FRONT PAGE BREAKING NEWS
News in support of successful living: business & economy, health & wellness, education, youth, the arts, politics, sustainability & social trends. Featuring news of the west side of Vancouver Island.
Thursday, July 20 ~ Premier John Horgan announced four high-profile appointments today, aimed at delivering the government’s commitments to offer relief for families on hydro rates, auto insurance costs and housing affordability.
“For 16 years under the Liberal government, ordinary people struggled to get ahead – nowhere have they seen that more than in out-of-control housing and Hydro costs. We’re tackling affordability and getting government working for people again, starting with Crown corporations and government organizations,” said Horgan.
Premier Horgan has announced the following appointments:
* Kenneth G. Peterson was appointed chair of BC Hydro. Mr. Peterson’s 40-year career spans a wide range of assignments in the electricity industry. The last 10 years of his professional career were spent as CEO of Powerex, the marketing and trading subsidiary of BC Hydro. He also served as a trustee of the North American Reliability Corporation since 2006, where he applied his industry experience to the physical and cyber-security reliability challenges facing utilities.
* Cassie J. Doyle was appointed chair of the BC Housing Management Commission. Ms. Doyle recently served as the CEO of the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute, and has previously served with both the federal and B.C. provincial government as a deputy minister. She also represented Canadian interests as the Consul General in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley in the areas of innovation of entrepreneurship. She has extensive governance experience and a long track record of serving on boards of directors, and a reputation of partnering effectively with universities, industry, First Nations, and other stakeholders.
* Joy MacPhail was appointed chair of ICBC. Ms. MacPhail previously served several ministerial roles, including Minister of Health, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier. She is the co-owner of OUTtv, the world’s longest airing LGBTQ+ television network, and she served as a director of Delta Hotels Ltd. and Silverbirch Hotels and Resorts Ltd. and a director and vice-chair of the B.C. Cancer Foundation, in addition to a number of other senior public and private sector roles.
* Cathy McLay was appointed a director of ICBC. Ms. McLay brings a wealth of financial expertise, with an extensive background in financial leadership. She is the chief financial officer and executive vice-president, finance and corporate services at Translink. Ms. McLay serves on several boards of directors, including Coast Mountain Bus Company, Providence Health Care, and the BC Rapid Transit Company Ltd., and previously served as general manager for Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
“These new executives are ready to get to work for British Columbians. They were all chosen for their strong track records of delivering effective leadership that benefits the public,” said Horgan.
“Each of them will face significant challenges because of the choices made by the previous government. All will play a key role in making life more affordable for British Columbians. They will work hard to ensure the organizations they are responsible for are well managed, properly governed and well-aligned with the government’s mandate, and I know they are ready to get to work building a better BC for everyone.”
Wednesday, July 19 ~ BC NEWS from out of VICTORIA. With a west side of the island twist.Vancouver Islanders now have their own home-grown Premier. John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) was sworn in as the 36th Premier of BC on Tuesday, July 18 at Government House in Victoria. He has worked hard to become widely known throughout the province, and seemed notably relaxed, humbly inspired and clearly excited in this new role during the swearing-in ceremony.
Of the many people who have expressed how they were moved by watching the experience streamed live on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon was the evidence of how far-reaching this event was. After 16 years under a BC Liberal government that boasted balanced budgets but privatized-away the wealth of the people and undermined the performance of public education for generations of children, there was a mixed sense of both awe and a bubbling up of realized liberation in the grand ballroom at Government House that afternoon. The room was packed with over a thousand people… standing room only, including on the stairways and balconies.
Leading this journey to a changeover in government has been John Horgan, who turns 58 next month. From humble beginnings in then small-town Langford, he did well in government policy positions earlier in his career, and then as a management consultant before running to become MLA on the west shore in 2005. He was apparently advised by some family and friends: “Don’t do it John, you might win!”. And win he did, time and again, securely holding the seat through several elections and becoming BC NDP leader after the 2013 election that the NDP thought they had in the bag under then-leader Adrian Dix.
The ballroom on Tuesday afternoon holding a ceremony that started a bit after 2pm vibrated with the drum beat of the Coast Salish as their dancers swept up some energy and lifted most of those in the room into a unison of near-rapt attention.The audience was filled with all who could come, from many walks of life and all ages. Guests started filing in around 1:40 pm, finding seating amidst hugs and handshakes. Among the crowd was a wide range of community leaders including BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver seated with fellow Green MLA Adam Olsen, NDP MP Randall Garrison, now-retired BC NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis, all the MLAs who were not this-round destined for the initial cabinet swearing-in on stage, and Mayors of various CRD municipalities including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Langford Mayor Stew Young, and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, as well as Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks.
Present from the First Nations community were Chief Russ Chipps of Beecher Bay and Chief Gordon Planes of T’Sou-ke Nation, as well as T’Sou-ke Nation elder Shirley Alphonse who gave a blessing at the start of the event.
BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon seemed genuinely excited to be heading up such a momentum event. Beneath the lighthearted banter of Horgan and others on the stage, it was a significant transfer of power, the bloodless coup that is expected in the British-based democratic parliamentary system. A gender-equity cabinet set up by John Horgan — 11 men and 11 women — arrived in procession through the wall of Coast Salish drums. Notable by its absence was the sound of the traditional highland bagpipes heard at many official events in BC. This was a distinctive nod to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. The integration of First Nations culture into the day seemed new for a lot of people in the room that afternoon, though not so much for the people who’ve backed John Horgan in his years building his political grounding in the Sooke area, where almost every event is attended by if not opened by greetings from the T’Sou-ke leaders.In his brief speech from the podium after becoming Premier, Horgan thanked all who had helped him get to this position from which he says he hopes to lead in a way that support and open opportunities for the widest possible range of British Columbians. He notably thanked his wife Ellie, his sons Nate and Evan, his brothers Pat and Brian, and his sister Kathy. He said it was his mother’s influence that largely sculpted the philosophy that has guided his way through some difficult challenges to where he is today: “If you help people today, they will be there to help you tomorrow.” Adding to those gathered: “I’m here because of you.”
And despite the distinctly political philosophy that now leads British Columbia, no one could argue with this: “We live in the most spectacular place on the planet Earth.” And in particular, Vancouver Island — God’s country, it’s been called.
Premier Horgan described his government and new cabinet as one that will be “caring, that listens, and shares information in the interests of all British Columbians”. About his cabinet: “This government, these people, will deliver that in the weeks and months ahead.” He talked about living up to campaign commitments and reducing costs to people who struggle to get by in BC. “We will be working not just for the few but for everybody,” declared Horgan on that first day of his premiership.
After the official events there was a reception that spilled from the ballroom, onto the outdoor balconies and into the dining room, featuring wine and lemonade, and some very tasty and creative hot and cold hors d’oeuvres. Horgan made his way down to the front entry of Government House with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as his backdrop, to greet folks as they made their way to the front door and pose with people for lots of memory-of-the-day selfies.Ahead of 5 pm, Premier Horgan was whisked over to the BC Parliament Buildings for a brief statement to a cheering crowd in the stately Hall of Honour. People were packed in tight, so tight you had to excuse yourself three times to make any move through the crowd. There was hooting and non-stop applause for several minutes before Horgan could manage to speak. His brief speech — in a more casual scenario than at Government House and with his cabinet behind him — focussed on his intended service to the people. Premier Horgan was introduced by now-Deputy-Premier Carole James with this: “I would like to introduce my friend, a colleague, our leader and your Premier of British Columbia.”
Horgan led with this in his brief five-minute speech at a single microphone in the middle of the floor. “It’s great to see you in the people’s house, with all the people. It’s an honour and privilege to stand before you as the 36th Premier of British Columbia. BC is one of the most spectacular places in the world.” He spoke supportively of those dealing with wildfires in the BC interior.
“I believe government can be a force of positive change in people’s lives. My colleagues believe government can be a post force in people’s lives. We can’t wait to get started on making life better for you and making life better for British Columbians,” Horgan told the crowd that just kept applauding even as he spoke. Horgan summarized the swearing-in held just hours earlier: “We’ve had a very extraordinary day. We swore in 11 men and 11 women. Together the 41 of us as well as our friends in the Green caucus form the majority of votes in our legislature, and we are going to work every single day for the same purpose, the same objectives.”Some of the notable cabinet appointments included former Health critic Judy Darcy to the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. David Eby is now Attorney General. Long-time MLA and former BC NDP party leader Carole James is now Deputy-Premier and Minister of Finance. As the new Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham got the biggest hugs during the official swearing-in from Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, a former rancher. The new Minister of State for Child Care is Katrina Chen who will face the challenge of dealing with the NDP promise for $10/day child care. Long-time NDP critic Rob Fleming is now Minister of Education. Michelle Mungall is the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. George Heyman heads up the challenging Environment and Climate Change portfolio (the Lieutenant Governor spoke emphatically about climate change in her brief speech, as something that needs to be tackled). Amdist the current wildfire state of emergency, Doug Donaldson now heads up the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. Former BC NDP leader Adrian Dix is now Minister of Health. The critical economic issues under Municipal Affairs and Housing now fall to Selina Robinson. Claire Trevena gets Transportation and Infrastructure which comes with big investment challenges. Melanie Mark is the new Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in a time period where education and jobs are highly intertwined. Bruce Ralston is now the Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology.
Six members of the new cabinet are MLAs from Vancouver Island ridings, which historically makes up for a lack of attention to the needs of Vancouver Islanders in governments past.
At both events, but particularly at the legislature, security was notably far more lax than usual. “We have more or less free reign,” said Horgan as he announced there was ice cream. People could tour various parts of the building including the library, though most eventually just shuffled out (a 15-minute exercise) to the sunlight on the steps of the front of the legislative building, where Horgan was surrounded by hundreds of people, waiting for a turn to shake hands and take selfies.“Thank you for having confidence in our ability to deliver on the commitments we made during the election campaign,” he said to wrap up his five-minute talk inside, continuing: “… to make sure the services you depend on are there for you, and make sure our economy is there for everybody.” Then people mingled in the packed room and hallways with MLAs of the NDP caucus, supporters and friends.
MLAs who stayed to chat in the crowded hall included Attorney General David Eby who posed for a lot of selfies, new Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall, and first-time MLA Mitzi Dean. Mungall says she is ready to take on the BC Hydro portfolio. Dean said her constituency office in Esquimalt-Metchosin will be set up in the next week or so.
Horgan will soon be heading to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and also to Washington, DC to sort out details about softwood lumber and other trade issues. Several of his cabinet ministers will travel to wildfire-ravaged areas of BC this week to see the work of emergency workers and evacuation centre operations firsthand.
Among the first order of business on Wednesday, July 19 was dealing with the state of emergency of people who have become evacuees due to wildfires in southeast and interior BC. Horgan held a morning press conference to announce that the current $600-per-household funding will be renewed every 14 days on an ongoing basis until evacuees return home.
~ This special firsthand report by West Shore Voice News editor Mary P Brooke.
Tuesday, July 18 ~ VICTORIA. Today Tuesday, July 18 John Horgan be sworn in as the 36th Premier of British Columbia by BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.
Today British Columbians will also learn who is in Horgan’s NDP cabinet, who will also be sworn in today. There will be a live feed of the ceremony starting at 2pm on John Horgan’s Facebook page .
As well, there will be a public open house at the BC Legislature from 5 to 7 pm to meet the Premier and mingle with the new cabinet. There will be tours to areas of the legislature that are usually accessible, such as the library and the speakers hallway around the chamber. The doors will be open, no high-level security required today. It’s a sign of a fresh new approach by the BC NDP.
As Premier, John Horgan will briefly speak just after 5pm in the legislature’s Hall of Honour.
Speculation on who will be in Horgan’s cabinet includes high-profile MLAs with some experience under their belt.
Notably one-time BC-NDP leader Carole James (Victoria-Beacon Hill) who is rumoured to become the Finance Minister, bringing further island-based support to the lead team. David Eby (Vancouver-Point Grey) brings strength from the Lower Mainland area particularly in areas like transportation; he was the ‘giant slayer’ for taking down Christy Clark in that riding in 2013. Rob Fleming (Victoria-Swan Lake) will probably hold the Education portfolio after years in that critic role, and would also shore up the south-island strength of a Horgan cabinet. While new to provincial politics, Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) is likely to be featured in the cabinet for a couple of reasons — her career involvement in social services, her connections to rural Metchosin where Horgan has had a long-time following, and part of the gender equity thing to bring more women into high-profile political positions.
As part of the transition from BC Liberal to BC NDP, yesterday more than 100 Liberal political appointees (staffers) at the legislature were let go from their jobs.
Sunday, July 16 ~ VICTORIA. John Horgan be sworn in as Premier — along with his BC NDP cabinet — by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon on Tuesday, July 18 at Government House. There will be a live feed of the ceremony starting at 2pm on John Horgan’s Facebook page .
As well, there will be a public open house from 5 to 7 pm at the BC Legislature to meet and mingle with the new cabinet and Premier. including tours to areas of the legislature that are usually accessible, such as the library and the speakers hallway around the chamber.
As Premier, John Horgan will briefly speak just after 5pm in the legislature’s Hall of Honour.
Sunday, July 16 ~ LANGFORD. HOUSING INNOVATION FEATURE ~ WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS ~ by Mary P Brooke
Click here for: DIRECT LINK TO THIS FEATURE ARTICLE, on its own page
Another stride forward for Langford took place this weekend. A seminar on community innovation and sustainability through a focus on housing was held on a sunny summer Saturday morning, July 15, at which the enthusiasm for action was palpable.
The presenter for this Economic Forum 2017 was Avi Friedman, Ph.D., a world-renowned Montreal-based Canadian architect whose ideas in housing and design are applied in many cities in a range of development projects. Housing innovation is often the backbone for cities to take the next step forward for improving livability and economic sustainability.
Such is the case for Langford. Friedman had been invited back to Langford this week to once again feed some ideas into the municipal leadership process and development community. In the west shore area of south Vancouver Island, Langford is a fast-growing city with now over 40,000 residents. It is one of 13 municipalities in the Capital Regional District (CRD).Friedman speaks highly of Langford, its municipal leadership under Mayor Stew Young, and the degree of uptake that developers have done with leading-edge housing options. Housing supply is lagging behind in BC overall (particularly in urban areas), and in the west shore area (both Langford and Sooke) there is high demand for places to live. Affordably.
The 1.5 hour presentation followed by questions was an opportunity for learning and exploration for a broad-spectrum audience of elected officials, developers, school board reps, business people and the general public. The gathering of over 100 people viewed a slide show of innovative housing examples from Friedman’s travels around the world, dressed around the edges with Friedman’s missives of inspiration about the changes in today’s society and economy.
Changes in today’s society and economy – notably demographics of people living longer and the upcoming power-surge of the Millennial generation — are driving progressive communities to rethink how people live in increasingly densified communities. And more specifically, about types of housing design that work in a multi-family development framework.
Without exactly specifying this domino effect, Friedman was essentially outlining how design informs function, function informs action, and action is taken by community leaders and ultimately the people. Ultimately, it’s not just about lifestyle options, but that when clustered in larger cities there is a supportive tax base for other services that enrich the region, such as enhanced transportation networks.
In response to the affordable housing challenge, Dr Friedman has written much and designed a lot. The author of 18 books on housing and community design, he is known for concepts like the ‘Grow Home’ concept (offering about 1,000 sqft living area) and the live-work housing style.
In recent years, live-work housing has popped up in Langford. One example is workshop or office space on the full main, with loft-style condo above. As well, there are several apartment buildings going up in the Langford core area, slightly set back to help keep a human-scale walkability in the downtown core along Goldstream Avenue and sidestreets immediately off that main avenue.
So after seeing Friedman invited back to reinspire Langford to the next level – he led a meeting with the City of Langford and west shore developers ahead of presenting to the public – it was important to ask: How much of what you spoke about or recommended five or six years ago have you seen come to pass in Langford on your revisit this week?
Said Friedman to West Shore Voice (WSV): “Many of the ideas and the direction that I suggested in the area of affordable housing have been followed. Langford is one of the most affordable communities in the region. Ideas regarding the urban renewal of the core have also been followed such as maintaining good urban scale, having a strong mixed use aspect, and attractive streetscaping.”
And some other questions for the effusive architect with the showman style (you can almost see the ideas spinning in his head!):
- WSV: Will you be providing specific design ideas to developers in the Langford area, in-line with the concepts you spoke about today (and showed on the slides from other cities)? Friedman: In the past few day I demonstrated several points of reference. I regard these as a “menu” of ideas from which the developers can select the ones most relevant to their sites and capacity to build.
- WSV: When you met with developers yesterday, what sort of designs or other community concepts did they seem most interested in? Friedman: They were very interested in the “green” concepts such as net-zero buildings. We had a long discussion about adopting these ideas and bringing them to Langford.
- WSV: Some of the new live-work homes in Langford are vertically-oriented, i.e. with lots of stairs. In your overall live-work concept, how does that jive with the long-living aging generation … with people still working toward or past the traditional retirement age? Friedman: That’s a good point. All projects can be build with ground floor accessible units for seniors. They may have a ground level floor units without stairs.
And here’s why Avi Friedman speaks so highly of Mayor Stew Young and the progress made in Langford. It’s a mutual playing field of respect and innovation:“What Avi provides is innovative ideas for the many different housing types required for the residents that fit their needs based on income, family size, environment /sustainability and proximity to work,” says Mayor Young. “What I like is that we can use his knowledge from his teachings and actual visits around the world to bring actual physical proof of what may work for the City of Langford.”
In this region, people know that Stew Young is about getting stuff done. “We as politicians and bureaucrats will be able to do more for our community than wasting more money on studies, regional strategy documents, cumbersome regulations that every municipality does and for the most part collect dust on a shelf,” said Young.
“We need to change the old ways if we are to tackle affordability and sustainability,” says Young. “With regular seminars on housing innovation and planning from world renowned professionals like Avi Friedman, this will bring fresh ideas directly to the people of Langford and to the development community.”
“As politicians we can better provide change at a local level along with support from the provincial government to tackle affordability and sustainability,” Mayor Young told West Shore Voice News after seeing – not surprisingly – the level of interest in the seminar and among developers the day before.
“Langford is looking to the future and this weekend’s session is the start of the new way forward. Innovation with action is our future,” said Young with his trademark visionary energy.
The City of Langford has established a pattern of offering tax breaks to developers who innovate and create housing in a more affordable price-range, including rentals. Construction of new rental apartment buildings had come to a virtual standstill in Greater Victoria area in the past 15 to 20 years. In the last couple of years once that long post-recession period finally settled down apartments are being constructed in Langford as fast as they can go up (including some distinctly developed as affordable housing). There is also a range of other multi-family types of development including duplexes, townhomes and condos.
The application process is handled quickly. And recommendations through the Langford Planning, Zoning and Affordable Housing Committee are well-considered then promptly sent on to Langford Council for consideration and approval. By the time proposed zoning and permits have reached Council, all of Council is familiar with the details and benefits to the community based on full reports from planning and engineering staff, and most projects are approved quickly.
Construction of single-family homes and multi-family developments dropped dramatically in Langford during the recession in 2009 and really only started picking up in 2014 (with notable of multi-family in 2011 and 2014, much of that by Keycorp Developments in their various project areas on the west shore). Of the housing built in 2016, over half was single-family homes but a big chunk was multi-family. In terms of volume, construction of new commercial-industrial buildings was fairly consistent during 2009-2016 (with a bit of an uptick in 2011 and 2014).
In fact, the word ‘affordability’ may not always be associated with the housing side of development in Langford, said Mayor Young after Avi Friedman’s presentation this weekend. He proposes that the Langford region can work toward having a range of housing that covers off all price ranges, without having to stigmatize one area of housing or type of housing as ‘affordable’ compared to others.Saturday’s seminar was hosted by Mayor Young. He introduced the presentation both as a followup to Friedman’s last visit to meet with Langford leaders and developers in 2009, and as an energizing force for housing progress in Langford for the next five to 10 years. He encapsulated his mantra of keeping families in communities, and to do that by providing housing and jobs. An industrial tech park is one project underway in Langford that will attract tech companies and through that future residents to higher-paying jobs. All of it supports a strong tax base.
There was some discussion in the question period following Friedman’s presentation about economic models and how a tax base is structured to provide broader community amenities. While always trying to lower taxes is a political philosophy subscribed to by some, the new way forward will count on people being willing to pay a bit more taxes in taxes if they can see enhanced services from that.
In his closing remarks, Mayor Young thanked Avi Friedman for the presentation and inspiration. As well, Langford’s long-time mayor really honed in on Premier-designate John Horgan’s promise of 114,000 new housing units in BC through an NDP government over the next 10 years. On the campaign trail, Horgan said back in April of this year that the new housing initiative would include new rental, co-op, social, and owner-purchase homes. The housing development funding and opportunities would be created through partnerships with business and developers, and other levels of government.
Premier-designate Horgan has already seen the leading edge of that sort of development up close, as he lives in Langford where he’s been the MLA of what is now the Langford-Juan de Fuca electoral area since 2005.
Says Stew Young: “This is a provincial government that Langford can piggy-back on.” Over 60% of jobs in the Langford area are blue-collar jobs that are directly in or associated with the construction industry, he says.
Earlier this year, the BC Rental Housing Coalition released a report saying $1.8 billion per year would be needed to be invested over 10 years to address the provincial housing crisis. In particular, the group’s report suggested that 7,000 rental units per year would be required over the next decade. At the time, the NDP indicated that new revenues to handle big new expenditures from the public purse could include a 1% hike in the corporate tax rate, reinstatement of a high-income surtax that at one time generated $250 million per year, and a 2% speculation tax.The Economic Forum on Saturday was co-hosted by the City of Langford and the West Shore Developers Association. Among those attending were economic development leaders from Langford (including Langford EDC Chair Hugh MacDonald) as well as from Sooke (including Randy Clarkson, David Evans and Doug Wittich) where Mayor Young sees further growth potential for the broader west shore region.
Attending from Langford city council were long-time Councillors Denise Blackwell, Lanny Seaton, Winnie Sifert, and Lillian Szpak. From the SD62 school board was their new chair Ravi Parmar, and Trustee Dianna Seaton.
There were several business and development community players including Patrick Marshall of Capital EDC and Cathy Noel of Bear Mountain property sales. Several senior staff from the City of Langford attended and helped host the event which was held in the ballroom at the Four Point Sheraton, 10 am to 12 noon.
Wednesday, July 12 ~ SOOKE to LANGFORD. Due to a brush fire, Highway 14 (Sooke Road) has been closed to through-traffic both eastbound and westbound since about 3:30 pm this afternoon, July 12. The wildfire was being dealt with in the forest around 4700-block Hwy 14 (near West Coast Tire), just east of Kangaroo Road. One house went up in flames. But no persons, pets or livestock have been harmed.
Five fire departments have sent crews to deal with the brush fire, accompanied by six BC government forestry workers — all with the support of two helicopters. By 6 pm this evening the fire was contained but still active.
The traffic detour along Happy Valley Road, Rocky Point Road and Gillespie Road was still in effect as of 6 pm.
The cause of the brush fire is not confirmed. However, some drivers in the area reported that a motor home was dragging something along the highway, giving off sparks. Langford firefighters reportedly have discovered several little spot fires along a 2km stretch of the highway. Highway 14 is heavily travelled by daily commuters, mobile business service providers, transport trucks, and tourist vehicles.
The fire departments of Sooke, Langford and Metchosin just this week agreed to provide mutual aid to each of the others’ municipal areas, in case of a personnel shortfall. Due to a high number of wildfires in the BC interior (on the mainland), some firefighters may be called to deal with that, leaving Sooke, Langford and Metchosin potentially short-staffed.
Some firefighting personnel left the island yesterday for the BC Interior. Firefighters from North Saanich, Sidney and View Royal will be doing shifts of 6 to 14 days in the interior region.
Today in a daily update from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations it was announced that one of the reasons 300 firefighting personnel have been brought in from other parts of Canada is to give BC firefighters occasional breaks. That’s to help pace the firefighting resources (equipment and personnel) through what is expected to be a high-incidence summer fire season.
As of today, 183 wildfires are burning in BC. That’s down from over 200 on the weekend. Of the current fires, about 20 are ‘of note’ (large enough to cause concern for possible danger to persons and property, and potentially requiring evacuation).
Monday, July 10 ~ SOOKE. Firefighting resources are in high demand in this hot dry summer in BC. Wildfires in the BC Interior are commanding fire resources from wherever they can be spared. About 300 firefighting support personnel are coming to BC from other regions of Canada, to help out with the BC wildfire load.
Yesterday it was also announced that the BC Government is issuing $100 million to the Canadian Red Cross to deal with fire evacuees and related emergency support.
When it comes to Sooke firefighting resources, says Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount: “At the beginning of each year the Office of the Fire Commissioner has a request for resource list that is meant for backup during a state of emergency. At this time we have not been requested for any resources. We are short-staffed ourselves at the moment and have been very busy the last few weeks that we need members in our own area.”
On Sunday July 9 the Sooke Fire Rescue Service responded to two kitchen fires that occurred at the same time.
Discarded cigarette butts are the frequent cause of brush fires and wildfires. “With the fires in the province it is very troublesome to look at the statistics that show how many were human caused. The lack of awareness from the smoking community is very difficult to comprehend in this day and age,” says Chief Mount.
Sunday, July 9 ~ BC. [UPDATED/CORRECTED at 11:40 pm] It’s not easy doing live media coverage on the fly. But there are times when careful attention to detail does matter.
Today there were a lot of confused and/or frustrated viewers of TV news in BC, with coverage of both Christy Clark and John Horgan as speaking for BC out of Kamloops. They were both in the BC Interior town where emergency operations centres are open for people affected by the wildfire situation there.
There is a province-wide state of emergency due to the forest fires in this hot weather. Some people have lost their homes to the blaze, others are living out of vehicles or staying in the temporary emergency operation centres.
We should all remember that on June 29 the Lieutenant Governor of BC asked then-Premier Christy Clark to resign. Within hours that same June 29 evening at Government House in Victoria, NDP Leader John Horgan was asked by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to form government, after he told her he would have and maintain the confidence of the house. Clark remains as Premier until July 18 and her ministers remain in place. John Horgan on June 29 became Premier-designate.
Nonetheless, it was misleading for Ms Clark to be referred to in at least three different titled ways in TV news coverage throughout this day — she was referred to as former Premier, outgoing Premier, and Premier.
Clark announced a $100 million donation to the Canadian Red Cross which has proven to act quickly and effectively to assist people in emergency situations. Premier-designate Horgan visited with the BC Wildfire service at the Kamloops airport, to discuss how they’re deploying their resources.
Horgan also explained: “I took a phone call from the Prime Minister while I was there, on speaker phone from Ottawa,” he said. “The federal government will have our back in BC once we get a handle on this crisis,” said Horgan to the TV cameras.
Horgan says it would be important to move personnel and people out of evacuated areas, but that he would have to wait for John Rustad (presently serving as Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations until the new cabinet is sworn in), to make that call.
“The Federal govt stands ready,” said Horgan. He added: “The outgoing government has been very cooperative. This is British Columbian’s coming together to help each other — as they often do, in times of distress.”
Premier-designate John Horgan will be sworn in as Premier on July 18, 2017 along with his new cabinet (names yet to be made public). The swearing-in will take place at Government House at 2pm.
Yesterday Horgan’s office issued a released saying that Minister Rustad had agreed that this was not a time for politics [see July 7 post below].
Sunday, July 9 ~ BC. Today Premier-designate John Horgan will be forgoing his participation in the Victoria Pride Parade in order to attend the wildfire situation in the BC Interior (which has been declared as a province-wide emergency). Horgan will be going to Kamloops.
During a 2:00 to 6:00 pm time slot, Premier-designate Horgan will be visiting the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre, Emergency Social Services, the Group Lodging Facility at Thompson Rivers University, and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Emergency Operations Centre.
The most affected areas of the BC interior have been 28 days without rain, and in the last 53 days there has been just “a thimbleful of rain”, says one Environment Canada climatologist. Temperatures have been frequently reaching over 35°C in the past week. All of this makes the forests extremely dry and easily susceptible to fire. Big fires can produce their own winds.
Yesterday, Premier-designate Horgan issued this statement:
“Like all British Columbians, I’m increasingly concerned about the grave situation confronting the residents of Interior communities like Cache Creek, Ashcroft and Williams Lake in the face of worsening wildfires. Today I contacted John Rustad, the minister in charge of firefighting operations, to offer my unqualified support for his efforts to confront this crisis. He has spoken with the federal government and they are prepared to do whatever they can to help. I am also scheduling a complete briefing with response officials.”
Horgan continued: “The people already evacuated or facing evacuation, as well as our front line fire fighters and first responders, need to know everyone in the province is behind them. John (Rustad) and I agree this is no time for politics – we have to work together to provide whatever support and resources are required to help people in the affected communities in the face of this crisis.”
Horgan is otherwise occupied with selecting his first cabinet. He has indicated the cabinet will be comprised not entirely of NDP MLAs, but also one or more MLAs from the BC Greens and BC Liberals. That’s part of his effort to show and maintain confidence of the house.
Friday, July 7 ~ Premier-Designate John Horgan has this evening issued the following statement about the wildfire situation in the BC Interior:
“With serious wildfires threatening several important communities in the BC Interior, my thoughts are with those in the affected communities, and the brave firefighters and emergency responders who are working hard to contain the fires and protect homes and lives.
“To those who have lost their homes and to those who are under evacuation order, I want to send my comfort at this difficult time. Emergency response teams are doing everything possible to meet your needs and I am being updated on the efforts to fight the fire and assure your safety.
“I urge everyone to follow the instructions of local emergency response officials and to do their utmost to avoid interfering with firefighting efforts. People are putting their lives on the line to save our neighbours and our communities, we have to do our part to make their jobs easier.
“I know British Columbians across the province stand ready to lend a helping hand. Whatever these wildfires throw at us, we will overcome it.”
Friday, July 7 (evening) ~ BC. A provincial state of emergency to ensure a coordinated response to the current wildfire situation and to ensure public safety has been called this evening, July 7.
Today alone there have been 56 new wildfire starts throughout the province, says the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastruture. Evacuation alerts and orders have been issued for Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Princeton. These are in addition to the evacuation orders and alerts issued yesterday for 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House. The extended weather forecast is calling for continued hot, dry weather, with risks of thunderstorms in many parts of the province.
Given the current wildfire situation and the expected increase in wildfire activity, the Province is taking this extraordinary measure of declaring a provincial state of emergency. This is an urgent situation and public safety is the top priority. The Province will continue to keep the public informed in this rapidly evolving situation.
The state of emergency gives agencies such as Emergency Management BC, the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the RCMP authority under the Emergency Program Act to take every action necessary to fight these wildfires and protect residents and their communities.
Declarations of provincial states of emergency are issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act. The last provincial declaration of state of emergency was issued in August 2003 to deal with wildfires.
Thursday, July 6 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier-designate John Horgan and his cabinet will be sworn in at Government House on July 18, 2017 at 2 p.m.
No MLA names for the new cabinet have been released yet. However it is widely expected that the cabinet will not be comprised exclusively of NDP MLAs, but will also include one or more BC Liberal and BC Green MLAs.
This is part of Horgan’s effort to demonstrate — as he told the Lieutenant Governor — that he has the confidence of the legislative assembly.
“We are excited to deliver on our commitments. That’s why we are working as quickly as possible to give British Columbians the new leadership they voted for,” said New Democrat MLA and transition spokesperson Carole James.
“We’re going to make life more affordable, deliver the services people count on, and create good paying jobs around the province in a sustainable economy that works for everyone.”
Premier-designate John Horgan is the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island.
Thursday, July 6 ~ The City of Langford is hosting an Economic Forum next weekend. The featured speaker to lead a discussion on innovation, sustainability and action on housing is world-renowned architect Avi Friedman, Ph.D.
The presentation is free and open to the public, at the Four Points Sheraton, 10 am to 12 noon on Saturday July 15. Light refreshments will be available.
The event is being sponsored by the City of Langford and the West Shore Developers Association. Both sponsors have been active in the forefront of facilitating and developing more housing in the fast-growing Langford area of Vancouver Island’s west shore.
The actual average house sale price in Langford in June was $679,155 (compared to the data-adjusted HPI figure of $579,900). That is still considered more affordable within the overall Greater Victoria area where the average sale price last month was $885,281 (HPI was $691,100). Stats from www.vreb.org
Wednesday, July 6 ~ Drivers are advised that Hwy 1 (Trans Canada) will be closed overnight between McKenzie Ave/Admirals Rd and Six Mile Rd. The closure will begin Thursday, July 6 at 11 p.m., and the highway will re-open by 5:30 a.m. on Friday, July 7.
Traffic travelling westbound on Hwy 1 (heading out of Victoria) will still be permitted to turn right off the highway onto McKenzie Ave or left onto Admirals Rd.
That’s to ensure the safety of drivers and construction crews while the old pedestrian-cyclist bridge is removed. This is part of the ongoing work for the McKenzie interchange project.
During this time, drivers are asked to use alternative routes and allow for extra time. The signed detour route for traffic, including trucks, will be via Admirals Rd, Island Highway and Six Mile Rd.
The Galloping Goose Trail will remain open for pedestrians and cyclists who should stay alert for signs and workers.
Traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca
Wednesday, July 5 ~ As of noon tomorrow — Thursday, July 6 — all open fires (including campfires) will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction (including Vancouver Island), with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the area known as the “Fog Zone”.
The Fog Zone is a 2km strip of land along the outer coast of Vancouver Island, stretching from Owen Point (near Port Renfrew) north to the tip of Vancouver Island and around to the boundary of the District of Port Hardy. This strip extends inland 2km from the high tide point [ map of the Fog Zone ]
The Coastal Fire Centre is implementing this prohibition due to increasing temperatures and no precipitation in the weather forecast. This prohibition will remain in effect until October 21, 2017 or until the public is otherwise notified.
This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands within the Coastal Fire Centre (with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the area known as the “Fog Zone”). It does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has wildfire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.
The following activities are prohibited within the specified area: * campfires * Category 2 open fires * Category 3 open fires * fires burning woody debris in outdoor stoves * the use of tiki torches, fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description * the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs
This prohibition does not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 cm.
Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The Coastal Fire Centre covers all of the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories: www.bcwildfire.ca
Tuesday, July 4 ~ SOOKE. Smoke above the Sooke Hills was visible this afternoon, with helicopters overhead. A wildfire on Mount Manuel Quimper was well underway by that time.
The sight of smoke was first called in to Sooke Fire Rescue around 1:15 pm, says Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount. The half-acre forest fire was considered partially contained by about 4 pm today, Tuesday July 4.
On-scene to extinguish the blaze were Sooke firefighters (seven members) and crews from the BC Wildfire Service (nine members) and Capital Regional District Parks (7 members).
Including integrated command, there were over 23 personnel plus the two helicopter teams called out to deal with the Rank 2 blaze, which by 5 pm had come close to being Rank 3.
Rank 2 presents as a vigorous surface fire that is starting to move into the ladder fuels on the tree. Rank 3 means there are signs of crowning — i.e. the fire jumping from treetop to treetop.
It took 30 minutes for Chief Mount and one other fire official to reach the site of the blaze, to determine the extent of fire and how to handle it. Crews had to make their way up the hill on this hot day (over 23°C), dragging fire hoses behind them. There is no fire hydrant at Harbourview Rd. Water has had to have been trucked in by the Sooke Fire Department.
Ahead of that, initial crews on site built a hand guard … they built a line with tools where the surface fire can creep along, getting down to the mineral soil so the fire can no longer grow. A wet guard was not possible until water could be brought up the hill, says Chief Mount.
At 6 pm crews were doing a bit of rehab, said Mount, before retackling the fire this evening. “People can still expect to see smouldering by Wednesday morning,” says Sooke Fire Chief Mount.
Mount Manuel Quimper is a popular hiking destination in the Sooke Hills, just east of Sooke (about 9 km from the town core). No residences or other buildings in the area were threatened.
This is the 39th human-caused fire on Vancouver Island this summer so far. The carelessness of hikers and others in the woods is beginning to exasperate firefighting services, who feel that most of these fires could have been avoided.
The Fire Danger Rating for most of Vancouver Island is now High (up from Moderate on the Canada Day long weekend).
Monday, July 3 ~ SOOKE. The Prestige Oceanfront Resort is of course in their busy season. A full summer house for the six-year-old hotel: weddings, guests from around the world, and regional visitors out to enjoy the on-water and hiking recreational opportunities.
A new amenity at the 122-room hotel is a large upscale passenger vehicle with the Prestige brand name. The grey 2008 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is prominently parked just out front of the hotel doors, ready for use.
“The car is used to transfer guests if requested, at a cost,” says Prestige Oceanfront Resort general manager Jacob Cramp.
The Sooke public boat launch is at the foot of the Prestige driveway. Overflow parking for the boat launch is provided by the District of Sooke off Maple Ave South (with a bit of a hike along a trail, back to the hotel and docks). Parking there is free (though the cost to Sooke taxpayers for that parking area is $24,000 per year). Parking along West Coast Road continues, despite challenges for pedestrians and cyclists to get past the parked cars, trucks, and boat trailers.
Sunday, July 2 ~ SOOKE. The District of Sooke has initiated a new committee to look at how to streamline the process of development applications and building permits. It’s the municipality’s way of trying to support the development of more housing in Sooke.
The Sooke area is considered to be more affordable than other regions of south Vancouver Island. In the real estate statistics for the Greater Victoria area, Sooke certainly does come in lower than almost any other area. This is attractive to those with lower incomes, or people seeking to retire.
The actual raw average single-family home sale price in Sooke in May 2017 was $512,752 (HPI $465,100), compared to $675,843 in Langford (HP $555,300) and $876,910 in Greater Victoria overall (HPI $681,800).
For working commuters, the Sooke area still poses the cost of travel back-and-forth to the core areas of the Victoria area and beyond. Many military families reside in the Sooke area, many of whom commute to the dockyard and naval base in Esquimalt.
Three members of the public will be appointed to the committee by Sooke Mayor Maja Tait. More information is available at www.sooke.ca . The deadline to apply is 4:30 pm on Friday, July 7.
An overly complex or unnecessarily slow process of handling the intake, paperwork and approvals for development and housing construction has been determined to be an impediment to effective housing development in many communities, not just Sooke. For Sooke, this process of streamlining has now been set as a priority by Mayor and Council.
Saturday, July 1 ~ SOOKE. Premier-designate John Horgan was in his home riding this evening, milling with the crowds and getting settled in to listen to the live band and watch fireworks coming up after dusk.
There with his wife Ellie and security in tow, he had flown back by helicopter from his day of politicking at other Canada Day community gatherings in the Lower Mainland, to be in Sooke. Sooke holds an annual Canada Day festival, at ‘Sooke Flats’ down by the Sooke River. It’s an old stomping-ground from younger days for Horgan, and he relaxes, in his element.
Horgan grew up in nearby Langford where he still lives, raised his family, and has served as the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca since 2005.
The evening air was cool but the skies had been bright all day. When Horgan first arrived at 8pm there were about 200 people on the grounds, listening to the band. By 9 pm about 1,000 people were on site.Horgan had a chance to throw a football with a young fan on the grounds at Sooke Flats tonight. He did not drop the ball.
Horgan was happily swarmed by groups of young people, even children. He was ably conversant with all of them and posed for selfies. All the political ‘old guard’ was there, for the natural rounds of congratulatory handshakes.
Horgan says he is eager to get down to business. Next week he will be establishing his Cabinet. He has said since Thursday night after being asked by the Lieutenant Governor to form government, that first things on the list are to eliminate tolls on bridges in Vancouver, add one cent to gasoline for an increase in the carbon tax, start things in motion to increase the minimum wage, and quickly set up a review of the Site C hydroelectric project.
Tonight he told West Shore Voice News that the 50% reduction in Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums would still go into effect in January 2018 (as first promised by the BC Liberals), and that within four years the MSP system will be revamped. A review committee to look at which model of health premiums would work for BC will be established soon, Horgan said. He says there are nine models — i.e. every other province in Canada — to look at. BC is the last province with a fee-based system. All other provinces deal with revenues for health care through the income tax system in one way or another.
Saturday, July 1 ~ LANGFORD. For one family it was not a very happy Canada Day. Their small home in Langford somehow caught on fire.
About a dozen firefighters from the Langford Fire Department, several fire engines and rescue vehicles, a few RCMP officers, and other resources were on scene and required to deal with the mid-afternoon fire today.
A neighbour had seen smoke and called the fire department. The blaze apparently started in the attic of the older home.
The elderly owners sat in lawn chairs with their dog, watching their house continue to burn. They said they were sure their back yard garden would never be the same, after being exposed to the necessary fire-retardant chemicals and impact of the firefighting action. Several neighbours were standing around in support.At one point, a hole had to be cut into the roof of the house, to fully deal with putting out the fire.
The location of the house on Lequesne Ave near the intersection of Knotty Pine Rd is just one block from BC NDP Premier-Designate’s office on Jacklin Road near Goldstream Avenue in central Langford.
There were at least a dozen vehicles parked in close proximity to the burning home, around which firefighters did their work.
Firefighters were on scene for at least an hour, going through a lot of bottled water in the heat in all their heavy gear.
Activities continue through the afternoon, with a feature live band 7 to 10 pm, followed by extra-special Canada Day 150 fireworks after 10 pm.
Parking is available in the SEAPARC Leisure Complex parking lot (2168 Phillips Road). The festivities are at the Sooke River Campground (2259 Phillips Road).
Speeches in the noon official ceremony were delivered by Randall Garrison, MP, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, and T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes.
BC NDP Leader John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) will be arriving at the event for 8pm this evening.
More about today’s noon-hour speeches and the event, on the Sooke page in this website.
Saturday, July 1 ~ BC. Premier-designate John Horgan will be on both the mainland and Vancouver Island this Canada Day 150. He will be celebrating Canada Day with people at community events in Port Moody, Surrey and Sooke.
11:00 am – Port Moody Canada Day, Rocky Point Park, 2800 Murray St, Port Moody
1:30 pm – Surrey Canada Day, Bill Reid Millenium Amphitheatre, 17728 64 Ave, Surrey
8:00 pm – Sooke Canada Day, Sooke River Campground, 2259 Philips Road, Sooke
On Thursday evening, June 29, Horgan was asked by the Lieutenant Governor if he had the confidence of the legislature, and he said that he does. He and the cabinet he is assembling will be sworn in probably this coming week.
Check out the front page of the June 30, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News for a summary of how the last few days went down for Horgan in his final steps to the Premiership.
Friday, June 30 ~ VICTORIA. The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, will preside over the swearing-in of 150 new Canadian citizens on Canada Day, July 1, 2017 at Government House.
“It is Her Honour’s pleasure to join Citizenship Canada in welcoming these new citizens on the day of the country’s sesquicentennial,” it was stated in a news release today.
In addition to new citizens and their guests, this free event is also open to the public. The ceremony will begin at 11 am at the Government House bandshell. The event includes remarks from Murray Rankin, MP (Victoria) and Carole James, MP (Victoria-Beacon Hill). A reception follows, with complimentary refreshments. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets.
Live music throughout the event includes Jan Stirling, Joey Smith, Edie Daponte, and Damian Graham performing jazz, “O Canada” performed by Frederique Haens from l’école Victor Brodeur, and Sing Me a Song contest winners the Gabriola Island Singers.
Guests are encouraged to bring their families, as also following the ceremony will be a children’s play area, including an inflatable bouncy castle. Event schedule: 10 a.m. – Event Opens | 11 a.m. – Citizenship Ceremony | Noon -1 p.m. – Reception | Noon -2 p.m. – Children’s Play Area
Friday, June 30 ~ NATIONAL. Due to technical issues, Interac e-Transfer has been unavailable, and all banks are impacted, including the five major Canadian banks: Scotiabank, BMO, CIBC, TD Bank and RBC.
It’s a network-wide issue, according to one TD Bank rep. Last night the problem was intermittent, then resolved. But as of 9:30 am Pacific Time today it was being widely reported.
Interac is apparently working to fix the problem and restore service as quickly as possible. “E-transfer system delays have been caused by ‘significant’ technical difficulty,” Interac says. Apparently it is not a hacking incident according to one Tweet at @INTERAC.
Most banks are simply apologizing for the inconvenience and thanking online banking customers for their patience. Bank websites and Twitter feeds are being used to inform customers of when Interac e-Transfer is restored.
Merchant Interac transactions in retail situations are still working, as are ATM machines.
On Twitter, the commentary includes that, in a sense, there couldn’t be a “worse day”. Not only is it a long weekend coming up, with travel funds perhaps required, but people are trying to pay rent and bills on time. Many students may be moving and are perhaps needing flexible funds handling.
Friday, June 30 ~ NATIONAL. The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the selection of a premier-designate in British Columbia:
“Under the leadership of John Horgan, the New Democratic Party will form government in British Columbia. I look forward to working closely with Premier-designate Horgan to deliver real results on the issues that matter to British Columbians and to all Canadians.
“By coming together in a spirit of cooperation, I am confident that we can grow the industries and sectors at the heart of the province’s prosperity, while promoting clean growth and innovation and investing in public transit and green infrastructure.
“I also look forward to working with Premier-designate Horgan to implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as we renew Canada’s nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
“I thank Christy Clark for her work as premier and her public service contributions to the province, the people of British Columbia, and the country as a whole.”
While both leaders are proactively supporting the well-being of the middle class, Trudeau and Horgan are likely to butt heads on the TransMountain pipeline issue, as the NDP and Greens have come out against the expansion (twinning) of the pipeline that carries oil from the oilsands in Alberta out to the BC coast for transport by tanker primarily Pacific Rim countries.
Thursday, June 29 ~ VICTORIA. The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, has issued the following statement around 8:25 pm this evening, June 29, 2017:
“As Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, I have met with Premier Clark and will accept her resignation. I have asked Mr. Horgan to form a government, he having assured me that he can form a government which will have the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.”
Earlier this evening, Guichon spent about an hour in discussion with then-Premier Christy Clark (during which time Clark asked the Lt Governor for dissolution to trigger an election), then summoned now Premier-designate John Horgan.
Media waited outside Government House in Victoria for the duration, and likely many British Columbians were following every step of the drama that unfolded from a non-confidence vote in the BC Legislature around 5:30 pm to the final public comments by Horgan around 8:20 pm.
Thursday, June 29 ~ VICTORIA. On the eve of Canada’s 150th Birthday, BC has an NDP government for the first time in 16 years.
BC NDP Leader (Official Opposition Leader) John Horgan was summoned by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to meet with her this evening. Around 8:20 pm Horgan emerged from Government House to address the media, confirming that he has been asked to lead the government as BC’s next Premier. Cheers erupted from the outdoor area in front of the vice-regal residence on Rockland Avenue in Victoria.
The transition of power is expected to take about three weeks, including setting up a cabinet. Premier-designate Horgan said:
“I look forward to working harder than I’ve ever worked before to make sure that this great province continues to grow and that the prosperity we all want to see for ourselves, we can make sure that we can share that prosperity with others.
We want to make sure that the services people count on are there for them when they need it. We want to make sure most importantly that we continue to grow as a dynamic diverse province, the envy of Canada, on the 150th birthday of Canada.
It is truly an honour to stand before you today and say that tomorrow I’ll begin putting together a government that will make British Columbia better.
It’s been seven weeks since the election. The Lieutenant Governor wanted to know if the continuity of government was going to be here. I assured her I would do my level best to see that continuity continues.
I’m grateful that today we were able to demonstrate in the legislature that the the Green and NDP alliance when it comes to matters of confidence is strong and that we can work together, not just as Green and NDP but Liberals as well. To make sure we have the services that we all depend upon.
I’ts been an extraordinary time for staff at Government House and for her Honour. We want to make sure, and she wanted to make sure (in speaking to the Premier and to me), that the continuity of government was going to be there.
And the systems and structures that we hold so dear here in BC were going to be in good hands. And I assured her that I would do my level best to make sure that continuity continues.
There’s an enormous amount of work to do. It’s been 16 years since there’s been a transition in govt. Sixteen years of challenges that have been created for many many people, challenges that won’t be fixed over night.
I want to focus as quickly as possible on putting together a cabinet and government structures. So that we can get moving on issues that matter to people. The fentanyl crisis needs immediate education, and the softwood lumber agreement needs immediate attention, as does the public education system.
We discussed the configuration of the Legislature – there are 87 members just elected, 26 for the first time, of those 14 NDP, 2 Green, and 10 Liberal. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for a new legislature to work together cooperatively.
The Throne speech (just last week) was consistent with values and program plants that I put forward. I’m confident that all members of the house will be able to work together to meet the objectives that all British Columbians want to see.”
Horgan told media that the full transition would occur as soon as possible. “We will get access to government documents tomorrow, to start working on a transition.”
He continued: “We want to swear in a government in the next number of days and then get back to work. It will be as soon as possible.”
He explained that a speaker will be elected by the legislative assembly when the house reconvenes. He said he looks forward to talking to Christy Clark as soon as possible.
Thursday, June 29 ~ VICTORIA. BC NDP Leader John Horgan (Leader of the Official Opposition) arrived at Government House around 7:40 pm this evening, presumably to meet with Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.
This follows Guichon’s hour-long meeting with BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark whose government lost at confidence vote in the BC Legislature around 5:30 pm this evening. Clark simply said afterward that the Lieutenant Governor had “retired to make her decision”.
Horgan could very well be the next Premier of BC. A coalition with the Greens could last a while, or another election could happen soon.
Update to come.
Thursday, June 29 ~ VICTORIA. The Yea’s have it! A confidence vote in the BC Legislature has failed. Then the house was adjourned. All of this ahead of 5:30 pm (Pacific Time).
After 16 years and two months in power in Canada’s western-most province, the BC Liberals have lost the confidence of the legislature.
Premier Christy Clark now heads to Government House to meet with BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, to say she has lost the confidence of the house.
A decision could be known as soon as 6 pm this evening, as to whether John Horgan will be asked to lead the province as the first NDP Premier in 16 years, or whether an election will be called.
As summarized by the Globe and Mail this evening, the premier had three options going into that meeting: request an election; advise the Lieutenant-Governor to ask the Opposition New Democrats to form government; or simply resign without offering any advice.
Premier Christy Clark (BC Liberal), BC NDP Leader John Horgan, and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver were present for the vote. All 87 MLAs were in the house today for the vote. A motion by NDP Leader John Horgan, which said “the present government does not have the confidence of this House,” passed 44-42. All MLAs voted along party lines, i.e. all NDP and Green members of the legislature voted in favour, and all Liberals voted against.
This outcome could give the BC NDP and BC Greens a chance to govern as a coalition, based on their 57% popular vote achievement in the May 9 election. Those two parties — who claim the progressive vote — signed an agreement between themselves at the end of May, which was delivered to Guichon for her consideration.
Or, at the discretion of the Lieutenant Governor, the House (now adjourned) could be dissolved and another election called. That decision might be based on the inherent instability of neither setup (the now dismissed BC Liberals with 44 seats, or a presumed 44 seat setup comprised of 41 NDP and 3 Greens). A speaker has to be appointed from the governing side of the house. That would leave a NDP/Green coalition with still 43 seats, one short of a majority.
This entire scenario has left British Columbians without a get-to-work government since April 11 when the Writ was dropped to hold the May 9 election. In addition to the political instability of that, there has been time for many people with vested interest in maintaining a BC Liberal government to sort out their plans.
According to various sources, Elections BC has already been setting up locations to operate as voting stations during the month of August.
BC NDP Leader John Horgan Tweeted after the vote: “Today’s vote is a step towards a new government that will put people first. We’re ready to work hard for the people of British Columbia.”
BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver issued a statement following the house adjournment this afternoon: “We are encouraged that the BC Liberals have indicated their support for many of the policy priorities outlined in our agreement with the BC NDP. This is an historic opportunity for all 87 MLAs to work together to address the most pressing issues facing our province. Our caucus looks forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the house in a productive and collaborative new government.”
Christy Clark has served as BC’s 35th premier since 2011.
It’s rare that a Lt Gov (representative of the Queen) is put in a position to make such a weighty decision. All of the election and legislative process coming down to the decision of one person.
Green MLA Sonia Furstenau has tweeted in the period after 6 pm during which everyone is awaiting the decision of the Lt Gov: “It is my hope that 51 days after the #bcelxn, the LG affords the @bcndp and @BCGreens the opportunity to govern.”
Wednesday, June 28 ~ LANGFORD. Sooke School District 62 (SD62) has a new Board Chair. Ravi Parmar was acclaimed to the position last night, June 27, at a public board meeting.
Parmar’s position starts immediately. Last night after the meeting he was signing paperwork and gearing up for this new responsibility.
At the meeting, outgoing chair Bob Phillips emphasized that “leadership comes from the corporate board, not the chair”. But Phillips is eager to see fresh young leadership in education at the board level, and was actively supportive of Parmar becoming the next chair.
Some of Phillips’ advice upon stepping down was that “boards run better when people can say what they need to say” and that the face of the board should be “multi-faceted, including at events at the schools”. He noted that administrative leadership in today’s digital world carries with it a heavy load of constant contact through email and social media.
Ravi Parmar, 22, is in his first term as an SD62 trustee (elected in November 2014). He is a political science and admin student at the University of Victoria. Phillips has stepped down after two years as board chair, but stays on as a trustee (a position he was first elected to in 1996).
SD62 Trustee and Vice-Chair Dianna Seaton was nominated for the chair position by Trustee Wendy Hobbs (herself a former chair), but Seaton declined saying it was not a good time for her to take on that level of commitment.
In a short speech, Ravi Parmar said he appreciated the leadership opportunity and would not let people down. Present to witness the move of Parmar into the chair’s seat was newly-elected MLA Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) whose electoral area includes Colwood and Metchosin which are both in the SD62 catchment area. Parmar and Dean are both deep within the John Horgan NDP team.
When asked about his immediate plans, Parmar said: “School board business does slow down over the summer but I do expect with the potential for a new government and our capital and land acquisition needs there may be periods over the summer where the board may meet.” The next regularly scheduled board meeting is set for August 29.
SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge praised Bob Phillips’ leadership and dedication: “Bob has worked extremely hard on development of a strong corporate Board which represents the values of the community and aspirations of parents for their children.” Cambridge said that SD62 has been fortunate to have “solid committed experience on the Board” with three current trustees having previously service as board chair.
Wednesday, June 28 ~ WEST SHORE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Last night the Sooke School District 62 (SD62) board approved a new course for Grades 10 to 12 called Inclusion Support. It’s a class to provide students with experience in Education Assistance.
Apparently some students are already assisting with special-needs students in their classrooms.
SD62 Trustee Denise Riley (chair of the Education Standing Committee) said this is an opportunity to provide course-credit for student efforts in working alongside active EA’s in the classroom.
As well, Riley said it would give SD62 students an edge in applying for post-secondary education in areas that could help them get Educational Assistant (EA) positions in their future careers.
SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge said the setup had been discussed with CUPE, under which EA’s are governed. Also, that many students are already helping fellow students in a peer support function.
SD62 has three large high schools: Belmont Secondary (in Langford), Royal Bay Secondary (in Colwood), and Edward Milne Community School (in Sooke).
“The course will start at Belmont for 2017-2018, but once approved it can be used at any school in the district. At the moment, only Belmont will be offering it next year,” says Cambridge.
Monday, June 26 ~ VICTORIA. The non-confidence vote has been scheduled for Thursday in the BC Legislature but that didn’t stop the NDP from asking the vote to be pulled up to today. It will still be on Thursday, probably around 5:30 pm.
Premier Christy Clark said a few times in the Legislature today that “no one wants an election” (i.e. again so soon).
Meanwhile, the BC Liberals saw two motions defeated by the NDP and Greens in the legislature today: one that would have given official party status to the Greens and another that would ban big money from politics. But the NDP-Green coalition would not be tricked by the last-minute about-face in BC Liberal policy attempts, and held firm.
BC NDP Leader and Leader of the Official Opposition, John Horgan reiterated how the majority of British Columbians voted for parties that would pro-actively represent the policies and values that the BC Liberals brought forward only this week for the first time.
BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said in a release today: “British Columbians are tired of these partisan games and attempted power plays.”
Weaver said: “Today, the BC Liberals surprised us with a vote to award the BC Green Caucus official party status. Moments earlier I spoke with the media and made it clear that our Caucus will not debate legislation until the confidence of the house has been tested.”
“The Premier has been clear that she wants to follow procedure and test confidence of the house,” Weaver continued. “She has now had more than six weeks to do so and yet continues to delay. If she is serious about acting in the best interests of British Columbians, there is nothing stopping the BC Liberal caucus from voting to test confidence of the house immediately.”
“The BC Green caucus has committed to act on principle, and will continue to do so going forward,” Weaver concluded.
Monday, June 26 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries has issued an update on two vessels out of service.
Southern Gulf Islands Service
- BC Ferries announced today that the Queen of Nanaimo remains out of service on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route. Repairs progress on control issues for the starboard controllable pitch propeller. Specialized technicians and engineers are working around the clock to complete the repairs. As a result, the Queen of Nanaimo’s sailings have been cancelled until the end of day Thursday, June 29. The newest vessel in the fleet, Salish Eagle, will provide over 50% capacity to this route while these repairs are completed on the Queen of Nanaimo.
- BC Ferries has added 12 additional sailings above the service provided by the Salish Eagle. These sailings will be offered on Tuesday, June 27, Wednesday, June 28 and Thursday, June 29. Further updates will be provided over the coming days. Additional sailing times: www.bcferries.com
- In addition to the Salish Eagle, customers can also travel through Swartz Bay to connect to the Southern Gulf Islands. BC Ferries will provide complimentary reservations on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route to assist with travel. Customers are asked to contact BC Ferries’ Customer Care Centre at 1-888-223-3779 to book travel arrangements. Note that customers booked on the Salish Eagle do not need to re-book. To determine which ship you are on, visit www.bcferries.com/current_conditions/actualDepartures.html
Nanaimo and Langdale Service
- The Coastal Inspiration, which was also out of service for propeller repairs, departed the dry dock this morning and is expected to be back in service on the Tsawwassen – Duke Point route this Thursday, June 29. The full summer schedule will be in effect for the Canada Day long weekend.
Well, ya know, the NDP did ‘put it all out there’, and it got grabbed up. People might be surprised by the recent BC Liberal moves, but not that many are fooled. However, now BC has a bit of a political crap-shoot on its hands.
The NDP are expected to call for a confidence vote in the BC Legislature tomorrow, June 26.
The landscape changes daily, but here’s a bit of analysis, as first published in the June 23, 2017 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (see pg 1 & 2).
Sunday, June 25 ~ SOOKE. One of Sooke’s worst-kept secrets… free salmon barbecue every year outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum as part of the museum’s annual open house (this year their low-key 40th).
Today Sunday June 25 the annual event is being held from noon to 2 pm (one hour shorter than last year).
Could be hot out there. Forecast is for at least 25°C today (yesterday went over 30°C in some area of the west island region).
Last year the salmon was donated by a company from Vancouver. It gets cooked in a traditional First Nations way outdoors, smoky and sizzling!
The usual crowd of local Sooke VIPs usually shows up for the casual food-fine, family-friendly activity. Parking gets a bit crowded.
Officially opening today is the “Seeking Salmon” exhibit within the museum, running to April 2018. www.sookeregionmuseum.ca
Saturday, June 24. Summer is finally here! The weather forecast includes indications of high levels of UV rays. Dr Louise Morin at Sooke Optometry offers the following information about eye protection when outdoors in bright weather.
We potentially expose our eyes to damage simply by going outside in bright summer light. Over time, the sun’s rays can seriously damage the eyes and surrounding skin, sometimes leading to vision loss and conditions from cataracts and macular degeneration to eye and eyelid cancers.
Some daily protective strategies can help keep our eyes and the sensitive skin around them healthy. It helps to know about certain types of light from the sun that can cause damage:
Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B light: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB), powerful, invisible rays with wavelengths shorter than visible light, are the most dangerous parts of sunlight. They can cause cataracts, eyelid cancers and other skin cancers, and are believed to play a part in macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss for people over age 60. In addition, UV rays can prematurely wrinkle and age the skin around the eyes.
High-Energy Visible Light (HEV light)/Blue Light: HEV light (high-energy visible light in the violet/blue spectrum) is a potential contributor to cataracts and other serious eye maladies. Blue light can damage the retina over time, leading to macular degeneration. The retina is the membrane where images are formed and transmitted to the brain. The macula, the region of sharpest vision located near the center of the retina, is the most likely area to be damaged.
Higher long-term risk has some associative factors: fair skin and lighter eye colour (less of the protective pigment melanin) and getting older. On top of that, if your work or recreation involves prolonged sunlight exposure, that adds to the risk.
UV-effective eyewear is an important part of protecting your eyes:
• Eyewear should absorb and block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB light, and ideally also guard against HEV light.
• Eyewear coverage should be sufficient to shield the eyes, eyelids, and surrounding areas. The more skin covered, the better. Wrap-around styles with a comfortable, close fit and UV-protective side shields are ideal.
• Look for eyewear durability and impact resistance.
• Polarized lenses will eliminate glare, especially when driving, but also out in the snow or on the water, where reflection greatly magnifies glare. Continuing glare can cause fatigue, headaches, and even migraines.
Other summer eye protection tips include:
• Wearing a hat with at least a 3-inch brim all around can block up to half of all UVB rays from your eyes and eyelids. Hats or tinted visors also help block UV from entering your eyes from above.
• Wearing sunscreen on your face is also important, as sunglasses and hats cannot cover your entire face.
• When outside, seek shade, especially between 10am and 4pm when UV rays are strongest.
• Vehicle side windows do not offer as much protection from UV rays, unlike windshields which are usually treated to provide additional UV-A protection.
Sooke Optometry (6726 West Coast Road; open late on Thurs) and Langford Optometry (#105-814 Goldstream Ave, open late on Wed) are both open six days a week.
Friday, June 23 ~ LANGFORD. In this day and age when security for the public is an increasing concern in all communities, the City of Langford has announced that it will be adding four new RCMP officers to its detachment in 2017.
These four new officers will allow for the creation of a full time bicycle and special projects unit that will focus patrols on community trails, parks and the downtown core in Langford, and provide coverage for special events and targeted “hot spots” within the Langford area.
This addition of four new RCMP officers comes on the heels of eight RCMP officers that have been added in the last two years, bringing the contingent to 42, up from 30 in 2015. The expanded force is intended to help bring Langford’s RCMP officer complement in line with Council’s long-range vision for the department, the City said in a news release today.
On the newly created positions, Langford Mayor Stew Young says: “Community safety is, and will remain, a priority for Langford. Council looks forward to working with the RCMP, both now and into the future, to ensure that Langford remains a safe family friendly community.”
Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak, Chair of the Protective Services Committee, echoed the sentiment: “Langford is a family-oriented community and I look forward to the additional presence and visibility these new officers will provide in our parks, trails and downtown core,” she said this week.
West Shore RCMP Officer in Charge Inspector Larry Chomyn was quoted by the City as saying: “I am pleased that the City of Langford has taken this proactive decision to enhance the work of the RMCP in Langford and I know that the community will be well served by the addition of a full time bicycle patrol unit.”
Each officer will cost Langford about $167,000 (salary, benefits and associated uniform costs, etc) or $668,000 in total, producing a 2.77% tax increase request from the Protective Services Committee to Council. Langford Council will see the recommendation for approval later this summer. It takes about eight months to recruit RCMP officers out of the training center in Regina. So that increase may not take effect upon taxpayers until 2018. The 2017 municipal tax increase for the average household in Langford was 2.9%.
West Shore RCMP provides services in Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Metchosin, Highlands, Songhees First Nation and Esquimalt First Nation.
Thursday, June 22 ~ TRAFFIC ADVISORY Highway 1 overnight closure – The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure reminds drivers that Highway 1 will be closed overnight between McKenzie Ave/Admirals Rd and the Helmcken interchange while crews install the temporary bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the highway.
The closure will begin at midnight tonight June 22 and the highway will re-open by 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning (Friday, June 23).
Traffic travelling westbound on Highway 1 will still be permitted to turn off the highway onto McKenzie Ave or Admirals Rd. During this time, please use alternative routes and allow for extra time.
The Galloping Goose Trail will remain open but pedestrians and cyclists are asked to please watch for signs and workers.
Current traffic advisories at www.drivebc.ca
Thursday, June 22 ~ VICTORIA. This morning in the BC Legislature MLA for Kelowna-Mission Steve Thomson was declared Speaker of the House. He was congratulated by BC Premier Christy Clark, who gave her full support.
BC NDP Leader & Leader of the Official Opposition John Horgan also congratulated Steve Thomson on being declared Speaker. “Among us all, I could not think of a more respected and better person to take on this very important challenge in the days and weeks and months and years ahead,” said Horgan, emphasizing the longevity that he hopes the legislature will maintain.
BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver afterward issued a statement: “I could not think of a more exceptional choice to guide the business of the legislature. Mr. Thomson has the respect of all the MLAs in the legislature and brings experience, dignity and honour to his new position.”
There are 87 seats in the BC Legislature. The appointment of a BC Liberal MLA to the Speaker’s chair leaves the BC Liberals with 42 voting seats in this 41st session of the BC Parliamentary Session, compared to 41 on the NDP side of the house, and three green. If the NDP and Greens vote as a block, they would have 44 votes, a majority.
This first day back of the BC Legislative session continues at 2 pm today, June 22, with delivery of the Throne Speech by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon at www.ThroneSpeechBC.ca .
This morning’s session archive can be viewed at: https://www.leg.bc.ca/documents-data/broadcasts-and-webcasts
Thursday, June 22 ~ VICTORIA. The BC Legislature returns at 10am today. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon will read the Throne Speech and instruct MLAs to select a Speaker. Livestream: https://www.leg.bc.ca/documents-data/broadcasts-and-webcasts
Yesterday BC Liberal Leader and Premier Christy Clark addressed a BC Liberal Women’s lunch in Vancouver and provided a preview of what she said is the BC Liberal government’s renewed plan for BC. She said her assessment of the May 9 election results was that British Columbians want the Legislature to be “a different kind of place… we’re going to do that starting tomorrow”.
Among other comments about how BC built a strong economy over the last six years in particular, Clark made an election-style promise to provide $1 billion toward more child care spaces of higher quality (and partly or fully subsidizing that for families with a combined income under $60,000).
BC NDP Leader John Horgan said in a news release later: “Now, Christy Clark will say anything to hang on to power. But we just can’t count on her to fix the problems she created. British Columbians are ready for new leadership that works for everyone instead of just those at the top. And BC New Democrats are ready to deliver it.” Horgan will address media today at the Legislature at 11 am today, after the morning session.
BC Legislature livestream starting 10 am today June 22:
Wednesday, June 21. Public input is being sought by the District of Sooke about their proposed Official Community Plan that is now under development. The municipality is offering several ways to provide input up to June 30:
- Sooke Municipal Hall, 2205 Otter Point Road – in the lobby, 8:30am to 4:30pm – June 15 to 30
- Submit comments by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- District of Sooke booth at Sooke Country Market (Otter Point Rd at Eustace): 10am to 2pm on Sat June 24
- Sooke Night Market (outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum grounds) on two Thursday nights (5:30 to 8pm): June 22 & 29
- Sooke Library drop-in – 10am to 5 pm (on days the library is open).
What’s an Official Community Plan?
The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the District’s most important planning tool. Its vision helps to influence the way our community grows and develops by guiding how land is used. Land use and development decisions influence all parts of our daily lives, how our community looks and feels as well as where we live, work and play.
As a broad policy framework, the OCP guides planning and decision making about the future of our community, and works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centre Plan, the Transportation Plan, the Parks Master Plan, and others.
Let’s Talk About Land Use
The first step towards the drafting stage of an OCP includes general descriptions for discussion purposes surrounding land use and Land Use Designations. (LUDs)
Based on feedback received from Council and the public engagement process in the summer and fall of 2016, staff has prepared the draft LUD maps and descriptions which were presented to Council in May 2017. These are aimed to stimulate conversations and understanding about future land use in Sooke, which will assist with better decision-making, informed by an established planning theory.
What are Land Use Designations (LUD)?
The purpose of a LUD is to ‘match’ the lands in a Plan Area to land use and other goals, objectives and policies set out by the community in the Official Community Plan to help guide current and future decision making.
Find out more about the proposed land use designations at https://sooke.ca/districtnews/lets-talk-about-land-use-ocp-input-sought/
Wednesday, June 21 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries is doing their usual add-on of additional sailings for the busy summer travel season. Extra sailings will be on routes serving Vancouver-Victoria (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) and Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, as well as the inter-island routes.
Fare promotions this summer include a break on the rate for private passenger vehicles longer than 20 ft (that’s to Oct 1), and passenger vehicle and driver fares at $39, $49, and $59 on select morning/evening sailings (to Sept 15).
Wednesday, June 21 ~ VANCOUVER. Today BC Premier Christy Clark will address a BC Liberal Women’s lunch at the Century Plaza Hotel in downtown Vancouver at noon. Media has been advised that her address will provide a preview of the BC Liberal Government’s renewed plan for BC.
Wednesday, June 21 ~ NATIONAL – from the west coast. It’s finally the first day of summer, which seems to have taken longer to arrive due to a dreary long winter and a spring with much more rain than usual. It’s almost as if winter lasted right up until it became summer!
The summer solstice officially marks the first day of summer. This year the solstice arrived at 9:24 pm Pacific Time last night on June 20, making today June 21 the first full day of summer.
On the west side of Vancouver Island it was also quite a windy day yesterday, as if to usher in summer with a bang and a reminder that the climate is not following stable patterns as it used to.
For health in summer, people are reminded to wear sunscreen for their skin when outdoors, and UV-protective eyewear for their eyes. Remember to stay hydrated and wear a hat when exposed to sunlight.
Most people’s veggie and herb gardens are well underway. But now that warm weather is assured it’s a good time for planting any remaining vegetable or herb plants as well as flowers.
On the national political scene, Prime Minister Justice Trudeau has renamed National Aboriginal Day — as recognized each year at the summer solstice — as National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Tuesday, June 20 ~ SOOKE. Last night about 20 members of the public attended the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole to overall voice concerns if not outright opposition to two new cell (wireless) monopoles being proposed by Freedom Mobile.
Freedom Mobile is owned by Shaw. They compete in the wireless market against the three big ‘giants’, i.e. Rogers, TELUS, and Bell. Presently, Freedom Mobile customers are clustered in Ontario, Alberta and BC.
In recent months Freedom Mobile had little difficulty in establishing a small non-obtrusive pole in an industrial area of Langford, to boost signals for their customers in that part of the west shore.
After some lengthy presentations from the public about health-related concerns, an impression was left in the room that exposure to transmission waves (radiation) from the towers would be almost likely be detrimental to the health of people in the immediate area of the towers.
The two proposed tower locations are 2614 Otter Point Road and 5154 Sooke Rd. Those are both private-owned properties in areas well set back from the town core.
The public presentations — some of them quite lengthy and repetitive — were non-interrupted by Councillor Bev Berger serving last night as the acting mayor. Councillor Kevin Pearson excused himself from the room during discussion about the 5154 Sooke Rd location (without specifying a reason). Councillor Ebony Logins came right out to declare her opposition to the two monopoles and that she would vote against them when the matter comes in front of Sooke Council on July 10.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was not in attendance at last night’s meeting.
The point made by some in the audience that there is “already enough cell coverage” in the area is to miss the point about facilitating business competition within the wireless industry. Business competition usually ends up benefiting the consumer.
Industry Canada is the authorizing body for where cell towers can be located. Municipal governments have no official say in the matter. However, the District of Sooke pulled out their “Communications Antenna Policy” from 2002, and based on that felt their role was to not only report on the meeting but to provide recommendations to both the federal agency (Industry Canada) and the applicant.
District of Sooke Councillors who were present at the June 19 Committee of the Whole asked for a staff report that will presumably summarize the evening which included presentations from Freedom Mobile as well as the public input and Councillors’ discussion and debate.
To allow time for compilation of that report, the July 10 Council meeting (the only summer meeting of Council) was targeted for receipt of the report. That will be 90 days from the applications made by Freedom Mobile. There is a 120-day window for applications to be received and responded to.
The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure says the sign messages will provide “important and timely traveller information” regarding delays, road closures and current road conditions. The information will be provided from the www.drivebc.ca traveller information system.
One of the reasons this signage has been long-awaited by regular Sooke commuters is regarding any road closures that may lie ahead. However, while there is a pull-over area just east of the sign, there is no area provided for traffic to turn around. If someone were to try a U-turn on the 4-lane based on information on the sign about road delays, that could create some dangerous traffic havoc.
The message on the sign today on Sunday June 18 in good weather, was simply ‘Keep your Distance, Drive Safely”.
Saturday, June 17 ~ LANGFORD. EXCLUSIVE TO WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS. BC NDP Leader John Horgan stands behind Langford for getting a BC Hydro transmission line moved, facilitating community group.
Relocating one hydro pole in Langford could open up exponential growth for the City of Langford and the west shore region. As outlined in the June 2 issue of West Shore Voice News, a transmission tower with 230 kV lines presently stands in a spot where Langford wants to build more seating at Westhills Stadium.
Expanded stadium seating would facilitate a host of new opportunities including MLS soccer, football training camps and big concerts. It would be a powerful driver to bring people into the heart of Langford. Doubling the capacity of Westhills would make that venue really special to the community, is the Langford view. That’s the dream. And the work is underway to make it happen.
“We’re hoping that BC Hydro can donate half the cost of moving the pole and lines,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young. “It’s an important project for Langford,” he says. “Relocating the pole and expanding Westhills Stadium seating capacity would help ensure Women’s Rugby Sevens stays in Langford and allow for other types of sports teams and exciting events to happen, including the potential Commonwealth Games. To this end, “we’re looking to BC Hydro to be a community partner.”
Langford engineering staff explained this week that receiving an updated quote from BC Hydro that has accurate and realistic data is an important step to move the exciting project forward in a timely manner. The last quote was provided in 2014, and it requires fresh costing and possibly fresh eyes to the available technical options. In 2014, construction costs were at first outlined by BC Hydro as $1.5 to $3 million with actual constructions costs around $100,000 to 150,000 per pole, say Langford municipal engineers. Then $4,135,161 was provided in December 2014 as a high-level cost estimate (i.e. not every detail yet considered) to move the transmission tower. BC Hydro presented that cost as variable… could go up by 50% or be less by 35%.
BC Hydro staff have said that in order to provide a “confident cost estimate” they would need to perform a detailed engineering study to identify risks and impact and the need for geotechnical surveys. To produce what BC Hydro calls a “required conceptual study” would take about three to four months. That would push the construction phase quite a bit further along. Construction in the wet winter season is more challenging (and would possibly be avoided), and thus the spring-summer sports season looms for 2018 and 2019. Not to mention the time crunch if planning to include the Langford-based stadium in Victoria’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
For BC Hydro, the project to relocate a tower that carries a transmission line (necessitating adjustments to other in-sequence structures) would be a relatively large and complex undertaking, utilizing many areas of staffing, technical expertise and equipment, with scheduling around other work. BC Hydro wants $75,000 from the City of Langford to produce the required conceptual study, before anything can get going with the project.
So it’s just lucky for Langford and the west shore region that BC NDP Leader John Horgan — who within a few weeks is expected to be the new BC Premier after things shake down in setup of a new BC Government — is of Langford.
“I’ve spoken with Langford Mayor Young about the pole relocation for the past couple of years. I’ve also worked with him in approaching the Minister of Energy at the time, urging government to work with the city to get that done,” John Horgan told West Shore Voice News on June 16.
“But they’ve just been met with opposition. So that’s an issue. I want to pick up locally with BC Hydro right away. We have other issues around BC Hydro of course,” said Horgan. “Rates have gone up over the past number of years with the prospect of more increases going forward. We’re going to freeze those rate increases for a year while we get our heads around energy supply, including where the Site C hydroelectric project fits into that. That can only be paid for by taxpayers.”
Back to moving the pole in Langford: “That’s also going to be paid for by the taxypayers. How do we work with the City of Langford, who are anxious to do it – and how do it for as little as possible. It wouldn’t be as costly as Hydro is making it out to be,” says John Horgan. “Langford engineers have come up with solutions that are far less costly than the one Hydro is proposing,” Horgan says.
“I don’t want to get into this too deeply until I’ve had a briefing from BC Hydro. I want to hear the real reasons that BC Hydro is not moving on this. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t though. The public benefit is significant. It’s in the interest of Hydro to come up with a better reason… or at least itemize the costs of making this move in a way that the public can understand,” Horgan said on June 16.
“BC Hydro should have to defend their decisions, not just put them out there and say ‘if you want more information send me more money’. That’s outrageous,” said Horgan about the $75,000 price tag that would be required of Langford to get a freshly-costed conceptual report ahead of any detailed project planning or construction.
“We’re looking to BC Hydro to be a community partner by providing an updated quote that has accurate and realistic data,” says Mayor Young, calling that “an important step to move this exciting project forward in a timely manner”.
Langford has even come up with some other ideas, such as relocating the tower to the middle of road with a roundabout around it. That would reduce the transmission line span (instead of going further across the street), as explained by Langford engineers.
Langford has applied for a $6 million UBCM sport infrastructure strategic priorities grant to help with the cost of expanding stadium seating capacity and the costs surrounding that.
“And so ‘getting to yes’ is the way we need to go with this project,” Stew Young said this week, in his trademark style over 25 years of coming up with creative solutions and partnerships to achieve larger goals for his town.
Thursday, June 15 ~ VICTORIA/Vancouver Island. A recall of Island Farms milk products is open to all affected consumers. Products can be returned with or without a receipt. the recall also applies to products with the brand names Lucerne and Natrel.
Today June 15, the manufacturer — Agropur Dairy Cooperative — initiated a voluntary recall of numerous items in BC that were produced at the Victoria facility. The company said foreign material had been found in some of the products. No injuries or illnesses have been reported. The company said the recall is a precautionary measure.
Customers are advised not to drink the milk and are being asked to return the products to the store for a full refund.
The voluntary recall comes three days after Foremost-brand four-litre milk jugs from two Real Canadian Superstores on Vancouver Island were recalled due to sharp metal objects being found in the milk.
These are the affected Agropur products:
|Island Farms||1% Partly skimmed milk||2L||0 57726 00203 0||British Columbia|
|Island Farms||1% Partly skimmed milk||4L||0 57726 00139 2||Vancouver Island only|
|Island Farms||2% Partly skimmed milk||2L||0 57726 00202 3||British Columbia|
|Island Farms||2% Partly skimmed milk||4L||0 57726 00119 4||Vancouver Island only|
|Island Farms||1% Chocolate partly skimmed
|1L||0 57726 00166 8||British Columbia|
|Island Farms||3.25% Homogenized milk||2L||0 57726 00201 1||British Columbia|
|Island Farms||3.25% Homogenized milk||4L||0 57726 00109 5||Vancouver Island only|
|Island Farms||Skimmed milk||2L||0 57726 00204 7||British Columbia|
|Island Farms||Skimmed milk||4L||0 57726 00129 3||Vancouver Island only|
|Lucerne||Skimmed Milk||2L||8 21954 07890 3||British Columbia|
|Lucerne||1% Partly skimmed milk||2L||8 21954 07892 7||British Columbia|
|Lucerne||2% Partly skimmed milk||2L||8 21954 07894 1||British Columbia|
|Lucerne||1% Chocolate partly skimmed
|2L||8 21954 07898 9||British Columbia|
|Lucerne||3.25 % Homogenized milk||2L||8 21954 07896 5||British Columbia|
|Natrel||1% Partly skimmed milk||4L||0 64420 44115 7||Vancouver Island only|
|Natrel||2% Partly skimmed milk||4L||0 64420 44317 5||Vancouver Island only|
|Natrel||1% Chocolate partly skimmed
|1L||0 64420 00199 3||British Columbia|
|Natrel||3.25% Homogenized Milk||4L||0 64420 44117 1||Vancouver Island only|
|Natrel||Skimmed milk||4L||0 64420 44417 2||Vancouver Island only|
BC Ferries is again operating their Coastal Naturalist Program on select vessels this summer. On the Vancouver-Victoria route (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) and Vancouver-Nanaimo route (Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay), naturalists will engage with customers during 20-minute presentations, June 28 through September 4.
About 150,000 passengers participate in these presentations each year, and this is the 12th year. Again this year, travellers on BC Ferries can learn about the ocean, BC’s unique wildlife and marine life, coastal, nautical and cultural history.
The info sessions will be presented seven days a week on the Spirit of British Columbia, Spirit of Vancouver Island, Coastal Celebration, Queen of New Westminster, Coastal Renaissance, and Queen of Oak Bay. The Coastal Naturalist schedule is at www.bcferries.com/onboard-experiences/Coastal_Experiences
The educational backgrounds of these young naturalists can be an inspiration to high school graduates of 2017!
- Michelle – Vancouver Island University grad (Anthropology and Geography)
- Katie – BA in Environmental Studies & French, passion for sea slugs
- Rachel – double major in Environmental Studies & Geography, in 4th year at UVic
- Colin – sciences at Thompson Rivers University, and now in the education program at UVic
- Hilary – finishing M.Sc. at Thompson Rivers university studying intertidal animals
- Janna – studying Natural Resource Sciences at Thompson Rivers University
- Jessica – 3rd year Psychology student at UBC with a focus on mental health
- Joe – Bachelor in Environment and Health Studies from York University; plus Applied Coastal Ecology at Northwest Community College in Prince Rupert
Monday, June 12 ~ LANGFORD. Expanding the Langford firefighting fleet. There were ample glowing comments for bringing the latest service vehicle into the Langford Fire Department fleet.
“It’s a perfect fit, a vehicle that allows us to move forward,” said outgoing Fire Chief Bob Beckett at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 8 at Langford Fire Hall No 1 on Peatt Road.
“We filled it really quickly,” said incoming Fire Chief Chris Aubrey, referring to all the equipment that has been packed into the heavy rescue truck that has no water tank, but lots of storage room.
“It’s a rolling toolbox,” said Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak who chairs Langford’s Protective Services committee.
Aubrey says the gear-packed truck means firefighters are not shuffling around between vehicles or amid layers within an engine vehicle for different items of gear or equipment during a live action scenario. It’s all well laid out for easy access.
Fire rescue personnel handle fires, motor vehicle incidents, hazardous material situations, terrain rescues, high-level incidents, and more. Langford Rescue 1 is a solid resource now for all those scenarios. “It’s perfect for a growing community,” said Aubrey.
The 2015 Spartan Metro Star Heavy Rescue vehicle was a demonstration unit rather than a custom build, saving the city and taxpayers approximately $100,000.
Langford Mayor Stew Young commended the fire department personnel for working to find a cost-effective solution. As a manufacturer’s demonstration vehicle, it had only 2,000 km on it from going to trade shows. The price was less than buying new, yet as a flagship piece of apparatus the vehicle has ‘all the bells and whistles’.
Council listened to what the fire department needed. “We always support Langford Fire Rescue with the equipment to do the job,” said Szpak.
The truck has been at the station for about a month, being equipped with radios and organized with all the equipment contents.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate good decision-making and service enhancement.
In addition to the new vehicle in the fleet there are four engines (with water tanks), two light trucks, one ladder truck, one brush truck and three utility vehicles.
The new Rescue 1 vehicle was officially unveiled with a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at Langford Fire Hall No 1 on Thursday afternoon, June 8. Attending were Langford Mayor Stew Young, Councillor Lillian Szpak (chair, Protective Services Committee), Councillor Denise Blackwell, Councillor Winnie Sifert, incoming Fire Chief Chris Aubrey, Capt Steve Adams, and Capt Brian Bell.
Chris Aubrey will be the new Langford Fire Chief starting June 16, as appointed by Langford Council last month. Outgoing Fire Chief Bob Beckett will serve his last day June 16.
Monday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA. Today at Government House, Premier Christy Clark and her Executive Council were formally sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.
“Our province needs a strong economy, one capable of supporting the services and high quality of life that British Columbians expect and deserve,” said Premier Clark. “But the public has also said they want us to do things differently to address areas that impact their lives and their families every day – this new cabinet reflects that message.”
The Executive Council reflects modern, diverse British Columbia. Its 22 members include:
* Thirteen men and nine women.
* Ten ministers from Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley, 12 from Northern BC, Vancouver Island, and the BC Interior.
* Three who use wheelchairs.
* Five new ministers, including British Columbia’s first elected Indigenous cabinet minister with a portfolio.
“The provincial election made two things clear: British Columbians want a government that will work across party lines, and one that will bridge the divide between urban and rural British Columbians,” Premier Clark said.
The executive council is comprised of:
- John Rustad – Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Has served as Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation since June 2013.
- Andrew Wilkinson – Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Previously served as Minister of Advanced Education, and Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.
- Norm Letnick – Minister of Agriculture. Has served as Minister of Agriculture since April 2014.
- Stephanie Cadieux – Minister of Children and Family Development. Has served as Minister of Children and Family Development since 2009.
- Mike Bernier – Minister of Education. Has served as Minister of Education since July 2015.
- Mary Polak – MInister of Health. Previously, she served as the Minister of Environment, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Minister of Children and Family Development and Responsible for Child Care, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for the Conversation on Health.
- Michael de Jong – Minister of Finance. A seven-term MLA, he has served as Minister of Finance since 2012. He previously served as Minister of Health, Attorney General, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services, and Minister of Forests.
- Steve Thomson – Has served as Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations since 2011.
- Donna Barnett -Minister of State for Rural Economic Development. Was re-elected to represent Cariboo-Chilcotin in 2017. She has served as Minister of State for Rural Economic Development since 2016.
- Teresa Wat – Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. She has served as Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism since 2013.
- Shirley Bond – Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. A five-term MLA, She has served as Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour since 2013.
- Mike Morris – Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. He has served as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General since December 2015.
- Coralee Oakes – Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch. She has served as Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch since July 2015.
- Rich Coleman – Minister of Energy and Mines. A six-term MLA, Coleman has served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Minister Responsible for Housing, Minister of Housing and Social Development and Minister of Forests and Range.
- Michelle Stilwell – Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation. She has served as Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation since February 2015.
- Todd Stone – Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. He has served as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure since 2013.
- Ellis Ross – Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing. In 2012, Ross was appointed by Premier Clark as the inaugural Chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council.
- Jas Johal – MInister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. Represents the new riding of Richmond-Queensborough.
- Sam Sullivan – Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. was re-elected to represent Vancouver-False Creek in 2017.
- Jordan Sturdy – Minister of Environment. was re-elected to represent West Vancouver-Sea to Sky in 2017.
First elected in 2013, Sturdy previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, chair of the Climate Leadership Team, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
- Linda Reid – Minister of Advanced Education. First election in 1991, she is BC’s longest-serving current MLA, and the longest-serving female MLA in BC history. Reid previously served as speaker of the legislative assembly from 2013 to 2017.Parliamentary Secretaries
- Jane Thornthwaite – Parliamentary Secretary for Child Mental Health and Anti-Bullying to the Minister of Children and Family Development
- John Yap – Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Reform Policy to the Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for Liquor
- Darryl Plecas – Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health
- Simon Gibson – Parliamentary Secretary for Independent Schools to the Minister of Education
- John Martin – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
- Laurie Throness – Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
- Greg Kyllo – Parliamentary Secretary for the BC Jobs Plan to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training.
- Dan Ashton – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
- Linda Larson – Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education to the Minister of Education
- Marvin Hunt – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
- Michael Lee – Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Affordability to the Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing
- Joan Isaacs – Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education to the Minister of Education
- Doug Clovechok – Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
Leading up to that, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has launched what they say is a world’s first among national blood operators by introducing a chat bot to engage donors on Facebook Messenger. This new tool is an innovative effort to engage younger audiences in a lifetime of blood donation and to promote the constant need for blood.
“The chat bot is a fun interactive tool that will attract new, young, and lifelong donors, at a time when the blood supply needs a boost to prepare for summer,” said Mark Donnison, vice-president of donor relations.
The chat bot will help users on Facebook Messenger learn more about the donation process and the people who are helped by donations. It will also encourage appointment bookings online or through the National Contact Centre.
This lead in digital engagement was developed in partnership with the team at EY digital consultants. “The chat bot is one more example of our commitment to embrace new and innovative digital technologies to reach and engage donors, whether they are new or returning.” Donors can meet the chat bot by messaging the Canadian Blood Services Facebook page.
CBS manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all Canadian provinces and territories (except Quebec).
Most people over the age of 35 can remember mustering up their courage and finding their first job right out of high school or university, and full independent adult life generally got underway. Not so for the Millennials.
For those under 30, the ‘gig economy’ built of creative offbeat endeavours (many of those online), part-time, contract, consulting and any other sort of non-permanent, no-benefits sources of income is the patchwork quilt of building an income package. Sustaining it is another matter, especially in urban areas of BC where housing/rental costs are far out of proportion to personal incomes. And here’s something not to underestimate… finding an employer who ‘gets’ the Millennial mind. Not to be pampered, but to be optimally functional.
All of this is different from being an entrepreneur — not everyone has that gene. Those of the entrepreneurial spirit — if adequately financed — will do alright in this new gig economy. But for the rest of the youth, it’s a whirlwind roll of the dice to be blown out of high school or university into a world without a pattern in which to create a foothold. Not to be overly dramatic, but for many of these teens-into-adulthood it’s like jumping out of an airplane at 30,000 feet without a parachute.
This generation has the smarts (intellectual, intuitive and digital), and beneath that they will certainly now be building up the emotional force that comes from being deprived of what might have been theirs. Opportunities are still out there but must be called forth with a willpower not taught in schools. It’s a rough world these Millennials have found themselves tossed into, tougher than perhaps they were set up for by today’s ultra-digital, mobile, data-cloud youth reality.
And on the other side of all this are the parents who — if they are able — and finding themselves with any heart at all, are helping out their grown children here and there, or more. In the past 30 years, wealth that made its way rapidly to the top for some has left the rest of us pinned to grinding wheels that provide only the occasional jump-off point. Many are without adequate retirement resource. What’s worse, is those who do try to jump from the pit onto the fast-moving train may falter trying, and badly. Worst case scenarios produce homelessness, drug addiction and a myriad of mental health issues.
In addition to what government should be doing, every stable business and employed person owes it to the next generation — the future of our world — to consciously give a thoughtful helpful hand to the youth of today who are the masters of tomorrow’s world (if not in wealth, in force). ~ Editor
[As first published in the June 2, 2017 print/PDF of West Shore Voice News]
Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA. As of today June 8, all 87 MLAs have now been sworn in at the BC Legislature.
Yesterday the three Green MLAs were sworn in, and today the 43 BC Liberal MLAs and 41 BC NDP MLAs took part in a swearing-in ceremony at the legislature.
The Legislature will be recalled on June 22. If a confidence vote fails for Premier Christy Clark, it’s likely BC will finally get NDP Premier John Horgan.
Read our editorial analysis on how things might shake down in a minority government scenario, page 2 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA AREA. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has issued a traffic advisory about McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 construction closures coming up next week.
Between Monday June 12 and Friday June 16, travellers are advised of overnight closures, detours and delays on McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 as part of the McKenzie interchange construction.
The following closures will allow crews to install the Galloping Goose Trail bridge over McKenzie Avenue and the temporary pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Highway 1:
> Monday, June 12, from 11 p.m. to Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
> Tuesday, June 13, from 11 p.m. to Wednesday, June 14, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
> Friday, June 16, from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Highway 1 will be closed between McKenzie Avenue / Admirals Road and the Helmcken interchange.
MOTI says that every effort will be made to open these routes as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for both the construction crews and the travelling public. The work schedule may change due to weather and other conditions.
All travellers including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are advised to plan alternative routes and to allow for extra time. Please also obey traffic control personnel and construction speed limits, and watch for workers and highway message boards. For up-to-date traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca
The interchange, when complete, is expected to improve travel times between core areas, Saanich and the western communities of Colwood, Langford and beyond to Sooke.
Thursday, June 8 ~ LANGFORD. Roadside work can be dangerous. Drivers must remain alert.
Today around 12:15 pm West Shore RCMP responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a single vehicle and traffic flagger on Sooke Road and Luxton Avenue.
Initial reports from witnesses were that the flagger was attempting to stop a vehicle travelling in the east bound lane when she was struck by a small grey hatchback.
The impact of the collision sent both the vehicle and flagger into the ditch.
Emergency personnel including BC Ambulance Service and Langford Fire Department attended the scene and facilitated the rescue of the flagger who was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries but which included a broken leg according to Langford rescue personnel.
This incident is a reminder to all motorists to take extra caution in construction zones and highway projects where flaggers and work crews are working, states Corporal Chris Dovell, spokesperson for the West Shore RCMP.
This collision remains under investigation by the West Shore RCMP Traffic Unit and Worksafe BC.
[On-scene photo submitted by a West Shore Voice News reader, thank you!].
Wednesday, June 7 ~ BC. BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has issued the following statement in response to media reports of apparent uncertainty over the future of education funding. This is upon BCTF President Glen Hansman yesterday expressing concern about uncertainty over who will form the next government, and feeling this has left teachers and school trustees in limbo.
“I’m surprised to hear that our public educators are facing uncertainty with regards to their funding,” said Weaver. “This uncertainty is unnecessary, since all three parties in this election committed to the $360 million classroom enhancement fund at a minimum. I reaffirm the BC Greens Caucus’ commitment to this funding and call on the leaders of the BC Liberals and the BC NDP to do the same.
“After a lengthy and expensive court battle with the incumbent government, our teachers deserve to focus solely on their students. The minority government that British Columbians voted for presents an opportunity to do politics differently. This is an opportunity to depoliticize our public education system and put the interests of our students front and centre where they belong.”
Sunday, June 4 ~ BC. BC Premier Christy Clark has issued a statement today, regarding the attack June 3 in the London Bridge tourist area of London, UK. One woman from British Columbia was killed in the terrorist attack that was done with a vehicle plowing into people followed by assaults with a knife.
“Yesterday, terrorists carried out several attacks in the heart of London. One of the victims was from British Columbia.
“The individuals who carry out these acts of hate want to change us. They want to sow fear and division. Ultimately, they want us to turn on each other. They will never succeed.
“As her family and province mourn, we must never forget who we are – and the diversity that makes us strong.
“My thoughts, and those of all British Columbians, are with Chrissy Archibald’s family, her friends, and all those who knew and loved her.”
That’s how things are for Langford when it comes their Westhills Stadium. It presently seats about 2,200 people at full capacity, in bleachers on the south side. Seating could be expanded by another 3,000 if another set of permanent bleachers can be installed on the north side of the stadium area.
Being able to attract over 5,000 people for sports events would be a boon not just to the City of Langford but to the entire Vancouver Island west side. People would come to see or take part in a pro-game or other field activity, then perhaps stay awhile to shop or travel about. Tourism benefits are a big plus for all communities in the south island (Greater Victoria) area, and an expanded stadium would be a further economic driver.
This positions the rapidly growing City of Langford on yet another growth cusp, which could be significantly boosted by one thing… moving a hydro pole in order to build that second set of bleachers. That’s for safety reasons. Transmission lines can’t run overtop of people sitting below, says BC Hydro. And Langford is quite aware of that. And thus the stalemate has lasted about four years now, mostly over the cost but with a twist. [Continued on page 1 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News]
See the full article on page 1 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Friday, June 2 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is announcing new initiatives this summer, in recognition of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. VIRL’s Read for Reconciliation offers a curated list of titles by indigenous authors that stimulate awareness, foster discussion, and facilitate a culture of learning.
June is National Aboriginal month and VIRL branches are hosting a range of programs and events in recognition and celebration of the vital role of indigenous communities. VIRL is also running a social media campaign, with the hashtag #Read4Reconciliation, as part of the campaign.
“As community hubs, libraries have an important role to play in both celebrating all that makes our country great, and in the healing and reconciliation that must occur so that we can all move forward under a common umbrella of understanding and unity,” said VIRL Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno. “VIRL is committed to embracing and learning from our indigenous communities. We are also very excited to be part of the celebrations that are sweeping the country on Canada’s 150th anniversary.”
For Canada’s 150th, VIRL is launching a booklist of 150 titles from across the country and a mobile library that is travelling to events across Vancouver Island to promote library services. The mobile library will allow people to sign up for a library card, check out library materials (from the Read for Reconciliation and Canada 150 lists, and materials related to each event), purchase library swag, and test out VIRL’s new Virtual Reality.
At the mobile library, everyone will have an opportunity to be part of an exciting oral history project that aims to tap into and curate the rich tapestry that is our Island, and celebrate the stories and histories that unite us all. We will be recording 150-second stories at the community events and at all 39 branches.
The VIRL mobile library will be at the following events:
- Port Alberni – Farmer’s Market – Saturday, June 17 – 9am–1pm
- Nanaimo – Multiculturalism Day (One Community: Our City. Our Stories) – Tuesday, June 27 – 7–9pm
- Downtown Duncan Day – Saturday, July 15 – 10am–6pm
- Vancouver Island Exhibition – August 18, 19, 20
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