bins. One of the things that quickly became clear at the very beginning is that we needed a ‘Not So Sure’ bin. When people saw this, there was a visible look of relief on their faces. In the end, hardly anyone used this bin, but it was great to have it as a back up, and it added some levity to a daunting task. Thanks to all you festival goers for helping us meet the Fernfest Zero Waste Challenge.
Photos this page: Roberta Martell
Fernwoodians rise to the Zero Waste Challenge
After boogying to two days of music at Fernwood NRG’s annual Fernfest, neighbourhood residents were ready to relax. With the remnants of the stage in the background, neighbours gathered on the basketball courts behind the Community Centre for a pancake breakfast. In the foreground (above) Cornerstone Café barrista Andrea surveys the crowd before leaving the scene with a belly full of pancakes on her funky retro bike. MP Denise Savoie kneels and congratulates Fernwood’s rising hockey divas. Back at the grill (below) Quadra-Hillside MLA Rob Fleming and City Councilor Dean Fortin keep the pancakes flipping. Near the end of the event Monte (left) arrives with his puppy and his puppy’s stuffed twin tucked under his jacket. All in all, the pancake breakfast was a truly Fernwood event – an eclectic mix of neighbours sharing food amidst hockey equipment, retro bikes, supportive politicians, and dogs, both real and stuffed.
in this issue Co-housing comes to Fernwood Page 3 Feature: The Community Health Co-operative Page 4 Naturskool: an arts and ecology learning centre Page 7
Fernwood has lost a friend
There are those who, moving through your life, Leave footprints in your heart as they pass. Roger Colwill was that kind of person. Roger first walked through the doors of the Cornerstone Café last January. He had “the best decaf Americano ever” and proceeded to inform me that he was excited about what we were doing to revitalize Fernwood and wanted to contribute. Then he asked his famous question “If I could do one thing to assist you, what would it be?” My response: “Honour us with your friendship, Roger, and share your wisdom with us.” And so he
did, in far greater ways than any of us ever anticipated. Roger enthusiastically shared his wealth of experience from many years of community activism with Fernwood. Last April, he was instrumental in the purchase of the Fernwood Inn by his children, Michael and Sarah, and their associates. He also took it upon himself to become not only a major Fernwood advocate, but also a major contributor to our community effort. Roger brought Green Lunches to the Fernwood Inn, became very involved in planning for Fernwood Square and the Four Corners, was creating a Fernwood Business Network and was tireless in his ongoing work as the Community Liaison
declaration of principles and values We are committed to creating a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable neighbourhood; We are committed to ensuring neighbourhood control or ownership of neighbourhood institutions and assets; We are committed to using our resources prudently and to becoming financially self-reliant; We are committed to the creation and support of neighbourhood employment; We are committed to engaging the dreams, resources, and talents of our neighbours and to fostering new links between them; We are committed to taking action in response to neighbourhood issues, ideas, and initiatives; We are committed to governing our organization and serving our neighbourhood democratically with a maximum of openness, inclusivity and
for the Fernwood Inn. In a very short time, Roger occupied a very special place in Fernwood. And for those of us who were fortunate enough to have come to know him, he occupied a very special place in our lives. Roger was a rare and wondrous person who saw the challenges in his life as gifts and met them with courage and enthusiasm. And so, in his warm and gentle way, Roger challenged each to be more, to give more and to do so with grace. He sparked the minds and touched the hearts of us all. We always joked that, although living in Oak Bay put him at a real disadvantage, we generous souls would accept him as an honourary Fernwoodian. So, Roger, it is
Roger Colwill 1943-2007 with the deepest gratitude for your person and for what you shared with us that Fernwood honours you. Your footprints remain forever in the heart of our neighbourhood and in the hearts of those who were privileged to call you friend.
Fernwood magic: The pumpkin yard >> by Sheryl Shermak Last year was the Pumpkin Yard’s tenth anniversary in Fernwood. We at the Pumpkin Yard were amazed by all the well-wishers who came out and by just how much the Pumpkin Yard has come to be enjoyed by so many of you. Thank you Fernwood! One thing people don’t know about the Pumpkin Yard is that it is run by a tiny core of volunteers. Still we like to think of ourselves as a community festival. We like to think that our festival is your festival and we love it when people in the neighbourhood get involved. We love it because we are all about building community connections and getting to know our neighbours. Fernwood is one of the truly magical places in Victoria and we really appreciate this. This year at the Pumpkin Yard we are asking people to get involved by contributing a lantern, a Jack O’Lantern. Just like Luminara, the Pumpkin Yard glows bigger and brighter with the more lanterns we have. And just like Luminera, we welcome any and all lanterns. That means you do not have to be a pumpkin artist. A great portable lantern idea is to get a baby pumpkin and carve out a face on it. Baby Jacks such as this get a place of honour at the Pumpkin Yard: they top our fence posts and gateways.
We have a goal this year: to beat our number for most pumpkins ever. We have a special reason for this. My mother has terminal cancer, and really wants to be at the Pumpkin Yard at least one more time. Come be a part of the magic! The more Fernwoodians that come out, the more the Pumpkin Yard will be truly a neighbourhood event. And don’t forget, our pumpkin-carving studio will be open select hours from October 22-29. So you can drop by and carve with us if you like. We will put an open sign out at 2527 Fernwood Rd when we are in, but we pretty much run 12 hours a day.
kindness; We are committed to developing the skills, capacity, self-worth, and excellence of our neighbours and ourselves;
This year at the Pumpkin Yard we are asking people to get involved by contributing a lantern, a Jack O’Lantern.
We are committed to focusing on the future while preserving our neighbourhood’s heritage and diversity; We are committed to creating
neighbourhood places that are vibrant, beautiful, healthy, and alive;
A Fundraiser for the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre
and, most of all, We are committed to having fun!
Saturday October 20th, 20 Performers, 20 Minutes each Cornerstone Café 1302 Gladstone 10am – 10pm. Suggested donation, 20 quarters (aka $5)
Page 2 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | October 2007
What would make the Square a better place to hang out in? Views photos: Veronique da Silva
views from the street :
This square needs to be more closed off from the street kinda like Market Square, and have more patios, more benches and tables, more flowers, a garden in the middle of the square with a fountain.
This square needs more diversity and more color, live entertainment, parking, more seating area, more lights, and less doggy poo!
>> by Trish Richards There is another unique concept in housing coming to Fernwood. Bill McKechnie (yes, the guy with the boat! See August Vibe) purchased the heritage apartment building at 1802 Chambers Street this past spring and has an interesting plan for its revitalization. Built in 1912 as a “teacherage” for housing for single teachers employed by Vic High, the building most recently contained four rental suites. Bill intends to renovate to create a co-housing inspired building. Co-housing originated in Denmark in the 1960s. The idea is to live in community in private homes situated around a common area that contains a communal space in which to share meals, provide childcare, or simply visit with your neighbours. Initially, the impetus for co-housing came largely from people with young families who wanted to create a lifestyle that was more supportive of themselves and their children. Co-housing caught on and branched out such that the Canadian Co-Housing Network now lists
Carole James and the Opposition believe it’s time to give B.C.’s lowest-paid workers a raise.
IT’S ABOUT THE BASICS
Learn more, read the legislation, and sign the petition at:
www.opposition.bc.ca/en/minimumwage 1020 Hillside Avenue Victoria, V8T 2A3 Ph.: 250 360 2023 firstname.lastname@example.org www.opposition.bc.ca
Rob Fleming, MLA
I would like to see a waffle/pancake hut – nothing like a good waffle. Good music would also be great.
Photo: Veronique da Silva
Co-housing comes to Fernwood
Photo: Veronique da Silva
some 40 communities completed since 1991 and another 130 plus being developed, housing people of a wide range of ages and lifestyles. The co-housing concept has also been used to meet the needs of the elderly by the Abbeyfield Housing Societies in the UK. Here in Canada, there are currently 30 homes under the Canadian Abbeyfield umbrella. As with all cohousing, they provide a combination of independent and communal living spaces, which enables seniors to care for themselves in community. Bill’s unique twist to co-housing is his intention to create a space for single middle-aged people. “There are any number of 40 plus, single, healthy but not overly wealthy people in our city currently living in apartments in fourstory boxes,” he says. “It is a very isolating existence.” His vision is to provide large, self-contained private rooms that are much like bachelor suites. They will encompass space for sleeping, simple cooking, and private times. These will be complemented by central common areas including a kitchen and common eating and living areas. He also envisions some quiet areas for small groups and his landscaping plans include garden space. Bill sees the building attracting people who are looking for a home, rather than simply a place to rent. His plans include providing the handicapped access that may be required by some residents in the future. Bill acknowledges that a successful living arrangement will require a longterm commitment and feels that people will grow into the communal aspect. He recognizes that the residents will need to be likeminded in some ways and he anticipates
“some growing pains.” As he intends to live the in the building himself, Bill says he will be around “to iron out the bugs.” As for the building renovations, Bill intends to build as energy efficiently as possible and is currently looking at energy conservation and use alternatives. He also wants to look to salvaged and recycled materials. Bill talks of revitalizing, rather than restoring the building. And he knows of what he speaks. Bill has significant experience in Heritage renovations. His past successes include Abigail’s Bed and Breakfast Inn and the Beaconsfield Inn, both renowned as beautifully restored heritage Inns providing award winning accommodation services. From his extensive experience in the hospitality industry, Bill says he has developed “a good feel for what people want.” He is really excited about his co-housing inspired vision and thinks that “this is an idea whose time has come.” We think that it is great that it has come full circle in Fernwood. The 1912 teacherage will once again house single people enjoying the benefits of living in community. For more information on co-housing see: http://www.cohousing.ca/index.htm http://www.abbeyfield.ca/index.html
Victoria - Hillside
October 2007 | www.fernwoodneighbourhood.ca | Page 3
The Community Health Co-operative: A model whose time has come feature :
By Dr. Mark Sherman mdcm, ccfp
magine for a moment a community healing centre of sustainable and efficient ecological design; a welcoming space with a healthy emphasis throughout, from the colours upon the walls and the carefully placed plants and artwork, to the inviting organization of the gathering spaces. Imagine classes running on the second floor; a mindfulness meditation class is in one room and a support group for single parents is in the next. In the kitchen, a cooking class on healthy eating on a budget is underway. Outside in the garden, community elders work on planting and harvesting herbs and medicinal plants with street youth or school kids. In the Family Centre a daycare hums with the laughter of children. In the Integrative Medicine clinic the various health practitioners are meeting to review the wellness plans for patients who were assessed earlier in the week. A momentum of support and enthusiasm is gathering in Victoria for an exciting new health co-operative initiative. The Community Health Co-operative of Victoria (CHCV) is a collective of interested and committed community members who have been working together over the past nine months to co-create a vision of community based integrated
in addition to the mind, body and spirit of individuals and communities. Our priorities are towards wellness education, personal and community empowerment, illness and suffering prevention and programs and services that are available to anyone based upon need and not upon income or social class. How we choose to proceed with this vision continues to unfold before us as we gather information from you, our community, as to what is needed and wanted with respect to health and wellness in Victoria. Health co-operatives are not new to Canada or to British Columbia. Currently health co-ops provide health services to over 1 million people in eight provinces. The Saskatoon Community Clinic has been offering community-based health and wellness care and education to its members since 1962. In Quebec there are at least 42 Home Care cooperatives, a large ambulance co-operative, and at least 20 clinics run on a co-operative model. In B.C., the Community First Health Co-op in Nelson has low-cost seniors housing as one of their priorities, in addition to establishing a Wellness Centre where different practitioners work together with the community to promote health and healing. Health care co-ops make economic sense as well as community sense. In Canada health co-ops have been found
In Canada health co-ops have been found to have hospitalization rates that are 30% lower health and wellness. The idea of our health co-operative is to combine a community-based integrative model of health care with the co-operative philosophy, which enables members to have ownership over the means to their health and wellness education and services. Our vision embraces a broad definition of health that includes social and environmental determinants of health,
Victoria Health Care Co-operative Community Meeting
to have hospitalization rates that are 30% lower and a savings of 21% on the cost of prescription drugs compared to other walk-in or primary care clinics. The uniqueness of the CHCV model is in our commitment to health in its broadest definition and to our local community and its particular needs. Ensuring that we eventually have an Acupuncturist on staff may be less
Friday, October 12th 6:30pm - 9:00pm Fernwood Community Centre, 1240 Gladstone First in a series of events to include presentations from the Co-op Steering Committee and forums to share ideas of what this local health care co-operative will look like. Please come out and participate. We want this co-operative to fully reflect the values and vision of the community in which it is formed.
Page 4 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | October 2007
For a relaxed and purely organic experience By appointment only ~ 250-595-6505 1921 Stanley Avenue
important for our members than the availability of low cost housing, food security or affordable daycare. Perhaps physician appointments will be less of a priority than reliable home care for our seniors and for those with disabilities. As for our education programming, do we want to focus on nutrition and health education for our children, community yoga and meditation classes, an education series on the proper use of medicinal herbs, or is there a need for all of these?
We hope to continually build relationships in our cooperative â€“ with local governments, community health practitioners and educators, recreation programs and with other co-operatives in Victoria, in B.C. and beyond. There are many other exciting visions for the co-op: a birthing centre, a local co-op credit system, outreach programs into workplaces and schools are all ideas that have been brought up and planted as seeds for further discussion as we continue to unfold and to grow.
The co-operative model allows for such diversity simply because co-operatives are owned and run by members who, in the case of health co-ops, may be health practitioners, patients, volunteers, or any other community member. Our funding could come from a combination of B.C. Health (for our physicians, nurses and midwives), other provincial ministries, federal or
CHCV is now in its first stage of development, which perhaps is our most crucial. We have been making contacts in the Victoria community, researching funding opportunities and partners and assessing what other community integrative clinics are doing in Victoria, B.C., Canada and abroad. We have established promotional materials, a web-based blog site, and a
As far as location, we wish to evolve where there is the greatest need, interest and opportunity. Fernwood has always been a favourite area for our Steering Committee due to its central location, diverse population and its proactive community awareness and progressive community development. We have been working with the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group for several months now, and hope to continue to build our relationship so as to co-create a pilot project in the near future. Our next community forum will be held at the Fernwood Community Centre Gym, October 12th from 6:30 - 9:00pm. Everyone is welcome to this exciting event where we will be sharing music, food, and a brief introduction and presentation on the CHCV. There will then be ample opportunity to listen to and
Fernwood has always been a favourite area for our Steering Committee due to its central location, diverse population, and its proactive community awareness and progressive community development. discuss what is important to all of us with respect to health, healing and wellness. Please share this news with your family, friends and community. We welcome you to be a part of Victoriaâ€™s first community health cooperative and to help us co-create a vision for community wellness that will continue for generations to come.
Steering Committee made up of physicians, nurses, complementary and alternative health practitioners, midwives, community researchers, co-operative developers, social activists and community members. We held two community events in May and in June for the purpose of offering this exciting vision for health and wellness in Victoria and to listen to the ideas and needs of the community in attendance.
Photos this spread: Dr. Mark Sherman
local governmental grants, personal and/or business donations, credit union support and co-operative fees. In addition, in kind support through volunteer hours, and skill and knowledge sharing could go a long way to keep the community involved in their co-operative, as well as keeping our financial needs down.
Denise Savoie, MP A Voice for Victoria in Ottawa 970 Blanshard Street 363-3600 www.denisesavoie.ca
Our Office is Open to Serve You Community Office 1084 Fort Street, Victoria P: (250) 952-4211 F: (250) 952-4214 email@example.com www.opposition.bc.ca
Carole James, MLA Victoria - Beacon Hill
October 2007 | www.fernwoodneighbourhood.ca | Page 5
LifeCycles takes on Commons
>> by Tracy James LifeCycles Project Society assumed responsibility for the Spring Ridge Commons, Fernwoodâ€™s permaculture garden at the corner of Chambers and Gladstone, in May of 2007. The Commons is on property leased from School District 61. After managing the garden for the last 12 years, the Fernwood Community Association (FCA) agreed this spring to transfer their lease to LifeCycles, a non-profit organization mandated to promote local food systems and urban agriculture. Fernwood residents may know something of the siteâ€™s history. Formerly a public spring (hence the moniker), the site of a one-room schoolhouse and a parking lot, neighbourhood efforts over the past decade have transformed the space into a community permaculture garden. The Commons exemplifies a holistic approach to the community-oriented design of healthy, integrated landscapes. Such gardens provide a rich social and ecological resource in our community, where access to garden space for non-homeowners is scarce. As local resident Sarah Johnson says, â€œthe Commons is our little meadow in Fernwood. I often go with my two little children and sometimes other neighbourhood kids, too. Spontaneous games of mama and baby cougar and deer seem to erupt as the kids scamper about, and theyâ€™re always interested in smelling, touching, tasting and exploring the plants. We gather nettles in the spring to make nettle lasagna, and pick berries and lemon balm for tea in the summer.â€? Geoff Johnson, a local entrepreneur and permaculture activist instrumental in the Commonsâ€™ recent revitalization, has witnessed the garden flourishing as trees and shrubs mature. The gardenâ€™s polyculture design means that its â€œharvestâ€? is spread over ten months, starting with nettles and minerâ€™s lettuce and ending with medlars and willow. Several species, including sea buckthorn and Saskatoon berry, produced for the first time this year. Community members have devoted many hours of sweat equity and materials to the Commonsâ€™ success. Kennedy Landscaping donated materials toward the water-efficient, vandalism- and accident-resistant drip irrigation system that covers important food-producing beds. The great work of the Spring Ridge Commons volunteersâ€™ continued this summer, as nearly two dozen people gathered for a LifeCycles-organized work part on a warm August evening. Carolyn Hammond, UVic School of Nursing instructor and Commons volunteer, believes the garden provides an invaluable space where locals can wander and learn about plants. Volunteer efforts have made the Spring Ridge Commons a beautiful place for the neighbourhood to take pride in, and bring people of diverse background, age, and experience together. â€œNeighbourhoods need these kinds of places,â€? says Hammond, â€œwhere people of varied abilities can come together to share common experiences and leave feeling energized with new friendships and community understanding.â€? LifeCycles would love to hear from you if youâ€™re interested in getting involved at the Commons. Contact LifeCycles by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 383-5800.
gleanings : Consider shrubs >> by Margaret Hantiuk
As fall approaches it is a good time to plan new additions to your garden, itâ€™s one of the best times of the year to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees. The fall rains will ensure vulnerable roots donâ€™t dry out, there is no longer hot sun and heat to stress them, and they have time to settle in before the winter cold snaps. Shrubs are a crucial part of my garden: they add color, shape, and texture. Wisely chosen, placed, well planted, and cared for, they are low maintenance and a good investment; they can last for many years. In a city garden where there is not much room for trees, they become the backbone of the garden. First, decide where you would like to site your shrub: will it be sunny or in the shade? Is your soil heavy with clay, lighter, or rich loam? Is your yard exposed, windy, or sheltered? Do you want deciduous or evergreen? How much space to do have? Do you need hedging shrubs for screening and privacy? Do you desire flowering shrubs or is striking foliage appealing? Is fragrance important? Knowing the answers to these questions will assist you in choosing, as there is a huge and diverse selection of shrubs. If you have children playing in the yard, thorns (some roses and pyracantha) are not a good idea. Some shrubs also have toxic properties: yews,
daphnes, pyracantha, aucuba, cotoneaster, berberis, privet, euphorbias, elderberries, and laburnum to name a few. Most shrubs are tolerant of a wide range of conditions and care, but it pays to ask at the nursery. Read the labels regarding the height and spread to ensure you have enough room. When planting, space the new shrubs accordingly, using perennials or annuals to fill in until the shrubs gain full size in a few years. Always dig a big hole, remove some of the subsoil and chop up the bottom and sides to loosen the soil. Add a handful of bone meal and a layer of compost and place the shrub at exactly the same level as it was in the pot. Tamp the soil back in gently, place a mulch of compost on top â€“ not right up to the stem, to avoid rot â€“ form a well to hold in the water, and water deeply. Keep your shrub well watered until the fall rains start and for the first few years in droughts. After that it depends on the needs of your shrub, your soil and site â€“ how much sun exposure, and how long the drought. Do your research for each shrub. Pruning shrubs is easier than trees: always remove dead, diseased, and crossing branches. Some people like to shape their shrubs for a more formal look and others like them left in a more natural style. Some flowering shrubs need to be pruned intensely every year in order to flower well (roses, hydrangeas, forsythia, buddleia). Find out if your shrub should be pruned back in the early spring (flowers on new wood) or after flowering (flowers on old wood.) Donâ€™t prune whenever you want, as you may be removing the next seasonsâ€™ buds! Some shrubs are sheared a bit after flowering (lavenders, heathers, deutzia, mock orange). Removing one third of the old wood right down to the ground for three successive years can rejuvenate older shrubs. Your shrubs will become like old friends in your garden, bringing enjoyment throughout the seasons and over the years â€“ some for their flowers and others for striking foliage or bark, fragrance, or brilliant fall color.
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Page 6 | News and views from the heart of Fernwood | October 2007
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