Click on other pages for deeper stories and local news:  BC & NATIONAL | LANGFORD, COLWOOD & METCHOSIN | SOOKE | REGIONAL EVENTS


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

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

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

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

BEST PRACTICES, Excellence in Action

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

BEST PRACTICES, Organizational Development & Improvements

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

BEST PRACTICES, Community Connections

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos and article Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News


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

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

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

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

Photo and article Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARCHIVE of front page news: link to come