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"Celebrating 20 Years In B.C."

CBC Live News Feed

From The Management & Staff Of The Ridge

Update:
The government has mandated that all restaurants close their doors until further notice.

So, we will not be open for table service, but we will be open for pick up and delivery service.

We are open  12-8 p.m. Monday thru Friday with free in-town delivery available

from Noon-3 and 4-7 p.m. (for out of Gold River deliveries there will be a small fee)

Please note: We are now allowed to delivery alcohol with your meal purchase.

Call (250) 283-7533

Click Here For Ridge Menu

Grocery Service List:

Please place orders between 10-2 Sunday thru Friday. 

All  products come directly from our wholesale suppliers and are  premium quality.

Please Note:

The list does not contain prices. The prices from the wholesalers can change at anytime.

When you call and place your order we are able to give you pricing for that day.

If you don't see an item on the list, it may be available, just ask.  Call Jerad for pricing and ordering information (250) 283-7526.  This  number is reserved for orders only.   

(If you are opening the list on your phone, you may have to swipe left to right to see the full list)

The Ridge Is Closed Good Friday

***Corona Virus Updates Click Here***

BC Ferries to bring in health checks as feds restrict marine travel due to COVID-19

Travellers using BC Ferries will see significant changes starting Monday (April 6) after the federal government announced new measures to fight COVID-19.

As part of new measures announces Sunday, Transport Canada has issued guidelines for screening all passengers boarding sailings longer than 30 minutes. The rules will apply until June 30.

“Vessel operators should, where possible and practical, observe and do a health check of all passengers before they board the vessel,” it reads. The guidelines include a questionnaire with four questions to be asked of travellers by ferry operator employees.

If a passenger is seen to have COVID-19 symptoms or their response to health check questions indicates a need to deny boarding, the vessel operator should refuse to allow that person on board for 14 days, or until a medical certificate clearing the patient is presented.

The new rules say that if it’s not possible to deny boarding, operators should take steps to ensure impacted passenger should be self-isolated, for example, by staying in their vehicles during the whole trip.

“If the passenger must travel for the purpose of receiving needed medical services, they should take precautions to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 such as staying in their car as much as possible, wearing a mask and maintaining a minimum of two metres from any other passenger,” Transport Canada said.

The coming health checks are part of a series new rules effective Monday starting at 9 a.m. local time. They state that operators of vessels carrying more than 12 passengers must immediately reduce sailings by 50 per cent of the maximum number of passengers to help with physical distancing or implement alternative practices consistent with Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines.

According to the guidelines, ferry operators “should, when feasible” notify passengers before boarding that they may be subject to a health check to prevent the spread of COVID-19, have the crew (or crew members) read out the announcement (or post signage) and conduct the health checks.

The new regulations also include a ban on Canadian cruise ships entering the Arctic.

Gold River Golfing-UPDATE / CLUBHOUSE IS CLOSED TILL FURTHER NOTICE

CLOSED:  CLICK LINK TO FIND OUT MORE

Worried About Rent? Read This

Are you or someone you know having difficulties making rent due to COVID-19? BC Housing has an excellent FAQ on the new BC Temporary Rental Supplement which provides up to $500 per month for people who’s income has been affected by #COVID-19.

https://mcusercontent.com/…/2a7bf5…/BCTRS_Simplified_FAQ.pdf

A Fabulous Birthday Idea

If you have little ones who are having a birthday, call Lisa at the Fire Hall to arrange a birthday parade.

We can't have birthday parties right now but we can have a parade.  And, of course, everyone is invited to join the parade.  Let's make some noise Gold River!  Call (250) 283-2522.

Job Opportunities At Grieg Seafood

Grieg Seafood currently has two job openings relating to the Gold River area: a Hatchery Technician, and Casual Aquaculture Labourers (needs no previous experience in aquaculture). Please see our Careers page and find the job descriptions there.

Campbell River distillery producing sanitizers for frontline workers

Editor's Note:  Let's remember this guys when things get back to normal.

Shelter Point Distillery is supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

It temporarily stopped its distilling operations and is now making medical-grade sanitizer.

Manager Jacob Wiebe says staff at the distillery are doing anything and everything they can to help.

“We’ve completely shut down our whisky production over the last couple weeks and we’ve been mass-producing hand sanitizer and all-purpose sanitizer,” Wiebe says. “Last week, we did a thousand litres, this week we did 4,000 litres. By the end of next week, we should be around 30,000 litres of hand sanitizer.”

The distillery revamped itself, going from single malt to sanitizer in just days.

The sanitizer is being put into 750-ml bottles and 20-litre containers.

Distillers from Shelter Point will be working double shifts over the weeks and months ahead to make enough sanitizer to supply as many health authorities, hospitals, medical centres, municipal and provincial services as possible. 

It’s number one priority is to ensure that first responders have enough supplies “so they can do their jobs and save lives.”

“Really, the front lines were getting it first. The medical clinics, the fire departments, the police stations. The people who aren’t able to stay home during this time. We wanted to make sure that they were able to be as safe as possible. They got the first opportunity for the hand sanitizer,” Wiebe adds.

The distillery has also supplied thousands of bottles to local communities in Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

As the current need is “extraordinary,” it’s doing the best it can to produce as much as possible.

Thousands of litres of grain neutral alcohol, containers and ingredients have been ordered which will allow staff to continue to make sanitizer to an approved World Health Organisation formulation.

To stay updated on the work Shelter Point Distillery is doing, visit its Facebook page.

Groclery Service Update

The Grocery Service Update:

We are now ready to take your order for grocery items that will be available for Monday.  Please place orders between 10-3 Sat and 10-1 on Sunday.  Our deadline to get the order in to our supplier is 1 p.m. Sunday.  All  products come directly from our wholesale suppliers and are  premium quality, far superior to what you will find at a national chain store. For the first week we are able to provide you with fresh produce, meat and dairy products.  Other items may also be available, call Jerad for pricing and ordering information.  Call (250) 283-7526.  This  number is reserved for orders only. This is new to all of us and put together very quickly, your patience is greatly appreciated.

Provincial Open Burning Ban

The Province has issued an open burning ban that includes the Village of Gold River. The ban is in place until 9 a.m. on April 15, 2020. Open burning includes any backyard burning and open fires (camp fires).

Let's Make Some Noise Gold River-Every Night at 7 p.m.

Grab a pot, a drum, a noise maker of your choosing and head outside and make as much noise as you can in appreciation for the doctors, nurses and others who are working the front lines in our fight against Covid-19

Confirmed case of COVID-19 at Campbell River retirement home

There’s now a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Campbell River.

Berwick Retirement Communities says one of their residents has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.  That person has been self-isolating in their room at Berwick by the Sea since Tuesday.

Sales and Marketing Director Lesley Sikorski says it’s “working with Island Health to take the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of all residents and staff, as well as those in the broader community.”

Island Health has confirmed that those who came close to the individual have been notified and all necessary steps are being taken.

If you have not been contacted by Public Health, you are not considered at risk of exposure to this individual.

“All of Berwick’s leadership teams are working hard to closely monitor the situation at Berwick by the Sea,” Sikorski says. “All Berwick communities have been diligently preparing for this situation and outbreak protocols have been in place since last week out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.” 

She says steps are being taken to ensure the virus is contained.

“Berwick Retirement Communities is working rigorously around the clock with Island Health to control and contain the virus. Berwick is also communicating daily with the Communicable Disease Nurse.”

As all staff within the Berwick by the Sea community

Western Forest Products temporarily closing mills due to COVID-19

Our battered forest industry is taking another hit.

Starting today, Western Western Forest Products is closing its manufacturing facilities in British Columbia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s scheduled to last for up to one week. 

During this time the company says it will re-evaluate business and operating conditions “to determine when these manufacturing operations will resume.” 

“The health and safety of our employees remain our top priority,” said the company’s president and Chief Executive Officer, Don Demens. 

“Western has taken steps to mitigate potential exposure to COVID-19 throughout our operations by implementing strict health and safety protocols. The decision to temporarily curtail manufacturing operations in British Columbia is necessary as we respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation. We will continue to monitor market conditions and government directions in the jurisdictions where we operate and adjust our business as circumstances change.” 

The closure comes roughly a month-and-a-half after the company and the United Steelworkers Union reached a deal, to end the nearly eight-month-long coastal forestry workers strike. 

Packaging and shipping of lumber products will continue to meet customer requirements. 

The company’s Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith sawmills are expected to stay closed into the second quarter due to limited log supply and weak market demand. 

Western will also take steps to minimize its planned capital expenditures in 2020. 

The company plans to incur only safety, environmental and committed capital expenditures in the near-term. 

Going forward, WFP says discretionary capital will remain on hold “until there is greater operational certainty.”

COVID-19 screening clinics open in Campbell River, Comox Valley

COVID-19 screening clinics are now open in the Comox Valley and Campbell River.

They’re by referral and appointment only.

That means you don’t call or go to the clinics unless you’ve been referred by a doctor or an 8-1-1

nurse. 

The  BC Centre for Disease Control says that you should be tested if you have respiratory symptoms and are:

  • hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized;

  • a health care worker;

  • Live in a long-term care facility;

  • and part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak.

You don’t need to be tested if you don’t have symptoms, have mild respiratory symptoms that can be managed in self-isolation at home, and are a returning traveller with no symptoms or mild symptoms.

If you have a new fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, or are worried that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, the BCCDC has an online self-assessment tool. You can find it here

You can also call your doctor or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to be assessed. 

At the clinics, a triage nurse will assess referred patients over the phone to see if an appointment is needed.

If you are healthy make sure you’re washing your hands frequently, staying home as much as possible, and maintaining a distance of about six feet from others.

You can find more details on the BCCDC’s website or Island Health’s website

Message From Our Mayor

Food Security

In the last couple of days Village Staff have been in contact with most of the grocery stores in Campbell River to discuss this very important issue. They all realize at times over the next few weeks that they may not have everything you need, but they have assured us that they continue to receive inventory as fast as the product can get to them.

As we continue to deal with COVID-19 and we all respect Social Distancing if you are going into town for groceries or another reason, please talk to your neighbors, friends see if there is anything you can pick up for them.

Bob from Highway Delivery has posted he will continue to serve Gold River on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.

Take care everyone!       

 

EDITORS NOTE: Many of the Campbell River Grocery stores and Pharmacies are open early  and restriciting the first hour of business for senior citizens onlly.     

Brad Unger, Mayor

Nootka Sound RCMP Update

RCMP operations are at as we head into another week of uncertain times.
1. Our front desk is still closed but our civilian employees (the backbone of our office) are still working answering your calls and questions;
2 Our police officers are still responding to calls for service and where operationally feasible we will call you rather than come to your home. However if there is a danger to life or property we will be coming straight over.
3. We are still enforcing road and public safety statues. So please follow the rules of the road so we can limit how many people you interact with in a day. Win win for all of us 😉
4. The Health Authority has set down some very serious public orders. They are police enforceable so please take them seriously. I can guarantee that neither me nor my colleagues fall into the “Nurse Nightengale” category and our “sick room” is not comfortable. #stayhome
5. Finally - you are all our neighbors and people we care about. If you need us, call us. Stay safe, stay positive and stay connected
Have a safe week everyone

B.C. liquor, cannabis stores still operating, cut hours

It’s business as usual at government-run liquor and cannabis stores.

However, British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch spokesperson Viviana Zanocco said there have been a few changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve initiated reduced hours for liquor stores yesterday and reduced hours for our cannabis stores today,” she said. “We’re working very hard to make sure that they stay open throughout the COVID-19 situation.”

All B.C. liquor stores across the province will be open from 11:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Saturday and 11:00am to 6:00pm on Sundays. 

On the cannabis side, the store openings are 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Saturday and 11:00am to 6:00pm on Sundays.

Zanocco said steps are being taken to protect staff and customers from the virus.

“We are implementing signage and procedures around self distancing, so in cannabis and in liquor stores, there will be dots set out to the lineup for the till. So the person has to stand on the dot and that ensures that there is adequate space between each person in line for service.”

She added that staff are following enhanced cleaning procedures, so there are more frequent wipe-down of such things as door handles, pin pads, and cashier desks.

She said the biggest priority is the safety of the employees and customers.

“To that end we’ll take whatever steps necessary and follow whatever direction (provincial health officer) Dr. Bonnie Henry sends down to make sure that everybody stays safe.”

Zanocco said demand jumped at stores as bars and restaurants started closing, which has been a challenge for staff.

“That’s partly one of the reasons why we took the necessary steps to reduce hours,” she added. “We just didn’t have enough time to stock things. Where we need to, we also have to limit the number of people in the store. That’s part of the social distancing but also part of just, order. We want to make sure we serve people appropriately and well.”

As far as supply, Zanocco doesn’t foresee any disruptions anytime soon.

“We are working with our business partners, suppliers and stakeholders to ensure all our supply chains are not disrupted.”

A Message From Seawatch Medical Clinic Campbell River

Many will agree --we all know it's here!! It's almost a ridiculous conversation. We know because our friends, neighbours, colleagues, and family are among the positive. We hear about cases involving hairdressers, miners, travellers, etc..

But what we don't know is where is the planning for profound measures in an organized community manner. Individuals taking steps for themselves and their families is outstanding, responsible, and necessary...however sadly insufficient.

We would love to see this galvanizing conversation re: official confirmation of positive infections in Campbell River be put to rest and the leadership and decisions necessary to keep us all safe take ACTION. Every day that goes by, risk to health care workers increases. That means nurses everywhere on the front line, our ER docs, our beloved Specialists...and your very own family doctor and MOAs...and every other provider who supports your health. Every day that goes by, the chances of losing someone you love increases.

Campbell River physician needing to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions...does that seem odd to you? If you have had a positive test OR were told by public health you must isolate due to exposure to a positive test and are willing to speak up...please do so!!! Go to the paper. Make it official. LETS MOVE ON!!!! LETS GET MOVING!!!

Please share as you feel comfortable...lets do this!

Province launches COVID-19 online assessment tool

The Ministry of Health has launched an online assessment tool for the COVID-19 virus.

It’s designed to determine whether or not you need further assessment or testing. 

You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else if they can’t.

Click here to do the assessment.

It includes questions about symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing, fever, severe chest pain, and trouble waking up, among other things.

It also asks:

  • Did you develop symptoms within 14 days of travel outside Canada?

  • Did you provide care or have close contact with a person with COVID-19 (probable or confirmed) while they were ill (cough, fever, sneezing, or sore throat)?

  • Did you have close contact with a person who travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days who has become ill (cough, fever, sneezing, or sore throat)?

The province urges anyone who has symptoms including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing to self-isolate for 14 days. 

To protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain a distance of about two metres from others. 

For more information on COVID-19, refer to HealthLink BC’s COVID-19 website.

Vancouver Island doctor wants locations of COVID-19 patients made public

CAMPBELL RIVER -- B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Bonnie Henry continue to stand side-by-side to give daily updates on the growing COVID-19 situation, but at least two health professionals on the mid-island are calling for more transparency.

A Courtenay physician, Dr. Tanja Daws, posted information on her Facebook account over the weekend to provide her facts on the quickly spreading virus and to dispel some commonly held myths.

She also confirmed that the Comox Valley had at least one person who has tested positive for COVID-19, something that hasn't been divulged on official channels.

As of Monday, the B.C. government said that there were eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Island Health region but did not specify where.

The provincial government has said that it does not divulge precise locations of positive tests due to concerns over patient confidentiality. Additionally, the Health Ministry says that people who are self-isolating are no longer a danger to their communities so their locations are not important.

But Daws believes if members of the public know the virus is in their community they will take the matter more seriously.

"The evidence we have from Italy, Korea and China is that people should self-isolate and every day we wait, there's a 40 per cent higher rate of people who get the virus," Daws said.

Daws believes that if more people know the virus is active in their community, they will do more social distancing – something people may not yet be doing because they don't think their community is affected.

That's a sentiment echoed by a Campbell River Hospital worker who reached out to CTV News, frustrated that locations are not being given out.

The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, says there was a positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Thursday in Campbell River. However, the patient's doctor and hospital staff were told not to talk about it.

"He was shut down and was told he's not allowed to speak of these things and everyone who was involved in that case was also told that their jobs could be at stake if they were informing the public that we now have the coronavirus here in town," the source said.

The hospital worker says confirmation came through a staff meeting at the Campbell River Hospital Monday morning, where staff were told that there were many cases on the North Island but that those involved were all self-isolating.  

Island Health launches new visitor restrictions amid coronavirus

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow across B.C., Island Health has launched a new series of restrictions at hospitals and health care facilities.

Effective immediately, all patients, families and Island Health staff are being asked to abide by the provincial health officer’s recommendations of social distancing and visitors at health facilities are asked to come in small numbers.

“We understand the importance of visits from family and loved ones to our patients and long-term care residents and we appreciate your support in helping to keep everyone safe,” said Island Health in a release

Monday.     

Besides limiting the number of visitors at health facilities, Island Health is completely restricting anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has been in contact with someone who was infected with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days from making visits.

Additionally, anyone who is feeling ill is asked not to come to any health facility, especially if symptoms include: fever, cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat and/or diarrhea.

Island Health’s new visitor restrictions are:

  •  1 adult caregiver/support person at hospital emergency departments, intensive care/critical care areas

  •  1 adult caregiver/support person at perinatal units

  •  2 adult caregivers/support persons at neonatal ICU

  •  2 adult caregivers/support persons at inpatient pediatric and adult areas

  •  1 adult caregiver/support person at inpatient areas, with additional precautions in place

  •  1 adult caregiver/support person at primary and urgent care centres

  •  1 adult caregiver/support person at outpatient clinics

  •  2 adult caregivers/support persons at long-term care homes

  •  Patients and family members can arrange special accomodations with Infection Prevention and Control for people in palliative and end-of-life care

Island Health says that signage will be placed at the entrances of all health care facilities so that visitors know what restrictions are in place, depending who they are visiting.

“While there are confirmed cases in the province, the risk to British Columbians and Vancouver Islanders remains low,” says Island Health.

Ridge Free In-Town Delvery Wednesday March 18th

It's Chinese Food Night tomorrow night ( march 18) at The Ridge And we will be offering free in-town delivery for Chinese food and all menu items. Free delivery between 5-8 p.m., for trips out of Gold River, there will be a small delivery fee.

Latest Jurassic World movie lands in Vancouver Island park for filming

A movie production unit for the next Jurassic World sequel captured aerial scenes amid the giants of Cathedral Grove last week while letting no moss gather underfoot.

Word of the location shoot spread quickly after notices were posted in the park Wednesday advising that some trails might be briefly closed to the public “if a drone is in use.”

Gramercy Film Productions has begun shooting scenes for Jurassic World 3 in various B.C. locations over the next few weeks. One of the company’s mobile units had a two-day park use permit for the Vancouver Island provincial park.

“They’re here,” a Nanaimo fan, Neesha (@akajb84), tweeted. “Not much to really take pics of. Saw the drone. Would love to fly one of those.”

Gramercy maintains what is known in the industry as a “closed set,” meaning no media coverage is allowed anywhere near production activities. Evidently, the shoot also had a tight time frame because crew and signs were gone without a trace by Thursday morning.

Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, Jurassic World 3 goes by the working title of Arcadia on Creative B.C.’s list of all current film and TV projects in the province.

This will be the sixth sequel in the long-running Jurassic Park franchise. The Jurassic World series began in 2015 and this last film in the trilogy is headed for release in June 2021.

In an interview Wednesday with Ellen Degeneres, Pratt revealed three members of the original 1993 Jurassic Park cast — Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum — reprise their roles in this sequel. Colin Trevorrow returns as director and executive producer alongside Steven Spielberg.

Production moved onto the B.C. Interior on Thursday. An open casting call was issued earlier this month in Merritt for area residents to play “workers, fishermen and townsfolk.”

While Gramercy obtained a special permit, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are not normally allowed in provincial parks. UAV operators have to obtain permission to take off or land in any B.C. park or protected area.

Joan Miller, director of Vancouver Island North Film Commission, consulted with the movie’s publicist Friday and confirmed she cannot comment on the production at this time.

Controversy grows as Vancouver Island’s herring fishery approaches

Anticipation is growing in French Creek’s harbour as herring boats began to fill it Wednesday ahead of the fishery opening. The opening could be any day. Fisheries and Oceans test boats have already recorded herring returning to spawn. “Could be any minute now, you know Mother Nature is temperamental,” said Captain of the Pender Isle Jason Roberts. “I’m a third-generation [fisherman] and I love it. I came back to do it and here I am and herring fishing means a lot to us.”Roberts is one of the hundreds waiting anxiously to start fishing.

 

A group is organizing against the herring fishery as well, due to declining salmon stocks and the dire state of the southern resident orca population. Herring Aid is planning a rally to oppose it on Sunday in Qualicum Beach. “It once was a celebration and we all enjoyed watching the fish boats and the fishers go out,” said Herring Aid member Sheri Plummer. “And I think at some point we realized that this was not sustainable.”

“I think DFO is failing us in this instance,” aid Herring Aid member Rich Ronyecz.

 

“They’re not using precautionary measures to protect chinook salmon, and the orcas and their food supply which is herring,” he said.Since the salmon fishery was so dismal in 2019, both sides of this debate say the stakes in the herring harvest are higher than ever. “Family at home depends on it,” said Roberts.

“Got a lot of skin in the game and if the fishery doesn’t happen, I might lose everything.”

Telus Brings New Wireless Service To Gold River & Tahsis

Vancouver, B.C. – TELUS has invested $2 million to build two new cell sites in Gold River and Tahsis, bringing vital wireless voice and Internet services to these west coast Vancouver Island communities for the first time. In addition to this investment, TELUS is collaborating with the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation to upgrade wireless services in the community of Tsaxana later this year.

“Tahsis and Gold River are vibrant communities with an entrepreneurial spirit – they are gateways to West Coast adventure that welcome visitors from all over the world,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and MLA for the North Island. “This technology is important for our coastal communities and their strong tourism sectors. Improved connectivity will also help businesses.”

“Gold River is very excited to finally have cell coverage,” said Gold River Mayor Brad Unger. “This will definitely increase Tourism and business opportunities in the future. It will also be a huge benefit for our protective services (Police, Fire, Ambulance and Health Clinic). We have worked with TELUS for many years to achieve this strategic priority. Thanks for your investment in Gold River TELUS.”“Tahsis is celebrating the arrival of cell service as increased connectivity is central to promoting our community’s economic development, especially tourism. TELUS heard our pitch for cell service and delivered,” said Mayor Martin Davis of Tahsis.

Tiny Homes For Gold River? An Idea To Be Considered?

The small town of Stephenville in Newfoundland has been embraced the idea of small homes.  

Stephenville town council only had to change the wording to "smaller than 750 square feet" to allow Hickey to build tiny homes on his 13 tiny lots.

Property taxes are lower, but the mayor hopes this trendy living idea will attract new people to the area.

"That's good revenue to the town. It's bringing in new people and bringing attention to Stephenville, and I think it's the right thing to do," said Rose.    Read the full story here  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/tiny-homes-turn-tiny-town-into-a-trendy-place-to-live-1.4828752?fbclid=IwAR0dv1nOM8YmX1nmqXwP9Ns3KLc9tUcH_7sdhTUvx6xmGeNoZFYIa2tGyJs

Support your fellow villager and vote for Nikida Donaldson

Nikida wants to be Ink Magazines Cover girl but she needs your vote.  Vote now and vote often.

City of Campbell River to host family events leading up to Hometown Hockey Tour

The City of Campbell River and several community organizations are hosting family fun events leading up to the arrival of the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour.

And, it’s all free.

The tour is making a stop at the Maritime Heritage Centre on the weekend of Mar. 21st and 22nd.

“Everyone is welcome to get involved by joining in on pre-festival activities and events,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “This is a great opportunity to get together with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate our shared passion for hockey and sport in general.”

There will be a game of pop-up road hockey, musical entertainment at Spirit Square, as well as a free swim and skate at Strathcona Gardens on the Friday of the festival weekend.

Beginning Mar. 9th, you can register your family, school or workplace for the Paint the Town Red contest.

Prizes include VIP passes to tour the Rogers Sportsnet Mobile Studio for families and workplaces.

For schools or classrooms that participate, a pizza party will be awarded for up to 30 students at the Strathcona Gardens pool or arena.

“We encourage everyone to start thinking about how to show off your hockey spirit as part of this contest. Get creative with sports jerseys, hockey sticks and re-usable materials in all colours, and especially, lots of red,” Adams adds.

The city will be sharing more details about the contest in the near future.

Campbell River’s local organizing committee involves Minor Hockey, the Chamber of Commerce, School District 72, Strathcona Regional District, Destination Campbell River as well as the city.

Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will visit 25 communities this hockey season and Campbell River is its only stop on Vancouver Island.

To learn more about the upcoming tour, visit this website.

Aquaculture vessel to remove sea lice from farmed salmon

A new 70-metre vessel equipped with technology to remove sea lice from farmed salmon has arrived in B.C. from Norway to work for Grieg Seafood B.C. Ltd.

The Ronja Islander is moored at Ogden Point near Victoria and will service Grieg’s Atlantic-salmon farms around Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Lice occur naturally in the environment, but farm critics worry they multiply at fish farms and put wild stocks at risk.

“It is our responsibility to make sure we do not allow [sea lice] to harbour on farm sites and increase in number,” said Dean Trethewey, Grieg’s seawater production director. “Because when the smolts are ready to go back out to the ocean in March, April, May and June, we need to make sure our [sea lice] numbers are very, very low.”

The ship – a kind of closed aquarium – will be doing battle with parasitic lice latched onto farmed salmon.

Huge hoses will suck salmon out of net pens into the ship’s hold to be immersed in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and sea water for 20 minutes, before being flushed back into pens.

About 90 to 95 per cent of lice will be removed, Trethewey said.

Ultra-fine filters capture lice, which will be incinerated on board.

The entire process will typically take about two hours. It was designed to be as gentle as possible on fish, he said.

The latest technology is used on the custom-built 2019 vessel, which Grieg has chartered for five years, Trethewey said. That includes ultraviolet light to disinfect the water and kill viruses – a major concern among fish-farm critics.

About 50,000 fish can be treated at the same time in the hold, which has a capacity of 1,800 cubic metres, he said.

Expedition to probe Pacific salmon survival

An international scientific expedition aimed at unlocking the hows and whys of Pacific salmon survival in the Gulf of Alaska amid fears for their future is sailing out of Victoria in March.

“While we recognize that ocean and climate conditions are major factors regulating salmon abundances, the mechanisms regulating abundances in the ocean are not known,” B.C. scientists Richard Beamish and Brian Riddell said in a January report outlining this year’s cruise plan.

Ocean ecosystems are changing — the Blob has reappeared, bringing warm water to the Gulf of Alaska.

Don’t mistake this expedition for a luxury cruise. Winter storms and high seas are expected in the north Pacific Ocean.

Scientists are seeking to provide more accurate forecasts of salmon returns during what Beamish and Riddell say might be the most difficult time in recent history for stewardship of Pacific salmon. They want to understand what affects salmon out in the ocean, where they spend three-quarters of their lives.

The survey takes place as B.C. fishermen fear disastrous returns this year following poor returns for much of the coast last year.

The Pacific Salmon Commission said the 2019 Fraser River sockeye return of 485,000 was the lowest in recorded history. Numbers were far below the 2009 collapse which sparked the Cohen Commission.

The chartered 37-metre commercial trawler Pacific Legacy No. 1 will carry 12 scientists from Canada, Russia and the U.S. It leaves Victoria on March 11, returning April 4.

This is the second such survey. The first international expedition took place early in 2019 and a third is set for 2021.

Following the first survey, “What we did see was very consistent with what came back in 2019 for the adult returns,” Riddell said.

For example, when it came to chum salmon, “by country of origin and by age, our samples were exactly consistent to the lack of return in B.C.,” he said.

Scientists will be testing hypotheses as they collect a wide range of data, including ocean conditions, the depths at which salmon are found, and the types of tiny ocean creatures they consume. The latest survey will help confirm and build on interpretations from the first, including understanding how the winter ecosystem affects B.C. salmon numbers, the report said.

Scientists will be looking to identify rearing areas for different species of Pacific salmon and their numbers.

One objective is to study juvenile salmon in their first winter at sea.

“What we are learning is that [for] a fish to get out there and to survive that winter out there, it has to have an energy store that it would pick up in the early marine periods,” Beamish said.

Last year, they learned that young sockeye in their first year in the ocean will migrate out into the middle of the North Pacific, a distribution similar to steelhead.

DNA testing showed that a sockeye caught out in that area in February had made a mind-boggling journey.

That fish originated from Chilko Lake on the Chilcotin Plateau, Beamish said. It would have crossed the Chilcotin to Williams Lake where it joined the Fraser River.

The survey’s catch of Fraser River sockeye in their second (spawning) year were “very poor, possibly an indication of the resulting historic low return,” the expedition plan report said.

Beamish, emeritus scientist at the federal Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, and Riddell, science adviser for the Pacific Salmon Foundation in Vancouver, have raised more than $1 million in support for the upcoming survey from the provincial and federal governments, U.S. and B.C. seafood sectors, fish farmers, and non-profit groups, such the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the Salmon Foundation, which is managing the financial end.

Individuals donating to this year’s effort include Catie Bursch, of Homer, Alaska.

Every season, Bursch, her husband and two adult daughters travel 560 kilometres to fishing grounds in Bristol Bay on the eastern edge of the Bering Sea to go after red salmon — what we know as sockeye.

A desire to protect Pacific salmon and to give her daughters a future prompted Bursch to donate a percentage of her income after she flew to a Seattle conference and heard Beamish speak to industry. She’s keeping the total confidential.

“They’ve lost salmon everywhere and so if we do everything the same we are just going to lose them,” she said.

“But now we have climate change, too. For sustainable salmon, we’ve got to know what the changing ocean is going to mean to them.”

North Island MLA says throne speech ‘builds upon work’ NDP government started

February 16, 2020

North Island MLA Claire Trevena is pleased with the province’s latest throne speech.

The speech marks the start of legislative sessions in B.C., and details the government’s accomplishments and plans.

Trevena said the speech builds upon the work that the NDP government started two-and-a-half years ago.

“Really focusing on the people of British Columbia and trying to make life better for them,” Trevena said. “I think that people are starting to feel that difference of a government that puts people first and I think that will just continue on some of that work.”

The speech said that since July 2017, the government has moved forward on 13 hospital projects, and opened 12 urgent and primary care centres.

Trevena said these centres take the pressure off hospital emergency rooms, where people oftentimes don’t have their own doctor.

“They’ll go straight up to an emergency room and that really does cause problems for the healthcare system, so (with) these emergency, urgent care centres, you can go, you can get diagnosed and know whether you do need to go to hospital or not go to hospital. It is really a way of triaging for many people and a really excellent way of quick intervention.”

Also in the speech was our cellphone costs. It says that later this month, B.C. government representatives will travel to Ottawa to fight for more affordable cellphone plan options and transparency in billing.

Trevena said cellphone bills are a huge issue for British Columbians.

“You see the massive bills, you see different contracts offer different things, and nobody really knows what they’re getting, in addition to the fact that in Canada, we pay some of the highest cellphone fees pretty well anywhere,” Trevena said.

“So what we’re looking at is how we can make sure we have transparency so we know what’s happening so we can really start that next step to make sure people get a fair deal on their cellphone.”

The speech also spoke about the LNG Canada project – the largest private-sector investment in Canadian history.

It went to say that while work on the project gets underway ‘this government is seeking ways to reduce emissions overall.’

“We are committed to the project that we have for LNG, for the province,” Trevena said. “When proponents come forward it’s going to be really making transformational change for the province. The investment that we will be making there… it will bring literally billions of dollars to the province which will fund healthcare, it will fund education, it will fund all the things that people really depend on in British Columbia.”

She said having a “massive private sector development like this will really ensure that will go forward.”

Trevena said another topic of the speech, reconciliation, is a “very long process.”

“It’s not something that happens overnight and it takes everybody working together to achieve but we are absolutely committed to it.”

The speech also said ‘B.C. unemployment is the lowest in Canada, and has been for two years running.’

Trevena said this is thanks to a very healthy economy.

“It’s shown that that work that we as an NDP government has done has really helped ensure that we can continue to have a healthy economy, and we can continue investing in people. I think this is what’s key to us. It’s not just the healthcare and social services that people naturally assume goes hand-in-hand with an NDP government but we are investing in training and skills training, and making sure that we get the next generation of skilled workers so we can carry on having people working in a very competitive environment.”

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February 16, 2020

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Forestry workers ratify tentative agreement with Western Forest Products

Unionized forestry workers on Vancouver Island have voted in favour of ratifying a tentative agreement reached with their employer Western Forest Products earlier this week.

A total of 81.9 per cent of members of United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 voted in favour of the deal, the union announced Saturday. The vote officially ends a strike that lasted nearly eight months and wreaked havoc on communities across the North Island.

Union president Brian Butler told CTV News Vancouver Island earlier this week that his bargaining committee was recommending members accept the deal.

Pickup truck breaks through Highway 19 blockade near Courtenay

Wet’suwet’en supporters moved in and blocked the major roadway near exit 117 at 12:30 a.m. By Monday evening about 50 protesters are on the highway.

Both directions have been blocked. RCMP and traffic flaggers have detours in place.

 

It is in response to calls from some Wet’suwet’en members to stop Coastal Gaslink from building an LNG pipeline in northern B.C.

 

READ MORE: Bridges, buildings, railways, streets focus of anti pipeline protests

 

Demonstrators, who refer to themselves as land defenders, say drivers are still able to get through but will be delayed. They add that northbound traffic is being forced to go through the Buckley Bay ferry exit, while southbound traffic is able to get off on Exit 117 and take Highway 19a.

 

“We are here until the provincial and federal governments respond properly to the humanitarian crisis they have caused in violation of the law,” said Deraek Menard, a supporter with Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo.

 

“Of course we want attention. That’s why we are doing this no one is paying attention. They are destroying those people’s land which contains their natural heritage. It’s a continuation of cultural genocide.”

 

The blockade is part of a Canada-wide movement. Protests have shut down many roads, ports, bridges and railways.  Police arrested protesters Monday morning at the Port of Vancouver after an injunction was granted.

 

Tensions have been rising at the Highway 19 blockade, with one man arguing against the protesters.

Finnally! Western and USW Reach Tentative Collective Agreement

Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX: WEF) (“Western” or the “Company”) announced today that the Company and the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 (“USW”) have agreed to the terms of a tentative collective agreement. The tentative agreement is subject to a ratification vote by USW membership. The USW bargaining committee has advised that they will be recommending that its members accept this agreement.

"With the assistance of special mediators, Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers, we have reached a fair and equitable agreement that balances the needs of our employees and our business," said Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western. “This has been a particularly challenging time and I’m pleased that we were able to find common ground through the efforts of all involved.”

Commercial salmon fishery on brink

The West Coast commercial fishing sector has been pushed to the brink, and the union that represents fishermen blames climate change and poor management by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Unifor is calling on Canada’s new minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan, to step up with assistance for B.C. fishermen who are going under.

The West Coast commercial fishing sector has been pushed to the brink, and the union that represents fishermen blames climate change and poor management by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Unifor is calling on Canada’s new minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan, to step up with assistance for B.C. fishermen who are going under.

Robert Bateman back in Campbell River this weekend

Meet and greet at Direct Art Gallery in Tyee Plaza starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The show at Direct Art Gallery this weekend, will be especially fun for people to see, “because it will feature some work straight from their house,” Westergard says. “It’s extremely rare.”

And, of course, there’s the opportunity to meet one of the premier names in the Canadian art world himself.

Vancouver Island Makes CNN's Top 20 Best Places

You don’t have to leave the Island if you want to see one of CNN Travel’s 20 best places to visit in 2020.

In the annual list, CNN’s travel editors described Vancouver Island as a treasure chest with “pristine forest and beaches punctuated by small, artsy towns and a cosmopolitan capital city.”

 

“You could easily occupy an adventure-packed month there backpacking, camping and eating well. More manageable is an itinerary between two towns — the southern coastal paradise of Tofino and the capital, Victoria — with a five-hour, bear-sighting, picturesque drive in between,” David G. Allan wrote.

 

Allan describes Tofino as a pretty fishing village with excellent but affordable dining options.

He also recommends the Atleo River Air Service  “milk run” route, the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, the Common Loaf Bake Shop in TofinoTacofino in Tofino the Pink Dishrack, also in Victoria.

 

“Or orient your Vancouver Island visit by activity or theme: romantic getaway, rugged outdoor adventure, First Nation art and culture, foodie pilgrimage, nature nirvana, surf safari or a combination,” Allan wrote.

Here is the full list of CNN Travel’s 20 places to visit in 2020, in alphabetical order:

1. Chile Lake District
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. The Dead Sea
4. Dominica
5. Estonia
6. Galway, Ireland
7. Jamaica
8. Kyrgyzstan
9. Kyushu, Japan
10. Paraty and Ilha Grande, Brazil
11. New Caledonia
12. São Tomé and Príncipe
13. St. Petersburg, Russia
14. Sri Lanka
15. Tunisia
16. Vancouver Island
17. Washington, D.C.
18. Wuppertal, Germany
19. Wyoming
20. Zambia

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"Celebrating 20 Years In B.C."