Victoria songbird will woo for you – The Week, Feb. 9

Songbird ready to woo for you; hear us out on garden suites; fish farm vs free speech

Katherine Trajan will sing you a tune this Valentine’s Day, in part to benefit the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Songbird ready to woo for you

For those who won’t be able (or lack the guts) to flutter around serenading their loved one this Valentine’s Day, one local songbird can do the crooning and wooing for you.

Starting this week, Katherine Trajan, 28, has made it her mission to deliver the gift of music, kazoos, costumes and fun to any Victorian with a loved one eccentric enough to buy that for them.

Trajan, who has a long background in classical, rock and jazz music, became a community student at the Victoria Conservatory of Music last summer, and plans to donate $5 from every song request to the school. The idea blossomed for her after reading an article in Monday about Duncan Gidney and his brainchild CookieDrop.ca: “delicious cookies delivered by a well-dressed man on a bicycle.”

“Music has been a passion for me for most of my life, and I love the idea of doing something new with it, and showing up at people’s doors and making them smile,” says Trajan, who frequents open mics around Victoria and can be seen performing in places like Fort Street Café, Spiral Café and Hermann’s Jazz Club.

For $25, patrons can select one of two dozen practiced and perfected tunes on Trajan’s website (SongbirdDelivery.ca), which range from heart-felt love songs like Aretha Franklin’s “Baby I Love You” and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One,” to friendly pick-me-ups like Nina Simone’s version of “Feelin’ Good” and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” For a little extra, wannabe songsters can request specific songs that Trajan will learn, and even ask for a delivery of roses and Rogers chocolates to accompany the music. For safety reasons, as long as she’s solo, Trajan encourages people to surprise song recipients in a public place, especially where others can get a kick out of the lyrical spectacle — she’ll be armed with a home-made red uniform, pillbox hat, toner and kazoo.

While Trajan will kick off her self-driven biz on Wednesday, Feb. 8, in time for Valentine’s requests, she plans to carry through year-round, aiming at requests for hospitals, retirement homes, schools and anyone who needs a tonal brightening to their day — her contract work as an independent environmental engineer gives her a flexible schedule.

“I hope that once this gets off the ground I can add performers who would be interested in doing harmonies, and perhaps offer even larger sets,” says Trajan. “But, for now, this is an awesome way to deliver a message to people who aren’t able to do so themselves.”

Hear us out on garden suites

Landlords take note, this week marks the last of the city’s public hearings on bylaw amendments that could make it a lot easier for homeowners to develop secondary and garden suites in their homes.

The hearing, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, will give anyone affected a final chance to speak to council about the proposed changes to the Official Community Plan — changes that have taken an 18-month review period, and could include relaxed laws around legal tenancy in out-buildings.

No residents showed up to speak at the hearing last September, on a matter that some Victorians worry could erode neighbours’ privacy, while others say offers the necessary remedy to tight vacancy rates. Residents who can’t make it but would like to register their opinion are encouraged to email publichearings@victoria.ca.

Fish farm vs free speechBy Mark Worthing

Salmon lovers beware: a Vancouver Island wild salmon activist is being slapped around in Supreme Court by a multi-million dollar international aquaculture company and, as the case nears its conclusion this week, things are smelling a bit off.

Mainstream Canada is casting its sharpest hooks at Islander Don Staniford, a Liverpool native, by suing him for comparing the Norwegian fish farm industry and its products to the tobacco industry. Staniford will now be deported before month’s end. Unfortunately for Cermaq, Norwegian parent company to Mainstream Canada, the lawsuit is being billed as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), and Staniford’s deportation is sending him right to the front yard of the government and corporations that seek to muzzle his criticisms.

“This is a venal SLAPP suit, a venomous attack on free speech. And I’m not going to back down,” says Staniford, who is planning to team up with Norwegian anti-fish farm activist Kurt Oddekalv of the Green Warriors (Norges Miljøvernforbund).

Staniford’s legal bills continue to pile up, but the case has become an example of a burgeoning fundraising style of crowd-sourcing, where Staniford has raised over $34,000 in less than three weeks on GoFundMe.com. He has received funds from the West Coast Environmental Law’s environmental resolution dispute fund, and even from fishermen’s groups in Norway. He expects at least $100,000 in legal bills. M

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