Our History

Fostering urban sustainability since 1969

For over 50 years SPEC has brought a range of environmental concerns to the attention of policymakers, industry and the public. Through its public education and advocacy work, SPEC has built a lasting legacy of environmental protection. Some of our most important achievements include:

  • Advocating a moratorium on offshore oil exploration and transportation
  • Advocating rapid transit such as the Sea-Bus across Burrard Inlet
  • Founding the Recycle Council of BC (RCBC)
  • Reducing the use of hazardous pesticides
  • Lobbying for a provincial Land Commission Act to preserve BC farmland
  • Pushing for the Berger Inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline
  • Being a founding member of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
  • Opposing BC Hydro’s Site C dam in Northern BC
  • Helping found the West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCELA)
  • Helping stop the proposed Vancouver Island nuclear power plants
  • Helping eliminate the use of DDT
  • Establishing the first recycling depots in BC
  • Playing a key role in preventing the privatization of the GVRD’s water filtration plant
  • Working to stop the SE2 power plant
  • Promoting municipal by-laws to limit non-essential pesticide use

SPEC House

The SPEC team in 1972. From top to bottom, left to right. 

  • 1st column: Peter Witte, Jim Bryan, Ken Pattern (and his dog!), Allison Appelbe. 
  • 2rd column: Ginny Howe Witte, Maggie Ziegler, ?, Gary Gallon. 
  • 3rd column: Steve Boyce, ?, Allan Fossen. 
  • 4th column: Lindsay, Terry Chantler, ?, ?.

If you know any of the unidentified mystery people in the photo, please let us know.

SPEC's History

Learn more about SPEC and see footage and images capturing our history, volunteers, and founders.

Thank you to J. Brock Fowler for producing this video in 2010.

SPEC's Locations

Throughout the years, SPEC has called many places home. Here’s a snapshot of all our physical locations since 1969.

  • 1969: SPEC opens an office and information centre at 4857 Kingsway in Burnaby
  • 1972: SPEC moves to 1095 West 7th Ave in Fairview Slopes
  • 1973: SPEC moves to 2007 West 4th Ave
  • 1976: SPEC moves to 1603 West 4th Ave, under Granville Bridge
  • 1979: SPEC moves to 3253 Heather St.
  • 1980: SPEC moves to 2150 Maple St.
  • 2011: SPEC moves to 2060 Pine St.
  • 2014: SPEC moves to 2305 West 7th Ave
Images of SPEC's previous building on Maple Street

SPEC Celebrations

Celebrating 45 Years

In 2014, SPEC celebrated our accomplishments over the past 45 years. As part of our celebration, we pulled together a summary of our impact we’ve had in the Lower Mainland.

Celebrating 50 Years

In 2019, SPEC gathered with community members to celebrate our 50th birthday by encouraging everyone to reconnect with nature. 

Reconnection with nature happens every day but most don’t even realize it. We showed how much our lives are linked to nature by sharing your stories. By sharing how you reconnect with nature you helped others realize the treasure we have around us.

SPEC Throughout the Ages

Our timelines hold a full record of our projects, programs, and accomplishments throughout the ages.