Home ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News – Dec 2017

ARCHIVE – Front Page Breaking News – Dec 2017

ARCHIVE – December 2017

 


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the beach at Sidney Spit {Aug 2017 – photo by Mary P Brooke – West Shore Voice News]

Sunday, December 31 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement to mark the new year, 2018: “Happy New Year, Canada!

“This past year, we marked the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and looked back on the remarkable achievements Canadians have made throughout our history. We recommitted ourselves to our shared values, and we celebrated the diversity that makes us strong. Millions of people – of every background, origin, culture, and faith – have come together to make Canada the diverse, open, and prosperous country it is today.

“The 150th anniversary of Confederation was also a chance to reflect on the moments Canada has not lived up to its ideals. Indigenous Peoples, and many Canadians, have faced prejudice and oppression in our history. In the New Year and the years to come, we must continue to work to right these wrongs, and make sure everyone has a real and fair shot at success.

“In 2017, we made real progress toward these goals. Our government took action to build a better future for families across Canada – from taking steps to strengthen the Canada Child Benefit and investing in early learning and child care, to creating new opportunities for young people, to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and protecting the rights of LGBTQ2 communities. We made gender equality a priority at home and abroad, and took strong steps to fight climate change and protect our environment, for generations to come. We launched Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy and lowered the small business tax rate – and together, we continued to create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen the middle class.

“But we still have a lot of hard work left to do. In 2018, let’s continue to celebrate the values that unite us – openness, compassion, equality, and inclusion. Let’s move forward together, put those values into practice, and work to build a better future for all of us.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish you a wonderful night and all the best in 2018.”


BC Premier John Horgan, Dec 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, December 31 ~ VICTORIA.  Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement in recognition of New Year’s Day 2018:

“The new year brings new beginnings and new opportunities. It is a chance to look back at the challenges we have faced, and to resolve ourselves to overcome obstacles in the year to come.

“From addressing housing affordability to tackling the opioid crisis, and the ongoing recovery from last year’s devastating wildfires, we have no shortage of important work to do in the coming year.

“On New Year’s Day we are given the opportunity to think about where we are and where we have to go. It is a day to consider the path ahead and to set our minds to meet our goals.

“In 2018, we will be working hard to create a strong, sustainable economy that benefits everyone, to make life more affordable for families and to improve the services people rely on.

“On behalf of the government of British Columbia, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy new year with many more to come.”


 

Vehicle crash on Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) on Fri Dec 29. [Photo source: Facebook]

Sunday, December 31. The BC Coroner has confirmed that a man in his 40’s was killed in the MVI on Sooke Rd on Friday night, Dec 29. RCMP have not yet released any further official information. A roadside memorial was already in place Dec 30 in that poorly lit section of Highway 14 just east of Saseenos Elementary School.

PREVIOUS POST: Friday, December 29 ~ SOOKE. Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is closed this evening in both directions at Parkland Rd in Sooke due to a serious vehicle collision that occurred around 6:34 pm PST.

Traffic both eastbound and westbound on Sooke Road is blocked. However, a short local-area detour is available via Parkland Road to Blythwood Road to Woodlands Road. The provincial highway is estimated to reopen around 11 pm.

Reportedly the incident was a head-on collision involving two vehicles, with reportedly at least one fatality.

Road surfaces are wet today due to heavy rainfall most of the day.

Rescue crews from both Sooke Fire Dept and Langford Fire Dept have attended the crash.   More to come.


 

Sunday, December 30 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. As you ring in the new year tomorrow night, those who are politically inclined and civic minded are already well aware that 2018 is a big municipal election year in BC.

Elections BC says that the municipal and school board election period starts January 1, 2018, even though election day isn’t until October 20. That’s a lot of months of preparation for exposure to the community!

Candidates for Mayor, Council, and school trustee seats across BC may submit nomination papers starting September 4. The official campaign period begins September 22.

West Shore Voice News will in particular follow the campaign action all year in Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke, Juan de Fuca and View Royal (and school district 62 on the west shore) as candidates shuffle into place.

In our nearly 10 years of covering political and community news of this region, West Shore Voice News (formerly Sooke Voice News) election coverage has proven to get broad readership and good advertising traction.

This is the first municipal/trustee election after a 4-year term. Previously in BC, municipal and school board terms were for three years.


Vehicle crash on Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) on Fri Dec 29. [Photo source: Facebook]

Friday, December 29 ~ SOOKE. Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is closed this evening in both directions at Parkland Rd in Sooke due to a serious vehicle collision that occurred around 6:34 pm PST.

Traffic both eastbound and westbound on Sooke Road is blocked. However, a short local-area detour is available via Parkland Road to Blythwood Road to Woodlands Road. The provincial highway is estimated to reopen around 11 pm.

Reportedly the incident was a head-on collision involving two vehicles, with reportedly at least one fatality.

Road surfaces are wet today due to heavy rainfall most of the day.

Rescue crews from both Sooke Fire Dept and Langford Fire Dept have attended the crash.   More to come.


 

Friday, December 29 ~ BC.  Baby names in BC for 2017 are today’s hot topic. Final statistics will not be available until later in 2018, but stats from BC Vital Statistics (January 1 to December 15) are showing the trends.

The top baby girl name is Olivia (same as in 2016), with Emma in second place.  For the past six years, Olivia and Emma have been the top two girls’ names. So far, the other names for girls in the top five remain Sophia, Charlotte and Ava.

So far it looks like the top baby boy name in BC this year is Benjamin, followed by Liam, Logan and Lucas.  It appears Ethan and Oliver might not make it into the top five this year; possibly being replaced by Logan and James.

There were 45,399 babies born in BC in 2016 – 22,188 girls (49%) and 23,210 boys (51%). In 2016, Lucas was the number 1 boys’ name, followed by Benjamin, Ethan, Oliver and Liam. Olivia was the top girls’ name in 2016, followed by Emma, Charlotte, Ava and Sophia. List of the most popular baby names in BC for 2016


Drinking alcohol in any private or commercial vehicle is illegal in BC, whether the vehicle is moving or not.

Thursday, December 28 ~ VICTORIA.  The BC government is reminding party-goers who intend to use for-hire vehicles such as limousines and “party buses” to familiarize themselves with the laws and regulations that govern these vehicles, to plan ahead for a safe ride home.

Passengers should be reminded that drinking alcohol in any private or commercial vehicle is illegal in BC, whether the vehicle is moving or not.

As New Year’s Eve approaches, consumers are encouraged to look for companies that advertise strict policies related to consuming alcohol in vehicles. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has distributed over 800 decals to operators for display in their vehicles, reminding passengers that consuming alcohol in any vehicle is illegal in BC.

Operators using any size vehicles with limo-style or party bus perimeter seating must have a special authorization licence. These licences state where vehicles can operate and limit fleet size. Passengers should look for a passenger-transportation licence plate and decal on the front of the vehicle, or if there is no plate, ask to see a temporary operating permit, before boarding a bus.

Police will be monitoring limousines and party buses during the holiday season. Operators that allow the consumption of alcohol in their vehicles will be penalized, and passengers in these vehicles also have a responsibility to adhere to the Province’s liquor laws. Operators who do not comply with liquor laws run the risk of losing their licence, and minors in possession of alcohol are subject to a $230 fine.

Make sure the company you are considering is properly licensed in BC by looking it up on the Licensee Report on the Passenger Transportation Branch’s Registry at: www.th.gov.bc.ca/rpt/registry.htm


 

Two sisters: Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4. [web-source photo]

Wednesday, December 27 ~ SOUTH ISLAND. Two children were found dead in an apartment building on Beach Drive in Oak Bay on Christmas Day, Monday December 25. The girls — age 4 and 6 — were found dead and their father found injured with self-inflicted wounds.

The sisters were identified as Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4. The father is Andrew Berry, and the estranged wife is Sarah Cotton. They first met when both employed at BC Ferries.

Reportedly there was a custody dispute and support payments from Berry to Cotton may have been in arrears.

RCMP say they are not looking for other suspects, therefore no risk to public safety.

The RCMP’s Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit was called in to investigate. They were on scene again the next day, searching the apartment. Police expect to be on the scene for the rest of the week.

On Saturday, December 30 there will be a candlelight vigil for the loss of these two young girls on Christmas Day by homicide in Oak Bay. The outdoor event will be held at Willows Beach on Beach Drive, 7 pm. Dress warmly, bring a candle. Statement from Mayor and Council of Oak Bay.


 

The BC Medical Services Plan billings still continue.

Wednesday, December 27 ~ VICTORIA. Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in BC will be cut by 50% effective January 1, 2018. The BC Government says this marks “an important step toward improving fairness for all British Columbians”.

“MSP premiums are unfair and place a significant burden on British Columbians,” said BC Finance Minister Carole James in a Ministry of Finance news release. “I’m proud that we are moving away from these regressive fees and creating a more equitable system by eliminating MSP premiums entirely within four years.”

In addition to the 50% rate cut, the income threshold for full exemption from MSP premiums under the premium assistance program will also be raised by $2,000 (up to $26,000), as of January 1, 2018.

In November 2017, the Minister of Finance established a task force to examine the best approach to replacing the revenue from eliminating MSP premiums. The task force is comprised of respected experts in economics, law and public policy, to advise on the best path to eliminating MSP premiums. Government will receive its report by March 31, 2018.

Enhancements to premium assistance, effective Jan. 1, 2018, mean an individual earning up to $26,000 per year will pay no premiums.  A couple earning up to $29,000 per year will pay no premiums.  Senior couples earning up to $35,000 per year will pay no premiums.

A single parent with two children earning up to $32,000 per year will pay no premiums. A couple with two children earning up to $35,000 per year will pay no premiums.

In all other Canadian provinces the process of collecting medical system fees is done through various methods within the tax system. In BC, even though premiums will now be reduced (an idea introduced under the former BC Liberals due to public pressure), the billing system for overdue payments continues to be punitive, including putting a lien on a person’s property or garnishing their wages, if payment is not received all of which further erodes the person’s credit rating and damaging their future ability to recover a difficult financial situation.

The MSP Task Force is still receiving public input up to 4 pm on January 31, 2018 — to submit your ideas visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/msptaskforce/

Eligibility for premium assistance can be determined using the online eligibility calculator: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/msp/eligibilitycalculator/


 

Blood donation service at the Sooke Legion (April 2016). File Photo: West Shore Voice News

Monday, December 25 ~ NATIONAL. Last week, Canadian Blood Services was calling on eligible blood donors to help fill 35,000 appointments by January 6 to ensure that Canadian patients continue to have access to the blood and blood products they need over the holidays.

The next blood donor clinics coming up in the west shore area are on Monday January 15 at CFB Esquimalt, 1575 Lyall St (9 am to 4 pm); on Monday January 22 at Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave, Colwood (12 noon to 7 pm); and on Monday, February 12 at the Sooke Legion, 6726 Eustace Rd (11:30 am to 6:30 pm).

New and existing donors are welcome and walk-ins are usually accepted. Some of the usually temporary impacts of giving blood include bruising, continued bleeding, dizziness, light-headedness and nausea. After giving blood, donors are offered juice and a cookie and are monitored for a while on site before they leave.

“The holiday period always presents challenges for us as we work to ensure we have enough blood and blood products to meet patients’ needs,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ Chief Supply Chain Officer. “We know that Canadians are busy with travel and activities over the holidays, and we hope that they will make time to save a life and give blood. Canadian patients’ lives depend on them.”

Platelets pose a particularly difficult challenge. Patients with serious bleeding or those undergoing cancer treatments rely on platelet donations, but with a shelf life of only seven days, the need for platelets is pressing and ongoing.

Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec). Their integrated, pan-Canadian service delivery model includes leading an interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation.


Queen Elizabeth II delivering her 2017 Christmas Day message [BBC screenshot]

Monday, December 25 ~ COMMONWEALTH.  Calling Christmas a ‘festival of the home’, Queen Elizabeth delivered her traditional Christmas message on British television today December 25, also seen live-streamed online.

In addition to the usual themes of thanking those who serve their country and community, she broke with tradition by welcoming a new member of the Royal Family ahead of the marriage — that would be American actress Meghan Markle, now engaged to Prince Harry … their engagement photo was included among those of the family in the televised scene.

The queen referred to herself in the third person as a young woman who had used advanced technology to deliver her first Christmas message (black-and-white TV, at the time). Although she gave an understated nod to her husband Prince Philip for his years of service, she gave no indication of her timeline ‘on the job’, having always said it would be her lifelong commitment to be Queen.

A photo of young Prince George (3rd in line to the throne) was stationed the most prominently to the right of the Queen, with a photo of young Princess Charlotte alongside.

Here is the full text of the speech:

“Sixty years ago today, a young woman spoke about the speed of technological change as she presented the first television broadcast of its kind. She described the moment as a landmark:

“Television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day. My own family often gather round to watch television as they are at this moment, and that is how I imagine you now.”

Six decades on, the presenter has ‘evolved’ somewhat, as has the technology she described. Back then, who could have imagined that people would one day be watching this on laptops and mobile phones – as some of you are today. But I’m also struck by something that hasn’t changed. That, whatever the technology, many of you will be watching this at home.

We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love; of shared stories and memories, which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up. There is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.

For many, the idea of “home” reaches beyond a physical building – to a home town or city. This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks. In Manchester, those targeted included children who had gone to see their favourite singer. A few days after the bombing, I had the privilege of meeting some of the young survivors and their parents.

I describe that hospital visit as a “privilege” because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience. Indeed, many of those who survived the attack came together just days later for a benefit concert. It was a powerful reclaiming of the ground, and of the city those young people call home.

We expect our homes to be a place of safety – “sanctuary” even – which makes it all the more shocking when the comfort they provide is shattered. A few weeks ago, The Prince of Wales visited the Caribbean in the aftermath of hurricanes that destroyed entire communities. And here in London, who can forget the sheer awfulness of the Grenfell Tower fire?

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much; and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives, this past year, saving others. Many of them, of course, will not be at home today because they are working, to protect us.

Reflecting on these events makes me grateful for the blessings of home and family, and in particular for 70 years of marriage. I don’t know that anyone had invented the term “platinum” for a 70 wedding anniversary when I was born. You weren’t expected to be around that long. Even Prince Philip has decided it’s time to slow down a little – having, as he economically put it, “done his bit”. But I know his support and unique sense of humour will remain as strong as ever, as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year.

In 2018 I will open my home to a different type of family: the leaders of the fifty-two nations of the Commonwealth, as they gather in the UK for a summit. The Commonwealth has an inspiring way of bringing people together, be it through the Commonwealth Games – which begin in a few months’ time on Australia’s Gold Coast – or through bodies like the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choir: a reminder of how truly vibrant this international family is.

Today we celebrate Christmas, which itself is sometimes described as a festival of the home. Families travel long distances to be together. Volunteers and charities, as well as many churches, arrange meals for the homeless and those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution; and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.

Whatever your own experiences this year; wherever and however you are watching, I wish you a peaceful and very happy Christmas.”


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his 2017 Christmas Message on Dec 24.

Sunday, December 24 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement on Christmas: “Merry Christmas, Canada!

“In 2017, people across Canada gave us much reason to be proud, and showed us the strength in our diversity. Canadians are neighbours helping neighbours, sharing warmth, compassion, and generosity—not just at Christmas, but all year round.

“For Christians around the world, this season is a time to celebrate Jesus Christ and his message of compassion. For all of us, it is a chance to come together to give thanks for everything that unites us.

“As the 150th anniversary of Confederation draws to a close, all of us have a role to play in shaping our world for the better. In the New Year, and throughout the years to come, let’s commit to making a difference. Whether by lending a hand to a neighbour, or volunteering for a cause we believe in, let’s give generously, and live out the values that bring us together.

“Let’s also reach out and listen—to those next door, across the aisle, and at the dinner table. Building a better world starts where we work and live, in our communities, and at home.

“During the holidays, I also ask you take a moment to remember our brave servicewomen and men, and their families. They make extraordinary sacrifices to keep us safe.

“From our family to yours, Hadrien, Ella-Grace, Xavier, Sophie, and I wish you joy, health, love, and peace this holiday season. Merry Christmas.”


BC Premier John Horgan, Dec 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, December 24 ~ VICTORIA. Premier John Horgan has released the following statement in celebration of Christmas:

“Dec. 25 is a special day for Christians around the world. It is a day set aside to recognize the birth of their Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to give thanks to God for the gift of salvation.

“For people of many backgrounds, Christmas is an opportunity for families to gather together and celebrate warmth, good food and good company.

“It offers us a break from the worries of the everyday world and a chance to focus on things that really matter – the people we love and the communities we care about.

“It is also a time to reach out to people in need, and work in a spirit of generosity to help and support each other.

“We hope that British Columbians throughout the province have a safe and joyful Christmas season.

“On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, Merry Christmas.”

To see Premier John Horgan’s interview in West Shore Voice News, click here: December 15, 2017 issue


Amazon will deliver parcels right into your home.

Friday, December 22 ~ EDITORIAL ~ by Mary P Brooke: “How far will you go? Reality check in the digital age”

Apparently you can order something online from Amazon and have it shipped to your door, and right inside your house if you want. If you want?

It made national news this week that someone hacked the delivery-into-your-home system. Really, you’re kidding — people didn’t think that digital thugs weren’t licking their chops to get their hands on this one? Once a delivery was digitally confirmed, stuff would be promptly stolen off the parcel recipient’s front step or even from inside their home by blocking the cameras.

Shakin’ my head here. How far will people trust the new technology? There is virtually no privacy left for anyone anymore. Much of the younger generation doesn’t even really understand what privacy means, they’ve never known it: cameras in most public places for safety and security, multi-layered digital ID cards, and voluntary release of scads of personal details onto Facebook and other social media. So it’s easy to see how parcels inside the door ‘to alleviate your worry about theft’ could naturally arrive in the ‘ok zone’.

At Christmas we reach for the stars in our minds and for the beauty in our hearts. And so it should be. But it’s always been common sense, planning for the inevitable, and tough critical thinking that has saved people in the end.

By all means dream big, you must. Make real the visions of your mind and desires of your soul. It’s what we’re here for. But while expanding your horizons, remember the basics of human nature, including the dark side. And don’t be surprised if you get fooled because you sought convenience or a short cut.


 

EMCS Principal Pat Swinburnson will retire Dec 22, 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, December 21 ~ SOOKE. Friday December 22 will be Patrick Swinburnson’s last day on the job as the principal at EMCS.

It will also be his last day with SD62 and in his public education system career … 36 years! Retired!

“I have loved the opportunity to have my own school and to try to make a difference. As principal, you can set the direction and tone of a school, and if you do it well and set off on the right path, lots of good things can happen,” Principal Swinburnson told West Shore Voice News this week.

See a full feature article exploring the highlights of Principal Pat Swinburnson’s impact at Edward Milne Community School — in the December 22, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News, page 3.


 

Santa visiting in pediatrics at Victoria General Hospital [Island Health file photo]

Wednesday, December 20 ~ VICTORIA AREA. Santa will be visiting at Victoria General Hospital (VGH) on Thursday, December 21. “He will step in to make the holidays a little brighter for kids who can’t be home for Christmas,” says Island Health.

Helijet was to bring Santa to VGH on Tuesday but snow grounded him in Vancouver. This time Santa will arrive by ground travel. Island Health thanks Helijet for still making sure that little patients receive a teddy bear from Santa.

Santa will visit all of the children in pediatrics at VGH – at their bedside. “We have 25 beds for children and often siblings come to see Santa on this special day too,” says Island Health spokesperson Meribeth Burton.


Old forest growth cleared on land owned by T-Sou-ke Nation, for future commercial development. [West Shore Voice News photo – Dec 18, 2017]

Tuesday, December 19 ~ SOOKE.  Big changes to the Sooke landscape! 

Regular commuters often feel they have ‘arrived’ back in Sooke when heading westbound home they see that tall stand of old trees along Sooke Road just east of Edward Milne Community School.
So it kinda takes your breath away to see the proud old trees having been cleared away this week. For future land development.
 
We hear there will be a Tim Horton’s coffee shop and a gas station on the land there on Edward Milne Road as owned by T-Souke Nation.
 

Reportedly a future Tim Horton’s and a gas station will be built here next to the EMCS high school [West Shore Voice News photo – Dec 18, 2017]

That will significantly impact the livelihood of little coffee shops in Sooke town centre, as well as the busy little gas-fillup trade of Chevron and PetroCan stations in town centre.

 
For years, teens and others in the community have frequently wished for a Tim Horton’s to come to town. It’s always been a matter of economics to bring a large franchise operation to a small town.
 
More to come on this breaking news story.

Tuesday, December 19 ~ WEST SHORE. Snow and freezing rain have impacted customers across Vancouver Island, says BC Hydro. “All available resources are out working to restore power as quickly as possible but difficult conditions and extensive damage mean that some customers may experience longer outage durations,” it was stated on the BC Hydro website.

As usual, :individual restoration times may vary and will be provided once full damage assessments are completed. The safety of the public and our crews remains our top priority. Thank you for your patience,” said BC Hydro.

In the Sooke area, as of 1:15 pm there are about 350 people without power west of Sooke, with about 20 BC Hydro customer addresses affected in areas outside of town centre (including Idlemore, 5100-5200 block, and Cedar Park Place.

Outages in Colwood, Langford and Highlands since early-to-mid morning are affecting about 3,000 BC Hydro customers still as of 1:15 pm today.


 

Tuesday, December 19 ~ WEST SHORE. Snow and freezing rain have impacted customers across Vancouver Island, says BC Hydro. “All available resources are out working to restore power as quickly as possible but difficult conditions and extensive damage mean that some customers may experience longer outage durations,” it was stated on the BC Hydro website.

As usual, :individual restoration times may vary and will be provided once full damage assessments are completed. The safety of the public and our crews remains our top priority. Thank you for your patience,” said BC Hydro.

Outages in Colwood, Langford and Highlands since early-to-mid morning are affecting about 3,000 BC Hydro customers still as of 1:15 pm today.

In the Sooke area, as of 1:15 pm there are about 350 people without power west of Sooke, with about 20 BC Hydro customer addresses affected in areas outside of town centre (including Idlemore, 5100-5200 block, and Cedar Park Place


 

The Westhills view of snowy roads and hills today, Dec 19. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, December 19 ~ WEST SHORE. It’s a snow day! Schools are closed for instruction in the west shore area (SD62) including in Langford, Colwood and Sooke.  However, the buildings are open and staff are in the schools. Updates for tomorrow (Dec 20) will be posted on Twitter @SD62_Sooke

For general driving conditions, MAINROAD SOUTH ISLAND says: Drive with care today. Winter driving conditions. Expect snow, slush and slippery conditions. Use winter tires and be prepared to chain up, if needed. Please be aware of snow plows and snow clearing operations. Updates on Twitter: #DriveSafe

In Langford, the CITY of LANGFORD ENGINEERING said this morning: The City of Langford is asking all traffic to please avoid steep slope areas as we work to clear our roads. In particular please avoid Bear Mountain Parkway. Road clearing priorities mimic most other municipalities – we are clearing major collector roads, bus routes and steep slopes first. Please be patient as we make our way to the smaller local roads.  If you do not have to go out, please remain at home. Visibility coming in from the Highlands is very challenging for any drivers coming in from the District of Highlands, several abandoned vehicles Millstream Road at Millstream Lake Road and in the downhill lanes southbound Millstream Road approaching Millstream Lake Road. Snowfall is much more significant in the Highlands and in Langford at the higher elevations.

Busy Millstream commercial intersection in Langford.

As of 1 pm today, December 19, the City of Langford reports: “There are several power outages in the City right now including in the Millstream Corridor (Costco and Millstream Village). This is affecting our signal lights because the back up batteries typically last 2 to 4 hours and with Hydro crews swamped our signal lights are going down. We are likely going to send traffic control to the north side of the Highway to help out in the Millstream corridor.”

There are seven City of Langford snow plows out on the roads. One is dedicated for clearing on Bear Mountain Parkway.

The weather is warming slightly so there is now some pooling and minor flooding. “In these instances we typically go out and proactively clear catch basins so we are sending our staff out as we speak to do that all over the City in the major corridors,” says Michelle Mahovlich, Director of Engineering, City of Langford.

“Residents are also asked to clear their catch basins and sidewalks. The temperature will drop over night so we need to minimize slip/fall hazards as well as contain any flooding,” says Mahovlich.


Sharing the limelight at the new schools announcement in Langford Dec 18 (from left): SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge; City of Langford Mayor Stew Young; SD62 Chair Ravi Parmar; and BC Minister of Education Rob Fleming. [Photo: Mary P Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News]

Monday, December 18 ~ LANGFORD. The fastest-growing community in BC will be getting two new schools, it was announced by BC Minister of Education Rob Fleming today in Langford. 

The Sooke School District (SD62) which serves the communities of Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin and Juan de Fuca will receive $23.3 million toward the purchase of 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of land from within the Westhills development.

The site for a middle school and elementary school at the corner of West Shore Parkway and Constellation Avenue will tie together a string of educational and recreational facilities in the area, said Langford Mayor Stew Young, including Belmont Secondary School (where the announcement was made) and nearby public library, arena, bowling alley and sports stadium. Ball fields will be developed as part of the overall project, says Young. He points out the cooperative use of the recreational facilities by students during the day and by the community in non-school hours.

In this his last year of his education career, SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge was pleased to host the announcement today, in the commons area at Belmont — the largest school in SD62. He noted that Education Minister Rob Fleming is the former education critic “who knows every rock in the education system”, as a benefit in particular to the fastest-growing area.

A main impetus for gearing up for new schools is to reduce the number of portables currently in use in the overloaded west shore area of SD62. There are presently 13 portables at Dunsmuir Middle School in Colwood and seven at Spencer Middle School in Langford. “We hope to eliminate those in a few short years,” said Cambridge in his remarks at the podium.

Since the availability of new education funding this year, about 3,700 teachers have been hired to help support about 5,000 more students in the community. “We’ve been poaching teachers to come teach in BC,” said Cambridge at the podium. He spoke highly of the SD62 board as being “unique in BC for putting children and learning spaces first”.

Langford Mayor Stew Young called the schools announcement “an early Christmas present”. The mayor who is proactive for community growth and development says “everybody is now taking notice of Langford”. He says that people are excited to be in Langford “because we’re actually providing what is needed by our community”.

SD62 Chair Ravi Parmar addressed the room of about 80 people, thanking the BC Government for “supporting our vision and capital plan” with funding for purchase of the 16 acres in Westhills. Parmar — himself a graduate of Belmont Secondary — said “when this government gets money they spend it”.

Building a new middle school will be SD62’s first priority on the site, followed by an elementary school to address the shortage of K to 5 spaces brought about by an influx of young families to the west shore. About 1,800 more students are expected to arrive in the SD62 catchment area in the next five years.

Present for the announcement by Minister Fleming in the bright spacious Belmont commons room were SD62 trustees and staff; City of Langford Mayor, Council and senior staff; Westhills owners, executive and staff; Education Ministry staff; Belmont principal Ray Miller; STA president Ian Johnson; CUPE reps; parent association reps; members of the business community; and students in study mode upon whom this little event came as a surprise!


Sunday, December 17 ~ Randall Garrison’s seasonal constituency open house will be held on Monday, December 18 from 4 to 6 pm at the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke constituency office, 2904 Tillicum Rd.  Here is Garrison’s seasonal letter to constituents:

“As the year comes to an end and the holiday season begins, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to all residents of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and their families.

It is an honour to represent you. In the New Year, I am committed to continuing to work for a fairer and greener Canada. As your Member of Parliament, I know that many of you are struggling with the housing crisis, affordability issues, and that you want our environment to be better protected.

I will continue to advocate for improvements to housing, Pharmacare, childcare, and affordability. I will also continue to stand with the majority of my constituents in their opposition to Kinder Morgan.

I hope that your holiday season is joyful and that the New Year brings you success and happiness.”


SD62 Trustees at their December 12 board meeting (from left): Margot Swinburnson, Bob Phillips (Vice-Chair), Neil Poirier, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton,
Ravi Parmar (Chair). Absent: Wendy Hobbs. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Friday, December 15 ~ WEST SHORE.  At their December 12 board meeting ahead of Christmas break, the Sooke School District (SD62) trustees held their annual election, returning Ravi Parmar as Chair and shifting to Bob Phillips (a former SD62 Chair) as Vice-Chair. Dianna Seaton was thanked for her last couple of years of service as Vice-Chair.

Superintendent Jim Cambridge reported on his most recent school visits (Royal Bay, Saseenos and John Muir) and his involvement in the south island partnership with Camosun College as well as his participation in a committee about technical funding for all schools in BC for 2018-2019. He said some “land acquisition meetings with municipalities” had been held.

Treasurer Harold Cull introduced the process of developing the 2018-2019 strategic plan, to which public input will be invited in January. SD62 promotes a goal of providing education that produces “creative, cultural and social thinkers with the capacity to be global citizens”.

A full day of orientation for new teachers in SD62 will be held soon — two sessions ahead of Christmas break, and two more in January. With so many new teachers in the growing school system, this is an expansion over the usual one meeting of previous years.  New educators will be provided with various supports, says SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge. That includes information from the human resources, information technology and finance departments as well as various classroom supports, and “stories about successes in the past”.

SD62 executive staff after the December 12 board meeting (from left): Dave Strange (Asst Supt – Sooke schools), Harold Cull (Secretary-Treasurer), Jim Cambridge (Superintendent), Stephanie Hedley-Smith (Asst Supt – Langford schools), Paul Block (Asst Supt – Colwood schools), Dan Haley (Exec Director Human Resources). [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

SD62 Vice-Chair Bob Phillips pondered aloud at the Dec 12 board meeting whether there is any research on retaining new teachers. “Thirty percent say bye-bye after the first year,” said Phillips.

BC Education Minister Rob Fleming is scheduled to make an announcement “that supports west shore students”, coming up at Belmont Secondary School in Langford on Monday, December 18. The SD62 school board has in recent months pitched for provincial funds to build new schools in  this, the province’s fastest-growing school district. There are presently three SD62 high schools: Belmont in Langford, Royal Bay in Colwood, and EMCS in Sooke.


Donation of $10,000 to the Goldstream Food Bank, December 2017 (from left): Ron Coutre, president, Westshore Developers Assoc; Gayle Ireland, president, Goldstream Food Bank; City of Langford Mayor Stew Young. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, December 13 ~ LANGFORD. A big cheque was delivered to the Goldstream Food Bank in Langford today. The generous $10,000 donation from the Westshore Developers Association and the Langford Economic Development Commission (EDC) was announced last week, and today under bright sunny skies the official presentation was made.

Receiving the ceremonial cheque on behalf of the Goldstream Food Bank was the organization’s long-time President and Christmas Hamper Fund chair Gayle Ireland. Making the presentation was Ron Coutre, president, Westshore Developers Association and City of Langford Mayor Stew Young on behalf of the Langford EDC.

The busy food bank on Station Road in Langford will process 650 to 700 hampers to individuals and families in need over five days ahead of Christmas. In addition to lots of non-perishable food items and fresh produce, each hamper includes a gift card that can be used for a turkey, ham or other entree for Christmas, says Ireland. Handing out the hampers will be members of the Langford Fire Department, the Coast Guard, and other volunteers. “Everything will be loaded into vehicles for the people receiving the hampers,” says Ireland, clearly proud of the work of the volunteers.

“This $10,000 donation is so generous,” said the food bank president. Ireland explained that it essentially turns into $20,000 worth of food because of discounts given to the Goldstream Food Bank. “And we’re a financially healthy organization because we save for a rainy day.” She reminded everyone that no one gets paid to operate the food bank.

“Doing this was an easy decision,” said Coutre, who said at a meeting of the developers and economic development committee that they all wanted to give back.  Stew Young was enthusiastic about reporting success and goodwill: “Everybody’s doing well and it’s a great time to this to happen. Especially in Langford’s 25th year since incorporation, everybody’s on board to do this.” With Coutre piping in: “Especially at this time of year.”

This $10,000 donation was the largest of a collection of donations made by the developers and the City this holiday season. $3,000 was donated to the Langford Legion, with $1,000 to Another Brick in Nepal’s earthquake relief, $1,000 to Santa’s Anonymous, $1,000 to the Children’s Health Foundation, and $1,000 to the Victoria Conservatory of Music.


 

Announcing Site C on December 11, 2017 at the BC Parliament Buildings: Premier John Horgan with Environment Minister George Heyman and Energy & Mines Minister Michelle Mungall. [Photo: West Shore Voice News]

Monday, December 11 ~ VICTORIA.  Today December 11, 2017, the BC government has committed to completing construction of the Site C hydroelectric dam. The cost of the project on the Peace River near Fort St John in northern BC is now estimated at $10.7 billion (up from the original 2014 estimate of $8.775 billion by the previous government).

Site C will provide 1,100 megawatts (MW) of capacity, and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year – enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in BC.

In making the announcement, Premier John Horgan stated that while Site C should never have been started, the project has been pushed past the point of no return over the past few years. To cancel would have meant asking British Columbians to take on almost $4 billion in debt with nothing in return for the people of the province and, even worse, with a high risk of cuts to services and projects families count on.  Horgan reiterated his campaign promise to work hard to help keep life affordable for British Columbians.

However, the electricity load (demand) forecast used to underlie the decision to continue with Site C includes a realistic and responsible recognition of greater electrification in BC homes and industries in the future, especially as carbon emission reduction is a socioeconomic and political goal. The forecast by Deloitte as commissioned by the former government was said to have not incorporated any enhanced electrification of the economy.

Much of the increased future demand is likely to be required by the time Site C is completed and its power comes onstream in 2024. However, today the government said there will be surplus at first, and it will be sold to create revenues. The remaining shortfall between costs and revenues will be made up by electricity consumers (aka ratepayers).

The government has announced a Site C turnaround plan to contain costs, provide enhanced project oversight, and expand benefits to people and communities. Government says it will be putting in place enhanced oversight to ensure final costs are at or below $10.7 billion.

If the Site C project had been cancelled, losses would have meant insufficient funds for the things the BC NDP promised to BC voters in the 2017 campaign including more schools, hospitals and highways as well as expanded child care support. Cancellation would have produced an immediate rate hike of 12% on BC consumers all at once in 2020 without any benefit other than servicing debts and cancellation obligations.

In his public announcement today in the Library Rotunda at the BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria, Premier Horgan delivered “with a heavy heart” his decision to proceed with the Site C hydroelectric project.  He was flanked by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall.

In a way, he had no choice but to give the green light to Site C. It was the goal and intention of the previous BC Liberal government to get the project past the point of no return (notably for contracts with workers, businesses and some First Nations), and they succeeded. The only reason to have started the project in the first place is to keep up with electricity demand into the future, but for years even that premise has been debated.

Not only does the continuation of the project present a long-term financial commitmentincluding continual electricity rate increases for everyone in BC, it presents a quagmire of political challenges for the BC NDP government. Many groups who fought hard against Site C — including environmental, food sustainability and indigenous — feel they are on the losing end of this decision. And the BC Greens (with three MLAs who hold the balance of power in the current NDP-led minority government) are saying they feel betrayed. All of this sets up a myriad of immediate tensions and possibly some political brick walls in the future (including that the NDP caucus was divided on the issue, and that Energy Minister Michelle Mungall could face tensions in her constituency at the next provincial election).

A media briefing ahead of Horgan’s announcement began with this: “After review by BCUC, meeting with Treaty 8 First Nations, advice from independent experts and lengthy deliberation, Cabinet has made the difficult decision to complete Site C construction.”

Right out of the gate the presentation showed that hydro rates have been “rising significantly” since 2003. In 2014, a 5-year package of rate hikes would have seen rates were go up 28.5%; four of the past five years saw hefty increases loaded on the backs of consumers – notably 9% in the first year (followed by 6%, 4% and 3.5% this year); for 2018 the BC NDP government has issued a reprieve on the previously approved 3% increase.

With Site C going ahead, increases for electricity usage will occur year after year – up about 30% over 10 years (2019 to 2028). The government says hydro rates in BC are still relatively low compared to other provinces and cities in Canada and North America. Highly industrialized areas like Ontario and California have among the highest rates. Quebec has the lowest.

So-called ‘new power’ (from Site C) will cost $60/MWh to produce, compared to $32/MWh from the present generation system. The elephant in the room is the cost of energy production having been privatized under the Gordon Campbell BC Liberals back in the early 2000s — private companies that produce power and feed it into the grid are costing BC Hydro $100/MWh. And the share of supply by Independent Power Producers (IPP) is growing, which continues to push up the cost of electricity for British Columbians.

Studies apparently show that where the sources of power are varied in a jurisdiction – including hydro, fossil fuel, solar and wind, and nuclear, that the cost of power to produce power is somewhat less strident where hydro takes the lead.

The Site C decision was a complex equation, which Horgan said today was the most difficult in his 30 years in public service and politics. He knows all too well who he needs to please, and who he has disappointed. Included in the decision by Horgan and his cabinet was that shareholders who have invested in the expansion of electricity in BC will expect a good return on investment. If shareholders are spooked, BC’s bond rating could go down and that would affect many other aspects of the provincial budget.

Horgan said in his announcement today that BC Hydro had been “raided” by the previous government in order to produce a balanced BC budget. Part of cleaning up the mismanagement of BC Hydro was to appoint a new Chair. In one of his first actions as the new Premier, in mid-July Kenneth Peterson was appointed to replace Brad Bennett who was one of BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s election campaign advisers and president of real estate investment firm McIntosh Properties) and a few more directors considered more qualified will still be appointed, it was stated today by government.

To “lessen the burden” on BC Hydro and on British Columbians, Horgan announced some mitigating actions such as creating a food security fund to ensure we’re increase the productivity of agricultural land, and making it more viable to farm in the Peace and across BC. Reopening standing offer so indigenous people can build clean renewable energy and sell it back into the grid.  More training opportunities for local businesses and workers (much better than the 49 apprentices we have in place today). And a new oversight committee to make sure that the current budget is met in the next number of years.

Horgan said he and his colleagues made the Site C decision upon finding themselves in a situation where they had to accept realities, “not as we wish it to be”.  Horgan said: “It’s not the project we would have favoured, and not the project we would have started. But we’re three years in. It must be completed to meet the objectives our government has set.” He said the costs can be recovered “over a long period of time by the sale of electricity” which of course includes rate increases for consumers.

To those who Horgan expects will be disappointed by the government’s decision today on Site C, he said today: “I respect the strength of your convictions. I share your determination to protect BC farmland.  Decisions must be done in tandem with indigenous peoples but those decisions have passed (as negotiated by the previous government).”

Knowing he was disappointing ‘family and friends, Horgan said that “proceeding is the best way forward” but the decision was not an easy one: “We do it with a heavy heart.  But we have to focus on the future and on delivering for people.” ~ WSV

TECHNICAL and TIMELINE BACKGROUND: The Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) will be a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast BC. Site C will provide 1,100 megawatts (MW) of capacity, and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year – enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in BC. The Site C project received environmental approvals from the federal and provincial governments in October 2014, then got the green light from the Government of BC in December 2014.  Construction of the project started in summer 2015 and will be completed in 2024. After a review of Site C by the British Columbia Utilities Commission in the fall of 2017, the B.C. Government chose to continue construction on the project. Site C will be a source of clean, reliable and affordable electricity for more than 100 years.


 

Sunday, December 10 ~ VICTORIA (posted at 6 pm).  Premier John Horgan is ready to announce his decision about whether or not to proceed with construction of the Site C hydroelectric project. He will make the announcement in Victoria tomorrow, Monday December 11.

Update later Sunday evening (posted at 11:30 pm): For some reason, longtime political journalist Keith Baldrey thought it necessary to upstage the Premier and tonight leak out that Site C will go ahead. Professional journalists need to do better than that. So the project is going ahead. But without details in the ‘scoop’ (as to why the go-ahead decision was made), there is really no benefit to the public to give a half-day’s advance notice. Ethics in journalism still matter.

A month ago, when pressed about his decision whether to proceed with or stop the Site C hydroelectric project, Premier Horgan replied that it is a $12 billion dollar project and that if it proceeds it will affect contracts, indigenous interests in the area, and individuals.

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).

“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”.

BC Premier John Horgan

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) report was made available to the public last month.

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. However, the jury may be out on that, given the increase in use of electric cars and charging massive batteries (in size and/or number) for other uses in the modern digital age. 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 on November 8. And now the time for announcement of his decision has arrived (Monday December 11).

Read the West Shore Voice News editorial about the impact of the new BC NDP government on the lives of British Columbians, page 2 in the December 8, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.


 

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir [2010] in Vancouver

Friday, December 8 ~ BC. Tipping a hat to Canadian winter sport, this week the BC Government announced a contribution of $110,000 to support the upcoming national skating championships by helping bring some of the biggest names in Canadian figure skating to Vancouver.

Taking place at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at the University of British Columbia January 8 – 14, 2018, the week will also be high-profile exposure for Vancouver and Canada’s west coast and a winter tourism draw for people from all over BC (tickets $19.99/day Jan 8-11 up to $40-75 for final days; $10 at the gate to watch junior and senior practices).

The event is an Olympic-qualifier for Canada’s team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. The championships will feature about 250 skaters, competing in the men, women, and pair ice dance disciplines. About 8,000 spectators are expected to attend, with thousands more throughout Canada watching via CTV’s live broadcast.

The anticipated economic activity generated by the competition is approximately $6 million, said a Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture news release on December 8.


Tuesday, December 5 ~ BC.  Today December 5, the Province of BC has released a number of key decisions on cannabis regulation in BC. 

The following policy decisions were shaped by feedback provided by individuals and municipalities who participated in the engagement (48,951 British Columbians, and 141 local and Indigenous governments):

  • Minimum age – British Columbia will set the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis at 19 years old. A minimum age of 19 is consistent with BC’s minimum age for alcohol and tobacco and with the age of majority in BC.
  • Wholesale distribution of cannabis – Like other provinces, BC will have a government-run wholesale distribution model. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in BC.
  • Retail of cannabis – The Province anticipates establishing a retail model that includes both public and private retail opportunities and will share details regarding the model in early 2018.

Legalization of non-medical cannabis in Canada is anticipated to start July 1, 2018 following the passage of federal legislation in the new year.

“Looking at the responses received, it’s clear that British Columbians support the priorities of protecting young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe, which will guide the Province in developing BC’s regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

From September 25 to November 1 of this  year, the public and stakeholders were asked to share their input and expertise on a range of issues related to the regulation of non-medical cannabis in BC, including minimum age, personal possession, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, wholesale distribution and retail models. Most of the public input was received online.

The policy decisions announced today also reflect the feedback received from the local government members of the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR) and are endorsed by the Union of BC Municipalities executive.

“We thank all British Columbians who provided their input during the important public and stakeholder engagement process,” said Farnworth.

“We will continue to consider your opinions as we further develop policy and legislation that is in the best interests of this province, ensuring a made-in-BC approach to the legalization of non-medical cannabis that will keep our roads and communities safe, protect young people, and promote public health and safety.”

The provincial government says it “still has a number of key decisions to make as it prepares for the legalization of cannabis”. These decisions “will be informed by the feedback collected through the public and stakeholder engagement” but there will be further consultation with local and Indigenous governments and other key stakeholders.

Link: Cannabis Regulation in B.C.: What We Heard report on public and stakeholder engagement: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/BCcannabisregulation/


 

Premier John Horgan congratulates Langford Mayor Stew Young on 25 years of service. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Monday, December 4 ~ LANGFORD. After hosting his own open house at his constituency office this evening, BC Premier John Horgan dropped into the holiday season open house at Langford council chambers.

Saying he moved to Langford 25 years ago, Horgan says Langford has been “transformative” for him: “I raised my family here, became a member of legislature here, and became the premier here.”

As part of recognizing 25 years of municipal service by Mayor Stew Young and Councillors Denise Blackwell and Winnie Sifert, the premier called Langford’s success “an extraordinary accomplishment”.

“it’s absolutely unparalleled to have that much dedication and commitment to your community,” said Horgan about Langford’s mayor and council. He said that Langford has demonstrated “the things that you can do when you work together and have a vision, and have a community this inclusive.”

Horgan noted Langford’s amenities for young families such as good schools, good sports, great arenas, the YMCA, and libraries. “It just keeps getting better, month after month, year after year. It’s been an extraordinary 25 years in Langford, I have a great deal of gratitude for you,” said Horgan to Mayor Young, Langford council, and city staff.

“People are coming and bringing families here, starting businesses here, and creating opportunities for themselves. It is all because of the work that you do in this room,” Horgan said.

Premier John Horgan attends 25-year recognition ceremony at Langford Council, Dec 4, 2017 (From left): Councillor Denise Blackwell, Premier Horgan, Councillor Winnie Sifert, Mayor Stew Young. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Mayor Young thanked the Premier, and also acknowledged Langford’s team effort. “We’ve got a lot of great workers in the City of Langford. Everybody’s excited to apply and get a job in Langford.” People see leadership here: “Everybody sees how well we work together with our council and our staff. We’re always able to do great things in Langford when we all work together like that,” said Stew Young, noting how his city is known for an open door policy to business.

“It’s one of the things our council prides itself on. Helping everybody who’s in business,” said Young, noting how using the services of local businesses is key. “The business community comes to our community.”

Noting his 25 years as Mayor, Stew Young said he is happy and proud to have a team behind him that works so hard to improve the community where he was born and grew up.

Guests this evening included local developers, to whom Horgan gave a nod: in a recent speech to the Urban Development Institute in Vancouver Horgan had highlighted how well things get done to speed along with building permits and the growth of the community.


Friday, December 1 ~ VICTORIA.  November 2017 saw the highest number of property sales of any November in the Greater Victoria area since 1996 — 671 in total (12% more than sold last November). The number of active listings for sale dropped 7.4% in one month from October to November.

The Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) predicted last month that buyers might accelerate their purchase timeline to buy a home ahead of ‘stress test’ rules set for January 2018.  Overall in Greater Victoria there were 307 single family home sales in November selling at a raw average price of $902,985.

It should be understood that VREB’s data-adjusted HPI figures show $693,200, which means people are paying far above what most people hear as the selling price.

In the west shore, the real price of a house in Langford last month was $696,933 (61 sales) while the HPI was given as $593,800. In Colwood there were 15 sales averaging out at $725,290 while the HPI was $658,100. In Sooke there were 18 house sales in November at a real average sale price of $509,418 while the HPI was $483,300.

So that’s almost a million dollars in overall Greater Victoria for a house and over half a million in Sooke where housing is considered to be affordable.

Condo sales rolled in like this: 219 in Greater Victoria averaging $437,822; Langford 26  sales averaging  $330,298; Colwood 5 sales averaging $396,900; and one sale in Sooke at $229,000. All stats: www.vreb.org

======

Back to the current main page