West Shore This Week – Brighter days ahead

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

I hope you had a restful long weekend! I spent a lot of time in the sunshine and am so grateful for it.

I’m also grateful to be getting my COVID-19 vaccine this week. Yesterday, the province announced its restart plan and I was filled with hope knowing that the end of this pandemic could be near. I can’t wait to see friends and family again and hug loved ones who I haven’t seen in over a year. It’s been a long haul, but the one thing I’ve learned from this is that humans are resilient. This pandemic showed us what we’re capable of when we come together to help others and find solutions to problems in our community. I hope we never forget that.

What are you looking forward to once things fully reopen? Send me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts and share some hope with the community.

Story highlights from The Discourse

VIDEO: ‘I can’t breathe’ yells Indigenous woman during violent arrests at Caycuse Camp

IndigiNews was on the scene of RCMP enforcement against old growth blockaders in the Caycuse watershed last week, though media and legal observers were blocked from witnessing Thursday’s arrests. Check out Emilee Gilpin’s interview with Alex Bérubé, RCMP media relations officer, embedded in this article.

kinpark farm duncan

Duncan’s downtown farm grows more than just produce

A downtown Duncan lot was developed into an educational urban community food garden and it’s giving residents access to fresh and healthy produce as well as agriculture education, among other things. Read more about the garden, and how other cities could benefit from something similar, here.

Nanaimo’s performing artists get ‘crafty’ as recovery inspires new forms

The COVID-19 pandemic hit performing artists hard over the past year. In The Discourse Nanaimo’s latest, reporter Julie Chadwick catches up with local artists to learn about the creative ways they’ve been able to stick with their work during this difficult time. Read the story here.

COVID-19 news

  • On Tuesday, the province announced its restart plan to gradually bring things back to normal over the coming months. Step 1 of the plan began May 25 and includes allowing a maximum of five visitors or one household for indoor personal gatherings, a maximum of 10 people for outdoor personal gatherings, indoor and outdoor dining for up to six people and more. The province-wide mask mandate, business safety protocols and physical distancing measures remain in place. The rollout of the restart plan will depend on case numbers, hospitalizations and how many people are vaccinated. Read the full announcement here.
  • B.C. youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can register and get vaccinated against COVID-19. Youth can register themselves and book their appointment online, by telephone at 1-833-838-2323 or in person at any Service BC centre. Youth accompanying an adult to the adult’s vaccine appointment can also register and get vaccinated on site and do not need to book in advance. Find more details here.

News and announcements

  • A Greater Victoria School District parent and artist says he is “deeply offended” after a school board official suggested Indigenous students may not benefit from music classes, IndigiNews reports. The official’s comments were made in light of a proposal to cut music programs in the district. The parent, Carey Newman, penned an open letter that has been co-signed by hundreds of supporters. He also resigned from the school district’s Indigenous Ad Hoc Committee.
  • The province is proclaiming May 23 to 29 as Anti-Racism Awareness Week. The dates were chosen because the anniversaries of the Komagata Maru, the murder of George Floyd and Asian Heritage Month all take place this week. 
  • A recent report from the Greater Victoria Local Immigration Partnership found that 71 per cent of Black, Indigenous and people of colour personally experienced racism, regularly, in Victoria over the past five years. The Capital Daily digs into the report and speaks with Victoria locals about their experiences with racism.
  • Dr. Lisa Gunderson is seeking the Green Party of Canada nomination for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke in the next federal election. The nomination meeting is scheduled for June 24.
  • Langford’s Royal Canadian Legion president says he is concerned about the city’s plans to turn a portion of Station Avenue into an arts and culture hub, the Goldstream News Gazette reports. He says he is concerned about traffic and competition for businesses on Station Avenue. The Discourse spoke with residents and arts and culture advocates who say they welcome the project. But residents say they also hope to be involved in the decision-making process to voice their concerns about traffic and safety in the area.
  • Residents are petitioning BC Parks for repairs to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail between China Beach and Botanical Beach. As of Tuesday, over 600 people signed the petition, which calls for repairs to staircases, boardwalks, bridges and portions of the trail which are said to be rotting, falling apart or in disrepair.
  • A bear was spotted in the area of Latoria Creek Park on Monday, according to Wild Wise Westshore. The organization is asking residents to keep pets on leash, pack out what you pack in and secure your garbage if you live nearby. You can find tips to prepare for bears this season here.
  • At its May 18 council meeting, the Town of View Royal heard a recommendation from the Committee of the Whole to consider a bylaw that would help the town recover costs spent on emergency response services at Thetis Lake Regional Park and hopefully deter reckless and dangerous conduct at the park. The bylaw proposes fining people who break rules that prohibit things like drinking liquor in the park, cliff jumping and more. People who require emergency response services would also be required to pay a fee for the services administered to them.
  • The Existence Project released the latest in its documentary series, Up Close. The series profiles stories, solutions and initiatives from people on the front lines of homelessness. The latest story profiles Theresa, a mother of three from Victoria who fought to stay with her family and is now working with parents in similar circumstances to support them and their children. You can watch the documentary here.

The Discourse in your community

Last week, reporters from The Discourse Nanaimo came together online to share highlights from the solutions series on rental affordability, Making Rent. They had some fantastic discussions and answered community questions as well. You can watch the event here.

Over at IndigiNews, Emilee Gilpin has been on the ground reporting at the Fairy Creek Blockade. On Tuesday, she shared this insight on the IndigiNews Facebook page:

“One thing that isn’t mentioned by media, is the amount of (free) Indigenous-led education that’s taking place behind the scenes at the so-called ‘Fairy Creek Blockades.’ From those who have been holding it down, to those who are starting to show up to support. People are learning about where they are, whose lands they’re trying to defend, how to be an ally without causing harm, cultural appropriation, using privilege to protect, and some. The movement has become a place of unlearning and relationship-building.”

Community events

  • Last day: 🍪Southern Vancouver Island Area Girl Guides are sending cookie grams on your behalf as a thank you to health care workers in Greater Victoria. For every $5, one box of cookies will be gifted. To send your gift, e-transfer your chosen amount to svigirlguides@shaw.ca. More details 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.
  • Friday, May 28: 🎵 Take part in a Zoom music bingo fundraiser in support of the Wishart Elementary School PAC with prizes donated from the community. Find details here.
  • 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.
  • Now through 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.
  • Saturdays and Sundays until June 27: 🖼 Check out Metchosin ArtPod’s latest show: Feathers, Fur and Fauna. The show is a celebration of the diversity of our natural world. More details here.
  • Deadline Saturday, June 12: 🎨 Metchosin ArtPod is inviting submissions for Fusion: Exploring Mixed Media. Deadline for submission is June 12 and the fee is $10. Learn more 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.
  • Saturdays through Oct. 9: 🍎 The Sooke Country Market has returned to John Phillips Memorial Park for the 2021 season. Visit the market rain or shine between 10 a.m and 2 p.m.

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

Kenn sent me an email last week after I sent out a newsletter explaining that I wanted to take a little more time to get the next story in our Delving Into Development series right.

“I appreciate the quality and in-depth focus of your work. We really need that here on the West Shore,” Kenn said.

Thank you so much. I’m so glad our work is resonating with you! We couldn’t do this without the community’s support.

With gratitude,

Shalu [end]

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