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Premier Eby needs to get control of chaotic government eroding democracy

On November 18, 2022, David Eby was sworn in as the 37th Premier of British Columbia. The change comes following the resignation of John Horgan and the ensuing leadership event that raised many questions for MLAs and British Columbians alike. Frankly, this change in leadership disrupted a chaotic Fall legislative session, one plagued by a mismanaged agenda and a government that chose to shut down debate by shortening the session by a full week. There is a troubling pattern developing with this BC NDP government. Like last Fall, they continue to table important bills with just a few weeks left in the sitting, leaving little time for opposition members to do our job of scrutinizing them on behalf of all British Columbians. Last year they shut down debate on structural changes to the freedom of information and forestry laws. Again, with only a few days remaining in this Fall session, they tabled the largest bill in recent history, and among a half-dozen others, a bill …
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Isabella Point Road will close overnight for repairs

The overnight repair work will start Dec. 5, subject to favourable weather conditions, and it is estimated to require five nights to complete. Heavy rain will prevent overnight work and, on these evenings, the road will remain open to single-lane alternating traffic. During the daytime, the road will remain open to single-lane alternating traffic. Emergency vehicles will have full access. Residents should be prepared for closures on: Monday, Dec. 5 until Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12 until Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Electronic message signs located south of the intersection of Isabella Point Road and Musgrave Road will update drivers on closures. Crews are working to stabilize and strengthen the road, which experienced shoulder damage in the November 2021 atmospheric river storm. Travellers are asked to plan ahead and follow construction signs and directions from traffic-control personnel.
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BC Ferries records another record level of vehicle traffic over the second quarter of 2022

BC Ferries released its second quarter results today for the three and six months ending September 30, 2022. Vehicle and passenger traffic, revenue and net earnings are all higher compared to the same periods in the prior year. For the six months ending September 30, 2022, 5.4 million vehicles were carried, up 4 percent as compared to 5.2 million in the same period in fiscal 2020, pre-COVID. “As a result of our employees’ commitment to our customers and communities, we hit a new record for vehicle traffic levels and delivered 1,700 more round trips during the first half of the fiscal year,” said Jill Sharland, BC Ferries’ Interim President and CEO. “Our service is an integral part of British Columbia’s transportation system and I cannot thank the staff enough for going above and beyond to keep the system moving.” In the three months ending September 30, 2022, BC Ferries carried 7.5 million passengers and 3.0 million vehicles, compared to 7.0 million passengers and 3.…
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Winter arrives! Mulching, staking, covering

Well, here it is: The first really wintery cold weather is forecast to arrive this coming week. It may get truly nasty after Tuesday with snow and very low overnight temperatures forecast by Thursday. SO right now, this weekend, finish all mulching and supplement any mulches that might have packed down in the rain. And now you can layer enough mulch on top of beds of carrots, beets and other root crops to completely cover over the tops. If needed, lay light boards, sections of stucco wire or chicken wire on top to hold leaves or straw in place. The thick mulch essentially turns the root crop bed into a living root cellar. Snow is predicted too, therefore check that your large plants, such as winter cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, are well staked up so they won’t get pulled over or broken by the weight of wet snow. While you are in the garden, cover lettuce, Swiss chard, salad greens, spinach, with tunnels, plastic or whatever you are using for winter protection this…
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Capital Regional District and the Canadian Union of Public Employees ratify new collective agreement

The Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1978 have reached a 3-year collective agreement for the period of January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024. “I am very pleased that we have been able to reach a fair and mutually beneficial agreement through respectful negotiation and honest dialogue,” said CRD Chief Administrative Officer Ted Robbins. “I want to thank everybody who was involved in the bargaining process for the work that they have done to create an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and allows us to continue to deliver the essential services we provide.” "Our members, like all CRD residents, have felt the pressure of rising interest rates and record high inflation and that has certainly added a layer of complexity to this round of negotiations," says CUPE 1978 President Tom Benjamin. "We believe this new agreement will help ease some of the pressure our members are feeling both financially and in terms of…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD’s Gary Holman on our soon-to-be-established Local Community Commission (LCC)

Twenty Salt Springers joined us for all or part of this ASK Salt Spring conversation with CRD’s Gary Holman with a focus on our soon-to-be-established Local Community Commission (LCC). After our Territorial Acknowledgement, Gary spoke briefly about some news from the CRD Board. He noted that our recent local election had resulted in a great deal of turnover, resulting in many new faces around the CRD Board table. Concerning our proposed budget requisition, to be approved March 2023, in addition to those already announced, the CRD/Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) negotiations may result in additional requisition increases. Homeowner assessments could also impact SSI’s CRD tax requisition. Gary noted that in 2022, Salt Spring property assessments had outpaced other CRD communities, resulting in an increased tax requisition for shared regional costs. As property sales have slowed and prices also seem to have dropped slightly, we will have to wait until our final as…
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Soaring living costs cause major increases in the living wage across BC

The living wage has increased across British Columbia due to significant increases in the cost of food and housing. The living wage has gone up to $24.08 an hour in Metro Vancouver for 2022—the highest increase since the living wage was first calculated in 2008 and significantly higher than the rate of inflation. And for the first time, Victoria’s living wage, $24.29 an hour, is higher than Metro Vancouver’s because of the increased cost of food on Vancouver Island. The living wage is the hourly wage that two parents working full-time need to earn to support a family of four. In Kelowna it is $4.39 (23.7 per cent) higher than last year’s rate of $18.49, in Victoria it is $3.83 (18.7 per cent) higher than last year’s $20.46 and in Metro Vancouver it is $3.56 (17.3 per cent) higher than last year’s $20.52. This year the living wage has increased across BC in all of the communities where it has been calculated in the past and is driven by two essentials that every fam…
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Capital Regional District announces Board of Directors and Chairs

Today, at the inaugural board meetings of the Capital Regional District (CRD), the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) and the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC), Directors elected the Chairs and Vice-Chairs for the upcoming year. Saanich Councillor Colin Plant has been re-elected as the CRD Board Chair, and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait has been elected as the CRD Board Vice-Chair. “With all the new faces at the board table and the renewed commitment to work together, the CRD has a real opportunity to make a difference during this term on its Strategic Priorities,” said Chair Plant. “I have heard from Directors they really want to work together and explore Regional Transportation in a renewed, strategic way and to work with the province to deliver the best outcomes possible regionally. I look forward to working with our new CAO and all CRD staff to continue to deliver the services people expect from the CRD and to make the quality of life even better in this region …
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