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News and announcements
- Have you filled out The Discourse’s survey on West Shore development? Let us know where you see pain points, and where you see solutions. The survey closes this week.
- New COVID-19 restrictions were announced by B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, on Monday. Starting March 30, restaurants, bars and pubs must only provide take-out, delivery or outdoor patio service. Indoor dine-in service is prohibited. Indoor adult group fitness activities are also paused and travel continues to be limited to essential travel: work or medical reasons only. All workers are encouraged to work from home if possible and students in Grade 4 and above are required to wear masks at school. Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is also closed through April 19. Outdoor worship services can continue. The orders are in effect until April 19 to help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. Cases of newer COVID-19 variants of concern are now growing exponentially in the province and causing more severe illness, including in younger people.
- Island Health says more than 100,000 residents in the region have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of March 26. Currently, those born in or before 1948 and Indigenous people born in or before 1966 are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable have also received an invitation to be vaccinated. For details on eligibility and how to book a vaccine appointment, visit the Island Health website.
- A letter from the Vancouver Island COVID-19 Rapid Response Team sent to school districts says the Vancouver Island region has been experiencing a “higher number” of COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks. The number of children with coronavirus is also on the rise and the letter says “all signs indicate that there will be significant numbers of exposures at schools in the weeks to come.” Read Sooke School District superintendent Scott Stinson’s message to families regarding the letter here.
- B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau says the province should help 20- to 39-year-olds in the wake of another COVID-19 surge, Black Press Media reports. The response comes after B.C. Premier John Horgan told British Columbians in that age group to “not blow this for the rest of us.” Furstenau says the NDP government should review the reasons behind the higher case count in the age group, pointing at reasons like precarious employment, low wages, relying on transit and living with multiple roommates due to lack of affordable housing.
- A wolf pack local to the Sooke area may have been “wiped out” by a hunter, Focus on Victoria reports. Community members, including Sooke Mayor Maya Tait, are upset over the loss of the well-known and well-documented wolf pack. Tait sent a letter to Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Katrine Conroy to support an Oak Bay resolution calling for a moratorium on recreational wolf hunting.
- B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives is calling on British Columbians to speak out against racism in a statement about anti-Asian racism. The statement from Rachna Singh came in response to recent shootings in the United States and rallies happening across Canada. According to the statement, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by over 700 per cent compared to last year in Vancouver.
- Automotive technicians in Victoria will be able to upgrade their skills to work on electric vehicles through a new program at Camosun College, the province of B.C. says.
- The City of Colwood has entered its 2021 budget process and is inviting residents to attend meetings and provide input. To find the meeting schedule and more information, visit colwood.ca/Budget.
- The Town of View Royal is inviting residents to provide input and opinions on the annual budget prior to its final adoption using an online 2021 Citizen Budget engagement tool. The deadline to participate is 4:30 p.m. March 31 (today).
- The Sooke Region Communities Health Network has released a report on homelessness in the Sooke region. The report is a product of two-years worth of work to find temporary and more permanent solutions for chronic homelessness in the community. Find the report here.
- Hockley House, a six-storey rental building in Langford, has officially opened with 120 new affordable homes for low-income families and individuals. Residents will begin moving into their new homes in early April.
- West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect after a vehicle parked at an apartment building in Langford was broken into and items were stolen. The suspect is described as a 20- to 30-year-old Caucasian man who was wearing a grey and red Ecko tracksuit. Photos can be found here. Police are reminding the public to not leave anything in vehicles. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Const. Skulmoski of the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-8768.
- Police hiked 12 kilometres to rescue two hikers who got lost in the Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park in Metchosin on Saturday night. Using GPS coordinates, West Shore RCMP officers and police service dog Erik found the hikers after three hours of searching. Police are reminding hikers to be prepared when heading out on the trails. This includes, but is not limited to, bringing water and food and dressing appropriately.
- A B.C. Supreme Court decision on an injunction application regarding the Fairy Creek old-growth logging blockades has been postponed, the Times Colonist reports. Logging company Teal Jones has requested to remove protest blockades from sites in the Port Renfrew area and asks that the court allow anyone impeding workers and equipment to be arrested.
- Thursday, April 1: 🎵Listen to Angela Verbrugge sing new and favourite standards live from Hermann’s Jazz Club. The event will be streamed online and no advance tickets are required. Show starts at 7 p.m.
- Thursday, April 1: 🛍The Esquimalt Farmers Market returns at Bullen Field from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Check out weekly vendor lineups and a new interactive market map online.
- Thursday, April 1: 💜Join a panel discussion hosted by the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law on anti-Asian racism in B.C. and beyond. The event will be on Zoom and begins at 5 p.m.
- Now until Monday, April 5: 📚Participate in Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Spring Break Teen Reading Club. Each book that is read earns the reader a draw slip for a chance to win fun prizes.
- Now until Sunday, May 2: 📸 Dive into the world of photograph-based art at Metchosin ArtPod’s latest exhibit: ReVision.
- Now until Sunday, April 11: 🌿Metchosin ArtPod is looking for entries for Feathers, Fur & Fauna, a new show that will run in May and June. Submissions can be in any medium and all works must be for sale. The deadline for entries is April 11.
- Tuesday, April 13: 🚗 The Citizens’ Environment Network in Colwood kicks off its speaker series with Drive Electric! There will be two speakers from the Victoria Electric Vehicle Association. The event runs from 7 to 8 p.m. and is hosted on Zoom. Register by email at [email protected].
If you’re planning an event that I should consider for an upcoming list, send me an email.
In your words
In the midst of mass layoffs in the journalism industry, I tweeted about a simple way to support journalists (aside from supporting a local news outlet, of course). I received a really kind response from a follower, @moonfist:
“I always look forward to your words and your perspective on issues,” he said. “Cheers and prayers and blessings you wonderful journalist you!”
Thank you for that boost of positivity. It really brightened my day! And thank you to everyone who has supported The Discourse so far. We wouldn’t be here without you. [end]
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