Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Smart Meters should be reviewed!

Dear Saanich South,

My office has received several complaints from constituents in the last few weeks about spikes in BC Hydro bills after the installation of Smart Meters. In almost all instances there is no other explanation - no change in consumption habits or energy usage. I've spoken with several people who are furious and scared about these increases because they are on a very fixed budget and cannot figure out how they will now meet their essential needs.

These complaints take on additional weight when added to the many more reported on by media throughout the province. 

The hard-working House Leader and Energy Opposition Critic John Horgan has been loud and clear on this issue. Today he called on Energy Minister Rich Coleman to order the B.C. Utilities Commission to independently review the complaints.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Art Show & Open House - this Wednesday!

Dear Saanich South,

You are invited to an Art Show & Open House at my community office, 4085 Quadra, from 7:00-8:30pm this Wednesday, March 28. All the details are on the poster below. I look forward to catching up and hearing your views on the issues of the day.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Deer, deer and more deer

A fawn in Spring. Credit: Ted Tyrrell
Dear Saanich South,

The rapidly increasing population of Black Tail deer in Saanich is of concern to many.

As the MLA for Saanich South, I hear from people with very different perspectives on this issue: from residents who enjoy daily encounters with wildlife, to farmers who say that the grazing deer will soon put them out of business; from those who believe it is morally wrong to kill animals and argue we should co-exist; to those who see deer as venison and a potential boon to local food security...and every view in between.

The problem is not that there are deer on the peninsula, this their home too - and we are fortunate to live in a place that can still support wildlife. The concern is the growing population on the peninsula and the increasing deer/human interactions. In the wild deer populations are kept in check by predators and limits in forage. But in our community, neither of these factors exist.

What should be done?

In November 2011, the Capital Regional District directed its staff to develop terms of reference for a Deer Management Strategy. At that time, I wrote to the CRD and offered to help them reach out to the community.

The CRD has now completed this work. (You can see that document here.) A Citizen’s Advisory Group is being created and it will develop the strategy with the assistance of a group of experts.

It’s my understanding that the terms of reference have been adopted, “with provisions that at least three members of the citizen’s advisory group be commercial farmers and that agricultural issues be addressed as a first priority”.

I support this approach and I note that the CRD expects the work of the Group to be done by
July 2012.

I look forward to a debate that is informed and sensitive to the range of perspectives on this
issue. There are no quick solutions… but we do need to decide on a strategy and move forward.


PS.If you are interested in being on this Citizen’s Advisory Group you can apply here. The deadline is March 30th.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flag Ceremony at Elk Lake!

Hi Saanich South,

After five very charged weeks in the Legislature it was a great treat to drop by the Elk Lake rowing club-house this afternoon. As you can see their BC flag was just a little tattered and I brought them a new one. The wind storm this week really took a toll!

Elk Lake is a beautiful spot and its always inspiring to see so many young people dedicating long hours out on the water.

Thanks to Aalbert Van Schothorst, the Junior Program Head Coach, Jesse  Hume, the Masters Program Head Coach & Program Coordinator (who is pulling down the flag in the picutre) and these three very tall Victoria City Rowers for making the flag-changing ceremony so much fun!

The Victoria City Rowing Club has lots going on, check out their website to see the latest: http://www.vcrc.bc.ca/Home.aspx


Monday, March 12, 2012

Shaw TV coverage of Pat Bay/Sayward intersection improvements

Thanks Shaw TV! Good coverage from the Daily about proposed safety improvements for the intersection at Sayward Road and the Pat Bay Highway.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Bill 22

To all those concerned about public schools in BC - and especially to teachers and those with kids in the system: Here are two videos showing what I said in the Legislature this week when I stood to oppose Bill 22. 

Part 1: March 7, 2012

Part 2: March 8, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Change is coming for Pat Bay & Sayward!

Question & Answer at the Sayward/Pat Bay Forum
Dear Saanich South,

RE: safety improvements for the Pat Bay/Sayward Road intersection.

I’m writing to report-out on the community meeting held last evening.

The event had great energy and a super turn-out! Over 125 residents attended, filling the room to capacity. There was also excellent participation from the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs, BC Transit staff, Saanich Council and Engineering, and five representatives from the Ministry of Transportation (MOT).

MOT staff included Kirsten Pedersen who is both the Vancouver Island District Manager and the Executive Director of Strategic Priorities, as well as Dave Edgar, a Senior Transportation Planning Engineer.

Norma and Helen; look at those beautiful smiles!
I’m excited to report that the MOT is ready to move forward with the proposed safety improvements. For them, the last step needed was to see that there is strong community support to go in this direction.

And indeed there was! I tested the room on each of the proposed changes and there was an overwhelming positive response.

These changes were built out of the initial community meeting that I organized in 2010 and were developed through a working group of with community representatives, business owners, MOT, BC Transit, Saanich Councillors and myself.

It was a real treat for me to spearhead this process. I especially want to thank the many residents of Cordova Bay who volunteered their time and contributed many good ideas.

And what will happen now?

Bill 22

Here I am with my son Kye - who is in
public school - and our dog, Jake.
Dear Saanich South,

Many of you have contacted me about the ongoing dispute between public school teachers and the government.

Ultimately the government holds all the power in these negotiations and it has shown repeatedly that it is willing to exercise that power to gets its way, rather than do the hard work to bargain out an agreement.

The government’s previous heavy-handed approach landed them in the Supreme Court – where their actions were ruled to be illegal.

Surely we can do better than this in BC. A creative and independent negotiator should be brought in to bring out the good-will on both sides of the conflict and find a way through this. Our children deserve no less.

Unfortunately the government’s response to the current impasse, Bill 22, will only make the problem worse. Worse for students, parents and teachers. It increases class size, weakens protections for special needs students and hurts the quality of the education our children receive.

I will be joining my Opposition colleagues to vote against Bill 22. We will be raising our concerns and holding the government to account for this debacle.

I’m distressed to see that it has come to this. The teachers will strike three days next week and then may be forced back to work with a crude piece of legislation that will only worsen the conditions and atmosphere in our schools. It’s just not good enough.

The government is playing politics: they are increasing the fears and anxieties of parents and students to distract from their mismanagement of education.

I will do my very best to work towards a government where teachers are treated fairly so we can get back to improving the quality of education in this province.

Sincerely, Lana

Lana Popham
MLA Saanich South