west shore photo of the week
Our West Shore photo of the week: Thank you to Gary Woodburn for sharing this cheeky photo of the celebrity racoon he’s dubbed as “Rocky.” Send your photos to shalu@thediscourse.ca
West Shore

West Shore This Week – Stay curious

Shalu Mehta June 16, 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

For the past couple of months, I’ve been working hard on our Delving Into Development series to highlight development issues and solutions on the West Shore. The series will wrap up shortly, but that doesn’t mean my reporting on development will end. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that this is an evolving topic — particularly on the West Shore. I hope to take some time over the coming months to focus on larger stories about development — stories that I don’t think I’d be able to do justice with just one week of reporting. I can’t wait to give you updates about this in the future.

In the meantime, I’m excited to announce the next solutions-focused series The Discourse plans to work on: Forests For The Future. In this series, we’ll ask what a healthy, vibrant future for forests in B.C. could look like. We’ll dig into forest management innovations and take a look at who is making a difference in this space. The Discourse Nanaimo, Cowichan and West Shore as well as our sister outlet, IndigiNews, will be coming together to work on this project. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! You can fill out a survey to help guide our reporting for this series here.

If you have any questions, story suggestions or just want to say hello, please send me an email! I want to know what you’re curious about! I love hearing from you and truly believe I do my best learning when I’m engaging with the community. 


Story highlights from The Discourse

Visitors to the Fairy Creek Blockades stand among the "giants," large trees over 250 years old.
On June 5, Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations urged companies, governments and individuals to respect their traditional laws and constitutionally-protected rights and title. Photo by Julie Chadwick/TheDiscourse

Q&A: What do the old-growth logging deferrals mean for Fairy Creek?

The Discourse Nanaimo reporter Julie Chadwick had a conversation with Indigenous lawyer and former chief and councillor of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, Doug White (Kwulasultun), to get his take on what old-growth logging deferrals in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran areas really mean. Read the Q&A here.

Mahlikah Awe:ri says that this call to action comes from a place of love. Photo by Red Works Photography

Afro-Indigenous community calls out Sephora Canada for lacking diverse representation

IndigiNews reporter Anna McKenzie reports on criticism faced by Sephora for not including Afro-Indigenous representation in a recent Sephora Canada campaign, as well as anti-Blackness in Indigenous communities. Read more here.

climate change
The entrance to the O.K. Industries Ltd. rock quarry site on Millstream Road in the District of Highlands. Photo by Shalu Mehta/The Discsourse

Consider climate change, Highlanders argue in quarry court appeal

In a court appeal, the Highlands District Community Association argues that climate change should have been taken into account when considering a permit for the O.K. Industries quarry operation in the District of Highlands. In the latest from our Delving Into Development series, we examine the significance of the court’s decision, regardless of the ruling. A recent update as of Monday, June 14: The B.C. Court of Appeal denied the community association’s appeal. You can read the decision here.


COVID-19 news

  • As of Tuesday, June 15, B.C. has entered Step 2 of the province’s restart plan. This means non-essential travel is now allowed within B.C., outdoor personal gatherings for up to 50 people are allowed and so are indoor, seated organized gatherings with up to 50 people (theatres, banquet halls, etc.) Liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs is extended until midnight and indoor sports games as well as high-intensity fitness with safety plans are also allowed. Masks and physical distancing are still required in all indoor public spaces and personal indoor gatherings are limited to five visitors or one other household. Learn more about B.C.’s restart plan here.
  • 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

  • An urgent primary care centre is opening in Esquimalt in two phases. As of Monday, June 14, the centre’s temporary site in the Esquimalt Health Unit will provide limited health care services from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In the first phase, patients can see a nurse or mental health consultant, by appointment. The centre will open in its permanent location, with extended hours and health care services, in December. Read more here.
  • The District of Sooke’s draft 2020 Annual Report is available for public review until June 28, when council will consider the report. You can review the report and learn how to participate in public meetings here.
  • Minor capital funding is bringing major upgrades to schools in the Sooke School District. SD62 says more than $6 million is coming for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, roofing and structural upgrades and a new school bus. Read more here.
  • Construction has begun for Bear Mountain Parkway upgrades in Langford. The upgrades include construction of a roundabout at Marble Place, the location of a future elementary school site. Underground hydro ducting, completion of the sidewalk and boulevard along the upper side of the parkway and completion of bike lanes are also included. Read more here.
  • The Westshore Skatepark Coalition is looking for 100 businesses to donate $1,000 to help fund the Westshore Skatepark Project. The coalition and West Shore Parks & Recreation are partnering to build a new, 13,000 square-foot, multi-purpose, all-wheels skatepark on the West Shore. There hasn’t been a skatepark on the West Shore since 2015. Learn more here.
  • The province is working to ensure better data regarding wolf hunting is collected through regulatory changes. In a letter to the Town of View Royal, assistant deputy minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development David Muter responds to View Royal’s letter of support for the implementation of a moratorium on recreational wolf hunting on Vancouver Island. He says ministry staff “view hunting and trapping seasons for wolves on Vancouver Island as sustainable and appropriate to meet the objectives for wolf conservation and sustainable use.” However, he says there will be a review of biological data and if there is a change in the understanding of population levels and sustainability, additional regulation changes may be required.
  • More than 2,400 people have signed a petition to preserve a parcel of land next to Langford Lake that is for sale. The petition, created by the community group Langford Voters for Change, is asking Langford council to take the property off the market and keep it as a nature park.
  • The controversial Boys and Girls Club property in Metchosin could stay as an outdoor educational space if an offer from Thriving Roots Wilderness School goes through, the Goldstream News Gazette reports
  • A new property for sale in Langford’s Westhills neighbourhood is seeing community backlash. The Capital Daily Podcast speaks to an expert about the criticism the potential development is facing.
  • Construction is underway on a new affordable rental housing project in Sooke. The project, located at 2075 Drennan St. and 6418 Sooke Rd., will provide 170 homes for people with varying incomes and backgrounds in a five-storey apartment building.
  • BC Transit announced service changes that include routing changes on Route 53 Colwood Exchange/Langford Exchange. The route will now begin and end at Victoria General Hospital rather than the Colwood Exchange. All trips will be routed via Thetis Lake and limited peak service will be available to and from downtown. Find more information here.

Community events

  • Month of June: 🌈 June is Pride Month. Check out pre-Pride and Pride Week events hosted by the Victoria Pride Society.
  • Thursday, June 17: ❓  Thursday night trivia is back at Bucky’s Taphouse with Sixty Watt Trivia. It starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Saturday, June 26: 🌎 Transition Sooke is hosting an online town hall about “developing a livable Sooke in a Climate Emergency.” To register or for more information, email sooketransition@gmail.com.

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

A reader sent us a message online last week thanking us for our work:

“Thank you for reporting on local issues — particularly regarding the environment and Indigenous issues,” they said.

I’m so glad The Discourse is able to help lift up conversations about things that matter to our communities.

With gratitude,

Shalu