UBC hospice goes ahead, despite fear of 'ghosts'
Published Friday, June 3, 2011 4:03PM PDT
A hospice planned for the University of B.C. campus is going ahead, despite the objections of neighbours who are accusing the school of cultural insensitivity.
UBC's board of governors has approved plans for the 15-bed Order of St. John facility, which some Chinese-born residents of a nearby condo tower say will bring bad luck to the community.
"I want to know where does humanity go for residents living in this building, when 80 per cent of them highly oppose the site -- not oppose this idea, just oppose this site?" condo owner Jane Ni asked reporters at a press conference Friday.
She denied claims that neighbours' opposition is based on superstition about ghosts.
"This is 5,000 years of culture and religion. We are not superstitious," Ni said.
Some Chinese community leaders are offering their support to the hospice's opponents, arguing that their concerns aren't being taken seriously.
"You must consider whether proceeding under these circumstances is the best, or is there an alternative that can further lessen the negative human impact?" said David Choi, chairman of the National Congress of Chinese Canadians.
The university says that it understands the residents' worries, but that the site is ideal for a hospice.
"A hospice is not to be put away in an institutional setting; it is meant to be in a community, because it's very much a part of the life and death of a community. When people are at their end of lives, they should be close to their families," said Stephen Owen, vice-president at UBC.
The school is planning to put up trees around the hospice as a screen and help neighbours who wish to move to new units on campus.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jina You