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Universal Friendship and Karma

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Alex SanghaIt is difficult to be friends with everyone.  People will have differences of opinion, personality clashes, and unresolved issues that they may or may not be aware of.

People who try to make a difference in this world often come under attack from some people.  I was recently harassed in a hate spilled online conversation from someone I consider to be a closeted homosexual.  He did not like my style of advocacy and establishment of Sher Vancouver which is a gay and lesbian organization for South Asians and friends.

This person also called my daily battle with depression as an “imagined mental condition.”  This is an insult to everyone who lives with mental illness and to myself and my family who had to cope with numerous hospitalizations, suicidal episodes, and medication treatment trial and error over the last twenty years.  Some of the medications contributed to my weight gain, development of diabetes, and cholesterol.  The side effects of some medications can be devastating to your motivation and energy levels and sleeping patterns.

The fact that I am working on my second Masters degree and have been employed as a Youth Counsellor and Registered Social Worker, as well as founded a mental health, environmental, and gay and lesbian organization for my community is evidence of my determination and discipline to think positive, be positive, and work for the betterment of the marginalized and oppressed in society and victims of discrimination.

In addition, I enjoy writing to release my creative energies and have been a social affairs columnist with three newspapers.  I have contributed numerous letters to the editor and have launched a popular national green photo contest on my environmental blog as well as published a book called Imagine which is available everywhere through Amazon.

For my efforts, I have been profiled in the Georgia Straight Best of Vancouver issue and most recently was nominated for the Royal Bank Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award.

I would like to be a social entrepreneur and that is exactly the type of work I enjoy doing and want to be involved with as a social activist and social worker.

The good news is I receive messages of encouragement and support from friends, allies, and supporters on a regular basis.  Positive reinforcement is important.  The few people who have went to extraordinary lengths to bring me down and judge me and try try to break my spirit I have forgiven.  I wish they find their calling and a positive direction in their life.

The principle of universal friendship is not necessarily to be friends with everyone but to wish everyone health and happiness and good fortune.  What messages you send out into the universe is what you get back in return.  This is karma and karma has carried me forward during the best and worst of times.  It can for you to.  Best wishes and God bless.

Alex Sangha, BSW (UBC), MSc (London School of Economics)
Registered Social Worker

 

South Fraser Perimeter Road - Map for Industrial Land Flipping

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South Fraser Perimeter RoadI recently learned that an industrial land developer is in the process of purchasing options on Delta land that is in the ALR.  Don’t be surprised – be outraged.  I have confirmed with Ron Emerson of the Emerson Group that his company has been actively pursuing land owners with offers to purchase an option on their property.

The subject land is north of Hwy 17 up to 28 Ave and from 52 St East to 64 St., where the new overpass is being constructed.  Mr. Emerson was very candid in his conversation with me when he confirmed his purchase plan.  When I questioned him as to how the land figured into his industrial plans since it was in the ALR his answer was both honest and outrageous.  His answer.  “It is for now”.

 

So, after all the pontificating from governments that we need to be greener and in spite of the claims they are concerned with saving farmland and recognizing that our food security is at risk, we are learning that private companies are willing to take the chance that lands in BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve, especially in Delta, will eventually be used for industrial development.  That judgement must be coming from provincial government sources because it is only the province can have that land removed from the ALR.

Add this to what we are learning about the land dealings taking place all along the SFPR in South Delta, past Burns Bog and through the community of Annieville in North Delta.  Something is out of whack and I suggest you read the shocking revelations that are being exposed at lailayuile.com

There are questions the electorate deserve to have answered, including why BC Rail, a provincial company used  numbered companies to sell a piece of BC Rail owned  ALR property to another numbered BC Rail company, to purchase ALR land already owned by BC Rail.  Laila Yuile has also revealed land flipping deals that resulted in million dollar profits being made from quick sales to people with very close connections to the provincial Liberal government.   All of these questionable land deals are taking place along the route of the SFPR.  A highway that was sold as being built solely to move container trucks from Deltaport to the Surrey docks and to Hwy 1 in a safe and timely manner.  There would be limited access and no stop lights.  The SFPR, we were also assured, would relieve truck traffic through the Massey Tunnel and Hwy 99.

Well, that’s not what’s happening.  No, we now see a downgraded highway that seems to be adding more and more on and off ramps, stop lights are being installed alongside the sensitive Bog, where we will see thousands of pollution spewing trucks idling as they wait for the lights to change.  Additionally, the provincial Liberals have finally admitted that the SFPR will do very little to relieve the truck traffic moving north through the tunnel.  And there has been a flurry of rezoning applications in Delta for land use change to industrial designations.  Surely those applications are not happening in a vacuum.

The South Fraser Perimeter Road project is nothing more than the fruition of the long planned for industrialization of land south of the Fraser River.  We see it in the purchase of farmland in the ALR by companies that specialize in the building of warehouses and container storage.  They have been purchasing those ALR lands with the same thought the Emerson Group is buying up options on land in the ALR.  It’s there just “for now”.
To make my point I’m going to refer to what I heard and observed at the grand opening ceremonies at the Tsawwassen First Nation Industrial Park this past summer.  An industrial park being built on what has been up to now, productive farmland that had been in the ALR.  All the captains of industries were in attendance, along with a very unlikely guest, Burnaby MLA Robert Lee.  When I asked him what he was doing at a function so far from his riding he didn’t hesitate in telling me he as there with some of his constituents who currently own warehouses in Burnaby.  He had been working with them in conjunction with the TFN.  It turns out MLA Lee and his constituents recognized that by moving their warehouses and other industries out to South Delta, freeing up their industrial land for the much more lucrative development of residential properties.

Sound familiar?  It should because it was the model used by former Vancouver Mayor Gordon Campbell for what is now the very expensive Coal Harbour area.  A financially savvy move for Burnaby to be sure but at what cost to us all?

Remember that these lands envisioned as being the latest version of Metro Vancouver’s industrial area are on green fields and agricultural land.  They will border Burns Bog, cutting off and squeezing vital sections needed to maintain the health and long term viability of the bog and the lungs of Metro Vancouver.  The Federal government’s own environmental review of the SFPR sounded the alarm bells over the construction of the SFPR.  How can our governments even consider destroying these ALR lands knowing how at risk we are where our food security is concerned?  There are all kinds of brown field areas where industrial parks can be improved and rebuilt.
The TFN has been given the right to build huge buildings to house and distribute gadgets and widgets on what is excellent farmland.  I think they are choosing what will prove to be a very short sighted vision for their people.  The food crisis is no longer just coming, it is here and arable land that is available to grow food will be the equivalent of a renewable gold mine in the near future.

Residents of BC however are being bamboozled by governments and industry using the excuse that the Gateway Project is needed to keep the provincial economy going.  It’s not.  If the provincial government was truly concerned about the entire provincial economy, they would be looking at expanding Prince Rupert and making use of the residents and the infrastructure in the north that already exists for its Asia Pacific Gateway program.  British Columbia should not and does not need to revolve around Greater Vancouver.

Certainly the land is cheaper away from Vancouver, the talent pool is already there just waiting to be put to work.  Not everyone wants to nor can they afford to move to the Vancouver area for work and there are plenty of former mills and plants sitting empty that have access to rail, road and highways.  Let’s think outside of the box for these kinds of projects.  There would be benefits province wide if we did.

We cannot afford to lose our ability to grow our own food.  The shadow plan to industrialize what is left of arable farmland in Delta is very real and it needs to be exposed and stopped.  We’re very much mistaken when we think land is safe because it’s in the ALR.  Don’t be fooled because piece by piece, little by little we see it disappear.  Bartered and traded for land where tumbleweeds grow or used up for “essential” government projects.  Even the new Regional Growth Strategy plan recently completed by Metro Vancouver contains a hole in it that will allow ALR land be removed for industrial projects.  Richmond Councillor Harold Steves who sits on the Metro Vancouver Board has sounded the warning.  A warning that Delta Mayor Lois Jackson who is also Chair of Metro Vancouver is either ignoring or dismissing, depending on where she is and who she’s talking to.  Get yourself educated about the RGS and this loophole and then start contacting your mayor and councillors and tell them to fix it before they pass the RGS.

That little loophole could have massive implications for the ALR land under threat by the SFPR and the hidden agenda to industrialize Delta.  Knowing what we know now, doesn’t it seem rather convenient that the hole in the RGS will make it easier to remove ALR land into an industrial designation?

I’ll deal more with the opening of the TFN industrial park where I’ll reveal other very disturbing and eye opening conversations I had with people in attendance there and disquieting observations I had during that Industrial park opening in an upcoming column.  This will include video of speech by Industry Minister Shirley Bond that was taken at the time.  Her disturbing take on the natural area surrounding her will cause you to rethink how you observe the beauty of Delta.

Food for Thought

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Mandari Cow Herder with SonThere is a lot of debate going on worldwide regarding the preservation of agricultural land currently in use and rehabilitating formerly productive lands. The debate has many facets to it and one thing that no one seems to disagree on is that we need to have land we can grow food on.

Lest We Forget

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A Lone Bugler Plays TapsBeneath cloudy skies and standing in a brisk cold breeze, over a hundred people took part in an intimate and moving Remembrance Day service at Delta Heritage Airpark. This was the fifth year Delta Heritage Airpark, which is located at the foot of 104 St. in Delta, has held a Remembrance Day service.

Tragedy Forces City Hall to Rethink Priorities

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Laura SzendreiIt has been a month since the murder of North Delta teen Laura Szendri it's my hope that each of us will learn something to prevent such a tragedy ever occurring again.

First let me offer my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Laura Szendri, the young girl who was brutally murdered in North Delta. I cannot fathom the pain they are in now and will be forever.

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Imagine places ideas in society and gets readers thinking critically about their most cherished beliefs and values. Imagine espouses humanitarian and egalitarian ideals such as every citizen deserves to reach their potential and contribute to society.