Home BREAKING NEWS – Juan de Fuca Area

BREAKING NEWS – Juan de Fuca Area

BREAKING NEWS – Juan de Fuca

The Juan de Fuca Electoral Area includes areas west of Sooke up to Port Renfrew, as well as East Sooke and the Gulf Islands 

Back to: FRONT PAGE NEWS | BC & NATIONAL | VANCOUVER ISLAND | LANGFORD | COLWOOD | VIEW ROYAL | METCHOSIN |  SOOKE | JUAN de FUCA |  Events on the west side of Vancouver Island


Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca Regional Director (incumbent in October 2018 election). [West Shore Voice News photo. Sept 30, 2018]
Monday, October 1 ~ OTTER POINT. At the All Candidates Meeting for Juan de Fuca Regional Director held on Sunday, September 30, about 60 people in attendance had an opportunity to hear from two-term (7-year) regional director incumbent Mike Hicks and candidate Daniel Yates.  [read this article on its own page]

Hicks said there have been “many positive changes” in the Juan de Fuca District under his leadership, including purchase of the lands from Sandcut Beach to Jordan River, building the Juan de Fuca Services Building, being part of the artificial turf field installation in Sooke, being part of the golf course purchase by SEAPARC (shared Sooke and Juan de Fuca), and acquiring use of a portion of William Simmons Park in Otter Point.

Hicks was also a catalyst toward success of the Sooke library land deal between the District of Sooke and the Vancouver Island Regional Library board

Hicks also highlighted his continued support of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society in their pursuit of lighthouse ownership and development of the CRD-park that surrounds the property.

In typical Hicks style, he came right to the point: “Land use issues have always been at the root of our residents’ discontent”. He was pleased to report that JdF has an elected Land Use Committee rep from each community (Kemp Lake, Shirley, Otter Point).

Hicks was pleased to remind the politically-aware audience that the CRD Regional Growth Strategy was amended in Juan de Fuca’s favour earlier this year, regarding water rights.

“I have always tried to understand what my constituents want and have tried my best to build it, support it, or change the system to make it happen,” Hicks claimed. He said that a good working relationship with the Premier (who is MLA for the riding) and the mayor of Sooke have facilitated Juan de Fuca’s success in recent years.

Daniel Yates, candidate for Juan de Fuca Regional Director, Sept 30 2018 at All Candidates Meeting [West Shore Voice News photo]
Daniel Yates grew up in the Kemp Lake area when there was no bus and few services. Now at age 35, he has a world view that watches out for ‘the little guy’ in communities and small business. “The free market applies to everyone except individuals,” he pronounced. He said that “local government truly supports those who support the backbone of this society.”

Yates said that bylaws are a general guideline and supports in principle the use of variances so that people can use their own land effectively.

“We have a community full of capable people,” said Yates, adding that he would strive to find common goals.  He hopes that more young voters will turn out for the election on October 20.

All Candidates Meeting September 30, 2018 hosted by OPSRRA. From left: Neil Poirier (SD62 trustee incumbent), Britt Santowski (SD62 trustee candidate), Daniel Yates (JdF Director candidate), Margot Swinburnson (SD62 trustee incumbent), Mike Hicks (JdF Director incumbent), Allison Watson (SD62 trustee candidate), Bob Phillips (SD62 trustee incumbent). [West Shore Voice News photo]
School trustee candidates for Milne’s Landing Zone (SD62) were also part of the meeting. While Director candidates spoke first, the visual mix (from the audience perspective) was a blend of Director and trustee candidates. See separate article about the trustee speeches [link to come].

School trustees for the Milne’s Landing Zone of SD62 (i.e. Sooke and Juan de Fuca voters), are Bob Phillips (incumbent), Neil Poirier (incumbent), Britt Santowski, Margot Swinburnson (incumbent), and Allison Watson.

The meeting was hosted by the Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River Resident and Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA), moderated by OPSRRA President Bill Dushenko. There was full audience participation for questions. The event ran for over two hours in the afternoon.


Wednesday, September 19. There will be an All Candidates Meeting on Sunday, September 30, for voters to ask questions of candidates for CRD Director (Juan de Fuca) at the Juan de Fuca Local Area Services Building, 3-7450 Butler Road in Otter Point.

The two candidates running for Juan de Fuca Regional Director are Mick Hicks (incumbent) and Daniel Yates.

The meeting will be held from 2 to 4 pm.

Also participating in the Q&A event will be the six candidates presently listed for SD62 trustee (Milne’s Landing Zone): Marian Cvitkovic, Bob Phillips, Neil Poirier, Britt Santowski, Margot Swinburnson, and Allison Watson.

Nominees for LUC and APC will also be introduced.

The public meeting will be hosted by the Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River Resident and Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA). Q&A format will be moderated by Bill Dushenko, President of OPSRRA.

Saturday, September 8 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Premier John Horgan was in Sooke to help officially open the 2018 Sooke Fall Fair at noon, then travelled to Port Renfrew to take part in a special forests announcement for the Cowichan and Port Renfrew regions.

People in the Cowichan Lake communities and Pacheedaht First Nation will benefit from a unique community forest agreement for the Qala:yit [Kwah-LIE-it] Community Forest, reached in partnership with the provincial government.

“This is the latest stride that our nation has taken towards creating our own economic destiny, including a new sawmill and a new potable community water system that is capable of serving the entire Port Renfrew area,” said Chief Jeff Jones, Pacheedaht First Nation.

“In partnership with the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative, BC Timber Sales and the Province, we are achieving our goal of greater resource management in our traditional territory.”

The agreement with BC Timber Sales is the first of its kind. One of the unique conditions of this community forest is that part of the land base includes BC Timber Sales’ operating area and, as a result, 7,296 cubic metres will be sold by BC Timber Sales. Of the net revenue generated from the BC Timber Sales harvest, 50% will be shared with the Qala:yit partners to use in their communities.

“The Qala:yit Community Forest partnership is the first of its kind and a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together to create good jobs and more opportunities so people can build better lives in their communities,” said Premier John Horgan.

As part of the application, the partners demonstrated community awareness and support for the community forest, including building relationships and sharing information with neighbouring First Nations and area communities. The applicants also submitted a management plan for approval that helped determine the final allowable annual cut, set at 31,498 cubic metres over approximately 8,000 hectares of Crown land.

“With such a tight land base in the area, the Qala:yit Community Forest would not have been possible without entering into this agreement with BC Timber Sales,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“Because of the willingness of all parties to embrace ingenuity, the Pacheedaht First Nation and Cowichan Lake communities are now poised to reap the financial and social rewards, and increased input into local resource management decisions that go along with community forest agreements,” said Donaldson.

Community forest agreements are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests. A community forest is managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.


Campsite locations on Vancouver Island – summer 2018 [BC Government map via Google]
Saturday, July 28 ~ BC. There are 431 new campsites throughout BC for the 2018 camping season. That’s a top-up of 81 new sites, with 350 new campsites having been added in BC Parks and recreation sites in 2017.  [ View this article on its own page ]

“People are passionate about spending time in our beautiful provincial parks, and that has increased demand for camping opportunities,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“The additional campsites, combined with upgrades to existing facilities, will improve the overall experience of BC’s natural beauty and provide a range of camping opportunities for everyone to enjoy.”

Ranging from backcountry to group camping, the new campsites are a mix of BC Parks and forestry recreation sites in areas with the highest demand: the Kootenay Rockies, Thompson Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

“With the expansion, there are now 11,000 camping spaces at 1,100 recreation sites around the province, for those who enjoy a more rustic experience,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Along with the additional campsites, existing facilities and infrastructure have been upgraded or added in many campgrounds. This includes roads, water taps, power, dishwashing stations, accessible toilets, trails and a new large shower building at the Hampton campground in E.C. Manning Provincial Park. A new playground has been installed at Shuswap Lake. Walk-in sites at Montague Harbour all have individual food caches.

“The expanded mix of BC Parks and forestry recreation site campsites is very welcome news,” said Joss Penny, chair, Camping and RVing BC Coalition. “More than two million campers from BC, Alberta and Washington are expected to camp or RV in British Columbia in the next two years.”

Last Saturday, July 21, Canada’s Parks Day was an annual event to highlight the importance of parks in creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems, protecting critical habitat for species at risk, and contributing to human health and well-being. Educational and family-oriented events were held in parks and historic sites across the country.

BC Parks Foundation has launched the Healthy By Nature initiative, where 100 health-care providers will lead walks in 100 parks throughout B.C. to highlight the health benefits of spending time in nature. To register locally: healthybynature.ca

British Columbia’s provincial parks receive over 21 million visits each year. There are 1,033 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas, covering more than 14 million hectares, or about 14.4% of the provincial land base.

BC Parks manages the third-largest parks system in North America, exceeded only by the United States’ National Park Service and Parks Canada. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/

As of June 30, 2018, BC Parks had nearly 168,000 reservations made through the Discover Camping reservation service, with the majority of reservations originating within BC. Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55% are reservable, and 45% remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Recreation sites and trails: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/

Most of the new campsites in BC Parks are either on the Discover Camping Reservation Service, or will be for the 2019 camping season. Camping for recreation sites is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made online: https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/Home.aspx


Orca Whale (L79). Vessels to now keep their distance from whales.

Friday, July 13 ~ BC.  Keeping a distance from whales: new regulations.  Whales and other marine mammals are the subject of new Canadian regulations (previously recommendations) by which boaters are to maintain certain distances or be faced with hefty fines.The new rules that came into effect July 11 require boaters to maintain a 100-metre buffer zone (200 metres for orcas).

Under the Fisheries Act, penalties range from $100,000 to $500,000. Repeat offences could result in a higher fine amount or even imprisonment, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The new rules will impact the on-water tourism industry, particularly whale-watching excursions. Vessels must stay out of the path of oncoming whales out to 400 yards (366 m). Vessels may not intercept a whale or be positioned in the path of a whale.

Among other reasons, the proximity of loud motorized vessels is thought to interfere with the ability of whales to communicate with each other for feeding or maintaining pod cohesion.

In BC, the orca is an iconic aspect of regional arts and culture, tourism, and Indigenous culture.

Location of the wildfire near Tugwell Creek, in the vicinity of Sooke, BC (shown in yellow area on map). [Map screenshot: BC Wildfire Service, July 9, 2018]
Monday, July 9 ~ SOOKE. The wildfire at Tugwell Creek is now 100% contained, as of mid-morning Monday July 9. The fire was first detected at a size of 4 hectares on July 2 and reached 84 hectares at its largest active point.

“Crews are working inward from the perimeter, doing mop-up activities,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant today, July 9.

Yesterday on Sunday July 8, there were still 63 firefighters, two pieces of heavy equipment, seven water tenders, and two helicopters on site, for attending to the active wildfire.

The fire event is now called ‘non active’ by the BC Wildfire Service. Mopping-up including looking for hot spots and putting those out. That process can take one to two weeks with ground crews, heavy equipment and water tenders, says Grant.

Some BC Wildfire information last week showed the burned area to be as much as 100 hectares. “But the area that burned out didn’t get beyond 84 hectares,” says Grant.  “It looked larger than that with all the smoke, but once helicopters got up in the air Friday morning, the 84-hectare area was confirmed.

Smoke from the fire reached into parts of Greater Victoria for a few days during the most active burning period.


Saturday, July 7 ~ JUAN DE FUCA. As of 11:25 am today Saturday July 7, the Tugwell Creek fire west of Sooke is being held (unlikely to spread) at 80% contained.

Resources today include 88 firefighters, seven water tenders, heavy equipment and three helicopters says #BCwildfire | @BCGovFireInfo

The fire is on private forestry land. A nearby beekeeper’s operation is apparently not adversely affected. Smoke has periodically reached into the Greater Victoria area contributing to grey skies and minor air quality issues for some residents.

Thursday, July 5 ~ JUAN de FUCA. [UPDATE at 11:30 pm July 5 – fire partially contained, size is 84 hectares.]

The size of the wildfire area at Tugwell Creek was up to 100 hectares as of late last night. It’s one of 54 fires currently listed as a ‘fire of note’ in BC. BC Wildifre crews will be on scene again today, with the continued use of planes dropping fire retardant and helicopters dropping water.

The fire that started July 2 somehow became ignited in an area of timber leftovers from logging (known as ‘slash’).


Fire retardant being dropped onto wildfire west of Sooke, July 4 [photo by Al Wickheim]
Wednesday, July 4 ~ JUAN de FUCA.  As of 8:20 pm this evening, July 4, the wildfire at Tugwell Creek (west of Sooke) is still listed by the BC Wildfire Service as ‘out of control’.

The size of the burning area is now listed at 85 hectares (up from 25 hectares as of this morning, and 60 hectares around 5:30 pm). The fire was first reported on July 2 with a size of about four hectares.

“Less wind and some rain would help,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant.

Today three helicopters dumping water and a plane dumping fire retardant were used at the scene.

Smoke is reaching through the west shore and other areas of Greater Victoria, creating grey skies.

Photo taken today July 4 by Al Wickheim from the west ridge above Tugwell Creek, about six miles upstream. Water tanker dropping fire retardant Tugwell Creek. Winds are from the east in this photo.

“Winds are variable and some fire crowning is making this a hazardous fire for air and ground crews,” says Wickheim. “We could hear the fire crackling from where we were. Fortunately there is no immediate threat to the bee hives of Tugwell Creek Meadery,” he said on Wednesday evening.


Fire at Tugwell Creek has reached 25 hectares in size at July 4 (photo July 3). [Facebook sourced photo]
Wednesday, July 4 ~ JUAN de FUCA. A fire continues to burn today in a logging area in Juan de Fuca, west of Sooke and west of Otter Point.

The area that is burning now exceeds 35 hectares (as of 6 pm July 4) due to more active high winds this morning, says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant.

Of 60 active fires in the province (as of midnight July 3), the Tugwell Creek fire is one of three listed as “out of control” by the BC Wildfire Service.  The fire was first reported on July 2 with a size of about four hectares.

“People don’t need to be alarmed,” says Grant. She says that people will see more fixed-wing planes dropping retardant, more helicopters dumping buckets of water, and more smoke. Welfare management has also sent out more ground crews.

The forest reserve land is part of Juan de Fuca, and the fire began in a slash area (where forestry activity leaves vegetative debris behind). There hasn’t been any lightning, so the fire is thought to have been caused by one or more persons with either cigarette butts, campfire, or use of ATVs in the back road areas. Even minor sparks can set off forest ‘fuel’ (leaves, branches, grassy areas, etc).

Actions are being handled by Wildfire BC and not the Otter Point Fire Department because the fire is beyond the Otter Point Fire Department boundaries.  The fire is about 5 to 6 km away from Tugwell Road where there are homes and farms.


Friday, June 15 ~ SOOKE.  A survey about health services in Sooke is online at www.sooke.ca/health. Ongoing updates regarding Sooke Region Primary Care will also be posted at that site following this weekend’s open house on health planning in the region.

The survey focuses on use of the existing West Coast Family Medical Clinic. Questions include whether or not you already have a family doctor, and where you go for urgent care with the West Coast Family Medical Clinic is closed.

The open house on Saturday, June 16 will be hosted by the District of Sooke, South Island Division of Family Practice, and Island Health to present the Sooke Region Community Health Services Planning document. It runs from 1 to 4 pm, at Sooke Baptist Church, 7110 West Coast Road.

“Community Health Service planning has brought together multiple partners focused on developing local solutions for Sooke,” states the District of Sooke. They are providing the open house as an opportunity for the community to learn about the planning document, the priorities identified, and the proposed objectives to support improved access to health care in the region.

Financial resources and responsibility for public health care rest largely within the provincial government, making the role of local government one of advocacy.

Members of the community discussed target health service issues at the May 2016 Sooke Health Summit [West Shore Voice News photo]
In December of 2013, a Primary Health Care Services Working Group (PHCSWG) was formed, based on input from the community and an existing municipal initiative to address broad health and social needs.

The PHCSWG brings together local and regional health care professionals, and since 2013 the group has tackled a multitude of community health needs, including physician recruitment, improved medical imaging services (X-ray and ultrasound), Sooke X-Ray Briefing Document 2016 (In late 2017, West Coast Medical Imaging improved the X-Ray technology available in Sooke), collaborating on research and programming regarding the support needs of senior citizens, advocacy for continued support of existing health infrastructure, and hosting two community forums to collect input on community needs and share resources.

That was followed by a Health Summit in May 2016 at Sooke Community Hall, with break-out groups where discussion drilled down into specific issues.

The District of Sooke admits that the idea of a “one-stop shop” Health Care Centre has been discussed in Sooke for more than a decade, with several proposals coming forward during that time. Varying circumstances have halted each proposal, but the need for expanded primary care has not changed.

It was announced by the BC Government last week that this fall a full team-based primary care centre will open in Surrey, where a larger population is ideal for the initiative.

The focus of the PHCSWG in Sooke over the past year has been on further exploring improved Primary Health Care for the Sooke Region. A steering committee which includes representation from Island Health was tasked with moving this initiative forward, with a stakeholder engagement session held in November 2017. The Sooke Region Community Health Planning Document outlines the key themes and priorities from this session.


Boats clustered in the Victoria Inner Harbour, evening before Swiftsure 2018. [Photo: John Clarke]
Friday, May 25 ~ VICTORIA.  The 75th Annual Swiftsure 2018 International Yacht Race gets the wind behind its sails tomorrow morning, Saturday May 26. 

There will be six race starts at Clover Point: Juan de Fuca Race 9 am; Cape Flattery Race 9:10 am; Cape Flattery Race for Multihulls and Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls 9:20 am; Swiftsure Ligthship Classic and The Hein Bank Race 9:30 am; Inshore Classic Race (Flying Sails) 9:40; Inshore Classic Race (Legends of Swiftsure, Cruising) 9:50 am. Race officials will use VHF Channel 9 to coundown each race start.

The public comes in droves to watch the race starts, but there is an increasing number of armchair sailors from around the world who follow the races online using Swiftsure’s Race Tracker .

In 2017 over half a million people peered into Swiftsure’s race tracker online. Recent advances in data communication technology enable regular and consistent reporting of boat positions, allowing spectators to boats online.

There are 192 boats registered to sail this weekend. A skipper’s information meeting was held this evening. Most boats will have someone on the bow of most boats during the start. They are watching for opportunities for clean air (not having wind blanketed by sails of other boats that are upwind).

The first boats to finish will likely be the Juan de Fuca multihull fleet. The fastest boats could arrive before midnight on Saturday. The first monohulls racing the Juan de Fuca course could begin arriving after midnight or in the early Sunday morning hours.

Swiftsure appeals to all types of sailors, from experienced amateurs (racers and cruisers) to professional racers. The varied course lengths and uncertain sailing conditions test strategy, tactics, and seamanship.  Swiftsure is considered a grueling test against the elements. Fog, drizzle/rain, heavy winds, strong tidal currents, darkness and the large number of commercial boats in the Strait of Juan de Fuca require a focus on safety and pose a constant challenge to mariner skills.


Otter Point Road (west of Sooke) to see $2.5 to $3 million in improvements [West Shore Voice News photo – April 2018]
Sunday, April 15 ~ SOOKE. More funds for road improvements in the Premier’s riding! 

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) will upgrade approximately 2 km of Otter Point Road, a key access point for Highway 14 (Sooke Road), and an important alternative route when the highway is closed.

“Over my years as MLA, I have heard many safety concerns from the community about Otter Point Road and many suggestions on how to make it better for people. These upgrades will help keep drivers, cyclists and pedestrians moving safely,” said Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca in a news release.

The project and its funding of $2.5 to $3 million was announced by Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA) Director Mike Hicks on behalf of Premier Horgan at the AGM of the Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA) today April 15 at the JdF Services Building in Otter Point.

More intersection upgrades, passing opportunities, improvements for transit, highway shoulder widening and alignment improvements are under development in consultation with the community. Existing lanes will be resurfaced and lanes will be widened wherever possible for cyclist/pedestrian safety, said Ryan Evanoff, Operations Manager, MOTI, at the Otter Point AGM today. The cost to move utility poles is a large part of the project cost, Evanoff told the 30 people in attendance at the AGM. He added that there are no “property take” costs (no private lands will be required or purchased to compete these road improvements).

The proposed improvements will widen and pave approximately 2km of Otter Point Road between the municipal boundary and Kemp Lake Road. Once survey and design work is complete, the ministry will provide an estimated project cost and schedule for the construction of these improvements.

“Community input has been vital to enabling the ministry to get to work quickly on planning work for safety improvements on Otter Point Road, and I look forward to continuing this engagement on more essential upgrades to the Highway 14 corridor,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena.

The Otter Point Road project funding and project work is in addition to the suite of Highway 14 corridor improvements that were first announced in January (i.e. transit pullouts and a queue jump lane, safety signs, new Gillespie Road 2-lane bridge, Sooke River Road intersection upgrade, Muir Creek slow-moving vehicle pullout, and Sombrio rest area).

Work will get underway once the list of specific improvement requirements and possibilities are finalized, said Evanoff.


Brand new bus pullout on Highway 14 (Sooke Rd) at Laidlaw Road was incorrectly sized. Contractor asked to remove and start again. [West Shore Voice News – April 8, 2018]
Monday, April 9 ~ SOOKE. All six bus pullouts that have been under construction for several weeks along Highway 14 to/from Sooke are now in a temporary phase of deconstruction. Then to be rebuilt. The cost to make revision is about $90,000. About 10 cm in height was incorrectly measured in the height of the bus pullout feature.

The contractor and design team have been asked to identify how this error occurred. The pullouts are to be restored to meet accessibility standards for all transit users.

The necessary road widening for these pullouts has been completed at all three bus pullout locations — 1 pad on each side of the highway at West Shore Parkway, Laidlaw Road, and Harbourview Road.

The pullouts are for the purpose of allowing buses to move fully out of the way of traffic. It’s one measure that the BC Government feels will help reduce interruptions in vehicle traffic flow on Highway 14, as first announced by Premier John Horgan in Sooke on January 19. Horgan is MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is pretty much the one way in and out of the town of Sooke, population about 13,000. At least 70% of Sooke residents leave Sooke daily for employment and post-secondary in more central regions of Greater Victoria.

The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI) says: “It was discovered that the elevation of the concrete pads for the bus shelters was a bit too high. The discrepancy in height is quite small (less than 10 cm), but there is still potential for the curb to be bumped by the bus bumpers when using the pullouts.”

Installation of bus pullouts and shelters will be done April 16 to 27 along Hwy 14 (Sooke Rd). Photo: West Shore Voice News April 2018

“The Ministry explored all possibilities for addressing the concern with the pads, and determined that the best option for getting the pullouts operational as quickly as possible is to remove and rebuild the concrete pads at a lower height,” it was confirmed today by MOTI.

“The bus pullouts are still expected to be completed and ready for use this spring as originally announced.”

Roadside marquee signage shows April 16 to 27 [updated April 15: improvements now to May 15] as the traffic-interruption dates during bus pullout reconstruction.

Those signs have been up for at least two weeks, so this problem only discovered after the six pullouts were completed.

“A number of groups were involved in design and construction, and the ministry continues to work with them to determine the cause of the issue and address the resulting cost increase,” says MOTI.


Friday, April 6 ~ OTTER POINT. The Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River Resident and Ratepayers Association (OPSRRA) represents about 400 residents in those three small, unincorporated communities west of Sooke. www.opsrra.ca

Their AGM will be held on Sunday, April 15 at 2 pm at the Juan de Fuca Services Building, 3-7450 Butler Rd.

Guest speakers will be: Arnie Campbell about the new Interactive History of Otter Point; Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt Jeff McArthur on community policing; Ryan Evanoff, Operations Manager, Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure with a Highway 14 review; and Mike Hicks, JDFEA Regional Director with various Juan de Fuca Electoral Area updates.

Emergency Management BC will conduct a test of Alert Ready on March 21, 2018 at 1:55 pm PDT.

Tuesday, March 20 ~ BC.  There will be a test of the BC Emergency Alerting System at 1:55 pm PDT on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

The test is being conducted by Emergency Management BC.

This is part of a Canada-wide Alert-Ready system that allows government officials to issue public safety alerts through major television and radio broadcasters. This system will only be used during large-scale disasters or emergencies where loss of life is imminent and possible.

Please note that text messages will NOT be tested at this time. Testing of wireless alerts will begin in May 2018.

You can currently expect to receive emergency alerts via Canadian radio and TV, cable and satellite operators.

Alert Ready is a Canada-wide program that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue emergency alerts.


SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke, a CRD facility. [Photo March 12, 2018 by West Shore Voice News]
Monday, March 12 ~ SOOKE. Sooke to get a recreation boost with SEAPARC upgrade: fitness gym, multi-purpose room

SEAPARC Leisure Complex in Sooke will soon see construction of a new fitness gym and additional multi-purpose space thanks to a $1.24 million Federal Gas Tax Fund grant announced by the CRD on Friday, March 9.

Topped up with $1.5 million from SEAPARC’s reserve funds, the expansion will increase the 51,020 sq ft complex footprint by about 5,150 sqft (3,600 sq ft for the gym and 1,550 for the studio). “This was a shovel-ready project,” says SEAPARC manager Steve Knoke.

“We’ve been saving for four or five years to be in a position to build something,” says SEAPARC Chair and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks.  A previous grant application for Canada 150 funding in 2017 was declined.

A few years ago Sooke and Juan de Fuca (JdF) residents provided input about what additional facilities the complex might need and what the design options could include (e.g. one level with expanded footprint, or two levels with elevator).

The average Sooke household pays $307.91 a year toward SEAPARC through property taxes, says Knoke. In JdF the average annual pay-in is $178.19. Each year SEAPARC’s board puts about $350,000 into capital reserves to help fund improvements which have included the roof, pool, skate park and bike park.

The project will take an estimated 18 to 24 months to complete. Many factors come into play regarding the construction schedule. This is early in the planning phase.  SEAPARC says at this point a detailed construction timeline is yet to come.

Friday, March 9 ~ OTTER POINT.  The second edition of the Otter Point History was a large project, recently completed, says long time Otter Point resident Arnie Campbell, who has worked on the project.

“The first was done several years ago as part of the Otter Point Official Community Plan,” says Campbell. “This one was done in collaboration with Elida Peers, the Sooke Region Museum and the CRD. It’s interactive, and will soon be on the museum’s website,” he told West Shore Voice News this week.

Thursday, February 15 ~ JUAN de FUCA.  Siren testing has been scheduled for earthquake and tsunami early warning systems at Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation and Jordan River Regional Park between Thursday, February 15 and Sunday, February 18, 2018. People in the area can expect to hear loud intermittent warning sirens while testing is underway.

The systems are in the process of being set up and are not operational at this time. Testing is scheduled as follows:

  • Jordan River Regional Park: Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Testing of the warning system will take place between 11am and 1pm.
  • Port Renfrew and Pacheedaht First Nation: Thursday, February 15 – Saturday, February 17, 2018. The siren will sound intermittently between 9am and 5pm as system settings are adjusted, followed by a full test on Sunday, February 18 at 11:30am.

These tests are in advance of both systems becoming operational in 2018.


Tsunami Warning on Tuesday, January 23 after 8.0 quake in Alaska at 1:32 am.

Tuesday, January 23 ~ WEST COAST / VANCOUVER ISLAND. An 8.1 Earthquake has occurred south of Alaska at 01:32am.  As of 4:12 am the TSUNAMI WARNING WAS CANCELLED: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/tsunami-warning-coastal-areas-of-bc-jan-23-2018-at-0135am/

==== Previous post:A Tsunami Warning has been issued for all coastal areas of British Columbia.  It is believed the waves generated may impact low lying areas under 20 metres.

Follow the instructions of authorities in your area. Do not call police or 911 for updates. Visit Emergency Preparedness and municipal websites as well as Twitter for updates.Minimize phone use in affected areas. For further information go to the emergency management British Columbia website at https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

No evacuations for Sooke are ordered at this time, says Sooke Fire Rescue. Fire crews are patrolling Whiffin Spit (CLOSED) and Billings Spit.District of Tofino has advised residents to evacuate to higher ground.

The tsunami is expected to arrive at Tofino at 4:40 am Pacific Time. See Twitter: @TofinoCA

Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop emailed out “this is not a drill”.

The National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning that includes the following zones of coastal British Columbia:• Zone A – the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.• Zone B – the Central Coast and Northwest Vancouver Island Coast, including Kitimat, Bella Coola and Port Hardy.• Zone C – the Outer West Coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew.• Zone D – the Juan de Fuca Strait from Jordan River to Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula.“

At this time it is believed that a tsunami has been generated. The tsunami may impact low lying coastal areas in these zones. Local governments in these zones are urged to activate their emergency plans and immediately begin evacuation of identified areas at risk for tsunami impacts,” said Chief Dunlop.

No other zones of coastal British Columbia are at risk.The Township of Esquimalt is monitoring the tsunami warning situation and are setting up a reception centre in case evacuation is necessary – details to follow.


Sunday, January 21 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. Extreme winds have caused extensive damage and multiple outages for BC Hydro customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, says the utility on their website this morning.

At present, about 65,000 customers throughout the south coast and island areas are without power. At 9 am, BC Hydro said that it expects outages to increase until the winds decrease.

“Restoration efforts are being coordinated in all regions and restoration times will be provided once full damage assessments are complete.”

On Vancouver Island, as of 9 am this morning:
> Vancouver Island South – 22 outages: 14,951 customers without power
> Vancouver Island North – 32 outages: 11,990 customers without power

Hard hit with the most customers out of power are the Gulf Islands including Galiano, Mayne, Ganges, Pender and Saturna.

In Langford/View Royal 764 customers are without power in the Atkins/Millwoods/Strandlund area. As of 9am there are no outages in the Sooke region.

Other areas on the current list of outages: Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney, Victoria (Fairfield/James Bay 702 outages) and Oak Bay/Saanich (2,072 outages).

To report an outage, call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or *HYDRO (*49376) on your mobile or report it online at www.bchydro.com


CRD Board Meeting January 10, 2018 (screenshot)

Wednesday, January 10 ~ GREATER VICTORIA. The outlying area of Juan de Fuca west of Sooke may yet get their piped water through the Capital Regional District (CRD). 

The CRD Board today January 10 approved a revised draft Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). Approval of the revised draft follows a successful mediation process with the BC Government (from February 2017 until January 5, 2018), to resolve disputed provisions related to managing growth, water servicing, climate action, food systems and transportation.

CRD Board Chair Steve Price (Mayor of Sidney) was in favour of referring the RGS document to municipal councils for acceptance. “The revisions seek to address the interests of all the parties, and set the stage for how the region will approach future growth,” said Price.

Adoption of the RGS bylaw requires all municipalities within the capital region to approve the growth strategy. Mediation was triggered in February 2017 when seven municipalities (Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, View Royal, Highlands, Colwood and Esquimalt) refused to accept the RGS. Provincial legislation provides specific dispute resolution mechanisms to settle an RGS that does not receive unanimous municipal acceptance.

“The mediation process was a very positive experience” says Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks. “I hope that all councils will support the mediation compromise that came out of the process so we can put this dispute behind us.” He further explained that OCPs in Juan de Fuca must be consistent with the RGS, and that once the RGS is finally approved that OCP documents in the JdFEA can finally be brought up to date.

Director Hicks said there is a backlog of work and that Juan de Fuca constituents need zoning for development. Ahead of today’s vote at the CRD board table, Hicks appealed to fellow directors to endorse the mediated RGS “to give some neighbouring residents in the Juan de Fuca to connect to CRD water, and give all JDF residents the opportunity to pass their OCPs and be an equal partner in the CRD region”.

The solutions generated by mediation focus on seven topic areas: vision / population projections, economic development, climate action, transportation, food systems, growth management and water servicing. Solutions included revised policy provisions, updated mapping and population projections, updated content related to food systems and climate action, and terminology edits.

The next step in the process is a 60-day referral of the document to municipal councils for acceptance. If all councils accept the revised document, the Board may adopt the RGS as bylaw.

The RGS bylaw will update the existing growth strategy, adopted back in 2003. The RGS guides decisions on regional issues, provides population and employment projections to the year 2038 and updates policy regarding water servicing, growth management, the environment and infrastructure, housing and community, transportation and economic development.

Director Alice Finall (Mayor of North Saanich) at today’s CRD board meeting noted that 2016 census figures were not yet included in the RGS but that waiting for that amendment would delay the RGS approval process. As Director Barb Desjardins (Mayor of Esquimalt, and former CRD Chair) pointed out, that detail can be brought up to speed after the RGS might be passed.

The 2018 RGS also provides new policy regarding food systems and climate action. Visit www.crd.bc.ca/sustainability for more information.


Friday November 24 ~ LANGFORD.  A Shift into Winter information booth about winter driving safety will be at the Victoria Royals game in Victoria this evening, 6 to 10 pm. It’s an opportunity presented by Mainroad South Island to share road safety information with the public.

The main depot for Mainroad South Island is in Langford, conveniently located as a large facility on the new West Shore Parkway near Hwy 1.

Today Mainroad South Island manager Rick Gill and Operations Manager Leon Bohmer spoke to media about their preparations for the winter season. Weather is expected to be about the same as last winter, including snowfall and icy road conditions.

“Safety of the travelling public is of utmost importance,” said Rick Gill, manager, Mainroad South Island. “It’s a challenge when winter comes. But it does snow in this region. So we try to educate the public about safe winter driving,” said Gill.

By de-icing roads with brine ahead of expected snowfall, Mainroad South Island hopes to get ahead of any major road condition problems this winter.

Look for a full article coming up in the November 24th print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (being posted this weekend on this website ). | More about winter driving: www.shiftintowinter.ca

Photos (from top):
>> Snow plough in winter storm [Mainroad South Island]
>> Mainroad South Island Operations Manager Leon Bohmer (left) and Manager Rick Gill, with the newest of four 4-ton sander trucks, at their main facility in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo, Nov 24/17]
>> Salt can be loaded up into trucks on short notice, from a ready supply on hand at the West Shore Parkway location [West Shore Voice News photo, Nov 24/17]



Jennifer Rice, BC Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

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


SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge at the first board meeting of 2017-2018, his last full year on the job. [Photo by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News]
Tuesday, October 10 ~ WEST SHORE. SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge retiring after 36 years in education

Sooke School District 62 (SD62) Superintendent Jim Cambridge is retiring from his 36-year career. While that eventuality been known in education circles for a while, the formal announcement from the school board came October 4. Cambridge will begin his next adventures in August 2018.

With SD62 since 1981, Cambridge has been a classroom teacher and school administrator, as well as holding various administrative positions at the board office (in the top position as Superintendent and CEO since May 2009). As Superintendent, Cambridge has in recent years led schools, teachers, students and parents during an unprecedented growth period.

In August this year, his senior executive support expanded from two Assistant Superintendents to three, to keep up with student population growth which has now reached 10,400 as more families move to the west shore.

Back in January, Cambridge co-hosted the Canada 150 BC schools launch by BC Lt Governor Judith Guichon at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke.

Behind the scenes over the past few years, Cambridge was instrumental in various areas of discussion with the BC Government to help morph the understanding of school budgets and funding requirements.

Jim Cambridge is well liked and highly regarded both within SD62 and in the broader community. He’s in his element at the board table and always enjoys getting back into schools for visits. Cambridge has always seemed to enjoy the job despite its many challenges.

In his role at chief administrator, Cambridge has weathered various storms including teacher strikes, the construction of two new high schools in two years, and several years of budget cuts. Even the decision required to call a ‘snow day’ is also significant, as many sectors are impacted.

Keven Elder Consulting Services will recruit and select the next SD62 Superintendent and CEO. That process will begin with stakeholders this fall; the new posting for the position is expected in December.

=== Article first published on page 3 in the print/PDF edition of the October 6, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News

Premier John Horgan greets the people in the Hall of Honour at the BC Legislature, July 18 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Wednesday, July 19 ~ VICTORIA. Vancouver Islanders now have their own home-grown Premier. John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) was sworn in as the 36th Premier of BC on Tuesday, July 18 at Government House in Victoria.

Horgan has worked hard to become widely known throughout the province, and seemed notably relaxed, humbly inspired and clearly excited in this new role during the swearing-in ceremony.

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

The new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is Selena Robinson, who will need to look at housing supply for its immediate and long-term challenges. The new Environment and Climate Change Strategy portfolio is headed up by George Heyman.

Among those attending the special event at Government House was Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks.

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

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

Premier-designate John Horgan greeting folks at Sooke Canada Day 2017 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Thursday, July 6 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier-designate John Horgan and his cabinet will be sworn in at Government House on July 18, 2017 at 2 p.m.

No MLA names for the new cabinet have been released yet. However it is widely expected that the cabinet will not be comprised exclusively of NDP MLAs, but will also include one or more BC Liberal and BC Green MLAs.

This is part of Horgan’s effort to demonstrate — as he told the Lieutenant Governor — that he has the confidence of the legislative assembly.

“We are excited to deliver on our commitments. That’s why we are working as quickly as possible to give British Columbians the new leadership they voted for,” said New Democrat MLA and transition spokesperson Carole James.

“We’re going to make life more affordable, deliver the services people count on, and create good paying jobs around the province in a sustainable economy that works for everyone.”

Premier-designate John Horgan is the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island.

Saturday, July 1 ~  BC. Premier-designate John Horgan will be on both the mainland and Vancouver Island this Canada Day 150. He will be celebrating Canada Day with people at community events in Port Moody, Surrey and Sooke.

11:00 am – Port Moody Canada Day, Rocky Point Park, 2800 Murray St, Port Moody

1:30 pm – Surrey Canada Day, Bill Reid Millenium Amphitheatre, 17728 64 Ave, Surrey

8:00 pm – Sooke Canada Day, Sooke River Campground, 2259 Philips Road, Sooke

On Thursday evening, June 29, Horgan was asked by the Lieutenant Governor if he had the confidence of the legislature, and he said that he does. He and the cabinet he is assembling will be sworn in probably this coming week.

Check out the front page of the June 30, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News for a summary of how the last few days went down for Horgan in his final steps to the Premiership.


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

Thursday, June 29 ~ VICTORIA.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan (Leader of the Official Opposition) arrived at Government House around 7:40 pm this evening, presumably to meet with Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.

This follows Guichon’s hour-long meeting with BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark whose government lost a confidence vote in the BC Legislature around 5:30 pm this evening.

Clark simply said afterward that the Lieutenant Governor had “retired to make her decision”.

Horgan could very well be the next Premier of BC. A coalition with the Greens could last a while, or another election could happen soon.

Update to come.

Thursday, June 29 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Kids everywhere are invited to head to their library to “Walk on the Wild Side” during Summer Reading Club (SRC) 2017.

Each summer, the Summer Reading Club is a way for kids up to age 12 to help build and maintain their reading skills during the summer.

“It’s really important for kids to get outside, get active, and have fun during the summer,” says Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Executive Director Rosemary Bonanno. “But it’s also so important for them to maintain their reading skills while they’re not in school. With SRC, we make it fun to keep reading right through the summer break — and a little bit of reading each day goes a long way.”

SRC registration includes a package with a reading record, bookmark, stickers, and other goodies. Every time one page of the reading record is completed, a weekly prize draw can be entered. Readers who finish their entire reading record are eligible to receive a special SRC medal and enter a grand prize draw.

This summer, VIRL also offers Read Down Your Fines.  For every reading record page a child completes during SRC, they’re eligible for up to $5 in fines (to a $35 total) to be removed from their library card.

Summer Reading Club and Read Down Your Fines run July 4 to August 22. Registration is free at the library, or online at www.virl.bc.ca/summer-reading-club .

Sunday, June 25 ~ SOOKE. One of Sooke’s worst-kept secrets… free salmon barbecue every year outdoors at the Sooke Region Museum as part of the museum’s annual open house (this year their low-key 40th).

Today Sunday June 25 the annual event is being held from noon to 2 pm (one hour shorter than last year).

Could be hot out there. Forecast is for at least 25°C today (yesterday went over 30°C in some area of the west island region).

Last year the salmon was donated by a company from Vancouver. It gets cooked in a traditional First Nations way outdoors, smoky and sizzling!

The usual crowd of local Sooke VIPs usually shows up for the casual food-fine, family-friendly activity. Parking gets a bit crowded.

Officially opening today is the “Seeking Salmon” exhibit within the museum, running to April 2018. www.sookeregionmuseum.ca


Letter as submitted by Mike Hicks, Director, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks

The 2003 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) allows the extension of piped city water in CRD’s 13 municipalities but not the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA). After years of input the CRD have developed the 2016 RGS to update and replace the 2003 version. In order for the 2016 RGS to be adopted, 100% of the municipalities must be in agreement. The Juan de Fuca Electoral Area does not receive a vote and must abide by the municipality’s decision.

The new 2016 RGS states that piped water may be considered in the JDF if the local governments ( East Sooke, Otter Point, Shirley, Port Renfrew) define areas of service in their Official Community Plan (OCP). It states clearly that if water is considered for extension, 100% of the cost is the responsibility of the applicant and not the CRD.

The completed draft 2016 RGS was sent to the 13 municipalities for their unanimous approval. Four municipalities, North Saanich, Saanich, View Royal and the Highlands rejected the RGS on the basis they did not want the Juan de Fuca electoral area’s residents receiving piped water. They reasoned that the extension of water would result in “urban sprawl”.

I have argued for many years that water is a God-given right and if we can possibly connect our residents at no cost to the taxpayers, it is our duty to do so. I have also argued that OCP’s and zoning bylaws control density, and water is not a factor in urban sprawl. Metchosin proves this theory as they allow all their residents access to water and have the lowest rate of growth or “urban sprawl” in the CRD.

Because the municipalities cannot agree, the CRD have initiated a mediation process in an attempt to reach an agreement. The process will take 6 months and as I discovered at the last CRD Board meeting, the JDF was totally excluded from the process. I made a motion and the CRD Board considered my request for a 1 hour meeting with the mediator to submit the JDF views and concerns. Rather than this, the Board graciously offered for me to be considered for the CRD representative on the mediation process. My motion was withdrawn, two other directors in addition to myself were nominated for the positon and lo and behold, Directors Isitt and Nils Jensen from Victoria and Oak Bay were elected rather than myself. Thankfully Mayor Ryan Windsor of Central Saanich and Mayor Tait made a motion which was approved to request my 1-hour meeting with the mediator.

In my opinion, this mediation process will fail. I am confident that our tremendous neighbors of Sooke, Metchosin, Langford and Colwood will never waver and we will finally arrive at Binding Arbitration. The Provincial Government will get involved, appoint a professional, non-biased arbitrator who will consider all the facts and arguments and make a fair ruling whether to give the JDF water or to deny the JDF residents the same right as municipalities.

I wish to sincerely thank Mayor Maja Tait, Councillor Rick Kasper and the Sooke councillors for their support and getting us this far. This is, in my opinion the most important issue the JDF will ever face. It is not just about water but the relevance of our citizen’s groups, our OCP and the right to semi-govern ourselves. My team is ready, our argument is sound and I am confident that we will ultimately win.  Viva La Juan de Fuca!

Tuesday, June 20 ~ SOOKE.  Last night about 20 members of the public attended the District of Sooke Committee of the Whole to overall voice concerns if not outright opposition to two new cell (wireless) monopoles being proposed by Freedom Mobile.

Freedom Mobile is owned by Shaw. They compete in the wireless market against the three big ‘giants’, i.e. Rogers, TELUS, and Bell. Presently, Freedom Mobile customers are clustered in Ontario, Alberta and BC.

In recent months Freedom Mobile had little difficulty in establishing a small non-obtrusive pole in an industrial area of Langford, to boost signals for their customers in that part of the west shore.

After some lengthy presentations from the public about health-related concerns, an impression was left in the room that exposure to transmission waves (radiation) from the towers would be almost likely be detrimental to the health of people in the immediate area of the towers.

The two proposed tower locations are 2614 Otter Point Road and 5154 Sooke Rd. Those are both private-owned properties in areas well set back from the town core.

The public presentations — some of them quite lengthy and repetitive — were non-interrupted by Councillor Bev Berger serving last night as the acting mayor. Councillor Kevin Pearson excused himself from the room during discussion about the 5154 Sooke Rd location (without specifying a reason). Councillor Ebony Logins came right out to declare her opposition to the two monopoles and that she would vote against them when the matter comes in front of Sooke Council on July 10.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was not in attendance at last night’s meeting.

The point made by some in the audience that there is “already enough cell coverage” in the area is to miss the point about facilitating business competition within the wireless industry. Business competition usually ends up benefiting the consumer.

Industry Canada is the authorizing body for where cell towers can be located. Municipal governments have no official say in the matter. However, the District of Sooke pulled out their “Communications Antenna Policy” from 2002, and based on that felt their role was to not only report on the meeting but to provide recommendations to both the federal agency (Industry Canada) and the applicant.

District of Sooke Councillors who were present at the June 19 Committee of the Whole asked for a staff report that will presumably summarize the evening which included presentations from Freedom Mobile as well as the public input and Councillors’ discussion and debate.

To allow time for compilation of that report, the July 10 Council meeting (the only summer meeting of Council) was targeted for receipt of the report. That will be 90 days from the applications made by Freedom Mobile. There is a 120-day window for applications to be received and responded to.

Construction continues along Hwy 1 for the McKenzie Interchange. [Photo May 23 by West Shore Voice News]
Thursday, June 8 ~ VICTORIA AREA. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has issued a traffic advisory about McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 construction closures coming up next week.

Between Monday June 12 and Friday June 16, travellers are advised of overnight closures, detours and delays on McKenzie Avenue and Highway 1 as part of the McKenzie interchange construction.

The following closures will allow crews to install the Galloping Goose Trail bridge over McKenzie Avenue and the temporary pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Highway 1:

> Monday, June 12, from 11 p.m. to Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
Tuesday, June 13, from 11 p.m. to Wednesday, June 14, at 5:30 a.m. McKenzie Avenue will be closed between Burnside Road W and Highway 1.
> Friday, June 16, from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Highway 1 will be closed between McKenzie Avenue / Admirals Road and the Helmcken interchange.

MOTI says that every effort will be made to open these routes as quickly as possible, as soon as it is safe for both the construction crews and the travelling public. The work schedule may change due to weather and other conditions.

All travellers including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are advised to plan alternative routes and to allow for extra time. Please also obey traffic control personnel and construction speed limits, and watch for workers and highway message boards. For up-to-date traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca

The interchange, when complete, is expected to improve travel times between core areas, Saanich and the western communities of Colwood, Langford and beyond to Sooke.

Sunday, May 21 ~ SOOKE.  This has been ‘Be Tire Smart’ Week in Canada, May 15 to 21.

At Dumont Tire in Sooke, Jason Dumont and his team are busy as people get their vehicles checked and repaired for the summer season. Dumont also reminds people that it’s not just vehicles that need attention to tires. They also check, repair and replace tires on garden tractors, lawn mowers, wheel barrow and RV’s.

Here are some tips about lowering your environmental impact and saving money by checking tire pressures monthly to ensure they are set at the vehicle manufacturer’s
specified level.

Under-inflated tires waste about 500 million litres of fuel each year in Canada. That’s enough fuel to power 275,000 vehicles for an entire year.

Measuring and adjusting tire pressure is a four-step process:

  • Find the right inflation pressure by wheel position on the vehicle placard, which is commonly located on one of the vehicle’s inside door posts, or inside the glove compartment or fuel door. Consult the owner’s manual for the exact location.
  • Measure pressure when the tires are cold. If you have been driving, wait three hours before measuring tire pressure. Tires heat up when rolling, so if they are measured after driving more than 2 km, the pressure reading will be inaccurate.
  • Use a reliable tire gauge when measuring pressure. Doing just a visual inspection is not effective to measure tire pressure. A tire can be under- or over-inflated by 20% or more and not be noticeable. Remove the cap from the valve stem, press the tire gauge onto the valve and take the pressure reading.
  • Add air until the recommended air pressure is achieved. If the tire gets overfilled, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the centre of the valve, then re-measure the pressure.

Chronic under-inflation can carve as much as 15,000 km off the service life of a tire, adding to tire replacement costs and the number of scrap tires.

Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island, BC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to come.

Tuesday, May 9 ~ BC.  Provincial election voting results will start rolling in from across BC after the polls close at 8 pm.

Over 614,00 thousand people (19.5% of registered voters) had already voted in six days of advance voting (April 29-30 and May 3-6) before the General Election Day voting opened today at 8am.

Polls are open tonight May 9 across BC, to 8pm Pacific Daylight Time.

WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND FOCUS: Click here to see the detailed results for Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin as well as our followup with the candidates in both ridings.

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

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

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

Reasons people don’t vote [Ref: 2008 US election]
YOU shine your best today. Be part of the collective force that ushers in the next phase of living in BC. A lot of drops in the bucket will fill the bucket to overflowing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some other ridings to watch:

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

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

Monday, May 8 ~ BC.  EDITORIAL.  Still undecided? Here’s a flavour of the current BC Government that a lot of people don’t see, but it indicates how people have been treated in this province by their own government.

People who pay their MSP premiums through payroll won’t see this, lucky you. But others who pay direct to the BC Government for their health care, will know… if you fall behind, you get the squeeze. Ending up in the worst of cases with a lien on your property, or action through your bank. Not seeing the reasons why people fall behind, and helping them back out with a fair economy… that’s the underlying problem.

In every other province in Canada the provision of health care is not handled in such a punitive manner. Payment for health care in other jurisdictions is done through the income tax system, in many provinces based on a sliding scale of ability to pay.

The BC NDP have a grasp on the punitive collection system of the privatized government of the past 16 years.

We’re not coming out with a full endorsement of any one party, but if you’re a single-issue voter, use this issue as your reason to back the BC NDP with your vote on May 9.

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

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

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

BC Green Party candidate Brendan Ralfs (Langford-Juan de Fuca) at rally in Victoria May 6. [West Shore Voice News photo]
Weaver told the crowd that support for the Greens “has been overwhelming in every town… I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he pitched. “People love the Green Party because they’re so sick of the status quo.” He repeated the campaign theme that the Green Party platform is “grounded in evidence”.

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

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

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

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

Mallard in flight after Green rally in Victoria, May 6 [West Shore Voice News photo]
The rally set for 6 pm had finally gotten underway around 6:40 pm (after people found parking once the hotel parking lot was full), and wrapped up just before 8pm on a bright spring evening. And the rain had stopped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On this west side of Vancouver Island:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 30 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND.  People have been dropping by steadily to vote at District Electoral Offices (DEOs) for Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin in the past week, say staff at both locations.

Personnel hired specifically to execute all the many responsibilities of operating a Voting Station have taken training at each DEO. Being responsible for a ballot box during the Advance Voting days includes overseeing the whereabouts of that box when it’s not in active ballot-receiving mode, says David Garvey, Deputy District Electoral Officer for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

There is a step-by-step process to ensure secrecy of the ballots and their retention between the six advance voting days, explains Garvey.

District Electoral Office for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Ballots that are cast at any DEO in BC are sent after 8pm on the General Election Day (May 9) to the riding where the vote belongs. Due to the time this takes, there is a final vote count on May 23, once all ballots have been received in their home ridings. Potentially this could swing a vote result in any given riding.

With the increased number of advance voting days (six days this election — April 29 & 30, May 3-6) and voting throughout the 28-day campaign period by any voter at any DEO in the province, that theoretically increases the number of ridings where final counts on May 23 could make a difference in the overall result.

The DEO for Langford-Juan de Fuca is at 111-2787 Jacklin Road in Langford. The DEO for Esquimalt-Metchosin is in Colwood at 3-1905 Sooke Road.

Visit the April 28, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News to see photos of both DEO office locations plus hours and list of candidates, (page 6). List of all voting stations in both ridings, and open hours (page 8).

BC NDP Leader John Horgan with Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidate Bryce Casavant

Saturday, April 29 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND.  The BC NDP say they will announce strong measures to clean up and protect waterways, at an event tomorrow Sunday April 30 in Cadboro Bay at Gyro Park.

On hand will be BC NDP Candidates Gary Holman (Saanich North and the Islands) and Bryce Casavant (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) with special guest Sheila Malcolmson, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

They will talk about how John Horgan and the BC NDP would be the only government committed to keeping waterways pristine in BC.

The event on Sunday will start at 3 pm. Gyro Park is at 2625 Sinclair Rd in the Cadboro Bay area of the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding, which is home to BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

Retired MLA Maurine Karagianis represented John Horgan at an All Candidates debate in his home riding April 25 in Sooke.

Tuesday, April 25 ~ BC. The BC NDP commitment to create urgent care centres across the province will benefit small communities, it was announced by the BC NDP today. 

Representing BC NDP Leader John Horgan at an All Candidates debate in Sooke this evening, retired MLA Maurine Karagianis said Sooke would be one of the communities that could dearly use an urgent care clinic. There is a private medical clinic in Sooke town centre, and an old (analog) xray clinic open about 2 days a week; the nearest hospital is Victoria General Hospital about 30 minutes drive away along the winding Hwy 14.

“I am committed to taking real action to help families access the health care they need by opening Urgent Family Care centers in communities across the province,” said Horgan in a release.

Urgent care centres bring together doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians, pharmacists, mental health workers, midwives, occupational therapists and other health care providers to offer the right health services from the right provider at the right time. “We know that prevention and early interventions are the best way to protect people’s health and bring down health care costs,” it says in the NDP release tonight.

On Horgan’s behalf, Karagianis went to bat tonight for the hardest-hit sectors of BC society who have seen consistent erosion of services under the BC Liberals, including education, children and families, health care and seniors.

John Horgan is the incumbent NDP candidate in Langford-Juan de Fuca. He has held the riding since 2005.

Monday, April 24 ~ VICTORIA. The BC NDP are holding a “Rally the Vote Victoria” event in downtown Victoria this coming Friday, April 28 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The event is expected to pack to overflowing the Alix Goolden Performance Hall at 907 Pandora Ave.

“Before British Columbians go to the early polls, we’re rallying the vote in Victoria. Come join John Horgan and special guest Nathan Cullen at Victoria’s iconic Alix Goolden Performance Hall.” It’s likely to be a high-powered, memorable event, now mid-way into the 28-day 2017 BC election campaign.

The BC NDP have been proposing various measures to boost affordability for families, seniors, and those on social assistance and other fixed incomes including a freeze on ferry fares, elimination of MSP premiums (blending it into the tax system), $10/day child care, and an increase in the minimum wage to $15.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP, to assure a spot:  https://www.bcndp.ca/rally-the-vote

An NDP government would freeze ferry fares, says BC NDP Leader John Horgan.

Sunday, April 23 ~ BC. As the BC election campaign progresses, BC NDP Leader John Horgan has been issuing various policy announcements aimed at making BC more affordable for BC families, seniors and people on social assistance.

On April 20 surrounded by supporters, Horgan announced a plan to make seniors weekday passenger fares free on major BC Ferries sailing routes. “Life on Vancouver Island has been getting more expensive under Christy Clark. The increase in fees and hidden costs are hurting seniors on fixed incomes. We’re going to make life more affordable by bringing back free weekday ferry fares for seniors on major routes,” said Horgan on the shores of the Swartz Bay ferry terminal near Sidney, BC.

Under the BC Liberals, BC Ferries fares have increased by about 80% on the major ferry routes, and have more than doubled for the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast and North Coast routes. An NDP government would also freeze ferry fares on major routes for all passengers and cut fares on the smaller routes by 15%.

“After 16 years of Christy Clark and the BC Liberals the cost of ferries has gone through the roof while sailings were cut for many communities. John Horgan will make life more affordable for island families, boost tourism, and grow the economy,” it was stated in a BC NDP news release.

Specifically for seniors, Horgan said the BC NDP will make life more affordable for seniors by:
• Bringing back free weekday ferry rides on major routes for seniors
• Cutting ferry fares on minor routes by 15 per cent
• Freezing ferry fares on major routes
• Providing a $400 renter’s rebate, while maintaining the existing Shelter Aid for Elder Renters (SAFER) supplement
• Eliminating unfair MSP premiums within our first term in office

Wednesday, April 19 ~ BC. ‘Where to Vote’ cards are being delivered across British Columbia starting today. Elections BC is reminding voters to bring their card with them when they vote, to make the process faster and easier.

Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer says registered voters will receive a card that includes the dates, times and locations for advance voting in their electoral district. Each voter’s card also shows their assigned voting place for General Voting Day, May 9.

Elections BC will also be distributing the cards to addresses with no registered voters. These cards will inform eligible voters of the voting opportunities available to them and that they can register when they vote.

New for this election, is that the cards will be colour-coded to help election officials determine the electoral district in which a voter resides.

Over three million cards will be delivered up until advance voting starts on April 29. Advance voting takes place on April 29 and 30 and from May 3 to May 6. A complete listing of advance voting places is available at www.elections.bc.ca/2017-provincial-general-election/where-to-vote

Voters can also use Elections BC’s Where to Vote app to find voting places close to them and in their electoral district; it can be found at www.elections.bc.ca/wtv . Eligible voters can vote at any voting place in BC.

Sunday, April 16 ~ EASTER SUNDAY.  Many Canadians are making a 4-day long weekend out of the Easter weekend. Good Friday was on April 14.

There were many community activities including Easter egg hunts for kids, and stores were open and bustling on Saturday, April 15. Easter Monday is a Statutory holiday across Canada.

Ferry travel on the BC Coast is busy on Easter weekends. BC Ferries added 50 extra sailings on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route carrying travelers between the Vancouver and Victoria areas.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement to Canada on Easter. For the full text, see the main page of this website (April 16).

Tuesday, April 11 ~ West side of Vancouver Island. The 2017 BC provincial election campaign is on, officially as of today April 11. Party leaders were already slinging barbs and policy missives for the TV media to report out to the public.

As a policy of West Shore Voice News, we will *not* be reporting on election season polls. No matter how unbiased the pollsters try to be, there is no way of knowing the true attitudes of those being polled, and whether the methods of reaching poll participants are reliable (e.g. very few people have home phone lines anymore). The disastrous misjudgement of polls in the 2013 BC provincial election (predicting an easy win for the NDP, who ended up losing badly) should be lesson enough.

News coverage by West Shore Voice News will be focussing on the actual activities of the campaigns in two electoral areas on this west side of the island:

  • Langford-Juan de Fuca (includes voters in Langford, Sooke, and Juan de Fuca area): John Horgan, NDP (incumbent); Cathy Noel, BC Liberal; Brendan Ralfs, BC Green; Willie Nelson, Vancouver Island Party.
  • Esquimalt-Metchosin (includes voters in Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Metchosin): Mitzi Dean, NDP; Barb Desjardins, BC Liberal; Andy MacKinnon, BC Green; Josh Steffler, Libertarian.

There will be two major All Candidates Forums for these two ridings.  One is on Monday, April 24 at the Royal Colwood Golf Course, 5 pm (for candidates of both Langford-Juan de Fuca and Esquimalt-Metchosin). The other forum for Langford-Juan de Fuca is on Tuesday, April 25 at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort in Sooke at 7pm.

The election date is Tuesday, May 9.  There will be a few Advance Voting dates ahead of May 9.

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society has received $550,000 for restoration and preservation.

Tuesday, April 4 ~ VICTORIA. A Vancouver Island lighthouse preservation group has received the largest private donation to a lighthouse restoration project in Canada.

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society (SPLPS) has received a multi-year financial commitment totaling $550,000 from the Ontario-based Westaway Charitable Foundation. Sheringham Point Lighthouse, located near the little town of Shirley — 57 km west of Victoria — is now owned by the society, one of 21 heritage lighthouses in BC. There are also 27 staffed lighthouse stations on the BC coast.

“Lighthouses are popular heritage sites in coastal Canada as well as being symbols of guidance and protection,” said SPLPS board member John Walls. “The Westaways’ supremely generous donation offers us a beacon to help us navigate through our ambitious restoration project, a gesture that is outstanding in Canada. As the recipients, we are honoured that the Westaways have such confidence in our plans. Their donation allows us to proceed with a major restoration to both the lighthouse and the lighthouse reserve property.”

The relationship between the Westaway Charitable Foundation and the SPLPS started with a small donation of $1,000. “We heard about the group and thought it deserved some financial support, so we sent a cheque,” said Foundation President Peter Westaway. “Later when I met the board members and volunteers, I was impressed with the planning expertise and their vision of this site as a coastal asset open to all. I am proud to be able to partner with SPLPS and magnify the substantive community-based financial support they have been given to further this important maritime heritage project.”

Westaway himself lives in the Old Cut Lighthouse on Lake Erie which he and his wife restored in 2000. Their restoration project won the Ontario Home Builders Award as well as the Canadian Home Builders Association Award in the Most Outstanding Home Renovation category.

Walls added that the total gift requires approximately half the required funds to be raised through the community, a large portion of which has been already completed.

Currently the SPLPS is working to restore power to the lighthouse and improve public safety. Then restoration of the tower and engine room will begin, including metal re-fabrication, re-glazing, painting and rustproofing, as well as concrete repairs. The plan is to have interpretive displays and educational programs at the heritage site.

The Westaway Charitable Foundation was formed in 1986 by Peter Westaway and his sister, Lynn, to support primarily the arts, medical research, and heritage projects. Major ongoing gifts have been made to further both ovarian and prostate cancer research, and to support theatre. Ellis Chapel, built in 1861 in Puslinch Township (in south-central Ontario) was completely restored with Foundation help. The Sheringham Point project is the first major gift by the Foundation to a lighthouse restoration project.

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed in 2003 to protect, preserve and restore the heritage lighthouse and act as stewards of the surrounding property, located in Shirley (57 km west of Victoria). Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the society in 2015. The Lighthouse View Trail and Jennie’s Trail were created on private property and managed by the society for the first five years under an agreement with the Capital Regional District. The 3.4-km loop trail provides access to the lighthouse and the surrounding area.

BCelection-6candidates-westside-ACMApr24-WestShoreVOICE-webjpgTuesday, April 4 ~ WEST SIDE OF VANCOUVER ISLAND. On Monday, April 24 there will be an All Candidates Meeting for an opportunity to hear the candidates from two BC provincial ridings on this west side of the island. That date is pending the availability and confirmation from one of the candidates, here is the list:

  • Candidates for Langford-Juan de Fuca: John Horgan (BC NDP, incumbent), Cathy Noel (BC Liberal), Brendan Ralfs (BC Green), Scott Burton (BC Libertarian).  This electoral area includes Langford, Sooke, Highlands and Juan de Fuca.
  • Candidates for Esquimalt-Metchosin: Mitzi Dean (BC NDP), Barb Desjardins (BC Liberal), Andy MacKinnon (BC Green). This electoral area includes Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Metchosin.

This will possibly the only full All Candidates Meeting for this side of the island during this 2017 BC election campaign, given that BC NDP Leader John Horgan is busy travelling the province.

The event on Monday April 24 will be held at the Royal Colwood Golf Club, in Colwood. Starting at 5pm (to 6:30 pm), as hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce.

For regional campaign news during the campaign toward the May 9 BC provincial election, visit www.westshorevoicenews.com

BC-NDP campaign bus launch in Vancouver, April 4
BC-NDP campaign bus launch in Vancouver, April 4

Tuesday, April 4 ~ BC. BC NDP Leader John Horgan revealed his campaign bus that will carry his leader’s tour from now until the May 9 election day.

The campaign “for a better BC” kicked off in Vancouver this morning as Horgan was greeted by supporters and a team of Lower Mainland candidates at the BC NDP’s Vancouver regional campaign office. “This campaign is about building a province that works for real people, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” said Horgan.

“While Christy Clark spends her time with big donors and the people at the top, we’ll be travelling to communities across BC, meeting with real people and talking about our plan to make life better for families,” the leader said in a news release.

“After 16 years of BC Liberal neglect, families are paying more fees than ever for fewer services. Good jobs are harder to find. And they’re waiting longer for the services we all depend on, like health care and education. Throughout this campaign, you can count on us to be tough on Christy Clark’s record. We will remind voters of the choices she made that have hurt people, and we’ll contrast that with our vision for a better BC that works for you.”

“As we kick this election campaign into high gear, I’m looking forward to meeting people from all walks of life and sharing our vision for building a better BC,” said Horgan.

Horgan is well known around Sooke and Juan de Fuca. He has held the seat since 2005 for what is now called Langford-Juan de Fuca.

If elected in the May 9 BC provincial election, the NDP will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting. [John Horgan, left with Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidate Bryce Casavant]
If elected in the May 9 BC provincial election, the NDP will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting. [John Horgan, left with Oak Bay-Gordon Head candidate Bryce Casavant]
Saturday, April 1 ~ VICTORIA. A rally to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in BC will be held today Saturday April 1 outside the BC Legislature. The rally, hosted by Justice for BC Grizzlies, will run from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm and feature a number of speakers.

Former conservation officer and BC NDP candidate in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Bryce Casavant, will be speaking at the Rally for BC Grizzlies, in front of the BC Legislature. April 1 marks the beginning of the spring Grizzly bear hunt in most regions of British Columbia. Casavant will be speaking about the BC NDPs pledge to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in BC.

“I’m working hard to ensure that the BC grizzly bear, a species of special concern, is properly cared for now, and for all generations to come,” said Casavant, a former Conservation Officer who made international headlines when he refused to follow an order to kill two healthy bear cubs.

“An overwhelming majority of British Columbians, First Nations, and resident hunters oppose the killing of these bears for sport,” he said.

“As British Columbians, we have a proud outdoor heritage that includes hunting, fishing and a growing eco-tourism industry. Bear viewing creates more jobs in local communities and generates millions of dollars more than trophy hunting,” said the NDP candidate this week.

“If elected in May, John Horgan and an NDP government will ban grizzly bear trophy hunting in BC while ensuring decisions about the grizzly bear and all wildlife are science based with proper funding for habitat management.”  John Horgan is the BC NDP Party Leader and the local candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Bryce Casavant is a Vancouver Islander. After serving with the Canadian Forces (including in Afghanistan), Casavant worked in various environmental consulting capacities in BC and eventually joined the BC Public Service as a Conservation Officer. In 2015, he earned international attention when he respectfully declined an order to destroy two bear cubs. Bryce followed the law and stood up for BC’s wildlife. His actions inspired a dialogue about the sustainable conservation and safe treatment of animals in our province. The cubs he saved were released back into the wild in 2016 where they continue to grow and thrive.

Bryce is currently a Doctoral Candidate with Royal Roads University, where he is researching wildlife conservation and management. As a Natural Resource Officer with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Bryce sees firsthand the impacts human action has on our lands and waters. He is standing with John Horgan because he knows that John will take real action to defend our environment and invest in sustainable, renewable energy solutions that create good jobs with good wages.

DropCoverHoldonTuesday, March 28 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. Funding to support a wider tsunami warning range on the west side of Vancouver Island has been announced today by Emergency Management BC (EMBC).

Residents of Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation will receive increased capability for tsunami warnings and the potential to provide earthquake early warnings, thanks to a $550,000 contribution from the BC Disaster Mitigation Program to the Capital Regional District (CRD), it was announced today March 28.

The funds will replace existing obsolete tsunami sirens with new warning technology to help residents to be quickly informed in the event a tsunami threatens the region. The tsunami siren upgrades will include voiceover capability and remote activation, expanding the audible warning zone to include the Pacheedaht First Nation community. The proposed system will have the potential to provide early warning prior to an earthquake actually occurring. This could allow residents time to drop, cover and hold on, and head to high ground.

The funding is all a part of a broader set of more than $80 million invested in emergency preparedness and mitigation. Some of these investments, which will have positive benefits throughout the province, include:

  • $32 million to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund to be administered by UBCM that will include items like $3 million for flood risk assessments, floodplain maps and flood mitigation plans, $20 million to fund flood mitigation projects, and $4.2 million emergency social services.
  • $5.5 million for the BC Search and Rescue Association for essential supports to search and rescue (SAR) volunteers, the SAR prevention program AdventureSmart, the acquisition, maintenance and upgrading of rescue equipment, and deployable communication systems to assist in communication in BCs backcountry.
  • $500,000 to Avalanche Canada to support public education and avalanche alert throughout BC.
  • $100,000 to PEP Air to support capital purchases and recognize the effort of the volunteer air search and rescue teams throughout the province.

Mike Hicks, Director, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area [Photo 2017: West Shore Voice News]
Mike Hicks, Director, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area [Photo 2017: West Shore Voice News]
“͞This investment will provide a much needed replacement of the current tsunami warning system. It will be critical to the safety of the residents and visitors to Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation,”‘ says Mike Hicks, director, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. “This new world-class, state-of-the-art warning system will help to protect the community from the very real threat of tsunamis.”

“The over $80 million in investments in community emergency preparedness will help us better withstand floods, fires, or earthquakes that could impact our province. Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that begins in every home, in every business and across all levels of government. This funding is another of many provincial investments and initiatives to help keep British Columbians safe,” said Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness.

“͞The threat of earthquakes and a resulting tsunami is part of Pacheedaht community life,” says Chief Jeff Jones, Pacheedaht Nation. “It is not a matter of if, but when the event will occur; this has been a part of Pacheedaht͛’s history since time immemorial. We are grateful for the upgrades to the tsunami warning system, and hope this builds momentum for other emergency preparedness initiatives in Pacheedaht traditional territory.”

WSV-ReadershipSurvey-March2017-webSPRING 2017 WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS READERSHIP SURVEY ~ March 22, 2017.

We invite all West Shore Voice News readers to take part in a 3-minute survey about reading our publication (print / online).

Your input will be anonymous, but only one set of responses per IP address will be accepted.

We appreciate your input. We are always striving to reach and serve our many readers in the best ways possible — technology, content, and marketing support.

Here’s the survey link. Responses will be accepted up to April 5, 2017. Thank you!

BC NDP Leader John Horgan at his local campaign launch in Langford, as the candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca [Photo Copyright 2017 West Shore Voice News]
BC NDP Leader John Horgan at his local campaign launch in Langford, as the candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca [Photo Copyright 2017 West Shore Voice News]
Saturday, March 11 ~ LANGFORD.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan held his local Langford-Juan de Fuca campaign launch today, Saturday March 11, at the Langford Legion.

Over 400 people were there for the event including long-time supporters from throughout the riding, several MLAs (including Melanie Mark and Jodie Wickens who came over from the mainland), two local NDP MPs (Randall Garrison and Alistair MacGregor), some local municipal leaders, many campaign workers and some media.

Horgan cut into Christy Clark’s BC Liberals and chastised the current government for the hardship imposed on regular working British Columbians. Horgan urged teachers, health-care workers and seniors not to forget how the last 15 years in BC have been hard on them and most British Columbians who are not “wealthy or well-connected”.

Horgan promised to work on bringing in a $15 minimum wage if the NDP is elected to government, as one way to offer a bit of a break to struggling workers. He resurrected remembrance of the ground-breaking work of 1970s NDP premier Dave Barrett for having started ICBC as an affordable auto insurance entity, not as it is used today as a ‘cash cow’, said Horgan.

First Nations elder Shirley Alphonse gave her absolute support to “her friend Horgan”, as part of her opening blessing.

The upbeat event included Horgan’s 30-minute speech as well as remarks from NDP finance spokesperson Carole James and education spokesperson MLA Rob Fleming, along with NDP candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin Mitzi Dean.

Horgan was invited to the podium by his nominator, SD62 School Board Trustee Ravi Parmar.

Candidates in two key west shore ridings on Vancouver Island. Click on image to enlarge.
Candidates in two key west shore ridings on Vancouver Island. Click on image to enlarge.

Thursday, March 9. And so the race card is firming up! West Shore Voice News is covering two electoral areas (ridings) on the west side of Vancouver Island during the election campaign toward the May 9 BC provincial election.

The main slate for the key riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca (which now includes Langford, Sooke and Juan de Fuca up to Port Renfrew — but no longer Metchosin) includes three candidates.  BC NDP Leader John Horgan has built and held a stronghold in the riding since 2005. As party leader, he will be travelling all over BC during the campaign toward the May 9 election.

  • Long-time MLA John Horgan is the BC NDP incumbent candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca.  Horgan is holding his local campaign launch this weekend on Saturday, March 11 in Langford (Langford Legion, 761 Station Ave, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm).
  • The BC Liberals are running Cathy Noel as their candidate in Langford-Juan de Fuca. Noel has a broad reach in the sport-fitness community.
  • The BC Green candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca is Brendan Ralfs, a provincial emergency manager on southern Vancouver Island.

Another electoral area on the west side of South Vancouver Island long held by the NDP is Esquimalt-Metchosin (which includes Colwood). The current NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis is retiring from politics.

  • The BC NDP candidate is Mitzi Dean, a long-time advocate for well-funded social services through the Pacific Centre Family Services based in Colwood.
  • The BC Liberal candidate is Barb Desjardins, who is presently serving as both Mayor of Esquimalt and Chair of the Capital Regional District (CRD) board.
  • The BC Greens today announced Dr Andy MacKinnon as their candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin. He is a  Professional Forester and Professional Biologist in BC, and author of books about plants of western North America.

Canada150-logoTuesday, March 7. Write it, snap, draw it!

Are you age 8 to 18 and feeling creative? Try the Canada Day Challenge by submitting a story, essay, poem, photo or drawing in celebration of Canada 150. Deadline Friday March 31, 2017.

Winners will have their work displayed as part of a special summer exhibit at the Canadian Museum of History.

Check it out! http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1449088858795

BCElectionUpdate-Graphic-webMonday, March 6 ~ South Vancouver Island. Well, Saturday March 11 is ramping up to be a politics-of-the-left sorta day on the south island.

  • BC NDP Leader John Horgan will be holding his local campaign kickoff, in his home riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca. That’s at the Langford Legion from 10:30am to 12:30pm.
  • BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver will be holding a BC Green Party rally at the Grand Pacific Hotel in downtown Victoria, from 2 to 4pm.

The official BC provincial election campaign period (i.e. when the Writ drops and the current session of the legislature is dissolved) is expected to start April 11. The election is on Tuesday, May 9 (with plenty of Advance Voting opportunities ahead of that).

Voter registration notices went into the postal mail on February 14, says Elections BC. Registering to vote can be done online at www.elections.bc.ca/ovr or by calling 1-800-661-8683.

Brendan Ralf, BC Green Party Candidate in Langford-Juan de Fuca
Brendan Ralfs, BC Green Party Candidate in Langford-Juan de Fuca

Wednesday, March 1 ~ West side of Vancouver Island. The BC Green Party has announced their candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca.  Brendan Ralfs — a provincial emergency manager on southern Vancouver Island — will be running on the same ballot as BC NDP Leader John Horgan and BC Liberal candidate Cathy Noel.

“After spending 20 years as a forest firefighter in BC I am passionate about seeing our province protected for future generations,” Ralfs said today in BC Greens news release. Ralfs has helped communities respond to a broad array of weather-influenced emergencies, including floods, storms and drought.

“I am honoured to welcome Brendan to our team. His experience managing emergencies across the province means he has a firsthand understanding of the impacts of climate change,” says BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

Ralfs calls Weaver “a clear choice to lead us in working together to ensure our home is a place where social justice prevails, the natural environment is protected and everyone has the opportunity to pursue their dreams while leading safe, productive lives”.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan will officially launch his campaign on March 11.
BC NDP Leader John Horgan will officially launch his campaign on March 11.

Monday, February 27 ~ West side of Vancouver Island. BC NDP leader John Horgan will kick off his 2017 re-election campaign in his home riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca on Saturday March 11.

The big-crowd event will be held at the Langford Legion, 761 Station Avenue starting at 10:30am.

Horgan has held the Langford-area riding (by various electoral area names, including Sooke and up to Port Renfrew) since 2005. He has also built an NDP stronghold on Vancouver Island that has repeatedly proven for him to have a far-reaching and deep reach into many communities and economic sectors.

For this election, the reboundaried riding has lost the largely rural area of Metchosin. Ridings are rebalanced over the years based on population numbers. Both Langford and Sooke have seen population increases in recent years, due mainly to the relatively lower cost of housing on the west side of south Vancouver Island.

The BC provincial election is set for Tuesday, May 9.

JDFCttyTrails-AD-Feb2717event-webSaturday, February 25 ~ JUAN DE FUCA.   The Juan de Fuca Community Trails Society will be holding their 2017 AGM on Tuesday, February 28. The meeting starts at 7 pm.

The group has invited District of Sooke planner Danica Rice to talk about the municipality’s Official Community Plan. Extensive public input toward the Sooke OCP was undertaken during September to December 2016, and the final document is yet months away.

JdF Community Trails is excited about a new community trail being built between Horne Rd and Goodmere Rd with the help of some of their volunteers. They are also following TimberWest building a road in their Private Managed Forest north of Otter Point Road near Sooke. This will be ongoing through April.

More details on both of these projects at www.jdftrails.ca

hwy_14_jordan_river-webThursday, February 23 ~ WEST SIDE of the ISLAND at JORDAN RIVER.

There will be some Highway 14 (West Coast Road) maintenance being done Monday to Friday in the Jordan River area, February 27 to March 10 during 8 am to 4 pm.

Expect some minor delays as there will be single-lane alternating traffic.

Please use caution around the construction site, says Mainroad South Island.

Saturday, February 18 ~ WEST SHORE.  Last week the BC Liberals made a bit of a media splash with a Vancouver Island huddle to focus their island candidates on winning a few more seats on the island. It’s the first time they’ve had a platform focused on Vancouver Island, under the guidance of Don McRae, MLA (Comox Valley).

LangfordJdF-candidates-webThe BC NDP have for decades held Vancouver Island as a stronghold in BC politics. Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan became their party leader in May 2014.

On this west side of the island there are two ridings gearing up for a robust race.

In the present Juan de Fuca riding (re-named and reboundaried as Langford-Juan de Fuca for the election and beyond) John Horgan is considered the frontrunner in his home riding. Meanwhile, brought in by the BC Liberals to give Horgan a race is entrepreneurial sport-enthusiast Cathy Noel. She announced her candidacy last fall and has been getting to know various aspects of the riding which includes Langford, Sooke and Juan de Fuca up to Port Renfrew.

EsquimaltMetchosin-candidates-webIn the present Esquimalt-Royal Roads riding current NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis is retiring from politics. The riding has been renamed and reboundaried as Esquimalt-Metchosin for the 2017 election and beyond. Running for the BC NDP in Esquimalt-Metchosin is long-time social services organizer Mitzi Dean. And as announced just this week, Esquimalt Mayor & CRD Chair Barb Desjardins is now running as the BC Liberal candidate in Esquimalt-Metchosin.

The Writ is scheduled to drop April 11 to officially start the election campaign period. The election is on Tuesday, May 9, with advance polls ahead of that.

The BC NDP is saying it’s time for change. Under the BC Liberals since 2001, the wealth gap has widened under near-relentless privatization. Families have struggled under the burden of increasing rates and fees including for hydro, ferries, and MSP.
The BC Liberals are saying they have strengthened the economy, and provided more job opportunities. They held back on adequate education funding until recently.

Thursday, February 9 ~ REGION. Due to the change in weather, there are multiple areas of flooding and pooling on highways in the South Island area. Drivers are advised to slow down and drive for the conditions of the road. There is the possibility of hydroplaning.

Trees and hydro lines are down in some areas. Road access will not be available for road clearing equipment until downed lines are cleared says Mainroad South Island Contracting.

Wednesday, February 8 ~ South Vancouver Island. Snow is forecasted to develop mid-afternoon today February 8, increasing this evening.

Snowfall over the Pacific Marine Route (including Sooke Road / Hwy 14 / West Coast Road), Lake Cowichan and the Malahat may be quite heavy, as well as featuring some freezing rain.

Mainroad South Island winter operations will be in effect on all highways. That includes additional personnel and equipment. The priority is highways, bus routes and school bus routes as well as main corridor roads. Side roads are done after that. Clearing access for police, fire and ambulance gets priority. Motorists are reminded to drive safely around highway maintenance vehicles.

Snow-on-Cars-webTuesday, February 7 ~ WEST SHORE of VANCOUVER ISLAND.  A few weather-related tips have been issued by Juan de Fuca Emergency Program Coordinator Jeri Grant:

“Make sure your vehicle is completely clear of ice or snow before starting the trip. Flying snow from cars causes accidents.

People really need to slow down when driving in this kind of weather/conditions and be mindful children are not at school and will be out playing in the snow, sometimes on the road.

The trees are weighed down with snow so be prepared for possible power outages, make sure your mobile phone and electronics are fully charged. If you see downed power lines stay back 10 m (30 feet) and call BC Hydro Call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or *HYDRO (*49376) on your mobile.”

snowdayTuesday, February 7 ~ SOOKE. Schools in Sooke, Colwood, Langford and Metchosin are closed today in School District 62 (SD62) due to challenging road and sidewalk conditions.

Recent snowfall has piled up. “All Sooke schools closed due to ice & uncleared sidewalks,” was the official Tweet out from Sooke School District 62 (SD62) today.

Schools are also closed in Saanich (SD63) but are open in Victoria (SD61).

wsv-mpoweroutages-webMonday, February 6 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND ~ 5pm [see 9:30 pm update below]. POWER OUTAGE REPORT. While there has been a lot of snow falling steadily for about 24 hours (with the forecast indicating continued overnight snowfall), winds have been very light. Therefore, damage to power lines has been relatively minimal.  

Overall at this hour (approx 5 pm), 1,345 BC Hydro customers in the South Vancouver Island region are without power, mostly in the Duncan area.

In the Highlands/Saanich area a wire came down around 9:18 am this morning, leaving 205 customers without power all day. Crews are expected on site around 7pm.

In Metchosin, 19 customers have been without power since about 4:15 pm. Crews are expected to arrive around 5:30 pm.

UPDATE at 9:30 pm: There are 1,963 customers on south Vancouver Island without power as of 9:30 pm this evening. Most are still in the Duncan area. In the Humpback Road area of Langford there are seven customers without power due to a downed wire — crews are expected to arrive around 10:15 pm.

BC Hydro says for all regions (right across BC): “Crews have made progress restoring remaining outages caused by the recent snow storm, including many smaller pocket areas. We’ve encountered widespread damage and access issues, but we’ll continue working into the evening to restore remaining outages tonight. Estimates will be provided as they become available so please check back for the latest updates. Please take caution as weather conditions remain poor. Thanks for your patience.”

Monday, February 6 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Snow that has been falling lightly but steadily since Sunday night, through today — with about 15 to 20 cm forecasted for overnight into Tuesday February 7 — sees Mainroad South Island doing operations on all highways. The roads contractor announced this afternoon that regular winter crews are on shift 24/7 with additional personnel and equipment brought in as conditions warrant. This 24/7 winter road crew status will continue “until the conditions change and highways are back to normal”, it was stated in a Mainroad news release.

Motorists and residents are reminded that during a snow event, winter operation services are provided on a priority basis. That means starting with highways, bus routes and school bus routes and main connector roads. The crews begin servicing side roads when the snowfall stops.

Highway clearing is top priority for road crews. Photo: Feb 6 on West Coast Road (Hwy14). Photo Copyright 2017 West Shore Voice News
Highway clearing is top priority for road crews. Photo: Feb 6 on West Coast Road (Hwy14). Photo Copyright 2017 West Shore Voice News

“The public can be assured that in emergency situations where police, fire and ambulance are requiring assistance that our crews will assist them to reach their destination,” says Mainroad in their release.

During winter driving conditions everyone is reminded to drive safely, especially when approaching a highway maintenance vehicle.

“For visibility, It’s a good idea to keep your headlights fully on during the day in snow or rain, which also lights up the tail lights on your vehicle,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Program coordinator Jeri Grant.

Highway conditions or issues can be reported to the 24-hour communications centre at 1-877-391-7310.

[Photo Copyright 2017 West Shore Voice News: westward view on West Coast Road on Monday, February 6]

SnowyDayFeb0617-SD62schoolsopen-webMonday, February 6 ~ WEST SHORE.  Parents in Langford, Colwood, Sooke and other areas of the west side of Vancouver Island are already on top of this today, but for everyone else… schools in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) are open today despite the snowfall.

SD62 posted this Tweet this morning: “As always, it is up to #SD62 parents to decide if they feel comfortable sending their child to school. All schools are open.”

SD62 students coming in from Port Renfrew, Jordan River, Shirley, Woodhaven — no bus today, says SD62. The school district has also posted that the BC Transit bus #14 in East Sooke is not running today.

SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge said at a board meeting last fall that closing schools for ‘snow days’ is always a difficult decision as it affects so many people, families, workplaces and child care arrangements. There are operational, financial and safety considerations as well as the impact on learning outcomes depending on the phase of the term/semester.

1953-Hwy14-snowy-Dec0616-WestShoreVoice-webFriday, February 3 ~ 3:40 PM Pacific Time. Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Greater Victoria. Total snowfall amounts of 15 to 25 cm are expected by Saturday morning.

“A low pressure centre is bringing heavy snow to the inner south coast tonight. 5 to 10 cm of snow has fallen since this morning. An additional 5 to 15 cm of snow is expected by early Saturday morning. The snow may become mixed with or change to rain at lower elevations especially near the Strait of Georgia tonight.”

“Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow.”

Further Environment Canada alerts and forecasts are likely to be issued. To report severe weather, send an email to ec.tempetepacifique-pacificstorm.ec@canada.ca or tweet reports to #BCStorm.

[Photo by West Shore Voice News: Highway 14 after a light snow fall, December 2016]

MVIonSookeRd-WordMarkTuesday, January 31 ~ WEST SHORE. This afternoon around 3:10 pm there was a collision of a logging truck and car on Sooke Road (between Luxton Road and Happy Valley Road in the Langford area).

Three people in the vehicle were injured — two adults (a man, and a woman who was driving), and a child.

The three people who had been travelling in the Kia Forte sedan that was badly damaged in the crash were taken to Victoria General Hospital following the collision. The truck driver was reported as not injured.

Sooke Road was closed in both directions for more than six hours, once again affecting access to/from the community Sooke for which Highway 14 is the “one road in and out”. Traffic was diverted at Happy Valley Road as crash-scene analysts gathered evidence. The road was cleared and traffic flowing again around 9:30 pm this evening after the logging truck was towed away.

Langford Fire Rescue, BC Ambulance and RCMP attended the scene.  Police are continuing their investigation and seeking witnesses.

WearingMaskFLUFriday, January 13 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Island Health says there has been an increase in respiratory illness bringing people to hospital on Vancouver Island in recent weeks. “It’s too soon to tell if we have reached the peak of influenza/influenza-like activity,” says Kellie Hudson, Island Health Manager, Media Relations/Issues Management.

As of January 10, a total of 181 influenza patients had been diagnosed between September 1, 2016 and January 10, 2017 as were admitted to an Island Health acute care facility (180 influenza A and 1 influenza B). The influenza A strain this year is H3N2.  As of January 10, there were still 66 patients in hospital.

“We are aware of five people who have died with confirmed influenza in Island Health facilities,” says Hudson. “While they were diagnosed with influenza, it may not necessarily have been the cause of death.”

As a result of increased patient volumes, Island  Health has opened up some overflow areas. The seasonal spike in respiratory illness has also led to a number of surgical postponements last week and into this week as well. Last week, approximately 13 surgeries were postponed across the island due to bed availability, says Island Health. “Surgical postponements are always considered a last resort as we work together to manage the capacity at the site.”

People are asked to wash their hands frequently, sneeze/cough into their sleeve, stay home if ill, and wear a mask if you must be out in public when you have a cold or flu.

Island Health facilities continue to have capacity to respond to critical and emergency cases. No one is turned away, but depending on urgency there may be a longer wait.

SD62 Board Trustees & Staff at Education Committee of the Whole at Millstream Elementary, January 10.
SD62 Board Trustees & Staff at Education Committee of the Whole held this month at Millstream Elementary, January 10.

Wednesday, January 11 ~ LANGFORD.  As many as 22 additional teachers (full time equivalents / FTE’s) will be hired in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) which delivers education to families in Langford, Colwood, Sooke and surrounding areas.

This is an update from last week when the first estimate was 14 FTE’s, as announced by SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge at the SD62 Education Committee of the Whole meeting held on January 10 in the school library at Millstream Elementary.

The new hires are possible following a BC Ministry of Education announcement that $50 million would be released in total to BC schools. That sum is just part of the available funding that will result as the BC Government continues its negotiations with the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) following a Supreme Court of Canada decision that says the BCTF contract will unsuitably altered by the BC Government back in 2002. So in a sense, this is ‘back pay’.

A second ‘payout’ will come after further negotiations; that sum has been widely estimated to be around $300 million. However, SD62 Chair Bob Phillips says “$80 million in Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) money is already in the K-12 system”. He adds: “We’re excited about losing LIF restrictions. There is no need to find some new $80 million that is already in place going forward in the BCTF 5 year collective agreement,” Phillips says.

SD62 will get about $900,000 out of the that first $50 million payout. The money will arrive soon, and hiring is set to begin as soon as the 27 schools in SD62 determine (at the school level by principal, vice principal and staff) what their needs are for more teachers. Options include part-time teaching in full classrooms, teacher-librarian, educational assistants, counsellors and other positions.

The new hiring number of 22 FTEs was announced by SD62 Jim Cambridge last night at the school district’s Education Committee of the Whole (ECOW) meeting held at Millstream Elementary. The change from the earlier estimate was produced out of meetings between SD62 administration (Jim Cambridge, lead) and the Sooke Teacher’s Association (lead negotiator is Ian Johnson, STA president).

French Immersion Choir performance at Millstream Elementary.
French Immersion Choir performance at Millstream Elementary.

Cambridge explained that some smaller schools like Colwood Elementary will get 0.4% of an FTE. Bigger elementary schools will get almost a full time person, he said. The largest high school in SD62 (Belmont Secondary) will get 2.8 FTEs.

Ahead of regular business at the ECOW meeting, some Grade 3 French Immersion students performed as a small choir and another small group made a presentation regarding stress-management techniques. Board members and administrative staff expressed their amazement at the level of information delivered by the students.

At various points in the meeting — including during a presentation of graduation rates in SD62 over the past three school years, both trustees and staff expressed how pleased they were about student performance through the tough economic times (both for the school system and families) that were experienced over the last several years.

Statistical graduation profiles were presented by SD62 Assistant Superintendent Paul Block.  In 2015-2016 the overall grad percentage (students who completed Grade 12) was 76.1%, up from 74.6% and 73.5% in the two preceding academic years (i.e. 2014-2015 and 2013-2015 respectively). Those number still fall short of the BC provincial average (of public and private schools combined), with a graduation rates of 83.6% in 2015-2018 (and 83.9% and 84.% in the two years preceding).

Sports academies are bustling with participation in SD62 schools. A presentation to the Board by Wayne Kelly could boast a tally of 750 students registered in sport and dance academies in the three SD62 high schools and two of the middle schools. As the Academies coordinator, Kelly says he expects the number to reach 850 or more for 2017-2018. Academies offer sports like soccer, baseball/softball, golf, hockey and lacrosse as well as dance.  Registration fees range from $550 to $1,500, which is considered affordable compared to similar programs in BC Mainland schools. Talent scouts come out to see sports games, toward opportunities for post-secondary sport scholarships — especially for girls — coming up in the United States. For some student demographics, Academies tend to improve student retention at specific schools and in high school in general.

Thursday, January 5 ~ BC.  School Districts in British Columbia are in total receiving $50 million to hire more teachers for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year.

BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier made the announcement today, explaining that it’s up to each school district in discussions with local BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) representatives, to determine what sorts of teacher or staff support hiring will be done with the additional 2016-2017 funds. Province-wide, the $50 million will allow for the hiring of about 1,100 teachers, said Bernier.

Bernier says that the $50 million announced today comes on top of the $5.1 billion already invested in public education in BC. The $50 million is a portion of what will finally be determined in negotiations between the BC Government and BCTF.

Most school districts already know where the needs are, so the additional funds are likely welcome.  The funds will be included in the 2017 provincial budget (coming in February), and so will carry forward into hiring considerations for school boards in 2017-2018.

The funds issued at this time are in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision that reversed a decision made by the BC Government in 2002 that effectively cut back on teachers and funds available for schools to operate over the past 15 years. Since 2002 the continued cutbacks have impacted not only the teachers but the entire delivery of education in BC, as school boards were obliged to find all available funding (including teacher salaries) from per-pupil funding ratio revenues and other miscellaneous revenue sources.

In Sooke School District 62 (SD62) — which serves families and students in Langford, Colwood, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin, Juan de Fuca and Port Renfrew — about 14 teachers (full time equivalents) will likely be hired pending discussions with the Sooke Teachers Association on January 6, says SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge.

Cambridge says that in SD62 the additional funds will probably be used to hire additional secondary school teachers, as well as additional special needs support for the elementary schools. He identified those as top priorities. He also mentioned the options of hiring educational assistants (EAs), additional half-time teachers for full classrooms, teacher-librarians and counsellors.

bchydro-outagemap-langford-jan0317Tuesday, January 3. It’s been windy the past few days on south Vancouver Island, with temperatures at or below zero today. Winds picked up again this evening.

For BC Hydro customers in the utility’s south Vancouver Island region, the impact of weather on power lines presently (9:44 pm) sees 6,590 customers (about 19,000 people) without power. Several of those outages happened in the last one to three hours.

In a section of Colwood/Langford (see map) 1,297 customers have been without power since 8:30 pm.

In Duncan, 493 customers are without power, and the customer outage tally in Central Saanich at this hour is 187 in Central Saanich and the Highlands. The remaining 4,513 affected customers are various of the gulf islands.

Check for updates at www.bchydro.com



Wednesday, December 28 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. Mainroad South Island Contracting advises motorists to drive with caution today as many locations are encountering black ice. They suggest allowing extra time for travel and to use caution.

Mainroad says that crews have been actively treating these areas around the clock to minimize any problems.

crd-sookereservoirlevels2016-todec1816-westshorevoice-webWednesday, December 21 ~ GREATER VICTORIA AREA. In a season when there’s plenty of rainfall (or snow), water supply is not necessarily top of mind for residents of the Greater Victoria area. But keeping an eye on the pattern of reservoir level refill is important.

The Sooke Lake Reservoir is used by the Capital Regional District (CRD) to supply water to most of the Greater Victoria area, serving over 350,000 residents. The reservoir normally refills nicely each year, though dry summers in 2015 & 2016 have presented more dramatic drops. More water is used by residents and farmers to keep landscaping and crops sufficiently hydrated in hot weather. As well, dry soils and forested areas in the CRD watershed area that feeds the reservoir soak up needed moisture, reducing runoff into the reservoir.

The reservoir does refill each fall and winter and remains full through to spring. The full pool level of Sooke Lake Reservoir is 186.75m.

Sooke Lake Reservoir and the top of the Dam’s spillway. ~ CRD photo Dec 12, 2016
Sooke Lake Reservoir and the top of the Dam’s spillway. ~ CRD photo Dec 12, 2016

In 2015, refill to 100% was achieved by December 20. In 2016, the reservoir was last full to 100% capacity at April 3, dropping to its lowest point this year on October 9 — showing 64.6% of capacity in the CRD’s water watch reports.  At last check (December 18) the reservoir was back up to 96.5% of capacity.

Last weekend’s water main burst that saw a significant amount of water gushing onto Highway 1 for several hours (see page 1 in December 16, 2016 West Shore Voice News) would have taken a bite out of the expected refill pattern for year-end 2016.  Full restoration of the Sooke Lake Reservoir level to 100% is likely by year-end 2016.

The average 5-year (2011-2015) daily demand for December is 96.8 million litres per day (MLD). For December 2016 so far, the demand shows as 98.7 MLD, with a one-day maximum this month showing as 107.9 MLD.

The reservoir was last expanded in 2004. CRD maintains an ongoing target of deferring expansion of the water supply system for 50 years or to around 2067 before expansion of the reservoir is required.

In 2012, CRD articulated a number of challenges are facing the Water Supply System then and for coming decades:
• Climate change
• Reliance on an unfiltered water supply
• Reliance on Sooke Reservoir
• Lack of redundancies in the transmission system
• Monitoring trends in water use
• Managing outdoor water use
• Level of service policy for wholesale water customers
• Factors affecting the price of water
• Workforce demographics
• Increasing residential development adjacent to the Water Supply Area
• Legacy of past human activities in the Water Supply Area
• Potential establishment of undesirable species in the Water Supply Area

wsv-mpoweroutages-webTuesday, December 20 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND SOUTH. In conditions of high winds, trees are down across BC Hydro wires. That and other wind-related issues currently see power out in the Langford and Sooke areas as well as Ganges Island.

In the Sooke area, about 1,217 customers are affected across various areas including west of Otter Point Rd (out since 4:29 am, crews expected to arrive around 7:30 am), and southwest of Sooke Road east of Sea Lion Way (out since 5:06 am, crews have been assigned).

Power is also out in Langford (since 5:26 am) with crews expected to arrive around 7:30 am in an area affected north of Monnington Place, south of Jenkins Ave, west of Jacklin Road, and East of Colbourne, affecting 230 customers.

UPDATE at 12 noon:  Presently 10,402 BC Hydro customers (approx 30,000 people) in the south Vancouver Island area are without power as of noon today. That includes 2,321 in the Walfred/Metchosin Rd area (Colwood/Langford); 2,056 north of Hwy 1 (Saanich/Langford); 1,812 east of West Coast Road and west of Otter Point Rd; 417 in the West Coast Road area (i.e. west of Sooke); 2,826 in Esquimalt/View Royal; and locations in Duncan.  Most of those outages started mid-morning. A few outages from very early this morning (around 4:30 am in the Sooke and Langford areas) have been restored.


Tuesday, December 20 ~ BC. BC Ferries plans to ban smoking on all of its vessels and to not allow passengers to remain in vehicles on lower fully enclosed decks while vessel sailings are underway. 

BC spokesperson Deborah Marshall says:  “With regards to car decks, we are working to fully implement Transport Canada regulations limiting passenger access to closed car decks while ships are underway.” Closed decks are the lower vehicle decks on the larger ferries. Transport trucks and buses are parked on the lower deck; cars are also parked there when the upper deck becomes full. Customers will continue to be permitted to stay in vehicles on the upper (open) car decks.

“We will be fully implementing Transport Canada regulations to limit passenger access to closed vehicle decks while ships are underway. “Closed” decks are the main car decks. Customers will continue to be permitted to stay in vehicles on the upper (opened) car decks.”

With regards to smoking: “We are currently reviewing our policy with an aim to offer a smoke free environment in the future. The Province recently changed regulations regarding smoke free zones to from 3 to 6 metres away from a door or opening window. This proves challenging ‎on a ship.”

A formal announcement on these two new BC Ferries developments is expected in early January.

food-agriculture-cropwebWednesday, December 14  ~  Greater Victoria area. The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has today approved their Regional Food and Agriculture Strategy (RFAS) which they say identifies the top issues facing the region‘s food and agriculture sector and provides recommendations for addressing challenges.

“The Strategy aims to enhance awareness of local agricultural issues and opportunities and increase local food production. The Strategy has been developed with the intent of complementing existing local agricultural area plans and provincial legislation/policy,” says a release from CRD today.

“Local food production is very important to our food security, local economy and environment. The Regional Food and Agriculture Strategy recognizes the benefits of developing local food systems and sets out concrete steps to support individuals, businesses and First Nations in accessing and adopting local options,” says CRD Board Chair, Barbara Desjardins.

Regional districts, municipalities and electoral areas do not have a specific mandate over food and agriculture. However, the food and agriculture sector is impacted by CRD services such as water delivery, environmental protection and conservation, watershed education and drinking watershed protection and management, liquid and solid waste management (including rural septic programs), invasive species eradication / native plant restoration, and more recently, wildlife (deer, geese, beaver, bullfrog) management. The RFAS identifies how these services relate to food and agriculture and provides recommendations.

The RFAS document identifies approaches to key issues such as:

  • increasing access to farm land through a potential land bank or farmland trust,
  • increasing farmers’ awareness of tools to address wildlife damage,
  • working with partners to increase economic development opportunities, and
  • addressing storm water and drainage issues.

Implementation will start with the formation of a regional food and agriculture task force. The task force will provide input to the Planning Transportation and Protective Services Committee to help set priorities and advance the Strategy recommendations. Task force members will represent non-profits, municipalities with significant agricultural land holdings or interests in food and agriculture, First Nations and the Ministry of Agriculture. “Task force appointments are intended to reflect the geographic and sectoral diversity of the Capital Region food and agriculture economy,” says CRD.

CRD says they had strong support and input from the agricultural sector, with the intent of complementing existing local agricultural area plans and provincial legislation and policy. They add that First Nations interests were strongly represented throughout the development of the Strategy.

features-houseprices-westsidevancis-westshorevoice-dec0916-webSunday, December 11 ~ WEST SIDE of VANCOUVER ISLAND. For anyone who’s out shopping for a home at Christmas, or who otherwise just follows the real estate trends in Greater Victoria, this is for you.

A look at the MLS numbers (Nov 2016, Greater Victoria Real Estate Board) shows the trend for best-value right now in Colwood and Metchosin (narrow margin between benchmark and actual raw sale average). Where there’s a considerable margin between the Greater Victoria MLS benchmark (data-adjusted) value and what you actually pay is in Langford and Sooke.

Compare: Benchmark for a single-family home in Colwood is $561,700, with the average of actual sales being pretty close at $551,720. In Sooke the benchmark is $420,900 but the actual sales average works out to $502,775.

Yes, this is a look at one month’s figures, but the trend has been heading this way for a while. West Shore Voice News continues to follow real estate trends in detail with custom little insights that stand apart from regular news coverage.

Click on the above image to see the prices for Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, and Sooke as compared to the overall Greater Victoria area. Or find the original article on page 1 in the print/PDF December 9, 2016 issue of West Shore Voice News.

SD62-SOOKE-logoFriday, December 9 ~ SOOKE. For Vancouver Island where we can go several winters in a row without snow, there was a relatively big snowfall last night, but not enough to grind things to a halt.

Schools are still open in the SD62 School District (Sooke, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin), except in the Port Renfrew area. School buses are still running but might be behind schedule.

SD62 says it’s always up to parents whether it’s safe enough to send their children to school. www.sd62.bc.ca

Nighttime temperatures started falling below zero a few nights ago, so the snow does not really come as a surprise.


jhorgan-christmasopenhouse2016-print-webWednesday, December 7 ~ LANGFORD. .John Horgan, MLA will hold his Annual Christmas Open House at his Juan de Fuca Constituency office tonight from 4:30 to 6:30pm at 122-2806 Jacklin Rd (corner of Goldstream Ave).

All supporters and constituents welcome. The refreshments are usually pretty tasty at this annual event!

No RSVP required. It’s casual. Just drop by, and bring an item for food bank.

The 10,000 Tonight food drive by Belmont students will be going on in Langford that same evening (as well as in Colwood by Royal Bay students).




westshorecrd-creatememories-webTuesday, December 6 ~ GREATER VICTORIA AREA.  Need some Holiday Recycling Tips, Green Gift Ideas, or Green New Year’s Resolutions? The Capital Regional District (CRD) wants to contribute to this being a “green” holiday season.

At the www.crd.bc.ca/memories website you’ll find information on holiday waste reduction, gift ideas that will help create memories – not garbage, tips on properly preparing recyclables at the curb, Christmas light recycling locations and much more!

While the winter holiday season brings good cheer and great times with friends and family for many people, it also brings a lot more consumer purchases and waste.

CRD says that the quantity of recycling generated during this time period increases dramatically as people shop more. Discarded items include holiday wrap, cards and ribbon, in addition to the enormous quantity of cans, bottles and plastic containers tossed after holiday celebrations.

cathy-noel-headshot-webThursday, December 1 ~ LANGFORD. Running as the BC Liberal Candidate in Langford-Juan de Fuca for the May 9, 2017 provincial election is Cathy Noel. She is a local entrepreneur and charity event organizer.

She will be running head to head with long-time Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan, NDP who has served the region since first being elected in 2005. Horgan became the province-wide party leader of the BC NDP in 2014. Horgan lives in Langford. Horgan has years of background in handling key province-wide issues including energy, education, the environment and the economy.

“I’m ready to take my experiences as an Island business owner, entrepreneur, and mother and use them to make a real difference in our community,” said Ms Noel. She says that a growing riding needs “a strong champion for this growth in the Legislature who understands that the best way to look after the people we love is with a strong economy that creates good jobs on the Island and across BC”,” as stated in a BC Liberal news release.

Noel owns and operates a small business that has organized local charity events for dozens of not-for-profits across the Island. She is also the Race Director of two of the largest races on the Island: the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and the Victoria Goddess Run, and is past race director of the Times Colonist 10k, and past president of the Vancouver Island Runners Association.

Noel says her top priorities for the region are to grow the local economy to create jobs and opportunities in the South Island, and to get to the government table to deliver on regional needs such as health care, education, and transportation infrastructure.

Noel joins a team of 66 BC Liberal candidates already nominated province-wide.

snowtiresThursday, December 1 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. Snow is forecasted to sea level on all of Vancouver Island with snow as early as Sunday December 4, but with forecasts for significant snowfall Wednesday, December 7.

Winter tires are mandatory on the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) Malahat section, and on Highway 18 in the Cowichan Valley area, as well as on West Coast Road (Hwy 14) west of Sooke.

  • The Malahat on Highway 1 is well known for challenging driving conditions even in good weather. It is an unavoidable section of highway if travelling to/from the Greater Victoria area to/from upisland.
  • Highway 18 is a short, 42 km long main vehicle route in the Cowichan Valley Regional District on Vancouver Island, connecting the city of Duncan on the Trans-Canada Highway with the community of Youbou, on the north shore of Lake Cowichan.
  • Highway 14 (Sooke Road / called West Coast Road in the section that is west of Otter Point Road in Sooke town centre), requires winter tires anywhere west of the Grant Road West intersection (heading west to Kemp Lake and beyond).

In anticipation of this weather event, Mainroad winter operations will be in effect on all Highways. Their regular winter crews are on shift 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Extra manpower and equipment are brought in as conditions warrant and will continue until the conditions change and highways are back to normal,” says Leon Bohmer, Operations Manager, Mainroad South Island Contracting LP.

“During winter driving conditions we’re reminding everyone to please drive safe especially when approaching a highway maintenance vehicle,” says Bohmer. “Our 24 hour communications centre will pass on all your observations and concerns to our crews when contacted.”

The Mainroad 24hr Hotline is 1.877.391.7310.




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