The Week — Aug. 18

Victoria whale wounded, Ben Isitt runs for council, BC hydro can dish it out has trouble taking it and the Ancient Forest Alliance offers pro photography lessons

Killer whale K21, or Cappuccino, was wounded weeks ago by an unidentified source. Now, one group is warning marine traffic to take extra care.

A wounded whale of a tale

Free Willie might get his blower out of sorts on this: one favoured Victoria Killer whale is nursing his back after reports that the whale suffered a gash from an unidentified source weeks ago.

K21, or “Cappuccino,” is one of only two breeding-age males in K-pod, a group of whales that finds its haunting grounds around Juan de Fuca Straight and the Victoria area. The group was off shore at press time, but K21 was last seen with a six-inch wound that was cut past the skin and blubber and deep into the muscle.

“We’ve been told the injury is not life-threatening and that most likely he will survive, but at this point all we can do is watch and see what happens,” says Cara Lachmuth, Straight Watch south coordinator for Cetus Research and Conservation Society. “The wound could have been caused by anything.”

Cetus has not seen K21 since the pod left last week, but other than monitoring the whale’s progress, there is little the organization could do — in an effort to reduce stress to the mammals, they do not capture or treat whales, even when injured. They do report all incidents, however, and, sent out an educating notification to marine traffic in the area to be on the lookout for whales in the summer months.

“People don’t realize that, if they are going fast and they see a group of whale watchers in the area, they need to slow down,” says Lachmuth. “There is going to be something down there, and this isn’t just for the safety of the whales safety — your boat is at risk too.”

Isitt going to be a good year?

Exciting news for progressive-minded Victoria residents this week: long-time political/historical buff Ben Isitt has announced he will be running for Victoria City Council come the November election.

Isitt ran for the position of Vic mayor twice, winning 32 per cent of the vote in 2002 and 44 per cent in 2005. But the Fernwood native, who has his PhD in history and is heading back to UVic to snag a PhD in law, bowed out of the mayoral challenge to spend more time with his family. Six years later, Isitt says it’s time to give it another go, this time on the council side.

“I felt like there would be more balance with running for council, and it’s a valuable position where you can create some serious change,” says Isitt, who already has his up-and-running website (BenIsitt.ca), army of volunteers and campaign platform worked out. The platform covers everything from a community violence prevention program to an emphasis on urban agriculture opportunities to a comprehensive review of the current police budget. Isitt says his mandate is to combine progressive politics with fiscal responsibility.

“We plan to door campaign the entire city at least once,” he says, adding that he will be running as an independent. “And I would be thrilled to work with whoever Victoria decides to place around that table.”

BC hydro can dish it out

BC Hydro is having trouble keeping its nose out of the news, but this week your regularly scheduled impending Smart Meter debate takes a break for some less hostile advances — at least towards Hydro.

David Black, President of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (Local 378), is demanding a significant re-write of the “deeply flawed” Review of BC Hydro, released last week by Premier Christy Clark’s government. Black asked “to correct the faulty methodology and selective statistics that were used to launch a gratuitous and unwarranted attack on BC Hydro employees and their families.” Black criticized the province for arbitrarily choosing 2006 as the base-year to show uncontrolled growth in BC Hydro’s workforce. Now, he claims as many as 1,200 BC Hydro employees could lose their jobs if the government adopts recommendations in the review.

Doesn’t feel too good to lose your choice and your voice in a matter, does it BC Hydro?

Now you too can shoot a tree

Attention wannabe photographers: tired of coming home from every camping trip with blurry photos and a less-than-comprehensive understanding of what all those buttons on your camera do, anyway?

Thanks to the fundraising initiatives of the Ancient Forest Alliance, now you don’t have to. On Saturday, Aug. 20 — for a sliding scale of $75 to $125 — all you need is your own gear (pocket digitals, SLRs and film cameras are fine) and a willingness to learn with the AFA’s TJ Watt. Watt has been shooting for nearly a decade and has a pro photog diploma from Western Academy of Photography. You’ve also seen his tall-tree shots in countless stories out from the AFA.

The outdoor workshop,10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Goldstream Park, is an effort to raise cash for the AFA and grant beginner photographers professional tools, from shutter speed and aperture to the “art of seeing.” For more, email: info@ancientforestalliance.org. M