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News and announcements
- Vancouver Island families will have access to nearly 340 new licensed child care spaces, the province announced. Greater Victoria will receive 210 child care spaces and Sooke will receive 62 spaces.
- COVID-19 vaccine booking call centres for older seniors open on March 8. Those born in 1931 or earlier (or 1956 for Indigenous seniors) can book during the first week, with younger age groups to follow. To find out details about what you need to call and which health authority to call, click here. The province now expects that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can have their first dose by July, the Times Colonist reports.
- The BC Coroners Service has reported 165 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in January, 2021. The province says this is the largest ever number of lives lost due to illicit drugs in the first month of a calendar year. An average 5.3 lives were lost each day in January due to a toxic drug supply in B.C. and almost one in five of the suspected deaths noted extreme concentrations of fentanyl.
- If legislative changes are passed, the province says the rent freeze in B.C. will be extended to Dec. 31, 2021. The changes would also cap future rent increases to inflation, aim to stop illegal renovictions and seek to improve the dispute resolution process for tenants and landlords.
- The Pacheedaht First Nation will receive $992,589 in funding from the province for an expansion of the Pacheedaht Campground, near Port Renfrew. The grant will pay for new serviced and unserviced campsites, expanded services, new washroom facilities, more parking and improved access. The grant is part of B.C.’s COVID-19 response plan. The province says grants totalling $20 million have gone towards 38 rural projects in the province.
- The City of Colwood says that, from March 2 to March 26, underground utility installations will take place on Latoria Boulevard and Latoria Road as well as on Metchosin Road south of Latoria Boulevard. The installations will result in single-lane alternating traffic at times between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. Traffic control personnel will be on site to direct traffic and delays are to be expected.
- The Capital Regional District’s parks committee is not endorsing more parking fees at local regional parks, the Times Colonist reports. The committee approved a motion that sees taxation as the main way to fund park maintenance.
- Two principals have been chosen for the new Pexsisen Elementary and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle schools, the Sooke School District says. Karen DeCicco will run the ship at Pexsisen Elementary and Darren Russell will lead Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School. The schools will open in September, 2022.
- A bylaw was introduced at a Feb. 24 Metchosin council meeting that would limit the subdivision of the contentious Boys and Girls Club property. The bylaw will go to public hearing on March 15. A petition to stop the subdivision of the approximately 98-acre property has garnered over 4,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The Goldstream News Gazette reports that, on Sunday, hundreds rallied in their vehicles outside the property in protest of the subdivision as well.
- A report from the BC Coroners Service says the February, 2020 drowning deaths of three Sooke men in the Sooke River was ruled accidental, the Sooke News Mirror reports. Investigators say there is no evidence foul play or intoxication was involved.
- The Capital Regional District has acquired a 58.7-hectare (145-acre) parcel of Greater Victoria Water Supply Area catchment land that falls within the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The CRD says the forested land was identified as a high priority for acquisition as it includes watershed catchment lands for the Sooke Lake Reservoir, a primary drinking water source for Greater Victoria. The property was purchased for $652,729.
- A 23-acre property in the Highlands is being passed on to the Habitat Acquisition Trust, the Goldstream News Gazette reports. Anne and Jim Ganns, who acquired the property 50 years ago, had a goal to see it permanently protected. HAT paid a fraction of the market value of the land and issued the couple a tax receipt for the difference.
- Thursday, March 4: 👩💻 Join A Conversation Across Ways of Knowing and Relating to Land. The online event features a dialogue between and amongst Indigenous knowledge keepers who work within institutions organized by Western scientific knowledge systems. Find more information and a link to purchase tickets here.
- Now until March 30: ❓Participate in Royal Bay Riddle Rocks, a free walking geocache event where you solve a riddle using clues and submit an answer for a chance to win prizes and gift certificates to local businesses.
- March 3 to March 10: 🌸The 46th annual Greater Victoria Flower Count takes place this week. Submit your flower count online and see which local community will be named the “Bloomingest Community” of Greater Victoria.
- March 6 to May 2: 📸Dive into the world of photograph-based art at Metchosin ArtPod’s latest exhibit: ReVision. There will be a Zoom opening event on Friday, March 5 at 7 p.m.
- Deadline March 8, 6 p.m.: 🎤CRD residents between the ages of 14 and 24 are invited to apply for Opening Act, an online series of songwriting and performance workshops facilitated by Victoria’s artist in residence, Kathryn Calder. For more details, click here.
If you’re planning an event that I should consider for an upcoming list, send me an email and let me know.
In your words
Last week, I asked you to share what makes you feel hopeful right now. I received this awesome response from Al Fowler:
“Getting the vaccine, sooner or later, gives me hope. As a senior, I look forward to the day when I can sit down with a friend, face to face. How wonderful it will be to chat in paragraphs instead of single line texts or Tweets. Just to see someone in three dimensions, instead of an electronic two dimension, will warm our hearts.
I wonder how we will handle all of that? If we got to know a person in depth online over the past year, what will our first real life post-Covid meeting be like? Interesting, to say the least.”
Thanks for sharing, Al. I think many people are looking forward to getting the vaccine and seeing friends and loved ones again.