Flavourite Music now at the ol’ Marley Farm
by Michele Murphy, photo by Ed Johnson
Saanichton-born and raised Lori J. Ward and her Austrian husband, Teo Orlando, are transforming the old Marley Farm into what they hope will be a world-class retreat for musicians, artists, foodies, farmers, gardeners, and travellers. Their energy, creativity and talent paired up with arguably the most awe-inspiring setting on the planet, just may be the perfect match.
A graduate of Parklands High School, Ward, 28, started in electronic music right out of high school. Studying under some of the best DJ’s of the day, she became the first female DJ on the West Coast. Within two years, she had played all over North America. Ward found opportunities in New York City, London, and Berlin, the birthplace of Flavourite Music, before she settled in Austria. Ward’s stage name became ‘Lori, the HIFI Princess’ and she was billed throughout the EU as Europe’s leading lady of techno. Today, she has recorded eight of her own albums and is considered by some to be one of the top female DJs.
It was in Austria that Ward met her husband Orlando, 31. Born in Italy, the hyperpolyglot (six languages) artist made his living as a popular DJ and producer working throughout Europe. His strong background in music production quickly made him an integral part of Flavourite Music. The music label offers production, recording, design, promotion and even
education, with Orlando running the Flavourite Music School (FMS). Since Flavourite Music’s start in 2007 it has over 250 tracks and 80 album releases to its credit.
The couple is excited about bringing their EU connections to Canada. Working with German pop and rock musicians, some of Europe’s best house DJs and hip-hop artists, Orlando feels confident that they will attract world-class artists to the farm. “It’s inspiring to be here. Working hard in the studio and then being able to sit back, looking over the hillside for a little downtime, it’s rejuvenating,” says Orlando.
“The music that we’re getting from our people here is phenomenal,” Ward explains of their client’s work. “The creativity just seems to flow so easily in this incredible setting.”
While music and farming seem to be a perfect fit, Ward confesses that the inspiration for farm life actually came from the financial reality of renting a studio in the Rock Bay district of downtown Victoria – as well as an office space and an apartment. She decided that all they needed was a mansion and a roommate to make this all work. When the farm with its 5,000 square- foot home came up for rent right across the street from her childhood home, Ward was sure that the universe was speaking directly to her.
Since they moved in just two months ago, already many of their plans for the farm have become realities. They have chickens and a vegetable garden bursting with produce. Their music school is booking up, their spacious guest rooms are listed on both AirBnB.com and B&B.com and their recording studio is in full- swing.
Ward is also excited about hosting events at the farm retreat. “The whole property lends itself so well to gathering and connecting with people. It’s the perfect setting for celebration,” she explains. The couple feel that with this spectacular location, the local harvest, the caliber of musicians that they can attract and their event management experience they will be able to offer unique top-quality music events, weddings, and fundraisers. Ward is researching local by-laws and looks forward to working with the community to make their events successful for everyone. She notes that Marley Farms hosted the sold-out FarmFolk CityFolk annual fundraiser, Feast of the Fields, in 2011.
When asked how it feels to be back in the Valley Ward answers, “When I returned to Victoria I thought my journey was over – now I am thinking that it’s just beginning. I have come full circle and I’m really excited about the future. I’m looking at the valley through totally new eyes.”
For more info on Flavourite Music go to www.flavouritemusic.ca
by Roger Stonebanks
If history is any guide (and it often is), the winner in the Nov. 15 municipal and school board elections will be – apathy. The majority of voters will simply chose not to vote – and in significant numbers.
In the District of Saanich, the most populous municipality in the region, three-quarters of eligible voters are likely to give election day a pass. In the 2011 election, there were 84,546 eligible voters but only 21,134 turned up at the polls – 25 per cent. It was worse in 2008 – the turnout was 20.61 per cent. And worse again in 2005 – 19.13 per cent. In 2002 it was better – 24.6 per cent. The turnout does get better in the smaller Saanich Peninsula municipalities. In 2011 it was 32.93 per cent in Central Saanich, 41.2 per cent in North Saanich and 31 per cent in Sidney.
Why is there such disinterest – and what to do about it? Exhortations to “civic duty” clearly haven’t worked and neither has general hand-wringing about a sorry state of affairs. “If you discover the magic key, let me know,” said Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff.
Saanich council decided this year to reinstate mobile voting stations for seniors’ facilities – and to continue mail-in ballots. As well, a new advanced polling station will be established at UVic.
“Over the years I ask people why they don’t vote,” said Coun. Brownoff. “The answer has been they are satisfied with Saanich council. Young families tell me they are too busy to get engaged. I’m not sure how to engage university age youth to vote at the municipal level. The level they are more concerned with are provincial and federal. They don’t seem to appreciate what can be accomplished at the local level.”
Coun. Brownoff thinks the importance of voting at the local level needs to be captured in the school curriculum by engaging youth at the middle school level; try to connect councils with university and college students; more advanced polling times, which Saanich is doing, and more information about what municipalities have the power to manage; and education on the Capital Regional District and roles of directors. Mobile voting units for seniors facilities and more advanced polling stations would help.
Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said that in campaigning in neighbourhoods, “in a good year, you’d hope one-third vote, one-third might have voted but didn’t, and one-third wouldn’t vote no matter what convenience we provided. As for my own experience, I find that door-to-door canvassing identifies people who are likely to vote (so two-thirds at best) and campaigns work to get those that are sympathetic out on election day. So, by default it becomes apparent at the door who is not going to vote – the one-third – just not engaged in community, perhaps moving from home to home frequently, and don’t identify with any local issues or candidates.
“So as for those who seem interested enough to vote, sadly I think only half of them still vote – some of that their own lack of motivation and some of that issues of convenience. Motivation? The candidates and issues are key. So are the candidate campaigns, since we are low-budget compared to federal and provincial, the voters are not reached in the same way as we don’t have the media or volunteers to get out the vote.
“Convenience? That’s what our staff keep trying to overcome – mail-in ballots, more advance polls, mobile polls, where polls are, on and on.”
Saanich Coun. Dean Murdock says that, “On the doorstep I hear a lot of families talk about the cost of housing, frustration
over traffic, or lack of proper sidewalks. These are all things that your council can work to change or influence. Paying attention to who is on the ballot and casting a vote for candidates that will fight for your concerns is how we effect change.”
He supports “all possible steps to improve access to voting” and specifically mobile advance polls and a polling station at UVic. Voter information cards are a good way to raise awareness about where and when to vote. “There is always more that can be done and I am keen to hear ideas that would get more people to the polls.” He added that Saanich staff have been asked to look into putting voting stations at places like shopping centres and recreation centres.
For info on where, when, and how to vote:
An excited crowd of elders, chiefs, politicians, and families turned up for the ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the new Tsartlip Nation Gas Station and Convenience Store on Stelly’s Cross Rd. on Aug 21. The traditional ceremony offered a blessing for the new building and staff followed by a salmon barbeque.
In this time of ‘food security’ awareness on the peninsula, there are few people that can justly claim that they are mostly self-sufficient with the food they can grow on their own property. While Saanich Voice Online has profiled Bill Morgan and Anne Freidank who manage to do so on a normal sized city lot, there are others who are fortunate enough to have a little more room to carry the project even further.
Wayne and Lynne Brander combine a prolific vegetable garden and fruit orchard on little more than one acre in Saanich where they have lived for the past thirty eight years. In an english garden style setting among flowers gracing the house, one could be completely unaware of the abundance grown around back.
Nestled among the many apple and fig trees are not only a bee hive from which they extract many pounds of honey, but a moveable chicken coop with four chickens which gives them a supply of eggs year around. “We eat, process and store everything we can on this property. The only things we require from the grocery store are dairy products. We get our meat from Ireland’s farm, about a kilometer away.”
Always trying new techniques, Wayne ‘rediscovered’ trench composting, which is nothing more than burying kitchen scraps six inches or more in the soil. “No pests to bother it, and no need to turn it over”, he explains. “You can plant some crops over it in the first year, even. If you have the room, it works better than any plastic composter and the soil is the immediate benefactor.”
When they moved to the property back in the 70′s, they planted a standard spartan apple tree which grew to more than fifteen feet in height. With the help of BC Fruit Testers (BCFTA.ca), Wayne learned the art of grafting onto dwarf rootstock, so that the new apple trees he planted would only grow to six or eight feet and still produce the same amount of full sized apples. “Not only did it save space,” he says, “but picking and pruning does not require a ladder either.” Besides his ‘designer’ apple trees, Wayne also has dwarf cherry, plum and pear trees and all types of berries and raspberries, “basically everything that can grow in our climate”.
And that includes tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, kale — the list goes on. No chemical fertilizers are used, only chicken and horse manure.
Figs are a special fruit for Victoria gardens. They love this climate and, “you won’t find them in the stores because the shelf life is a matter of 48 hours. They must be picked when fully ripe and either consumed or dried, but growing them is quite easy,” Wayne says.
“This is basically about getting people to grow their own stuff. We are moving into an interesting period where our leaders are starting to throw trade sanctions around food. Just this week (mid August), we have Russia, with a population of 150 million saying they are not going to buy certain Canadian agricultural products. The bottom line with these sanctions will either be shortages or rapid increases in prices,” he advises.
The bottom line for would-be gardeners is that what Wayne and Lynne are doing on their property can be scaled down to a city lot or even a small backyard. Most municipalities now allow chickens too. A search of composting methods will yield techniques to give good soil from leaves, vegetable kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc. – probably things the average person has been discarding as ‘waste’ or polluting the air with smoke.
“Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869—1948), Indian political and spiritual leader
Formed as a Charter on March 20, 1969 by 28 local men who saw a need for a service club, the Central Saanich Lions Club remains committed to community volunteer work by helping, leading, planning and supporting citizens and groups at the local, regional, national and international levels. The Central Saanich Lions Club was originally sponsored by the Sidney Lions Club and is part of Lions Club International whose mission statement is “to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.”
Over the past four decades, Central Saanich Lions Club members continue to uphold their motto—“we serve” by extending their acts of charity in two ways: (1) awarding grants to local, regional and national organizations such as the Canadian Diabetes Foundation, Peninsula Soccer Association, Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association and Sidney Lions Food Bank (Christmas Fund); and (2) providing manual labour and event coordination for such initiatives as the annual Christmas tree chip, firewood sales, annual Easter Egg Hunt, annual Halloween bonfire, various cookouts on the Saanich Peninsula as well as general landscaping and maintenance at Mount Newton Centre…just to name a few. Lions Club International is best known for its work in ensuring vision for all. In upholding this commitment, the Central Saanich Lions Club, in cooperation with School District #63 and local optometrists, provide vision screening/testing and eye glasses to students in need who require vision correction.
Most notably, the Central Saanich Lions Club’s initial acts of charity began in 1969 with Club members volunteering their time, labour as well as fundraising skills for various projects at Centennial Park on Wallace Drive. In Central Saanich Lions involvement in Centennial Park, Past Lions Ken MacDonald and Joe Sparrow documented the Club’s history with Centennial Park which included, but was not limited to, the following projects—“…one of the first Centennial Park projects that the new Lions Club undertook was the building of a lacrosse box….In 1973, the Club prepared the ground, constructed the brick wall and assembled all of the equipment in the current (children’s) playground….In September 1983, the Municipality (of Central Saanich) approached the Lions about the possibility of creating a much needed bowling green in the Park….In 1990, the Club spent 40 hours seeding the Park’s soccer pitches. In a later project, the Club supplied labour for fencing the soccer area…the Club supplied labour to construct the Babe Ruth concession and washroom facilities….Centennial Park is a prime example of the value of voluntary work in drawing people together to supply needed facilities.”
According to Ken Marriette, Central Saanich Lions Club Member, “approximately 75% of the work that we do, stays in the community…the remaining 25% of our work supports projects on southern Vancouver Island and select national and international initiatives.” Marriette is the Central Saanich Lions Club’s Public Relations Representative where he liaises with the media about upcoming Club events, coordinates guest speakers for presentations to the Club membership, and promotes Club membership.
For Marriette, volunteering with the Club is about giving back to the community. He recalled how his parents shared with him at an early age that “charity begins at home.” This September, Marriette is entering his sixth year as a Central Saanich Lions Club Member. When Marriette initially joined the Central Saanich Lions Club, he was invited as a perspective member by a Lions Club “sponsor” to attend one of the Club’s general meetings. Marriette was moved by the Club members’ approval of funds to be provided to a local family in need for specific disability resources. After bearing witness to the approval of said funds in a unanimous vote, Marriette knew right then and there that this was the service club that aligned with his core values of commitment, camaraderie, volunteerism and connection to one’s community in terms of helping local citizens and their families when they are in need of assistance.
At present, Central Saanich Lions Club members are raising funds for the creation of a skateboard park which may “potentially” be located at Stelly’s High School. This fall, at the start of the school year in September, you will see the Lions “in action” cooking for several schools in the District. Other upcoming events in September 2014 are the Terry Fox Run (September 14, 2014 at 9:00 am—Centennial Park on Wallace Drive) where the Lions will be preparing breakfast for the annual Run, and “An English car affair in the park” (September 14, 2014 from 11:00 am—2:00 pm at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site) where the Lions will be serving meals at this event which is coordinated by the Victoria English Car Club.
Led by Ken Burkowski (President of the Central Saanich Lions Club), the Lions meet at their “den” (aka. the Lions Hall at 6994 East Saanich Road in Saanichton, BC) on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month for their general meetings. Marriette and his fellow Lions recognize that to sustain their community projects and fundraising endeavours, capacity building is needed in the form of increased Club membership. The Central Saanich Lions Club currently has 42 members and, on average, they are approximately 50+ years of age. Marriette indicated that “through the Club Improvement Program, we are looking for ways to attract new members and engage in promotion about our service to the community…in particular, we are exploring concepts related to having a portable information booth when we are hosting or participating in various community events, creating a Junior Chapter Program of the Central Saanich Lions to engage ‘the next generation’ of Lions which includes establishing a social media presence. In order to achieve all that we want to do and raise the money that will be required to do it, we need to increase our (membership) numbers to continue our commitment to serving our community.”
Did you know?
Founded in 1917, Lions Club International is the world’s largest service club organization! There are 1.35 million Lions club members worldwide—working in over 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.
The Central Saanich Lions Club is part of Lions International District “I-19” which includes 51 other Lions clubs on Vancouver Island, BC and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.
Saanich Peninsula trivia: The lions “den”
According to Past Central Saanich Lion Joe Sparrow, the Central Saanich Lions’ current “den” (aka. Lions Hall Building on East Saanich Road) served the Saanich Peninsula in one semblance or another since 1894. The Hall was originally built by the Temperance Society with the original trustees being Harry Tanner, Alfred Gale, Harold Oates, William Michell and Andrew Stewart.
The Temperance Hall was built to provide a place where abstainers could conduct social activities and was available for use by other organizations strictly on a non-alcoholic basis. Organizations such as the South Saanich Women’s Institute and the South Saanich Farmers’ Institute utilized said facility in the early 20th century.
The Central Saanich Lions Club’s original “den” was at the Keating Coffee Shop near the Peninsula Co-op Store. In 1974, Lions Club President Ron Tidman, along with fellow Lions Ed Gait and Dick Gibson, convinced the District of Central Saanich Council that the former Temperance Hall (owned by the District) had a viable future, and that it was still valuable to the community if placed in the hands of the Lions Club. The council concurred. From 1974 to present, the Lions Club has held the Hall on East Saanich Road on a $1.00 registered lease, on a five-year renewable basis.
Did you know?
The Central Saanich Lions Club stores its cookout trailer at the Central Saanich fire hall. The cookout trailer has grills, tents and chairs that can be utilized as a remote/mobile grill for cooking at a triage center in the event of an emergency or related disaster in Central Saanich.
As I sit in Dana Waite’s back yard and listen to her speak about the Paper Maché and its humble beginning, her passion and love for this newspaper shine through. “..I think it’s a fall in love kind of idea; it’s a sweet little idea. It generates enthusiasm.” Previously a journalist and elementary school teacher, Dana says “the idea of a paper for kids was sort of a natural morphing of those two particular careers” and led to the creation of the Paper Maché Newspaper as a place to showcase and promote children’s stories, drawings and other creative ideas.
Originally, the Paper Maché was started in 2002 as a part time venture, however Dana had to stop for several years before restarting the newspaper full time in 2012. This time she was faced with challenges that had not been present in 2002. Being primarily funded by limited advertising (strictly monitored by the school boards) Dana sought out her advertisers and sponsors from 2002. By 2012 many businesses had adopted a much smaller advertising budget following the recession, and would no longer advertise with her. Although she has now managed to regain some of her former advertisers and a few new ones, she is looking to the future growth of the paper and possibly expanding its reach.
Currently, the newspaper can be found in all elementary schools in Victoria and Sooke school districts. Dana has faced challenges getting into all eight schools in Saanich school district. The paper is published monthly from September to June, and distributed to schools, libraries and rec. centers. Dana currently publishes around 6000 copies of the Paper Maché, but looks to possibly increase this number in coming years. All submissions are done by elementary age children across Victoria and between 70 and 80 of roughly 500 submissions are published each month. Dana has observed that kids love the format of the newspaper because it is so much like a real newspaper. It has a “grown-up” feel.
When Dana isn’t organizing the paper or busy enjoying her garden on the peninsula, she can be found going to schools and reading to students 2-3 times a week. The Paper Maché has garnered many fans among both children who create the paper and teachers who see improved confidence in their students after having a story or drawing published. “..The experience I had as a journalist, and that wonderful feeling of seeing your work in print was such a self esteem boost for me personally, I thought well, kids would probably like that and be able to get some benefit from that as well…” she says.
Dana has a created a truly kid oriented product that can help in so many ways to boost confidence, encourage creativity, and bring a focus on literacy in a fun setting. She has had great feedback from grandparents, and former “writers” who have kept their papers for years. She would love to see the paper distributed in all schools in the Saanich district in addition to her current readers across the public schools in Victoria and Sooke. She also hopes to expand up Island one day and potentially broach the possibility with private schools where she currently distributes to Pacific Christian and a class at Glen Lyon. As the paper has non-profit status, it cannot survive without the help of sponsors and advertisers.
For more information about Dana or the Paper Maché, please check out the Facebook page or her website:
You can also email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Ron Hlady
On Saturday, June 28, 2014, some seventy friends gathered at the Central Saanich Lawn Bowling to pay tribute to a wonderful lady. The afternoon tea, arranged by Ruth and provided by Jazzaniah Catering, was an amazing afternoon for all to witness Ruth’s remarkable achievement of 100 years.
Kindly emceed by Geoffrey Cochrane, the event began with tributes and anecdotes from Trevor DeCasseres, who bowled a lot with Ruth, and understood her prowess and competitiveness. CSLB president, Michael Johnson, presented Ruth with certificates from M.L.A. Gary Holman, M.P. Elizabeth May, Governor-General David Johnston and Queen Elizabeth II. He was particularly proud to be able to present Ruth with a Lifetime Membership in CSLB. Others were long-time friend, Peter Kirchner, Central Saanich Councillor, Zeb King, whose Grandparents were friends of Ruth, even Ruth’s Reflexology and Applied Kinesiology prof told how an 89 year old took the course, became a friend, and now promotes natural exercise.
Ruth knows that birthdays are very special: she has always called her friends on their birthdays and when Michael asked for a show of hands from those who have had a birthday phone call with Ruth singing Happy Birthday, seventy plus arms were raised.
Ruth is really appreciative of all the support and attention she has received from her well-wishers and those who helped out. The event on June 28 was a culmination of events honouring Ruth, from groups like exercise, singing, bridge. Ruth had just returned from Germany where she was feted by family and friends: including a family band and fireworks.
Central Saanich Lawn Bowling is proud to be able to honour Ruth and look forward to many more years of her positive influence on all of us.
As recent recipients of a new National Conservation Plan backed by $80,000,000, the Nature Conservancy of Canada will have additional support during the five year program to enhance its private land conservation efforts throughout Canada. For B.C. that may work out to $800,000 per year, but only if matching funds can be found. The government is not making it easy, though, for up to three dollars may have to be raised to receive one dollar in federal funds.
Since 2007, the Nature Conservancy has secured habitat in southern Canada for more than 160 species at risk in a total area represented by 1,000 Stanley Parks.
Closer to home, the Maber Flats joint project with the District of Central Saanich will receive special attention for local residents. Linda Hannah, Regional Vice-President, British Columbia Nature Conservancy of Canada, plans to “incorporate a wetland with the District of Central Saanich in the northern section first, and then buildout towards the south as funds allow. During this time we will be trying to find viable options for the conservation status of the lands. The northern section is the largest and least expensive piece and therefore the logical place to begin.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast. More than one third of this area is in British Columbia.
“British Columbians have a deep appreciation of the staggering beauty of this province and its rich diversity of nature — from essential ecosystem services to incredible landscapes to a vast array of animals and plants. We recognize that we have a special duty to help shape a natural legacy that will endure,” adds Linda Hannah. “This support from the Government of Canada will enable the Nature Conservancy of Canada to work together with partners to shape a natural legacy for generations to come.”
n British Columbia, more than 2,100 square kilometres have been conserved to date by the Nature Conservancy of Canada under the program. Highlights include:
Darkwoods, a 550-square-kilometre forested conservation area near Nelson, which is home to an endangered herd of mountain caribou, a threatened population of grizzly bears and at least 17 other species at risk;
The Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area near Osoyoos, which includes some of the largest intact expanses of sagebrush in the province and shelters over 30 species at risk, including burrowing owl, sage thrasher and western rattlesnake;
Chase Woods in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, which harbours old-growth Coastal Douglas-fir forests and Garry oak woodlands; and
Enhanced conservation measures in the Flathead Valley, thanks to a $10-million contribution from the Nature Conservancy of Canada to the Province of British Columbia to offset costs of implementing the Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act.
by Ed Johnson
If the name, Anne Freidank, seems familiar it is probably because you have been browsing the vegetables on display at the Fall Saanich Fair. She never fails to garner many awards, and this last year was one of her better showings. Last year she had “seventeen first, seven seconds, three best-in-show, overall most entries and most points in the vegetable department.I was quite surprised. I just love the fair, I have to touch all the animals!”
But Anne performs these miracles from a modest Saanichton backyard, a few raised beds, and a couple of small greenhouses. She grows 30 lb cabbages, six lb onions, and a host of heritage and open pollinated plants to supply her dinner table year around. Religiously saving seeds of all her favourites, she is also always trying new varieties. It would be quite a long list to catalogue all of the current vegetables, herbs and fruits that call her backyard-and even frontyard-home. To say she is passionate about plants, and for that matter, most living things is an understatement. The ups and downs, successes and failures are treated with a deep caring attitude that the observer does not fail to notice. Even the little mason bee is regarded with respect by ridding the cocoons of mites in the fall, and bringing them out from refrigeration in the spring to begin their pollination dance all over again.
That half round dome in the picture above is Anne’s slug trap. A hollowed out shell of a cantaloupe is upturned in the mornings where the little slugs are found. “I hate to kill anything myself so I feed the slugs to the ducks.” Another trick she learned is a way to propagate tomato plants. “Did you know that the part of the plant in the leaf axil that you normally remove in a growing tomato plant can be easily rooted, kept warm overwinter, and come spring planted out for an early crop?”
But it hasn’t always been clear sailing for Anne. One morning looking out the window she was aghast. The entire trellis of kiwis had collapsed on top of a raised bed. On closer inspection she found the supporting timbers had rotted and now there was several hundred pounds of plants and trellises to deal with. The year before she had over 1600 kiwis, but this year there would be none. The vines had to be cut in small pieces and removed – not an easy task for this slight septuagenarian. But that was three years ago and the kiwis have recovered and are on track for another bountiful harvest. Although “I had to hand pollinate the blossoms this year as there did not seem to be any bugs around. Bees do not pollinate kiwis.”
So if you want to try your luck at the Saanich Fair this year and need some tips, give Anne a call. She would love to be part of your success!
To see the entire interview, learn a few gardening tips and a bit of philosophy too, be sure to watch the video.
by Terry Hand
To build, or not to build the site C dam, that is the question!
For most of us embarking on a major and expensive project usually means we have a good reason for doing so, which brings me to the question, WHY build a dam at all? According to BC Hydro Site C dam will: “provide key benefits for B.C., including energy, dependable capacity and flexibility, regional economic development, job creation, and benefits for communities and Aboriginal groups“. This in itself sounds like a good project and has all the right buzz’ words to keep the average voter happy, but it doesn’t really answer the question of why are we building this dam in the first place?
According to BC Hydro: “our forecasts show demand for electricity will increase by approximately 40 percent during the next 20 years“. Forecast (fore-cast) verb to predict, or estimate (a future event or trend). This sounds to me very similar to gambling, 1) Gamble (gam-ble) verb take risky action in the hope of a desired result. 2) noun an act of gambling; an enterprise undertaken or attempted with a risk of loss and a chance of profit or success.
For about fifteen years retired economist Erik Andersen has been monitoring Hydro’s accounting practices, their financial health and more importantly the cost of electricity to British Columbians. Recently Erik wrote an article which rebukes Hydro’s claim of a 40 percent increased demand for electricity over the next 20 years.
Do we really need more electricity? What should be considered is that BC Hydro (according to the Joint Review Panel), has failed to prove that British Columbia needs the additional energy which site C would generate. Not only that, but the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) looked into the merits of Site C as a location for hydroelectric generation in 1980 and recommended it be deferred stating, “The commission is not satisfied that Hydro has demonstrated that a 1983 construction start-up date is justified…or that it is preferable to all other sources [of power].” It appears their [BCUC] position has not changed since. More recently the joint review panel stated, “The panel concludes that the proponent has not fully demonstrated the need for the project on the timetable set forth.” The Liberals are not listening. Why?
These points alone relegate a ‘forecast’ of 40 percent increase in power demand, down to that of a ‘gamble’, a 7.9 billion dollar gamble at that. If the same estimation methods which were used on the BC Place roof were also used to estimate the construction of site C there is little doubt the cost will be considerably more than 8 billion dollars; even a 10 percent overrun (not unheard of) would add 790 million to the cost. Then there is the question of interest to consider. The funny thing about interest is, it eats while we sleep. It never stops eating away at the peoples pocketbook.
Sidebar: From the joint review panel: “If ministers are inclined to proceed, they may wish to consider referring the load forecast and demand side management plan details to the BC Utilities Commission.” This is unlikely to happen now since the Liberal government has excluded the BCUC from providing any input into the project process. This is totally unacceptable to British Columbians!
On 26 May 2014, the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) sent a letter to premier Christy Clark and her cabinet, pleading with the Liberal government to have the BCUC review the projects costs and the subsequent impact on ratepayers, before the final decision is made, as this would better serve the public interest.
What are the Liberals trying to hide?
Some media have supported the governments efforts to sell this project to British Columbians by falsely quoting the review panel and by completely ignoring the fact that 3,800 hectares of prime farmland land and forests will be swallowed up. Is there a relationship between the construction of the site C dam and the future demand for water used in fracking wells? Is there a connection between proposed fracking sites and the changes to the ALR? In an article by Dan Potts, “Our energy minister has admitted electricity from Site C is needed for private gas entrepreneurs producing fossil fuel for export and to enable the Alberta oilsands.”
Costs come in many forms and apart from the enormous cost in dollars to the people of BC there are even larger costs in terms of the environment. The area which will be flooded under the proposed construction would flood 5,000 hectares of land, approximately 3,800 hectares of which is some of the most valuable agricultural land in British Columbia. There will be displacement of farmers and Indigenous people in the region. These costs are incalculable and must be considered above and beyond any monetary price tag.
The farmland that is about to be submerged will produce food for BC indefinitely and will reduce our dependency on imported food, which supply would surely dry up in the event of some unknown calamity, such as a trucking strike, or other serious event. Weigh this against the fact that a dam has a lifespan of 50 -100 years or even less if mother nature waves her hand, or human error rears its ugly head. It is not difficult to realize that when the life of that dam comes to an end in 50 -100 years we, that is to say you and I, will still be paying for its construction. Then there is the problem and additional cost of removing the dam safely, and what does one do with all that backfill, deteriorated concrete and steel? This article gives more information about hydro including the lifespan of dams, and how dams can impact the environment.
We [people] have an obligation to act as stewards in protecting our natural resources for our children and future generations. We have an inherent responsibility to protect at all cost by making our voices heard on the site C issue. We must postpone or stop this project, and collectively we must look at the many varied alternatives available. Even financially strapped Spain is taking action with alternative energy sources.
We at BC Refed believe that the collective knowledge of all British Columbians can resolve issues such as this through innovation, collaboration and using the knowledge and skills we possess. Look around you, all you see was imagined, designed, built and created not by politicians or CEOs, but by the skills of designers, engineers, scientists, doctors, trades people and labourers. This concept of people power is the very mandate of BC Refed through the process of Direct Democracy -the power of decision is in the hands of the people at all times, not just at election time.
In summary we cannot allow impatient, devil-may-care governments, politicians and profit-hungry corporations to force this upon us, for once that land is submerged, it is irrevocably lost.
Say NO’ to Site C!
Terry Hand is an independent non-commercial writer and member of BC Refed.