Belkin Gallery Fireweed Fields

Updated: June 16, 2021
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FireweedFields
A development permit application has been received for the lawn of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery to be converted into an approximately 1,400 sq. m meadow containing a boardwalk.

Development Permit

DP21005T

Location

The lawn area between the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 1825 Main Mall, and Main Mall as well as to the north of the building and Crescent Road.

Proponents

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery

Artist in Residence Holly Schmidt

Feedback and Responses

The following responses have been provided by the applicant to feedback received during the online comment period:

I am surprised that this decolonial 'fireweed field' is set up to prevent the dispersal of the fireweed. It seems more a controlled containment of the Indigenous, not a celebration of Indigenous resilience. 

UBC staff deeply respects the project’s philosophy and looks forward to its physical manifestation. We believe it will enrich the experience of visiting both the gallery and Main Mall. However, staff also believes there is a need to balance natural succession strategies for the meadow with the practical implications related to seed spread from the fireweed plants to adjacent properties. We recognize there is an inherent contradiction in imposing constraints upon a field of indigenous plantings but with participation from representatives from the Belkin, Musqueam, horticultural, and landscape staff, the team intends to work together to support and integrate natural plant succession with the practical aspects of managing impacts.

I am delighted to read of this installation with the objective of establishing a native plant meadow that will begin with fireweed as predominant. The plans look well thought through. I wonder about the missing description of the dormant season appearance, and whether the effect will be similar to University Blvd median and verges to the east of Wesbrook Mall. I believe the first year appearance with the fireweed in bloom will be magnificent. When the seasonal growth is cut before fireweed seed dispersal, what will the state be of the lupines and other species? It does not seem reasonable to attempt selective cutting. But will the other plants still be in bloom or maturing their seeds. I think the boardwalk will work well in all seasons. Best wishes with finalizing the plan details. This will be an interesting project for me to observe, as it is on my daily walking route. Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments. 

Fireweed Fields will be mowed in the fall and left dormant over the winter. It will appear similar to the Beaty Biodiversity meadow in the winter, which is green and lush, not too unlike the lawns around campus. Fireweed, yarrow and lupins are perennials so they will come back in the spring. Yarrow and lupins bloom in early summer, so it is anticipated they will produce seed prior to the fireweed.

Attachments

Contact

Karen Russell

Manager, Development Services
(604) 822-1586

Timeline

March 16, 2021
Development Permit Application
March 16, 2021

Development Permit Application

A development permit application is received on March 16, 2021.

March 25, 2021
Development Review Committee
March 25, 2021

Development Review Committee

The application is reviewed by the UBC Development Review Committee on March 25, 2021.

March 26, 2021
Public Comment Period
March 26, 2021

Public Comment Period

The public is invited to provide feedback on the project from March 26 to April 8, 2021.

April 29, 2021
Development Permit Issuance
April 29, 2021

Development Permit Issuance

A temporary development permit is issued for this project on April 29, 2021.