I have enjoyed constant excitement and learning about the UniverCity community since I first purchased our home in 2005 pre-build.

In the early days my partner and I were excited about the fresh air, the trees… and of course the new finishings and views from our new home.

Today we see so many changes: the elementary school. The new five thousand square foot, Zero energy consuming daycare, gets closer and closer to completion every day.
Back then I was excited about little things like a bus ride straight into the cute “cafe” street of University High Street, from downtown up to Burnaby Mountain.

Every chance we would visit our apartment as it morphed from concrete shell up to a finished home. My husband and I made fast friends with the on-site guard at UniverCity. B’ would serve us chai tea from his thermos that his wife had made for him as we sat in the concrete shell of a new home in One University Crescent. ‘B’ was from India.

Last I heard he was working on a site off the mountain.

To Burnaby, we moved from Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver, where I’d lived for the last sixteen years.

There I had enjoyed the access to downtown (my job) via the Sea Bus. But conversation was a challenge from the balcony over the din of cars including the bus accelerating from the stop across the street. It was one of the older apartments from the 70’s. My neighbour had witnessed the neighbourhood grow and change. She talked of the views she had enjoyed of downtown Vancouver from her first floor balcony (a much different sight than the view across Coal Harbour today). And in the heyday… only twenty years, there had been a little corner store where now our neighbours condo stands, in the 200 block of West Third Street.

I still can’t believe how beautiful it is up here on Burnaby Mountain. Besides the natural beauty: Lots of lovely people. Smiles and laughter from the playground every day. I was pretty vocal to my North Vancouver neighbours how much I missed the sound of children. Once a neighbour commented to me how a child had jumped over each of the new rocks we set out front along the boardwalk. They new I would like that our addition was appreciated by the young.

I grew up in Tsawwassen suburbia. A neighbourhood to me is described by the freedom of kids to explore.

So when a kid came up to D and I, on her bike when we visited UniverCity and asked us who we were, you can imagine my happy surprise.

Today it is quieter now than early spring when there was a high fever of birds. I catch my breath and regroup my expectations of the natural (‘urban’ as planners would describe) setting.

My eyes are trained to spot the invasive plants. I saw morning glory springing up along the path beside Richard Bolton Park …!

I know we need to brace as the new developments arrive to the mountain.
I am so sensitive to anything that could spoil a beautiful balance.

One of my enjoyments is the expanse of second growth trees that grow behind our building in a designated tree covenant. I am tickled pink when I see native plants. I look for small flourishes of native plants like the white of the trillium flower or the small pink flower of the bleeding heart.

I have steadfastly discouraging an improvised path in the tree covenants on our property. I know how important the continguous, undisturbed forest is to sensitive amphibians like the frogs and the long-toed salamander.

No matter: our strata council and building management continues to stand behind the original plan. The covenant lies on the South East side of lot 6, on which our building stands.

Some person, or persons, in the neighbourhood is determined to walk through the forest!

It doesn’t take long to wear a metre wide path with this habitual detour.

So as it goes… I lay down a log to block the path – as the strata council had approved. The next day the log is moved.

Me and “detour-man” have developed a bit of a conversation with that log.

Today, my challenge is to find a helpful way to discuss native plant and wildlife garden values with the Landscape Committee of my building, to assure a hardy program for the future. I hope my neighbours are enjoying the journey towards sustainable and landscaping that provides wildlife support.

UNES, and all residents and caring people will have to keep our eye on the big picture. We need to develop plans to assure viable habitats even as future areas are developed.

As beautiful as the surroundings are today we need to take care as we keep our footing as an Example neighbourhood – of a peaceful, natural and livable community.

Have an inspiring stewardship story…