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View Royal residents frustrated with possible rent increase

Plus, elevated water bacteria, wildfire season, pet Pride parade, and more

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Some residents haven’t been able to enjoy the beaches as much as they’d like this summer, with elevated levels of bacteria reported in the area. Read about the bacteria advisories, the health concerns associated with them, and why these bacteria are in our waters in today’s edition of the newsletter. Plus, local events to check out and local tenants fighting a rent increase. Let’s get to it.


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Christie Point residents fight back against rent increase

Residents of View Royal’s Christie Point are taking a stand against landlord Killam REIT after the company told residents they were looking to implement a $150 rent increase on two of their apartment buildings, the Hemlock and Willow buildings. The rent increase has tenants worried for their security and stability in their living spaces. On June 18, View Royal’s council meeting was packed with Christie Point residents, who voiced their concerns and asked for support from the town’s council. 

“What we were looking for is advocacy on the matter because rent issues and tenancy issues are a provincial matter,” said resident and advocate Conan O’Dell. “There’s not a whole lot the municipality could do, but they were very supportive.” 

Christie Point is a mix of townhouses and apartments and is a 161-unit complex located in the town of View Royal on Craigowan Road. Owned by landlord Killam REIT, the group applied to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a $150 rent increase per month per unit on two apartment buildings. With a recent roof repair and pavement repair, residents mentioned that they feel the company is taking advantage of the province’s Additional Rent Increase for Capital Expenditures (ARI-C), which allows landlords to increase rent to transfer repair costs to tenants. Now, residents have formed the Christie Point Advocates group to garner support in their cause. 

“It's a crazy bit of legislation that has tenants paying for a roof that they will never own, meanwhile Killam gets their new roof paid for to get the additional equity through their repaired buildings,” said O’Dell. “Plus they can claim it on their taxes as a capital expenditure; and the other part of this legislation that [the rent increase] never goes away even once the capital expenditures are paid off in full and we get to continue paying the additional rent.” 

With a hearing set for July 30 before the Residential Tenancy Branch, residents told council in the meeting that many of them pay upwards of $2,000 in rent, and that they worry that the increase and future housing prices will force people out of the units. 

“Most of the people of Christie Point live there because it was a little cheaper, slightly more affordable than other rentals in the area; there's a lot of people there on fixed incomes, single parents, seniors and they can't afford this increase,” O’Dell told the Westshore. “It would push them beyond what they can afford to pay and onto the street or into their cars.”

Residents who spoke at the council meeting also stated that the units and building’s maintenance and improvements have not happened. 

“To my knowledge, we have flat roofs and there are all kinds of branches and everything landing on top; those were not cleaned,” said one resident at the council meeting, who also mentioned the drain pipes had begun to clog in the building due to a lack of cleaning. “My comment is if you don’t look after your own property that you own and want to make profit off of, why is it right to go to the people that help you make a living to pay for something that you did not look after?” 

Council members passed a motion to write letters to the Ministry of Housing and Together Against Poverty Society, which advocates for tenants, about the legislation and ongoing situation. 

“One of the hardest things to do as a decision maker and preparing issues for decision makers is to find out what thing is that really impacts you as people, as humans,” said View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias. “So thank you tonight for doing an absolutely brilliant job at helping us understand.” 

The Westshore has reached out to Killam REIT for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.




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Local beaches showing sporadic elevated levels of fecal bacteria

Photo: Courtesy City of Langford

Summer brings both happiness and concern for beachgoers in the Westshore area as elevated levels of fecal bacteria like enterococci and e-coli have been sporadically detected at local beaches and pools. 

These bacteria, commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals, signal potential contamination by fecal matter in recreational waters. High concentrations of enterococci indicate an increased risk of gastrointestinal illnesses and skin infections among swimmers, particularly troubling during the warmer months when water activities peak.

On June 7, Langford Lake joined four other Greater Victoria beaches that have received water quality warnings. These included advisories at Gorge Park, Ross Bay along Dallas Road and Esquimalt. On May 22, 2,300 enterococci were found at Gorge Park. They were also found on June 4 at two locations on Willows Beach in Oak Bay but not in the same critical numbers.

Island Health says with respect to its beach monitoring program that, “monitoring and managing water quality are crucial to mitigate these risks, ensuring that recreational waters remain safe for everyone to enjoy without compromising their health.”

So why is this bacteria in our waters? A number of factors are at play during the summer that impact bacteria concentrations. “Elevated bacteria levels may be due to a variety of factors, including water temperatures, tides, or stormwater (which can be affected by heavy rainfall events),” an Island Health spokesperson said in an email. 

Around the 'Shore

⚖️ Former Royal Roads instructor faces sexual misconduct hearing: Vancouver Police Department sergeant and former Royal Roads University instructor Keiron McConnell is facing sexual misconduct allegations in work and educational settings after seven women reported him. The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has been investigating the charges since 2022, and has launched a public hearing which is still awaiting a date. [CHEK]

⚠️ Greater Victoria wildlife collision prevention: Road Safety at Work is asking residents of Greater Victoria to drive with care as wildlife activity peaks in the summer months. According to ICBC, around 9,900 vehicle collisions with wildlife are reported every year, with deer and moose being the biggest obstacle this season. 

🔥 Local fire departments keep their eyes on wildfire season: While wildfire season has had a slow start on the Island, local departments are warning residents to stay alert. Fire departments, including Langford’s, are keeping an eye on the wood and grassy sections that surround the area. Langford has also received a grant to improve their wildfire education and prevention programs. [Times Colonist

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Community Events

🐶 Paws for Pride pet parade: Bring your pup to the Sooke branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library and walk to John Phillips Memorial Park this Wednesday, June 26 from 4 to 5pm as part of the Paws for Pride pet parade. After the walk, check out a variety of activities made for your furry friend. Kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.  

💰 Sooke 2025 budget input: Give your input on the District of Sooke’s 2025 Annual Budget Survey to help the city allocate tax dollars to the needs of residents. The survey, which is currently open, will be discussed in upcoming pop-up events throughout the summer, including an event this Thursday, June 27 at the Sooke Region Museum Night Market from 5 to 8pm.

🧘🏼‍♀️ Free yoga in the park: Head to Meadow Park this Thursday, June 27 for free yoga going from 6 to 7pm. Hosted every Thursday until Aug. 29, make sure to bring a yoga mat and water bottle.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

Caspian tern offering a fish to its mate. —Gary Woodburn, Colwood

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