Series of topical ‘Fireside Chats’ in Courtenay every Thursday in April

Topics range from reducing human-wildlife conflicts to environamental contaminants in the Arctic

This April, the Courtenay—Alberni Federal Green Party Association will host four Thursday afternoon chats in the Courtenay Westerly Hotel main lounge.

Four experts will facilitate discussions regarding interesting Canadian issues, with local relevance and national significance that rarely make headlines. This is a great opportunity to delve into some interesting subjects and meet some local experts. The following is a synopsis on each of the four chats.

April 5 – “How cruise tourism is changing the arctic,” with Jane Sproull and Callum Thomson. Sproull and Thomson are professionals in the fields of northern art history and archeology, and for 30 years have worked as freelance guides and lecturers for small-ship expedition tours in Canada and worldwide. They will chat about how cruise tourism is changing the Arctic, and how different companies handle the responsibility to protect this fragile area and its people.

April 12 – “How to reduce human-wildlife conflicts,” with Glenn Naylor. A naturalist, Naylor will provide tips on how to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, particularly with bears and cougars. These animals may be backyard visitors or encountered along a hiking trail. Naylor was an Alberta conservation Officer for 36 years in Canmore, and has built a reputation as a photographer.

April 19 – “Health impacts of environmental contaminants in the Arctic,” with Dr. Jay Van Oostdam, who will outline the human health impacts of environmental contaminants in the Arctic. Van Oostdam retired to the Comox Valley after a career as a senior researcher with Health Canada, in which he was a member of the management team for the Canadian Northern Contaminants Program.

He also co-chaired the Human Health Assessment group of the International Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).

April 26 – “A people, planet, profit approach to sustainability,” with Sandra Hamilton

The final fireside chat leader will be Hamilton, Canada’s first social MBA, who poses the question: Why is it so difficult to get a local potato into the local hospital?

Join us for a conversation about the power of leveraging taxpayer-funded contracts to support sustainable food systems, community economic development, skills training and other important public policy goals such as indigenous reconciliation.

Hamilton was the catalyst behind the NIC FEED Comox Valley local food projects and has more than 20 years of experience in business, including business manager to Vancouver 2010 Olympics CEO John Furlong, Olympian Silken Laumann, and publisher of BC Women’s Magazine.


The host for all four events will be Dr. Betty Donaldson, professor emerita, University of Calgary. Drinks may be purchased at the bar prior to the events. Green-inspired menu options will be available in the Westerly restaurant after the chats.

All four events take place at the Courtenay Westerly Hotel lounge – 1590 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay, from 5-7 p.m.

Admission is by donation to the Courtenay—Alberni Federal Green Party Association.

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