Recording is of an interview with Basil Luksun and Jack Belhouse conducted by Kathy Bossort. Basil Luksun and Jack Belhouse were two of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about the history of setting aside parkland by dedication on Burnaby Mountain, the 1974/76 delineation of the conservation area on Burnaby Mountain, and the dispute between Burnaby and Simon Fraser University over land ownership and control on Burnaby Mountain, as discussed by two retired participants in these events from the City of Burnaby’s Planning and Building Department, Basil Luksun and Jack Belhouse. They also talk about their interaction with the public in developing policies, particularly for the 1974 report “The Public Meetings - Phase One”, and the importance of a strong policy base for long range planning and the patience needed to assemble land for large parks. They talk as well about their careers, their close working relationship in the department, and the cooperation between City and SFU staff in the development of UniverCity.
Basil Luksun was born and educated in South Africa, immigrating to Canada and Burnaby in 1972 to escape the harmful effects of apartheid. He holds a BSc degree from the University of Cape Town and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Town Planning from the University of Witwatersrand. He joined the City of Burnaby’s Planning and Building Department in 1973, working his way up through the organization to Director of the department before retiring after 39 years in 2012. When he started work in the 1970s, the City of Burnaby was focusing on green space planning projects and he takes great pride in these projects as well as the city’s focus on long-term planning. Basil lived in the Capital Hill area from 1972 to 1990. He currently resides in Vancouver and has two sons, Warren and Derek.
Jack Belhouse was born in 1946 in Vancouver and attended UBC, York University and SFU (1965-1972), majoring in urban geography. He began working in Burnaby’s planning department as a summer student in 1968, and was offered a full-time position when he graduated from university. He became Director of the Planning and Building Department before retiring after 38 years with the city in 2006. He and Basil Luksun worked closely together in long range planning in the department. Jack lives in Coquitlam with his wife Linda and has two children, Brad and Lori.
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.