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News and announcements
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- The first round of COVID-19 immunizations will begin in B.C. next week. Approximately 4,000 vaccines will be administered to start. The first vaccines will be from Pfizer and then Moderna and will be delivered starting in the Lower Mainland before expanding to nine other sites by January. Lower Mainland health-care workers in long-term care homes and front-line health-care workers essential to the COVID-19 response will be first in line for the vaccines. Then, other priority groups will start receiving them, the province says.
- Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is urging people to keep holiday celebrations within their household as case numbers continue to rise. She says British Columbians won’t be able to safely resume paused activities until more people get vaccinated for COVID-19 and cases decline. Island Health’s weekly dashboard update from Monday says there were a total of 90 COVID-19 cases on the Island, with 32 in the South Island region.
- The West Shore RCMP says it uncovered a “massive identity theft and fraud operation” in October. Since then, police have connected the operation to over 25 unsolved frauds and thefts reported in the last two years. One of the frauds took place in November, 2019, when personal identification stolen from a vehicle was allegedly used by a suspect to gain access to the victim’s bank accounts. The suspect reportedly accessed over $6,000 over the course of two months and attempted to secure a loan in the victim’s name for thousands more. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the fraud suspect. He is described as a Caucasian man in his 30s wearing a plack pullover Nike windbreaker with a blue and white toque. Photos can be found online. Anyone with information is asked to call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
- The Highlands Fire Department Santa Run is cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, the fire department is asking community members to help raise funds for the Goldstream Food Bank in place of food donations. Donations can be made through a GoFundMe page set up in lieu of the event.
- UPDATED: The search for a sailor who is believed to have accidentally fallen overboard while deployed in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg has concluded. At midnight Tuesday, the Canadian Armed Forces announced master sailor Duane Earle, a boatswain from Winnipeg, was not found. The ship was en route back to CFB Esquimalt after being deployed to the Asia-Pacific region on Operations Projection and Neon, according to a news release. The ship was approximately 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco. Earle wasn’t identified as missing until later in the day, at which point HMCS Winnipeg turned around and began a search along with a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter. The Canadian Armed Forces will investigate the circumstances of how Earle went missing. HMCS Winnipeg will continue back to Esquimalt and Earle’s family is being provided with support as they grieve.
- The Capital Regional District’s $775 million wastewater treatment project that has been in the works for four years is now treating wastewater. The McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Facility can treat 108 megalitres of wastewater per day. After, a treatment facility at the Hartland Landfill turns residual solids into Class A biosolids. A conveyance system carries wastewater from across the core area (Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich, Oak Bay, View Royal, Colwood, Langford and the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations) to the treatment plant and residuals solids to Hartland Landfill.
- The Capital Regional District board is moving ahead with regional transportation priorities that line up with the CRD’s declaration of a climate emergency as well as community needs. The board approved motions to form a transportation standing committee and for staff to work with jurisdictional partners to develop a list of transportation priorities.
- A film studio development is proposed for Malahat Nation lands, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. The Malahat Nation has partnered with Alpha Select Production Services Inc. from Victoria. The project will be 80-acres large and will be called Malahat Film Studios. It is predicted to provide 1,500 direct jobs for the region.
- The District of Sooke is recognizing seven district employees for their service to the community. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 awards will be presented individually.
- The Greater Victoria Festival Society collected two truckloads of food and a truckload of toys Saturday evening at the Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford. It was part of the 2020 Light Up The City campaign and featured volunteers from the Luxton Tractor Club. Watch a video of the sparkly event here and find more donation drop-off dates on the Greater Victoria Festival Society Facebook page.
- Thursday, Dec. 17: 💪 Take part in an online workshop with The Existence Project and Greater Victoria Acting Together to hear the story of Cory Resilient, someone who has experienced homelessness and will reflect on social issues happening in your neighbourhood.
- Now until Dec. 23: ❄️View Royal council wants to recognize some of the best and brightest light displays in the town as part of its Light Up View Royal contest. Residents can nominate home or business addresses (including your own) by sending an email to [email protected] or [email protected] by Thursday, Dec. 23. Council members will view each nominated address between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and deliver a festive treat to the top five winners.
- Sunday, Dec. 20: 🎅In lieu of the annual Colwood Santa-Go-Round, non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at the Colwood Fire Christmas Food Drive. The event is hosted by the Colwood Volunteer Firefighters Association. Firefighters and Santa will be at Colwood City Hall with the fire truck from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accept food donations, which will be quarantined before being delivered to the Goldstream Food Bank.
- Tuesday, Dec. 22 to Sunday, Jan. 3: 🎭 The annual SD62 Pace Musical Theatre Christmas show has gone digital this year. The theatre company rehearsed in parking lots to learn choreography, learned songs on Zoom, learned to lip-synch on camera and recorded vocals wearing masks to film over 30 numbers for a one-of-a-kind experience. Buy tickets to stream the show ($25 per household) and watch it as many times as you’d like between Dec. 22 and Jan. 3.
- This month: 🌿 Go for a walk in Colwood to find some of the city’s festive light displays which have been set up to lift spirits and spread cheer. There are forest lights at Herm Williams Park, light tunnels at Meadow Park in Royal Bay and signature Colwood starburst lights on city-owned lamp posts.
- Now until Dec. 21: 🎄 Head to Luxton Hall for the Happy Holidays Christmas Tree Co. pop-up shop for Christmas trees and a maker’s market.
- Various dates: 🛍 With many craft markets cancelled this year, Bliston Creek Farm has transformed into a local craft shopping destination with vendors, seasonal treats, hot drinks and more. Tickets can be booked in advance to help reduce lineup and crowding and masks are mandatory.
- This month: 🍅 Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive put on by Royal Bay Secondary, Belmont Secondary and Edward Milne Community School has gone virtual. Make donations, to go to local food banks, here.
- Weekends until Jan. 10: 🖼 Check out the Metchosin ArtPod’s Mighty Fine Affordable Art and Craft Show and Sale to see local fine art and handcrafted artisanal pieces! Metchosin ArtPod is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- This month: 🚗Victoria Buzz put together three routes in Greater Victoria that take drivers past big, beautiful Christmas light displays. Check out the 2020 Christmas Lights Map and go for a festive drive!
If you’re planning an event that I should consider for an upcoming list, reply to this email and let me know.
In your words
Last week, I included a call-out in the newsletter asking community members to share things they’re doing to bring some joy into their lives this season. I got some great responses and thought I’d share them here!
Sue says, “As someone who lives alone and is missing family and friends, it’s easy to feel down during COVID-19. So a walk in the early morning or in the evening up and down beautiful Goldstream Avenue warms my heart. A huge, huge thank you to our Mayor Stew Young for this wonderful display.”
Melanie says, “Enjoying receiving The Discourse. Nice addition to our Colwood Community.” She shared a Christmas photo of her two Bichon Frise, Hannah and Monroe.
Dianne says, “We are an elderly couple who are young at heart. Our children and grandchildren are all far away. My husband of 83 years had a serious car accident on Nov. 9 so we are more than confined in our home. I decided to get a naughty elf and post daily photos on my Facebook. Here a few. We named our Elf BUCK! Happy holidays, stay safe, and have some fun.”