UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

The Ubyssey Mar 1, 2012

Item Metadata


JSON: ubysseynews-1.0126127.json
JSON-LD: ubysseynews-1.0126127-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): ubysseynews-1.0126127-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: ubysseynews-1.0126127-rdf.json
Turtle: ubysseynews-1.0126127-turtle.txt
N-Triples: ubysseynews-1.0126127-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: ubysseynews-1.0126127-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Women head into
the Canada West
championships Our Campus
One on one with
the people who
make UBC
■ News»
Editors: Kalyeena Makortoff & Micki Cowan
03.01.2012 | 3
Gage South public hearing set for move-out day of student residences
Kalyeena Makortoff
News Editor
The second phase of consultations
for Gage South is underway, but the
AMS says the university's planning
department is undermining student
involvement in the process.
The AMS has taken issue with
the contents ofthe Gage South
survey, as well as the date ofthe
public hearing, which is tentatively
scheduled for the final day of exams
and the move-out day for students
in residence.
"Why would you schedule one of
the most important events in terms
ofthe last opportunity for students
to go have their voice heard on the
day when 95 per cent of campus
won't be here?" said outgoing AMS
President Jeremy McElroy.
The April 26 public hearing is the
culmination of a multi-year process
to change the land use designations
for academic lands on campus. A
separate set of consultations for
Gage South were created after
the university community raised
concerns about the potential for
non-student housing to be built in
the area.
The hearing will be the only
opportunity for the public to give
feedback for the zoning ofthe "Area
Under Review" before the plan is
sent to the provincial government
for approval.
McElroy said that though he
doesn't believe that Campus and
Community Planning (CCP) is deliberately excluding students, the result
will be the same.
"They have been operating in bad
faith and they're trying to sneak this
one by when students clearly are not
goingto be on campus to take part,"
McElroy said.
But Lisa Colby, director of policy
planning for CCP, maintained that
the date is flexible and will ultimately be set by the Board of
Governors at the beginning of April.
She argued that the date comes after
exams so that students can actually
attend and written submissions can
be made before people leave town.
Colby went on to say that CCP
wants to push forward with the process so that a new Aquatic Centre
can be built as soon as possible.
"At the end ofthe day, the project
will go at the pace that it goes at,"
she said.
McElroy resolved to ensure that
students have a voice at the hearing.
"If there's absolutely no change
from the university we're goingto
try and show up en masse on [April]
26 with everyone who's available
on that day, to let them know that
we're not happy with the process,
we're not happy with what's being
proposed and that we demand the
area be zoned academic." 13
UBC breaks ground on new SUB
Will McDonald
After five years of negotiations, consultations and planning, UBC finally
broke ground for the new SUB.
The groundbreaking ceremony on
Wednesday featured an open house
with posters showingthe history of
UBC's SUBs and artist renditions
ofthe new SUB. Outgoing AMS VP
Administration Mike Silley, outgoing AMS President Jeremy McElroy
and UBC President Stephen Toope
gave speeches praising everyone that
worked on the project since 2007.
Construction ofthe 250,000
square foot new SUB is on schedule for completion in 2014 and is on
budget. The new SUB will feature a
brewery, garden and rooftop childcare centre, as well as numerous new
restaurants and club spaces.
Silley said that Sarah Naiman,
AMS VP Admin from 2007-2008,
was instrumental in the project,
leadingthe referendum that made
the new SUB possible.
"Someone in their early 20s saying, 'Let's build a $100 million building,' it takes a lot of leadership to
accomplish that," said Silley.
Toope said he was proud of students' efforts on the new SUB.
"It's been extraordinarily impressive to see four generations of student leaders and hundreds of other
students givingtheir ideas about how
the SUB should look and what should
be in it," he said.
Accordingto Toope, an essential
part ofthe new SUB was orchestrat-
ingthe relationship between the
AMS and the university.
Bijan Ahmadian, AMS president
from 2010-2011, worked to facilitate
that collaboration.
"When I came on, itwas really
about changingthe tone and chang-
ingthe process," said Ahmadian.
News briefs
1KB will not stay open 24/7
Despite a petition to keep Irving K.
Barber (1KB) open 24 hours a day
throughout the entire school year,
KB director Simon Neame said that
there are currently no plans to establish an all-night study space.
Keeping the centre open 24/7 for
the full 32-week winter term would
cost at least $100,000 on top of the
existing budget. Shane Galway-one
of the initiators of the petition-feels
that such a space should be lobbied
"I think some people have at some
point had to do an [all-nighter] at
least once." he said. "And for people
living off campus, if they need to pull
all-nighters, there's nowhere really for
them to go."
UBC President Stephen Toope digs into the Knoll during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new SUB
"It's not students versus the university. It's students and the university versus the issues that come up."
Ekaterina Dovjenko, AMS VP
Admin from 2010-2011, was responsible for organizingthe documents
necessary to build the new SUB. She
said that although the project faced
a few roadblocks, everything has
worked out.
"This project is goingto be amazing for generations of students to
come," she said.
"I'm so glad it's come to fruition,
UBC scientists unveil new
economic and ecologic index
The growth in world population,
threat of climate change and downturn in the world economy has
prompted UBC researchers to create
a new "health" index of 150 countries that combines economic and
ecologic factors.
The top performing countries
were Bolivia. Angola. Namibia.
Paraguay and Argentina, while the
bottom performing country was
"Piling up ecological deficits is
just as concerning as piling up financial deficits-both have consequences for future generations." said
Rashid Sumaila. director of the UBC
Fisheries Centre.
because there were many times
when I didn't think it would."
New SUB committee member
Mike Duncan was excited to see all
the work on the new SUB pay off.
"I really think students are goingto be impressed when the new
buildinggoes up and they're goingto
have a fantastic place to share," said
The building will be LEED
Platinum Plus certified, making it
the greenest student union building
in the world.
$2M national study on bullying
of LGBTQ and straight youth
A newly launched UBC survey is
seeking to address how effective
school and community programs
have been in reducing homophobic bullying of lesbian, gay.
bisexual, transgender. queer and
straight youth. Led by UBC professor Elizabeth Saewyc. the five-year
survey is the largest investment of
its kind by the Canadian Insititute of
Health Research.
"Schools and communities are using a lot of different strategies to try
to change this, but very few of these
strategies have been evaluated to
see not only if they work and how
well they work, but why they work."
said Saewyc.
"The sustainability piece ofthe
SUB is phenomenal...It was always
number one, by a long shot," said
Duncan, who was also AMS president iwn 2008-09.
John Metras, UBC's managing director of infrastructure and development, said one ofthe best parts about
the new SUB will be its integration
with the Knoll that will house the
new Pit Pub.
"The connection with the existing
Knoll is goingto be quite spectacular," said Metras. tH
Bacterial traces found in
Vancouver prepackaged fish
A UBC study has found traces of
the bacteria listeria in 20 per cent
of ready-to-eat fish products sold in
Metro Vancouver. UBC food microbiologist Kevin Allen tested 40 fish
samples including lox. smoked tuna,
candied salmon and fish jerky sold
from seven large chain stores and ten
small retailers in Metro Vancouver.
Allen said that although the listeria
levels in the products met federal
guidelines, the bacteria can multiply
during handling and storage.
"Additional handling of ready-to-eat
foods in stores, such as slicing, weighing and packaging, may increase the
potential for cross-contamination."
said Allen. tJ
Election results
stand despite
ineligible voters
m m
Andrew Bates
Senior Web Writer
A review ofthe AMS elections has
found that ineligible voters were
able to cast a ballot for the UBC
Board of Governors (BoG) and
Senate, and may have done so in the
past as well.
"We have confirmed that a few
non-UBC students did vote in those
elections, however not enough voted
to have materially affected the
results," said Chris Eaton, UBC associate registrar.
"Therefore, the results ofthe
Board of Governors and the Senate
elections stand as is."
Students at UBC's affiliated theological colleges—St Mark's, Regent
College and the Vancouver School
of Theology—are AMS members
and can vote in executive elections,
but aren't UBC students and can't
vote for Senate or BoG. The AMS
administers those races on behalf of
the university.
Of 18 Regent College students
who registered to vote, 12 voted.
Their votes were stripped from the
official count, but no one candidate
lost more than four votes in this
process, and BoG candidate Erik
MacKinnon saw his vote total remain the same.
Accordingto elections administrator Carolee Changfoot, Regent
College students were allowed
to vote based on past practice.
"Although this has been happening
in the past, itwas only brought up
now that we realized that they're
not allowed to," she said.
Changfoot said that next year, affiliated colleges will have a separate
ballot from UBC students to avoid the
problem. "We are for sure making
sure this is goingto be in our transition reports, of course," she said.
Eaton said the next step will
be to have conversations with the
new AMS executive and Elections
Committee. "We'll have to work
with them to ensure the integrity of
the electoral process." 13 41 News o3.oi.2oi2
New GSS president looks ahead
Conny Lin speaks on Koerner's future and TAs
Kalyeena Makortoff
News Editor
UBC's Graduate Student Society
(GSS) election results were ratified
mid-February, and incoming GSS
President Conny Lin has already
started planning for the year ahead.
"Last year GSS was all about surviving, with the [Koerner's] pub and
financial difficulties," said Lin, who
has been studying at UBC since 2001
and is currently workingtowards
her PhD in neuroscience. "The whole
team has done a good job saving us."
But now that the student society has
its bearings, she continued, there is
an opportunity to move forward.
Koerner's won't be reopening
anytime soon, though. Back in
August, the GSS said it was planning to look for proposals from third
parties who might help reopen the
pub, but movement has been slow.
"It's a priority for us to think
about what to do with it. We're in
the process of constructing a request for proposals with UBC, [and]
we're not excluding any other way
to use the space," said Lin.
As for the most recent teaching assistant (TA) union contract negotiations with UBC, Lin said the GSS has
not made an official endorsement,
but isn't taking the issue lightly.
"We need to take TA union's issue
seriously because TA union's constituents are one third ofthe total GSS
constituents. However, there is no
official stance ofthe GSS regarding
the TA union negotiation at this
point. We are observingthe negotiation closely; that's about it for now."
Fellow university organizations
are also on Lin's radar. The review of
the AMS-GSS relationship is ongoing, and the possibility of separating
from the AMS isn't being ruled out.
"[The] AMS mentioned lack of
involvement from the GSS [has]
been one ofthe limitations regarding AMS's contribution to graduate
student issues," said Lin, who has
previously served as a GSS rep on
AMS Council. "[We're] not excluding the possibility to separate, but
[it's] an absolute last resort."
Lin said the GSS will be looking
to continue its membership with
the Western University Alliance,
as well as the Canadian Alliance of
Student Associations (CASA), which
the AMS withdrew from earlier this
Lin also wants to expand the
GSS's non-departmental club structure, which she sees as building
a cohesive community. There are
currently two GSS clubs, although
there are many departmental student organizations like the College
for Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduate Student Association,
which Lin co-founded.
But building blocks need to be
put in place as well. Lin said there
is a need to battle the annual executive turnovers by establishing
long term goals, with five-year and
ten-year plans.
"In the next few years, I see that
the foundation we aim to establish
during 2012-13 will allow the GSS
to serve our constituents more efficiently, more comprehensively and
more collaboratively." tH
University of Ottawa
Study Law
in the National Capital -
where the Supreme Court and Parliament make it.
Choose from a variety of uOttawa JD, LLM or PhD programs
in either English or French
Special Information DROP-IN Session
with Bruce Feldthusen, Dean, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section
Friday, March 9,2012 froml :00 p.m-3:00 p.m
UBC Student Union Building, Room 212A
6138 Student Union Boulevard
All current and prospective applicants welcome!
For more information:
www.com mon la w.u Otta wa.ca
L'University canadienne
Canada's university
Metro Van looks into
polling UBC residents
Students living in residence have had issues receiving their voting cards from Metro Van
Micki Cowan
News Editor
It could be a while before residents
of UBC and the Endowment Lands
are polled on what they think about
the governance situation.
A Vancouver Sun article from
February 24 said that Metro
Vancouver is planning to poll residents of Electoral Area A on governance. But Lois Jackson, mayor of
Delta and member ofthe intergovernmental committee on this issue,
said that the poll was just one ofthe
recommendations made.
"It is an idea that's been put forward. Whether or not the Metro
Vancouver Board will approve it, and
second of all which department or
which committee would be the lead
on that, is another question," said
Jackson. "It's in a fledgling mode."
Jackson said the intergovernmental committee's objective is to
find out how Endowment Lands
residents would like to be governed.
The poll is one option for determin-
The area's only current local government representative is one Metro
Vancouver director, who is responsible for issues such as sewage and
water usage. For UBC's land use, the
province has the final say.
"At this point in time they don't
have a mayor and council like everybody else does...We were a little bit
concerned about that," said Jackson.
"We just want to make sure that
we're allowingthe people ofthe
area to have a democratically elected local government, as is afforded
everybody else in Canada."
It could be a while before the
recommendation comes before the
Board; Jackson confirmed that
the issue will not be brought up at
Friday's meeting. It will be up to the
Board to decide what action to take
and who will be in charge of it.
But Maria Harris, the current
Electoral Area A director, thinks
the method of conducting a poll is
"We need to take a big step back
from the conclusion that a poll will
be done," said Harris.
"It might turn out very quickly
that a poll is a great idea, but first we
need to talk to some ofthe locally
elected representatives, and that's
what we're goingto do."
Jackson said more research needs
to be done considering the state
of UBC as well. "There are always
special arrangements when you are
dealing with university cities or
towns," said Jackson. "But these are
the kinds of things that have to be
Should a poll be conducted, polling residences at UBC poses its own
"We limit the amount of exposure or inundation of either hard-
copy mail that students receive or
emails...and not burden students
with too much of that," said Andrew
Parr, managing director of UBC
Student Housing and Hospitality
Services. The judgment is made by
housing management as to what
gets through.
If Metro Vancouver decides to
poll residences, they'll be subject
We need to take a big
step back from the
conclusion that a poll
will be done.
Maria Harris
Director, Electoral Area A
to the same approval method. But
Parr said they'd probably be in favour ofthe poll. "If it was a City of
Vancouver initiative and they were
soliciting that kind of information
to or from all households of Greater
Vancouver for example, I would
think we would probably participate
in that," he said.
Parr said previous problems have
involved students in residence not
receivingvotingcards in the past.
"This is one ofthe complications
of residence...permanent addresses
and students not getting their voting
cards or not being registered in a
certain polling area, hence losing out
on the opportunity to vote in a civic
or provincial election," said Parr.
Jackson said it would be key to try
and reach as many legitimate homeowners and residents as possible to
get the best responses. She gave the
example of Delta, where questionnaires were sent to every household
as well as people listed on the voting
roll call.
"We're just trying to serve those
that are living there the best we
can," she said. 13 o3.oi.2oi21 Feature 15
Will a new biomass plant
make UBC a global
sustainability leader?
Or will it be another
green-washed 'disaster?
UBC is a month away from opening a $27 million biomass power plant with
Nexterra Systems Corp., a local green-tech company Two of Nexterra's American
projects have ended in failure. Is UBC headed down the same path?
By Brian Piatt
On October 9, 2011, South
Carolina's largest newspaper
published a lengthy expose on
an alternative energy power
plant at the University of South
Carolina (USC).
The plant, which used biomass gasification technology, had been racked by explosions and malfunctions. In March 2011, only
four years after opening, it had to be closed
down completely. USC is now waiting to recoup its $20 million investment.
UBC is about to open a $27 million
biomass power plant in partnership with
Nexterra Systems Corp., the same company
that supplied the technology to the USC
Nexterra is a Vancouver-based company
that has been lauded in the Canadian media
as an international pioneer in alternative
energy solutions—but no Canadian media
outlet has reported on the USC disaster. And
that's not the only problem Nexterra has had
with American universities.
Last June, Nexterra made headlines for
signing a $16 million contract with the
University of Montana (UM) for a biomass
power plant. "This is our fourth university
project and it represents a significant milestone as we expand into the higher educational market across North America," said
Jonathan Rhone, the company's CEO at the
time, in an article in The Province.
By December 2011, the UM project had
been scrapped bythe university. According
to the local media, the project met its demise
due to concerns over "financial viability, fuel
supply, increased pollution and the deteriorating [public] discourse."
Out ofthe four university projects mentioned by Rhone in the Province article, two
have turned out to be fiascos. The other
two are both in British Columbia. One of
them, the UBC project, is set to come online
in April. At this time, the only successful
Nexterra university power plant is at the
University of Northern British Columbia
(UNBC) in Prince George.
Nexterra also has a handful of smaller
biomass power plants operating at non-
university locations, including at a Kruger
Products factory in New Westminster. These
plants seem to have avoided the university
plants' problems.
For two years, UBC officials have been
touting their almost-completed Nexterra
UBC's new biomass plant, built with technology developed by Nexterra, is Ic
Marine Drive residences.
:ated between the Totem Park and
powerplant, located between the Totem Park
and Marine Drive residences, in press releases and newspaper op-eds as an example of
UBC's commitment to being a global leader
in green technology. In his town hall last
October, President Stephen Toope praised
the Nexterra project at length, calling it a
complete "winner" for the university.
But considering the problems with the
American plants, is the UBC project as trustworthy as we've been told? Will it prove to
be a success following the UNBC model, or is
it a looming financial catastrophe?
When the University of South Carolina officially opened its biomass power plant in
December 2007, USC officials were brimming with excitement. Accordingto The
State, the South Carolina newspaper that
published the expose on the plant, officials
called it "the cat's meow."
Biomass technology takes in organic material and turns it into energy. Nexterra has
focused on developing biomass gasification
systems that take in wood byproduct and
turn it into a synthetic gas that can be used to
generate heat or electricity.
In other words, Nexterra converts wood
chips, tree trimmings and bark into a substitute for natural gas and other fossil fuels.
The USC biomass plant was built by
Johnson Controls Inc. (JO), a Fortune 500
company with a large energy services division. Accordingto The State, there was no
competitive bidding process for the construction ofthe plant; it came as part a
comprehensive JO bid to provide energy
services to the university. JO had never
built a biomass plant to the scale of what was
promised to USC.
"We were a young company," says Mike
Scott, who replaced Rhone as Nexterra's
CEO in October 2011.
"At the time, Johnson Controls was only
willing to have us do a very, very small part
of that project."
JO used Nexterra's technology to build
the power plant, but according to Scott, the
plant's fuel handling system, boiler, emission
control equipment, turbine, water treatment
system, controls and the building itself were
managed by other groups. Nexterra only
supplied the gasification system.
"Unfortunately, that project had a number
of challenges," says Scott.
On June 28,2009, an explosion in the USC
biomass plant blasted a metal panel 60 feet
in the air. Documents obtained by The State
showed that USC officials described the accident as "potentially lethal."
"An irrevocable catastrophe may have occurred if a worker or visitor had been in this
location," wrote Thomas Quasney, USC's
associate vice-president for facilities, in an
email obtained by The State.
In total, The State obtained 1800 pages of
documents about the USC biomass plant in
its investigation, much of it through freedom
of information requests.
The documents showed that the plant
had been shut down more than three dozen
times in its four-year lifespan. In one two-
year period, the plant was only operational
on 98 out of 534 days.
According to The State, "the [June 28]
blast underscored what some USC officials
privately grumbled about for years: That
the plant has been a $20 million disaster, a
money pit that was poorly planned and built
by a company [JO] that had never constructed such a cutting-edge 'green energy' power
plant before."
In March 2011, the USC biomass plant
was shuttered. Fortunately for the university, their contract with JO guaranteed $2
million per year in energy savings over what
USC's natural gas heating system would have
cost. This means that USC will eventually be
able to recoup their $20 million investment
in the biomass plant.
"It was a bad plant, but a good contract,"
said USC's chief financial officer, Ed Walton,
in an interview with The State.
Cont'd on the next page. 61 Feature 103.01.2012
The tumultuous history of Nexterra's university power plants
May 22,2009
The University of Northern BC announces
Nexterra has been selected to build a $22
million biomass power plant.
February 15
partnership \a
million (later l
plant will be tl
December 2007
The University of South Carolina opens its
biomass power plant, built at a cost of $20
million. The plant was built by Johnson
Controls Inc. using Nexterra's gasification
June 28,2009
An explosion at the USC plant blasts a
metal panel 60 feet in the air. The plant
has been racked by malfunctions.
Biomass: as UBC approaches the opening of its $27 million power plant, the
problems with biomass plants on American campuses casts a shadow
Brent Sauder says he is not
worried about what the
USC revelations might
mean for UBC's Nexterra
Sauder is the director of strategic partnerships for the UBC
Sustainability Initiative. His job is to
create partnerships between UBC
and third parties to advance UBC's
goals in sustainability and environmental technology.
"The situation [in South Carolina]
is that Nexterra only supplied components ofthe system and somebody
else welded them all together," says
Sauder. "The failures occurred in the
integration part, not in the component supply."
At UBC, in contrast, Nexterra is
essentially responsible for the whole
plant. UBC staff are being trained
to eventually take it over, but unlike
at USC, there is no intermediary
company between Nexterra and the
university. However, this also means
that there is no performance contract
that would refund the cost if the
plant fails.
Scott says that Nexterra quickly
learned its lesson from what happened at USC.
"When we looked at doing the
next project with Johnson Controls...
we insisted, and Johnson Controls
agreed, that Nexterra should actually provide everything around the
system. The scope of our supply increased around six-fold," says Scott.
This project was at the US
Department of Energy's Oak Ridge
National Laboratory—the department's largest laboratory in the
United States and a premier nuclear
research site.
"Fortunately, this has resulted
in a successful project," says Scott.
"We've just completed the performance tests, and as you can
imagine...that project underwent an
enormous amount of scrutiny after
the [USC] challenges."
But Nexterra still features the
USC project on its website with no
mention that the plant has been shut
down for nearly ayear. In Nexterra's
press releases, the most recent of
which is dated October 12,2011,
the company's description says that
Nexterra "has successfully supplied
commercial gasification systems for
projects at the US Department of
Energy, University of South Carolina,
Dockside Green, Kruger Products,
the University of Northern BC and
Tolko Industries."
Why is Nexterra using a failed
power plant in its public relations without stating the project's
"That's a fair comment," says
Scott. "But itwas a commercial success for us, we delivered the system,
the plant did run...Our hope and
expectation is that we will have the
opportunity to go back and fix it for
Johnson Controls. With the success
we're having at Oak Ridge National
Labs, we hope [we can go back and
fix it.]
"We're not hiding from any of it,
and we don't mean for it to be a representation. Some would say that if
we didn't have it there, that we were
trying to hide from the problems. I
understand the criticism, but I think
you'll find ifyou talk to our customers that we've been as forthright as
As it turned out, the full scale of
the USC plant's problems came to
light just as another Nexterra project
was falling under heavy criticism in
Missoula, Montana.
We're not hiding from
any of it [the USC
problemsL.I think you'll
find if you talk to our
customers that we've
been as forthright as
Mike Scott
Nexterra CEO
When the $16 million University
of Montana biomass plant was announced in June, the press coverage
portrayed it as a breakthrough for
"After installing systems at the
University of BC, the University of
Northern BC, and the University of
South Carolina, company president
Jonathan Rhone sees the Missoula
campus contract as a potential
stepping stone into a giant North
American market," said a Province
article on June 3,2011.
Shortly after The State published its report on the USC disaster, Missoula's newspaper, The
Missoulian, began a careful examination ofthe project. The paper's correspondent on the story was Chelsi
"I think [the university's] presentation is what made it controversial,"
says Moi. "When they first presented
the project, they made it look like a
win-win, in-the-bag, great project."
But when a few environmental
groups started pushingthe university on some of their claims, particularly around air quality and carbon
emissions, university officials had to
do some backtracking.
"Missoula's in a valley," says Moi,
"and has had historically poor air
quality. Even a couple of years ago,
we were deemed an air stagnation
zone, and were forced to clean up our
act." One ofthe results was that most
city residents were no longer allowed
The interior of the UBC biomass plant. The plant will process post-consumer forest products to produce steam and electricity
to have wood fireplaces—which is
why a large wood-fueled power plant
at the university raised ire.
The high carbon emissions and
particulate matter released by burning wood are some ofthe biggest
problems that biomass companies
have worked to solve. Nexterra
claims that its plants have made huge
strides in this regard.
Public consultations grew contentious between Missoula residents
and university officials. At one
point the university was forced to
apologize after its vice-president of
finance and administration said that
project opponents were engaged in
"low-level eco-terrorism."
In November, a letter signed by
45 concerned residents—including members of UM's heating plant
staff—asked the university's Board of
Regents to reconsider the project.
"The regents made a decision
based on information that was not
current," said one ofthe letter-writers, John Snively, as quoted by The
Missoulian. "It's clear the university
doesn't want to hear from us. The
people who are making the decisions
at the university don't feel we have
the technical expertise or have valid
reasons for interceding in this, never
mind that it will cost us all more
money and create more pollution."
But Scott notes that Nexterra obtained all the permits it needed from
health authorities to build the plant.
"I think there was a couple of
action groups that were opposed to
the project," says Scott, "and they
continued to challenge the administration on the basis of emissions...
but the administration had a hard
time getting out the message that the
system they were proposing is the
cleanest biomass system that you can
get. The state authorities recognized
that it would be the cleanest biomass
system in the state of Montana."
One ofthe action groups opposed to the biomass plant was the
Wildwest Institute, an organization
focused on forest and wildlife issues.
Its executive director, Matthew
Koehler, led the charge on challeng-
ingthe university's claims about the
benefits ofthe project.
"We had started raising questions about this for about nine
months, and we were all but ignored
bythe university and the press,"
says Koehler. "And then we found
a bunch of stuff in open-record
searches...and you know, it didn't
require too much sleuthing. It just
required critical thinking skills to
pore through documents."
Koehler has been a dedicated
skeptic of biomass power plants for
years. He says he would support
small-scale biomass in some instances, but essentially objects to the
idea of, as he puts it, "cutting down
forests and then burning them to
solve global climate change."
To this, biomass proponents argue
that most biomass projects only
involve burning the wood industry's
byproduct that would otherwise
be waste. Yet Koehler was able to
find problems in UM's plans for fuel
"UM had made this claim that they
were goingto get this fuel for [a certain price], and then they put out this
bid, and nobody bid," says Koehler.
"And then...the university was saying
the fuel dealers were goingto have to
chip [wood] offsite and truck in the
fuel, about three chip trucks full a
day." But fuel dealers did not have the
storage space to be able to guarantee a
steady flow of chip supply.
"So then at the last minute, the
university said, 'Well, we'll just invest a quarter of a million dollars and
chip on site,'" says Koehler. "Okay,
so we're goingto run an industrial wood-chipper in the middle of
On December 2,2011, UM suspended the biomass project indefinitely. The official reason was that
natural gas prices had fallen so far
that itwas no longer in the univer-
[University executives]
generally know jack
squat about biomass.
But they go to some conference and they get the
presentation, and they
go "oh wow, that's neat."
Matthew Koehler
Executive Director,
Wildwest Institute
sity's financial interests to install an
expensive biomass powerplant.
"They've said that they will revisit
the project again in 2012," says Scott.
"If natural gas prices don't increase,
or there's not a change in the economic and green imperatives for the
university, then I think it will be on
hold until there's a change. It's just
unfortunate that the macro energy
environment turned on us. I think it
would have been a fantastic project."
There are many significant differences between the plant being o3.oi.2oi21 Feature 17
;es its biomass plant in
/ith Nexterra. at a cost of $26
jpdated to $27 million). The
ie first of its kind.
March 22,2011
The UNBC biomass plant begins operation.
October 9,2011
The State. South Carolina's largest newspaper, published a 3500-word expose on
the USC plant's chronic problems. It refers
to the plant as "scrap metal."
December 1,2011
The University of Montana shelves its
plan to build a biomass plant, saying the
plant is no longer financial viable. It apologizes for its VP Finance's "eco-terrorism"
remarks about the project's opponents.
March 2011
The USC plant is shuttered after only 39
months. Nexterra holds out hope of fixing
it with Johnson Controls.
August 2,2011
A third party study shows the UNBC biomass plant's emissions are of a quality "as
good as. or better than, natural gas."
April 2012
UBC's biomass plant is slated to begin
June 3,2011
Nexterra announces it has sold a $16-mil-
lion biomass gasification system to the
University of Montana.
installed at UBC and the failed
projects at USC and UM.
Perhaps the most important is
that UBC is less focused on biomass as a potentially cheaper alternative to natural gas, and more
on the research and development
aspect ofthe facility. As with USC,
the biomass project at UM had an
energy services company building the plant as part of an energy
supply contract to the university.
At UBC, the plant will be entirely
"With biomass, here was an opportunity to try something new,"
said Sauder, UBC Sustainability
Initative's director of strategic
partnerships. "And it could contribute to the heat and power as
required bythe university, and
use technology grown in British
The UBC plant will include a
laboratory onsite and university
researchers will conduct extensive
research with the technology.
UBC was also greatly helped by
government subsidies and grants;
about 70 per cent ofthe plant's $27
million capital cost is covered by
these funds.
The biomass plant being built
at UBC is a new generation of
Nexterra's technology. "In the
first generation of our systems, we
took that syngas [the synthetic gas
produced from the wood fuel] and
burned it to produce steam," says
Scott. "That gas in its untreated
form isn't suitable for firing into
internal combustion engines. And
so what we've done...is developed
a system for cleaning up the gas to
make it suitable."
Nexterra's system at UBC will be
able to fire that synthetic gas into
an engine developed by General
Electric. The engine will then be
capable of producing heat and electricity for the campus.
"The system at UBC will be
first of its kind built by us," says
Scott. "There have been a number of failed attempts, mostly in
Europe, to do what we're trying
to do. Many of those projects in
Europe have not met the commercial requirements of a combined
heat and gas system. But we've
done nearly 3000 hours of testing
at our product development centre
in Kamloops...and the UBC project
will be the first commercial-scale
demonstration of this technology."
Two ofthe major criticisms of
the UM project were air quality and fuel supply; both of those
appear to be comprehensively addressed at UBC.
The plant has received a Metro
Vancouver air quality management
permit, but Sauder says the air
quality restrictions will go above
and beyond the district requirements. The university will have
researchers on site monitoring the
emissions continuously. Sauder
also authored a 78-page environmental assessment.
"The strictest [air quality standards] we could find in the US is
the San Joaquin Valley, and we're
goingto be stricter than that," says
Scott also points to the success
ofthe UNBC biomass plant, where
third-party studies concluded in
August 2011 that the plant's emission quality was "as good as, or
better than, natural gas."
The UBC plant's fuel supply will
come from a Langley-based company, Cloverdale Fuel, that specializes in "wood byproducts brokering
and transport." Cloverdale already
supplies a Nexterra biomass plant
at a Kruger Products mill in New
The City of Vancouver has
signed a memorandum of under-
standingto provide 5000 tonnes of
municipal tree trimmings annually
to the UBC fuel supply. Sauder estimates this will cover about 20 per
cent ofthe fuel; the rest will come
from Cloverdale's suppliers. The
fuel will be prepared at Cloverdale
accordingto UBC-ordered standards, and then trucked to the university in two to three truckloads
per day.
Jens Wieting, the forests and
climate campaigner for Sierra Club
BC, says that there is a lot of local
supply for wood waste right now,
though he cautions that this may
change when pine beetle-damaged
wood is used up.
With biomass, here was
an opportunity to try
something new...and
use technology grown
in British Columbia
Brent Sauder
Director of Strategic Partnerships,
UBC Sustainability Initiative
"At some point there is a big risk
of...not having resources in the
future," says Wieting. "Because of
the pine beetle and the increasing
number of forest fires, and lack of
reforestation, we have to expect
that there will be less timber available in the near future. That's a
concern for any project. A very
careful study is required in terms
of longterm supply."
The biomass plant itself used
cross-laminated timber in its construction, alow-carbon alternative for steel and concrete. "It will
be the first industrial building in
North America built with cross-
laminated timber," says Sauder.
"I'm quite proud of what we're
doing," says Scott. "It's made-in-
BC technology that the university
is taking a leadership role on, and
I'm quite happy that we're taking
biomass energy to the next level.
I'm confident it's going to work."
November 12,2011
Missoula residents opponsed to the UM
biomass plant present a letter to the
university's Board of Regents asking them
to reconsider the project.
If UBC's biomass plant works as
well as the university and Nexterra
are promising, it will be a mutually
beneficial project. Nexterra gets to
test and develop its technology at a
commercial scale, UBC researchers get first-hand experience with
experimental clean energy production, and the campus will have up
to six per cent of its electricity and
25 per cent of its heating steam
produced by the project.
But biomass skeptics find it hard
to trust these claims. The slick
presentations given by universities and company executives often
ignore any risks ofthe project.
"It's like the Simpsons episode from a few years ago, when
the monorail salesman came
to Springfield," says Koehler.
"[University executives] generally
know jack squat about biomass. But
they go to some conference and
they get the presentation, and they
go 'Oh wow, that's neat.'"
Furthermore, the media often
can't be relied on for critical coverage; most articles on biomass technology are indistinguishable from
company press releases.
Koehler worries about the reliance the biomass industry has on
the vast quantities of money governments have made available for
alternative energy projects.
"This biomass stuff cannot
pencil out without massive subsidies," says Koehler. "But biomass
proponents seem to be very much
true believers in their cause, and
they freak out whenever anyone
wants to question the economics or
the environmental impact of their
Not all environmental groups
are ofthe same mind about biomass. In Nova Scotia, the Ecology
Action Network has organized
protests against government plans
to ramp up biomass production for
the electricity grid, out of concern
for depleted forest ecosystems. But
in BC, there has been very little
pushback against biomass.
The Sierra Club, for example,
takes a cautious line but generally
supports biomass. "The key questions are: what type of biomass
[fuel]? And where does it come
from? Is it local, or does it need to
be shipped in from far away?" says
Wieting. "Waste is generally better
than something grown specifically
for the use of biomass."
Wieting also encourages caution
over claims of carbon neutrality
with wood biomass plants, because
it depends heavily on how fast the
removed trees grow back.
UBC officials, for now, are excited about the project's potential
and eager to discuss it. In the past
two years numerous op-eds have
appeared in the Vancouver Sun by
UBC professors and executives, extolling UBC's commitment to clean
technology and highlighting the
Nexterra project in particular.
"This is the university as a leader," says Sauder. "People see these
goals for sustainability..and they
say, 'Well that's cool, but how are
we goingto get there?' To have the
tools to demonstrate the path forward is very important. It's a neat
opportunity for UBC to show how
to do these things at a city scale."
The plant is slated to open in
April. 13
Economics in
Theory & Practice
This free seminar will explore how the economic ideas of incentives, signals and
markets impact areas of human behaviour in relation to both the economy and
areas such as fiscal and environmental policy.
Erik Kimbrough
Simon Fraser University
Paul Geddes
Columbia College
Tracy Stobbe
Trinity Western University
Moin Yahya
University of Alberta
Saturday, March 3
9:30am - 4:00pm
SFU Harbour Centre
Segal Centre, Room 1400
Free event!
Learn more and register at www.LiberalStudies.ca
1   Institute
I   Liberal;
Institute for
I Studies Sports»
B Editor-Drake Fenton
03.012012 | 8
Current Canada West MVP.
Led conference in assists
with 117. Also led the team in
steals and minutes played.
Where they're weak
Their perfect record
could be their downfall. It's not uncommon
for an undefeated
team to fall into the
complacency trap.
They averaged
84.2 points per
game, which
stands as the third-
highest in conference history
Why they could win
They have the best defence in the Canada
West. They have the size to dominate in
the low post and force teams to make
lower percentage shots.
Where they're weak
They're playing
Regina. Their No.
8 ranked offence
may simply not
be able to match
Regina point for
Why they could win —.
X-factor: Nicole Wierks
She wasn't the best player
on offence or defence, but
she made a comeback from
a second ACL tear and a
chronic shoulder injury this
season. Her leadership and
resilience will be key for a
team pegged as a major
Of the remaining teams, they're
the most accurate from downtown. That paired with leading
the Canada West in rebounding
makes them dangerous.
Kris Young
UBC's leading
scorer and third in
the Canada West.
Also led UBC in assists and was fifth
in the conference.
No. 4 University of
British Columbia
^Regular season
Where they're weak
Their three-
pointers can be
game changing, but they
shoot too
many. They
have the third
worst percentage in the
Canada West.
X-factor: Katie
For the third straight
year she has been
named the Canada
West defensive
player of the year.
If anyone can shut
down Kris Young,
it's her.
Where they're
When facing a
press defence,
their offence
struggles to get
in sync and make
space for their
Women's basketball hoping for Canada West gold
With two of Canada's best at the final four, the road won't be easy for UBC
Drake Fenton
Sports Editor
The Canada West is renowned for its brutal competition. Year in and year out, in almost every university sport, the top contenders in Canada play in
the Canada West.
The UBC women's basketball team enters the Canada West final four this weekend
in Saskatchewan knowing their sport is no
"It's survival ofthe fittest," said UBC head
coach Deb Huband.
Three ofthe four teams at the tournament are
nationally ranked in the top four, including No. 1
Regina, who is currently undefeated. UBC is No.
4 in the country.
Rounding out the competition is No. 3
Saskatchewan and No. 8 Fraser Valley.
In their first match on Friday night, the
Thunderbirds (15-3) will face the Saskatchewan
Huskies (15-5).
The 'Birds blew past the University of Alberta
last weekend in the Canada West quarterfinals,
with decisive 85-51 and 82-71 victories. With the
stakes higher this weekend, coach Huband and
her players know victories of those margins will
be rare.
"Saskatchewan is a tough team, they are a very
well-coached team, they have a very dominant
rookie post player and three fifth-year players in
their starting lineup," said Huband. "They are goingto be a tough opponent for us."
UBC faced the Huskies only once this season,
beatingthem 76-64 at War Memorial Gym. That
game, though, was two months ago, and as fifth-
year T-Bird Zara Huntley admits, Saskatchewan
isn't the same team.
"We've watched some game tape this week
and they are a lot better team since we last played
them...They're executing a lot better and they're
playing better defence," said Huntley.
But Huntley also noted that UBC isn't the same
team either, and has been growing with each
passing week.
"We have a lot of talent, but this team is not
even so much about the talent or the skill, it's
more our chemistry," she said. "The way we gel
together and the way we play. We play for each
other this year more than we have in the past, and
it's not an individual game, it's much more of a
team game."
While second-year guard Kris Young has been
a breakout star for the 'Birds this season, a team-
first mentality has been apparent all season, with
each member of their starting five having led
UBC in scoring in two or more games.
If UBC can make it past Saskatchewan, they
will most likely have a date with Regina for the
Canada West title. While neither Huband nor her
players are looking past the Huskies, an opportunity to take down Canada's only undefeated team
is a prospect they are undoubtedly excited by.
"[Regina's] had a terrific season, so I hope we
get a chance to play them," said Huband. "We
would use it as a bit of a measuring stick, and we
think we match up with them really well."
"I think [playing Regina] would be a pretty
exciting thing," added Huntley. "We played them
[in the first weekend ofthe season] and we only
ended up losing by eight... I felt like it was a close
game the whole time.
"Just knowing how good we are now, I think
we are able to beat them."
Winning the Canada West this weekend would
guarantee UBC a spot at nationals, but losing
would not be the end ofthe line for the 'Birds.
Next weekend, the losers from each conference
championship will compete in a regional competition to determine the three remaining spots
open at the CIS final eight.
This weekend won't be the be-all and end-all
of UBC's season, but with the level of competition
they'll be facing, it will certainly feel like it. If the
'Birds can claim the Canada West banner they
will be the undisputed team to beat in Canada,
and on a fast track to claim CIS gold. 13 Cnltnre»
03.012012 | 9
Editor: Ginny Monaco
Four UBC writers vie for non-fiction prize
Will Johnson
Senior Culture Writer
When the shortlist for the Charles
Taylor Prize, a Canadian literary
non-fiction award, was announced
on January 10, West Coast writers
made up the majority ofthe list. And
four ofthe writers are recent UBC
grads—JJ Lee, Madeline Sonik,
Charlotte Gill and Andrew Westoll.
The $25,000 prize will be awarded on March 5. But before we find
out the winner, let's take a look at
the nominees.
Afflictions SDepartureshy
Madeline Sonik
Sonik's book is an experimental collection of essays which explores her
experiences growing up in the 1950s
and 60s. Sonik married her journalistic style with fictional techniques
to create a memoir of unique form.
"The essays span my life from
conception to my mid-teens, and are
arranged chronologically," she said.
"I wrote several essays in this collection that deal with experiences I
shared with my father. In rendering
specific interactions that we had,
new dimensions of our past relationship made themselves known to
Sonik said she was surprised by
the results of her soul-searching. "I
didn't realize until I'd written these
essays how very bound I'd been to
my father, or how inculcated society's notions of female inferiority at
a young age [are].
"When you put a lived experience
down on the page as objectively as
you possibly can and then read it
back, it's amazing what's suddenly
shown to you."
Eating Dirt by Charlotte GUI
Gill felt there was avoid in contemporary literature, and sought to fill
it. She had been waiting for someone
to capture the cultural experience
of tree-planting in writing, and
when nobody did, she wrote the
book herself.
"I've waited for years for someone to come along and write a book
about our collective experience,"
she said. "The day never came. As
tree planters, we had this life that
seemed so inexplicably oddball on
the outside, and yet on the inside I
knew it meant something profound,
not just to me but to thousands of
Gill, who teaches creative writing
at UBC, was also nominated for the
Hilary West Non-Fiction Prize and
the BC National Book Awards.
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary:
A True Story of Resilience and
Recoveryby Andrew Westoll
Andrew Westoll is a primatologist and writer, so he was uniquely
qualified to write a book about the
chimpanzees of Fauna Sanctuary.
After traveling through Suriname
and the Upper Amazon, he was
looking for new a writing gig and
decided to contact the owner ofthe
sanctuary, Gloria Grow.
"After two phone calls, I'd been
invited to move into Fauna and
write the biography ofthe chimpanzee family. I think my background
in primates was what convinced
her I'd do a good job on the story,"
he said.
Westoll said he learned some important lessons duringthe project.
The first lesson he picked up was
this: "Animals are incredibly resilient, humans included."
And the second: "Chimpanzees
can suffer psychological damage
in almost exactly the same way humans can."
The Measure of a Maw The Story
of a Father, a Son andaSuitby JJ
The Vancouver Sun columnist
has written a book about what he
knows best—men's fashion. Lee's
book spawned from a CBC documentary about the social history
ofthe suit. His memoir tackles the
same subject matter, but is also an
account of his relationship with his
father. In the book, Lee attempts to
tailor his father's suit to fit his own
Lee was also nominated for the
Governor General's Award earlier
this year, but he's trying not to let
the nominations go to his head.
"Literary awards have to [be
taken] with the perspective ofthe
ancient Greeks. Blame everything
on the gods: the good and the bad.
I have no control over the process
and it feels awesome and scary," he
"That is to say that no sane writer
should expect these things. And I
didn't. Except I hoped a little. It's
human nature." 13
The prize
"The Charles Taylor Prize commemorates Charles Taylor's
pursuit of excellence in the field
of literary non-fiction.
The prize will be awarded to
the author whose book best
combines a superb command
of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of
thought and perception."
-from the Charles Taylor
The winner of the Charles Taylor
receives $25,000. Runners up
each receive $2000
AMS announces
lineup for Block
Party 2012
Ginny Monaco
Culture Editor
Think of it as a campus Coachella.
The AMS has announced the
lineup for the fifth annual Block
Party. The boozy celebration ofthe
last day of classes will be held on
April 5 and feature Mother Mother,
MSTRKRFT, The Boom Booms,
Hedspin, Maria in the Shower and
"The most successful Block
Parties and Arts County Fairs have
been where there's been some hip
hop, some country, some rock,
DJs, some pop. Mixing it up was
something we wanted to do," said
outgoing AMS President Jeremy
McElroy. "It also just happened
that it was local, all Canadian talent, which is also a big bonus."
AMS events manager Anna
Hilliar was hired in early
December 2011 and spent time
talking to students about what
they wanted from this year's Block
Party. "I was really trying to see
what people are looking for and
put as much in place for this year
with a limited budget," she said.
"We're trying to do the best we can
to appeal to everybody because it
sounded like, in the past, people
were missing certain aspects.
"A lot of people want DJs, but
then a lot of people just want bands,
so itwas about appealing to all
those groups. People sounded like
they really wanted that festival culture, that atmosphere."
The AMS will be partnering
with undergraduate societies to, as
McElroy said, "make [Maclnnes]
Field more interesting. They're
each bringing stuff. It's going to be
a much more lively field."
There will be games, a bouncy
castle and volleyball matches to
keep students entertained throughout the day. "If people don't want
to drink all day, they can also do
other things. We want to activate
the all-ages side so those few first-
years who still aren't 19 can have
something to do," said Hilliar.
Promotions for previous Block
Parties have been less than successful in the past and McElroy
hopes to move past that this year.
They're encouraging students to
get involved as much as possible.
"The idea of promotions is the difference between what we've had in
the past and selling out," he said.
"We're definitely playing more
into the old school [Arts County
Fair] promotions attitude. Way
more posters are being printed this
year and we're goingto make sure
they all get up all over the place.
We're trying to reach out. This is
something we're really trying to
stress—if you want to get involved,
come see Anna and we're going to
find opportunities for everyone."
McElroy said that he wants to
ensure even students with other
plans on April 5 incorporate Block
Party into their plans.
"There's always something hap-
peningthe last day of classes. It's
infamous for the Greek parties and
the Commerce parties and the Ski
and Board parties. So we want to
make sure that people have a ticket
in their hand and they come to our
thing afterward," he said.
And the biggest incentive?
"We're goingto have more booze
this year. We will not run out of
beer. That's a promise." 13 Opinion »
B Editor- Rrian Piatt
03.01.2012 | IQ
The Last Word
Parting shots and snap judgments on today's issues
Shamefully low expectations
on BCs education funding
In last week's provincial budget,
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon
said he wanted "to challenge every
[post-secondary] institution to cut
spending by one percent." This,
of course, was widely derided by
anyone who thinks well-funded
universities are integral to British
Columbia's future.
Things have gotten to the point
where many have publicly wished
that the government just kept post-
secondary funding stable.
The Liberal government has
failed to have a growth strategy for
our universities since they came
into power in 2001, and we don't
expect them to find one now. But it
says something about the current
state of affairs that hardly anyone
is seriously expecting or asking for
an infusion of public money into
our institutions.
We can imagine a government
that believes strongly in investing more in our brightest young
people. A government that wants to
increase the number of world-class
programs available at universities.
A government that works to reduce
the cost of education while increasing its quality at the same time.
Unfortunately, that idea will
exist only in our imaginations for
some time to come.
New SUB marks a rare example
of long term AMS success
After reading about the new SUB
groundbreaking, you might be confused in the coming weeks why no
construction is taking place. That's
mostly because construction and
prep work isn't ready to begin yet.
So why are we having the groundbreaking now? Well, the outgoing
executive really, really wanted to
end their term with a ceremony,
realities be damned.
Still, in their speeches, AMS VP
Administration Mike Silley and
President Jeremy McElroy graciously highlighted what is, to us,
one ofthe most impressive aspects
ofthe new building: the collective
work of various student leaders
over a five-year period.
Student unions have a hard time
doing anything substantial because
ofthe shortness of terms and conflicts of ideology.
But since 2007, multiple students
of all political stripes have played
a role in turning a $100 million
sustainable student-designed building from a dream into something
approaching reality.
For Jeff Friedrich, Mike Duncan,
Blake Frederick, Bijan Ahmadian,
Jeremy McElroy, Sarah Naiman,
Tristan Markle, Crystal Hon,
Ekaterina Dovjenko and Mike
Silley, the construction ofthe new
SUB is a giant accomplishment-
something that will be shared by
millions of people and be a symbol
of student involvement.
Their accomplishments should
be celebrated; after five years,
construction is close to beginning.
And what a long, strange trip it's
The danger of looking through
green-coloured glasses
Although UBC appears to have
done its due diligence on its new
biomass power plant (see our feature on it in this issue), the same
can't be said for the major media
outlets in the region.
Nexterra Systems Corp., the
company building UBC's biomass
plant, has received fawning media
coverage every time it has announced a new multi-million dollar
construction contract or received a
new government grant.
These articles almost always
include mention of Nexterra's
project at the University of South
Carolina—but no mention at all
that the project was a spectacular
This is a reminder ofthe danger
in relying on company press releases and information from sources
who are invested in the success of
the project. In the age of Google,
there is no excuse for the media
to haved missed the struggles
Nexterra has had on American
It is also a reminder that alternative energy solutions still need a
healthy dose of skepticism. That
doesn't mean we shouldn't sometimes take chances—indeed, UBC's
eagerness to help pioneer "green"
technology is commendable. But
with the huge amount of government money available to subsidize
clean-energy businesses that would
otherwise be economically unsustainable, taxpayers need to constantly make sure they aren't being
sold a false bill of goods.
Maria Harris's dubious
comments on governance
Last week on this page, we expressed optimism for Metro
Vancouver's plans to poll the residents of UBC and the Endowment
Lands to determine their preference
for local governance options. This
was premised on a Vancouver Sun
Our own reporting has now
clarified that a poll is only an option Metro Van is considering; no
decisions have been made yet.
But Maria Harris's comments
about this show a complete lack of
commitment to advancing this issue. She says that polling residents
at this time is uncalled for, and
that Metro Vancouver should first
deal with the elected representatives—that is to say, herself and
the University Neighbourhoods
Association directors.
We understand the structure
of representative democracy, but
those in leadership positions also
have an inherent interest in main-
tainingthe status quo. If we want
to determine the true wishes of
residents for a govenance model,
we need to ask them directly.
Perhaps more importantly, out
ofthe more than 20,000 residents
who live on the Endowment Lands
and campus, only 466 voted Harris
in. The biggest reason for the paltry
turnout is that few people understand what Electoral Area A even
is—a direct result of our convoluted
and strange governance situation.
To know what residents really
think, Metro Van needs to poll. 13
Consulting in bad faith
When it comes to discussions about
land use at UBC, the term "good
faith" gets tossed around often,
usually preceded bythe phrase "not
negotiating in." UBC's decision to
hold the mandatory public hearing
that will help determine the future of
Gage South—the area around the bus
loop—on the same day as students
move out of residence is sure to elicit
similar reactions. But this decision
is more than just not negotiating in
good faith—it's insulting the intelligence of students.
By respondingto demands for
a student hearing by putting it so
late in April, at best Campus and
Community Planning (CCP) is proving to be tone deaf to the concerns of
students. At the worst, it's a pernicious attempt by university administration to exclude students from
decisions about what is built at the
heart of campus. Regardless of
intent, the result will be the same.
It's important to remember that a
separate land use process for Gage
South was created to address concerns brought up at the 2010 public
hearing—concerns that were raised
almost exclusively by students.
Holding a public hearing on the same
day that students must leave their
residences will ensure that their
voices aren't heard on this issue.
At this point, the alternatives
aren't much better, mostly due to the
foot-dragging by CCP in facing reality. Havingthe hearing during exams
or after the move-out date wouldn't
make student participation much
better. But at the very least, it would
allow some students who live in residence to relay any concerns directly
to the committee.
The date for the hearing still
must be finalized by UBC's Board of
Governors. The Board should stand
up for students and find abetter date
for this public hearingto be held. 13
A long conflict of
interest ends
This year, I've had a pretty
I oversee the largest student newspaper in Western Canada, working
with a fantastic group of editors and
volunteers to produce an award-winning product.
Sometimes, I'm conducting interviews with inspiring students.
Other times, I'm editing videos or
sketching out front pages.
And sometimes, I get to watch
people write about various ways a
family member of mine has screwed
up in his job.
For the past year, I've had this job
while my cousin Jeremy has been
AMS president. Now that it's over, I
feel obligated to discuss it. So here
it goes.
Put simply, it was a weird and personal situation. As such, this will be a
weird and personal column.
When we knew Jeremy was deciding to run for president 16 months
ago, we put in some safeguards on,
well, me. I wouldn't have any role
in writing, editing or planning any
stories about the AMS or Jeremy. On
all group discussions about editorials or the front page, I would recuse
myself. If he asked us for a favour
(something all student politicians
do), it would be someone else who
would make the call.
This was a proactive measure.
Student politicians, with large egos
and fancy titles and plenty of money
to play with, always make mistakes.
We knew that when such things inevitably happened, it would be good
to have clear guidelines.
Let's be honest: I hoped those
mistakes wouldn't happen. He's
my cousin, and if he did something
dumb that was worth reporting, then
I would have to watch while editors I
trained uncovered the truth and told
the entire campus about his sins.
But at the same time, I would want
them to uncover and tell the story,
because that's what newspapers are
supposed to do, and that's what students pay me to do.
I really hoped that sort of thing
wouldn't happen. That would be
It did happen though. The day
before he was elected. Our editors
had information that he had broken
election rules and lied about it, connected the dots and broke the story.
(In response, I stepped down for
the weekend to drink whiskey and
watch football so they could do their
The Elections Committee chose
not to disqualify Jeremy though,
and he won the presidency. So while
we proved that any accusations of
favouritism were bunk, it meant that
we had an entire year of awkward
fun ahead.
Now, our editors didn't uncover
any further evidence of skullduggery on Jeremy's part for the rest of
the year, which meant I never again
felt like the genie in Aladdin when
Jafar demands to be made a powerful sorcerer.
But still. I can say, without research but with decent certainty,
that this was one ofthe more bizarre
cases of a conflict of interest in
Canadian journalism.
I had people across the country
raise an eyebrow at my situation and
say "So, that must be strange, hey?"
I watched editors tell me that he
had tweeted something pompous,
read it out to me and smirk, because
really, who doesn't like to see their
boss squirm?
And I had plenty of writers,
friends and even family members
lean in and ask, "So, how's Jeremy
really doing as president?"
None of this weirdness crossed
over into the newspaper—except
now, of course—and I think we conducted ourselves well (feel free to
send a letter ifyou disagree).
But it's over now, and I'd be lying if I didn't say a weight is off my
As for Jeremy, he's done as president, but still has the same passion
for policy and bringing people together. If he works hard and pursues
public service, he'll move onwards
and upwards.
And should the day come when
other people are reporting on
the things he does, I will be quite
happy. 13 Scene»
Pictures and words on your university experience
03.01.2012 | 11
I broke up with Fac
• Itlt
>k, and so can you
I deactivated Facebook recently.
I won't spend much time proselytizing about it, because people
seem to get pretty touchy and self-
righteous about this topic. Let's
just say I was sick of it, and I felt
ready for a change.
The fact is, I'd caught myself
too many times creeping through
photos of people I barely knew, or
endlessly scrolling through the
newsfeed without any discernible
I finally concluded that I spent
at least an hour on Facebook each
day, and there were far better uses
of my time than watching funny
videos or commenting on people's
status updates.
Not to mention that I feel like
Facebook appeals to all my least
desirable personality traits. It
brings out the vain, needy and
self-congratulatory aspects of my
I was always looking for the
most flattering photo, or choosing
the most self-aggrandizing accomplishments to announce to the
world. Facebook has us obsessing
over our self-image, creating our
own brand and constantly trumpeting our personal successes.
I'm not going to judge anyone
who stays in a relationship with
Facebook. I know how tantalizing,
addictive and ultimately necessary
it can be for most people. These
days, it acts like a contemporary
I totally get that. But I couldn't
justify the endless time-sucking.
So, I Googled "how to delete
Facebook" and went about dismantling my four-year relationship
with my meticulously maintained
social media account.
Facebook seemed upset about
my decision, and responded like a
clingy girlfriend who doesn't understand it's over.
Are you sure? it asked me.
Then it showed me a series of
pictures of my friends, and under
each one was the same sentiment:
Hilary will miss you.
Todd will miss you.
Theo will miss you.
I thought to myself, I get why you
chose Hilary and Todd. But Theo?
He's this dude I traveled with in
Thailand, and haven't talked to
since. He's a good guy, but he lives
in the UK and chances are we'll
never see each other again. I'm sure
"I Googled 'how to delete Facebook' and went
he's not even goingto notice.
Good try, Facebook.
Most of my friends and family have congratulated me on my
decision, and have cheered me
on. They treat me like an escaped
slave. A few have even followed in
my footsteps.
about dismantling my four-year relationship
Of course there are people who
don't understand. Or are annoyed
that all my pictures have disappeared. (I used to pride myself on
how many people's profile pictures I provided to the world.) But
I'm sure they'll live.
Meanwhile, I have an extra hour
with my meticulously maintained account."
a day to devote to a variety of activities. Maybe jogging, or reading
a book. Perhaps I'll do the dishes
more often. Or, if I'm not careful, I
might just fall into the arms of my
other mistress: Twitter.
Whatever I end up doing, I feel
like a free man. 13
Like you.
Whether you're trying to pick up a
prerequisite or fulfill a requirement,
Athabasca University has more
than 8oo online courses that can
transfertoyourdegree at your home
university. Talk with your advisor to
find out if AU is an option for you.
Learn more at
Athabasca UniversityiH
Sick of the Aquatic Centre? Nap in our office.
UBC Multi-Use
Skate Park
Open House + Presentation
On March 5th, come out and provide input on design concepts
for a proposed multi-use skatepark at UBC. Try your hand at
designing your own concept and enter for a chance to win some
sweet skate prizes! Drop in anytime from 3:30pm to 6:30pm
March 5th, 2012
3:30 - 6:30pm
UHill Secondary School
2896 Acadia Road
Come early for food and drinks!
for more information, contact
Adam Cooper, Transportation Planner
Campus + Community Planning
University of British Columbia
a place of mind
live work learn together 121 Games 103.012012
■ 21
■ 25
■ 2G
■ 27
■ 32
■ 33
■ 37
■ 3S
■ 40
■ 41
■ 42
■ 43
■ 47
■ 54
(CUP) - Puzzles provided by
6- well...
10- avis
14-Olds model
15- Coil
16- Not much
17- Extent
18-Art Deco designer
19- Email command
20-Ashtabula's lake
21-Office of a bishop
23- Pedantic
BestCrosswords.com. Used with permission
25- Shudder
26- Ref's decision
27- Gave a hoot
29- Eagle's home
32- Descendant of Cain
33- Fish eggs
36- -a-brac
37- Christmas song
38- Voting-pattern predictor
39- Actress Merkel
40- Brief appearance
41- Small change
42- Head lock
43- Flight formation
44- Refrain
47- Cloths
51- Entertainment
54- Burn the midnight oil. studying
55-The King	
56- Tabula	
57- Jewelled crown worn by women
58- Worry
59- K-6
60- Computer key
61-Sardine containers
62- -deucey
63- Discharge
1- Having auricular protuberances
2- Mild cigar
3- Russian revolutionary leader
4- Containing divalent silver
5- Digit ofthe foot
6- Beth preceder
7- Actress Petty
8- A great deal
9- Ghostly
10- Uttered gratingly
11- First-stringers
12- Cost
13- European viper
21-That, in Tijuana
22- Hurler Hershiser
24- Tina's ex
27- Heals
28- Peek follower
29- "Aladdin" monkey
30- Directional ending
31- Narrow inlet
32- Packs tight
33- CD _
34- Cheer for Manolete
35- Golfer Ernie
37- Roman capital of Palestine
40- Essence
41- Ball belle
42- Characteristics
43- Covered vehicle
45- Artist Rousseau
47- Frothy
48- Angry
49- Feels for
50- Stylish
52- Apply powder to oneself
53- Aha!
57- Driver's aid
d ■ | s
■ 3
aH s
'nH  °
j ■ V
'iH n
r.H 3
■ a
3 ^ 0
1 H
l||  H
a H 3
and Integral Calculus
online this summer
-  •
Arts and Science Online @ Queen's
English Literature
Film and Media
Global Development     and more...
Alan Ableson
Assistant Professor in the
Department of Mathematics
and Statistics at Queen's


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items