Archive – Front Page Breaking News – October 2017
Tuesday, October 31. BC Premier John Horgan wrapped up his weekly news conference at the legislature today with “Happy Halloween everybody” after he had touched on various important matters that media queried him on.
Regarding the BC NDP convention coming up this weekend November 3 to 5 at the Victoria Convention Centre, he said that delegates will be discussing a range of policies and initiatives, with debate on each. “People are passionate about issues on the convention floor,” said Horgan. He identified contentious issues as things people are discussing across BC in every community including “the transforming economy, and the carbon constrained economy. Attending to matters of climate change is “now mandated by the federal government” along with many other countries, “to change the way we’re doing business”. On that Horgan said: “I want to lead a government that’s enabling that change in a positive way.”
Premier Horgan says his government will “take every step to protect rural representation” during the process of riding redistribution. In his 12 years in the legislature he says he’s seen in the three redistributions that rural representation is being lost through a deviation of seat sizes. And with a tip of the hat to proportional representation, Horgan says he will “not shy away from changing a system that gives 100% power to 50% of the voters.”
The matter of BC Hydro billing rates came up. The BC NDP government hopes to be “protecting rate payers from rate shock,” Horgan said, noting that hydro rates under the previous government went up “far faster than rate of inflation and far faster than in other jurisdictions”. The BC Liberal government set a five-year rate increase of 28.5% in motion in 2014 that has burdened families and households with a significant increase to the cost of living.
On provincial budget: “We have a team working now through the Minister of Finance, to get to some solution on deferred debt. It’s just not sustainable.” The previous BC Liberal government used BC Hydro rates “as a cash cow … borrowing money and deferring debt to make the budget look balance,” Horgan explained. His government will try to “reduce the long term costs on rate payers”. “(Former Energy Minister) Bill Bennett said it was under control, it’s far from under control,” said Premier John Horgan.
The opioid problem is across BC. “It’s not acceptable to the public and not to me,” said Horgan. “All British Columbians want this to get this wrestled to the ground.” He says the federal government has given the “right language, but not sufficient resources it seems to me”. A formerly strong and high profile Minister of Health Jane Philpott in August was moved to another file, with Horgan saying it’s taking time for the new Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor to bring things up to speed. In BC, Horgan says there are more safe injection sites and replacement programs in place. “I’m personally disappointed at the numbers of deaths going up right across the province.” Horgan says later this week he expects to be talking with the federal government on other issues and that whenever he gets the chance he’s ‘pushing’ for more attention to the opioid crisis. “It’s not moving fast enough,” he said, but feels that his “positive working relationships with Ministers here in BC and with the Prime Minister” will help.
The BC government says its goal is to build a provincial regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis that “prioritizes the protection of young people, health and safety, locking criminals out of the industry, and keeping roads safe”.
Specifically, to help ensure that BC’s provincial cannabis regulatory system reflects the needs and values of British Columbians, government is seeking feedback on the following issues:
- minimum age;
- personal possession limits;
- public consumption;
- drug-impaired driving;
- personal cultivation; and
- distribution and retail models.
It’s an opportunity to “become a part of history and help ensure the framework best represents their interests and priorities”, it was stated in a release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General on October 25.
The deadline is 4 pm on Wednesday November 1 to comment on issues such as minimum age, personal possession limits, consumption in public, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, distribution and retail models. See: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/BCcannabisregulation/
Since September 25, over 30,000 British Columbians have completed the survey and provided feedback.
Friday, October 27 ~ LANGFORD. Last night the Best of the West Shore awards gala was held at Bear Mountain Resort. About 300 business people and guests sat through a few hours of the proverbial drum roll as winners and runners-up in each category were announced at the event hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce with the Goldstream Gazette as their media partner.
West Shore Voice News (Vancouver Island media partner with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business during Small Business Week last week) was one of the several in-kind sponsors of the event.
Various business owners were called up to present awards, with lots of promo to go around while people continued with the buffet dinner, dessert, coffee and cash bar.
Momentum was maintained through the evening by the West Shore Chamber’s Josh Schmidt who was witty and upbeat as the emcee.
Over 22,000 votes had been cast online over a five-week period in the late summer up to early September to produce the winners.
Best New Business, Best Business and Best Customer Service all went to Cascadia Liquor for three of their six island locations – Colwood, Langford and Eagle Ridge. Financial Services top award was claimed by Coast Capital Savings. Best New Development was won by Westhills, followed by Royal Bay and Spirit Bay.
Always a big presence in the awards each year is food and entertainment. Best for Breakfast went to Floyd’s Diner, Best Restaurant was claimed by My Chosin Cafe, and Best Ethnic Cuisine was won by Sabhai Thai. Best Independent Coffee Shop this year went to Poncho’s Coffee House, with Pilgrim Coffee House and Serious Coffee as runners-up. Best for Entertainment went to Elements Casino, followed by Cineplex Odeon and Western Speedway. Best Pub was won by Darcy’s Pub. Best Golf Club was won by Olympic View Golf Club, with Westin Bear Mountain and Royal Colwood as the runners-up.
In the fitness zone, Best Bicycle Shop was claimed by Goldstream Bicycles, and Best Martial Arts was won by Clark’s Taekwondo. Best Yoga was won by Moksha Yoga Westshore. Best Place for Fitness went to YMCA-YWCA Langford-Westhills. For health support services, Best Wellness/Health Practice went to Mandala Center for Health & Wellness and Best Dental/Denture Clinic went to Colwood Dental Group.
In the pampering department, winners were Santa Spa Victoria (for Best Spa/Aesthetics), Cabello Salon (for Best Hair Salon), and Brown’s The Florist (for Best Flower/Garden Shop).
Best Pet Clinic was won by Juan de Fuca Veterinary Clinic, with runners up Glenview Animal Hospital and Belmont Langford Veterinary Hospital.
And the basics: Best Grocery Store went to Thrifty Foods, Best Retailer went to Winners/HomeSense, and Best Storage went to WestShore U-Lock Mini Storage. Best Auto Service was won by Alpine Auto Repair & Tirecraft, with runners up Great Canadian Oil Change and Glen Lake Automotive Centre.
Best First Nations Business was won by the Indigenous Perspectives Society with M’akola Group of Societies as the runner-up. Favourite non-profit was Coast Collective Arts Centre.
Including Mother Nature in the mix, the best beach was won by Esquimalt Lagoon, followed up by Witty’s Lagoon and Thetis Lake. Best Hiking Trail went to Thetis Lake, while Best Fishing Spot went to Langford Lake.
Other sponsors of the event were Peninsula Co-op, Royal Roads University, Elements Casino, University of Victoria, Bear Mountain Resort Community, Coastal Community, Camosun College, Brown’s the Florist, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Wilson Marshall Law Corporation, Coast Capital, Seriously Creative, TELUS, SOHO, Bubbles Balloons, Brookes Westshore, Heritage House Trophies, and My Chosin Cafe.
Speeches that got the most attention amid the din in the room were ones that commented on the importance of women starting and building businesses, and the growth of indigenous-involved businesses.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 ~ BC. Local governments throughout BC have until November 1, 2017 to provide feedback on the provincial discussion paper, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in British Columbia.
The Province will draw upon feedback obtained through the engagement process as it considers key policy decisions that will form the foundation of its legalized cannabis framework, it was stated today by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
UBCM encourages all local governments to provide submissions to ensure that feedback provided to Province represents the diversity of our membership. Local government responses to the discussion paper will be considered as a separate cohort among the feedback provided.
Many people across Canada already use cannabis products for medicinal reasons. Recreational users often incur criminal records for simple possession, something that will likely fade away after the federal government brings in their new laws and regulations in July 2018.
Considered by pretty much all stakeholders to be a positive aspect of the upcoming legislation is to keep marijuana products out of the hands of youth (for health and safety reasons), and to control or eliminate the current black-market and criminal element of marijuana sales. The federal government will gain tax revenues under the new legislation. Provincial and municipal governments also stand to gain financially under the new laws and regulations.
For many, a major concern remains about road safety related to cannabis use. While for alcohol consumption the roadside blood-alcohol level testing has become mainstream, the ways and means for testing one’s state of clarity while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana remains to be fully determined.
Presently on the west shore of Vancouver Island:
>> In Sooke, a few marijuana-product outlets have already been operating in the town centre area for almost two years. About that… Sooke Council has had discussions but is essentially waiting for federal legislation to come into effect. Today Sooke Mayor Maja Tait (who sits on the UBCM executive) told West Shore Voice: “We received a staff report on Monday and will send a response summarizing the highlighted concerns within. These regulations and the Provincial request pertain to the Federal Government’s legalization of non-medical cannabis, that was the focus of our Agenda.”
>> In Colwood, the City of Colwood Council has had discussions about cannabis legalization and regulation, as well as participating in discussions at the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities and Union of BC Municipalities conferences. “The City will adhere to the current Colwood Land Use Bylaw and Business Bylaw until such time as the Federal and Provincial governments provide direction regarding legalization,” said Colwood’s communications manager Sandra Russell today. The Colwood Land Use and Business Bylaws currently prohibits marijuana dispensaries other than a licensed pharmacy or premises licensed under the “Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations”.
>> In Langford, a few marijuana product outlets that have opened have been quickly shut down through bylaw-related mechanisms. No statement on this topic was provided from the City of Langford today.
> Link to the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in BC discussion paper: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/217/2017/09/Cannabis-Legalization-and-Regulation-in-BC_Discussion-Paper.pdf
Wednesday, October 25 ~ BC. Funding from the BC Government is available to manage urban deer, it was announced today by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Up to $100,000 will be provided to local governments and First Nations communities (that are involved in urban deer activities or research into population control methods) to help fund urban deer management projects under the 2017-18 Provincial Urban Deer Cost-share Program. Applications due on or before November 17, 2017, info: 2017-18 Urban Deer Cost-share Program Application Guide
Eligible proposals will be evaluated by members of the Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee which includes reps from the Province, local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Successful proponents will be advised in December.
Projects that address human-deer conflict in areas where traditional deer management techniques are not appropriate will be given priority. Matching funds are required from any local government or First Nation that applies.
There are about 135,000 mule deer, 128,000 black-tail deer and more than 100,000 white-tail deer in BC. Deer are managed in BC by the BC Government which authorizes municipalities to undertake urban deer management actions. Provincial support includes technical advice, regulatory authority, necessary permits, specialized equipment and other management tools.
Tuesday, October 24 ~ BC. BC’s three nursing colleges will be able to form one organization, providing a single set of bylaws for consistent structures, processes and an improved patient experience, as a result of amendments introduced today by Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Amendments to the Health Professions Act set the stage for the provincial nursing colleges to amalgamate, providing greater consistency for the profession and one point of contact for patients and partners.
The amendments allow for any of BC’s health profession colleges to amalgamate. This was prompted by a request from the nursing colleges to help streamline regulation.
In recent years, the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC (CRPNBC), College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC (CLPNBC) and College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) have been working together on nursing regulations and standards, and have become more aligned in their efforts. This legislation lets them take the next step and amalgamate.
The Health Professions Act states that it is the duty of the college to protect and serve the public at all times. With this in mind, the legislation will also allow for the appointment of an administrator for a health profession college. This is a safeguard in the event that a college board is seen to be acting to protect the interest of the health profession instead of the patient.
Patient safety will also be further supported as amendments will ensure that infection control breaches can be reported to public health officials in a timely manner. For example, if poor sterilizing practices are observed, the amendments will ensure they can be reported immediately. Currently, while any breach can be reported, it must first go through college investigation processes instead of directly to public health officials in a timely manner.
There are approximately 55,000 nurses licensed in BC. The CRPNBC regulates registered psychiatric nurses, the CLPNBC regulates licensed practical nurses and the CRNBC regulates registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
A single nursing regulator also exists in Ontario, the United Kingdom and Australia, with Nova Scotia exploring a similar approach.
Friday, October 20 ~ LANGFORD. The City of Langford has now submitted its bid to become home to the new Amazon HQ2, a second headquarters for the online retailer that would be similar in size to their existing headquarters in Seattle. The bid intention was first announced last month by Langford Mayor Stew Young (see page 1 in the September 22, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News).
As one of the fastest growing and innovative cities in Canada (population now over 40,000), the City of Langford has the resources, political will and business climate to ensure Amazon’s HQ2 is a resounding success.
The actual bid document that met the October 19 submission deadline has not been made public, but apparently identifies a number of serviced, development-ready areas within and around the City of Langford that would meet the needs of Amazon. Amazon would require 8.1 million sq ft of operational space. The bid also highlighted the capacity for Langford’s neighbourhoods — including Westhills and Bear Mountain — to continue to grow and accommodate the influx of anticipated workers arriving over multiple years.
Prepared in partnership with the BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the City of Langford’s Economic Development Committee, the Sooke Economic Development Commission, the Malahat Nation, and multiple businesses and regional partners, the bid showcased the capacity of the region to be home to any global enterprise.
The bid also underscored the ability of the south island region to lure the best and brightest. “With competitive wages, affordable and high quality housing, and world-class recreational opportunities, our post-secondary institutions and tech sector are leaders in developing, attracting and retaining first-class talent,” said Dale Gann, Chair of the Amazon HQ2 Bid Committee.
The bid spoke to Langford’s proven track record for successfully partnering with business. “We always have been, and always will be, open for business,” said Mayor Stew Young. “Langford will continue to expedite the permitting process and minimize red tape to ensure that all businesses, including Amazon, can grow and thrive.”
Building HQ2 will generate $5 billion for the successful host community just in construction alone, with jobs and economic spinoffs after that. Langford is up against major cities through Canada and the US for a chance at this big project.
The video component of Langford’s bid to Amazon can be viewed online comprising a 1 minute, 40-second overview of housing, post-secondary and affordability aspects of the west shore area in which Langford is central.
Friday, October 20 ~ VANCOUVER. Newborns, children and expectant mothers from all around the province will be cared for in the new Teck Acute Care Centre, located on the campus of BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital, officially opened today by BC Premier John Horgan, health care workers and patients.
“When children need hospital care, they should be in a place that feels like home, where they can play, exercise their imagination, and be surrounded by family to help them heal,” said Premier Horgan. “This new centre means better care for thousands of patients and their families from every part of B.C. who access the building.”
Each area of the building is modelled after a different part of BC with the hope that children, women and their families can feel at home. The room where medical procedures, such as bone marrow extractions, are performed will have a ceiling lit with as many as 100 twinkling LED lights. These lights will recreate the night sky over Vancouver and show major constellations.
“The new acute-care centre will provide improved comfort and privacy for families in their time of need,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “A perfect example of this is the centre’s neonatal intensive care unit, which is designed to keep new moms together with their babies in the same room, helping to promote bonding and reduce stress. This model of care means less separation for families and is a key way to help ensure these vulnerable babies get the very best start in life.”
The Teck Acute Care Centre — which opens to patients on October 29, 2017 — will serve the entire province. It features a larger children’s emergency department, additional patient beds and an expanded neonatal intensive care unit – all equipped with single-patient rooms. Patients and families will have access to laundry facilities, family lounges and dining rooms, play areas, resource rooms, and storage space. Natural light and green spaces will add to the health and well-being of patients and staff.
The eight-floor, 59,400 sq m (640,000 sq ft) centre has 231 private patient rooms, medical/surgical in-patient units, medical imaging, procedural suites, a hematology/oncology/ bone marrow transplant department, a pediatric intensive care unit, and a high-risk labour and delivery suite.
Also opening is the BC Women’s Urgent Care Centre, which will provide care for women throughout their pregnancies and up to six weeks post-birth. The urgent-care centre, which is expected to see approximately 13,000 patients a year, includes 10 larger, single-patient rooms that will provide a quieter space with increased privacy for new moms and families.
The Teck Acute Care Centre opening marks the completion of the second phase of the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project, a three-phase, multi-year initiative at BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.
“We want to recognize the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and the BC government for having built an extraordinary facility that will transform child health care in BC,” said Don Lindsay, chair of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and president and CEO of Teck. “We also want to acknowledge the generous support from over 80,000 British Columbians who supported the Campaign for BC Children. Teck and its employees throughout BC are incredibly proud to have played a role in making this new hospital a reality.”
“I am proud to say phase two of this ambitious project was delivered on time and on budget,” said Tim Manning, Provincial Health Services Authority board chair. “Today we applaud the countless hours of work by our partners, our patients and families, and our health-care teams, along with those who generously donated to the project.”
Susan Wannamaker, president of BC Children’s and Women’s Health, praised the efforts of staff and physicians at both hospitals. “They have great enthusiasm for the new space, technology and equipment that will continue to support the exceptional care they provide. It showed in their willingness to embrace the training and preparations in anticipation of patient move day.”
“The new facility will help the hospitals attract and retain the very top health professionals and clinical staff,” Wannamaker added.
Phase three of the redevelopment project includes relocating Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children to the Oak Street Campus and the addition of 10 single-room maternity-care spaces at BC Women’s Hospital. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018. The total cost of the three-phase redevelopment project is estimated at $676 million.
Friday, October 20 ~ LANGFORD. An expansive collection of classical music can now be streamed by Greater Victoria Public Library cardholders. The Naxos Music Library holds over 132,000 albums and two millions tracks including a selection of world, jazz, pop and rock.
As an educational resource, Naxos also provides composer biographies, a musical terms glossary, opera libretti, and a junior section.
The service officially launches on Saturday October 21 at the Langford Heritage Branch from 11 am to 3 pm in their shared complex at 1314 Lakepoint Way in Westhills. Musicians from the Victoria Conservatory of Music will be playing at the library through the four-hour event. The public is welcome.
“This new collection will give music lovers access to recordings by major performers from around the world produced by prominent record labels like Sony Classical, RCA and Deutsche Grammophon,” said Maureen Sawa, CEO, Greater Victoria Public Library. “October is BC Library Month, and we are celebrating with the universal language of music.” Funds for the collection were provided by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
“The Victoria Conservatory of Music is thrilled to be a part of the Naxos launch, and this is just one great example of the creative synergy that comes with sharing such an amazing space in Westhills,” said Christine Gross, manager of marketing, communications and social media at the Conservatory.
GVPL’s launch of Naxos coincides with an announcement that the Pacific Opera Victoria will be joining the library’s Culture and Recreation Pass program, which lets library cardholders borrow passes to local attractions and facilities. The first passes will be available for POV’s February production of Puccini’s La Bohème. More details will be announced in early 2018.
“Pacific Opera Victoria looks forward to sharing the opera experience with the community through our partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library,” said Ian Rye, CEO, Pacific Opera Victoria.
“Patrons can borrow a culture pass to see a live performance, and continue listening with Naxos recordings,” said Rob Martin, chair of the Library Board and municipal councillor for Colwood. “The library has it all. We support learning experiences that enrich our lives and expand our minds.”
Wednesday, October 18 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan delivered a message of strong support, including lower taxes, to help kick off Small Business Week and Manufacturing Week (Oct. 16 to Oct. 20). British Columbia’s small businesses are showing strong signs of growth and creating jobs for people throughout BC according to a new report issued on Monday, October 16.
“Small businesses are the economic engines of BC’s communities and create good jobs for people throughout the province,” said Premier Horgan. “We’re working hard to make sure that small businesses and manufacturers have the support they need. That’s why we’re reducing the small business tax rate to 2% from 2.5% and establishing a Small Business Task Force to help strengthen and grow the sector in BC”.
The Small Business Profile 2017 report shows that employment in BC’s small-business sector grew faster in 2016 than at any time in the past decade, with more than one million people employed in small businesses last year. However, that growth statistic is not surprising, in that most small businesses were severely impacted by the long drawn-out recession and recovery period after the crash in 2008.
The BC government says that small businesses produced more than one-third of provincial GDP in 2016 and $15.8 billion in exports in 2015, an increase of nearly $3 billion over the previous year.
Long the entrepreneurial energy in BC, the latest numbers show that BC leads the country in growth in the number of new small businesses and has the highest number of small businesses per capita across Canada, with small business making up 98% of all businesses in the province.
“There are significant growth opportunities ahead in advanced manufacturing, while the growth of small and medium-sized businesses can be fast-tracked by relying more on the use of technology,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. “Small businesses and manufacturers help create well-paying jobs for British Columbians throughout the province, and are major contributors to the provincial economy.”
As part of Small Business Week, the Province has partnered with Small Business BC to offer free professional seminars, webinars and ‘Ask the Expert’ services for small businesses during this time. Entrepreneurs and organizations representing small businesses and manufacturers will be marking both Small Business Week and Manufacturing Week with events throughout the province.
“We at Small Business BC are thrilled to partner with the Government of BC for Small Business Week to provide our high-quality training and expert advice to small businesses, free of charge,” said Sandra Miles, chair of Small Business BC. “By making it possible to share these valuable tools for free, the Province is giving small business owners the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed in their endeavours.”
As many of BC’s manufacturers are small businesses, declaring Manufacturing Week and Small Business Week together provides an opportunity for stakeholders to take advantage of events supporting both sectors.
“Manufacturing is a critical part of BC’s economy, contributing 7.2% of GDP,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, vice-president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters BC Division. “We also produce some fascinating products in BC and Manufacturing Week gives us an opportunity to profile for the public the nature of the industry and some of the cool things we make.” Manufacturing Week in BC is part of a broader national Manufacturing Month initiative led by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) to profile manufacturing across Canada, and is intended to boost the public profile of the manufacturing sector’s contributions to the economy.
Small businesses make up 98% of all businesses in BC, generating 34% of provincial GDP in 2016, above the Canadian average of 31%. Small businesses were the source of 32% of all wages paid to workers in BC last year, the highest share of all provinces and above the Canadian average of less than 27%.
Employment in BC’s small business sector climbed 3.1% in 2016, the highest rate of growth in over a decade. Approximately 1,056,300 British Columbians worked in small businesses in 2016, accounting for 54% of total private-sector employment, above the national average of 49%. Small businesses in BC shipped $15.8 billion worth of goods to international destinations in 2015, making up 42% of all provincial exports. Small businesses comprise almost 96% of employers in the high-technology sector.
British Columbia had the highest number of small businesses per capita in Canada in 2016, with 83.4 small businesses per 1,000 people. The national average was 69.9.
When it comes to the manufacturing sector, that’s a significant economic driver for the province, generating $16 billion for BC’s economy and supporting approximately 170,000 jobs. Manufacturing wages are 15.5% higher than the overall average for all industries, according to CME. There are more than 7,200 manufacturing companies in British Columbia. The manufacturing sector’s focus on export markets and innovation supports job growth across every manufacturing sub-sector in the province, including aerospace, marine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and apparel. Manufactured goods account for 58% of BC’s total goods exports to international destinations. Manufacturing Week is held in conjunction with CME’s Manufacturing Month and highlights the role BC’s manufacturers play in creating well-paying jobs throughout the province.
Tuesday, October 17 ~ NATIONAL. Small businesses are the getting the break they were promised! Announced yesterday at the start of Small Business Week across Canada, the federal government announced that the small business tax rate in Canada will get back to 9% by 2019, as promised by Trudeau during the 2015 federal election campaign. Presently it’s 10.5% and it will go to 10% at January 1, 2018 before it gets to 9% the year after that.
Naturally this is good news for small business. No one can argue or resist a reduction in tax rate. As part of the federal announcement was the claim that it could save up to $7,500 per year for small businesses once the full rate reduction is in place. While that helps, it’s not an enormous sum in light of the continued struggle of small business in an economy where big players largely rule the roost.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) put out a statement welcoming the federal government’s decision to reinstate its promise to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to 9%.
“I am pleased to see the government make good on its commitment to lower the small business rate by 2019,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “This decision will pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the small business community, helping them create more jobs and grow the economy.”
“Still, the changes to rules allowing business owners to share income with their family members remain a concern for middle-income businesses.”
CFIB is pleased the government has provided some clarity on the new rules around income-sprinkling – particularly, they will no longer be moving forward with measures that limit access to the lifetime capital gains exemption. However, CFIB remains concerned that the changes may not reflect the many formal and informal ways family members participate in the business.
“We are worried that the income sprinkling changes will keep the benefits of business ownership out of the hands of many spouses who participate in more informal ways in the business – particularly women,” said Kelly.
CFIB is anxiously awaiting details on passive income rules and the treatment of capital gains related to business succession. “We will wait for details and analysis on all the changes before passing judgment on the entire package,” added Kelly.
“As Small Business Week begins, I am heartened by the outpouring of support for small businesses over the past three months. CFIB will be providing direct feedback to government on the full package of changes in the weeks ahead.”
For Small Business Week check out www.shopsmallbiz.ca and on Twitter #SmallBizSaturday
Monday, October 16 ~ SOOKE. Log giveaway in Sooke. About 60 to 80 cords of alderwood have recently been logged from Lot A on Wadams Way in Sooke. The logs lie exhausted in a big pile by the fence along Sooke Road at Kaltasin Road in the District of Sooke’s workyard.
It’s quite a sight for those who live in other areas of Greater Victoria where felling even one tree in protected areas generates quite an uproar.
It’s just one more indication that while Sooke tries to include itself in the urban swath for services like getting a hospital or clinic, the region is still firmly connected to its rural roots.
The land clearing at Lot A is to make way for construction of the new, long-promised Sooke library (opening now pushed well into 2019, it was stated in a Vancouver Island Regional Library release in recent weeks).
Sooke Council took several awkward minutes off-line (microphones deliberately turned off) at their October 10 meeting to review “new information” as Mayor Maja Tait put it, after senior staff declined the mayor’s request to verbally brief council on the logging report. That’s a council-staff dynamic you don’t see in many municipal councils — mayor and council unprepared and senior administrative staff refusing to support a smooth presentation, and/or an attempt to reveal disclosure of some discussion.
The audience chatted and fidgeted during what was clearly a break in the meeting as Mayor and council read the report and had some discussions. Online viewers got a good chunk of silence to watch. With the webcast back on, Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount was then asked to provide some technical information.
Political options for what to do with the logs included offering them to non-profits for resale as fundraising opportunities, or selling the logs as firewood and keeping the proceeds of direct sale for the district’s own budget. As an active micro-management exercise, the Mayor lured real-time advertising-booking commitments out of council.
Councillor Kerrie Reay said the district is “always looking for money” and therefore supported direct sale of the logs and keeping the proceeds for the municipal budget, as did Councillor Brenda Parkinson who said the funds could be directed to the Community Grants budget.
Councillors Rick Kasper and Kevin Pearson spoke in favour of donating the logs to non-profits, if such groups would have the skill and means to produce firewood from the large logs (and are covered by suitable liability insurance). That last option is what council approved. Certain groups in town will be more easily connected with logging skills than others, so it is a political tip of the hat to the loggers and firewood buffs in the community.
Friday, October 13 ~ BC. “ShakeOutBC is a great opportunity to break from our routines, practice our earthquake response and take a moment to reflect on our level of preparedness,” says Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.
“We each have a duty to prepare our family and our community for emergencies.” We encourages people to participate in the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill on Oct 19.
BC sits in one of the world’s most seismically active regions, with more than 3,000 earthquakes recorded every year. Most are too small to be felt, but the risk of one being big enough to cause damage is real.
The best immediate response in an earthquake is to Drop, Cover and Hold On. Thousands of people practice this life-saving technique every year as part of the Great BC ShakeOut which is Canada’s largest earthquake drill.
Families, schools, businesses or organizations can register for ShakeOutBC at www.shakeoutbc.ca/register
Wednesday, October 11 ~ WEST SHORE. The upgraded View Royal Casino — to be known as Elements Casino — is getting some on-the-ground promotion in the west shore area. Two recent events hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce … a business showcase with 31 exhibitors at Eagle Ridge Arena on October 1 and tonight October 11 a business mixer at Darcy’s Pub, offered different angles on the promotion.
At the business showcase over 100 job applications were filled out by eager potential employees for the expanded facility. And at the mixer, BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) director of public affairs Greg Walker spoke to those gathered about the new facility and how gaming grants support non-profits throughout the province. BCLC co-hosted the October 11 mixer.
Walker said that the community gaming grants “are one way we give back”. Municipalities rely on BCLC gaming grants to help with general operational budget support.
The View Royal casino will be more than doubled in size with a major upgrade (adding 42,000 sq ft), becoming Elements Casino aiming to open by in spring 2018.
There will also be 12 new table games with live dealers, to add to the current 15, and new dining venues such as a buffet, casual lounge and bar.
Some of the jobs for which people applied this month include servers and bartenders, chefs, cage cashier and count team attendants, card dealers, security officers, surveillance operators, and operational roles in finance, human resources and marketing.
Last year View Royal Mayor David Screech called the View Royal expansion project good news. “I’m thrilled with the announcement and the confirmation that View Royal clearly will remain the premier gaming facility in the region,” he had said. The gambling operation generated $71.8 million in revenue in the 2015-16 fiscal year, with $4.1 million going to West Shore municipalities. View Royal and Langford get about 45% each, with the remaining 10% shared among five other jurisdictions, said Screech.
The Government of BC founded BCLC over 30 years ago with the stated purpose of giving back to the citizens of BC and helping communities grow. Since 1985, their customers have helped invest $19 billion in health care, education and community programs. BCLC says that 88 cents of every dollar goes back into provincial tax revenues.
Tuesday, October 10 ~ BC. BC Premier John Horgan is visiting Alert Bay today following an invitation from Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation. Premier Horgan will hear from local First Nations leaders, elders and community members on a range of topics and particularly on the challenging issue of Atlantic salmon aquaculture. The meeting will run from 10:15 am to 2:30 pm at the ‘Namgis Traditional Big House.
Two Atlantic salmon fish farms in the region are currently being occupied by protestors. The industry generated $787 million in annual value in 2016 and supports about 5,000 rural and coastal jobs. B.C.’s new government is committed to implementing the recommendations of the Cohen Commission and working with Indigenous communities, the federal government and industry on the issue of Atlantic salmon aquaculture.
With Premier Horgan today in Alert Bay will be Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation as well as Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and MLA for North Island Claire Trevena.
First Nations participants include: ‘Namgis First Nation, Dzawadaenuxw First Nation, Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, Mamalalikula First Nation, and Kuterra land-raised salmon farm.
There were similar problems with Atlantic salmon acquaculture on the west side of Vancouver Island this past summer where an enclosure lost containment, allowing for the possible cross-contamination with natural Pacific salmon as well as competition for natural food sources.
Tuesday, October 10 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau are off to Washington today for two days, for business talks, social events and photo ops.
This visit takes place amidst a time of NAFTA negotiations, stresses with North Korea, and the political strain of the Black Lives Matter kneeling issue at professional sports events. Trudeau’s official public engagements focussing on women in business is a soft-edge diplomatic touch.
On Tuesday evening, The Trudeaus will attend the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and Gala. On Wednesday morning,along with Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, the Trudeaus will participate in the Women One Roundtable Discussion. After that, the Prime Minister and Freeland will meet with the Committee on Ways and Means.
On Wednesday afternoon October 11, the Trudeaus will arrive at the White House and be greeted by US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Trudeau and Trump will meet privately around 2:05 pm, after which Trudeau is scheduled to meet with media around 3:40 pm.
There’s been a stone-cold drop in activity and a significant cooling in prices in many average-price areas of the Greater Victoria real estate market in recent weeks.
But in three areas actual sales price averages jumped dramatically between August and September: Langford was up by $55,150, East Saanich was up by $42,565 and North Saanich prices skyrocketed by $152,407. Prices in high-end Oak Bay notably dropped by almost $94,000 (only post-peak stock may have been available).
In September there were 18.1% fewer properties sold than a year ago. East Saanich is normally the bell-weather of pricing trends, and Langford seems to be following suit.
The Victoria Real Estate Board says the market is “trending slowly towards more balanced conditions and overall price increases are levelling”. But their own stats tell a different story. The trend is not slow. prices are ‘acting out’, and the most stable areas (East Saanich and Langford) show distinct upward pressure.
Two Bank of Canada interest rate hikes this summer cut the legs out from under the lower end of the market, hurting entry-level buyers and sellers of modest homes.
Housing inventory rose in September 2017 (up 3.1% from August) as properties have become more difficult to sell. In the fast-growing City of Langford the actual sale price of single family homes surpassed $700,000 last month while Colwood and Sooke prices plummeted.
This article was first published in the October 6, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Friday, October 6 ~ BC. BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone (MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson) will be making “a special announcement regarding the future of the party and the province” on Tuesday, October 10 in Surrey. He will also do campaign-style stops in Victoria and at Thompson Rivers University in his home town of Kamloops. He is expected to announce his candidacy to run for the BC Liberal leadership.
Stone was the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure under the Christy Clark Liberal government from June 2013, during which time his Ministry launched a 10-year plan to expand and enhance highways and roads throughout BC. He also served as Minister Responsible for Emergency Management BC and Deputy Government House Leader. He was also a member of the Priorities and Planning Committee.
Former Liberal cabinet minister Peter Fassbender says BC needs a fresh vision to keep the province on track. The first of six BC Liberal candidate debates is set for October 15 in Surrey, with party members embarking upon their process to select a new leader to replace former premier Christy Clark by early February 2018.
Friday, October 6 ~ COASTAL BC. This morning was the first of several 6am sailings by BC Ferries vessels between Metro Vancouver and Victoria. The additional sailing time (sailings normally start at 8 am) is part of accommodating heavier ferry traffic on the busy Thanksgiving Long Weekend.
“It was a good load from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen this morning on the Coastal Renaissance,” said BC Ferries communications rep Deborah Marshall. There were 250 vehicles on board the Super C-Class vessel, which is about 80% of the ship’s 310-vehicle capacity.
There was also good use of the 6 am sailing from the Vancouver side over to the island. The Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay sailing on the Queen of New Westminster carried 150 vehicles which is 60% of the 250-vehicle full capacity.
There will be another set of 6 am sailings on Saturday October 7 and on Thanksgiving Monday October 9 plus Tuesday October 10.
There will also be some midnight departures on October 6 and 9 from both terminals on the Metro Vancouver-Victoria route (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) as part of the additional 90 sailings on BC Ferries for this long weekend.
The most popular travel times are expected to have been yesterday afternoon (October 5) and this afternoon Friday October 6, as well as tomorrow (Saturday) morning.
BC Ferries says the busiest day of the long weekend is likely to be Monday, October 9, with traffic returning to the mainland from the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. Duke Point terminal tends to be less congested than Departure Bay, so customers returning to Vancouver from the Nanaimo area may consider travelling through the Duke Point terminal.
Parking lots at the major terminals may reach capacity at the height of the weekend, so public transit is suggested as an option for foot passengers.
Route info and sailing conditions: www.bcferries.com
Thursday, October 5 ~ VICTORIA & WEST SHORE AREA. One lane of travel in each direction returns to the Malahat.
Now that the summer peak travel period is over and traffic volumes are lower, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) says it will be reducing the Malahat section of Highway 1 (Trans Canada) to one lane in each direction. That’s in the Malahat Village area between Aspen Road and Shawnigan Lake Road.
That traffic pattern change will take effect after the Thanksgiving long weekend and remain in place 24/7 until the May long weekend in 2018. MOTI says this will help ensure that blasting activities can be completed safely and to provide clear and consistent lanes for drivers through the project during the winter months when visibility is often reduced by weather conditions. Intermittent traffic stoppages are also required for blasting but will occur outside peak periods (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. southbound and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. northbound).
Drivers can still expect delays of up to 20 minutes during construction. The ministry asks motorists to please be attentive for workers and obey the construction speed zone of 60 kph at all times. Drivers are asked to use both lanes up to the merge point and then alternate when merging (like a zipper) for best efficiency. For current conditions and up-to-date traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca
Improvements to the Malahat have been taking place in phases for the past couple of years. Adding meridians to separate northbound and southbound traffic has been a significant part of the work. In July 2016, $34 million was committed for the Malahat Safety Improvements project ($20,000 from BC and $14,000 in federal funds). An $18.5-million construction contract was awarded to Emil Anderson Construction Ltd for construction that began in spring 2017 and now runs through summer 2018.
Thursday, October 5 ~ COASTAL BC. Wow, travel takes time, especially on the busy Thanksgiving weekend!
And for some ferry customers there is the incentive to make it an early start on Friday and Saturday (October 6, 7) and Thanksgiving Monday plus Tuesday (October 9 and 10) when BC Ferries will be running 6am sailings. There will also be some midnight departures on October 6 and 9 from both terminals on the Metro Vancouver-Victoria route (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay).
There will be 90 extra sailings overall on BC Ferries shops for the Thanksgiving long weekend.
The most popular travel times are expected to be this afternoon, October 5, and Friday afternoon October 6, as well as Saturday morning.
From experience, BC Ferries notes that the busiest day of the Long Weekend is likely to be Monday, October 9, with traffic returning to the mainland from the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. Duke Point terminal tends to be less congested than Departure Bay, so customers returning to Vancouver from the Nanaimo area may consider travelling through the Duke Point terminal.
Parking lots at the major terminals may reach capacity at the height of the weekend, so public transit is suggested as an option for foot passengers.
Route info and sailing conditions: www.bcferries.com
Thursday, October 5 ~ BC. Addressing the issue of housing affordability and availability, this week BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver questioned housing Minister Selina Robinson on the BC NDP government’s intentions to take action to cool the housing market.
“Last week at UBCM the Premier indicated that his government’s solution to the problem of housing affordability is to simply add more supply,” Weaver said. Supply is required, but it goes deeper than that.
“Once more our government has missed the glaring problems on the demand side,” said Weaver. Weaver pointed out that when in opposition, Minister Eby (now Attorney General) was a fierce critic of the government’s failure to act, and argued that the bare trust loophole costs British Columbia hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used for affordable housing initiatives.”
Weaver is calling for the Horgan NDP government to “take action immediately to close the bare trust loophole that incentivizes speculation, discourages transparency and encourages property tax avoidance”.
Weaver is calling for bold solutions to the affordable housing crisis that is facing many communities. He is targeted the non-resident foreign buyer’s tax as something that should be extended to the entire province. The BC Greens are also calling for a ban on foreign ownership of ALR land over five acres, as a way to stem speculation and protect British Columbia’s food security.Weaver states the obvious: “The purpose of housing should be to provide homes for British Columbians – not a commodity that is wide open to international speculation.” He called it a “terrible reality” for people to be priced out of their own community due to real estate speculation.
Last week at UBCM, presenters armed with data in a presentation about the housing market argued that housing prices in Victoria and Vancouver will remain consistently high due to the desirability of people wanting to live in these urban areas of the BC coastal region.
In a presentation on September 25, Josh Gordon, Assistant Professor in Public Policy at SFU said there is “too much investment in the housing market” which is increasing transaction costs. “Private housing was never meant to be an investment vehicle,” said Gordon. As he was addressing municipal officials, he added: “No action by local authorities can have any impact on pricing.” He continued that housing prices have reached “unprecedented levels” in Vancouver and Victoria, but showed with housing trends data that squeezing regular homeowners out of the market is “not a Canada-wide issue”. Professor Gordon called it a “two-track market”. He left those in room a bit overwhelmed but arguably convinced.Last week at UBCM when Premier John Horgan in his speech to wrap up the conference on Friday morning tossed out a glib offer of manufactured homes (calling them ‘cans’) for municipalities to use for providing housing, it did offer supply. But it smacked of a ‘step down’ for people who have been pushed out of access to regular housing due to the bigger market forces that Weaver and the data-laden experts are talking about.
Municipalities like the City of Langford are keen to boost housing supply, having added about 500 to 600 homes (single family, townhome, condo, apartment rental and subsidized housing) per year in the past few years. Further, Langford Mayor Stew Young sees continued supply as a way to provide jobs and build the local and regional west shore economy, where businesses increasing flock to be part of the burgeoning economy there.
Wednesday, October 4 ~ LANGFORD. The full West Shore Parkway officially opened today. Feature by Mary P Brooke.
>> A significant achievement for the City of Langford, a milestone for Langford Mayor Stew Young, and a boon for the economy of the entire west shore region… today the opening of the full West Shore Parkway celebrated all that.
Under bright skies on this crisp fall day, about 300 people gathered along the brand new roadway and up close for the formal announcement. That was at 10 am. And around 11 am the full West Shore Parkway from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) over to Sooke Road (Hwy 14) saw its first through-traffic.
But not before a motorcade of classic cars took a symbolic first-drive on the newly-opened 3.5 km road. Leading the pack was Mayor Young, cruising in his pale blue 1956 Buick Special, nicely appointed and car-show ready. That was the end of the long-awaited, much-anticipated October 4 official opening event. Ahead of that there were speeches, acknowledgements and the ribbon-cutting.
Foremost was the reminder to all that the key success of this new roadway was an infrastructure partnership by three levels of government. The Government of Canada (by the work of then-MLA for Courtenay—Alberni, John Duncan), the Government of BC (under then-Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure Todd Stone), and the City of Langford (by way of developers in Langford) each contributed $7.5 million to the $22.5 million project.First announced as a go-ahead infrastructure project in July 2015, Stew Young was proud to proclaim today that the major engineering feat was achieved on budget and on time. He acknowledged the massive undertaking this project was for the late Victor Chen, former engineering manager with the City of Victoria, who passed away suddenly in August. Victor’s widow Joyce was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony today, leading the 3-2-1 countdown of the ribbon cutting in Chinese.
“Thank you to the business community for stepping up and funding the Langford portion,” said Mayor Stew Young as part of his remarks at the microphone. “Opening this road creates a great economic opportunity for Langford. It gets people in car from workplace to home earlier, spending more time in your community with your families. And that’s what infrastructure is all about,” he said, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions with cars not idling as much in traffic congestion.
Mayor Young says the “next big project” is to “start to push to get that highway fixed into town” Young is promoting the need for high-occupancy lanes on Highway 1, to improve commuter travel times. “Let’s get some pressure and some support, and fix that highway for people living in the west shore.”“This is a complete community job,” said Stew Young about the completion of the West Shore Parkway. “We’re so excited about having this open and the cooperation with everybody—that’s how you get things done — working with business, working with government. And that’s how we’re going to continue doing things in Langford.”
“Enjoy the road. It’s a fantastic road. You’re going to like all the improvements,” said Young in wrapping up. “It’s one of the best connectors you’re going to drive in BC right now, with all the aesthetically beautiful things we’ve done with our roadways including artificial turf that we don’t have to water, saving the environment.” And with his trademark showmanship: “ Let’s get this thing open!”
City of Langford Director of Engineering Michelle Mahovlich set the vehicle procession in motion.
Also taking part in the event was Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) representing Premier John Horgan (MLA, Langford-Juan de Fuca), saying “our government is committed to solving broader transportation challenges in our region”.Federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi was in Langford earlier this summer to see the West Shore Parkway construction in progress. On August 2 (one of the hottest days of the year) he took a tour of the construction site with Mayor Stew Young, saying it was an opportunity for him to see up close how federal infrastructure dollars are being spent.
Today Stew Young told media that “infrastructure dollars are coming west”. He noted how traffic growth in the region is increasing by about 2% to 3% per year, adding that the provincial government taking action to improve Highway 1 with HOV lanes and other improvements is action required now, not to be delayed with further studies.
Today’s official opening of the parkway was held by the non-used E&N Railway line where it crosses the parkway. To media, Young reiterated a view he’s held for some time, that shifting transportation issues from the non-profit area (presently E&N Railway issues are handled by the Island Corridor Foundation) to the provincial level is the right way to go now. And the federal government has funding for this, he added. “Getting the business community on side to show the importance of improved transportation” is important now.
Tuesday, October 3 ~ LANGFORD. The City of Langford will open the last segments of the new West Shore Parkway on Wednesday, October 4 at 11 am, following a 10 am ribbon cutting. Drivers in the area are asked to follow all signage and obey instructions of the Traffic Control Persons on site at all times.
This last connection of the 3.5km new West Shore Parkway will provide vehicle, cycling and pedestrian access from the Trans-Canada Highway 1 south to Sooke Road Highway14, and in doing so create a key north-south connection for the region.
The project has been funded through a New Building Canada Infrastructure grant, awarded in July 2015. The Government of Canada and Government of BC each contributed up to $7,450,856 through the Small Communities Fund, while the City of Langford was responsible for any remaining costs. In all, the total project value was $22.5 million.
Upon award of the grant, the City proceeded immediately to detailed design and construction of the parkway in segments, as some segments were already partially constructed, while others were not at all constructed. Of note, several local contractors were instrumental in the completion of this project for the City.
On the project, Langford Mayor Stew Young stated: “The City of Langford is very excited about the completion of the West Shore Parkway, which is the largest grant project completed in the City of Langford to date. The West Shore Parkway will improve traffic in and around
Langford and the West Shore, promote the development of a range of housing options and businesses, and provide residents with a number of transportation options via the new bike lanes, sidewalks and transit stops.”
MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin Mitzi Dean on behalf of the BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said: “This new connection between Highway 1 and Highway 14 provides a safe, alternative route for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers that will save everyone time when travelling between communities on the West Shore.”
The Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, noted: “The Government of Canada is investing in road and highway infrastructure to improve traffic flow and public safety while supporting middle-class job creation and economic growth. I am pleased to see that our funding has made it possible to complete the West Shore Parkway, which will improve local connections to the TransCanada and create safer, more efficient commutes.”
Tuesday, October 3 ~ LANGFORD. It was another slam dunk for City of Langford Mayor Stew Young and his council last night, as they let the public have their way but in the end made a massive sweep of change for downtown Langford.
Frequently brief, Langford council meetings often wrap up in 15 to 20 minutes, with rapid-fire approval of sometimes a long list of Planning committee recommendations and zoning and variance approvals.
The October 2 meeting had that quick-approval pattern at the end. But the public hearing ahead of that lasted over an hour and a half. Mayor Young took heat for the discomfort that residents are feeling about the increasing cost of housing (the average sale price in September for a single family home in Langford was $710,110) and rental accommodation (now about $1,400 for a 1-bedroom rental apartment, or about $1,200 for just a studio), in-town traffic congestion, and protracted travel times for job commuters to areas of Greater Victoria beyond Langford.
It could be argued that Langford is now central to the Greater Victoria area, considering that population growth is ‘west-heavy’ into Langford, Colwood, and Sooke. About 500 to 600 housing units per year are built in Langford, and as many of those attract young families now even the schools are overflowing their students into portables and teacher shortages in SD62 are looming. And even that is apparently not enough to keep up with demand.
Long the pitch and hope of Stew Young that provincial government offices will eventually be built in Langford (as a key way to boost the tax base and reduce or eliminate commute times for workers), he’s been assembling the pieces for a long time. More housing, larger population, more immediate jobs in the region, attracting young families to the area, constructing another traffic route (West Shore Parkway, which fully opens this week), and pushing along BC Transit for more and better bus routes to and through Langford. Around the edges have been the other essential ingredients built such as town beautification and recreation.All of this the mayor provisioned to the crowd of about 120 people at Langford Council October 2, taking dozens of questions and getting a bit of raw feedback from residents angry about traffic congestion, loss of sunlight from higher buildings, noise, and the overall change to what Langford was to them.
Higher density is needed and actually appreciated by new residents who come to Langford for the relative affordability, the mayor explained. A new city core lifestyle has been evolving in Langford for a long time. The tipping point is now, as residents who knew Langford as a backwash to the Victoria core – but with the benefits of quiet, space and a slow pace – are feeling the transition-to-urban in real ways.
Several public comments noted how 300 more units being added in a development on Claude Road will cause further traffic congestion to Peatt Road which serves as a thoroughfare within and through Langford. As people move to the suburbs they are not abandoning their cars for use of the bus to the degree that transit planners would hope.As one resident summarized it… development is necessary for a growing city but it has to be done right. One suggestion was building townhomes instead of high rise apartments. But developers need a good return on their investment, especially as the City of Langford shifts the burden of road, sewer and other amenity development to the developers. The costs are shifted along by developers into the cost of housing for consumers.
All the ‘noise’ of the October 2 meeting – including a distraction about some buildings possibly being 12 storeys high — was a good cover allowing the public let off some steam — for the massive shift in the Official Community Plan (OCP) that Council approved thereafter … three areas of Langford that were beyond the town core (previously zoned ‘neighbourhood’) got 2nd and 3rd reading to be zoned City Centre (see pink areas on map – Bylaw 1738).
Some smaller adjacent areas in the OCP will be rezoned as Mixed Use Employment Centre, and Business or Light Industrial. Staff are to come up with a somewhat diminished building height maximum (not yet entirely specified) for the City Centre areas. This will allow for development of greater residential density and possibly office towers. Apparently the government office buildings won’t come until the population density has increased and is proximal to the office areas. Build it and they will come.At the tail end of the meeting, Mayor Young, Councillor Lanny Seaton, and Councillor Denise Blackwell left the room a few times (to avoid conflict of interest) over motions to pass developments on Meaford and Dunford and regarding a tax exemption for the Cherish Seniors Facility at Jacklin and Jenkins.
One member of the public had earlier noted that Langford Council listens but pushed things through anyway. It’s in this manner that Langford has been built to now a burgeoning town of over 40,000 people, poised as the shining urban jewel that puts Langford at the centre of it all.
Developer Jim Hartshorne of Keycorp Developments Ltd and developer Ron Coutre who is president of the West Shore Developers Association – both of whom stand much to gain by last night’s changes to Langford’s Official Community Plan — were present for what ended up being a 2-hour meeting on October 2 . Neither contributed any public comment.
Monday, October 2 ~ USA. A mass shooting in Las Vegas last night has taken the lives of at least 59 people and injured over 500. Investigators are surprised at the age of the shooter (64) who used automatic weapons to shoot randomly into a crowd that was attending an open-air rock concert. The shooter was found dead by self-inflicted injury in a tall building within range of the concert.
Sunday, October 1 ~ EDMONTON. Attack in Edmonton. A police officer and four others were taken to hospital in Edmonton on Saturday night September 30 following a violent rampage by a 30-year-old Somali immigrant man. Police say the man showed no active signs of terrorist recruitment or radicalization.
Today BC Premier John Horgan issued a statement, including: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of last night’s violent attacks against police and the people of Edmonton. British Columbians stand united with the people of Alberta – and all Canadians – against violence and hate in all its forms.”
Sunday, October 1 ~ NATIONAL. The federal NDP have a new leader. Today October 1, Jagmeet Singh won the NDP Leadership race on the first ballot with 53.8% of valid votes cast.
An Osgoode Law School graduate, Singh won with 35,266 votes. Overall turnout was 52.8 per cent of eligible NDP member voters.
Fundraising, polls and membership sign-ups suggested that Singh was on track for a strong first ballot result, though winning on the first ballot is an NDP feat only achieved in the past by Tommy Douglas and Jack Layton.
There were strong indications throughout the campaign that Singh’s support was largely being drawn from new members, though some seasoned MPs (like Randall Garrison, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) were vocally supportive in recent weeks. Pre-existing members of the party opted largely for the other three leadership candidates — Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton and Guy Caron — who are sitting MPs and long-time party figures.
The NDP are obviously looking for new hope and a fresh start with a leader who brings new skills, talents and celebrity charm to the role. This will put Singh as the NDP leader up against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Liberal) and Andrew Scheer (Conservative) in the Fall 2019 federal election.
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