West Vancouver Magazine Podcast. Live interviews with people you know and love. News and views, plus updates about local issues. Influential and relevant information with a little entertainment too. Building our new community online at WestVancouver.com - representing Canada's stylish waterfront and west coast lifestyle.
Exclusive Interview with singer Bif Naked
Welcome back everybody - back to another West Vancouver podcast. I am so honoured and privileged to have this amazing artist, singer and musician with us here today. She calls herself the ‘Super Beautiful Monster’. I prefer to call her a friend - but she is so much more than that. Please welcome the spectacular Bif Naked.
BIF: We are friends. And we go back. We go way back. That is so fun. I love it. And I love the magazine, obviously - and of course, now the podcast. What you guys have always done with the community has just been incredible. It’s always fun to keep up with what’s going on here. I’m just thrilled to be on your show.
CAT: Well we love you too. And you’re always looking good - and you’re always up to something fun. You were just back here in Vancouver recently to help support the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Ball gala event. And whenever we manage to get you on stage, we get way more than just a music performance. We get ‘you’ the real person - the person who talks about her life and her philosophies and your positivity. You share so much more than music. And you’re also a cancer survivor and can speak to that experience as well. You have that connection.
BIF: It was amazing to be there. The gala was virtual for the past two years, so it was an honour to be asked this year. They do so much and raise wonderful amounts of money for cancer research. There’s the new lodge, which I toured the day before, so it was a real full-circle moment for me.
CAT: Now, some people are lucky to get to know this side of you, but most people know you as Bif Naked music star. How did you ‘assemble’ Bif the character? How did you grow up to become this famous person? Tell us where it all began?
BIF: Well, you know, I am a performing arts kid. My parents were just regular academics who put their three daughters in ballet and dance, theatre and spoken poetry, and art festivals - like a lot of art festivals across Canada. And I just really loved it.
So I think it’s always been in my blood. And then, in university, I fell into being in a punk rock band as a vocalist. And I had no plans at all, no training, no plan at all. I always say you didn’t require a lot of talent to be in a punk rock band - you just needed to have a whole lot of heart. And it just kind of kept happening.
And eventually, I became a solo artist. Bif Naked was already a nickname that I had from the early days. It was a punk rock stage name that I kind of donned because all the guys had, you know, provocative stage names - so that set me apart. I love what I do. I’m very, very lucky.
CAT: You mentioned university - but you were also given a great honour recently. And you’ve also got an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University (SFU) as well. Tell us about that.
BIF: That was just such a joy. My dad was still alive in 2013 when the University of the Fraser Valley gave me an honourary degree in letters. So he was very proud. We lost him to prostate cancer shortly after. But my parents were both academics. They both had Master’s degrees.
So in 2020, I was lucky enough to get an honorary degree from SFU in Fine Arts. We’ll finally be able to celebrate that convocation ceremony in person at the beginning of May (as it was delayed due to Covid).
Being able to have these accolades like this - it just makes my mother so proud, and for me, I could die happy.
CAT: You are also an actor. How do you like acting compared to music? Do they play an equally important role in your life?
BIF: I would say it was the early 2000s. I was in a couple of feature films, and I enjoyed it immensely. Nicholas Lea was my co-star along with Ching Wan Lau in Lunch With Charles. And then another film I was able to do was Crossing with Crystal Buble. And it was just, you know,
Cypress Village - West Vancouver's Newest Community
With a wealth of history behind them, British Pacific Properties is looking to develop a different kind of future. Now, in a new partnership with Beedie Living, these community builders are proposing some innovative ideas to rise to the challenge while addressing a potential uprising against traffic, the environment and sustainable housing. An exclusive interview with president, and West Vancouver resident, Geoff Croll.
The new Upland development, with Hawksley and Wildwood, how does partnering with Beedie affect this?
Well, we have entitlements for over 800 homes in Rogers Creek. And if Cypress Village gets approved, they’ll be another 3,500 new market homes in Cypress Village. And one of our guiding principles as a company is ‘be a small giant’ - which means we focus on getting better rather than getting bigger.
So how do we deliver all these homes in a timely fashion without getting bigger? We find someone to work with us. Someone who shares the same core values. Someone who has the same dedication to quality and customer service. Someone who shares our commitment to community - and someone who shares our vision for the future. And the people at Beedie checked all those boxes. We’re pretty excited to supercharge our team.
The vision is large. The time commitment is enormous. The kind of home we need is changing? What does all that say?
We’ve always played the long game. We’ve been here since 1931. It’s always been a steady, slow progression across the hillside. And we’ve evolved from the 30s and the 40s and 50s to where we are today. We’re addressing the needs of the community. And we have to do it in a thoughtful step by step manner that we can create a community on the hillside that meets the needs of both the new residents and the community that’s already here.
If you go back to the company’s guiding principles, the number one thing is reverence for nature. We have to respect and conserve the natural environment that we have.
How do you respond to those who say it’s going to make the mountainside too busy - or there’s going to be too much traffic?
When we did the Rogers Creek plan back in 2008, the number one concern was the environment. Now, 13 years later, it’s traffic and housing affordability.
Traffic is a major concern in West Vancouver - and so it should be. If you look at where West Vancouver sits, it’s at the intersection of Hwy 1 and Hwy 99, and it also has a large ferry terminal that connects the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver Island. There’s also a popular ski hill in the most visited provincial park in the province (Cypress Provincial Park). Over a million cars a year travel up and down Cypress Bowl Road - none of it by public transit.
So anything we do at Cypress Village will pale in comparison to the existing and future traffic generated by [these roads].
There’s a lot that we are committed to doing to reduce traffic. So first and foremost, we are creating a complete community where it is truly possible to live, work and play without getting into a car. The village will provide all the amenities and services people need on a daily basis.
Secondly, we’re also committed to a developer-funded transit system from day one (at no cost to the taxpayer). We’ll provide regular, reliable service to Ambleside and Park Royal using electric buses (carbon-free).
Thirdly, we’re providing other transportation alternatives to the alternative single- occupancy cars, such as an integrated system of walking and biking paths. We’ll also have electric car sharing.
Brightlight Pictures Celebrates 20 Years of Film in Vancouver
Welcome everybody back to another episode of WestVancouver.com / West Vancouver Magazine Podcast. Here in Hollywood North, we have lots of glam. And live on air with me today is one of those people who makes it all happen. We have Shawn Williamson here with us from Brightlight Pictures. It doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to lights, camera – action! Shawn, thank you for joining us.
Oh, thank you, my pleasure.
Now I can only imagine what you’ve seen over 20 years of movie-making, T.V. and films. You’ve been involved in all aspects of it. Rumour also has it you’re from North Vancouver. So, where did this all start?
Well, I did. I grew up in North Van. I went to Argyle. And so I’m a North Shore boy originally. But it started organically out of the theatre. I went to university for a very brief moment, and discovered it wasn’t really for me, and ended up working at the Arts Club Theatre where I did an apprenticeship and ultimately worked in all kinds of different technical and behind the scenes positions over the years - and ended up there as a stage manager before I transitioned into film and television.
So you weren’t the guy up front doing the tap-dancing - you were always the guy kind of behind the scenes helping put it all together? (laughs) Is that kind of accurate?
I’ve never been on stage. (laughs) I have no talent whatsoever. So I’m very, very happy behind the camera.
Well, that’s completely not true. Because you clearly have absolute mounds of talent to be able to survive in what is an incredibly difficult industry and sometimes made more difficult by the fact that you’re Canadian. I know L.A. is a tough scene as well for anybody looking to make it big, but you’ve clearly made it big. So what exactly would you say your job title is? Tell us, what does somebody in your position do? What is your day like?
(Use the timestamps below to forward ahead in the podcast above)
Cast and Crew of ABC’s The Good Doctor - from left, David Shore, Shawn Williamson and Freddie Highmore. Photo credit: Sony Pictures Used with Permission
02:47 - Shawn
Well, it really does vary. Different producers do very different jobs. Some are working in development, finding scripts and packaging them, or putting them together with other talent, with actors, directors and studio money. And some producers, which is how I started, just grew up making movies.
Vancouver has generally been a destination for foreign films. And it certainly now has blossomed and grown and matured into a proper production destination where you can finance and package films. But earlier on, it was a destination. So I grew up in the industry making movies and television shows for U.S. studios or foreign financiers.
And so, part of my job originally was simply to make the movie. And you are effectively the employer on set. You’re the person that deals with the creative elements. You juggle all the elements that you would think - actors, directors, the studio’s desires, and the script. So you have a budget you’re working towards, and you’re spending effectively every part of that budget. But it’s largely people management, and our philosophical view in producing comes from what I learned at the Arts Club as a stage manager.
05:36 - Cat
Wow, well, I’m going to guess that there isn’t a producer’s school - this is something you had to really get in and get your hands on, as you said, use your experience. But it sounds like you really need to hone your focus and your talents on keeping all these balls in the air. I imagine the bigger the story, the bigger the script, and the bigger the cast, the more it can really run wildly out of control. So that sounds like that’s the hardest part – but what is the best part of you...
Park Royal Proposal for New Micro-Unit Development
A podcast conversation with Park Royal VP Rick Amantea about the history of Park Royal and their new proposed micro-unit development.
Affordable housing. It’s a problem plaguing the Lower Mainland - and never more so than in West Vancouver, where mega-houses rule the land. Now, armed with a unique plan for the future, Park Royal VP Rick Amantea discusses how they are seeking approval for a new micro-unit complex designed specifically for singles. It strives to help solve the housing crisis with a tiny bit of innovation that still allows people to ‘live large’.
UPDATE Oct 5, 2021 - Council approved the proposal to advance to the next steps of review and consultation. The next steps in the application process include community consultation and staff review to identify issues and technical considerations for the proponent to address. Staff identified the following items that require further review: Traffic functionality, Number of parking stalls, Number and size of rental units, Potential community recreation uses in the current green space, Impacts to privacy and view corridors to properties north of the site.
Q: Tell us a little about why you have proposed this new micro-unit development?
A: As we continue to evolve, and we look
at the needs of the community, we try to examine developments and bring to the table ideas and concepts that kind of meet those needs. One of those needs is to provide housing for those individuals who work in our community and do the important work of those services and those frontline jobs.
And so when we were thinking about what we could do to address that, the notion of micro-units came up. We decided to try to bring something like that to West Vancouver to make it more affordable, make it more attainable, and really provide an opportunity for those people - those important people who work in our community.
Q: Who would want to live here?
A: The occupants are, generally speaking, those single people that want to find a more affordable means and ways of living in the community, which generally means they don’t have a car. They rely on walking
or cycling, or public transportation to get to and from their place of work. As such, we’ve designed the building for 0.25 cars per unit, and lots of bicycle parking.
Q: What is the approval process for this?
A: The first step is to have council consider this concept - so we need to go through a pre- application proposal. We will then go into a much more intense public consultation. We would then take it forward to the community and see what they think - and then they’ll consider it at that stage of the game for the rezoning and the development permit that would be required.
Q: In addition to the micro-units, what else is going to be unique about the property?
A: There are a couple of unique things that we’re proposing. One is that the six-storey building would be built all from wood frame. So that is a more environmentally sensitive means of construction. All 199 [units] will be rental units. We’ll have a rooftop garden on top of the building with
a little amenity space up there that could be converted into a community dining room. There will be a collaborative workspace. And [instead] of an indoor fitness amenity, we have proposed putting outdoor adult exercise equipment on the front lawn of the building. So those people who want to get exercise can do it literally on the front lawn.
Q: How much will each unit cost per month?
A: I think the goal here is is is to bring a compact, high quality living accommodation to this community that would be about 2/3 the size of a studio or a one-bedroom - and by virtue of that, the rent should be two thirds.
New mPloy App Serves Up the Best Jobs on the Menu
Hear how a group of local tennis friends (and entrepreneurs) are changing the game to serve up an ‘app’-etizing solution that gives those working in the food, beverage and hospitality industry the best ‘advantage’. A podcast chat with vice president Vic Fletcher of mPloy.ca
0:00 - Intro
3:00 - How the idea started. An after ‘tennis’ discussion that took off.
5:00 - Employers can use it to hire. Job seekers can use it to look for jobs.
6:05 - ‘The mPloy app takes the employer 70% down the recruiting process’
8:00 - You can set up your profile in the best possible way when applying for a job.
8:25 - ‘We do a qualification process.’ This helps create a shortlist for employers looking to hire.
9:40 - What is the biggest problem facing the restaurant industry in terms of hiring.
11:50 - “We want to be one of their key strategies to find the best staff in an efficient, fast and low cost manner.”
12:35 - How does the mPloy app work if you are a user, or someone looking for a job?
13:35 - Giving details that match the job. Securing the confidentiality of the data. ‘Our information is incredibly secure and safe.’
14:50 - Introduce yourself and make your video. The app allows you to reveal your personality.
15:40 - How to make your video ‘sizzle’? Can you have fun making your intro video.
16:10 - ‘We review the applications, and then we put together a list that is delivered to the mobile phone of the hiring manager, and in the space of 15 minutes, review 4-5 applications.’ The managers then reach out and contact the individual.
17:20 - Who is the app designed for? Can small restaurant owners use this app as well as big corporate groups?
18:00 - ‘Our platform is open to all types, casual and up restaurants.’
19:15 - What is in store for mPloy? What does the future look like?
Your new app is called ‘mPloy’ - how did the idea get started?
It really started on the tennis court at Hollyburn Country Club. We’re a group of tennis friends with experience in the industry - and we basically tried to figure out how to bring a solution that’s implemented in some of the major European cities to provide staffing on a shift basis to the local restaurant industry. And what we discovered, after about probably three or four months (and a significant amount of software development work), is that the wedge between hiring and contracting services just isn’t that great here as it is, for example, in Paris or Germany.
The mPloy app has two sides really - one for employers looking to hire people - and one for users or someone looking for a job. How does it work?
About 80 to 90% of our business will be in providing clients with really qualified staff and have basically a full ‘menu’ of information that gives our clients the ability to understand who they’re interviewing before they make a decision to bring somebody in.
What we’re trying to do is really short circuit the process so that the first 70% of the recruiting process, which involves perhaps going and picking up an application or bringing back a completed resume having it sitting on a desk for two weeks. And for the employer - bringing in candidates that they know very little about. So what employers view is they see a person on video so they can analyze what they are like. There’s a lot of information provided. Are they legal in Canada to work? Are they of age to serve alcohol? What are their certifications? We do a screening (and provide a video), and we deliver a shortlist of applicants. And what we’re finding now is we’re getting a hiring rate of about 35 to 40% of people on our shortlist.
Olympic Gold for Madison Mailley
She’s a successful athlete, singer and business graduate with a natural beauty and strength that sparkles, both inside and out. Madison Mailey is a Women’s Eight rowing champion and a gold medal Olympian that knows what it takes to be part of a winning team. Hear how she is conquering the world, and stealing hearts, one ‘bow’ at a time.
0:00 - Intro
1:30 - How did it all start? Who is Madison Mailey, gold medalist?
3:25 - ‘I’ve been surrounded incredible teammates and incredible coaches.’
4:15 - The trip to Tokyo. Competing as a team and the Olympic experience.
6:40 - ‘None of us could have done it without each other.’
7:10 - Competing as part of Team Canada. What was Team Canada’s reception in Tokyo?
7:55 - ‘Just wearing the maple leaf for Canada, we wore that leaf proudly.’
8:35 - Durig our What doeWhat do Y
9:30 - ‘We had to do a test everyday. We have to stay distanced. We tried to stay separated from other countries. We had to leave 24 hrs after our race.’
10:10 - ‘Normally you get to stay and have fun, so we got robbed of that a little bit. But we got to race and do what we love to do and that meant everything to me.’
10:40 - Teammate Maxwell Lattimer. Other team members had to watch the race from the village. Friend and family on FaceTime.
13:00 - Showing off the gold medal. People recognizing you in public as an Olympian. What does it feel like?
14:00 - ‘Everyone in my boat - I really trusted them. Everybody moving as one and bringing their own strengths. Everyone brought something different, something special.’
14:55 - ‘Redefine excellence, that was our mantra. It feels incredible to be an Olympian. If I could get one or two kids to pick up an oar and meet friends and travel the world and become better people then that would be worth it for me.’
16:00 - What do you do and eat to prepare for a race? What’s the hardest part?
17:55 - Are you gunning for the next Olympics in Paris in 2024?
19:25 - You’re planning a career in commerce, and you’re also a singer. Tell us Madison’s faves - music, food, fun. Tell us some of your secrets.
23:25 - Where do you see yourself in five years?
Catherine: Welcome everyone to the WestVancouver Magazine podcast. We are so excited to welcome the magnificent Madison Mailey. She is from West Vancouver/Lions Bay, and she is a rowing champion who now sports a gold medal from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Women’s Eight. Madison, tell us how it all started?
Madison: In grade eight, I was choosing what sport to do, and I had signed up for the volleyball team. But when I came home, my mom encouraged me to do an outdoor sport. And my brother had just tried rowing the year before. And so they said, why not do the same thing as Brook? And so I went out there, and I pretty much instantly fell in love with the sport. I thought it was very fun. I love the idea of being with my friends, and I had so many laughs. That’s kind of how it started. And then I went to university in Boston. So that’s how I got my first taste of high-performance rowing. And now it’s the national team. So it’s been a journey.
Catherine: I want to point out here that Tokyo 2020 is not your first gold medal. You’ve got a 2017 and 2018 gold medal from the U23 World Rowing Championships. You have a silver medal from the World Rowing Championships, all in the Women’s Eight, so you’re kind of used to the podium, aren’t you?
Madison: I have had success on the world stage for sure. I’ve been surrounded by incredible teammates, and really good coaches. And yeah,