Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kettle Valley Railway

The CPR's practice of pulling up its rail lines (most recently along Vancouver's Arbutus Corridor) can be found throughout parts of the Central Okanagan. In 1980 the CPR pulled up the Kettle Valley Railway and turned over its right-of-way to the provincial government. The Myra Canyon is now one of the most popular recreational sites in the valley.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Royals Are Coming! The Royals Are Coming!

After Kelsie's presentation Samuel called a break and we walked over to the University Centre and purchased soup. Because it was warm, we took our soup outside to eat on one of the Centre's built-in tables overlooking University Way. Cops stood at both ends of the crosswalk that links the path just south of the Fipke Building to the path just south of us.

All morning young men in black t-shirts had assembled a labyrinth of blue fencing, making the campus look more like today's "university of business" than Chicago's Union Stock Yards. At the north end of the Administration Building, another group in less standardized wear assembled a stage, a public address system and a couple dozen rows of chrome and vinyl chairs.

Suddenly, without warning, an RCMP motorcycle cop charged up the hill followed by eight black vans filled with soldiers in camo gear and berets. The vans in turn were followed by eight pairs of motorcycle cops -- the whole lot disappearing around the corner.

A rehearsal, I thought.

For the royals, said Samuel.

We returned to our soup.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Some Kelowna Houses

North of Pandosy Village near the lakeshore is Kelowna General Hospital, where I began yesterday's walk -- north on Abbott Street,  through the tunnel under the highway just east of the bridge, around downtown and back again.

There are some impressive houses along Abbott, from the Streamline Moderne

to the bungalow

to what might be called "modern Spanish colonial"

to those still finding their way.

Below is one of a number of posters I saw tacked to tree trunks on my walk up Abbott.

The text below the image reads:

African mask stolen from 344 Park Avenue on September 19th. 

Approximately 2m (6 feet) tall.

Reward $200 for information resulting in its recovery.

Please contact Robert at 250 826 1447

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Father Pandosy

Like José Martí in Cuba, Kelowna's Father Pandosy is everywhere. He is the name behind Pandosy Street and Pandosy Village, of course, but his presence is also felt in the city's architecture and, as you can see above, in its statuary.

Father Pandosy is known as Kelowna's "first settler." He arrived in the area in 1859 and built a mission that, whether in name or in aesthetic, influenced a number of area structures, from shopping malls to condos.

Obviously there is more to Father Pandosy than my gloss above (for example, he is described as being "as much a farmer as he was a priest"), but I will leave it at that before speaking further on someone whose presence belongs more to those whose came here than to those who have always been here.

José Martí is revered in Cuba because he wrote poems and essays, lectured, took up arms and died in the liberation of his country from Spain. If I were to speculate on an indigenous perspective on Father Pandosy, I might think of him as closer to Spain than to Cuba.

*photo atop this post taken from The Daily Courier

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lakeshore Road

Across Lakeshore Road just north of Boyce-Gyro is a small house with features that belong to a time long before this house was built, a time when Kelowna's public roads were lined with orchards, many of which were razed after the Second World War and turned into motels and trailer parks, which in turn were razed in the 1980s when private developers, backed by Ontario and Alberta money, turned those lands into shopping malls, like those on the Harvey Avenue stretch of Highway 97.

But this won't happen on Lakeshore, nor will it happen on the former CP Rail lands that run from Marpole to Granville Island in Vancouver, what some still refer to as the Arbutus Corridor. People with money have to live somewhere, and in Kelowna, they live on Lakeshore.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Boyce-Gyro Beach Park

A recently built shed on the beach at Boyce-Gyro.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Recent Decisions

On Tuesday morning I awoke to UBC Okanagan Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies professor Nancy Holmes speaking on CBC radio about the Regional District of the Central Okanagan's recent decision to terminate the contracts of the seven on-site resident caretakers who live and work in seven of the RDCO's parks. On Wednesday morning I awoke to one of those caretakers, Lori Mairs, talking on that same program about the work she does in addition to locking and unlocking the gate and making sure the trails are free of coffee cups and gum wrappers.

Lori spoke of sitting outside the caretaker's house at Woodhaven one afternoon talking to a student about a bear she had seen hanging around -- and how it might present a problem to visitors -- when a man and his young daughter started up the path with a picnic basket. No sooner did Lori tell the man to return whatever food he was carrying to his car because there is a bear in the area, when a bear reared up behind a bush, his nose twitching.

When the person interviewing Lori played a clip from an earlier interview with RDCO's Bruce Smith, where Smith told listeners how an off-site security presence would be augmented by park neighbours "keeping an eye out," my mind raced. In one direction I saw a bear chasing a terrified man and his daughter down a forest path; in another, a group of neighbours huddled together on a front lawn feeling guilty for not warning a young family of a hungry -- and desperate -- bear.

But what bothers me most about the RDCO's decision is the loss of embodied knowledge -- information held and distributed by those who have committed themselves to the reception and understanding of life forces common to conservancies like Woodhaven. And please, don't tell me this is a budgetary decision -- not when the Central Okanagan is among the fastest growing regions in the country and whose tax revenues have grown accordingly. No, decisions like this one have more to do with the elimination of alternative ways of life and learning by those motivated not by profits, as we often accuse private developers of, but by bonuses given to public sector workers for whom "saving" money is making money. A neoliberal instance of language making the land safe for those who rip it off.