This portion of the interview is about John Kirbyson’s early life, his family’s move to Burnaby in 1969, his connection to the outdoors, and his experience as a student at SFU earning his bachelors degree in Physical Geography. He also talks about hiking on Burnaby Mountain and working for the City…
This portion of the interview is about John Kirbyson’s early life, his family’s move to Burnaby in 1969, his connection to the outdoors, and his experience as a student at SFU earning his bachelors degree in Physical Geography. He also talks about hiking on Burnaby Mountain and working for the City of Burnaby while going to school.
Recording is of an interview with John Kirbyson conducted by Kathy Bossort. John Kirbyson was one of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about John Kirbyson’s education and career as parks planner for the City of Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, and the development of the 1999 Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area Management Plan. The interview explores how parks management balances environmental and recreational values and safety, and the importance of good guidelines and public input in the parks planning process. John Kirbyson also talks about recreational activities and various developments on Burnaby Mountain in the 1990s, such as the Kamui Mintara sculptures.
John Kirbyson was born in Vancouver in 1954, to Arnold and Winnifred Kirbyson. After several years spent in Winnipeg and Calgary, the Kirbyson family moved to Hunter Street in Burnaby in 1969 where John remembers living near the City’s nursery. John earned his BSc degree at SFU in Physical Geography (1973-1978) and then worked for the City of Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services between 1978 and 2005, where he moved from labourer to management positions. Supported by the City, he returned to SFU to earn his Masters degree in the School of Resource and Environment Management in 1991, his thesis being on restoration of Deer Lake. He was Manager of Parks Planning, Design and Development in the 1990s at the time that land on Burnaby Mountain was transferred from SFU to the City of Burnaby, and had the opportunity to direct the development of the first management plan for the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. From 2005 to 2010 John was Manager of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Dept. in Penticton, after which he has worked as an environmental consultant for Lees & Associates Landscape Architects and Planners. He is married to wife Linda and has three children: Linnaea, Jeremy and Colin.
Kathy Bossort is a retired archivist living in Ladner, BC. She worked at the Delta Museum and Archives after graduating from SLAIS (UBC) in 2001 with Masters degrees in library science and archival studies. Kathy grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and, prior to this career change, she lived in the West Kootenays, earning her living as a cook for BC tourist lodges and work camps. She continues to be interested in oral histories as a way to fill the gaps in the written record and bring richer meaning to history.