Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Season's Greetings and Merry Recycling!


I wish everyone a healthy, green and prosperous new year!


For those who live in the south island's CRD, here are my top 5 recycling FAQs for this festive season.

1. How do I recycle soft plastic?
It can't go into the Blue Box and there is lots of it - like plastic bags of every size and shape. These products are full of nasty chemicals and often end up polluting our environment ...and they don't need to!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rally for Climate Progress

FRIDAY, December 10, 2010
12:10-12:40 pm

Pandora St. by Broad St. (by City Hall), Victoria

Speeches featuring IPCC climate scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver, national Green Party leader Elizabeth May (via Skype projection), NDP MLA Lana Popham, environmental activist Ken Wu, statements by MP’s Denise Savoie (NDP) and Dr. Keith Martin (Liberal).

Please attend this brief noon rally and award ceremony in downtown Victoria tomorrow (Friday) on the last day of the UN Climate Summit in Mexico. Activists are launching a campaign for a public mobilization over the ensuing year to ensure a binding agreement for a successor treaty to the Kyoto Accord (which expires in 2012).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Will you help?

Hi Everybody,

Check out this video about the Mustard Seed and my food drive, made by local film-maker Greg Horne.

From Dec 1st to the 17th my community office is doing double-duty as a Saanich drop-off depot for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

Everyone who makes a donation will have a chance to win two tickets to the Speech from the Throne at the Legislature and lunch for two at the Legislative Restaurant … with me!

We’ll be open for extended hours to receive your donations: Monday-Thursday, from 8 am – 6 pm.

The office is located at 4085 Quadra St.

Thanks, Lana.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Property Assessment Q&A Tomorrow!

Mr. Danakody, a man with answers!
There have been many recent changes to the rules around how property is assessed in British Columbia.

Sometimes, between kids and pets, bills and appointments, and the thousands of other details that occupy our daily lives, an changes to something like property tax assessment can pass by unnoticed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Kudos to Greg Horne for making this documentary! Watch it and you'll know why island bee-keepers swarmed the BC Legislature this fall...and why it is so important that we protect our precious island pollinators.

Please take a moment to support my efforts to persuade the Ministry of Agriculture to address this serious situation: click here.

Thank you,


Downtown Winter Market!

Starting THIS Saturday and continuing on the third Saturday of ever month until spring ... there is a Winter Market!

Many of our favourite producers will be there, including Terra Nossa farm with local meats, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Iron Maiden Seafood, Saanich Organics, Bread by Matt, Vancouver Island Salt Company, Haliburton farm and Kildara farms.

It takes place in the beautiful (and sheltered!)  Market Square, from 11am-3pm. There will also be live music, and entertainment.

Hope to see you there!

Thank you for making it happen! It is people like you that are helping to make local food security a reality...and a lot of fun!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Agriculture and health on critic's mind

Reprinted from the Invermere Valley Echo

NDP Agriculture Critic Lana Popham
 speaking to students at 

DTSS in Invermere.
Darryl Crane/echo photo
By Darryl Crane -

Published: November 16, 2010 1:00 PM

Students and residents of the Columbia Valley had a special visitor when MLA for Saanich South and NDP critic for Agriculture and Lands, Lana Popham came to the area.

Popham was elected MLA for Saanich South on May 12, 2009 and is a well-known environmental and community activist, businesswoman and organic farmer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oy Veh!

Why bother asking people for input if you are going to completely ignore what they have to say?

Today the BC Legislative Finance Committee released their public consultation report for the 2011 Budget.

But Premier Gordon Campbell’s recent announcement of an income tax break made a mockery of this process and wasted the time of hundreds of British Columbians who had participated in good faith.

Thank you Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere!

Thank you Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere!

From food security to renewable energy - here are some pictures of amazing British Columbians doing the hard work to plan for the future! I was on agriculture tour of the area this week and was really impressed! Click to the right to see the photo album.

One of the highlights of the tour was learning about successful efforts to connect kids to healthy local food. There is a Chef's programme in Invermere bringing good food back into the school system. I was even treated to a lovely lunch with freshly harvested salad greens from the school greenhouse.
Here is a recipe of the (delicious!) tofu burritos we had for lunch.

Don't knock it until you've tried it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Reading!


Two very interesting reports have recently been released - excellent weekend reading for everyone interested in agriculture, sustainability and food security!


"Every Bite Counts", by the CCPA:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The worst kind of 'trick or treat'!

Last Wednesday, Premier Campbell spent a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayers' money on a prime-time television infomercial.

In the Halloween spirit, I was hoping the treat would be a few answers to all the questions we've been asking for years about the BC Rail scandal. Or perhaps he would treat us to an apology for how be brought in the HST, and a pledge to do things differently. There was none of that.

Instead, we got a trick: a promise of an income tax cut. To me, it sounded like a cynical attempt to buy some popularity.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pie!

It's pumpkin season here in BC and not just for carving. You will find many types pumpkins all through our farmers markets including ones grown for pie making. This is a favourite recipe that I have used for years. It all starts in the field........

Pumpkin Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie.
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh Pumpkin Puree, or canned
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
Pate Brisee pie dough (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with
parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar,
cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree, and 3
eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk, and combine. Set aside.
Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll pate brisee into a 12
inch circle. Fit pastry into a 9-inch glass pie plate; trim dough
evenly along edge, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch to
form a decorative edge. If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15

Make the glaze: Beat the remaining egg, and combine with heavy
cream. Brush glaze very lightly on edges of pie shell. Fill pie shell
with pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle grated ginger on top of pie.
Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue
baking for 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack

Roasted Pumpkin
Makes 1 1/3 cups
1 sugar pumpkin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp paring knife, cut several slits in pumpkin, piercing skin alll the way through.
(thisll l Place in a baking dish; pour about 1 inch water in bottom of dish. Bake until skin is easily pierced and inside is very soft, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cut off top of pumpkin, and scoop out seeds; discard both. Peel, and discard skin. Place pumpkin in the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up o 2 days or the freezer up to 1 month.
Pate Brisee
Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar.
Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal,
8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream
through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being
wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds.
To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add
more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc
and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least
1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today's Editorial in the Vancouver Sun

Thank you Vancouver Sun for eloquently expressing the anger that so many of us are feeling right now. If the BC Liberals have a shred of integrity left they will call an inquiry.
Where are we as a province or a country when senior government officials can accept more than $75,000 in inducements and no one goes to jail? Do our judges even understand any more the concepts of "right" and "wrong?"

And how can the courts call it a "fine" when the same crooks are merely returning their ill-gotten gains? If the average person fails to declare some income, a fairly minor crime, even they are forced to pay the lost tax plus a 100-per-cent penalty as punishment.

And what sort of government do we have in B.C. when our top justice official, Attorney-General Mike de Jong, can agree to pay the crooked officials' $6-million legal fees as part of a deal between a supposedly independent special prosecutor and the defence lawyers? What is the point of hiring an independent prosecutor in the first place, if at the end of the process the attorney-general — a politician in the very government whose integrity the case brings into question — will be needed to approve such a massive carrot in the plea bargain? Have the payment of lawyers' fees ever before been part of such an arrangement?

And is there anyone in B.C. not suspicious about how all of this could suddenly happen after seven years of legal proceedings on the eve of former finance minister Gary Collins and other Liberal insiders being forced to take the stand?

Were this happening in some third-rate banana republic it would be shocking enough. That it is occurring in our beloved province is appalling beyond words. You're wrong Mr. de Jong. An inquiry into this sordid affair is needed.

© Copyright (c) The Province -

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How do you like them apples!

Please join me for a chat and some delicious apples this Saturday at Moss Street Market!

On October 16, from 10 am - 2 pm, Moss Street Market is holding their first annual pie tasting fundraiser, with proceeds going to support the market, and also to the Island Chef's Collaborative and Our Place.

There will be lots of delicious pies lovingly baked by island chefs!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Minister's autism claims 'nonsensical'

Minister of Children and Family Development Mary Polak claims she improved services for autistic children by cutting the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program at Queen Alexandra Centre for Child Health. This is nonsensical.

Cumulatively, she has cut more than $3 million provincewide from autism services for children under six.

In her announcement last September, Polak tried to disguise this cut as an improvement in service, claiming that eliminating Queen Alexandra's $5-million intensive therapy program allows the government to increase funding for all autistic children under 6 from $20,000 to $22,000.

Given the number of autistic children in the province, this actually reduced overall funding to the under-six group by more than $3 million.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is Prostate Cancer Awareness Week

A post for all the men out there. 

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men - it will afflict 1 in 6 men. If you are over forty it is important to know the facts.

Symptoms of prostate cancer may include slow or painful urination, blood or pus in the urine, painful ejaculation and pain in the lower back or abdomen, pelvis or upper thighs. If this sounds like you - see a doctor right away!

The good news is that in most cases, prostate tumours grow relatively slowly. It usually takes years for tumours to become large enough to be detectable and it takes even longer for them to spread out of the prostate. 

The bad news is that a small number of men have aggressive prostate cancers that grow and spread quickly. At diagnosis, it is tough to know which category a man falls into and this can make treatment decisions hard. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BC Government continues to fail children with autism

Hollie and Cooper
Today is the one year anniversary of a fateful decision. On Sept. 16, 2009, Mary Polak, the Minister for Children and Family Development, announced she was cutting early intensive therapy (EIBI) for children with autism.

EIBI has decades of proven research behind it. Children with autism who receive it are better able to lead fulfilling lives and become productive members of society.

Given that EIBI likely reduces the lifetime costs of supporting individuals with autism by 65%, this decision was short-sighted. This cut will end up costing us all more money in the long-term.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saanich Family Gets Help!

Good news!

Last week I told you about Ruth Horst and her fight to get bus passes for her children. Ruth works hard to take care of her five children but she is also disabled and cannot afford the $1400 it costs to buy the annual bus passes that most of her kids need to get to school.

Last week I also contacted every service club and charitable organization I could think of to see if they could help.

I’m really happy to share with you that at the eleventh-hour, the Salvation Army came forward with the funds needed for this school year.

Ruth and her family are very grateful to the Salvation Army and everyone else who showed concern and offered support in different ways.

But the larger problem highlighted by Ruth's story is unchanged.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Let's Swarm the Legislature!

The bees need your help!

Last year more than 90% of the honey-bees on the island died!

And what is worse, the provincial government's response has been to weaken the protections for our precious island bees.

Bee-keepers from across Vancouver Island ask you to join them for a rally:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saanich Family Needs Help

Dear Friends,

I've been working hard to help Ruth Horst get assistance to purchase bus passes for her children. Ruth is on long-term disability and is the sole provider for her five children. The family lives far from the kids' schools and they do not own a car. They need to take public transit to get to and from school, but the total cost of annual bus passes - $1750 - is beyond Ruth's means.

At first I assumed that the government would help out in such a situation...but they will not. We are continuing to explore every option we can think of. But with school starting in a few days, the children are running out of time.

If anyone is able to help, cheques - payable to BC transit - for any amount, can be dropped off at my office, 4085 Quadra. All funds donated will go directly towards purchasing bus passes for the children.

Below is a A channel news story about the situation that ran last night.

Thank you for your concern and support. Lana.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Update 2010 – Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South

Dear Friends,

Community Office Aug 2010
I hope you are enjoying the summer.

Last spring I visited 6500 homes, connecting with the people of Saanich South. This summer, I am again working hard to hear more about what you want, and to give you an update on what I’m up to.

Far and away, the most input I’ve received over the last year has been disappointment and anger about how the government introduced and is pushing forward with the HST. I want you all to know that I fought hard to stop it. I took a leadership role in organizing the opposition of thousands of cyclists, and I voted against it at every opportunity in the Legislature.

I believe the HST mess just emphasizes how overdue it is for us – the public – to have a good honest discussion about the “what and why” of our provincial taxes.

My own view is that one of the HST’s biggest flaws is that it is not grounded in the principles of sustainability. We need tax policy that addresses the environmental crisis we are in…and this tax fails that test.

A government that raises taxes on green transportation choices like bicycles is a government travelling in the wrong direction.

A question I get a lot is, “what do you do?”.

My job is to represent the 50,000 residents of Saanich South in the B.C. Legislature. I work in a non-partisan way to advance issues that are important the community. As a member of the official opposition, I also challenge and propose improvements to ongoing government policies.

Further, with my community-office team, I work directly with people in Saanich South who need assistance resolving provincial issues. We regularly help people with challenges relating to health care, education, small business, senior services, housing and transportation.

I also organize community events. For example, I recently organized a very well-attended forum about the dangerous intersection at Pat Bay Highway and Sayward Road, bringing together municipal politicians, community leaders and officials from the Ministry of Transportation. The Ministry is insisting on doing expensive, long-term plans for a possible overpass. The community is speaking largely with one voice: they consider safety improvements more of a priority. This is a file that I will continue working on until there is a good resolution. I recently filed a FOI request for all the maps and planning documents that government has, but is unwilling to share with the public. I’m also pulling together an experienced group of local residents to create a short-list of safety improvements that we want to see put in place in the short-term.
Please email me if you would like to help out.

I’m working hard on issues important to the community such as healthcare and education. For example, I am helping a young boy in Saanich South named Brandon. Brandon has Type 1 Diabetes. With just a little assistance, Brandon can use an insulin pump at school and have the same education opportunities as other children. For more information, please visit

In addition, I want to share with you that farmers in our community are extremely concerned about recent changes to honeybee importation regulations. The government is needlessly putting these critical pollinators at risk. Click here for more information. My background is in agriculture and I am working actively on a number of files, including the flawed slaughter regulations, the need to strengthen the ALR, Site C, and the inadequate funding to the Ministry of Agriculture.

I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Saanich South and working with you to improve our quality of life. Thanks for your support and please keep in touch.



Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Favourite Green Bean Salad

BC Green Beans are ready!

I most look forward to two vegetables in the summer. One of them is tomatoes and the other is green beans. Fresh, local or homegrown, green beans are incredibly delicious! This is my favourite recipe for green beans. It's a cold salad and is a perfect addition to a summer dinner and very easy to take to a potluck or BBQ.

Figure out how big a salad bowl you want to use and have the appropriate amount of beans to fill that bowl.

Start by taking the stems and pointy ends off the green beans. Snap them in half and put them into a bowl. While you are doing that you can put a large pot of water to boil on the stove.

When you have finished preparing the beans, drop them into the boiling water for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, take them off the stove, drain them in the sink, and rinse them with cold water until the cool down. (Sometimes I even save the rinse water by having a bowl underneath the colander and then dump it onto my garden after.)

Once the beans have dripped dry, place them into your salad bowl.

Add 1/2 cup jarred sundried tomatoes in olive oil. They come cut-up or not. If they are not chopped, you will have to chop them.

Add a few swirls of good olive oil.

Add 3 cloves finely chopped garlic.

Add add 1 1/2 cups grated Asiago Cheese.

Add fresh ground pepper.

Add a pinch of salt.

Toss until beans are covered.

This is good the next day too!

Friday, July 9, 2010

For the Record!

I'm often asked what I do when I'm sitting in the House. Quite a lot! Here is a list of all the questions, statements and motions that I made in the Legislature during the last session. The links will take you to the Hansard transcript.

    Popham, Lana (Saanich South)
    • As subject
    • Agricultural land reserve
    • Agriculture
      • crops, pollination 5880
      • government support 3186-7
      • hemp industry 4790
    • Agriculture and Lands Ministry
    • Autism
      • early intervention program and treatment services, funding 3186
    • Bees
      • population health 5880
    • Bike to Work Week
      • events in Victoria 5962
      • purpose 5966
    • B.C.
      • issues, community and environmental issues 3452
      • population, aging population 3765-6
    • B.C. Liberal Party government
      • action on stated goals 3184-7
    • Budget debate 3183-7
    • Buy B.C. program
    • California
      • agriculture industry 3186
    • Climate change
      • impact on agriculture and food supply 4448
    • Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act
    • Cordova Bay Elementary School
      • students and teachers 3184
    • Cycling
      • commuter cycling 5962
    • Economy
      • knowledge-based economy, government support 3186
    • Education
      • system, system during B.C. Liberal Party administration 3184
    • Education, funding 4625
    • Employment and unemployment
      • job creation, government action 3186
    • Environment
      • environmental assessment process 3452-3
      • protection and sustainability, government action 3185-6
    • Fires and firefighters
      • firefighters, role 3291
    • Food
      • food security 4448-9
      • locally grown food, production and support 4449
    • Forests and forest industry
      • job protection, petition tabled 4566
    • Girl Guides of Canada
      • organization and activities 3788
    • Harmonized sales tax
      • impact on bicycles and repairs 5966
      • impact on cycling 3184-5
      • petition tabled 5050
    • Health, public health
      • government promotion of healthy lifestyle and physical fitness 3184
    • Highway 17 (Patricia Bay Highway)
      • improvements, government investment 3185
    • Infrastructure
      • transportation infrastructure, government investment in sustainable transportation infrastructure 3185-6
    • Literacy
      • programs and services, funding 3184
    • Lyme disease
      • awareness and prevention 5541-2
    • Motions
      • Federal-provincial environmental assessment process, debate 3452-3
      • Food security and production plan for B.C., debate 4448-9
      • Sustainable wild salmon stock and aquaculture, debate 5950
    • NDP
      • vision for sustainable B.C. 3452-3
    • Olympic Games, 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver-Whistler
      • athletes, accomplishments of Canadian athletes 3184
    • Oral questions
      • Buy B.C. program 2982
      • Harmonized sales tax on bicycles 31095966
      • Importation of bees and beekeeping equipment to Vancouver Island 5885
      • School district costs and funding 4625
    • Pensions
      • pension income, gender disparity 3765
    • Petitions
      • harmonized sales tax 5050
      • harmonized sales tax on bicycles 3110
      • protection of B.C. jobs and old-growth forests on Vancouver Island 4566
    • Poverty
      • poverty among senior women, government action 3765-7
    • Premier's Council on Aging and Seniors Issues
    • Private members' statements
    • Private members' statements (response)
      • Industrial hemp 4790
    • Saanich
      • cycling trail system 3185
    • Saanich fire department
      • services and fundraising 3291
    • Saanich South constituency and area
    • Sales tax
      • exemption for bicycles 31093185
      • exemption for bicycles, petition tabled 3110
    • School district 63 (Saanich)
    • Seniors
      • government action on issues 3765-7
      • terminology to describe seniors 3765
    • Social Credit Party
    • Statements by members
      • Bike to Work Week 5962
      • Firefighters 3291
      • Girl Guides of Canada 3788
      • Lyme disease awareness 5541-2
      • Role of honeybees in agriculture 5880
      • Velox Rugby Club 4970
    • Vancouver Island
      • beekeeping, regulation of imported bees and equipment 58805885
      • forest industry, protection of old-growth forests, petition tabled 4566
      • south Island, economy and transportation infrastructure 3185-6
    • Vancouver Island Technology Park
    • Velox Rugby Club
      • history and activities 4970
    • Veterinarians Act
    • Welfare
      • support system for vulnerable persons 3186
    • Women

Friday, July 2, 2010

Government hiding information and failing to protect Wild Salmon - at the same time!

The government's decision to hide information about the sea lice infestation in and around the province’s fish farms is more evidence of both their failure to protect wild salmon, and their failure to follow Freedom of Information requirements.

Both Ecojustice and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation have asked the government to provide sea lice infestation records from January 2004 - March 2010.

But the BC Liberal government is denying their request despite the fact that the government just lost a six year battle to conceal 2002-03 sea lice infestation records from the public.

Dr. Alexandra Morton, an expert in sea lice who has studied wild salmon for years in the Broughton Archipelago says: “Hiding disease reports certainly raises the question: what don’t they want us to know. The only Fraser sockeye in collapse are those migrating past salmon feedlots."

It is clear that wild salmon need improved protection from human-caused impacts. And I believe strongly that the best way to protect jobs on the coast - in tourism, commercial fishing and aquaculture - is to protect the environment that sustains these activities.

We can become a world leader in sustainable aquaculture and create new green jobs while opening up markets to a product British Columbians can be proud of.

But for that we will need this government to have a change of heart - or we need a new government.

I applaud MLA Doug Routley, the New Democrat Critic for Citizens' Services for raising the issue of transparency and accountability.

He points out that the Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner has already ordered the B.C. Liberal government to release this information for a different year. By fighting against the public’s right to know, the B.C. Liberal government is wasting time and money. The government should be serving the people of this province, not shielding industry from public scrutiny.

During the spring sitting of the legislature, the New Democrat opposition introduced The Open Government Act to close loopholes in the province’s FOI legislation and prevent the government from waging time-consuming and costly battles against the public’s right to access information.

In 2007, the bi-partisan Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture recommended that the salmon farming industry be transitioned to closed-containment within five years. The B.C. Liberal government ignored this and more than 50 other recommendations, including transparent disease reporting, despite ongoing concerns about theimpact of fish farms on wild salmon and other species.

If the B.C. government had implemented the recommendations of the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture, we would be well on our way to showing the world that it is possible to have a thriving aquaculture industry that provides green jobs with a light environmental footprint.

I am fighting for an environmental plan that respects communities, creates green jobs, offers families positive choices and commits to concrete action to protect species at risk.

I call on Minister Thompson to do the right thing: show that you are committed to working transparently and help improve the protections for our desperately vulnerable wild salmon. Listen to the Courts of B.C. and release the documents now!


Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pat Bay & Sayward: Cordova Bay Speaks Out

Here is an article about the community forum I organized this week by Roger Stonebanks of the hard-working Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs

Safety first - and, please communicate
at Pat Bay and Sayward

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure must engage in meaningful community consultation before plans are drawn up for changes to the Patricia Bay Highway and Sayward Road - as well as at 'open houses' after plans are prepared for public reaction.

This message was delivered to the ministry before a standing-room-only audience of 115 residents by speakers at a public safety forum on June 15/2010 organized by Saanich South MLA Lana Popham at Cordova Bay Community Place.

The Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs (CBA) has been campaigning for more than a year for 'safety first' fixes at the intersection which is one of the most dangerous in terms of crashes on Vancouver Island. For details and background including two important traffic reports, please click on: Pat Bay/Sayward intersection safety issues.

Recently, the ministry disclosed that it is planning some changes at the intersection and will present them at 'open houses' for public comment. But speakers including Wayne Christmas, chairperson of the CBA traffic committee, said the ministry should consider public opinion before making plans by organizing a public input forum - as well as afterwards. He also said changes should improve safety and not increase cut-through traffic within Cordova Bay. 

Members of the public gave a number of ideas for changes at the intersection. Popham said she has received many responses to her opinion survey and promised that all communications that she receives will be delivered to the ministry and to Saanich municipality - ahead of plans being finalized by the ministry. The survey is available on her

Patrick Livolsi, the ministry's regional director for the south coast, said a consultant has been engaged to review past traffic reports and identify a long-term strategy as well as what can be done now to reduce accidents. The consultant will work with Saanich municipality. He hoped changes will include a park-and-ride facility. He promised the highway won't be increased to six lanes - it will stay at four lanes.

"We are trying to pare down options to the public for feed-back for small-scale improvements," he said. He noted that 68 per cent of accidents are rear-enders and they occur at the approaches to the intersection as well as at the intersection.

The ministry first disclosed last March on CBC Radio that it hopes to have plans ready for public comment this fall, "safety mitigation measures" short of an interchange that would significantly reduce the accident record. The cost might be $2 to $3 million.

Coun. Judy Brownoff, Saanich council's liaison with the ministry (along with Coun. Leif Wergeland, who lives in Cordova Bay and who attended the meeting as well as several other councillors), said council has emphasized that the ministry must engage the public - "There has to be true meaningful engagement. This community wants meaningful consultation."
When one speaker asked if the ministry would be willing to form a consultation committee, Livolsi said "We'll take that under consideration."

Coun. Brownoff said the Pat Bay/Sayward intersection is the second-worst in Saanich for accidents (using ICBC figures) - and surprised the audience by identifying the worst as Wilkinson Road/Interurban Road which she said has a lot of traffic cutting through between Patricia Bay Highway and Trans-Canada Highway.

She said Saanich Police have told her that speed is not a factor in most accidents at Pat Bay/Sayward. The biggest issues are inattentiveness by drivers and following too closely. Most accidents occur in the afternoon.

One speaker said the community needs to decide whether or not it is prepared to accept an interchange (as forecast in several traffic reports) - and if not, the discussion would go in another direction. Comments at the meeting indicated support for safety measures at the present intersection but not an interchange or "grade level separation" as it was sometimes called.

Popham concluded the meeting by again stating that all opinions that she receives from the public will be delivered to the ministry and Saanich. "This is just the beginning of community consultation," she said.

(News item provided by Roger Stonebanks, former president of the CBA.)

Reprinted with permission.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's time to enjoy the local bounty!

A news update from the Southern Vancouver Island Direct Farm Marketing Association… For farm links and other information, visit their website at or find them on facebook:

Strawberry Watch
FINALLY! The wait is over! All farms now have strawberries (visit our product page for a list of farms selling strawberries). Dan’s Farm is taking orders for flats of strawberries and filling those orders at this time. U-pick strawberries will start on June 23. Down the road at Oldfield Orchard and Bakery, u-pick happens on June 19 and 20, then Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday for the following week. Visit our U-Pick page for a complete listing of U-Pick farms.

Notes from the Peninsula
Michell Bros. Farm reports they have added fresh bunched carrots, green onions and green cabbage to its shelves, along with bunched beets, kale and lettuces. Over at Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm in Saanichton, Joan Fleming has potted dahlia plants for sale, along with beautiful colourful hanging baskets… And across the road at Suntrio Farm, the boys have variety of unique greens for sale, including pea shoots, sunflower sprout mix and wheat grass, as well as plan starters. The Muse Winery in North Saanich was a multiple medal winner at wine competitions this spring, taking 3 golds and a bronze at the Canadian Wine Competition and 4 silver medals at the NorthWest Wine Summit.

Notes from Metchosin
Fiona is holding a huge sale at Metchosin Farm: “Time to clear out the nursery to make way for summer (yes, it IS coming!). All tomato plants are on sale for $1.50 each if you buy ten or more. A great deal, while quantities last. Given the cool wet spring that we've had, the farm stand is still open until these plants are all sold. There is still a wonderful selection of salad mixes, New Zealand spinach, strawberry plants (some with red berries on them), squash, melons, rhubarb, tomatillos, peppers and more.”

Notes from the Cowichan...
Experience the summer solstice celebration of feminine energy at Damali Labyrinth (Damali Lavender Farm) on Monday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. 'MANY STRONG, WISE, and BEAUTIFUL WOMEN' This is the fourth summer solstice celebration at Damali Labyrinth. Invite friends, daughters, sisters, mothers and bring a drum, tambourine or wooden spoons as we will be generating rhythms of the heart connections.

Merridale Ciderworks
Sunday, June 20: Barbeque buffet lunch for Father’s Day. Brunch begins at 11 and goes until 4 for only $20 a person. For menus and more information visit our website.
Saturday, July 3rd: Join us Saturday evening for a live dinner theatre on our orchard decks! The Bamberton Historical Society joined forces with the Seeds and Salt Theatre Company to create the historical theatre production, “The Road Less Travelled.” It portrays what makes Vancouver Islanders unique by uncovering 3 forgotten stories of Vancouver Island’s past and retelling them in a dramatic style that encourages the audience to interact with the characters and share in the lives, loves, intrigues and heroic deeds of the past. Drinks and appetizers begin at 5:30 followed by dinner at 6 pm. Dinner will be a cold buffet and served at long tables in the bistro. At 7:00, guests will be escorted onto the back deck to watch the plays and children are welcome. Bring a sweater in case of chill, but overhead heaters and blankets are provided for warmth.

Toe Tappin' at Providence Farm
Saturday, June 19 @ 5 p.m.
You'll have a great time helping Providence Farm raise funds at our annual Wild West Hoedown, with a buffet dinner, live and silent auctions and a real old fashioned country barn dance. Hoedown profits directly support the wonderful, innovative programs at the farm; programs that benefit the lives of so many in the Cowichan Valley. Tickets $75 from Providence Farm 250-746-4204. 

Grow Your Own
Carolyn Herriot’s new book, The Zero Mile Diet, is now sprouting up in local bookstores. Visit Carolyn’s web site for more information. And look for Carolyn and the Zero Mile Diet at the Saanich Fair this year!

Opportunities for youth

Haliburton Community Farm Summer Farm Camp for Kids
Here's another opportunity for young people to learn about growing and eating local foods. The Haliburton Community Organic Farm offers a Summer Farm Camp for Kids – visit the farm website to learn more.

Mr. Organic's Summer Camp for Kids
Your child will learn about: • Good bugs VS bad bugs • Companion plants • Seeding • Wonderful world of worms • Creating raised beds • Transplanting
All food-growing materials are provided, including seeds, potting soil, starter plants, compost, top soil, tools, and equipment. Camp is available to most ages - please ask.  One Full Week ONLY $115! Drop-ins Welcome $25/day

Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 2:30pm  • July 5–9 • July 12–16 • July 19–23 • July 26–30

For more information and/or to register, call Mr. Organic (Dave) at 250-655-9156 or 250-704-6602. Visit Mr. Organic's website (
And don't forget Mr. Organic's Gardening Workshop for Kids at The Roost Farm Centre on June 19, from 9 am to 12 noon.

Recipes from Taste of Life Catering ( featuring local farm products in season. Enjoy!
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
1 rack of island Lamb
One bunch of parsley
2 tbsp of chopped rosemary
½ cup Honey
¼ cup Dijon
1 cup of panko breading
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Vegetable oil
In a food processor combine bread crumbs parsley rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix together on high for 2 minutes; mixture should be green in color. Take out and set aside in a glass bowl. In another bowl combine honey & Dijon, set aside. Once lamb is clean, cover bones with tin foil – this will Keep them from burning while cooking! Heat up a skillet with a little oil, sear your lamb on both sides for 3 minutes to seal in the juices, let cool for 10 minutes before coating.
Next paint on honey mixture all over the lamb meat. Dredge in breading mixture completely coat both sides of lamb. To finish pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat up a pan on medium to high heat. Sear both sides of lamb for 3 minutes, place in oven with show side up. Rare – cook for 15 minutes.
Medium rare to medium – 20 minutes. Let you lamb rest for 5 minutes, then cut in between bones. You should get 4 to 5 nice pieces. Serve with nice red wine Demi glace & sides of your choice. Enjoy!

Shopping for lamb?
A number of our members sell local lamb (visit our product page for a complete list and links). Call ahead for availability and to place orders.
Saanich Peninsula: Dragonfly Hill Vineyard & Winery, Ireland Farms, Olde Country Registered Sheep, Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm, The Roost Farm Centre
Metchosin: Seabluff Farm
Cowichan Valley: Gill-Power Hobby Farm, Providence Farm, Stonefield Farm.