Category Archives: environments and land conservancy

BC's The Land Conservancy hosts International National Trusts Organisations conference in Victoria

Tuesday evening reception hosted by TLC for the INTO conference Wed Oct 12-15, 2011
Bill Turner (TLC executive director) and I am are in the back row 2nd & 3rd from left. INTO Chair Simon Mole is back row 4th from right. – photo Deb Martin 

It was a very warm and welcoming reception on Tuesday evening Oct 8th.  Leaders from National Trust and conservancy organizations around the world came to Victoria BC, to attend the INTO conference organized by The Land Conservancy of BC.  I talked with people from Uganda, Seoul, Malaysia, England, India as well as representatives from Canadian Heritage.

Here is the news release from the conference:

NEWS RELEASE             

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 14, 2011

INTO Conference Says Protection of Culture Must Be Central to Durban Climate Change Summit

Protecting our culture – the people, places and stories that give us a
“sense of place” – should be a core commitment arising from the United
Nations Conference on Climate Change that will take place in Durban,
South Africa, November 2011.

than 260 delegates from 34 countries representing over 6 million
members sharing a common vision to safeguard the world’s natural and
cultural heritage are signing the Victoria Declaration on Climate Change as part of the 14th International Conference of National Trusts, October 12-15, 2011.

the INTO Conference ceremony, Simon Molesworth, Chairman of the
International National Trusts Organisation (INTO), shares: “All of the
debates of climate change miss that not only are we talking about the
survival of the planet and our species, but we are talking about the
essence of our being, the essence of our culture. Culture is not talked
about enough by our world leaders. They do not understand that the
maintenance of the concept of community of people is at risk. The
Victoria Declaration is a clear message to decision makers that if you
don’t focus on the impact of climate change on culture you have
destroyed the essence of the world

is connected in the world around us and there is a cause and effect for
every action we take as global citizens. The issue of climate change is
no exception. There is scientific evidence supporting global warming
and the physical results are all around us, but the less recognized
effect is the loss of social sustainability – our culture that makes us
unique. People’s “sense of place” is directly connected to the historic
places in their communities and the stories of their past.

an example the nation of Tuvalu off the coast of Polynesia recently had
safe drinking water flown into the island from Australia because the
rising sea levels have contaminated the fresh water supply with salt.
There is a real threat that the over 10,000 Tuvaluans on the island will
have to be re-located to the mainland and this unique culture and
civilization will be lost forever. A culture moved, is a culture lost.

As part of the Victoria Declaration on Climate Change,
INTO members are asking global leaders to include in their strategies
on climate change not only changes in our physical environment, human
health and welfare, but to recognize the core strength and connectivity
of human beings requires maintenance of our cultural sustainability. It
is our responsibility to protect special places and stories so future
generations will have the same sense of pride and spirit many of us
enjoy today. It is culture that binds us together around the world.

Follow the conference in real time on twitter @2011can, hashtag #INTO2011. Photos will also appear at and video footage at Click here for the full Conference Program.

Here are highlight stories from the INTO conference in Victoria – from the TLC website:

Dame Fiona Reynolds of the National Trust (UK) speaks at Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver

– Dame Fiona Reynolds of the National Trust (England, Wales, Northern
Ireland) speaks at Vancouver's Van Dusen Gardens – I met her in Victoria
BC on Tuesday, on the eve of the INTO conference. She is very engaging
and interesting…

Van Dusen Gardens
NEW visitor Centre
5121 Oak St.

Come learn about the National Trust movement, the beauty of its
Special Places and the importance of the Trust’s role in public
engagement through this exclusive visual presentation.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 17, and the presentation
will begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information please call TLC’s Lower
Mainland office at 604-733-2313. Admission is by donation.

for more information see:

It's officially (finally) Tartan Day in Canada

It's officially Tartan Day in Canada.

Canada finally has it's official Tartan Day, after all the provinces had previously proclaimed Tartan Day.  In 2008, I arranged to have Tartan Day proclaimed in the the City of Vancouver.

-photo courtesy of T.Wong

Xavier MacDonald, Todd Wong and Sean John Kingsley wear their tartans to the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team practice on April 6th, 2011, Tartan Day.

I also wore my kilt at the Vancouver 125 Celebrations where I was helping to supervise the ball hockey games at Jack Poole Plaza in the afternoon.  There was fresh snow on the mountains, so thank goodness it was warm in the sunshine.

Check out the different tartans of each province.  Personally, I like the Nova Scotia and Sasketchewan tartans… Something about the blues and yellows of each.  The BC tartan with its red and green looks too much like a Christmas decoration.

Paddle for Wild Salmon begins in Hope, and will land in Jericho on Day 5

Todd Wong
is honoured
to be “Paddling for Wild Salmon”, on the “Salmon are Sacred” journey.

Todd Wong

We started the 5 day journey down the Fraser River from Hope to Chilliwack –
I steered 1 of 5 voyageur canoes, past mild turbulence and eddies.  We had salmon lunch at Cheam Beach.

We had great fun paddling from HOPE to Chilliwack, with salmon lunch and
dinners today. Great to have Wendie Jimmie as a lead stroke, she
normally paddles War Canoe. Special thanks to Elly Edwards who visioned
this event, with support from Alexandra Morton to help raise awareness of the dangers of fish farms to wild salmon.

Story about the Paddle for Wild Salmon – landing in Chilliwack
yesterday. I steered our boat with my dragon boat/voyageur canoe
experience, while our lead stroke Wendy Jimmie was a veteran paddler of
war canoe racing. She is one of the paddlers who will paddle across the
Salish Sea from Vancouver Island to Jericho on Sunday.

Open House Canada Day at sites for The Land Conservancy of BC

The Land Conservancy of BC is hosting Canada Day events at some of his historic and important sites throughout BC.

Here is a list of events created by TLC Director of Operations Kathleen Shepherd.  I am on the board of TLC and have been involved with TLC, since they stepped in to partner with the Save Kogawa House campaign in 2005.

The Gorge Canada Day Picnic will include
Craigflower along with
other great things to do (and I’m sure, things to eat).

BC Binning House will be hosting their 2nd
Canada Day Open House:

For those in the Kootenays, TLC’s Associated Site,
SS Moyie will host Canada Day celebrations:

While not quite on Canada Day, Keating will open
for summer
teas on Sunday:

Abkhazi, Wildwood and Potholes are also open for
regular hours, check the TLC website for more information.

Happy Canada Day!

Newly elected board members for The Land Conservancy of BC includes Todd Wong

Newly elected board members for The Land Conservancy of BC
includes Todd Wong

2009_Aug_TLC 052 by you.

9 elected TLC board members + 2 non-elected candidates + Bill Turner = a vow to all work together for the best interests of TLC. David Merner, Alistair Craighead, Cheryl Bruce, Carol Pickup, Elspeth McVeigh, Briony Penn, Charley Beresford, Bill Turner (executive director), Frances Pugh, Gary Holman, Todd Wong, Ken Millard.  Unavailable elected board members Barry Glickman, Magnus Bein

TLC officially announced election results at around 11am Saturday morning August 8th

The entire Save TLC slate was elected including Todd Wong, also president of Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, which oversees programming for Historic Joy Kogawa House, owned by TLC

Click here for TLC Website Election Results

was an intense last 24 hours, as I took the 4pm ferry to Victoria with
longtime TLC supporter and board candidate Elspeth McVeigh.  We met
other board candidates and Save TLC Committee members including Bill Turner
for an 8pm  meeting.

Results had been expected to be announced to candidates at the end of voting at 5pm, but were not announced until after 9pm.

There is overwhelming a sigh of relief from the majority of TLC members, staff and volunteers, as many TLC projects and donations have been on hold since March, when TLC executive director Bill Turner was released from his duties by the TLC Board.

Today at a board meeting, which included an open forum, Bill Turner was re-affirmed as Executive Director.

Alastair Craighead is Chair
Briony Penn is Vice-Chair
Elspeth McVeigh is Treasurer
David Merner is Secretary

started the day visiting TLC property Ross Bay Villa at 10am, with
candidates Elspeth and David.  It's a wonderful heritage house with a
lovely garden.  We met with many of the volunteers who do restoration and gardending work.  They were very appreciative that we were board candidates, and that I was with the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society.

We met at Abkhazi Gardens at 11am,  for a tour and an all-candidates photo op.  It's an incredible heritage garden and house created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi, shortly after they settled in Victoria in 1946.

met at St. Stephens Church and Community Centre in North Saanich for
the 12:30pm board meeting, open forum, followed by a reception.  It was a wonderful reception where many TLC members were able to speak with the newly elected members of the TLC board. 
Elspeth and I left at 4pm to catch the 5pm ferry home.

I received positive response, whenever I mentioned Kogawa House.

Vancouver vs San Diego? vs Logan Lake?

2009_May 164 by you. Vancouver is called one of the “most livable cities” – kite flyers, sailboaters enjoy English Bay from Spanish Banks – photo Todd Wong

Vancouver vs San Diego? vs Logan Lake?
Vancouverism is an architectural concept for which diversity of use, diversity of space and diversity of people is included.

VANCOUVERISM is a wikipedia entry… and a traveling architectural exhibition to Paris and London.

SAN DIEGOISM is non-existent.

And where the heck is Logan Lake?

Vancouverism is also a touring exhibition to London and Paris. see:

Last weekend in Vernon, when somebody from Logan Lake found out I was from Vancouver, they complained about how “unfriendly” Vancouver was – especially about parking.  I had to ask where Logan was located.  Answer: between Kamloops, Merritt and Cache Creek. It is tiny with a population of only 2,100 people.  The Metro Vancouver area has a population of 2,116,581.  This person complained that mass transit didn't help him when he visited Vancouver, and that there is no freeway.

I pointed out that you cannot apply rural values and issues on a large city and expect similar results. Vancouverites fought against a freeway through Chinatown and Strathcona neighborhoods.  I told him that ubanist Jane Jacobs moved from the U.S.A. to Toronto because she declared it “more livable,” and today Jacob's son Ned Jacobs lives in Vancouver's Little Mountain neighborhood for it's livability where he leads an annual Jane's Walk.

Todays' Vancouver Sun newspapers reported on a San Diego news blogger 

San Diego blogger Arthur Saim compares Vancouver to San Diego, and says that Vancouver is “depressing” for him when he thinks  about the potentials for San Diego. Many comments on the blog have focussed on the social problems of Vancouver

See original article:

I think the key to Vancouver is its inclusion of diversity.  Whether it is the architectural concept of Vancouverism incorporating mixed use development, of community and industrial and business needs, – or the cultural diversity of its population.  Vancouver is many things to many people.  This is both it's strength and weakness.

Here are some links and quotes about Vancouverism:

“Vancouverism is characterized by tall, but widely separated,
slender towers interspersed with low-rise buildings, public spaces,
small parks and pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and facades to
minimize the impact of a high density population.”
-The New York Times, December 28, 2005

The word first entered the argot of American architects and city
planners over the past decade, who began speaking of “Vancouverizing”
their under-populated, un-loved urban cores, seeking inspiration from
Canada’s Pacific portal’s re-development successes. Our city has become
first a verb, and now, an ideology promoting an urbanism of density and
public amenity. Vancouverism at its best brings together a deep respect
for the natural environment with high concentrations of residents.
Within condominium residential towers downtown and courtyard and
boulevard-edging mid-rise buildings elsewhere in the city,
Vancouverites are learning to live tightly together; a healthy,
engaging – even thrilling place.

Not Asia, not Europe, not even North America, but a new kind of city
living with elements from all of these – a hybrid that now demands to
be taken on its own terms. In the language of city-building,
“Vancouverism” is fast replacing “Manhattanism” as the maximum power
setting for shaping the humane mixed-use city, important ideas for a
new era of scarce energy and diminished natural resources.


“Vancouverism is evolving a second and more interesting sense: that
of the latent character, the subjective quirks of urban identity hidden
behind these shiny façades. Call it the theory, or the legacy, or the
idea of Vancouver, but increasingly our writers are producing books
that capture this precious moment of self-knowledge, as this
good-looking adolescent of a city enters a more complicated young

Meredith Quartermain’s new collection of poetry, Vancouver Walking,
deals with this latter sense of Vancouverism, her word-images evoking
our hidden histories and the textures of our streets, especially on the
East Side.

Lance Berelowitz’s Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination
deals with the bricks and mortar and geographies of this town, a
rah-rah appreciation of our downtown and our more officially sanctioned
westerly zones.

Lance Berelowitz is a consultant to the urban development industry
who came to Vancouver from his native South Africa in 1985, after a
decade studying architecture and working in Europe… The first half of Dream
City, in particular has a “Gee whiz, aren’t we bloody marvelous” tone,
no doubt born of these prior commissions. “Vancouver is the poster
child of urbanism in North America” is his opening sentence, and too
much of the book varnishes over that poster with multiple coats of

Briony Penn speaks about upcoming election for The Land Conservancy of BC

Here's an article about the
current issues and upcoming extraordinary meeting for The Land Conservancy of BC.

I am a
running mate with Briony Penn, for the Save TLC slate – to become new
board members of TLC.

Mail-in ballots have now been sent out for the upcoming extraordinary general meeting and voting for new directors.  The Save TLC committee has had four conference call phone meetings and one in-person workshop meeting.  It's a great group of organizers, volunteers and candidates – all committed to the future of a strong and viable TLC.

TLC founder Bill Turner (2nd from left) and TLC co-founder Briony Penn (2nd from right sitting) with new candidates for the TLC Board: (standing) Todd Wong, Ken Millard, Magnus Bien, and (sitting) Cheryl Bryce, Elspeth McVeigh.

from The Saltspring Island Driftwood News:

co-founder Briony Penn,
who is running for a spot on the new board, hopes that the membership
will educate themselves on what she believes was a false accusation
resulting from a lack of due diligence by the board and their lawyers.

allegations were that the moneys donated by the land trust had been
used for other than that intended by the donor. That’s simply not
true,” Penn said.

subtlety of it is that they were confusing what is known as pooling
trust fund accounts instead of setting up independent separate accounts
for every project.”

to Penn, the funds were pooled until the time that they were needed,
and the lawyers were misinterpreting the Charitable Purposes
Preservation Act.

Gabelman was unavailable for comment, however, Penn recalls that he was unable to back up the board’s claims.

called up the lawyers and treasurer Colin Gabelman and asked: ‘What was
your written interpretation? What was your evidence?’ And they didn’t
get any written interpretation. They didn’t get any evidence.”

“[Turner] has raised over a hundred thousand dollars [since he was fired],” Penn said.

Sunday morning I was up at six with him at a bottle exchange in
Victoria. He’s been treated really badly by the board but he’s still
raising money as a volunteer to keep the organization going until it
gets back on track. I might add, I saw no members of the board at that
bottle drive.”

despite a major disparity between what Penn believes happened and what
TLC’s bean counters have reported, the environmentalist is willing to
work with anyone on the new board should she be elected.

“We’ve gotta put the trust back in land trust,” she said.

For more information see:

Save TLC Committee:

The Land Conservancy of BC

Save TLC committee is the best prepared to lead The Land Conservancy of BC for the Aug 8th election of new board.

The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is holding an Extraordinary General Meeting on August 8th to elect new board members.

TLC founder Bill Turner gives a positive “thumbs-up” approval with proposed board members from the Save TLC Committee.  They all attended a one day workshop and meeting on July 5th in Saanich with other proposed board members, committee members and community leaders.
Standing: Todd Wong, Bill Turner, Ken Millard, Magnus Bien
Sitting: Cheryl Bryce, Elspeth McVeigh, Briony Penn

The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is one of the important players in land conservancy in Canada.  It is a non-profit organization, based on the The National Trust of England, Ireland and Wales.  TLC purchases lands and creates environmental convenants in order to lands, and buildings of environmental, scientific, historical, cultural, scenic and recreational value that would otherwise be loss to destruction, demolition, or development.

TLC: What happened?

On March 27, TLC executive director and founder Bill Turner was “fired” without warning or rational explanation.  This is only three years after the founding visionary was appointed the Order of Canada for  “his tremendous energy and selfless dedication to preserve his province's
natural environment. A realtor, he founded the Land Conservancy of
British Columbia (TLC) to advocate for the protection of the
environment through conservation covenants and ecological gifts.”

According to Save TLC website Q's and A's “At the same time, “another Director gained access to TLC's head offic, once the staff had left for the day, disabled TLC's communications network and changed the locks on the doors.

When Turner was notified of his firing, a replacement had already been hired – without any public search.  Now to be called  Chief Operating Officer (COO) this replacement has no experienc managing land trusts or non-profit organizations, and has never even worked in one.  On Monday, March 30, the COO also fired TLC's long-time Deputy Executive Director, Ian Fawcett – again, without warning and without any explanation.

TLC members were shocked to learn of the events, and of the allegations by the TLC board about the TLC founder Bill Turner.  The Save TLC committee was founded to support the return of Bill Turner and senior management staff to TLC.  As well, the TLC committee has diligently worked to challenge the TLC board on its allegations, and to inform TLC members about these events.

The Save TLC committee has recruited 11 proposed board members that have worked with TLC in many capacities and/or have related experience and background to helping TLC recover from this current situation.

Both the Save TLC committee and TLC Board have
agreed on a procedure that would see all members of TLC vote to
elect a full 11 member Board at the EGM. All Directors of the current
board will resign at the EGM and those eligible may stand for

I am pleased that Bill Turner asked me, Todd Wong, to be on the Save TLC slate.  I have worked with TLC and Bill Turner since December 2005, when TLC became partners with the Save Kogawa House Committee, in an effort to save the childhood home of famous Canadian author Joy Kogawa from demolition. 

I have always been interested in the history of BC, and especially its pioneers.   I have always loved the natural history of BC, and am very aware of the need to protect its environments and eco-systems.  I was honoured that David Kogawa nominated me for the BC Community Achievement Award, citing my community work with the Save Kogawa House Committee, as well as my multicultural community events for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Former Founding Director Briony Penn has written a letter and sent it out to friends and members of TLC.  Briony writes:

I have received a large number of calls and emails from members
asking me who to vote for regarding the upcoming mail-in ballot for
electing 11 new Board members of  TLC The Land Conservancy of BC and
what my thoughts are.

will be receiving a ballot with 23 names. I would recommend this
wonderful team of grassroot individuals with trusted and proven
experience with land trusts that have put their names forward under the
ballot of Save TLC ( and consider them for the board. Then
vote through the mail-in ballot which you will be sent.

Barry Glickman, professor of biology at UVic
Cheryl Bryce, lands manager for Songhees and spokesperson on First Nations issues of land conservation
Magnus Bein, an ecologist working on the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program in the interior
Alastair Craighead, former Victoria City councillor and cycling activist
Elspeth McVeigh, a Vancouver business woman and historic building specialist
David Merner, a dynamic conflict resolution lawyer and community volunteer
Ken Millard, a veteran lands trust director and Galiano Islander
Carol Pickup a retired Saanich coucillor interested in heritage conservation
Frances Pugh, a farmer and chair of the Saanich Inlet Protection Society
Todd Wong who was active in Vancouver on the Joy Kogawa House and an award winning multiculturalist community organizer
and myself, a Founding Director of TLC and consultant environmental communication/education

have already met as a group and identified our respective skills and
roles that we would bring to restore the organization. All of us are
hard workers in our communities and understand that the financial
security of the organization relies on the relationships we form with
members/donors as this is our biggest asset for the long term financial
and social stability of the organization.

We have all spent time
going over financial statements and addressing the financial
allegations levelled at the senior management by the existing Board
with an independent chartered accountant and a trust lawyer expert that
we hired. The allegations were incorrect and a misinterpretation of the
Charitable Purposes Preservation Act. No law has ever been broken, the
lawyers that resigned were going on verbal advice based on an informal
conversation (one lawyer's)  about blending trust fund accounts, which
is common practice for charities. It is only illegal in a lawyer's
practice in some instances e.g., where you need to separate different
client's accounts that are accruing interest. (for full legal opinion,
trust lawyer David John's letter will be on the tlc website tomorrow,

Ironically, the old board did put forward a motion
to sell Keating Farm which would have been illegal under the Act.  The
Board perceived they needed to do this to alleviate  “crippling debt”
but this again was an incorrect characterization according to the
accountant. The organization was healthy at the point when the staff
were fired. At the end of the day, nothing has waivered our belief in
the skills, competence and commitment of the staff. We did identify
many areas for improvement including the need for Board members to
spend more time fund raising and working directly with the Executive
Director and staff so the two solitudes of Board and Staff never occurs

Part of the biggest problem I believe was that the Board
became more and more distanced from and distrustful of senior staff
because of a difference of interpretation over the financial
circumstances, the law and the selling of properties. The latest slate
of members are already doing their homework and have started on a full
analysis of what went wrong. All of us have worked on projects from the
trenches—either as activists, donors, in political and other supporting
roles. We all know what it takes to make projects successful, attract
members and keep the money rolling in. I believe this slate consists of
people capable of working even in the most challenging circumstances.
That might be what we face August 8th.

Prior to us getting
together last week, Bill Turner had picked me up from the Sunday 6:15
am ferry and we went to Elk Lake to set up the Bottle Drive for TLC. We
spent the next couple of hours picking up and assembling the stands,
bags and tables for the bottle drive. The bottle drive was part of our
commitment to raise money for TLC as the membership contingent of Save
TLC which has been very successful with over $100, 000 raised in a
month. When you are considering which board members to vote for and who
should lead the organization, consider asking the different candidates
who got up at 6 on a Sunday morning to get a bottle drive organized to
raise the funds to save special places?

I know where my vote lies.