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
It’s been a tough couple of weeks. I hope you’ve been able to care for yourself and connect with loved ones lately. I wanted to use the little space I have at the top of this newsletter to acknowledge those of you who may be having a difficult time and hold space for you. As a member of this community, it’s the least I can do.
The 24-hour news cycle makes it seem like we have to move on. New stories and issues fill my social media feeds and dominate conversations I have with friends and family. But important reporting, like that of IndigiNews, reminds me that just because something isn’t heavily covered anymore — just because it looks like people moved on — doesn’t mean those issues disappeared.
Indigenous community members continue to hold space for victims and survivors of residential schools. The Muslim community is grieving the loss of a London, ON family that was killed as a result of a hate-motivated crime — leaving a nine-year-old boy orphaned. One year ago, people across the world gathered in protest following the murder of George Floyd, calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. These fights haven’t ended.
You might wonder why I bring this up. I write about this to serve as a reminder that people in our communities are still hurting and that the pace at which people move on — or whether or not they choose to — varies. Reading about race, reparations and reconciliation can be uncomfortable. But through my experience, I’ve found that sitting in that discomfort and considering where it comes from has taught me a lot.
The pandemic showed me that community members on the West Shore are capable of supporting each other and lifting each other up and I know we’ll continue to do so moving forward. This community has been here for me, and I’m so grateful to be part of it. I hope that any of you who are having a tough time can find comfort in friends, family, community and yourselves, too.
Story highlights from The Discourse
Make space for the arts in new development, West Shore groups urge.
Arts advocates say developers, municipalities and arts groups should come together to build a vibrant culture future for communities on the West Shore. In The Discourse’s latest Delving Into Development story, reporter Nina Grossman takes a look at what is being done to work towards this vision for the arts. Read it here.
‘Clearly this is genocide’: Exclusive interview with NDP party leader Jagmeet Singh
New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh spoke with IndigiNews reporter Kelsie Kilawna about the recent discovery of 215 children’s remains at a former residential school site in Kamloops, B.C. In this exclusive interview, Singh says the Canadian government must do more to fight for justice for Indigenous people in Canada. Read the interview here.
Indigenous solidarity at Fairy Creek
Leaders from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation travelled to the Fairy Creek blockades in Pacheedaht territory on May 29. They were there to show their support for protestors who are calling for an end to old-growth logging operations in the area. IndigiNews managing editor Emilee Gilpin was on the ground to report. You can read the full story here.
On love and intergenerational trauma
IndigiNews reporter Anna McKenzie writes a personal account about intergenerational trauma and the many thoughts that went through her mind after hearing about the 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site. Read the full story here.
- Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports that more than 70 per cent of people ages 12 and older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. All B.C. residents 12 and older are encouraged to register for vaccination if they haven’t already.
- Bookings for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are open. Those who got their first doses will be invited to book a second dose approximately eight weeks later. Make sure to register with the Get Vaccinated program online to ensure you get an invitation. If you received an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine for your first dose at a pharmacy or through your workplace, you’ll be contacted to book a second dose. Information is coming on June 14 for those who received an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD first dose at a community, neighbourhood or pop-up clinic. For more information about second doses as well as mixing vaccines, click here.
News and announcements
- Have your say. The Discourse and IndigiNews are working on a solutions-focused investigative series into the future of sustainable forestry in B.C. and we want to hear from you. Help us guide our reporting in this series by filling out this survey.
- The Discourse and IndigiNews collaborated on a story about what non-Indigenous people can do to support Indigenous people who are grieving in the wake of news about 215 children’s remains found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Read the seven suggestions here.
- The Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations are requesting a two-year pause on old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran areas, The Narwhal reports. The pause is to give the nations time to prepare resource management and stewardship plans that are informed by Indigenous priorities. More than 170 people have been arrested in the Fairy Creek area since RCMP began enforcement of an injunction granted to forestry company Teal-Jones. The protesters say they will not stand down, and will continue to block access to active old-growth logging.
- The City of Langford is collaborating with Modo to bring a low-emission carshare fleet to the community. Three carshare vehicles — two electric and one hybrid — will be accessible to local residents during the day. The City of Langford will pick up evening use to optimize use of the fleet, Langford says.
- More than 100 new affordable homes are available for Indigenous people on the West Shore with the opening of a new development on Wale Road. The six-storey building in Colwood is a partnership between the province, the Aboriginal Land Trust Society, Lu’ma Native Housing Society and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations.
- Volunteers from Wild Wise Sooke installed 12 purple Martin nest boxes and four beams at the Sooke Pier on Saturday. The organization will be checking to see how active the boxes are and will apply for special permits to check things like chick health in the coming years. Wild Wise asks those who walk by the nests to not disturb the birds.
- Developer Ecoasis says it plans to add user fees for Bear Mountain trails, the Capital Daily reports. Volunteers helped construct many of the trails on the private property. Ecoasis says it now plans to charge non-Bear Mountain residents for using mountain biking and hiking trails on the developer’s property to ensure the privilege of living in Bear Mountain is protected.
- The Sooke School District signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Colwood, City of Langford and District of Sooke. The MOU acts as an agreement between SD62 and the municipalities to ensure they work together to provide resources and programs for students and the communities. As part of its implementation, SD62 says it will establish joint working groups that will meet twice a year to help bring items forward that meet community needs. Joint meetings between the board of education and mayor and council will also take place annually.
- Langford Mayor Stew Young is undecided about whether or not he will run for mayor again, the Times Colonist reports.
- The Town of View Royal is seeking input to determine if a secure off-leash dog area is desired at Chilco Park. You can share your thoughts in a quick survey online.
- Month of June: 🌈 June is Pride Month. Check out pre-Pride and Pride Week events hosted by the Victoria Pride Society.
- Until Monday, June 21: 🏆 Participate in the Indigenous People’s History Month Challenge with Vancouver Island Regional Library. Take one action each day to further your understanding of local Indigenous communities, Indigenous content makers and more.
- Now until Sunday, June 13: 📖 The Belfry Theatre is hosting an online filmed reading of John Murell’s “Taking Shakespeare.” Details here.
- Saturday, June 12: 🎵 Enjoy the Highlands Coffee House over Zoom with musicians Ray Spencer, Dee Cooper and Mike Regimbal. Virtual doors open at 7 p.m.
- 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. The deadline for submissions 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 Artisans Summer Market. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day outside of Winners at the Westshore Town Centre.
- Sunday, June 13: 🌲 The Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary property will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for self-guided trail walks. There is a $5 donation fee and children 12 and under as well as members are free.
- Sign up now: 🐾 Wild Wise is hosting an eight-week wildlife educational course this summer on Zoom. More details and sign-up information here.
- Sign up now: 🌿 Wolf Pack Wilderness School has new camp dates open for August. Campers aged six to 12 can participate. More details 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 went with her gut and decided she couldn’t write a normal newsletter for The Discourse Cowichan. Instead, she used that space to lift up Indigenous voices and honour the 215 children found buried at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
In response, Karen sent her an email saying this:
“I am always grateful for your reporting, but your newsletter this week touched my heart and described my thoughts and feelings exactly. ‘This truth belongs to all of us’ challenged me to go beyond emotion to action.”
I was moved to tears reading Jacqueline’s newsletter and this response. Words are powerful, and I’m glad they can resonate so deeply. I’m forever grateful to have the privilege of working with words and lifting up voices that deserve to be heard.