The Week — Aug. 25

Bubbleman’s bubble bursts, businesses told to clean up city mess, non-consent for Smart Meters falls on deaf ears

Terry Wilson, Fernwood’s funky ”Bubbleman” stands by his tribute pole. Wilson is being evicted from his parked tenancy on grounds that it breaks a bylaw.

Bubbleman’s bubble bursts

One of Fernwood’s happiest faces could have a little less sparkle these days.

Terry Wilson, also known lovingly as Fernwood’s “Bubbleman” is being evicted from his current living situation on the basis that it’s an illegal set up: Wilson’s nest is a motorhome that’s been parked on a property for over two years now.

According to city bylaws, Wilson’s situation would pass the test if he was paying for some living space inside the home and using the vehicle as a workspace. The current tenants have no more room for Wilson, however, and so the 65-year-old pensioner will be forced to uproot and move on immediately.

“This is such a travesty, considering the love and devotion that Terry pours into the community on a daily basis,” says neighbour Sheila Pratt. “[Terry] takes as little from the earth as possible … we must rally around this local legend and finally give back to him some of the love he has generously shown us.”

Wilson, who can be found volunteering at the Cornerstone Café, upkeeping the streets or delighting young and old kids with his bubble wand, is still high in spirits, however. He’s found an apartment close to the hub, and while $875 a month will drain his savings faster than the $350 he was paying for his parking spot, he says he’s sure something good will happen. He will have to sell his vehicle, however.

“It’s a wonderful neighbourhood, and I have to stay close by for my mental wellbeing,” Wilson says. “This [$875] is as good as it gets now, I suppose. I could apply for low-rent housing, but it’s just too far away.”

The Winnipeg native moved to Victoria 13 years ago and has been a funky fixture of Fernwood for the last four. Wilson holds his masters degree in environmental studies from York University, Toronto, but lives by the motto, “Whatever brings you joy, do it.” His joy, he says, comes from seeing other people’s delight. “I’ll be out there with my bubbles, and these sophisticated women will come out of the wine bar in business suits, and they jump up and pop the bubbles, and laugh, and laugh. They just love it,” says Wilson.

This past May, the Fernwood community held a “bubble mob” celebration for Wilson in Fernwood Square. While he says there’s little he’d ask for, he would urge the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group to consider forming more affordable housing for singles. Currently, the six low-rent housing units in the area are designed for families only.

To get in touch with Wilson, find him mid-bubble near the Cornerstone Café.

Hey, don’t we pay for that?

A few businesses have their brooms in a twist this week over being asked to pitch in and help keep their portion of Victoria clean.

The City of Victoria send out a strong suggestion that all businesses within the areas of Cook, Blanshard, Fort and Pandora participate in a city-wide cleanup by doing the following: painting the lower sections of all BC Hydro poles to match their natural colour, remove all posters from any surface other than poster cylinders and clean all graffiti from all surfaces in the area. “Graffiti enforcement has become a priority and the city is pursuing better cooperation from the utilities and problematic private properties,” says downtown coordinator Michael Hill in the letter. “However, we need your help to clean the area up — and keep it clean.”

The city has volun-told businesses in the area that the “suggested” clean up week is Aug. 29 to Sept. 2. The city will quite generously provide all materials, but businesses must send an email confirming their interest in participating to mhill@victoria.ca.

Non-consent a smart option

For those who previously signed letters of delayed installation for BC Hydro Smart Meters, this is no time to rest on your laurels. According to one Monday reader who objected to installation then later had a meter installed, BC Hydro has taken the signed forms to mean consent at a later date. Instead, residents can visit the website citizensforsafetechnology.org for a “Smart Meter Kit” on how to set up a letter of non-consent to protest the meters for your own home.

So far, a reported 1,600 Smart Meters have been installed in the Victoria area. As of press time, nine Island municipalities have asked for opt-out moratoriums from the Smart Meter program, including Victoria, the District of Highlands, Colwood, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Metchosin and Lake Cowichan.

“Residents should be given a reasonable option in terms of the type of technology they choose to have on their properties,” says city councillor Philippe Lucas. “I’ve been an advocate for free access to WiFi downtown, but I see a problem with the process BC Hydro has used in implementing this. At council, if we were doing something like this and saw this level of opposition, would we proceed regardless? No; so why would we allow a Crown corporation to do so?” M

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