Category Archive for news

Announcing Music Camp 2019

At the end of last year we promised that 2019 would have some exciting announcements and today we are ready to announce the first of these, Music Camp 2019.

Music Camp 2019 is designed to bring together blind and Deafblind youth ages ten to eighteen from across the province for eight days on Bowen Island, BC, to learn the basics of playing musical instruments, build peer support networks, have fun, and gain confidence essential for full and equal participation in school band and other music programs in their communities alongside their sighted peers. Campers will explore the beginner band curriculum and will participate in an end of camp concert that their families, friends, and the Bowen Island community will be invited to attend. Giving campers skills and confidence in music fundamentals means campers can go on to take part in school band and community music programs.

Blind and Deafblind students face significant challenges when beginning in music programs due to the highly visual nature of the methods commonly used in beginning band and other forms of music instruction. Our program is designed to give students a foundation of skills and confidence that they can use to bypass visual instruction by taking them through the first part of the beginner band curriculum in a non-visual manner that sets them up to succeed in mainstream band and music programs alongside their sighted peers.

Like all of Camp Bowen’s summer camp programs, Music Camp 2019 balances recreation and skills learning, with a focus on fun! At Camp Bowen, fun is at the core of what we do. Camp fires, hikes,, community outings, and board games are just some of the activities we offer. The skills taught through these fun activities prepare youth for truly life-long independence.

Full Details and Registration

To find out more or to register, go here.

Reminder: Get Your Tasty Purdy’s Holiday Treats and Support Camp Bowen and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick reminder that it isn’t too late to get your tasty Purdy’s holiday treats and support both Camp Bowen and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind at the same time. Orders must be in by 11:59 PM Pacific on this coming Wednesday, November 28 and can be picked up in Victoria, Bowen Island, Vancouver, and Surrey.

Note to users of screen readers: You don’t need to register before accessing the fundraiser. Just go to the link below, and find the box that asks for your email address. Then, Enter your email address and press “Join Campaign”.

Order now!

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind will jointly receive 25% of the proceeds from this fundraiser directly from Purdy’s.

To arrange your pick up date and location or if you have any questions or concerns, please call +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102. Alternatively, you can call +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936) extension 102.

Merry Christmas,
The Camp Bowen Team

July 24, 2018 Update On the Bowen Island Lodge Dispute

Dear Community,

On Monday, July 23, 2018, members from Camp Bowen went before Mayor and Council on behalf of the interests of persons with disabilities during public comments to share some of our concerns regarding the rezoning application of the Bowen Island Lodge. At the meeting we learned that Mayor and Council are required to consider all rezoning applications brought before them. Any comments we have made regarding Mayor and Council’s consideration at this stage stemmed from our misunderstanding of the Municipality’s rezoning procedure and we have made updates to our public information on this issue to reflect the Municipality’s procedure.

There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities and those of our Snug Point neighbours remain protected. Support from the entire Bowen Island and disability communities will be crucial to ensuring proper protection remains in place. The next step will be a public consultation process. Public consultation will be held at the Bowen Island Lodge at a date and time as of yet unknown to us. We feel this venue is not neutral enough for this process to be effective. We will be updating people as information becomes available through Facebook, our website, and our mailing list.

We urge the community to stand with us and make it clear to Mayor and Council through official channels that this rezoning application cannot go ahead and should be blocked at the first opportunity. Failure to protect this unique resource will result in a serious loss for the disability community and that of Bowen Island.

If you have questions or concerns, would like to get involved, or to keep up with updates on this situation, please check out our website, join our mailing list, or contact us directly at: +1 (604) 947-0021 Extension 102. You can join the mailing list and find more information here.

July 23, 2018 Update On the Bowen Island Lodge Dispute

Please see this post for important updates and corrections.

Dear Community,

On July 20, 2018, we were made aware of a report drafted by the bylaw office, dated July 13, 2018, regarding a rezoning application submitted by the owners of the Bowen Island Lodge, that will go before Mayor and Council on Monday, July 23, 2018. The owners of the Bowen Island Lodge wish to see amendments made to both the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge and “BOWEN ISLAND MUNICIPALITY LAND USE BYLAW NO. 57, 2002”. Proposed amendments to the covenant include but are not limited to: alteration of the Principal Use definition to remove primary rights of use from people with disabilities, removal of the maximum number of guests allowed to use the guestrooms, removal of a restriction limiting the number of days usable for secondary uses of the facility, increases to the number and length of permitted Assembly Events, and removal of a clause that requires the owners to bar excessively noisy users for a period of 1 year. In order to be able to alter the Principal Use definition to remove primary rights of use from people with disabilities in the covenant, the lodge’s owners are requesting that the definition of “Recreation, Training, and Meeting Centre” in “BOWEN ISLAND MUNICIPALITY LAND USE BYLAW NO. 57, 2002” be changed by removing the words “…for the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities…”

On May 2, 2018, we met with the municipal bylaw office to discuss our complaint. There were two subsequent meetings in May and June. The May meetings centred around Bylaw asking questions about our current stance on how we feel the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge is not being followed. At the June meeting, we were told that the owners of the property have filed a rezoning application that, if approved, would change the covenant. Bylaw expected that this would go before council in late July or in the fall. No further details on what in the covenant would be affected by the rezoning application were given at that time. We were also encouraged to reach out to the Bowen Island Lodge to seek resolution. As recommended by bylaw, a meeting was arranged; however, logistics were poor and the meeting took place without the presence of a bylaw mediator. As a result, the discussion that took place was unproductive.

The amendments the lodge’s owners are proposing strip rights from people with disabilities, including those who are blind, deaf blind, and visually Impaired. People with disabilities are a marginalized group that has very few opportunities to access spaces designated specifically for their use. For example, blind, deaf blind, and visually impaired people have no other legally protected training, meeting, and recreation centre in Canada. For this segment of the population, a legally protected recreation, training, and meeting facility represents the only means of meaningful socioeconomic advancement by way of access to quality independent living skills training. Legally designating and protecting facilities as “recreation, training and meeting facilities for the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities” ensures that people with disabilities are not systematically squeezed out of spaces in favour of business interests as is so often the case.

By amending the definition of “Recreation, Training, and meeting Centre” in “BOWEN ISLAND MUNICIPALITY LAND USE BYLAW NO. 57, 2002” to remove the words “…for the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities…”, the owners of the Bowen Island Lodge would effectively remove the rights of people with disabilities to have recreation, meeting, and training centres that are currently protected from business interests by the Land Use bylaw. This does not only affect the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge but would remove all protections for any future facilities wishing to use the designation to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities.. If these amendments pass, it will set a dangerous precedent that will have far reaching consequences for Bowen Islanders with disabilities and other Canadians with disabilities for generations to come.

We are disheartened to see that after over a year of attempting to resolve issues surrounding use of the Bowen Island Lodge by the Principal Use group with the bylaw office and an open complaint against the lodge, the bylaw office has chosen to recommend that Mayor and Council consider the rezoning application put forth by the Bowen Island Lodge. It is our position, speaking on behalf of people with disabilities, that this rezoning application must not move forward to ensure the continued protection of the rights of people with disabilities and those of our Snug Point neighbours.

We urge all community members to stand with us and protect the rights of people with disabilities and those of our Snug Point neighbours by making your feelings known to Mayor and Council by attending the Council meeting set for Monday, July 23, 2018 at 9:30 AM at Municipal Hall. If you cannot attend in person, please still let Mayor and Council know that you oppose the proposed amendments by submitting a letter of support for this cause. Letters can be sent by email to: mayorandcouncil@bimbc.ca or by writing to:

Mayor and Council
981 Artisan Lane,
Bowen Island, BC
V0N 1G2

To keep up with updates on this situation or to get involved, please check out our website, join our mailing list, or contact us directly at: +1 (604) 947-0021 Extension 102. You can join the mailing list and find more information here.

Thank you in advance for your support of this important issue.

Follow the Situation

You can follow the above situation as it unfolds in several ways. To get updates by email, you can add your email address to our public community mailing list by filling in your name and email address below. Alternately, you can follow our social media or let us know and we can give you a phone call with updates.




Notice of the 2018 Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired will be held on Friday, June 15 at 7 PM Pacific at 5737 180 St., Surrey BC, Canada. Members unable to attend in person can attend via teleconference using the instructions found on the contact page of the society’s website.

The agenda and other AGM documents will be posted on our website the week of the meeting.

To register to attend the AGM, please contact the society by phone at: +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936) extension 2 or by any other method found on our website’s contact page.

Update on the Bowen Island Lodge Situation for April 21, 2018

Issues regarding the Bowen Island Lodge continue.

On April 12, 2018, the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired met with the Bylaw department of the Bowen Island Municipality to reaffirm our position regarding the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge. We asked the Municipality to enforce the covenant that protects the rights of the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind as well as the residents of Snug Point. We were informed at the meeting that Bylaw will be meeting with the Bowen Island Lodge on April 30, 2018. What exactly the contents of the April 30 meeting will be were not disclosed. Bylaw also scheduled a follow up meeting with the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually impaired for May 2, 2018.

We have reason to believe that this matter will go before Council soon, making letters of support even more important than ever. If you have submitted a letter of support, we thank you and invite you to join those of us who will be going before council during public comments on Monday, April 23, 2018 at the regular Council meeting scheduled for 9:30 AM at Municipal Hall.

If you have not yet submitted a letter of support or are just now hearing about the serious issues being raised about the Bowen Island Lodge, you can find all the information here.

We thank you in advance for your continued support. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us via the contact page on www.campbowen.ca or at +1 (604) 947-0021.

Update Re: Bowen Island Lodge Situation

Hello Everyone,

After receiving inquiries into whether or not our meeting with the Bowen Island Municipality, scheduled for April 12, 2018, would be open to the public, we realized that we were unclear in our original communication as to the nature of the meeting. The meeting was set up by the Bylaw Office of the Bowen Island Municipality and not by the Municipal Council. It was therefore, unfortunately not open to the public.

We may yet need to appear before Municipal Council and greatly appreciate that members of the community are willing to attend when that happens. In the meantime, we will keep everyone posted as to our progress.

We thank everyone who expressed interest in attending the meeting today and apologize for the confusion.

For those of you who took the time to send letters of support, thank you. Your letters of support are important pieces of the case we are making.

We look forward to providing all of you with updates on the situation soon. To sign up to get updates, please go here.

Thank you for your continued support of our struggle. Your support means the world to the team here at Camp Bowen as we fight for the rights of the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind and Bowen Islanders. We couldn’t do it without you.

Warm regards,
Alex Jurgensen
On behalf of:
The Camp Bowen Team

Help to End the Injustice Happening On Bowen

For immediate release

Please circulate to as many interested groups or individuals as possible.


All campers from the 2016 adult retreat on the patio of the Bowen Island Lodge with Deep Bay in the background.

On April 12, 2018, we, the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired, the Bowen-based non-profit that took over CNIB’s summer camp program in the fall of 2010, will be meeting with the Bowen Island Municipality to seek enforcement of the Bowen Island Lodge Covenant, which protects the rights of our Bowen Island neighbours as well as those of the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community. Breaches of the covenant have already lead to the cancellation of the 2017 camping season, marking the first summer camps have not been held in 54 years, and have far reaching consequences.

In 2002, a covenant governing the lands and facility that is the Bowen Island Lodge was put in place by the Bowen Island Municipality that protects the residential nature of Snug Point and ensures blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind individuals have access to a facility for recreation, meeting, and training. The covenant, which was signed by CNIB and the Bowen Island municipality and which also applies to their respective successors, was designed to restrict the use of the lands and facility in keeping with the residential nature of Snug Point by designating the principal use of the Bowen Island Lodge as “recreation, training and meeting facilities related to the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities…” (Covenant P. 4), activities that do not typically disrupt the surrounding neighbourhood. Furthermore, the covenant places restrictions on the amount of accessory use events, events not considered part of the principal use, that can be held at the facility to ensure that the principal use group has access to the facility and to reduce the amount of noise and other issues typically associated with an event space and resort. When the covenant was instated, it created Canada’s first and only legally protected recreation, meeting, and training facility for the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind.

In early 2016, the Bowen Island Lodge changed hands, from the trethewey family, who had purchased the property from CNIB in 2011, to the Hundred Year Education Group Corp., a company with off-shore owners. Under this new ownership it has been made very clear that they intend to run the facility primarily for accessory use groups. Repeated attempts by organizers of programs for the principal use group to resolve issues of affordability, safety, and accessibility have met with no success.

There is no mention in the lodge’s marketing of the principal use group, something that serves to reenforce their position. A closer look at their marketing reveals that the lodge is advertising itself as having a capacity of 200 people, when the covenant clearly states a hard limit of 150 people for its largest events.

In June of 2017, two months after the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired’s 2017 Safety and Accessibility Report was released to the Bowen Island Lodge, a representative of Victoria-based Huntington Manner, the company put in charge of the Bowen Island lodge’s operations by the Hundred Year Education Group Corp., sent an answering report. In this report, the representative made it clear that they don’t see the need to follow the covenant as it pertains to the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind, citing a paragraph that is superseded later in the covenant. To the best of our knowledge, according to the covenant, at the end of the day, all parts are to be interpreted according to the spirit of the covenant, which is to protect the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community, as well as the neighbourhood of Snug Point. If correct, this invalidates the representative’s claim. The report goes on to suggest that the answer to the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community’s safety and accessibility concerns, as expressed in our report, is to ensure that any concerned blind, visually impaired, or deaf blind guest be accompanied by a sighted person. This is as ridiculous as saying any concerned black guest should be accompanied by a white person or any concerned female guest should be accompanied by a man and is blatantly unacceptable. Just as society wouldn’t tolerate this report were it based on skin colour or gender, neither should we stand for a report that makes such suggestions based on disability. Not only does the report’s recommendations insult the independence of members of the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community by its tone and suggestions, it flies directly in the face of what the facility was intended for and the covenant protects. Finally, the report’s suggestions that the society bare the cost of substandard safety and accessibility measures, coupled with the report’s conclusion that the society perhaps look elsewhere for a venue, paint a grim picture of how the lodge views its responsibilities as set out by the covenant.

Today, more than ever before, there is a need for a training and recreation centre for the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind in Canada. The blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community is currently in a state of crisis. There are high rates of depression and low self-esteem, a lack of freedom, and an estimated 80% unemployment rate in the community. A large part of the solution to these problems is access to safe, accessible, affordable, and quality independent living skills training. At present, the Bowen Island Lodge is Canada’s only legally designated training centre for the blind, visually impaired, and/or deaf blind.

The time has come for the facility to be used for its intended purpose and help blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind Canadians become first class citizens in society. This can be accomplished by upholding the existing covenant and ensuring that the lodge’s principal use group remains protected. Bringing in principal use groups as the primary occupants of the lands and/or facilities and keeping accessory use events as secondary would also serve to protect the residential nature of Snug Point.

Failure to protect this unique resource sets a dangerous precedent. The law was put in place to protect both the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community as well as the local neighbourhood and failing to uphold it sends the message that any other laws, not to mention additional parts of the covenant, pertaining to these groups can just be ignored.

And this is where we need your help. On April 12, 2018, we need to show the Bowen Island Municipality that we, the Bowen Island and blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind communities, will not tolerate such behaviour as exhibited by the Bowen Island Lodge from businesses in our community. We need to make clear that businesses cannot get away with disregarding our local laws. We also must make it known that protecting the rights of blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind people and those of Bowen Islanders is important and something we want to see done.

The best way to do this is to write a letter of support. More information, history, all the aforementioned reports, supporting documentation, some sample letters of support, and updates are available through this page on our website.

To submit your own letter of support, you can: use the form found at the above link, email mayorandcouncil@bimbc.ca, or write to:

Mayor and Council
981 Artisan Lane,
Bowen Island, BC
V0N 1G2

We thank you in advance for taking the time out of your busy schedules to read about our predicament.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 menu option 2 or use any of these other methods.

Yours truly,

Alex Jurgensen

On behalf of:

The Camp Bowen Team

Updates

April 10, 2018
Updated to reflect recently discovered information about the sale of the Bowen Island Lodge. The lodge was sold in late 2015 and not early 2016 as originally stated. New evidence also shows that The Hundred Year Education Group Corp. directly owns the property and updates have been made to better reflect this.

Less Than 60 Hours to Order Your Tasty Purdy’s Treats

A wrapped box of Purdy's hedgehogs.

Image copyright Purdy’s

Hello Everyone,

There are less than 60 hours left to get orders in for your tasty Purdy’s Easter treats. With pick up locations set up for Bowen Island, Vancouver, and Surrey, this is not a chance you want to miss!

25% of all proceeds will be donated by Purdy’s to the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and 100% of that amount will go straight towards programs benefiting blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind Canadians.

For more information, please read our original post.

Or, if you would like to get started right away, just click on the below link and create an account:

Order now!

Remember, you pay the same as you’d pay in-store or online, and the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired gets 25% of sales.

Don’t miss the order deadline: March 12th at 11:59 PM.

We thank you in advance for your support of locally based programs benefiting blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind Canadians.

Please feel free to call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 with any questions you may have about this fundraiser or our program offerings.

Happy Easter,

The Camp Bowen Team

We’re Hopping with Excitement!

A wrapped box of Purdy's hedgehogs.

Image copyright Purdy’s

Hello Everyone,

Easter will be here before you know it, bringing with it family get togethers, easter egg hunts for the children, and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate. This year, it is also bringing an opportunity for you to get your fix of Purdy’s delicious chocolates while supporting programs benefiting blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind Canadians.

Spring into Easter with both featured items for Easter and regular favourites such as: Easter baskets, Baby Bunnies, Bobbity Bunny – Milk Salted Toffees, Topsy Bunnies, Bunny Bags, Peanut Butter Eggs, Yolk Eggs, Caramel Eggs, Petit Pastels, Georgia Plushies, Jelly Beans, Sweet Georgia Browns, Hedgehogs, Easter Tins – and much more!

Purdy’s has been making chocolates in Vancouver since 1907, and it’s still where they craft all your favourites today. Purdy’s uses only the highest quality ingredients like Canadian dairy, crunchy nuts that are roasted in-house, and only 100% sustainable cocoa. On top of supporting the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired, every purchase you make helps improve the lives of cocoa farmers in rural communities.

Easter is just around the corner and Purdy’s chocolates are great treats to offer your friends and family over supper, during an easter egg hunt, or just because. After all, who ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate?

Place your order online now!

You pay the same as you’d pay in-store or online, and the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired gets 25% of sales.

You will need to register by entering your first name, last name, email address and creating a password. Once registered and logged in, you should be directed to the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired Easter Fundraiser Campaign page. From there you are able to: invite other members, shop online, and pay for your orders.

Orders can be picked up at our three pickup locations: Vancouver, Surrey, and Bowen Island. Pickup will take place on the dates below. Please call +1 (604) 947-0021 before March 21, 2018 to arrange a pickup date, time, and location. You don’t pay for shipping!

Pickup Dates and locations

Bowen Island

Where
In front of the library
When
Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 3:15 to 6:45 PM (Call +1 (604) 947-0021 and press 2 to arrange a pickup time)

Surrey

Where
5737 180 St., Surrey, BC
When
Friday, March 23 to Thursday, March 29, 2018 (Call +1 (604) 947-0021 and press 2 to arrange a pickup time)

Vancouver

Where
1720 West 12th Ave., Vancouver, BC
When
Friday, March 23 to Thursday, March 29, 2018 (Call +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 105 to arrange a pickup time)

Don’t miss the order deadline: March 12th

We thank you in advance for your support of programs benefiting blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind Canadians.

Please feel free to call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 with any questions you may have about this fundraiser or our program offerings.

Happy Easter,

The Camp Bowen Team