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
Wow, it’s been a busy spring so far! I feel like everyone I’ve spoken with recently has expressed just how busy they’ve been with work, family, spring cleaning, gardening and more. I suppose we’re not that different from the natural world around us, using the sunshine and warmth to energize us and grow.
Here at The Discourse West Shore, I’ve been working away on the Delving Into Development series. There are so many stories to be told in this space, with new ones popping up every week. I’ve been learning so much and hope you’re learning, too, as you follow along the series. We’ll continue reporting stories related to development and rapid growth over the coming weeks, alongside this newsletter.
If you enjoy what we’re doing, can you forward this email to friends, family or other community members and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter? Subscriptions are a tangible way for community members to let us know they want us to keep doing this work.
Thank you so much for your continued support as we work to bring independent, in-depth, community-driven stories to the West Shore. If you have any story ideas or suggestions, or just want to say hello, please send me an email. Your input drives The Discourse’s reporting and I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on our work.
Story highlights from The Discourse
Beyond Red Dress Day: Seven calls to action for allies
Last week, people across the country marked the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, also known as Red Dress Day. To mark this time of remembering and honouring the Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender diverse people who have been victims of gender-based and racialized violence, the IndigiNews team came up with seven calls to action for allies. Read them here.
These tenants are organizing to restore safety in their Nanaimo complex
After months of advocating for their safety, residents of the subsidized Quarterway family housing complex in Nanaimo say they’re finally seeing changes and that others could learn from their experience. Read more from reporter Lauren Kaljur here. This story is part of The Discourse Nanaimo’s series on rental affordability, Making Rent.
Towards an affordable and liveable West Shore
What can West Shore municipalities do to ensure a bright and affordable future for its residents? Experts tell The Discourse that pro-development policies need to be paired with thoughtful planning. Read more from this story here. It’s the latest in The Discourse West Shore’s Delving Into Development series.
- All pregnant people in B.C. who are over the age of 16 are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a priority population, the province says. Vaccine registration is now open for all people over the age of 18. Register online here.
- Health Canada has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for youth aged 12 to 17. The province says B.C. is expanding its immunization plan to include this age group. People in this group are asked to not register for a vaccine at this time. Registration details will be updated as soon as information is available.
- Recent COVID-19 school exposures on the West Shore include exposures at Ecole John Stubbs on May 5 and 6 as well as Dunsmuir Middle School and Ruth King Elementary on April 27 and 28. Island Health says you will be contacted in case of any school exposure involving your child. Find the full list of school exposures here.
- Workers will soon have access to a paid sick leave program in B.C., the province says. There will be three paid sick leave days related to COVID-19 and the province will reimburse employers without a sick leave program up to $200 per day to cover costs. New legislation will also create a permanent paid sick leave for workers who can’t work due to illness or injury beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Details are yet to be determined. Paid sick leave related to COVID-19 will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2021.
- On Thursday, leaked internal BC Centre for Disease Control reports were published by the Vancouver Sun. The reports showed data about COVID-19 transmission and vaccinations on a neighbourhood basis, something that wasn’t reported before. The reports also showed that at the end of April, View Royal had a higher-than-average case count compared to other South Island municipalities, the Capital Daily reports. Read more from the Capital Daily’s story here.
News and announcements
- An Indigenous woman is developing suicide prevention workshops for youth, IndigiNews reports. Nalaga (Avis O’Brien) is working on a series of culturally-based workshops for Indigenous youth to develop self regulation tools rooted in ancestral knowledge and yoga-based practices.
- The District of Sooke’s Mayor Maja Tait proclaimed May 10 as the Day of Action Against Asian Racism. In Canada, May is Asian Heritage Month.
- The City of Langford and its fire department is looking to select its own emergency dispatch provider and break from its contract as part of the Capital Regional District’s emergency fire dispatch group. CRD staff recommend that the board approve Langford’s request at its May 12 board meeting.
- First Nations people who were at the forestry blockades near Port Renfrew say they were attacked by forestry workers, APTN News reports. On May 4, forestry workers were recorded on video yelling at protesters. Loggers are heard referring to welfare cheques and yelling “Go back to your teepees,” APTN News reports. A forestry worker is also seen knocking a phone out of the hand of the protester filming the video.
- The Sooke School District is making history as the first to use electric school buses in the province. Electric school bus service began this week and a total of 13 school districts in B.C. have purchased the environmentally-friendly buses.
- A preliminary inquiry into the 2019 murder of Metchosin resident Martin Payne began at the Western Communities Courthouse this week, CTV News reports. Two inmates from William Head Institution in Metchosin were charged with first degree murder in Payne’s death. Due to a publication ban, evidence presented at the inquiry cannot be reported. The trial date for the two inmates will be set some time later in 2021.
- The Sooke School District is looking for homestay families for its International Student Program. Those interested can find more information here.
- The Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission’s Const. Sarah Beckett Memorial Scholarship is open for applications. The $2,000 scholarship is presented annually to post-secondary students who live in the CRD and demonstrate academic achievement, financial need, community service and an expressed interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Applications will be accepted until June 25.
- The Westshore Public Alert Notification System has changed service providers. Existing and new subscribers are encouraged to subscribe to the new platform, called Alertable, to receive emergency alerts. You can do so here.
- The City of Colwood and Seacliff Properties signed a development agreement for Colwood’s Royal Beach. The agreement sets out requirements for servicing, transportation, parks, building efficiency, density, development phasing and more. Learn more about the agreement here.
- Langford and North Cowichan are on Alexzi Building Solutions’ list for where the company might build a new 150,000-square-foot manufacturing plant to make a greener construction alternative to concrete, the Goldstream News Gazette reports. The plant will make construction panels with a powder called Nexiite, mixed with locally-sourced sand and water and an insulating core.
Canada’s Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the country’s child welfare system is broken and “will cost billions to fix,” IndigiNews reports. Read more about what Miller said to IndigiNews regarding the federal budget here.
The Discourse in your community
Last week I had the great pleasure of participating in Folk U Radio’s reporters roundtable on CKTZ 89.5 FM on Cortes Island. I got together virtually with host Manda Aufochs Gillespie, National Observer reporter Rochelle Baker, Cortes Currents reporter Roy Hales and Campbell River Mirror reporter Marc Kitteringham. We spent a little over an hour talking about environmental issues in the communities we cover.
I got to talk about recent reporting The Discourse did on a quarry proposal in the District of Highlands as well as other environmental issues I’m seeing on the West Shore. I also learned about other stories like Campbell River’s food waste, a community forest on Cortes Island, citizen science initiatives, sea star wasting diseases, what’s at stake at Fairy Creek and more.
You can read a summary of the show and listen to a podcast version of it here.
- 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.
- Wednesdays, May 12 and 19, and Friday, May 28:🎥 Join Threshold Housing Society for a virtual screening of the documentary 19 & Homeless. The film captures two years in the lives of a group of former foster youth as they age out of care and transition into adulthood.
- Saturday, May 15:📄 Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore is holding a Shred-a-Thon to raise funds for programs to support women and girls in the community. The cost is $10 per archive-sized box. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Westshore Town Centre near the Cineplex Odeon theatre. Find more details here.
- Saturday, May 15: 🎮 Epic Games and More is hosting another Pokemon Team Challenge Tournament. Play using the online Pokemon Trading Card game for a chance to represent Epic Games and More in the Team Challenge playoffs. Registration is now open. Details here.
- Sunday, May 16: 🌱 The Farm at Goldstream is hosting a starter plant and garden plant sale where you can pick vegetable starts, learn about what works for your garden and enjoy a cup of coffee. The event takes place from noon to 4 p.m.
- Friday, May 21 to Thursday, June 10: 🎭 In lieu of putting on a traditional musical this year, Royal Bay Secondary students have produced a documentary-style musical film called “Generation Next.” Tickets to view the performance are $15. You can watch a trailer for the film here.
- Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13: 🛍 Westshore Shopping Centre and Pacific Coast Market Collective will host a Westshore Summer Market. Those who want to apply to be a vendor can do so 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, my colleague Jacqueline Ronson in Cowichan received a lovely email from Elizabeth:
“Just a note to compliment you on The Discourse. I believe you are really making a difference by filling in so many questions we all have about our community – thank you!” Elizabeth wrote.
We may be a small team, but we sure are mighty and are working hard to answer questions that are important to our community. Thank you for your support, Elizabeth. It means so much to us.