Media Release - District recognizes outstanding contributions at Community Awards Ceremony
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
On October 29, West Vancouver held its annual Community Awards ceremony to recognize nine dedicated community members for outstanding civic commitment, leadership and engagement in the areas of the arts, environment and heritage. The awards were presented in Council Chambers by West Vancouver’s Councillors.
“It’s inspiring to be part of such an engaged and committed community,” says Mayor Michael Smith. “These awards allow us to give something back to those who give us so much of their time and energy every day. It’s our way of saying thank you for making our community a stronger place.”
The nominees were selected by fellow community members and the winners chosen by the District of West Vancouver Community Awards Committee.
“I find it remarkable how our dedicated residents are moving so much of our work and initiatives forward,” says Councillor Nora Gambioli. “We owe many of the strides our community has taken in recent years directly to the work of our residents.”
Visit westvancouver.ca/awards for more information. Nomination forms for the 2013 awards will be available in the New Year.
To arrange interviews with this year’s winners, please contact. Jeff McDonald, Director of Communications:
c: 604-396-3692 | d: 604-925-4736 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Merla Beckerman
- Doug Macaulay
- Elspeth and Ray Bradbury
- Elizabeth Hardy
- John Nightingale
- The Environmental Protection Network
- Shoreline Preservation Society
About the District of West Vancouver
The District of West Vancouver is the local government led by Mayor Michael Smith and Council. Home to more than 44,000 residents, West Vancouver is a local government which strives to "inspire excellence and lead by example". Our Vision and Mission guide us to pursue our treasured quality of life and will be the measure of our success as a community. West Vancouver is a community built on innovation, a strong spirit of personal civic commitment and a deep value for relationships.
Award Recipient Bios:
Merla Beckerman has been a long time proponent of the arts in the Lower Mainland. She has served as the Chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery Board and as a Trustee for twelve years. She was appointed Vice-Chair of the National Gallery of Canada, among numerous other professional distinctions both locally and nationally. Most recently, Merla served as Chair of the Ambleside Arts Advisory Committee that received support from Council for a new Arts Centre in Ambleside in May 2012. It was through Merla’s keen leadership and dedication to revitalizing the arts in West Vancouver that this nearly two-year-long initiative finally came to fruition. In the coming months and years, we will see Ambleside become a bustling arts community, thanks in large part to the efforts of individuals like Merla Beckerman.
The West Vancouver Youth Band has been a staple of this community for over 80 years, and for the last 20, Doug Macaulay’s guidance has seen the band grow from a small group of musicians to a bustling community orchestra with upwards of 200 members. Always willing to participate in the community, Doug has involved the Youth Band in all manner of events in West Vancouver, including Community Day, Canada Day, Remembrance Day and other events in between. His desire for greater inclusion of the arts into everyday life led him to successfully push for the creation of the Community Music Hall in the new Community Centre in 2009. This space has been an invaluable resource for not just the Youth Band, but for the numerous other bands and orchestras spread about West Vancouver as well. Most of all, he is known for his unparalleled dedication to his students. A true educator, it is said that he never gives up on a student regardless of circumstance. Countless young people from across West Vancouver have benefited from his tutelage and will continue to do so for years to come.
Elspeth and Ray Bradbury
Since retiring and moving to West Vancouver in 1988, Elspeth and Ray Bradbury have worked diligently to protect West Vancouver’s parks, most notably Lighthouse Park, to transform them into havens for a wide variety of native plants and animals. Among the founding members of the Lighthouse Park Preservation Society, their volunteer group has taken a leadership role in protecting and preserving the park and the surrounding area. The society has seen the removal of vast quantities of invasive species across the Lighthouse Park area in addition to nurturing previously forgotten native species. Between 2005 and 2010, they helped with the restoration of the Beacon Hill Trail and produced a map of Caulfield Park’s native plant species that is in wide use today. Furthermore, they were instrumental in creating the “Six Parks Network”, which supports and services a collection of smaller green spaces in the Lighthouse Park area. Lauded as expert motivators and educators, volunteers from across the region are always quick to answer their calls to action and learn from their unique expertise.
A long-time director of the Streamkeepers Society and manager of the Nelson Creek Hatchery, Elizabeth Hardy is a driving force behind fresh water stream preservation in West Vancouver. During her 16 years at the Salmon Hatchery, she has overseen the rearing of millions of salmon fry released into waterways around West Vancouver to help re-establish neglected or abandoned salmon spawning sites. In addition to her duties at the hatchery, Elizabeth is responsible for the health of a number of waterways around the Eagle Harbour area and works to protect the aquatic plants and animals that reside there. A diligent salmon surveyor, she has maintained spawning records in Eagle Harbour for longer than any other region in West Vancouver, information that has been invaluable in the study and survival of local salmon populations. In addition to her field work, Elizabeth is a strong proponent of salmon education in local classrooms. Her hands-on course in Eagle Harbour School has been running for over ten years, and her work with the hatchery has reached thousands of children across the North Shore and beyond. Elizabeth’s work gives hope to the future of one of the West Coast’s most respected and beloved natural habitats.
For almost 20 years, long time West Vancouver resident Dr. John Nightingale has been the CEO and President of the Vancouver Aquarium, steering the landmark institution in its efforts to grow public awareness of our fragile water systems and preserve our natural landscape. Under his leadership, the Vancouver Aquarium has established itself as a premier aquatic research institution and a financially viable NGO, operating free from any sort of government subsidy while maintaining an impeccable environmental record. Furthermore, John has played a significant role in establishing a number of vital environmental programs both locally and throughout the Lower Mainland. He helped lead the establishment of the Whytecliff Park Marine Protected Area, helped with the development of the Howe Sound Conversation Group, started the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and co-founded the Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Program. John Nightingale has helped ensure that the unique environmental landscape of West Vancouver will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.
The Environmental Protection Network
The Environmental Protection Network in an environmental society made up of more than 60 students from West Vancouver Secondary School and has worked closely with a number of community groups across West Vancouver in activities ranging from storm drain painting to invasive plant species removal. Central to the Network’s efforts have been four years of work with the Streamkeepers conducting salmon surveys. Students have been trained to count and identify salmon numbers, monitor the health of returning salmon and collect stream data. This valuable research was collected, qualified and cumulated with a presentation on salmon populations at District Hall. In addition to their work with the Streamkeepers, the Environmental Protection Network has assisted with surf smelt egg surveys through the Shoreline Preservation Society. Independently, they have expanded their successful school recycling program into a community-wide electronics waste recycling program that included a mini-fair education system at Park Royal Shopping Centre. Youth societies like the Environmental Protection Network are ensuring that West Vancouver’s natural wonders will be preserved not just today, but for generations to come.
Shoreline Preservation Society
Since 2006, the West Vancouver Shoreline Preservation Society has guided the work of enhancing West Vancouver’s waterfront in a disciplined and professional manner. Early pilot projects that addressed eroding foreshore evolved into larger scale initiatives that enhanced beachfront and habitat. Employing many factors, from “working with nature” to private donors, the society has been able to affect millions of dollars worth of in water value for a fraction of true costs. The ground breaking results of this group are now finding their way into publications at all levels of government as best practice examples in shoreline protection, habitat enhancement and adaptation to sea level rise. With the ratification of the five year work plan in January 2012, the society has ensured that future generations of West Vancouver residents will be able to appreciate the waterfront that helps define this community.
Rod Day has had an illustrious career in West Vancouver and has been a long time advocate for heritage recognition in this community. In the early 1980s, he served on the West Vancouver Parks Commission and for sixteen years, between 1987 and 2008, he served as a member of Council. Always determined to place heritage matters at the forefront of the District’s work during his time on Council, he was the chair of the Museum and Archives Committee as well as the Heritage Advisory Committee. He also acted as the Council representative for the North Shore Heritage Preservation Society, and has been a non-voting member of the District’s Design Review committee. He was a key member of the Heritage Advisory Committee that saw its “Heritage Strategic Plan for West Vancouver” adopted by Council in June 2006. Most recently, he contributed his expertise to the Parks Master Plan Working Group whose “Parks Master Plan” was adopted by Council in 2012. He continues his long legacy of public service and devotion to heritage in West Vancouver to this day as a member of the West Vancouver Historical Society Board of Directors. He is receiving this award today for his lifetime of dedicated work to promote West Vancouver’s exceptional heritage history.