The Week, May 17: Heels made for walking

Men parade streets in heels, Victoria has a drinking problem and Avatar Grove gets a new board walk

“Men can make a difference” was the sight at the sixth-annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event on May 12.

Heels made for walking

Nine hundred sore feet paraded a whole mile around Centennial Square this past Saturday, May 12, as men, women and kids walked to halt sexualized violence.

This year’s Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event raised a grand total of $28,000 for the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, and saw about 450 participants show up on a glorious sunny Saturday to don stilettos and strut the distance to raise awareness. And awareness they raised as onlookers pointed out old men and teenage boys who were brave enough to wear heels even the fiercest shoe lover would have trouble walking in.

“The thing that increased this year for us was the amount of education,” says Tracy Lubick, resource development manager at the centre. “Many people talked about not realizing how pervasive the issue of sexualized violence is, or some said that once they were doing the walk, they had family members make disclosures to them.”

Last year, more than 600 people in Victoria raised $34,000 in pledges, and this year’s goal was $40,000. However, the donation website (walkamilevictoria.com) will stay open and active until the end of May, and the centre will be the beneficiary of two more upcoming events: the first ever Goddess Run/Walk hosted in Langford on June 3, and the 19th-annual Triathlon of Compassion in Esquimalt on June 30.

“We were hoping to match what we raised last year, but we’re really happy considering all the events we were competing with that day and the changes in sponsorships,” says Lubick.

If you couldn’t make the walk, to help the centre or to access resources, visit vwsac.com.

We have a drinking problem

Just a week after Oak Bay municipality allowed a burst city water main to run all weekend long, the B.C. Water & Waste Association has launched “Drinking Water Week” and a community challenge to boot.

To celebrate the official launch of the province’s first-ever “Drinking Water Week,” which runs May 13 to 19, Environment Minister Terry Lake and B.C. Water & Waste Association CEO Daisy Foster are calling on British Columbians to do the following: take shorter showers, install water-efficient fixtures and appliances, turn off the tap when shaving, brushing teeth or doing dishes, and don’t use toilets and drains to dispose of medications, grease and household cleaners.

The province is providing $100,000 for the training of small water system operators around the province, and says that the week will “play a key role in raising awareness of the value of our water.”

“There are significant costs involved in treating our water both before and after we use it,” says Foster. “Those costs will only increase with the growth in population, industry and agriculture … it’s easy to see how our everyday actions can have a big impact on our water, the environment and our water costs.”

No word what the province thinks of Oak Bay’s slow response that saw municipal workers let the water flow from a burst pipe for an entire weekend.

Oak Bay Superintendent of Public Works Phil Barnett stated, “It cost way less to let the burst pipe run all weekend than it did to have our workers come out on double overtime to fix it.”

Meanwhile, residents should mind their 10-minute showers: drinkingwaterweek.org.

Paved with good intentions

Forest lovers take note: your explorations into B.C.’s wilderness could be easier than ever before, at least if those summer adventures take you to Avatar Grove. Now, a new boardwalk may guide your way.

For $100, you can sponsor the construction of a one-meter section of the kilometre-long boardwalk and trail in Port Renfrew proposed by the Ancient Forest Alliance for Avatar Grove. The alliance started lobbying for the path to protect surrounding wilderness after the province announced the grove would be protected in an Old-Growth Management Area last February, which prohibits logging and mining.

The alliance says any amount will help, and hopes to have the walk completed before the summer tourism rush. More: ancientforestalliance.org. M

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