"Celebrating 20 Years In B.C."
Cohorts eliminated, extra curricular activities return to B.C. schools next year
School life in B.C. is expected to return to near-normal next year.
This means starting in September, students won’t be in cohorts and learning groups, and will be back in classrooms full time.
Education minister, Jennifer Whiteside, added that, with most B.C.ers 12 and older expected to have two doses of a COVID vaccine by September, even more restrictions could .be eliminated.
“Pending further public health guidance, it’s also expected that current restrictions on gatherings, extra curricular activities, and sports will be relaxed in time for the new school year, and that’s good news for everyone,” she said. “I know we want to pass the pandemic together, and we’re currently moving in the right direction.”
Guidance on mask wearing will be confirmed later this summer.
Similar to any other school year, online learning programs will remain available for students.
The province also announced $43.6 million dollars in funding to support ongoing health and safety measures, First Nations and Métis students, mental health services, rapid response teams, and to address learning impacts to students.
Whiteside says B.C. is one of the few jurisdictions that has kept schools open all year despite the pandemic, “thanks to the enormous collective efforts of everyone in the K-12 education system, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to them all.”
She added that the province will continue to work with the experts in the provincial health office and the provincial K-12 education steering committee throughout the summer to finalize plans and guidelines to ensure students and staff are safe for the next school year.
Of the $43.6 million announced, $25.6 million in new one-time, pandemic-specific funding will go towards supporting necessary cleaning and disinfecting, hand hygiene for students and staff, improving ventilation and restocking supplies of personal protection equipment.
The province says this funding will “also strengthen the commitments to First Nations and Métis students and provide more mental health supports for students and staff.”
Plus, money will be available to address learning impacts from the pandemic.
Earlier this year, the ministry told school districts that $5.9 million was available to be allocated to address learning impacts.
An additional $12.1 million is now being provided from the remaining 2020-21 school year operating grant.
Licensed cannabis retailers in B.C. can start delivering next month
Licensed cannabis retailers across British Columbia will soon be able to deliver their products directly to doorsteps.
The Province says the change rolls out on July 15th, building on the August 2020 move permitting cannabis retailers to sell their products online.
Delivery will allow consumers to gain a new way to buy non-medical cannabis from a legal source in their community, the Province notes. They say this will not only support B.C.’s legal cannabis industry but strengthen local economies as well.
June 18th: No New Covid Cases On Vancouver Island!!!!
‘We have defanged the virus’: Island doc says vaccines lower COVID’s bite
We’re switching from ‘pandemic’ to ‘endemic’.
That’s according to North Island medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns, as vaccines continue to roll out not just on Vancouver Island, but across B.C. and Canada.
While Enns says COVID isn’t be going away, she notes the virus has been ‘defanged.’ She says COVID is going to stick around, but vaccines will help make it another seasonal virus like the flu.
“If you’re vaccinated, it doesn’t have its bite anymore,” Enns says. “…a small percentage of people can still get COVID, but those who do will have very mild disease and they’re less likely to transmit it to others.”
When speaking to Campbell River city council on Monday, Enns said we have a lot to celebrate. At the time, she said around 70 per cent of Campbell Riverites had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with a slightly higher number of people on the North Island – around 71 per cent – now vaccinated with one dose. As for Island Health as a whole, that number jumped to 76 per cent.
Campbell River specifically has seen just under 200 cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic; however, zero cases resulted in death, Enns said.
Reflecting on the past year, with public health orders and restrictions in place, businesses shut down, and loss of life around the world, Enns finds COVID-19 vaccines to be the intervention we’ve been waiting for.
“There is nothing more to wait for, this is it,” she explains. “And we have that intervention and it is very effective.” According to Enns, two doses of vaccine is highly protective, giving us the confidence to go forward.
“We have to move forward, we can’t stay stuck. It is not a healthy or a good place to be, to be stuck,” Enns adds. “We have to get our lives back, we have to get control of our lives back, we have to get people socializing again and relationships restored, people going to work or to school.”
Today, an Island Health spokesperson told Vista Radio second doses “are not experiencing any unexpected delays or issues with supply.” They say more than 97,000 people within the Island Health region have now received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Campbell River added to Central Mountain Air’s flight network
Central Mountain Air is offering Campbell Riverites easier access to Vancouver and Prince George.
As B.C. moves into Step 2 of its Restart Plan, the regional airline is on ‘cloud nine’ as it reintroduces flights in and out of town.
CMA says it’s optimistic about the future of air travel as restrictions start to ease. With this in mind, it’s adding Campbell River via Vancouver and Prince George to its ‘Summer Flight Network’.
According to CMA, there will be 16 flights per week starting July 12th through to November 6th, and scheduled service will include 12 non-stop flights per week to/from Vancouver, plus 4 non-stop flights per week to/from Prince George.
The airline’s Head of Commercial Michael Claeren says he’s ‘happy’ to see crews re-entering the Campbell River to Vancouver market after operations were suspended last year due to COVID.
Established in 1987, CMA currently operates a total of 29 aircrafts providing scheduled flights to twelve communities, cargo to ten, and charter flights throughout B.C., Alberta, and Western Canada.
For more details and flight schedules, visit FlyCMA.ca.
Reminder for Applicants to the Provincial Property Tax Deferment Program
If you are applying for provincial property tax deferment program, you still need to claim the Home Owner Grant and pay the utility portion of taxes before July 2, 2021.
Property taxes which qualify for deferment include the current year levy only, and must be net of the Provincial Home Owner Grant, and any utility charges (water, sewer and garbage user fees). All prior year property taxes, penalties, and interest charges must be cleared before you apply for tax deferment. Second residences, such as rental properties or summer cottages do not qualify for tax deferment.
Did You Buy A Lottery Ticket In Campbell River?
Lotto Max player in Campbell River wins $1 million
No one won the $70-million jackpot, but two lotto players on Vancouver Island won big paydays. A ticket sold in Nanaimo won $500,000 in Tuesday’s record-breaking draw, while a ticket sold in Campbell River won $1 million.
Drivers Can Expect Delays
Drivers can expect delays as Mainroad North Island Contracting LP crews perform gravel work on Head Bay FSR at the 38-36 km markers in Gold River.
The work takes place Monday, June 14 through to Friday, June 18, 2021
7:30 AM to 5:00 PM traffic will be single lane alternating with up to 20 minute delays.
Motorists please slow down, obey the traffic control, and watch out for roadside workers.
Village of Gold River Annual Report
the Village of Gold River will present the 2020 Annual Report at the Regular Council Meeting to be held:
Monday June 21, 2021
Starting at 7:00 pm.
Reports include the 2020 Audited Financial Statements, Permissive Tax Exemptions, reporting on Municipal Services & Operations and progress on the 2020 Objectives, a Statement of Municipal Objectives and Measures for 2021 as well as the Statement of Financial Information including Councils’ Remuneration & Expenses.
The 2020 Annual Report including the Audited Financial Statements and Statements of Financial Information is available for public review at the Village Office during regular business hours through to June 30, 2020 or online at goldriver.ca
Blaney calls for timeline for federal report on B.C. aquaculture
North Island-Powell River NDP MP, Rachel Blaney, says the time is now for the federal government’s report on aquaculture and wild salmon.
The report is meant to inform a plan to transition open-net pen aquaculture in BC by 2025 which she points out was both an election platform commitment, and included in the mandate letter of the Minister of Fisheries.
During Question Period on Friday, Blaney pressed the government on their report.
“In my riding wild salmon is key to our cultural and economic health and needs immediate action to survive,” said Blaney. “Aquaculture workers and wild salmon advocates are looking for clarity. There is no time to waste. Will the Parliamentary Secretary give us a date when we can expect this report?”
Terry Beech, the Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard began a consultation process last fall.
It ended in March with, Blaney said, “a report promised for the spring.”
Federal government unveils $647 million strategy to stop Pacific salmon collapse
Fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan calls it the largest, most transformative investment in salmon by any government in history.
The federal Liberals’ $647.1 million Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative is meant to stop the decline of wild salmon populations, while helping rebuild populations over the long term. Full story click here
A Message From Wayne Lord:
Good Afternoon to All..... Enjoy the rain! Posting for my sister Barb Wilson, Glad to say that after a devastating house fire, the family now has a new place to call home. The community rallied to help the the family with great response. But with no house we could not accept donations of furniture etc at that time. With a new place to call home the family is seeking help with any furniture donations to help them. I will make the MMFN trucks available for pick up and delivery of any donated items. You can message me or email . phone 3-7416 or 204-6222. We thank you for your support. Gold River Great!
Amazing New Vancouver Island Video
Stewards of the Sea for World Oceans Day
This film by Mark Wyatt (Wyatt Visuals) for Tourism Vancouver Island explores how the ocean is integral to all facets of our existence on the west coast. Particularly, this film narrows in on our culture of commercial stewardship, and why an environmental ethic of reciprocity is essential for businesses that operate next to the sea. This film also features a few of Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Businesses, who are registered as Ocean Friendly for eliminating plastics, diverting waste from landfills, as well as adopting circular and regenerative practices! Click here to watch video
Unionized workers at Nyrstar’s Myra Falls mine walked off the job June 3 in an effort to move contract negotiations along.
“Bargaining just broke down,” said Jim Dixon, UNIFOR national representative Jim Dixon. “We’re too far apart.”
The issue from the union’s point of view is to bring wages back to a level prior to previous contracts negotiated to help the company sell the mine. A closure agreement had been negotiated with the company when the mine was closed in 2015 and then a subsequent agreement was negotiated in 2017 to help the company sell the operation. Those contracts contained a lot of concessions to make the mine more appealing to a buyer.
“And so during all that time, of course, there was no wage increases and in 2017 when we negotiated there was a lot of concessions given to try to make it more appealing to someone to buy it,” Dixon said. “The company assured us they were going to sell it. Anyway, they didn’t end up selling it.”
The company ended up opening the mine, instead, and it had just recently got back up to full production, Dixon said.
UNIFOR local 3019 members have been without a contract since the last one expired in October, 2020. Negotiations for a new contract got underway just before that time with the previous owners and what ended up happening was the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to continue negotiations, so talks were slowed down. Then at the end of last year, new owners Trafigura took control of Nyrstar and essentially replaced the management that UNIFOR was negotiating with.
In life’s critical moments, a phone call can make all the difference
afety can be a real issue in Gold River and Tahsis, on the western edge of Vancouver Island. Since connecting to the TELUS wireless network, locals and future visitors now have peace of mind — and speedy connectivity. The tech company will invest another $13 billion into British Columbia through to 2024.
Gold River Mayor Brad Unger knows exactly how important connection can be, especially when you’re all alone and badly injured.
In the winter of 2013, a slip outside of his car on a harrowing stretch of mountainous highway on the outskirts of his small community on the western edge of Vancouver Island left Unger bleeding from three crushed temporal arteries.
Worse, with no cell service to the area, Unger had no way to call for help. Luckily, the fates were with him that day.
“When you live through an accident like that, you sit back and you think, ‘you know, it’s very fortunate another car was right behind me. It might have been a very different story,’” he recalls, adding he still bears the scars from 120 stitches to the head.
It’s critical moments like this that propelled Unger’s tireless support of a plan to connect Gold River, and its 1,500 residents, to the TELUS wireless network.
The ease of contacting family, friends, employers or work colleagues, wherever you may be, is undoubtedly vital in this all-connected age — a reality that has only grown in importance since the onset of the coronavirus.
But in a remote region, where the nearest hospital is 89 kilometres away, Unger knows from painful experience that reliable network connectivity will help save lives.“It’s all about safety,” he says.Critical milestone.
Network access in Gold River has come a long way since Unger’s accident. Today, there’s a new cell tower in town making it possible for residents to easily and reliably connect with each other and the world. And, later this year, Gold River is slated to be among the 187 additional communities across the province to join the growing TELUS 5G network.
The neighbouring town of Tahsis, with a full-time population of 300, has also received a new cell tower from TELUS.
The investments build on the $53 billion TELUS has spent since 2000 to support economic growth in rural and urban communities across the province, and enable British Columbians to work, learn, access healthcare and connect online from wherever they call home.
The tech company will invest another $13 billion in capital and operations in BC through to 2024, a commitment that is expected to generate 12,000 job opportunities primarily in construction, engineering and emerging technologies. The funding will also bring 5G to 119 First Nations communities and 335 Indigenous lands, which include reserves, treaty-lands and self-governing lands across the province utilizing current spectrum holdings.
In addition, hundreds of thousands more homes and businesses will be connected to the gigabit-enabled TELUS PureFibre network.
The Vaccine Team Returns June 14 & 15th!
Island Health’s immunization team will return to Gold River on June 14 & 15 to conduct COVID-19 vaccine clinics for second doses, along with first doses for those who have not yet been vaccinated, including 12-17 year olds.
Residents who have received their second dose booking notice will be able to begin booking in to this clinic on Friday, June 4 at 12 noon.
A great time to call those friends and relatives who are still on the fence about getting proteted.
Important Gold River Vaccine Update
If residents had their vaccination more than 8 weeks ago but have not received a notification to book, you may not be registered in the provincial vaccination booking system. You can register online at www.GetVaccinated.gov.bc.ca or call 1-833-838-2323 for support.
Island Health will be returning to Gold River prior to July 1 to deliver second doses, as well as first doses for those who missed it (including 12-17 year olds who wish to be immunized). This clinic is currently being set up by Island Health.
Island Health encourages Gold River residents to wait to book into the Gold River clinic, since Island Health will be delivering this clinic in the community. But residents are welcome to travel to Campbell River if they wish, but as Island Health will be coming to Gold River, you may prefer to wait.
Vancouver Island 60% Vaccinated
Most of the Island is half-vaxxed, and that number keeps rising as COVID-19 case counts fall.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control released new data this week showing adult vaccination rates by local health area and in some cases, by neighbourhood.
Every local health area on the Island except one now has more than 60 per cent of adults 18-plus with at least one dose of vaccine, as only Cowichan Valley West had yet to meet that threshold as of May 24.
Island Health’s most vaccinated communities are the southern Gulf Islands of Pender, Galiano, Saturna and Mayne, where 87 per cent of adults have had at least one dose of vaccine.
The rest of the top five are all Greater Victoria communities, led by Sidney, where 79 per cent of adults have had at least one vaccine dose. North Saanich is at 76 per cent, Oak Bay is at 75 per cent and Central Saanich and Royal Oak/Cordova Bay/Prospect are both at 74 per cent.
Rounding out the top 10 are Vancouver Island North at 73 per cent, Oceanside at 72 per cent, V.I. West at 71 per cent and James Bay at 70 per cent.
At the other end of the spectrum, 57 per cent of adults in Cowichan Valley West have received a dose of vaccine.
SRD votes down proposal to support fish farm removal
While the Strathcona Regional District did not explicitly ‘pick a side’ in the Discovery Islands fish farm debate, they made it quite clear most directors were not in favour of their closure.
Last month, the regional district was approached by the Wilderness Tourism Association with an ask to make their position on the issue known, whether that was to support, oppose or remain neutral in the debate. In response, Cortes Island director Noba Anderson made a motion that the regional district come out in support of the removal.
“I know the board is very split on the matter,” Anderson said. “Fish farms are a critical part of the economy… I honour that. What I’m seeing is that this decision… has been made. I don’t expect it to be reconsidered. I would like us to be in a position of cooperation with the federal government so we can work with them to assist in any way we can.”
The motion came at the same time as a letter from the federal minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan, which was in response to a January letter from the SRD concerned about the lack of representation from local governments in the process leading up to the decision.
“They don’t recognize us as a level of government,” said Campbell River director Charlie Cornfield.
“This decision was not based on science. The minister said so in her letter. It was not based on science, it was not based on expert recommendations, but it was to obtain social licence,” he added. “That was from the Honourable (Minister) Jordan. I use the term ‘Honourable’ very lightly.”
Jordan’s letter to the SRD board (available here) does not offer any explanation of how DFO came to the decision.
The board will be writing to Jordan to again ask about more consideration and consultation with local governments.
Vancouver Island tourism sector entering ‘relief phase’
f we stay on the path we’re on, Vancouver Island will once again, open up to recreational travellers.
Cases have to continue to decline, and 65 percent of B.C. adults will need to have had at least one dose of COVID vaccine, for interprovincial travel restrictions to be lifted by June 15th.
Tourism Vancouver Island president and CEO, Anthony Everett, says while this would be a great first step, there is still much work to do.
“Until the ultimate solution comes, and borders are open, and air service into this country and around the country comes into play again, it’s still going to be pretty rough,” Everett said.
Everett touched on just how devastating the pandemic has been on the island’s tourism operators.
“We saw a lot of businesses that did well if they hit 30 percent of their revenues from a year like 2019. Currently, only 14 percent of (tourism) businesses on the island are operating as usual, and so they right now have accumulated debt or haven’t even opened, so all those things are going to factor into their recovery.”
He says we’re now moving into a recovery phase.
“It’s going to be a long road. We know the Canadian hotel sector, they’re expecting to get back to 2019 levels in five or six years,” he added.
“I don’t want to downplay the impact of this, it’s very positive, it gives everyone hope, and now businesses can have some certainty around planning, which we haven’t had but there are some labour challenges.”
Everett says it begins now that people can travel on the island.
“All of us need this, businesses definitely need it, and it’s onward and upward now that we have a plan ahead of us.”
He said if ferry travel opens up again to recreational travellers, we could be in for a fairly successful tourism season on the island.
“But having said that, many businesses, even then, hit only 30 percent of (their) revenue, so this is all about recovery. There will be a lot of relief needed for those businesses, and they’re having to pay off the debt that they’re going to incur.”
He’s urging islanders and mainlanders alike, come June 15th, to explore more broadly on the island, to places they’ve never seen before, and not just hit the hot spots.
“We’re hoping people will spread themselves out a bit. (But) one of the things that we’re doing is cautioning people to travel respectfully, and know where they’re going and that they’re respecting the environment that they are taking advantage of.”
He’s challenging people who live in Victoria to check out places like Campbell River or Port Alice.
“Those are wonderful, wonderful places and many, many people haven’t travelled there. They don’t know the beauty of those places.”
Almost there! We only need 50 more members to get to 400. Only one more day. I will post the results at 6pm tomorrow night with the contest winners. I will have 3 prizes to give out. Let's keep pushing!!! #goldrivercoop #ourfutureisourown #shoplocal
Indoor Dining Open At The Ridge
The forecast is now looking so hot for the next couple of days.
Time to head in and enjoy a fine meal and frosty. Just a reminder, that we have our shuttle service running as well.
Gold River Fire Plan: Shaun Koopman SRD
We are currently proceeding with several of the recommendations from the report. The Village of Gold River received a grant through the 2021 Community Resiliency Investment grant for the following activities: View a very informative fire plan video here.
• Obtaining fuel management prescriptions for 15ha of Village owned land throughout 4 different parcels (areas 1, 3, 4, and 6 identified on pg. 57 of the wildfire plan)
• Offering FireSmart Rebates to 40 households;
• Offering free curbside wood debris chipping; and
• Providing wildfire training for the Gold River Fire Department.
We were instructed on the amount to budget for the fuel management prescriptions from the Union of BC Municipalities, however when we released a Request for Quotation for this service the submissions we received were over the grant’s allocated budget. We may be able to reinvestigate obtaining fuel management prescriptions if the Rebate and Woodchipping program come in under budget. If not, we may have to reapply for the next grant intake this fall. You can view the full plan at the link below.
Covid Restrictions Update: What We Can & Can't Do.
Listening to Bonnie Henry and our Premier ramble on was extremely taxing on the patience level. Instead of just telling us what we want to know...they had to babble on and on.
We have a link to all the information you need to know about what restrictions are being eased and a timeline.
Island Health top doctor stresses vigilance after first dose of COVID vaccine
Island Health’s top doctor warns that getting your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t give you full immunity.
Chief medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, says that’s why we need to continue to follow public health orders, like wearing masks in indoor public spaces, and sticking with our immediate households.
Dr. Richard Stanwick, added that you’re not just getting immunized for yourself, but for your neighbours and society as a whole.
“With the first dose, 92 to 93 percent of people will mount a reasonable antibody response, which, if you acquire any of the disease, it’s a very mild one and you aren’t really able to transmit it.”
He says that the other seven percent of people will always be very susceptible to COVID, even after getting a dose of vaccine.
Dr. Stanwick says if we can get 80 percent of people 12 and older having immunity because of vaccination, it becomes very difficult for the virus to circulate.
“I think the best way to make sure that you’re protected is not relying on your neighbour to get their shot but for you to get your shot, and with that, we will basically try to make it extremely difficult for the virus to find susceptibles.”
As well, Dr. Stanwick says dose two boosts your immunity by an additional two to three percent, so there will always be a segment of the population that can still get COVID.
“For whatever reason, their immune system didn’t respond and so they’re still susceptible to the virus, so that portion of the population will obviously be reduced as we immunize more and more people,” Dr. Stanwick said.
However, he notes even after the first dose, you have to continue to follow public health orders like wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, and sticking to your own household.
The goal, Dr. Stanwick says, is to have every eligible person who wants a vaccine to get their first dose before Canada Day.
Job Opportunity At Grieg Seafood: Hatchery Technician
Grieg Seafood BC is seeking to hire a permanent full-time Hatchery Technician to support our hatchery operations in Gold River, BC.
Reporting to the Assistant Hatchery Manager, the Hatchery Technician will be primarily responsible for production operations including feeding, grading, and vaccination. The Technician will work shifts of 8 days on and 6 days off with occasional overtime.
Understand, enforce and adhere to all government regulations, hatchery practices and SOP’s and site biosecurity
Complete habitat assessment sheet
Bulk average weight sample
Service oxygen stationary and handheld probe
Weekly site inventory and weekly fish health samples
Yard duties i.e.., Round up, cleaning feed shed
Run errands i.e.. pick up eggs, return cardboard, fill propane tanks
Diploma or degree in Aquaculture, Aquatic Resources or Fisheries Resources preferred, but not required;
Previous Aquaculture experience preferred, but not required;
Knowledge of feeding systems, grading, fish health, fish husbandry, site maintenance, related record keeping, and equipment up-keep is an asset;
Communication skills both written and verbal, problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills;
WHMIS, Marine Emergency Duties A3, Radio Operator, Small Vessel Operating Permit, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Forklift, and Confined Space certifications are considered an asset.
As part of our commitment to employment excellence, Grieg Seafood offers a highly competitive salary commensurate with experience and a generous benefits package.Closing date: June 8, 2021
Email your resume to:
New Hours At The Ridge:
The Ridge is open Noon- 7 p.m. Wed thru Sat & Noon-6 on Sundays. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Join us for full service on the fabulous outdoor deck.
Discovery Passage Aquarium to reopen on World Oceans Day
Campbell River’s Discovery Passage Aquarium is about to reopen its doors to the public. Opening day will fall on World Oceans Day, June 8th, at 10:00am.
Aquarium manager and curator Ricky Belanger, says this year, the aquarium is taking the quality of their exhibits and diversity of featured species “to the next level.”
“Without spoiling surprises, visitors can expect to see some species you haven’t seen in a few years, as well as others that you likely have never seen before.”
Belanger added that visitors can expect “an air-tight COVID-19 safety plan,” with physical distancing between visitors and staff, building capacity, and a rigorous sanitation schedule.
You must wear a face mask at all times inside the aquarium.
The aquarium will also be continuing its evening volunteer program, extending its opening hours to 8:30pm, five days a week.
You can find more details on the DPAS website in June.
Belanger says the choice of opening date is no coincidence.
In collaboration with the Campbell River Art Council’s Art and Earth Festival, the aquarium is celebrating World Oceans day by offering a free admission booking to anyone who sends in photos of themselves and their social circles engaged in a recent, local beach cleanup.
Photo submissions are being received through the following link, and can be found on the DPAS website & social media channels: jotform.com/form/211307936926258
The aquarium is located at the base of the Discovery Pier, across the parking lot from the Maritime Heritage Centre.
Join The Gold River Co-op Facebook Page
Dear residents of Gold River, and all our surrounding communities please join our group on FB 'Gold River CO-OP' to get information regarding the creation of the Gold River Co-op. Please share this post and spread the word. #GoldRiverCOOP
Malahat SkyWalk To Open July 2021
Malahat SkyWalk is an exciting new tourism project on Southern Vancouver Island. Malahat SkyWalk is an accessible 600m TreeWalk through beautiful arbutus forest leading to a spectacular gentle spiral ramp that takes you up 32m to a sightseeing lookout offering views of Finlayson Arm, Saanich Peninsula, Mount Baker and the distant Coast Mountains.
B.C. Ferries reminds customers travel restrictions Order in effect
No extra sailings added, travel for essential reasons only
VICTORIA – In advance of the May long weekend, which is typically a popular travel time, BC Ferries is reminding customers that the Province’s travel restrictions Order remains in effect and travel is limited to essential reasons only. No additional sailings are scheduled this long weekend.
BC Ferries continues to deny travel to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones as defined in the Order announced on April 23, 2021. This affects the following routes:
Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
Tsawwassen – Duke Point
Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
Comox – Powell River
Port Hardy – Prince Rupert
Customers travelling on these routes are asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential. Customers travelling on routes that operate within the same regional zone are reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel at this time. The Province defines situations that qualify as essential travel here.
BC Ferries employees have continued to ensure the ferry system operates safely and efficiently through this pandemic. The company has a zero tolerance policy for abuse, both verbal and physical, towards its employees. Any customer who abuses an employee will be banned from travel.
For schedules and information about travelling for essential reasons with BC Ferries during COVID-19, visit bcferries.com.
B.C. workers to get three paid sick days during COVID-19
B.C. workers will be able to take three sick days during COVID-19 without losing their pay, under legislation introduced Tuesday by the provincial government.
Labour Minister Harry Bains said the sick days will help prevent employees from having to choose between getting paid and working while sick during the pandemic.
The government will “support employers” with the cost of paying the sick days, said Bains. Businesses without sick pay programs will be eligible for up to $200 a day in reimbursement per employee, roughly $25 an hour, but will have to cover any costs above that if an employee’s regular wage is higher.
The goal is to “bridge the gap” for workers between when they first feel sick and when they can access the Canada Recovery Sickness benefit, according to a news release. However, the federal sickness benefit has been widely-criticized because it pays out out less than minimum wage and requires a lengthy and cumbersome application process.
The program will run until Dec. 31, and Bains said it could cost $300 million if 60 per cent of eligible workers take the sick days.
The government will launch a permanent paid sick leave program in 2022, with the number of days to be set by cabinet after future consultation with businesses and labour groups, said Bains.
Millions of B.C.’ers to receive another ICBC refund
Starting next week, ICBC says it’ll begin moving forward with issuing another refund to millions of eligible customers.
Last month, ICBC sent out COVID-19 rebate cheques. Now, thanks to the launch of ‘Enhanced Care’ on May 1st, the auto insurer claims insurance now costs less.
With this in mind, they’re giving drivers some added cashback.
“Savings started automatically on May 1st,” it says, “and that means ICBC will be sending millions of British Columbians a one-time, pro-rated refund.”
The refund amount will be for the difference between what customers paid when they last renewed their current insurance policy and the new, lower cost of ‘Enhanced Care’.
Those eligible will receive a letter explaining the amount they’re being refunded. These letters will detail how the refund will be returned to customers, based on how they paid for their insurance: either credit, cash/debit, or payment plan.
ICBC estimates the average ‘Enhanced Care’ refund will be around $150. But it adds some B.C.’ers could see more of a refund, while others could see less.
Daily Gold Radio
Playing the greatest hits of all time. Click the play button.
Our free passenger shuttle service is back due to popular demand!! Click the 'Call Now' button or dial 250-283-7533 and we'll pick you up so you can come in to enjoy your meal and beverages without having to worry about driving.
Update From The Ridge
Ain't no thang like a Butter Chicken chicken wing! Don't miss out on this delicious flavor of the week!
Kitchen is open until 8pm!! Come on down to enjoy the wings on the patio or have a drink while you wait for take out (phone lines have been getting busy, new staff is in training getting ready for busier days)
Tuesday to Saturday 3pm to 8pm
Sunday 12pm to 6pm
Just a reminder that our May 2021 hamper distribution list still has a few spots remaining if you would like to sign up. Distribution will be on Friday, May 21st 2021 between 1:00-3:00pm with the support of the GRRSC for pick up.
You can sign up each month by contacting me via email at or my phone at 250-283-2626 option #4. You can also contact Marcie Szoradi-Carlsen to sign up if this feels safer for you!
You will be provided a pick up time slot when we confirm your name.
Kaitlyn Nohr RSW
Recycling Bins Closing
On June 2, 2021, the Comox Strathcona Waste Management will be closing the recycling depots located in the Shell parking lot and in the Recreation Complex parking lot. All recycling material will need to be dropped off at the Gold River transfer station located at 100 Hilke Road (Public Works Yard).
Gold River to see new electric school buses
Two school districts on the North Island are getting ready to add new electric buses to their school bus fleets.
Both School District 84 (Gold River area) and 85 (Port Hardy) are two of thirteen districts across B.C. to purchase electric school buses. They’ll each be getting one electric bus.
This comes as welcome news for North Island MLA Michele Babchuk, who notes people living in rural communities can sometimes feel left behind with technological advancements.
But now, thanks to electric buses, she says “we’re investing in the future right now,” while adding “this shows that a greener, emissions-free future is possible for everyone, everywhere.”
The Ministry of Education’s ‘Bus Acquisition Program’ provided $13 million for 31 school districts to buy a total of 101 new buses, including 18 electric buses. Each electric bus costs around $350,000, which is more than double the price of a diesel bus ($150,000).
School districts that buy electric buses also have access to provincial funding for necessary charging station infrastructure, Babchuk says:
according to the Province, the cost of electricity is less than fuel, and fewer moving mechanical parts means electric buses need much less repair and maintenance.
They say travel on an electric bus is not only smoother and quieter than a traditional diesel bus, but healthier too. The buses are highly efficient, produce zero carbon dioxide emissions, and are much more cost-effective to operate over time.
North Island College offering in-person, online options for school this fall
Post-Secondary students heading back to class this fall are going to have different learning options available to them.
North Island College is offering on-campus, digital, and blended which combines digital learning and on-campus classes this September.
“Having certainty for our students has been our highest priority during these uncertain times,” said Tony Bellavia, acting vice president, academic. “We’re pleased to be able to confirm our delivery methods for the entire academic year so students can develop their educational plans with confidence.”
Bellavia adds that some programs will be offered with both digital and on-campus options, providing increased flexibility and access for students.
“We’ve learned a lot over the last year and had valuable feedback from students about what programs work well with digital delivery,” said Bellavia. “To provide students with additional flexibility we’ve also identified some programs which we can offer either fully digital or fully on-campus, so students can select the delivery method that works best for them.”
Program areas with various delivery options include business, criminology, digital design + development, fine arts, tourism & hospitality, and university studies.
NIC says students with full course loads will get their timetable May 18th, with course registration starting for continuing students on June 7th and new students on June 14th.
Students can also book online advising appointments to discuss their educational goals.
Snowbirds (usually) training twice daily in skies above Comox
Keep your eyes to the sky if you’re in the Comox Valley at certain times of the day.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds made their return to CFB Comox on Tuesday and are doing their annual spring training at the base.
Weather permitting, the Snowbirds train at 9:30am and 1:30pm daily until May 26th.
“This doesn’t mean that we’ll be flying twice a day every day,” explained the team’s Public Affairs Officer for the team, Capt. Gabriel Ferris.
He added that the team has been performing quite admirably for the last week.
“It gives us the freedom to be a little picky on what type of weather we fly in. And we make sure to always respect our weather limitations like ceiling and wind speed. As you can imagine, they are quite restrictive when nine jets fly at eight feet from one another.”
While the team is excited to be here, due to the pandemic you’re asked not to come to 19 Wing Comox to watch them practice.
This also includes any other traditional viewing areas around the base… like Air Force Beach and Heritage Air Park.
To stay up to date with the team, visit their Twitter account.
Village Of Gold River
Council for the Village of Gold River are very pleased to announce the appointment of Michael (Mike) Roy, as our Chief Administrative Officer/ Corporate Officer. Mike has been the interim CAO since the resignation of Brad McRae and has been our Deputy Corporate Officer for the last 18 months.
Claim Your Home Owners Grant
All property owners can now claim their current year home owner grant by submitting their application to the Province.
There are no changes to program eligibility requirements.
How to apply?
Eligible B.C. homeowners can apply for the 2021 homeowner grant now:
- Apply 24/7 online: gov.bc.ca/homeownergrant
- Apply with an agent: Toll-free at 1 888 355-2700, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm.
Tourism after Covid: Provincial funding aims to enhance tourism amenities on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a tourism hotspot, but recent travel restrictions means only locals can enjoy all the Island has to offer.
To give non-Islanders a warm welcome back when the time comes – and to beef up the region’s tourism sector – five new destination and tourism developments currently underway are getting some extra funding from the Province, as part of its ‘Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative.’
The goal is to ramp up employment opportunities, attract new businesses, and increase economic diversification within communities.
Melanie Mark is B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, and she says recovery from the pandemic for businesses and people in the tourism sector is “critically important.”
She notes these funds will help create new tourism infrastructure, “which will help the sector recover, create local jobs and spur economic development.”
Tourism Vancouver Island – in partnership with community-destination management organizations, local and regional governments, First Nations, nonprofits, and other partners – have worked together to find initiatives that will enhance the region’s tourism amenities and experiences.
This includes revitalizing downtown cores to entice visitors, cleaning up shores with marine waste collectors, building a world-class mountain biking destination, and creating awareness of territorial recognition for Indigenous communities.
Parksville-Qualicum MLA Adam Walker says these projects will have huge benefits for not only the tourism industry, but also locals and visitors to the Island: “Beyond creating jobs and supporting a strong pandemic recovery, these investments will make it easier to travel around the Island to see all of its beauty.”
The Province is funding projects in all six of B.C.’s tourism regions, but the Island specifically will see a total of $2.3 million in funds.
The ‘Targeted Regional Tourism Initiative’ is one of three infrastructure investment programs for tourism as part of StrongerBC, and officials note approved projects must be completed by March 2023.
Are You Alert Ready?
There will be a test of the "Alert Ready" system across BC on WEDNESDAY MAY 5th at 1:55pm Pacific time. Note that this is a separate system from the SRD's "Connect Rocket" system which provides subscribers with local alerts.
Alert Ready is a Canada-wide system that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue public safety alerts through major television and radio broadcasters, as well as compatible wireless devices through "push notifications". To find out if your phone is compatible, visit https://www.alertready.ca/wireless/
For more information on Alert Ready, and the test scheduled for May 5th, visit https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/alert-ready.../...
Coastal forest operations ‘threatened by misinformation’: Mayor Andy Adams
The City of Campbell River is throwing its support behind B.C.’s forestry sector.
Supplied by the City of Campbell River.
Mayor Andy Adams wrote to forests minister Katrine Conroy, urging that any decisions made regarding the sector “be based on facts and science.”
“At their April 26 meeting, City of Campbell River Council received correspondence from Bob Brash, Executive Director of the Truck Loggers Association (TLA), outlining their concerns about the City of Nanaimo Council decision regarding logging of at-risk old —growth forests in the province. Mr. Brash further offered to brief several Vancouver Island councils on the TLA perspective on BC’s forest sector and working forests,” Adams’ letter said.
“At the same meeting, City of Campbell River Council passed a resolution to contact you, Premier Horgan and Minister Osborne as well as BC MLAs to urge the Province that decisions made regarding the forest sector be based on facts and science.”
Adams says Council believes that coastal forest operations “are threatened by misinformation.”
“Campbell River is a coastal forestry hub, and we view forestry as an essential component of economic recovery during and following the pandemic,” his letter continued.
“The City of Campbell River asks that you consider our concerns while making important decisions.”
Canadian Forces Snowbirds arrive in the Comox Valley Tuesday afternoon
Get ready for the familiar sounds of jet engines in the Comox Valley.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are making their return to CFB Comox Tuesday afternoon.
The team will be conducting their annual spring training at the base until May 26th.
Many valley residents are excited to have the planes return, and Public Affairs Officer for the team, Captain Gabriel Ferris says the crew shares the same excitement.
“The team cannot wait to get out of here and start to go on the road. It’s pretty new for me this year because I’m the new PAO. But I see the electricity in the air around the squadron today and yesterday and even last week. People are just excited to go to Comox and they’re all talking to me about how Comox is their second home. How people over there are super caring and warm welcomes and they’re super excited to go back.”
This year because of the pandemic no autograph session will be held and the team is encouraging the public not to gather at places like Air Force Beach or other areas.
Ferris says with the many photo enthusiasts in the valley, he’s sure everyone will be able to get a glimpse of the team from a safe distance.
Ferris also says the last year has been hard on the Snowbirds after the loss of the previous PAO, Officer Captain Jennifer Casey. She was killed in a crash on May 17th, 2020 after the jet she was in hit a bird shortly after takeoff.
He says to honour her, this year’s mission is Casey inspired.
“People didn’t know it but she was a big Star Wars fan, so we’re doing two manoeuvers. One is called Vader and people are going to be able to see them at the airshows,” explained Ferris.
“And also the whole season is going to be called Operation Inspiration since that was her brainchild last year. She was the one who came up with the whole ‘let’s go around Canada and see people’ So we’re keeping the name and it’s going to be called Op: Inspiration this year. Basically, the whole 50th anniversary is going to be dedicated to her name.”
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are expected to arrive in the Comox Valley Tuesday afternoon.
To stay up to date with the team, visit their Twitter account.
Surgeries postponed in Island Health amid staffing shortages
Some Island residents waiting years for surgeries were disappointed this week when they received notice that their non-urgent surgeries had been postponed by months due to a staffing shortage.
“There is currently a shortage of patient beds and staffing resources,” said the letter one Sooke senior received from her surgeon.
“This shortage affects non-urgent surgeries requiring an overnight bed at the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals.”
The staffing shortage mostly involves registered nurses.
Doctors describe it as a perfect storm that includes the effects of burnout after a year of extra demands and risks of the pandemic, a concerted push to increase surgeries and reduce wait times, nurses lost to COVID- testing and immunization programs, and others who walked away from the high pressure of intensive and critical-care units for less risk and stress in other areas.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said during a news conference on Thursday that the postponements are relatively small in number and “are not directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Island Health’s situation has nothing to do with the COVID-19 situation or transfers from other health authorities,” said Dix.
Island Health has said it would welcome patient transfers from other health authorities if needed, but that had not happened as of Thursday.
Twelve scheduled non-urgent surgeries were cancelled between April 19 and 25, said Dix, with 198 cancelled in Fraser Health and 197 in Vancouver Coastal.
“Island Health has done a truly extraordinary job of doing surgeries in the past period, such that wait times and wait-lists are significantly smaller than they were at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dix.
Island Health performed 627 more surgeries between Jan. 8 and Feb. 4 this year than last year, an 11 per cent increase.
“What you’re seeing in Island Health is the ongoing significant pressure on the heath-care system, partly related to COVID‑19,” said Dix.
B.C.’s travel ban road checks start
If you're thinking of hitting the road this weekend, you better have a good reason. The provincial government has released details on how it plans to enforce restrictions on non-essential travel while COVID numbers are high. And as Richard Zussman reports, breaking the rules could cost you hundreds of dollars.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth outlined the province’s enforcement measures Friday to restrict non-essential travel across B.C.
If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has travelled for a non-essential purpose, they can direct the traveller to turn around and leave the region, Farnworth explained.
The RCMP will administer the road checks and can ask for a driver’s name, address and driver’s license. In order to enforce the order, they can ask for secondary identification confirming an address and ask for the purpose of travel. A driver is not required to provide documentation to support the travel claim.
At the discretion of the police, breaking the law could lead to a $575 fine.
North Island-Powell River MP, Rachel Blaney, says the federal Liberal government is leaving Canada’s veterans in the lurch.
The NDP critic for veterans points out that the government’s budget promises $140 million over five years to address the mental health supports service gap, while veterans wait for their claims to be processed.
“This $140 million announcement makes no sense,” said Blaney. “I can tell you with the veterans I hear from – they are tired of new programs that don’t get to the core change that is needed at Veterans Affairs. What I hear again and again is that what veterans and their loved ones want is very simple – one caseworker that stays with them.”
She says the budget mentions the word ‘veteran’ 61 times, “but it is woefully thin on funding that will make a meaningful difference for veterans in Canada.”
Last September, the Parliamentary Budget Officer recommended permanently hiring the 300-plus temporary hires in order to fully eliminate the disability claim backlog and to maintain service standards going forward.
“With the government opposing the Parliamentary Budget Officers report, we still don’t know when these veterans are going to get the resources and supports they need,” said Blaney.
“The budget lists $29 million for VAC to hire permanent caseworkers brought on to help with the disability backlog, but this is just a re-announcement of money set aside in Budget 2018.”
Budget 2021 includes $45 million over two years for a pilot project on homeless veterans to be run through Employment and Social Development Canada.
“In 2019 the Liberals unanimously supported a motion to end veterans’ homelessness but then did nothing about it,” said Blaney. “Let’s hope this new project actually gets rolled out.”
While Blaney welcomed the additional $15 million over three years for the Veterans and Family Well-Being Fund for COVID-19 recovery support, she noted that there is nothing in the budget to better support the families of veterans, nothing to eliminate the problematic marriage after 60 clause, and nothing to support research into women veterans issues.
“Veterans have served our country and have done as we asked them,” said Blaney. “This file continues to be a massive failure for both Conservative and Liberal governments.”
In response, Veterans Affairs Canada press secretary, Cameron McNeill, said, “Budget 2021 builds on what have been unprecedented investments – more than $11 billion in new funding and support – for our Veterans and their families since 2016.”
McNeill added that the budget includes “important funding for veterans’ mental health care, reducing the backlog of applications, addressing Veteran homelessness, and more.”
He said this funding will make a significant difference in the lives of our Veterans and their families, and “has been well received by leading Veterans’ organizations like the Royal Canadian Legion, True Patriot Love Foundation, VETS Canada, and more.”
“The Minister always appreciates MP Blaney’s advocacy on behalf of those who’ve served our country, and he is looking forward to continuing to work with her to support them and their families,” McNeill said.
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