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  1. Volume 30 Number 4 March-April 2018 Focus.pdf 4 Leslie Campbell | MATH AND ETHICS ARGUE AGAINST TRANS MOUNTAIN If we’re going to lower emissions, allowing Alberta to increase fossil-fuel-related exports will harm the rest of Canada. 12 Mary-Wynne Ashford | ONE NUCLEAR BOMB IS TOO MANY Addressing the generational gap in understanding around nuclear disarmament. 14 David Broadland | WHY ARE CITY COUNCILLORS ACCEPTING A WORLD-CLASS BODGE? The City is refusing to provide records that would show who knew what, and when they knew it. 18 Leslie Campbell | DEVELOPMENT BESIDE GONZALES HILL PARK RAISES ALARM Is the CRD failing to steward its only regional park in the core of the city? 22 Alan Cassels | “DRUG HOLIDAYS” AND DEPRESCRIBING The growing movement to wind back excess medication. 24 Briony Penn | DID SAANICH’S EDPA POSE A THREAT TO PROPERTY VALUES? Was a real battle fought over an invented crisis? 28 Judith Lavoie | SHOULD FARMLAND BE RESERVED FOR FOOD GROWING? Marijuana greenhouses, wineries and monster houses are eroding BC’s already limited capacity to feed itself. 30 Pamela Roth | ARE THE CITY OF VICTORIA’S MARIJUANA REGULATIONS WORKING? And what will happen next summer when recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada? 32 Aaren Madden | FORM AS MEANING(S) Four First Nations curators bring new perspectives to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Pacific Northwest prints collection. 45 Mollie Kaye | Dana Statham Painter circumnavigates Vancouver Island. 48 Mollie Kaye | PLAYS WITH PURPOSE AND MEANING Zelda Dean sees theatre as a way to break down barriers. 52 Mollie Kaye | ORCHESTRATING A LIFE Conductor Yariv Aloni lands, learns, and leads in Victoria. 54 Monica Prendergast | NOT IN OUR SPACE Harassment, bullying and theatre culture. 56 Amy Reiswig | THE STRENGTH IN VULNERABILITY Claire Sicherman delves into the silent stories of her family’s traumatic past. 58 Gene Miller | AMALGACIDE Is the call for political amalgamation of CRD municipalities, at its core, motivated by toxic social impulses? 60 Maleea Acker | LOOKING AT THE TINY THINGS Mary Haig-Brown wants us to see vital connections in the natural world. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | WE DESERVE EVERYTHING WE’RE GOING TO GET Site C will help power up cannabis hot houses, Bitcoin mining, and LNG!
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    What: World Water Day Film Screening and Panel Discussion—Treaty Talks: A Journey up the Columbia River for People and Salmon Who: Panellists Jay Johnson (Chief Negotiator and Senior Policy Advisor, Okanagan Nation Alliance), Kathy Eichenberger (Executive Director, Columbia River Treaty Review, B.C. Government), and Jesse Baltutis (Graduate Fellow at UVic’s Centre for Global Studies and Water, Innovation and Global Governance Lab) When: 7-9 p.m., Thursday, March 22, 2018 Where: Room 105, Harry Hickman Building, UVic Join us this World Water Day for a film screening and panel discussion exploring ecosystem health, salmon passage, transboundary watershed governance, and the Columbia River Treaty. The evening will begin with a screening of the short film Treaty Talks: Paddling up the Columbia River for People and Salmon. This film takes us on a 1243-mile journey from the sea to the source of the Columbia River in five dugout canoes, carved and paddled by native and non-native youth. As they journey up the river—at a time when the renegotiation of the 1964 Canada-US Columbia River Treaty is at a pivotal state—we hear conversations between shareholders of the river and see the efforts of citizens working to restore historic salmon runs above the Grand Coulee Dam. A moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A will follow the film, focusing on the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty, the role of Indigenous nations in a modernized treaty, and the numerous issues that have emerged since the treaty was introduced—including ecosystem integrity, cultural flows, Indigenous values, and climate change. Panellists Jay Johnson (Chief Negotiator and Senior Policy Advisor, Okanagan Nation Alliance), Kathy Eichenberger (Executive Director, Columbia River Treaty Review, B.C. Government), and Jesse Baltutis (Graduate Fellow at UVic’s Centre for Global Studies and Water, Innovation and Global Governance Lab) will offer their perspectives. This event is being hosted by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance; UVic’s Centre for Global Studies; UVic’s Environmental Law Centre; First Nations Fisheries Council; UVic’s POLIS Water Sustainability Project; UVic’s Water, Innovation, and Global Governance Lab (WIGG); Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN); and Watershed Watch Salmon Society. RSVPs are not required but are appreciated. Please email workstudy@polisproject.org if you plan to attend. More information at: https://poliswaterproject.org/polis-event-webinar/treaty-talks-film/
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    Gentle Traces: A Festival of Experimental Music Mar. 22–24 James Bay United Church $10 per concert at door Thurs. Mar. 22, 2018, 7:00 pm This concert will feature the world premiere of a new work by Kristy Farkas, alongside the piece gentle traces of transient being by Antoine Beuger. Performed by the full APTL Ensemble and Beuger. Fri. Mar. 23, 2018, 7:00 pm Guest artist Antoine Beuger is programming and performing this concert of works for solo flute. The program will feature works by Burkhard Schlothauer, Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Daniel Brandes, and Miguel Angel Tolosa. This will be followed by an artist’s talk by Beuger. Sat. Mar. 24, 2018, 2:30 pm This concert will feature works that utilize text/poetry in various forms and include the world premiere of a new work by Daniel Brandes that draws on the series of 93 poems in Anita Barrows’ 2015 book Exile. The program will also feature the piece to collect and to recite by Antoine Beuger. This concert will be performed by Antoine Beuger and APTL Ensemble members Daniel Brandes, Laura Brandes, and Kristy Farkas.
  4. Jan/Feb 2018

    Volume 30, Number 3 Jan-Feb 2018 Focus.pdf IMMIGRANTS LIKE CRISTINA, JOEY AND C.J. ARE MAKING CANADA GREAT We’re all immigrants, but the newest amongst us make great sacrifices to keep our country strong. Leslie Campbell BRIDGE DESIGN FLAW HIDDEN FOR A YEAR, THEN GIVEN QUICK-AND-DIRTY REPAIR The latest cover-up on the $115-million project raises the question: What needs to change at Victoria City Hall? David Broadland ON THE FRONTLINES OF THE OPIOID CRISIS Leslie McBain advocates for those struggling with addictions and the families who love them. Leslie Campbell WILL “SUNSHINE” FINALLY COME TO BC? Exposing Big Pharma’s dark influence on doctors who diagnose and prescribe. Alan Cassels ONE LESS THING TO WORRY ABOUT FOR BC GRIZZLIES The BC government has killed the grizzly hunt. But will Conservation Officers enforce the ban? Judith Lavoie #METOO: WHAT NEXT? Could a victim-centred approach be a better fit in cases of sexual harassment and assault? Mollie Kaye VICTORIA’S NEW POLICY ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS Unintended consequences of Airbnbs are leading to new measures to deal with the loss of housing stock. Pamela Roth IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS Lynn Branson’s reverent connection to her medium brings her wood carvings to life. Aaren Madden A DECOLONIZING DANCE The Dancers of Damelahamid confront us with the richness of Indigenous art, past and present. Robin J Miller STEPHEN FEARING: EVERY SOUL’S A SAILOR One of Canada’s most acclaimed songwriters plays Victoria—his new home. Mollie Kaye ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEATRE AND MEMORY A Belfry production looks at the grief and panic of losing one’s life partner to Alzheimer’s. Monica Prendergast WHALE IN THE DOOR Author Pauline Le Bel’s personal journey of losses, learning, and hope for Howe Sound. Amy Reiswig BLOOD, SWEAT AND TAVISH CAMPBELL One man’s graphic video evidence spawns new awareness of fish farming dangers—and a government review. Briony Penn PANIS ANGELICUS Could Victoria be a civilizational lifeboat in these crazy, conflict-prone times? Gene Miller THE ART OF CONSERVATION: MARY SANSEVERINO Photography gives this ardent naturalist an excuse to go to the wild places. Maleea Acker OLD WAYS FOR NEW DAYS With a knack for making do, we can make ends meet and reduce our environmental footprint. Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic
  5. Volume 30 Number 2 Nov-Dec 2017 Focus.pdf 4 David Broadland | DID CRD STAFF COMMIT FRAUD AND/OR A BREACH OF PUBLIC TRUST? A shadowy group has launched complaints with the RCMP and several other public agencies. 12 David Broadland | THE ORCA FAMINE AND PUGET SOUND’S POISONED RIVERS Recent studies show how resident orca populations are affected by diminishing chinook runs and why the chinook are disappearing. 20 Leslie Campbell | FIRST THINGS FIRST: MAKING EVERY VOTE COUNT A referendum on electoral reform is coming next year. Terry Dance-Bennink of Fair Vote Canada explains why it’s important. 24 Alan Cassels | THE SWEET SMELL OF TRANSPARENCY Can a new government remove the stench of Big Pharma’s lobbying at the BC Legislature? 26 Judith Lavoie | WILD SALMON MAY GET RELIEF FROM OPEN-NET FISH FARMS Science and First Nations are stepping up the pressure to remove fish farms from BC coastal waters. 28 Ross Crockford | EMBRACE THE FIXCENTIVE We want to repair our assets. Why don’t our governments do the same? 30 Pamela Roth | WOODWYNN FARMS AND THE OPIOID CRISIS The organization appears to offer addicts a needed route to recovery while preserving farmland. What’s the hold up? 34 Aaren Madden | TRUE TO THE HEART Bi Yuan Cheng creates internal and external landscapes of truth, feeling, and sense of place. 50 Mollie Kaye | CHRISTOPHER BUTTERFIELD UVic’s music program turns 50 with one of its first grads at the helm. 52 Monica Prendergast | MURDER IN TWO OPERAS Pacific Opera brings two completely unique operas about past and current chapters in the Canadian story. 54 Amy Reiswig | THE LARGER CONVERSATION: CONTEMPLATION AND PLACE In his new book, award-winning writer Tim Lilburn begins the process of “personal decolonization.” 56 Briony Penn | BRUCE HILL: HIPPY EX-LOGGER AND WARRIOR FOR THE KITLOPE A ceremonial trip into grizzly territory with the Kitlope’s elder watchmen. 58 Gene Miller | CAUTION…HISTORY AHEAD Can Victoria survive its own bungling and folly? 60 Maleea Acker | FOR THE LOVE OF SALMON Peter McCully and his volunteer team are passionate about their work with the Goldstream Hatchery. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | ONE MAN’S TRASH: PART 2 We can recycle nearly everything. We still need to buy less stuff.
  6. Take down a parking lot and put up a paradise I sent this suggestion, which relates to Leslie Campbell’s recent editorial, to both NDP and Green Party leaders on July 10, as well as to City Hall. I would bring to your attention the fact that we in James Bay and other areas close to Downtown appreciate that both market rate and low-cost housing units are needed in our city. Parking for government officials and employees is rightly provided on a large asphalt-covered block, bounded by Kingston, Superior and Menzies streets, and these vehicles sit in the sun, rain and hail throughout the day. On weekends the parking lot is mostly vacant. I do not propose removing the parking lot. But I do suggest that at least one or more stories of housing units be built over the asphalt parking area. This would protect vehicles from the elements as well as derive income from rental of the suites. The green space where the Saturday James Bay Market is held could be left as-is for the enjoyment of new residents in the area and the new development. I and many others in the area would surely find an attractive architectural development much more pleasing to walk by than the present expanse of flat asphalt which is, in fact, an eyesore and an underutilization of valuable urban space. Dorothy Harvey Given your last editorial on affordable housing and Downtown parking lots, I thought you and Focus readers might be interested in a look at the website www.ZEDfactory.com. It is UK-based and promises low-cost homes—ZEDpods— with low energy bills, designed to be built over existing parking lots. Sam McCandlish Mayor Helps’ 1.5 percent solution Both of the articles “Tear down a parking lot and put up a paradise” and “Mayor Helps’ 1.5 percent solution” were most interesting. David Broadland suggests looking at Google Earth. I’d already done just that and was truly shocked how much of our city has been paved over. Broadland says that Victoria council’s bike lanes seem like “social engineering.” Some would call it leadership. If all the bike lanes are built for $16 million, that’s less than 19 percent of what we’re shucking out for the McKenzie Avenue interchange, and an even tinier part of what Stew Young regularly hoovers up for pavement in Langford. Copenhagen is indeed a good model for how far we can go with cycling. Looking at another European city, Ostrava in Czech Republic. Hardly anybody rides bikes, but 64 percent of people use the city’s tram, trolleybus and diesel bus routes. Trolleybuses work great in Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. They’d also be perfect on heavily-used bus routes like Esquimalt, Quadra, Gordon Head and Crosstown. Have you noticed how noisy and fume-spewing diesel buses are? There’s one last way to get around, the only one which doesn’t need any mechanical aid at all. In Bilbao Spain, 60 percent of the population walks to work. Another surprising walker’s city is Paris, where unassisted footpower has a 47 percent market share. Have a look at the massive parking lots at UVic and Camosun, all empty for months in the summer, vacant public and private school lots, all the huge lots for employers like the hospitals and Dockyard. Victoria isn’t the City of Gardens, it's the City of Pavement. Louis Guilbault I appreciated David Broadland’s very detailed and disturbing article about Victoria’s new bike lanes, especially the costs involved. At my local cafe, when chatting with members of the Trippleshot Cycling Club before their regular Sunday ride, I was told they dislike the Pandora Street bike lanes, and those curbed on Cook Street near the Quadra turn, preferring a simple white line which they said “is less dangerous.” I read your informative, evidence-based Focus articles with great interest. We certainly need such well-researched journalism. Dvora Levin In his recent article and accompanying online video, David Broadland critiques the new Pandora bicycle lanes and the Biketoria initiative. While he presents a reasonable analysis of two survey methods, Broadland fails to mention the full range of data sources that informed Biketoria planning. Instead, his article implies that Mayor Helps and City staff used only these surveys to justify Biketoria. This is false. Broadland should speak to those who led Biketoria planning to learn about the extensive engagement, data collection, and analysis process it undertook. Biketoria involved a small army of urban planners, engineers, politicians, business people and community leaders—not to mention the sizeable public who support Biketoria, and voted for politicians who said they would enhance cycling in Victoria. Unfortunately, Broadland’s article also contains a few long-debunked arguments against cycling infrastructure. For example, his video implies that car emissions will increase because the Pandora bicycle lane will be underutilized. In response, any cyclist or urban planner would ask “well, how many people use a half-built bridge?” The intersection shown in the video is the end of the Pandora bicycle lane (at Cook Street) at one single moment-in-time on a single day. For someone with an interest in data collection methods, Broadland could use a refresher on how to conduct valid traffic studies— something he could learn from speaking with Biketoria’s leadership. Finally, his article suggests that many Victorians will never switch to a bicycle. While he cites no data to support this claim (even though relevant data exists), I encourage him to investigate any city he considers similar to Victoria that has pursued similar cycling infrastructure to Biketoria. Forget Copenhagen and Amsterdam; try to find cities that regret inviting in cycling. Through this investigation, I’m confident Broadland will warm to the range of benefits Biketoria will yield for Victorians. Who knows, he may even pull his bike out of the shed and give the Pandora bicycle lane a try. Critiques of government spending are in the public’s best interest. However, critiques should be balanced and include all the facts—not just those that support the author’s argument. Ross Graham David Broadland’s article on the wisdom of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on bike lanes gave valuable analysis to the debates I’m hearing all over the neighbourhood here in Fairfield. Most of us have one car, and do lots of errands on foot and by bicycle. Most of us are also appalled at the amount spent on the Pandora bike corridor. In Italy and in Spain, we noticed that bicyclists were protected by putting up a 10-inch by 6-inch cement barrier between the car lane and bike lane. In other cities, bicycles and pedestrians shared the sidewalk, with a paint colour showing which side was whose. Both formulas were a lot cheaper and safer than anything we have in Victoria. Poorly-thought-out spending is especially frustrating when we are told there isn’t sufficient money for more affordable housing, or food programs for low-income residents, or for subsidies/loans for solar panels, or for the city’s anti-violence programs for women and children. It also doesn’t leave us much money for regional transportation planning, a long-awaited dream of many living on the West Shore. I would be happy to provide a bus-only lane for the cost of some paint and a brush—thus giving the express buses in Duncan and Langford a chance to actually get Downtown and back faster, and convince more people to use them. This isn’t rocket science. Let’s give it shot. Judy Lightwater David Broadland’s article dismisses the findings from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) that 10.6 percent of City of Victoria residents cycle to work, implying that because it was a voluntary survey, it’s not good data. He then goes on to extensively use data from the 2011 CRD Household Travel Survey to make his argument that rates of cycling are significantly lower. What he fails to mention is that the CRD survey was also a voluntary survey. In addition, the CRD survey was based on a sample of 6172 households—about 3.5 percent of households in the region. By comparison, the NHS sampled about 30 percent of households in the region. So if Mr Broadland considers the NHS to be a poor data source because it’s a voluntary survey, how can he rely on another voluntary survey with barely one-tenth the sample size? Mr Broadland also ignores the fact that the 2006 Census included a mandatory question on commuting to work, and it found a similar result to the NHS—with 9.5 percent of City of Victoria residents cycling to work. Broadland’s article seems to imply that Victoria’s protected cycling lanes are just a pet project of Mayor Lisa Helps and were not based on evidence-based decision-making. Conveniently ignored are the hundreds, if not thousands, of cities across North America and around the world that are currently installing and expanding protected cycling networks. They are doing this, not as pet projects, but because the evidence in cities where these have already been implemented is that they lead to large increases in cycling by people of all ages. Steven Murray David Broadland replies: Steven, as I pointed out, the 2011 National Household Survey poses a single question about transportation to the person filling out the survey: What mode of transportation do you use to get to work? Respondents can choose only one travel mode, and only one per household. The NHS provides no information about how far they travelled, how other people in the household travelled, and misses all the other purposes for travelling—which actually constitute the majority of daily travel in our region. The CRD’s Origin Destination Survey is voluntary in the sense that when a household is contacted by phone and asked to participate, they can decline. If they agree to participate they are asked to provide extensive information about the travel behaviour of everyone in their household over a 24-hour period. This method is used around the world to understand the transportation dynamics of a community. The margin of error for the survey results is estimated at ±1.2 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. DB To Broadland, the installation of new, protected bike lanes in Downtown Victoria “carries a whiff of social engineering.” What is it, if not social engineering, that has fostered the supremacy of the private automobile for the past 50 years? As the planet and our province bake and burn, motorists are still subsidized, accommodated, and glorified—at the expense of public transit, biking, walking, and safe human-scale urban design. Broadland says that “Most people prefer to use four-wheeled motorized personal transport.” In the 1800s, most people preferred slavery, but thankfully it came to an end. He is worried about “that huge chunk of cash” required for bicycling infrastructure. It costs money to run a civilization. It’s about time that we who choose a healthy, non-polluting, practical form of transportation finally get a slice of the pie. Welcome to the 21st century, where people of all ages and abilities are able to traverse their cities by bicycle in protected car-free lanes. Anne Hansen David Broadland replies: Anne, the article states: “For people who drive a car, truck or van Downtown and don’t see themselves as likely to ever switch to a bicycle, the new situation feels like an attempt to force them to make a change they can’t or don’t want to make, and carries a whiff of social engineering.” That statement is a reflection of some of the positions expressed publicly about the Pandora protected corridor, which are controversial on a few levels. You missed the point of the article, which was not a criticism of bike lanes, but an appeal for a higher level of transportation planning that goes beyond simply responding to bicycle activists. My worry is not that a huge chunk of the Gas Tax Fund will be spent on bicycle lanes, but that none of it will be available to develop a realistic plan to mitigate our continued use of fossil-fuelled vehicles. Bicycles and walking have limited potential for helping us make the shift and meet our emissions goals. We need a huge investment in public transit. Please see “Difficult conversations on the steep descent ahead.” DB Here’s news for the Helps gang: The issue at hand is self-reliance, not telling the public how and where to live, and how and what to think. Hundreds of millions worldwide use cycling for transportation of kids, moving goods, shopping, schooling, getting to and from work—without bike lanes and patrolling brigades of police or intrusive legislation on what to wear. Utility is the focus, unlike the Helps’ model where public cycling has been hijacked. Victoria has over 450 kilometres of concrete sidewalks and more than 250 kilometres of paved roads for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to determine how best to use. The mayor, her troops of worthies, curators and lobbyists have determined themselves to be the seers in the mix, arbiters of the correct, ever ready to treat the public purse as personal finance. Come October 2018’s municipal election, send a message. No one should have to tolerate a repeat of this. Brian Nimeroski Over the years I have appreciated much of the analysis done by Focus, but David Broadland’s recent article on Victoria’s new bike lanes (“Mayor Helps’ 1.5 percent solution”) contains so many fallacies that it would be impossible to counter them all in a short letter. But here’s an effort to deal with a couple of them. First of all, I admit to being an “avid bicycle commuter” similar to Mayor Helps. I am also a 63-year-old man who became a dedicated bicyclist at the age of 56. I moved to “hilly” Victoria from San Francisco 8 years ago. Broadland claims that the 10.6 percent mode share of cyclists in 2011 used in reports to justify the new bike lanes is inflated. This may be, but Broadland’s metric—using the percentage of total miles travelled by mode—is just as flawed and seems designed to minimize the positive impact of cycling. It makes sense that bicyclists travel less distance than drivers do to accomplish the same things. After all, if you are bicycling you are much more likely to shop locally and unlikely to whip up to Uptown to save 20 percent on toilet paper at Walmart. Broadland’s metric penalizes us for this. Broadland criticizes the cost of the project—which he claims will be $16 million—over twice as much as the City says it will cost. In the eight years I’ve lived in Victoria, this is the first time that any entity has spent any significant amount of money on bike infrastructure. Meanwhile, just off the top of my head, I can count three significant projects for automobile traffic within the CRD in the last few years—the McTavish interchange at $24 million, the Johnson Street bridge project at $100 million and counting, and the McKenzie interchange project at at least $85 million. So that’s at least $210 million for car infrastructure just in major projects. Maybe even $16 million for something that promotes a clear social good isn’t so much? Paul Rasmussen David Broadland responds: Paul, these are all good points, worthy of further discussion. I have responded in detail to your and other responses in “Difficult conversations on the steep descent ahead”. Thanks to everyone for their letters. DB How to lose at bridge, and pool As usual, great articles on the bridge and other infrastructure projects which make me relieved to be living in Ladysmith and not having to deal with the outcomes of decisions from the Greater Victoria politicians. Re the Broadland and Crockford pieces, I was brought up to believe there are no dumb questions, only dumb answers. Local politicians are generalists, interested hopefully in serving their communities, and are not experts in any or many subjects. Hence the need for expert staff and consultants who should not be afraid to speak truth to power and to provide open and honest advice to their political bosses. Unfortunately the pols have not been well-served in these respects, staff seemingly not being knowledgeable and consultants preferring to obfuscate and pass the buck so that future contract opportunities are not compromised. That said, politicians are culpable by not paying attention to the project and financial risks, believing that any form of cost-sharing from the provincial and federal governments is sufficient to justify any new inflated, ill-conceived and multiple-objective project, while ignoring required maintenance and reports that say the sky is not falling. The process regarding the new pool definitely shows the pols have not learned their lessons from the bridge project and are indeed over their heads. Counter-cyclical government spending may seem out-dated, but why compete and pay top-dollar for projects such as bike lanes and bridges when the private sector is already going gang-busters providing more housing and commercial/institutional space and ultimately tax dollars for the local governments? Politicians should cool their jets, do some more data gathering and planning, and ask all the questions they like until they get decent, clear responses from their very high-priced help. Tony Beckett Recently Mayor Lisa Helps was interviewed on CBC’s On The Island morning program. I was amazed to hear that the cost overruns for fendering on the new Johnson Street bridge would not cost taxpayers any money because they would be paid for out of the City’s contingency fund. That’s like claiming the family holiday was free because it was paid for out of the savings account not the chequing account. It’s scary to think we let these people manage multi-million dollar projects. If the contingency account is so flush with funds that this charge will have no impact, then City taxes have been historically too high. Otherwise, taxpayers will be on the hook for replenishing the contingency account so funds will be available when Victoria has a true emergency. There is no way the City can spend additional millions and taxpayers won’t be impacted. Steen Petersen Resurrecting music that got buried alive Dr Suzanne Snizek briefly mentioned a reference that weaves a strange thread from Jewish exclusion during fascism to Canada today. She said that “refugees fled to ‘friendly’ countries like Canada [where they] were not necessarily welcomed with open arms...” Prime Minister Mackenzie King turned away 907 Jewish refugees in the desperate 1939 MS St Louis’ journey. Hundreds perished in the Holocaust after the boat’s forced return to Europe. King met Hitler in 1937. Wikipedia has evidence King was sympathetic to Hitler. Many Nazis and their sympathizers fled East Europe, including Ukraine, after the war. The gifted Ukrainian pianist and patriot Valentina Lisitsa had her Toronto Symphony Orchestra performance axed in 2015 due to statements she made about the Ukrainian regime. She was not appreciated for being honest about the links between current Ukrainian violence and Western-denied Neo-Nazis. Read about the very disturbing history of Western support for fascism from World War II through the present in Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism by Dr Michael Parenti. Larry Wartels HPV vaccine discussion continued Dr Gina Ogilvie and I would like to respond to Alan Cassel’s response to our critique of his column on the HPV vaccine. I can assure readers that we do not feel obligated to defend vaccines at all costs. Rather, we hold the tenet that individuals should make decisions based on the balance of scientific information and not cherry-picked criticisms from vaccine sceptics. Following up on that point, we would like to address the statement that: “parents should be aware of the controversies surrounding the research around the vaccine, the many unanswered questions and the growing number of girls around the world who appear (my emphasis) to be harmed by it.” Logically, if a vaccine causes serious side effects, we would expect that these occurrences would be more frequent in those who received the vaccine when compared to those who did not. As we noted in our earlier response, scientific studies from different populations, over a period of nine years, and involving more than one million pre-adolescent girls, adolescent girls and adult women show that this is not the case. Events and conditions reported as side effects (such as auto-immune diseases— including Guillain-Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis—anaphylaxis, venous thromboembolism, adverse pregnancy outcomes and stroke) happen just as frequently in unvaccinated girls and women of the same ages. These events are sad and tragic, but extensive study shows that they are not caused by this vaccine. Alan Cassels also states that so far there is no proof that the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer. As we noted, there are excellent data from around the world that the vaccine effectively prevents the pre-cancerous lesions that precede all cervical cancers. We would not characterize these as “surrogate markers.” Not all these lesions will become cancers, but no cancer will occur without a preceding precancerous change. And, to conduct a study where we wait for women to develop cervical cancer to show the proof of the HPV vaccine compared to placebo would be highly unethical. Alan Cassels asks whether “given that 90 percent of HPV infections are asymptomatic and will clear within two years…is it possible that public health officials have reconfigured a small risk factor into a deadly disease?” Well—your readers can be the judge of that. Most infected women will in fact clear HPV infection; only a minority will have persistent infection leading to pre-cancerous changes. Most of these can be picked up through cervical screening and surgical procedures (colposcopies) will be used to treat these changes. In BC in 2014 around 16,000 of these surgical colposcopies were performed—procedures which, though clearly beneficial as they have been shown to prevent subsequent cancer development, are sometimes associated with complications for women’s future reproductive health, including leading to higher rates of low birth weight and preterm labour, as well as the inherent risks of the colposcopy treatment itself. Despite these interventions, in 2015, 178 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed, and 42 women died from it. Is this acceptable? It might be to Mr Cassels, but we think this is a cavalier attitude. There are good data that the HPV vaccine prevents 100 percent of infections with HPV 16/18, the most oncogenic (cancer-causing) types, and has been shown to prevent a substantial proportion (20-45 percent) of pre-cancerous changes in vaccinated women. These reductions in precancerous lesions avert many thousands of colposcopies and, it is reasonable to presume, will reduce the number of women developing cervical cancer and the associated morbidity and mortality. In BC alone, even with fewer than 70 percent of eligible women vaccinated against HPV, we have seen a substantial reduction in pre-cancerous cervical lesions in the young women vaccinated in grades 6 and 9. Given [this] are we really still asking “does this vaccine work?” Our real question and focus should be: “How do we improve uptake of the HPV vaccine, so that all young women (and men) no longer develop HPV-related cancers?” We assert, based on the evidence, that the available HPV vaccines are both safe and effective. We hope that individuals who are wavering on the question of having their children vaccinated will make up their minds based on fact rather than innuendo. We also believe that publicly funding this vaccine is a sound use of finite health care resources. Dr Perry Kendall, Prov. Health Officer Dr Gina Ogilvie, professor, UBC Alan Cassels responds: To write me off as a “vaccine skeptic” who cherry picks his evidence, and relies on innuendo is an ad hominem attack and the lowest form of debate. There are still major questions around this particular vaccine’s efficacy and safety. One should always question the major cheerleaders of any drug or vaccine, because as vigorously as they say they are striving to improve public health, the history of medicine is littered with good (but disasterous) intentions. AC “Undue hardship” for whom? A developer is seeking permission to build a five-storey, 14-unit luxury condo building (“The Quest”) on a 10,588 square-foot residential lot at 2326 Oak Bay Avenue in Oak Bay. The plan includes underground parking: the entire size of the lot will be excavated by prolonged and extensive blasting to a depth of 12 feet. All existing trees, shrubs and topsoil would be removed. Not surprisingly the proposal violates many Oak Bay Official Community Plan objectives. As well, the proposal would result in the destruction of a significant, protected, approximately 200-year-old Garry Oak tree at 2340 Oak Bay Avenue. The Advisory Planning Commission considered the proposal on July 4, 2017. The developer’s consultant and Oak Bay staff agreed the protected Garry Oak is healthy and has many more years of life left and the proposal would destroy the tree. Since Garry Oaks are protected in Oak Bay, any alterations to the tree must comply with Bylaw 4326. The relevant clause in this case states that the tree at issue can only be removed if “a requirement to construct the building or structure in an alternate location would impose an undue hardship.” The 2326 property was purchased by the developer for $900,000. It is estimated that the total list price for the proposed development will be approximately $13 million. Alternate proposals have been previously suggested for this site that would not require destroying the tree. The developer would still make a tidy profit—albeit not as large as the one he’d earn by destroying the tree. This begs the question: Is requiring a developer to earn a slightly smaller profit in order to comply with Oak Bay’s Tree Bylaw an “undue hardship”? Or is the true “undue hardship” our community’s loss of a majestic iconic symbol of Oak Bay and our commitment to the environmental benefits of protecting and enhancing an urban forest, pursuant to Oak Bay’s Urban Forest Strategy? Mike Wilmut, Oak Bay Development process broken My neighbours and I have closely watched the development application process for the Truth Centre Property at 1201 Fort Street. It’s made many of us realize our city planning and development process is utterly broken. Abstract Developments intends to transform the park-like area of almost two acres into a dense apartment condo and townhouse complex. Most of the trees will be replaced by two large and out-of-place condo buildings, and a row of ten, three-storey townhouses. In total, 94 units. The community has stated its overwhelming opposition to the scale of the development. The proposed six-storey condo facing Fort dwarfs anything in the area. The wall of 10 townhouses with little setback dominates the small street. The scale of a second condo apartment in the rear is too massive. The architecture does not reflect the heritage corridor or the surrounding homes. The removal of trees is inconsistent with the Official Community Plan and denies Victoria a much-needed urban greenspace. The impact to wildlife is sobering. City Council heard us, sending Abstract back to the drawing board to address questions of scale, height, and heritage architecture. But Abstract’s response was to increase the proposed units from 93 to 94! If this proposal is accepted, Mayor and council will be promoting overdevelopment and demonstrating their lack of respect for neighbourhood input—even after Abstract has ignored theirs. Let’s hope they can repair the broken development process by saying “No” to Abstract’s proposal. Chris Douglas Gonzales Neighbourhood Plan I am forwarding you a note I sent today to Victoria City council about tomorrow’s meeting of the whole to consider approval of the draft Gonzales Neighbourhood Plan: The survey was full of leading and misleading questions. The public consultations were insufficient and were more akin to telling us your plans than listening to the needs and wishes of voters. The time span between alerting the public to your plans and bringing forward a draft plan for approval has been woefully inadequate. There is simply too much information for residents of the neighbourhood to have reviewed in order to have understood your plans and commented in a meaningful way. I contacted all councillors; only three bothered to respond. I have reached out several times directly to the council representative for the area and have yet to hear from Councillor Coleman. None of this supports approval. Neighbours have made the same comments. The proposed plan has many components that will significantly alter the community and it would be in everyone’s best interest to take the time for full and meaningful public consultations. The City has not done that. To date, the process has not earned you social license to proceed, and in fact promises to further alienate the public, many of whom see this plan as emanating from outside the community to serve someone else’s interests. Under the circumstances I implore you not to approve the draft plan unless and until full and proper public consultations have been completed. If this council is sincerely committed to transparency, accountability and public engagement, here is an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment. I recommend that you do so. Michael Bloomfield
  7. Volume 30 Number 1 Sept-Oct 2017 Focus.pdf 4 Leslie Campbell | ARE THE CRD’S CLIMATE CHANGE GOALS PIE-IN-THE-SKY? One key policy, densification of the core, makes little sense in the face of the CRD’s impotence in controlling sprawl. 14 David Broadland | DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS ON THE STEEP DESCENT AHEAD To create a realistic pathway to a low-carbon regional transportation system, science—not activism—needs to lead the way forward. 20 Leslie Campbell | BC BURNING A forest and fire ecologist discusses her research on how to reduce the damage being done to BC’s forests by fires. 24 Briony Penn | NEW GOVERNMENT WILL REVIEW “PROFESSIONAL RELIANCE” The practice may have played a leading role in creating some of BC’s most high-profile environmental blunders. 26 Alan Cassels | BETTER PROSPECTS FOR SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE? Our new provincial government faces a litmus test in how it deals with diabetes-mongering. 28 Judith Lavoie | TREES, AND THE CLIMATE FORECAST FOR VICTORIA Expect hotter summers and winter deluges. Retaining trees could reduce the worst impacts, including the cost of mitigation. 30 Briony Penn | BEACONS OF HOPE FOR THE SALISH SEA Can a swimmer, First Nations and Thomas Berger, QC, turn the tide on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline? 32 Aaren Madden | THERE IS TRUTH HERE First Nations children’s art, created at residential and day schools, opens pathways for healing and reconciliation. 50 Mollie Kaye | THE BILLS, DECADE THREE The beloved Victoria-based Canadian roots band continues to evolve and thrive. 54 Monica Prendergast | HOMEGROWN, CANADIAN THEATRE Victorians can enjoy a wealth of made-in-Canada works being staged locally this fall. 56 Amy Reiswig | REFUGIUM: POEMS FOR THE PACIFIC Victoria poet laureate Yvonne Blomer combines literary forces to appreciate and protect our large salty neighbour. 58 Gene Miller | EXIT, DREAMING With David Butterfield’s passing, Victoria has lost one of its major investors in social capital. 60 Maleea Acker | BRING SUSTAINABILITY HOME A field trip to Northern Europe is “offset” by the ripple effect of knowledge gained. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | ONE MAN’S TRASH Could “garbage” soon become obsolete?
  8. A pox on their house

    In TCM it attacks exactly along the path of Shao Yang channel which belongs to Gall Bladder and Triple Warmer acupuncture channel. By using specific points in that channel and formulas, such as for example Xiao Chai Hu Tang, or its modification, the disease can be completely cured. It is done so, without the controversial vaccine, utilizing the body's own healing ability. It often makes me sad, and i feel overwhelmed seeing the task ahead,of public education almost impossible to achieve. Especially if the shingles treatment in TCM is not yet known to the medical society and the public. This and many other benefits of Chinese medicine can completely surpass modern medicine and it can be such a great complement in our modern reality. One of my teachers, Ikeda Sensei, predicted the Bird Flue, N1H1, and others and mentioned that those formulas that come from Shan Han Lun's (142-220 AD by Zhang Zhong Jing, Treatise of Cold Disease) will still work for those modern epidemics when applying the knowledge in TCM pathology of meridians and syndromes correctly. Such a heritage and chance to help public health we have in our reach. We just need to be open, and not prejudiced, against other medical systems. I enjoy reading your articles in Focus. I feel your work is a very much ground work of public awareness and healthy criticism of current medical system in our community. Thank you. Dr. Katrine B. Hegillman Dr. TCM, BSc. R.Ac.
  9. July-August 2017 Focus.pdf 4 Leslie Campbell | TAKE DOWN A PARKING LOT AND PUT UP A PARADISE Affordable housing—for low- and moderate-income people working Downtown—should be a City of Victoria priority. 14 David Broadland | MAYOR HELPS’ 1.5 PERCENT SOLUTION Local government’s response to reducing transportation emissionsmay be wishful thinking. Or foolish. 18 Judith Lavoie | TRANS MOUNTAIN: DONE DEAL OR DEAD IN THE WATER? The project faces stiff opposition from a new governmentand legal challenges by First Nations and others. 22 Ross Crockford | HOW TO LOSE AT BRIDGE, AND POOL Victoria’s council still needs to learn lessons for its next big project. 24 Alan Cassels | A POX ON THEIR HOUSE Confusion around chicken pox and shinglescould be costly to Victoria consumers. 26 David Broadland | DUMB QUESTIONS AND THEIR (POSSIBLY) PROFOUND CONSEQUENCES To not be misled by experts into making bad decisions, elected officialsneed to ask hard questions. Voters need to elect prosecutors, not patsies. 30 Aaren Madden | NAOMI CAIRNS Painterly techniques and lived experience imbue her marine landscapeswith a sense of place, time and abundance. 44 Mollie Kaye | GETTING NAKED WITH ARTIST NICOLE SLEETH Her paintings put female nudes in the “power position.” 50 Mollie Kaye | RESURRECTING MUSIC THAT GOT BURIED ALIVE Suzanne Snizek wields her flute as a weapon against bigotry and suppression. 52 Monica Prendergast | SHAKESPEARE SEASON “All the world’s a stage,” especially in the summer months. 54 Amy Reiswig | PAULO DA COSTA An out-of-the-box thinker, writer, editor and translator believesin daring to be different for the social good. 56 Bill Currie | DR TED ROSENBERG: GERIATRIC GAME-CHANGER Visiting seniors in their homes, Dr Rosenberg and his teamfocus on their quality of life. 58 Gene Miller | OH, GIVE ME A HOME Providing homes to those in need can be viewed as revolution insurance. 60 Maleea Acker | KIDS LEARNNING ABOUT THEIR LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS Monterey Middle School’s nature-focused programnurtures a sense of place and a caretaking ethic. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | PUTTING OUR SENSES IN ORDER Time spent in nature is time well spent.
  10. May-June 2017 Focus.pdf 4 Leslie Campbell | CASH-FOR-ACCESS FLOURISHES IN BC POLITICS Corporate donations and lobbying make meaningful climate action—and democracy—impossible. 14 David Broadland | DAZED AND CONFUSED ON THE JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE The project seems to be a complete fiasco. But is that just a perception created by something in the air? 20 Ross Crockford | WOW, LOOK AT ALL THE ZEROS How many big infrastructure projects can the City of Victoria tackle at once? 22 Judith Lavoie | A PERFECT STORM FOR VICTORIA RENTERS Low supply, increasing demand, higher rents, and “renovictions” —is any relief in sight? 26 Alan Cassels | HEALTH MINISTRY FIRINGS: A STUNNING LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY The Ombudsperson’s 500-page report delivers condemnation, but leaves us hungry for an answer to “Why?” 28 Briony Penn | AN ORWELLIAN PATH TO FRAUD IN BC’S FORESTS Management of public forests by the forest industry isn’t in the public interest. 32 Aaren Madden | ALL TOGETHER NOW Luke Ramsey’s multidisciplinary art practice is all about collaboration —with other artists, and with viewers. 48 Mollie Kaye | EINE KLEINE SUMMER MUSIC 30th ANNIVERSARY The June concert series celebrates the natural power and intimacy of chamber music. 52 Aaron Stefik | A STORY OF QUEER JUSTICE, VICTORIA 1860 Site-specific theatre brings history to life in Bastion Square. 54 Monica Prendergast | WTF? Be part of the change. Get off the couch and see live performances. 56 Amy Reiswig | EDEN ROBINSON: SON OF A TRICKSTER A coming-of-age story invites us to step out of the comfortable. 58 Gene Miller | PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME, VICTORIA As waves of newcomers arrive, opportunity and peril loom over our urban identity. 60 Maleea Acker | THE DEVASTATION AND RESTORATION OF TOD INLET A century ago, Robert Butchart’s cement works used the inlet as a dump; help is finally on the way. 62 Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic | ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Are we hurting ourselves when we oppose mixed housing?
  11. Open Forum

    Submitted by BC Union of Indian Chiefs Originating on BC Fish Farm, Deadly Virus Killing BC Wild Salmon (Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver) First Nations in BC are concerned about the future of BC Wild Salmon since learning that Heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) has been identified in BC waters, and has been found to be strongly correlated with the piscine reovirus (PRV). A recent paper by Emiliano Di Cicco et al, published in February 2017 in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) One journal, has found evidence that not only is PRV causally linked to HSMI but that this disease, previously thought to only infect Atlantic Salmon, has spread to Pacific salmon species. More than 80 percent of the open net pen Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry is infected with PRV. The impact of PRV and HSMI disease can devastate our salmon populations. Infected fish pose a significant risk to both wild and farmed salmon in BC and should not be placed in open-net pens. Both Government and industry have continuously denied the existence of PRV in BC farmed salmon and have vehemently denied PRV’s link to the devastating HSMI disease and the possibility of its transference from farmed to wild populations. Government and industry continue to suggest the existence of PRV in farmed salmon populations are harmless to the wild salmon stocks central to the culture and well-being of many First Nation and BC communities. The continued promotion of the aquaculture industry by the Government of Canada and BC, in light of their failure to recognize and adequately understand the relationship between PRV, HSMI and the potential for farmed fish to infect wild species, continues to place our pristine coastal environment and already critically low wild salmon runs at even greater risk. Existing disease monitoring mechanisms have failed to detect this critical information; these mechanisms must be reformed and include the participation of impacted First Nations. These warnings have been mirrored by the principles and recommendations of the 2009 Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser. The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) strongly supports the full and immediate implementation of the Cohen recommendations and will continue to call for the restoration and protection of our wild salmon. The FNLC calls upon the Governments of BC and Canada to revisit the suite of legislation pertaining to the auditing and monitoring of open net-pen fish farm operations, and to support the Di Cicco study and DFO’s Dr. Kristi Miller’s genomic science project. The work highlighted above must be included in Canada’s review of legislation pertaining to Indigenous peoples. Wild salmon must be protected for the benefit of future generations. The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
  12. Open Forum

    Submission from Integrity BC's Dermod Travis: Western Union transfers happily accepted by BC's political parties B.C. politics already has its dark money – donations that are difficult to trace back to an actual donor – but the free for all when it comes to political fundraising in the province has given rise to a murky practice: raising campaign cash from some dark corners of the world. Its name seems innocuous enough, G&E Studio. It's just one of the companies identified among the 76,887 donations that the B.C. Liberal party received between 2005 and 2015. G&E donated $5,000 to the Liberal party less than three weeks after a 2015 Reuters investigation identified the company as part of “a global radio web structured in a way that obscures its majority shareholder: state-run China Radio International.” A station in Vancouver – CHMB AM1320 – broadcasts G&E's state-approved content. CHMB is owned and operated by Mainstream Broadcasting. Before her election in 2013, International Trade and Minister Teresa Wat was the president and CEO of Mainstream. G&E isn't the only state-controlled Chinese company to donate to parties in B.C. The Bank of China contributed $388 to the Liberals in 2015 and Canadian Kailuan Dehua Mines – part of the Kailuan Group – has given the party $59,974 and $7,375 to the B.C. NDP (2011 to 2014). A genuine interest in B.C. politics may not be top of mind when the cheques get cut. In one of China’s state-run newspapers, Huang Xiangmo, chairman of the Yuhu Group of developers, wrote this in regards to Australian politicians: “(They’re) not delivering …We need to learn how to have a more efficient combination between political requests and political donations.” To date neither Yuhu nor Huang have made donations in B.C. Lucky for us. And China isn't the only foreign country whose state-controlled enterprises are coughing up cash for parties in the province. Progress Energy has donated $12,750 to the Liberals. Progress is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petronas, a Malaysian state-controlled energy company. Petronas is also the majority partner in Pacific NorthWest LNG who has donated $21,700 to the Liberals and $350 to the NDP. Closer to home Texas-based Kinder Morgan boasts on its website that it's “committed to being a good corporate citizen and conducting ourselves in an ethical and responsible manner. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on integrity management and maintenance programs...” It may want to ask for some of its money back. The website goes on to note that the company does not have “a Political Action Committee. Any political contributions made by executives or employees are made individually as private citizens with their own personal money.” Highly noble of them, except for the tiny matter of $33,188 in donations to the Liberals through 11 corporate cheques over nine years. Must be clerical errors. California-based Edison Power gave the Liberals $10,000 in 2016 and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. $1,832 in 2009. Both companies were on the winning side when B.C. Hydro reached a $750 million out of court settlement in 2013, after its subsidiary Powerex was accused of “gaming the energy market by purchasing and exporting to Canada huge quantities of electricity California needed and then selling it back to the state at exorbitant prices.” Thinking of taking a cruise this summer or perhaps a quick jaunt to Seattle? Put Princess Cruises and Holland America Line down for $3,000 each to the Liberals, Royal Caribbean Cruises ($3,701) and the Clipper for $2,216 to the Liberals and $1,000 to the NDP. Paper Excellence Group, a privately held company, has contributed $135,938 to the Liberals since 2014. The B.C. government likes to think of Paper Excellence as a company headquartered in Richmond B.C., even though it's head office is in Indonesia. Beijing-based Modern Investment Group gave the Liberals $25,000 in December 2015. Last year the company was part of a consortium that purchased TransLink's 13.8-acre Oakridge Transit Centre in Vancouver for an estimated $440 million. Most foreign donors to B.C.'s political parties can be traced to a country, but not all. Sakuna Natural Resources has donated $10,000 to the Liberals and Orient Investment Corp. ($1,000). The Globe and Mail reports that neither company is registered in B.C., nor federally and that their their home base is unknown. When a party has few scruples about who it will take money from and where they will raise it, you're left to wonder what's on the table when the cheques are handed over? Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC. www.integritybc.ca
  13. Open Forum

    Community Meeting regarding the proposed McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant Submitted by Wayne Shillington The Dallas Bluffs are endangered by constructing the proposed wastewater pipeline from Clover Point to Ogden Point on land along Dallas Road. A study by the City of Victoria, (KWL Project No. 809.046, October 12, 2011) describes the geotechnical vulnerability of the Dallas Bluffs that will continue to erode and retreat in a natural unstoppable way. “Digging a trench to lay the 4’ diameter pipeline will destabilize adjacent soil leading to premature failure and possibly catastrophic loss of the bluffs leaving the pipeline exposed and vulnerable to rupture. This danger can be prevented by routing the pipeline along the seabed.” (John Gunton, PhD Geosciences). The more cost effective and more easily installed seabed route would not hasten the decline of the bluffs. The seabed route would also eliminate other negative impacts of the trenching route: drilling disturbance at Ogden Point, pipeline assembly along Niagara St. from Ogden to Government, damage to natural areas along Dallas Rd. The CRD Wastewater Project Team has consistently refused to give serious consideration to the seabed route alternative. Victoria’s prevailing westerly winds will carry any odour from the McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment plant through the harbour and into the City’s tourism area and residential communities. Verbal assurances from the CRD Wastewater Project Team and web-site statements promise an odour free plant; however, the contracted plant construction design specifications, and the Esquimalt Agreement, establish an odour emissions standard of 5 OU/m3. If the plant is to be odourless, why is it being built to an odour standard of 5 OU/m3? The relatively new Brightwater wastewater treatment plant in Seattle was constructed to a 1 OU/m3 standard. The Saskatchewan Environment Ministry in 2012 identified guidelines for allowable wastewater treatment plant odour emissions depending on location: 1 OU/m3 for urban residential areas, 2 OU/m3 for urban commercial zones, and 4 OU/m3 for industrial zones. Why is a wastewater treatment plant in the heart of Victoria being designed to an odour emissions standard that puts the City at such a serious risk to its livability and reputation? Concerned citizens of Victoria have donated $ to rent the Coast Victoria Hotel Ballroom, 146 Kingston St, for the evening of March 30 from 7:00 to 9:30 PM so other concerned citizens of Victoria can attend and learn more about the risks and problems associated with the CRD Wastewater Team’s plan as well as learn how those risks can be eliminated or managed in a much better way. Further information: Wayne Shillington wayneshillingtoncommunity@gmail.com 250-634-8109
  14. Open Forum

    Submission from Dermod Travis, Executive Director of Integrity BC B.C. Liberals' electoral finance reform package doesn't amount to much Last week Premier Christy Clark heard the four letters that every politician dreads, particularly when it's hitting close to home: RCMP. Only five days after announcing its investigation into the Globe and Mail's report that some lobbyists may have had their personal donations to the B.C. Liberal party and NDP reimbursed by unknown third-parties, Elections B.C. called on the RCMP to take over. The Sensitive Investigations Unit – part of the Federal Serious & Organized Crime's Financial Integrity Group – has been tasked with investigating the possible 'cleansing' of political donations in the province. One gets a sense from their reaction that the Liberal party's initial damage control plan went out the window in favour of full-blown crisis management. Clark who has tried to ignore growing public anger over her fundraising practices – think $10,000 a plate cash-for-access dinners – may have finally blinked. The Liberals suddenly felt the need to do something. Anything. Clark skipped question period two days in a row last week, her traditional modus operandi when there's a political crisis. One can almost imagine the meetings that must have taken place in Vancouver with party strategists, maybe a few lobbyists, trying to come up with something they could announce that sounds good, but doesn't really mean much. Eureka. Word began to leak over the weekend that the Premier was preparing to go further than she had ever gone before on electoral finance reform. The Diva of Deflection, as Independent MLA Vicki Huntington likes to call the Premier, lived up to the billing on Monday. Using the B.C. government's proposed real-time disclosure of political donations bill as a prop, Clark announced that if re-elected her government will move to establish an independent panel to review B.C.'s Elections Act and come up with recommendations for the legislature's consideration. "What I'm proposing today is a process to take political parties and politicians out of the process," said Clark. "Regular review is important because there hasn't been significant changes since 1995." I guess that goes to how one defines “significant.” Clark didn't see the need to establish a comparable panel when the government passed legislation to muzzle third-parties in what was once called the pre-campaign period – a move later overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal – or when it amended the Elections Act so that all political parties would be given an electronic copy of everyone who votes in the future. Making her announcement, Clark was clear that members of the panel would have to be accepted by a unanimous vote of the legislature, which everyone knows is a regular occurrence in Victoria (mild sarcasm). If that wasn't an insurmountable obstacle in and of itself, Clark added that any recommendations the panel might make four years later – or as the B.C. Liberal party prefers to say $60 million later – would have to be adopted unanimously as well. When pigs fly. Meanwhile in a remarkable display of decisiveness, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan can be marked down as squarely undecided on real-time disclosure, telling CKNW News “Take it as a yes or no, however you like it. We disclose annually, as does the Conservative party, the Marijuana Party, Libertarian Party, and the Liberal Party.” This to CKNW's softball question on whether the public can expect the NDP to report fundraising in real-time before voting day? Horgan and his party has had nearly a year to contemplate the idea. Since he brought up the Marijuana and Libertarian parties as a way to show his concern over how the proposed changes might effect them, it's worth noting that B.C.'s 35 fringe political parties have accepted a grand total of 801 donations in 11-years. Real-time disclosure is not a hill that any political party should die on. Clark's legislation came with a couple of unexpected and positive add-ons: the threshold for reporting political contributions will be lowered to $100 annually from $250. And we may get to find out who attends those elite cash-for-access dinners with the Premier after all, albeit not retroactively. Clark's office was quick to point out that she had misspoken on that retroactive thing. Call it the Premier's foxtrot week: one step forward, two steps back, then sidestep the real issue. Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC.
  15. Open Forum

    Submission from Marg Gardiner regarding impacts of the proposed wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point on James Bay As City of Victoria Council heard and accepted the CRD Project Team report at the February 8 Committee of the Whole meeting, minutia such as the routing of the marathon were raised while major matters of the land vs sea-bed routing, and the impacts of the work in James Bay were downplayed as “only” construction-related. It was not until after that meeting, upon review of the Esquimalt agreements, that we became aware of the on-going post-construction impacts which could be felt by our [James Bay] community. It had never been disclosed to residents in James Bay. We had been told, generally and via the press, that the odour and noise of the plant itself would be leading edge. We were quite surprised to learn otherwise. A late February CRD meeting was once again revealing. The lack of competence of the CRD to manage such a project and the inability of the governance structure to respect residents, and our land base, was more than evident. When Dr John Gunton came to me last spring, explaining his concerns about the stability of the bluffs and the sea-bed routing, I suggested he raise the matter at a City of Victoria gathering and he did so in April—but came away realsiing he was not heard. When in October I asked City staff to ensure that Dr Gunton had a sit down with the CRD team technical people, I was given assurance the connect would be made. Nothing happened. On December 14 when I met Jane Bird and part of her team, I asked that a geoscientist or engineer, with a known solid reputation, be consulted and that the he/she publicly stand behind the decision with reputation. I fully expected some old report to be dredged up and tossed our way. But, no earlier assessment was mentioned and the commitment was made to meet with Dr Gunton and Tom Gallagher, geoscientist who is also a director of Ocean Newtworks Canada, and to involve a noted geoscientist/engineer with ocean credentials to assess a sea-bed routing. When Dr Gunton met with the project team, I understand that the outs provided were in the main the bird sanctuary and timing (timing pressure worsened by the Mayor’s two year lead of the project). And now, months AFTER the routing decision has been made. a report will be cobbled together. Truly incredible that a knowledgeable professional with sea-bed/ocean knowledge was not brought into the picture over the past many years. JBNA is not trying to stop the project, we all want it done-but with the most effective/efficient plan that respects quality of life of residents and our land base. Marg Gardiner, President, James Bay Neighbourhood Association
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