west shore photo of the week
A big thanks to Mark Byrne (@maby_birder on Instagram) for this beautiful photo of a white-crowned sparrow. It's our photo of the week! Send your photos to shalu@thediscourse.ca
West Shore

West Shore This Week – Soaring towards spring

Shalu Mehta April 21, 2021

Welcome to West Shore This Week, your cheat sheet to what’s up on the West Shore, by reporter Shalu Mehta. In this weekly newsletter you’ll find the latest news and events, highlights from The Discourse’s in-depth coverage and more. Sign up to get this in your inbox every Wednesday.


A note from your West Shore reporter

Have you checked out the first stories in our Delving Into Development series yet? It just launched on Friday and I’m so happy with the response so far. Based on your input, The Discourse West Shore has put together this series focusing on development-related issues and solutions in our community. We’re bridging the gap between problems and possibilities through our work and I hope you find it to be of value.

I had a live conversation with my colleague, Jacqueline Ronson, about the series and why we decided to put a solutions-focused lens on it. You can watch it on our Facebook page.

As a West Shore resident, I think journalism that inspires hope and change has the potential to make a difference in our community. I’m working hard to make that possible, but can’t do it without you.

If you want to ensure that this kind of reporting can continue, can you help us reach 2,500 newsletter sign-ups this month? You can share this email with a friend or family member to let them know. Every little bit of support helps The Discourse bring in-depth, independent, community-led journalism to the West Shore.

Thank you to those of you that have been on this journey with me so far. The hard work is just beginning and I can’t wait to learn from you and share more stories with you.


Story highlights from The Discourse

‘Tomorrow will be better’: Kids Help Phone expands services to reach more Indigenous youth

Kids Help Phone is working to increase awareness and services to reach more Indigenous youth. Deanna Dunham, a Mohawk member of Six Nations of the Grand River, is the director of the Indigenous initiatives and equity program at Kids Help Phone. Dunham tells IndigiNews that as demand rises for Kids Help Phone services during the pandemic, the organization is looking to become more inclusive.

How Nanaimo’s new rent bank helps families stay housed

Nanaimo’s new rent bank enables individuals to apply for zero-interest loans of up to $1,500 or $1,800 for families to help cover unpaid rent, upcoming rent they can’t afford or up to $500 to cover unpaid essential utilities. The Discourse Nanaimo reporter Hilary Eastmure reports that with 40 applications in one weekend, the pilot program is seeing a huge need as rental costs skyrocket. This story is part of a series on rent in Nanaimo called Making Rent.

Coast Salish foods of today: Evolving towards a new path

How have Coast Salish food systems changed and where are they today? In his latest story, The Discourse Cowichan contributor Jared Qwustenuxun Williams shares what knowledge keepers have to say about what has been lost and what has been held onto in Coast Salish food and culture. The story is the final part in a trio of pieces examining the history of Coast Salish food systems for The Discourse Cowichan’s Food for Thought series.

Growing Pains: The West Shore’s identity crisis

As some municipalities welcome rapid development, others guard against an urban incursion. The Discourse West Shore contributor Nina Grossman examines rapid growth on the West Shore and some of the associated pressures in the first of our Delving Into Development series. Read the full story here.

News and announcements

  • What did community members have to say about West Shore development? The Discourse put out a survey in March about development and received over 100 responses. Read some of what we heard here.
  • Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine will now be available for people aged 40 and up. Check for availability at local pharmacies here. Henry also announced that provincial health orders including restrictions on restaurants, pubs, bars and indoor group fitness activities will be extended until May 24 at midnight. Later this week, new orders will be put in place to restrict non-essential travel outside of your health authority. Global News reports that the province is examining the use of periodic roadblocks at places like BC Ferries or on Highway 1 leaving the Lower Mainland to discourage recreational travel.  
  • People who are 18 years of age or older are invited to register for their COVID-19 vaccine this week. A new schedule was announced on Sunday and allows people to start registering for their vaccine on specific days this week, based on age group. You can find the schedule and instructions to register here.
  • Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford received an order from Island Health to close for 10 days, starting on April 19. The order comes after three or more members who tested positive for COVID-19 were in the gym, a Facebook post from the business says.
  • Schools in B.C. will remain open due to low COVID-19 transmission rates in schools, IndigiNews reports. 
  • The City of Langford was ranked the number one Best Community in B.C. and 18th Best Community in Canada by Maclean’s Magazine. This is the latest of many awards for the City of Langford.
  • Rogers Wireless customers across Canada faced outages on Monday due to what Rogers says was “a recent Ericsson software update.” Services were restored late Monday afternoon and through the evening.
  • Summer camps in Sooke and on the West Shore are gearing up again for the summer, the Goldstream News Gazette reports
  • Colwood’s Royal Bay could be home to new long-term care facilities, the Goldstream News Gazette reports. The Capital Regional Hospital District board approved an $8 million land purchase to build a health-related facility. 
  • Colwood residents could see an average property tax hike of about $100 in 2021, the Goldstream News Gazette reports. The City of Colwood explains some of the projects 2021 taxes will go towards here.
  • The section of Highway 14 at Parkinson Hill near Port Renfrew will be closed on Wednesday, April 21 at 8 a.m. until Thursday, April 22 at 6 a.m. The province says the closure is required for crews to install a temporary bridge structure that will allow for deep road base repairs. 
  • The 2021 B.C. budget was presented Tuesday and features highlights such as free public transit for children under the age of 12, doubling $10-a-day child care spaces, $900 million for health care services and more. Watch Global News’s highlights here.
  • Marnie Essery, a Butterflyway Ranger with the David Suzuki Foundation, is looking for help to create a “Butterflyway” on the West Shore with native wildflowers. If you have native plant seeds or starters to share, contact Marnie at butterflyranger21@gmail.com.

Community events

  • Thursday, April 22: 🌎 Earth Day takes place around the world on April 22. You can watch a live event at earthday.org. The District of Sooke has also provided Earth Day resources for those looking for something to do.
  • Weekends until September: 🍦 Colwood Beach Food is back with food trucks at the Esquimalt Lagoon every weekend. Check out the City of Colwood’s website for dates and the vendor schedule.
  • Saturday, April 24: 🚲 Get a free bike safety check and basic tune up at Colwood City Hall. Local community volunteers and members of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition will be in the front parking lot between 9 a.m. and noon.
  • Now until Sunday, May 2: 📸  Dive into the world of photograph-based art at Metchosin ArtPod’s latest exhibit: ReVision
  • Tuesday, April 27:💡Join the Citizens’ Environment Network in Colwood for part three of its speaker series: Reduce your Home’s Energy Consumption. The Zoom event takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. Register by emailing ColwoodCENiC@gmail.com.
  • Wednesday, April 28:👨‍👩‍👦 Learn how to help middle school students navigate changing bodies, feelings and relationships with confidence and comfort in a joint talk with the Sooke School District and Island Sexual Health. Register online.
  • Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 9:🏃‍♀️The Sarah Beckett Memorial Run goes virtual again this year. Registration is open now. Find more details here.

Is there an event I should consider for next week’s list? Send me an email to let me know.


In your words

Nicole Brown commented on a Facebook post of our first Delving Into Development story.

“Journalism that looks at all perspectives of development has been a long-time coming in the Westshore,” Nicole says.

I’m so glad the first story in this series resonated with you. I can’t wait to share the rest!

With gratitude,

Shalu