The UBC hospice has been approved at it’s current location despite neighboring condo owners fear of ghosts driving down property values.
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.
The full article is available at CTV. There are a few remarkable things about this story.
First, that two of the three people quoted appear to be realtors, yet the article doesn’t mention that fact.
Second, that they’ve decided to place the justification for this particular bit of nimbyism in purely racist terms.
Third, that if you’re looking to buy a condo at UBC the owners at Promontory have just said that their units are now worth a lot less than they used to be.
And regarding the David Choi comment “is there an alternative that can further lessen the negative human impact?”. This is an interesting question because the whole purpose of a hospice is to lessen the negative human impact when people are at their weakest. Perhaps a more important question is what values do we want to hold as a society? Which do we value more: human life and caring for the elderly and sick or property values?
I’m afraid that we already know the answer to that question for at least some people.