Archive – BREAKING NEWS – November 2017
Thursday, November 30 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan told media today that he considers the Fall Session of the legislature to have been a success. He itemized that his minority government has passed a number of key bills and that they worked on a number of initiatives that were laid out in the election platform.
He jumped right into how a 4-year mandate to achieve “all of the results” will be helpful to “working for people and delivering the services that they depend on”.
Premier Horgan is keen about the public engagement about the upcoming electoral reform referendum as available online at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote/ . The wording of the referendum question will be announced in the new year after input from public engagement has been reviewed, said Horgan.
About the referendum question that ends up on the ballot: “I want it to be as clear as possible, and I want the public to make this choice.” Horgan said that Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said ‘just do it’. “But I think that’s not the right way to proceed in the 21st century. We want to engage with people and ask them how they want us to proceed. I want it (a winning referendum result) to be 50+1 and that the public makes the choice,” Premier Horgan said today.
With a bit of retrospection, Horgan said that the period between the May 2017 election campaign and the swearing-in that was held mid-July will be seen as a “most heightened period in political history, with people “suddenly interested in what happened here … the role of the speaker and the role of the Lieutenant Governor in our democracy.”
He called the first minority government in 50 years in BC a “unique opportunity… where parties are working together to make life better for citizens in this great province”.
Thursday, November 30 ~ BC. Today in a media session from the BC Legislature, Premier John Horgan defended his position on opposing increased tanker traffic through BC waters, and vowed to maintain that position for the sake of BC’s economy and environment. “I have a great deal of respect for Premier Rachel Notley and the progressive work she’s doing as leader of that province, but my response is to stand firm for the interests of our province,” Horgan said about Alberta’s premier who today continued her pitch to expand pipelines that would bring more crude oil to the coast.
Earlier this week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley had called on the federal government to step up its efforts to support the project. Today November 30, Notley said while speaking in Vancouver to BC business leaders about the future of energy in Canada and local pipeline projects, that she was pleased with the federal government support the National Energy Board process to resolve permit delays.
“I hope (the federal government) will continue to embrace their role as a key player in promoting what is, in my view, a national project,” Notley said. She noted that several years ago, 44,000 British Columbians earned $2 billion in income by working in Alberta. But today BC Premier Horgan said his government’s opposition to pipeline expansion remains in the interest of economic and environmental benefits to BC.
Thursday, November 30 ~ BC. HORGAN ON HOUSING. “Housing is the number one issue on my desk right now,” said Premier John Horgan today, though last week his top concern was the decision he is soon to make about whether the Site C hydroelectric project continues or gets cancelled. For housing , the Premier said that his government will have “a comprehensive plan in February”.
He itemized the need for more 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units “to allow families to grow and maintain a connection to community”. On the demand side, he indicated that his government will aim to “remove speculation in the market”.
Wednesday, November 29 ~ LANGFORD. As of 11 am this morning November 29, there are more 5,000 fish in the pond at Hole #15 at Bear Mountain Valley Golf Course.
On this cool Wednesday up at Bear Mountain about 5,000 coho parr were released into Osborn Pond at Hole #15. Skies were grey but the rain held off.
The morning activity was the 6th annual coho release into the ecofriendly habitat. The juvenile salmon will stay and feed in the pond for several months before heading out through Millstream Creek to Esquimalt Harbour and out to the open ocean in the Juan de Fuca Strait. Coho live half their lives in fresh water, and half in the saltwater of the ocean.
About 1,400 of the original batch will make it to the ocean for a long swim to Haida Gwaii and then return, arriving back in Millstream Creek about 18 months from now. They will be about 2.5 feet long at that point, coming back to spawn, said Peter McCully, technical advisor, Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association.
The fish each have one of their fins clipped, as a way for identifying them upon their return. It’s an unused adipose fin that is clipped a bit, not a fin that is required for the action of swimming. About 700 to 800 released fish are identified upon return. They don’t make it as far back as Osborn Pond, but for the time being get only as far as some small ponds near Atkins Road. Presently a culvert perched high above the stream presents too much of a jump even for powerful salmon.
There is now a plan to build some fish ladders (concrete ‘steps’) for the returning fish as a way of enabling their jump into the culvert. The hatchery needs about $205,000 more toward a total goal of $245,000 (an amount that will be matched by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans). So far, large donations have been contributed by the City of Langford and Ecoasis Developments, and the Peninsula Streams Society is doing more fundraising.
The fish were transported out to the pond today in a large container, then directed into the pond through a large plastic hose. It took barely a minute for all the fish to arrive in the pond. Well, except for a handful of stragglers that at the end were dumped into their new habitat from a bucket.
A class of Grade 3 & 4 students from Lakewood Elementary with their teacher Sherri Fawcett were keen observers, gathered on the soggy grass. Between arriving pondside in a fleet of golf carts, watching the small fish being hosed into the pond, and enjoying hot chocolate and cookies, the kids had an exciting and probably quite memorable experience.
The event is sponsored each year by Ecoasis Developments which owns Bear Mountain Resort. Ecoasis Chief Financial Officer David Clark was in attendance, as well as Bear Mountain staff, several volunteers from Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association, and media.
Turning Osborn Pond into a nursery for these parr is an integral part of a larger conservation initiative to strengthen the numbers of coho, chum and chinook salmon in the waters off the south-easterly tip of Vancouver Island. McCully says it’s quite significant that this environmental initiative is occuring through mostly an urbanized area.
The parr weight about 8 to 10 grams. The eggs were harvested last November and volunteers have been overseeing their rearing.
The hatchery has over 90 active volunteers. “It’s a model of how public involvement in wildlife conservation and preservation can provide environmental rewards without costing the taxpayers large sums of money,” explains McCully. He says that recent survival rates for South Vancouver Island streams are as low as one-half of 1%. “Giving these young fish a fighting start is extremely important”.
Improved salmon stocks will support food fishery for First Nations communities, the sport fishing industry, and local and charter fishing operations. Prior to the introduction of parr to Osborn Pond, there were no salmon in Millstream Creek.
Monday, November 27 ~ LANGFORD. There was a quake this evening in the west shore, that’s a fact. How strong it was or location are variably reported.
Natural Resource Canada (NRC) reported a 2.0 Magnitude quake as occuring at 7:02:50 PST at a depth of 10 km.
The location of 48.51 N and 123.6 West of the November 27 quake was reported by some media as NE of Sooke, which puts the actual location in Langford.
The US Geological Service called it a 2.4 Magnitude quake “between Langford and Sooke” at a depth of 24.2 km.
By all measure it was a small quake, with damage neither reported nor expected, says NRC.
It was enough of a shakeup that social media was active with people’s reports of feeling a quake.
And it was felt in Colwood. During the City of Colwood council meeting Mayor Carol Hamilton paused to inform the room that a 1.9 quake had occurred in Langford “so that was an earthquake we all felt (as the meeting started)”.
Friday November 24 ~ LANGFORD. A Shift into Winter information booth about winter driving safety will be at the Victoria Royals game in Victoria this evening, 6 to 10 pm. It’s an opportunity presented by Mainroad South Island to share road safety information with the public.
The main depot for Mainroad South Island is in Langford, conveniently located as a large facility on the new West Shore Parkway near Hwy 1.
Today Mainroad South Island manager Rick Gill and Operations Manager Leon Bohmer spoke to media about their preparations for the winter season. Weather is expected to be about the same as last winter, including snowfall and icy road conditions.
“Safety of the travelling public is of utmost importance,” said Rick Gill, manager, Mainroad South Island. “It’s a challenge when winter comes. But it does snow in this region. So we try to educate the public about safe winter driving,” said Gill.
By de-icing roads with brine ahead of expected snowfall, Mainroad South Island hopes to get ahead of any major road condition problems this winter.
Look for a full article coming up in the November 24th print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (being posted this weekend on this website ). | More about winter driving: www.shiftintowinter.ca
Photos (from top):
>> Snow plough in winter storm [Mainroad South Island]
>> Mainroad South Island Operations Manager Leon Bohmer (left) and Manager Rick Gill, with the newest of four 4-ton sander trucks, at their main facility in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo, Nov 24/17]
>> Salt can be loaded up into trucks on short notice, from a ready supply on hand at the West Shore Parkway location [West Shore Voice News photo, Nov 24/17]
Friday, November 24 ~ SOOKE. When it comes to hot topics around Sooke, one of the most heated is Highway 14 (Sooke Road).
So it was a bit surprising to hear not too many new ideas or any momentum for action during the Transition Sooke evening presentation on Monday November 20.
Called “Rethinking Traffic as Usual”, the presentation by guest speaker Eric Doherty to about 40 Sooke residents gathered in the second-floor library at Edward Milne Community School was mainly a pitch for more bus transit on the provincial highway.
The same old arguments about more roads or further road expansion leading to more congestion somewhat fell on deaf ears.
Read the full article on the SOOKE breaking news page
Wednesday, November 22 ~ VICTORIA. BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver today read to the BC Legislature a warning from a letter signed by from 15,364 scientists in 184 countries.
The letter, published last week by the Alliance of World Scientists entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a second notice warns world leaders that there needs to be change in order to save the earth.
The full letter is posted here http://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/ and scientists from any scientific discipline (e.g. ecology, medicine, economics, etc.), are invited to endorse the letter.
“As leaders, we have a responsibility to younger generations to ensure that our actions today do not leave them worse off than we are,” said Weaver.
Weaver said he was proud to deliver the scientists’ message to the BC legislature “so that we may be reminded of this responsibility and take urgent action to address climate change”. Weaver continued: “BC has a history of leadership in climate action. I am proud that our Agreement with the BC NDP has once again moved us in this direction, but there remains much work to be done.”
“BC has a highly educated workforce, abundant natural resources and is one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. If we have the courage to champion a bold vision, we can ensure that BC is a leader not only in climate action, but also in the low-carbon economy that is emerging as world leaders step up to reduce emissions.”
The letter states that in order “to prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual… soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”
The warning comes 25 years after Dr. Henry Kendall, a Nobel Laureate and former Chairperson of the Union of Concerned Scientists, organized a similar statement signed by 1,500 scientists in 1992.
Weaver is a renowned climate scientist who prior to his election to the BC Legislature in 2013 served as Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and analysis in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.
Weaver was a Lead Author on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific assessments and has authored or coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed, scientific papers and was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate from 2005-2009.
Tuesday, November 21 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov Jay Inslee have issued the following statement after their first official meeting and the governor’s address to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia:
“Today, we reaffirmed our commitment to work closely together and strengthen the enduring and unique partnership between British Columbia and Washington state.
“We recognize our shared responsibility to protect the environment, grow our economies, find new opportunities to expand our flourishing tech and innovation corridor, and create good jobs on both sides of the border.
“Our governments remain committed to joint action and leadership in the fight against climate change, and in the pursuit of strong, sustainable economic development that works for the people of Washington and British Columbia.”
Friday, November 17 ~ LANGFORD/SOOKE. BC Premier John Horgan — MLA for the Langford-Juan de Fuca area through which Highway 14 (Hwy14/Sooke Road) runs, has told Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) staff to go back to the drawing board.
Horgan has recently reviewed a long-awaited report intended to improve driving and safety conditions on the winding, through-the-hills provincial highway that connects Sooke and westerly beyond to the rest of Greater Victoria. The Premier has asked for more details and options, to work harder on finding a solution, it was learned from government officials on November 17.
The first draft apparently has some “good projects” within it, but “not sufficient scale that the MLA wants”. While this delays the timeline for seeing improvements on Hwy 14, it will likely come as good news to Sooke residents, commuters, and the regional tourism industry because it means the Premier (who is directly familiar with details of the road) is watching out for his constituents and the region, toward a better result. It also makes sense to use taxpayers’ dollars wisely, and if the improvements will leave some things undone, then it’s prudent to further develop some meaningful improvements.
Apart from a short 4-lane stretch from the West Shore Parkway intersection west toward Sooke, Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) is single-lane. Until a person has driven it many times, for various reasons including road line (some tight angles), sight lines (especially with headlights from oncoming night traffic), lack of lighting and no opportunity for passing, the road presents a challenging drive. Even for seasoned drivers of the Sooke Road, at night and/or in inclement weather, it’s still a drive that could be considered difficult and risky.
Premier Horgan has asked senior officials to engage in a very focussed consultative process with an informal regional group of business people (that sometimes refers to itself as the Sooke Economic Development Commission) who focus on Hwy 14 issues and also Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.
Mayor Tait was been awaiting the transportation report along with everyone else. Today she said: “Premier Horgan as our MLA is well aware of needed improvements to Hwy 14, and while MOTI staff have worked to have the draft completed, I’m grateful that our MLA and Premier is taking the time to ensure the study fully captures the necessary improvements for the safety of our residents and visitors.”
Langford Mayor Stew Young sees opening up the Sooke region as a benefit to regional economic development. Regarding the now further delay of the MOTI plan for improving Hwy 14, Mayor Young said today: “I am hopeful the provincial government will keep the solution to Hwy 14 and the E&N corridor into Victoria as high priorities”. “I will be reaching out to Transportation Minister Trevena to see what opportunities we have to find a solution for Westshore and Sooke residents,” he said.
In recent years some improvements have included wider shoulders including bike lanes in some stretches, as well as the roundabout in Sooke town centre. Otherwise, there remain several sections that obviously require left-turn lanes for improved safety (such as at 17 Mile House, and at Manzer Rd) and improved lighting all along the highway — Sooke to Langford — that would produce immense improvements in safe use of the road for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
And here’s what MOTI had to say about their rejected report today: “BC is working hard to build roads and highways that support growing communities and help encourage economic development across the province. For Hwy 14, we want to make the corridor between Langford and Sooke as safe and as accessible as possible – not just for people in cars, but for people who take transit and people who bike and walk.”
The ministry also says that it focused the corridor study on safety upgrades “because people who frequently travel the route told us they were concerned about reliability and wanted to see it closed less frequently.” Apparently the study also looked at ways to promote greater transit use, and how to encourage more cycling over the short and medium timeframe. “The initial findings identify several safety and transit improvements that could be implemented over the next year or two in addition to the work that is already underway,” said a statement by MOTI.
And now they have heard from Premier Horgan that the review “doesn’t go far enough to improve mobility along this corridor and to meet the demands of the increasing population, as more and more people make their homes and establish their businesses in the Sooke area.” It’s clear that authors of the report either don’t drive Hwy 14 themselves or did not consult with Sooke-area businesses, community leaders or daily commuters who could have identified very specific needs.
“The ministry is going to take the report a step further, looking at ways to make travel along this route more reliable and to increase mobility, such as adding future passing lanes and potential short road re-alignments to straighten out some of the curves,” said MOTI officials on November 17.
“We’re going to expand the study to go all the way to Port Renfrew and we’re going to hear from stakeholders in the region to get their ideas for long term improvements on this corridor.” MOTI concluded: “This government cares about building strong, connected communities and is committed to solving the broader transportation challenges and needs in the South Island region.”
On Monday, November 20 a presentation about Hwy 14 and broader transportation issues will be hosted by Transition Sooke at Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd, at 7 pm. The event is open to the community and is expected to be well-attended.
This article first published in the November 17, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Tuesday, November 14 ~ LANGFORD. Rugby Canada is making another shift to Langford which includes not only the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre (construction near completion) but an internal restructuring of the organization.
As announced yesterday by Rugby Canada, a restructuring within the burgeoning National Sport Federation will be implemented “to drive operational excellence”.
The restructuring announced today allows the organization to align and focus its resources with its evolving high performance objectives and expanded National Team operations in Langford, along with the opening of the Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre at 3019 Glen Lake Road in early 2018. The cost of the joint project of the Government of Canada, City of Langford, and Rugby Canada is $7.84 million.
As part of the restructuring, several departments will relocate to Langford over the next three to six months from the organization’s corporate office in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Rugby Canada’s Finance, Marketing and Communications, General Operations and Governance departments will relocate to the Federation’s existing Centre of Excellence facility at 3024 Glen Lake Road.
“This is a good organizational change from the top down,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young. “It is good for rugby’s advancement on the world stage and good for the athletes. Most of the teams Canada competes against have made changes and are showing results,” he said this week. “Centrally focusing on the front office is good for rugby in Langford. We are are strong partner and supporter of Rugby Canada and look forward to a long committed relationship with rugby players and staff.”
Mayor Young is looking forward to the grand opening of the Al Charon Centre for excellence which he says “will be a huge benefit for the Canadian men’s and women’s teams and give them the extra advantage while playing for Canada on the world stage.”
The Rugby Department within Rugby Canada has been led by Jim Dixon for the past two and a half years. “On behalf of the Canadian Rugby community and everyone at Rugby Canada, I would like to thank Jim for his commitment to the organization, our National Teams and Development programs. We wish Jim every success in the future,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada.
Positions being established in Langford by the organization that has grown rapidly over the last five years are: Chief Operating Officer, Director of Communications and Marketing, Director of Finance, and finance coordinators. Myles Spencer, current Chief Operating Officer, Linh Nguyen current Chief Financial Officer, and Carlos Ferreira, current Director of Marketing and Communications, along with the existing finance staff, will remain with Rugby Canada for the coming months as these new positions are recruited for and filled by new staff based in Langford.
An external party with relevant expertise in the Canadian sport system was called in to help assess and guide the restructuring toward “increased synergies in the daily operations of the staff and permit a downsizing of Rugby Canada’s office requirements in Richmond Hill for efficiencies”. Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors says it fully supports and endorses this new organizational change. It is absolutely necessary,” said Tim Powers, Chair of the Rugby Canada Board of Directors. “We would also like to thank Jim, Myles, Linh, Carlos, Nina, Audrey and Cindy for their unwavering commitment to our sport.”
“This marks the beginning of a new era for Rugby Canada, as one of Canada’s fastest growing sports,” added Vansen. “While always difficult to reach these tough decisions, this is the best path forward to reach our organization’s performance and growth objectives. These changes will help Rugby Canada build a world class organizational culture and enhance the performance of our Sport development and National Team programs, today and into the future.”
Sunday, November 12 ~ NATIONAL. Working hard toward the open-minded view. INSIGHT-EDITORIAL by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News
Canada is fast gaining an international reputation for advancing by leaps and bounds in various social areas, like flinging open the doors to immigration, working fast toward legalization of cannabis by next summer, and labouring toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples in various areas of concern. Zero tolerance for sexual harassment and bullying have become, finally, pretty much mainstream. Remembrance Day this weekend should remind all of us how much sacrifice has been made over the last century to uphold all manner of freedom and personal dignity in our country.
So in the context of this fast-action swirl of progressive social movement in this country, it was odd — and made national headlines — that Canada’s new Governor General took a swipe at ‘believers’. Religious or not, most people realize this is a country based on a founding faith and where all faiths are respected, or at least the freedom to hold beliefs that might be different from yours or mine.
In a speech at the 9th annual Canadian Science Policy Convention in Ottawa on November 1, Governor General Julie Payette mocked with a wide brush the entire art and science of astrological interpretation and calculation. While astrology is not exactly a belief-system, it has been shown to be an effective tool for self-awareness and understanding. The math to calculate planetary transits isn’t easy … before the advent of modern computing the charting was done by hand. Some world-class astrologers such as the industrious Neil F. Michelsen (organizer of the modern ephemeris) and the uniquely brilliant Jim Lewis (inventor of astrocartography) in the late 1970s and early 1980s generated entire volumes of analysis based on math done with calculators and good ol’ brain cells.
There was a time, long long ago, when the stirrings of modern science and medicine were mocked. Germs we can’t see? Nonsense! Today’s accurate science is essential and should rightly guide the development of technological civilized nations. But we should remember that over time many scientific ‘truths’ have been debunked, followed by further advancement. Meanwhile, the evidence of one’s life purpose can be examined through competent natal astrological analysis based on one’s geographical entry point into time and space on earth (i.e. birth), pointing to congruence for the individual within their social framework.
Years ago it was actually a mainstream university administrator in my world (not a hippie with sun signs and moons pasted up around the room) who pointed out the value of a system of personal insights that accepts a myriad ways of being ‘right’ and whole. Today’s mental health movement that is based dangerously on models that lead to labeling and medication could well take a page from that book to recognize that not all pegs fit into the same holes. [Footnote: there is value in utilizing therapeutic levels of nutritional supplementation as an approach to managing mental health, rather than by rote reverting to drugs and psychotherapy. ‘We are what we eat’, entirely scientifically proven – cellular microbiology at work. Canadian founder of that research and clinical application: Dr Abram Hoffer.]
Youth are stressed by frantically working hard to ‘fit’ and find a place in the big scheme of things (that’s always been the challenge of approaching adulthood but it’s incredibly more complex in a digital, global, hyper-social era). It takes a constellation of personalities to create the universe of humanity, and while our culture gives lip-service to diversity, it’s still tough for those who don’t find a ready niche.
It’s a fool’s path to wake up in the morning and guide one’s every move of the day based on sun-sign astrology. But utilizing deeper astrological principles as a tool for the continual work of personal self-actualization (e.g. providing direction for choices in lifestyle and career), family dynamics (noting the insightful work of international depth astrologer and author Erin Sullivan), and sociocultural examination (e.g. all baby boomers were born with transformational Pluto in fiery self-focused Leo) is a principled choice that flies neither in the face of science nor religion. Understanding of self and society, by whatever tool or system, is clarity worth achieving.
With her one fell-swoop mocking astrology, Payette gave Canadians a glimpse of an old-school intellectual arrogance that does not fit within Canada’s newfound bent for exploring with an open mind all things ‘wonderful and new’.
Saturday, November 11 ~ LANGFORD. BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) laid a wreath and made some brief remarks at the podium during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Langford today. In total, 62 wreaths were laid.
VIPs arrived in a parade. At Veteran Memorial Park, about 1,000 people were gathered under threat of rain, standing or seated in some bleachers in the cold for the one-hour event.
Service personnel in uniform stood in formation for the entire hour. Music by the Westshore Community Concert Band, Gordon United Church Choir and Westshore Girl Guides.
Roads were closed in central Langford, including by large trucks positioned horizontally across roads. Helicopters and airplanes flew overhead at various points. On-the-ground security was present but not overtly obvious.
Four mayors from the west shore area laid wreaths immediately after Premier Horgan: Langford Mayor Stew Young, Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns and Highlands Mayor Ken Williams.
Saturday, November 11. To see the Remembrance Day messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BC Premier John Horgan, and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, see the November 10, 2017 Remembrance Day issue of West Shore Voice News.
Friday, November 10 ~ LANGFORD. West Shore RCMP have issued a traffic advisory for some traffic disruptions during the course of Remembrance Day ceremonies on Saturday, November 11 in Langford. There will be road closures to vehicle traffic for the duration, from 10:30 to 12 noon.
Peatt Rd / Station Ave
Veterans Memorial Pkwy / Station Ave
Goldstream Ave / Veterans Memorial Pkwy
Goldstream Ave / Aldwyn Rd
Aldwyn Rd / Fairway Ave
Veterans Memorial Pkwy / Hagel Rd / Meaford Ave
West Shore RCMP encourages everyone to come down and take part in the Remembrance Day Ceremonies as we say thank you and give a thought to the sacrifice made by the Men and Women of the Canadian Armed Forces, in conflicts both past and present.
Friday, November 10 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan released the following statement in honour of Remembrance Day tomorrow.
“On Remembrance Day, people around British Columbia honour veterans, armed forces members, merchant marines and families who have sacrificed in service of our country.
“For many of us, it’s impossible to imagine the courage it takes to put on a uniform and go into harm’s way. Yet for generations, Canadians have bravely risked their lives to protect ours.
“Today, in moments of silence all around the province, we pay tribute to loved ones lost, and to those who have returned with injuries, both visible and invisible.
“We cannot forget the tragedies of war, and we must all work together to build a more peaceful world. Lest we forget.”
Wednesday, November 8 ~ GREATER VICTORIA. New chairs have been announced today for the Capital Regional District (CRD) and Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) Board of Directors. The two Boards elect a Chair and Vice Chair each November.
Heading into 2018, CRD says in a news release that their organization’s focus will be on enabling sustainable growth, enhancing community well-being, and developing cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services throughout the region.
CRD Director and Mayor of Sidney Steve Price is the new 2018 CRD Board Chair, and began by chairing today’s board meeting. Price has been a member of the CRD Board since 2015, serving on various CRD standing committees. He was first elected to Sidney Council in 2008 before election as Mayor in 2014.
CRD Director David Screech is the new 2018 CRD Board Vice-Chair. Screech has served on the CRD Board since 2015 and on various CRD standing committees. He was first elected to View Royal Council in 2002 and then as Mayor in 2014.
Director Marianne Alto has been re-elected for a second year as the 2018 CRHD Chair. Director Alto has been a member of the CRD and CRHD Boards since 2011. She has provided leadership for the CRD’s First Nations Task Force and serves as a member of various CRD committees.
Director Susan Brice has been elected as the 2018 CRHD Vice-Chair. Director Brice has served on the CRD and CRHD Boards for several years, including as CRD Board Chair in the late 1980s.
The CRD and CRHD Boards share the same directors and officers. A corporation of the CRD, the Capital Regional Hospital District partners with Island Health and community stakeholder agencies to develop and improve healthcare facilities in the region, including replacing buildings that have reached the end of their economic and functional life.
Representation on the CRD and CRHD Boards balances varying population bases with community interests. In accordance with Provincial legislation, each municipality appoints one director for every 25,000 people and directors are elected to represent electoral areas. Voting units are assigned based on one unit for every 5,000 people.
|Name, Title||Municipality or Electoral Area||Role||Assigned votes|
|Steve Price, Mayor||Sidney||CRD Chair||3|
|David Screech, Mayor||View Royal||CRD Vice-Chair||3|
|Marianne Alto, Councillor||Victoria||CRHD Chair||4|
|Susan Brice, Councillor||Saanich||CRHD Vice-Chair||5|
|Richard Atwell, Mayor||Saanich||Director||5|
|Denise Blackwell, Councillor||Langford||Director||4|
|Judy Brownoff, Councillor||Saanich||Director||4|
|Barbara Desjardins, Mayor||Esquimalt||Director||4|
|Alice Finall, Mayor||North Saanich||Director||3|
|Carol Hamilton, Mayor||Colwood||Director||4|
|Lisa Helps, Mayor||Victoria||Director||5|
|Mike Hicks, Director||Juan de Fuca Electoral Area||Director||2|
|David Howe, Director||Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area||Director||2|
|Ben Isitt, Councillor||Victoria||Director||5|
|Nils Jensen, Mayor||Oak Bay||Director||4|
|Wayne McIntyre, Director||Salt Spring Island Electoral Area||Director||3|
|Dean Murdock, Councillor||Saanich||Director||4|
|Colin Plant, Councillor||Saanich||Director||5|
|John Ranns, Mayor||Metchosin||Director||1|
|Lanny Seaton, Councillor||Langford||Director||4|
|Maja Tait, Mayor||Sooke||Director||3|
|Ken Williams, Mayor||Highlands||Director||1|
|Ryan Windsor, Mayor||Central Saanich||Director||4|
|Geoff Young, Councillor||Victoria||Director||4|
A standing committee structure, including appointing committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, will be announced on or before the next CRD Board meeting on December 13.
In 2017, under Chair Barb Desjardins, the CRD Board continued to make progress on the 2015-2018 CRD strategic priorities which outline the direction and priorities of the CRD Board. The corporate plan, multi-year service plans and progress reports can be found at https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/how-we-are-governed/strategic-priorities-plans
Wednesday, November 8 ~ VICTORIA. A significant announcement about freezing BC Hydro rates was made today by the BC NDP government, fulfilling a key campaign promise about affordability for British Columbians.
It puts “an end to the years of spiraling electricity costs that have made life less affordable for BC homeowners and renters,” Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall announced today.
BC Hydro rates have gone up by more than 24% in the last four years, and by more than 70% since 2001. This was part of a five-year roll-out that started in 2014 under the former BC Liberal government. The steady march of increases appeared to be tone-deaf from the start as to the overall recession-recovery financial struggles of households and small businesses in BC.
Mungall says that in 2016, BC Hydro applied to the BC Utilities Commission for three years of increases, with a 3% increase planned next year, but will be pulling back its request “consistent with this administration’s commitment to a rate freeze”.
The rate freeze will provide government the time to undertake a comprehensive review of BC Hydro, it was stated in a Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources release. “That review will identify changes and cost savings to keep rates low while ensuring BC Hydro has the resources it needs to continue to provide clean, safe and reliable electricity.”
Details of the scope and process for the review will be developed once government has made a final decision on Site C, which earlier today Premier John Horgan said would take another couple of weeks.
After completing a comprehensive review of BC Hydro, any cost and revenue adjustments identified will be reflected in rates starting in April 2019, the government said. This likely gives consumers just a one-year reprieve.
The rate freeze follows government’s commitment in its September budget update to phase out the provincial sales tax on electricity for small businesses.
Wednesday, November 8 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan in his weekly media session at the BC Legislature reiterated the degree of pressure he is under to decide about Site C.
Making a decision about whether to proceed with or stop the Site C hydroelectric project is a $12 billion dollar decision, affecting contracts, indigenous interests in the area, and individuals, he explained.
If the project is cancelled, the cost would be about $4 billion (over $2 billion already spent or committed, plus another $1.8 billion to remediate the site).
When pressed by media as to what appears to be slow action on calling a by-election in Kelowna West (a seat left empty by the departing Christy Clark) Horgan used the magnitude of this decision, in part, to defend not calling the by-election this fall. His other reason is seasonal timing… too close to the Christmas holiday season, saying people wouldn’t appreciate that.
Having information made public about Site C decision-making is something Horgan promised during the 2017 election campaign, and he seemed pleased that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) is now available to the public.
At present, Horgan says there is an oversupply of electricity in the North American market. He says the estimates by BC Hydro for future electricity demand are wrong.
“Site C is over budget and off schedule,” said Premier Horgan, adding it’s something he’s been saying “for some time”. He reiterated having run on a platform of affordability for British Columbians. He said it was “bad policy making from the start” for former Premier Clark to try to “get the project past the point of no return”.
It would be costly to shut down the project, but that must be weighed with the social and economic costs of falling short on electricity demand in the future. While alternative energy sources are moving forward in various ways, there is no way of telling whether natural gas, biomass heat capture, wind power and other methods will be far enough along should a growing population require more electricity in five to 10 years time.
“It’s not an easy choice or decision. I will be grappling with it for the next couple of weeks,” Horgan said today.
Tuesday, November 7 ~ SOOKE. Expect traffic delays on Thursday November 16 on Sooke Road (Highway 14), for some live maintenance work being done on hydro poles in 5700-block.
Single lane traffic and delays can be expected from 9:30 am to 3 pm. This will cause backups both eastbound into Langford and westbound toward Sooke.
“We’re doing the work live,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk. “We appreciate the public’s patience and the delays it may cause.” He also hopes drivers will obey the speed limits and respect the flaggers who will be on site to manage the traffic flow.
BC Hydro is doing the work live on one or more poles with 25 kV lines so that a major power outage is not required for a large part of the Sooke area. For safety reasons, this work on live wires must be done during the daytime, says Olynyk.
Sooke Road is a provincial highway (Highway 14), and is effectively the only road in and out of Sooke (population 13,000).
Tuesday, November 7 ~ LANGFORD. The upcoming Remembrance Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Langford is expected to fill the park.
The public should get there early to get a good standing spot or a spot on the bleachers, says Norm Scott, president, Langford Legion.
This year, four west shore mayors will be in attendance: Langford Mayor Stew Young, Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, and Highlands Mayor Ken Williams. BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) will be attending.
The public will start arriving around 9:30 am. The event starts promptly at 11 am and lasts about 50 minutes.
An oak tree from Vimy Ridge — planted in the park a few weeks ago — will be noted during the ceremony. On October 27 a Vimy Ridge memorial was commemorated by Langford Legion members with Langford Mayor and Council in attendance.
The Remembrance Day event in Sooke will be held at the Sooke Legion cenotaph. Representing Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca which includes Sooke) will be Patrick Swinburnson, principal of Edward Milne Community School.
The Remembrance Day event in Esquimalt will be attended by Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) and Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin).
All events start at 11 am.
Monday, November 6 ~ WEST SHORE. Provincial Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is getting some speed reader boards in the ‘Luxton strectch’ east of the upward winding section toward West Shore Parkway.
Speed reader boards are those electronic signs that use radar to detect the speed of an approaching vehicle and display the speed on an LED variable message display. The speed display is typically combined with a static (non-electronic) display that includes the text “Your Speed” or similar.
The posted speed on Highway 14 in that section heading westbound toward West Shore Parkway is 60 kph (or 50 kph when children are on the highway) and when heading eastbound just at West Shore Parkway and heading to the Langford town area.
Hwy 14 beyond West Shore Parkway on the way to Sooke has a 80 kph posted speed limit on the 4-lane section, reducing to 60 kph again when the road is single-lane heading to Sooke.
The intent of the Speed Reader Board is to encourage compliance with the posted speed limit by making motorists aware of their actual speed. They are intended to be used as supplements to the maximum posted speed signs to encourage compliance when transitioning to a lower posted speed, such as school zones, road construction zones, and communities located along highways.
Five years ago an injury collision on Hwy 14 near Glenshire Road resulted in the death of 13-year-old Langford resident AJ (Adam Jessie) Wakeling. The highway in that winding stretch between Glenshire Road and the driveway entrance to Slegg Lumber was poorly lit, it was later determined by West Shore RCMP. The driver of a small pickup truck heading eastbound at the crest of a hill and around a sweeping curve was never charged, as the teen was wearing dark clothing and the driver was determined to have been travelling at the average speed for a dry road.
“The fatal crash five years ago on Highway 14 was a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victim’s family and friends,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation last week. “Following the incident, Ministry staff reviewed this section of the highway as part of assisting local police with their investigation into the crash.”
MOTI continued: “Since the crash, the Ministry installed a new crosswalk and an eastbound bus stop near Slegg Lumber, and earlier this year completed a new westbound bus stop. In addition, we have ordered speed reader boards that will be installed in the Luxton area of the corridor in the coming weeks.” But still no additional lighting.
A corridor-wide safety study of Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke is underway and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year, says MOTI.
The Sooke Economic Development Commission (EDC) which has taken on Highway 14 issues as its key mandate toward expanded economic growth for the Sooke region, eagerly awaits the report. The group may soon have specific observations and improvement requests for various sections of the road to Sooke.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait told West Shore Voice News last week: “We continue to wait for the preliminary report, and look forward to working with the Province on continued improvements to Highway 14.”
Sunday, November 5 ~ VICTORIA. Yesterday it was pretty much a full house at the BC NDP convention in downtown Victoria, giving a rousing clamor of applause for the new leader of the national NDP party, Jagmeet Singh. Singh was elected by NDP membership to head up the party,
just over one month ago in Toronto. Since then he has gained a unique flavour popularity in the NDP camp and attracts a curious level of fascination across the country.
Bounding onto the stage at the Victoria Convention Centre on November 4, Singh was accompanied on stage for the duration of his 20-minute speech by elected members of parliament and party leaders.
He began with accolades for BC Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP for “changing the course of 16 years and bringing in an NDP government”. He commended the new BC NDP government for their comprehensive strategy to tackle poverty in BC, and for working to re-establish a Human Rights Commission. In followup to a final point about raising the corporate income tax “so that everybody pays their fair share”, Singh said to Horgan and the provincial NDP: “Thank you for showing us the way.”
Singh came right out to say that the national NDP party experienced a “pretty significant setback” in the 2015 federal election, but was upbeat about the NDP MPs holding six of seven seats on Vancouver Island.
As for his fast-track to the 2019 election campaign, he is already challenging the federal Liberals for “not implementing any strategy to fight climate change”. Singh says the NDP are opposed to the infrastructure bank set up by the Liberals, though perhaps not realizing the jobs and community growth that it supports.
Singh got two spontaneous standing ovations during his speech… once for his statement that no Canadian should have “less of a sense of self worth” because of the colour of their skin, and again with his statement of the obvious that “poverty, mental health issues and addiction are social justice problems, not a criminal problem”. As a former criminal defence lawyer, that last statement really had some punch.
It is always evident how the NDP across Canada rally together to support new stars on their team. The only chink in that armor is the differential between Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley and BC Premier John Horgan over the pipeline issues.
Singh wrapped up his articulate, in-depth yet buoyant speech with “yes we can”.
Saturday, November 4 ~ VICTORIA. The BC NDP annual convention is underway in downtown Victoria, continuing through Sunday. This morning BC Premier John Horgan made his first address to his followers as premier. This afternoon national NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will address the crowds.
In his speech to delegates this morning, Premier John Horgan said: “Guided by our values, we will do what is right for the people of BC.” Horgan generated large cheers throughout his speech, but the loudest came when he told delegates he will set his sights high and not accept second best.
After a special welcome to delegates from the BC Interior who were impacted by this past summer’s wildfires, Horgan continued: “Helping people and building community — these are BC values, and they are New Democrat values. BC is with you, and together we will help you recover. Helping people is what our government is all about. The BC Liberals left people behind. They gave tax breaks to millionaires while making families pay more. They ripped up contracts. They rolled back rights for workers. They cut vital public services. And they mismanaged BC’s crown jewels, ICBC and BC Hydro.”
Horgan re-promised the increase to a $15/hour minimum wage, and took additional pride in having created a standalone Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. “Help, hope and opportunity is what a better BC is all about,” the Premier said. “Our government is opening the doors of opportunity for people. We lifted social assistance rates by $100 a month, the first increase in 10 years. We hired thousands of teachers to give students the support they need in our classrooms. We ended the heartless bus pass claw-back for people with disabilities. We eliminated tuition fees for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs, and for former kids in care who want to go to college or university.”
Getting deeper into the political, Horgan said “the BC Liberals say we haven’t acted fast enough. We’ve had 16 weeks, they had 16 years.” We are going to build hospitals, schools, transit, with BC workers to benefit BC communities.
He pledged to continue supporting traditional industries like forestry and mining, and to promote value-added and manufacturing. He says the BC NDP government will “grow the new economy and create good jobs for people as we build our province”. And in wrapping up: “Together, we will build a stronger, fairer, more just province, where no one is left behind.”
Saturday, November 4 ~ VICTORIA. The real estate market in the Greater Victoria area is shifting rather rapidly. But the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) says the market is still stable. A total of 664 properties sold in Greater Victoria in October 2017. That’s 9.7% fewer than the 735 properties sold in October last year.
VREB says the longer term picture shows October sales as 17.1% above the 10-year average of 567 properties for the month of October. They conclude: “The market is still very active here in Victoria… in spite of the ongoing low inventory levels.”
For Greater Victoria overall, the actual sales average of 294 sales was $854,833 (data-adjusted HPI $690,000, down from $700,800 in July which is considered the peak month before the market began its sudden adjustment).
October in the west shore: Langford: actual sales average $761,550 for 45 sales (HPI $589,800 down from $592,300 in July). Colwood: 17 sales averaged a real average of $664,582 (HPI $646,600 down from $660,400 in July). Sooke: 27 sales produced a real sales average of $514,048 (HPI $479,900 on par with $479,100 in July). View Royal: 12 sales averaged $623,750 (HPI $707,300 up from $687,400 in July).
Friday, November 3 ~ VICTORIA. Today through Sunday (November 3 to 5) over 1,000 New Democrats are gathering at the Victoria Conference Centre for the BC NDP’s 45th Convention.
Party Leader John Horgan will address fellow party members for the first time since becoming Premier, on Saturday morning. “We’re thrilled to be here in Premier John Horgan’s hometown,” said Raj Sihota, the Provincial Director of the BC NDP. It’s the first convention in 16 years with an NDP government in the Legislature. There will be discussion about how to grow the party to “support the good work of our government and keep building a movement for a better BC,” said Sihota in a news release.
Delegates will debate policy resolutions, participate in training and workshops and hear from guest speakers including Jagmeet Singh, newly elected federal NDP leader.
The BC NDP say they remain committed to the issues British Columbians voted for this spring: “making life more affordable, improving the services we all count on, and building a sustainable economy that works for everyone”.
There will be caucus and committee meetings, the Young New Democrat Convention, the Women’s Rights Committee Convention, and an election for Party leadership.
Friday, November 3 ~ VANCOUVER. BC is jumping deeper into the Amazon world. Today November 3, BC Premier John Horgan welcomed Amazon’s plans to double the size of its professional workforce in British Columbia.
“We’re growing a strong, sustainable economy that benefits everyone, by bringing good-paying jobs to BC and investing in training the workforce of tomorrow,” Premier Horgan said at a media announcement in downtown Vancouver this morning.
“We will build on Amazon’s plans to bring 1,000 new jobs to BC by continuing to open up access to education and skills training.” The Seattle-based company has announced plans to double its BC-based professional workforce to 2,000 by early 2020.
The announcement is unrelated to Amazon’s plans to open a second headquarters.
Premier Horgan was joined by Alexandre Gagnon, Amazon’s vice-president for Canada and Mexico, announcing that the company will lease a new 4,500 sq m (50,000 sq ft) building on Dunsmuir Street.
“Tech companies employ more than 100,000 people in BC, with significant opportunities for growth,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. “Amazon’s investment contributes to an industry that creates well-paying jobs that will benefit every corner of our province.”
Jobs in tech pay 75% more than the provincial average. The BC government will help British Columbians develop the skills they need to get these high-paying jobs with more tech-related seats, co-op programs and other post-secondary and skills training opportunities.
“The message we are hearing from leaders in the tech industry is they will hire as many people as we can train,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Technology Rick Glumac. “We’re bringing down barriers for BC workers because the more we invest in people, the more companies will invest in BC.”
The provincial government says it is investing in the future of BC workers by bringing down barriers to post-secondary education and skills training. Since August 2017, government has cut the provincial student loan interest rate in half, removed tuition fees for adult basic education and English as a second language programs, and eliminated post-secondary tuition for children who grew up in government care.
Bill Tam, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association, said BC’s skilled workforce is one of the reasons tech investors are attracted to the province.
“Amazon’s decision to expand in BC is a testament to the growing recognition of our tech sector on the global stage,” Tam said. “BC continues to be a desirable destination for tech companies to locate and grow, because of our province’s vibrant tech community, our attractive investment climate and exceptional talent base.”
BC saw a 1.9% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2015, growing to over 10,000 businesses. More than $200 million is being invested over the next two years in tech and science post-secondary capital projects in British Columbia. The GDP of BC’s tech sector expanded 2.4% in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to BC’s overall economic output.
Thursday, November 2 ~ BC. After a final push to invite public input, the number of people filling out the BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement survey online saw about 18,000 engagements in the last of five weeks.
As of October 25 about 30,000 British Columbians had participated, and by the November 1 closing, 48,151 individuals had provided feedback on on topics about non-medicinal cannabis such as minimum age, personal possession limits, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, and distribution and retail models.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General says “an unprecedented number of people shared their opinions to help shape the way non-medical cannabis will be regulated in BC”.
In five weeks (September 25 to November 1) the BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement website saw 127,952 visits, with 48,151 British Columbians filling out the feedback form. As well, through a random survey by phone, 800 opinions were received from a representative cross-section of British Columbians. Government also received over 130 written submissions from organizations including local governments, school districts, cannabis industry, advocacy groups and law enforcement.
Engagement with local governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and stakeholders from law enforcement, health, agriculture and other sectors is ongoing. In addition, the Province and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) have established a Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation made up of 12 representatives from UBCM and provincial representatives from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
The BC Government says the feedback collected through this engagement process will help ensure the provincial regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis reflects the needs and values of British Columbians, while prioritizing the protection of young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe. Over the next few weeks, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General will review and analyze the feedback received and create a summary report on what was heard that will be made available to the public.
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who participated in our various engagements regarding cannabis legalization over the last five weeks. It’s now our job to do the hard work, take your feedback and perspectives and use them to develop a responsible, made-in-BC approach to regulating non-medical cannabis that maximizes public health and safety.”
Wednesday, November 1. Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end for this year. On Sunday November 5, 2017 Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 am. That’s the time to turn your clocks back one hour to instead be 1:00 a.m.
Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour earlier on November 5 than the day before. There will be more light in the morning.
If you forget which way to turn the clock, just remember ‘Fall Back’ (and ‘Spring Forward’, when it comes time for that in spring 2018). Of course, nowadays most clocks are within automated devices like computers, appliances and cars, and so the displayed time is programmed to change without you having to do anything.