November 2015 | @SookeVoiceNews & @SookeVoiceLOCAL
Regional & national news
Saturday, November 28. 'Tis the season for all things jolly! The 'Parades & Lightups' edition of Sooke Voice News is now online. Sooke Santa Claus Parade is on Sunday, November 29 (see list of participants on page 6). The 9th Annual Langford Lightup is on Saturday, December 5. Just a few more finishing touches on the Sooke roundabout and it will soon be done. RBC bank gets ready to open their new branch on December 7. Supporting the arts: Several letters about the proposed District of Sooke arts funding cutbacks. Saving trees: David Evans tells us about his trip to the Carmanah Walbran forest. CRD reservoir is rapidly refilling now in the rainy season. Less fresh locally-grown produce to Sooke Food Bank if Sooke Food CHI cuts go ahead. District of Sooke Councillor Brenda Parkinson busy with town beautification this holiday season.
Thursday, November 26. EDITORIAL - West Shore / Sooke Voice News: "During these worst of recessionary and post-recessionary times, the BC Arts Council has never flagged in its support of artists and art groups. They've issued millions of dollars to help sustain the inspiration of creators in our communities. How visionary that was intended to be is unknown. But either way, they've maintained some vibrancy among the people during very difficult socio-economic times." (part of a larger editorial on the arts in Sooke, November 20, 2015, pg.2). The BC Arts Council has issued $4.7 million in grants to BC artists and arts organizations, it was announced today. "These awards will enhance arts and culture in 57 BC communities," said the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development today in a new release. Of those grants (covering an intake period of July through September 2015), 17 are for arts-based community projects.
Thursday, November 26. Today NDP Leader of the Opposition John Horgan toured the T'Sou-ke First Nation's Solar Project, an innovative solar energy solution which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the cost of heating for that community. Touring with Horgan was Chief Gordon Planes and MLA Scott Fraser. The weather was cold but bright in Sooke for the tour today.
Tuesday, November 24. The federal government has announced their plan and strategy for bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. The target now is to bring 10,000 by December 31, and the other 15,000 government-sponsored refugees by the end of February 2016. This is due to the sheer magnitude of the task, and 'doing it right', said Immigration Minister John McCallum in Ottawa today. However, up to 15,000 refugees are coming to Canada as privately sponsored, as early as year's end. Therefore, a total of 35,000 Syrian refugees will be settled in Canada between now and the end of 2016. McCallum was flanked by several other cabinet ministers to discuss health (Minister Jane Philpott), public safety (Minister Ralph Goodale), and the military role (Minister Harjit Sajjan). Priority will be given to families and those in the LGBT community who may be vulnerable. Some short-term accommodation will be provided on military bases until relocation to new home communities can be facilitated. If new arrivals have families already settled in Canada, the idea is to join up those families. Young single men can be sponsored privately for immigration, as part of the government's approach to concerns about terrorists being among young males. The cost over 6 years for this program is said to be $678 million. That includes transportation, overseas personnel, housing, language training, and health supports including counselling.
Saturday, November 21. The November 20 courtesy web edition of West Shore/Sooke Voice News is now online. Subscriptions to receive the PDF direct by email, call 250-642-7729. In this week's edition: town center roundabout nearly completed (page 1). Editorial: "What's happening to the arts in Sooke?" (page 2). Editorial: Sooke Chamber needs to better understand or execute its dual role (page 2). List of all the Category A grant amounts as being recommended by the District of Sooke Community Grant Review Committee (page 4). Sport winner: Young Langford mom is boxing her way to the Olympics. Editorial (page 6): Recession-shock has changed the economy.
Friday, November 20. FEDERAL NEWS. The Liberal government's plan for bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada will be announced in detail on Tuesday, November 24, it was announced today from Ottawa by Immigration Minister John McCallum and Heath Minister Jane Philpott. The Liberals were left a far larger deficit by the previous Conservative government than had been let on by the Conservatives during the fall 2015 election campaign, it was announced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
Wednesday, November 18. One motorist has died on the Malahat stretch of Hwy1 (TransCanada Highway). West Shore RCMP is currently investigating. The road is closed in both directions (as of 8 am this morning) for a minimum of five hours -- likely to 3pm say RCMP, to allow a thorough and methodical investigation. RCMP South Island Traffic Services and a traffic analyst have been called to assist. There is no detour available at this time. The incident occurred in the 4200-block of Hwy 1. Anyone with information on the crash is urged to contact West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264. If centre barriers had been in place where the accident occurred, only one car would have been involved, and fatality much less likely. That's according to Malahat Fire Chief Rob Patterson as heard on CFAX Radio this morning. The BC Government did make an infrastructure investment in the last few years, installing centre barriers and other improvements on the Malahat.
Wednesday, November 18. Last night, mid-evening, there were 129 outages leaving 10,830 BC Hydro customers without power on south Vancouver Island (down from 26,370 customers mid-day November 17). At 2:30 am this morning, there were still 99 outages on the south of Vancouver Island, but apparently affecting 2,987 customers compared to over 10,000 last night. A barebones version of the BC Hydro website has been the only online format available from mid-afternoon Tuesday. In a previous summer windstorm, the BC Hydro website crashed completely. At 7:30pm last night, BC Hydro posted that additional crews had been brought in to assist restoration efforts. "Wind abating, progress is being made to restore power to impacted customers. Crews to work through the night."
WINDY WET WEATHER & POWER OUTAGES - Sooke and south Vancouver Island: Tuesday, November 17. UPDATE 6:25 pm: There are presently 129 outages on south Vancouver Island (up from 74 outages at mid afternoon), This see 10,830 BC Hydro customers without power (down from 26,370 customers mid-afternoon). Many households on the west side of the island remain without power to at least 8pm tonight, which is the estimated on time stated by BC Hydro.
WINDY WET WEATHER & POWER OUTAGES - Sooke and south Vancouver Island: Tuesday, November 17. Heavy rainfall all day today has caused water accumulation on roads and properties. When driving in the rain, leave extra room between your vehicle and the next. Flooding may occur on properties and in homes. Throughout Vancouver Island, 41,500 customers have been without power today, with as many as 89 power outages. As of 3:10 pm, 3,826 customers without power are in the northern island area, with 24,753 customers affected in areas of South Vancouver Island. . Particularly hard hit by the storm have been the Cowichan Valley (12,000 out at peak), and the Greater Victoria area (27,000 out at peak), says BC Hydro community relations manager for Vancouver Island-Sunshine Coast. About 800 BC Hydro customers in the Sooke area have been without power since this morning, mostly in the West Coast Road area, west of Sooke. With 41,500 customers out of power, that's about 124,500 people affected by these outages on south Vancouver Island (approximately 3 persons per BC Hydro billing address). Occasional rain in recent weeks soaked quickly in the ground, but this rainfall is substantial and may produce flooding. Road conditions can be particularly difficult wherever water has accumulated. The reservoir that serves over 350,000 people in the Greater Victoria area was still not filling up to October 27 due to the drought-impacted watershed soaking up all available rainfall, but rains in November have reversed that trend.
Sunday, November 15. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been at the G20 summit in Turkey for the past few days. Although security issues were top of mind for all (following the terrorist attacks in Paris a few days ago), Trudeau also adhered to his planned agenda to discuss the importance of urban infrastructure. Trudeau also stuck to his guns about withdrawing Canada's CF-18 fighter jets from the allied air combat mission. Trudeau in his election campaign this year specified instead that Canada's role would be to train local on-the-ground forces and to see continued humanitarian aid to the region. See editorial Strategic war support is a fight for peace on page 2 in the November 13 edition of West Shore/Sooke Voice News.
Sunday, November 15. Things are stirring for upcoming construction of the new McKenzie Interchange at Hwy 1. The first public open house about the project will be held on Tuesday, November 17 at St Joseph the Worker Parish Hall, 753 Burnside Rd West in Saanich, from 3pm to 7pm. Highway improvements are expected to smooth out traffic and enable regional economic growth.
Sunday, November 15. The November 13th edition of West Shore Voice | Sooke Voice News includes summary coverage of the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, and the sewage dump into the St Lawrence River with a view to how sewage treatment is handled in the Greater Victoria area. Roundabout in Sooke town center on Hwy 14 is almost complete, finishing up in the rainy weather; soft opening with the BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure on November 16. BC puts over $35 million into school upgrades, to help with aging infrastructure. Street name for fallen RCMP officer in time for his family's visit to Sooke coming up in December. Belmont old and new: Old Belmont high school still being deconstructed, new Belmont Secondary holding public open house. Both RBC Bank and TD Bank starting new managers in Sooke on December 7, after sagging time period during town centre construction. Public input on the McKenzie Interchange coming up November 17; highway improvements will smooth out traffic and enable regional economic growth. Sooke Dance Studio dancers heading to Disneyland: raising funds to make the trip and perform there. CRD water reservoir starting to fill up after the long summer drought, thanks to recent rainfall, now over 68% full.
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Saturday, November 14. The ISIS terrorist group has claimed responsibility for last night's attacks in Paris. French president Francois Hollande vows to be 'merciless' with the terrorist group. The death count was 129 people, and there were 352 people injured, 99 of those critically. Seven attackers were killed, but more are being sought who are possibly in Belgium.
Friday, November 13. Seven terrorist attacks in Paris, France this evening have left over 120 people dead. One of the attacks took place in a concert hall where at last report at least 100 are said to have died; apparently the shooting event lasted about 10 minutes. Reports say that attacks were targeted for areas where large crowds would be gathered. At least one of the attacks may have been a suicide attack. One of the attacks took place at a restaurant, and another at a soccer game where French president Francois Hollande was in attendance. "France must be strong and great," said French President Francois Hollande in an online report by CNN around 5:20pm Pacific time. "This is a horror. The terrorists want to seize us with fear. Faced with this fear as a nation that defends itself, which will be able to overcome the terrorists." France is closing its borders as part of attempting to catch the attackers. US President Barack Obama said on CNN this evening: "Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. The American people draw strength from the French people's commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. BC Premier Christy Clark issued a statement at 5pm Pacific today: "Like all Canadians, I was shocked and sickened by the news from Paris. For centuries, Frances has been a beacon of light and example for the world, and remains one of our closest friends and allies. Tonight, all Canadians and British Columbians stand with them, both in grief for those who were killed, but also in resolve. Those who commit such acts of violence want to change us, and our shared values. They will fail," Clark said in the news release. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on his way to the G20 summit in Turkey this evening, had issued a written statement to media: "I am shocked and saddened that so many people have been killed and injured today in a number of terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and that many others are being held hostage," he said. Trudeau said Canada is prepared to offer France whatever assistance is needed. "We will continue to work closely with the international community to help prevent their terrible, senseless acts."
Thursday, November 12. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have an official audience with Queen Elizabeth II on November 25 at Buckingham Palace, it was announced today. That will be ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta, November 27-29. Trudeau will meet next week with world leaders during the G20 Leaders' Summit in Turkey including those from China, Mexico and Italy. The following week, Trudeau will meet with US President Obama about economic challenges, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) meeting. On November 23 Trudeau will meet with Canada's provincial premiers, one week before the UN COP21 climate change summit in Paris (that begins November 30), including a briefing from climate scientists for cabinet and the premiers so that a "cohesive message" can be presented by Canada at COP21. The November 23 briefing and working dinner will be the first time in six years that a prime minister has met with provincial and territorial premiers.
Wednesday, November 11. Remembrance Day 2015 is being recognized at ceremonies across Canada today.
Tuesday, November 10 [updated]. Dumping raw sewage is not a Victoria-only thing! The City of Montreal -- in order to do maintenance and repair on pipes and other aging infrastructure of the their sewage treatment system, will be releasing 8 billion litres of raw sewage (via 26 interceptors) into the St Lawrence River starting at 12:01 am on Wednesday, November 11 for about five days. The outflow will occur underwater, out of sight and away from the shore. Until the 1980s, it was common to dump sewage into the river. In national media coverage about Montreal's upcoming dump, very little has mentioned that the Greater Victoria area pipes raw sewage into the Pacific ocean every minute of every day. The only municipal exception within the Greater Victoria area is Sooke, which has had a treatment plant by EPCOR for almost 10 years, to protect the Sooke harbour sealife and local tourism industry. Sooke took action under then-mayor Janet Evans to protect local waters. A contract with EPCOR allowed the small community of about 12,000 people (about 8,500 taxpaying households) to get launched with wastewater service. While only those Sooke residents who have sewer service are the ones who pay into the system (the rest remain on septic), the entire community benefits by the water treatment system. Sewers made a local real estate boom possible in the 2006-2010 period despite the recession in part of that period. The Capital Regional District (CRD) has, for years now, been attempting to work out a suitable treatment plant scenario. Presently, sewage is dumped directly into the Pacific ocean off the shores of lovely urban Victoria. In heavy rainfall, wastewater becomes mixed with regular rainflow. Committees for Core, East and West areas of the CRD have been working hard on options. One of the biggest challenges has been the 'not in my backyard' pressures from residents in various areas where treatment plants might be built. Federal money has been ready and waiting, as well as provincial, but CRD taxpayers will need to be brought on board. Federal Environment & Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said Montreal can proceed with the sewage operation under specific conditions, up to December 5, 2015. What are considered stricter conditions, the Montreal city operation is to: improve the city's emergency management plan for the dump; improve visual surveillance of the discharge as it leaves the pipes into the river; develop a more comprehensive cleanup plan for affected areas; monitoring of the impact of the discharge on the river's ecosystem before, during and after the discharge; a comprehensive review of the process leading up to the city's decision to dump the raw sewage. McKenna called the city's plan "far from ideal", but preferable to an accidental release of waste water caused by Montreal's decaying sewer system. The plan was in the works for about 18 months but the Conservative government apparently delayed action on it. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre told media that he has no problem with the conditions. "It's positive and constructive." Improvements to old urban infrastructure was a key plank of the federal Liberal campaign promises leading up to the October 19, 2015 election. Apparently several urban mayors were consulted on infrastructure needs prior to the campaign. Residents in the Montreal area are asked to not flush certain items down their toilets during the next five days (or ever, actually), including cigarette butts, tampons, condoms and other items that seem flushable-without-concern but are not.
Saturday, November 7. Check out the Remembrance Day edition of West Shore Voice & Sooke Voice News (yep, now they have merged). Front page: Trudeau appoints a cabinet of 30 MPs who "look like Canada" -- photos of every one of them! Page 1: New restaurant opens at Sooke and Townsend -- this one might have a chance! Page 2 Editorial: A prime minister who hangs out on Google. Page 3: Remembrance Day information and greetings from community leaders. Page 4: Deconstruction of old Belmont high school is underway. Sobeys will take possession of the land on March 31, 2016. Page 4: latest Sooke roundabout update. Page 5: WorksafeBC speaker was injured on the job at age 19 Page 6: Sooke Reservoir level is finally on its way back up, thanks to all the rain! Page 6: Military and veterans get free bus rides on November 11.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has selected a cabinet of 30 MPs as revealed this morning in Ottawa, achieving gender parity (15/15) and regional balance. Photo [screenshot CBC]: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the podium with his cabinet, after the swearing in at Rideau Hall today in Ottawa. Trudeau said he wants to recall Parliament within the first few days of December but will be discussing it with cabinet as one of the first items of business. Trudeau is going to handle the youth portfolio himself and has not handed it over to a cabinet minister. Student loans will not be repayable until the graduate is earning a minimum of $25,000, Trudeau told media today. Here is the full list of Cabinet:
• Justin Trudeau (Quebec) -
Prime Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will be sworn in as the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada this morning, November 4, at 7:30 am Pacific Time (10:30am in Ottawa). Trudeau and his cabinet will walk together to Rideau Hall (residence of the Governor General) for the formal ceremony starting around 6:30 am Pacific -- live TV coverage starts at that time on CBC and CTV news networks. For the first time, the public is being invited to line the roadsides as the elected MPs approach the ceremony. The ceremony will be shown on large TVs outside Rideau Hall, and of course on public media across the country. Live TV coverage is being held starting one hour prior to the swearing in (i.e. 6:30 am Pacific), on CBC and CTV, as well as being live-streamed by those broadcasters. The Prime Minister will hold his first cabinet meeting at 2:30pm Eastern Time. Media availability in the foyer of the House of Commons will follow -- something that did not happen for many years under the previous prime minister.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will host a Google Hangout with school children immediately after his swearing-in ceremony this morning in Ottawa. The online event can be accessed at www.youtube.com/user/pmocpm . The public and media are invited to follow the conversation online. The Prime Minister will converse with youth from five schools across Canada in a bilingual session. A Google Hangout is a free instant messaging and live video chat that people can watch for their computer or mobile device. Just visit the YouTube page and watch live.
Wednesday, November 4. Public input is being received by BC Transit about their Fare Structure Review, at an Open House tomorrow, November 5. Rates for service in the Greater Victoria area are reviewed every three years. The details are at VICTORIA BC TRANSIT FARE REVIEW. Fare increases for both youth and seniors are included in all three proposed options, as if that is a foregone conclusion. Other details involved whether a flat $3 cash fare should be payable upon boarding the bus, and whether the use of paper transfers should continue. Security of bus drivers seems to be part of the reasoning behind some of the proposed fare review proposals. The open house is from 3 pm to 6 pm at the BC Transit office, 520 Gorge Road East. Comments may be sent by email to email@example.com . Comments may be submitted up to November 5 in a survey online. See more details in article on page 1 in October 30, 2015 Sooke Voice News.
Sunday, November 1, 2015. It was time again in the wee hours of this morning, to turn clocks back one hour for the end of Daylight Savings Time for this year. The return to Standard Time occurred at 2am, November 1, 2015, for the winter. Computers and smart-technology usually change the time on their own, so that just leaves wall clocks, some microwaves, clocks in older cars, and maybe the odd clock tower or two to be changed manually!
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