Thursday, October 31, 2013

Youth train trip to Ottawa: relevant and authentic!

Dear Saanich South,

Please note I am going on holidays next week! The Constituency Office remains open regular hours.

I'm very excited to be joining 50 students from Claremont Secondary’s Institute for Global Solutions (and their teachers!) for an amazing adventure.

Tomorrow we depart Vancouver by train en-route to our nation’s capital!

The MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, Elizabeth May, is coming too! We will support SD63 talented teachers as the students learn core components of Social Studies 11 and Sustainabilty 11. There will be lots of time on those long hours across the great expanse of Canada for the kids to appreciate our country and learn how democracy should work.

I've even promised to lecture on the rules of "parliamentary practice in BC" if they misbehave!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Update: Community leaders coming together to reopen Saanich Observatory

Dear Saanich South,

How about some goods news regarding efforts to restore public access to Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and reopen the Centre of the Universe?

I have connected over the last two months with more than a dozen community leaders. As it turns out, they all share the same goal: restore public access to the Saanich Observatory!

I’ve received encouragement and input from a group that includes astronomy buffs, the President of the National Research Council (NRC) and the General Manager of the NRC Herzberg; the Presidents of the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada, Victoria Chapter; the President of the Prospect Lake Community Association; UVIC staff, students, Professors and Deans; elected officials at the school board, municipal, provincial and federal levels; successful business owners, tourist operators and astronomy educators in Saanich and the region; the CEO of the Royal BC Museum; BC Government representatives in the areas of heritage, technology and tourism; and of course teachers, parents and children.

Safety improvements to Sayward & Pat Bay complete!

February 2012 Public Meeting
Dear Saanich South,

It was a privilege to spearhead the process that led to these improvements. Smart and realistic input from the public - especially the Cordova Bay community - and good work by many people in the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) led to this. Thanks to all involved!
The changes made were agreed to by the community and MOT after broad discussion, two well-attended community meetings ...and lots of hard work by the MOT.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Times Colonist: We should reopen observatory to the public

Observatory under construction, circa 1916.
Courtesy of BC Archives, Royal BC Museum. 
Times Colonist, Comment Page, A11, by Lana Popham, 29 Oct 2013

Federal budget cuts closed the Saanich Observatory to the public last summer; public effort can ensure it is reopened.
There may be no better place in Canada to look at the stars than right here in Saanich. That is why, 100 years ago, Little Saanich Mountain was chosen as the site for what became the most powerful telescope in the world.
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.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pat Bay & Sayward work almost done!

Sayward Rd, Oct 17 2013
Dear Saanich South,

I was doorknocking today in the area and I stopped to check out the progress of safety improvements at Sayward and Pat Bay. 

Things are looking good! Should be done in a couple of weeks at most!