Friday, December 31, 2010

Be Aware, Play Safe This Winter Season

Dec. 31, 2010
Ministry of Natural Resource Operations
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

VICTORIA - Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Rich Coleman want to remind everyone to stay safe by using common sense and following the rules when enjoying outdoor activities this winter season.

Avalanche safety begins with the individual. Before you go into the backcountry, make sure you have the right training, the right gear and check the avalanche bulletins at the Canadian Avalanche Centre's website:

Common sense is the most important avalanche safety tool for individuals to use. Know the risks before you head into the backcountry.

Avalanche awareness signs are posted at key locations along highways travelled by backcountry enthusiasts and at all 79 managed snowmobile areas in the province.

Historic mine sites and other structures are not always marked and can be extremely dangerous so be aware of these dangers. Play safe, obey signs and stay away from abandoned areas such as mine sites.

Regulations will be put in place to ensure that all off-road vehicles riders on Crown land must wear helmets and use lights at night. As well, age-appropriate safety measures and adult supervision for young riders will be required. While these regulations will be part of the full implementation of the Off-Road Vehicle Framework by November 2011, riders are encouraged to adopt them now.

Skiers and snowboarders should stay within the marked runs of ski resorts. Straying out-of-bounds puts themselves and others at risk.

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Suspicious Item Found in Arena Parking Lot Determined Not to be an Explosive Device #YYJ #VictoriaBC

Victoria BC – A suspicious item found in the parking lot of the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre Friday morning, that initially appeared to be an explosive, was later determined to be fake.

Police were alerted to the item in the parking lot near the intersection of Pembroke and Quadra Streets at approximately 8:30 a.m. The package, described as a grey plastic cylinder with red electrical tape and wires protruding from the top of it, was found by a pedestrian who immediately notified police.

Police cordoned off the area until VicPD’s explosive technician, using a portable x-ray machine and the department’s explosive detection dog determined that the item was inert and not a threat.

The portable x-ray machine, the Inspector Model 200, was acquired by the department from the RCMP six months ago allowing for the examination of suspicious packages.

In this particular instance, with use of the x-ray machine, officers had cleared the site and destroyed the device in less than an hour.

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BC Transit Celebrates A Year Of Expanded Service and Improvements

VICTORIA - In 2010, additional service, infrastructure projects, increased public consultation, and new fleet technology helped enhance service across the province and overall ridership grow.

"As we continue to make historic levels of investment and work in partnership with communities to create sustainable transit systems, it's no wonder more and more people are choosing transit," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond. "As the year ends, I want to thank our transit partners whose efforts are helping to create a world-class transit system in B.C."

Through innovative planning and customer service initiatives, BC Transit delivered a five-fold increase in service, expanded its fleet to 300 buses, operated 24 hours a day and served over 1.5 million customers in the Sea to Sky region during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

BC Transit's world-class capabilities were showcased to thousands of spectators, athletes and visitors. More than 250 drivers from across Canada joined the BC Transit team to become ambassadors for the transit industry.

BC Transit's service, in partnership with TransLink, shared the Canadian Urban Transportation Authority award for 'Exceptional Service in 2010'.

While the Olympics were a major initiative, BC Transit's efforts in 2010 were also directed to enhancing and expanding service throughout the province.

In Kelowna, BC Transit's first RapidBus route was introduced to connect UBC Okanagan to downtown Kelowna every 15 minutes during peak periods. In the first three months, ridership increased by over 10 percent and further expansion of the network is being planned.

In Victoria, late-night service was introduced on Friday and Saturday nights. Three major routes continue to travel to and from downtown Victoria past 1:30 a.m.

Community outreach was critical to identifying areas that needed more service or improvement. As a way to attract more people to learn and provide more input on the future of their local transit system, BC Transit launched the 'Transit Future' public consultation campaign. The campaign includes an 40-foot bus outfitted as a mobile open house (designed for customers to walk through to learn more about local transit) and an interactive, online game. Over 5000 residents have been through the bus in the Capital Region and the Central Okanagan. The Road Tour continues in 2011 to other BC Transit systems.

Exploring new fleet technology and expanding infrastructure continued in 2010 as BC Transit began testing the 20-bus hydrogen fuel cell demonstration fleet in Whistler, the Vicinity, a 27-foot community service vehicle, and the announcement of three new operations and maintenance facilities. Whistler's new transit centre opened its doors in January, while work is underway for larger and more efficient facilities in Vernon and Kamloops.

"These achievements would not have been possible without the help of our government partners, the efforts of our operating companies, and the hard work of our staff throughout B.C.," said Manuel Achadinha, President and CEO of BC Transit. "I look forward to the exciting opportunities 2011 will bring as we continue to connect people and communities to a more sustainable future."

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New Efficient Light Bulb Standards To Take Effect

Ministry of Energy

VICTORIA - New standards for energy-efficient alternatives to 75W and 100W incandescent light bulbs will come into force on Jan. 1, 2011.

After Jan. 1, consumers will be able to find a range of light bulb options on store shelves, including both efficient light bulb options and incandescent light bulbs. B.C. retailers can continue to carry the old incandescent 75 and 100W bulbs until their stock runs out. Other wattages will remain available to stock on shelves.

These B.C. standards lead up to the federal government's national light bulb efficiency standards, which will apply to most wattage levels sold across the country in 2012. Several speciality products are exempted from the BC and federal standards.

B.C. leads the country in the adoption of energy-efficient lighting alternatives, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), supporting aggressive energy conservation targets under the Clean Energy Act. Sixty-six per cent of BC Hydro's incremental electricity needs must be met through efficiency and conservation by 2020.

Over the past few years, British Columbians have been voluntarily shifting away from incandescent light bulbs toward more efficient products such as CFLs. Over seven million CFLs are sold annually in the province and 78 per cent of B.C. homes are already using CFLs.

BC Hydro's PowerSmart and FortisBC's PowerSense have invested approximately $40 million over the past few years to ensure efficient products are available throughout B.C.

Both incandescent and compact florescent light bulbs can be recycled at drop-off locations around B.C. For information on locations, call the Recycling Council of B.C.'s hotline at 604 732-9253 in the Lower Mainland, and 1 800 667-4321 in the rest of B.C.

To learn more about CFL light bulbs and ways to make smart choices to reduce energy, visit and

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#VictoriaBC Hosts Annual New Year's Day Levee #YYJ

VICTORIA, BC — The public is invited to attend the annual City of Victoria New Year’s Day Levee at City Hall, hosted by members of Victoria City Council.

A Levee is a time-honoured tradition that provides an opportunity for citizens and City representatives to exchange greetings and welcome in the New Year.

What: City of Victoria New Year’s Day Levee
When: Saturday, January 1, 2011, from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Where: City Hall Antechamber, 1 Centennial Square

Coffee and treats will be provided. Free parking will be available at all City-owned parkades and parking meters on New Year’s Day.

The word “levee” is derived from the French verb “lever” which means to rise. During the rule of King Louis XIV (1643 – 1715), aristocrats would meet with guests in the morning shortly after rising. By the 18th century, Great Britain and Ireland had made the Levee a formal Court reception for men, hosted by the Sovereign or his/her representative just before or after noon.

In Canada, fur traders made it a tradition to pay their respects to the Master of the Fort or government representative on the first day of the year. Today, the Levee is a New Year’s Day social event, hosted by the Governor General of Canada, Lieutenant-Governors, military establishments, municipalities and other institutions.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Keep Your Resolutions With A BC Staycation

Dec. 29, 2010
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment

VICTORIA - If your New Year's resolutions - to get fit, save money or learn something new - go in one year and out the other, maybe you need an exciting plan that ties into your goal, lets you have fun, and supports B.C.'s tourism sector into the bargain.

That plan is right in your backyard - a B.C. StayCation, which can give you a new slant on exercise, cut your travel costs or introduce you to aspects of the province you've never seen before.

"I invite every B.C. resident to make a resolution to take a vacation at home this year in Super, Natural British Columbia and experience the amazing choices available to satisfy any taste or budget," said Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment. "It's good for our economy, good for our local communities and good for all those families across B.C. with jobs in the tourism sector."

Here are a dozen ideas to get you started this winter:

1. Stretch your ski legs - and discover one or more B.C. ski areas you've never visited. There are more than three dozen, from Vancouver Island in thesouthwest to the Peace River in the northeast.

2. Pick up tickets for the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna on Feb. 18 and 19 where B.C.'s top chefs compete with the best in the rest of the country. If you can't make it this year, mark your calendar - Kelowna is hosting the event for the next five years. (Caution advised for those resolving to lose weight!)

3. Why wait for spring to go fishing? Once the ice is six inches thick (or 15centimetres, for the metric-minded), chop a hole - and land that fish. Wood,Beaver (Swalwell), Oyama, Dee and Postill lakes in the Okanagan are famous for ice fishing. In the higher lakes near Kamloops, the season starts in December.

4. Scope out B.C.'s heritage at Barkerville, east of Quesnel, or at one of the Province's 10 other historic sites, which you'll find in the Cariboo, the Kootenays, the Okanagan and Victoria.

5. Go for a skate at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver and re-live our Olympic party.

6. Get your winter gardening fix at the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver or the botanical gardens at the University of B.C.

7. Try out every zipline in B.C. Did you know that there are ziplines in Whistler, Nanaimo, North Vancouver (at Grouse Mountain), Victoria, Sooke, Revelstoke, Maple Ridge and off Highway 4 between Port Alberni and the Pacific Rim, in traditional Tla-o-qui-aht territory? Some ziplines are openin winter, too.

8. Head to the Hazeltons in northwestern B.C. to visit one of the most concentrated collections of totem poles in the world. The Kispiox Valley alone has two dozen hereditary poles - each of which tells a story of its People's history.

9. Pick one of B.C.'s nine circle routes throughout the province and give yourself a guided tour through some of the world's most spectacular scenery. Find maps at

10. Experience Granville Island's Winterruption, Feb. 25 to 27, in the heart of Vancouver - a jazzy West Coast twist on the traditional winter festival. There's free music, theatre, film, visual arts and culinary events to take in.

11. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. It's one of North America's fastest-growing sports - and a fine cardio workout if you pick up the pace.

12. Go to a gallery you've never visited before. The full-colour Arts & Cultural Guide to British Columbia lists more than 400 art galleries, museums, studios, gardens, wineries, and heritage and cultural sites found throughout the province. It's online at

You'll find more ideas for B.C. vacations at

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Lower Income Tax Rate Benefits BC Businesses

Dec. 29, 2010
Ministry of Finance

VICTORIA - Businesses in British Columbia will pay less in provincial corporate income tax as B.C.'s rate drops to 10 per cent (from 10.5 percent) on Jan. 1, 2011.

"Keeping business taxes low is an essential part of maintaining a competitive tax environment that will attract investment, create jobs and move our economy forward," said Finance Minister Colin Hansen. "We have reduced taxes to some of the lowest levels in the country, and when combined with planned federal tax rate cuts, by 2012, the corporate income tax rate in B.C. will be the lowest of the G7 nations."

British Columbia's record on tax cuts:

* B.C. (along with Alberta) will have the lowest corporate income tax rate in the country on Jan. 1, 2011.

* Lowest provincial personal income tax rate in Canada for individuals earning up to $118,000 annually.

* Lowest corporate income tax rate of the G7 nations once combined with planned federal tax cuts by 2012.

* Reduced the corporate income tax rate five times for a total reduction of nearly 40 per cent since 2001.

* Eliminated the corporation capital tax.

* One of the lowest small business income tax rates in Canada at 2.5 per cent. The Province intends to reduce this rate to 0 per cent by April 1, 2012.

* Increased the small business corporate income tax threshold by 150 per cent to $500,000 since 2002.

* Reduced provincial personal income taxes for most taxpayers by 37 per cent or more since 2001 and an additional 325,000 people no longer pay any B.C. income tax.

The February 2009 budget reduced the general corporate income tax rate to 10.5 per cent from 11 per cent effective January 2010, and to 10 percent effective January 2011.

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#VictoriaBC Cougars Return To The Ice After 15 Days Off

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Victoria Cougars (23-4-0-2) will host the Kerry Park Islanders (13-15-0-2) this Sunday.

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

It has been 15 days since Victoria played its last game. Entering Sunday night’s contest, the Cougars have lost their last two games and hope that the Christmas break has been a good opportunity for players to heal those nagging bumps and bruises and get rid of those coughs and fevers.

The injuries and illnesses began mounting for Victoria back on November 28 as five regulars watched the game from the sidelines. Since then, the Cougars have had as many as seven to eight players out during a game with various ailments.

Despite all of its misfortunes, Victoria has posted four wins, one loss, and two shootout losses in its last seven games.

The Cougars have had to go down to their farm system for some emergency help. Wade Johnson has been called up for four games, Jerry Vale and Tyler Lim for three, and Howard Howden and Spencer Loverock for two.

In their last game, Victoria dropped a 5-4 decision to the Peninsula Panthers. Defenseman Mark Meyer scored twice while Eric Guthrie and Adam Steenbergen each added singles. The Cougars trailed 2-1 after one period and 3-2 after two.

Prior to, Victoria lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Saanich Braves.

Goaltender Corey Koop, who continues to lead the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League with a 2.27 goals against average and a 92.02 save percentage, faced 47 Peninsula shots.

Chris Savage is on a six game point streak; totalling one goal and seven assists during that span.

It has been a while since the Cougars and Kerry Park last met. Their last meeting, won 5-4 by Victoria, was back on September 18.

Since their last meeting, the Islanders have added a marquee name to their line-up.

In late November, 20-year-old Jordan Suzuki was acquired from the Campbell River Storm in exchange for future considerations. The physical six-foot-two, 185-pound defenseman has not disappointed, tallying a goal and three assists in seven games. He led the Storm in scoring with ten goals and 14 assists in 20 games before the trade.

In its last game, Kerry Park lost 3-2 to the league leading Comox Valley Glacier Kings. The Glacier Kings scored three unanswered goals after Jason Austin and Ryan Reynolds had given the Islanders a two goal first period lead.

Kerry Park has a pair of 19-year-old American born goaltenders. Ben Kantor, 7-6-0-1 on the season, hails from Pembroke Pines, Florida. Tanner Milliron, a native of New Richmond, Wisconsin, is 1-2-0-0 in three starts.

The Islanders have never strung together three consecutive wins this season. Nor have they lost three in a row.

Cougars’ head coach Mark Van Helvoirt and his coaching staff and players are always available for interviews during their practices. All practices are held the A.B.S.C. This week’s practice schedule is as follows:

5:20 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. (Wednesday, December 29)
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Thursday, December 30)
8:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. (Friday, December 31)

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 48 points, South Island Division. Kerry Park – 3rd place, 28 points, North Island Division

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Trevor McNeil, 22 goals; Adam Steenbergen, 28 assists; Brandan Smith, 80 penalty minutes. Kerry Park – Zach Fridella, 18 goals; Cole Thomson, 23 assists; Zach Fridella, 114 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Corey Koop (2.27 goals against average, 92.02 save percentage); Zach Wear (2.52 goals against average, 89.11 save percentage). Kerry Park – Tanner Milliron (3.03 goals against average, 90.63 save percentage); Ben Kantor (3.49 goals against average, 90.34 save percentage)

SEASON SERIES: Victoria leads, 1-0-0-0


September 18, 2010. Victoria Cougars 5 @ Kerry Park Islanders 4

January 27, 2011. Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars

January 29, 2011. Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders

February 10, 2011. Kerry Park Islanders @ Victoria Cougars

February 19, 2010. Victoria Cougars @ Kerry Park Islanders

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 13-1-0-2. Kerry Park – Away, 6-8-0-1

STREAKS: Victoria, 2L. Kerry Park, 1L

LAST TEN: Victoria, 7-1-0-2. Kerry Park, 4-5-0-1

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Village 900!!!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Health Science Professionals Reach Agreement

Dec. 23, 2010
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Health Services

VICTORIA - The Health Employers Association of BC has reached a tentative two-year agreement with the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) under the Province's 2010 mandate.

With this agreement, 99 per cent of British Columbia's approximately 125,000 unionized health-care workers have now signed new agreements.

British Columbia's 16,000 unionized health science professionals work in B.C. hospitals and community health facilities as laboratory and medical imaging technologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, dieticians, respiratory therapists and public health inspectors.

The HSPBA bargains on behalf of employees working in the health sciences sector. The largest union is the Health Sciences Association followed by the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and various other unions.

Members of HSPBA will vote on ratification of the agreement in the New Year.

Government has already announced its intention to control spending on wages during this round of bargaining. To protect jobs and preserve vital services British Columbians depend on, government has no funding for new wage increases as collective agreements are renewed.

There are approximately 170,000 unionized workers in occupations throughout B.C.'s public sector who are now covered by negotiated agreements that were due to expire in 2010.

Updated bargaining information is available at:

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Watershed Watch Study on BC Salmon Farms Released

Watershed Watch
December 23, 2010

New study confirms: BC salmon farms amplify sea lice; controlling lice challenging

VANCOUVER, BC: A new scientific study, Dynamics of outbreak and control of salmon lice on two salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia, published this week in the on-line journal, Aquaculture Environment Interactions, confirms that farmed salmon can significantly amplify sea lice in coastal waters of BC, and that controlling lice outbreaks presents substantial challenges to industry, regulators, and salmon conservationists.

The study modeled the exponential growth of lice on two Broughton-area farms located on the migration path of wild juvenile salmon, and confirmed that lice outbreaks on farmed salmon are primarily driven by louse reproduction and population growth in the farms.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Martin Krkosek—currently a professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand—“The study provides new information on the dynamics of lice outbreaks on farms that help us better understand the challenges we face in controlling lice in areas where wild salmon may be at risk.”

The study also examined the use of the pesticide, emamectin benzoate, commonly known as SLICE™, to control lice. Dr. Craig Orr of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, one of the study’s authors, said “While using pesticides to control lice may buy beleaguered wild salmon precious time, the continued use of chemical controls is not sustainable. Louse pesticides may have unintended consequences for non-target organisms in marine waters, and lice around the world quickly evolve resistance to their effects.”

The challenges of controlling lice outbreaks on farmed and wild salmon have led to calls from the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform and others for the industry to transition into land-based recirculating (closed containment) aquaculture technology.

To access the study:

For further information:

Dr. Martin Krkosek, University of Otego, +64 03 479 7991,

Dr. Craig Orr, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, a member group of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, 604-809-2799

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Free Evening and Late Night Bus Service on New Year's Eve #YYJ #VictoriaBC

VICTORIA, B.C. - To help you celebrate safely, BC Transit will offer free evening service from 6:00 p.m. until the end of service on New Year's Eve.
Late-night service will also be in effect on December 31. BC Transit will provide service until 1:30 a.m. on select routes to and from downtown (attached).

For more information on BC Transit, visit

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Island Highway Project Construction Breaks For Holiday - Service Changes #YYJ

VICTORIA, B.C. - From December 25, 2010 to January 3, 2011, construction on the Old Island Highway breaks for the holidays. The following service changes will be in effect during this break:

* 14 Vic General/UVic returns to regular routing

* Shuttle service will not operate

On January 4, 2011, shuttle service through the Four Mile Hill construction zone and the 14 Vic General/UVic detour will resume until further notice (attached).

For more information, visit

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Victoria's Syntal Products Wants Christmas Leftovers (Plastics) #VictoriaBC #YYJ

Victoria, December 22 - This holiday season, Syntal Products invites citizens of the CRD to reduce their carbon footprint and, in doing so, support local jobs. Rather than allow your discarded household plastics to be trucked out of town, some of it even shipped overseas, you can drop them off (clean, dry, rigid plastic only please; lids left off; all metal removed; no meat trays, styrofoam or bags) at either Alpine Recycle in Langford, or at Syntal's facility at the corner of Keating X-Rd and Bertram Place. Syntal will turn your clean plastics into lumber with the trademark name Altwood. The Gulf Islands already send their plastics to Syntal, but more clean plastic is needed to meet demand for this quality, durable building material.

Syntal Products turns the plastic into a quality, durable building material. Most recently Syntal, was awarded a contract for a Port Metro Vancouver Infrastructure Project. “Major advantages of Altwood in this project are that it does not absorb water, will never rot, will not leach toxins into the soil or water, and is safe for the workers to handle with their bare hands, none of which is true for pressure-treated wood, a toxic alternative,” says Brian Burchill, General Manager of Syntal.

Pender Island Recycling Depot:

About Syntal Products (Victoria) Ltd.

Located in Victoria, British Columbia, Syntal is a manufacturer committed to recycling plastic waste in an environmentally sound process to produce a marketable, premier quality building material. Altwood is the trademark name for Syntal's exclusive line of products, available in common lumber dimensions (up to 12 feet in length), and in colours of grey, black, and earth tone green or tan. Syntal stands behind its Altwood synthetic lumber with a fully transferable 40-year warranty, one of the strongest warranties in the industry. For more information visit or call 1-877-544-1677.

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BCCLA calls for independent review in VPD shooting

December 22, 2010
For Immediate Release

The BCCLA is calling for a special prosecutor to review the decision not to lay criminal charges against the Vancouver Police Department officer involved in the Paul Boyd shooting. Boyd was shot eight times during the incident on Granville Street in August of 2007 and the inquest into his death concluded last week.

“Police officers may only use lethal force when someone presents a risk of grievous bodily harm or death to them or other people,” said David Eby, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “The scientific and physical reconstruction evidence presented at the inquest strongly supports the witnesses that say Boyd was shot the eighth and final time in the head, 23 seconds after he hit the ground, while he was in a crawling position.”

New evidence revealed at the inquest included a second-by-second reconstruction by the VPD of bullet timing based on audio captured in police radio and 911 calls. In a report not mentioned in the CJB summary of why they didn’t lay charges, the attending pathologist confirmed that the track of the final bullet, the only shot that was immediately fatal, went through Boyd’s face and into his heart. The bullet track showed that Boyd had been most likely on hands and knees, with his head up and looking at the shooting officer.

“This police officer had 23 full seconds to pause, see and consider what other witnesses said they saw: that Boyd was bleeding, disarmed, crawling and had already been shot seven times,” said Eby. “The inquest evidence revealed there is no question about which bullet was fatal, when it was shot, and what Boyd was doing at the time.”

The BCCLA is calling for a special prosecutor to review the file. Special prosecutors are lawyers who are independent of the Criminal Justice Branch and do not work with police on a regular basis. They are regularly appointed when government is in a conflict of interest on a file.

Click here to read the BCCLA’s letter to the CJB, and the detailed summary of the inquest evidence >>

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Prospects Look Good For BC Forest Sector in 2011

Dec. 22, 2010
Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands

VICTORIA - Forests, Mines and Lands Minister Pat Bell said today that 2010 is ending on a high note with several clear signs that a stronger, more diverse B.C. forest sector is moving toward a healthy recovery.

"The B.C. forest sector was much busier this year and it appears that the worst of the economic downturn is now behind us," said Bell. "The latest net earnings summary from PricewaterhouseCoopers reported all of B.C.'s largest forest companies showing profits in the third quarter. This is the first time in a decade that we have seen quarterly profits across the board."

Heading into the new year, Asia Pacific's steadily increasing demand for B.C. wood products continues to be the most encouraging indicator that the B.C. forest sector is poised to rebound for a more prosperous future.

B.C. forest product exports experienced a watershed moment in September when, for the first time ever, the relative value of products shipped to China and Japan surpassed the value of forest products shipped to the U.S. The growth of the Chinese market in particular is making up for a U.S. housing industry that remained sluggish throughout 2010.

In the month of October, the value of B.C.'s forest product exports (pulp, paper, plywood, OSB and lumber) to China and Japan represented 42.8 per cent, against exports to the U.S. of 40.4 per cent.

The value of forest product exports to China and Japan has increased dramatically over the past five years. China and Japan represented a 17 per cent share of total value in 2005, compared to the U.S. at 68 per cent.

"We have worked hard to strengthen our forest sector by diversifying and opening up new markets overseas," said Bell. "The increased demand from China means more forestry workers are back on the job, more mills are running, and forest-dependent communities are enjoying more economic stability."
Employment is up in the timber harvesting sector by 4,500 jobs over 2009. The Coastal industry is rapidly recovering with harvest levels up 70.1 per cent year to date. The Interior industry has also seen good growth with harvesting up 24.7 per cent.

Jobs are also up in the wood product manufacturing sector. More than 20 sawmills have re-opened in B.C. in the past year, contributing to an additional 1,400 jobs or a 5.2 per cent increase over 2009.

Lumber prices are another bright spot. Average prices this year are substantially higher with 2x4s selling at $250 per thousand board feet compared to $175 per thousand board feet at the same time last year.

For a selection of monthly economic statistics and other interesting highlights in the outlook for the B.C. forest sector, see the Forestry Industry Snapshot document posted in Bell's media room:

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Sport On The Move supports young BC athletes

Dec. 22, 2010
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

100 MILE HOUSE - Young athletes needing help with travel costs for sports will benefit from a provincial investment of $600,000, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett announced on behalf of Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Stephanie Cadieux.

"I'm very pleased that, through the Sport on the Move program, we're making it possible for kids to be able to take part in some of the high-level training and competition that may otherwise be out of their reach," said Barnett. "This support will make it more affordable for families as they help their children strive to participate and excel. It's a win all around."

Sport on the Move builds on the success of the travel grant program launched during the lead-up to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. In 2009-10, just over $350,000 was provided to provincial level athletes. In 2010-11, more grants will go to more athletes across B.C.

Residents in remote areas have benefited most in the past, with a majority of the allocation going to organizations, individuals and schools outside the Lower Mainland. Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) receive the funding directly, based on the size of their youth membership. PSOs then distribute to local sport groups, in consideration of annual priorities and travel needs.

"The investment in the Sport on the Move program continues the great support the Province of British Columbia has shown for developing young athletes," said Tim Gayda, president and CEO of Sport BC. "Sport BC and our member Provincial Sport Organizations are grateful for the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development's commitment to improving the accessibility of sport for participants in all corners of British Columbia."

Funding has been provided by the ministry's sport budget and the 2010 Sport and Arts Legacy, established to build on the momentum of B.C.'s successful hosting of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. More than half of the funding already has been allocated as travel grants to young athletes. The balance has yet to be distributed, including more than $120,000 to support travel for provincial high school championships. Details will be announced in the new year.

Government has committed $30 million through the Legacy Fund over the next three years, to grow sport participation, improve high-performance podium results and encourage healthy living by British Columbians.

Sport BC also offers discounts and travel grants, including Sporting Life on the Coast - a partnership with BC Ferries - through its website:

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International Visitors To BC Up Again In October

Dec. 22, 2010
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment

VICTORIA - International overnight visitors to B.C. climbed for the fifth straight month when comparing year over year, outpacing the rest of Canada, according to new figures released by Statistics Canada.

"This upward trend reflects British Columbia's strong appeal to markets around the world, which we continue to access through co-ordinated marketing campaigns with our tourism partners," said Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment. "Tourism in B.C. continues to strengthen our economy, our communities and all of the families across the province working to keep this sector strong."

International overnight visitor arrivals to B.C. jumped 7.8 per cent in October compared with October 2009, bringing 238,085 travellers to the province. Canada recorded an increase of 5.1 per cent during this time.

Key markets also posted gains, with overnight arrivals from the U.S. up 6.1 per cent, the U.K. up 3.8 per cent, and Australia up 3.8 per cent, compared with October 2009 numbers. Canada, by comparison, reported a 1.2 per cent drop in U.K. visitors and a 4.6 per cent increase in U.S. overnight visitors.

China continues to be B.C.'s biggest success story with overnight visitors up 18.5 per cent from last year, pointing to the value of Canada's approved destination status.

"Steadily, B.C.'s key tourism markets like the U.K., Australia and China are growing or stabilizing, pointing to very good things to come," said MacDiarmid. "This month's gains illustrate how the international exposure gained from hosting the 2010 Paralympic and Olympic Winter Games is benefiting our province."

Tourism is one of B.C.'s largest and most sustainable industries, estimated to be worth $12.7 billion in 2009. It provides jobs for 129,000 employees in the province.

The numbers reported by Statistics Canada are based on international visitors who cross through Canada Customs into British Columbia. Actual numbers of visitors to B.C. are higher, as domestic visitors are not included.

As well, more international visitors pass through customs outside of B.C. and then travel to the province.

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BC Announces Research Funding Awards

Dec. 22, 2010
Ministry of Science and Universities

VICTORIA - The B.C. government has approved $2.9 million in funding for 21 research infrastructure projects at seven B.C. universities, Science and Universities Minister Ida Chong announced today. The awards are provided through the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.

"These awards are part of our ongoing support for research and innovation at B.C.'s universities," said Chong. "They enable researchers to further their work in a variety of different scientific areas and help promote research excellence at our post-secondary institutions."

The B.C. Knowledge Development Fund awards for the research infrastructure projects announced today are as follows:

University of Victoria

* $125,000 - Equipment for Motion and Mobility Research Laboratory

* $45,000 - Equipment for British Columbia Centre for Mountain Biodiversity

University of British Columbia

* $800,000 - Funding to establish a new Centre for Applied Neurogenetics and research to accelerate drug development for Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders

* $398,950 - Low-temperature microscope for atomic scale opto-electronics

* $141,594 - State-of-the-art technology using laser measurements for engineering

* $131,377 - Equipment for production and purification of enzymes

* $125,105 - Protein research project

* $125,000 - Real-time systems for image guided therapy and prostate cancer research

* $100,000 - State-of-the-art facility for applied nutrition research

* $96,951 - Research lab for study of consumer behaviour

* $69,483 - Research to accelerate community-led transformation of Indigenous communities into more hopeful and positive places

* $61,326 - Program examining impact of physical activity intervention programs on balance performance

* $38,521 - Research project to provide scientific data to develop new health policies

Vancouver Island University

* $124,633 - Shellfish aquaculture project

* $55,526 - Project to improve current electronic archives and databases

University of Northern British Columbia

* $30,116 - Equipment to study impact of habitat loss and changing climate on bird species

* $27,842 -Equipment to examine bark beetle cold tolerance and resistance to toxins in host trees

* $11,021 - Equipment to study northern hydrometeorological processes Thompson Rivers University

* $44,000 - Project equipment to research antimicrobial peptides to fight infectious disease

Simon Fraser University

* $180,000 - Research lab for sustainable energy research programs Royal Roads University

* $175,875 - Equipment for research program into natural, rapid climate change

Since 2001, the B.C. government has committed $1.8 billion to research in B.C., and leveraged another $1.3 billion in research funding from other sources. To date, the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund - the government's major research infrastructure investment program - has invested over $423 million for research projects in British Columbia.

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CRD Traffic Safety Commission Second Round Survey Results #YYJ #VictoriaBC

Four in 10 adults in the Capital Regional District say they’ve changed their habits as a result of tough new drinking-and-driving legislation brought in by the provincial government, according to a newly-released independent poll.

The most common change? Drinking less when they go out to socialize, cited by 61% of those who say they’ve made a change since the new regulations came into effect in September.

44% of those surveyed who say they’ve changed their behaviour, say they now ensure there’s a designated driver when going out with a group; 38% are going out less often to places where alcohol is served; and 29% are choosing a different mode of transportation to get home, such as bus or taxi.

But six out of 10 respondents say they aren’t doing anything differently at all.

The poll was commissioned by the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission, a multi-disciplinary body which aims to reduce injury and death from road crashes within the region. It was undertaken by Vision Critical, an independent international survey and research firm headed by pollster Angus Reid.

Solicitor General Rich Coleman has announced that he plans to review the new rules, as they appear to be hurting the restaurant and bar industry through reduced consumption of alcoholic beverages. Although the blood-alcohol level at which potential penalties can be levied remains unchanged at .05%, new penalties include immediate vehicle impoundments, longer license suspensions, and increased reinstatement fees.

The CRD Traffic Safety Commission poll indicates that men are drinking less and going out less, while women are more inclined to find a safe way home, either through a designated driver or alternative transportation.

The poll shows that almost two-thirds of CRD residents approve of the changes, with women much more strongly in support than men.

The poll results come from a survey by Vision Critical of a panel of 401 residents representative of the population of the CRD, taken between November 29 and December 1, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 5.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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B.C.’s cancer survival rates bode well in international comparison

December 21, 2010

Vancouver – B.C. has encouraging survival outcomes in breast and ovarian cancer, taking top rank in a comprehensive data study that compares 12 jurisdictions from six nations with similar wealth and universal access to healthcare. In addition, B.C. colorectal and lung cancer patients have seen considerable increases in survival over the past decade.

“Cancer survival is a key measure of the effectiveness of our healthcare system,” says Vancouver-False Creek MLA Mary McNeil on behalf of Health Services Minister Colin Hansen. “As past president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation, I can testify that all British Columbians should be proud of the cancer caregivers and researchers of this province—each one has contributed to the vast improvements in cancer survival rates over the past decade.”

The international study, published today in The Lancet
( ), compares outcomes of four cancer types (breast, ovarian, colorectal, and lung) among six nations. The paper is the first publication from the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), which is studying cancer outcomes from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The ICBP’s goal is to generate insight and understanding to help all partners improve cancer survival outcomes by optimizing cancer care policies.

Dr. David Levy, president, BC Cancer Agency says, “B.C. is a top performing region for cancer research and care, extending many lives, which shows in our cancer survival rates. While we are doing very well in comparison to the six nations in this study which have a very high quality of cancer care, our focus is on increasing survival rates for our patients and ensuring the best quality of life for survivors.”

B.C. has the highest one- and five-year survival rates in ovarian cancer from 2005-2007 across all of the jurisdictions in this study. The province also has a significant nine per cent increase in survival rates for all women with ovarian cancer and made an even bigger improvement of 16 per cent for patients aged 65-74 over the study period, 1995-2007.

“Ovarian cancer is a complex disease, difficult to diagnose and treat, which makes the leap in our survival rates thrilling,” says Dr. Dianne Miller, gynelogical tumour group chair, and surgical oncologist, BC Cancer Agency. “We are fortunate to live in a jurisdiction that values cutting-edge research. The knowledge gain happening within our multidisciplinary OvCaRe (Ovarian Cancer Research Program at BC Cancer Agency and VGH) Program is translating into more effective treatments and outcomes.”

Throughout the study period, the B.C. five-year survival rate for breast cancer is the highest of all jurisdictions examined and continues to improve over time. B.C. has seen an increase in five-year survival in all age groups, particularly a seven per cent increase in those under 45 years of age.

“Because breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in women, every increase in breast cancer survival has a significant impact on society. Generally, breast cancer in younger women has higher risk features, thus a 7 per cent absolute improvement is really both dramatic and encouraging” says Dr. Stephen Chia, breast tumour group chair, medical oncologist, BC Cancer Agency.

One-year survival rates for lung cancer rose six per cent over the study period for all patients and 16 per cent in patients aged 15-44 years. The rises in lung cancer survival rates are promising, as the disease is often silent until the late stages making it challenging to treat effectively.

This paper will be followed by four areas of research that will examine aspects of cancer survival to study possible reasons for differences between ICBP partners. ICBP will examine: epidemiology (published today); population awareness and beliefs; beliefs, behaviours and systems in primary care; root cause of diagnosis and treatment delays; and treatment, co-morbidities and other factors.

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Give Santa A Smoke Free Christmas

Ministry of Environment

NORTH POLE - The smell of wood smoke and the crackle of a fire in the woodstove are a traditional part of the Christmas season for many British Columbians, but Santa needs to see where he's going on Christmas Eve, and he's worried about his asthma as he flies through smoky skies.

Environment Minister Murray Coell is offering these simple tips that can help improve air quality by reducing the amount of smoke each woodstove emits. These tips will also burn less wood and reduce the risk that a chimney fire will add an unwelcome spark to the holidays.

- Burn only clean, well-seasoned firewood to reduce smoke and creosote build-up. Firewood that is cut to length, split and stacked in the spring will be ready for burning the following winter. Properly seasoned wood has just under 20 per cent water by weight, is generally darker at the ends and weighs much less than freshly cut wood.

- When kindling a new fire, fully open all air inlets of the stove to create a hot flame that will quickly bring the cold firebox, wood and chimney up to temperature and reduce the length of a smoky start up.

- Burn smaller, hotter fires to ensure complete combustion of the wood. Very little smoke should be visible coming from your chimney, with no smell of smoke indoors.

- Avoid slow, smouldering fires by ensuring that sufficient air is coming into the fire through the air inlets of the stove in order to maintain the flame. Do not damper down overnight.

- Properly maintain your wood stove and chimney for efficiency and safe operation.

For information about local air quality and tips on burning smart, and to find out about financial incentives to upgrade an old smoky woodstove to a new, high-efficiency model, visit

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Recycling Options Make The Holidays Eco-Friendly

Ministry of Environment

VICTORIA - From the lights on the tree to the paper wrapping under it, Environment Minister Murray Coell is reminding British Columbians they have options for recycling many of the trimmings that make the holiday season bright.

Each year Canadians generate a whopping 545,000 tonnes of waste from gift wrapping and shopping bags, and a good portion of that is generated at Christmas. A few simple choices can help reduce that amount without giving up any of the joy of the season.

Choose gifts that come with less packaging, or with packaging that can be recycled. Reuse wrapping paper, boxes and bows. Chose recyclable wrapping paper and put it in the blue bin instead of the garbage bin on Christmas morning. Every little bit helps. Recycling 10 holiday cards, with envelopes, and one roll of wrapping paper will save enough energy to wash Santa's robe five times.

Deck the halls with LED lights. They last seven times longer and use one-tenth the energy of standard incandescent seasonal lights. They also produce more light per watt, creating a brighter holiday glow. After upgrading, don't let those old incandescent lights go to waste. They can be recycled at a variety of locations around B.C. For those who prefer a live tree at Christmas, be sure to take it to a tree chipping event after the holidays are over.

Electronics are high on many people's Christmas lists this year and a perennial best seller on Boxing Day. Again, look for a model that comes in less packaging or in recyclable packaging. And give those old electronics a second life by donating them to charity or passing them on to family and friends. If no one wants that old TV, bring it to a recycling depot where it can be broken down and turned into new electronics and other items. Choose rechargeable batteries to power those electronics and return them for recycling when they are drained.

Reusing and recycling - even small items and small quantities - can have a major impact around the holidays. Recycling just six beverage cans from holiday entertaining would save enough energy to spend 11 hours Skyping with family who can't make it home for the holidays.

B.C. is a leader in North America when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling. The Province's groundbreaking recycling regulation makes the producer responsible for managing what happens to their products once the consumer is done using them. That includes collecting and recycling. This regulation has led to the environmentally sound management of over 120,000 tonnes of solid materials every year with glass, tires and plastic accounting for about 90 per cent.

For more information on the rules of recycling in B.C., visit:

From TVs to Christmas trees, information about where to take a variety of recyclables is available through the Recycling Council of B.C.'s Recyclepedia at:

The Recyclepedia offers a drop down menu of products and return locations in communities throughout B.C. For products not listed on the menu, RCBC also offers a recycling hotline at 604-RECYCLE (732-9253) in the Lower Mainland or 1 800 667-4321 in the rest of B.C.

B.C. recycling programs can keep many common holiday items out of the landfill, but recycling shouldn't be the first option. The best way to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions is to simply use less in the first place.

Purchase used, vintage or up-cycled items and look for things that can be reused over and over - like cloth napkins and tablecloths. If a family used its reusable shopping bags 20 times in place of disposable plastic bags, they would save enough energy to watch the holiday fireplace channel on TV for more than two-and-a-half hours. And that will really brighten up the holidays.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Comes Early for @VicCoolAid - Large Estate Gift To Support Endowment & Access Centre

Cool Aid Receives Large Estate Gift “for Christmas”
To Support Endowment and Access Health Centre

Today, the Victoria Cool Aid Society received a generous gift of $84,554.88 from the late Leslie Magill Andrews – who remembered people in our community who are homeless and marginalized in her will. Ms. Andrews was not known by the Society and had not previously donated to the organization. Cool Aid will receive an additional amount in a future year from her beloved pets’ trust fund after her dogs pass away. The gifts flow from a portion of the sale of her Shawnigan Lake home as well as other assets.

“We are genuinely surprised and so very grateful that such a generous woman – whom none of us knew – thought of Cool Aid’s clients in her will,” said executive director Kathy Stinson. “Leslie Magill Andrews’ thoughtful bequest, a portion of her overall estate, shows by example the true spirit of Christmas giving. She challenges all of us to think of others less fortunate at this time of year and at the end of our lives.”

According to her obituary: “Leslie Magill Andrews [July 5, 1956 to February 3, 2007], was born in Tokyo to Leslie Bratton Andrews and Richard Magill Andrews, Jr. Her maternal grandfather was Colonel Rufus S. Bratton, Chief of the Far Eastern Section of the Intelligence Branch of the Military Intelligence Division (G-2) in the US War Department, and was instrumental in deciphering the transcripts from the Japanese government to the Japanese ambassador on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Her paternal great-grandfather, William Henry Andrews, was appointed American Consul to Hankow (modern day Wuhan) in 1890. Her paternal grandfather, Richard Magill Andrews, Sr., was an American trained mining engineer raised in Japan. The family company, Andrews & George, imported machinery from the US into Japan and it is purported that it imported the first motor vehicle into Japan.”

Her bequest will be spent in ways that enrich the lives of the poorest people in the region:

1. $50,000 will help pay for the reconstruction of the Access Health Centre – a new community partnership that serves over 6,000 patients and clients annually. One of Cool Aid’s seven medical examination rooms will be named in her honour.

Including other recent gifts of over $25,000 (and growing) in December from Cool Aid supporters, $20,000 from Coast Capital Savings, a memorial gift of $5,000 honouring Dr. Henry Ross from J.R. Shaw (Shaw Communications), and $2,000 from the Rotarac Club of Victoria (young Rotarians at the University of Victoria) – the Access Health Centre is now just over $800,000 short of its $5.3 million campaign goal.

2. The Cool Aid Endowment Fund, managed by the Victoria Foundation, will receive $30,000 of the bequest – to support the Cool Aid’s housing, shelter, health care and other services in perpetuity.

3. The remaining $4,500 will be invested in promoting bequests (a donation left in one’s will) and other gifts, such as appreciated stocks, to the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

“The unusually large estate gift inspired Cool Aid’s volunteer Board of Directors to establish a new policy for the investment of bequests and planned gifts,” said Kathy Stinson. Cool Aid will now utilize undesignated bequests over $5,000 as follows to ensure that life-end gifts continue to help the community for many, many years:

o 30% or more will be invested in the Cool Aid Endowment Fund

o 30% or more will help build capital projects such as housing and the Access Health Centre

o Up to 10% will be used to promote others making planned gifts and bequests

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is among over 80 organizations which have entrusted their funds to the Victoria Foundation. “The Victoria Foundation is honoured to receive an endowment contribution from the Victoria Cool Aid Society through this generous bequest from the late Leslie Magill Andrews,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “By adding to their endowment fund, organizations such as Cool Aid are investing in their future, building assets, moving towards greater strength and building capacity. We are proud to assist them in their efforts to make our community and our province the best it can be.”

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 42 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, emergency shelter, community health and dental services, employment services, mental health support and recreation and exercise programs for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit or call 250-383-1977.

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Mining Plays Vital Role In BC's Economic Recovery

Dec. 21, 2010
Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands

VICTORIA - British Columbia's $6-billion mining industry helped power the province's economic recovery in 2010, with employment, revenue, exports, production and prices all up over the previous year.

"Mining continues to play a significant role in the economy," Randy Hawes, Minister of State for Mining, said. "We as a government will continue to provide the investment climate that will attract new mine development."

Spurred on by increased demand and a robust price, B.C. increased its steel-making metallurgical coal production by 20 per cent to an estimated 26 million tons in 2010. The price of metallurgical coal rose from $120 per ton in 2009 to $210 per ton this year, with increased demand from China driving the price upwards.

Hawes pointed out that China could prove an increasingly lucrative market for B.C. coal. In 2007, China imported 140,000 tons of B.C. steel-making coal. That figure is forecast to rise to 3.3 million tons by the end of this year as China builds new subdivisions to house its rapidly urbanizing population. Korea and Japan, traditional markets for B.C. coal, also increased the amount of coal they bought from the province. Overall, mineral exports are forecast to reach $5.4-billion for 2010.

The province's metal mines have also enjoyed a profitable year, with copper and gold prices in particular rising considerably. The robust price of coal and metals triggered the development of new projects. Copper Mountain outside Princeton and the New Afton copper-gold mine near Kamloops are under construction. The Mt. Milligan copper-gold development project was approved for development this year, too.

With $25 billion of potential investment in new mining projects in the provincial environmental assessment system, Hawes reiterated how important the one project, one process approval system is. "We are committed to achieving this goal. It is important to the Province and the mining industry that the process is simple, fair and quick," said Hawes.

As an indication of the mining resurgence underway in the province, mineral exploration spending increased dramatically in 2010 to more than $250 million. Exploration expenditures are one of key indicators of mining's bright future. More than 11,400 British Columbians are directly employed by the mines, while a further 17,000 rely on the industry for their employment.

The Province's revenue sharing agreements with First Nations, low corporate taxes, rich mineral deposits, world-class infrastructure and an abundant source of clean and affordable energy all combine to make B.C. an attractive proposition for mining investors.

"Mining is crucial to B.C's success," said Hawes. "We are determined to work with the industry for the good of all British Columbians. We are forging a future based on jobs, sustainability and opportunity, second to none."

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Family Days at the Maritime Museum of BC, Dec. 27th – 29th #YYJ #VictoriaBC

When the excitement of Christmas is over for another year, it can be a challenge to find new and engaging things to do as a family, but fear not! The Maritime Museum of BC has the solution!

From December 27th to the 29th, join us for three days of fun and discovery for grandparents, parents and kids alike! Experience the true, and often harrowing, life of a Pirate in the morning and in the afternoon, go on an adventurous journey with Captain Cook as he relays tales of the magic of navigation and the science involved!

The morning program, “Life of a Pirate” runs from 10:30 to noon and the afternoon program, “Science and Discovery with Captain Cook” is from 1:30pm to 3:00pm.

Cost for a family (2 adults and 2 children age 6-12) is $25.00. Each additional adult is $10.00 and each additional child is $5.00. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The cost includes admission to the Museum and both programs.

Also, from December 27th to the 31st, bring in a model of any kind to the Museum and have our professional model builder and Curator, Cuyler Page, help you assemble it. The workshop will be held in the Mezzanine on the first floor of the Museum from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Learn tips on better gluing, cutting and painting methods to make your models shine. If you don’t have a model, no worries! You can still help us construct our new exhibit focused on models and commercial fishing. It will be a fascinating dioramic event. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a curator for a day and join in the fun of creating an exhibit!

The “Model Making” workshop is included in the cost of entrance to Family Days from December 27th to the 29th. On December 30th and 31st, the cost is $8.00 per adult with children 6-12 years free. This also includes admission to the Museum. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Please call 250-385-4222 ext. 113 for more information.

Join the Voyage!

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New mobile BC Hydro website to help customers during outages

Fingertip access now available for all information at

VANCOUVER – On the first official day of winter, BC Hydro is pleased to introduce a new mobile-friendly version of that makes it easier for customers to access information on their smart phones, particularly during power outages.

The easy-to-use and visually-appealing mobile site will work with most smart phone devices and provides quick access to outage details and all other information at BC Hydro is proud to be the first utility in Canada to introduce a mobile friendly website as it continues to enhance customer communication channels for storm season and throughout the year.

“We are always looking for new ways to communicate with our customers and the new mobile site will help us provide accurate information quickly, particularly when our customers need it the most,” said Eric Valois, General Manager, Distribution Services, BC Hydro. “With predictions for a long, stormy winter season due to the La Nina weather pattern, we are pleased to be able to offer our customers this improved form of mobile communication for timely, relevant updates on outages across B.C.”

BC Hydro is also encouraging customers to prepare adequately for an outage with an emergency kit containing flashlights, a battery-operated radio, corded-telephone and warm clothing and blankets.

“Power outages are, unfortunately, a reality in B.C. where trees are in close proximity to our distribution and transmission lines,” added Valois. “BC Hydro crews do their best to restore power safely and quickly, however all British Columbians should do their best to prepare for an outage, particularly during the winter months.”

BC Hydro is also encouraging customers in the colder regions of the province to remember to turn off all appliances and electronics – especially portable electric heaters – when they do experience an outage. When power is restored, electricity can rush to all items left in the “on” position and cause the system to overload and potentially cause additional damage to the system and a second outage.

If customers experience a power outage this winter, they are asked to call 1.888.POWERON to report the outage. For more information on safety and outage preparation visit

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Royal BC Museum offers admission by donation #VictoriaBC #YYJ

VICTORIA, BC – As a gift to thank the community for its continued support, the Royal BC Museum is carrying on its New Year’s tradition of offering admission by donation. Visitors are asked to pay‐what‐they‐can from Jan. 2 ‐ 9.

“This is our way of saying thank you and Happy New Year,” says Royal BC Museum Acting CEO Faye Zinck. “Visiting during admission-by-donation week has become a tradition with many families; we see them each year at this time.”

This will also be the last opportunity for visitors to experience Aliens Among Us, the Royal BC Museum exhibition on British Columbia’s invasive species which closes January 9. The Behind the Scenes exhibition, a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of our natural history collections, continues into the new year.

Holiday festivities continue at the Royal BC Museum – the streets of our Old Town are decked in the season’s finest, welcoming visitors to experience an old‐fashioned Victorian Christmas.

As the provincial museum and archives, the Royal BC Museum preserves and shares the stories of British Columbia – on‐site, off‐site and online – through its research, collections, exhibitions and educational programs. Its two‐hectare cultural precinct also includes a number of historically significant buildings and First Nations sites.

For more information on the latest activities, events and exhibitions at the Royal BC Museum, visit or call 1‐888‐447‐7977.

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Canadian Western Bank donates over $9,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria

Canadian Western Bank donates over $9,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria from its The Greater Interest GIC® campaign

VICTORIA, December 20, 2010 – Canadian Western Bank (“CWB” or the “Bank”), thanks to the ongoing support of its customers and CWB branch in Victoria, was pleased to donate $9,960.42 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria as a result of its The Greater Interest GIC® campaign.

“The Greater Interest GIC® is a unique investment product that delivers two distinct returns,” says Greg Sprung, Senior Vice President and Regional General Manager, BC Region. “The first return is for our customers who receive a competitive rate on their guaranteed investment certificates (GIC). The second return benefits local youth and children’s charities who receive a donation from CWB based on the total amount of deposits raised.”

Between September 1, 2010 and October 31, 2010, based on every dollar CWB clients invested in The Greater Interest GIC®, CWB made a donation of 1/8 of a per cent back into the community where the GIC’s were raised. Donations were made to local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters across Western Canada and, in Edmonton and the surrounding area, to the local Youth Emergency Shelter Society.

“The slow economic recovery has made it more difficult for charitable organizations and non-profit groups to raise money,” said Lisa Mort-Putland, Development Manager of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria. “Canadian Western Bank's The Greater Interest GIC® generated a significant donation to support us and other children’s charities that help the kids in our communities.”

About Canadian Western Bank Group

Canadian Western Bank offers highly personalized service through 39 branch locations and is the largest publicly traded Canadian bank with a regional focus in Western Canada. The Bank specializes in mid-market commercial lending and offers a full complement of personal banking services. The Bank, along with its operating subsidiaries, National Leasing Group Inc., Canadian Western Trust Company, Valiant Trust Company, Canadian Direct Insurance Inc., Adroit Investment Management Ltd. and Canadian Western Financial Ltd., collectively offer a diversified range of financial services across Canada and are together known as Canadian Western Bank Group. The common shares of Canadian Western Bank are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “CWB”. Refer to for additional information.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

See Smoke? It's Likely A Controlled Burn #VictoriaBC #YYJ

Dec. 20, 2010
Ministry of Natural Resource Operations

VICTORIA - Minister of Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson is asking people not to be alarmed if they spot smoke or flames in the forest over the next few months. Burning associated with forest management or fuel hazard reduction is common at this time of the year.

Forest management and fuel reduction burns are carefully monitored, planned in advance and recognized as the best way to accomplish resource management objectives. They help to clear excess debris in forested areas, which, if left untreated, builds up and creates dangerous amounts of fuel in the event of a wildfire. The burns are managed in a way that minimizes smoke and maximizes the benefits to the site.

Winter months are ideal for controlled burns since temperatures are cool, snow is often on the ground and the risk of escape is highly unlikely. Before a controlled burn can be conducted, detailed steps must be followed to ensure it is carried out safely and effectively:

* Obtain a burn registration number for any pile over two metres in height and three metres in width, more than three piles of any size or an area larger than two square kilometres.

* Prepare and have approved a detailed burn plan for burns of significant size or area.

* Ensure weather conditions and venting are favourable for burning.

* Ensure adequate resources, such as people, water and tools, are available in case of escape.

More and more often, forest, range and wildlife managers use fire as an important land management tool. Controlled burns can help grow better forests, create better habitat for wildlife and domestic animals, reduce the intensity of naturally occurring wildfires and return an integral process to some ecosystems.

If you see smoke or flames and are concerned it may be a wildfire, call *5555 from your cellphone or toll-free to 1 800 663-5555.

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New Judge Appointed To Provincial Court in Surrey

Dec. 20, 2010
Ministry of Attorney General

VICTORIA - James Donald Bahen has been appointed to the British Columbia Provincial Court in Surrey, Attorney General Barry Penner, QC, announced today.

Bahen will take his seat Jan. 4, 2011.

Bahen received a law degree from the University of Toronto in 1983. He has practised law in Vancouver for 25 years, focusing on criminal cases. Bahen participated in Vancouver's Downtown Community Court advisory committee and helped create the Provincial Court's committee on mentally disordered offenders. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia's law faculty since 1994.

The process to appoint judges involves several steps. Interested lawyers apply and the B.C. Judicial Council, a committee made up of the chief judge, other judges, lawyers and lay people, then reviews the candidates.

The council recommends potential judges to the attorney general, with the final appointment made through a cabinet order-in-council. More information about the appointment process can be found at:

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Provinces Call For Enhanced Canada Pension Plan

Dec. 19, 2010
Ministries of Finance of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario

Multi-pronged approach needed to solve savings challenge

KANANASKIS - Today the Provinces of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario called on the federal government to keep a modest CPP enhancement on the table as part of a package of reforms that would make saving for retirement easier, more affordable and more secure for Canadians.

"Making progress on a moderate expansion of CPP is important for the long-term adequacy of Canada's retirement income system," said British Columbia Finance Minister Colin Hansen. "We need to keep moving forward in determining what that expansion should look like."

The provinces would like to see measurable progress on the following reforms at the upcoming finance ministers' meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta:

* A modest, phased-in, fully-funded enhancement to Canada Pension Plan. Any CPP changes would have to be affordable for both employees and their employer.

* Pension innovation to provide more Canadians with access to low-cost pensions. A harmonized, pan-Canadian framework should be developed, focusing on simplicity and plan member protection.

Prince Edward Island Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said, "Canadians absolutely have the right to expect a strong retirement income system. It is my sincere hope that we can have an open and productive discussion on options to improve the CPP in order to deal with this vitally important issue."

"The Canada Pension Plan, together with Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, has contributed greatly to ensuring that Canadians can retire with dignity and with modest income security, said Nova Scotia Finance Minister Graham Steele. "We need to build on that success."

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said, "The CPP provides a secure, fully indexed, defined benefit pension to virtually all working Canadians and is fully portable across Canada. While we fully support more private-sector pension innovation, it should not be used as a reason not to make progress on CPP."

"Manitoba's position is to move forward for a modest, phased-in and fully funded expansion of the existing Canada Pension Plan," said Manitoba Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk. "It is the most practical approach to strengthen the retirement income system in Canada."

The provinces expressed concern at recent statements by the federal government suggesting that a modest CPP enhancement was no longer being considered. The provinces have heard strong public support for such an enhancement as an integral part of the retirement income solution. Progress on CPP should not be deferred.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Be Safe This Snowmobile Season

Dec. 17, 2010
Ministry of Natural Resource Operations


VICTORIA - A new sledding season has begun. British Columbia is the perfect place for outdoor winter fun, but Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson wants to remind everyone that B.C.'s backcountry can be a dangerous place for riders who don't follow the rules.

Some snowmobilers are using Forest Service roads and putting themselves, their passengers and logging truck drivers at risk. Sledders, by law, must not ride on plowed Forest Service roads.

Ministry of Natural Resource Operations compliance officers, plus the RCMP, are out in full force monitoring many of B.C.'s Forest Service roads. Sledders found in non-compliance and illegally using Forest Service roads will be fined.

Sledders must be aware of their surroundings, and follow and obey trail signage to ensure their safety and that of others. All off-road vehicles using Crown land must wear helmets and use lights at night.

Age-appropriate safety measures and adult supervision are also required for young riders.

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WAVE Theatre presents a staged reading of ROSIE @IntrepidTheatre #VictoriaBC #YYJ

WAVE Theatre presents a staged reading of ROSIE
Written and performed by Gina McIntosh

Co-directed by Gina McIntosh, Monica Prendergast & Kate Rubin
An Intrepid Theatre-sponsored YOU Show

Saturday, January 15th, 8pm
Intrepid Theatre Club
1609 Blanshard St.
(Entry on Fisgard St. between Blanshard and Quadra)

Tickets: $10 Adults/$8 Students & Seniors
Available at the door
Cash only please
Reserve seats at 250.383.3663


Rosie is a hoarder. She doesn’t get out much as it’s difficult to find the door. So she speaks to her son, who isn’t there, and to someone on the phone, who may be there. Rosie’s rosy memories and opinionated opinions keep her going even when she’s going nowhere. And if she loses this one room apartment, what will happen to Rosie and all of her ‘stuff’? And who will care?


Gina McIntosh is a popular and award-winning Victoria actor who has appeared on many stages (Belfry Theatre, Kaleidoscope Theatre, Langham Court Theatre, Puente Theatre) and teaches at the Kate Rubin Theatre/Drama Studio. Gina is a founding member of WAVE Theatre and has appeared in all of WAVE’s productions (see below). ROSIE was developed in Charles Tidler’s playwriting workshop at the Belfry Theatre.


WAVE (Workshop Actors of Victoria Ensemble) Theatre was founded in 2004 with actors Gina McIntosh, Monica Prendergast and Kate Rubin. WAVE’s mandate is to operate as an actor-driven company that co-directs and performs as an ensemble, with additional artists brought into the process by invitation.

WAVE’s productions include The Attic, the Pearls and Three Fine Girls, Lion in the Streets (Belfry Theatre incubator project), and Marion Bridge. WAVE has also created original 10 minute plays for the Belfry’s Spark Festival and Theatre SKAM’s Haunted House.

WAVE plans to produce two original productions in 2011-2012; ROSIE by Gina McIntosh, and WHITE KNUCKLES by the WAVE Ensemble. WHITE KNUCKLES is a collective creation project about environmental degradation and its psychological and emotional effects.


Contact Monica Prendergast at

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Donor Invites Community To Be Part Of New Homeless Prevention Fund #VictoriaBC

December 17, 2010

(Victoria, BC) - Thanks to the hard work of community organizations and the generosity of a local donor, a new fund has been established at the Victoria Foundation to provide emergency assistance to prevent people from losing their permanent housing.

The Homeless Prevention Fund will help to avert the threat of becoming homeless. The fund, established with a $50,000 grant from a donor at the Victoria Foundation, is designed to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in Greater Victoria to help stabilize their shelter arrangements. It will be facilitated by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (the Coalition).

“We recognize some members of our community are exposed to the imminent threat of becoming homeless for a variety of reasons,” says Debbie Thompson, Executive Director of the Coalition. “A number of factors can contribute to unstable housing. For instance, if people in low wage jobs with no paid sick days become ill, they may have to miss a week of work without pay. People starting new jobs usually have a gap between their first day worked and their first pay cheque. Or if a medical emergency arises, rent money may be redirected to health-related expenses.”

Applicants to the Homeless Prevention Fund will be asked to show they have exhausted all other means, such as accessing emergency funds from the Ministry of Social Development, and to explain their plan for the following month. They will not have to repay the money, but can only borrow once a year.

The following local community organizations are partners in the initiative:

• Burnside Gorge Community Association

• Ministry of Social Development (MSD)

• Mustard Seed

• Our Place Society

• Pacifica Housing Advisory Association

• St. Vincent de Paul

• Salvation Army¬ – Community and Family Services

• Together Against Poverty (TAPS)

• Victoria Cool Aid Society

• Victoria Native Friendship Centre

• Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (facilitator)

“The results of our recent Vital Signs survey made it very clear - people in Greater Victoria are concerned about homelessness, the cost of living and housing,” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “Helping stabilize community organizations and the clients they serve is what we do best. This fund certainly addresses all of those criteria.”

The Victoria Foundation’s grant is funded by a local donor who wishes to remain anonymous. It is the donor’s wish that recipients not have to repay the money; it is more important for the recipients to stabilize their situation so they can move past their crisis moments. The donor invites others to get engaged in solutions for the community by contributing to this critical fund.

“Housing is a fundamental human need,” says Karyn French, Executive Director of Pacifica Housing. “Without the collective work of our community partners, we would likely see more people on the street.”

The Homeless Prevention Fund is one of several strategies identified in the Coalition’s Prevention Plan, which was created early this year. The Plan identifies two specific goals: creating more effective processes and tools to make it easier for people to access various support services, and intervening earlier with people who are at risk of becoming homeless. Results are already being seen with enhanced cross-agency collaboration.

“Providing the supports necessary to those at risk of homelessness is an important element on the continuum of housing needs’” said Minister Rich Coleman, Public Safety and Solicitor General and the Minster Responsible for Housing. “This is a strong focus for the province – through services such as our Rental Assistance Program, the Homeless Outreach Program and Supportive Housing developments being built around the province. I want to congratulate the community for coming together to develop this fund and provide another resource for individuals and families with a helping hand if times get tough. It is a kind gesture and it will have a big impact.”

The Victoria Foundation is a public community foundation that connects people who care with causes that matter in our community. Independent and volunteer-driven, the Victoria Foundation aims to strengthen the community through grant making, leadership and stewardship. The Victoria Foundation is a member of the Coalition.

The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is a partnership of local service providers, non-profit organizations, all levels of government, business and the faith community. The Coalition’s vision is to end homelessness by 2018.

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Public Invited To Comment On #Water Act Modernization

Dec. 17, 2010
Ministry of Environment

VICTORIA - The Ministry of Environment is inviting British Columbians to comment for a second time on its plans to renew B.C.'s water laws following the release today of its policy proposal on a new Water Sustainability Act.

"During the first round of engagement on modernizing the Water Act, British Columbians asked us for another opportunity to participate," said Environment Minister Murray Coell. "That's why we are now asking them to review the policy proposal and let us know what they think."

The proposed new Water Sustainability Act would replace the existing century-old Water Act and ensure that the management of water is sustainable for current and future generations. The Water Sustainability Act is for all British Columbians - our communities, our environment and our economy. It will help lighten B.C.'s water footprint and transition us to a new way of managing water.

The Living Water Smart Blog ( be the focus of engagement on the proposed act. Starting today and continuing into January 2011, the Ministry of Environment is encouraging British Columbians to get involved on the blog, where there will be a number of successive posts about the proposed Water Sustainability Act. Participants can submit specific questions and comments about the act on the blog, by email or post.

Modernizing the Water Act is an essential part of Living Water Smart: B.C.'s Water Plan, the B.C. government's vision and plan to keep the province's water healthy and secure for the future.

To view a PDF of the Policy Proposal on British Columbia's New Water Sustainability Act, please visit:

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CRD TSC Dec 16 2010 Poll Release #VictoriaBC

VICTORIA – Almost two-thirds of residents of the Capital Regional District support the provincial government’s new, tougher anti-drinking-driving laws, according to a new independent poll.

But the poll also shows a huge gender gap, with women much more in favour of the new penalties than men.

The poll was commissioned by the Capital Regional District Traffic Safety Commission, a multi-disciplinary body which aims to reduce injury and death from road crashes within the region. The survey was done by Vision Critical, an independent survey and research firm headed by internationally-recognized pollster Angus Reid.

The provincial government introduced the new drinking-and-driving laws in mid-September. Although the blood-alcohol level at which potential penalties can be levied remains unchanged at .05%, new penalties include immediate vehicle impoundments, longer license suspensions, and increased reinstatement fees. Solicitor General Rich Coleman has since announced that he plans to review the new penalties, as they appear to be hurting the restaurant and bar industry, because people have become much more cautious about how much they drink before driving.

The CRD Traffic Safety Commission poll indicates that 63% of those surveyed support the new regime, with 30% opposed, and 7% neutral. More than 90% of those surveyed were aware of the changes. Amongst women, more than three out of four (76%) support the changes, and almost half (48%) say they strongly support the tougher penalties.
Men, however, are much less approving of the changes. Only 48% say they’re in favour, with 44% opposed. Ironically, the attitude reflected in responses by men mirrors the greater likelihood of their involvement in fatal motor vehicle incidents in which impairment is a factor. Police statistics for 2008 (the last year for which full data is available) show that of 21 persons who died in impaired-involved crashes on Vancouver Island, 76% (16 individuals) were male.

Education levels appeared to make no difference to the level of support for the tough, new penalties, but those with lower incomes (less than $50,000 per year) were more supportive (70% in favour) than those making more than $100,000 a year (only 56% in favour).

Chris Foord, who chairs the CRD Traffic Safety Commission, says, “The goal of the progressive new legislation is a 35% reduction in alcohol related road deaths by 2013. The high degree of public awareness about the new penalties and overall support for the changes may well result in the legislation’s goal being achieved before 2013. And that would save even more lives.”

Between November 29 and December 1, 2010, Vision Critical conducted an online survey of 401 Capital Regional District (CRD) residents who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age and gender Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of the CRD. The margin of error, which measures sampling variability, is +/- 5.7%.
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