Friday, June 15, 2018

Public Education Set To Benefit From New Investments

Personally, I’m a huge believer in our public education system. A strong public education system is a benefit to all of us, and one of the most meaningful investments we can make in our kids and in our future.

What’s more, public education doesn’t just start at kindergarten and stop at Grade 12. Our province’s pre-primary and post-secondary education systems also play an important role in ensuring our future generations are equipped with the skills they need to thrive.  

Our government is committed to supporting every part of our education system, and I’m proud of the work we’ve been doing. Just today, we announced that School District 63 in Saanich will receive nearly $200,000 this year for needed upgrades and new equipment in trades classrooms!

This investment will allow students to learn on the most up-to-date technology and provide early exposure to some of the most rewarding and in-demand careers in our province. This investment is just part of $3.5 million being distributed across the province and many school districts, including SD 61 in Victoria, are set to benefit as well.

We’ve also taken meaningful steps to support the pre-primary child care sector. As just one example, for the first time in the Province’s history child care providers will be able to access repair, replacement and relocation funds. Whereas providers previously had to pay out-of-pocket for repair and facility upgrades, they can now focus on providing the quality care that so many families need.
Finally, we’ve been continuing to support and work with our partners at the post-secondary level. My colleague, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training been leading this file for our government.

Just two examples of the action we’ve taken includes a $1.5 million funding announcement to increase accessibility funding at 20 post-secondary institutions across the province.  This funding will ensure education and employment training is accessible and works for everyone.

A little closer to home, our government announced a new $2.25 million graduate-student scholarship fund at UVIC that will help spark innovation, economic growth, and research that benefits British Columbians throughout the province.

Summer vacation will soon be upon us, but that doesn't mean the work will stop! I'm excited to continue on the progress we've made, and can't wait to see how these investments will impact our education system for years to come.

My colleague, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark, announcing new graduate funding at UVIC

Friday, June 8, 2018

Thank You For An Amazing Open House!

To all of you who came out to our Open House this past Tuesday, thank you! The event was a huge success – we had over 70 folks show up to say hi, check out the new office, enjoy some delicious local food, and talk about all that we’ve accomplished over the past ten months. It was fantastic to see so many new and familiar faces!

If you weren’t able to make it out, please feel free to stop by the new office at your convenience! We’re located at 4243 Glanford Avenue, Unit 260. It’s right between the Red Barn and the Bottle Depot. As a reminder, our community office is able to provide assistance on a wide range of matters relating to the provincial government and provincial government agencies.

One more reminder: our new office has an amazing boardroom that can hold up to 40 people! It’s available to community groups in Saanich South free of charge. To find out more, drop by or give my office a call at (250) 479 4154.


With Zac and Ryan, two amazing young men and Saanich South constituents

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Day of the Honey Bee a Big Success!

I was so, so excited to celebrate the Day of the Honey Bee this year! 
On May 29th the Legislature was really "buzzing" with activity. We had representatives of the BC Honey Producers Association, the Capital Region Beekeepers Association, Feed the Bees, members from 4-H British Columbia and local honey producers join us for an incredible afternoon. 
Almost everyone knows about the delicious honey that bees make, but did you also know that their role of pollinators is absolutely vital to our agricultural sector and environment? 

In fact, it's estimated that Honey Bees contribute an estimated $538 million to our provincial economy and $3.2 billion across Canada!

At the Day of the Honey Bee I was thrilled to announce BeeBC, a $100,000 program to support community-based research on bee health! Delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation, the fund will provide up to $100,000 over two years to support small-scale regional or community-based projects to research, explore, field-test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health. 

I'm happy to report that BeeBC is just the latest program that will support our beekeepers and pollinators. Our government has been steadily increasing support for the honey bee industry since summer 2017. Late last year, the Province signed on as a co-sponsor of a study to find solutions to the bee health problems of honeybee colonies involved in pollination, with a contribution of $25,000 to support that research. 

More recently, two new inspectors were added to the provincial apiculture team. These inspectors provide vital services to beekeepers throughout the province by testing hives for diseases, as well as performing outreach and educating beekeepers with the latest information.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it down to the Legislature to celebrate with us, I’ve included some photos from the day below!  

Friday, June 1, 2018

Monthly Micro-Action: The Power of (Dog) Waste

*MLA’s note*  Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South. This is the second of a series of guest blog posts to provide tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! - Lana 

Laska and a four-legged friend!
What if I told you our future could rely on poop for energy? You heard me, poop!

There is no escaping the conclusion that fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are non-renewable and are mostly depended on for our energy needs. But they are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. In order to tackle the energy crisis, we need to seek out new sources of clean energy. That calls for a little innovation and rethinking the way we manage waste.

Your dog might seem like an unlikely source of renewable energy, but the facts are (1) dogs produce a lot of poo (2) it’s an unlimited, natural resource.

Turning poop to power is a way of the future and one I hope to bring to Greater Victoria through “The Power of Poo” campaign.

What’s this? you ask.

Over the past few months, I have partnered with Shaw TV to develop short videos on varied environmental protection topics. While researching content for my recent video feature, Paws & Poop, I Iearned how big the poo issue is in Greater Victoria and the lack of sustainable options available to pet owners. I started to learn about what other cities are doing to reduce the amount of poo sent to landfills. Some of the more innovative solutions include using dog poo to power streetlamps, and human sewage to power buses. Naturally, I thought: Why can’t we do this in Victoria?

Our city is known for its progressive lifestyle, thriving technology sector, abundant parkland, and some of the nation’s best educational intuitions. My goal for “The Power of Poo” campaign is to maximize the potential of waste diversion by producing something useful and build connections between the small changes we can make at the local level, and the impact of these changes on our local environment. Imagine if the streetlamps in parks across Greater Victoria were powered by bio-gas from dog poo? How satisfying would it be to recognize our furry friends as a source for clean energy?

Dog owner or not, everyone has a role to play in helping us shape a sustainable city. This month, I’m inviting you to consider the potential of dog droppings by signing “The Power of Poo” petition. The goal is to rally support to encourage municipalities across Greater Victoria to pilot waste-to-energy projects that turn dog poo into energy and divert this waste from the landfill.

Let’s work together and use this petition as an opportunity to make affordable change! While signing a petition might seem like a very small micro-action, collectively it will have an impact. If you’re keen to do more, spread the word by sharing the petition with your networks and join the discussion online. Together we will create cleaner parks and green spaces for all to enjoy, and hopefully reduce the likelihood of you stepping in dog poo.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Spring 2018 Constituency Report

Dear Constituents of Saanich South, 

Here is the digital version of my Spring 2018 Constituency Report! Click on the 'full screen' icon to view a large version. The purpose of this document is to report out to constituents on my recent work in Saanich South. I've also included a calendar of just some of the amazing upcoming events in and around Saanich South, as well as information about my Community Office Open House on June 5th!

Printed versions were also included in the Friday, May 25th edition of the Saanich News, and hard copies are available from my community office at 4243 Glanford Avenue, Unit 260. 

Cheers, Lana 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Saanich South residents to benefit from new hip and knee program

Just in case you missed it, I wanted to share some good news from the Ministry of Health: Saanich South residents are set to benefit from our government’s new surgical strategy!
New operating room resources – including a dedicated operating room at the Royal Jubilee Hospital – will significantly increase the number of hip and knee surgeries completed on the South Island each year.
It’s no secret that Saanich South residents are an active bunch: from enjoying the trails at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park to biking the Lochside Trail or even working in the garden, being stuck on a surgery wait list can definitely impact one’s ability to enjoy a healthy and active life.
That’s why I’m so pleased that the new South Island program will result in an additional 800 surgeries for 2018-2019, with the total number increasing to around 2,400! This will significantly reduce the number of South Island patients waiting for hip and knee replacements, contributing to a greater quality of life for many.
What’s even better news is that the new South Island program is just one part of the government’s broader surgical strategy. Our government will continue to tackle surgeries with long wait times, while also ensuring that surgical programs and operating rooms are both properly staffed and run more efficiently to increase the amount of patients that can be seen.
As one of my staff remarked, hip and knee surgeries are something you don’t realize the importance of until you “knee-d” one for yourself. Not the best pun, to be sure – but some pretty good news overall for Saanich South residents.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Micro-Actions, Big Results.

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and over the coming months she’ll be writing a series of guest blog posts to provide tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

Climate change: it’s in the news almost daily as the most pressing issue of our time. Yet for such an important issue it can feel out of grasp for most individuals. How can we engage or influence something we cannot see or feel? And while some regions of the world bear the brunt of climate change (think: submerged Solomon Islands in the Pacific), if we don’t see much change in our local climate, how much will it really impact our lives?

Climate is not seen outside the window – it’s not the weather. It’s a collection of data and patterns presented in a statistical construct. This can make it challenging to talk about a changing climate system; we have to realize that we’re not dealing with something tangible.
So how can ‘we’, regular people living our lives, take action and do something about this obscure ‘thing’?

Every day we make millions of micro-actions, the small, easy (sometimes unconscious) decisions that over time amount to real world impacts. What if we consciously decided to adopt micro-actions that would support sustainable practices? Imagine if you walked or biked instead of bussed or drove to work? What if you stopped purchasing products that came with additional packaging?
These micro-actions are small, but over time they become the data and patterns that build up the ‘statistical construct’ that is our global climate.

Decades from now, when your children or grandchildren ask, ‘Did you know about climate change?’ consider you want your answer to be: “Yes, and here are the micro-actions I took to help.”

Micro-actions for May

The first step in becoming more aware of your waste is to investigate yourself. One of the easiest ways to do this is by actually looking at your garbage and recycling. The next time you’re rolling the bin to the curb or carrying that blue box to the roadside for pick up pause, look at your waste, then ask yourself, “Can I eliminate one thing to lighten this load?”

A common household item often placed in the garbage are toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Empty toilet paper rolls often never make it into recycling bins because they get mixed with garbage. Make it easier to recycle these tubes by placing a small recycling bin in your bathroom; or why not ditch the bathroom trash can all together? Most bathroom bins are filled with items that can be composted, like hair, nail clippings and tissues. Having a bin supports the idea of bathroom trash. Try supporting a new narrative: no bin, no waste. Experiment for a week and see what happens. You might realize how unnecessary it is…

***Note: In the CRD, paper towel and toilet paper rolls go into the blue bag (along with other paper products)

- Laska 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A 100th Birthday Party to Remember!!!

I was so excited to attend the Saanich Observatory’s centennial celebration today!  

100 years is an incredible milestone, but what makes it even more special is the story of how it all began.
Construction of the observatory began in 1914 under the leadership of Canada’s top astronomer of the day, John Stanley Plaskett.  
Two years later, the site was ready for the telescope’s 9.5-tonne polar axis. It took 12 draft horses a day and a half to cart it to the top. The final piece needed was an enormous Belgian-cast glass mirror that was carefully turned on its side and rolled like a dime into the Observatory. There it was silvered and mounted in place and the observatory captured its first images on May 6, 1918.
This Sunday will be the anniversary of the first day data was received from space by this amazing piece of equipment. 
It may surprise you that this old telescope is still used today for cutting-edge scientific work. A state-of-the-art digital back-end is now strapped to its enormous mirrored eye, making it 10,000 times more sensitive than when first built.
Mr. Plaskett obviously believed in the importance of science, but he also firmly believed that public access to science was just as important.  
For over a decade, the federal government funded excellent public-outreach efforts at the observatory. In 2001, it built an interpretive centre, the Centre of the Universe, and invested in public outreach.
That investment led to many activities, including public Saturday night star viewings, sci-fi movies projected on the side of the observatory, regular busloads of people on heritage and tourist visits, intensive youth summer camps and tens of thousands of public visits and school class trips.
Many children benefited enormously from witnessing high-level science in action and learning about the universe from top NRC staff and scientists. Many young people have been inspired to pursue the sciences from their experiences at the Saanich Observatory.
All of this outreach came to a crashing halt with an announcement by the federal government that, for the first time in its history, there would be no public access to the Saanich Observatory. 
The change was described by the government as a cost-saving measure, even though the expense was a minuscule 0.02 per cent of the $950-million NRC budget.
But the story didn’t end there!
Thankfully, our community came together and rallied to save this gem of an institution. My non-partisan community office worked with local educators and community leaders, heritage experts, UVIC professors and members of the public over many months to restore public access to the Centre of the Universe. 
The abrupt closure had an unintended consequence: it sparked thousands of people to learn about what they were losing and they soon came together to push for a better outcome. Media coverage of the impending closure led almost 1,000 people to try to visit on the final public night — and almost every one of them signed a petition calling for funding of public access to be restored.
When you wish upon a star in Saanich it seems that dreams really do come true! In 2014 Volunteers with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) began setting up their telescopes for public gazing throughout the summer, and there were public tours of the Observatory itself. Momentum started to build and an organization called Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Society, a non-profit, was formed and from there we have seen amazing things happen!  
To this day, I am amazed – and exceedingly grateful – to our entire community for their efforts to re-open the Observatory for everyone to enjoy. 
I’ll soon be announcing more details about an event I’m holding to celebrate 100 years of space science in Saanich! 
Continue to watch my blog for more updates, but it will involve my new community office, the Observatory, local Saanich South artists, and of course, local food!  
In the meantime, I would encourage all community members to visit the Centre of the Universe for themselves. The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (FDAO) and RASC Victoria Centre are hosting twenty Saturday evenings at the DAO, featuring guest speakers, solar and nighttime observing with telescopes provided by RASC Victoria Centre volunteers, tours of the historic Plaskett telescope, and more! 
Rain or shine, they will have something for everyone. More information about the Saturday Star Parties is available here , and you can reserve your tickets (which are totally free!) 
After a fantastic first 100 years, I can’t wait to see what the next century will bring! ​
Happy 100th Birthday to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory! 
P.S. Here is a video link from 2013, the last night of public access....or so we thought! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

We've Moved!

We have moved! 

We've officially opened our brand new constituency office and we are open for business! 

260-4243 Glanford Ave
Victoria, BC
V8Z 4B9

Our hours are:

Monday - Thursday 9am-4pm
Fridays by appointment only

Monday, February 5, 2018

Looking for your Feedback on the Revitalization of the ALR and ALC

Here is a fantastic update on our advisory committee regarding the revitalization of the ALR and ALC! The committee has released its consultation paper and is seeking opinions and feedback.

The opportunity for British Columbians to participate in the public engagement on revitalization of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is now open. The paper and online survey focus on collecting opinions and views on 10 common themes:

1.       A defensible and defended ALR

2.       ALR resilience

3.       Stable governance

4.       Efficacy of Zones 1 and 2

5.       Interpretation and implementation of the act and regulation

6.       Food security and B.C.’s agricultural contribution

7.       Residential uses in the ALR

8.       Farm processing and sales in the ALR

9.       Unauthorized uses

10.   Non-farm uses and resource extraction in the ALR

This committee will also be hosting regional stakeholder meetings with invited representatives to hear directly from the local farming and ranching communities and organizations in Abbotsford, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Quesnel and Richmond.

Please take the time to participate in the public engagement online or contribute feedback through email and mail submissions. For more information, please visit:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Goodbye to 4085 Quadra Street

No automatic alt text available.

Today marks the end of an era as we say a very nostalgic goodbye to 4085 Quadra Street after almost 9 years.

Our Constituency Office is moving!

An enormous thank you to Neil and Michele Salmond – our wonderful landlords who have become part of our office family, stopping by to share Saanich updates and to check up on us and ask how former staff are doing. Thank you for your kindness, generosity and fabulous sense of humour. We will miss you dearly.

To our Constituents, we anticipate to be moving into our new location in March. Please stay tuned for our new office address location which we will be posting asap! 

And don't worry, you can continue to reach us by phone at 250-479-4154 or email at, and schedule meetings. 

Goodbyes are always hard but we look forward to what the future brings in our new location! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunting Ban

Last summer, our government began a consultation process asking British Columbians for their opinions on grizzly bear trophy hunting. You responded with passion to protect these amazing animals from all forms of hunting. This overwhelming consensus will now protect the 15,000 grizzlies in this province. Yesterday morning, Minister Doug Donaldson and Minister George Heyman announced our government's full ban on grizzly bear hunting, with the exception of First Nations traditional rights and purposes.

Here is a link to further explain our decision on the ban:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Saanich South Constituency Report

It's that time of year again! The SHAW TV Constituency Report is here for your viewing pleasure (with a couple of tasty Saanich South inspired recipes).

This time with a bit of a twist, my first Constituency Report in Government! In the link below, we discuss what I have been up to across the province as the Minister of Agriculture and all things constituency related.

Link to video: MLA Lana Popham, Saanich South 2017 Constituency Report

PS - Here is the wonderful recipe for the Japanese dressing I used on the 'Shred Salad'

1 BC apple peeled and diced (any type of apple)
3/4 cup oil (a light oil like vegetable or grapeseed works well)
2/3 cup Japanese Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)
2/3 Japanese Soy Sauce (Yamasa) 
1 garlic clove 
1/2 tsp regular mustard
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white pepper
Add oil and diced apple into the blender and puree 
Add remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly mixed
Can store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks

See pictures of our fun day below!

Getting ready for taping with my co-host Meagan and constituency assistants Maureen and Kim: 

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, indoor

Meagan and I celebrating our culinary successes:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and food

Behind the scenes look at the SHAW TV filming studio:

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

On behalf of the Province, thank you B.C. agriculture for coming to dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!

For Immediate Release
Oct. 6, 2017

Ministry of Agriculture
#BuyBC this Thanksgiving weekend
VICTORIA - Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham has issued the following statement in recognition of B.C.'s agriculture producers and the upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend:
"As the fall season advances, the leaves are changing colour, the days are getting shorter, and there is a crispness in the air. It is time to get inside, gather around a table with family and friends, and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.
"This Thanksgiving, I invite British Columbians to #BuyBC agriculture products when planning their holiday meal and enjoy the province's fall bounty.
"More than 17,500 B.C. farms produce more than 200 agriculture products. Each one of these family farms has a story and they deserve our support. They are your neighbours and a big part of your community. We know that for every dollar in farm receipts, two dollars are spent in local municipalities.
"We have it all in British Columbia. Fresh local fruits and veggies, including potatoes, corn, carrots, beans, squash, lettuce, cabbage, cranberries and brussels sprouts. Your main course could include B.C. turkey, salmon, chicken, ham or beef. The choices are endless.
"Appetizers? How about trying something from our B.C. seafood sector? Halibut, sablefish and shellfish are just a few ideas.
"As you raise your glass to give thanks, you can do so with award-winning B.C. wine, craft beer, cider, spirits, juice or pop.
"Cap off your meal with pies made from locally grown pumpkins and apples, as well as whipping cream, or some of our tasty artisan cheeses from local dairy farms.
"The B.C. government has big plans for our province's agriculture sector and we want to ensure our Thanksgiving dinner plates will continue to be filled with B.C. products in the future.
"We're going to do that with a three-pronged approach that will build opportunities and sales for B.C. farmers and processors through Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC.
This is an exciting time for the sector and I look forward to sharing the details of these programs in the coming months.
"On behalf of the Province, thank you B.C. agriculture for coming to dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!"
For an original pumpkin purée recipe from the kitchen of the minister, please click here:…/Minister_Popham's_Pumpkin_Puree_re…

Monday, August 21, 2017

Times Colonist: From critic to minister: Lana Popham looks to grow ALR

Reprinted from the Times Colonist
Lana Popham, Saanich South MLA and Minister of
Agriculture. Photograph by Darren Stone, Times Colonist


AUGUST 20, 2017 06:00 AM

The transition to minister from critic can be an awkward one: After years of calling out one government, you’re extra vulnerable to scrutiny.
Saanich South MLA Lana Popham is paying that no mind. In her view, her experience as agriculture critic means she’s primed for her new role as minister of agriculture.
“I’ve spent eight years travelling the province and getting to know the agriculture community,” she said. “I feel like I’ve had training wheels on. And when I was sworn in, they were taken off and I was ready to go.”
At the top of Popham’s agenda is a promise to “revitalize” the Agricultural Land Reserve, the area of the province in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use, and the Agricultural Land Commission, the administrative tribunal meant to preserve B.C.’s farmland.
Popham says it will mean a few things. First is a boundary review to determine whether the protected zones align with farmable land. Improvements in technology will make things such as soil assessment more accurate than when the original boundaries were drawn, she said.
Climate change is also a factor: “I just met with the B.C. Cherry [Association] and they’re finding some varieties that they developed moving north are doing better, so now we have a new cherry-growing area. We wouldn’t have known that 40 years ago.”
More controversially, Popham says it’s time for all agricultural land to be treated equally, pending consultations.
In 2014, the B.C. Liberal government divided the ALR into two zones: In Zone 1, which includes Vancouver Island, the South Coast and the Okanagan, the Agricultural Land Commission bases its decisions on the original principle of protecting farmland. In Zone 2, which includes the North, Interior and Kootenay regions, the commission also considers “economic, cultural and social values, as well as regional and community planning objectives.”
Popham has previously said that Zone 2 opens farmland to other activity — including development — weakening the protection of ALR zoning.
“We shouldn’t have broken it into two. One of the reasons, and this is one of my mandates, is to encourage young people to get into farming,” she said, noting The cost of farmland goes up when it’s considered a viable host for other economic activities.
The shape of the Agricultural Land Commission might also change under Popham’s leadership. Six regional review panels could become a single provincial one, reducing what Popham sees as potential for political interference.
She is meeting with chairman and fellow Saanich resident Frank Leonard next week to hear his views on the new government’s mandate and how the commission is working.
Ian Paton, Liberal Delta MLA and agriculture critic, said regional panels are important because they use local knowledge.
“Different parts of the province vary, as farming issues go. And if I’m in Delta, why would I be making decisions on Fort St. John, if I don’t really know about Fort St. John or the issues up there?” he said.
Whatever zoning model is pursued, Paton said, farmers need to have the opportunity to pursue other economic activity, especially those outside southern B.C. who have shorter farming season and need winter work to supplement their incomes.
“We need to keep the opportunities there for farmers to be able to think outside the box and have different, non-farm use to create income in the months they’re not actually farming,” he said.
Farmland was not part of the agreement signed with the B.C. Green Party that allowed the New Democrats to form a minority government, but it doesn’t appear as though Popham’s plans will be a source of conflict.
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said boundary reviews are important, so long as they don’t result in the removal of vast quantities of land from the ALR. He also supports a return to single-zone ALR land.
“Going back to a single ALR zone is absolutely, completely and utterly supported. Good on Lana. If she’s going to initiate this, we would support that,” he said.
“The problem with the different zones is it was designed to essentially allow in areas other than southern B.C. for essentially widespread industrial activity to trump the preservation of agricultural land.”

© Copyright Times Colonist

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Update on the CRD’s Wastewater Treatment Project – Saanich South

Source: CRD WTP Construction Notice, August 9 2017
Starting on August 21st, the Wastewater Treatment Project (WTP) will be using truck-mounted equipment to drill approximately 70 boreholes along the proposed route of the “residual solids conveyance line”, from the treatment plant in Esquimalt to the Hartland Landfill. 

Each borehole will take several hours to drill and traffic may be reduced to a single lane during this time. Drilling will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week (except on the Labour day weekend). Hours will be reduced on weekdays in higher traffic volume areas. It is estimated this work will take six weeks to complete.

The purpose of the drilling is to assess the subsurface conditions of the proposed route. 

In addition there will be other preliminary geophysical work along certain sections of the proposed route to identify the bedrock profile along areas on Interurban Road, Interurban Trail, and Willis Point Road.

The WTP has committed to hold public information meetings in Saanich in the fall of this year. The purpose of these meetings will be to share information and receive public input on the proposed conveyance line route and pumping stations.

It is my understanding that at least two public meetings will be held this fall in Saanich South, with one meeting in the Strawberry Vale/Marigold area and the other in the Prospect Lake/Willis point area.

The WTP has also committed to create a Saanich community liaison committee before the scheduled start of construction, the Spring of 2018. This committee will be comprised of members of Saanich Community Associations and WTP staff and it would work to address specific issues before and during the construction phase.

For more information: 

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vancouver Sun: Wildfires first priority for an agriculture minister with big plans

Reprinted from the Vancouver Sun

Lana Popham is B.C.'s new agriculture minister, after years as the NDP farm
critic and a pre-politics career as a farmer.

AUGUST 14, 2017 04:34 AM

The wildfires raging across the Interior have killed livestock, destroyed farms and devoured crops. Losses, both economic and personal, will be felt by farmers long after the flames are extinguished.
“It’s devastating,” said Popham, fresh from Kelowna where she recently met farmers and ranchers to discuss the disaster. “There are ranchers who have had operations for over 100 years and now they’re gone.”
With an estimated 30,000 cattle running loose across rangeland as fires continue to burn through forests and fences, the new government remains in emergency response mode. But she hopes that within a month, recovery can begin.
“This is unprecedented, so our response will be an unprecedented response,” said Popham. “A disaster of this magnitude is going to take some thinking about rural economic development. We have to move forward from this — and we will.”
The new minister’s positive attitude and determination to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector was clearly evident as she spoke to Postmedia about her new role last week. Below is an edited and condenses version of the interview.
Q. You have a background in farming and you’ve been the opposition agriculture critic since 2009. Did you expect to be named agriculture minister?
A. The decade before I became an MLA, I was a farmer; I was a grape farmer and a vegetable farmer. That experience led me to politics. I was really lucky to have access to my own land, but I watched young farmer friends who were leasing land only to have the owners change their minds. I thought to myself, “Why do people have to fight to farm in British Columbia?”
I ran to be an MLA in 2009, and I was elected. I was super grateful to be assigned the role of agriculture critic. This past election was my third. I got a call from Premier John Horgan asking me to be the minister of agriculture, and it was one of the best days of my life.
Because I was the ag critic for eight years, I joke that I tried to corner the market on that role. It’s like I’ve had training wheels for the last eight years. I’ve had the opportunity to go out and meet with the agriculture community from one end of this province to the other, so I definitely have an excellent background.
Q. The ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) was established by the NDP in 1973. Revitalizing the ALR and the ALC (Agricultural Land Commission) was identified as a priority in your mandate letter. What will that look like?
A. The ALR has been eroded over the last 16 years. We will be doing consultation work with the public, the farming community and businesses, but I feel like I’ve already been consulting on this for the last eight years. I know that there were a lot of people who were disappointed when the ALR was broken into two zones by the last government (with different rules around removal land from the ALR in the Lower Mainland than in the rest of the province), and there has been an overwhelming request to bring it back to one zone with the same mandate governing both zones.
The mandate of the ALC is to protect the ALR and encourage farming, and in many ways, it hasn’t been able to fulfil that mandate for a long time. Currently we have six regional panels that review applications for exclusions and inclusions — and the majority of applications are for exclusions. There was a report in 2010 that recommended one panel instead of six, and I can see the merit in conversations around that. Having one provincial panel really takes away any political influence. 
In 2010, a review of the reserve was suggested and a boundary review was started. It was stopped, but we will be looking at a boundary review again. When the original lines were drawn, some lands shouldn’t have been in, and some lands should have been. We’re not looking at major change, but it could use some tweaking.
Q. Could land removals — like the 500 acres Abbotsford council is asking the ALC to remove for industrial use, for example — be less common going forward?
A. Because the ALC is supposed to be independent, that lies in their hands. There are applications for exclusions right now, and that’s very worrisome. From my perspective, the way things have played out over the last 16 years, the reserve is being treated like a land bank for development, and that has to stop.
So my expectation of the ALC is to uphold the mandate. When an exclusion comes up that is a large exclusion for light industry, I expect them to uphold the mandate of protecting farmland and encouraging farming. I have yet to have a conversation with the commission mostly because we haven’t had time, but also because it has to be an independent tribunal, so any interference by me goes against how I wish it to operate. That being said, we will have to make some changes to make sure that the mandate is a priority. 
Q. In the past you’ve spoken about the ramifications of flooding farms in the Peace River Valley for the Site C dam. Will you fight the project?
A. I’ve always said that it should be sent to the B.C. Utilities Commission and now that it is, we need to trust that process. I am hopeful that we won’t be losing the farmland that’s associated with Site C. That said, if we do lose the land, we will continue with a heavy focus on the rest of the Peace region and come up with a development plan.
Q. You’re a big supporter of local food. How will the Grow B.C., Feed B.C., Buy B.C. programs identified in your mandate differ from what the Liberal government did to promote local food?
A. It’s very different. The Grow B.C. branch is centred on the ALR and policies that support farmers. I’ve often heard that when the land was protected, we forgot about the farmers. Part of that is a focus will be on getting young people into farming.
The part of our plan that will be the biggest game-changer is the Feed B.C. policy. We’re very much focused on moving more grown-and-processed-in-B.C. food into our hospital system and anywhere we’re purchasing food as a government. The last government had a very, very strong focus on the international market, and while we support developing the international market, I believe that took the focus off the domestic market.
We’ll also be bringing back our Buy B.C. program. The last government’s marketing of Buy Local was very piecemeal: Growers had to apply for it and certain producers got a grant. Mass marketing works much better. The Buy B.C. program was an incredible program in the 1990s. It hasn’t been working for 16 years, but British Columbians still recognize it. The opportunities to grow that in a more modern way are huge.
Q. Your government is planning a B.C. Food Innovation Centre — what is this?
A. This is something that almost every other province has, and it’s really connected to food processing. Right now when a startup business wants to find some product to process, they often don’t have a facility to develop it in. So they spend their research and development money in other provinces. This is something that we are absolutely set up for in B.C. if we create an innovation centre.