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Leslie Campbell

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  1. It’s probably just a coincidence but on July 8, Transport Canada announced its Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) - Water Airports. It’s only been 19 years in coming. Citizens and community bodies have until August 22 to provide feedback to the proposed amendment: see https://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/NPA-APM/actr.aspx?id=57&aType=1&lang=eng
  2. PURCELL - HAIL BRIGHT CECILIA Saturday, August 10 2019 at 7:30PM - Christ Church Cathedra PERFORMERS Alexander Weimann, music director Pacific Baroque Orchestra Suzie LeBlanc, soprano Dorothee Mields, soprano Alex Potter, counter-tenor Samuel Boden, tenor Sumner Thompson, baritone Matthew Brook, bass-baritone PROGRAMME Matthew Locke (1621-1677): EXCERPTS FROM THE TEMPEST Introduction Galliard, Gavot, Sarabrand, Lilk Curtain Tune John Blow (1649-1708): Welcome, Every Guest Matthew Locke: EXCERPTS FROM THE TEMPEST Rustick Air, A Martial Jigge Conclusion Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Hail, Bright Cecilia “Collegial, collaborative music-making of the highest level.” – The Vancouver Sun A Gentleman’s Journal The person of Saint Cecilia and her association with music is shrouded in mystery. She had been venerated among the saints since the fifth century, but only began to be regularly identified as patroness of music in the sixteenth century. The first documented music festival held in her honour occurred in Normandy in 1570. In 1585, Sixtus V established one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, issuing a papal bull invoking Gregory the Great and Saint Cecilia as the two saints most prominent in the history of western music. Yet, it was in Protestant Restoration England that the celebration of Saint Cecilia flourished especially colourfully. Between the years 1683 and 1703, the Musical Society of London hosted annual festivities including a service at St. Bride’s Church featuring an anthem for choir and orchestra and a sermon in defense of music, followed by a performance at Stationer’s Hall of a newly composed ode in praise of music. The celebratory ode, a genre of formal lyric poetry borrowed from antiquity, had become extremely popular in the court of Charles II. The times were unsettled; the monarchy newly re-established amid persistent conflicts over succession and religion. The ode served to express political power and loyalty, linking the security of the developing British nation to the king and his divinely ordained authority. Ancient Greece and Rome were often elevated as models for the modern state. Odes written in praise of Saint Cecilia similarly connected English artistic achievement with Cecilia’s patronage and with divine blessing. She became a secular figurehead, conflated with the muses of antiquity. Further, the texts of the Cecilian odes, always commissioned from Britain’s greatest poets, elevated music, particularly the collaborative process of music-making, as a model for the creation of a healthy civil society. Music unified the arts and sciences, involving diverse disciplines from poetry to instrument technology. Ensemble music harmonized the varied timbres and abilities of instruments and voices. Musical composition knit together a range of influences – music theories traced from antiquity, traditions of musical genre and style, the composer’s own inspiration… Emulating, adapting, reworking, or enriching existing music and text was, in fact, privileged over conspicuous originality. Artists situated themselves and their work within community. So, Nicholas Brady’s text Hail! Bright Cecilia (1692) reworks John Dryden’s famous poem A Song for St. Cecilia’sDay (1687), and Henry Purcell’s setting of Brady’s text dialogues with the Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (1691) composed by his teacher John Blow. Hail! Bright Cecilia (1692) is a kaleidoscopic exploration of the power of music to move the emotions. Purcell uses an exceptionally large orchestra and all sorts of combinations of vocal solos, duets, trios, and choruses to paint the purported universal power and cosmic significance of music and the characters associated with different instruments and musical genres. The piece concludes with a bass duet and chorus encouraging the unity of disparate instruments and human voices with the music of Saint Cecilia and her heavenly ensemble. Matthew Locke’s incidental music for The Tempest formed part of a similarly exemplary collaborative project. During the 1650s, the Commonwealth government forbade spoken theatre, though musical performances remained permissible. Lovers of Shakespeare “operatized” his plays as a way of circumventing the restrictions, and the new genre proved a winning combination of excellent spoken drama with music and spectacle. The most successful of these pieces was the reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, premiered in 1674. Poet John Dryden and playwright William Davenant revised the play line by line, modernizing the language and incorporating references to contemporary politics and recent scientific discoveries. Matthew Locke provided instrumental music, including the Curtain Tune, a realistic depiction of the storm so central the play’s plot, while Pelham Humphrey, Pietro Reggio, and John Banister all contributed vocal music. Perhaps, amid the fantasy and myth associated with the Cecilia Day celebrations of the seventeenth century, there is a timely reminder for us too about music’s potential to model unity and to create links across the span of history. The hope that Nicholas Brady expressed in his sermon for St. Cecilia’s Day of 1697 remains rather poignant. “Peace then is restored to us within our Walls, Peace, that Banisher of Discord, that Mother of Harmony, that Band of Union to consenting Minds, that Nurse and Patroness of useful Arts and Sciences. And O! That all the several parties in this kingdom, however formerly divided by interest or design, would Resemble the Trumpeters and Singers in the Text! That they were as one!” — Notes by Christina Hutten PURCHASING TICKETS Tickets for the Pacific Baroque Series concerts at the Cathedral can be purchased: Online Here By calling the Ticket Rocket Box Office: 1.855.842.7575 In person: At the Ticket Rocket Box Office (1050 Meares Street) Or at the Cathedral Office (930 Burdett Avenue) And at the following outlets: Ivy’s Bookshop: 2188 Oak Bay Ave Munro’s Books: 1108 Government St
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    MOLTEN Featuring Encaustic works by Alanna Sparanese, Shelley Wuitchik and Lynn Harnish June 24th - July 27th Gallery at Mattick's Farm 109-5325 Cordova Bay Rd, 250-658-8333
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    Surfer’s Paradise: Northwest Coast Surfboards One-of-a-kind red cedar surfboards reimagined by 20 artists, including coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas whose story is in Focus Magazine: Opening reception August 10 at 4pm. Alcheringa is at 621 Fort Street, Victoria. 250-383-8224, www.alcheringa-gallery.com A companion show will run at Brentwood Bay Resort.
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    BOOM X Belfry Theatre, July 30-August 18 Rick Miller’s multimedia masterpiece BOOM struck a chord with Belfry audiences in the summer of 2015. Picking up where BOOM left off – at Woodstock in 1969 – BOOM X tackles the music, culture and politics of Generation X. Surrounded by stunning visuals, Rick plays more than 100 famous people – musicians, celebrities, politicians – in his own story of growing up and trying to navigate the tangled legacy of the Baby Boom. Presented by: KIDOONS AND WYRD PRODUCTIONS, IN ASSOCIATION WITH THEATRE CALGARY AND THE 20K COLLECTIVE PRESENTS Tickets and information at www. belfry.bc.ca
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    Women Artists Changing Collections: Recent Acquisitions Legacy Gallery, Continuing to July 20 Art by women is egregiously under-represented in most public collections. Get acquainted with emerging and well-known women artists who are changing the Legacy collection; come to question what more can be done. Upcoming events: July 11, 7pm, “From Self Portraits to Selfies: the Psychology of Representing the Self” with Jim Tanaka (Psychology, UVic). July 25, 7pm, Patricia Bovey on“Myfanwy Pavelic in the Context of Canadian Art.” Both free; seating is limited. 630 Yates St, 250-721-6562, www.legacy.uvic.ca
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    Frances Beckow: Draw a Breath Gage Gallery, July 16 - August 3 “Draw A Breath” connects the focus of drawing with the breath work used for calming the mind and body in meditation. The drawings in this show represent the artist’s exploration of the theme that drawing is a calming and harmonious practice. Quiet, peaceful and solitary, the act of implement on surface has the power to take down stress and power up creativity. ReceptionSunday, August 21, 1-4pm. Daily Tues-Sat 11am-5pm. 2031 Oak Bay Ave, 250-592-2760, wwwgagegallery.ca.
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    Sooke Fine Arts Show SEAParc Leisure Complex, July 26–August 5 Celebrating it’s 33rd anniversary in 2019, the Sooke Fine Arts Show is Vancouver Island’s longest-running juried fine art show, and one of the region’s premier summer arts event. The show provides the opportunity for the finest artists from Vancouver Island and BC’s coastal islands to showcase and sell their work. More than 380 works of original island art will be on display in the 17,000-square-foot gallery. Daily artist demonstrations, talks, guided tours, live music, and gift shop. http://sookefinearts.com.
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    Matriarchs: Prints by First Nations Women Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Continuing to October 6 Research for an earlier exhibit made clear there was a lack of women artists represented in the AGGV collection of First Nations prints. This project,curated by Coast Salish artist Margaret August, offers a way to build the collection and also stronger relationships with the artists. August visitedwith theartists and shares how her own evolution as an artist is guided bythese iconic Matriarchs—includingKelly Cannell, Francis Dick, Lou-ann Neel, Sage Paul, Susan Point, Marika Echachis Swan, and Carrielynn Victor. 1040 Moss St, www.aggv.ca.
  10. The Ground Above Us: Charles Campbell and Farheen HaQ Legacy Downtown, Lekwungen territory July 26–September 14 This collaborative project intersects the practices of Farheen HaQ and Charles Campbell as visual artists, racialized bodies and guests on Lekwungen territories. They ask the question: How does our creative work of making space for our voices and experience meet the ground and history here? Opening reception Friday, July 26, 7-9pm. Wed to Sat 10am-4pm; Thurs 10am-8pm until August 29. 630 Yates St, 250-721-6562, www.legacy.uvic.ca.
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    Colours of Summer X Madrona Gallery July 6–August 17, Every two weeks new work is rotated in from Madrona’s large stable of leading artists from across Canada. Included are new works by Rick Bond, Nicholas Bott, Karel Doruyter, Meghan Hildebrand, April Mackey, John Lennard, and more. These works are complemented by historic works by the Group of 7, Emily Carr, E.J. Hughes, Takao Tanabe, Ted Harrison, Robert Genn, and David Blackwood, as well as Inuit drawings, prints and carvings. Opening reception: Saturday, July 6, 1-4 pm, 606 View St, 250-380-4660, www.madronagallery.com. Show here is: “Passage” Karel Doruyter, 36 x 60 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
  12. Victoria boasts one of the busiest water airports in the world—some think it’s too busy. IT’S QUITE UNUSUAL—and ambitious—to have an airport smack in the middle of any city, on water or land. According to Transport Canada, which runs the harbour aerodrome, “Victoria Harbour is Canada’s only certified water airport and port that is home to cruise ships, floatplanes, passenger ferries, recreational boaters and kayakers.” And don’t forget the big yachts in the new marina. Did you know Victoria is now the busiest port of call for cruise ships in Canada? Or that the airport has earned the title of Canada’s, and sometimes the world’s, busiest water airport, averaging 100 flight movements (take-offs or landings) a day? Floatplanes coming and going on the busy Victoria Harbour Airport (Photo by David Broadland) As Transport Canada’s graphic depiction of the harbour’s transportation avenues shows (below), all of the traffic in the harbour is occurring in a small space, one surrounded by dense development of the waterfront, including hotels and thousands of condos. Note the pinch-point between Songhees Point and Laurel Point, a narrow channel that all vessels, including aircraft, must squeeze through to get into or out of the Inner Harbour. And notice that airport runways are superimposed on the lane for boats over 20 metres in length. Transport Canada’s “Traffic Scheme” for the Public Port of Victoria The airport might even get busier if recently-announced plans to convert Harbour Air’s fleet to electric motors come to pass. Harbour Air is the main airline operating out of the harbour, with flights to downtown Vancouver, South Vancouver (YVR), Pitt Meadows, and Whistler. With over 40 aircraft, it is possibly the largest seaplane airline in the world. It has won numerous awards over the years, including Canada’s Best Managed Companies (for 10 years), and Business of the Year in Victoria. Its founder and owner, Greg McDougall, was just inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. It claims to be the world’s first fully carbon-neutral airline (accomplished through an offset program). And now it plans to become the first commercial airline to be powered by electric propulsion. When electrification of its fleet is complete, flight costs could come down as much as 70-80 percent, according to Roei Ganzarski of magniX, which is developing the new engines. If flight costs were reduced, it follows that fares might come down, too—certainly the offset charges would be eliminated. That would likely translate into greater demand—from tourists, business people, government employees, and even for freight. Typical fares now are over $200 to Vancouver, but imagine a $100 fare: the 30-minute trip could become enticingly convenient and affordable to a lot more folks. When I suggest such a possibility to Harbour Air President Randy Wright, he said, “Fuel costs will come down, but it will take a while to convert the entire fleet. There is also a significant capital cost involved in this refit. As a result, at this point, it’s difficult to say what the impact will be on fares.” He also doesn’t think flight numbers will increase. Residents with ringside seats on the harbour have expressed concerns for many years about the airport’s safety, noise and exhaust fumes. While Harbour Air’s electrification plans—if they are carried out—will eventually help on some fronts, the safety concerns will not go away, whether flight numbers increase or remain the same. IN THE EARY 1990s, when construction of condos began on the Songhees, floatplane flights numbered about 11,000 annually. Though they have ranged as high as 34,000, they’ve been hovering around 25,000 in recent years. (Helicopters not included—they add another 9,000 or so.) In 2000, the harbour aerodrome was certified as an airport by Transport Canada, which regulates the Port of Victoria—basically from Ogden Point to the Selkirk Trestle Bridge. In 2008, the City of Victoria, in response to growing citizen concerns about safety, noise and emissions, set up a committee to look at the airport. In the minutes for a meeting that included representatives from Transport Canada, the anger of residents comes through loud and clear. One resident, an experienced pilot with over 1600 hours of flight time, including in floatplanes, stated: “it’s an accident waiting to happen…Any experienced pilot is astonished. If it was grass between the shores there’d be no airport.” He and others commented that they had given up complaining because of the apparent futility. As one person put it, “Complaining to Transport Canada is a big black hole, nothing happens.” Another argued, “There has to be some limitation [of flight numbers] and some people think the carrying capacity has long been exceeded.” A Songhees resident described how “on a typical day I wipe off my balcony and the rag is filthy [from plane exhaust].” That committee’s final report in 2009 made clear that the City had no real power over the airport. It could ask Transport Canada to play nice, but that was about it. Among the things it “urged” Transport Canada to do were conduct an independent aeronautical study, and study the impact of noise and air quality. No such studies have been done. Former Councillor Pam Madoff, who chaired the committee on the airport, describes the issue as “one of the more frustrating files to have dealt with” over the course of her 25 years on council—largely because of Transport Canada’s “lack of responsiveness and a level of disinterest that was quite extraordinary.” Another key “urging” of her committee was to finalize the Water Airport Regulations and Standards, after adjusting them to address “quality of life factors and the dense urban environment.” The regulations have never been adjusted or formalized—they have been in draft form since 2000. Songhees resident Susan Woods has shown me an almost comical two-decade record of annual promises from Transport Canada that the final regulations, along with a 30-day public comment period, were just around the corner. The continuing delay led Victoria City Council, in July 2017, to pass a resolution to ask “the Government of Canada move forward with publication of Canadian Aviation Regulations and Standards for the Victoria Harbour Water Airport, to allow for public comment…and provide certainty for residents, operators and passengers.” In May 2018, after a motion by Councillor Ben Isitt, who noted the years of “runaround” by Transport Canada, the City sent another request for the regulations. Madoff believes the reasons for the delay—19 years now—is the legal requirement that the regulations and standards will be subject to a 30-day public notice and thereby be held up to scrutiny—scrutiny, it’s implied, that could upset the airport applecart. Marg Gardiner, president of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association, has been studying the harbour and the airport for decades. She uses words like “shameful” and “depressing” to describe how neglectful both the City and Transport Canada have been in addressing and protecting local residents from unhealthy levels of exhaust and noise, as well as potential accidents. She believes the City encouraged development around the harbour knowing about the liveability issues around a busy airport. She says it’s only through citizen action that airport traffic hasn’t increased more over the years: “It’s a political game.” Referring to the City’s committee and its recommendations, she adds, “There was lots of talk, but in the end nothing…no one demands anything from Transport Canada.” HARBOUR MASTER MARIAH McCOOEY, who also acts as the airport manager, assures me that, over the years, Transport Canada has developed measures to ensure all harbour users can coexist safely. Key among these measures is “a detailed traffic scheme, which has been in place for almost 20 years. It includes runways, lanes, and different zones that keep traffic flowing for all the diverse users.” She admits, “From shore it looks a bit random, but it’s actually well organized.” Victoria Harbour Master Mariah McCooey (Photo be Leslie Campbell) Besides wall-to-wall windows on the water side of her Fisherman’s Wharf office, McCooey, who holds a Masters in Maritime Management, has a number of large high-resolution video screens providing views from 23 cameras around the harbour. The Coast Guard has access to these videos as well. The data is kept for 120 days so recent incidents can be reviewed if necessary. Victoria Harbour Airport operates under a “Prior Permission Required” system: not just anyone can land their plane. All pilots flying into the harbour airport do special studies and take an exam, McCooey tells me. NAV Canada provides “flight services” including up-to-date weather and water conditions for pilots, but, unlike at larger airports, no air traffic control (though NAV Canada’s tower on the harbour looks like an air traffic control tower at a regular airport, it isn’t). Pilots can communicate with NAV’s flight service advisors and with each other. NAV Canada facility at Shoal Point looks like an air traffic control tower—but isn’t. There is no active air traffic control for Victoria Harbour Airport. (Photo by Leslie Campbell) McCooey oversees on-the-water patrollers—a couple in the winter and seven in the summer. The biggest safety issue, she says, are “transient” boat operators who don’t know harbour rules. Towards their enlightenment, she and the patrollers give out 2,500 brochures over the summer. These include the map, with its highlighted warning telling boaters to stay away from runways. McCooey is not worried about the amount of traffic. “We have a lot of coordination [among partners], with lots of safety meetings…A lot of top professionals are looking at the harbour to make sure it works and is safe,” she says, mentioning representatives from NAV, the Coast Guard, City of Victoria, and the RCMP. All the partners meet every six months to make sure everyone’s in the loop about any developments and issues. There’s also a database that includes all reports of infringements that is available to all the partners. “It’s pretty fantastic,” says McCooey. Every incident in which a runway is crossed, or there’s been a misuse of boat lanes, is included and analyzed. There were 700 such non-serious incidents last year, but no real accidents. The incidents are recorded, says McCooey, as they do pose some risk. “We’re always asking what we can do to reduce it.” Regular users, she says, are well-versed in proper procedures. Tug operators know they can go “right up the middle,” for instance. The whale-watching boats also use the middle lanes. Harbour ferries have to regularly traverse runways, so are heavily involved in safety meetings, she notes, telling me in all, there are 120,000 ferry movements per year. Each ferry has a two-way radio. A few years back Randy Wright described the arrangements as “working like a Swiss watch.” Still, there are barges coming and going and there will be, eventually, some mega-yachts. As well, the Coho and other big ships have to use the airport runway. It seems an incredible amount to choreograph. SUSAN WOODS, who lives in a condo on the Songhees and has a masters degree in marine science, is not reassured by the Harbour Master’s confidence. Her main concern is the way planes are allowed to fly close to residential buildings on the north side of the harbour. (Full disclosure: my mother lived in a Songhees condo for 24 years.) The allowed distance from the edge of the take-off and landing areas to the nearest building is 50 metres. She believes it should be more like that of other airports: 300 metres. She notes, “In the event of a problem with the aircraft, strong gusting winds, momentary inattention by the pilot, or some other mishap, this 50-metre gap would be closed by an approaching plane in about one second.” Something Transport Canada calls “vertical transition zoning” has been allowed to get around the fact that buildings poke into the usual amount of transitional surface required for a safe runway zone. In a document online, Transport Canada states this type of zoning “is intended to provide relief for small aerodromes in mountainous regions, used in VMC [visual meterological conditions], where river valleys, etc. are the only sites available. At other locations an aeronautical study and Headquarters’ approval is required.” Woods also believes pilots should be prohibited from taking off or landing while there are obstacles (i.e. watercraft) present anywhere on the take-off and landing areas. Marg Gardiner, who lives in a condo across the harbour in James Bay, agrees, lamenting that runways have been superimposed on the marine arterial highway used by the Coho and other large boats, which means that the unobstructed airspace for the landing and taking off of aircraft—a requirement of other airports—is not being met. While there have been no accidents in many years, Gardiner says, “There have been close calls.” She’s seen near-misses between aircraft and buildings or watercraft. She has also seen and reported incidents in which, during rough weather, taxiing planes seemed to lose control and come perilously close to fuel docks. Woods says the only incident she’s witnessed (and reported) recently was one in which “a Twin Otter landed eastbound on operating area Alpha, and the pilot had to use probably-maximum reverse thrust in order to attempt to complete the landing prior to crossing east of the line joining the N and S markers. However, it appeared that the plane had neither completed its landing nor was at or below five knots before crossing the line.” Woods and her fellow Songhees residents have pressed for years for an aeronautical study to identify the deviations and the remediation needed for airport safety—one conducted by a qualified, professional, independent consultant. To no avail. AND THEN THERE'S THE NOISE. Harbour Air’s eventual shift to electric planes will definitely help. Wright predicts, “The electric planes will be about 75 percent quieter.” Meanwhile—and it could be a long while— it’s noisy, as those living on the harbour or walking the Westsong Walkway can attest. “Especially during the busy summer period,” says Woods, “windows and doors have to remain closed due to conversation-stopping noise and the noxious fumes which accumulate inside homes.” A City of Victoria presentation from October 2008 suggested that noise problems were primarily due to propeller noise—not just engines—and that they were “exacerbated by proximity of aircraft to shoreline buildings.” (What Gardiner refers to as a concrete canyon over water.) I found a 1995 US study of seaplane noise that stated: “The principal factor in the intensity of seaplane noise is first the type of seaplane…, next the tip speed of the propeller (RPM’s), followed by the angle and distance that can be kept between the seaplane and the listener, and lastly the power setting (throttle).” It stated that a Cessna 206 with 300 hp engine and three-bladed propeller has a maximum of 88 dBA. The only noise study done by Transport Canada dates back to 2000. It found that average noise was “just below acceptable level,” and acknowledged a problem does exist. Single-event levels during one three-hour period in the afternoon exceeded 85 dBA 14 times, Woods noted. With more than 100 flight movements a day in summer, such numbers don’t seem surprising. (City noise bylaws do not apply, given the federal jurisdiction.) Noise is more than a nuisance; it’s a recognized health hazard, increasing stress, the risk of hypertension, and ischaemic heart disease. It also has negative effects on sleep, communication, performance and behaviour, reading and memory acquisition, and mental health. When I raised the question of noise with Transport Canada, Simon Rivet, a senior advisor with its Communications Group, listed the noise mitigation strategies that have been implemented: “We only allow three-bladed turbo-prop aircraft, which is the quietest version of a floatplane in existence. Best practices include the reduction of reverse thrust when landing, with sufficient room to allow for a natural slowdown, rather than having to put it in ‘reverse,’ which is quite noisy.” He also noted that rules around runway use dramatically reduce noise levels: the majority of take-offs are from Bravo runway in the Outer Harbour; while the preferred runway for landings is eastbound on Alpha, “because it also minimizes the amount of idling and manoeuvring on the surface.” Finally, he noted that no flights are allowed before 7am. But with no noise-level studies in two decades, how do they know if these measures have been successful, or to what degree? Harbour residents are still finding it very loud. And quieter electric planes could be a long way off. Gardiner feels that until things change, all prospective harbour condo buyers should be warned about the noise. As I talk with her on the phone, the Coho blasts its horn in the background. UNTIL SEAPLANES CHANGE TO E-PLANES, the city’s booming core population means that more people will notice the noxious fumes around the harbour. Susan Woods believes “unburned or partially combusted fuel from floatplane operations at Victoria Harbour Airport result in volatile organic compounds and suspended particulate matter being spewed into the surrounding environment, including the walkways and residences…The sooty, oily film which begins to coat our windows, soon after they’ve been washed, is a visible testament as to the volume of particulate matter polluting our air each and every day.” (I too have seen the greasy film that coats windows on the Songhees side.) Transport Canada’s last study, based on 1998 activity levels, found that VOCs being released into the harbour came from both motorboats and planes. While more VOCs were produced by motorboats (including whale-watching vessels), aircraft emissions, because of their dispersal in the air, tend to affect humans more. Many floatplanes run on “avgas”—a petroleum fuel with lead added to it. Lead was phased out of gasoline for automobiles decades ago because of its serious health effects. Yet small planes with piston engines still use it. Wright assured Focus that none of Harbour Air planes flying to Victoria Harbour use leaded gas. However, Transport Canada’s Rivet told me there is no requirement for planes to use unleaded gasoline. So other planes flying into the harbour likely do use it. Rivet also said the airport has no air-quality monitoring program. No one really knows just how bad the air around the harbour is these days. Beyond the health of locals, of course, is that of the planet. All carbon-burning craft play starring roles in warming the planet. Aviation, however, states the David Suzuki Foundation, “has a disproportionately large impact on the climate system. It accounts for four to nine percent of the total climate change impact of human activity.” The industry has been “expanding rapidly in part due to regulatory and taxing policies that do not reflect the true environmental costs of flying.” Travelling by air “has a greater climate impact per passenger kilometre, even over longer distances. It’s also the mode of freight transport that produces the most emissions,” the Foundation states on its website. Harbour Air has worked hard to be as green as possible under these circumstances. Its Victoria terminal has a green roof and solar panels. Most importantly, since 2007, it has had an impressive carbon offset program. All emissions of the company, 97 percent coming directly from seaplane fuel use, are “offset” through Offsetters Clean Technology, a company that specializes in both calculating carbon emissions and finding appropriate projects to invest in—both regional and international—that reduce carbon emissions. Harbour Air has information about the projects online and makes customers aware of the offsets by showing their cost on ticket receipts. It also tells them that a return flight to Vancouver produces 87 kg CO2-equivalent per passenger. Nevertheless, Harbour Air’s overall emissions have crept up over the years to 12,793 tonnes CO2-equivalent in 2017. While offsets may be better than nothing, critics have argued they are a bit of a shell game, allowing people to rationalize their carbon-intensive habits rather than changing them. Most experts agree they are not a substitute for directly reducing emissions, given the urgency of tackling climate change. University of Ottawa Professor, and President of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, Ryan Katz-Rosene, told The Georgia Straight an honest definition of “carbon offset” might be something like, “a framework to enable people to continue to produce carbon dioxide and to absolve themselves of responsibility when they might not even work in the first place and, if they do work, are things that should be happening anyway.” So the Harbour Air electrification moves are potentially very good news for those concerned about climate change and air quality. (Unfortunately, there are no such technological fixes foreseen for larger planes.) How soon will Harbour air electrify its planes? Wright says, “We plan to have an eplane ready for flight testing in late 2019. But it will take a while for Transport Canada regulations to catch up. We anticipate that it will be a multi-year effort to convert the entire fleet.” Judging from the 19 years Transport Canada has taken, so far, to finalize the airport regulations, we may have a long time to wait for those electric planes. A shop mock-up of how magniX’s aero’s electric propulsion system would be adapted to a Cessna aircraft Marg Gardiner says she’ll believe it when she sees it. She’s seen too many failures along such lines, including aborted plans to electrify the buses going to and from cruise ships. Even if Harbour Air’s plan is realized, and electric planes reduce both health and environmentally- damaging emissions, as well as some or most aircraft noise, “it doesn’t address the safety issue at all,” says Gardiner. On that front, Transport Canada needs to step up, do the aeronautical studies, and finalize the standards and regulations for the airport that it has long promised. No one is suggesting the airport be closed or moved out of the harbour. Most agree that it provides a valued service and brings economic benefits to Victoria. But it is publicly owned. The private airlines pay nothing in port fees. Taxpayers pay for it all—the Transport Canada managers, the Harbour Master, the on-the-water patrollers and their boats and brochures, along with the frustrations, possible health issues, and benefits that come with having an airport in the middle of Victoria’s harbour. They understandably want to be assured of adequate safety measures and quality of life. Editor Leslie Campbell misses her regular visits to her mom’s old condo. The view of our busy, beautiful harbour is hard to beat.
  13. Behind the curtains at City Hall A look at the City of Victoria’s first quarterly 2019 “Operational Highlights, Accomplishments and Metrics,” reveals the value of the City’s construction permits has increased from $125.2 million in 2014 to $347.9 million in 2018. And, at the end of 2019’s first quarter, the value of construction in Victoria reached $82.8 million—a 56 percent increase over the same time period in 2018. So, have taxpayers benefited from this housing boom? Less than $15 million was collected by the City in development and community amenity charges, and fewer than 100 affordable housing units (out of 3,786 built) were added over the past four years. The lucrative real estate sector and escalating land values are fuelling changes everywhere. Yet, the greatest negative impact has been felt by renters who face soaring rents and large-scale displacement. But this is of little concern to elected officials whose only role is to approve the ever-increasing taxpayer-financed projects to upgrade infrastructure and beautify the area surrounding these upscale housing developments. Such projects include the new Johnson Street Bridge, Ship Point redevelopment, David Foster pathway, not to mention protected bike lane corridors throughout the core area. Preserving property entitlements also includes providing more than $40-million-worth of ten-year tax exemptions to 450 owners of heritage condo properties Downtown. Their latest tax-holiday decisions now support the most expensive residential restoration project in the City: the Customs House condo and commercial complex, only steps away from the Humboldt “Innovation Tree.” It’s not hard for City council to justify removing an “iconic” mature tree, especially if it obstructs the flow of people, vehicles and bikes around the Customs House waterfront property whose units range in price from $900,000 to more than $10 million. Council’s role seems to be to facilitate more upscale real estate investment. Every decision they make must ensure maximization of profit for investors at the expense of maintaining a healthy environment and ensuring the well-being of the majority of the City’s households, who are tenants. If the City is concerned about mitigating the negative impact of climate change, why are they approving the construction of the largest consumers of energy and emitters of greenhouse gas emissions—high-density, amenity-rich condo towers, concentrated in Downtown? Truth-telling requires everyone to observe what’s going on around them, not to mention what’s behind the curtains at City Hall. As a wise friend once told me, follow the money and find out who stands to gain and who stands to lose from the decisions made. Victoria Adams Stop birching and complaining! Kudos to the FOI requester, however I think she was barking up the wrong tree. The root of the problem is the second-rate governance and management at the City of Victoria. The bike lanes are a gong show, and the design at Government and Humboldt is nothing short of hazardous. One must wonder about the decision-making processes at Centennial Square, which leave much to be desired, as you have so consistently reported, and would not be helped if the public were consulted ad nauseam about the removal of one tree. I’m fully supportive of an urban forest, as opposed to a concrete jungle—developers, property owners, and don’t forget renters too, guided and assisted by common sense policies and programs, should be encouraged or required to plant new and replacement trees on private and public property, and receive property tax credits in addition to the feel-good Earth-saving nature of the exercise. Tony Beckett This is the season I just wanted to thank Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic for her homage to the late, great Patrick Lane. I will now run out and find a copy of Mr Lane’s 2004 memoir, There is a Season. Thanks, Trudy, for your lovely prose about the joys of finding wisdom and humility amongst the plants, trees, soil and rocks. Robert Dunn Goodbye Victoria, kale and all I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I’ll write an email instead. I was born in Victoria 64 years ago. I’ve lived here all my life. Like so many others, I remember Victoria as it was. Affordable. Room for all. Sleepy, dusty, and quaint. Trips to Cook Street Village with my grandmother to buy pastries at Ethel’s Cake Shop; fish and chips, greasy and fragrant at the local eatery; and to the drug store on the corner for cocoa butter. What she used it for, I don’t remember. Sundays, with the roast in the oven, we went in the family car to Douglas and Hillside to travel all the way around the roundabout. Then home to ride our bicycles to Beacon Hill Park until supper. It was safe back then. Now I’m almost ready for old age pension cheques and all the other subsidies that will make my life easier, or so I’m told. As I look around my third-floor walkup in which I can no longer navigate the stairs or climb down to the basement to do my laundry, the rent is $1200 and climbing; I know I have to leave. I’m glad, in a way. Victoria has become a city of condos—unavailable to most of us, and only really affordable to a very few. I’m leaving for the northernmost tip of the island, in hopes of securing a fixer-upper mobile home. I’m in shock really, not quite believing how this came to be. I can scarcely walk more than a block or two, and yet somehow I have to find the strength to turn an old, musty shell of a mobile home into something liveable. Where did the years go? Where did my Victoria go? As I turn the pages through Focus to the last page, there is an article about gardens, and how wisdom and humility are nurtured in them. The author writes if she were to be banished from here to an island she’d pack some seeds and gardening tools. I’m curious about where she would live. The gulf islands have become as unaffordable as most of the island. Her advice? Plant kale. Easy to grow and loaded with nutrition. My balcony, and all the other apartments in my past that had no balconies at all come to mind, as well as the lack of sun needed to grow kale. I guess I could have bought a grow-light. I’m sure that’s what the author meant. The irony of it all. Kathleen LeCorre I loved the articles in your May/June Focus by Gene Miller (“In Praise of Modesty”) and Trudy Mitic (“This is the season”) because they delve deeply into the nature of Nature and human nature. Gene’s thoughts on greed and its relation to power coincide fully with my Judaeo-Christian beliefs. I go a little further, however. He says in a magnificent little paragraph: “Nature is, in this sense, the ultimate parent, and in a bizarre act of self-destructive, anti-ecological spite, we attempt to appropriate nature’s secrets and powers, and try to kill the world. Ego set against eco.” For his initial word “Nature” I would substitute the word “God,” i.e. Creator. But not the “idealized projection of human beings” mentioned in the paragraph following. The Creator I trust and believe in “is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine”—a parent who is able even to replace (in another dimension?) the priceless heirloom we treated as a toy. Of course, this hope does not alleviate my responsibility to Mother Earth in the slightest. I also loved Trudy’s reflections on gardening and nature. What a delicious quote from Patrick Lane: “Every stone in my garden is a story, every tree a poem. I barely know myself in spite of the admonishments of wise men and women who tell me I must know my life in order to live it fully. What I know is that I live in this place where words are made. What we are is a garden. I believe that.” James Hill A Message for the Minister of Forests The headline above Briony Penn’s article (May/June 2019) stated that Forest Minister Doug Donaldson “talked and ran.” As the organizers of the Forest Dialogue that he attended, we must say that this is an unfair characterization. When the minister agreed to speak, his office was always clear that because the legislature was in session, his time was limited. So his speaking and then leaving was no surprise. Furthermore, the minister arranged for one of his senior staff to attend the entire proceedings and to make himself available to meet with the organizers to review feedback from the meeting. It is our sincere hope that the Forest Dialogue has set the stage for new opportunities to exchange viewpoints, discuss values, and learn from experts and communities about the myriad issues facing our forest ecosystems. With more effective communication, we can move beyond the old tireless debate of jobs vs. the environment to a constructive dialogue around managing forests to both conserve the environment and keep the economy moving. Thoughtful, progressive people, including many who attended the conference, know this can be done, and that there are numerous examples of where it is being practiced. It is time to work together on a broad new forestry vision for BC, and for the BC government to step up with courage to embrace the leadership that is called for to make it a reality. For more information on the April Forest Dialogue, to listen to the speakers, and learn more about the state of BC’s forests, please go to: www.northwestinstitute.ca. Bob Peart, Pat Moss, Ivan Thompson Editor’s note: Mea culpa. I (not Briony) composed the offending titling. Government needs to assign a dollar value to every hectare of old growth or mature forests left standing in the province. The current rule of thumb is approximately $10K per hectare per year in environmental services they provide, including, of course, carbon sequestering. Until a forest is logged, government places $0 value on these forests that have been providing free services to society since the last ice age. Older forests and their services are worth much more to society today and to future generations than stumpage taxes. It’s clear that the Ministry of Forests has not known how to grow back a living forest, let alone high-quality trees, due to their continued reliance on natural forests to meet the majority of their Annual Allowable Cut. Ross Muirhead Forests suffer from drive for growth On Vancouver Island alone, I have witnessed the forested land being cut down to build subdivision after subdivision—from Swartz Bay to Victoria, and all the way up the Island. Meanwhile, the large corporate logging companies who hold the lease to harvest the forests on the Island are cutting so much timber that there is negligible old growth remaining, and the newer trees are one-tenth the size. These newer forests are not like the older forests which were made up of cedar, hemlock, spruce, fir and balsam. No, they are made of quick-grow, single species trees that are being planted. Ken James of the Youbou Timberless Society once stated: “If we processed our lumber in BC instead of shipping out raw logs, we could cut half as many trees and employ twice as many local people.” These ancient forests once helped maintain oxygen levels on this planet; they stopped flooding in the winter/spring by absorbing water; and these large trees kept the forest floors cool in the hotter months. These same old-growth forests took the carbon from the atmosphere and converted it to oxygen. Today we have flooding in the rainy season, and forest fires in the hotter months. We have water restrictions starting as early as May! And by June, it is fourth-stage water restrictions. Hot weather is showing up in April instead of June. A record number of forest fires are taking place each year. This is happening across BC, which was once one of the world’s greatest rainforests. Our forest protection is vital to maintaining a balanced climate. It is my understanding that we can no longer base our lifestyle on continuous consumption and never-ending growth. We cannot continue to cut our forests down for expansion of housing areas. We cannot assume that this environment we live in can be squandered and used up. Even the animals are showing up in our towns and cities because of human encroachment in their habitat. We must replace our assumption that happiness can be found by clearcutting our forested areas to build our large homes. We must learn to find contentment within our very being, instead of exploiting the world we live in. This continuous drive for growth and wealth is the very source of our environmental woes. Bill Woollam Logging hurts fish & tourism Interesting to learn in Focus how tourism is such a major contributor to our economy here in BC. But still, it’s very different than what it once was. Consider sports fishing some 50+ years ago. Throughout the early postwar years, it was a big-time recreational activity along the southern coasts of Vancouver Island. Indeed, sports fishing in the local waters throughout Saanich Inlet and Cowichan Bay, was incredibly popular with massive schools of spring and coho salmon returning to spawn in local rivers during the summer and fall. Indeed, there were numerous marinas and boathouses lining various bays, coves and beaches, where very popular fishing derbies were being run back in these good old days. Also, it should be noted that these were major fund-raising undertakings like the Solarium Derby which contributed thousands of dollars to the Queen Alexandra Solarium for Crippled Children in Saanich. Sadly, sports fishing to any extent has all been pretty well DOA since the mid-1970s. Also, in the same edition, it is most distressing to learn of how the local orca population is in danger but no one will actually deal with or face up to the actual source of this catastrophe. Well, as it happens, there at the top of the whale’s menu are spring salmon which are well on their way to extinction with the on-going wholesale destruction of second growth and now third growth forests all along the east side of the Island. (Check out the loaded trucks at the weigh station on the highway just north of Duncan.) So what happened here? Well, our local rivers flood regularly during winter and then dry up in the summer, which has resulted in the destruction of healthy spawning habitat. The reason? I asked an old retired Comox Logging & Railway Co. hand how it was that the company back in the early years of the last century was dropping huge first growth trees right into the Tsolum River and then booming them up? Well, he told me that back then the valley was entirely untouched prime Douglas fir forest land where the understory humic layer was very deep and intact. These soils and layers acted like an incredible sponge that soaked up the winter rainfalls to accumulate water and then gradually released it throughout the year. And today? As my contact stated, “There’s little water in all our rivers during the summertime…and they can flood like the bejeez’us during the winter, now that all the old timber is gone!” This colossal disaster is all thanks to the former Liberal government’s rewriting of the Private Managed Forest Land Act, which threw the door open to rampant, out of control timber harvesting by Island Timberlands and TimberWest corporate entities thanks to the Liberal’s model of “Professional Reliance.” Basically the fox was left in charge of the chicken house and there’s been absolutely no government oversight of private forest lands since the early 1990s. Rick James, Royston, BC A moratorium on wireless 5G urged I am alarmed by the 5G rollout that is soon to commence in Victoria and much of the world. This is not the 5G wifi that has already been installed. This is the next generation of radio frequency (RF) transmission for cell phones that promises to increase speed and performance. Unfortunately, it will also blanket our environment with transmitters (about one to every five houses) that will conduct pulsed signals at much higher frequencies. In 2015, over 230 scientists from more than 40 countries expressed serious concerns about the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) generated by electric and wireless devices, well before talk of a 5G rollout. Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMR has adverse effects on living organisms, including increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free-radicals, genetic damage, structural and functional changes in the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals. (See Rainer Nyberg, EdD Professor Emeritus, Vasa Finland and Lennart Hardell, MD PhD Professor, Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Orebro Sweden). A cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluation of RF EMR, states that evidence is now conclusive that RF radiation is carcinogenic to humans. Previous studies that show such radiation is carcinogenic include those by Hardell 2017, Atzman 2016 and Peleg 2018 (from Environmental Research, volume 167, Nov 2018). On September 13, 2017, this declaration was made: “We the undersigned, more than 180 scientists and doctors from 36 countries recommend a moratorium on the rollout of the fifth generation for telecommunications—5G, until the potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry. 5G will substantially increase exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) on top of the already existing 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc, for telecommunications already in place. RF EMF has proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.” Some cities in the world—most notably, Brussels, the capital of the EU—stopped the testing of 5G when its Minister of the Environment and Energy, Housing and Quality of Life Celine Fremault reported, “I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not. The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.” Vaux in France, Neuchatel and Geneva in Switzerland, Florence in Italy and Portland, Oregon have all halted 5G implementation for public health reasons. The telecom industry has not invested in independent research to prove that wireless 5G is safe. In fact, industry representatives have publicly admitted that there was no investment in independent research, nor any plans for such. They intend to roll it out, and once it’s implemented, it will take decades to prove any damaging impact. Note: it took 40+ years for the damaging effects of tobacco to be taken seriously. I am a member of a group of concerned citizens who are proposing a moratorium on the deployment of wireless 5G in the City of Victoria, based on the lack of evidence that 5G is biologically safe. Glen Timms Heritage church replacement a sad sign of the times A number of commentators in the media have recently expressed disappointment with the anticipated demolition of the Fairfield United Church, a heritage building. As others noted, this flies in the face of Victoria’s reputation as an innovator and leader in heritage conservation, particularly as there is now a long experience and widespread practice in Canada and beyond in the repurposing of historic churches. However, what is even more egregious is the scheme being proposed for the Fairfield church’s replacement. Churches such as this are preserved for symbolic, as well as practical purposes. Even empty of their congregation they remain anchor monuments in their neighbourhoods, statements about community aspirations signalling thoughts a little higher up the values chain than say a casino or gas station—even to those who never, or rarely, set foot in them. Fairfield United marks the very core of a unique arts-and-crafts bungalow neighbourhood. It signalled “neighbourliness” in its construction. Red brick echoed the Edwardian James Douglas Elementary School which originally faced it across the street. Half-timbered gables, bracketed roof detailing, and an expansive pitched roof repeated the texture of the surrounding bungalows and cottages lining the adjacent streetscapes. So where were the Fairfield Neighbourhood Association, the City’s planning department, its heritage and design committees, and the council when this over-scaled abstract cubist design was proposed? Were the developers and design professionals blind to architect Shiv Garyali’s brilliantly executed new James Douglas School, just across the road, which respectfully and literally grows out of the form, scale and craft character of its environs? I am afraid this exercise, perhaps intended to challenge the status quo or reflect the “new spirit of our times,” will instead stand as an object lesson in political disinterest, questionable professional practice, and community amnesia. Is this what awaits Victoria’s historic residential neighbourhoods? Martin Segger Subsidizing climate change, via LNG It no longer seems that our BC government is an agreement between NDP and Greens. It is now a government of NDP and Liberals, given licence by the Greens to subsidize global warming by giving away $6 billion of our tax dollars to an LNG industry that can only accelerate our free-fall into economic and social destruction, brought on by the irreparable destruction of our environment. What the heck is Horgan’s bunch doing? Ian MacKenzie
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    Raven Baroque: Concerts Raven Baroque Orchestra plays the hits from 1600 to 1730 (Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, etc.) in full costume. Concert Schedule: Thursday, August 8 Victoria Central Public Library Atrium 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Friday, August 9 Beacon Avenue Bandshell, Sidney 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Saturday, August 10 Christ Church Cathedral Lawn 10:00 am – 11:30 am Saturday, August 11 Willows Beach Park Lawn 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Admission to all concerts is by donation. Dates subject to change; check website www.ravenbaroque.org to confirm dates.
  15. Raven Baroque: Concerts Raven Baroque Orchestra plays the hits from 1600 to 1730 (Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, etc.) in full costume. Concert Schedule: Friday, July 5 Beacon Avenue Bandshell, Sidney 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Saturday, July 6 Christ Church Cathedral Lawn 10:00 am – 11:30 am Friday, July 12 Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Saturday, July 13 Market Square 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Saturday, August 3 Nootka Court, 633 Courtenay Street 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm BC Day, Monday, August 5 Mt. Tolmie Reservoir 1:30 – 2:30 pm & 3:00 – 4:00 pm Thursday, August 8 Victoria Central Public Library Atrium 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Friday, August 9 Beacon Avenue Bandshell, Sidney 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Saturday, August 10 Christ Church Cathedral Lawn 10:00 am – 11:30 am Saturday, August 11 Willows Beach Park Lawn 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Admission to all concerts is by donation. Dates subject to change; check website www.ravenbaroque.org to confirm dates.
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