Breaking News – Langford, Colwood & Metchosin

BREAKING NEWS – Langford, Colwood & Metchosin 

         

West Side of Vancouver Island

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Friday, July 21 ~ WEST SHORE. Cell phone reception issues?

If you’ve been having finicky issues in recent weeks with your Rogers cell phone service, help is on the way!

Rogers says that tomorrow (Saturday July 22) there will be network upgrade work done on the equipment on about half their towers in the south-Vancouver Island area ranging from west of Sooke to View Royal, in Saanich, and out to Brentwood Bay.

In the past six months they’ve had 17 complaint-calls about degrading service in the west shore and south island area. That’s considered a high volume. And so it’s about to get fixed.


BC Premier John Horgan and BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon during the swearing-in ceremony at Government House on July 18 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, July 19 ~ VICTORIA. 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.

Horgan 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.

The new cabinet includes Ministers in new portfolios such as Mental Health and Addictions as well as an expanded Ministry called Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. David Eby is now the Attorney General. Carole James is the Minister of Finance and Deputy-Premier. Heading up the Education ministry is Rob Fleming.

The new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is Selena Robinson, who will need to look at housing supply for its immediate and long-term challenges.

Among those attending the special event at Government House were Langford Mayor Stew Young and west shore area developer Jim Hartshorne.

An event at which the public could meet and mingle with their new premier was held later, at the BC Parliament Building after 5pm.

See full feature article about the July 18 swearing-in ceremony on the BC news page of this website (July 19 entry).


Langford Mayor Stew Young entertained a lot of public input at the July 17 Council meeting. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Tuesday, July 18 ~ LANGFORD [Click here to see this article on its own page].

Last night at Langford Council the room was packed to the rafters, probably about 100 people. There was concern among some of the public that a particular piece of property at 3130 Jacklin Road was fairly soon going to have 13 subdivided lots and a much higher density than people who bought larger lots in the area had banked on.

Turns out it was just a request for rezoning (Bylaw Amendment No 483) without any plans for subdivision, at the preference of the property-owner applicant. However, the documentation that had been published in advance of the meeting did include the 13-lot sketch which was apparently only for discussion purposes following a discussion between the applicant and city staff.

Langford council meetings are usually perfunctory and swift, even the public hearing portions. But this July 17 meeting ran almost three hours as Mayor Stew Young encouraged as much input as the public wanted to give, and the meeting format fell into a more relaxed mode of back-and-forth with the public than is normally the case at Langford meetings. Skillful management of the meeting flow allowed for all opinions to be tossed into the mix. At the end of it, resolved and approved by Council.

Through it all other details surfaced such as the West Shore Parkway completion date targeted for the end of September which will help with traffic flow between Hwy 1 and Hwy 14 without people having through the Langford core area. That will help ease commuter traffic on Jacklin Road and the stretch of Sooke Road between Veteran Memorial Parkway and Happy Valley Road.

Full house at City of Langford Council meeting, July 17 [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

More improvements will be made to Jacklin Road, said Mayor Young. That will include sidewalks on the east side of Jacklin Road.  Engineering staff itemized some of the road improvements that are on the drawing board including on Jenkins Road near the TD Bank exit at West Shore Town Centre, and some dedicated left-turn and right-turn lanes on Jenkins.  A new interior road within the Sobey’s property (former SD62 Belmont property) is planned for completion by year-end 2017. Other road improvements in strata property areas are being done so that fire and emergency vehicles will have suitable access.

“We make sure we understand our road networks,” Mayor Young told the full room in council chambers. He said that millions of dollars have been invested in the Jacklin Road corridor over the years including bike lanes and sidewalks, and with his trademark visionary style: “Don’t envision Jacklin Road the way it is now.”

The usual swirl of public comment emerges from the public about how Langford is changing. The dust from construction and frequent traffic congestion are frequently protested, as well as the changing density of the town core area with more multi-family developments.

In defense of the growth, Stew Young told the public at Monday night’s council meeting: “Developments have paid for what we’re doing now. You’ll see a market improvement (in things overall),” he said. He also promoted the relative affordability of Langford housing. “We have lower prices here because we’re doing supply,” he said, itemizing small lots and suites. He said a 3% to 5% increase in house values in Langford is a good thing for homeowners, quoting a $463,000 average assessed value of homes in Langford. “That’s what we tax on.”

House prices in Langford are the second-lowest in the Greater Victoria area, with only housing prices in farther-out Sooke being lower. The actual raw sales average of 96 houses sold in Langford in June 2017 was $679,155 (HPI data-adjusted price promoted by the Greater Victoria Real Estate Board is $579,000). In Sooke the raw sales average of 38 homes that sold in June was $469,322 (HPI was $463,500).

Other items approved by Council on Monday night included a 36-month Temporary Use Permit (up from 18 months as recommended by the Planning, Zoning and Affordable Housing Committee at their July 10 meeting) for Victoria Hyundai to have a vehicle showroom in the parking lot at the West Shore Town Centre. This follows in an interesting way along the lines of comments made by Architecture Professor Avi Friedman at an economic forum in Langford last weekend that the role of shopping malls is shifting in the wake of changes like online shopping.

Two resolutions from the June 27th Protective Services Committee (chaired by Councillor Lillian Szpak) were approved by Council — to accept the West Shore RCMP Annual Year End Report and the RCMP Municipal Contract Policing Multi-Year Plan (which will see an increase of four more police officers for a special on-bicycle unit to in particular police the Langford core area). And the Cherish seniors living complex got their liquor licence approved for happy hour.


A new live-work multi-family development in Langford. [Photo: West Shore Voice News, July 2017]

Sunday, July 16 ~ LANGFORD. HOUSING INNOVATION FEATURE ~ WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS  by Mary P Brooke

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).

Architect Dr Avi Friedman, speaking in Langford, July 15 [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

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:

Langford Mayor Stew Young [Photo: West Shore Voice News, 2017]

“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.

Architect Avi Friedman and Langford Mayor Stew Young, July 15 at Economic Forum [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

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.

Discussion at Economic Forum, July 15 [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

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.


 

John Horgan greeting people on Canada Day 150 in Sooke. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Sunday, July 16 ~ VICTORIA. John Horgan and a BC NDP cabinet will be sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon on Tuesday, July 18. 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 speakers hallway around the chamber.

As Premier, John Horgan will briefly speak just after 5pm in the legislature’s Hall of Honour.



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 traveled 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 (personnel and equipment) 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).


Dash is a police dog with the West Shore RCMP.

Wednesday, July 12 ~ COLWOOD. A report of a robbery on the trail system in the 1700-block of Island Hwy (near border of Colwood and View Royal) is being investigated by West Shore RCMP.

Police were notified by a concerned citizen just after 8:00 a.m. this morning, July 12, after encountering a woman with visible facial injuries. The victim reported that she was robbed while travelling on the trail.

Numerous police resources were deployed, including the Police Dog Service, Community Policing Section, Traffic Unit, several plain clothes officer and even the Officer in Charge of West Shore Detachment. The victim’s purse was located by the police service dog Dash [RCMP photo of Dash from last year].

RCMP say the woman was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Any information can be reported to West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers .


Carole James at Horgan launch in March 2017, flanked by Maurine Karagianis (left) and now MLA Mitzi Dean.

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.


 

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 well-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).


McKenzie Interchange construction continues along Hwy 1.

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, 2017, 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 but must stay alert for signs and workers.

Traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca


Home with attic fire in Langford, July 1 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, July 1 ~ LANGFORD. For one family it was not a very happy Canada Day today. 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.

Several Langford Fire Dept engines, rescue vehicles, brush truck and command vehicle were on scene. [West Shore Voice News photo]

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.


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.


BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon

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


BC NDP Leader John Horgan in the BC Legislature last week.

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 a 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.


New SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar (left) with outgoing Chair Bob Phillips. [West Shore Voice News photo]

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 ~ LANGFORD. 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.


Tuesday, June 27 ~ Langford. Lost hikers rescued by West Shore RCMP. A mother and son who ventured for a hike in Goldstream Park have been rescued despite being unprepared for the hike and getting lost.

On Sunday June 25, just after 6:00 pm, West Shore RCMP received a 9-1-1 call from a 15-year-old teen stating that he and his mother were lost in Goldstream Park after venturing off the trails.

“The hikers told the 9-1-1 operator they had no supplies, no food or water, that they were wearing flip flops and had no experience as hikers,” said West Shore RCMP Media Relations Officer Cst. Alex Bérubé today in a news release.

To add to their misfortune, the cellphone they were carrying had no service plan and could not make phone calls. However, deactivated cellphones can still call 9-1-1. The operator gave the hikers directions to stay at their location and to call 9-1-1 every 30 minutes for updates until a Search and Rescue team were able to find them within a couple hours.

GPS coordinates were obtained for the cellphone and the Search and Rescue team were able to successfully locate the pair and escort them back to the campground without sustaining any serious injuries, says Bérubé. This is a great reminder to ensure you are prepared for outdoor hikes and to stick to the beaten path, he says.

Experienced hikers go prepared, with proper footwear, ample supplies and equipment, a data-plan cell phone, and a plan which they also leave with friends (just in case).


Sun protection: a wide-brimmed hat, full-coverage UV-eyewear and high-SPF sunscreen, plus long sleeves.

Saturday, June 24 ~ West Shore.  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.

Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak, chair, Protective Services Committee

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.

Langford Mayor Stew Young

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 Avenue/Admirals Road 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 Avenue or Admirals Road. 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


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).


Transmission tower in Langford needs relocation in order to expand Westshills Stadium. [West Shore Voice News 2017]

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.

City of Langford Mayor Stew Young {West Shore Voice News Photo 2017]

“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.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan, Leader of the Official Opposition

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:

Brand Product Format UPC Distribution
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
milk
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
milk
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
milk
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

Wednesday, June 14 ~ WEST SHORE.  The number of students in sport academies in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) has been steadily increasing. Registration is still open for most programs.

In the past three years, numbers have increased from just over 500 to an expected 800 participants this fall, says Wayne Kelly, Vice-Principal, Sport Academy Programs.

“Academies help keep students connected to their school,” says Kelly. “There is a high level of interest among students and parents. As the number of students in the district grows, so does demand.”

There are additional credits for graduation through the sport academies. Sometimes doors get opened to opportunities for post-secondary scholarships.

New this year is availability of the Golf Academy at all three highschools in SD62: Belmont, Royal Bay and Edward Milne. Click on ad for more details. Other details and online registration form at www.sd62.bc.ca/academies

As first published in the June 9, 2017 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (page 4).


Chris Aubrey will be the new Langford Fire Chief starting June 16, as appointed by Langford Council last month.

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.

Langford Mayor Stew Young and Councillor Lillian Spzak (Protective Services Chair) at the Rescue 1 ribbon-cutting, June 8.

“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.

A telescopic light tower can be projected up out of the truck to illuminate a night-time rescue scene.

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.


Sunday, June 11 ~ NATIONAL.  National Blood Donor week is coming up June 12 to 16, and right in the middle of that — on Wednesday June 14 — is National Blood Donor Day.

Locally, in Colwood there is a blood donor clinic coming up on Monday, June 12 at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Avenue, 12 noon to 7 pm. Book an appointment at www.blood.ca or just drop in.

Leading up to National Blood Donor Week, 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).


Friday, June 9 ~ TRAFFIC ADVISORY.  Expect minor traffic delays on Hwy 1 northbound at Leigh Road in Langford starting today. There will be barrier glare guard maintenance being done, 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, starting June 9 through June 16. Please use caution around the construction site says Mainroad South Island.


Injured flagger lifted by first responders from ditch on Sooke Road June 8. WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS photo.

Thursday, June 8 ~ LANGFORD. 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.

[Photo submitted by a West Shore Voice News reader, thank you!].


 

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Construction continues along Hwy 1 for the McKenzie Interchange. [Photo May 23, 2017 by 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.


Monday, June 5 ~ LANGFORD. Public input at Langford Planning meeting:  “No gravel crushing in our backyard”. About 50 people attended the May 29 Planning, Zoning and Affordable Housing Committee meeting in Langford council chambers. An applicant was hoping for approval to do extraction, processing, storage and sale of aggregate at 1297 Glenshire Drive and 2929 Sooke Road.

After public concerns expressed about the noise, dust and traffic congestion aspects of such an operation in a residential area, the committee rejected the application for a temporary industrial use permit, with a suggestion that a rezoning application be submitted to indicate ultimate use of the property (which appeared to be housing development).

The committee had hoped to hear more solid details about the future housing development plans for the property which is currently zoned RR4 (Rural Residential). If the ultimate goal is to build housing, the temporary action of resourcing the rock and gravel might be better tolerated over a short time period.

Although a good number of people came to the meeting and spoke up, there was some commentary that notice of the meeting was short or spotty at best.

The planning committee is chaired by Councillor Denise Blackwell, with Councillor Roger Wade, co-chair.
Langford Council has designated all of Langford as an area where temporary use permits may be issued in accordance with Section 493 of the Local Government Act.

This article was first published on page 3 in the June 2, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.


Saturday, June 3 ~ LANGFORD.  Sometimes just one thing relocated can change a torrent of other things. Like pulling the stopper out of the drain… everything starts flowing.

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.


Wednesday, May 31 ~ LANGFORD. The 6th Annual Victoria Goddess Run is set for another year!  “Hundreds of Goddesses will be celebrating the 6th Anniversary of The Victoria Goddess Run this weekend at Westhills Stadium in Langford,” say the race organizers.

All participants in the BMO 5K and Westhills 10K will receive a finisher’s medal presented to them by local Langford firefighters. Each participant also receives a technical shirt and racer bag.

New this year is an outdoor expo which will take place all day Saturday at Westhills Stadium and is open to the public, 10 am to 6pm. Over 25 exhibitors will be displaying everything from running attire to massage therapy. Runners can also pick up their packages that day, ahead of the Sunday race day.  Saturday wraps up with Sunset Yoga at Bear Mountain.

“Since the first Goddess Run in 2012 thousands of women have participated, many of whom may not otherwise enter a race. For many it’s their first race, and we love seeing their sense of accomplishment coming across the finish line”, says Cathy Noel, Goddess Run founder. “Plus, the support from the community is always amazing, with people last year bringing out their hoses and sprinklers to keep our Goddesses cool.”

The race will once again have a focus on charity. In the first five years, $170,000 has been raised for local charities. This year the event is raising funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.

Victoria Goddess Run online registration closes at midnight, May 31. People can register in person June 3 at the Race Expo at Westhills Stadium. Registration for the VikesNation Kids Run is available on both June 3 and June 4.

EVENT SCHEDULE – SUNDAY June 4 – Westhills Stadium
8:30am – Westhills 10K and BMO 5K Start
8:30am – 12:00pm – Expo and Festival
10:30am – VikesNation Kids Run
11:00am – Goddesses have completed the races

More:  www.goddessrun.ca


Saturday, May 27 ~ LANGFORD.  Millstream Overpass improvements have been deferred by the City of Langford. The civil construction component of the project had come in over budget, it was announced May 26. Originally scheduled for completion by September, the project will be re-tendered this fall, for construction to start spring 2018.

The planned improvements will provide a second southbound left-turn lane onto the Trans-Canada Highway (towards Victoria) to improve traffic flow during peak travel times and on weekends. Fully extended sidewalks, bike lanes and signalized pedestrian crossings will increase cyclist and pedestrian safety.

The revised construction schedule will ensure the project remains on budget, that North Langford businesses are not affected by construction during the busy summer and holiday seasons, and that nearby residents have alternative travel options during construction.

The pending West Shore Parkway will provide an alternate travel choice for vehicles using the Millstream Overpass to access Sooke Road (Hwy 14), while the pending completion of a second access through the Bear Mountain Parkway extension will provide an alternate access to both the Bear Mountain and South Skirt Mountain Development Areas.


Saturday, May 27 ~ LANGFORD.  You can watch the livestream of Women’s Rugby Sevens online today and tomorrow.

Pretty exciting stuff, this world class sport featuring dedicated female athletes from around the world.  Right here in Langford!

 http://www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series


Saturday, May 27 ~ LANGFORD. Two days of Women’s Rugby Sevens goes into full gear this morning on May 27 in Langford. 

Ramping up to this tournament weekend, members of the Rugby Women’s Sevens competing nations gathered at the Dallas Road oceanfront in Victoria on May 25 for their traditional Captain’s Photo. Piling off their bus into the sunlight under clear blue skies, the 12 superfit captains were friendly and jovial with each other, keyed up for the weekend.

Women’s Sevens Rugby Team Captains (in photo from left): Luiza Campos (Brazil), Lucy Mulhall (Ireland), Fanny Horta (France), Marina Petrova (Russia), Sharni Williams (Australia), Ghislane Landry (Canada), Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand), Ana Maria Roqica (Fiji), Alev Kelter (USA), Alica Richardson (England), Barbara Pla (Spain), Pleuni Kievit (Netherlands).

HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens Canada captain Ghislaine Landry told gathered media: “We’ll go out there and play our best”.

Elsewhere that day, various teams spent some time giving on-field tips to young women rugby players around the Greater Victoria area. At Belmont Secondary in Langford the Australia team was on-hand mid-morning at Goudy Field (West Shore Voice News photo).

Limited tickets are still available for the Women’s Sevens games being held at Westhills Stadium in Langford this weekend, May 27 and 28, at www.canadasevens.com . The entire weekend will be streamed live: www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series


 

Friday, May 26 ~ WEST SHORE. As summer gets underway, municipalities in the west shore area are reminding property owners, residents and tourists about the various burning regulations.

COLWOOD: Colwood Fire Chief John Cassidy. The City of Colwood recognizes that improving air quality creates a healthier community for residents and protects our natural environment. Open burning is prohibited in Colwood at all times. This includes all beach fires, campfires, open yard fires, as well as land clearing and construction waste fires. Small wood-burning appliances such chimeneas are permitted on private property provided the hearth is fully enclosed. These appliances are prohibited when the fire danger rating is high or extreme. Propane or charcoal barbeques are not covered under the City of Colwood burning regulations. For further more detailed information, contact the Colwood Fire Department at 250-478-8321. www.colwood.ca/fire

LANGFORD: Assistant Fire Chief Chris Aubrey. The City of Langford only has two periods a year where open fires to burn yard waste (branches and leaves) are permitted: Nov 1-30 and Mar 15-Apr 15 and therefore there is currently no open burning permitted. Campfires are allowed and require a permit available free online at www.cityoflangford.ca . Campfires must be no larger than 2ft by 2ft in a non-combustible container and fueled with clean firewood only (no construction material, refuse or yard waste) and a means to extinguish the fire must be on hand. For all details on open burning and campfires: www.cityoflangford.ca

METCHOSIN: Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. Open Burning in the District of Metchosin is not permitted after 6pm on May 31, 2017. All open burning of yard waste, incinerators and land clearing burns will be prohibited. Cooking Camp Fires that are no larger than 2’ X 2’ are still allowed, but must be extinguished by midnight. As always, beach fires within the District of Metchosin are prohibited. Propane campfires and BBQ’s are allowed.For further information contact the Metchosin Fire Department at 250-478-1307. www.metchosinfire.ca


Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2016]

Thursday, May 25 ~ LANGFORD. The two new high schools in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) — Belmont and Royal Bay — are now LEED Gold Certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is determined by standards and third-party verification for structures that are considered to be ‘green’ or environmentally friendly.

The announcement of LEED status was proudly announced by SD62 Board Chair Bob Phillips at the May 23 SD62 board meeting.

Belmont Secondary School in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2016]

“LEED Gold Certification is a lengthy and stringent process. It reflects highly on our board,” said Phillips. The certification in part reflects SD62’s ability to have attracted quality architects and builders to the two school projects. “It bodes well for SD62 that we can build quality buildings,” said Phillips, in the context that more schools are needed in the growing western communities area that is served by SD62.

Belmont Secondary in Langford and Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood opened their doors to students for the first time in September 2015.

Due to growth in western communities population, the schools are already beyond capacity and will be installing portables to accommodate full student enrolment for Fall 2017. Belmont was built to accommodate 1,200 students and Royal Bay presently accommodates 800 students.

 


Wednesday, May 24 ~ METCHOSIN. Open Burning in the District of Metchosin is not permitted after 6pm on May 31, 2017. All open burning of yard waste, incinerators and land clearing burns will be prohibited.

Cooking Camp Fires that are no larger than 2’ X 2’ are still allowed, but must be extinguished by midnight, says Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop.

As always, beach fires within the District of Metchosin are prohibited. Propane campfires and BBQ’s are allowed.

For further information contact the Metchosin Fire Department at 250-478-1307. www.metchosinfire.ca


SD62 School Board Chair Bob Phillips [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 24 ~ West Shore/Sooke. Long-time Sooke School District (SD62) trustee board trustee Bob Phillips will be resigning from the position of board chair at the end of June 2017. He made that brief announcement at the May 23 SD62 public board meeting last night in Langford.

Phillips has told West Shore Voice News that the SD62 board is “a corporate board”, indicating his inclination for more direct involvement in politics. Phillips is long of the NDP party stripe and was a key organizer in the re-election of BC NDP incumbent John Horgan (Langford-Juan de Fuca) in the recent provincial election.

Most of the trustees on the SD62 board have served long a long time, some of them three or four terms, including Wendy Hobbs, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton (currently serving as vice-chair). and Margot Swinburnson. Neil Poirier is serving his second term, and Ravi Parmar his first term.

In the important matters of education, the wisdom of life experience counts for sometimes as much as understanding the machinations of board interworkings.

A social worker (retired) by trade, Phillips has overseen a contrast of conditions for SD62 budget realities in the past two years. In 2015-2016, the SD62 board agonized over yet another round of cutbacks resulting from province-wide education battles with the BC Ministry of Education. In 2016-2017 came the shift point where more teachers could be hired (mostly heading into fall 2017).

More appropriate funding is also now being received for 2017-2018 to support schools with the underpinnings that come with increased classroom teacher numbers (e.g. custodial, utilities overhead). That accomplishment comes largely from behind-the-scenes work by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge.

Over 200 new teachers will come onstream in SD62 for 2017-2018 as a result of the restored class size and composition clauses in the BC teachers agreement with the provincial government.

In the past few years, SD62 has seen rapid student population growth as families flock to relatively more affordable areas of Vancouver Island’s western communities. In the fall of 2015, SD62 opened two new highschools — Royal Bay in Colwood and Belmont in Langford. Both of those schools already need portable classrooms to keep up with demand. At least 25 portables will be shuffled around the broad SD62 footprint of the west shore, once enrollment numbers are firmed up for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year in September.

From a public perspective, SD62 serves families and students in the communities of Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin and Port Renfrew. From the inside out, SD62 is a largely charged with managing the employment of thousands of teachers. Over 85% of the 2017-2018 budget will go to teacher salaries.

Follow education news ‘from the inside out’ each week in West Shore Voice News 

[WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS PHOTO: Bob Phillips during the visit of the BC Lieutenant Governor at Edward Milne Community School, January 2017]


Monday, May 22 ~ WEST SHORE. Blood is of course needed year-round. In summer the supplies of donated blood can be lower than needed, due to donors being away on vacation. Blood supplies are always needed in hospitals for emergencies and surgeries, and for cancer patient support.

Here are some local BLOOD DONOR CLINICS that are coming up ahead of the full-on summer vacation period:

  • Monday June 12 at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave, Colwood. 12 noon to 7pm
  • Monday July 3 at Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Rd, Sooke. 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.

You can make donation appointments at www.blood.ca


 

Sooke Lake Reservoir at the top of the dam’s spillway, May 15 (CRD photo).

Friday, May 19 ~ GREATER VICTORIA.  The annual mid-year CRD reservoir decline has begun.

And as of May 1, the Capital Regional District (CRD) Stage 1 water conservation bylaw is in effect (to Sept 30). It’s part of an annual strategy to maintain water supplies for Greater Victoria through the drier months of the year.

In 2015 and 2016 in which warmer drier weather came earlier than it has this year, the level of water in the Sooke Lake Reservoir began its annual seasonal decline as of April 19 (99.8%) and April 10 (99.5%), respectively. This year, the first measurement below 100% was seen a bit further into spring, on May 7 (99.6%). The full pool level of Sooke Lake Reservoir is 186.75m, serving a CRD-region population of about 380,000.

According to weather forecasts, this Victoria Day long weekend will offer the first couple of sunny days in 2017 with temperatures in the high teens. In warmer weather, there tends to be more water usage.

Stage 1 conservation allows residential lawn watering twice a week (even addresses on Wed/Sat and odd addresses Thurs/Sun). Established plantings and vegetable gardens may be watered by a hand-held hose with shut-off or hand-held container, or micro/drip irrigation system, on any day at any time. Municipalities may water lawns and boulevards on Monday and Fridays [1am to 10am & 7pm to 10 pm]. www.crd.bc.ca/water

Photo: Sooke Lake Reservoir (at top of the dam’s spillway), May 15. | This article was first published in the May 19, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.


Members of the Canada Women’s Sevens team joined Gareth Rees of Rugby Canada (left), Langford Mayor Stew Young (second from right), and (from left) Councillors Winnie Sifert, Denise Blackwell, Lillian Szpak, and Lanny Seaton at Langford City Hall on May 18. Rugby players (from left/front row): Hannah Darling, Julia Greenshields. (Back row): Charity Williams, Breanna Nicholas, Sara Kaljuvee, Megan Lukan. [West Shore Voice News photo 2017]

Friday, May 19 ~ LANGFORD.  Rugby has long been supported in Langford, from grassroots to high-performance. In anticipation of the upcoming 2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens tournament at Westhills Stadium on Saturday May 27 and Sunday May 28, this week Langford Mayor Stew Young declared May 27 as Rugby Day in Langford during a brief event at city hall.

The upcoming tournament will host the best 12 women’s sevens teams in the world. “We are honoured to have Rugby Canada call Langford home, and we are proud of the hard work, talent and dedication these elite athletes put forth,” said Mayor Young. “We recognize the support of the community, fans, and volunteers and we look forward to the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens playing in our world class sporting facility.”

2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens marks the third consecutive year that the Langford community has enthusiastically embraced a dynamic weekend of high performance sport. In addition to serving as an annual host to this international series, Langford is also the home of the Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre, which will serve as a critical component for the on-going development of high performance rugby in Canada.

“Rugby Day in Langford is a fitting initiative for a community that has played such an important role in supporting and inspiring our Canadian rugby athletes,” said Gareth Rees, Director Commercial and Program Relations, Rugby Canada. “We are grateful for the continued passion and leadership the City of Langford shows toward the development of rugby in Canada, and we look forward to hosting an exciting weekend where members of the community will have the chance to watch the best women’s sevens players in the world compete for the tournament and series title.”

The 2017 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will host 12 of the world’s best women’s sevens teams for the fifth stop on the six-event circuit of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Canadian women are currently third in the overall standings heading into Langford, coming off a recent silver medal performance in Japan. Previously, they finished sixth in Dubai, won in Sydney, and placed third in Las Vegas. They’re only 12 points back of 1st overall and two points away from claiming 2nd with two tournaments remaining.

Thousands of people have already bought tickets for the May 27-28 tournament, but there’s room for more. Rugby enthusiasts, families, and developing rugby athletes who aspire to represent Canada one day on the world stage come out each year for this event. The tournament will also be broadcast live on www.worldrugby.org and TSN GO. In-stadium tickets: www.canadasevens.com


Friday, May 19 ~ WEST SHORE. A drug trafficking investigation led by the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit resulted in the arrest or a 33-yea-old Langford man, said West Shore RCMP today. [RCMP File # 2017-6022]

On May 3, 2017, members of the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit arrested a man on Painter Rd in Colwood. The arrest was connected to an investigation into alleged drug trafficking in the West Shore.

A subsequent search of the man and his vehicle yielded over $1,000 in cash, several baggies containing suspected cocaine, some marijuana joints, and cellphones.

The man has been released on a Promise to Appear in court on August 17, 2017.

Anyone with information about crime activity is asked to contact West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously at Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477, or online www.victoriacrimestoppers.ca


Friday, May 19 ~ WEST SHORE. Big O Tires Westshore has a busy and high-profile weekend ahead, this Victoria Day weekend!

On Saturday May 20 it’s Big O Tires Westshore Night at the Races at Western Speedway in Langford. Then on Monday May 20 the full-service auto repair company will have one of their trucks as a float in the Victoria Day Parade in Victoria.

Located at 1705 Island Highway in View Royal, Big O Tires Westshore is a new franchise… about a year ago owner Don Swindell decided to align with Big O Tires. “They are a trusted brand name in BC,” says Swindell.

The full automotive shop has been a thriving business for eight years in total. Success of the shop is due to “great service, great prices, and great products”, says Swindell. They do full auto repair and maintenance.

When it comes to vehicles, summer is a high-usage season. It’s always good to have your vehicle checked before taking it on a road trip.


 

Thursday, May 18 ~ WEST SHORE.  West Shore RCMP received a report of a 10-month old puppy having been shot by a pellet gun in the Highlands, and are investigating.

Police were contacted after the dog’s owners found the animal had been injured. The Labrador Ozzy was taken to a veterinary clinic and was confirmed to have been shot at least 12 times.

This attack not only left the puppy injured, but shook a whole community for this senseless act, states Cst. John Varley of West Shore RCMP. Luckily, Ozzy is doing well now.

If you have any information about this investigation, please contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online www.victoriacrimestoppers.ca .


Tuesday, May 16 ~ BC. BC’s Official Opposition Leader John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) met with media at 4pm today May 16. 

When asked about his stand on the TransMountain pipeline, he said “we need to defend our coast from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic” and that he would discuss the issue with Prime Minister Trudeau if the NDP becomes the majority government in BC after the BC Election recount (results expected May 24).

Horgan said he is eager to see the final election results involving over 170,000 absentee ballots after which “I can’t wait to get started”.

Meanwhile, Horgan aims to continue focussing on services that people in BC want such as improvements in health care and services for seniors. “My whole objective of my getting into politics was to make life better for people,” Horgan told media today. “I’m still involved and still want to do that.”

Regarding Premier Clark’s comments today about working to improve services for people in BC, Horgan said. “That message clearly has been lost on the liberals for the last 16 years.” He said there have been “no shortage of opportunities” for the government to work on behalf of the people.

Horgan said that almost 60% of those who voted were saying to the government they the people haven’t believed the government is working for them, that they were “more focussed on fundraising than on governing”.

“Almost 60% of the ballots were cast against the sitting government,” said Horgan, referring to the combined voting results of the BC NDP and the BC Greens.

And on proportional representation: “What we have is a real opportunity to demonstrate why proportional representation can work here in BC. We have an outcome that allows two parties with vast majorities to work together with opportunities for the people,” said Horgan today. “People satisfied with the election results and want to make sure this minority situation works.”

See post-election analysis “Part One” in the May 12, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.


Tuesday, May 16 ~  GREATER VICTORIA. BC Transit is looking for drivers — customer-focused and safety-conscious individuals who are passionate about serving the local community to join the Transit Operator team in Victoria.

A paid 9-week training program is provided for learning how to operate every kind of bus in the fleet. Trainees will be supported to earn a Class 2 commercial license with air brakes.

“Bring your passion for driving, and we’ll do the rest,” says one BC Transit rep. The career opportunity is considered to be challenging and rewarding, with competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits.

The six core values for employees are safety, customer service, sustainability, collaboration, integrity and innovation.
www.bctransit.com/careers


Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SHORE. About 2,500 students from 17 elementary schools throughout SD62 (Langford, Colwood, Sooke) will be converging on Belmont Secondary in Langford to hear the Victoria Symphony Orchestra live!

The event is on Thursday May 18 in the school gym. The special appearance by the symphony — in three concerts, taking up most of the day — was set in motion by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge last year, says Belmont principal Ray Miller.

Events like this capture the interest of young students who might then become more involved with music during their middle school and high school years.

‘Musicians in Schools’ and ‘Symphony Story Time’ are just two of the programs by which the Victoria Symphony interacts in schools.


Monday, May 15 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Over the May long weekend, access to the parking lot at Sombrio Beach will be temporarily restricted for safety measures, as in previous years, to discourage illegal activities such as parties and vandalism, as announced today by the BC Ministry of Environment.

Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island, BC

Unauthorized activities within the park can impact the social, economic, cultural and ecological sustainability of both the park and the local communities.

The 2.5-kilometre gravel access road off Highway 14 to the parking lot at the Sombrio Beach trailhead will be closed to vehicle traffic from 7 am on Friday, May 19 to 12 am (midnight) on Monday, May 22.

All locations within Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, including the designated campsites at Sombrio Beach and the Juan de Fuca Marina Trail, remain open to the public.

The three remaining trailheads to the Juan de Fuca Trail at China Beach, Parkinson Creek and Botanical Beach are still accessible by vehicles.

BC Parks wants all park users to peacefully and safely enjoy recreational activities that Sombrio Beach and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park are known for, such as hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.


Monday, May 15 ~ LANGFORD. West Shore RCMP have arrested a suspect after receiving reports of a man making offensive sexual advances to women in public.

At approximately 7:00 am on May 15, police say they received a report of “a First Nations male, wearing a grey sweat shirt and blue sweat pants with white stripes on its side”, who had approached a woman in the parking lot at 2700 Grainger Rd in Langford, pulled down his pants, exposing his genitals to her while making sexual advances. The woman walked away and so did the suspect.

At around 8:30 am, the same suspect, who had made his way to Goldstream Park, approached a lone woman who was at the park and made sexual advances to her before grabbing her buttocks. The woman was able to fight him off and call police right away.

Police responded to the area of Goldstream Park within minutes and were able to locate and arrest the suspect, a 27 year old man of no fixed address.

The detailed description that was provided and the timely report to police was key in locating and arresting this suspect, states Cst. Alex Bérubé, spokesperson for the West Shore RCMP. That prompt call to police likely prevented further harm to other women.

The suspect remains in police custody at this time as police continue their investigation.

If you have any information about criminal activity, please contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online www.victoriacrimestoppers.ca .


Thursday, May 11 ~ COASTAL BC. BC Ferries is adding over 85 extra sailings on the most popular routes for the Victoria Day long weekend: Thursday May 18 through Tuesday May 23.

That includes the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route (60 extra sailings), Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, Horseshoe Bay-Langdale, Earls Cover-Saltery Bay.

The most popular travel times are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning. Monday is usually the busiest day for return trips.


Thursday, May 11 ~ LANGFORD. West Shore RCMP announced today that on May 6 they arrested several outlaw motorcycle gang members. The arrest took place after RCMP officers conducted a traffic stop on a limousine on Highway 1 near Leigh Rd in Langford.

“The traffic stop was initiated by West Shore RCMP after the limousine was observed committing an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act. During the traffic stop, police gathered evidence which led to the arrest of all occupants of the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded a loaded handgun with several loaded magazines and various suspected drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and other suspected controlled substance in tablet forms,” it was stated in an RCMP news release today.

The 10 occupants of the vehicle, four associates and six full-patch Hells Angels were arrested and later released. Three of those individuals were released on a Promise to Appear in court on August 10, 2017.

A detailed report to Crown Counsel will be forwarded for consideration of multiple criminal charges.

“Criminal activity will not be tolerated in the West Shore community and we will strive to keep it safe,” states Cst. Alex Bérubé, spokesperson for the West Shore RCMP. “We had significant resources, including the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit, Traffic Section, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) and air support to monitor this outlaw motorcycle ride.”

If you have any information about criminal activity, please contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.victoriacrimestoppers.ca .


Christy Clark has been asked by the Lieutenant Governor to carry on as Premier.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon has requested that Premier Clark continue to govern as Premier of British Columbia. Clark made the announcement at noon today from her Premier’s office in Vancouver.

The vote count from last night’s General Election tally sits at 43 BC Liberal, 41 BC NDP, and 3 Green until a final count is produced on May 23 (which will include the absentee ballot count from around the province and any BC military/residents abroad).

Many people didn’t realize that if they took advantage of the “28 days of voting” at District Electoral Offices and by other means, that their vote would not be included yet in election-night tallies. The preliminary count of certification envelopes containing absentee ballots province-wide is 176,104.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated Clark for being the first woman to be re-elected as a provincial premier.

The NDP and Greens could bring down the present BC Liberal government and form a new one when the legislature meets. Much of the punditry is enthused about Green Leader Andrew Weaver holding the power card. He could decide to go along with the BC Liberals and the existing setup or side with the NDP to consolidate the progressive vote. Either way, all this is a potential powder keg for seeing another BC election ahead of the usual four-year schedule.


BC NDP Leader delivered a speech that emphasized waiting for definitive election results.

Wednesday, May 10 ~ BC. While in a sense there can only be one winner, the leaders of BC’s three main political parties each delivered an acceptance speech after midnight on Wednesday May 10.

And technically speaking, at the moment, a minority government is what is presently the case with no one party in the May 9 BC General Provincial Election having the required 44 seats to form a majority. The BC Liberals have 43 seats, the BC NDP have 41, and the Greens have three.

The late hour was all about waiting for definitive results from the Tuesday night election. But that was not to be. With so many advance votes and absentee votes still to be counted (as well as an official recount required in Courtenay-Comox due to a very close results), final results won’t be known until May 23.

Under those circumstances, BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark is still Premier, and said in her speech that the voters asked for new considerations. BC NDP Leader John Horgan claimed the moral victory in his speech out of Vancouver, saying voters have asked for change. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver knows that he has a powerful hand to play, in that his new group of three MLAs in a sense hold the balance of power.

More to come.


Tuesday, May 9 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Preliminary Voting Results (after 8 pm):

We are posting the results as they come in, with final results later tonight (and ultra-final after May 23, after all ‘absentee’ votes are counted):

LANGFORD-JUAN DE FUCA (voters in Langford, Highlands, Sooke and Juan de Fuca):

BC NDP Leader John Horgan has won his long-time riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca (52% of vote) over two new-to-politics candidates: BC Liberal Cathy Noel (26%) and Green Brendan Ralfs (19%).

There’s a tie at the moment (10:10 pm): BC Liberals 42 and NDP 42 ridings (with Greens 3), but the leading edge has flipped back and forth all night. A total of 44 or more is required to form a majority government.

Horgan’s home team in Langford-Juan de Fuca is excited about John “sweeping in” though “it’s kind of weird when he’s not around”, said one of the lead organizers, referring to John Horgan being in Vancouver on election night. “Provincially there’s a lot of excitement – so much better this time. We hope that the advance vote will come out in our favour.”

Campaign organizer Ravi Parmar said “we never took anything for granted”, adding that “John was able to join us by Skype and talk to volunteers”. “We’re honoured and thankful for those who supported him and glad he will be serving Langford-Juan de Fuca for another 4 years,” said Parmar.

Advance votes still being counted, which historically has been an NDP strong suit. “Numbers are still coming in from Sooke, and other ridings that are close will also have similar results. It shows our base came out,” said Parmar in a phone interview with West Shore Voice News this evening.

Horgan held on to most of the count that he had (54% in 2013).

BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel with 26% of the vote says she is “very proud of the job I’ve done as well as the whole team. We didn’t win but I won,” she said on Tuesday evening. “This got me into the political arena. I met so many people. And I have learned so much. And there is so much to be done,” Noel said from her celebration party over the phone.

Will she do more with the BC Liberals? “I’m not sure yet. But I will assess my next step and what next door I walk through. I want to be involved. I believe in this community. Things have to be done. I’m looking at municipal or provincial,” said Noel.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sooke—across the riding is huge. It’s diverse and unique, From knocking on the doors I learned that everyone wants something for their community and they just need a voice,” says Noel. “There’s Sunriver, and old and new Sooke. It’s a diverse population.”

It’s sad that it’s so close for the parties (tied at 42/42 as of 10:45 pm).  “I don’t believe the NDP will deliver without causing huge tax increases. I haven’t met John Horgan, but I don’t believe that he’s telling the truth. To look into his eyes is important to me,” said Noel.  She adds that she ran a clean campaign and didn’t over promise.

Green Candidate Brendan Ralfs will be back to his day job next week. But tonight he’s happy about winning 19% of the vote in Langford-Juan de Fuca.

“People came forward to volunteer and we should be able to get a strong Green Party riding association going in Langford-Juan de Fuca. We can build a network for next time, and that could be sooner than four years given the likely minority government,” Ralfs told West Shore Voice News tonight
.
Ralfs says that (as of 11:50 pm tonight), Andrew Weaver has not yet joined the main crowd of Green supporters in the ballroom at the Ocean Pointe Hotel yet “because the outcome remains uncertain” (as to which party he could be asked to support in a minority government).

At this point, the BC Liberals have 43 seats and the NDP have 41 (and the Greens 3). For a majority, 44 seats are required.

CANDIDATE PARTY General Election Vote Tally confirmed at May 11, 2017 Final Vote Tally (will be updated after May 23)
Scott BURTON Libertarian  1.03%
John HORGAN BC NDP (incumbent)  52.78%
Willie NELSON Vancouver Island Party 0.96%
Cathy NOEL BC Liberal  26.35%
Brendan RALFS BC Green  18.87%

ESQUIMALT-METCHOSIN (voters in Esquimalt, Colwood, Metchosin and View Royal):

The riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin has been handily won by Mitzi Dean, NDP with 46.22% of the vote. Clearly in a tied second place are BC Liberal Barb Desjardins (27.74%) and Green candidate Andy MacKinnon (24.76%).

Dean is new to politics but had a strong NDP team already in place, who had worked for retired MLA Maurine Karagianis.

BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins is disappointed about not winning in Esquimalt-Mechosin tonight..

“When I look at the whole election, it showed a lot of surprises,” Desjardins said in an interview by phone this evening after it was clear that NDP candidate Mitzi Dean had won in Esquimalt-Metchosin.

“There will be lots of analysis in the days ahead,” she said.

“There will be a number of factors. Around the province there was a sense of change that carried over to the riding for sure,” Desjardins said.

She feels good about ending up with “good strong numbers” in Metchosin, and good results in Colwood . “I hear that in Esquimalt people didn’t want to lose me as Mayor.”

CANDIDATE PARTY General Election Vote Tally (confirmed at May 11, 2017) Final Vote Tally May 9 (will be updated after May 23)
Mitzi DEAN BC NDP 46.01%
Barb DESJARDINS BC Liberal 27.96%
Andy MacKINNON BC Green 24.76%
Delmar MARTAY Independent 0.38%
Josh STEFFLER Libertarian 0.63%
Tyson STRANDLUND Communist Party 0.26%

 


Tuesday, May 9 ~ LANGFORD.  “A voting day moment”:

This morning BC-NDP Leader John Horgan’s home team in Langford-Juan de Fuca was intensely focussed on all the pieces of managing their candidate’s campaign through today’s the 12-hour voting period.

People have been dropping by to the campaign office today at 114-2801 Jacklin Road to find out where to vote, how to vote, and if they can get a ride to the nearest Voting Place.

Last night the Horgan team posted their group photo on Facebook, cheerfully gearing up for the big day. It’s been an unusual campaign for them, without their candidate in the riding much. But they’ve been promoting about how it’s important to send Horgan back with a majority, to be Premier. Vancouver Island would do well to have an islander as their next premier.

Tonight in Vancouver, BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s celebration party will be at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Horgan has spent the last few days of the 28-day campaign in Surrey and other “must-win” mainland ridings that are necessary if the NDP is to gain more seats than they had before.

To have a majority, the winning party must win in at least 44 ridings. The polls close at 8pm. Results are expected to be made available relatively quickly after that.

Horgan has held the (Langford)-Juan de Fuca riding since 2005 and can count on a lot of longtime ground support in Sooke, Langford and Juan de Fuca.

[Photo: John Horgan on Global TV, May 2 2017]


 

Tuesday, May 9 ~ COLWOOD.   “A voting day moment”:

BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins was keeping busy at her campaign office in Colwood this morning, helping her team. The office was busy with chatter and planning, and a table already loaded up with snacks and food for the workers. Underlying it all, one could feel a little bit of ‘toe tapping’ in anticipation of big news tonight.

Desjardins is running with big name recognition against the NDP’s first-timer Mitzi Dean in Esquimalt-Metchosin. Both candidates are new to provincial politics. But Desjardins (as a three-term Esquimalt Mayor, and two years as CRD Chair) is not new to politics, though she says the party aspect of politics is new for her.

During the campaign, Desjardins has found Metchosin voters to be “diverse but engaged”. Voters are also “very engaged” in Colwood, she told West Shore Voice News today.


Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC. EDITORIAL [West Shore Voice News]. Too busy, too tired, too ‘principled’, or think that you’re too under-informed to vote? Forget all that. Barring the severest of personal circumstances, today there is no reason to sit out this election.

Not only is this province, this country and the world at a critical turning point in terms of doing what’s right for people and the planet, many people over the decades, years, and centuries have fought, suffered and died for your right to vote and live in a free society.

Yeah, yeah, the political system is less than perfect. But if you ‘protest’ by intentionally not voting, you’re not only naive you are letting the pros who work the system shine their best.

Reasons people don’t vote [Ref: 2008 US election]

YOU shine your best today. Be part of the collective force that ushers in the next phase of living in BC. A lot of drops in the bucket will fill the bucket to overflowing.

Voting Places are open 8am to 8pm throughout BC for this 41st General Provincial Election. Take your Voter ID card and two pieces of ID. Or just show up with what you’ve got, as you’re probably on the list anyways.

What you’ve got is RIGHTS. Non-voters waive their right to whine later.

[Pie chart shows the reasons that people didn’t vote in the 2008 US election. “Too busy” counted for 17.6%. 18.4% had some ‘other reason’, didn’t know or refused. And 26.4% were ‘not interested’ or did not like the candidates. Only 6% had registration problems, and 2.6% forgot. Don’t forget.]


Monday, May 8 ~ BC. This final day of the BC election campaign saw BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver campaigning on Vancouver Island. Both of those parties hope to pick up seats from what has for a long time been an NDP stronghold.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan was taking the same tack, over on the mainland where he’s working to see the NDP grab seats in Surrey, Richmond and Delta. NDP ground-teams were out and about on Vancouver Island, taking voting reminder cards door to door.

This evening, Christy Clark will be joined by BC Liberal Fraser Valley candidates Simon Gibson, Darryl Plecas, Mike de Jong, John Martin, Laurie Throness, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman for a rally in Abbotsford.

To achieve a majority, one party will need to win at least 44 seats. There are 87 ridings in BC. A minority government could be formed by either major party (BC Liberal or BC NDP) that achieves fewer than 44 votes but can convince the Lieutenant Governor that they have the confidence of the House. That would likely mean the support of Andrew Weaver and the BC Greens.

Voting in the 41st BC General Election on May 9 will be open 8am to 8pm at all Voting Places throughout the province.


Monday, May 8 ~ Full results are in from the six days of Advance Voting in the BC provincial election. During those Advance Voting days, 614,389 registered voters cast their ballots, as reported by Elections BC. That’s a turnout of 19.46% (round up to 19.5%) — almost double the advance turnout seen in 2013.

Advance voting for this 2017 Provincial Election was held April 29 & 30, plus May 3 to 6, throughout BC. The full BC General Election is tomorrow on Tuesday, May 9.

Drilling down into action on this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • The advance voter turnout was 29.3% of registered voters in Esquimalt-Metchosin; in that riding BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins has name-factor recognition, up against the ground-game power of the BC NDP behind their candidate Mitzi Dean. The Greens are running a strong candidate in Andy MacKinnon.
  • The turnout was 24.3% in Langford-Juan de Fuca where the incumbent is BC NDP Leader John Horgan. The BC Liberals are running a tough race against Horgan, trying to unseat the NDP party leader in his own riding; fronting that is BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel. Also getting definitive local support — especially in the Sooke end of the riding — is BC Green Party Brendan Ralfs.

Leaders: The 24.3% advance vote draw in BC NDP Leader John Horgan’s riding (Langford-Juan de Fuca) was stronger than the 19% turnout in BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s riding of Kelowna West. Advance voter turnout was 24.7% in Andrew Weaver’s riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Some other ridings to watch:

  • On the mainland: In Vancouver-Point Grey where high-profile NDP candidate David Eby is running in Christy Clark’s previous riding, the advance turnout was almost 26%. In Kamloops-South Thompson where incumbent Todd Stone (Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure under Christy Clark) the advance turnout was just 16.8%.  In Vancouver-Mount Pleasant where incumbent Melanie Mark (BC’s first First Nations MLA) is running for the NDP, the advance turnout was 16.9%.
  • On Vancouver Island: Turnout was 26.7% in Saanich North and the Islands where one of the tightest three-way races is taking place (in 2013 it was in fact the tightest race in all of BC election records); Green Party candidate Adam Olsen is running there against NDP incumbent Gary Holman, with Stephen Roberts edging in for the BC Liberals. In Courtenay-Comox the turnout was high at almost 27%.  The Comox Valley riding has been held by the BC Liberals since 2001, but Don McRae, the MLA since 2009, is not running for re-election, instead the Liberal candidate is Jim Benninger a former base commander at Canadian Forces Base Comox. The Greens are running Ernie Sellentin who operates an environmental restoration company. The NDP are running 3-term Courtenay city councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard. The Conservative candidate is Leah McCulloch, who has worked in health care.

Getting out to vote: So with that 19.5% advance turnout last week, still now 80.5% of registered voters could still make their way to the polls on General Election Day, May 9. Will that include you?  Take along your Voter ID card. Or if you don’t have that card, be sure to take along two pieces of ID (with at least one showing your current home address).


Sunday, May 7 ~ WEST SHORE.  Today Sunday May 7 there will be an Emergency Preparedness information fair, with displays, kids’ activities and prize draws. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre’s Seniors Centre (behind the arena building) in Colwood.

Being prepared for major emergencies like floods, fire, wind storms, earthquakes and tsunamis is an important part of living in BC, particularly for those living in coastal areas and on Vancouver Island.


And this is where it all ends up … at voting stations across the province.

Sunday, May 7 ~ BC. With only two days left for active campaigning in this 41st BC General Election, party leaders are out and about in strategic areas for their goals.

BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark will be in Surrey and Maple Ridge today, promoting jobs. One of her appearances will be at a construction site.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan will be in battleground ridings in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Delta today. And likely the Lower Mainland tomorrow as well, says their campaign team.  He’ll also be holding an evening Facebook Live event tomorrow (Monday May 8) from Delta North. The BC NDP captured the entire front page of the Times-Colonist newspaper on Saturday May 6, with a full page ad, pitching for not another four years of Christy Clark.

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver will be on the mainland today in New Westminster, Creston and Nelson. One of the events will include another appearance with David Suzuki. On Monday, Weaver will be in Victoria, his home base. The BC Greens captured the entire front page of the Times-Colonist newspaper today Sunday May 7, with a full page ad asking people to read the Green Party platform.

Advance voting has been robust throughout BC over six available days, particularly in hotly contested ridings. Monday May 8 is the last active day of campaigning. The election is on Tuesday May 9. www.elections.bc.ca


BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver works the crowd at a Green Rally in downtown Victoria, May 6 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, May 6 ~ VICTORIA. BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver (incumbent, Oak Bay-Gordon Head) didn’t really have to work the room at a Green Party rally tonight in Victoria at the Ocean Pointe Resort. The room already had his back. But for someone who says that politics is not his career choice, he has clearly learned the key moves. Humble introduction, rousing speech, thank-yous to people in the room.

Weaver was preceded to the podium by several other speakers including candidates Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands), Sonia Furstenau (Cowichan Valley), Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca), Kalen Harris (Victoria-Beacon Hill), and Chris Maxwell (Victoria-Swan Lake). Weaver’s speaking style is polished and relaxed at this point in the 28-day campaign with only two more days remaining to be out persuading voters to tip the desire for change to the direction of Green.

About 400 people filled the room for the Facebook-live event. Compared to other political rallies, this one was calm, with keen committed supporters who didn’t need wooing but didn’t mind it either. If the energy of a room can be described as clean and fresh, this crowd really did exude that.

Weaver told the crowd that support for the Greens “has been overwhelming in every town… I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he pitched. “People love the Green Party because they’re so sick of the status quo.” He repeated the campaign theme that the Green Party platform is “grounded in evidence”.

BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) at rally in Victoria May 6. [West Shore Voice News photo]

While self-professed as quite new to politics, the most eloquent speech of the evening was delivered by candidate Brenda Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca). After getting past the obligatory ‘rah rah’ stuff at the start of his speech, he obviously didn’t need notes. He described his background as a forest firefighter in BC as a backdrop to saying that BC’s natural areas are” not just beautiful, they’re sublime”. That natural wilderness interface for Ralfs created in him a “fierce desire to protect our home”.

Ralfs has quickly learned to justify his move into politics. When he first signed up, some of his friends told him “we didn’t know you were a politician!” Ralfs says that “politics matters in BC, and that politics can change lives”. He seems imprinted with the power to change things: “People in politics have an obligation to change lives for the better — not just for the few or the majority or many, but for all, for everyone.” To this there was a rousing cheer and more waving of Green Party signs throughout the comfortably carpeted ballroom.

“People are exhausted with politics in BC being divided and divisive,” said Ralfs, proposing to conclude that voters, therefore, have only a single choice, and that’s Green.

Adam Olsen, who was the interim leader of the party before Weaver stepped into that role as the only Green MLA in the BC Legislature after his win in 2013, said a few words too. He congratulated candidates for running “good clean local campaigns”. He was wearing a jersey with the number 17 on it, to help nudge along a victory in 2017. “It’s an honour to walk alongside Andrew Weaver,” said Olsen.

Mallard in flight after Green rally in Victoria, May 6 [West Shore Voice News photo]

The rally set for 6 pm had finally gotten underway around 6:40 pm (after people found parking once the hotel parking lot was full), and wrapped up just before 8pm on a bright spring evening. And the rain had stopped.

Weaver proposes that at least a handful of Greens will make it to the BC Legislature after the 41st BC Provincial Election on May 9, which he says will make a big difference for the people of BC. He’s spending Sunday and Monday in a few more towns, including one more visit to the Vancouver area and wrapping up on Monday in Victoria.

And so if you believe that life imitates art, check this out: a lone mallard duck (with a green head) was sitting outside the hotel after the rally, looking at the Green Party bus that was already revving up its engine to take Weaver to the next stop. Then the mallard took flight.

The rally was broadcast on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/BCGreens/videos/10158698505335215/


Friday, May 5 ~ BC.  In these last few days ahead of the May 9 general election, leaders of the three main parties are busy paying attention to any yet-unvisited sectors of their target voter base as well as visiting or re-visiting the ridings with tight races. And of course, finding precious-little time to romance the converted and keep them on track.

While every election is important, this one does plant BC at the precipice of a number of critical socioeconomic and environmental realities that require effective solutions.
The role of principled media during an election in an active democracy is to provide key insights from within the information overload, so that voters may be assisted in their voting choices.

We hereby present some thoughts about how things might work out, depending on which way you vote in the BC provincial election on May 9. Our three-part editorial starts with coverage on page 1, then splits out on page 2 this way:

  • The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years now. / …
  • The BC NDP collective has been thirsting for ‘the top job’ for over 16 years now. / …
  • The BC Green Party has — until now — been one and the same as the face of their party leader and standalone MLA Andrew Weaver. / …

Read the full coverage in the May 5, 2017 “Election Eve Edition” of West Shore Voice News.


Friday, May 5 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Starting at 11 am on Saturday morning May 6, the BC Green Party campaign bus will start a long day with a stop in Campbell River, then heading to Courtenay-Comox, then by 1:10 pm to Parksville-Qualicum, and by 2 pm to Nanaimo. After that, the team will head on their bus to Shawnigan for 4pm in the south island area.

Then that evening to the Victoria Conference Centre for a Green Party Island Rally at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort which starts at 6pm.

The Greens have been promoting their “evidence-based and fully costed” 2017 election platform, at www.bcgreens.ca


Friday, May 5 ~ BC. This is the last weekend of BC election campaigning, coming up May 6 and 7. Then on Monday, May 8 will be the last day of campaigning before the BC General Election on May 9.

Details on how to vote in the Advance Voting today and Saturday (May 5 & 6), and on election day May 9, are at: www.elections.bc.ca and locally on the EVENTS page of this website.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca race is one to watch, where BC NDP Party Leader John Horgan is the incumbent. The slate in that riding is: John Horgan (BC NDP Party Leader & incumbent); Cathy Noel (BC Liberal); Brendan Ralfs (BC Green); Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party); and Scott Burton (Libertarian). The area includes Highlands, Langford, Sooke and the Juan de Fuca area up to Port Renfrew. It’s the fast-growing area of BC (only Surrey on the mainland is growing faster), encompassing urban and rural.

The Esquimalt-Metchosin race is one to watch, this time without its long-time NDP incumbent and now a high-profile BC Liberal candidate. The slate in that riding is: Mitzi Dean (NDP); Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal); Andy MacKinnon (BC Green); Josh Steffler (Libertarian); Tyson Strandlund (Communist Party); and Delmar Martay (independent). The area has key transportation issues, as the area provides both employment and ‘bedroom community’ as well as rural lifestyles.


Wednesday, May 3.  As advance voting in the BC Election gets underway again today (May 3 to 6, 8am to 8 pm in all ridings), we can take a look at the advance voting trends from the first round of advance voting on the weekend of April 29 & 30.

On this west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Esquimalt-Metchosin brought in 4,226 votes last weekend (2,428 on Saturday and 1,798 on Sunday) out of a total number of 37,692 registered voters. That’s 11.2% of voters. Candidates in that riding are Mitzi Dean (BC NDP), Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal), Andy MacKinnon (BC Green), Josh Steffler (Libertarian), and Delmar Martay (independent).
  • Langford-Juan de Fuca saw 3,722 votes last weekend (2,087 on Saturday and 1,635 on Sunday), out of a total of 39,176 registered voters. That’s a 9.5% advance poll turnout. Candidates in that riding are BC NDP Leader John Horgan, incumbent (NDP), Cathy Noel (BC Liberal), Brendan Ralfs (BC Green), and Willie Nelson (Vancouver Island Party).

The highest turnout on Vancouver Island April 29 & 30 was in Courtenay-Comox with 4,260 votes cast; Esquimalt-Metchosin came in a close second with 4,226; Parksville-Qualicum saw 4,018; Victoria-Beacon Hill logged in with 3,773 votes; and Langford-Juan de Fuca came in fifth with 3,722.

On the mainland, Vancouver-Fairview delivered 4,106 votes, Penticton delivered 4,029 advance votes, Vancouver-West End saw 4,007 votes cast, and Vancouver-Point Grey (where the NDP’s David Eby beat out Christy Clark in the 2013 election) logged in with 3,787 votes.

This is the first time that voting has been available on a Sunday, and in many ridings the turnout was strong on April 30, in some cases with most votes cast than on the Saturday. Most of the polling stations were open on those first two days; on the west shore only Gordon United Church (in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding) wasn’t available due to the Sunday factor.

It would seem that the ridings where party leaders are running are getting voters out with relatively equal strength. Premier Clark (BC Liberal leader) is running in Kelowna West, where 3,749 advance votes were cast this past weekend. In John Horgan’s (BC NDP Leader) riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca there were 3,722 votes cast. BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver is running Oak Bay-Gordon Head where 3,264 advance votes were cast April 29-30.

Advance voting results will be updated daily during this May 3 to 6 advance voting period.

All advance votes will be counted on the night of the general election Tuesday May 9. Any advance votes that are cast over the 28-day campaign at District Electoral Offices will be counted on May 22 in the home ridings for those votes. Final vote results will be provided by Elections BC on May 23.


Tuesday, May 2 ~ LANGFORD. Two custom bus services launched by the City of Langford have been cancelled.

Soon to go is the in-town trolley that has been servicing local shoppers and residents in the commercial areas of Langford since 2007. BC Transit services to and around the Langford area have improved over the years (apparently up 76%), so the trolley is no longer needed.

Also wrapping up (as of June 30) is the Langtoria Greenline bus, launched last fall to help ease commuter traffic round trip between Langford and Victoria. Low ridership was the main reason there. People still like travelling in their own cars despite the time in commuter traffic and the cost of parking in Victoria. Some of those who have used the Langtoria bus service may now carpool.

The idea for the Greenline came up when construction of the McKenzie-Admirals Road Interchange was announced, with the advent of even more traffic slowdowns during the construction period. Operated by Wilson’s Transportation, it has been following a route that stops at 21 spots in the West Shore.

Langford Mayor Stew Young says he will now push for high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on Hwy 1 that would also accommodate buses, and continue to work with the province on getting to yes with transportation options along the E&N Rail corridor.


 

Tuesday, May 2 ~ WEST SIDE of Vancouver Island. Advance voting starts up again in the morning throughout BC! Advance voting Places will be open 8 am to 8 pm for the next four days: May 3, 4, 5 and 6.

On the west side of Vancouver Island:

  • Advance Voting is available in Langford at Belmont Secondary School, Four Points Sheraton, and Gordon United Church.
  • Advance Voting places in Sooke are at SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Sooke Community Hall.
  • Advance Voting for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at Colwood Pentecostal Church, Esquimalt United Church, Metchosin Community Hall, Songhees Wellness Centre, View Royal Town Hall, and West Shore Parks & Rec.

Ballots cast during Advance Voting will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted on general election night May 9.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without vigorously clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings (on May 22) after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

However, if you can’t make it to an Advance Voting Station during May 3-6, these DEO offices make it convenient to vote on May 7 and 8 (as well as on election day May 9):

  • District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014.
  • District Electoral Office for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at 3-1905 Sooke Road in Colwood. Inquiries: 250-952-4408.

Tuesday, May 2 ~ COLWOOD.  The City of Colwood has issued a traffic advisory for tomorrow, Wednesday May 3. There will be single lane closures in the 1800-block of Island Highway near Wale Road.

TELUS will be servicing some of their lines in the area between 8:30 am to 3 pm. Traffic travelling in the curb lane in both directions will be merged into the inside lane.


Tuesday, May 2 ~ BC.  Where you vote does count, for timing! Ballots cast at Advance Voting stations (April 29 & 30; May 3 to 6) will be counted on election night, after the main ballot boxes are counted, toward the May 9 general election night tally and results.

However, any votes cast at the District Electoral Office (one central office for each riding) will get counted on May 22, toward a final vote announcement on May 23.

Advance Voting is available in Langford May 3 to 6 at Belmont Secondary School, Four Points Sheraton, and Gordon United Church.  Advance Voting is available for Esquimalt-Metchosin May 3 to 6 at Colwood Pentecostal Church, Esquimalt United Church, Metchosin Community Hall, Songhees Wellness Centre, View Royal Town Hall, and West Shore Parks & Rec.

In this 2017 election, Elections BC has been promoting “you have 28 days to vote”, without clarifying that votes cast at District Electoral Offices that are open daily for 28 days will be counted in their home ridings after the paper ballots are distributed to the 87 ridings around the province.

The District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. Inquiries: 250-952-5014.

The District Electoral Office for Esquimalt-Metchosin is at 3-1905 Sooke Road in Colwood. Inquiries: 250-952-4408.


Monday, May 1 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. Additional tech-related seats for the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Vancouver Island University were announced today. The goals is “to develop home grown talent to help British Columbia continue to be a leader in the innovation economy”, as announced by BC Liberal candidates David Calder, Alex Dutton and Paris Gaudet.

The BC Liberals say they have made a commitment to increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates by 1,000 per year by 2022. UVic will receive 80 new seats and both Camosun College and VIU will receive 30 to contribute to that goal.


BC Liberal candidate Barb Desjardins (Esquimalt-Metchosin) at a business mixer in the west shore April 24. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Monday, May 1 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. The BC Liberals today say the Capital Regional District (CRD) governance model needs modernizing to ensure decisions are being made effectively, residents are getting the services and accountability they deserve, and in the most efficient manner possible. The statement cam  from Barb Desjardins, BC Liberal candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin.

In the BC Liberals Island Platform, they are stating a commitment to a full review of Capital Regional District governance – and working with any community that is in support of possible service integration and amalgamation.

“The model hasn’t been reviewed in decades, and it doesn’t reflect how the region delivers services today, or the associated challenges in delivering those services in the most effective manner,” said Desjardins, a three-term Esquimalt Mayor and past CRD chair.

“One practical example is housing development – an issue that I hear about from builders and the general public. Under the current governance structure, each municipality within the CRD has its own development charges, each interprets the building code differently, and the time it takes to move an application through each municipality differs. As a result, there is no consistency for builders, it means additional costs, and those costs are ultimately borne by the home purchaser or renter.”

“The other reality is that we have communities on the West Shore that have different needs than those in Victoria and the current structure doesn’t always recognize those views or needs – because of the CRD model,” Desjardins said in a release.

In an interview with West Shore Voice News today, Desjardins said that the small business sector grows in a municipality that has good governance. She cited the City of Langford as a good example.

The BC Liberals say they’re been clear that any community not wishing to participate in amalgamation or other governance changes will not be forced to participate.

 


 

ARCHIVES – Langford, Colwood & Metchosin news – March & April 2017

ARCHIVES – Langford, Colwood & Metchosin news – Jan & February 2017

ARCHIVES – Langford, Colwood & Metchosin news – Nov & Dec 2016

ARCHIVES – West Shore regional news – June to Oct 2016

ARCHIVES – West Shore regional news – Feb to May 2016

 


Contributions of articles, insights and photos welcome. Write to: editor@westshorevoicenews.com or tel/text 250-217-5821. Twitter: @WestShoreVOICE .