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Province to protect almost 70 hectares of Sooke land

Plus, graffiti suspects identified, witches market, warm forecast, and more

Good morning!

Recent graffiti on the Spencer Middle School crosswalk marks the fourth incident of vandalism since it was created in February. With local Pride festivities in full swing, local politicians and authorities are taking a stand against the action. Read all about it, and more, in today’s edition of the newsletter.


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Sooke receives $5.46 million to help protect its wildlife

On June 28, the Government of BC announced that eight different at-risk wildlife and critical old-growth habitat sites will be receiving protection through the Old Growth Nature Fund, and one of them is located in East Sooke. 

With around $7.9 million coming from the Old Growth Nature Fund, and $8.2 million coming from private donors and organizations, the BC government, the federal government and seven land trust and conservancy organizations have collaborated to purchase and protect 316 hectares of critical old growth and habitat for species at risk. Environment and Climate Change Canada will also be providing $50 million over three years in support of the preservation of old growth forests across the province.

“People who live in BC share a deep connection to our forests. We are working with our partners to protect old-growth trees for our children and grandchildren, and to conserve important wildlife habitat,” said BC’s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship Nathan Cullen. “By conserving these areas of natural beauty, we are protecting important refuges for at-risk wildlife, supporting species like the northern red-legged frog, great blue heron and wolverine.”

The East Sooke Regional park will be receiving a total of $5.46 million, with $1,568,920 coming from the Old Growth Fund. The money will go towards protecting 68.5 hectares of waterfront land adjacent to the park which Ravi Parmar, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, said he is excited to see

“Our government under Premier David Eby has a strong commitment to preserving biodiversity and enhancing our natural heritage,” said Parmar. “Today’s investment …underscores our dedication to environmental stewardship and ensuring future generations can enjoy the beauty of our coastal ecosystems.”

“The Government of Canada is taking real action to protect more of BC’s cherished natural landscapes and the rich biodiversity of species who live within them,” said Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Through the Old Growth Nature Fund, we are supporting the protection of more old-growth forests, which helps the recovery of species at risk and helps keep carbon-rich ecosystems intact. These newly protected areas throughout the province contribute to Canada’s goal of protecting 30% of land and water by 2030 and reversing biodiversity loss.”

The eight sites receiving protection

  • 75 hectares of Kwiakah, Phillips Arm on the Central Coast, will receive a total of $1,274,359 in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

  • 76.9 hectares of Crescent Spur located in the McBride area will receive a total of $840,350 in partnership with the Nature Trust of BC.

  • 2.2 hectares of Bear Hill located in Saanich will receive a total of $2,542,617 in partnership with the Habitat Acquisition Trust. 

  • 68.5 hectares in East Sooke will receive a total of $5.46 million in partnership with the BC Parks Foundation.

  • 42 hectares of the Talking Trees Nature Reserve on Galiano Island will receive $1,773,000 in partnership with the Galiano Conservancy Association.

  • Around 32 hectares of Puntledge River in Comox Valley will receive $2 million in partnership with the Comox Valley Land Trust.

  • 4.1 hectares of Osprey Ridge Nature Reserve on Pender Island will receive a total of $620,800 in partnership with the Pender Islands Conservancy Association.

  • 14.6 hectares of Vulture Ridge Nature Reserve on Pender Island will receive a total of $1,336,850 in partnership with the Pender Islands Conservancy Association.


Anti-2SLGBTQ acts a recurring issue for Langford and West Shore RCMP

Vandalism targeting symbols of 2SLGBTQ pride, from rainbow crosswalks to banners, continues to plague Langford despite efforts to foster inclusivity. 

The rainbow crosswalk at Spencer Middle School in Langford, installed by the SOGI Club to promote inclusivity, has been repeatedly defaced since its unveiling. Acts of vandalism included graffiti defacements mere hours after its initial painting and subsequent incidents as recent as last week. It was tagged with graffiti twice within 48 hours on June 24 and again on June 25, according to the West Shore RCMP.

"The graffiti displayed profanity and is being investigated as mischief under the Criminal Code," said the local RCMP in their statement when they asked the public for help to identify the suspects. In their update on July 3, West Shore RCMP said it has identified both of the suspects in the Langford vandalism incidents and that they will continue their investigation. Police told CHEK that one of the suspects was arrested and released on conditions, while the other has not been located. 

These acts reflect a broader struggle with acceptance and understanding of gender and sexual diversity. Local authorities and community leaders have condemned such actions unequivocally, emphasizing the importance of tolerance and respect.

“This behaviour is not welcome in Langford,” said Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA Ravi Parmar on social media. "This is disgusting and unacceptable.”

In response to these challenges, Langford remains steadfast in its support for diversity. Despite setbacks, the city will be participating in the Victoria Pride Parade for the first time this weekend, showcasing a newly designed Langford Pride flag that symbolizes unity between the 2SLGBTQIA+ and Indigenous communities. 

Such efforts aim to counteract the divisive impact of hate crimes and foster a community where all individuals feel safe and welcomed.

Around the 'Shore

⚠️ Fairway Market closing its doors: Staff of the Westshore Centre’s Fairway Market in Langford say the store is set to close and cease operations in around two weeks. Open since 1987, the news shocked staff, who were notified of the closure on June 28. The sudden closure was not made official to the public, but there are banners displaying store-wide discounts. [Vancouver island Free Daily

🛟 Local business looks to make Langford Lake safer: Ryan Oakley, owner of True North Group estate liquidation services, has purchased five dock-edge life-rings and hooks to install safety equipment at Langford Lake following a recent tragedy where a teenager drowned. With all of the equipment purchased, Oakley says he’s waiting for the city to give him full permission. This comes shortly after the announcement of the CRD’s pilot project, which also aims to help make beaches in the area safer. [Times Colonist

🌡️ Vancouver Island forecasts warm weather: Islanders will be getting a sunny weekend and warmer weather, with some areas expected to experience temperatures above 30C. Greater Victoria is forecasted to have clear skies through to next Monday for most of the Island, where the heat is expected to be around 29C on Saturday and Sunday. This forecast is expected to stay for the foreseeable future, with a high-pressure ridge approaching BC’s coast, creating the pattern of dry weather. The CRD has a guide for staying safe during a heatwave, so make sure to keep up to date and stay prepared. [CHEK]

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Community Events

Summer witches market: Head to the Metchosin Community Hall this July 6 and 7 for the enchanting summer witches market. Going from 11am to 5pm, you’ll have the chance to meet witches, psychics, healers, local artisans and vendors. This is a free event with plenty to check out, and witchy costumes are encouraged. 

🛍️ Westshore Swap Shop and Market: Head to the West Shore Parks and Recreation parking lot near the Juan de Fuca Library for the Westshore Swap, Shop and Market this July 7. Going from 8am to 2pm, check out a variety of items in this swap meet and local farmers market. Hosted every Sunday until Sept. 1, admission is $2 per person or through the donation of a non-perishable food bank item; kids 12 and under are free. 

🎶 Music in the park: Music in the Park is back in Langford’s Veterans Memorial Park from 2pm to 4pm every Sunday until August 25. The band Kooler will be kicking off the event this July 7, covering hit dance songs from the ’70s until today. Bring a chair and enjoy an afternoon of live music in this free event, but make sure to grab your spot early because this event attracts plenty of guests.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

“Shhhh I am trying to sleep.” —Gary Woodburn, Colwood 

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