Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ICBC to cut basic insurance rates by 2.4%

VANCOUVER, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - ICBC will reduce its basic insurance rates by 2.4% beginning November 1, 2010, following a decision from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), which is responsible for regulating basic insurance rates in the province.
"Any reduction in our insurance rates is good news for our customers and we thank them for their smart driving decisions that have made this possible," said Jon Schubert, ICBC's President and CEO. "At a time when the price of everything seems to be going up, ICBC's insurance rates are once again coming down."

In announcing the reduction, the Commission noted that ICBC's operating expenses were, on average, 2.8% lower than forecasted over the past few years. This careful management of operating costs will be passed on to our customers in the form of an additional 0.5% rate reduction on top of the 1.9% in our application.

Rate changes are driven mainly by projected claims costs. Fewer crashes in B.C. have led to a drop in the number of claims; however, the average cost of injury claims, which are covered by basic insurance, continues to rise.

"This rate reduction is a significant development - it's the first time in more than a decade that we have been able to reduce our basic rates," said Schubert. "After years of fiscal restraint, and thanks to our customers' safe driving and the hard work of our employees, we are able to further reduce our rates while reinvesting in the business to better serve our customers."

At ICBC, we have more than 5,000 employees committed to our 3.1 million customers and their safety on the road. We license and insure drivers and vehicles across the province through our service centres, plus a network of more than 900 independent brokers and government agent offices. Claims customers are served through local offices and our award-winning Dial-a-Claim call centre. We add value to B.C. communities - our road safety investments help create safer roads, lead to fewer crashes, and help keep our rates stable. To find out more, visit http://www.icbc.com/ 



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Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre Building a Growing Audience

August 31, 2010: Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre has wrapped a successful second season, featuring modern classics, that saw more audience members attend Blue Bridge shows in the second year than in the first. Blue Bridge’s overall audience grew by 15% in 2010 compared to 2009. As a result, box office revenues increased by 22%.

“We saw audiences grow this year despite the economy and we saw more consistent numbers on a show by show basis. The same number of people attended the mid week shows as attended weekend shows,” says Brian Richmond, Producing Artistic Director. “It is very encouraging and it shows there is a demand for classic theatre in Victoria. We thank our audiences for their support and look forward to welcoming them back for our 2011 season.”

The company’s third season is currently in development. It’s a People’s Choice season and Blue Bridge patrons have been voting on which plays they would like to see next year. The selected plays will be announced in October. Blue Passes are already on sale for the 2011 season and are available at the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre office at 920 Johnson Street.

See http://www.bluebridgetheatre.ca/ for more info.



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BC Recognizes Applied Art and Design Achievers

Aug. 31, 2010
Office of the Premier
BC Achievement Foundation

VANCOUVER - Premier Gordon Campbell and Keith Mitchell, chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, announced the recipients of the 6th Annual Carter Wosk BC Creative Achievement Awards for Applied Art and Design today.

"These talented British Columbians apply technology, artistry and skill to their work and demonstrate the range and vitality of British Columbia's applied arts community," said Premier Campbell. "They contribute to the cultural and economic diversity of our province and their innovation and ingenuity serve as an inspiration to all British Columbians."

Doug Simpson of Feathercraft Folding Kayaks was named the recipient of the 2010 BC Creative Achievement Award of Distinction in recognition of his life-long contribution to applied design through the development of his world-renowned foldable kayaks.


The three artists recognized as recipients of this year's juried awards are:
* Cathi Jefferson of Duncan - pottery

* Natalie Purschwitz of Vancouver - clothing and accessories

* Toby Barratt, Pamela Goddard and Nik Rust of Propellor Design of Vancouver - furniture and lighting

Each recipient will be recognized at a presentation and exhibition event on Sept. 27 at Shaw TV Studios. Recipients will receive $2,500 and be granted the use of the British Columbia Creative Award seal to signify their creative excellence.

"This year's recipients have demonstrated the blending of form and function at its very best" added Mitchell. "Whether through clothing, furniture and lighting, pottery or kayaks, these artists are creating objects and experiences that are both useful and appealing."
An independent advisory panel, chaired by board member Dr. Robert Belton, dean of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan, selected the 2010 juried recipients. Submissions were assessed based on creativity, originality, innovative approach and aesthetics. Also on the jury were Sam Carter, artist, craft and design educator and associate professor at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design; Bob Campbell, curator, The Exploration Place, Prince George; Judson Beaumont, furniture designer, Straight Line Designs and 2009 recipient; and Joanna Staniszkis, past recipient of the BC Creative Achievement Award of Distinction for her textile and cloth design.

The Carter Wosk British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards for Applied Art and Design are named in honour of B.C. philanthropist, academic and visionary Dr. Yosef Wosk, whose financial support makes them possible, and for Sam Carter, B.C. educator, designer and curator.

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of B.C. in 2003 to celebrate community service, arts, humanities and enterprise. For information on British Columbia Achievement Foundation, visit http://www.bcachievement.com/


For biographical information about the recipients, please visit www.bcachievement.com/creative/recipients.php?year=2010


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Royalty Program Supports 21 New Roads And Pipelines

Aug. 31, 2010

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

VICTORIA - The Province has awarded $115.6 million in royalty credits under the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program to 16 companies for 21 natural gas and petroleum infrastructure projects, announced Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

"Today we are leveraging strong investor confidence in our natural gas and petroleum sector to develop new infrastructure for the benefit of all British Columbians," said Bennett. "This program is directly responsible for bringing new investment, new jobs, and additional revenues to help fund education and health care."

The 21 new road and pipeline projects will support natural gas and petroleum exploration and development activity, and improve access to underdeveloped areas in northeast British Columbia. These projects will bring new economic opportunities and jobs to the region.

In addition, new production will generate additional royalty revenue to the Province. Historically, the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program generates about $2.50 in incremental royalties for every dollar awarded in royalty credits.

Projects were awarded credits under the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program following a Request for Applications and careful evaluation of each project's economic benefits to British Columbia. As in previous years, industry response to the Request for Applications was very strong, with applications for 47 projects involving a total request of approximately $706.4 million in estimated construction costs.

The program provides natural gas and petroleum companies with royalty deductions in exchange for industry investment in road and pipeline infrastructure. Companies are required to fund the entire cost of an approved infrastructure project, and may receive up to 50 per cent of the eligible project costs from the Province paid in the form of royalty deduction once the project is completed.

Since 2004, the program has allocated more than $485 million in infrastructure royalty credits, resulting in 71 new road-based projects and 83 new pipeline projects.

British Columbia continues to work in partnership with industry to create a vibrant, competitive natural gas and petroleum sector. The Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program delivers on the BC Energy Plan commitment to enhance infrastructure and improve access to resources.


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Local news headlines for Tuesday August 31, 2010

Good morning! It's raining, but we are still hard at work bringing you all your local news and weather. Here are the stories we're reporting on this morning. Listen to Village900 at 8:06 and 8:30am for more details.

  • BC Supreme court set aside an injunction yesterday, that had prevented Uvic from trapping and removing rabbits that have overrun the campus.
  • A city staff report will recommend city council in Victoria to amend a bylaw that would prohibit camping on boulevards and medians.
  • The families of the men who were killed or injured during an industrial accident at a mushroom farm in Langley two years ago say new criminal charges aren't enough.
 

 
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Maritime Museum of BC and the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens present Viking Boat!

August 30, 2010


The Maritime Museum of BC in association with the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens present the Freydis Joanna, an actual Viking replica boat based on a ship that existed over a thousand years ago. She will be on display in Bastion Square in front of the Maritime Museum from September 19th to the 21st.

Don’t miss your opportunity to see a true ship-building masterpiece direct from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark. The eight month “labour of love” was undertaken by Soren Nielsen, along with other Danish craftsmen, using traditional tools and genuine handcrafting methods. She is 6.5m long by 1.5m wide and fashioned from Danish oak and pine. Her name comes from Freydis the half-sister of Leif Eriksson and daughter of Eric the Red while Joanna is named for a family member from the Sommer family who graciously donated the funds to build her.

The ship she is based on was found during an archeological dig in a fjord in Roskilde, Denmark. Vikings used to deliberately sink these smaller, already well-used, ships—also referred to as Gokstadfærings—in the fjord to prevent enemy attacks. The sunken ships would provide effective obstacles making it difficult to navigate the narrow waterway.

Gokstadfærings were also important in everyday life for a number of purposes such as obtaining supplies, setting camp, exploring and carrying raiding parties. These extremely strong, flexible and light weight boats were perfect for both the sea and shallow waters. While not used for many of the same reasons today, these boats still remain popular with many Danes.

Freydis Joanna has since travelled from Roskilde, Denmark to Halifax on a five week coast-to-coast Canadian tour. Victoria is the last stop before she heads home to the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens in Dickson, Alberta.



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Alternating Single Lane Traffic Aug 31-Sept 1 at 4558 Cordova Bay Road

August 30, 2010


On Tuesday, August 31, 2010 and Wednesday, September 1, 2010 there will be alternating single lane traffic at 4558 Cordova Bay Road. Work is scheduled to start at approximately 8:00 am and is expected to continue until 4:00 pm.

All vehicles including emergency vehicles will have access
There will be traffic control people on site to assist with traffic control. Please obey their directions and all traffic signs.

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Affordable Housing Underway In British Columbia

Ministry of Housing and Social Development
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

KELOWNA - The Governments of Canada and British Columbia, along with community partners, gathered today to announce the construction of 32 new housing developments, creating 404 units for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities across British Columbia. The announcement took place at the official groundbreaking for 10 new seniors' apartments at Cedar Court.

"The Government of Canada is helping Canadian seniors and people with disabilities during these tough economic times by providing close to $29 million for these 32 projects through Canada's Economic Action Plan," said the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). "Across the province, this achievement gives hope to people who need quality affordable housing that meets their needs, while at the same time, creating local jobs."

"The Province is investing over $33 million to increase the supply of affordable rental housing in British Columbia for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, and to stimulate local economies by creating jobs," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development. "This investment is a definitive example of our provincial commitment to provide more affordable housing solutions for those in need across B.C."

Through an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Initiative Agreement, the federal and provincial governments are contributing a combined total of over $62 million for more than 400

Seniors' Rental Housing (SRH) apartments in British Columbia. Municipalities and community partners contributed a total of approximately $6.2 million to the SRH developments through a combination of property tax exemptions, waived developmental costs charges, land equity and/or capital cost contributions to support their local SRH developments.

"Lake Country has a great community of seniors with an active and engaging lifestyle," said Mayor James Baker, District of Lake Country. "Cedar Court offers these seniors an excellent and affordable housing option so that they can continue to reside in the community they are proud to call home."

The Society of HOPE will manage and operate the 10 SRH apartments. Established in 1989, The Society of HOPE is a non-profit organization committed to providing quality, affordable housing to low-income residents in the Central Okanagan.

"Lake Country seniors will soon have greater accessibility to more quality, affordable rental homes in their community," said Lorne Gerber, President, The Society of HOPE "We are pleased to partner with all levels of government to make this vital housing project possible."

The Seniors' Rental Housing (SRH) initiative is a result of a $365- million joint investment under an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Initiative Agreement, which includes funding through Canada's Economic Action Plan and by the Government of British Columbia.

This initiative, initially announced by the two levels of government on April 8, 2009, will provide $123.5 million, including $104 million for seniors and $19.5 million for persons with disabilities, to develop approximately 1,300 new affordable rental housing units, which will help to stimulate local economies in smaller communities across B.C. Under terms of the agreement, the provincial and federal governments will provide matching contributions of $61.79 million.

Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on the Government of Canada's commitment in 2008 of more than $1.9 billion, over the next five years, to improve and build new affordable housing and help the homeless. It provides $400 million, over two years, to build new rental housing for housing for low-income seniors and $75 million for housing for persons with disabilities. Overall, the Economic Action Plan includes $2 billion for new and existing social housing, plus up to $2 billion in loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

The Province of British Columbia's $14-billion capital infrastructure program is creating up to 88,000 jobs, helping to build vital public infrastructure in every region of the province and stimulating local economies across B.C.

For more information on this and other measures in Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/

To find out how CMHC is working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan

Through Housing Matters BC, the Province is addressing a range of housing needs, from homelessness to affordable rental housing and homeownership. In 2010-11, the Province will invest over $562 million to provide affordable housing and fight homelessness - more than four times as much as in 2001.

To find out more about affordable housing in B.C., visit http://www.bchousing.org/


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Victoria to Focus on Walkable Neighbourhoods in Updated Official Community Plan

August 27, 2010

VICTORIA, BC — On Thursday, Council voted in favour of a new land use model for the updated Official Community Plan that would see the development of walkable, complete neighbourhoods for Victoria over the next 30 years. It was one of the more significant decisions for Council as they received a staff report on the Official Community Plan that included several months’ worth of research and public input. “We heard from many that residents want to meet their daily needs within a short walk from home,” said Mayor Dean Fortin. “This vision will help ensure our city develops with neighbourhoods that are more complete and that provide amenities for people close to where they live.”

The second option Council considered was to focus most new growth in the Downtown core. While the updated Official Community Plan will put less residential focus in the Downtown over the next 30 years, it would still see the population of the Downtown Core Area more than double by 2040. Public input strongly supported the village centre concept and a move towards progressively more complete communities that provide a range of services and amenities within walking distance.

In addition, citizens expressed a desire for a vibrant downtown and an enhanced transit network. The direction approved by Council moves forward a village centre model, but also ensures significant growth Downtown and along rapid and frequent transit corridors.

Based on Thursday’s decision, the updated Official Community Plan will look at accommodating 50 per cent of future population and housing growth in the Downtown Core Area over the next 30 years. The remaining 50 per cent will be accommodated in large scale village centres (40 per cent) and small scale village centres (10 per cent). Victoria's population is expected to grow by 20,000 people by 2040.

One of the advantages in accommodating more population growth outside of the downtown core is that it will allow for more ground-oriented type housing, which is more attractive to young families. Another advantage of increasing population near village centres is that more amenities and services can be provided in neighbourhoods, making communities more complete with many more services available within a walkable distance from home.

Using the framework approved in Council’s decision, a draft plan will be presented to Council in January 2011. Further public engagement will take place in early 2011, providing Victoria citizens an opportunity to provide more input on Victoria's updated Official Community Plan once it is in draft form.

Established under the authority of the Province of BC’s Local Government Act, an Official Community Plan (OCP) is a city-wide plan. Council, staff and citizens refer to the community plan to help make decisions on things like where to locate affordable housing, how the City will respond to climate change, and what the community’s transportation priorities are. The current plan was last updated in 1995.

For more information about Victoria’s Official Community Plan, visit http://www.shapeyourfuturevictoria.ca/

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CSC Pacific Applauds BC's Performance at First Youth Olympic Games

August 27, 2010


VANCOUVER – Fourteen athletes from British Columbia can now call themselves Youth Olympians. BC represented 23% of the 60 Canadian athletes who competed at the Games. As the flame was extinguished this week in Singapore, Team Canada celebrated 12 medals at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. BC athletes earned three of the medals, two in taekwondo and one in swimming.

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific (CSC Pacific) is thrilled to congratulate the medallists and all those who represented BC. Team Canada’s Flag Bearer, Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria, earned BC’s first medal as he swam to a bronze in the 200m freestyle. Melanie Phan of Port Coquitlam then collected a bronze in women’s taekwondo in the 49kg event. Stefan Bozalo of Vancouver finished up strong through his taekwondo matches and won a bronze in the +73kg category.

The Provincial Government’s commitment to healthy living and excellence in sport is one of the main drivers behind the consistent podium performances of BC athletes. The Province’s continued dedication to high performance sport through the 2010 Sport & Arts Legacy Fund will be integral, especially after so many British Columbians were motivated by the outstanding accomplishments of our athletes during Vancouver 2010. The creation of Youth Olympic Games will give many children who were inspired in Vancouver and Whistler something to work towards as they progress through the performance pathway.

“Congratulations to British Columbia’s athletes and the rest of the Canadian team who participated at the 2010 Youth Olympics. You have made British Columbia proud,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport. “You are an inspiration to young people throughout the country who have dreams of competing on the world stage and are role models for the great benefits of sport, physical activity and healthy living.”‪

“Contributing such a talented group of BC athletes to Team Canada for the first Youth Olympic Games is an exciting accomplishment for the Province and our organization,” added Wendy Pattenden, CEO of CSC Pacific. “These young athletes have now had a very unique and valuable multi-sport games experience. The Youth Olympic Games are a fantastic new stepping stone between national and international competition for developing athletes.”

These local athletes are part of the future of sport in Canada. CSC Pacific and the Province of BC look forward to supporting more teens as they strive to compete at the first Youth Olympic Winter Games, which will be held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. The next summer Games will be held in Nanjing, China in 2014.



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Grants Support Human and Social Services in BC

Aug. 27, 2010

Ministry of Housing and Social Development

VICTORIA - More than 300 local organizations in 29 communities in Central, Interior and Northern regions of British Columbia will benefit from more than $8.1 million in community gaming grants for human and social services and public safety announced Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development.

Some of the groups that will receive funding include the Nawican Friendship Centre in Dawson Creek, the Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society in Kelowna and the Prince Rupert Marine Rescue Society.

This round of funding provides 814 groups in the province with approximately $24.9 million in community gaming grants to support local organizations.

Effective April 1, 2010, the Province combined two gaming grant programs (bingo affiliation and direct access) into the Community Gaming Grant program. This amalgamation ensures all community groups have fair and equitable access to gaming funds. It also streamlines and simplifies the grant application, review and approval process for applicants and the Province.

In total, the Province has budgeted $120 million for gaming grants in 2010-2011, $7.4 million more than last year. The grants will fund approximately 6,000 organizations that support people in need, public safety, youth arts and sports, education and parent and district advisory councils.

To date, approximately $54 million has been allocated to gaming grants for 2010-2011. The Province considers applications for community gaming grants four times a year, with each intake devoted to a specific sector.

The list of community gaming grant recipients can be found here: http://www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/gaming/reports/docs/grants-cgg-human-social-services-public-safety-2010-11.pdf

For more information about community gaming grants, please visit: http://www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/gaming/


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New associate dean joins Camosun’s School of Access

Camosun’s School of Access, which annually helps over 1,500 students transition to post-secondary education, welcomes Associate Dean Sarah Loewen. “Loewen’s passion for developmental education that helps people grow and transform, and her eclectic background in the private and public sectors, make for an electrifying combination that’s sure to inspire our school, and contribute positively to our greater community,” says Dean John Boraas.
Loewen, who hails from Haida Gwaii, launched an early career in recreation and tourism after completing a diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Camosun in the late 1980’s. Her interest in business management, organizational behaviour and community development expressed themselves as she pursued further education and, in 2007, completed an MBA in Leadership with RRU.

Following stints at Northwest Community College and Vancouver Island University, Loewen is excited to be coming back to Camosun. “I strongly believe that education is the single most powerful way to transform an individual’s life. I also believe that having educational opportunities available is one of the most powerful ways to transform a community, and I’ve seen it. Camosun is very clear about their role as a post-secondary institution in the community, and that really excites me.”

Thirty-eight percent of students enrolled in Camosun’s university transfer and career programs begin their studies in the School of Access, either on campus or at our Community Learning Partner sites. The school provides tuition-free upgrading courses, career and education exploration, employment training and ESL classes to over 1,500 students each year.

Learn more about Camosun College: http://camosun.ca/

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Carmanah Solar Rooftop PV Grid-Tied System Ready for 500 Dr. David Suzuki Public School Students this Fall

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, -- Installation is complete for the 38 kW solar grid-tied photovoltaic system designed for the newly constructed Dr. David Suzuki Public School. The new solar system was engineered and installed by Canadian-based solar integrator, Carmanah Technologies (TSX: CMH) for the Greater Essex County District School Board of Windsor, Ontario, who received funding for the solar project through the Government of Ontario. Capable of delivering up to 10 per cent of the facility’s total energy needs, the new solar PV system is expected to serve as both a sustainable, revenue-generating power source as well as a functional learning tool for up to 500 students returning to classes in the fall.

The new 58,000 square foot Public School, named after internationally renowned environmentalist, Dr. David Suzuki, is a standing demonstration of environmental design for the architectural and engineering community. The addition of the grid-tied solar PV system is supporting the School’s application for LEED (Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design) Platinum-level certification, the nation’s highest level of certification for green building design. If the application is approved, the Dr. David Suzuki Public School would be the first school in Canada to receive the environmental honor.

Ted Lattimore, Carmanah CEO, comments that the interest in solar PV systems for Ontario school facilities is on the rise. “Solar technology presents a sustainable revenue-generating tool for Ontario school boards as well as a learning occasion for students, staff and community. Our systems include sophisticated monitoring software which allows both the Board and the public to view the systems’ performance and output on an interactive website. The opportunity for education in sustainable energy generation is therefore immediate and accessible.”

By including sustainable technology early in the building design process, the Greater Essex County District School Board hopes to incorporate the new technologies in both student academia and culture; the School is providing information kiosks throughout the building and a website that will inform students and guests about the energy and environmental technologies being employed. “We believe it is important to teach children about alternative energy sources as well as energy conservation,” stated Giuliana Hinchliffe, Coordinator of Engineering, Facility Services Department, Greater Essex County District School Board.

The Greater Essex County School Board expects to activate the new Carmanah solar PV system as soon as the Ontario Power Authority Feed-In-Tariff process is complete. The OPA FIT program will reimburse the School Board for every kWh the solar system produces.



PHOTO: Carmanah Solar Installation at Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor, Ontario



About Carmanah Technologies Corporation

As Canada’s largest and most successful name in commercial photovoltaic projects, Carmanah has designed and installed more grid-tied solar power systems than any other integrator or contractor in Canada. Working directly with more than a dozen Ontario LDCs, including Hydro One, Whitby Hydro, Enersource, Powerstream, Toronto Hydro, Ottawa Hydro, and Enwin (Windsor), Carmanah has been entrusted with providing grid-tied solar PV systems for the City of Toronto Police Services and the Toronto Parking Authority facility under funding by the Ontario Government Feed In Tariff (FIT) Program. Carmanah is a publicly traded company, with common shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "CMH”. For more information, visit http://www.carmanah.com/


About Greater Essex County District School Board

The Greater Essex County District School Board, in partnership with the community, provides learning opportunities which support, challenge, and inspire all students to achieve their full potential and enable them to participate meaningfully in their communities. With support from the Government of Ontario, the Greater Essex County District School Board of Windsor, Ontario, has upgraded many existing school facilities and opened four new elementary schools, as well as currently being in the design/construction phase of two additional elementary schools and one secondary school.

PHOTOS: Available at http://bit.ly/dwS8cJ



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21st Annual First Peoples Festival

VICTORIA, BC — Spirit Square will come alive with the 21st Annual First Peoples Festival, a free event showcasing the diverse, rich and thriving heritage of Canada’s First Peoples. Join us for this celebration of friendship and understanding on Sunday, September 5, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Spirit Square, next to Victoria City Hall. The event is hosted by the Victoria Native Friendship Centre in partnership with the City of Victoria.

Bring the family downtown to enjoy cultural presentations, an artist market, and children’s activities. Take the opportunity to meet over 30 First Nations artists, including carvers, weavers, Cowichan knitters, musicians, dancers, and those who practise traditional Aboriginal medicine.

Participants will range from internationally renowned Kwaguilth artist Richard Hunt, the first native artist to receive the Order of British Columbia, to Jonathan Todd, a 16 year old Cree country-folk musician from Vancouver who recently published a CD. Performances by the Unity Drummers and Singers will open and close the festivities.

Last held in 2004, the re-introduction of the First Peoples Festival would not be complete without a traditional presentation from one of its original participants, the Khowutzun Tzinquaw Dancers of Cowichan, BC. Under the direction of Elder Ray Peter, the group has demonstrated their commitment to maintaining their culture by proudly sharing their songs and dances with others around the world.

The festival’s goals are to create better understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people; provide opportunities for the development of Aboriginal leadership in the community; and to encourage open-minded inquiry into the needs of people of Aboriginal ancestry. For more information, visit: http://www.victoria.ca/ and click on What’s New?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Partnership Moves Waneta Expansion Project Forward

CASTLEGAR, BC, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Columbia Power Corporation (CPC) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) have reached an agreement in principle with Fortis Inc. (Fortis) to further the advancement of the Waneta Expansion Project.

"As the only government MLA for the Kootenays, it is important to me that this project proceeds. The project brings approximately 400 jobs and $200 million in wages and benefits to the Kootenay region," said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Bill Bennett. "This agreement is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and co-operation from all the parties involved."

The proposed structure with Fortis would be a partnership, the equity interests of which will be owned 49 per cent by CPC and CBT and 51 per cent by Fortis. In addition, FortisBC Inc. (a subsidiary of Fortis), commits to purchasing capacity available from the project.

Both CPC and CBT acknowledged the efforts and support of the provincial government.

"This agreement is one more step towards the advancement of the Waneta Expansion Project," said Victor Jmaeff, Vice President, Sales and Development for CPC. "In particular, I'd like to recognize Bill Bennett for supporting and facilitating the project. It is a complex and challenging undertaking, but we are hopeful this very important project may now be realized."

A Notice of Intent has been posted on BC Bid giving interested parties the opportunity to express their interest in investing in the project if they can provide similar or improved economic benefits over those of Fortis. SNC-Lavalin remains the preferred proponent for the construction of the project. Interested companies can review the Notice of Intent online through BC Bid (www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca) and have until 4:30 p.m. (PST) on 13 September, 2010 to submit their proposals.

"This is an important milestone for both the partners and the region, and after months of hard work, we are pleased that we have a framework that could allow the project to move forward," said Neil Muth, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. "While this is a significant step forward, it is only the first of several processes that must be successfully concluded before construction on the project can begin."

The Waneta Expansion is a proposal to construct a second powerhouse adjacent to Teck's existing Waneta Dam on the Pend d'Oreille River, near Trail. The Province acquired expansion rights to the Waneta Dam in 1994 from Teck Cominco. The rights were transferred to Columbia Power Corporation in 1995 and are now held by Waneta Expansion Power Corporation, a subsidiary of Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust.


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Lead Sponsor Announced For BC Aboriginal Business Awards

/CNW/ - Keith Mitchell, Chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, is pleased to announce that New Relationship Trust has confirmed its participation as the lead sponsor of the 2010 British Columbia Aboriginal Business Awards, presented by the BC Achievement Foundation.
"These awards celebrate the province's First Nations and Aboriginal business sectors and their contribution to the provincial economy. We are honoured to be partnering with the New Relationship Trust in support of these prestigious awards," said Mr. Mitchell.

The New Relationship Trust is an independent non-profit organization established in 2006, dedicated to strengthening First Nations in BC through capacity building. New Relationship Trust focuses its work in five key capacity development areas: governance, education, language & culture, youth & Elders, and economic development.

"Supporting the BC Aboriginal Business Awards aligns well with our vision and mandate," said Cliff Fregin, Chief Executive Officer of the New Relationship Trust. "We look forward to building upon the success of the inaugural awards in 2009 and to honouring First Nations and Aboriginal business people throughout the province for their outstanding business achievements."

The deadline for nominations for the BC Aboriginal Business Awards is September 24, 2010. The awards honour business achievement in the following categories: Youth Entrepreneur (Male and Female), Joint Venture, Community-Owned and Business of the Year awards for one-to-two person enterprises, two-to-10 person enterprises, and 10-person or more enterprises.

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of BC to recognize and celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service.

The BC Aboriginal Business Awards are also generously sponsored by BC Hydro, Teck and Encana. The BC Achievement Foundation works in partnership with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation to present the awards.


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Small Treasures at AGGV

(Victoria, BC) Hundreds of small, exquisite pieces from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s extensive Asian Arts collection will be featured in a fascinating new exhibition, Miniature Arts of China and Japan.
Miniature Arts of China and Japan will highlight a wide variety of art forms, snuff bottles, opium boxes and pith paintings from China as well as Japanese netsuke toggles, tsuba swordguards and okimono miniature sculptures. These tiny treasures offer an unrivalled glimpse into daily life across the length and breadth of ancient China and Japan showing the tastes of the different classes of people and the desire to have fine little objects in their possession. The exhibition opens on September 3 and runs through January 16, 2011.

The AGGV is home to a wide and diversified collection of ancient Chinese snuff bottles made from various materials like jade and other precious stones, metal, cloisonné, glass, ivory, ceramic, lacquer and bamboo. The bottles are beautifully decorated and to this day highly sought after by collectors. Chinese opium boxes, made to fit in the palm of a hand, come in many shapes and were produced from a variety of materials, both organic and inorganic. Chinese pith paintings are miniature works of art, produced largely for export, done on pith which often show genre scenes of 19th century China.

The Japanese portion of the exhibition features a large collection of netsuke or toggles which were attached to a cord to hold a small container called an inro on to an obi or belt. Netsuke were made from a variety of materials including wood, ivory and lacquer and occasionally porcelain and metal. The range of subjects in the decoration of netsuke was enormous but the most popular were representations of animals and historical figures. The Japanese swordguard or tsuba not only protected the hand but also provided an accurate centre of gravity, since it was so important to a sword it received the greatest decorative attention. Okimono are small sculptures, which replaced netsuke once kimonos were no longer worn, carved primarily for export.

Plans are currently underway for Miniature Arts of China and Japan to begin touring in 2011.

The exhibition has been funded by the Museum Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

For more information, visit http://www.aggv.bc.ca/ or call 250-384-4171.


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Local news headlines August 26, 2010

Here are the stories that we are working on this morning. I can't believe that for the second day in a row, someone was caught on the raised span of the Johnson Street Bridge!
  • For the second time in the last two days, a person was spotted on the raised portion of the Johnson street bridge. On Tuesday, a women was hanging her laundry on the bridge when it was raised to let boat traffic through.
  • The R-C-M-P have confirmed the pilot and three passengers aboard a small plane that disappeared in the Interior more than a week ago are dead.
  • Calgary police say they are investigating whether the suspect arrested in a gruesome torture case may have other alleged victims.
 

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Single lane traffic at 3475 Quadra Street: Approximately 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

On Wednesday, August 25, 2010 there will be single lane traffic at 3475 Quadra Street. Work is scheduled to start at approximately 8:00 am and is expected to continue until 4:00 pm.

The northbound lane on Quadra Street will be closed.

There will be traffic control people on site to assist with traffic control. Please obey their directions and all traffic signs.
 
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Historic Agreement Sees First Nation Share Mine Revenue

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources


KAMLOOPS - A historic mining revenue-sharing agreement between the Province of British Columbia and the Stk'emlupsemc of the Secwepemc Nation (SSN) was signed today by the SSN Chiefs and the B.C. government announced Randy Hawes, Minister of State for Mining.

"I would like to commend Chief Shane Gottfriedson of the Tk'emlups First Nation and Chief Rick Deneault of the Skeetchestn First Nation and their councils for their diligence and foresight in the successful negotiation of a revenue-sharing agreement on the mineral tax royalties from the New Afton Mine with the Province," said Hawes. "This historic agreement will provide direct benefit to the Stk'emlupsemc of the Secwepemc Nation and all citizens of British Columbia and sends a signal to the mining industry that B.C. is a stable and progressive place to invest."

The Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA) is to share mineral tax revenue generated by the New Afton mine project currently under construction ten kilometres outside Kamloops. The agreement places a strong focus on community development to assist First Nations in achieving their social and economic goals.

"Since 2003 we've been sharing forestry revenues with First Nations, and with today's agreement we're expanding revenue-sharing to other resource sectors," said Minister Responsible for the Integrated Land Management Bureau, Pat Bell. "The SSN will be able to share in the direct economic benefits of the New Afton mine."

The agreement signed today is part of the Province's commitment to work with First Nations to implement the goals of both the New Relationship and the Transformative Change Accord by providing financial resources to help the First Nations achieve the objectives identified for their communities.

"We are aware of and understand that development must be sustainable and that our lands and resources must be accessed in a respectful way and that we continue to cherish the cultural and traditional bonds that First Nations people have with their land. We also need to ensure that our people benefit from the opportunities gained by developing our lands and resources - and that they share in the prosperity that our resources generate," said Chief Shane Gottfriedson of the Tk'emlups First Nation. "With this agreement we are building and strengthening our government-to-government relationships on ventures that benefit us all. We look forward to seeing the results of this work in the near future."

"As Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation dealing on a government-to-government basis, this agreement will bring other economic opportunities and employment for our communities and stability for future generations," said Chief Rick Deneault of the Skeetchestn First Nation.

In October 2008, the Province authorized its provincial negotiators to include revenue sharing with First Nations on new mining projects. Future agreements will ensure development of a thriving, competitive, safe and environmentally responsible mineral resource sector, and will increase the contribution to the local and provincial economy for the benefit of all British Columbians.

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Auditor General finds environmental enforcement capacity in B.C. Parks insufficient: lack of funding and resources to blame, says BCGEU

VANCOUVER, Aug. 24 /CNW/ - Environmental monitoring and enforcement in the BC Parks system is critically lacking, the B.C. Auditor General said in a report released yesterday. "Sadly, these findings are not news to our members who work in BC Parks as conservation officers, scientific technical officers, or as parks personnel," says Byron Goerz, BCGEU Environmental, Technical and Operational Component chair.

Proper environmental stewardship in B.C. parks requires a compliance and enforcement capacity that is now lacking. "Environmental workers are the public's "eyes and ears" on the ground in B.C. parks. They are committed to their jobs and the duty of protecting our wilderness, but simply lack real capacity to fulfill their mandate. The Auditor General's findings are entirely consistent with what our members have been saying for years," says Goerz. The Auditor General released a report on the conservation of ecological integrity in B.C. parks and protected areas on August 23.

Environmental monitoring and enforcement activities flagged as inadequate by the Auditor General were subject to budget cuts, partial or complete office closures, and severe staffing cuts between 2001 and 2004, according to a report by West Coast Environmental Law with the evocative title "Please Hold. Someone Will Be With You." The 2004 report documented that:

* there was one full-time Park staff at B.C.'s Manning Park for every 858,154 visitors to the popular park, a three-hour drive west of Vancouver;

* Alberta had more than double the number of conservation officers on the ground than B.C.,

* Saskatchewan, a province with less than a quarter of B.C.'s population, had 56 percent more staff devoted to environmental protection.

Since then, the situation has only gotten worse, with repeated small budget cuts to B.C. Parks. Between 2008 and 2010, the government cut the budget for parks and protected areas by another $7 million. And the March 2010 Service Plan for the Ministry of Environment suggests that government has no intention of spending any more to protect B.C. Parks before 2013.

"As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of B.C. Parks next year, the government needs to listen to the auditor general and do more to protect our parks and natural reserves. This is about so much more than defending public sector jobs, this is about conservation and environmental responsibility," says Goerz.



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Local news headlines for August 25, 2010

Good morning! Here are the stories we are working on this morning. Tune into Village900am to hear all your local news, sports and weather weekday mornings between 7am and after the BBC news at 9am.
  • The largest return of sockeye salmon in almost a century is expected to enter BC's Fraser River this year.
  • A 12-year-old Vancouver Island girl has been rushed to hospital after falling through the roof of an elementary school south of Campbell River.
  • Police in Alberta are confirming reports there has been an arrest in a case of the torture and mutilation of a man in Regina.
You can also stream Village900 on your computer! Visit village900.ca and click on the link 'Listen live'.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

UPS Supports BC Communities with $67,500 in Grants

The UPS Foundation presented grants to five charitable organizations
VANCOUVER, Aug. 24 /CNW/ - By the end of the summer, The UPS Foundation will have provided more than $67,500 US to five charitable organizations in British Columbia.

Today, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver (BGCGV) will receive a $50,000 US cheque which will provide much-needed support to ensure a safe and fun environment for club members.

For more than 70 years, BGCGV has provided children with positive adult role models, recreational activities and experiences that foster a sense of belonging, pride and community involvement.

BGCGV Fraserview Club located in Vancouver, has a daily attendance of approximately 150 children and a membership of 400 children from the surrounding neighbourhoods. Fraserview has served the community since 1962, and after nearly 50 years of use, the gym floor is in urgent need of repair. The $50,000 grant will be used to replace the gym floor.

"This grant aligns perfectly with our commitment to giving back to the communities where we live and work," says Ram Venkiteswaran, UPS Canada Director of Business Development for West Canada. "Safety is a top priority at UPS, so if we can help youth in Greater Vancouver have a safe place to play and grow, then we are happy to deliver."

UPS employees have a strong relationship with Fraserview, returning each year during Global Volunteer Month and a number of other events including: a paint party, an annual golf tournament and breakfast with Santa. In total, 41 volunteers have participated in events accumulating over 230 volunteer hours.

"We love UPS's commitment to give to communities where they live and work. What that means to us is that through this gift, thousands of kids will have access to a place to do their work: which is to play," said Carolyn Tuckwell, President and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver. "With a new gym floor, the Fraserview Club will be ready to welcome many more generations of kids. We know that by giving kids a safe, accessible place to play, learn and access positive adult role models, they will thrive. Thank you UPS, for investing in our kids and in our community."

The UPS Foundation presented these grants to four other charitable organizations in British Columbia:

On July 8, Nirm Blatchford, Director of Donor Development for the B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities (Easter Seals) accepted a $2,650 US grant at the UPS facility in Delta. There are three Easter Seal Camps in B.C. and they provide residential summer camp for children who have cognitive and/or physical disabilities. The grant will purchase equipment for a climbing wall for each of the B.C. camps.

On July 13, Andrew Boden, Director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Exchange (ICE), was presented with a $5,000 US grant at the UPS facility in Fraser Valley. The grant will benefit over 1,800 Canadian children at-risk in communities by providing educational resources that will help them overcome illiteracy, appreciate cultural diversity and help realize their full potential.

On July 22, James Carruthers, Interim Executive Director of the B.C. Women's Hospital Foundation for the Mothers Milk Bank program was presented with a $4,890 US grant at the UPS facility in Richmond. This organization provides milk for approximately 500 babies across Canada. The grant will help build a website which will provide potential donors and health professionals faster, easier access to all the information they need to donate.

On August 17, Rob Rothwell, Vancouver Police Department Superintendent and upcoming President of Odd Squad Productions (OSP), and Toby Hinton, Vancouver Police Department Sergeant and Executive Director and Producer of OSP, a non-profit organization created by seven Vancouver police officers, was presented with a $5,000 US grant to help fund a hands-on project that teaches youth the truth about gangs. The grant will purchase equipment to produce handouts and help with production.

UPS's grant program highlights the company's philosophy of striking a balance between financial contributions and hands-on volunteer hours. Organizations are nominated for grants by UPS employees and must have benefited from 50 hours of hands-on volunteering from UPS employees to qualify. UPS Canada employees volunteered over 28,000 hours to more than 280 charitable organizations across Canada in 2009.

About The UPS Foundation:

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is the world's largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain and freight services. Since its founding in 1907, UPS has built a legacy as a caring and responsible corporate citizen, supporting programs that provide long-term solutions to community needs. UPS promotes community involvement through its ongoing volunteerism and grant programs, environmental sustainability and corporate philanthropy. In 2009, UPS's charitable contributions totalled nearly $100 million and UPS employees and their families contributed more than 1.2 million hours of volunteer service. The company can be found on the web at UPS.com. To get UPS news direct, visit www.pressroom.ups.com/RSS 



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Kaleidoscope Theatre has a new home!

Victoria, B.C.

KALEIDOSCOPE THEATRE CELEBRATES ITS NEW STUDIO & OFFICE LOCATION WITH OPEN HOUSE

Kaleidoscope Theatre is pleased to announce that beginning in September our classes and office will relocate to the second floor of Burnside Campus of the Burnside Gorge Community Association (3130 Jutland Road).

“Kaleidoscope Theatre would like to extend an invitation to the community to celebrate the move to our new office and Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Studio location on Saturday, August 28, form 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

We hope that you will take this opportunity to come out and see our new facility, meet our staff and instructors, check out our new 2010-2011 Family Theatre Series Season, find out about our exciting unique volunteer prospects, and register for our theatre classes. Free trial classes will be offered to showcase our performing arts training in Drama, Musical Theatre and Acting for Film/TV.


 
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Council to consider new direction for updated Official Community Plan

VICTORIA, BC — Victoria City Council will consider possible new directions for Victoria’s Official Community Plan at the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting this Thursday. A report submitted by City staff this week lays out a framework for developing a new Official Community Plan, based on several months’ worth of research and public input.

The report represents a key decision point in the Official Community Plan project and the beginning of possible new directions related to land use and policies in areas such as housing, transportation, infrastructure and services.

Following Council direction this week, a draft plan will be prepared in the fall and submitted to Council in January 2011.

What: Staff report on Official Community Plan at the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting
When: Thursday, August 26, 2010 at approximately10:00 a.m.
Where: Victoria City Hall, Council Chambers

Established under the authority of the Province of British Columbia's Local Government Act, an Official Community Plan (OCP) is a city-wide plan. Council, staff and citizens refer to the community plan to help make decisions on things like where to locate affordable housing, how the city will respond to climate change, and what the community’s transportation priorities are. The current plan was last updated in 1995.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Federal, Provincial Funding Supports BC Life Sciences

Aug. 23, 2010

Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development
Western Economic Diversification Canada

VANCOUVER - More than $5 million in federal and provincial funding will help Genome BC support commercialization of genomics discoveries and technology.

The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and Joan McIntyre, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, announced the joint funding for Genome BC's new proof-of-concept program that will help to commercialize genomics-based applications.

"We are proud to support an initiative that will help build stronger linkages between scientific discovery and commercialization," said Minister Yelich. "With this investment, B.C. will further advance its important role in developing the life sciences cluster."

Genomics is the study of genes and their function in humans, animals, plants and micro-organisms. The program will help commercialize innovative genomic-related technologies, which will stimulate productivity, competitiveness and growth in Western Canada.

"British Columbia is world-renowned for its genomics research, and this funding will help our scientists take their discoveries from the lab to the marketplace," McIntyre said on behalf of Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development. "Their creativity and focus will lead to spinoff companies with new solutions to current problems, with benefits for individuals and industry here in B.C., and further afield."

Local organizations will apply to Genome BC for funding to help advance their discoveries and bridge the gap between technology development and commercialization. Over the next three-and-a-half years, Genome BC will accept and review the applications and fund an anticipated 30 projects, several of which are expected to lead to spinoff companies and technology licensing deals. For information on how to apply for funding, please visit http://www.genomebc.ca/

"We recognize that converting cutting-edge, genomics-based discoveries into useful, clinic-ready and market-ready applications is challenging," said Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC. "Through this exciting and unique funding program we will be able to support projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept, but require additional funding for development before they can be licensed or commercialized."

The Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia are delivering the investment through the Western Economic Partnership Agreement, a joint, multi-million-dollar agreement designed to encourage economic development in the West. The provincial funding is part of the B.C. government's $50-million commitment to Genome BC's 2010-to-2015 strategic plan, announced in 2008.

Both governments are contributing $25 million each to WEPA, over four years, to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in B.C. communities.


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Government has vision but incompleteplans to conserve ecological integrity in BC Parks

August 23, 2010
Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia

VICTORIA - Government has a clear vision to conserve ecological integrity in the province's parks and protected areas, but not the plans to achieve this, says Auditor General John Doyle in his latest report.

"British Columbia's parks and protected areas - about 1,000 in all - are integral to the quality of life in this province," said Doyle. "Despite its declared intentions and clear vision to conserve the ecological integrity in these areas, the Ministry of Environment is not meeting this goal."

The audit assessed whether the ministry is meeting the current BC Parks Program Plan goal of being recognized for leadership in the stewardship of ecological and cultural integrity. Conserving ecological integrity contributes to protecting biodiversity, preserving wilderness, and maintaining ecosystem services, such as water purification and erosion control.

Key findings included: while the ministry had a clear goal, its plans were incomplete or dated; conservation policies are not being consistently upheld; and little action has been taken to ensure conservation. As well, the ministry is not reporting publicly on its progress.

"I was deeply impressed by the commitment of ministry staff to their program, and look forward to receiving updates on their plans and actions," said Doyle. "While achieving the goal of conserving ecological integrity will be challenging, taking action now will ensure that our province's parks and protected areas are available for future generations to enjoy."


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Alternating Single Lane Traffic: Monday, August 23 to September 3, on Harriet Road from Obed Avenue to Burnside Road.

August 23, 2010


Starting on Monday, August 23, 2010 through to September 3, 2010 there will be alternating single lane traffic on Harriet Road from Obed Avenue to Burnside Road. Work is scheduled to start at approximately 8:00 am and is expected to continue until 4:30 pm. The purpose of the closure is for road maintenance.

All vehicles including emergency vehicles will have access.

There will be traffic control people on site to assist with traffic control. Please obey their directions and all traffic signs.

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Public Urged to Obey Fire Evacuation Orders

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General


VICTORIA - Despite cooling temperatures in the province, the forest fire situation in British Columbia remains elevated and people are being urged to follow all evacuation orders by not travelling into areas where orders are still in effect.

People who stay or travel into areas under evacuation orders may find themselves cut off from emergency services. Due to the unpredictability of the fires and smoke in the area, escape roads may be cut off and air evacuation may be impossible.

The RCMP and response agencies are reminding the public that failure to comply with evacuation orders not only puts you and your family at risk, it also puts the lives of emergency personnel in danger. Local authorities and emergency officials only ask people to leave their homes and designated areas when it is absolutely necessary and their safety cannot be guaranteed.

Under the Emergency Program Act, police can detain and lay charges against those who violate emergency orders in situations where violators withhold their identity from police. In these cases, police can also transport them out of the area subject to evacuation orders.

For the latest information on evacuation orders and alerts and wildfire activity, visit http://www.firesafebc.ca/ or the appropriate local governmentwebsites.

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo


If you see smoke or flames, please call *5555 on your cellphone, or call toll-free to 1 800 663-5555.


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3 Paul O'Brien Concerts in Victoria this week!

Monday evening August 23rd Paul will be playing Butchart Garden’s with Heather Burns on piano, Kelby McNayr on drums and Cormac O’Brien on Bass. The evening starts at 7.30 pm and the concert is free with entrance to the gardens.


http://www.butchartgardens.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

Friday evening sees Paul returning to play at the Cannery in Steveston in Vancouver, as part of the Folk Guilds Gulf of Georgia Concert series. Paul loves to play this Club and always has a wonderful time there.

That’s Friday evening the 27th of August.
http://www.stevestonfolk.org/gulfofgeorgia.html

And last but by no means least, on Saturday 28th of August Paul will be playing at Queenswood retreat centre here in Gordon Head. Queenswood has been open for 43 years and will sadly be closing at the end of this summer. Come and help Paul celebrate the 43 years of Queenswood. He will be joined by Heather Burns on Piano as well as his children.

http://www.queenswoodvictoria.ca/



Paul is looking forward to seeing you there at one of these shows over the next week!


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Alternating Single Lane Traffic - August 25 to 27 - Richmond Road between Poplar Avenue and Pear Street

Starting on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 through to Friday, August 27, 2010 there will be alternating single lane traffic on Richmond Road between Poplar Avenue and Pear Street. Work is expected to begin at 8:00 am and is expected to continue until 4:30 pm. The reason for the closure is for a water main installation.

Traffic control personnel will be on site. Please obey their instructions.

All vehicles will be allowed access.



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Streamflow & Drought Conditions in BC

Ministry of Environment

VICTORIA - Due to dry weather in July and record-low river levels in the northern half of British Columbia, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today that the Peace region has been reclassified to Drought Level 4 (extremely dry conditions).

A high-pressure ridge over the province brought dry, above-average, and in some cases record-setting temperatures for most areas of British Columbia during the past week. River levels in the North continue to fall and in many cases are at or near historic lows. Given the continuation of dry conditions and record-low river levels in the North, Penner is asking British Columbians to conserve water to protect water sources and help manage water demands.


Streamflow Conditions:

In northern B.C., river levels are well below normal. In the Peace region, most tributaries are near or at record minimum low flows for this time of year. The Moberly, Pine, Kiskatinaw, Halfway, Finlay, Ospika, Omineca, Mesilinka and Osilinka, and Nation rivers are extremely dry (near or below previously recorded low for the date). In the far Northeast, the Liard River has now also fallen to historic low flows. On the North Coast, the Skeena and Stikine rivers are below a 20-year return period low flow.

Flows along the mainstem of the Fraser River downstream of the confluence of the McGregor River are at 10-year return period low flows. In the Central Interior, the Cariboo region is also dry with the Quesnel and Horsefly rivers between 10- to 20-year return period low flows. In contrast, streams in the Chilcotin region are generally between median and five-year return period low flows.

In the Thompson River area, water levels on most streams are between median and five- year low flows, although the upper Salmon River at Falkland is now below normal. Similar conditions are present in the Similkameen and Okanagan region, with most streams between median and five-year return period low flows. Exceptions are Vaseux, Coldstream, and Mission creeks which are approaching 10-year return period low flows.

In the Kootenay and Columbia areas, streamflow conditions are generally slightly below normal for this time of year. On Vancouver Island, most river levels on the north island are above average, and streams on the south island are normal for this time of year. On the South Coast mainland, river levels are at or above average for this time of year.


Drought Level and Water Supply Conditions:

Given the continuation of dry conditions and record-low river levels in the north, the Peace region is now classified at Drought Level 4 (extremely dry conditions). The Skeena and Nass region will be maintained at Drought Level 3 (very dry conditions). These conditions are expected to persist throughout the summer unless above normal rainfall occurs.

Potential for serious effects on fish and aquatic organisms due to low stream flows, and water supply shortages (including groundwater aquifers) are highly probable. Monitoring of stream flows and fish populations is ongoing. Given the current level of voluntary water conservation in the Peace, regulatory action is not anticipated at this time, but remains a possibility if water supplies and fish populations are threatened.

While many local governments have already implemented water restrictions, Penner is asking people to continue with water conservation measures. As drought conditions vary in the Peace, and some regions may be more affected than others, local governments are encouraged to assess local conditions and determine appropriate drought management actions.

The upper Fraser and middle Fraser River areas, as well as the mid-coastal areas have been classified as Drought Level 2 (dry conditions). These conditions are expected to persist throughout the summer unless above-normal rainfall occurs. Voluntary conservation, as well as planning at the local level using tools such as drought management plans, should be considered.

All other areas of B.C. are now classified as Drought Level 1, or normal for this time of year.

For additional information on water supply and streamflow conditions, go to: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/bulletins

For more information on drought conditions and the B.C. Drought Response Plan, go to: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/public_safety/drought_info

Living Water Smart: B.C.'s Water Plan outlines the government's vision and plan to keep B.C.'s water healthy and secure for the future. For more information, go to: http://www.livingwatersmart.ca/



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Local news headlines for Monday, August 23, 2010

It's a new week and we are back at it, bringing you all the local news, weather and sports every weekday morning between 7am and 9am. Here are the stories we're working on this morning. Tune into Village900am or listen live online at village900.ca.

  • Temperatures in parts of Vancouver Island hit record lows over the weekend, just days after a record-breaking heat wave ended.
  • Coroner Shane DeMeyer has made several recommendations after an inquest into the death of a man that died in Victoria Police Department jail cells.
  • Police are reminding the public to exercise caution while using trails at Elk lake, after a cougar sighting in the area.


 
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Friday, August 20, 2010

HST Initiative Petition to be submitted to Committee

August 20, 2010


VICTORIA – The petition for the initiative to end the harmonized sales tax (HST) will be submitted to the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives and petition results by electoral district are now available.

“Further to the Judgment of Chief Justice Robert Bauman of this date, I am causing a letter to go forward on Monday, August 23, 2010, to the Select Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly that contains the following text:

Pursuant to section 10 of the Recall and Initiative Act, I have now determined that an initiative petition issued to William Vander Zalm on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 has met the requirements of s. 7 of the Act.

I have further determined that the proponent, Mr. Vander Zalm, has complied with Part 4 of the Act.

Accordingly, as mandated by the Act, I am enclosing a copy of the petition and draft Bill”

said Craig James, Acting Chief Electoral Officer.

Under the Recall and Initiative Act, signatures of 10 percent of the registered voters in each of the province’s 85 electoral districts were required on the petition. This represents 299,611 valid signatures. The petition sheets contain 557,383 valid signatures. 6,556 voters registered as canvassers to collect signatures for the petition over a 90 day period. The results by electoral district are available on the Elections BC website at www.elections.bc.ca/docs/init/IP-2010-002-Results.pdf 

Initiative legislation came into force in 1995. Six previous initiative applications have been given approval in principle by the Chief Electoral Officer. None of them obtained the required number of signatures.

Elections BC will publish the Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on the Initiative Petition: “An initiative to end the harmonized sales tax (HST), February 4 – June 30, 2010” in the fall. This report will describe the activities Elections BC undertook to administer the petition. The report will also contain statements of Elections BC’s expenses, a summary of the initiative proponent financing report and summaries of advertising disclosure reports submitted by initiative advertising sponsors.



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CAW Ratifies New Deal at Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria

VICTORIA, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - CAW members at Fairmont Empress Hotel ratified a new collective agreement by 78 per cent over the course of a series of meetings yesterday. Negotiations resumed only 24 hours before the strike deadline was to be set and the two sides successfully hashed out a deal.

"It was a tough day of negotiating," said CAW national representative Stu Shields. "But both the union and the hotel knew what was at stake taking a strike vote at this time in the summer during tourist season."

At issue was language around scheduling, the application of seniority, the movement of staff around the hotel and wages. The new three year agreement takes effect on September 1 and includes wage increases totaling six per cent over the life of the agreement.

CAW hotel unit chairperson James Griffin said that the members at the Fairmont Empress know how valuable their work is in building and maintaining the thriving hotel the Empress has always been. "They've worked hard to make the hotel a success and therefore they are entitled to a fair wage increase for their ongoing efforts," said Griffin.

Shields said the members were both pleased and surprised to learn the union successfully reached a deal and that they would be voting on it instead of voting on a possible strike. "It was without a doubt the solidarity and support of the workers that made this deal possible. When workers support one another and their union, a fair agreement almost always follows," said Shields.

CAW Local 4276 represents approximately 500 workers at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.



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Eat Here Now Local Food Harvest Festival: 11-4pm, September 26th, Spirit Square, Victoria

This event is being organized by the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society and all proceeds will go towards the re-establishment of a public local produce market in downtown Victoria.

EAT HERE NOW, Victoria’s first annual Harvest Fest, will showcase local farmers, processors, and small businesses who are contributing to food security in our region, and encourage Victoria citizens to shop locally and make the connection to where their food comes from. This FREE event will also help promote the creation of a year round, indoor public food market and raise awareness of the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society (VDPMS), and will feature a large local produce farmers market; “buck-a-bite” food samplings from some of the region’s top restaurants; beer, wine and cider tastings; and a tea and coffee sampling station. Additionally, this event will feature a kids area hosted by Lifecycles Project and the Compost Education Center, and amazing local bands and DJs.

For more information please go to www.victoriapublicmarket.com  or contact Philippe Lucas at 250-216-5433 or at eatherenow@gmail.com



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Privacy Commissioner Accepts Expert Review of BCLC's Online Repair

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia

VICTORIA - The Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia has accepted the findings of the independent security expert and is satisfied that the cause of the security breach affecting British Columbia Lottery Corporation's gambling website, Playnow.com, has been addressed.

The commissioner notified BCLC President Michael Graydon by letter on August 19, 2010. The letter is posted on our office's website:

http://www.oipc.bc.ca/pdfs/public/F10-42797FINAL.pdf

In accepting the results of the expert review of the breach, the commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, stated, "My office's full investigation into the PlayNow.com website will be continuing in the coming weeks, and a public report will be released upon its completion."


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Single Lane Traffic Monday, August 23, Harriet Road between Obed Avenue to Burnside Road.

Starting on Monday, August 23, 2010 there will be alternating single lane traffic on Harriet Road between Obed Avenue to Burnside Road. Work is scheduled to start at approximately 8:00 am and is expected to continue until 4:30 pm. The purpose of the closure is for road maintenance.
All vehicles including emergency vehicles will have access.

There will be traffic control people on site to assist with traffic control. Please obey their directions and all traffic signs.

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WANTED: Volunteers to Help Prepare Victoria for a Disaster

VICTORIA, BC — Want to be part of a team? Help your community prepare for a disaster? Make a difference?
Volunteer with the Victoria Emergency Management Agency, the City of Victoria’s resource for helping citizens prepare for an emergency.

Volunteer and be part of the action – whether it’s assisting evacuees, providing emergency radio or operations support, or educating the community on what it will take to cope for three days or more in the event of a disaster.

Volunteers must be 19 years of age or older and undergo an annual criminal record check.

Drop by our upcoming Recruitment Fair to learn more, Wednesday, September 8, 2010 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Victoria Fire Hall 1 at 1234 Yates Street. Registration is not required.

For more information, visit: http://www.preparevictoria.ca/ and click on Recruitment Fair under Quicklinks.


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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance Releases its 2009 National Energy Efficiency Report Card - British Columbia is Awarded an A

(Victoria, August 19, 2010) The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA) released their 2009 National Energy Efficiency Report Card in Edmonton, Alberta today. The Report Card evaluates the federal, provincial, and territorial governments on their energy efficiency performance every two years. This year's scores reflect activities occurring between January 2008 and December 2009.
British Columbia received an A, slightly lower then the A+ they received in 2007.

"We're very pleased with the progress we're seeing in energy efficiency across the country," said Ken Elsey, President and CEO of the CEEA. "This is the first year that we've seen three provinces receive a grade of A+, and most jurisdictions have either improved or maintained their previous score."

According to CEEA's Report Card, British Columbia has done extremely well on the energy efficiency front over the last several years. They've invested significantly in energy efficiency programs designed to lower demand-thus lessening the requirement for building new generation facilities, or importing power from outside the province. Their largest program, the LiveSmart Efficiency Incentive Program for residential, commercial, low-income, and super-efficient buildings, has contributed to their current standing. They are also very progressive on their transportation initiatives, running SCRAP-IT, a successful vehicle recycling program. They've demonstrated leadership by planning to be carbon neutral by 2010, and they've developed a carbon tax that is revenue neutral and is intended to drive reductions in carbon emissions across the economy. Building codes and product standards are one of the most effective means of becoming more energy efficient, and BC has been a leader in this area for many years.

"With the rising cost of energy and increased environmental concerns, Canadians expect all levels of government to take action on energy efficiency," Elsey continued. "The federal government has an important role in this. Their support of conservation initiatives will continue to be essential if Canada is to achieve energy sustainability in the future."

The federal government scored a B+ in the Report Card, a mark that Elsey claims was attributed to the effort put forth by the federal government through their ecoENERGY program. "The ecoENERGY program was a tremendously successful program and showed real leadership, it has helped motivate the provinces and territories. They have a solid team of professionals on staff ready to do more-we're just waiting for the political will to move energy efficiency into the high priority category." Elsey concluded.

CEEA's bi-annual Report Card evaluates federal, provincial, and territorial governments on their energy efficiency performance across a number of key parameters; how each province has kept promises made at the Council of the Federation meeting (July 2008), the effectiveness of their own programs, initiatives in transportation, support for energy efficiency in building codes and product standards, how the jurisdictions supported energy efficiency and public outreach, the existence of public/private partnerships to support energy efficiency initiatives, and creation of energy efficiency acts, amongst others.

Report Card highlights include three A+ grades for Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, and three most improved provinces; Alberta, PEI, and Nunavut. Alberta scored a B+ up from the D+ they received in 2007. PEI moved from a D to a B, and Nunavut from a C to a B. Some of the provinces that saw a drop in their score included British Columbia, going from an A+ to an A, Saskatchewan from a B+ to a B-, and the Northwest Territories moved from a B+ to a C.

"British Columbia should be commended for their exceptional energy efficiency efforts over the last couple of years, but it's hard to maintain an A+, the competition amongst the top provinces is significant -the bar is being constantly raised." Elsey concluded. "It's great to see Alberta jump from a D+ to a B+, that's a huge improvement, and something Alberta must be congratulated for. We expect the leader in energy production to set the example for energy efficiency in the future! We've been hoping for this since the first Report Card was released ten years ago."

This year marks the tenth year that CEEA has evaluated federal, provincial and territorial government's energy efficiency activities. With energy becoming more expensive, with its impact on the environment and the economic opportunity that comes with a sustainable energy plan-it is an increasingly critical part of the government's responsibility.

"Since our first Report Card released in 1999, CEEA has seen a great improvement in energy efficiency measures across the country. We can only hope that the trend to achieving A+ will continue. As Canada's energy consumption continues to rise, and with supply dwindling, conservation and efficiency are crucial issues for all Canadians." concluded Elsey. "This report shows Canadians how well their elected officials and senior bureaucrats are dealing with this issue."

A copy of the Report Card can be found online at www.energyefficiency.org/News.html 


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BC Issues First Class-D Meat Plant Licenses

Aug. 19, 2010

Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport

VICTORIA - The first 12 Class D licences under B.C.'s Meat Inspection Regulation (MIR) have been issued to rural slaughter establishments in the Powell River area in order to further support safe, local meat production and sale, announced Minister of Healthy Living and Sport Ida Chong.

"Before these new licences were issued, travel to the nearest slaughter plant for any species required an 80-minute ferry crossing and additional driving time. Now, these 12 facilities have the ability to slaughter much of this meat locally," said Chong. "The Class D licence was developed in collaboration with stakeholders specifically to support small-scale livestock producers in communities that may have been struggling to meet the regulatory requirements for larger-scale slaughter licensing."

A recent amendment to B.C.'s MIR created the Class D licence which allows for the slaughter of up to 25 animal units per year (an animal unit is 1,000 lb. or 454 kg) and means that producers can sell meat to restaurants and retail outlets in the regional district where it is produced, as well as directly to local consumers at the farm gate.

Class D licences are currently available only in the initial consultation areas of Powell River, Bella Coola and Haida Gwaii, but will be available in six other designated areas before the end of the year. Applications for Class E licences, which allow for slaughter of up to 10 animal units per year, will also be accepted from across B.C.before the start of 2011.

"I am pleased to see the first licences for remote sites being issued.This is a significant milestone in helping to make the MIR work for all meat producers in B.C.," said Dave Eto, president of the B.C. Food Processors Association. "As more of these new licences are issued, community economies such as Powell River will benefit from sales of local meat, and B.C.'s livestock sector will benefit from access to local slaughter facilities in remote and previously underserved areas of the province."

The MIR was enacted in July 2004 following a number of animal- and food-borne disease outbreaks.

"It is critical that rural slaughter establishments in B.C. are properly licensed and meet the stringent cleanliness and safety standards set out in the MIR. To support these new licences, ongoing enforcement by the health authorities and geographic and volume restrictions will help ensure meat eaten by British Columbians continues to be safe," said Chong.

The number of provincially licensed facilities or farms has now increased from 14 in 2004 to 53 in 2010. Since 2006, government has provided more than $11.9 million to support industry's transition to the new requirements and to ensure this sector remains viable.


For more information on the MIR and the licensing process, visit:

www.hls.gov.bc.ca/protect/meat-regulation/





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Victoria Cougars host Comox Valley Glacier Kings tonight: 7:15 pm


The Victoria Cougars will open their 2010-11 pre-season slate on Thursday, August 19 when they host the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.

Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:15 p.m.


Thursday’s game marks the first of three pre-season games for the Cougars.

Prior to its home opener against the Peninsula Panthers on Thursday, September 9, Victoria will conclude the 2010-11 pre-season with a home and home series against the Westshore Stingers. The Cougars will travel to Westshore on Monday, August 30 before entertaining the Stingers back at the A.B.S.C. on Thursday, September 2.

Admission is only $5 per person. Children ten-years-old or younger will be admitted for free.



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Don't waste time on ideological experiment: HSA to Health Authority

VANCOUVER, Aug. 18 /CNW/ - Reid Johnson, president of Health Sciences Association, today urged the Vancouver Island Health Authority not to waste time conducting experiments in ideology when they could be taking action to reduce MRI wait times immediately.
Johnson was commenting on VIHA's decision to seek bids to perform 6000 MRI scans in private facilities outside the public system, where MRI machines and staff are already underused. The bid makes clear that the process will be scrapped if private suppliers do not offer improved effectiveness compared to existing facilities in the public system.

"This is all very interesting, but British Columbians need faster access to MRIs right now, today," said Johnson. "And we already know the public system is more efficient that the private system. An MRI scan in the public system costs a fraction of what private suppliers are charging for the same thing."

Health authorities in BC have established a cost of about $200 per MRI scan conducted at facilities in the public system. Private clinics offering MRIs charge about $800.

"Right now, while thousands of British Columbians wait for access to MRIs, the machines and the staff who run them are underutilized," said Johnson. "So let's get on with the job. Instead of waiting for the bid process to prove once again that the public system is cost-effective and efficient, the HSA believes it's more important to reduce wait times for sick and injured British Columbians by adding capacity to facilities in the public system."

The Health Sciences Association is the union representing more than 16,000 health science professionals who are part of BC's modern health care team.


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