The Next Speaker …

April 24, 2017

…in the Britannia Renewal Speakers’ Series will be Ouri Scott, architect, and David Ramslie, sustainability planner. Their topic will be Learning and Community Growth and will take place on

Thursday May 4th, 7:00pm at Britannia High School Auditorium

I think it’s really about an approach to the environment. Not talking about the technical sense of the environment, but the sense of place. Honouring the past of that place, thinking about who and what came before, from people, trees and animals. And making references to the past and to cultural heritage.” – Ouri Scott

Everyone is welcome!

Library as Community

April 21, 2017

Last night I attended the latest in the Britannia Renewal Speakers’ Series. This was a presentation on the unique role of the public library in building community given by Asa Kachan, CEO of the Halifax Library system. There were perhaps just three dozen in the audience. She was an excellent speaker and deserved more.

Halifax has recently opened a new Central Library. It was this space — and the process by which it was designed — that was the central feature of the presentation.  The previous building, a 1950s slab, was no longer relevant or attractive to the current generation; the new building is entirely different. The concepts and design ideas were developed during an active and extended community engagement phase, primarily using World Cafe methods.

As a meaningful symbol of the engagement of the local community, the library handed out 400 pairs of scissors to residents to cut the ribbon in opening day.

Ms. Kachan repeated often that a modern library needs to be both “purposeful and surprising;” that the purpose of libraries and other public spaces is to “change the quality of people’s lives.”  The Halifax Library has been designed to be open and participatory, with flexible spaces that many groups and individuals can self-curate.  As she stressed, if you build good spaces, people will use them imaginatively.

The speaker also emphasised that the community engagement process does not end with the construction project. The same importance of public input continues into ongoing operations and programming.

It was an inspiring presentation in which she stressed that the library is for the people not the librarians, giving examples of how a library can make a significant difference to an individual. She noted that Halifax is a welcoming open library for the homeless and others without other access to technology. There is a new encouragement to include food with library activities and to make the library part of a food security network.

Throughout Ms. Kachan’s presentation — and especially in the Q&A within which a wide range of library-use topics were discussed — I got the sense that she would like to add even more of the social services and community components that already form part of the Britannia continuum. In turn, Halifax’s experience is one we should keep closely in mind as we develop the Britannia library as part of the renewed Centre.


Dates for Calendar

April 15, 2017

There are two meetings of interest at Britannia this coming week.

On Tuesday 18th April at 7:00pm in the Info Centre Boardroom, there is the regular monthly meeting of the team planning the Britannia Renewal Project. the agenda this month includes a discussion on housing, a report on the lease negotiations, an update on the speakers’ series, and other items of interest.  All are welcome.

On Thursday 20th April, at 7:00pm in the Britannia Library, there will be a discussion with Asa Kachan, Chief Librarian of Halifax Public Library. The topic will be “Learning and Community Growth” and again, everyone is welcome.

This Thursday would also have been the regular monthly meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group, but we believe the Library discussion to be of such interest that GHG has canceled this month’s meeting and will meet again in May.


BC Election — Here We Go Again

April 11, 2017

Finally — after being bombarded by tax-payer-paid Liberal Party propaganda for weeks — we officially start the 2017 BC election campaign today.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows,  I am an anarchist and I am profoundly opposed to the sham that is known as modern democracy: it is nothing but an enabling front for grasping capitalism; a fig leaf designed solely to disguise the exploitation of the people by self-selecting elites offering small “gifts” of our own money and freedom. Even those who are not yet convinced of this truth recognise that it inherently over-promises and under-delivers, and after every election most voters are quickly disillusioned and depressed by its predictable futility.

That all being said, some “elected” governments are clearly worse than others and, until we can regather our natural freedom, it is essential that the BC Liberals are thrown out of office on May 9th. Their corruption and anti-personnel policies are too well known for me to rehearse them here. Their corrosive lack of morality is damaging to everyone’s psyche, including their own. But who to vote for instead?

Social democrats, such as the NDP, are little more than capitalist-enabling elitists with prettier disguises, and the current batch is no better than any others. How else can one explain the NDP having a candidate, in Richmond, who is publicly opposed to same-sex marriage, safe injection sites, and early sex ed?  How come he hasn’t been thrown off the truck months ago?

As for the Greens, they have to answer for Andrew Weaver who supported Clark’s extra payments and who is content to see a massive LNG plant built by a plutocrat in Prince Rupert.  I might be pushing for them but I just don’t trust him.

However, my hope is that the Greens do well enough, the Liberals do poorly enough, and the NDP get a reasonable number of seats for there to be no majority government. An NDP-Green coalition could then be pulled together. I probably would not wholeheartedly support a lot of their policies, but I know they would be better for the average Jill and Joe than the BC Liberal Socreds.

A Cure For All Political Ills

April 6, 2017


Thanks to Fusion Comedy

R.I.P. Yevgeny Yevtushenko

April 2, 2017

It is with sadness I learn of the death at age 83 of the brilliant Russian poet and novelist Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

He was one of the heroes of my youth, though I admit I haven’t thought about him for several decades now. His poem Babi Yar and his early Autobiografia were inspirational to me as a young poet and confused Marxist.

I will take some time this summer to re-read some of his work.

Welfare Remembrance Day

April 2, 2017

Today is the 10th anniversary of the last time welfare rates in British Columbia were raised.

  • Ten years in which the housing market (including low-end rents) and hydro and medical costs have exploded.
  • Ten years in which our brave MLAs have increased their own salaries hand over fist.
  • Ten years in which our Beloved Leader has paid herself hundreds of thousands of dollars even more than her already-huge official salary.
  • Ten years in which ferry and bus fares have doubled and tripled.
  • Ten years in which cronies of the BC Liberals have made billions and billions of dollars of profits.
  • Ten years in which our education system has been stripped to help the rich pamper their kids in private schools.

Ten years in which as a deliberate policy the poorest amongst us got nothing.

Let us all remember that on May 9th.