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Posts Tagged "victoria"

28Sep

Victoria to join conversation on accessibility, inclusion

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People in Greater Victoria are invited to participate in a community meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at Central Middle School, 1280 Fort St., Victoria, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to read the document that provides information on how the meeting will be structured, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m.

18Sep

First-of-its-kind Parkinson’s community centre opens in Victoria

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For people living on lower Vancouver Island with Parkinson’s disease, there is now a community centre to help them through their journey.

Wednesday marks the official opening of the Parkinson Wellness Project (PWP) in Victoria, located at 2680 Blanshard Street. Staff refer to the facility as a community centre where people diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder can come together and talk about their struggles with others going through the same journey.

Krista Lavoie, operations manager at PWP, says when someone gets diagnosed with the disease, often people suffer from depression and self-isolation.

One of the most important things someone can do for themselves at the time is to talk about it, she says. 

“We’re here sharing stories, we’re sharing food, we’re sharing laughter and we’re also sharing the hard stuff too,” said Lavoie.

“It’s important that everyone get a chance to do that here.”

Along with the emotional support, the centre emphasises fitness. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, physicians globally recognize exercise as the number one way to combat the physical effects of the illness, according to Lavoie. 

“People with Parkinson’s need specific movements to slow their progression, so we use specific exercises that we introduce repetitively throughout our classes,” said Lavoie. “It’s helping regain those movement patterns that you’ve lost.”

Classes vary from circuit training to boxing classes, which benefit local residents like Sukhi Rai who was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago. 

Rai says he was an avid runner and knew something was wrong when he started having troubles with his left ankle. After seeing a multitude of health specialists, he finally had a diagnosis. 

“It was a relief to finally be diagnosed because I had been living with the symptoms for quite a few years,” said Rai. “I continued to work for a while but eventually I had to go on long term disability.”

For Rai, the centre offers him a weekly routine of exercise, conversation and a place to just come feel as though he is part of a community.

“Without it, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Rai. “It’s been a pillar of my health plan and my battle with Parkinson’s.”

The PWP is open to all people with Parkinson’s disease and those around them. 

“If you have Parkinson’s, everybody in your social circle potentially is living that journey with you,” said Lavoie. “We want all of those people in here and we just want to make them comfortable.”

The centre is 100-percent funded by donors, with no medical or government support. All classes are completely free but often participants will donate what they can per class.

People who are interested in learning more about the Parkinson Wellness Project or are looking for ways to donate to the facility can find out more at their website here

7Sep

Victoria Conservatory of Music shows off new technology lab at open house

by admin

News staff, CTV Vancouver Island


Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 4:31PM PDT

The Victoria Conservatory of Music showed off its facilities at its open house Saturday.

Members of the public were invited to tour the conservatory, including performance halls, practice rooms and a library featuring more than 60,000 music sheets and books. Visitors also got to enjoy free concerts by VCM faculty and students.

One of the stars of the show, from the conservatory’s perspective, is the recently opened Music Technology and Creativity Lab, which was made possible by a donation from Pitt and Sheila Linder.

The lab features computers and software for music recording, editing and production, and it’s open to both beginners and experts.

“It’s something we’ve dreamt about for years,” said Stephen Green, dean of the conservatory.

In addition to the software and the computers, the room includes a multi-channel audio system that will allow students to hear their creations and discuss with instructors and peers. There is also a large smart TV that allows the conservatory to connect live with professional musicians and teachers from around the world.

“It’s all here,” Green said. “We want to make sure that anyone who has an interest in music technology knows that it’s not just one particular group. You don’t have to be, like, a professional musician. It’s all open to everyone.”

The new space means greater accessibility for the conservatory, he said, adding that it helps the organization meet the needs of the 21st century musician.

The space cost roughly $50,000 to create, according to the conservatory.

14Aug

Huge demand spurs Victoria book store to move to larger location | CBC News

by admin

In a world of tablets and smartphones, it’s hard to imagine a book store doing so well it needs to be relocated to a larger venue.

But that’s what’s happening at Russell Books in downtown Victoria, where demand has prompted a move to bigger digs across Fort Street.

The new location will increase the store’s floorspace by about a third, and will greatly improve accessibility thanks to an escalator and elevator.

Now, co-owner Andrea Minter and her staff are in the process of moving three floors of books — most of them stacked from hardwood to ceiling — to their new home.

“You can never replace a book,” says Minter, describing their appeal as she packs up another box of heavy tomes.

“People enjoy picking up a book. The feel of it, the smell of it.”

Minter, who owns and operates Russell Books with her husband and her brother, says much of the store’s success is thanks to its strong local customer base and its recognition as a tourism hotspot.

‘We specialize in everything,’ says co-owner Andrea Minter about the selection at Russell Books. (Andrea Minter)

“It helps selling a product you believe in, as well,” added Minter. “We take great pride in having a large collection of everything. We specialize in everything.”

Having a large selection of books available for sale is something Minter’s family has taken seriously for generations. In the early 1960s her grandfather, Reginald Russell, opened the first Russell Books in Montreal.

Reginald Russell was a banker with a love for reading who collected many books. He decided to sell his collection to the public and ran the shop with his mother. Decades later, he convinced his daughter, Diana Depol, to open a second Victoria location in 1991.

Depol and her husband ran the Victoria store for many years before handing the business over to Minter, their daughter.

Now another chapter of Russell’s history is about to begin with the move to larger digs.

As she helps pack up thousands of books, Minter is glad the move is just across the street.

“Books are heavy,” she said, smiling.

With files from All Points West

29Jul

Victoria care aide acquitted of sex charges over elderly women’s complaints

by admin


Provincial Court Judge Dwight Stewart praised the women for their bravery during the trial.


Halfpoint / Getty Images

VICTORIA — A provincial court judge has found that collusion, whether intentional or not, was a factor in the acquittal of a care-home aide accused of sexually abusing elderly, disabled patients at a facility in Victoria.

Forty-year-old Saanich resident Amado Ceniza was accused of multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability.

He had pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations made last July by three women being treated at Aberdeen Hospital’s extended-care facility for elderly residents.

The court heard the women have mobility issues, two rely on wheelchairs and another uses a walker, and each testified she was groped, hugged and kissed without her consent.

Judge Dwight Stewart ruled there were concerns about possible inadvertent collusion between the women and he also found inconsistencies in testimony about the chronology of events and the description of the alleged perpetrator.

However, he said there was a probability that Ceniza tried to hug and kiss two of the women, and found his conduct to be highly unprofessional.

Stewart praised the women for their bravery during the trial and said greater attention will be paid to these cases because of their advocacy.

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18Jul

Trudeau visits Victoria to announce $79M for new buses

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

VICTORIA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined British Columbia’s premier in announcing funding for 118 new transit buses across the province to replace those at the end of the lives.

The prime minister and premier announced a joint investment of $79 million among federal, provincial and municipal governments that will also allow for 10 long-range electric buses that would provide greener transportation options in Greater Victoria.

Trudeau told a crowd inside a B.C. Transit bus body shop in Victoria that the buses will be more energy efficient and have improved accessibility and safety features as part of a public system that needs to keep pace with growing communities.

Premier John Horgan says a strong transit system is essential to making communities more affordable and to greening the province’s transportation infrastructure.

The federal and provincial governments have each contributed $31 million for the new buses while municipalities are pitching in $16 million.

Trudeau was in Montreal earlier today, meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and he’s hosting a fundraising event later in Victoria.


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13Jul

Aerosol can forces evacuation at Victoria airport

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Passengers departing Victoria International Airport Saturday morning were forced to go through security twice after a prohibited item passed through the airport’s security checkpoint.

The airport tweeted that a “security breach” had forced the evacuation of the departures area and caused “minor delays to a few flights.”

Airport spokesman Rod Hunchak told CTV News the security breach was caused by an aerosol can that was identified during the security screening process, but couldn’t be located before the passenger it belonged to had retrieved their bag.

“It was a matter of timing,” Hunchak said. “They couldn’t positively identify the passenger immediately.”

After evacuating the departures area, airport staff reviewed security camera footage and were able to determine who the aerosol can belonged to.

Hunchak said the owner of the prohibited item had already boarded a WestJet flight that was waiting to depart. Officials boarded that flight and retrieved the aerosol can, which turned out to be sunscreen, Hunchak said.

A total of four departing flights were grounded during the incident.

The departures area was deemed secure shortly after 10:30 a.m., at which point evacuated passengers were re-screened. Hunchack said this process was expedited by extra staff from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Early Saturday afternoon, the airport tweeted to thank passengers for their patience during the incident.

Hunchak said the situation was a good reminder to travellers to double-check the list of prohibited items before heading to the airport.

“It’s good to check right before you go through security so you don’t get your items taken,” he said.




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6Jun

Food security centre creates stronger food economy in Victoria

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Healthy, fresh and sustainable food options are now on the table for more than 35,000 people facing food insecurity in the Greater Victoria area.

With support from the Province, the Mustard Seed has secured a permanent home for its Food Security Distribution Centre.

The Mustard Seed has purchased the centre at 102-808 Viewfield Rd. with the help of $2 million in provincial funding provided through the Victoria Foundation. The building is home to a growing system of food security programs, food literacy initiatives and other community social supports. It is also the central collection point for the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 organizations including non-profits, First Nations, school districts and other community agencies that operate food security programs in the area.

“Our goal as a government is to make lives better for people in our province and the best way to achieve this goal is to work together,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The collaboration and partnership of different organizations is filling gaps in affordability and opportunity so that people and their families can live healthier, fuller lives.”

More than 1,815 kilograms (4,000 pounds) of fresh food from grocery stores pass through the centre each day. This food is redistributed to Food Share Network partner programs across the region.

“When we waste food, we waste all of the additional resources it takes to get it to our tables,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “The partners in the Food Share Network have collaborated to create an innovative solution that keeps food on the plates of people who need it most. It’s about working together to tap into the large number of food resources in our region and create a sustainable food economy that works together to support everyone who lives here.”

The Mustard Seed and the Victoria Foundation have plans for the building and intend to explore new opportunities beyond the traditional food bank model. They will work with organizations and individuals through a community consultation process to determine the best way the distribution centre can continue to support food-insecure families and the local food economy.

“The Mustard Seed is a well-known food bank in the community, but we have big goals for the distribution centre that go beyond the traditional food bank model,” said Derek Pace, executive director, Mustard Seed Street Church. “We’re working closely with other organizations to make the distribution centre an integral part of a sweeping network of services that provide fresh, healthy produce to families and connect them with programs that support opportunities in food literacy, education, employment and more.”

The funding is part of a $3-million grant from the Province to support the Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund. The fund will expand food security programs and initiatives in communities throughout British Columbia. More details of the consultation process for the distribution of funds will be available in a short time.

“The Food Share Network is an innovative collaboration of organizations that work closely with their communities and understand where their programs fit in the larger picture of regional food security,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “Local organizations know the unique needs of the people they support. Our Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund will use the great work being done here in Victoria as a guide when we work with provincial and local organizations in other communities in B.C., to build on the work already being done throughout the province.”

The grant aligns with TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, which works across governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, First Nations leaders and Indigenous communities to reduce poverty in B.C.

Quotes:

Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin —

“I’m proud of the great work that is being done right here in Esquimalt. Now that the distribution centre is a permanent fixture in the community, I look forward to watching it support a growing network of services that put food on the plates of people who need it. This community and the partners in the Food Share Network clearly recognize the change that can happen when we all work together.”

Peggy Wilmot, food bank co-ordinator, The Food Bank at St. John’s and Greater Victoria Acting Together —

“Both the Food Security Distribution Centre and the Food Rescue Project are the result of ongoing collaboration among the many organizations delivering the services of the Food Share Network. Every bit as important are those supporting the work, like services clubs, grocery stores, farmers, funders and various levels of government. The great success of the Food Share Network shows the power of community coming together across sectors to make us better equipped to support our neighbours and tackle our common challenges of poverty and food insecurity.”

Matthew Kemshaw, executive director, LifeCycles Project Society and chair, Food Share Network —

“Food insecurity is a regional challenge that affects a broad range of people. More than 50 agencies are participating in the Food Share Network and are distributing fresh healthy food throughout the region, so the people that you are helping are your neighbours. We believe that by working together, as a community, we can ensure everyone has dignified access to healthy, delicious food.”

Steve Walker Duncan, program chair, culinary training, Camosun College —

“Now that the Food Security Distribution Centre is a permanent hub for food security in the community, Camosun College and the Mustard Seed are working together to create a culinary employment program that will support people with barriers to employment train and find work in the culinary field. The program will create opportunities for people looking for employment in a culinary industry that is constantly looking for new staff.”

Quick Facts:

  • The distribution centre has been leased by the Mustard Seed Street Church for the Food Rescue Project since 2017.
  • The goal of the centre is to provide additional regional infrastructure, such as food processing, cold and dry storage and social enterprise incubation, all for the local food economy.
  • Each year, the distribution centre distributes roughly 545,000 kilograms (1.2 million pounds) of food throughout Greater Victoria.
  • Over half a million British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/initiatives-plans-strategies/poverty-reduction-strategy/togetherbc.pdf

The Victoria Foundation’s food security initiatives:
https://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/food-rescue-project/

The Mustard Seed Street Church’s Food Rescue Project:
http://mustardseed.ca/food-rescue/


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19May

Brazen bike theft caught on camera in Victoria

by admin

CTV News Vancouver


Published Sunday, May 19, 2019 6:22PM PDT


Last Updated Sunday, May 19, 2019 6:44PM PDT

The staff of a Victoria bicycle shop posted some surprising security camera video on its Facebook page Friday afternoon.

In the video, a man can be seen apparently browsing the selection at Giant Bicycles Victoria. He waits for staff to leave the room, before casually grabbing a bike and walking out the front door.

A few seconds later, a store employee comes back into the picture and makes his way out the door as well. That employee – manager Dylan Phye – told CTV News he was able to get the stolen bike back.

“I ran up the street, grabbed the bike from him, exchanged a few choice words, and then came back,” Phye said.

The bike that almost got away was worth more than $1,100.

Giant Bicycles called Victoria police to report the incident. Police say the suspect also made off with stolen goods from a nearby Eddie Bauer store. He is facing charges.

Phye said the shop decided to post the security video to its Facebook page as a reminder to other local businesses.

“We did it to alert other businesses in Victoria,” he said. “It can happen to anybody and happen that quick, so you’ve always got to stay on the ball.”

Phye also hopes the video will serve as a deterrent to other would-be bike thieves.

“We do have great cameras, you know?” He said. “We are always alert, so don’t try anything with us because we will catch you or we will find you.”


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18May

Victoria looks to make city more inclusive for trans, non-binary and two-spirit residents | CBC News

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Victoria, B.C. is looking to make the city more welcoming for trans, non-binary and two-spirit people and is looking for advice from residents.  

The city held the first of several community consultations earlier this week to hear suggestions on what would make their services, programs and spaces more inclusive.

“This is the beginning of a really important conversation,” said Marianne Alto, a Victoria city councillor who attended the consultation event on Tuesday.

“It’s just a way for the city to begin to acknowledge that our population is extremely diverse and that we welcome and want to include all of our residents, regardless of who they are.”

Some of the most common examples include gender-neutral bathrooms or improving inclusivity in places like public swimming pools, Alto said, but the conversation goes far beyond that.

“We want to make sure that what we do in the public domain reflects a true measure of accessibility for anybody who wants to come to this city,” she told CBC’s All Points West.

Chance to create change

The city started looking at these questions a couple of years ago and, in 2017, adopted a motion to re-evaluate policies and programs.

That includes everything from improving city signs to changing how forms are phrased to re-evaluating city staff training, Alto said.

Initially, Victoria conducted “ad hoc consultations” before hiring a private consulting firm to work with the community.

The community consultations are part of that and, Alto said, there will be at least three more events open to the public for feedback.

“There’s a whole series of different themes that the city actually has authority to create change and take action on,” said Alto.

“We’re hoping that we’ll get those directives and be able to present that to council.”


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