ODE TO THE SMALL OLDER CHARACTER HOME

  Perhaps it was the sight of the heavy excavator perched on the back of a big lumbering truck, slowly moving along our street early this morning, bound for another older smaller Oak Bay character home waiting to be demolished.  Or sounds of the excavator crunching, splintering and breaking apart, piece by piece, beautiful old growth lumber and oak hardwood flooring, grabbed and lifted by metal jaws and dumped unceremoniously into the ubiquitous yellow bin. Or the high-pitched whine of…

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HOUSING AFFORDABILITY IN OAK BAY

Housing Affordability in Oak Bay A two-part public forum on housing affordability in Oak Bay, sponsored by the Community Association of Oak Bay, brought packed audiences to both sessions held February 24 and March 3, 2018 at Windsor Park.  The following summary is based on my notes and observations of presentations and one of the small group discussions in which I participated. The Context: (based on a presentation by Kay Melliship, Executive Director of the Victoria Housing Society) With a…

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SUPPORTING OAK BAY’S HERITAGE IS A GROUP EFFORT

  As Chair of the Oak Bay Heritage Commission, I submit each year an annual report on behalf of all Commission members.  The following is our report for 2017, as well as a poster of upcoming events next week to celebrate Heritage Week in Oak Bay, thanks to Caroline Duncan and the Oak Bay Archives: OAK BAY HERITAGE COMMISSION 2017 ANNUAL REPORT Prepared by Cairine Green, Chair The Oak Bay Heritage Commission had another busy year in 2017 because of…

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A Family Christmas Story

  As the year 2017 closes and Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just a few days away, I am wishing my readers from our home in Oak Bay, a Holiday Season of joy, peace and sharing with family, friends and loved ones.  To help get us all into the spirit of the holiday season, the following is one of my favourite family Christmas stories that I hope will tickle your tinsel as it does mine whenever I share it. …

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“The Future of Journalism in the Age of Fake News”

Excerpts and my observations from the Southam Guest Lecture Panel: UVic’s Harry Hickman Theatre was spilling over with an audience anxious to hear the November 7, 2017 Harvey Stevenson Southam Guest Lecture panel discussion on “The Future of Journalism in the Age of Fake News.”  Moderated by author and UVic Writing Department Chair David Leach, panel members are all recipients of Southam Guest Lectureships, are all writers/journalists in print or broadcast journalism and each has a unique perspective on the…

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A VISIT TO “THE ROCK” – Remote, Beautiful Newfoundland

  A visit to Newfoundland was on our bucket list for some time and in September 2017, a family wedding in Halifax was all the incentive we needed to travel to the Maritimes and then on to Newfoundland, affectionately known as “the Rock.”  We enticed another couple, Victoria friends Heather Lund and Alan Breakspear, to join us.  Heather loves travel planning so she mapped our route over two weeks and pre-arranged all of our B&B accommodation.  Heather’s keen planning skills…

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A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

Writing can be cathartic for me and never more so than now, following the American election results of this last week. I have more than a glancing relationship with the United States, which could, in part, explain my visceral reaction to this election.  My parents moved our family from Victoria to Southern California in 1958 to seek new and better opportunities.  In 1961, we settled in Northern Nevada where my parents lived and worked until their return to Victoria in…

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“WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER”

Rarely are speakers as inspiring and passionate as they were on October 12, 2016, during a public panel discussion on community wellness, well-being and belonging at the Victoria Conference Centre. Hosted by the Victoria Foundation and its sponsors, along with the City of Victoria, and moderated by Mayor Lisa Helps, it was a distinct privilege to listen to two remarkable thought leaders and panelists, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and CEO of the Aga Kahn Foundation of Canada, Khalil Shariff. Victoria’s…

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A Site to C

We are fortunate.  We have traveled most of the southern half of our Province a number of times by motorcycle but I had never been north of Prince George.  So this year, we began talking a lot about heading north by car this summer, to the Peace River country to see the area known as Site C, a strip of low-lying treed and agricultural lands along the banks of the Peace River.  Slated for future flooding to accommodate a controversial…

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Engaged – Crib Notes on Local Government

After I published my first blog article in late June 2016 titled “Crib Notes on Local Government,” readers asked for a sequel explaining just how the public can get involved and engaged with their local municipal council and government.   While this may not be gripping material that keeps readers awake at night, it might be helpful to those who want to take a more active role in their community.  Please note that my point of reference for this article…

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Crib Notes on Local Government

Regional and local governments in the Capital Region have taken some hard knocks in the past few years, primarily on issues of spending, project management or transparency.  The increase in public angst and criticism seems to be a common part of the political landscape these days.  As a private citizen now engaged differently with my community and local government, a different vantage point brings new observations and insights and rekindles other long held beliefs. As a former three-term Municipal Councillor,…

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The Housing Crunch

Over the past few months, media attention has focused on the loss of older character homes barged from Oak Bay and transplanted to other communities.  The San Juan Community Home Trust is a grateful recipient of these homes, re-purposed by the Trust as affordable housing on San Juan Island, Washington State.  This affordable housing project using reclaimed Oak Bay houses is the twist to the story that first caught my attention and that of local, national and international media; if…

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