More tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Plus, spring markets, owl rehabilition, ideas fair, and more


Good morning! 

Warm weather is taking over, and spring markets are coming with it. With plenty of great local vendors and events, make sure to check out our list of spring markets and more in today’s edition of the newsletter.


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Start of Trans Mountain oil tanker traffic around Vancouver Island imminent

Oil tanker on the sea. Photo: Pexels

Trans Mountain has announced that it will commence operations on May 1, roughly one week out from Earth Day. That means tanker transportation of crude oil from its Burnaby terminal will begin to move through waters surrounding Vancouver Island, including the Westshore. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Victoria on Friday to announce $2.6 billion in funding for post-secondary student scholarships, fellowships and research grants, and was asked by The Westshore about the federal government’s oversight into the integrity of the tankers that will be transporting diluted bitumen through the Burrard Inlet, into the Salish Sea and the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

“We need to make sure that the safety of our coastal communities, of our biodiversity and ecologically sensitive sites like the Salish Sea and the southern Vancouver Island areas continues to be top of mind,” said Trudeau. “We will continue to step up in our monitoring and our ensuring that all regulations are complied with and that people are safe, even as we continue to respond to the needs of the world.”

Some of those assurances are written into the Oceans Protection Plan and the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act which outline laws and regulations applied to the shipping of oil in BC. 

Steve Gray, a member of Metchosin Council’s Environment Committee, said he hopes the federal government will consider scheduling the tankers to avoid potential trouble in high winds in the Strait, particularly around Race Rocks. Based on weather trends, he said tankers “should not be traveling through the Strait roughly 40% of the year. The worst weather is actually in July, not the winter,” he said.

From its original price tag of $11 billion dollars, the cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline construction ballooned to $34 billion, mainly due to construction delays, and the start date is still unclear. 

There has been some confusion on the actual start date of the project, with different messaging coming from different sources. On April 3, Trans Mountain announced that while it still needs to obtain outstanding approvals from the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), it would commence transporting crude oil on May 1. However, commodities expert Rory Johnston has said that the anticipated start date would be June 1, based on sources he’s spoken to. The definitive start date has not been established by the federal government. 

Once TMX operations begin, oil tanker traffic will become as prevalent as commercial tanker traffic in the Salish Sea. It’s expected that roughly 34 tankers per month will make their way from Burnaby and through surrounding waters around Vancouver Island.

Burnaby South NDP MP Jagmeet Singh gave an Earth Day statement about the pipeline, criticizing the Liberal government’s insistence in moving forward with the project. “They bought the Trans Mountain pipeline and continue to fund and support it, despite the protests from experts, environmentalists and First Nations.”



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Upcoming local spring markets

With spring in full effect, Westshore markets are starting to pop up. These markets are host to a variety of artisanal goods, local produce and food, and so much more. Here are five spring markets to check out in the Westshore.

The first Sooke Country Market of the season kicked off on April 20 in the grass fields above Sooke Fire Hall, and it will be going on all summer long. Open from 10am to 2pm every Saturday until Oct. 12, the market offers a range of products including vegetables, arts and crafts, baking, and more. Posting regularly about vendors and products, locals can keep an eye out on their Facebook or Instagram for updates and details.  

Open until Sept. 1, the Westshore Swap and Shop is back in the parking lot by the Juan de Fuca Library. Guests can shop from combined parts of flea markets, craft fairs, and local farmers markets all in one place. Going from 8am to noon every Sunday, admission is $2 per person or through the donation of a non-perishable food bank item at the door; kids under 12 are always free. 

Less than two weeks away, the Goldstream Farmers Market is starting up again this May 4 at Veterans Memorial Park. Open every Saturday from 10am to 2pm until October, vendors offer local fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked breads and goodies, and crafts and textile creations. Make sure to check out Goldstream Farmers Market’s Facebook to keep up to date on vendors. 

Opening May 12, the Metchosin Farmers Market is going every Sunday from 11am to 2pm until the last Sunday of October. Held at the Metchosin Municipal Grounds at 4450 Happy Valley Rd., everything available is homemade, handmade or home grown. Vendors will be offering a variety of items including local produce and meat, fresh-baked goods, crafts, and more. Guests will see both new and old vendors, so make sure to head over and support local goods. 

This one isn’t technically a market, but it deserves an honourable mention in this list as it still highlights local food purveyors and small businesses. The Victoria Beer Society is excited to bring back Fridays at the Station this May 3. Every Friday from 4 to 8pm, head to the Langford Station and enjoy flights of BC Craft Beer, live music, a variety of food truck options, and shopping at the local businesses and art studios; all ages are welcome to attend for free, and guests can even bring their furry friends.

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Around the 'Shore

🦉 Metchosin animal rehab centre helps young owl: The Metchosin-based BC SPCA Wild Animal Rescue Centre is giving a young great-horned owl a second chance at life after releasing it back into the wild to reunite with its family. The owl was returned to a nest at an undisclosed location with the help of the Capital Regional District. [Vancouver Island Free Daily]

⚖️ Man convicted for 2020 Langford shooting: Damien Medwedrich was convicted of first-degree murder of Alex Knatchbell in a shooting that occurred in January 2020. A judge ruled that Medwedrich lured Knatchbell to Humpback Road where he killed Knatchbell in a pre-planned manner; while the motive remains unclear, evidence leads towards both Medwedrich and Knatchbell being drug dealers. Medwedrich has several prior convictions on multiple different counts. [CHEK]

🚲 Officer who hit cyclist in Langford cleared: The Independent Investigations Office of BC just cleared a police officer of any wrongdoing after an incident occurred in March where a cyclist was injured in a collision with a police car. The police officer was off duty at the time of the collision. It was concluded that sightlines made it extremely difficult to avoid the crash. [Times Colonist]

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Community Events

🪴 View Royal Garden Club meeting: Join the View Royal Garden Club this April 24 for its monthly general meeting. Starting at 7:30pm at Wheeley Hall, listen to speaker Dr. Richard Hebda, president of the Iris Society of BC, discuss climate change gardens and its connection with irises. On top of the presentation, guests can enjoy a judged mini show that will feature exhibits from members’ gardens.  Everyone is welcome to participate, but non-members are required to pay a $5 entry fee.

💡 Colwood ideas fair: This April 27, Colwood Council is hosting an ideas fair to engage with residents and hear their opinions on the city and how it runs. Going from 2 to 5pm, at Royal Bay Secondary School, residents are invited to drop by and converse and ask questions about the environment, infrastructure, economy, and more. 

🐾 City Nature Challenge: Celebrate local species and ecosystems this April 26 to 29 with the 2024 City Nature Challenge. Join over 400 cities across the world competing to photograph and document local biodiversity. Participants will join the Greater Victoria City Nature Challenge project for a chance to win prizes and receive project updates by taking photos of wild plants, animals, fungi or insects between April 26 to 29. Photos must be uploaded by May 5 using the free iNaturalist website or app.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

Witty’s Lagoon Falls in Metchosin. —Richard Steward, View Royal

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