Locals prepare for emergency situations

Plus, Centre Mountain updates, Red Dress Day, MayDay, and more


Good morning!

National Emergency Preparedness week started on Sunday, and it's a great reminder to learn more about public safety during a natural disaster. Read all about it, and more, in today’s edition of the newsletter.


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Upholding Reconciliation Agreement means revisiting Centre Mountain construction schedule

A map showing the changed borders from the 2017 land swap between Sc’ianew, Langford, and Metchosin. Photo: Te'mexw Treaty Association

A somewhat complicated land swap that gave rise to the Centre Mountain development has Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation frustrated with delays that impact its interest in the proposed business park and present a challenge to the spirit of economic reconciliation in the area. 

The Centre Mountain  business and residential park property was part of a 2017 land swap agreement between Beecher Bay, Langford and Metchosin. Per that agreement, tax revenues were set to be split via a tax-sharing agreement between all three entities. In 2017, the Beecher Bay First Nation transferred its treaty settlement lands in Metchosin for a one-third share of the new business park. Through the agreement, Scia’new obtained an ownership interest in the business park development.

The delay in constructing the Scia’new business park is mainly due to ongoing redesigns of key water management infrastructure. To address this, Metchosin council approved a workaround on April 22, allowing critical water and electricity infrastructure for the business park to be built ahead of residential infrastructure. 

This amendment aims to ensure timely economic benefits for Beecher Bay, which has long awaited the fruition of the industrial park. However, the workaround isn’t a shortcut to environmental legislation and municipal construction codes.


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Emergency Preparedness Week reminds locals to stay aware

From May 5 to 11, Canadians across the country will be participating in Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week), a national event supported by Public Safety Canada. Hosted for over 25 years, this event usually takes place the first week of May and is an opportunity to get citizens more involved with natural disaster preparation.

Vancouver Island itself is privy to a variety of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, and more; according to the Capital Regional District (CRD), the area has a 32% probability of a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years. On the minds of many locals is preparation for wildfire season this summer after last year’s devastating events, which were said to be the worst Canada has ever experienced. 

With the danger of a variety of natural disasters in the area, municipalities in the Westshore are reminding residents to do research and get involved with programs that just might save their life if and when the time comes. With a variety of resources in the area, here are some things that the CRD has outlined about emergency preparedness.  

Know your area: It is important to know your area and the severity and risk of the dangers you face, which is why all Canadians should research the natural disasters specific to their area. The CRD has prepared an interactive Regional Heat Map and Tsunami Information Map so residents and guests can learn more about the dangers previously and currently in the area. On top of this, the Government of BC has an interactive map of wildfires, and the possibility of them occurring throughout the province

The province has also information on disaster response routes and driving conditions for anyone to access.; Drive BC is the quickest way to stay updated on highway conditions. 

Preparation, necessities, and prevention: Knowing your area is just part of the preparation when it comes to disaster planning, as there’s a whole list of things that are easy to forget when in a crisis. The CRD has an online booklet to help residents not only prepare before a disaster, but learn what to during, and after. The booklet goes through stages of preparation to help people survive for up to seven days without help from emergency services, and is a great way to ensure things go right when everything else is wrong. On top of this, it provides an extensive list of information on tasks, services, resources, and more.

Alerts and help: When in a disaster, contacting emergency services can be difficult. The West Shore Public Alert Notification System (PANS) is now powered by Alertable, and is used by Colwood, Highlands, Langford, and View Royal as a way to keep residents informed of major emergencies or disasters. These cities are urging citizens to register for free, as PANS provides residents with critical life-saving information during emergencies. PANS is also available to residents living in CRD Electoral Areas; those in Esquimalt and Metchosin have their own alert system. 

In terms of emergency services, there are a number available throughout the area. The West Shore Emergency Support Services (ESS) provides basic essentials like food, lodging and clothing to people who are forced to leave their homes during a crisis or emergency event. Emergency Communications Amateur Radio Operators use their expertise with radio operations to provide a link with other municipalities, provincial and federal agencies as well as partners such as the Red Cross. Alongside the alerts, residents are recommended to post on social media during times of crisis, as this can be a quick and effective way to get updates, find help, or even aid others. 

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Around the 'Shore

🔴 SD62 students participate in Red Dress Day: On May 3, four different schools in the Sooke School District participated in Red Dress Day at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Hundreds of students gathered to pay their respects to missing and murdered Indigenous women, led by Indigenous drummers and elders who marched from their schools to the park. Red Dress Day, which takes place on May 5, started in 2010 to raise awareness for the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two spirit people in Canada. [CHEK

🚔 Police impound four vehicles for excessive speeding: West Shore RCMP fined four drivers and impounded their vehicles for excessive speeding, which is a speed greater than 40km/h over the limit. The vehicles are being impounded for seven days, which will cost a total of $1,500 or more each. [Times Colonist

🔌 Power outage: Almost 1,600 BC Hydro customers were left without power the morning of May 6 after an outage affected customers in Colwood, Langford, and View Royal. Traffic lights were also out or flashing red on the Island Highway from Colwood Corners to Six Mile Road; it has since been resolved. [CFAX 101]

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Community Events

🧶 Macra-YAY night: This May 9, head to the Langford White Spot at 6pm for an evening of macrame. Going until 9:30pm, learn the ropes of macrame and create your own piece to take home. This event is for those who are 19 or older; get tickets online. Materials are included.

🌸 MayDay for Mother Earth: On May 12, the Greater Victoria Chapter of the Climate Reality Project is hosting MayDay for Mother Earth, a combined climate awareness and Mother’s Day event at Royal Bay Secondary School. Going from 12 to 4pm, this is a free family-friendly event that provides an opportunity to learn more about the effects of climate change and what people are doing about it. 

🎭 The Magician’s Nephew: Head to Royal Bay Secondary School for Black Wing Theatre’s production, The Magician’s Nephew. Showing May 8, 9 and 10 at 7pm and May 11 at 2pm, the musical is based on the Narnia book series by C.S. Lewis and offers a contemporary twist on the classic tale. With tickets available online, the show is suitable for all ages.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

Full moon in April. —Deb Dodds, View Royal

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