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lottmax-ticketTuesday, October 25 ~ VANCOUVER.  This is the last week for the person holding a $1 million winning Lotto Max ticket from the October 30, 2015 draw to claim their prize. A ticket sold in Burnaby for the October 30, 2015 draw matched 7/7 numbers for a $1 million Maxmillions prize.

“Lottery players should check their pockets, drawers and secret hiding places to see if they hold the $1 million ticket,” says the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The person holding the ticket has until 4:30pm Friday, October 28 to claim the prize at a BCLC corporate office in Kamloops or Vancouver.

Only four major prizes have gone unclaimed in BC since 2006, totaling $534,572.70. All four prizes matched 5/6+ numbers, not the grand prize. The unclaimed prizes were $99,318.50 in 2006, $104,534.60 in 2008, $113,807 in 2009 and $219,912.60 in 2016. No top lottery prize in BC has ever gone unclaimed.

BCLC says it offers socially responsible gambling entertainment while generating income to benefit all British Columbians, with more info at  www.GameSense.ca. “Remember, play for fun, not to make money,” says the corporation that helps fund municipal coffers with annual grants and also is a major source of funding for the general BC budget (with the health care budget often noted as a benefactor).

stone-toddTuesday, October 25 ~ VICTORIA.  The Victoria Regional Transit Commission has been expanded by creating an additional seat, it was announced this morning by BC Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. The Victoria Regional Transit Commission was formed in 1982, and its mandate is to provide oversight and represent the transit needs of Greater Victoria. The board of directors, through the chair, reports to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, who is the Minister responsible for BC Transit.

“Over the years, the population and demographic makeup of the region has changed with the western communities growing at a much faster rate than the rest of Greater Victoria, largely due to the relatively affordable housing, especially for young families. “It’s important that the western communities’ voice and needs are fairly represented on the Commission,” it was stated in the release.

1305-mayotait-closeup-oct1716“In response to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission’s request to expand the number of its members from seven to eight to reflect the growing population in the region, the Province is pleased to announce the appointment of District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait to the Commission,” said Minister Stone in a news release.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait has had some interaction with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure over the past few years, largely to pitch for attention to Highway 14 (Sooke Road) as it impacts the 12,000-resident population of Sooke which lies about 35 km west of Victoria. Since the demise of its resource-based economy last decade, Sooke holds onto its rural appeal for many long-time residents. But in the past 10 years Sooke has rapidly become a bedroom community for commuters to Victoria and other parts of south Vancouver Island in recent years. Tait had served as a District of Sooke councillor for two terms, before winning as Mayor in November 2014 with 68% of the vote.

carolhamilton-headshotCity of Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton also represents the interests of the residents of the western communities on the commission. Hamilton is serving in her second term as Mayor of Colwood, that she won with a strong return mandate of 84% from the Colwood electorate in 2014. She seems to be crafting Colwood as a bedroom community of choice, with a strong office/retail component to the municipality but less of the big-box stores and industrial enterprises than are seen in neighbouring Langford.

Transit service in Greater Victoria is governed by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. It will now consist of eight members (six locally elected mayors and two councillors) who are appointed according to the BC Transit Act.

Under the act, the following representatives must be appointed to the commission: Victoria’s mayor, a Victoria councillor, the mayor of Esquimalt or Oak Bay, the mayor of Saanich, a Saanich councillor and one of the mayors of Sidney, North Saanich or Central Saanich, as well as two representatives of the western communities – the Mayors of Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Langford, Highlands, Sooke or the director of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. With Hamilton and Tait being the western communities representation (the only two women who are mayors in the western communities), that leaves the other mayors to focus on other specific needs of their areas.

“Today’s decision will help us continue to build on the transit investments and improvements we’re making in Sooke and the western communities,” said Minister Stone. “Over the last few years, BC Transit and the commission have added double-decker buses to increase capacity, installed additional bus shelters along Highway 14, has adjusted bus routes to improve service to and from SEAPARC Leisure Complex, introduced a Saturday night trip to and from Victoria, and built a new Park and Ride on Highway 14.”

Mayor Tait finally brought a traffic roundabout to Sooke town centre on Highway 14 last summer — which was not mentioned in the ministry release. Since final completion in fall 2015, the roundabout has improved traffic flow in and through Sooke.  In Sooke, Tait has overseen some town centre parking improvements, but cramped the style of parking at the Sooke public boat launch and never worked to resolve the issues of seriously impeding access to some businesses and residents with the restriction of turns at the Townsend/Sooke Road intersection, despite a public call to address it.

BC and the federal government have recently announced nearly $160 million in funding to further improve transit services throughout the province. This includes a $10-million extension to the Douglas Street northbound bus lane, from Tolmie Avenue to the McKenzie interchange that will reduce congestion on one of Victoria’s major transit routes servicing West Shore communities.”

“We will continue to work together toward improving and evolving public transit to meet the needs for everyone in Greater Victoria,” said Stone.  Victoria is of course the capital city of BC, with the legislature and government providing a lot of activity and employment for the south island region.

Transit service in Greater Victoria is governed by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. It will now consist of eight members (six locally elected mayors and two councillors) who are appointed according to the BC Transit Act. Under the act, the following representatives must be appointed to the commission: Victoria’s mayor, a Victoria councillor, the mayor of Esquimalt or Oak Bay, the mayor of Saanich, a Saanich councillor and one of the mayors of Sidney, North Saanich or Central Saanich and two representatives of the western communities – the Mayors of Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Langford, Highlands, Sooke or the director of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

The commission sets routes, service levels, fares and local taxes for transit purposes. It reviews and is responsible for raising the local share of the annual cost of transit in the region. The commission’s members are now:

  • Chair – Councillor Susan Brice – District of Saanich
  • Mayor Richard Atwell – District of Saanich
  • Mayor Lisa Helps – City of Victoria
  • Mayor Alice Finall – District of North Saanich
  • Mayor Barb Desjardins- Township of Esquimalt
  • Mayor Carol Hamilton – City of Colwood
  • Mayor Maja Tait – District of Sooke
  • Councillor Marianne Alto – City of Victoria

fallback-daylightsavings-time-ends-nov06-pumpkinonlyTuesday, October 25 ~  ‘Spring forward, fall back’.  The change back to Standard Time is coming up on Sunday, November 6. At 2 am that morning, daylight savings time ends for this year.

Most people re-set their clocks back one hour (other than the ones on computers and most other electronics that reset themselves) on Saturday night before bed. So this year, that will be on Saturday night, November 5. It will produce an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. The broader impact of returning to Standard Time in the winter is that mornings will be a little brighter for the morning work commute, but nightfall comes sooner.

Each year, Daylight Savings Time ends the first Sunday of November and starts the second Sunday in March. Daylight Saving Time returns on Sunday, March 12, 2017. More daylight hours in spring and summer is thought to be supportive to modern economies, particularly outdoor sport and recreation.

In the past year in BC, there has been a movement to end the practice of Daylight Savings Time. The request has been made based on evidence that disruption of people’s sleep patterns can lead to some disorientation that in turn may lead to inattention or even accidents. There’s been an online petition, and some attention paid to the matter by some BC MLAs.

In general, the modern busy Canadian lifestyle leads to sleep deprivation for many people. In busy lives, schedules are jam-packed with commitments, obligations, places to be and people to see. Insufficient sleep is often compounded by use of caffeine to stay awake, or use of sleep aid medications to fall asleep.

nathancirillo-fileSaturday, October 22 ~ OTTAWA.  Today a statement was issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the two-year anniversary of the October 22, 2014 attack at the Cenotaph and Parliament Hill:

“Two years ago, Canadians were shocked by the brutal attack that took place in and around Parliament that claimed the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo [photo] and injured others. This vicious attack, at the very heart of our democracy, sought to frighten and divide Canadians. Instead it had the exact opposite effect, drawing us closer together and making us stronger. In the wake of this deadly assault, parliamentarians and Canadians united in condemning terrorism and further embracing our diversity.

The whole country honoured first responders – Senate and House of Commons Protective Services, the RCMP, former House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, medical personnel and others – for their bravery and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way for Canadians of all backgrounds and faiths.

It showed the world that Canada will not be intimidated by hatred and violence, but will meet these acts with strength and conviction. This also showed me yet again that our diversity and collective love of democracy are what make our country strong and our nation great.

I join all Canadians today in mourning the loss of Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent – who was killed two days earlier in an attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. These two members of the Canadian Armed Forces made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they loved. The most fitting tribute that we can pay them is defending the values that they so personified.”

The attack on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014 was ultimately considered to be a terrorist-inspired attack by lone operator Michael Zihaf-Bibeau whose life was later determined to have spiraled from privilege to petty crime and drugs to, eventually, deadly extremism.

Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers who shot the attacker near the library inside the Parliament buildings, was later given a Canadian diplomatic post in Ireland.

Justin Trudeau personally experienced the event on Parliament Hill that day (then Leader of the Liberals in the House), as did then Prime Minister Stephen Harper and then Leader of the Official Opposition Tom Mulcair. All the leaders and their caucuses happened to be in caucus meetings that Wednesday morning, and all were secured inside their caucus rooms while gun shots ensued.

The event impacted all Canadians for its bizarre aspects of how things unfolded, the sadness of it all for Cpl Nathan Cirillo and the families involved, and that it happened at all in a country where we generally feel safe and secure.

cyberattacks-graphicFriday, October 21 ~ GLOBAL. Widespread online disruption in the USA, Canada and Europe occurred earlier today, October 21.

The US Department of Homeland Security has begun an investigation into the DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack, according to the The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

“The incident took offline some of the most popular sites on the web, including Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, CNN, PayPal, Pinterest and Fox News – as well as newspapers including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal,” reports the Guardian.

The attacks seemed to have been focused on Dyn, one of the companies that run the internet’s domain name system (DNS).

Amazon’s web services division, the world’s biggest cloud computing company, also reported an outage that lasted several hours on Friday morning.

islandhealth-LOGOFriday, October 21 ~ Vancouver Island.  Island Health says it is on track to deliver 93 substance use beds as part of the provincial plan to open 500 substance use spaces throughout British Columbia.

Island Health’s 93 beds are based on population proportion and will support and enhance existing substance use services, it was stated in a news release from Island Health today. Since the initiative began in 2014, Island Health has already opened 55 beds across its service area. Plans are underway to open the remaining 38 beds by early 2017.

“We understand the harms and incredible risks of substance use, and that’s why more beds are needed to help people get back on track,” says BC Health Minister Terry Lake. “Everyone deserves a chance. Adding beds on Vancouver Island shows that we value our strong communities, and can help individuals struggling with substance use with support recovery beds and services.”

The 55 beds which have already opened are located throughout the area served by Island Health:
• Victoria: 14 tertiary supportive recovery beds, 10 supportive recovery beds and five stabilization beds for adults and six supportive recovery beds for youth
• Nanaimo: Four crisis stabilization beds for Aboriginal youth with concurrent mental health and substance use challenges
• Courtenay: Six supportive recovery beds for women
• Port Alberni: Five stabilization and supportive recovery beds
• North Island: Five withdrawal management/community detox beds on the North Island located in Port Hardy

“I’m looking forward to the positive impact these beds will have on the community, and proud to support the number of beds that have already opened, helping countless adults and youth,” said Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley.

The remaining 38 beds will be located in communities throughout the Island Health region. In addition, when Island Health residents need to attend residential treatment facilities on the Lower Mainland, Island Health teams coordinate referrals and provide funding assistance. These services are part of a continuum of mental health and substance use programming.

“Ensuring that both adults and youth have better access and improved outcomes for mental health and substance use is a top priority for Island Health,” said Don Hubbard, Island Health Board Chair. “This additional treatment capacity will be a significant improvement and will help ensure appropriate levels of supports and services are available to people who need them.”

Cheryl Damstetter, Island Health’s Chief of Population and Community Health said: “For people who are living with substance use issues, these beds – and the supportive recovery services that surround them – will help support individuals through their personal journey toward recovery and will benefit not only them but also their children, families and communities.”

On July 27, 2016, BC Premier Christy Clark announced a new Joint Task Force on Overdose Prevention and Response. The actions being taken under the task force support the ongoing work to support and treat British Columbians with substance use issues, a key priority of government.

The province has committed to meet the goal of opening 500 new substance use treatment beds in 2017, and today’s announcement of more beds and the treatment and intervention services that surround them will work to meet that goal. In the past two years, the Province has opened more than 220 new beds as part of this commitment to ensure better access to appropriate substance use treatment and supports.

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and the mainland communities north of Powell River.  www.viha.ca

johnhorgan-vanc-10childcare-oct1916-with2mlasFriday, October 21 ~ ELECTION BC 2017 campaign trail. Why vote NDP? That question was posed by West Shore Voice News to John Horgan in an interview today, as the BC NDP Leader was enroute from Richmond to Bella Bella.  Here’s what he says when BC voters ask him that question:

“The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years, but is your life better today than 16 years ago?. Do the BC Liberals have your interest at heart or are they just holding onto government? When clinging to power, a government is not focussed on the best interest of the public.  It’s time for a change,” Horgan stated with conviction.

Earlier this week Horgan announced the BC NDP’s commitment to $10/day child care if the BC NDP form government after the May 2017 election. [Livestream Photo: in Vancouver with NDP MLAs Jodie Wickens and Melanie Mark].  While the BC Liberals issued in a statement that the cost of delivering $10/day child care is not possible, Horgan explains that an NDP government would achieve such a program with the likelihood of negotiating some federal partnership funding, something that Horgan feels wasn’t possible under the Harper government. Ultimately, the difference in approach between the two parties is about the political will to enable affordable child care as one component of an improved economy and society. When parents are confident about child care services, they are more productive employees, employers and contributors to the economy.

langford-jdf-map-smIn his home riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca, where Horgan has been the MLA since first being elected in 2005, the boundaries have changed (as well as the name of the riding over the years). But that’s because more people are moving to the area for relative housing affordability, so the boundaries over time have become smaller. Electoral area boundaries are reviewed and often revised every couple of years to ensure that the population count is similar among ridings.

“Langford-Juan de Fuca represents the cross-section of challenges that have developed under the BC Liberals,” says Horgan. “The challenges in Langford are the same as everywhere in BC: affordability, how to make family life easier, how well are schools funded, and good transportation options,” says the NDP Leader who saw two new NDP candidates nominated last weekend, with two more nominations coming up this weekend.

bellabella-oilspill-oct1416John Horgan is heading to the small coastal community of Bella Bella today to see for himself the damage to the pristine waters in the Great Bear Rainforest area due to an oil spill last Friday. Seafood harvesting areas that are critical to the Heiltsuk economy are being contaminated as a result of the spill from a tugboat.

Last month, the Duke of Cambridge delivered a speech in Bella Bella during the Royal Tour, stating his pleasure at protecting the Great Bear Rainforest as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy which was created by Queen Elizabeth to help preserve natural wilderness ecosystems around the world.

ruralbc-princetonFriday, October 21 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier Christy Clark has announced her intention for Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett to be sworn in as Minister of State for Rural Economic Development by Her Honour, Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon.

“Every community in British Columbia benefits when our rural communities are strong,” said Premier Clark.

“Donna Barnett is a proven champion for rural development who will strengthen our cabinet team as BC leads the country in economic growth and jobs, and as we work together to put British Columbians first.”

Premier Clark has also made the following change to parliamentary secretaries: Marc Dalton, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, is now Parliamentary Secretary for Métis Relations for Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad.

BCFerry-fromBCFerriessiteThursday, October 20 ~ COASTAL BC.  BC Ferries announced today that a major fleet-wide pricing promotion of 50% savings on vehicle fares will be in effect starting mid-November.

Similar to a promotion last year in the autumn season, customers travelling on select sailings will receive the discount off the standard vehicle fare.

This year there will be over 3,100 promotional sailings, including select Sunday morning sailings.

  • For North Coast routes servicing Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii, Alliford Bay and Skidegate, as well as the Discovery Coast Connector, the half-price discount will apply on all sailings from November 14 – December 18.
  • On all of the other routes, the promotion will be in effect on select sailings Monday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from November 14 – December 18.

The half-price fare discount will apply to cars, motorcycles, trucks, SUVs, vans or recreational vehicles (discount applies to the first 20 feet of vehicle length only).

“BC Ferries is pleased to once again offer this vehicle promotion for customers to enjoy some savings this fall,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We understand fare affordability remains a key concern for customers and hope they take advantage of this promotion when planning their fall travel. It was very popular last year and encouraged many passengers to travel on off-peak sailings, which helps shift traffic across our system.”

The promotions help reduce congestion at terminals by encouraging both foot and vehicle passengers to travel on off-peak sailings. BC Ferries is planning another pricing promotion for next spring.

Space on the selected sailings is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are recommended to ensure a spot on the sailing of choice. www.bcferries.com

fentanyl-bagsThursday, October 20 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Vancouver Island RCMP have made a significant fentanyl seizure. The investigation is continuing after a significant amount of fentanyl was seized on Vancouver Island last week.

The seizure took place on Monday October 10 at about 5pm when members from the Nanaimo RCMP checked a suspicious vehicle just south of Nanaimo near Cassidy Airport. The vehicle was travelling southbound on the Island Highway when members pulled it over without incident.

The male driver, a resident of Vancouver Island, was arrested and the subsequent search of the vehicle located a sum of money and one kilogram of a powdered substance that has now been analyzed to be fentanyl. This makes the seizure one of the largest for the RCMP in British Columbia over the past few years.

“Locating and reducing the importation and distribution of fentanyl continues to be a priority for the RCMP, especially given the number of opioid deaths in British Columbia”, says Cpl. Tammy Douglas, spokesperson for Vancouver Island District.

In BC this year, the number of deaths as a result of fentanyl mixed into other illicit drugs has reached epidemic proportions, according to the BC Coroners Service.

“Our investigation is continuing to look for all those connected and responsible in the alleged trafficking of a harmful illicit substance in addition to determining the ultimate destination for the drug”.

Given the dangers fentanyl poses, precautions were taken in dealing with the seizure and now the storage of it. This active investigation is being handled by the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Group on Vancouver Island. The individual arrested was released pending charges.

Anyone with any information is encourage to call police or if you wish to remain anonymous you can contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

boc-monetarypolicyreport-coverWednesday, October 19 ~ NATIONAL. Today the Bank of Canada announced that it is holding its overnight rate at 0.5%. They are seeing slower growth than expected, to mid-2018.

In its Monetary Policy Report released today October 19, the Bank of Canada is now looking to 3rd quarter growth in 2016 as being 3.2% (previously 3.5%), with 4th quarter growth now expected to be 1.5% (down from 2.8%). The overall economy is now predicted to grow by 2.0% in 2017 rather than 2.2%.

The revisions put the Bank of Canada’s forecasts closer to the market consensus, according to RBC Economics Research.

Interesting, that the cover image on the Monetary Policy Report shows a tilting ship – not exactly the image of stability.

Exports in 2017 are expected to sag a bit. It also appears that the Bank of Canada expects investment in housing to act as a small drag on growth next year following the government’s recent policy actions requiring a ‘stress test’ for affordability of a 5-year fixed rate.

“The tweaks to the growth forecast mean that economic slack will persist until the middle of 2018 and will exert downward pressure on core prices through 2017,” says RBC Economics Research today in a published report.

The Bank of Canada report refers to an environment of “heightened uncertainty” especially with respect to the export outlook.

The Bank of Canada’s next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is December 7, 2016. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published on January 18, 2017.

owl-w-castWednesday, October 19 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. A rare avian patient has landed at the BC Wild ARC facility. “She’s a female adult Short-eared owl – a rare patient at Wild ARC – it’s been many years since we last admitted one,” says Heather Schmitt, assistant manager at Wild ARC. “Her injuries needed immediate surgical repair, as the bones needed to be pinned and stabilized in order for her to be able to fly again.”

Staff at the BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) on Vancouver Island are hoping the public can help a short-eared owl fly again, after she was found by the side of the road with two severely broken bones in her left wing. “She’s a beautiful bird! We just want her to be able to fly again, and hunt for her meals the way owls are supposed to,” Schmitt says.

The feathered patient is expected to be in Wild ARC’s care for about eight weeks as she recovers, needing medication for pain, to prevent infection and to promote healing, specialized staff care including hand-feeding and therapies to help rehabilitate the wing, and flight testing before release. If all goes well, the owl will be returned to the wild when she is fully recovered.

The estimated medical costs associated with the owl’s treatment and recovery is expected to be over$4,000. As a non-profit organization, the BC SPCA relies primarily on public donations to carry out their work helping vulnerable companion, farm and wild animals. Donations are accepted by Wild ARC at their facility at 1020 Malloch Rd (off Rocky Point Road in the Metchosin area), or online at www.spca.bc.ca/medicalemergency . Info: 250-478-9453.

jdfemerg-shakeout2016-webTuesday, October 18 ~ SOOKE REGION. The Great BC Shake-out earthquake drill exercise is coming up Thursday, October 20 at 10:20 am. The drill is an opportunity for everyone to try out their “Drop, Cover and Hold-on” action. You can do that right where you are — at home, school or workplace.

The Otter Point Pod Captains and Juan de Fuca Emergency Management Program are taking an additional step this year. They are planning their actions for the first 12 hours after a massive earthquake / tsunami event. [See photo]

Having food, water and sanitation, and health supplies on hand for at least 72 hours is a minimum recommendation. On the west side of Vancouver Island, a full 7 day period self-sufficiency is recommended by regional fire rescue officials.

jdfemerg-2016Everyone must first ensure their own safety and the well-being of their family and dwelling. This may mean getting to elevation immediately or preparing for shelter in your home, camper or woodshed, or assisting others who have to evacuate.

“Everyone’s situation will be unique. Knowing your local hazards, roadways impassable, tsunami, power outages, communications out, some injuries and worse can give you a notion as to what may be a reasonable approach to self-rescue and survival post even, ” says Al Wickheim, Community Coordinator, Juan de Fuca Emergency Management Program, Otter Point. “It may be the difference between life and death, or between comfortable and miserable.” After the shaking stops, you may wish to get outside.

Wickheim reminds residents that not every situation can be planned for. “But you can Drop, Cover and Hold-on, then make the best of the next 12 hours, first on paper and then, hopefully not, but maybe… in fact,” he said this week.

Over 730,000 British Columbians have already registered at www.Shakeoutbc.ca .

italogoTuesday, October 18 ~ VICTORIA. An investment of$5.2 million in Camosun College for skills training in high-priority trades seats was announced today by the BC Government. 

Greg Kyllo, parliamentary secretary for the BC Jobs Plan, announced the funding today on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, during a tour of Camosun College’s Centre for Trades Education and Innovation. The investment, through the Industry Training Authority (ITA), will fund 2,047 seats through to March 31, 2017, in various trades, including: Electrician, Welder, Carpenter, Cook, and Automotive service technician.

The funding is part of the ITA’s allocation to BC post-secondary institutions and training providers to run various training programs through out the province. In response to the objectives outlined in BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the McDonald Report, the BC government has worked in partnership with the ITA to begin building a demand-driven trades-training system with funding aligned to specific in-demand trades.

The provincial government invests more than $94 million annually in industry training through the ITA. The ITA leads and co-ordinates British Columbia’s skilled trades system by working with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.

ITA provides more than 100 apprenticeship training programs in BC.,  including almost 50 Red Seal trades. There are currently more than 39,000 registered apprentices in the  industry training system (including youth) – more than double the 14,676  apprentices registered when ITA was created in 2004.  BC is expecting up to one million job openings by 2025 due to retirements and economic growth. Eight of every 10 of these job openings will require post-secondary education or trades training.

sd62-projhection-2017to2026-westshorevoice-oct1416Sunday, October 16 ~ Sooke.  The student population in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) is increasing as more families move to the west side of Vancouver Island in search of relatively affordable housing.

SD62 administration predicts that about 3,068 more students will need spaces in SD62 schools between 2017 and 2026. By volume, most of those student increases will be seen in Langford (1,630), followed by Colwood (681), Sooke (447), Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (170), Highlands (123) and Metchosin (17).

SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge projects that at least one new school will be needed in the coming years. This year, student population has already risen to nearly 10,000, that being about 500 more than last year.

This fall, four portables were added to the new Royal Bay Secondary school that opened in September 2015. Belmont Secondary will need a portable, adding to the new school that opened in September 2015. A new classroom is being built at Happy Valley Elementary.

Full article on page 3 in the October 14 issue of West Shore Voice News

businessweek2016Sunday, October 16 ~ OTTAWA. Small Business Week in Canada is October 16 to 22, 2016.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement marking Small Business Week:

“Small business owners work incredibly hard to provide Canadians with quality goods and services while also creating job opportunities that strengthen communities across the country and grow the middle class.

“In Canada there are over 1.16 million small and medium sized businesses. These businesses account for 99% of all firms, and employ over 90% of the labour force in the private sector. They are anything but ‘small’ in terms of their contribution to Canada’s economic growth, job creation, and innovation.

“Small Business Week is important for many reasons. It allows Canadians to thank small business owners and entrepreneurs for their enormous contributions to our country’s prosperity. It is also a chance for current and future small business owners to participate in events across the country to learn, network, and share ideas about making their businesses as innovative, export-ready, and successful as possible.

“Our government recognizes the importance of small businesses and the entrepreneurs that make them thrive. That is why we are investing in several programs that support innovation and skills training, including for women, Indigenous, and young entrepreneurs.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I invite all Canadians to celebrate our small business owners and entrepreneurs. We hope you will be able to take part in the events organized across Canada, learn, share ideas and do some networking, while recognizing the hard work, talent, ambition, and determination of small business owners and entrepreneurs.”

wsv-mpoweroutages-webSaturday, October 15 ~ Vancouver Island. [posted at 8:15 pm]. Remnants of a typhoon are forecasted to affect Vancouver Island and the BC lower mainland this evening.

All regions BC Hydro crews are pre-positioned in key locations on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland to move quickly into affected areas as strong winds are moving through parts of the province as expected. “Crews will be working through the evening to restore power as quickly and safely as possible for our customers. The safety of our crews and the public remains our top priority,” says a bulletin on the BC Hydro website this evening.

Vancouver Island South is presently experiencing 18 outages, affecting 4,779 BC hydro customers. Vancouver Island North has 15 outages as of 8:15 pm, with 9.703 customers affected. On the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast area, 12,152 customers are without power within 34 areas of power outage.

On the west side of Vancouver Island, about 1,295 customers are affected in the extended Sooke area including West Coast Road west of Grant Road (ETO 11 pm), north of Phillips Rd (no ETO), and various other areas around West Coast Road. Only 16 customers are presently without power in Victoria (Topaz Avenue area).


weatheralert-oct1116WEATHER.  Saturday, October 15 ~ Vancouver Island.  Due to the expectation of high winds and dangerous conditions to occur this afternoon and evening, October 15, BC Ferries has today announced a rare cancellation of all sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland beginning at 3 pm today. All regular sailings will resume on Sunday, October 16.

The affected routes are between Swartz Bay<>Tsawwasen, Nanaimo’s Duke Point, and Tsawwassen and Nanaimo’s Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay sailings. BC Ferries is also cancelling sailings from 3 pm Saturday onwards between Tsawwasen and the Gulf Islands.

The third in a series of strong storms is forecast to arrive at about 3 pm this afternoon with winds and wind gusts forecast to be as strong as 100 km/hour this evening on the east side of Vancouver Island. The storm is packing powerful rain and energy from the remnants of Typhoon Songda. There have been several days of warning for this storm, as released by Environment Canada on October 11.

As for road travel on the west side of Vancouver Island, Hwy 14 in both directions is expecting to have water pooling from Port Renfrew to Colwood (95.6 km). This morning on Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) there was a car in the ditch near Gillespie Road, causing a slow-down in traffic to and from Sooke.

shakeout-studentsSaturday, October 15 ~ BC. A new program to help inspire students throughout the province to do their part to prepare British Columbia families and communities for emergencies is now available in BC classrooms.

Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto has announced the launch of the Master of Disaster program, a three-module learning resource, available in both English and French. It’s designed to help Grade 6 students learn about emergency preparedness from a proactive and interactive all-hazards perspective.

To become a Master of Disaster, students gain the knowledge necessary to prepare for the worst should disaster strike, as well as the skills to create more resilient and connected households and families that understand the importance of working together before, during and after an emergency.

The Master of Disaster program was first introduced by PreparedBC as a pilot in five schools in April 2016. Feedback received from teachers and students who participated in the pilot has been incorporated to enhance the program in preparation for today’s province-wide launch.

The program was developed in collaboration with public, independent and First Nations school teachers from around BC, emergency program coordinators, parent advisory council members, school administrators and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The learning materials are available to all schools in BC including public, independent, francophone and First Nations schools, as well as home study.

BC Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto, says: “This Master of Disaster program is a fun and interactive way to develop a foundation to guide and help protect our students’ families and communities for a lifetime. By teaching children about emergency preparedness when they are young, students can help ingrain these
lessons in our culture and better protect B.C. families for generations to come. The resiliency of our province depends on us all taking action, and doing everything we can to prepare for emergencies. I am so proud of the work of our ministry and our partners in making this vision a reality.”

BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier says: “Schools need to be safe places for our children. That’s why we
continue to invest in our globally recognized seismic mitigation program that’s seen 155 schools upgraded or replaced. The Master of Disaster program will help students be prepared for and ready to react to any disaster whether they are at school or at home.”

The Master of Disaster is currently targeted at Grade 6 students, based on recommendation by the Ministry of Education. However the government says the program is flexible and adaptable and can be used for a variety of school-age children. Students will receive a Master of Disaster certificate for completing the program.

Each Master of Disaster module is aligned with the new provincial curriculum and supported by worksheets, learning plans, a multi-media library and a role-playing game featuring a colourful cast of community characters. To ensure ease of adoption, the learning resources align with the principles of the new curriculum standards rolled out by the Ministry of Education.

Master of Disaster fits with Yamamoto’s mandate toward making emergency preparedness a priority in BC (through public education), a direct recommendation of the Office of the Auditor General and Henry Renteria reports.

shakout-logoThe rollout of this program lines up with this year’s Great BC ShakeOut earthquake drill exercise. The annual drill is this year on Thursday, October 20 at 10:20 am. Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians will take part. They will be joined by millions around the globe in a “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill to help make sure British Columbians are prepared well before the ground begins to shake. Last year over 770,000 people in BC took part in the Great BC ShakeOut. This year’s registration tally has reached over 720,000.

Links: Master of Disaster Learning Resources | PreparedBC  | Emergency Info BC | The Great British Columbia Shakeout | Build an emergency kit  | Household preparedness

bedsheltersFriday, October 14 ~ VICTORIA. Extreme weather response shelters have opened early, as the winter storm season has arrived earlier than usual this year, says the BC Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing. As a result, the BC Government is providing early funding to any Extreme Weather Response (EWR) shelter in BC that is prepared to open early.

While the EWR season officially runs from November 1 to March 31, almost 30 EWR shelters across Metro Vancouver and around BC were able to begin operations Wednesday evening, October 12. These additional spaces will increase capacity so that homeless people can access a safe and warm place to sleep during the rainy days ahead.

Last winter, more than 1,700 additional shelter spaces in over 80 communities were made available during extreme weather events. These spaces are in addition to more than 1,900 permanent, year-round shelter beds throughout the province. Most permanent shelters are open 24/7 and provide three meals per day.

BC also funds outreach teams to help connect people who are homeless, or at risk, with housing and support services such as income assistance and mental-health and addictions services.

BC Housing will be updating the BC Shelter Map  at www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map on a daily basis to indicate which shelters are open and will be tweeting all EWR shelter openings at @BC_Housing

A complete list of EWR shelters will be made available in November.

Since 2001, the BC government has invested $4.9 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families.

  • More than 104,000 BC households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services.
  • Last year, the Province provided approximately $204 million to support more than 14,000 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements for those who were homeless throughout BC
  • Close to 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter beds;Nearly 8,800 subsidized housing units for individuals who are homeless or homeless at risk.
  • More than 3,200 homeless rent supplements, including over 1,500 monthly rent supplements allocated to providers in the province through the new Homeless Prevention Program.

jimprenticeFriday, October 14 ~ VICTORIA. Jim Prentice — a former federal cabinet minister in the Harper Conservative government, died in a plane crash at Winfield near Kelowna in the Okanagan area on Thursday evening, October 13. He was 60 years old.

Prentice had been the MP for Calgary Centre-North from 2004 to 2010, with stints as industry minister, environment minister and minister of Indian affairs and northern development. He left federal politics in 2010 to take a job as senior executive vice-president of CIBC. He later ran for the Alberta PC leadership. He served as Premier of Alberta during 2014-2015.  Prentice leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

Also killed in the crash was the father-in-law of Prentice’s daughter, and two others. They had been on a golf trip in the Kelowna area. There were no survivors. It has not been specified who was piloting the twin-engine plane.

prentice-planecrashsceneCause of the accident is not yet known. The four were in a small older plane (built in 1974) that left the Kelowna International Airport at 9:32 pm Thursday, climbed to an altitude of 8,600 ft and then suddenly disappeared from radar at about 10:15 pm, according to airport authorities and a preliminary Transport Canada report.  Police investigators arrived on site around midnight and remained there through the night. Accident debris was found scattered in a heavily wooded area. [photo: aerial view of crash scene, from CTV live feed]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement today: “I was deeply saddened to learn that former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice was killed in a plane crash last night in British Columbia. Jim Prentice brought his deep convictions to everything he turned his hand to, whether it was law, business, or politics. At each step of his career, he worked tirelessly for the people of Canada and Alberta – both as a federal minister in several different portfolios, and later, as Premier of the province. He was broadly respected in the House of Commons – across all party lines – for his intelligence, commitment, and honest straightforward approach on tough issues. I greatly enjoyed the time I spent working closely beside Jim in the House, and know that he will be missed by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.  Today, we mourn the passing of a great Canadian. His legacy will live on in the work he did for Albertans and for all Canadians – particularly in the important role he played in finalizing the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement – and through his daughters, who he loved dearly and was incredibly proud of.  On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends and to the loved ones of all those who perished in this tragic accident.”

BC Premier Christy Clark said in a statement today:  “Like many Canadians, I was shocked to hear the news about Jim Prentice. This is a terrible loss for our country. It’s a rare privilege to meet people of Jim’s character in any walk of life. He was a man of his word, would keep confidences, and his handshake was worth more than any written agreement. Simply by being himself, Jim Prentice elevated political discourse in this country with his dignity, kindness, and focus. Jim devoted his life to making Canada better – and he succeeded. Jim had a remarkable and distinguished career, but I think he took the most pride in being a husband, father, and grandfather. My thoughts are with Jim’s family.”

emcs-20thannivoct13-adinwsv-oct0716-webThursday, October 13 ~ SOOKE.  The 20th Anniversary of Edward Milne Community School is tonight from 5 to 8 pm at the school, 6218 Sooke Road.

The celebration starts with a staff/alumni basketball game at 5 pm, followed by appys by the Culinary Arts students, and tours of the murals (one in the gym, and one outdoors).

Members of the community are invited to bring pictures or stories for the EMCS Time Capsule. Student showcases include robotics, musical theatre, band, visual arts, and leadership.

There will be a T’Sou-ke Nation blessing of the 20-year-old building. It’s also the 70th anniversary of a high school in Sooke.

shedThursday, October 13 ~ SOOKE.  Pet food and supplies that were collected and to be given away to families in need by the Victoria Pet Food Bank have been stolen from a shed in Sooke.

“We were all happy organizing our Halloween Dog Party event at Clover Point on Saturday 15th or Sunday 16th — the day it will not rain, when something very sad and unfair happened to us,” says Margarita Dominguez, founder of the Victoria Pet Food Bank (aka SAFARS). There was a break-in yesterday into their storage shed at 2075 Otter Point Road in Sooke. The contents were the pet food reserve that was on hand to handle their clientele for the next two months.

“When we opened the door of our shed the feeling we experienced was so devastating that we went right away to the RCMP in Sooke in tears,” says Dominguez. “Our shed is in Sooke because we cannot afford to pay the rent to place it in Victoria. However, our biggest deliveries are to the Victoria Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing shelter and to Salvation Army’s Stan Hagen Center for Families.” The group delivers 400 lb of dog kibble and 15 lb bags of cat kibble plus cans and treats every 20 days.

“The supply of food has been going down and down in the last four years and the supermarkets prefer to throw out the food than to give us to us. The pet food stores give it to those who place animals in adoption at their stores. Only Bosley’s Royal Oak helps us,” says Dominguez. She says it has been a real sacrifice to maintain the program, but that she doesn’t want to give up on it. “Every time we get to Rock landing or to Salvation Army the bins are empty, the need has increased dramatically.”

The 50 bags of 33 lbs/15 kg each of dog kibble plus 10 bags of 8 kg/ 17.6 lbs each of cat kibble plus cans, treats, and dog coats was our reserve for the next two months of food from Sooke to Victoria. From Sooke to Victoria we deliver pet food door to door to more than 30 families.

If anyone has information or can help, the Victoria Pet Food Bank can be reached at 778-352-2999. | www.safars.orgwww.facebook.com/bonelessproject/

bclc-logoThursday, October 13 ~ VANCOUVER. A LOTTO MAX ticket worth $1 million remains unclaimed, says BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC).

“This is a treat and no trick for someone holding a $1 million winning Lotto Max ticket that expires on October 30, 2016. A ticket sold in Burnaby for the October 30, 2015 draw matched 7/7 numbers for a $1 million Maxmillions prize,” it was stated in a BCLC release today.

“Lottery players should check their pockets, drawers and secret hiding places to see if they hold the $1 million ticket. Winners have one year from the draw date printed on the ticket to claim their prize.”

Only four major prizes have gone unclaimed in BC since 2006, totaling $534,572.70. All four prizes matched 5/6+ numbers, not the grand prize. The unclaimed prizes were $99,318.50 in 2006, $104,534.60 in 2008, $113,807 in 2009 and $219,912.60 in 2016. No top lottery prize in BC has ever gone unclaimed.

BCLC says they offer “socially responsible gambling entertainment while generating income to benefit all British Columbians”. Gaming funds are regularly paid out to municipalities and help to support the costs of health and education.

weatheralert-oct1116Wednesday, October 12 ~ SOOKE. As a series of winter storms is predicted to hit Vancouver Island this weekend, the District of Sooke would like to remind homeowners to prepare themselves, their families and their homes.

Flooding, power outages and wind damage may occur during winter storms. Residents are encouraged to keep emergency supplies stocked – such as food, water, flashlights, batteries and blankets.

As a precautionary measure, community members are invited to fill their own sandbags using supplies from the District of Sooke Public Works Yard, located at 2060 Kaltasin Road. Sand and bags are available, but please bring your own shovel.

The Public Works Yard is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For access to the sandbag supplies on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16, please call (250) 415-3475. www.sooke.ca

weatheralert-oct1116Tuesday, October 11 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Weather forecasters are predicting a series of three storms that will impact Vancouver Island starting tomorrow night, October 12, lasting for several days into Sunday. They are saying there could be potential for tree damage, power outages, flooding and landslides.

A series of intense storms will deliver prolonged heavy rain and strong winds to the South Coast beginning Wednesday evening:

• The first storm will reach the South Coast late Wednesday evening spreading the first round of heavy rain and strong south-east winds. Winds will likely exceed warning criteria (>80km/h) for the west side of Vancouver Island and perhaps Greater Victoria.
• A second round of strong winds and heavy rain is expected to begin late Thursday/early Friday with the arrival of storm #2.
• The third and potentially most vigorous storm is expected on Saturday when the remnants Typhoon Songda approach the South Coast. This third storm will be slow moving and produce heavy rain into Sunday.
• Currently, forecast models are suggesting the possibility for Saturday’s storm to intensify into a major storm. If the forecast holds, widespread damage from extreme winds is likely.
• Daily rainfall amounts will be in the 50-80 mm range. Total rainfall amounts from the three storms could be in excess of 200 mm along coastal sections and even higher over the North Shore mountains.

Environment Canada says that the forecast models are in good agreement regarding overall intensity of the storm cycle. Given that Saturday’s storm is still 4 days out, there is still plenty of time for the forecast to change. As always, forecast certainty will increase with time as the storms approach.

Environment Canada recommends that people prepare for potential power outages. They also suggest that people ensure that culverts and storm drains are free of debris.

happythanksgiving-withmapleleavesSunday, October 9.  BC Premier Christy Clark has issued the following statement on Thanksgiving:

“Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate and appreciate life’s many blessings.

In British Columbia and Canada, we have a lot to be thankful for. We live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, in a tolerant, diverse, and prosperous society.

Our growing economy means more people can take care of loved ones – but we should never forget those who are less fortunate. To all those who donate their time, food and service at community shelters and food banks this long weekend – thank you.

I wish all British Columbians a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.”

happythanksgiving-turkeypeekingSaturday, October 8. Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Many people already started their extended weekend over the last few days.

This is one of the busiest travel weekends for BC Ferries (70 additional sailings, most of those on the Vancouver-Victoria route).

Monday October 10 is a statutory holiday.

cib-communnunityySaturday, October 8 ~ SOOKE. Sooke is once again a 5-bloom community in the Communities in Bloom (BC) program.

With particular mention of Sunriver Community Gardens, the District of Sooke received the top score of 5 blooms, for 2016 participation in the program. Scoring was based on the critique by two judges who visited Sooke in the third week of July. The results of the judging were announced on October 1.

The other 5-bloom communities Cache Creek and Salmon Arm. The CiB theme is People, Plants and Pride…Growing Together. This was the organization’s 13th annual CiB event.

wsv-mpoweroutages-webFriday, October 7 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. UPDATE at 9:30 amBC Hydro power supply crews continue to work towards restoring outages as a result of last night’s damaging winds across Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland, as quickly and safely as possible. “Individual restoration times will vary as damage is assessed,” says BC Hydro.

As of 9:20 am this morning, 8,213 customers (within 34 outages) are without power on south Vancouver Island. Most of those are in the Duncan, Cowichan and Gulf Islands areas. In Langford around 3:30 am this morning 16 customers in the Humpback Rd area who lost power are still in the dark, and nine customers are similarly affected in Metchosin (as of 5:29 am this morning). About 200 customers were without power the areas of Sooke River and Sunriver Estates overnight (for about 2 hours, with power back on at 4 am).

North Vancouver Island currently sees 2,378 customers without power (41 outages), and the BC Lower Mainland now sees 5,354 customers without power (37 outages).

wsv-mpoweroutages-webFriday, October 7 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Update at 2:30 amA windstorm across Vancouver Island and the BC Lower mainland has seen damaging winds and heavy rain causing several outages that may last through Thursday night and into today October 7, according to BC Hydro. “Crews are working to restore power and additional resources are being organized to assist in restoration.”

As of 1:54 am this morning, October 7, in the Sooke area 200 BC Hydro customers (addresses) had lost power, in the areas of Sooke River Road, Phillips Road and Sunriver Estates.

At last update (2:15 am, October 7), overall in the south Vancouver Island area there are 6,970 BC Hydro customers still without power through the overnight. There are also 14,649 on the north Island, and a total of about 13,028 on the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast, according to BC Hydro. On the north Island, the Courtenay-Comox area was hit especially hard, with about 10,000 outages at one point. It makes for a long night for BC Hydro crews.

Outages are listed and updated on the BC Hydro website. However, it’ must be tough to keep promises to an exact time for power restoration. Estimated On Time used to be posted by BC Hydro, but that information is not longer posted (only the time that the outage posting was last updated).

Last night in Greater Victoria, as of 11 pm, there were large clusters of outages in North Saanich and Central Saanich, as well as outages in Sidney, Saanich, and Oak Bay.  Some ferry sailings were cancelled as a result of the weather.

Environment Canada had issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, east and west Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast. A low pressure system caused southeast winds of 70 km/hour, with gusts of 90 km across the region.

justintrudeau-teacher1Wednesday, October 5 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has today issued the following statement on World Teachers’ Day:

“World Teachers’ Day is a special day to honour the teachers who have played an essential role in our lives.

The theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day – Valuing teachers, improving their status – is an important one. Teachers have the awesome responsibility and the humbling opportunity of building the society of tomorrow through the students they teach every day in their classrooms.

Enriching and educating the next generation of Canadians is no small task. It requires a lot of generosity, compassion, and hard work. Day in and day out, teachers seek new ways of engaging with students and explaining tough concepts, taking the time to understand students’ needs while empowering them to satisfy their own curiosity.

The Government of Canada is committed to providing teachers with the tools necessary to help students succeed. That is why we are undertaking a broad range of initiatives in this area, including: helping teachers and early childhood educators recover some out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies through a new school supply tax credit; investing in schools on First Nations reserves and in infrastructure projects at Canadian universities and colleges; providing learning opportunities for displaced children in the Middle East; and promoting cooperation in education with countries such as Mexico through Canada’s International Education Strategy.

I am exceptionally proud of having been a teacher. Regardless of whatever other job titles I hold over the course of my life, I will first and foremost be a teacher. That is why I was particularly delighted to present this year’s Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

In fact, today is also the beginning of the nomination period for the Prime Minister’s Awards. Between now and January 9, 2017, I encourage all Canadians to recognize our tremendous educators and their contributions to the future of Canada by nominating them for the #PMAwards.”

biosolidsprocessingWednesday, October 5 ~ VICTORIA. Public input is being sought on new BC’s news biosolids and composting rules.

British Columbians are invited to review and provide feedback on a policy intentions paper for the organic matter recycling regulation (OMRR), including new requirements for the management and use of biosolids.

The current OMRR has been in effect since 2002. Updates are needed to reflect the best available science and to ensure the highest levels of protection for the environment and human health are in place.

New and updated proposed policies highlighted in the intentions paper include:

  • Improving public transparency through online posting of biosolids land applications and posting of plans and reports for non-permitted compost facilities;
  • Requiring notification be given to First Nations for new compost facilities and land application of biosolids;
  • Improving facilitation for organics recycling, which will decrease materials that are landfilled;
  • Harmonizing with national guidelines, other BC regulations and other requirements and standards; and
  • Introducing new standards for protection of human health and the environment, including enhanced planning and reporting requirements, new technical standards and improved compost storage requirements.

composting-foodscrapsA 60-day window for public comments ends Dec. 2, 2016. In addition to the public engagement, focused discussions will also take place with First Nations, agricultural producers and local governments.


> The intentions paper can be viewed at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/waste-management/recycling/organics/omrr_ip_sept_22.pdf
> Findings from the Province’s scientific review, including a soil sampling report and literature review, were used in the development of the intentions paper. These reports are available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/waste-management/recycling/organics/regulations-guidelines

Amendments to the OMRR, based on all engagement and information received, are anticipated to take place in 2017.

“This intentions paper is the next step in our comprehensive review of the organic matter recycling regulation and the policies we are proposing will ensure the rules we have in place to protect human health and the environment are based on the latest and best science available,” says Mary Polak, BC Environment Minister.

“We also intend to reduce pressure on our landfills, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from organic waste, as recommended in the Climate Leadership Plan. We welcome all feedback on these proposed changes so we can ensure organic matter, including biosolids, is dealt with in the safest and most transparent way possible.”

sookechildrensgardenclub-oct2016-webTuesday, October 4 ~ SOOKE.  The Sooke Children’s Garden Club has been awarded a “Happy Birthday Canada” 150th Celebration Garden! 

The Sooke Children’s Garden Club is the lucky recipient of a 150th Celebration Garden — one of 150 such gardens being distributed across Canada.

The award comes in the form of 1,000 tulip bulbs from the Canadian Garden Council in collaboration with Vesey’s Bulbs of PEI. It’s all in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017.

Anyone in the community is welcome to come help plant the bulbs at the Sooke Region Museum sometime later this month. Full story on our SOOKE LOCAL page

Tuesday, October 4 ~ VICTORIA. Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux issued the following statement today in response to the release of the representative for children and youth’s report that investigates sexualized violence against children and youth in care:

“I’d like to thank the Representative’s Office for their work on this important report. It helps shed further light on a very dark issue in our society – an issue we’ve explored extensively in other reviews, including most recently in our file review of children and youth in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“The factors behind the sexual abuse of children are both disturbing and complex, and the report does a thorough job of detailing those factors as well as identifying those populations that are most vulnerable.

“In an effort to prevent the victimization of youth who come into our care the ministry has rigorous standards in place for assessing caregivers. Those standards require, for example, criminal record checks for all adults residing in the home, home studies and caregiver training.

“We are also implementing a number of measures to strengthen the system of care including: revised standards for social workers who assess, train, support and monitor foster parents; an expanded audit program to include the work of these social workers; and revised protocols for responding to allegations of harm or poor quality of care for children in foster homes.

“This ministry is built on the principle of protecting children from harm. We know that many of the young people who come into our care have suffered from varying forms of abuse in their lives – and too often at the hands of those they’ve loved or trusted. We need to ensure we are doing all we can to make our system of care a safe haven for these children and youth.

“This report offers some interesting recommendations in support of that goal and we will be discussing those with our partner ministries and agencies in the coming weeks.”

“In many cases these children have been targeted by sexual predators because they are already experiencing multiple challenges including developmental disabilities, substance abuse problems and mental health issue,”says Opposition Spokesperson for Children and Families, Melanie Mark. “Christy Clark is failing and her government is denying vulnerable children the protection and support that they need,” said Mark.

Three quarters of children under 12 who experienced sexualized violence while in care experienced it in their ministry placement, the report shows. Aboriginal girls are 4 times more likely to be the victims of sexualized violence in care before the age of 12 than other children. Of the children in care who experienced sexualized violence, 64 per cent were Aboriginal girls. Mark noted this is a staggering statistic that calls into question whether the BC Government is truly committed to the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, or if she believes reconciliation can wait – leaving more youth to be subject to more sexualized violence.

“Sexual assault and abuse is the single most reported critical injury of children in care,” said Mark. “What’s even more disturbing is knowing that many more children in care aren’t reporting the sexualized violence they are suffering because they can’t trust the system to protect them and provide them with the resources they need to heal,” says Mark.

In the report, one frustrated social worker noted that high caseloads have left them without the time to monitor the children in their care and build relationships: “All we do is enter data.”

BCFerry-fromBCFerriessiteMonday, October 3. As for Thanksgiving over the last several years, BC Ferries is adding extra sailings for the upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend. Seventy additional trips are scheduled to service holiday weekend travellers.

On the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which is the busiest route in the fleet (Vancouver-Victoria), there will be 56 extra sailings from Thursday, October 6 through Tuesday, October 11.  For the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route at peak times, 12 more sailings have been added. An extra round trip will be provided between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale on the evening of the holiday Monday.

The most popular travel times are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoons (October 6 and 7) as well as Saturday morning (October 8) with traffic moving from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

The busiest day of the long weekend will be Monday October 10, and multiple vehicle overloads are expected at the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. Duke Point terminal tends to be less congested than Departure Bay, so customers returning to Metro Vancouver from the Nanaimo area may consider Duke Point terminal as an alternative.

“The holiday Monday of the Thanksgiving long weekend is traditionally the busiest day of the year for foot passengers and is one of the few times of the year where we experience foot passenger overloads,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries Vice President of Customer Services. “Customers travelling as foot passengers are advised to arrive at the terminals well in advance of their desired sailing and consider travelling before noon on the holiday Monday.”

Southern Gulf Island customers (Salt Spring, Pender, Mayne, Galiano and Saturna Islands) are reminded the holiday Monday schedule will be in effect on Monday, October 10. Passengers travelling from Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands also have the option of sailing via Swartz Bay terminal.

BC Ferries recommends that travellers check the website for current conditions before heading to the terminals on the Thanksgiving long weekend and suggests reservations for travellers with a specific sailing time in mind. Foot passenger reservations are also available for customers travelling from Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands. Schedules and reservations:  www.bcferries.com

dukeduchess-atcridgecentre-oct0116-webSaturday, October 1 ~ VICTORIA [2pm].  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent this morning and early afternoon in Victoria, BC learning about organizations that provide youth support and mental health services.

They visited the Cridge Centre in Victoria this morning [Photo: The Duke is greeted by BC Lt Gov Judith Guichon], then chatted with representatives of the Kelty Mental Resources Centre at the Breakwater Cafe and Bistro at the Dallas Road oceanfront.

Cridge Centre board president Val Fuller said the Cridge Centre offers programs for people with brain injuries, victims of domestic violence, infant, family and seniors care. She welcomed William and Kate to the Cridge, saying their visit to the centre touches “the common thread of the courage to overcome.”

kate-on-ship-oct0116-webThe royal couple then went for a sail on the Pacific Grace tall ship [see photo] then is used by the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS). The ship sailed past the breakwater and return to the Victoria Inner Harbour.

Walkabouts to meet with members of the public occurred at several points on today’s Royal Tour itinerary.

At 2 pm the Duke of Cambridge released a statement to Canadians:

“Catherine and I are incredibly grateful to the people of Canada for the warmth and hospitality they have extended to our family over the last week. We have loved our time in British Columbia and Yukon and will never forget the beautiful places we have seen and the many people who have been kind enough to come to welcome us in person.

“We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit.

“Canada is a country of optimism, generosity and unrivaled natural beauty. I hope we have helped all Canadians celebrate what makes this country great. We will see you again soon.”

The eight-day Royal Tour (September 24 to October 1) wraps up this afternoon with an official departure ceremony at the Victoria Inner Harbour at 3:30 pm Pacific Time. The departure will be attended by  They are scheduled to depart the Inner Harbour at 3:50 pm for the Victoria Airport Water Aerodrome aboard a seaplane.

William and Catherine and their young children George and Charlotte will be officially greeted at the outdoor Official Farewell by Governor General David Johnston, and he will be the last to bid them farewell as they board the seaplane. in a 20-minute ceremony, also bidding the family farewell will be: Songhees First Nation Chief Ron Sam, Esquimalt First Nation Chief Andy Thomas, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James, Victoria MP Murray Rankin, and BC Premier Christy Clark.


2306-pm-greets-duke-sept2416-webSaturday, October 1 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today announced the Government of Canada’s official gift to mark the Royal Tour of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The official gift is a donation of $100,000, which will be divided equally between two worthy initiatives.

The first $50,000 contribution will go to Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC), and will be used to promote education in Canada’s Indigenous communities and help more young people reach their full potential. It will also be used to help preserve Indigenous languages in Canada.
The second contribution of $50,000 will be given to the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia to help assist newcomers with housing, employment, and language skills.

A news release from the Prime Minister’s office says: “Canada looks forward to more visits from Their Royal Highnesses, especially during the upcoming celebrations to mark our 150th anniversary of Confederation.”

Says Trudeau: “In keeping with tradition, I am honoured to mark the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a gift that will help both Indigenous youth as well as newcomers to Canada realize their dreams. Canadians have a real affection for the Royal family which was once again very much on display during this tour.”

This is the second official Canadian tour for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Their first Royal Tour was in 2011.

The work of Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC) focuses on The Prince of Wales’s main interests which include helping disadvantaged youth, education, responsible business, environmental sustainability and support for the Canadian Armed Forces, among others.  PCC works with existing Canadian charities and provides opportunities for charitable organizations in Canada and the UK to work together.

The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia has been providing support services for immigrants and refugees since 1972.  It provides targeted programs for refugees, women, children and youth and is the largest agency of its kind in Western Canada.


ubcmlogoThursday, September 29 ~ VICTORIA.  The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) today presented its 2016 Community Excellence Awards at their 113th annual Convention being held in Victoria.

The awards recognize communities that have demonstrated exemplary leadership through policies, decision-making or actions that have made a difference for their residents:

  • Staff-led initiatives that go above and beyond the call of duty and demonstrate what it truly means to be a ‘public servant’
  • Setting the bar for enhancing citizen awareness of local government through social media and other forms of engagement
  • Making responsible decisions that showcase environmental stewardship or developing best agricultural practices.

In all categories, winners offer a path for other municipalities to follow, not only in British Columbia but around the world, making communities more efficient, healthier and ultimately, more livable. This year, only one of the awards was received by a Vancouver Island municipality or region, that being North Saanich.

BEST PRACTICES, Excellence in Action

  • WINNER – Fraser Valley Regional District for their Fraser Valley Express Implementation Plan
  • WINNER: –  City of Richmond for their District Energy Implementation
  • Honourable Mention: City of North Vancouver for their City-led Rezoning of Moodyville Neighbourhood

BEST PRACTICES, Organizational Development & Improvements

  • WINNER –  Corporation of the Village of Salmo – Rebuilding the Public Record

BEST PRACTICES, Community Connections

  • WINNER – City of Abbotsford for their Abbotsforward – Official Community Plan Update


  • WINNER – City of North Vancouver for their Invasive Plant Management Program
  • Honourable Mention – City of Fort St. John for their Micro-Hydro and Passive House Projects


  • District of North Saanich, Sandown Redevelopment Project
  • City of Surrey, The BioPod Initiative


  • Winner – Cariboo Regional District – Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District for their Quesnel Primary Care Clinic
  • Honourable Mention – Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District for their South Okanagan-Similkameen Protocol Agreement

duchesspremier-redandwhite-sept2616Monday, September 26 ~ VICTORIA. A formal reception by invitation only was held at Government House this evening, September 26, to honour the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The event was hosted by the Government of BC as part of the 2016 Royal Tour by Prince William and his wife Catherine.

The invitation list was split half and half between choices by the Lieutenant Governor of BC Judith Guichon and BC Premier Christy Clark.

It was a stand-up mix and mingle affair that started around 8pm. In a visual salute to the red and white of Canada’s flag, the Duchess of Cambridge wore red adorned with the Queen’s maple leaf broach, and BC Premier Christy Clark wore white with a silver-grey motif of First Nations artistry.

For the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, tonight’s closed reception followed fast on the heels of a long day spent attending a rainy-day event in Bella Bella on the central coast of mainland BC (that was also attended by BC Premier Christy Clark and Governor General David Johnston). In Bella Bella, the Duke of Cambridge officially announced the inclusion of the Great Bear Rainforest in the Queens’ Commonwealth Canopy. (See story below on this page.)

Over the past few days of the eight-day tour (September 24 to October 1), the Duke and Duchess have been a popular hit with the crowds and individuals they are meeting along the way. And even those with positions of power and prominence in Canadian society have for a few moments been seen to be gazing upon the William and Kate with various degrees of admiration, awe, respect and pride.

Quitely unspoken, in some cases there is a sense of remembrance of either meeting or remembering Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, whose death by car crash in 1997 has left a gap in the royal lineup, at least in terms of public desire.  Many of William’s projects and charities appear to follow in the footsteps of his mother’s interests and awareness of the needs of everyday people in society.

In his speech on Saturday early evening in Victoria out front of at the BC Legislature, the Duke of Cambridge summarized the interests of himself and his wife Catherine as including the environment, youth, and mental health.

coquitam-rcmp-responds-to-new-years-day-drive-byMonday, September 26 ~ VICTORIA. A session at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria today drew a large crowd to hear from experts and community leaders on the issue of gang violence and organized criminal activities in BC communities.

Journalist Kim Bolen who covers organized crime for the Vancouver Sun facilitated the session. She highlighted that gangs have been around for a long time in British Columbia and that no community is immune to gang-related activity. Bolen’s presentation covered the history of gangs in BC and the transformation from street gangs to sophisticated high profile criminal organizations in recent years.

Identified in the presentation were some of the solutions to reduce future gang-related violence could include a comprehensive BC wide curriculum in the schools, more exit strategies for gang members, and introducing a specialized court system for certain gang related activity.

The panel included Mike Morris, BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General; Chief Superintendent Kevin Hacket; Williams Lake Mayor Walter Cobb; and Surrey Councillor Mike Starchuk.

Minister Morris highlighted a number of initiatives to reduce gang violence in the province including October’s firearms amnesty, which in the past has seen thousands of firearms and ammunition taken off the streets; and the creation of the Illegal Firearms Task Force, which will meet later this week to develop draft recommendations to be released in 2017.

Morris also committed to the development of a Gang Exit Pilot Program, which will focus on providing other opportunities for gang members such as employment and other services.

Today’s presentation outlined how BC has a unique and changing gang landscape. Gangs, based strictly on ethnicity, are no longer the norm. Even outlaw motorcycle gangs are becoming reluctant to self-identify for fear of unwanted police attention.  New gang alliances and new power blocks are emerging, aiming to capture a monopoly on the illicit market. They are a driven enterprise driven, so much so that former enemies now work together and mid-level gangs have grown in sophistication and have spread beyond BC’s borders relocating to other provinces where they are aligning more crime groups to commit more violent acts.

In BC there is a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC (CFSEU-BC). That integrated anti-gang agency is the largest integrated police program in Canada, made up of members from every police department including the RCMP, and is the third largest police ‘force’ in the province with over 400 officers.

The federal Liberal government aims to have new legislation in place in 2017 that will decriminalize marijuana, and significantly will collect taxes on sales of legal marijuana. In part this is an effort to work against the gangs.

UBCM has 2,057 registered delegates this year, including mayors, councillors and other officials from municipalities throughout BC.

kp-insidebellabellahall-sept2616-webMonday, September 26 ~ VICTORIA. A Great Bear Rainforest legacy has been established by the BC Government.

A new $1 million trust will commemorate the 2016 visit of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and celebrate the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative, Premier Christy Clark is announcing today. [Photo: indoors at official welcome in Bella Bella, BC today]

The new Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust will foster a deeper public recognition and appreciation of the unique nature of the Great Bear Rainforest and how the Government of BC, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations developed a world class and innovative approach to manage both the natural environment and human activities.

Trust funds will be used to support various activities, including:

  • Developing teacher and student resources centered on the Great Bear Rainforest that’s aligned to BC’s new curriculum.
  • Raising public awareness of the Great Bear Rainforest and the people who have lived on BC’s Central and North Coast for more than 12,000 years.
  • Resource management practices and supporting ongoing research.
  •  Investing in and support broader resource management based education, awareness and understanding in the Great Bear Rainforest area.

The new trust will be operational later this year. Fund disbursements will be overseen by an advisory board with representatives from government, First Nations and different sectors. The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast, and is home to 26 separate First Nations.

bellabella-sept2616-8-clarkthomson-poster-webfullContributing to the trust funds, will be $5 of every sale of Great Bear Forest awareness posters that will be sold by the BC Government online for $19.95 each. The poster was unveiled by BC Premier Christy Clark and BC Forests Minister Steve Thomson today in Bella Bella.

One-third of the 6.4-million-hectare area is fully protected, while the remainder allows low-impact resource development activities, such as forestry, tourism and hydro-electric generation to support the people living in the area. Agreements were reached between the Province of BC, Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council for management of the area, based on recommendations submitted by three environmental groups (Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand) and five forest companies (BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, Interfor and Western Forest Products). Premier Clark made the announcement at the official unveiling of the plaque proclaiming the Great Bear Rainforest as a forest conservation project under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Commemorative posters are also being distributed to schools throughout the province.

Premier Christy Clark: “The Great Bear Rainforest is not only a source of pride for all British Columbians – it’s a global treasure, one that we have a unique responsibility to protect, and to make sure the world knows how unique and valuable it is.”

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson: “I believe the lessons we’ve learned in arriving at the agreements we’ve reached in the Great Bear Rainforest should be shared with the next generation. I think we’ve proven how environmental values and resource development needs can be effectively balanced.”

Chief Marilyn Slett, president, Coastal First Nations: “A Great Bear Rainforest public awareness program will promote and facilitate dialogue on issues related to land use agreements, healthy relationships and reconciliation between First Nations, governments and others. The new Trust also ensures that our collective work results in a B.C. curriculum that honours First Nations cultures, histories and languages of the people who have lived on BC’s central and north coast for more than 12,000 years.”

Dallas Smith, president, Nanwakolas Council: “It’s so important to take the lessons learned from the Great Bear Rainforest and share them. It’s a world class model that has to be broken down and understood so it can be applied in other places and areas with conflict within Canada and around the world.”

Joe Nemeth, president and CEO of Catalyst Paper Corp., on behalf of the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative comprised of: BC Timber Sales, Catalyst, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper Corp., Interfor Corp., and Western Forest Products Inc. says: “This new trust will create the educational foundation by which tomorrow’s young adults will develop an appreciation for B.C.’s world-leading sustainable forest management and the importance of its economic, social and environmental benefits.”

Eduardo Sousa of Greenpeace, Jens Wieting of Sierra Club BC, Valerie Langer of Stand (formerly Forest Ethics): “The endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative is an honour for this spectacular region. This endorsement and the newly created educational trust fund are a welcome recognition of the years of collaborative work to develop big solutions for conservation and indigenous rights, while establishing a consensus on forestry that operates within nature’s limits. The Great Bear Rainforest represents a model the Commonwealth community and beyond, can build upon.”

Links: Great Bear Rainforest: www.gov.bc.ca/greatbearrainforest  | The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy:  www.queenscommonwealthcanopy.org | 2016 Royal Tour: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1466181306703

williamkate-indoors-bellabella-sept2616-webMonday, September 26 ~ ROYAL TOUR. Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in the small community of Bella Bella by boat, instead of by float plane. Heavy rainfall caused that change in the schedule, as well as serving to redirect the welcoming ceremony indoors, instead of at the water.

A huge crowd gathered inside the Bella Bella community hall to greet the Duke and Duchess. Kensington Palace Tweeted: “The rain has not kept the community from making their way down to the hall for today’s welcome.” The visit is part of Day Three of the Royal Tour in BC and Yukon.

The Duke and Duchess dressed casually for this portion of the tour. Today they are casually dressed, including the Duchess in a trim jacket, slim slacks and tall brown leather boots. The Duchess used a clear umbrella, no impediment to the cameras.

The Duke delivered a speech that will prove to be of historical significance:  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, as the Great Bear Rainforest is officially committed to the Queens’ Commonwealth Canopy . I’d like to thank the Heiltsuk First Nation community for so welcoming us to their home.

Her majesty has asked me to convey her sincere thanks to the government of BC and the federal government of Canada for nominating your innovative ecosystem-based management program in Great Bear, to be part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy network.

This is a substantial dedication, which will highlight a more collaborative approach to sustainable forest conservation. Other commonwealth countries will benefit from sharing the knowledge and expertise you have gained by working together with first nations, industry and environmental organizations to establish the unique forestry management program.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was launched by her majesty in Malta last year. An appeal has been made to all 53 commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest to be preserved forever in the Queen’s name, marking Her Majesty’s service to the commonwealth.

I am pleased to say that more than 15 countries have already dedicated forestry projects or are planting new forests with another 10 finalizing their submissions. By CHOGM 2018, it is expected that all 53 countries of the commonwealth will have joined the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, creating a global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism, now and into the future.

The Commonwealth has at its heart always been about the values that bind its people. This project , focusing on our shared national heritage is no different. The establishment of the canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement that the citizens of all Commonwealth countries believe that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies. When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, and like today our forests, we are telling our children that their future prosperity cannot be disconnected from the health of the natural world.

Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you’re showing in making this contribution. I have no doubt that other Commonwealth nations will be inspired by what you have achieved here.

Then BC Premier Clark announced a new $1-million trust that will be established to commemorate the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and celebrate the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative.  A poster program from which a portion of online sales will go to the trust, was then unveiled by Premier Clark along with BC Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.

The new Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust will foster a deeper public recognition and appreciation of the unique nature of the Great Bear Rainforest and how the Government of BC, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations developed a world class and innovative approach to manage both the natural environment and human activities.

_pic-2252-dukeduchess-closecrop-westshorevoicenews-sept2416-webSunday, September 25 ~ ROYAL TOUR. The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) was the last to speak during the Official Arrival ceremony yesterday September 24, outdoors in front of the BC Legislature at the end of a long afternoon.

He and the Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine) listened attentively to remarks given by the Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and BC Premier Christy Clark.

After a strong round of applause, William was relaxed yet intent with his remarks to the crowd of 25,000 gathered on the lawn of the legislature and beyond onto the streets of downtown Victoria.

“Catherine and I are delighted to be back in Canada. When we were here last time we’d been married only three months. The warm welcome you gave us in that important moment in our lives meant a lot to us and we’ve never forgotten it. That why we’re so pleased that George and Charlotte could be in Canada this time around, beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country.”

“Over the next week, Catherine and I will see once again what makes Canada such a special place in the world. Canada is a country much esteemed for its strong values, and its strong contributions that it makes to peace, prosperity and human rights. This week we will witness much of it ourselves … through the diversity of the Canadian people, your pristine environment, your armed services and other public servants. As well as your arts and your culture.”

“Catherine and I have asked to meet as many people from as many walks of life as we can while we are here. We are very much looking forward to learning about how Canadians are tackling some of the biggest challenges of the day including the environment, supporting young families, and the mental health of young people — subjects about which we are very passionate.”

“We are very grateful to the Canadian government, and the governments of British Columbia and Yukon for putting together a unique program for us. We feel very fortunate for our time to get to know parts of this country that we did not get to visit in 2011. Of which I have very happy memories as a shy teenager.” And then he added with something of a chuckle: “Yeah, a few of you remember it too well I think.”

_pic-161257-w-on-screen-sept2416-westshorevoice-webfullPrince William then addressed matters of country and Queen:

“One final word if I may about two important milestones. As Canada approaches its 150th anniversary next year we’re excited to meet and to interact with the young people who will lead this country into its next few decades. And in the year of the Queen’s 90th birthday – I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to thank the people of Canada for the warmth and generosities they’ve extended to my grandmother throughout her reign. The Queen has asked me to extend her warmest greetings to you, and her thanks for all the goodwill you’ve shown her during her 90th birthday year.”

After a line or two in French, there was applause, to which he responded about his facility with the French language: “It’s a little rusty, work with me.” And then it was the audience’s turn to chuckle.

He concluded with this: “Catherine, George and Charlotte and I are very pleased to be here. Thank you for welcoming us so warmly.”

Photos and article Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News


_pic-2246-croptotrudeau-sept2416-webfullSunday, September 25 ~ ROYAL TOUR. Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau toured about in Vancouver with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Catherine) to four events on the itinerary. They visited the Sheway center (a pregnancy outreach program on Vancouver’s downtown east side), the Immigrant Services Society of BC (pitched by Premier Christy Clark as a unique facility), a reception with youth leaders (at which the four main VIPs circulated together and separately), and the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station that was recently reopened. For all that he shared the spotlight.

And yesterday during the Official Arrival ceremony at the BC Legislature, Justin Trudeau also was the gregarious host, keeping his welcome remarks at the podium both light and inspiring. His comments were brief but elicited several bursts of applause. It was his official invitation earlier this year that got the ball rolling for this royal visit. Trudeau spoke directly to William and Catherine in his lighthearted remarks:

“I know you’ve visited Canada before, but as any parent who has traveled with children knows, it’s a whole different experience when you bring your family with you. I want to commend you and thank you for introducing our part of the world to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Though, let me caution you from my own experience, if they’re anything like our kids, getting them back on the plane after a visit to our beautiful west coast will really be a challenge. In addition to British Columbia, you will also have a chance to visit the Yukon, truly one of the most spectacular parts of our country. I know you will enjoy it. And I’m confident, that wherever you go, Canadians will make you feel right at home.”

A big cheer for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swelled up out of the crowd of 25,000 when he was announced during the formal event. The 44-year-old ‘rock star’ prime minister certainly appears to be maintaining the popularity he has amassed both during and following the election of his Liberals to a majority in October 2015. Both from the crowd and among the dignitaries, Trudeau drew the sort of looks and responses that people spontaneously give to high profile celebrities.

Photo and article Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News

_pic-174729-horganclark-in-line-sept2416-web400Saturday, September 24 ~ VICTORIA. By the time the official Royal party arrived a bit behind schedule at the BC Legislature this afternoon, there were about 25,000 people gathered out front of the BC Legislature and beyond onto Belleville and Government Streets.

About 30 other dignitaries were seated in rows near the speakers platform, awaiting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau; BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon; and BC Premier Christy Clark and her son Hamish.

A receiving line for the official party included BC Official Opposition Leader John Horgan and BC Finance Critic and MLA for Victoria, Carole James. BC Speaker of the House, the Hon Linda Reid was also in the lineup, as well as Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Horgan seemed to carry on an animated conversation for several minutes with both the Duke (Prince William) and the Duchess (Catherine). Horgan seemed to reveal an expression of real pride for the young Duke, as the conversation finished. As leader of the New Democrats in BC, Horgan may have found common interests with the Duke who is pursuing an agenda in BC this week that explores various social issues regarding mental health, youth and First Nations.


_pic-0101-deplaning-sept2416-westshorevoice-web400Saturday, September 24 ~ VICTORIA.  The turnout at the grounds of the BC Legislature to official greet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this afternoon was enthusiastically attended by VIPs and public alike. Crowds and dignitaries waited first under warm hazy skies before things turned cooler with a few drops of rain.

As the Royals arrived at 443 Squadron at the Victoria International Airport around 4pm, that event was projected onto large screens for the crowd to watch. The idea of a multi-media world has never been so apparent, as the crowds and media could view what was really the start of the event being broadcast from another location.

duke-and-duchess-cambridge-kids-deplaning-cbc-webGetting off the airplane with orchestrated grace, were The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Catherine), with their two young children Prince George, 3 and Princess Charlotte, 16 months.  All the while poised and fashionable in a royal over-the-knee blue dress with hat, the Queen’s maple leaf brooch, and high heels, the Duchess admirably carried her toddler in one arm while eventually finding the grasp of young Prince George’s other hand, and the family descended the steep airplane steps in unison.

Greeting the young royal family were Governor General David Johnston and Sharon Johnston, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and BC Premier Christy Clark and her son Hamish. There were handshakes and quick exchanges among the dignitaries, but all eyes were on the young children also dressed in tones of blue. Prince George showed interest in the airplane, cars and helicopter in the vicinity than in the older folks chatting around him. Princess Charlotte calmly clung to her mom. Mrs Trudeau gave a little wave and smile to Prince George. BC Christy Clark bent down to eye level to chat with Prince George.

More Royal Coverage to come over the hours and days ahead. West Shore Voice News is an accredited media representative on the Royal Tour.


2205-grounds-atbcleg-sep2316-westshorevoice-webSaturday, September 24 ~ VICTORIA.  A crowd of about 10,000 is expected to blanket the lawn of the BC Legislature this afternoon for the official arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  People were already checking out the setup yesterday (photo September 23).

Today BC Premier Christy Clark issued the following statement to welcome Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to British Columbia:

“On behalf of all British Columbians, I’m pleased and honoured to
welcome Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to our province, as we share our diverse, urban, rural and remote wilderness regions we proudly call home. British Columbia is among the most beautiful places in the world, with scenic landscapes ranging from snow-capped mountain tops to sandy beaches. It is a place that welcomes people from all corners of the world. The peoples of BC are just as diverse. I am looking forward to introducing The Duke and Duchess to some of the different communities that make this such a great place to live. I know The Duke and the Duchess will enjoy their tour and will want to come back soon.”


bclegislature-exterior-webFriday, September 23 ~ VICTORIA. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will participate in a number of events taking place in Victoria and Vancouver during the first portion of the September 24 to October 1 Royal Tour to Canada of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

On Saturday, September 24, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau will participate in the Official Welcoming to Canada and British Columbia ceremony at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in downtown Victoria.

The official public welcome on the BC Legislature grounds starts at 5 pm (the public may wish to start assembling by 3:30 pm). It will feature full military honours, including a 21-gun salute, the raising of His Royal Highness’s Canadian Standard, and an inspection of the Guard of Honour.

The Prime Minister will later have a private audience with The Duke and Duchess.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister and Mrs Trudeau will accompany the royal couple on a tour of the Immigrant Services Society’s new Welcome Centre in Vancouver – the first, purpose-built facility of its kind that provides settlement, education, and employment services for thousands of immigrants and refugees each year. Later that day, the four will attend a youth reception in Vancouver where they will meet young Canadians who are helping to make a difference in their communities. During their visit to the Immigrant Services Society (ISS) of British Columbia’s new Welcome Centre, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau will meet with a government-assisted refugee family from Syria as well as with three clients of the MAPLE 2.0 immigrant professionals program.

While in Vancouver, Their Royal Highnesses, the Prime Minister, and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau will also visit Kitsilano Coast Guard Station for a first responders showcase. They will tour the station and speak to first responders about the issues they face every day in carrying out their life-saving work. As part of their visit to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, they will participate in a discussion on mental health issues with representatives of first responders’ organizations, including Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue; North Shore Search and Rescue; Vancouver Police Department; Vancouver Fire Department; BC Ambulance Services; Coast Guard First Responders; and Do it for Daron.

“Canadians have tremendous affection for the Royal Family, and are excited to welcome The Duke and Duchess to our nation for their second official Royal Tour of Canada. Sophie and I look forward to showcasing beautiful British Columbia and to promoting awareness of both youth and mental health issues alongside Their Royal Highnesses,” said Prime Minister Trudeau in a news release this morning.

0018-govthouse-exterior2-sept2016-webThis upcoming eight-day visit of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge based out of Victoria, BC is the second official tour of Canada for the couple. Their first was in 2011 as newlyweds; that tour included events in Ottawa (for Canada Day) and Calgary (during the Calgary Stampede).

The royals will be staying at Government House in Victoria, where their children Prince William and Princess Charlotte will stay during the visit.  A children’s party for the Prince and Princess will be held on Thursday, September 29 to which invitations have been sent to some military families to attend with their young children.

Government House will be closed to the public from September 23 through October 2. Security will be enhanced with support from the RCMP.


boc_currency_100billThursday, September 22 ~ SOOKE. Sooke RCMP are investigating five complaints of counterfeit currency received by local businesses in the past month. In each case, the counterfeit bills were $100 bills.

“The exact circumstances of the exchanges are not all known as the bills have been received in deposits at local banks. We expect more of these counterfeit bills to be passed in Sooke in the upcoming weeks,” says Sooke RCMP Detachment Commander S/Sgt Jeff McArthur.

According to McArthur, the bills are “easy to detect if inspected”. The bills replicated are the type in the new polymer series. The counterfeit detection section of the Bank of Canada website is a good resource to learn how to detect these bills: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/counterfeit-prevention/

The Bank of Canada website says that security features are helpful only if you use them. To fight counterfeiting, the Bank offers free training materials to help the public, businesses, and police agencies use the security features in genuine bank notes. “If you know your notes, you’ll be able to detect a counterfeit at a glance and protect yourself from fraud.” Timely reporting helps police and prosecutors bring counterfeiters to justice.

Please contact the RCMP Sooke Detachment 250-642-5241 for assistance. Anyone having information about this offence should contact the Sooke RCMP or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.



0007-execchef-alekskormat-govthouse-sept20-2016-web400Tuesday, September 20 ~ VICTORIA. The preparation of meals for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two children is being organized this week at Government House.

William and Kate, and their young children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will be staying at Government House on Rockland Avenue in Victoria, from September 24 to October 1.

Today media were given a tour of the reception areas, main floor dining room, and food preparation areas at Government House.

Executive Chef Aleks Kornat was excited to explain that he’s been sourcing out local food products for the royal family’s meals, including produce, proteins and even wine.  Asked if he was nervous, Kornat said: “We’re getting ready. Once we’re ready, we’ll be in full swing.” Kornat has been at Government House for about two years. He has about 10 staff to help with the food preparation for the eight-day royal stay. Meals, snacks and beverages are being planned.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the foods of BC,” the head chef said. “It will be a full-on menu, specific to our region, ” he said. Government House has its own orchard, vegetable garden and bee hive, from which products will be drawn.

Menus have been provided ahead of time to the royal couple, so they can make selections for themselves and their children, Kornat explained.

Meanwhile, Director of Operations Thandi Williams explained that she and her staff have been arranging to have toys and activities on hand for the young prince and princess. In case the weather is wet, rain gear has been arranged for the children.

The royal children will be attended during the full stay at Government House by the royal couple’s own child care personnel, says Williams.  A children’s party will be held, to which military families with young children have been invited. “There will be a lot of very special things in and around the grounds and in the house, for the children to play with,” says Williams.

The official reception at Government House will feature a guest list compiled by both Lieutenant Government Judith Guichon and BC Premier Christy Clark. Notable British Columbians — including recipients of the Order of BC — are among the reception guests. “It will a comfortable size stand-up reception, about 300 people,” says Williams.

Accommodation at Government House includes a total of 13 bedrooms, including the area for Her Honour Lt Gov Guichon. More office space is available for quick adaptation for more space for the royal visitors, as required.

“This is a family that is well-traveled and worldly,” stated Williams, who said this has been taken into account regarding what is provided for them at Government House. “They will be able to move freely and we hope they will feel at home,” she told media today.

The grounds of Government House — which are normally open to the public, will be closed from the evening of September 23 through to October 2. Additional security is being handled by the RCMP.

Photos Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News



0063-ivyontrees-edmacgregorpark-westshorevoice-sept2216-webTuesday, September 20 ~ SOOKE. If pulling ivy from trees sounds like fun to you, then this Sunday, September 25 at Ed Macgregor Park you’ll have an opportunity to do just that!

The invasive species cleanup will take place from 9 am to 3 pm. Just come as you are (pruners and gloves provided), or bring equipment and gloves that you’re comfortable with. You can help out for an hour or two, or the full six hours.

Long pants, long sleeves and good foot wear are recommended as the ground is uneven.  The organizers are also looking for a team of 4 to 6 people for the heavier task of removing the Daphne as this plant is toxic and will require special care.

The event is being organized by the Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society (JdFCTS) and the Greater Victoria Green Team, with some sponsorship support from the District of Sooke.

The Juan de Fuca Trails Society has organized invasive species cleanup events for years, at various locations. Working with the District of Sooke, JdFCTS has removed broom from Whiffin Spit for 10 years and will continue to do so as the seed bank will remain in the soil for decades, explains Rosemary Jorna, one of the JdFCTS organizers.

“Once an invasive species is well established it becomes a multi-year problem as the roots and seeds can re-establish themselves. In much of Ed Macgregor Park the ivy has smothered everything on the forest floor and has grown up into the tree canopy weakening the tree,competing for light and water,” says Jorna.  The ivy grows year-round and can survive low light and low water conditions. The forest no longer has a chance at regenerating.

“Working with the District of Sooke and joined by the Greater Victoria Green Team we will make a start,” she says.

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