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LANGFORD – Breaking News

LANGFORD – Breaking News



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housing, victoria, west shore
RBC says the affordability measure hasn’t been this bad since 1990.

Friday, September 28 ~ BC/National. “Unaffordability is off the charts in Vancouver, Toronto and now Victoria,” says a major bank.

RBC in their September 2018 Economics Research report says the affordability measure hasn’t been this bad since 1990. The ownership costs to carry a home bought in the second quarter of 2018 would have taken up 53.9% of a typical household’s income. This is up sharply from 43.2% three years ago.

The unaffordability crisis requires political will and thoughtful action throughout the economic-impact sectors.

People can only afford so much, and the mortgage ‘stress test’ has in fact contributed to a market chill.

In the west shore, average sale prices in August were somewhat lower than a few months previous (indicating that ‘market cooling’): Langford: $708,970 (had been as high as the $772,000 range earlier this year) | Colwood: $727,447 | Sooke: $446,065 (had been well over half-a-million at points earlier this year).

Full editorial by West Shore Voice News


Langford Council at their September 24, 2018 meeting [West Shore Voice News photo]
Thursday, September 27 ~ LANGFORD. The All Candidates Forum for Langford Mayor and Council candidates has been rescheduled for Tuesday, October 9 (previously scheduled for October 4). [This article on its own page.]

The event will be held at the Langford Legion, 761 Station Avenue, from 5:45-9:00 pm. Hosted by the Westshore Chamber of Commerce. Open to the public. www.westshore.bc.ca

Stew Young is the incumbent for mayor. He has held the position through multiple terms, for over 25 years, overseeing tremendous growth and change that has produced a robust local economy. The city’s population is now over 40,000 and growing.

Langford resident Robert Fraser is also standing for mayor. Overall he is looking for less housing densification and more open greenspace.

There are eight candidates running for six Council seats (I = incumbent): Denise Blackwell (I), Wendy Hobbs, Rick Johal, Matt Sahlstrom (I), Lanny Seaton (I), Norma Stewart, Lillian Szpak (I), and Roger Wade (I).

Photo: Langford council hard at work, even during election season (September 24 special council meeting).


Send-off for Denise Riley, at the Sept 25 board meeting (from left): Wendy Hobbs, Neil Poirier, Denise Riley, Dianna Seaton, Ravi Parmar, Margot Swinburnson, Bob Phillips [West Shore Voice News photo]
Wednesday, September 26 ~ LANGFORD.

After 22 years serving on the Sooke School District 62 (SD62) Board of Education, Denise Riley is hanging up her governance hat.

Last night at the last SD62 public board meeting before the October 20 election, Riley was ‘lightly roasted’ by her comrades on the board and senior staff.

Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull said Riley’s guidance was significant toward his getting settled in when he first joined SD62. The new Superintendent Scott Stinson poked fun: “I only get one and half months with Denise?”, as a way of honouring her stature and commitment at the board level.

Trustee Wendy Hobbs remarked on the bonds of friendship that developed with Denise on road trips to school district conferences. Chair Ravi Parmar noted in particular the standards of good governance that Riley has set during seven terms of office. Vice-Chair Bob Phillips (on the board as long as Denise) remarked on her strong presence and leadership over the years.

Riley was recognized in some casual smartphone-video clips from former SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge and Premier John Horgan.

And there was cake!

Riley has held one of the four seats within the Belmont Zone of SD62.


Wednesday, September 26 ~ LANGFORD. Langford Council did a bit of business this morning, holding a short Special Meeting of Council at 8 am.

Council approved the donation of tents for the 2018 Remembrance Day ceremony that is held at Veterans Memorial Park, as well as donating use of the Langford Trolley bus for a craft fair in November.

They also discussed how the City might have to pay to acquire a portion of closed road that is within a development permit for construction of affordable housing units on Spencer Road. Apparently the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure wants $750,000 for the land. Langford Mayor Stew Young feels that for affordable housing the land should be granted to the city (as is usually the case with a municipal road that becomes closed).

Wednesday, September 26 ~ LANGFORD.

The public is invited to a Town Hall Meeting on the National Housing Strategy, being held in the west shore.

The two-hour session on Tuesday, October 9 at Luxton Hall, 1040 Marwood Avenue in Langford, will be hosted by Alistair MacGregor, MP (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford), from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

There will be a discussion on the National Housing Strategy and what MacGregor calls “the urgent need for affordable housing on Vancouver Island”.

For information ahead of time, email to alistair.macgregor@parl.gc.ca or phone toll free 1-866-609-9998.


Crowd gathered along Langford Parkway during Light Up the Hills to watch one of the live performances. [West Shore Voice News photo – Sept 22 2018]
Sunday, September 23 ~ LANGFORD. Over a thousand people turned out for ‘Light Up the Hills’ on Saturday evening, September 22. Even though the weather was cool with a moderately brisk wind, lantern-carrying families and friends were not deterred.

Illuminated displays along the pathways and trails in the upper Westhills community were a delight for families, teens, and groups of friends who showed up for the ambling walk. The route started at Belmont Secondary School on Langford Lake Road and wove through the residential neighbourhood, winding back along Langford Parkway at the West Shore Parkway roundabout and past the Y and the library.

Families made lanterns at craft tables set up in the parking lot at the school before heading out after dusk. The bright orange sunset was at 7:09 pm. The event ran 7:30 to 9:30 pm. The Langford trolley was available to assist anyone who found the long walk a bit much.

Displays and performances included string music by a Victoria Conservatory of Music quartet, a harpist, a talking faery seated up in a tree, a large lit-up rainbow, lanterns along trails, and swirling lights in the trees. A mobile 100.3 the Q DJ was on hand to provide the music. Free coffee and hot chocolate were provided courtesy of West Shore Rotary.

It was just a little bit tricky walking over those tarp-covered electrical cables in the dark. Some reflective lights on those might help.

All of this was organized by the West Shore Arts Council. The setup must have taken hours, with all those lanterns along the trail, signs, and venue setups. A great free evening event for the community. Looks good on Langford.

::: This article first published on page 3 in the September 21 (22) print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News.

Friday, September 21 ~ LANGFORD.  TRAFFIC NEWS.

There’s a new name for a relatively new road. Division Avenue that runs through the Belmont Market & Belmont Residences development will be named Reunion Avenue, effective October 1, 2018.

The announcement was released today by the City of Langford engineering department.

The Belmont development land was formerly the site of the old Belmont Secondary School of SD62. The idea of a (student) reunion for that property has a nice happy ring to it.

The soon-to-be-called Reunion Avenue runs from Jacklin Road (at the corner where the SD62 administration building is) over to Jenkins Ave (alongside Westshore Town Centre).

View this article on its own page.

Division Avenue in Langford will be closed to traffic September 20 to 28, 2018

Wednesday, September 19 ~ LANGFORD. TRAFFIC ADVISORY.

Lots of people are already quite used to driving along Division Avenue that runs between Jacklin & Jenkins through the Belmont Residences / Belmont Market development that is under construction.

But for eight days — starting Thursday Sept 20 through to Friday, Sept 28 — Division Avenue will be closed to traffic so some roadworks can be done.

There will only be access for construction vehicles, emergency vehicles and the onsite sales office.

::: Map by City of Langford Engineering

Wednesday, September 19 ~ LANGFORD. In Langford, the visible campaign action is slowly ramping up. The official campaign period starts September 22, at which time more signs will be seen around town.

There are two candidates for mayor and eight candidates vying for the six seats on council.

The mayoralty candidates are Mayor Stew Young (incumbent) and Robert Fraser. For council the candidates are Denise Blackwell (incumbent), Wendy Hobbs, Rick Johal, Matt Sahlstrom (incumbent), Lanny Seaton (incumbent), Norma Stewart, Lillian Szpak (incumbent), and Roger Wade (incumbent).

Council candidate Wendy Hobbs is also running again for SD62 trustee (Belmont Zone).

The All Candidates Forum for the Langford municipal election is being held on Thursday October 4 at the Langford Legion on Station Avenue from 6 to 8 pm.

Tuesday, September 18 ~ LANGFORD. The Cloth Castle sewing and quilting supply shop now has an online store!

All the same great products with the convenience of online shopping. Online shopping departments include Books & Patterns, Fabric, Quilt Fabric, Gifts & Notions, and Sewing Machines & Accessories.

The online store is on their regular website at www.clothcastle.com .


Monday, September 17 ~ LANGFORD. Mayor Stew Young is getting support from the development, housing, real estate and building trades communities for his consistent efforts to support the Langford and west shore economy.

The development of housing and infrastructure in Langford is key to building the economy and providing services for residents and businesses.

Last week at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Whistler, Mayor Young garnered support from mayors and councils around the province. Support for his City of Langford motion that calls for review and revision of the proposed BC Speculation Tax now allows UBCM to call on the Province “to replace the approach in the current proposed Speculation Tax with a provision to empower local governments to collect a levy on vacant residential properties and to require local governments that choose to impose such a levy to invest the revenues in non-market housing.”

In that way, each municipality would have more specific and more appropriate control of how the taxation of vacant properties (if any) is managed in each of their communities.

Stew Young has been mayor of Langford for over 25 years, and is running again to be mayor for 2018-2022 (election date October 20, 2018). His approach to developing infrastructure and densifying the residential and commercial areas of town is largely responsible for the burgeoning population (now over 40,000) and robust economy of Langford.

::: Full article about the Spec Tax and UBCM on page 1 in the September 14, 2018 West Shore Voice News weekend digest.

::: Article about Stew Young running in the 2018 municipal election, with backing of the development community.

Route for Terry Fox Run Sept 21/18

Monday, September 17 ~ LANGFORD.

Just a heads up for motorists travelling through Langford this Friday, September 21. 

The Spencer Middle School Terry Fox Run will take place on Friday, requiring some road access to be restricted during 9:00 am to 10:30 am. Expect traffic delays along Goldstream Avenue, Spencer Road, Preston Way, and Matson Road.

Regular traffic advisories are posted by the City of Langford on their website at www.langford.ca



Monday, September 17 ~ LANGFORD. Light Up the Hills will be held this year on Saturday, September 22.

Sunset is at 7:09 pm that evening, so the 7:30-9:30 pm time slot is perfect for evening ambiance in the Westhills neighbourhood to view illuminated artworks that create a glowing effect throughout the community. Starts at Belmont Secondary, 3041 Langford Lake Rd.

Organized by the West Shore Arts Council, the popular event is free and open to the public. City of Langford council is a key supporter of arts in the west shore.

Event participants are invited to walk along a designated path, passing by various performances and artworks, using hand-made lanterns to guide their way. This community-focused event aims to showcase the creativity of local artists, musicians, and performers.

Parking will be available at Belmont Secondary School and at the Westhills YMCA. For those with small children or mobility issues, a trolley service will be circulating from Belmont, to the YMCA, and past Westhills Park. | www.westshorearts.org

Friday, September 14 ~ LANGFORD. Three municipalities in the west shore will see their mayors uncontested in the October 20 general election: Highlands, Metchosin and View Royal.

In Langford, one last-minute contender — Robert Fraser — has joined the mayoralty race against long-time powerhouse Mayor Stew Young.

In the Langford council race (6 seats), running again (incumbents) are: Denise Blackwell, Wendy Hobbs, Matt Sahlstrom, Lanny Seaton, Norma Stewart, Lillian Szpak, and Roger Wade. Council candidate Wendy Hobbs is also running again for SD62 trustee (Belmont Zone). Langford candidate Norma Stewart has been on the Langford planning and zoning committee for 12 years.  Also running: Rick Johal. Retiring after 25 years on council: Winnie Sifert.

In the SD62 school trustee race, Langford falls into the Belmont Zone (4 seats) where current board chair Ravi Parmar is running again, as well as incumbents Wendy Hobbs and Dianna Seaton. Parent advocate Cendra Beaton is running in Belmont Zone, as is Beecher Bay Chief Russ Chipps and former Langford fire chief Bob Beckett. Also running: Blair Sloane, and Trudy Spiller.

For the full scoop, see Full List of Candidates in the West Shore.


Two new portables installed behind Belmont Secondary School in Langford in time for September 2018 back-to-school [West Shore Voice News photo]
Tuesday, September 11 ~ Making room to learn in the west shore. Langford’s housing supply is booming, with population growth also seen in Sooke, and more families moving to Colwood. Enough room for all the students? “We can always accommodate students, it just may not be in their catchment neighbourhood school,” says Lindsay Vogan, SD62 Public Relations & Community Engagement.

Planned well in advance, based on student population projections led by Associate Superintendent Paul Block and coordinated with Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull and then board approval, there are the right number of portable classrooms to deal with overflow. As of September 4, there are 54 portables in the SD62 school district. That includes two new ones this fall at Belmont Secondary in Langford, and new ones – one each – at David Cameron Elementary and Wishart Elementary (Colwood), and Journey Middle (Sooke).

“We’re growing at the rate of 350 to 400 students or one elementary school per year, and predict that will continue for the foreseeable future,” says Scott Stinson, SD62 Superintendent. “We’re always in communication with the Ministry to make sure that we continue to have great spaces today and into the future”.

::: As first published in the September 7, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (page 3).

Friday, September 7 ~ WEST SHORE. The annual Union of BC Municipalities Convention is coming up Sept 10 to 14, this 115th year being held in Whistler, BC. Three municipalities from the Vancouver Island west shore area (Langford, Colwood and Sooke) are sending most of their councils.

Langford Mayor Stew Young will be spearheading his council’s motion to allow municipalities to opt out of the BC Speculation Tax. Attending from Langford will be Councillors Denise Blackwell, Matt Sahlstrom, Lanny Seaton, Lillian Szpak, and Roger Wade. As part of the Langford motion, the City of Langford is suggesting that the BC Government put any funds received from a speculation tax on housing towards an affordable housing fund. On the island, the BC Government has already removed Parksville, the Gulf Islands, and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area from the tax.

Meanwhile, Oak Bay will propose that UBCM urge the Province to modify the approach in the current proposed Speculation
Tax to empower local governments to collect a levy on vacant residential properties and to require local governments that choose to impose such a levy to invest the revenues in non-market housing.

A 3-hour information session on Monday will explore ‘Achieving Affordability: Current Policy & Future Needs’. The session will look at creating the conditions for housing affordability that will require “ongoing, concerted actions to address a crisis that has built up over the past 30 years”…. “what are the implications of current government initiatives for local governments, and what further actions may be required?”

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton will be attending along with Councillors Rob Martin (who is running for Mayor in the current municipal election), Cynthia Day, Gordie Logan, and Terry Trace. Colwood has not brought forward any motions this year.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait will be attending the UBCM convention along with Councilors Rick Kasper, Ebony Logins, and Kevin Pearson (who is running for Mayor in the current municipal election). Tait is a member of the UBCM executive, and is running again for mayor. Sooke has put forward a motion that would call on the Province to enact legislation that would protect wild salmon stock from the negative impacts of commercial salmon farms.

Cannabis tax revenue sharing and loss of the Greyhound bus service in western Canada are motions being brought forward by the UBCM executive. The LMLGA executive is bringing forward a motion on Employer Health Tax Impact on Local Governments.

The ‘Underfunding of Public Libraries’ motion being brought forward by Burns Lake looks at rural vs urban library systems and calls for the BC Government to ensure that funding formulas do not allow urbanization to threaten Public Library Association sustainability. Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) board chair Rob Martin says GVPL is not in favour of that motion.

The City of Victoria is bringing forward a motion about protecting coastal communities and waterways from oil spills. As well, Victoria — which now restricts the use of plastic bags by retailers — will be calling for the provincial government to work with local governments and retailers to introduce uniform, province-wide business regulations in relation to disposable plastic packaging, to substantially reduce the volume of disposable plastic packaging in local solid waste streams.

Travel costs for these trips to UBCM conventions are approved in municipal budgets. In 2019 the convention will be back in Vancouver (where it was in 2017) and in 2020 will be held in Victoria (where it was last held in 2016).

On Wednesday the convention will hear a speech by BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver, from BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on Thursday, and from BC Premier John Horgan on Friday.


Building at 2475 Veterans Memorial Parkway in Langford.

Friday, September 7 ~ LANGFORD.  Regarding a suspicious package, today September 7 at 11:30 am West Shore RCMP were called to the Hemminger Law Group office at 2475 Veterans Memorial Parkway in Langford.

Police investigators determined the suspicious package contained a white powder substance with an anonymous threatening letter, says Cpl. Chris Dovell, West Shore RCMP.

Hazmat procedures were activated. Langford Fire Rescue, CRD Hazmat and BC Ambulance were called to the scene to assist.

First responders locked down the office and all people who were in contact with the suspicious substance were decontaminated and will be assessed by medical personnel as a precaution.

The RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit has been called to further assess and ensure the safe removal of the unknown substance.

This incident is isolated to this location only and there is no risk to the public.

Val Hemminger and her team provide family law services.

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

Langford Mayor & Council joined the first 30 buyers at Belmont Residences, September 6 [West Shore Voice News]

Thursday, September 6 ~ LANGFORD. New Belmont Residences building breaks ground under sunny skies.by Mary P Brooke, WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS [Read this article on its own page]

Construction of the first residential building at Belmont Residences in Langford will get underway tomorrow, September 7. And today there was a groundbreaking celebration on the very spot where an 80-unit condo building will stand ready for occupancy in winter 2020.

Attending were the first 30 buyers who have pre-purchased units in the building that backs onto the Galloping Goose Trail, with a tip of the hat to the first two sets of purchasers.

As well, Langford Mayor Stew Young and council were on hand for the event under sunny skies, as well as many representatives of the developer, sales team and Realtors.

Mayor Young told the crowd from the podium that the Belmont development creates employment, and welcomed all the people who have chosen Langford for their new home in the development. He commended his council, developers and community for the teamwork that makes progress happen. With the current housing crisis, Stew Young says it’s important to take fast action with housing development, and he’s proud of Langford’s success in that regard.

In the backdrop was a large excavator upon which plastic (unfilled) champagne bottles were symbolically struck, to mark the beginning of construction.

About 45% of Belmont Residences West have been sold. Working professionals and downsizers are the target audience to the walkable community nestled within the commercial Belmont Market shops (including a new landmark Thrifty Foods store), professional services and urban amenities. Unit prices range from the low $300,000s to low $600,000s, including 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 2-bedroom+flex suites.

Marcela Corzo who is Director of Development for Belmont Residences told the crowd about the Belmont Club, a centrally-located building within the development that will be a community hub with community room, arts and craft rooms, music studio, kids room and multi-purpose area. It’s a space to “foster community and engage with neighbours”, said Corzo.

The online #MyBelmont campaign was also announced by Corzo today. The social media activity is open to the general public and buyers (and their respective Realtors). Participants will earn points that can win a variety of prizes from local merchants.

The Belmont Sales Centre is at 915 Division Avenue (off Jenkins Avenue) in Langford. The sale office which includes a show home is open Saturdays through Thursdays, noon to 5 pm (closed Fridays). Appointments available at other times by emailing to info@belmontresidences.com or by phone at 778-432-3777 or visit www.BelmontResidences.com .

Thursday, September 6 ~ LANGFORD. The 8th Annual Chili Cook Off by the Westshore Chamber of Commerce is coming up Sat September 8, also sponsored by the West Shore Rotary.

The public event will be held at Belmont Secondary, 3041 Langford Lake Road, Langford from 10 am to 2:30 pm.

Entertainment and chili from 11 am to 2 pm. Chili is $7 per person, or $25 for a family up to 5.

Saturday, September 1 ~ WEST SHORE Business Analysis. Just two days left now to vote in Best of the West Shore (a West Shore Chamber of Commerce event).

Here’s our business analysis piece that ran in the Aug 24th print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News.

The WestShore Chamber of Commerce is once again presenting Best of the West Shore. It’s a contest shared with and featuring their main sponsor, Goldstream News Gazette. Contest voting online requires 20 selections that can be done from within 44 categories. Find the link here: www.westshore.bc.ca

WestShore Chamber of Commerce executive director Julie Lawlor says 20 selections (which takes a bit of time and initiative, especially if you don’t see your favourite business listed there) is intentionally a large number to try and avoid just singular or specialized vote-loading. But it can be a cumbersome process for busy people. Voting ends September 3, and the event will be held October 25.

Business participation is up to the businesses themselves. The checklists of business names therefore largely end up being comprised of who signs up as compared to shaping a reflection of the town’s economic skyline.
Lawlor has been hearing concerns from various businesses. For example, there is a Best Pet Clinic category but apparently pet retail stores felt left out. In the west shore there are several pet supply retail outlets (some which also provide grooming and also adopt out pets) including Bosley’s by Pet Valu both at Westshore Town Centre and in Colwood on Island Highway, Island Pet Store on Goldstream Avenue in town centre, and Pet Smart in Millstream Village. There’s always the Best Retailer category to consider, but that is broad and numerically diminishes the chance of winning for all business names entered into that category.

There is no overall sport category (other than Best Sport Team), but specific categories such as Best Martial Arts and Best Place for Fitness, as well as categories for golf, fishing, hiking, beach, and yoga. Other industries are split into different areas such as seeing Best Spa/Aesthetics as well as Best Hair Salon/Barbershop.

A grab-bag category is Best Professional Services which has a smattering of entrants from a wide range of business areas including HR, accounting, photography, plumbing, software, and news media — serving as a kind of catch-all where more appropriate categories were unavailable.

The contest does help promote local businesses. However, in future years the Chamber might serve members better after stepping back to review the growing variety and mosaic of businesses in Langford and revise the category format to help every business feel as though there’s a fair opportunity.

Action on the Bear Mountain golf course August 30 [West Shore Voice News]
Friday, August 31 ~ LANGFORD. The 2018 Mayor’s Golf Tournament was a big hit yesterday August 30.

Almost 300 golf players showed up (a record number), and City of Langford Mayor Stew Young says $40,000 was raised for a wide range of charities.

The event was held at Bear Mountain Resort, where both the Mountain course and Valley course were fully active for the 18-hole charity tournament. Teams played in a Texas Scramble format.

Holes were sponsored by various businesses and organizations from around the region.

While there was a bit of rain just ahead of the 1 pm shotgun start, the day’s weather remained cooperative throughout the event.

An accessibility cart was used by one of the players out on the golf course, allowing him to take part in the game. That advanced technology– where the player is strapping in vertically, allowing them to take their golf shots and then also move freely around course with their ‘built in’ golf cart — was funded by various local businesses. More donations for a second accessibility cart were raised last night during a live auction format.

The dinner evening was mix-and-mingle this year, giving leaders in business and community a chance to network while enjoying the food.

Fundraising went on all evening from the podium, hosted by Mayor Young and his team.

More photos (and this article on its own page): https://islandsocialtrends.ca/?page_id=13188

Wednesday, August 29 ~ LANGFORD. The Mayor of Langford’s annual charity golf tournament will be held at Bear Mountain Golf Course on Thursday, August 30. Both courses will be used this year — Mountain and Valley. A total of 240 players (up from last year’s 144 players) are expected to participate.

Sign-in is at 11:30 am, with shotgun start at 1 pm.

This year’s charities will each receive $1,500: Kidsport, Sport Assist, Wounded Warriors, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #91, Langford Volunteer Firefighters Association, 911 Care Society – Padre, Rob Tournour Another Brick in Napal (Canada), Westshore RCMP Auxiliary, Westshore Sunrise Rotary Foundation, Community Living Victoria – Brock House, Belmont Secondary, Grizzlies Hockey, Rebels Football, Children’s Health Foundation, Keep Girls in Sport.

This year the City of Langford is celebrating its 25th anniversary. An event was held earlier this year to honour the contractors and companies who built the Bear Mountain Parkway.

First SD62 Board Meeting of the 2018-2019 academic year, August 28 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Tuesday August 28 ~ WEST SHORE. The first Sooke School District 62 (SD62) Board meeting of 2018-2019 and the first under new SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson was held Tuesday evening, August 28.

Student enrollment is projected as 10,209 FTE’s (10,806 head count) for the start of the 2018-2019 academic year (up from 9,853 FTE’s at the start of 2017-2018).

Most of the student population growth is in Langford (mostly in K to Grade 3), with some modest increase in secondary-school level registrations at EMCS in Sooke. Some of the tightest fit for students is at Spencer Middle School in Grade 7 and about 25-30 more students have registered at Dunsmuir Middle School over the summer.

Most teacher hiring is now done with a total of 149 new teachers (95 full time, 56 part time); about 40 to 50 smaller pieces of work are still open.

About 3,600 riders have registered for school bus routes in SD62; about 400 to 600 more riders are expected to register as the school year unfolds. There are 32 bus routes (28 standard buses and 4 accessible); nine routes are in the Milne’s Landing Zone (Sooke area) and 23 are in the Belmont Zone (Langford/Colwood/Highland/Metchosin/East Sooke).

The top set of priorities for facilities expansion is still to build a middle school and elementary school on the land that SD62 acquired in the Westhills area in December 2017.


August 27 ~ NATIONAL.  Today the Canadian Premier League announced that soccer players from coast to coast will have an opportunity to earn a spot on a professional club roster through the #GotGame Open Trials.

Canada’s new men’s professional soccer league will host the trials in seven cities across the country beginning in September. The trial on Vancouver Island (likely at Westhills Stadium in Langford) will be held November 5 to 6.

Registration is required in advance. Open to males age 16+. Interested participants can go to canpl.ca/gotgame. The registration fee is $200 per person.

On Day 1 of the tryouts each player will be evaluated through a series of fitness exercises and testing, soccer specific drills and assessments. At the end of Day 1, a limited number of players will be selected and invited back for Day 2, which will focus on small-sided and 11 vs. 11 soccer matches.

See full article about the trials and registration details here: https://islandsocialtrends.ca/?page_id=13137

See feature article on the announcement of Michael Silberbauer as the new Pacific FC coach, on page 1 in the August 24, 2018 issue of West Shore Voice News, or full version of article with more photos


Wednesday, August 22 ~ WEST SHORE/MALAHAT. 9:50 am. A two-vehicle collision on the #Malahat at 8:10 am this morning August 22 involved a fatality. #Hwy1 is closed while Westshore RCMP crash analysts investigate the cause of the collision and #HAZMAT crews clean up a sewage spill. [Check back for updates]

The RCMP Traffic Unit, BC Ambulance and #Langford Fire Rescue responded. The collision occurred on Highway 1 in the southbound lane near the Goldstream Boat House.

The BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure and the BC Ministry of Environment have personnel on site to assess hazards from the sewage that spilled from the overturned sewage truck involved in the incident. The driver of that vehicle was found deceased and the Coroner has been called to the scene.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash — a blue SUV — was assessed for injuries by paramedics.
Highway 1 will remain closed at Goldstream Park in both directions while the investigation is completed. Reopening of Highway 1 will be significantly delayed. No detours so far.

As of 9:45 am, the City of Langford Engineering says the Malahat TransCanada Highway is closed both northbound and southbound, south of Shawnigan Lake Road and north of the West Shore Parkway. Finlayson Arm Road is not an available detour. Vehicles trying to use Finlayson Arm Road will be turned around. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Environment are assessing the hazards from the sewage spill. HAZMAT crews are expected complete the cleanup of the sewage prior to Highway 1 reopening, which will cause significant delays.

“The cause of the fatal collision is under investigation. The sewage spill prevents travel on the highway. We ask for patience from drivers who are affected by any delays as emergency crews deal with the closure of Highway 1,” says Cpl. Chris Dovell of the West Shore RCMP.


Wednesday, August 22 ~ WEST SHORE. We’re in for another day of extreme air quality risk today, Wednesday August 22. This means staying indoors when possible (with windows shut to keep out the polluted air) or heading to a community facility or shopping mall that is air conditioned.

Everyone is affected by these high levels of air contaminants, in particular seniors, very young children and those with heart and lung conditions or anyone with a chronic illness that challenges overall body function.

Air Quality Health Index will reach 10+ (Very High) again today August 22, 2018 in the west shore and Victoria/Saanich [BCAirQuality.ca]
The current Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for the west shore as of 7 am this morning August 23 is High at 9 (10+ in Victoria/Saanich) but reaching the Very High level of 10+ again today (after a full day of 10+ yesterday) and through evening.

By tomorrow, the level is expected to drop to 5 which is Moderate, in both the West Shore and Victoria/Saanich.

The 10+ levels have resumed in the BC mainland interior area today. Details posted at www.bcairquality.ca

How to read the chart (from left): Current | Today | Tonight | Tomorrow

City of Langford Council meeting, August 20, 2018: urging BC to get to fire sooner using more airborne equipment [West Shore Voice News photo]
Tuesday, August 21 ~ LANGFORD. The City of Langford will be urging the Province to invest in a more robust and preemptive wildfire response effort aimed at controlling fires before they become too large.

With resource requirements at full tilt during BC’s summer wildfire season, both last year and this year some fires take longer to get to while awaiting either more personnel or more aircraft (planes or helicopters) that can drop fire retardant and water on smaller fires to help prevent rapid spread.

There are many reasons to get the wildfires under control sooner. In the last few days especially, the continued risk to human health from high-risk levels of smoke in the air throughout most of BC has become more evident. People are more frequently staying indoors to avoid direct exposure. Costs are rising for increased use of air conditioners and other equipment for staying cool. Economic impacts include people cancelling events, appointments, or even going to work.

Extended wildfire seasons are now “the new normal” as BC Premier John Horgan said today at a media event in Prince George in the BC Interior.

Premier Horgan said that the safety of people comes first, and that people who receive evacuation orders need to follow those directives as a way for themselves to stay safe as well the firefighters and the surrounding community areas.

See full article here, including video of the firefighter bomber.


Langford Mayor Stew Young (at podium) congratulates Michael Silberbauer on becoming coach of the new Pacific FC, with Josh Simpson (Pacific FC president) at City Centre Park in Langford, August 20 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo – Mary P Brooke]
Monday, August 20 ~ LANGFORD. A new professional sports team has burst onto the Langford scene. Today at City Centre Park next to Westhills Stadium it was mid-summer warm with slightly smoky skies, as the recently formed Pacific Football Club (Pacific FC) announced their new coach.

New Pacific FC coach Michael Silberbauer was at the podium there today, being welcomed by the west shore sport community, and dozens of young soccer players and their parents.  In all, about 150 people.

Langford Mayor Stew Young and council attended in support, including Councillor Matt Sahlstrom who had made of the initial connections with now the local Pacific FC leadership, and Councillors Lanny Seaton (who chairs the city’s Parks and Recreation committee), Lillian Szpak, Denise Blackwell and Winnie Sifert.

“Thank you for coming out here,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “What Josh and Rob have been able to accomplish in such a short time -– and to have Mike standing here in Langford, this is the talent that you have here that we wouldn’t have expected. You guys have done great,” the Mayor told the crowd.

“I like what they’re saying -– being solution-oriented, getting things moving, let’s get things done. And you’re bringing the partnerships in the community together. We’ve heard the talk, you guys have delivered. Thank you from the citizens of Langford and council. It’s a great opportunity for soccer for the island,” said Young.

See the full article here: https://islandsocialtrends.ca/?page_id=13003

Sunday, August 19 ~ LANGFORD. Over 17,000 people attended the 8th Annual Langford Show & Shine vintage car show today Sunday August 19 in Langford town centre. That’s a record crowd, says Langford Mayor Stew Young. [View this article, with more photos, at https://islandsocialtrends.ca/?page_id=12957 ]

As well, there was a record number of vehicles in the show — over 300 entries.

Record numbers came out to the 8th Annual Langford Show & Shine, August 19, 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Several city blocks were cordoned off for the 10 am to 3 pm event along Goldstream Avenue and side streets. Next year the popular show might expand its footprint to include the area available at Veterans Memorial Park.

This year’s People Choice awards were announced: 1st Dave and Annie Lukinuk: 1956 Chevy panel truck, 2nd Mike Lauzon: black 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, and 3rd Dan and Maria Madison: 1961 Ford F100 Unibody.

As a free walk-about with donations, over $3,000 was raised for Wounded Warriors and the Goldstream Food Bank that serves the west shore area.

While there was a bit of ‘smoky sky’ today which created a slight haze, the day was otherwise comfortably warm and dry.

People who displayed their cars sat alongside in lawn chairs and chatted with onlookers. Some people pored over the cars and trucks quite closely, while others strolled through to take in the ambiance.

As a city marketing tool, the car show is effective. People walk about at eye-level to the various frontages of stores and offices that otherwise one doesn’t really notice if whizzing by in traffic.  Refreshments were available for purchase from mobile food vendors as well as local restaurants and cafes.

A shout-out to the Langford Fire Department for lifting up media in their ladder and bucket, to get some cool aerial shots of the event.

City staff work very hard to set up the show, some arriving ahead of 6 am to find some cars already ready to come and get parked on display!


Cyclists taking part in Tour de Victoria, speeding through the Langford Parkway & Jacklin Rd intersection in Langford, August 18, 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Saturday, August 18 ~ LANGFORD. This morning the road was ‘owned’ by cyclists taking part in the 160 km 8th annual Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria.

Motorists were patient — for the most part — as traffic control personnel guided cyclists through various intersections in both residential and commercial areas of Langford.

Cyclists taking part in Tour de Victoria make their way through the Glen Lake Rd roundabout in Langford, August 18 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
The experienced cyclists whizzed through the Langford stretch of the ride from 8 am to 10 am. The full tour takes place from 7 am to 3:30 pm.

The ride will see as many as 1,800 cyclists riding through Victoria, the West Shore and Saanich, attracting riders from across Canada and beyond.

Riders begin and end their event in downtown Victoria on Belleville Street.

8th annual Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria bike ride — Langford portion (MAP) for Saturday, August 18, 2018

Friday, August 17 ~ LANGFORD. Traffic delays are expected with the 8th annual Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria bike ride will take place on Saturday, August 18 approximately 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The ride is expected to draw as many as 1,800 cyclists riding through Victoria, the West Shore and Saanich, attracting riders from across Canada and beyond. The 160 km ride begins and ends in downtown Victoria on Belleville Street.

Drivers will encounter moderate delays 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. along Highway 14 (Sooke Road) at Happy Valley Road and Glen Lake Road in Langford, and near the intersection of Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) and Sayward Road (peninsula) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Motorists are advised to allow additional time to arrive at their destinations and to adjust travel plans where possible. Exercise caution, obey posted speeds and event signs, and watch for traffic-control personnel.

More detailed traffic information including maps: https://tourdevictoria.com/traffic/ 

U-Bicycles expanded in the west shore, with a demo today at the Belmont Residences sale centre. From left: Chief Russ Chipps, Beecher Bay; Langford Councillor Denise Blackwell; Eric Gerlach, Belmont Residences VP Development; Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak; Marcela Corzo, Director of Development, Belmont Residences; Langford Mayor Stew Young; Angel Fu, Chief Strategy Officer, U-Bicycle; Langford Councillor Lanny Seaton; Langford Councillor Winnie Siefert. [West Shore Voice News photo – August 16, 2018]
Thursday, August 16 ~ LANGFORD. Cycling and trails are meeting with a lot of progress in Langford. Today at the Belmont Residences sales centre there was a celebration of expanding U-Bicycles throughout Langford. And yesterday there was an unveiling of the Phase 3 section of the E&N Trail that will complete the path from Langford right to Esquimalt. [View this article on its own page]

This is taking a bit of emphasis away from vehicle commuting and the frustrations that Langford and west shore residents are experiencing on the two main corridors from the west shore into core areas like Victoria and Saanich (notably Highway 1 and Island Highway/Colwood Crawl commutes both early morning and late in the day).

This promotion of trails and use of community-shared bicycles is a further acknowledgement that many west shore residents are dependent on commutes to employment and post-secondary.

Langford Mayor Stew Young told a crowd at Belmont Residences today that over the past 25 years more than 30 kilometres of bike lanes have been built in Langford. Mayor Young acknowledges the support of the development community in helping to make that possible.

To make use of those bike lanes, the U-Bicycle initiative is timely. “With a population over 40,000 now, the density is there,” Stew Young told West Shore Voice News. “Development is paying for the bike lanes. And now Belmont Residences and Ledcor are helping bring this service to Langford,” Young said. “Without density we wouldn’t have this. There’s a lot of economic activity in Langford (to support it),” he said.

The U-Bicycles (including E-bikes) and now also electric scooters are available at the U-Bicycle station at the Belmont Residences sales centre at 915 Division Avenue (corner of Jenkins Avenue). “People can ride them to work, or use them here for recreation,” says Eric Gerlach, VP Development, Belmont Residences. The U-Bicycle service is available throughout Greater Victoria, serving all demographics, explained Gerlach.

“These bicycles are an amenity, a key part of our development,” said Marcela Corzo, Director of Development, Belmont Residences. “We have been amazed at the forward-thinking of Langford,” Corzo said today. She is excited about the proximity of Belmont Residences to the Galloping Goose Trail.

Langford Councillor Lanny Seaton is quite pleased with finally seeing Phase of the E&N Trail connector (construction starting soon, for completion in September 2019). “We’ve been after them for 10 years,” he said today with reference to CRD which is responsible for the trail development. Starting next fall, residents will be able to cycle into Victoria core areas. “It’s a two percent grade all the way,” said Seaton, because it follows the rail grade.

The first phase of the E&N Trail (started in 2009) was to distribute the construction activity amidst the various impacted municipalities (Langford, View Royal, Victoria, Esquimalt, and the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations), says Brett Hudson, Manager, Planning, Resource Management and Development, CRD Regional Parks. That way “the benefits were spread over the region,” says Hudson.

E&N Rail Trail Humpback Connection — phase 3 in red (in center) will connect Langford to Victoria. [CRD map]
In the last couple of years, Langford has pushed for paving along the actual E&N rail line itself, allowing for at least the use of buses along that route. That would improve and enhance the public transit options for west shore commuters. The E&N rail line is overseen by the non-profit Island Corridors Foundation. Earlier this year, Premier John Horgan said the provincial government has ample reports about the possibilities for the E&N rail corridor.

Meanwhile, Langford Mayor Stew Young continues to push for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the Trans Canada (Hwy 1). Last week the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) reiterated that ‘bus shoulder lanes’ are being installed as part of the McKenzie Interchange Project. Stew Young reiterated his view that HOV lanes right from Langford into Victoria would reduce vehicle commuting time more than the ‘bit of reduction’ that the McKenzie Interchange will provide. MOTI says the McKenzie Interchange will reduce commute times by as much as 20 minutes for some commuters (that project is due for completion at year-end 2019).


8th Annual Langford Show & Shine Car Show — roads closed (blue areas), Aug 19 2018.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY ~ posted August 15 ~ LANGFORD. On Sunday, August 19 in LANGFORD town centre a section of roads will be closed to traffic.

The closed area will be Goldstream Avenue between Peatt Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway as well as Bryn Maur Road 70 metres south of Goldstream Avenue (see blue area in map). The closure will be in effect from 7 am to 4 pm for the 8th Annual Show and Shine.

The walkabout car show is a free public even. It runs 10 am to 3 pm.

Bicycles can be parked outside the perimeter (no cycling within the car show). Dogs are allowed if on a leash.


Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey [West Shore Voice News photo 2017]
Wednesday, August 15 ~ LANGFORD. Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey this morning around 8:30 am just received word that a joint team of firefighters from Langford, Sooke and Metchosin had arrived safely in Fort St James after a 14-hour drive.

“Sooke was requested by the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) to provide a fire engine and crew to Fort St James yesterday morning,” says Chief Aubrey. “Sooke, Metchosin and Langford partnered together last year by sending 1 to 2 firefighters each at a time to make up a 4-person crew. This allowed us to help while not depleting our resources locally and it worked extremely well.”

“We decided to continue that partnership and there are two Sooke firefighters, one Metchosin firefighter and one Langford firefighter on the current deployment using a Sooke fire engine,” said Chief Aubrey today August 15.

The team was to depart as soon as possible after the OFC call and they left for the interior at 5pm, August 14. “No doubt will be receiving their orders shortly, but their primary role will be structure protection of any homes or businesses,” explains Langford’s fire chief.

“They are all volunteer firefighters who have taken time off work to head to the interior and it was incredible to see so many of our local volunteers drop everything to go and help out another community in need,” says Aubrey. He says that each deployment period will be seven days and that the three fire departments will continue to send joint teams as long as the province needs firefighters.

After Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount received a resource request from the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), a call was put out to the Sooke volunteer fire department membership. “We put a call out to our membership and deployed two Sooke Firefighters (firefighter Rod Davis and firefighter Brandon Knowles), up to Fort St. James yesterday afternoon on Sooke’s Engine 3,” says Sooke FD communications rep Julie Barlow. Also now in Fort St James are Lieutenant Gord Grivel (Metchosin Fire) and Keith Detlor (Langford Fire).

The group photo, pictured left to right: Brandon Knowles (Sooke), Gord Grivel (Metchosin), Rod Davis (Sooke) and Keith Detlor (Langford).


Fort St James is in the north-central part of BC.

Tuesday, August 14 ~ WEST SHORE. Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop and members of the Metchosin Fire Department arrived in Fort St James in north-central BC this evening. They’re helping out with an extreme wildfire scenario there.

Members of the Sooke and Langford fire departments are also helping out with efforts at wildfire suppression in the area and protect structures, along with firefighters from around the province.

Four firefighters (2 from Sooke, 1 from Metchosin, 1 from Langford) before heading to Fort St James, August 14. [Langford FD photo]
Four members of the Langford Fire Department departed for Fort St James.

Fort St James has been on evacuation alert since Saturday August 11. Now nearly the 1,600 residents of Fort Saint James are being urged to prepare for evacuation if the forest fires come closer to the community.

The Shovel Lake fire is estimated to be 31,500 hectares and currently raging about 35 km away from the western border of Fort Saint James.


Tuesday, August 14 ~ LANGFORD / WEST SHORE. On Sunday August 12, West Shore RCMP were kept busy with several motor vehicle collisions in the West Shore area causing traffic to be diverted.

  • At 1:15 pm. West Shore RCMP and Emergency Services responded to a report of a white Dodge Durango, with two occupants, in a ditch in the 4400-block of Lindholm Rd, in Metchosin. The driver was suspected to have been under the influence of an unknown substance and transported to local hospital for treatment. Investigators issued a 24-hour driving prohibition. Investigators continue to investigate the collision.
  • At 1:20 pm. West Shore RCMP received a report of a single vehicle collision at the Trans-Canada Highway at the Veterans Memorial Parkway off-ramp in Langford in an active commercial area near McCallum Road. A grey Chevrolet Cavalier with two occupants appeared to have gone into a ditch and rolled over on its side several times, coming to a rest. Emergency Crews were forced to divert traffic as they worked to remove the vehicle and treat the occupants. Investigators charged a 42-year-old Victoria man under the Motor Vehicle Act with `Fail to Wear Seat Belt`.
  • At 1:50 pm. West Shore RCMP received a report of a black Toyota Tundra, with a sole occupant, in a ditch. The vehicle had hit a pole and knocked out communications for the area 4000-block of Sooke Rd (Highway 14). Emergency Crews directed traffic while crews restored services to the area. A 32-year-old Esquimalt man was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act with ‘Drive without Consideration’. Traffic was diverted to detours (Happy Valley Road and Kangaroo Road) until about 9 pm that evening.

Sunday, August 12 ~ METCHOSIN. UPDATE at 9:30 pm – Hwy 14 is now open.

[First posting at 3:30 pm / updated 5:45 pm]: Road closure of Highway 14 (Sooke Road) in both directions from about 2 pm to probably mid-evening, due to vehicle crash in the Metchosin stretch of that highway between Langford and Sooke.

It was a single-vehicle crash, resulting in minor injuries, said Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. Attending on scene were Metchosin Fire Dept, BC Ambulance Service, RCMP, and BC Hydro.

As of 5 pm still awaiting TELUS crews to come deal with lines down. Detours at Happy Valley Road and Kangaroo Road. www.drivebc.ca


Sunday, August 12 ~ WEST SHORE.  The Capital Regional District (CRD) is hosting an open house to highlight the proposed design for the next phase of construction on the E&N Rail Trail – Humpback Connector.

The construction of this 1 km section of trail from Atkins Avenue to Savory Elementary School in Langford is planned for Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.

Staff will be on hand at the drop-in open house from 3:30 to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, August 15 (in the fieldhouse behind Westshore Parks & Rec, 1767 Island Hwy) to talk about the project and overall progress on the pedestrian and cycling trail.

The regional trail is being constructed largely within the E&N rail corridor, in phases over a number of years. It’s set to be 17 km when complete (about 10 km done to date).

“This newest addition to the regional trail system will provide an important non-motorized transportation and recreation link between Victoria and the western communities,” said CRD in an event release this week. In combination with the completion of the trail between Maplebank Road and Hallowell Road, scheduled for Fall 2018, the Atkins Avenue to Savory School segment will complete the trail between Jacklin Road and Esquimalt Road.

Although the full trail is not complete, three sections are open to public use: Jacklin Road to Savory School; Atkins Avenue to Hallowell Road; Maplebank Road to Esquimalt Road. Where gaps exist, local roads or sidewalks connect users to the next section of trail.

Trail construction began in 2009 and will further time to complete in phases, subject to staff and funding availability.

The overall project cost is estimated at $36 million, with about $18 million spent so far. CRD says the overall project has been strongly supported by the federal government through the Regionally Significant Projects, Strategic Priorities Gas Tax funding ($14 million), and the Western Economic Diversification Fund ($1 million), and by the Province of BC through Bike BC ($2.7 million) and Local Motion funding ($275,000). The CRD says it has covered all costs that are not encompassed by grant funding ($2.2 million).


Saturday, August 11 ~ LANGFORD. The current hours for Alistair MacGregor, MP’s (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) constituency office in Langford are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 10 am to 3 pm. Or by appointment.  [View this article on its own page]

The office location enjoys high visibility at 3202B Happy Valley Road — that’s at the busy corner of Happy Valley Road and Sooke Road (Highway 14). There is a handy parking lot alongside the office (access from Happy Valley Road).

For information or to set up an appointment with the MP or his staff, here is the contact info: Email: alistair.macgregor@parl.gc.ca | Tel: 1-866-609-9998

When the Langford constituency office opened a few years ago (after the 2015 federal election), the opening bash was attended by dozens of people including Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) and now-Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) who articulated the importance of having a presence for the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP on this side of the Malahat in the large riding.

MacGregor presently serves as the NDP’s Critic for Justice and Attorney-General and is the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. http://alistairmacgregor.ndp.ca

Alistair MacGregor’s main constituency office is in Duncan. He and his family reside in the Duncan area where they operate a small farm.

View of Hwy 1 near McKenzie & Admirals, from the temporary pedestrian bridge, August 10, 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo | click to enlarge]
Friday, August 10 ~ WEST SHORE / SAANICH. Things are rolling right along with the McKenzie Interchange Project along Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway / TCH), with construction work now past the 20-month mark. [View the full article here: https://islandsocialtrends.ca/?page_id=12691 ]

Motorists have adapted well to the lane changes during construction. The current traffic pattern will remain in place for the summer and into the September back-to-school season (there are three schools in the area).

Those temporary detour lanes will become the future off-ramps from Highway 1 at McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road. See some current drone footage (courtesy of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure): https://youtu.be/ef8e3w2qmRs

The next major change in traffic flow will be in the southbound lanes (heading into Victoria) with detour ramps off Highway 1 onto some new detours. That will happen in November, according to the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure today. That still sees the overall project construction being on track for completion by the end of 2019.


Paving on Jenkins Avenue all day on Saturday August 11 [Map: City of Langford engineering]
Thursday, August 9 ~ LANGFORD. Traffic Advisory.

If you depend on speedy travel in the Jacklin/Jenkins area of Langford (near Westshore Town Centre and the Belmont Market construction), this one is for you.

There will be a big baselift paving job happening all day on Jenkins Avenue, from Jacklin Road over to Brittany Drive, on Saturday August 11 from 7 am to 5 pm, says City of Langford engineering.

There will be single-lane alternating traffic on that residential stretch of Jenkins on Saturday, and probably traffic backups on Jacklin.

In recent days there’s been loose gravel and dust to contend with as well, as you drive along Jenkins near the construction zone. Not great for vehicles, but once it’s done … well, drivers will enjoy better roads!

Display in the Belmont Residences show suite [May 2018]
Tuesday, August 7 ~ LANGFORD. There’s going to be an official construction groundbreaking at Belmont Residences mid-September, to mark the start of construction of the Phase 1 building.

[See this article on its own page, including other background links about Belmont Residences, and more photos]

About 45% of the units in that first building have been sold so far. Invitations will go out to purchasers and Realtors with clients who are interested in Belmont Residences.

Of the 80 units in the Phase 1 building, 80% have one of six 2-bedroom layouts and many have a small flex-room (suitable for a wide range of uses including hobby room, office, or storage).

The 2-bedroom units have been of interest to downsizers and young professionals, says Peter Gaby, Sales Manager, Belmont Residences. First-time buyers are showing interest in the 1-bedroom units, Gaby said this week.

Some buyers are from out of town, looking to buy into a property for retirement down the road. Many are coming from Vancouver, Calgary and Ontario.

The overall 440-home Belmont Residences community will ultimately be comprised of 284 market homes and 156 rental units. After Phase 1, then Phase 2 will offer 90 condo units, followed by an apartment building with 156 rental units and later on a few townhomes.

The first official groundbreaking for the overall Belmont Residences development was held March 1, 2018. That event was attended by various representatives of the developer and architect, marketing team, future sales team, City of Langford VIPs, community leaders, and media.


Saturday, August 4 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement in celebration of BC Day:

“On BC Day, the Government of British Columbia is joining people who are coming together to celebrate this beautiful province that we are so lucky to live in.

“British Columbia has been shaped by the people who have come together to help build and protect this extraordinary place. Our communities are made great by the talent and ingenuity of the people who live here, and by the values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect that bring us together.

“As we celebrate BC, we recognize our shared responsibility to advance reconciliation together with Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land since time immemorial, and to work together to right historical wrongs and build a better future.

“Let’s take the time to celebrate what we love about British Columbia. Visit a local farmers market, community event, go hiking or camping, or spend time with friends and family.

“We’re going to keep investing in people and working to make life better, with more opportunities for every person in every part of the province. I’m excited for the bright future ahead – for everyone in BC. Happy BC Day!”


Single Family Home sales averages in the west shore and Greater Victoria, for July 2018 compared to June 2018 [click on image for larger view]
Thursday, August 2 ~ WEST SHORE. Greater Victoria area real estate stats for the month of July 2018 were released yesterday by the Victoria Real Estate Board. Let’s start with the basics.

In the west shore, the average sale price of single family homes sold in Langford was $723,388 (48 sales) which is up by $29,219 from June. In Colwood the average was $774,180 (22 sales) which is down by $13,395 from June. In Sooke the average sale price was $552,100 (21 sales) which down by $26,536 from the June average sale.

For overall Greater Victoria the average sale was $929,543 in July 2018. Other than in February of this year, the average house price in GV this year has been above $900,000 (Jan $925,715, Feb $876,397, March $903,052, April $917,793 May $921,046).

Sales volume this year increased steadily from January (431) to May (755) then edged lower in June (708) and July (651). Summer is traditionally a slower sales period after the springtime burst usually seen March-May each year as homeowners with families try to set up summer move dates ahead of school starting in September or generally take advantage of good summer weather for moving.

Notably, the inventory of properties for sale has steady increased each month in 2018. From a lowpoint of 1,384 properties for sale at year-end 2017, inventory in January at 1,481 grew month by month to 2,607 in July 2018. The market supply is being replenished. This results from a few different factors: prices are high and going higher; the mortgage stress-test has eliminated easy fluidity for low-end sellers and first-time buyers; and the economy is some ways more uncertain (tariffs affecting some industries and the cost of living in general).

As well, uncertainty has resulted for the higher-end sector by their reaction to the looming BC Speculation Tax which has already chilled the interest of buyers in the higher end of the market. Those same factors that the current BC government hopes will free up more housing are in fact creating market uncertainty that is beginning to spook some development projects, which perhaps have minimized, slowed or even been cancelled. BC housing policy that ramps up construction of affordable housing projects is numerically achieving ‘roofs over heads’ for people at the low end of socioeconomic scale – a good thing. But for people looking to buy a regular home with regular income, the prospects are not likely to improve under current conditions.

Last month condos sold in Langford on average broke the $400,000 price point, selling at $407,343. In Colwood in July condos sold at a whopping $532,450 (more than $100,000 higher than the June average). Condo product is infrequently available in Sooke (no sales in June or July). Condos overall in Greater Victoria in July sold at $474,924 which is drop of over $10,000 from June.

In the townhome market in July, the overall average dropped by over $52,000 from June to July 2018, setting at $563,718 in July. In Langford the average was $486,473, in Colwood $671,880, and in Sooke $563,718.

Construction zone for August 2, 2018 on Hwy 14 west of the 4-lane section. [Click to see larger image]
Thursday, August 2 ~ LANGFORD to SOOKE.  Highway 14 Traffic Alert. Maintenance work will take place on the westbound portion of Sooke Road (Highway 14) between 7pm and 9pm this evening, Thursday August 2.

The work will take place approximately 1.5 km west of the 4-lane section. Westbound traffic will be stopped for brief duration periods (5-7 minutes) while repair work commences.

The area that the repair work will take place is confined and has poor sight distance. Please drive with extreme caution and obey all construction signs and Traffic Control Person direction.

This notice was released by Mainroad South Island.


Intersection of Ronald and Chan, in a residential area of Langford, BC. [Click on map to enlarge]
Wednesday, August 1 ~ LANGFORD. On Tuesday evening, July 31, at around 10 pm, West Shore RCMP investigators responded to a report of gun shots being exchanged between two vehicles in a quiet residential area of Langford near the Ronald Rd and Chan Pl intersection. [View this article on its own page]

Witnesses told investigators they saw two vehicles, a dark colour truck and a white SUV or van exchange gun fire before speeding away toward nearby Sooke Rd (Highway 14).

West Shore RCMP investigators located several shell casings at the scene and the Major Crimes Unit continues to investigate.

“Our investigators are canvassing the area and talking with witnesses to determine what happened. We`re asking anyone with information to come forward to the West Shore RCMP or Victoria Crime Stoppers” says Cst. Matt Baker, spokesman for the West Shore RCMP.

Premier John Horgan’s personal residence is nearby in that locale.

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

Pacific FC already getting settled in at Westhills Stadium [West Shore Voice News photo – July 30 2018]
Monday, July 30 ~ Professional soccer league coming to Langford in 2019.

A new professional men’s soccer team based out of Vancouver Island will begin competition in Spring 2019. The official announcement that was made July 20 at the E&N Roundhouse near downtown Victoria actually launches a professional soccer showcase that spawns out of Langford.

Pacific Football Club (Pacific FC) will play out of a redesigned Westhills Stadium in Langford. The venue will feature steep intimate seating for 6,500 spectators overlooking a world-class grass pitch. Top-tier training facilities are nearby in the Rugby Canada training facility that opened earlier this year.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Pacific FC into the Canadian Premier League – truly making the CPL a coast-to coast league for Canadians,” said David Clanachan, Canadian Premier League Commissioner. Pacific FC President is Josh Simpson of Victoria.

Canada’s domestic men’s soccer league will play in world-class and unique venues, partnering with strong community-led ownership groups and bringing professional soccer to communities across the country. All of this is ahead of the FIFA World Cup coming to North America in 2022. This gives today’s young athletes a few years to gear up, and an opportunity for the Canadian league to include their best players in the process toward 2022.

The Pacific FC logo was apparently developed by the league’s “sport cultural experts” following consultation with supporters, players, volunteers, politicians and business leaders.

While there is no green in the logo (perhaps to avoid visual confusion with the Langford-based Victoria Shamrocks lacrosse team), the Pacific PC logo nevertheless includes the impression of the tall Douglas Fir tree as an echo of the viewscape at Westhills Stadium, plus the general shape of Vancouver Island, the spear shape of the ocean trident, and ocean-wave angles. The colours are promoted as starfish purple, lagoon blue, and lighthouse white.

ONLINE: www.CanPL.ca | @CPLsoccer | #CanPL

::: This article first published on page 1 in the July 27, 2018 issue of West Shore Voice News


Saturday, July 28 ~ LANGFORD.  Tossed cigarettes cause fires! There may be a misconception that if you toss a cigarette butt out your car window that it’s no longer still lit or that somehow it is extinguished. [Read this article on its own page]

“So many people I talk to say they would never toss a lit cigarette on the ground, but then go on to say that they knock the ash off to extinguish it first,” says City of Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey.

“A cigarette is not extinguished until it has been cooled sufficiently with water so that all heat has been removed from it,” says Aubrey. It can sometimes be several hours after the cigarette has been discarded that we get called because they can retain their heat for a long time and can easily ignite grass or bark mulch on fire. Tossing it on the pavement is not an option either as the wind created by passing vehicles will push the cigarette onto the shoulder which likely has grass.

“If simply knocking the ash off first was the answer, then fire departments would not have to respond to these types of incidents as much as we do. Just last week, Surrey Fire went to 20 cigarette related fires in two days, so it is not just a local problem,” says Langford’s fire chief. “It’s also an incredible source of litter as well.”

There have been about 30 smoking related fires since the start of June. This is about average. “However, the most concerning one was an incident in Mill Hill Park last week. A hiker discovered a small fire that was attributed to someone sitting in the park watching the sunset while smoking and leaving the cigarette behind which started the fire,” says Aubrey. “Even more concerning was that as firefighters were hiking along the trail to fight the fire, they found another still-smoldering cigarette on wood chip trail. With conditions as dry as they are, smoking inside the forested parks and trails could be disastrous.”

The best way to dispose of a lit cigarette is to place in a manufactured ash tray or to wet it sufficiently to remove all the heat. If you do not have an ash tray in your vehicle, there are several portable ash tray options that can be purchased at local stores that can fit into the cup holder. Wet the ash before disposing it into the garbage to ensure there is no remaining heat in the ash.

These are all preventable fires. “Working together we can make our communities safer,” says Chief Aubrey.

This article was first published in the July 27, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News

Rugby Canada’s women’s team in their first 2018 World Cup game July 20 against Brazil [screenshot]
Saturday, July 21 ~ NATIONAL. the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 tournament continues this weekend#RWC7s

  • Tonight Saturday July 21 – Women’s Sevens for Championship Cup placement – Match 29: Russia vs. Canada (for 7th place) livestreamed at 6:38 p.m. PDT | www.cbcsports.ca
  • Tomorrow Sunday July 22 – Men’s Sevens for Challenge Trophy semifinals – Match 35 livestreamed at 11:12 PDT. Then either at 3:36 pm PDT (if they lose Match 35) or 4:08 pm (if they win Match 35). | www.cbcsports.ca

Schedules are being updated regularly at: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/rugby/rugby-world-cup-sevens-schedule-results-1.4726781


Rugby Canada Women’s & Men’s teams, with their coaches, at Bear Mountain Resort in Langford, for a send-off July 12. [West Shore Voice News photo]
Friday, July 20 ~ NATIONAL. Today Friday July 20 though Sunday July 22, watch the Rugby World Cup Sevens #RWC7s streaming live from San Francisco at  www.cbcsports.ca

Streaming live: 11:06 am PDT first Women’s first game — Canada vs Brazil.  Men’s first game at 1:23 pm PDT.

In this format, every game must be won in order to win the World Cup.  Also a summary feature at 8 pm tonight Fri July 20 on CBC TV.

The Rugby Canada’s Men’s and Women’s teams gathered with their coaches, sponsors and supporters at Bear Mountain Resort in Langford July 12, for a send-off to this weekend’s World Cup in California.

Saturday, July 14 ~ LANGFORD. Polish fare now featured at Evedar’s in Langford. For about a year, Evedar’s Bistro on Peatt Road in downtown Langford was under new ownership offering French cuisine, with an emphasis on wine and cheese.

Fast-forward to the July 1 changeover this month, new owner Glen Glowinski has re-launched the restaurant as Evedar’s Sports Bar featuring five big-screen TVs and live music on Fridays.

The Polish lunch and dinner menu includes cabbage rolls, perogies, potato pancakes, goulash, borscht, and desserts. That’s in addition to the traditional Canadian breakfast menu.


Friday, July 13 ~ LANGFORD. Merry and bright!

The Cloth Castle sewing and quilting supply shop is holding a ‘Christmas and Halloween in July’ event, from Saturday July 14 through Saturday July 21.

Customers will get 25% off selected Christmas panels and 30% off selected Christmas and Halloween prints.

The popular store is at 786 Goldstream Avenue in the heart of downtown Langford.

Check out more info at www.clothcastle.com or phone 250-478-2112.

Rugby Canada’s Gareth Rees discusses upcoming World Cup Rugby Sevens tournament with women’s captain Ghislaine Landry and men’s captain Harry Jones, with Mayor Stew Young representing the City of Langford as a major sponsor, July 12 at Bear Mountain [West Shore Voice News photo]
Thursday, July 12 ~ LANGFORD. There was a send-off recognition event for Canada’s men’s and women’s rugby teams today July 12 in Langford, as they get ready to depart for San Francisco as part of the annual Players’ Championship Golf Tournament. [View this article on its own page]

In a round of 16, the women’s first game — Canada vs. Brazil — will be on July 20, viewable live at www.cbcsports.ca starting 11:06 am PDT. The first men’s game — Canada vs Papua New Guinea — will be on July 20 at 1:23 pm PDT. All matches throughout the men’s and women’s competition will be presented live on www.cbcsports.ca .

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, which features the world’s top 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams, will be played on 20-22 July at the iconic AT&T Park in California. With the recently confirmed innovative ‘knock-out’ tournament format both the men’s and women’s teams will have to win every match to be crowned World Cup winners.

Rugby Canada’s CEO Allen Vansen and Commercial & Program Relations Director Gareth Rees hosted the send-off today, an event held in partnership with Bear Mountain, Butchart Gardens & the City of Langford.  Acknowledged sponsors were: DHL, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Velocity Trade, Kubota, Butchart Gardens, Westin Bear Mountain, Ecoasis, City of Langford and Mayor Stew Young.

Canada will once again be led by Captain Ghislaine Landry (of Toronto), whose 984 points all-time leads all scorers on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Series. “With a knockout format it’s going to take four games for us… four games at 14 minutes, 100%,” said Landry to the crowd today. Landry said the team has learned a lot of things this year and that belief in the group is pretty high.

“We know that we’re capable of doing it. The whole year was important building into the world cup. We really dialed into the things that we needed to have a hard look at. Going into this world cup, the biggest thing is the belief,” said Landry at the podium in the hot summer sun.  The women’s team line up heading to San Francisco is:

Olivia Apps, Lindsay RFC (Lindsay, ON)
Britt Benn, Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Pam Buisa, Ottawa Irish (Gatineau, QC)
Caroline Crossley, Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RCF (Montreal, QC)
Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Sara Kaljuvee, Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON)
Ghislaine Landry, Captain, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas, London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON)
Natasha Watcham-Roy, Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC)
Charity Williams, Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)

The men’s team is headed up by Harry Jones (of North Vancouver), who at the podium first thanked supporters before saying that this year’s slow start for the men’s team “obviously got away from what we did best last year”. Jones said: “We’ve fixed up a few of those key things. Just hoping to keep it simple for this next tournament.”

Jones said the team will do best to not look past the next opponent. “Papau New Guinea is the first team we play … they’re a great team, they like throwing the ball around and they get a little bit loose. In Sevens you need to be dialed into that first game,” he said.

“Twelve of us are going to the World Cup, but a whole bunch of others helped us get here,” said Jones. “Our team mates worked just as hard as us this year. I know a few boys are sad about the decision.” Jones acknowledged the support of Langford, and the physio and conditioning staff to get them ready. Canada’s Men’s Roster for Rugby World Cup Sevens:

Connor Braid – James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Andrew Coe – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Admir Cejvanovic – Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby, BC)
Justin Douglas – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Mike Fuailefau – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Lucas Hammond – Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
Nathan Hirayama – Unattached (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones – Captain,Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay – Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
Luke McCloskey – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Matt Mullins – Queen’s University (Belleville, ON)

This month’s event in California will be the first-ever Rugby World Cup in any form in USA and only second in North America after Canada hosted the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta.  A delegation of Langford supporters will be heading to San Francisco to cheer on the team.


Jacklin Road with a northbound view to Jenkins, one day before reopening. [West Shore Voice News July 12/18]
Thursday, July 12 ~ LANGFORD. Hot day out there! But roadcrews were working hard today for Jacklin Road at Jenkins to be open on schedule for tomorrow, at 9am on Friday July 13.

There’s still the work of installing sidewalks, landscaping, signal lights and 40 mm of top lift asphalt to do, but that will be done in phases.

Therefore some traffic delays can still be expected on Jacklin between Jenkins Road and Sooke Road in the weeks ahead.

A set of signal lights will be installed on Jacklin Road mid-way between Jenkins Road and Division Ave, as part of a Belmont Market access point.

GE Contracting road crew, on Jacklin Road, July 12 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Currently the Division Avenue exit onto Jenkins/Kelly alongside the Belmont Residences sale centre will have no-left turn signage. That way, traffic will flow from that point alongside West Shore Town Centre toward Veterans Memorial Parkway

PHOTO >>: GE Contracting crew July 13 happy about the near-opening of Jacklin Road after several months of work (from left): Steve McColm, Donnie Willsie, Dave Tillich.



Jacklin Road will re-open to through-traffic starting July 13, 2018.

Thursday, July 12 ~ LANGFORD. That stretch of Jacklin Road from Jenkins over toward Sooke Road will be open again starting 9am Friday morning, July 13.

The City of Langford prides itself on getting their construction and roadworks projects done on schedule.

The Jacklin Road opening is phased. Construction of sidewalks, the installation of landscaping, and installation of traffic signals and top life asphalt is still being done.

So while the road will be open to both northbound and southbound traffic, it’s still a construction zone. As such, there will still be some traffic delays.

Many motorists are now quite used to travelling on Division Avenue (through the Belmont Residences/Market construction site), which has been a detour during this four-month road closure in what is a busy part of town for commercial use and through-traffic.


Thursday, July 5 ~ LANGFORD. Coming up on Sunday July 8 is the West Shore Triathlon. There will be traffic delays 5:30 am to 1 pm along the routes. Bike route: Alouette Drive/Glen Lake Road, Sooke Road, Luxton Road, Happy Valley Road, Latoria Road. Run Route: Langford Parkway, Ed Nixon Trail, Goldstream Avenue, Leigh Road, Leigh Place. www.langford.ca

Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming shared reading time with kids at the library in James Bay, July 3 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Tuesday, July 3 ~ VICTORIA. Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming read stories to young children and chatted about how fun it is to read over the summer months while school is out.

The small gathering took place at the James Bay Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library this afternoon, July 3.

Premier Horgan clearly enjoyed the interactive time with his very young audience. He joked that after reading a fun story to the kids he would be going back to his office to do more reading as part of his job.

People who just happened to be at the library today and the parents of today’s group of kids had this spontaneous opportunity to chat briefly with the Premier. One older woman clearly expressed her gratitude to Horgan for “all he is doing” for people in BC.

While this event was held in downtown Victoria, the Greater Victoria Public Library system includes libraries in the west shore including the Westhills and Goudy branches in Langford, and the Juan de Fuca branch in Colwood.

Colwood Councillor Rob Martin is chair of the Greater Victoria Public Library board.


Tuesday, July 3 ~ VICTORIA AREA / West Shore focus. The Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) said that in June the uncertainty of the real estate market has produced predictability, i.e. lower overall volume of sales. Their news release this month concentrated almost entirely on inventory levels and government pressures on the market.

But the elephant in the room is the ever-increasing housing prices in the Greater Victoria area. Last month the single family home average sale price was $889,097.

In the West Shore, which is considered affordable, in June the average house sale price was creeping closer to $600,000 in Sooke, was nearly $700,000 in Langford, and is creeping up toward $800,000 in Colwood. Condo prices are holding under the $400,000 price point in Langford. Here are the June 2018 prices for Langford, Colwood and Sooke (compared to the Greater Victoria average):

Single Family Homes:
Langford 60 sales     $694,169
Colwood 12 sales     $787,575
Sooke 26 sales         $578,646
GV 317 sales            $889,097

Langford 40 sales     $378,655
Colwood 4 sales       $428,250
Sooke                       no sales
GV 229 sales            $485,158

Langford 14 sales     $608,900
Colwood 6 sales       $723,250
Sooke 6 sales           $425,767
GV 77 sales              $615,919

A total of 708 properties sold in the Victoria region region this June, which is 29.8% fewer than the 1,008 properties sold in June last year, and a 6.2% drop from May 2018. The condominium sales tally was down 25.1% compared to June 2017 with 230 units sold, while the single family home sales volume was down 34.7% from 2017 with 357 sold this June.

Kyle Kerr, VREB President points to the mortgage stress test as a key impact on sales declines: “Because of decelerating growth due to aggressive government implementation of policies to reduce demand, Victoria’s real estate market has been hobbled since the start of the year when federal restrictions around mortgage qualifications were rolled out. Even demand side measures that are not yet live,” said Kerr, referring to the BC Speculation Tax that is specific to the Vancouver/Kelowna/Nanaimo/Capital Region which he says are dragging the market down as many consumers stand aside to watch what happens.”

No mention that the biggest brunt of cooling the housing market hits people least able to afford it — entry level buyers and the owners of homes at the lower-end price point. When gainfully employed people can’t buy a home, they end up near the top end of the rental market which is expensive and also displaces other renters.

There were 2,595 active listings for sale on the VREB MLS at the end of June 2018. That’s up 8.4% compared to the previous month, and 35.5% more than the 1,915 active listings for sale at the end of June 2017. Last year with the specter of rising interest rates and the pending stress test, housing inventory was rapidly depleted.

Listed properties are lingering longer on the market than usual, Kerr said. “The slower pace of the market has created more time for buyers who may have been hesitant to jump in during the high pressure market conditions of recent years.”

The development community has been hoping to see more supply. “If we see more listings over the next few months we may be heading back into a more balanced market situation,” Kerr said in the VREB news release.


SD62, West Shore Voice
SD62 board meeting June 26 — last of the 2017-2018 academic year, and the last for Superintendent Jim Cambridge who retires July 31, 2018. [West Shore Voice News photo]
Saturday, June 30 ~ WEST SHORE. SD62 hears from 58% of their employees. [Read this article on its own page]

At their June 26 board meeting, the Sooke School District (SD62) board heard the preliminary results of a workforce engagement (employment satisfaction) survey done by the BC Government.

As reported out with stats and display graphics by Public Sector Research and Evaluation Manager Angela Matheson, it was shown that about 58% of SD62 employees participated.

Some key findings included — as might be expected within the teaching profession — that ‘organizational commitment’ was high, while overall organizational satisfaction showed a range of results.

A hybrid analysis found some things that appeared to be red flags for senior administration: 8% of respondents were pegged as ‘minimally engaged’, with another 6% as ‘disengaged’. Some interesting categories of ‘happily detached’ (8%) and also ‘unhappily dedicated’ (7%) were considered to be anomalies.

Generally speaking, job stability and pay levels were not contentious issues, as compared to the general base of public sector employees.

The survey was thought to be important at this time, as a significant number of new teachers have joined SD62 in the past year or two, and are therefore at the start of their employment curve with SD62 which is one of the largest employers in the west shore.

As might be expected, participation rates in the survey were lowest (23%) for teachers were are on-call (i.e. not full time). Those who work within SD62’s Westshore Centre for Learning and Training who work extensively with online technology and deal more directly with the workforce and a range of learning scenarios, showed the highest survey participation rate (90%).

The last survey of a similar nature was done by the school board back in 2003. Trustee Margot Swinburnson said she hoped this sort of information would be acquired more regularly. Trustee Denise Riley said the survey idea was initiated by senior administrative staff, to which Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull responded with a comment that the “morale and health” of the organization required some quantification with a baseline. Superintendent Jim Cambridge said that “engaged, happy, satisfied employees” are the goal.

:::: This article first published in the June 29, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News.


The BC Government grad scholarship announcement at Royal Roads University (RRU) on Tuesday June 26 was hosted by Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin), with speeches by Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark, and RRU President and Vice Chancellor Allan Cahoon [West Shore Voice News photo]
Wednesday, June 27 ~ COLWOOD. Royal Roads grad scholarships topped up by $180,000.

A good-sized crowd of Royal Roads University (RRU) staff and students gathered on the third floor of the Learning and Innovative Centre on Tuesday afternoon, June 26, to hear an announcement from the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark about $180,000 coming to RRU for more grad-level student scholarships.

It’s part of a $12 million investment announced last month by Premier John Horgan, providing $15,000 each for students pursuing graduate degrees in research-intensive or professional graduate-degree programs.

Mark addressed the crowd of about 80 people with motivational remarks about “pushing the envelope for change” and having “room in her canoe” for everyone who wants to paddle together toward advancements in social, economic and environmental justice. Minister Mark said she is “proud to be part of a progressive government that wants to lift people up”.

The upbeat formal announcement event was hosted by MLA Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. Dean remarked about women leaders being advocates for all and how the current NDP government is helping people who’ve been left behind.

Royal Roads University President and Vice-Chancellor Allan Cahoon [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]
RRU president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon said that 70% of students at the RRU campus are at the graduate level, with research focussed on applied and professional areas. He was pleased for Mark to be able to meet directly with recipients of grad-level scholarships that day. The additional scholarship funding support will provide further grad student accessibilty, he said.

Cahoon emphasized that RRU education is “different” in that it focusses on making a difference in the community. The university is pleased to attract professionals and experts in various fields who are “brought back in terms of learning and teaching”, notably through attentive assessment to the work-world background and life experience of applicants
in addition to academic training.

After the formal presentation, Cahoon said that a three-way conversation with local school board SD62 and the City of Langford is going well, bringing together shared interests and benefits to the community. One of the goals is to offer new post-secondary opportunities to west shore high school graduates as they transition into post-secondary. This could help SD62 bump up its below-provincial-average Grade 12 graduate transfer rate and Langford can pitch in with a business innovation support network and access to their nearby recreational facilities.

The west shore campus idea was not originally part of the RRU long-term plan, Cahoon told West Shore Voice News, but says RRU is responding to the labour market needs of BC and a call-out from Langford and the west shore. “This plan is not necessarily for our business development (at the campus) but to respond to the community,” Cahoon said.

A mid-July meeting will develop things further amongst the three parties along with BC government input. Discussions will include a review of preliminary results from a survey of SD62 parents and students about their post-secondary wants and needs and what some of the barriers to transferrability might be (survey done in schools and online in May and June, including some passive outreach to the broader community). Cahoon says there will be cooperation with UVic and Camosun. All undergrad courses at RRU will be transferable to other post-secondary institutions, he said.

Supporting grad-level education is part of an education continuum, Minister Mark told West Shore Voice News, noting the increase of the grad scholarship level from $10,000 to $15,000. She also spoke excitedly about STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-the Arts-Mathematics) in which she emphasizes the ‘A’, beyond STEM. “We’re investing in students, we’re on their side.”


Saturday, June 23 ~ LANGFORD. The Cloth Castle sewing supply store in Langford is having a weekend-long sale this weekend, June 23 & 24. Get 20% off everything! Also some special pricing on sewing machines.

The long-time sewing supply shop is located at 786 Goldstream Ave in the heart of downtown Langford.

On their website at www.clothcastle.com is a PDF with info on all the summer classes, ready for downloading.

Monday, June 18 ~ LANGFORD. There was an excellent turnout on Saturday June 16 for the first day at Belmont Residences that purchases could be made.

Back on May 5 there was a preview event, at which hundreds of people visited the Belmont Residences sales centre at 915 Division Ave to see the displays, chat with staff, and walk through the 2-bedroom+flex show suite. From that day, the developer and sales team gained a few more ideas about final tweaks before units were fully on sale.

About 30 of the 80 units in the Phase 1 building of Belmont Residences condo suites were sold on the first sales weekend, June 16 and 17.  Buyers were interested in a cross-section of the various types of suites (1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 2-bedroom+flex), on all floor levels, and on both sides of the building (one overlooking the commercial market and the other overlooking the Galloping Goose Trail).

“There’s not usually an even distribution like that,” said Scott Brown, president of the Vancouver-based Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Limited, who is part of the Belmont Residences team. Brown said that about 65% of people interested in Belmont Residences so far have been local area residents, and many of them downsizers. People have positive remarks about the quality of the development, he said during the sales event on the weekend.

Other buyer demographics include “younger Millennials” without children, looking for their first home, said Brown. He also sees a distinct thread of buyer that seeks “an emotional connection to the island”, even if they’re from Vancouver and buying here as a future investment. And going even deeper into the analysis, the Millennials seem to be originally from the west shore, who left and are now returning from other parts of Greater Victoria or beyond to settle down. The older buyers are coming from a wider range, from the Victoria core area right out to Sooke.

Sales are expected to continue steadily through the summer as more people seek housing in the Langford area for its relative affordability. Construction of the Belmont Residences with its 80 units will start mid-July. Other construction phases will include a 90-unit condo building, and a 154-unit rental building, and possibly a few townhomes in the final phase.

One of the overall master plan goals of Belmont Residences is to create a new community that feels like its always been there: “Seamlessly integrated, while equally innovative and with a charm all its own”.


Ribbon cutting at the June 15 official opening of OakTree Naturals (from left): Firoz Jiwani, Langford Councillor Winnie Siefert, Farah Jiwani, Aman and Bryony Jiwani, and Westshore Chamber Executive Director Julie Lawlor [West Shore Voice News photo]
Friday, June 15 ~ LANGFORD. Today a new business opened its doors in the heart of Langford, one that takes your health to heart. 

OakTree Naturals held their official opening on June 15, with a ribbon cutting out the front of the store at 705 Goldstream Avenue — that’s the mall closest to Veterans Memorial Parkway. Attending from the City of Langford was Councillor Winnie Siefert, and the West Shore Chamber of Commerce was represented by their executive director Julie Lawlor.

The health supply shop that was stocked and ready for business on June 1 is owned by the Jiwani family. Aman Jiwani and his wife Bryony are managers, with father Firoz (a retired pharmacist) on hand for health intel, and mother Farah handling the front retail.

Any products that aren’t already in the store can be ordered in. There will be nutrition consulting available in-store.

Some of the products that will draw people to the bright open store include refills for environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and being able to drop off clothes for health-friendly dry cleaning.

In the area of nutrition supplements, they carry a wide range of products, including these three main lines: Natural Factors, Platinum Naturals, and SISU. In the refrigerated area there are probiotics and Omega 3s.


Five mayors of the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society owner municipalities at their June 14, 2018 AGM (far row from left): Ken Williams (Highlands), Carol Hamilton (Colwood), David Screech (View Royal); and (back to camera): Councillor Denise Blackwell (Langford), and John Ranns (Metchosin). [West Shore Voice News photo]
Thursday, June 14 ~ WEST SHORE. Tonight the five municipalities that own the West Shore Parks & Recreation facility disbanded their board. [View this article on its own page]

While mayors (or their reps) around the table for the 2018 Annual General Meeting gave assurances that the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society board and staff were not the problem, the boom came down.

Effective immediately, the five municipal owners (Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Metchosin and Highlands) will run the show. ‘Time to push the reset button’, was a phrase used often this evening, June 14. The five mayors will be represented by the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) of their municipalities.

It’s a rather unique setup, an interim board to — in part — carry the WSPR entity relatively intact through the fall municipal election period (during which mayors will be otherwise occupied) and into the 2019 home stretch of the current agreement. The current West Shore Parks & Recreation ownership agreement expires in April 2019.

Rumblings for change began in the last few years and intensified this year, as Langford with its seven new recreational facilities in seven years began to feel as though its annual contribution to WSPR was becoming out of balance with the benefits gained for Langford residents. At tonight’s WSPR AGM Langford Councillor Denise Blackwell said: “Langford pays a great deal and we also fund our own facilities. We’ve felt an inequity in the amount that Langford is paying for recreation,” she said. And joining the chorus of similar statements around the table: “It’s not about the members of the board or staff – it’s owners with the most issues,” said Blackwell.

When WSPR began, there were few recreational amenities in Langford. After how long it took to get the Q Centre (behind the main Juan de Fuca Rec Centre building at 1767 Island Highway) up and running, Langford’s Mayor Stew Young took recreational initiatives in Langford under the control of his municipality. Langford now has sports fields, ice rink and arena, a bowling alley, and access to the pool within the Langford YM-YWCA.

The five mayors running this show are Stew Young (Langford), Carol Hamilton (Colwood), David Screech (View Royal), John Ranns (Metchosin), and Ken Williams (Highlands). Until last year the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA) was also a member, but JDFEA Mike Hicks managed to get his area out of the deal over evidence of minimal usage by JDFEA residents.

The Juan de Fuca Parks & Rec fieldhouse, on the lower fields behind the main rec centre [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]
The current five mayors met mid-May to discuss the findings and recommendations in a report known as ‘the Huggett report’ (by consultant Jonathan Huggett) which was commissioned for $25,000 to review the terms of reference and find a way forward for recreation in the west shore that is presumably more equitably contributed to.

“The Huggett Report takes us one step forward,” said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns during the AGM. “It’s a preliminary report and we’re following the footsteps. It’s nothing against the board and good works that people have done.” Ranns said that the interim board is “the only means we could find” to break the current impasse of budget and funding issues.

In part, those issues are underscored by staff that may have been left rudderless for vision and direction – perhaps by a combination of ownership being one-step-removed (mayors were not members of the WSPR board), extended absence of a senior staff person away for health reasons, and perhaps a lack of organization around ‘moving forward’ in various levels of business development.

For Ranns to say this evening that “we fired ourselves” was a bit of humble pie, as mayors now fully hold the reins through their CAOs.

Highlands Mayor Ken Williams said “the board did the best they could do with the tools given to them”. He said the new arrangement was a way for achieving “maximum potential for this facility”.

The Juan de Fuca Parks & Rec fieldhouse, on the lower fields behind the main rec centre [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]
At tonight’s WSPR AGM — held in the Fieldhouse behind the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre – board chair Ed Watson clearly stated that he felt that collapsing the current board was “about money”. Indeed, Langford in particular has been looking for a new formula for a couple of years now, one that will see its annual contribution (requisition) to WSPR be more representative of how much benefit Langford residents get from the facility. Now it sounds like all five member municipalities are on board for something equitable.

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton tonight said “it’s about the ownership and productivity, and how we support this facility to see it thrive”, adding her support for CAOs to run the ship while mayors are busy during the election period.

The other aspect about money has been a revenue shortfall, which municipalities flagged as a problem and essentially (through objection by member councils) froze the WSPR budget at 2016 levels. Staffing costs have gone up, so have (or soon will be) some of the admission and facility fees. A little revenue burst was seen in the last year or so from adjusting the rental arrangements of the LED display sign at the roadside. But use of the curling rink and Q Centre and many of the field areas have been underutilized, perhaps through a lack of leadership, vision or operational know-how.

It now seems long ago (though it was only March 1) that Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton issued a surprisingly forthright statement including that “Colwood is fighting for West Shore Parks and Recreation’s survival by advocating for a sustainable financial plan. We risk losing West Shore Parks and Recreation if owner municipalities act in their own interests rather than honouring their contractual obligations.” Much of that seemed targeted toward Langford.

But at tonight’s WSPR AGM it was pretty much ‘smiles all around’, with all five municipalities on board – if not actually excited – to be going into a transitional phase in which they feel they will have an opportunity to rethink the financial model for delivery of recreation services in their five west shore areas.

Recreation is understood among most of the WSPR community leadership as well as users as more than just the facilities themselves. The rec centre, arenas, pool, golf course, seniors centre and other amenities are the ways and means for community groups, sports teams, and many sectors of the community to gather, be active, recreate and learn.

Outgoing chair of the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society board, Ed Watson (left) and Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, at the June 14 AGM [West Shore Voice News photo]
That the problems suffered by WSPR facilities and budget mishaps has been “about money” is the nugget of it all. With 2018 fee-based revenues being only about half of the expenditures lined out in the budget, for some municipalities it has felt as through their per-resident requisition payments have somehow been increasingly pitched into a black hole.

While disbanding of the WSPR volunteer board of 14 people (elected reps from each municipality plus non-elected appointees) was done as graciously as could be hoped for, it was a clear reclaiming of power by the top levels of municipal government. The CAOs (the most senior staff person of each municipalities) have already rolled up their sleeves and begun the necessary processes for discussions and moving forward. There’s no moss on this rolling stone that will see new decisions for recreation in the west shore being made by new councils after the October 2018 election.

While the faces of the five councils are likely to be refreshed in October 2018, few if any of the current five mayors as incumbents are expected to fail at re-election. So this period where senior municipal staff are effectively in charge of the region’s largest recreational facility for at least the next six months, it’s likely that the mayors chose this method of disbanding their volunteer board as a way to maintain control, until the agreement can be rewritten ahead of April 2019 with a rebalancing of the financial requirements that will be expected of each municipality after that.

At present, requisitions into WSPR are paid strictly on population count. Langford is growing fast but can likely profess that fewer uses of the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre and adjoining facilities are by Langford residents, many of whom are staying closer to home using newer and a different range of facilities. In the 2017 WSPR annual report it shows a total population for the five-municipality region being just under 70,000. Of that, Langford has 50.7% of that count, with Colwood at 24.2%, View Royal 14.9%, Metchosin 6.8% and Highlands 3.2% (JDFEA had 0.2% population count in that formula until leaving the arrangement). Population growth for that combined group of municipalities was 32.2% over 10 years (2006 to 2016).

The Juan de Fuca Parks & Rec fieldhouse, on the lower fields behind the main rec centre [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]

For 2018, the required requisitions (based on the 2016 “approved amounts”) is listed in the annual report as totalling $4,947,539. That is comprised of $2,511,736 from Langford, $1,110,077 from Colwood, $725,839 from View Royal, $422,583 from Metchosin, and $177,304 from Highlands. This makes up 48.1% of required revenues to keep things running.

Expenditures based on the 2016 (most recently approved) budget were $11,643,688. So that leaves a difference (after incoming municipal requisitions, and depending on which year’s figures are crunched) of about $6,696,149. That’s where fee-based services come in, to provide the rest.

The biggest fee-based revenue generators in terms of percentage contribution to the revenues, are aquatics (7.89%), food and beverage services (6.55%), licensed care (6.55%), fitness and wellness (5.84%), and the Q Centre mostly anchored by The Shamrocks and The Grizzlies sports teams (4.93%). That’s followed by sports and curling, JdF Arena, Preschool to Youth, Arts & Culture, golf, seniors centre, and community recreation/development.

Earlier this year a projected transfer of $721,455 was expected to be needed this year from the capital surplus (a fund generally used for larger maintenance projects and new initiatives). The WSPR sees value in continuing to subsidize areas of its operations, including a subsidy in 2018 of $347,135 to operate the JdF arena ($4.26 per user/year), $289,462 to operate the swimming pool ($2.07 per usage/year), the Q Centre with a subsidy of $164,974 ($2.10 per usage/year), and the curling rink ice with a subsidy of $103,866 ($20.61 per usage/year).

The meeting wrapped up with a relatively tense debate about whether one of the five CAOs would represent the WSPR Society at the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association (GVLRA) public sector employer’s bargaining agency. WSPR board chair Ed Watson did remind the gathered mayors that an elected official is to participate at GVLRA meetings. Mayor Ranns said “leave it to the CAOs to figure it out”, in that they would check with GVLRA to see if one of the interim reps (CAOs) could attend GVLRA meetings instead of one of the mayors. Mayor Screech said he felt it could be a conflict for a CAO (staff) to participate in labour negotiation discussions.


Announced in Moscow June 13,, a united bid by Canada, US & Mexico won for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. [screenshot]
Wednesday, June 13 ~ CANADA. Soccer is about to grow big in Canada!

Today June 13 it was announced at the FIFA tournament in Moscow that Canada will co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, along with the USA and Mexico. The United bid beat out Morocco which has bid on the World Cup opportunity five times.

Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal are Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer showcase, expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament. The current blueprint calls for Canada and Mexico to stage 10 games each, with the USA hosting 60.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986. The US hosted in 1994.

Building up teams toward 2026 will be a big boost to soccer in Canada. On the west shore of Vancouver Island, there is a BC team for new pro soccer Canadian Premier League, central to Victoria; the inaugural league season starts April 2019 with games at Westhills Stadium in Langford (as announced June 1). In Langford there is a soccer academy at local highschools in the SD62 school district, giving an opportunity for youth to learn the sport.

Vancouver will not be hosting any of the FIFA games, as the BC government was wary of what were seen as open-ended cost commitments expected by FIFA. “The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses, which government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs,” said BC Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare today in a statement. “We tried very hard to get assurances that addressed our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming,” Beare added: “I am happy for Canadian soccer fans that some of the World Cup matches are coming to Canadian host cities.”


Former BC Premier Mike Harcourt and former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall addressed a housing forum, June 12 in Victoria [West Shore Voice News photo]
Tuesday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA.  There is a housing problem in BC. [Read this article on its own separate page.]

Today June 12 a lineup of politicians (past and present) and a spectrum of development-industry leaders not only agreed about that, but about the solution: increase supply. This was addressed to about 400 people over lunch at the Roundhouse at Bayview Place in Esquimalt. It was a diverse audience of political and business leaders, joined by a wide range of the business community, public, and media.

The event conveyed a clear message that the BC Speculation Tax would be harmful to the BC economy overall and the housing market specifically (especially renters), tagged with a further message that getting creative with growing the economy is more successful for all sectors than is additional and situation-specific taxation.

Former  BC NDP Premier Mike Harcourt clarified at the outset: “It’s not a housing crisis, it’s a permanent condition in BC.”  He expanded on that, saying that sustainability and housing affordability is a problem all over the world. Saying that the 21st century is “a century of cities”, Harcourt and other speakers really turned to local governments as part of the problem and much of the solution.

Cities have the power to change zoning, and handle the processes for development permits more promptly and efficiently. “City halls are causing a huge amount of the increase in the cost of housing,” Harcourt said. When developers hold onto property for lengthy periods, the cost of interest to wait for the development green light ultimately gets passed onto homebuyers.

At housing forum June 12 in Victoria: former BC Liberal cabinet ministers Peter Fassbender and Todd Stone, with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps [West Shore Voice News photo]
Former BC Liberal cabinet minister for communities Peter Fassbender, and himself a former mayor (of Langley), said that municipalities need to “look at their community and decide what they want it to be”. He also said that the key for community development success is to “build the economy and let the economy become the driver of those things”.  He is worried that investment is “leaving the province, or not coming to BC, or stalling” because of the current government’s tax policy “that has not been well thought out”.

On the matter of what type of housing needs to be built in BC, Fassbender said that single family homes as the mainstay of the housing market is not going to change, it already has changed. He has listened, and hears that young people are “into living a different lifestyle” that would be served by higher density housing and more efficient transit systems for the target communities. That in turn allows for young talent to live in larger centres where the high-tech jobs of the future are located. People who are displaced from the city areas “have no place to go”, Fassbender said.

“To deal with affordability, you build the economy, then let the entrepreneurial spirit loose and let people build the economy,” said Fassbender.

Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall took a moment to ask everyone in the room – indeed, all Canadians – to show their support for the current federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in their current battle of words and tariffs with the US President and White House team. Negative comments hurled at Trudeau by top White House officials following last weekend’s G-7 Summit have shocked many, including citizens across the United States and Canada.  Tweets, letters, emails… it all helps. “Trudeau deserves the support of every single Canadian,” said Wall, urging people in the room to keep this support “top of mind, front of mind”.

Wall questioned the likelihood of the BC Speculation Tax as being able to “address the goal of the tax”. If more rental vacancy is the goal, does this tax which starts at 0.5% this year (going up to 1% in 2019 for affected residents in BC and 2.0% for non-Canadians) serve to truly increase rental supply? Brad Wall suggests “this tax will affect mostly people of means”.  Indeed, some political opponents of the tax have called it an ‘envy tax’.

Langford Mayor Stew Young (second from left) discussing housing issues at forum in Victoria June 12 [West Shore Voice News photo]
There were many gems of wise counsel during today’s session. As one part of the solution it was suggested by one of the speakers that the provincial and federal governments essentially take a heavier hand with municipalities, and direct the local governments to make appropriate housing-related zoning changes. If the directive comes like that ‘from above’, this will relieve local politicians of the natural impediment to avoid doing something unpopular.

Langford’s success with zoning efficiencies was mentioned. Afterward Langford Mayor Stew Young said that zoning approvals are frequently achieved within three months, and that building permits can often be issued in about 48 hours.  This helps developers get on with the job of building homes.

Stew Young agrees with the idea of the capital gains tax being increased from 7% to 10%, an idea that was floated during the formal presentations. The increase could be directed toward development of affordable housing. He added that additional taxation “steals assets from hard working families”.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps addressed the crowd at the start of the lunch.  She summarized that Victoria’s economy has been prosperous “but it’s not going to stay that way until we crack the housing nut”. She pitched for the BC Government to find something “in place of the speculation tax”.

The crowd was served coffee, an appetizer, lunch and dessert during the 2-hour session of speeches, panel presentations, and questions from the audience. The day was hosted as the 6th Annual Kenneth W. and Patricia Mariash Global Issues Dialogue. Ken Mariash spoke highly of the zoning and permit efficiencies in Langford, and that a speculation tax only works when there is no supply issue.

Increasing housing supply was the main overall going-forward message of the day.  The BC Government’s 30-point plan does outline various programs and funding initiatives to increase housing supply – the promised 114,000 units over 10 years, but much of that is targeted to specific socioeconomic groups and not a direct support to the development industry that produces the housing units that are needed in BC. Recent research by the BC Non-profit Housing Association shows that 34,167 more housing units will be needed in the Greater Victoria area by 2038.


Tuesday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA. Today in Victoria a think-tank over lunch will be held to discuss the broader issues of housing supply and demand.  [View this article on its own page]

The 6th Annual Kenneth W. and Patricia Mariash Global Issues Dialogue being held at the Roundhouse at Bayview Place in Esquimalt will feature some high profile speakers from a mix of political backgrounds and perspectives: former BC NDP premier Mike Harcourt, former Conservative Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall and the urban-progressive Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Pegged as a ‘let’s talk’ session, the discussion of the BC housing crisis will include prices and supply, the BC speculation tax, urban growth and the cost of regulations, issues of zoning and permitting.

A discussion panel includes Focus Equities owner and Bayview Place developer Kenneth Mariash, president of Reliance Properties Jon Stovell, and former BC Liberal cabinet minister Peter Fassbender who held the portfolio of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and was Minister responsible for TransLink.

Sure to come up is the impact of the BC government’s speculation tax, that business experts say will cause more problems for housing supply in urban areas, not less. Overall, greater housing density seems to be the way forward for growing communities in BC, which includes efficiencies with transportation and public transit.

Langford is the fastest-growing community on south Vancouver Island, where issues of commuter congestion come second only to housing. “I hope this seminar will shed light on how damaging the speculation tax will be for Langford’s economy and jobs, especially at Bear Mountain which is our largest employer base and brings the most international and national sport events and tourist visits to Langford and region,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young.

The event today is coordinated by the United Nations Association in Canada, hosted by Ken Mariash and Kathryn White, President and CEO of UNA Canada, with moderator Peter Legge.


Bus shelter on Sooke Road (Hwy 14), newly installed June 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Sunday, June 10 ~ WEST SHORE & SOOKE. Things are moving along with continued changes to commuter routes (highways and bus lanes).

  • This past week four of the six bus shelters along Hwy 14 (Sooke Rd) were seen to be in place; all to be finished soon.
  • For those who drive into Victoria from the west shore, note that the left turn from Hwy 1 onto Carey Road will be closed as of June 10, making way for the new northbound bus lane.
  • Construction crews will begin building a new two-lane bridge next week on Gillespie Road at Roche Cove, which is an important alternative route to Hwy 14 during those closures that cause considerable traffic delays when there’s a crash or bad weather conditions on the Hwy 14 corridor that is so essential for Sooke commuters. The $3.66 million contract work by North Gate Pacific Contracting Ltd. of Maple Ridge includes a two-lane concrete bridge on an improved road alignment, with 1.5-metre paved shoulders for safer crossing by pedestrians and cyclists. It will replace the existing single-lane timber bridge, and is expected to open to traffic in fall 2018. In the coming weeks and months, delays of up to 20 minutes may occur 9am to 3pm Monday to Saturday to accommodate rock blasting. There will also be a small number of full-day closures which will be posted in advance on roadside message signs, with a detour via Kangaroo Rd and East Sooke Rd.
  • The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure is reportedly holding a public input opportunity in Sooke soon. Many Sooke-area businesses and residents have for years been calling for Hwy 14 to be a more reliable commuter route in and out of the town. Improvements to highway infrastructure and public transit are being seen as the response from the provincial government under Premier John Horgan, who is MLA for the region.

Traffic backed up after fatal crash on Hwy 1 about 3.5 km south of the summit, June 9. [Photo posted on Facebook]
Saturday, June 9 ~ MALAHAT.  A head-on collision of two vehicles on the Malahat section of Highway 1 on south Vancouver Island today Saturday June 9 has resulted in the death of a man, and two women injured. At 1 pm, West Shore RCMP, Malahat Fire Rescue and BC Ambulance Service responded to the vehicle incident.

West Shore RCMP this evening have reported that the man driving a southbound vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene, and that a woman passenger in that vehicle was transported to hospital with serious injuries. A woman who was driving a northbound vehicle was also transported to hospital with injuries.

“The Coroner attended the collision scene and notification of next of kin is being completed with the family. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this fatal collision and police investigators are gathering evidence as to the level of impairment of the female driver and any driving evidence observed by witnesses,” says Cpl. Chris Dovell.

The highway remained closed for several hours while the West Shore RCMP Traffic Unit and RCMP South Island Traffic Services Collision Analyst conducted the collision investigation. This highway closure was expected to cause delays for travellers and police are asking for patience while investigators complete their examination of the collision scene.


Saturday, June 9 ~ LANGFORD. Traffic delays on Highway 1 at Aspen Road (Malahat section), today Saturday June 9, due to a motor vehicle collision. One northbound lane now open around 2:30 pm. Expect delays.

Advisories continue from City of Langford Engineering and the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure.  www.drivebc.ca

Langford firefighters rescued a dog from a house fire, June 7. [Langford FD photo]
Thursday, June 7 ~ LANGFORD. [View this article on its own page]

The Langford Fire Rescue Department responded at 5 am today, June 7, to a house fire on Kestrel Ridge. The fire was into the roof when crews arrived (it may have started in the garage). “We were concerned about it spreading to the neighbouring homes,” said Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey.

Eighteen firefighters from all three Langford stations were on scene, along with BCEHS, RCMP, BC Hydro and Langford Emergency Support Services.

The five occupants of the home in the area off Millstream Road and Treanor Avenue were alerted to the sound of the smoke alarm going off, discovered the fire and were able to leave the home without injury. “It is another example of working smoke alarms saving lives as this fire grew rapidly and the had seconds to get out, not minutes,” said Aubrey.

“The family pet was reported missing, however. Once we had knocked the fire down and were able to enter the home, we found the dog named Kona inside hiding beside a wall and bed downstairs. He was suffering from smoke inhalation, was sooty and wet and we removed him and gave him some oxygen,” the fire chief said. The dog was then taken to a vet by the RCMP. The dog is expected to make a full recovery.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the family is currently working with Langford ESS and friends for support until they can get long term aid through their insurance company.

SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge addressed media June 7 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Thursday, June 7 ~ LANGFORD. The drug-related death of a Grade 10 Belmont Secondary School student who died suddenly on Sunday evening, June 3, has sparked a round of reminders and supports to parents, schools, students and community about the dangers of using recreational drugs.

The student was identified as Dorrian Wright in a letter from Belmont Secondary School principal Jim Lamond, that was sent out to parents and guardians on June 4. The announcement was also read out to students.

Today at the Sooke School District (SD62) administration office, SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge was clearly impacted by the event, telling media that all 26 schools in the west shore district “feel the loss”.

“A significant number of students are affected, and the staff,” said Cambridge, who says this is particularly difficult in the year-end grad season when usually families and the school community is gathering to celebrate student achievements. For Cambridge himself, this comes just a few weeks ahead of his retirement from his 35-year career in education.

Information was sent out to parents today to help give parents what they need to help their kids, and help prevent this from happening again. “Talk to your son or daughter about drug use,” said Cambridge. He suggested that honest communication with children and teens can make “a significant difference”.

Here are some tips on how to start the conversation:
• Keep the lines of communication open and have honest and non-judgemental conversations with your teen—this will create trust and encourage openness
• Approach the conversation with curiosity and interest
• Ask for their opinions
• Focus on your concerns for their safety
• Know the facts about the drug
• Understand and address your own fears before starting the conversation

Cambridge issued a reminder in his comments to media that today the risk of drugs is much greater than in previous years, notably with the presence of fentanyl in many drugs that can be purchased on the street.

Belmont Secondary School [West Shore Voice News file photo – June 2018]
Even the smallest amount of fentanyl will kill. Naloxone can reverse a potential fatality if administered promptly. At the Royal Bay Secondary school in recent weeks a voluntary training session was offered to students on how to administer Naloxone.

Cambridge could not say whether anyone was available to help Dorrian at the time of the incident. The incident did not happen at school or at home.

Some links as provided by SD62:

  1. Let’s Talk – Speaking to our kids about substance use, Island Health
  2. Xanax among teens: what we need to know, Island Health
  3. Talking with teenagers about drugs, Health Canada

The BC Coroner has not released details yet.


Hatley Castle on the Royal Roads University Campus in Colwood, BC [West Shore Voice News photo – May 2018]
Sunday, June 3 ~ WEST SHORE. Post-secondary options for the west shore: have your say. Does the west shore need post-secondary options for new high school grads, so they can remain in their home community and still continue with their education affordably?

This week a survey with that very line of questioning was sent out by email to parents of students in grades 9 to 12 in the SD62 school system. That’s secondary schools in Langford (Belmont Secondary), Colwood (Royal Bay Secondary) and Sooke (Edward Milne Community School), as well as the Westshore Centre for Learning & Training which serves the full region.

Students will also be asked to complete a survey too (in class time), ahead of departing for the summer.
And now the broader community has an opportunity for input. A survey has been posted on the SD62 website at www.sd62.bc.ca (scroll down to the “We want your opinion” section). Or visit: https://www.academicasurveys.com/c/a/6AMQ4bVZlgMFN4yXK2BBC8

The public input is sought from people in business and community, as students do interact with and are employed by the local community.

Another important target audience is parents of recent high school grads, and grads who’ve gone on to post-secondary. They’ve experienced the lack of post-secondary in the west shore and may have important observations on the barriers to post-secondary. The transfer rates of students from SD62 schools into post-secondary is below the provincial average.

Steve Grundy, VP Academic, RRU

“We’re a changemaker campus, committed to curriculum that causes social change,” says Royal Roads University’s VP Academic, Steve Grundy. If first and second-year courses were offered “we would do it differently (from other university styles),” Grundy told West Shore Voice News this week.

“If we do whatever the right thing is for the community, good things can come from that,” he said. “We have some ideas, Langford’s mayor Stew Young has some ideas, and there’s good collaboration with the SD62 school board. But so far we don’t have the data to make good decisions.” Hence the rush to catch students and parents with a questionnaire before school breaks for the summer. “So, when and if we do anything, we hit the target,” says Grundy.

The idea is that transition to university be “much cleaner and easier for everybody involved”. There have been massive changes in the K-12 curriculum in BC. “Changes in 9-12 curriculum are much more closely aligned with our teaching model at Royal Roads,” said Grundy. It’s a model of collaboration, active learning, and integrated learning.”

Having the city involved brings the possibility of access to recreational facilities in Langford. As well, there is an idea of putting together an ‘innovative city’ business incubator jointly with businesses in the community.

The three partners to the exploratory program have the same objectives to make education more accessible to local residents in the west shore area. RRU, City of Langford, and SD62 all expect that there are financial barriers to grads going on to post-secondary (not just tuition but also travel and accommodation costs). Also, smaller communities are close-knit, and heading off to a far-away university or college may not be a desired option for many students.

Having first- and second-year courses available at Royal Roads in Colwood could be a highly suitable alternative. Course transferability would be given careful attention, says Grundy, so that students can further their education at other post-secondary institutions as desired.

If anything develops out of this initial exploratory (funded with $250,000 from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training back in April), the earliest course offerings could come by September 2020, says Grundy.

Having taught at RRU since 1995, Grundy is particularly interested in the directions of post-secondary education, the evolution and development of online learning, and new models of university governance and leadership.
Public survey about post-secondary in the west shore: www.sd62.bc.ca (or direct link)


7th Annual Goddess Run in Langford, June 2, 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Saturday. June 2 ~ LANGFORD. A sold-out Goddess Run marathon of 950 runners took place in the Westhills area of Langford today, June 2.

The 5K and 10K distance were for runners of all skills level, walk or run. Women of all ages as well as children showed up for the event on a semi-cool Saturday.

The race event started and finished on the grounds of Belmont Secondary School. This year the route included a stretch along the new West Shore Parkway that opened in October 2017.


Friday, June 1 ~ LANGFORD. Some roadways in the Westhills area of Langford will have interrupted access from 8 am to 12 noon on Saturday, June 2 for the 7th annual Goddess Run.

Impacted roads are Glen Lake Road, Parkdale Drive, West Shore Parkway, Humpback Road, Irwin Road, Meridian, and Constellation.

The 2018 Goddess Run is a women’s 5K and 10K run/walk for all racing abilities. The start is at 8:45am from alongside Belmont Secondary on Glen Lake Road, finishing up at that location by 11:20 am. See map.

The first Goddess Run was in 2012 and since then 12,500 goddesses have crossed the finish line. Over $170,000 has been raised for charity. @goddessrunbc  #goddessrun

On the traffic side of things: Glen Lake road westbound will be single lane alternating traffic from Belmont school 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. From 8:30 am to 9:30 am participants will be crossing West Shore Parkway at a marked crosswalk (and running along the sidewalk from 8:30 to 10 am). From 8:30am to 11:00 am Humpback Road will be closed from Irwin to Sooke. From 8:30 am to 12:00 pm: Expect delays along Meridian and Constellation.  Traffic control will be on-site directing traffic.


Crash scene investigation and cleanup, evening of May 24, on the Malahat section of Hwy 1 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Thursday, May 24 [10 pm] ~ LANGFORD.  As of 9:35 am this evening, the Hwy 1 Malahat section at Goldstream Provincial Park that has been closed since about 11 am this morning due to a vehicle crash is set to re-open around 2 am on Friday morning May 25, according to DriveBC.

Earlier this evening there were personnel from several agencies at the motor vehicle incident (MVI) site including the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Environment, BC Hazmat, Langford Fire Rescue, Colwood Fire Dept (with their hazmat truck), Mainroad South Island (with huge lights for nightwork), SPR Traffic Services, and the RCMP incident investigator. Among other activities, there was the work of drilling the tank on the tipped-over fuel truck in order to release the fuel.

Meanwhile, northbound motorists not able to get upisland were lined up along West Shore Parkway. Mainroad personnel advised them of the 180 km detour along the Pacific Marine Circle Route (Hwy 14 through Port Renfrew then down to Duncan via Hwy 18) that would take three to five hours.

But many travellers have chosen to wait it out in their vehicles until the road opens. Nearby at that recently developed corner of West Shore Parkway and Hwy 1 were services including a Shell Gas Station and Tim Hortons, and Quality Foods not too far along on Langford Parkway back into Langford.

Motorists parked for many hours on the West Shore Parkway, waiting to go northbound on Hwy 1, Thursday evening May 24 [West Shore Voice News photo]
About 35 flaggers and on-road personnel have been out around Hwy 14 and along the Pacific Marine Circle route for many hours now (especially at the single lane bridges), checking for any stranded motorists (who may have run out of fuel or are in medical distress) and providing water and granola bars if anyone is in urgent need. Porta-potties have been set up in various areas for flaggers and waiting motorists.

Mainroad has about 50 personnel available in total; there will be a shift change at 11:30 pm this evening after a long day.  Some flaggers had to be redirected from construction sites earlier today, to help out with this MVI situation. “We’ve got all resources on this, this is big,” says Mainroad’s road manager Stuart Eaton.


Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey [West Shore Voice News photo 2017]
Thursday, May 24 ~ LANGFORD.  “The majority of our work is done,” said Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey today May 24 around 3 pm.

“Our responsibility was to extricate the one patient with the Jaws of Life, contain the spill, mitigate the fire threat and to set up a containment zone which are all complete,” he said after attending the vehicle crash incident (fuel truck and van) in the Malahat section of Highway 1. The motor vehicle incident occurred around 10:54 am.

As of 3 pm, one engine was still on scene while BC Hazmat drains the remaining product from the truck and the tow truck flips it back onto its wheels. However, fire rescue crews await RCMP Analysts to finish before draining the tanks can begin.

Now that the two injured drivers are off to hospital and spill has been contained, the scene remains now with the Ministry of Environment, RCMP and BC Hazmat. “We are supporting their efforts to fully mitigate the emergency,” says Aubrey. “We have been told it could take six hours to drain the tanks once RCMP Analysts are finished which is why the road remains closed at this time.”

SD62 school bus in Langford [May 2018 West Shore Voice News file photo]
In the after-school time frame (after 3 pm), SD62 school buses on routes 4, 6 and 25 are expected to experience long delays, according to the SD62 administration office.

The road re-opening has tentatively been set by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for about 10 pm this evening, at the earliest. Traffic updates at www.drivebc.ca

According to West Shore RCMP around 3:30 pm today, the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment have designated the area of the collision as a “hot zone”. Finlayson Arm Road will remain open for emergency vehicles, local residents and non-commercial traffic by pilot car in one direction at a time, says RCMP.

City of Langford Engineering advises that Highway 1 is closed southbound at South Shawnigan Lake Road and northbound at West Shore Parkway. All vehicles in both directions are to detour via the Pacific Marine Circle Route. They are now advising that the detour is in effect to at least midnight.

Fuel truck collided with a van on Hwy 1 in the Goldstream Park area today May 24, 2018 [CTV Vancouver Island photo, online]
Thursday, May 24 ~ LANGFORD. Police have closed Highway 1 for the afternoon today, Thursday May 24, in Goldstream Park in both directions as a precaution and to further assess a fuel hazard following a vehicle crash.

Police estimate a time period of now 10 hours before any potential reopening of Highway 1 (reopening approximately 10 pm). Finlayson Arm Road will remain open for emergency vehicles and local residents only.

Today at 10:54 am West Shore RCMP, RCMP Traffic Unit and Langford Fire Rescue responded to a collision between a fuel truck and a passenger van on Highway 1 just before Finlayson Arm Road. The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure is diverting traffic through Finlayson Arm Road with use of a pilot car.

The passenger of the van was initially reported as trapped inside, however the driver was later removed from the vehicle with non-life threatening injuries.  The driver of the fuel truck is believed to have only minor injuries.  It did not appear that there was anyone else in the van.

First responders including HAZMAT crews have determined that the overturned fuel truck was leaking fuel, which has now been contained.

“The cause of the collision is under investigation,” says Cpl Chris Dovell of West Shore RCMP.  The fuel spill is a risk for motorists and first responders, as well as a potential environmental hazard.  We ask for patience from drivers who are affected by any delays as emergency crews deal with the closure of Highway 1,” says Cpl. Dovell.

There has been a reported three-sail wait at the Mill Bay ferry terminal as drivers tried to detour around the crash through the Saanich Inlet.

Hazmat crews have said it’s the same corner of the Malahat Highway where a fuel tanker crashed in April 2011, spilling 42,000 litres of gasoline and shutting down the route for nearly 24 hours.


Wednesday, May 23 ~ VICTORIA. The 2018 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon was officially launched last night with a Magical Mystery Retro Run in downtown Victoria.

New initiatives, including an online training program and floating cheering stations for race day were announced, in conjunction with the launch of volunteer registration and the CHEK Charity Pledge Program (CPP). The 39th Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 7.

Olympian Bruce Deacon has been the event’s online coach for nine years, offering training programs for the Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K Road Race. This year will see a free run Victoria Online Training Group which participants can access through Facebook.

On race day, in conjunction with the Victoria HarbourCats, DFH, The Wilson Group and BC Transit, there will be floating cheering buses along the course. “We are excited about these new partnerships and look forward to supporting all of the participants,” said Cathy Noel, General Manager, GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

RetroRun on May 22 to kick off the 2018 GoodLife Run in Victoria. [Photo by Brynn Feather]
The online volunteer registration system through Race Roster was launched – a key component of the event organization with 1,600 individuals volunteering every year. “We will be recognizing our returning volunteers through the Team Sales Volunteer Spirit Program, which we launched last year,” added Noel.

The Marathon event has 12 partners in the Charity Pledge Program (CPP). Three of those are official charities: KidSport Greater Victoria, Pacific Autism Family Network and the GoodLife Kids Foundation. Nine of the charity partners are in the CHEK Charity Pledge Program: Autism Speaks Canada, BC Cancer Foundation, Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, Greater Victoria Lifetime Networks, KidSport Greater Victoria, MOVE Adapted Fitness, NEED2 Suicide Prevention, Special Olympics, and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

“Since the program’s inception in 2005, over $1.7 million has been raised. The CPP is a great opportunity for large and small charities to raise money and awareness by using the marathon as a fundraising platform,” said Noel.

Since the first Victoria Marathon in 1980, 195,000 participants have crossed the finish line and this year it will surpass 200,000. “The economic impact to this community is tremendous, amounting to millions of dollars each year. In 2001 the economic impact was $2.1 million and in 2010 it was over $7.1 million. We will be conducting another study this year and we fully expect it to have grown even more,” said Jonathan Foweraker, President, Victoria Marathon Society.

To date there are 671 registered for the marathon (cap is 1,500), 1,084 for the Half Marathon (cap 3,500), and 440 for the 8K (cap 2,750). Race fees are currently $110 for the Marathon, $85 for the Half Marathon, $40 for the 8K Road Race and $20 for the Thrifty Foods Kids Run. To register: www.runvictoriamarathon.com


View of the Belmont Residences sales centre and surrounding construction site, from the other side of Jenkins Road, May 18. [West Shore Voice News photo]
Monday, May 21 ~ LANGFORD. There is no lack of interest for the opportunity to live in the growing Langford area. As the city grows, people are seeking the west side lifestyle in locations that are convenient and affordable. [View this article on its own page]

It was only May 5 when the Sales Centre opened at Belmont Residences in west Langford and already about 500 groups have come through to see the show suite and find out more about suites available in the 80-unit Phase 1 condo building.

“Currently we are in the preview stage of the program,” says Peter Gaby, sales director with DFH Real Estate Ltd. Sales start in the first half of June; appointments recommended for interest in early purchase.

“People view the sales centre which has the architectural model, wall graphics and digital screens outlining the product offering, the master plan and points of interest in the area as well as a 2-bedroom-plus-flex fully merchandised show suite,” Gaby said this week. The flex room is a popular feature which can be used for a home office, hobby room, exercise room or storage.

Construction for new commercial and residential continues on the Belmont site on Division Avenue in Langford, May 17. [West Shore Voice News photo]
Most comments from sales centre visitors have been positive. “The location, the design layout and functionality of the suites, the quality and attention to detail in the suites in a master plan community is what they are most impressed with,” Gaby says.

People are glad to hear that the 160,000 sq ft of commercial/retail space will be completed prior to Belmont Residences occupancy in early 2020. That includes Thrifty Foods grocery store as the main anchor tenant.

The sales centre is located on Division Ave (just off Jenkins/Kelly) across from the Westshore Town Centre.



Friday, May 16 ~ WEST SHORE. A blood donor clinic will be held on Monday of this long weekend, May 21 at the Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Ave in Colwood. Lots of parking.

The clinic will be open 12 noon to 6:45 pm. Appointments can be made at www.blood.ca or just drop in.

The reception process includes a screening by filling out a questionnaire on one of the mobile computer stations. Questions from a nurse are also part of that process for new donors.


Wednesday, May 16 ~ LANGFORD. A presentation for parents about ‘Raising Digitally Responsible Youth’ will be held this evening, Wednesday, May 16 at 7pm in the theatre at Belmont Secondary School, 3041 Langford Lake Road.

“With society heading in a direction of being constantly connected to technology, what do we need to know as parents to protect our kids and teach them responsible and appropriate use of technology?”, it was pitched to parents by the SD62 school district.

“The parameters of rules and expectations that you put in place at home will undoubtedly guide their behaviour in the years to come.”

  • Social Media Update – The most current apps & trends in their social media lives.
  • Pick Your Battles! – You will have to balance the yin with the yang, promote independence whilst taking a strong stance on certain subjects.
  • Current Research – Brain development & technology, violent video games.
  • Digital Footprint and Reputation – With their future approaching, recruiters and employers are taking note – what will they find?

The presentation will be delivered by Safer Schools Together – an organization focused on promoting a climate and culture of safety in schools through comprehensive education. www.saferschoolstogether.com


BC Premier John Horgan addressed Chamber of Commerce members in Victoria May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Tuesday, May 15 ~ VICTORIA. [View this article on a separate pageIt was a tough crowd for an NDP Premier — a room packed with about 400 chamber of commerce members and business leaders at the Crystal Garden in downtown Victoria — who at least in part would be expected to take some issue with the left-leaning policies of Premier John Horgan’s NDP government. [Horgan is the MLA For Langford-Juan de Fuca]

In less than one year in office, Horgan has rapidly rolled out numerous policy adjustments and new directions for British Columbia that are changing the socioeconomic landscape of the province in notable ways.

In a nutshell, that’s to make life more affordable for all British Columbians, he is oft heard to say. But that has come with almost seismic shifts in some areas of taxation — some that businesses consider punitive (such as the Employer Health Tax) but others that ‘help’ such as eliminating PST on electricity for businesses by 2019 and reducing the small business tax rate from 2.5% to 2.0%.

A seasoned, relaxed speaker, Horgan was comfortable at the podium but was careful to put a business or economic context around every potentially controversial portion of his 35-minute speech. He covered the gamut from justifying the BC Speculation Tax and the shift from the Medical Services Program (MSP) to the Employer Health Tax (EHT), to defending his government’s stance spawned by the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to protect the coastal environmental in the event of an oil spill.

At least twice he emphasized “not social policy but economic policy”, specifically with regard to providing more and better child care, and working to full reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Victoria MP Murray Rankin was among those who attended the Chamber lunch to hear Premier Horgan’s speech May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]
“The economy, environment and people are inextricably bound together,” said Horgan, saying that “everybody benefits” from the economic success of addressing all of those socioeconomic components of governing a thriving province like BC. Underpinning that is public education.

“Given the opportunity and tools of education we can achieve anything – the greatest tool at our disposal is public education,” Premier Horgan suggested to the crowd, referencing both K-12 and post-secondary. He was proud to remind the room that one of the first things his government did after taking office in July 2017 was to eliminate tuition fees for adult basic education and English language learning.

In the audience today were several BC Cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Carole James and Education Minister Rob Fleming. They sat with Premier Horgan at the same table as Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps who at the end of the event presented Horgan with a painting by an indigenous artist from the Cowichan area.

Also present from NDP ranks were Victoria MP Murray Rankin and Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison. Various municipal mayors and councillors attended, including View Royal Mayor David Screech, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, Langford Councillors Lillian Szpak and Denise Blackwell, and Oak Bay Councillor Hazel Braithwaite.

This was a five-Chamber event with members from the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt Chambers.

Horgan outlined how there is now — thanks to NDP housing policy — the opportunity for post-secondary to build student housing “without coming cap in hand to the treasury board”, as a way to free up housing stock in the community. This also provides housing-supply opportunities for the development and construction communities.

Langford Councillors Lillian Szpak and Denise Blackwell attended the May 15 chamber luncheon [West Shore Voice News photo]
The overall thread of the speech was to demonstrate the potential for productive interface between the social directions unfolding from the NDP and what the business community can do to benefit and prosper through attention to the well-being of people and communities. People who can find affordable places to live are therefore available for employment in high-demand business regions. Families that can access reliable quality child care can then afford for a second parent to join or rejoin the workforce.

Overall the crowd’s mood was polite and attentive. But there likely weren’t many converts to the government’s position on two things of most concernation to vocal leaders in the business community — the BC Speculation Tax and the EHT that is set to replace the outgoing MSP.

Regarding transportation congestion issues in the Greater Victoria area, Horgan was asked if he would support a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Horgan’s first noted “seeing a failure of the previous government to invest” in transportation solutions, followed by saying that he’s observed with TransLink in Vancouver that large advisory bodies can become “disconnected from the needs of the community and lean to the loudest voice at the table”.

Horgan hopes that BC Transit will “provide public opportunities for people” in Greater Victoria. He favours a non-formal provincial government lead on transportation: “We kinda got it covered here,” he said today, referring to the connections that he and Ministers Fleming, James, Popham and MLA Mitzi Dean have in the community. “We work with the CRD and local mayors and councils to try and deliver services for people,” Horgan said.

One question from the room expressed concern about losing tourism due to the pipeline dispute with Alberta. With reference made to the lunch menu including Alberta short ribs, Horgan did take the opportunity to express positive support for NDP Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, acknowledging it’s her job to represent the economic interests of her province (vis-a-vis the pipeline issue).

“I am not convinced that we are prepared to deal with the consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Gulf Islands and Burrard Inlet,” said Horgan. “We need to find a balance — my responsibility is to the people in this room and the people who are coming here” who are “attracted by the pristine environment”. He reiterated his view that raw petroleum should go to refineries in Canada “to help people” instead of being shipped overseas. He said that the federal 10-year commitment of $1.5 billion on three coasts of the largest coastline on the planet is not a lot of funding should anything go wrong.

The big reveal of the lunchtime speech was Horgan’s commitment to making sure something is achieved with the E&N corridor, saying that trains (or an additional lane on Hwy 1) are probably not the solution to getting more commuters to and to the Victoria area core for employment. He said he is committed to “moving people”, and that he is “committed to doing that in the term of this government”.

Horgan was later asked a question from the floor…  would he support formation of a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) which has been proposed at the CRD level. He talked about getting people “out of cars” into public transit, saying it’s good for the economy to move people efficiently and effectively. Afterward, View Royal Mayor David Screech –- whose municipality is squarely in the one of the heaviest commuter traffic through-zones, said he is still in favour of reactivating trains for the E&N.

Randall Garrison, MP said that Horgan spoke directly to the business community about “issues that they care about”, adding that BC has “enviable economic success”. Indeed, Horgan knew what he was up against but he didn’t pander. Rather, he talked about his government’s plan, made arguments in support of stated policies, and answered questions in which he held his ground.

Horgan wrapped up saying he will back next year, as a way of declaring the stability of his government. The NDP (with Greens) is moving forward with many things that in a few years time will see BC and Canada looking back at a provincial socioeconomic canvas painted with new strokes that are intended to open up new opportunities for business, communities and individuals.


Canada playing USA in the 2nd game on Sunday May 13 at Westhills Stadium in Langford. [screenshot]
Sunday, May 13 ~ LANGFORD.  The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens wrapped up earlier today under sunshine and blue skies, before a packed stadium of 6,070 over the two-day tournament this Mother’s Day weekend at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.

New Zealand emerged the tournament winner, for their 2nd tournament win on the 5-stop HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Canada placed 5th today with a decisive win in their final match of the day against Ireland, moving them into 4th place in the Series standings with one tournament remaining in Paris, France on June 8-10.

Playing well for Canada were Charity Williams who four times ran the length of the field and Bianca Farella who got Canada ahead in the 2nd game today. Some crucial mistakes were made in this tournament by Canada’s team Canada Ghislaine Landry (returning from a hamstring injury that saw her sit out the games in Japan in April), including two kicks that fell short of the 10-metre line.

For post tournament coverage and full tournament results visit www.canadasevens.com or www.worldrugby.org

Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislaine Landry in Langford May 13 [screenshot]
“Rugby Canada would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Community of Langford and all the supportive fans who came out to cheer on not only our Canadian women, but all of the outstanding teams that delivered inspiring and entertaining performances throughout the weekend,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada.

“Congratulations to New Zealand on their well-deserved win, and thank you to all of our partners, sponsors and volunteers for their continued support,” said Vansen.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will return to Langford next year on May 11 & 12, 2019 for the 5th and final year of the current Series cycle. Rugby Canada is actively bidding for another four years of both the men’s and women’s HSBC Canada Sevens tournaments, and hope to receive approval on their bids by Fall 2018.

The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens has been a two-day tournament held May 12-13, 2018, hosted at the home of Canadian Rugby at Westhills Stadium in Langford BC, and featured 12 of the world’s top women’s rugby sevens teams on Canadian soil.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens is the fourth stop in a five-stop world tour as part of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Sevens rugby is a fast-paced and shorter version of traditional rugby with only seven players per side. It has built a huge international audience through the success of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which attracts large audiences in markets around the world.

The 2018 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series kicked off in Dubai on November 30th. Find the entire 5-stop tour at www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series/series-info


The Women’s Rugby Sevens team captains at Royal Roads University campus May 10 [West Shore Voice News photo] From left: Brazil, Fiji, England, Spain, Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, USA, Ireland, Japan.
Thursday, May 10 ~ WEST SHORE.  The Women’s Rugby Sevens team captains did their official group photo on the croquet lawn at Royal Roads University (RRU) this afternoon, May 10. The afternoon was sunny and a big cloud that threatened rain held off from raining on this parade.

These athletes from 12 countries are by default hosted by the Canadian home team that is based out of Langford. Players are staying at Bear Mountain Resort and the Four Points Sheraton, and getting to see the growing bustling town on their way to the various community appearances this week (at schools around Greater Victoria) and practice sessions at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

“Playing at home is unique for us,” says Canada Women’s Rugby Sevens team captain Ghislaine Landry, as the team is now based entirely out of Langford at the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre in Langford. “It’s exciting to get out in front of the local fans,” she told media after the photo shoot. “We love to live and train here, it’s fun for us,” she said.

Landry explained that there is a “level of pride” to be operating from an established location, saying the centralization of Rugby Canada in the Victoria area started about six years ago.  As Canada’s team captain, Landry ventured to say that when the Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament comes to Langford it’s everyone’s “favourite spot”.

All of the Canadian team players are staying with the other players at the local hotel venues. “It’s part of the tournament experience,” Landry mused.

When asked about what was considered a poor showing for Canada when they played in Japan last month, of course the response was with positive bravado: “This weekend we’ll show that we have trained hard,” said the Canadian team captain.

A bit of tournament analysis by Landry when asked about the competition: “New Zealand and Australia are top teams. And France has a great shot. Spain had a good showing last game.”

The 12 countries that are represented in the Women’s Rugby Sevens circuit are (team captains): Canada (Ghislaine Landry), Australia (Shannon Parry), New Zealand (Sarah Goss), France (Fanny Horta), USA (Nicole Heavirland), Ireland (Lucy Mulhall), Japan (Chiharu Nakamura), Russia (Alena Mikhaltsova), Spain (Barbra Pla), England Abbie Brown), Fiji (Ana Roqica) and Brazil (Raquel Kochhann).

Rain began to fall onto the well-trimmed lawns of the RRU campus outside Hatley Castle in Colwood, just as the media interviews wrapped up.

The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens tournament will be held at Westhills Stadium in Langford this Mother’s Day weekend, on Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13.  Tickets are still available for sale online at www.canadasevens.com/womens . Two day tournament passes are available for $49. Single day tickets for Saturday or Sunday are available for $30 or the group rate of $25 (10 or more tickets purchased). Anyone who uses the code MOMPLUS3 can get four general-admission tickets for the price of three.


Wednesday, May 9 ~ LANGFORD. An upcoming accommodation tax levy of 2% will help the City of Langford market their municipality as a tourist destination. 

An accommodation tax of 2% is set to come into effect in the City of Langford starting November 1, 2018.

The new Hotel Room Tax Requisition Bylaw No 1778 was handily approved without debate at the municipality’s Special Council Meeting on April 30. First, second and third readings were done April 16.

The 2% levy will be charged on the purchase price of accommodations such as hotel room nights and Air B&B stays.
The additional municipal revenue is intended “to finance marketing of the City of Langford as a tourist destination”.

[As first published in the May 4, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News]


Kids get some rugby skill-training with Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislane Landry, May 4 at Westhills Stadium [West Shore Voice News photo]
Wednesday, May 9 ~ LANGFORD. So much to do this Mother’s Day weekend in the west shore!

Single-day tickets for the 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens on May 12-13 at Westhills Stadium in Langford can be purchased through www.canadasevens.com or by calling the Ticket Rocket Box Office at 1-855-842-7575 from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

General Admission tickets are $30, with a reduced-price point of $25 for groups of 10 or more, and $35 for select Reserved seating.

In its fourth year at Westhills Stadium in Langford, the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will also offer a unique promotion in honour of Mothers’ Day on Sunday May 13. Fans can buy three GA tickets and get a fourth ticket free when using the code MOMPLUS3 .

Organizers are encouraging fans to include this weekend of sport and celebration in the family plans this coming Mother’s Day.


Volunteers at the after-station – Canadian Blood Services mobile clinic, Colwood, March 19 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]
Monday, May 7 ~ WEST SHORE. The next Canadian Blood Services mobile blood donor clinic in the west shore will be on Victoria Day, Monday May 21, at the usual location: Church of the Advent, 510 Mount View Avenue in Colwood (also serving Langford).

Clinic hours will be 12 noon to 6:45 pm on that holiday Monday. Appointments can be made at www.blood.ca but drop-ins always welcome. Lots of parking.

Last month, the first Grad blood donor drive held at Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood saw 82 students as volunteer donors, producing 58 usable units of blood. Most were first-time donors!

>> This article first published on page 5 in the May 4, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News.

#itsinyoutogive Canadian Blood Services

Belmont Residences sale centre opened May 5, 2018 in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo]
Saturday, May 5 ~ LANGFORD. Under bright sunny skies on Saturday May 5, a steady stream of drop-in visitors came to the Belmont Residences presentation centre on Division Avenue in Langford, 1 to 3 pm.

Otherwise surrounded by the churned-up ground of a construction zone, the sales centre is a bright modern open space, now open six days a week (Mon-Thurs and Sat-Sun), from 12 noon to 5 pm. A three-person sales team will always be on hand.

Appointments are recommended but drop-ins are welcome, says on-site Project Coordinator Cathy Noel.

The sales centre includes a complete 2-bedroom, 2-bath furnished show suite. The layout of the B1 floorplan brings you directly into the kitchen in view of the inline living/dining room area.

About 80% of the 80 units in the Phase 1 of Belmont Residences include the ‘flex room’ says Belmont Residences Sales Director Peter Gaby. There are three different 2-bedroom+flex floorplan styles, says Marcela Corzon, Director of Development, Ledcor Properties Inc.

‘Flex Space’ in 2-bedroom unit at Belmont Residences [West Shore Voice News photo]
The flex space (approx 70 sq ft) is likely to be a popular feature, situated immediately upon entry to the suite. In the show suite it’s set up as a small home office but could be used for a variety of purposes such as sewing room, exercise space, or storage.

Each of the Phase 1 of Belmont Residences condo strata units will have their own vehicle parking space. Natural gas and hot water will be included in the strata fees. Heating is by electric baseboard.

Phase 1 pre-sales start around June 9, with occupancy targeted for the first few months of 2020, says Gaby. Phase 2 will offer 90 condo units, followed by an apartment building with 156 rental units, and later on a few townhomes.



Kids try out rugby skills with two of Canada’s Women’s Sevens players: Julia Greenshields (left) and team captain Ghislane Landry. [West Shore Voice News photo, May 4 2018]
Friday, May 4 ~ LANGFORD. For fun and skill-building, about 35 youth from around Greater Victoria took part in a rubgy clinic at Westhills Stadium in Langford on Friday afternoon, May 4. The activity for girls and boys was free. Parents came to watch.

The kids had fun and professional rugby players from Canada Women’s Sevens had a chance to interact with potential new athletes.

And it was a ramp-up to the 2018 HSBC Women’s Sevens Rugby Tournament game coming up May 12-13 at Westhills Stadium by which ticket sales are one way for spectators to donate to KidSport when they purchase tickets online. www.canadasevens.com/womens

The KidSport program helps remove financial barriers to participation in a wide variety of sports, explains KidSport Greater Victoria executive director Jill Shaw. She says that last year two girls were funded by KidSport for their registration in rugby that summer, thanks to donations from ticket-purchasers in May 2017 that amounted to about $500.

“Last year KidSport overall funded a total of $400,000 to pay for sport registrations for 1,400 youth,” said Shaw, out on the Westhills Stadium field on Friday.

Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislane Landry was happy to participate in the youth clinic. “We train so hard, sometimes we forget about the big picture. Activities like today are about growing the grassroots of sport,” Landry told West Shore Voice News. “It’s important to be interacting with the community,” she said before joining a group of eager youth to starting tossing around the rugby ball.

Back on February 27, the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre was officially opened on Glen Lake Road behind Westhills Stadium. Landry said at the time that the new home for rugby players would be a boon to the sport. Today she said: “Before, we were spread out across the country. This way we feed off each other and this leads to good things for the program.”

Drills, games and skill-building exercises continued for about an hour in the warmish weather under slightly overcast skies, familiarizing them with the game of rugby. The clinic was open to all interested youth.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens two-day tournament next weekend at Westhills Stadium will feature 12 of the world’s top women’s rubgy seven’s teams. It’s the fourth stop in a five-stop world tour series. Rugby Sevens is a fast-paced, shorter version of traditional rugby with only seven players per side.

The 2018 series kicked off in Dubai at the end of November, followed by Sydney Australia in January 2018, Kitakyushu Japan in April 2018, now Langford next week Sat May 12 and Sun May 13, and finishes up in Paris June 8 to 10. https://www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series-seriesinfo


Traffic management at the intersection of Jacklin Rd & Jenkins Ave during roadworks [West Shore Voice News photo May 3]
Thursday, May 3 ~ LANGFORD. TRAFFIC ADVISORY for May 3 & 4. This only matters if you’re in a hurry through Langford.

As first reported yesterday (with map), traffic signals are off at the intersection of Jacklin Rd & Jenkins Ave today Thurs May 3 and tomorrow Fri May 4 (7:30 am to 4:30 pm both days).

Traffic control is on site. At mid-afternoon today, the traffic delay is about 5 minutes for each direction. Pedestrian and cyclist management too.

This is ahead of the May 7 to 11 installation of underground water mains in the area (7:30 am to 4:30 pm), says City of Langford Engineering. As a landmark, this is at the Jacklin-side of the Westshore Town Centre.

Since mid-February, the closure of all Jacklin/Jenkins through-traffic to Sooke Road has seen the new Division Avenue (through the under-construction Belmont subdivision) carry traffic — without a hitch — from Jenkins (Kelly Rd) over to Jacklin at the SD62 administration building location.



Wednesday, May 2 ~ LANGFORD. TRAFFIC ADVISORY for May 3 & 4.
Traffic signals will be off at the intersection of Jacklin Rd & Jenkins Ave on Thurs May 3 and Fri May 4 (7:30 am to 4:30 pm both days), says City of Langford Engineering. Traffic control will be on site. Some traffic delays.

This is ahead of the May 7 to 11 installation of underground water mains in the area (7:30 am to 4:30 pm).

Since mid-February during the closure of all traffic directions at Jacklin/Jenkins, the new Division Avenue that runs through the under-construction Belmont subdivision has carried Jenkins-Jacklin through-traffic from Jenkins over to Jacklin at the SD62 administration building location.


Tuesday, May 1 ~ LANGFORD/COLWOOD – WestShore. At the last minute there has been a change with the Sooke School District (SD62) setup for 2018-2019 bus registration. The online registration system will still open at 9 am on Wednesday, May 2 but routes cannot be chosen by families.

“We have been testing the bus registration system and we realized that it just wasn’t ready in time,” said SD62 Secretary-Treasurer Harold Cull on Monday afternoon, April 30. “Rather than delaying registration, we decided to stick to our deadlines and use a system that we know works,” he told West Shore Voice News. “The timing is unfortunate but as of late last week, we were trying to determine a possible solution that would work for us,” said Cull.

Parents were advised by email on April 30: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, our new online route selection and registration system will not be ready this year. We want to be able to give you a program that will work seamlessly for you, and at this time, we’re not confident our new system will be able to make registration easier for you.”

As in previous years, SD62 will use the School Cash Online system for school bus registration. Registration is free. Register here http://www.sd62.bc.ca/about-sd62/transportation/

What does this mean for registration and bus route selection?
• Registration will open on time
• Parents will not be able to select bus routes.
• Experienced Transportation staff will place your child(ren) on the best routes as per your home address and school.
• If you register by June 1, you will be notified as to which bus routes your child(ren) will be on before the end of the school year.
• Bus passes will be handed out prior to or during the first week of school in September. Bus passes only apply to middle and secondary school students. Attendance will be taken in the elementary grades.
• Drivers will enforce passes during the first week of school in September.

“Many of our buses and routes fill quickly. Please register close to opening so that you get a spot!,” the school district wrote to parents.

Info and Frequently Asked Questions are presented near the bottom of the Transportation page http://www.sd62.bc.ca/about-sd62/transportation/  or contact the Transportation Department via email – bussing@sd62.bc.ca or call (250) 474-9845.

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