The Week — Sept. 15

Bylaw enfarcement no joke, last call for artists, BC Hydro: we’re not dumb yet, never too old to work

Who says you're ever too old to work? 'Wally,' a 92-year-old Model-T, is the newest hire at Root Cellar Village Green Grocer. For $5,000, owner Daisy Leslie-Orser hopes the flat bed will haul in nostalgic customers.

Who says you're ever too old to work? 'Wally,' a 92-year-old Model-T, is the newest hire at Root Cellar Village Green Grocer. For $5,000, owner Daisy Leslie-Orser hopes the flat bed will haul in nostalgic customers.

Bylaw enfarcement no joke

The City of Victoria got a taste of its own medicine this weekend when the inauguration ceremony of the new plaza on Pandora Green saw a group of “Bylaw Enfarcement Officers” ticket city officials and community members who were lazing around on the green, enjoying the day.

The celebration, which happened Saturday, Sept. 10, involved a key address from Mayor Dean Fortin on the initiative of beautifying Pandora’s historically tough neighbourhood. During his address, the eight officers swarmed the crowd to hand out mock tickets, which explained sitting down to rest and placing belongings on the ground violated city bylaws — bylaws that anti-poverty activists say have been used to intimidate and persecute the street-involved community. Fortin himself received a ticket, but then handed it back to the officers.

“I didn’t want them to waste paper,” says Fortin on his move. “The activists were raising legitimate concern for all of us, and it’s been a really important issue we’ve worked hard to recognize … I think these changes will make [the Green] safer for everyone. We’ve moved them [homeless people] off the boulevard and onto the sidewalk which is 20 feet away, and is safer.”

Jody Franklin, one of the enfarcement officers, says there were few street people involved in the celebration, though many people were responsive to the group’s satirical skit.

“We can not solve the crisis of homelessness by chasing people into dark alleys and side streets,” says Franklin. “Our community needs affordable housing and harm reduction services, not more police harassment … If anything, our action sparked conversations that needed to happen that day.”

In October 2010, the city passed a bylaw to prohibit people from standing, sitting, squatting or kneeling on any boulevard or median, including Pandora Green. Another recent bylaw allows police to confiscate homeless people’s belongings when they are placed on the ground. This year the city committed $510,000 to install sprinklers, hard benches and concrete, which activists say are intended to discourage people from resting in the area.

“The $510,000 invested to ‘beautify’ Pandora Green could have been used to eradicate poverty and homelessness,” said Jesse Howardson, one of the activists involved. “Advocacy, social services, harm reduction and health services are all underfunded. Street-involved people are still using Pandora Green, and will continue to do so until we put real solutions to poverty and homelessness into place.”

Last call for artists

This Friday, Sept. 16, marks the last day you can get your voice in to a review that is trying to prove how much B.C. artists need money — the allocation of Community Gaming Grants, to be specific.

The review, being conducted by Skip Triplett, has been funded by the provincial government in an effort to examine the impact recent funding cuts have had on various arts communities. In particular, through cuts to Gaming Grants.

In Victoria, the ProArt Alliance — an 18-member organization made up of galleries, theatres, music groups and film societies — gathered last Thursday, Sept. 8, to make their plea for improved funding.

“All groups have been cut since we lost Gaming funding, and over $1 million has been lost to Victoria alone,” says Peter Sandmark, ProArt Alliance interim coordinator. “Our big demand right now is the reinstatement and increase of funding for arts groups aimed at adults, which are no longer eligible for grants.”

Sandmark says he was impressed with the meeting the group had with Triplett, and hopes others will take the initiative to leave their comments before Friday’s deadline is up. For more, see communitygaminggrantreview.gov.bc.ca.

We’re not dumb yet

The buzz hasn’t quieted down over BC Hydro’s Smart Meters yet.

After hundreds of B.C. residents sent letters to BC Hydro refusing to allow a Wireless Smart Meter  to  be placed on their home, BC Hydro is now replying to those letters stating that this refusal will be null and void unless there is a meeting between BC Hydro and the customer. Activists have supplied a legal non-consent form at citizensforsafetechnology.org/Alert-Reply-to-Hydro,25,1335.

Meanwhile, outraged residents will gather on the lawn of Victoria’s legislature this Sunday, Sept. 18, between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

Most Read