Walter Wilkins wrote on
August 30, 2012:
A year ago this week was the public meeting on the Environmental Impact
Assessment for Plan B.
photo by Nigel Armstrong
Yvette Doucette of Charlottetown draws a reaction as she speaks during the public input portion of a meeting Monday held to consider the environmental assessment report of a project to modify the Tans (sic) Canada Highway through New Haven, Churchill and...Published on-line on August 27, 2012
No significant environmental damage, Stantec says
The environment was decidedly hostile at a public meeting Monday in Cornwall to discuss an environmental assessment report on changes to the Trans Canada highway.
The room at the Dutch Inn was laid out with 180 chairs and all but a few were filled. Not one person spoke up in favour of the project.
The meeting was hosted by the PEI Department of Environment, Labour and Justice to get public input on an environmental assessment of the highway project known as Plan B. The report was done by Stantec and made public on the government website on August 2.
"No significant residual environmental affects are likely to occur due to this project during construction (or after)," said Dale Conroy on behalf of Stantec.
"I am wondering if, as part of the environmental assessment you looked at how many areas on P.E.I. are as environmentally sensitive as this one is, that has this level of diversity, that has the plant life and the tree life, the watershed that this particular area has?" said Yvette Doucette when the meeting opened for public input.
"How many areas on P.E.I. do we have left that are like this area? How can anything mitigate damage to an area that is this precious by the fact that it is so rare on P.E.I. ?" said Doucette.
"How many areas on P.E.I. represent what that whole area represents," she pressed as the panel struggled to answer. "How many areas do we have like that on Prince Edward Island. We don't protect what we have here."
"We haven't done an inventory of the whole Island so it's a difficult question to answer," said Jeff Barnes of Stantec.
Members of the public wanted to know what "significant" meant. That too was a difficult question to answer, the meeting was told.
Barnes told the meeting that the purpose of the entire environmental assessment process is not to rule for or against a project but to identify what damage might be done and come up with ways to limit, or mitigate that damage.
"I'm not surprised that environmental assessments leads to better projects that are acceptable," said Barns.
"During the (environmental assessment) the planning has resulted in the avoidance of a large wetland, the (avoidance of the) majority of the hemlock stand and reduced the length of water-course crossings," said Conroy.
The meeting was told that there will be daily inspections and monitoring of the work to check for requirements to reduce environmental damage, like silt control and washing off vehicles that move through areas with invasive species of plants.
Residents went to the microphone in a stream with concerns ranging from wanting more time to respond to the report to allegations that Stantec was hired just to rubber stamp a done deal.
The report is on line and there are ten days from Monday to for the public to submit concerns about the environment and the assessment to government.
This is from Andrew Lush, another Islander making a difference in our
Dr. Adam Fenech wrote an interesting four-part series about climate change last
month for The Guardian, and I am repeating it here, one part
today. He is a climatologist who was part of a team that received
the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on climate change, and is currently
head of UPEI's Climate Research Unit; he understands and encourages citizens to
be involved in the science around them.
June 29 marked the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Conference that launched the issue of climate change onto the global policy agenda.
Sponsored by the government of Canada, the conference, “Our Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security,” brought together hundreds of scientists and policymakers from across the globe to Toronto with the goal of initiating international action on climate change.
Starting on June 30, 1988, international scientists and policy makers met in Toronto to discuss emerging concerns about global atmospheric issues including acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming.
While the previous decade had seen discussions of both global cooling and warming, the Toronto Conference was the “perfect storm” of events to launch the issue of global warming onto the international policy agenda.
1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research scientist Dr. James Hansen told a U.S. Congressional committee on June 24, 1988, he was 99 per cent certain that a warming trend being witnessed was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere. This received international media attention including the influential newspaper, the New York Times.
2) The conference came one year following the successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to reduce and eventually eliminate pollutants causing depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Canada played a major role in this negotiation which has been heralded as the poster child for successful international environmental diplomacy.
3) The appearance at the Toronto Conference of then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney ensured other international leaders would be in attendance and would bring their international media along with them.
4) The international media remarked on the high level of scientific consensus at the Toronto Conference on the issue of global warming. The media was not accustomed to this amount of consensus on an environmental science issue.
5) The conference occurred during a record setting heat wave for Toronto with daily temperatures at levels never recorded before in over 150 years of observation.
These events combined to generate an enormous momentum towards global discussion and global action on climate change. The 1988 conference, hosted by Canada, put climate change on the global agenda and proposed a specific initial target for a global reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide — 20 per cent below 1988 levels by 2005 — on the way to a much larger ultimate reduction, to be set following further research and debate.
The conference concluded by issuing a stark
warning to the world: “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled,
globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only
to a global nuclear war.”
Perhaps Transportation or the construction crews can remove the sign alerting people to the Kingfishers' nest, since the birds have been fledged a while, the nest holes in the cliff excavated away....unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Small plastic-protected sheet on sign, east side of area notifying of Kingfishers' nest; TCH at Plan B looking west earlier this month.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Signs from the west side, in drainage ditch made for springs at Plan B cut by TCH in New Haven. Crushed glass laid down last week has been covered with several feet of shale (bit showing white in lower centre). Looking west towards Churchill, paved part over Crawford's Stream and Brook in upper right, August 25, 2013. unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Drainage ditch with old "Construction Zone" and Kingfishers' sign, New Haven, August 25, 2013.
Reminders for events today:
Nature Conservancy of Canada Conway Sandhills Clean-up, 10AM to 4PM
More details: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/prince-edward-island/stories/a-chance-to-see-a-spectacular.html
Liberal Caucus "Town Hall Meeting", 7 to 9PM, Convention Centre, Charlottetown
the second topic is about "Steps needed for responsible natural resource development", open to the public,
RSVP requested: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some topics that should come up: pipelines, fracking, northern resources, a real commitment to alternative energies....
There is a lot going on this weekend and the next weeks:
· Sunday, August 25th, 11AM - 4PM, with marine botanist Dr. Irene Novaczek
"The Nature Conservancy of Canada's Prince Edward Island office is looking for volunteers to help clean beach areas, knock down and remove these structures and help identify birds that are present there. Dependent on good tide conditions, NCC staff and Conservation Volunteers will head out to the Conway Sandhills on Monday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m . There will be a boat leaving from Milligan’s wharf to transport volunteers. However, there is an option for anyone with a canoe or kayak to paddle to the Sandhills if conditions permit. This event has been scheduled for after the plovers have finished nesting so they will not be disturbed, but please feel free to bring a pair of binoculars along as we can survey for shorebirds too! To register, visit www.conservationvolunteers.ca; e-mail us at email@example.com or contact our office at 1-877-231-4400."
(this looks interesting, and is open to the public -- it sounds like the Federal Liberals support Keystone Pipeline but not fracking)
Monday, August 26th, 7 - 9PM, PEI Convention Centre, 4 Queen Street, Charlottetown
Moderators: Sean Casey and Senator Catherine Callbeck
with Kirsty Duncan, Liberal Environment Critic and member of the IPCC and Marc Garneau, Liberal Natural Resources Critic
Outline: The set of critics
speak each for 5 minutes on the proposed topic followed by a Q & A session
for 25 minutes. Each critic will have 5 minutes for a concluding remark.
Future events -- September 6th to 8th --
special evening entitled 'PEI
Needs Clean Water - Come Join the Movement to Protect It!' will be held
Saturday, September 7th from 7 – 9 pm at the Murphy's Community
Centre, 200 Richmond St, Charlottetown. A panel discussion will be led by Don
Mazer from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, Andrew Lush
from 'Don't Frack PEI', and Irene Novaczek from 'Save Our Seas and Shores- PEI'
. Everyone who enjoys clean water and wants to protect it is urged to attend.
Boyd Allen's letter in yesterday's Guardian questions their balance.
Plan B paving distorts balancePublished on August 21, 2013
As is the case with most Islanders, reading The Guardian is a daily ritual. I rely on it to keep me informed on the news on the Island. I expect what I read in this paper to report this news in a balanced manner.
Unfortunately three items published by the Guardian in the week ending August 17 have me questioning this balance. I presume these items were vetted by the editorial board before being published.
Campbell Webster’s editorial on the 17th (The New Coke Jumbo Shrimp Party) questions the intelligence of the provincial PC Party for attempting some party optics housekeeping.
He also seems horrified by what he sees as the party’s presenting “patronizing and manipulative falsehoods”.
The editorial of August 15 (Poster Produces Circus Sideshow) chastises the provincial NDP leader, Mike Redmond, for somehow breaching photo-op etiquette by using satire to highlight the far-reaching issue radiating from our annual fish kills. He’s accused of trivializing this “serious issue” which has gotten less media attention than instigating a feud between two musicals in Charlottetown.
In stark contrast to these is the “Paving work starts on Plan B highway” article also published on the 15th.
This piece is downright celebratory. The minister responsible is given ample space to offer unsupported statements and site updates with no questions asked as the project grinds its way to the finish line. The sustained, widespread opposition to this project was tucked into a few lines which evidently didn’t warrant any comment from the minister.
It appears to me the only editorial problems grappled with on this article were if the file from the Shaw Building pasted properly and how to format the panoramic paving photo which accompanied it.
It seems that any sense of balance is getting skewed.
Boyd Allen, Pownal
It is sad that we have a one-sided conversation with our media (meaning,
they will print critical letters but not respond to them), and that the Island
professional media outlets seem to be the training ground for tomorrow's
government media people.
" Politicians like Janice Sherry are gutless, refusing to even comment on the impact of kills until testing is complete weeks later."
A little more on the petroleum spill from the late 1970s on the West River in Bonshaw:
Compass, 6:25 into the broadcast:
It is Wednesday and the Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open from 9AM to 2PM;
local food is obviously good for the environment, and your food choices are a
bit like voting several times a day.
Fish kills and the health of island waterways:
NDP-sponsored poster released last week.
A Free arts festival highlighting the Island's diverse visual art talent, as well as the beauty and history of downtown Charlottetown's public squares and parks.
A tour of Plan B, August 18, 2013:
This is a very clumsy annotated map, but it gives some idea of location for the
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Looking west into Bonshaw.Provincial Park entrance across TCH on right. Note pink number in foreground. August 18, 2013.
to this, has to happen.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo Bonshaw cut just west of current TCH, August 18, 2013. Tractor trailer truck heading east along TCH in upper left.
This shows that they still have to dig 3.1 metres down at this point:
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
(closeup from first photo on current TCH)
They have a "scratch coat" of asphalt on the section from around Crosby Road to near the CBC Tower.
The winds are strong there when they seem mild elsewhere (say, along the current TCH) -- these sawhorses were blown over.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Signs standing up as they were intended to keep vehicles off new pavement, near CBC tower, Churchill.
It's paved over the Crawford's Brook (the box culvert) and Hemlock Grove's Stream (not labeled on the map above but between Peter's Road and yellow-coloured new south Peter's Road).
A little further east, crushed recycled glass is being used to help somehow deal with the water from the springs in the area.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Crushed glass spread over area with springs, looking west towards Hemlock Grove and towards Churchill, August 18, 2013.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo Glass substrate, looking east towards current TCH, (former) Kingfisher cliff at upper right. Connector to current TCH is likely to be around cut-out on left. August 18, 2013.
And then there is Fairyland -- very wide cut east of current TCH, and a narrow one just shown by the glass substrate. Perhaps they will use a canal lock system to connect everything.unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Fairyland, from on top of one of the filled-in ravines, looking east to TCH (Encounter Creek buildings up on right out of frame), August 2013.
And then there is the Fairyland spaghetti bowl of roads planned to access Route 9 north and south and run Plan B back into the existing TCH near Gass's General Store.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
At a crossroads, looking towards Gass's store, New Haven, August 2013. Road to Route 9 north is cut and goes off on left. Scat in foreground.
Even the mammals kicked out of Fairyland have an opinion of Plan B.
Too bad it's unlikely the inflatable Mike Duffy will be in the Gold Cup Parade,
but with the theme the "Parade of Heroes", he just doesn't fit.
Odds and Ends:
Yesterday's Guardian had a page A3 update on Plan B. While it is mildly mollifying to have The Guardian call it, simply, Plan B, (the name the opponents gave it), it is such a laudatory piece filled with more hot air than that Mike Duffy balloon. (Safety, on-time, on-budget....)
Please consider writing a little note to The Guardian. It is about time for the some clarifications from the people paying for this mess.
Paving work starts on Plan BPublished in the print edition on August 15, 2013
by Ryan Ross
Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said after all the
excavation and grading work it's great to see the project coming together.
Paving started Tuesday morning and long
stretches of the roadbed were already covered in their first layer of asphalt
by Wednesday afternoon.
In order to reduce the grade and make the hills
less steep the roadbed was built up using fill from other sections of the
Throughout the project it was met with
opposition from protesters and others who argued it was causing environmental
But as the project neared completion, Vessey
said any time you remove entrances to the highway, reduce slopes and take out
dangerous curves it makes for a safer road.
More unintended irony from Minister Vessey.
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photo
Curve west of Crawford's Brook above concrete box culvert, August 2013.
A few Saturday events:
In the west:
Birding on PEI is hosting a bird outing with Island Nature Trust -- shorebirds in Sherbrooke -- north of Summerside, meeting at 9AM at the end of Lock Shore Road:
or if you are not on Facebook and want to see a map:
In the east:
MacPhail Woods is hosting a workshop Saturday, August 17th, on improving riparian zones (areas near rivers) with Rob Sharkie. Meet at the Nature Centre at 10AM.
In both events, wear appropriate footwear, bring binocs, water, notebook, bug repellant. Both events are NOT meant only for experts!
PS Here is a screenshot of part of the construction schedule on TIR's website yesterday.
While the bridge widening is done as of yesterday, a peek into the pit just west of the provincial park that's supposed to be connected to the bridge looks like it will take *lots* of machines and money to complete.
from http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/tchimprovement "Construction schedule" (pdf download)
unable to upload :( check facebook page for table
Remember the Task Force on Land Use Policy?
Paving started on part of a section of Plan B this week between --and actually
over - -Crawford's Stream (Hemlock Grove) and Brook.
Unwanted, unnecessary, indefensible.
PS A reminder about the public meeting today from 4-5PM at the Kelley Building at UPEI regarding the Institute of Island Studies, open to any Islanders wishing to show support for the institution. I'll get contact addresses for those unable to make it who want to write something to the review panel.
Today at 11AM at the Confederation Centre of the Arts foyer, Grafton
Street entrance, Mike Redmond of the NDP is giving a press conference about the
inaction on fish kills. If you are going to be in town, you may want to
pop in -- the more attention to this subject, the better.
Just a reminder about Wednesday's second IIS review meeting: 4-5 p.m. in Kelley 211. Please come out and share with David MacDonald, Dr. Graham Whitelaw, and the UPEI administration your vision for the Institute of Island Studies.
and worth repeating from Saturday's Guardian:
Shrinking faculty Saddens professor
Published on August 10, 2013 in The Guardian
It is with deep sorrow that I learn of the shrinking of the faculty at UPEI, the result of needless expansion of the administration - really, four vice-presidents to do the work so ably done by the deans of the various faculties and school and by the registrar.
Moreover, the massive building program begun during the tenure of a former president must take its place among the dreadful errors engaged in so foolishly, with little regard for the future.
Perhaps the Institute of Island Studies (to mention merely one example) could relocate to Governor's Island, if the history of the recent past is repeated yet again.
Oh, for the days of Ron Baker and especially Willie Eliot, who guided UPEI so ably!
Dr. Colman O'Hare,
A couple of notes:
A year ago, Saturday, August 11, 2012, was the opening of the Art Exhibit, "Drawing on Nature", and a concert of the same name, at Bites Cafe in Hampton, PEI.
Here was the Facebook event listing: https://www.facebook.com/events/316038391819987/ and from it:
"These artists were invited to draw, paint, photograph, write, compose, or in any manner document or represent the plants, flowers, streams, birds, and other natural wonders in the Churchill area that could be destroyed or affected by construction of the 'Plan B' Highway between New Haven and Bonshaw."
Ron Arvidson and Jennifer Brown, with Ron's plate and Jennifer's mural behind, July 2012.
Jennifer created several works of art in the show, and has recently published her first children's book, Talullah, the Theatre Cat. The exhibit was Ron's idea back in Spring of 2012.
Ron was one of a seemingly score of men with graying beards whose names I confused for the first months opposing Plan B in early 2012. Ron later stood out by being a naturalist, a potter, an organizer, a birder, a photographer, and a steadfast Fisherman's Breakfast pancake flipper. His quiet but fierce opposition to the project and tireless behind-the-scenes energy are why we kept fighting Plan B and continue with the Citizens' Alliance -- it was about the collective displeasure at government wasting land and other resources, including the positive involvement of the people.
The art exhibit was beautiful, achingly beautiful, thinking about it now. Marion Copleston, Ron Arvidson, Shona Holzer, Sharon Sawyer, Donna Martin, Bruno Peripoli, Sarah Saunders, Jack Sorenson, Dr. David Stewart -- a partial and very incomplete list. The artists donated a generous portion of the selling price to Stop Plan B.
The concert was fabulous -- so much emotion and positive energy! -- from the humour of Erksine Smith as emcee, to artists on the island (Teresa Doyle, Margie Carmicheal Scotto, Roy Johnstone, Peter Bevan-Baker, Tony Reddin, Yvette Doucette and many others), and off-Island (John Farrell, Will Brown, and others -- who have been through so many kinds of fights like Plan B and could only smile and look into our eyes with looks of rue and compassion, which were gratefully acknowledged).
Here is a small snippet of the concert, with Margie Carmicheal Scotto, Roy Johnstone, and Nancy Clement (listed as "Guest").
So many generous people came out to enjoy the art and music; if you were in that packed hall that night, you had a fun time!
Thanks to Peter and Ann for lending us their cafe and Hall for the entire time, the key to the whole project, really.
Messages from the (rain)boots on the ground:
Last night was a wonderful event in Charlottetown commemorating the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt, the society formed for the year 1973, the Centennial year of PEI joining Confederation, to comment on issues around the interpretation of Island history, and of the culture and future of the Island itself.
George O'Connor, a Brother of Cornelius Howatt, hosted the event at the Irish Cultural Centre (formerly the Irish Benevolent Society). His son and historian Ryan O'Connor gave an illustrated talk on why the society formed and what it did that year. We all smiled at the photos of members reading proclamations and rowing (or attempting to row) boats, displaying the fashions and facial hair of the day. Several people spoke about that year and what happened, and what's happening now, and about being *awake* to what's causing change, and how that change affects us all. The room was filled with warmth though the new air conditioning kept it cool.
Founders David Weale and Harry Baglole and company made a mark in 1973, to be sure; it is the ripples from the BSCH that inspire all of us and our children as we sustain and nurture life on this little Island.
The retrospective on the "Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt"
is tonight, 7:30PM, at the Irish Cultural Centre (Benevolent Irish
Society). Admission by donation, and a fun window on issues that are
still around, 40 years later.
Three recommendations of the 18 were highlighted (my interpretation):
A few things of note for tomorrow, Thursday, August 8th:
Sunday afternoon's CBC Radio show, Maritime Connections (with Preston Mulligan, who was on PEI for a stint when he was a new reporter), featured the question:
What do we need to do to protect our rivers and streams?
His guests were Shawn Hill, Executive Director of the PEI Watershed Alliance, and Walter Regan of the Sackville River Association; there was an extended call-in by PEI Potato Board chairman and potato farmer Gary Linkletter.
They discussed the health of rivers in the area, with the pressures common to all regions and specific to each area, with Shawn Hill clearly explaining what needs to happen to protect PEI rivers (about 5:45 minutes into it), and about 13:30 minutes he discusses the results of the Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management (until 20 minutes).
At 29:30, Gary Linkletter comments until about 35 minutes, Management of development along waterways (an issue a Land Use Policy would address) is discussed at about 42 minutes. Interesting listening.
The 35-page Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management report, submitted to government in November 2012 and quietly posted on the department of environment's website in February 2013:
There is an executive summary at the beginning on page 5 (document page ii).
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.....unable to upload :( check facebook page for photos
unable to upload :( check facebook page for photos
“We change the world a little each day with our kindness.”
“If you do the numbers on the land that we’re
giving back to the community and the land that we’re going to sell, we’re under
budget,” he said.
Steve Yeo, the province’s chief engineer,
said the move was something the government always said would be done in 2014
and there are plans to meet with the hall owners at some point to
determine exactly how to proceed.
and best quote: "Sometimes things take a while and this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that took a while,” (Vessey) said. It is a puzzle all right.
Government to move Bonshaw hall
Bonshaw Hall will be moved as part of the provincial government’s Trans-Canada Highway realignment project known as Plan B.
B construction work means short relocation for 140-year-old former Prince
Edward Island church
by Ryan Ross
When it comes time to moving the Bonshaw community hall, the group that runs it hopes it will be done without any lengthy delays.
Bill Glen is the Bonshaw Hall Co-op’s treasurer and said the hall is used six days a week, including as a post office, and if it stays on blocks for a long time, it will be a big problem.
“The biggest concern is to get it done quickly,” he said.
The move is part of the provincial government’s Trans-Canada Highway realignment project known as Plan B, and although the building isn’t in the construction path, its proximity to the highway raised safety concerns.
Instead of tearing it down or leaving it where it is, the government is choosing to move the building to a location nearby and away from the intersection of Green Road and the Trans-Canada. The move will take the parking lot and community mailboxes away from the intersection and highway.
Members of the community have also raised concerns about what they say was a lack of consultation about the move.
Steve Yeo, the province’s chief engineer, said the move was something the government always said would be done in 2014 and there are plans to meet with the hall owners at some point to determine exactly how to proceed. Yeo said the government will build a new foundation and possibly relocate the septic system, which is all part of moving a building.
“It’s not the first time that we’ve moved one and it won’t be the last,” he said.
Once the move is underway it likely won’t take long to get the building back in service, Yeo said.
“We’ll do it as quickly as possible.”
Although the former church is more than 140-years-old, Glen said it is in good shape and will be able to handle the move.
As for the highway construction, the Transportation Department recently released the full list of all the properties the government bought through negotiated deals or expropriation to make way for the road.
All told there were 32 properties totaling 641.29 acres and bought for about $4.3 million.
That’s more than the $4 million the province originally told the public it planned to spend on the properties, but Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said some of the land will go back to the community as public green space. The government also plans to sell some of the land it doesn’t plan to use and Vessey said it’s assessed at around $600,000.
“If you do the numbers on the land that we’re giving back to the community and the land that we’re going to sell, we’re under budget,” he said.
The land purchase process has been one of the lengthier parts of the highway development and the government released the first list of 25 properties in November.
Vessey said department staff worked hard on each property to be as compassionate and fair as possible with the landowners.
“Sometimes things take a while and this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that took a while,” he said.
Meanwhile work continues on the highway construction and the first pavement is expected to go down in the next two or three weeks.
Prince Edward Island architect has made large imprint on small provincePublished on August 3, 2013
by Jim Day
Ole Hammarlund honoured as Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada
Ole Hammarlund’s lauded architectural handiwork is a regular part of daily life for many, many Islanders.
Politicians, high school and university students, researchers and home dwellers, among others, pour in and out of his designed structures.
Working in Prince Edward Island for the past four decades has allowed the 71-year-old architect the opportunity to do a diverse range of work as a founding partner with both Bergmark and Hammarlund Architects and with BGHJ Architects.
Hammarlund feels blessed to have been able to make such a large imprint on such a small province.
“In a big city, you do a job and then you get on to the next one and you don’t pay too much attention to what you’ve done, but here you’re constantly walking by the buildings (he designed) and you’re constantly running into people that work and live in them,’’ he says.
Larry Jones, who worked for years as a partner with Hammarlund at BGHJ Architects, says Hammarlund has “absorbed the esthetic here on P.E.I.’’
Jones says Hammarlund, a native of Denmark, has also been influential in bringing some European styles into structures built on Prince Edward Island over the past 40 years.
An architect on P.E.I., explains Jones, is sort of a generalist.
“You do touch a lot of different buildings and a lot of different styles,’’ he says.
Hammarlund’s body of work, which includes the Coles Building, The Guild, co-op housing projects, UPEI’s Duffy Science Centre and K.C. Irving Chemistry Centre, Charlottetown Rural High School, Greenwich Beach Facility and the P.E.I. Advanced House, certainly illustrates his great diversity of work.
Hammarlund, said Jones, has truly earned the nod as a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, the highest honour bestowed by the national organization, which took place formerly for Hammarlund at a ceremony June 6 in Halifax.
Jones points to his fellow Fellow’s impressive career work as well as long and influential involvement in furthering the architectural industry (Hammarlund is serving a third separate stint as president of the Architects’ Association of P.E.I. and has regularly attended national industry meetings for the past quarter century).
“He was a particularly good candidate for fellowship,’’ says Jones.
The acknowledgement is meaningful to Hammarlund.
“It feels very nice,’’ he says. “It’s kind of fun.’’
Hammarlund’s profession has been quite a treat as well, to be able to earn a good living through pursuing a passion.
Hammarlund, who grew up in a village just north of Copenhagen, always liked doing stuff with his hands. He started building tree houses as early as age eight.
His parents, who were both agronomists, would smell of chemicals when they arrived home from work. Hammarlund lived with his parents and his younger brother on the second floor of a two-story house formerly owned by the village’s black smith while his two cousins (that were like brothers) lived on the first floor.
After completing high school, Hammarlund became a carpenter’s apprentice working for “an old fashioned carpenter in the country that was able to do anything.’’
In 1964, he was admitted to the Architecture School of the Royal Academy of the Arts in Copenhagen where he studied for two years until transferring to the MIT School of Architecture in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and became licensed as an architect in Massachusetts in 1972.
In 1974, Hammarlund was commissioned with partner David Bergmark to design the P.E.I. Ark, a visionary bio-shelter funded by the Canadian government for the New Alchemy Institute.
The Ark, which was opened in August 1976 by then prime minister Pierre Trudeau, created a huge buzz. Tourists flocked to gawk at the unique structure. TV crews came from as far away as Denmark and Japan.
The international exposure led to a whirlwind of work for Hammarlund and company that included designing solar green houses sprouting up everywhere from Sudbury, Ont., to Saudi Arabia.
“It just instantly caught the attention of everybody all over the world,’’ recalls Hammarlund. “They were knocking on our door.’’
Almost all of Hammarlund’s architecture work, though, has been on Prince Edward Island. He is particularly pleased with his work on the UPEI campus, including a major renovation of the Main Building — the oldest building on campus.
One of his favourite buildings that he had a large hand in designing is the Charlottetown Rural High School.
“That was a really interesting building to design,’’ he says.
“We tried to make the building very compact. Compact is not only good for energy efficiency but also it makes it easy to go around. At Colonel Gray (High School), you have to walk twice as far to get from here to there.’’
Hammarlund’s focus in recent years has been developing the former Charlottetown YMCA into loft-style living and work condos. He lives there with his wife, Karen Lips, in a beautiful condo with 20-foot high ceilings in a home filled with considerable natural light and colourful art that all has combined to do well in countering the claustrophobic feeling he had in his previous apartment.
He also practises architecture today with his wife under the name Hammarlund and Lips Architects. The couple has a son, Leif, who is a chef at Terre Rouge in Charlottetown. Hammarlund also has four children from his first marriage.
When not working from his home, Hammarlund loves to entertain there, inviting friends to join in a night of ballroom dancing on his hardwood floor.
“Ole is one of the finest characters around town,’’ says Jones. “He’s got a wonderful, infectious personality.’’
While he sees plenty of dancing in his future, Hammarlund is not ready to retire.
“I still have a few good designs in me,’’ he says.
Today's event at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea at 2PM is a special showing of "Having Hope at Home", with proceeds going to a memorial scholarship in Erskine Smith's name for a student in the performing arts program at Holland College.
It's a wonderful, poignant play with fantastic acting, and for a fantastic reason, too.
Also, the Watershed Alliance has a very informative website of its news and news of interest. They posted about the recent fish kill, with a easy links to related articles. http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?p=742
You can join the list and get e-mailed updates from them.Environment Minister Janice Sherry speaks about the fishkill on Compass Friday evening:
14:20 into the broadcast.
(There isn't quite the right "emoticon" for that kind of interview, but you can always write firstname.lastname@example.org or Minister Sherry herself at email@example.com)
Let's hope for gentle rains this weekend, for all our waterways' sake, Chris O., Bonshaw
Here are some August dates
of items of interest:
Last night's CBC TV Compass coverage of the Bonshaw Hall move, which would happen in 2014; it's a slow news week ;-)
It is about 20 minutes into the broadcast.
Resident and Hall Co-op member Bill Glen explains the importance of the building.
The morning CBC radio interview with Sheldon MacNevin was "promo-ed" by descriptions of "residents' demands", and then in the interview Bonshaw elder Sheldon MacNevin said, "We'd appreciate it if the province helped with the foundation...." (italics are mine). He also gave some perspective on what Plan B has done to the community of Churchill; very heartfelt.
Island Morning did not archive Sheldon's interview.
But they did archive an interview with Watershed Alliance Executive Director Shawn Hill, regarding this week's fish kill and the lack of progress on the recommendations from the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management:
Here is the PEI government "backgrounder" on the Action Committee's formation. Just the banner of this webpage is worth a quick peek:
from that press release:
“This is a partnership of groups committed to a solution and to using Barclay Brook – where we have seen fish kills two years in a row – as a pilot for identifying problems and developing land use practices that will control the runoffs that lead to fish kills.”
-- Environment Minister Janice Sherry, July 23, 2012.
Here is a reminder for tonight -- hope you can pop if you appreciate that bit of green space: