Sooke News Mirror, May 16, 2012
Post on 01-Feb-2016
DESCRIPTIONMay 16, 2012 edition of the Sooke News Mirror
FAWLTY COMEDYSooke Harbour Players present another dinner
SMART DANCING Local dancers learn Brain-
Your community, your classi eds B9 75Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Editorial Page A8 Entertainment Page B1Sports/stats Page A21
SOOKESOOKE NEWS 2010 WINNERM I R R O RLaundromat and car wash planned for SookePirjo RaitsSooke News Mirror
Imagine this... you are doing your laundry, drinking a coffee and checking your emails on your computer while the kids are watching a video. Kind of sounds like home, except it isnt. It is a commercial laundromat in the centre of Sooke with 50 high efficiency washers and dryers where you can finish a load in one hour. All of this after you have run your car through the car wash with-out ever getting out of the drivers seat.
This is the plan being worked on by JCB Holdings, who is Bruce Logan and Jerry Liedtke. They are also the owners of the Village Food Market mall.
Doug Wittich is the front man doing all of the leg work to get this development up and running.
A grocery stores solidi-fies that youre in a town and a laundromat solidifies it a second time, said Wit-tich.
The whole concept is far more advanced than back in the 1990s when a laun-dromat was located at the corner of Church and Sooke Roads and all of the waste water ran straight into the harbour. The new develop-ment will be energy and water efficient, high tech and a social centre.
He said right now, all of our water goes into the storm drains, but with this new concept the water will be completely enclosed and
will be treated once before it goes into the sewer thereby avoiding putting chemicals into the ocean.
Thats a big part of it.Wittich said the Sooke
Family Resource Society had carried out a feasibility study and survey and found the need was definitely there for both a car wash and a laundromat.
The feasibility study was successful enough, said Wittich. But it was beyond the Sooke Family Resource Society to consider with the cost and size. Thats how we got started. It was clear that it was required and it was clear that if it was not done correctly it would sim-ply fail. The need is huge.
He mentioned people in the community of Shirley who have limited water, peo-ple in rental suites with no access to laundry and dark and dingy basements where laundry facilities exist.
The bright, well lit 3,000 sq. foot laundromat will be the biggest on Vancouver Island with 50 high tech computerized energy effi-cient machines, using one-third the amount of water used by a home washing machine. It will have a coffee shop/cafe, childrens play room with toys, televisions and videos on a loop, WIFI and television in the main laundry area. A full one-day drop off laundry service and dry cleaning drop off complements the laundro-mat. Add to that a website where you can check to see if there is a machine avail-
able. It will be fully manned and operate the same hours as Village Foods.
Its a bright, clean, safe, open concept place with automatic doors, said Wit-tich. JCB made it clear that they want it to be the best and comfortable for every-one.
The car wash will have both a touchless and a soft-touch drive through and a couple of bays with wands where customers can wash their ATVs, boats, trailers, recreation vehicles, etc. These systems use less water and less chemicals and the client can decide which system they want to use. It will use a card sys-tem, much like a punch card which you can fill with any amount of money.
This system will use the greatest technology available, said Wittich. Theres no use setting up something with five year old technology.
The cost of this enterprise is well over a million dollars. The JCB guys live in this community, they brought us the new mall, a modern presence for Sooke. Its not all about money, its about a service being brought here.
Im really pumped on this thing, he said. I want it to be a place people will not avoid, a lot of effort is being put into the comfort thing. Its going to be an incredible thing to bring to Sooke.
Wittich expects the laun-dromat and car wash to be open in the spring of 2013, pending approval by the District of Sooke.
Pirjo Raits photo
Dennis Price, left, and Sean Wittich set the posts and then straighten up the sign announcing a new state-of-the-art laundromat and car wash planned for Sooke. The location is behind Village Foods and the lane onto Murray Road.
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SOOKE NEWS MIRROR - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 www.sookenewsmirror.com A23
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A2 www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
Sharron HoSooke News Mirror
David James Chias-son, the driver in the single motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of 15-ye-ar-old Nicolas Nic Twiddy, was arrested on May 7 for an attemp-ted robbery.
A 34-year-old Sooke man was approached by a young man he identified as Chiasson outside of the Chevron gas station on May 6 around 6 p.m.
According to Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Wright, Chiasson alle-gedly accosted the man and demanded he give him money.
After the victim refu-sed, Chiasson repor-tedly sprayed him with bear mace and left the scene. The man then
called for assistance and received treatment from paramedics.
Due to massive media coverage surrounding the motor vehicle acci-dent that occurred on April 9 on West Coast Road, the victim was able to identify Chias-son to police.
The accident invol-ving a vehicle stolen in Sooke, resulted in the death of Twiddy and serious head injuries for 15-year-old pas-senger Maria Forbes.
Chiasson was dri-ving the vehicle, when it veered out of control along the gravel shoul-der, slid into a power pole side ways and flip-ped over into a ditch. The pole snapped in half from impact.
Chiasson and another passenger, Steve Livingstone, 18, recei-ved minor injuries.
Wright said police were able to arrest Chi-asson at his residence for the attempted rob-bery the following mor-ning on May 7 without incident.
According to sour-ces, Chiasson was also believed to be the
cyclist who was inju-red in a collision with pick up truck on the corner of Sooke Road and Anna Maria Road on April 23, where he suffered a severely lace-rated hand.
Although Wright could not confirm Chi-
asson was the cyclist, he said when arrested, Chiassons arm was bearing a cast.
Chiasson will remain in custody until his court appearance on May 24, where he will face charges of rob-bery, assault with a
weapon, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a weapon contrary to a court order.
No charges related to the motor vehicle acci-dent have been laid. Wright said the investi-gation is still ongoing.
SOOKE NEWS MIRROR - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 www.sookenewsmirror.com NEWS A3
Driver in fatal West Coast Road accident arrested
EDC MEETINGTHE ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT Commission will be discussing the Sooke Subaru Triathlon at their meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in council chambers.
SHIRLEY FARMERS MARKET
THE NEXT MARKET will take place on May 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shirley Community Hall grounds.
CHRISTOPHER LUCAS THANKS all of the volunteers and directors for all their help and support.
SHIRLEY IS ALL about community spirit said Lucas.
GORDON SIMONDS, WHO is riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, who had his bike stolen, was given a new bike.
THE SOOKE REGION CHI has published a helpful pamphlet, Where to find help in the Sooke Region. It contains contact information for free or low-cost counselling services, meals, medical equipment and clothing.
TO THOSE WHO have donated bicyles to replace ones that were stolen.
District missing $664,000 in DCCs from hotelArrangements were made without going before council
Pirjo RaitsSooke News Mirror
Three councillors who sat on the last Dis-trict of Sooke council are stating they knew nothing about a deal that saw the Prestige Oceanfront Hotel and Resort pay no Develop-ment Cost Charges to the district.
The DCCs, to the tune of $664,000, include $608,000 to be paid to the District of Sooke and $56,000 to be paid to the Capital Regional District. The DCCs were to be used for road and sewer infrastructure in the district.
The district, said Coun. Rick Kasper, scratched a cheque to
the CRD for $56,000 in 2010, the hotels por-tion of the CRD DCCs. The remainder of the DCCs were offset by being put into the DCC account by the district when it should have been paid by the hotel. The money apparently came from the yearly fees to be paid to the hotel for use of the con-vention centre.
The shuffling of money began in 2009
when the hotel was to pay the first one-third of the DCCs at the build-ing permit stage, which was October of 2009. A year later on the aniver-sary the other one-third never arrived and nei-ther did it in 2011. Add approx. six per cent interest to the mix and the figure comes closer to $700,000.
Nothing showed up in the audits of 2009 and 2010 said Mayor Wendal Milne.
You cant trace it if there is nothing to trace, he said.
Provincial regulation states that arrange-ments can be made through a surety, letter of credit, bond or land. None of these were ever done. The regula-tion also states that the interest must be paid. No interest has been paid by Prestige.
The district entered into a partnering
agreement with Pres-tige where the district would pay $1.5 million towards the building of a convention centre. The district was obli-gated to pay the hotel $300,000 per year for use of the facility for 12 days per month. The district also purchased a lot next to the hotel for close to $1 million on which to build a public boat launch. This included build-
ing a roadway which is used by both the hotel and the public. Negotia-tions were carried out by former Mayor Janet Evans and CAO Evan Parliament.
The new council formed a Finance and Administration Com-mittee and they have gone through the bud-get line by line. They are also reviewing con-tracts.
All through the bud-get deliberations none of the figures added up, said Councillor Rick Kasper, chair of the Finance and Admin-istration Committee. There was no disclo-sure. The auditors were just as surprised as we were. There are statu-tory requirements and three of the current councillors knew noth-ing of it.
Im flabbergasted, but Im not surprised, said Coun. Herb Hal-
dane who sat on the last council. This never went through the public process, it was never transparent, never open. They cant fall back on the claim that they didnt under-stand.
Councillors Maja Tait and Bev Berger echoed Haldanes surprise.
Local resident Gail Hall asked whether the district at any time sought legal counsel on this contra-arrange-ment.
Weve been lied to, she said.
Documents in the partnering agreement do make reference to DCCs but Mayor Milne is referring the matter to the districts law-yers.
Weve handed this to our lawyers, said Milne. What is the rem-edy? Our first obliga-tion is to make sure the district is covered.
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T R AV E L C H E C K L I S T I love checklists .... especially travelling checklists .... what to pack, what to bring. Over the years I have become a walking drug store and have formulated a medication/ rst aid checklist that is modi ed depending if its for an urban or rural destination. I also have a list to record passport numbers, medication names and dosages, travelers cheque numbers, travel insurance policy numbers, and contact numbers.
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A4 www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
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SOOKE NEWS MIRROR - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 www.sookenewsmirror.com NEWS A5
LOOKING BACKA trip through the
Sooke News Mirror time machine:
May 11, 2011Marine Trail deci-
sion may be tabled until June
It is going to take some time yet before any decisions are made as to the rezoning appli-cation made by Marine Trail Holdings Ltd.
At the May 11 meeting of the Capital Regional District Board it will be recommended by plan-ning staff that Voting Block A defer consid-eration of the rezoning bylaw, phased develop-ment agreement and covenant on a pro-posed development by Marine Trail Holdings Ltd. to the June 8, 2011 meeting.
We were going to vote on first and sec-ond reading, said Juan de Fuca Electoral Direc-tor Mike Hicks.
He said the CRD law-yers want to tighten up the zoning bylaw for Ender Ilkays Marine Trail Holdings Ltd. application and phased development agreement before it goes before the Land Use Committee Voting Block A.
They want to make it as detailed as possi-ble. The CRD staff and lawyers are very con-scious of the possibility of legal action.
Hicks said as regional director he is disap-pointed he cant carry on but realizes this is just part of the pro-cess.
I will be voting and recommending my colleagues table this at the board and not send it back to the JDF Land Use Committee,
because the LUC mem-bers have given 110 per cent in making this exhaustive decision.
May 20, 2009Council deals with
full plateAt the regular district
council meeting on May 11, Andrew Moore, solar community pro-gram manager for the TSou-ke First Nation came before council to speak about their solar project.
The TSou-ke First Nation is leading the way in becoming less reliant on fossil fuels and has installed solar panels on the reserve. Their hope is to become energy self-sufficient. Along with Moore was a represen-tative from SolarBC, who spoke about the incentive and the low interest financing avail-able for homeowners and communities inter-ested in installing solar hot water systems. She
offered information. The total cost for
an installed solar hot water system is on average $6,700. Cost will vary depending on where you live in the province and which installer and system you use. While there will be some geographi-cal challenges and addi-tional costs incurred in some instances due to travel, our contractors have committed to ser-vicing customers within this price range.
May 14, 2008Carving a moment
in historyTraditionally, totem
poles represented his-tory of a particular fam-ily or tribe and served as a reminder of its ancestry.
The Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole will serve, unify and remind the TSou-ke Nation and the community of Sooke of the strong ties that have bound the two commu-
nities together over the last 150 years.
The Spirit Pole: Vic-tory in Spirit, A Story of Wood, symbolizes the strength of a people, healing through shar-ing, sharing through learning and learning through generations.The pole echoes the past, pays tribute to the present and looks to the future, says carver/artist Carey Newman when describing his vision for the pole. The eagle, wolf, frog, salmon, moon and sun connect on the pole, break free, stretch out and animate, moving forward honouring the past and reflecting on the future.
Newman, along with his father Victor, will be travelling through-out the province for 13 weeks transforming a 20-foot western red cedar log into a tradi-tional story pole. Local residents in each of over 45 communities
will have a chance to carve a moment in his-tory.
Were very proud of Carey, said Rose Dumont, former chief of the TSou-ke Nation. He lived in Sooke all his life. Its nice to see such a young man accom-plish so much. Our nation is proud.
May 16, 2007Museum funding
bylaw tabled --- again The future of the
Sooke Region Museum is in limbo.
In the midst of an ongoing dispute on whether to trash the bylaw that would get more funding to the desperate museum, the Capital Regional Dis-trict decided to table the bylaw so a work-ing group of Sooke and Juan de Fuca repre-sentatives could try to develop a solution.
At the centre of the controversy is the bud-get of the museum, says Director Erik Lund of the Juan de Fuca elec-toral district.
Juan de Fuca resi-dents have told Lund, he says, they dont want their tax dollars fund-ing the tourist informa-tion centre inside the museum. Lund sent out a survey to constitu-ents in Juan de Fuca and said 252 have been returned. Many respon-dents have expressed concern.
But Sooke Mayor Janet Evans and some museum supporters say Juan de Fuca residents have been misled.
It was definitely a biased survey, said Evans, adding many of the businesses in the Juan de Fuca area benefit from the tourist centre.
May 5, 1999 TSou-ke First nation member Andy Planes presents a friendship stick to Governor General Romeo LeBlanc to complete the friendship circle as TSou-ke Chief Jim Cooper looks on. The sticks symbolize the spirit of Sookes 150th anniversary.
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Curator - Christopher Lucas250-900-8817 email@example.com
NEXT MARKET DAYMAY 27, 10:30 - 3:00 PM
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A6 NEWS www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
Kyle Dunn photo
Readers Photo of the Week
A number of things are silhouetted along the beach in this photo sent in by Kyle Dunn.
Readers Photo of the Week is sponsored by Ellen Bergerud.
Send your good quality jpeg photos to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish them as space permits.
Rotarians celebrate 25 years in SookeSooke Rotary cele-
brated its 25th anniver-sary in style Saturday at SEAPARC.
Their Auction & Spring Fair had a lively party atmosphere, with clowns and cupcakes, and the usual smiling faces. The musicians played their hearts out, the Sooke dancers showed off their moves. But perhaps you dont need to be told that judging by the atten-dance, it seemed most of Sooke must have dropped by at some point in the day.
The bidding was fierce this year at the silent and live auctions. A bunch of happy peo-ple rode out on new-to-them bikes, and others carted off fishing rods, gift certificates, and a variety of beautiful art pieces. With Mothers Day a week away, some smart people picked up an early gift for mum. A highlight of the evening was the bidding battle for the Indian cooking lesson. Well-fought and hard-won, the meal will no doubt taste twice as
good. Sooke Rotary presi-
dent Deb Johnston explains, No matter who was the successful bidder on the auction items, the real winners are the people of Sooke. The money goes right back into the commu-nity, as this event funds the majority of our ser-vice projects. John-ston adds, We are hugely grateful for the continued generosity shown by donors and buyers alike. Im proud to be a part of the kick-off to our next quar-ter century of serving Sooke.
The annual event included exhibits by nearly 70 businesses and community orga-nizations, as well as displays by a large number of non-profit groups. These partici-pants demonstrated the vibrancy and diver-sity of both commerce and social services in the Sooke Region.
250-642-6112info@sookereg ionchamber. com
Save the Date for our Next After Hours
MixerMay 17 5:00 - 7:00
Modern Mortgage6689 Sooke Road
SOOKE BAPTIST CHURCH7110 West Coast Road | 250-642-3424
SUNDAY SERVICE 10:00 am Children, youth & adult ministries
Pastor Dwight GeigerEmail email@example.com
ST. ROSE OF LIMA Roman Catholic Parish6221 Sooke Rd. | 250-642-3945 | Fax: 778-425-3945
Saturday Mass 5pm | Sunday Mass, 10 amThursday Mass 10:30 am
Childrens Religious Ed: Sat. 3:45pm Of ce Hours: Tue-Wed 10-2, Thurs 2pm-4pm
Rev. Fr. Michael Favero
KNOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH2110 Church Rd | 250-642-4124
SUNDAY SERVICE10:15 am Pre-Service Singing
10:30 am Family worshipRev. Dr Gordon Kouwenberg
Parents Room and well equipped Nursery
HOLY TRINITY Anglican Church1962 Murray Road | 250-642-3172HOLY COMMUNION SERVICES
Sunday & Wednesday 10amSaturday 5pm
Revs Dr. Alex and Nancy Nagywww.holytrinitysookebc.org
CHRISTIAN LIFE ASSEMBLYSOOKE HARBOUR
6851 West Coast RoadPastor Eduardo Aristizabal
SUNDAY SERVICE 10:00am250.642.4822
The he Pastor's astor's PenenTThe he PPastor's astor's PPenen
Pastor Dwight Geiger
An Unusual May Day ProcessionFor some 70 years, the people in the Soviet Union had been
taught God is no God, or is dead. Jesus is not real, and certainly not alive. It was OK for old ladies to venerate a buried corpse, but for two generations the power of the State had tried to stamp out any living faith in the living Lord. The history had been re-written
It was May Day, in Moscows Red Square, in 1990, just a few months before the nal dissolution of the Soviet Union. Is it straight, Father? one Orthodox priest asked another, as he hefted a heavy, eight-foot cruci x onto his shoulder. Yes, it is straight, said the other to him.
Together the two priests walked the parade route, along with a group of parishioners holding ropes which steadied the beams of the huge cross. They were right in the midst of all the of cial might of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in the usual May Day procession of tanks, missiles, troops, and salutes to the Communist party elite. Behind all the tanks and military hardware surged a giant crowd of protesters, shouting up as they approached Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, BreadFreedomTruth! As the parade passed, this throng nally passed directly in front of the Soviet leader, standing in his place of honor. At that moment the priests hoisted their heavy burden toward the sky. The cross emerged up out of the crowd,
now standing upright. The gure of Jesus Christ towered over the giant poster faces of Marx, and Engels, and Lenin behind Gorbachevs reviewing stand.
Mikhail Serveyevich! one of the protesters shouted, his deep voice cleaving the clamor of the protesters, and piercing straight toward the angry Soviet leader. Mikhail Sergeyevich! Christ is risen!
[from The Body by Chuck Colson]
May 13 was Licensed Practical Nurses Day in BC. Its the day we celebrated LPNs contribution to nursing teams and to the health of our communities. Join us in thanking them, every day of the year.
The next LPN Day is about 365 days away.Lets thank them every day until then.
Uniting nurses for quality healthcare
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Home on 2.41 acres with Ocean views $319,000. Affordable Homes from $75,000.
Call FIONA for further information &Open House schedule 250-642-3240
SOOKE NEWS MIRROR - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 www.sookenewsmirror.com NEWS A7
Largest aboriginal grad class ever in SD62Charla HuberBlack Press
When Lilly Wass was in Grade 11 in Ontario, she didnt bother to go to class, let alone care about her grades.
She was barely pass-ing her courses, but now, after spending the past three semesters in the Sooke School Dis-trict, she is set to grad-uate with an 88 per cent average.
In Ontario we didnt have an aboriginal edu-cation room. It makes a lot of difference, said Wass said, an Edward Milne community school student. There is someone you can go and talk to and they see if I am keeping up with my work.
This spring, SD 62 will celebrate its first graduating class with more than 100 aborigi-nal students. The unof-ficial count is at 104, up from the 51 who gradu-ated last year.
Kathleen King-Hunt, SD 62 district principal for aboriginal educa-tion, said the district has worked to integrate aboriginal curriculum into course material.
The (aboriginal) graduate rate is some-thing we have worked very hard at. The aboriginal enhance-ment agreement makes a difference in the class-room, King-Hunt said. Our success is not just
graduation rates.The district expects
the aboriginal comple-tion rate to continue its upward surge. Last year, 73 per cent of all aboriginal students graduated within six years starting from Grade 8, which is close to the overall average of 76 per cent for SD 62 students. The provin-cial aboriginal comple-tion rate is about 51 per cent.
Five years ago, only 38 per cent of aborigi-nal students were grad-uating from SD 62.
First Nations students at Belmont secondary, Edward Milne and West Shore Annex schools credit part of their suc-cess to aboriginal edu-cation rooms staffed with teachers and sup-port workers.
tion teachers) put in more time and effort and they dont act like it is just their job, Wass said. With me, home life isnt that great, and (at school) there is someone willing to help.
Dahlila Charlie, a Grade 12 student, has spent her three years using the services in the aboriginal educa-tion room at Belmont secondary.
They are just so supportive and they have connections with all the students, Charlie said. It gives us our own space in the school. School is important and culture is important. Here the two are together and thats awesome.
Charlie is so grate-ful for the help she has received from the pro-
gram, she has begun mentoring other aborig-inal students at Spen-cer middle school. She is attending summer programs at Emily Carr University and applied for the University of Victoria visual arts pro-gram.
Kathy Sudlow, an aboriginal education teacher at Edward Milne, said the aborigi-nal education room is classified as an all-nations room and stu-dents from any back-ground are welcome to use its services.
If you are in a class with 30 kids, how many times are you going to put your hand up when you still dont get it? Sudlow said. Often when kids come for help, they get me to themselves.
With education space and an enhancement agreement that estab-lishes a strong aborigi-nal component in the classroom, SD 62 has become a leader in the province for aboriginal eduction.
SD 62 has the highest aboriginal grad rate on the Island and is ranked No. 1 in the province for a school district of its size, and fourth in the province overall.
West Shore Annex student Arthur Smith said without aboriginal education, he doubts he would be in school.
Its a good last
resort, said Smith, who will become the first in his family to graduate from high school. They are open and help you professionally, and for troubles out of school, theyll help you with that too.
Charla Huber photo
(From left) Lilly Wass, Arthur Smith and Dahlila Charlie are graduating this year.
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$424,900Beautiful 2 level, 5 bed, 3 bath home designed for family living. Up features 3 beds, master with ensuite & door to deck. Beautiful wood oors, cozy replace in living room, great open plan. Downstairs has large rec room, perfect media area with sound proofed walls & ceilings & wired for sound. The downstairs bedroom & bath create a perfect get-a-way for the teens or Suite Potential? Landscaped, Private Hot Tub (included) & cedar fenced back yard.
$379,000On .62 acres with seasonal creek, walking distance to beach access, community hall, tennis & close to East Sooke Park. 4 bed 3 bath, sunken living room with feature woodstove. 4th bdrm is separate with own bath, suitable for nanny or in-law? Black Walnut and Vintage Oak oors. Full length deck at back. Guest cabin nestled in the trees plus wood shed and tool shed. Fully fenced yard. Dont miss this little gem.
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A8 EDITORIAL www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
EDITORIAL Rod Sluggett PublisherPirjo Raits EditorSharron Ho ReporterThe Sooke News Mirror is published every Wednesday by Black Press Ltd. | 112--6660 Sooke Road, Sooke, B.C. V9Z 0A5 | Phone: 250-642-5752 WEB: WWW.SOOKENEWSMIRROR.COM
MLA John Horgans View from the Legislature
Speaking as Opposition House Leader, this session of the Legisla-ture has been a whirl of activity. With three weeks remaining, it appears as though the BC Liberal government is anxious for summer and an opportu-nity to get out from under 11 years of baggage. The session has been marked by a lack of focus and a col-lection of random changes, that when strung together, give the impression of a government adrift. In February, the Premier bypassed the traditional Speech from the Throne and went to the radio airwaves to lay out her plan for the future. Three months on, the plan remains confused and driven more by photo opportunities than by substantive progress.
Question period usually generates the headlines, but the real work is making laws. A recent attempt at beefing up a thin legislative agenda gives the impression of policy depth with 8 Bills being tabled last week and more expected this week. As I write, 20 Bills are before the Legisla-ture with only 11 days remaining in the session. Bills by themselves do not demonstrate a focused agenda. Often legislative changes are house-keeping in nature and are designed to update our statutes and modern-ize language.
Other changes have been designed to correct BC Liberal government mistakes of the past. For example, changes to energy policy around the
notion of self-sufficiency, served to highlight the cost BC Hydro has been paying for electricity that we dont need. The result has been higher Hydro bills for consumers. Another piece of legislation is a result of the courts throwing out the recent changes to our drunk driving laws.
What has been missing from the
BC Liberal government agenda is legislation to repeal the HST. Nine months ago, voters overwhelmingly rejected the revised sales tax and government committed to get rid of it and return to the old tax, com-plete with existing exemptions. With less than three weeks left for debate, there is no sign of the Bill to remove the new tax and replace it with the old one. Even with the legislation in place, the BC Liberal government is going to keep the HST until April of 2013, finally removing it on the eve of the next provincial election.
An attempt to soften the impact of the HST on the housing sector has fallen flat in our area. The Provincial Budget introduced a rebate program for home buyers purchasing recre-ational property outside of Victoria and the lower mainland. Sounds like a good idea for rural BC. Unless rural is inside the CRD like Port Renfrew.
Port Renfrew is experiencing a transformation. Always a resource town - forestry, mining and fishing - times are changing. Port Renfrew is becoming a tourism and vacation home market. So the HST rebate
would be a help to home builders that would lead to more jobs, right? Wrong. The BC Liberal government excluded Port Renfrew from the pro-gram. Lake Cowichan, just down the circle route, is in. Bamfield, at the end of the West Coast Trail is in, but not Port Renfrew. I wrote the Minis-ter urging him to amend the policy, but the answer was no.
I did manage to convince the Min-ister of Natural Resource Operations to agree to review the Sooke Water Use Plan with a view to finding a solution to the proposed decom-missioning of the Bill James Dam on DeMamiel Creek. In January, Federal Fisheries announced plans to aban-don the facility, despite putting at risk 25 years of work by local volun-teers at the Sooke Salmon Enhance-ment Society. Area representatives, Randall Garrison and Mike Hicks, Sooke Council as well as the TSou-ke First Nation are working to convince the federal government to reverse a bad decision. Reviewing the Water Use Plans will help support our argu-ment and protect the salmon.
People dont expect miracles from government, just some competence and common sense. Let us hope the remainder of the spring session has a sprinkling of both.
John Horgan, MLA Juan de Fuca www.johnhorgan.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring session is in full swing
Sweetheart deal sours
It appears the s**t has hit the fan.For years, every since a hotel was just a pipe
dream, people have questioned the way things were done. Gail Hall was a thorn in the sides of the previous council, the CAO and the financial director of the time. Members of council asked questions and were stonewalled every step of the way. It appears that taxpayers were not allowed to question spending and sweetheart deals.
The only reason this would happen is because someone has something to hide. And it appears
a whole lot has been hidden, either by design or by ignorance. But if it is ignorance then it wouldnt have been hidden. You cant hide over $650,000 in DCC revenues for long. Whos to blame? Those who put their signatures on the dotted line and the financial officer, who
was supposed to ensure financial obligations are met and the district is covered, are responsible. Every other developer has to pay DCCs, how is the hotel different and why? If the hotel had held up to their end of the deal, this would never have come to light. This is unconscionable.
Sooke gave Prestige everything they asked for and far more. We wanted a hotel but we werent that desperate were we?
Now that the cat is out of the bag, its time to rectify the situation. Will there be legal consequences? Probably not, but there should be some serious decisions made as to who is administering our district. The District of Sooke is in an awkward and embarrassing position but issues can be rectified and they should be as quickly as possible.
...taxpayers were not allowed to question spending...
How to reach us:Phone 250-642-5752; fax 250-642-4767
Rod Sluggett email@example.com
Harla Eve firstname.lastname@example.org
Pirjo Raits email@example.com
Sharron Ho firstname.lastname@example.org
Rod Sluggett, Joan Gamache email@example.com
Joan Gamache firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Arnett email@example.com
Frank Kaufman firstname.lastname@example.org
Harla Eve, email@example.comVicky Sluggett
Budgets slashed for zero per cent
Like everyone else in Sooke, the thought of a zero per cent increase in property taxes initi-ally seemed like a great idea. But then I took a moment to research exactly what was nee-ded to accomplish it. We all know prices are on the rise, what we paid for something last year isnt what were paying for the same thing today or a year for now.
Given these facts it is easy to conclude that a zero per cent tax increase doesnt mean that budgets stayed the same from 2011 to 2012; in fact, the increase in prices means that bud-gets were most likely slashed in order to maintain that zero per cent.
Take, for example, Sookes volunteer fire-fighters. These firefigh-ters train to the same standards and certifica-tion as any paid firefigh-ter anywhere in North America. The fact that they are volunteer already saves the muni-cipality thousands, if not millions, of dollars a year. Yet their training budget, the one the community relies on teach them the lessons they need to know to save lives was cut by $8,000, from $29,000 to $21,000, or roughly 26
per centA little known fact
about volunteer fire-fighters: The average volunteer firefighter in Canada retires after three years of service. The current mayor and council have been elec-ted to three year terms, so can we expect our firefighters to be 26 per cent less trained by the time of the next elec-tion? Does this mean they will be 26 per cent less likely to put out a fire or rescue someone from a car accident?
The fire department wasnt the only area to take a budget cut. The mayor and council cut their own training budget from $38,000 to $26,000. Thats right, the mayor and council, seven people, have a larger training budget than 35 volunteer fire-fighters.
The kindness of strangers
On Friday, May 11, my 10-year-old sons bike was stolen from in front of our garage in Sooke. I reported it to the Sooke police, posted it on Facebook and with the suggestion of a friend I posted a stolen notice on Used Victoria.
My sons bike was not
worth much but it was his. He would spend a lot of time riding it and trying to do tricks like the older kids. When he came home from school Friday to see it had been stolen he was devastated! We took him for walks through local trails in hopes that it had just been dumped somewhere but have had no luck.
This selfish act from someone with no care for others has made my son look at people different. But on Sunday, May 13, the kindness of a complete stranger renewed all of our faith that good kind hearted people do still exist! Due to my notice on Used Victoria a man named Eric from Victoria emailed me and asked if we found the bike and, if not, he had a replacement bike for my son. After a few emails and phone calls I met Eric Sunday night and brought a new bike home for my son. There are not enough words for me to express what a wonderful person Eric is and how he made a 10-year-old boys day end with the biggest smile I have ever seen.
Thank you Eric for your kindness, you truly are the type of person that makes this world a better place!
As a member of the District of Shirley, I wish to publicly thank Mr. Christoper Lucas and all those who took part in the prepa-ration of the Shirley Farmers Market, held at the Shirley Commu-nity Grounds this past Sunday.
A resounding suc-cess on a beautiful day. A good job, well done.
P. David OFlynnSheringham Point
Free from hunger
One person writes wed all starve if any attempt be made to transform our current world economic systems into a more co-operative resource based strategy. He or she brings up a good point.
In our current system one out of seven people on this planet are already starving, 19 million of them live in developed countries. They are starving not because there is not enough food, yet, but because of poverty. The principle causes of poverty are the unequal income distribution in the world and conflict.
Essentially, the control over resources and income are based on military, political and economic powers that are controlled by a minority who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive, if at all.
Climate change triggering drought, f looding and unpredictable climatic patterns is also increasingly viewed as a current and future cause of hunger and poverty.
Acknowledging the fact that our current extraction processes and use of natural resources on this planet are not only unsustainable, but have a negative impact on our atmosphere, and is contributing to the erosion of the web of life that we are all dependent upon is not tree hugging nor is it a terrorist crime as Mr. Harper would have us believe. It is a growing, realistic point of view that we must change our ways. To achieve this the world must become more co-operative and less competitive and we must find and develop alternative, low impact forms of energy.
Some countries are already well on their way in achieving these goals and generally most people want to move in this direction.
Everybody wants to live well, have freedoms,
SOOKE NEWS MIRROR - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 www.sookenewsmirror.com A9
iWe asked: What do you think of the federal governments plan to phase the Canadian penny out of existence?
I think its a good idea. It would just make things
simpler, more even num-bered.
I think its good. Its not worth enough to be managed anymore, I guess.
Personally, Im against it. I was of the generation
where you watched your pennies and nickels and the dollars took care of
I think itd save a lot of money in revenue in the
Contd on page 10
SELLING SOOKE SINCE 1985
Affordable - $49,900 2 bedroom home in a quiet family oriented park. Cozy woodstove in the Living Room, Com-puter Room/Office, Fam-ily Room, private yard & more. Convenient river access. Drive by #1-2670 Sooke River Road or call Michael at 250-642-5056.
and know our future generations inherit a healthy, co-operative planet, not one torn by greed, militant government, and n e g l e c t f u l e n v i r o n m e n t a l practices. If this is fantasy to you then thats too bad for you. I more than realise the cold heartedness that drives our economies. Im a part of it too and I admit I have no quick remedies or stocks to push as a solution.But like Dr. Suzuki, I do see models and systems developing that arent based in such a chilly reality and I will always see hope through education and do what I can to make this a better place for all living things.
PS. most newly discovered species are within the oceans, which technology now allows us to explore more thoroughly. This does not discount the fact that the world is losing many species daily through habit destruction, either i n d u c e d b y direct human activity or climate change.
Open letter to council
Deceived by the indif-ference you have shown to the Art Lane Mar-ket project I presented to you last December,
I would love to receive a public explanation, please. Our Sooke resi-dents deserve to know why you do not want to collaborate with a project that will bring money to their pock-ets?
On Oct. 18, 2010, a group of artists, sup-ported by 350 signa-tures from local busi-ness and tourists, pre-sented our idea to the district. We requested help in installing small metal structures where the artists could hold their works and a piece of land where to host the event. To our dis-illusion your engineer department said, the idea is great, but the district only helps not-for-profit groups.
A year later, on Dec. 12, 2010, I did a Power Point presentation to
council clearly explain-ing that in exchange for your help you could charge is rent and licence fees. I also asked an amendment to the parks bylaw to allow the market-lane to be open seven days a week all year long starting in May 2012. Nevertheless, May is already in our doors and you,instead of politely answering us, decided to invest all the reserved money for arts in the creation of another not-for-profit umbrella society of the arts elite. Apparently, the regular citizen, the little guy, the artist who really deserves help right now has to keep waiting. Perhaps some day he/she will have the chance to see some profit from the extraordinary broad
project planned for futuristic times. How-ever, let us not forget how many chances to win the Boardwalk Signage Contest were given to artists last year, 13 days notice to create three works and to enter the contest.
Therefore, once again, I beg you to amend the parks bylaw in our favour to allow people to make some money during these hard economic times. Our project will allow residents to sell paint-ings, crafts, carvings, knitting, books, CDs, music instruments, and all other kind of artis-tically designed items. It will put food on peo-ples tables in a so dif-ficult moment.
Conclusion, I will keep waiting for your answer to gather the artists and start the association. We will use our own tents and find our own piece of land, if you cannot lend is one.
Lastly, I really hope I
will not receive a mor-ally incorrect answer from you stating that you are giving our project to a not-for-profit group because this project is meant to be created and orga-nized by an association of independent artists. Artists are capable to administrate their own business.
A10 www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
OpinionContd from page 9
Sharron Ho photo
Construction is ongoing at Hwy. 14 at the Sombrio bridge. Traffic is slow but both lanes are open. The $12.6 million project will help rid the road of some nasty switchbacks and dangerous curves. Deliver by mail
or hand to our office, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters should be 300 words or less, and we may edit for length, tone and accuracy. Please include contact information.
EXPLORING OTTER POINTS
HERITAGEThe community of Otter Point is reviewing its Of cial Community Plan and needs to update its records of the early history of the area. Past and present residents of Otter Point, as well as others who have an interest in the history of the community, are invited to a workshop to review the historical information already collected and help us with new, incomplete or incorrect information.Date: Tuesday, May 22ndTime: 1:30 pm 4:00 pmPlace: Juan de Fuca Planning Of ce, #2 6868 West Coast Road, SookeOld pictures, maps and short stories about the history of the area will be on display and guests are encouraged to bring along information related to Otter Points early years. At 2:00 pm well gather around the table to share memories.
For more information contact:Arnie Campbell Otter Point resident at 250-642-3113
or email@example.comElida Peers - Sooke Region Historian at
250-642-4200 or 250-642-6351 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The Vancouver Island Health Authority Board of Directors is holding its regular General Board meeting:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:30 amQueen Alexandra Centre for Childrens Health
2400 Arbutus Road, Victoria, BC
In addition to conducting its regular business, there will be a limited amount of time set-aside during the meet-ing for scheduled presentations from the public and to respond to questions from the oor, separate from the process of written questions described below. There will also be an opportunity to have questions addressed on an individual basis during the Open House.
Presentation Guidelines:A written request is required to make a presentation to the Board. Requests should include the general nature and viewpoint of the presentation and groups/organiza-tions must identify one individual as the spokesperson. Presentations will be limited to a maximum of 10 min-utes.
Note: Should the number of applications exceed the time available at the meeting it may not be possible to sched-ule all presentations. You will be contacted to con rm whether or not you have been selected to make a pre-sentation.
Presentations will not be accepted without prior arrange-ment.
Written Questions for the Board:Questions must be submitted in advance of the meeting to allow for a formal response, which will be distributed in writing at the meeting and posted to our website fol-lowing the meeting
Written questions or requests for presentations to the VIHA Board must be submitted before 4:00 pm on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 by email to email@example.com or by fax to (250) 370-8750 or by mail to: Van-couver Island Health Authority, Executive Of ce, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria, BC V8R 1J8
Open House Immediately Following the General Board Meeting
Following the General Board meeting there will be an Open House to allow for a general exchange of thoughts, suggestions and concerns between the VIHA Board and senior management staff and the general public.
General Board Meeting& Open House
2205 Otter Point Road, SookePhone: 250-642-1634
Fax: 250-642-0541email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sooke Economic Development Commission
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Land Use and Environment CommitteeTuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
This schedule is subject to change. Please call 250-642-1634 to con rm meetings.
Council meeting agendas may be viewed at www.sooke.ca
WHATS NEW AT THE DISTRICTCHECK IT OUT! at www.sooke.ca
DROP IN POOL TOURNAMENT
EVERY 2ND SUNDAY STARTING MAY 13, 2012
The Royal Canadian LegionBr. #54 Phone: 250-642-5913BONA FIDE GUESTS ALWAYS WELCOMEWhy not make it your Legion
$$111100006:00-7:30 PM ONLY
Steak Night ANNIVERSARIES BIRTHDAYS GROUP PARTIES WELCOME!
Hosted by navy League
Cribbage 7 pm - Pool
WEDNESDAYS Nascar Pool 7:30pm
MONDAYS Euchre 7 pm - Pool
Drop in Darts 8:00 pm
TUESDAYS Texas Holdem 6:45 pm - Pool
WIND UP MAY 202:30 - 5:00 PM
BURGER AND DOGS FOR SALE
MEAT DRAWEVERY SATURDAY @ 3:00P.M.
BLUE GRASS MUSIC
8:00 - 11:00 p.m.
with Pete & Megan
A private commuter ferry launched from military property in Colwood as the Blue Boat service sailed into the sunset.
The Baseline ferry service will shuttle civilian and military Department of National Defence staff across Esquimalt harbour during morning and evening rush hours.
The 40-foot, 40 passenger boat Grey Selkie carried its first batch of customers on May 1 from the Colwood D jetty to Dockyard, offering a service similar to the Blue Boats. Grey Selkie will also stop at Naden during the day, timed to employee shift changes.
Barry Hobbis, owner of Victoria Harbour Ferry, which operates the Baseline, said he is happy to provide a shuttle service at a price comparable to bus transit. A one-way ride is $2.50.
That (cost) works for us and we think it will work for the riders, Hobbis said. We worked with a number of individuals who ride the boats to ensure its affordable and it does what they need it to do. We tried to be careful and stay as close as reasonable with transit costs.
CFB Esquimalt decided to end the Blue Boat shuttle, first reported by the Victoria News in early March, due to the struggle to find staff
for the auxiliary fleet of tugs and fire boats. In operation since 1955, Blue Boats originally shipped personnel and equipment around base property in the harbour, but evolved into a popular, and free, commuter service.
About 400 military and civilian staff from the West Shore and Sooke used the ferry daily, and faced the prospect of joining the jam-packed Island Highway and Trans-Canada Highway starting May 1. Nearly 750 DND personnel
responded to a survey supporting a private ferry.
It appears to be a desired service. Many people told us point blank that they need it, Hobbis said.
In past months, Baseline ferry staff and its boat have been undergoing security and safety certification to work within DND property. A second boat is expected to enter operation mid May.
We had to jump through a number of hoops to meet the requirements of Her
Majesty the Queen, Hobbis said. There was rigorous attention to detail. The base commander, Canex staff and our staff worked through it as an affective team.
In early April, Colwood entrepreneur Cynthia Cummings moved to launch a Blue Bus service to transport DND personnel from Colwood to Dockyard, but that effort was cancelled in the wake of the ferry service.
I endorse the ferry service 100 per cent, said Cummings, who is now working with Hobbis on managing Baseline. It makes sense to offer a service people already know.
Hobbis said this DND ferry service could lay the groundwork for a civilian ferry between Colwood and Victoria, although a
lot of peices would need to fall in place. (A civilian ferry) not out of the scope of where we might go, he said.
Times and prices can be found at victoriaharbourferry.c o m / b a s e l i n e . T h e service is open to DND personnel only who are authorized to access CFB Esquimalt property in Colwood.
SOOKE NEWS MIRROR - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 www.sookenewsmirror.com NEWS A11
Private ferry will serve DND commuters
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Pirjo RaitsSooke News Mirror
The Finance and A d m i n i s t r a t i o n Committee, (FAC) made up of elected and public members, met on May 7 at District of Sooke municipal chambers for their regular monthly meeting.
Discussion ensued on items in the areas of finance, engineering and corporate services.
Finance: David Gawley, acting director of finance, will be looking into changing the municipal insurance from a private carrier to the Municipal Insurance Assoc. which would give more coverage. New budgeting software is being looked at and the Development Cost Charges reporting was deemed satisfactory.
The road maintenance contract with Mainroad South Island Contracting was being looked at to ensure the district was getting what they pay for. Currently the contract is on a month-by-month basis. One issue is that the company uses the Kaltasin maintenance yard without compensation to the district.
Mainroad uses our yard, lets make sure we are getting a bang for our buck, said Mayor Wendal Milne.
CAO Evan Parliament notified the committee that the yard would be looking for some new tenants by late summer. An expression of interest will be posted.
C o r p o r a t e : Discussion ensued on convention centre bookings at the Prestige Hotel.
Maja Tait said there is talk of ever increasing costs for conference food. She stated there was a 42 per cent increase in cost from 2011 to 2012. Plus there is a 15 per cent service fee on top which needs to be examined, she said.
If groups are bound to use hotel catering, it has to be reasonable. The conference room
is usually comped anyway, Tait said,
Staff is working on reviewing the associated costs and charges.
Evan Parliament stated that fees are imposed by the conference/food and beverage contractor, which is the Mix by Rics. He said the district has received complaints from some groups who just cant afford it.
Were working with Prestige to review those fees. Were monitoring that closely, said Parliament.
There was some discussion on the possibility of initiating fees for use of the public boat launch, so as not to undercut other businesses which charge for launching.
Some of the members
of the committee questioned whether it was stated, during the vote for the boat launch, that it would be free. The question also arose as to why the district was not charging the hotel a fee for use of the boat launch.
Parliament brought up the idea of a non-profit group managing the boat launch, and dispensing fuel on behalf of the hotel to raise funds.
A report will be brought back to the committee on options.
Staff will come back to the committee with a revised vehicle-use policy as the policy is silent on employees driving to and from work and those on call. The policy does state that district vehicles are not to be used for
personal use. Only one employee has use listed as a taxable benefit.
Terms of reference will be compiled for a Core Service Review. The district has 30
full-time employees in five departments and the FAC wants to review efficiencies, duplication, out-sourcing and costs.
Committee looks at spending and contracts
Did you know?
Did you know that one of the two Corona-tion Oaks brought to this area by the Shir-ley Womens Institute is located at the Sooke Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion? The Legions oak tree was rededicated on May
6 in a tribute to those who served in Battle of the Atlantic and fought for victory in Europe in World War II.
The Shirley Womens Institute obtained the two oak seedlings from England and they were planted locally on May
12, 1937 to commemo-rate the coronation of King George VI. The seedlings were grown from acorns taken from Great Windsor Park at Windsor Castle, the royal family residence located in Windsor, Berkshire County, Eng-
land. One tree was plan-ted in front of the old Sooke Legion, the other Coronation Oak is gro-wing in Pioneer Park on the west side of the Shirley Community Hall. Courtesy of the OPSRRA May newslet-ter
A12 NEWS www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
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Theres no den-ying springs genero-sity when it comes to blooms, scents and colours uplifting bewit-chers of the senses that we can all experience simply by looking and walking around. Less experienced, however, is an equal, if different, pleasure that comes from eating spring deli-cacies from our own garden. We are indeed fortunate that in this cli-mate we can grow vege-tables year round. Still, theres something spe-cial about spring, when the warming sun and soil spur the growth of new, delicious shoots and leaves.
Gardeners being gar-deners, of course, a ridi-culously high degree of personal satisfaction comes from sharing the fresh and healthy fruit of their labour with appreciative recipients. Case in point: On Friday afternoons we enjoy Happy Hour (okay, clo-ser to two happy hours) with special friends. Finger foods magically appear as well. Last Fri-day, those finger foods included a vegetable tray containing, among other items, hour-old florets of amazingly tender and tasty pur-ple sprouting broccoli. While this may not be a big deal for those reluc-tant to profess a fond-ness for broccoli, its a distinct treat for those who do. Maybe next weeks offering will be kale chips (which I dis-covered last year) or
asparagus tarts well, you get the idea.
Speaking of kale, Ive become increasingly taken with the idea of winter vegetable gar-dens (planted in late summer/early fall), probably because they require such little effort no watering, no wee-ding, no bugs. Dig up some beets, pick some greens, grab a cabbage, pull up some carrots and leeks whats not to like? But some seeds can also be planted in late winter/early spring to give us even more crop variety while we wait for summer to deli-ver on the heat lovers (tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, etc.).
Emily Moreland is a certified horticul-ture technician who knows first-hand about growing food in this area for all seasons. Her grandfather, Don Collis, has farmed here for 30 years and for years on end routi-nely cleaned up (in ribbons, that is) at the Sooke Fall Fair. Emily
is next weeks featured speaker at the Sooke Garden Club, and her presentation is entitled Forward Thinking for
Winter/Spring Vegeta-bles. She will also talk about growing a kit-chen garden.
Emily is young, enthusiastic and well- known in Sooke for her mentoring at the com-munity garden. She will be drawing on her per-sonal experiences and discussing gardeners most frequently asked questions. Her primary focus will be on cho-osing the right seeds to grow, planting a winter vegetable garden, and solving problems asso-ciated with growing vegetables. Bring your questions and enjoy a
relaxed evening with others who share an interest in gardening.
Please join us on Wednesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., in the Sooke Legion Hall. There will also be a parlour show and spring plant sale. New members are always welcome. Mem-bership is $15 for the calendar year and can be purchased at the door. For more infor-mation, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Jane at 250-646-2573.
Submitted by Loretta Fritz
A14 LIFESTYLES www.sookenewsmirror.com WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 - SOOKE NEWS MIRROR
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Boardwalk sought for Avatar GroveSharron HoSooke News Mirror
The Ancient Forest Alliance submitted a request to B.C.s Ministry of Forests to build an official trail and boardwalk in the recently protected Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew on May 7.
TJ Watt, co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance, said the boardwalk will protect the ecological integrity of the grove, provide visitor safety and enable people from all walks of life to enjoy the old-growth forest.
It makes the Grove more accessible to people of all ages, anyone from children to seniors should be able to come and experience the spectacular old-growth forests there, he said, adding the construction of steps will help people navigate through the steeper slopes in the ancient forest.
In terms of ecological protec-tion, the boardwalk will keep people off the ground, and off the roots of trees. It will also prevent tourists from stepping through wet areas which have a risk of becoming mud pits.
There is currently an unoffi-cial, beaten trail created from the thousands of tourists who have trekked through the area in the last couple of years.
The environmental group is requesting to build an offi-cial boardwalk and steps in wet areas, steep areas and at the base of popular trees. The
boardwalk and trail is estimated to stretch for approximately one kilometre between the upper and lower Avatar Groves.
In addition to a boardwalk, signage will also be erected to remind people to stay on official trails and pack out any garbage.
The boardwalk will be engi-neered by experts to ensure it meets the safety standards of other popular ancient forest boardwalks on Crown land. The project is currently estimated to cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
According to Watt, Avatar Grove is one of the few remain-ing forests of its kind.
The Avatar is a very unique area in one sense in that its very rare, low elevation valley bottom old growth forest, Watt said. On southern Vancouver Island we only have four per cent of valley bottom old growth forest left. The rare ancient forest has attracted thousands of tourists to Port Renfrew since its intro-duction to the public two years ago.
Since Avatar Grove was appro-priately named and brought to our attention in the last couple of years, weve seen numbers climb, groups of tours going out in number of anywhere from 30-80 people at a time on any given day, said Rose Betsworth, president of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce.
Betsworth also stated that Avatar Grove is recognized as a
precious resource for the Port Renfrew community.
Forestry sees the value of the old trees when theyre har-vested, we -- in the tourism industry -- see the financial ben-efits the living forests bring to our community.
Were certainly the recipient of the tourist dollars right now because of Avatar, so its up to us to protect that asset, she said, adding the boardwalk will prevent any further wear and tear to the ancient forest.
The path is getting pretty beaten down, and subsidiary trails are being found, so ideally itd be nice to have a boardwalk constructed to mitigate any fur-ther wear on the existing trail. And that way it allows us to have only one trail instead of having people trampling all through the entire forest.
The Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter to the ministry in support of the project.
Avatar Grove, which Watt dis-covered in 2009, was protected in February in a 59 hectare Old-Growth Management Area after two years of campaigning by the Ancient Forest Alliance and Port Renfrew Chamber of Com-merce.
The project will be funded by donations, which can be made at www.ancientforestalliance.org. For $100 a one metre sec-tion of the boardwalk can be constructed.
Extraordinary volunteer: Michael NyikesMichael Nyikes and
family moved to Sooke from Alberta less than two years ago, and in that short period of time he has already made many strong vol-unteer contributions in our community. Within weeks of his arrival, Nyikes joined the Sooke Philharmonic Society as a board director and took on the port-folios of membership coordinator, website liaison, concert photog-rapher, and eventually publicity and promo-tions, and advertising coordinator. Now in his second year, Nyikes has also assumed the role of secretary. The Nyikes local business
(Little Vienna Bakery) is a strong supporter of the arts, sponsoring a number of the Sooke Philharmonics events and activities, and also acts as a local ticket outlet.
During his time here, Nyikes has volunteered as a guest judge for the Sooke Fall Fairs photog-raphy competition, and has also participated as a volunteer on the 2011 Sooke Zoning Bylaw task force. Recently he was appointed to the Economic Devel-opment Commission where he has taken on the real estate portfolio and will be investigat-ing economic develop-ment opportunities in the local commercial, retail and industrial sectors.
Interestingly, he still vol-unteers with an Alberta charity named the Kids Cancer Care Foundation as the lead coordina-
tor for an annual char-ity motorcycle rally and fundraiser. In the past 10 years, he has helped raise more than $3 mil-lion for the kids.
When asked why he volunteers so much of his time considering his busy professional life, Nyikes states, I have been actively vol-unteering for over 25 years with a wide vari-ety of organizations. I believe in volunteer-ism for the simple rea-son that in this life it isnt what you take, but rather what you give back that brings the greatest rewards.
Submitted by Stewart Germaine
Sharron Ho photo
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