Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MMBC & Urban Impact

Quick note. Today I met with Nicole Stefenelli and toured her company, Urban Impact. 

This remarkable BC company, located in New Westminster, takes in 450 tonnes each day of recyclables. 

450 tonnes! 

It has more than 100 employees. Nicole started her company from scratch when she was in her early twenties. Up until recently it handled more than 25% of the province's recyclables.

Regrettably, recent changes made by the BC government have created a new monopoly in her industry, MMBC, and her company has been cut out. 

Nicole is an amazing business woman with a great team and I am sure she will find a way to thrive. 

But that doesn't mean we should look the other way while this government actively undermines the recycling sector! I certainly intend to do exactly the opposite.

For more information on my work challenging MMBC, see:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Critical Moment for Maltby Lake

Dear Friends,

This Monday a BC Supreme Court will hear arguments about the future of Maltby Lake.

The Land Conservancy owns 35% of this Saanich property but is under pressure from its Court-appointed Monitor to sell off its share to the highest bidder. (TLC has been under Creditor Protection since late 2013.)

Many people in Saanich have contacted me to say that if a sale is ordered by the court it must be to a bidder that will accept an obligation to maintain its natural state. Such a bidder has come forward. The individuals involved have widespread support from the community at large, local Saanich Councillors, local conservationist organizations, and even from the general membership and Board of TLC.

Now we are looking to the BC Supreme Court to recognize this significant public support and fairly balance the valid financial interests of TLC’s creditors with the environmental importance of the watershed itself.

Let’s not forget that the beauty and ecological value of this watershed is extraordinary.

The video which follows is a 10 minute excerpt from a public event I held recently about Maltby. The speaker is an expert in hydrology and has been actively studying Maltby for years. His talk and images are very engaging and clearly lay out why this watershed is worthy of protection.

You can show your support by ‘liking’ the Maltby Lake Society’s facebook page or signing their petition.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas? Hanukkah? ...Art? Donuts!

Dear Residents of Saanich South,

Join me on Wednesday December 17th, between 6:00 and 7:30 pm, at my Constituency Office, 4085 Quadra St.

Award-winning portrait and still life painter Marcia Perkins will be in attendance with more than thirty of her paintings and drawings.

To celebrate Christmas, carollers from the much-loved Linden Choir will sing between 6:30 -7:00 pm. 

We will also have mulled apple cider made from local apples and savory mini-quiches made by a local chef. 

And to celebrate Hanukkah, we will be making hot sugar doughnuts on site!

Hope to see you soon!


MLA Saanich South

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cool Aid Society & Olympic Vista

Here is a statement I made in the Legislature yesterday:
L. Popham: I rise to speak on the accomplishments of the Cool Aid Society. As is well-known in this House, the Cool Aid Society is the lead organization in the capital region helping homeless people. At the moment, Cool Aid is providing 374 supportive housing apartments and shelter for over 1,700 people every year. Cool Aid does tremendous work, and its staff and supporters have our heartfelt thanks.

One of Cool Aid's remarkable success stories is Olympic vista located in Saanich South. It was completed in 2011 and provides long-term supportive housing for 36 seniors who have struggled with homelessness. 
visited the site last week, and I was so impressed by the staff that work at Olympic Vista because they are dedicated to ensuring that this is not just a facility addressing a serious problem but a safe, welcoming home with access to the help and the respect that these residents require to thrive and make their housing situation successful.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My view on Site C

Here is a clip from my response to the Oct 2014 Throne Speech where I lay out my view on the controversial Site C proposal. 

Transcript of the entire speech is here

Lana Popham
MLA Saanich South

Your thoughts on private money in municipal elections?

Dear Saanich South Residents,

The BC Legislature’s Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits is currently conducting public consultations on principles for local elections expense limits. 

In particular, the Committee is examining principles for the relationship between elector organizations and their candidates with respect to expense limits and principles for establishing expense limits for third party advertisers, including whether there should be an overarching, cumulative limit on third party spending such as exists in provincial general elections.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LNG & Climate Change in BC

Here is a brief excerpt of my Oct 2014 Response to the Throne Speech where I summarize my environmental objections to the BC Liberal's LNG plans. 

You can find a transcript for the whole speech here:https://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/40th3rd...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Decrease in crashes = a great birthday present!

Here is a very kind birthday card my office made for me.

Safety improvements made at Pat Bay and Sayward appear to be working well. Only time will tell (and keep driving safely!) but it is certainly a very positive sign that there has been a significant decrease in serious crashes at this intersection since the safety improvements were completed exactly one year ago.

Thanks are due to the Cordova Bay Community Association (notably Graham Shorthill featured in the card) for keeping the pressure on. I recall past-president Roger Stonebank bending my ear on this issue before I was even elected! Thanks also to the Ministry of Transportation, especially former Minister Blair Lekstrom, Senior Engineer Dave Edgar and District Manager Kirsten Pedersen, as well as the skilled workers who brought the plans to life in a very dangerous workplace. Thanks also to Saanich, BC Transit and local business owners... and of course all of us BC taxpayers who footed the bill!

MLA, Saanich South

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Heights at Mt. View is open!

What a huge day in our community! We now have a beautiful new seniors residential care facility in Saanich South called The Heights at Mt View. 

President and CEO of Baptist Housing Howard Johnson said he has visited more than 200 sites around North America to incorporate latest advances for seniors with dementia and who are in need of complex care. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Maltby Lake Event a Success

Here is a report on the event from Carmel and Woody Thomson:
Thank you for venturing out on such a miserable evening to attend the Open House & Community Meeting for the protection of Maltby Lake. Woody and I were thrilled with the turnout. During the Q&A portion, and while I sat amongst a panel of stellar presenters, was it wrong for me to count heads? I counted 79. I admit to being nervous stepping up on the stage, but so glad I did if only to see the faces of the many supporters who have been with us from the beginning. Thank you!
To have a forum dedicated to understanding the ecology, and the natural and conservation values of Maltby Lake was phenomenal. We wish to thank Saanich-South MLA Lana Popham for hosting the learning forum and to her constituency assistant Samuel Godfrey for organizing the event with volunteers.
Guest speakers were experts in the fields of science and conservation. They presented significant information (data) during the course of the evening. It was satisfying to see Maltby Lake recognized for what it is: An ecologically sensitive ecosystem rarely found in the urban landscape.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Location change for Maltby Lake meeting!

The community meeting about Maltby Lake will now take place at:

Claremont Secondary School, 4980 Wesley Road. (Click here for a map.) Tuesday Oct. 21st.

7:00pm - 7:20pm      Displays, coffee, tea and delicious sweets from Cascadia bakery.
7:20pm - 7:30pm      Introduction, MLA Lana Popham
7:30pm - 8:10pm      Presentations on the environmental value of Maltby Lake
·         Mary Haig-Brown, Chair, Friends of Tod Creek Watershed
·         Ian Bruce, Executive Director, Peninsula Streams Society
·         William Shulba, Maltby Lake Mapping Project; and
·         Adam Taylor, Executive Director, Habitat Acquisition Trust
8:10pm - 8:30pm      Questions & answers, discussion.
8:30pm - 8:40pm      Next Steps & meeting close, MLA Lana Popham

We’ve changed the location to accommodate far more interest than we had anticipated. We now have more than enough space (the theatre in the school) so feel free to share the invite and bring a friend or two.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Site C doesn't fit behind closed doors

Site C doesn't fit behind closed doors
Hydro-electricity is extremely important for our province. It's an economic engine and a source of clean and renewable energy.

The Site C project is potentially the next big public hydro project and it’s been up for discussion for years. This past week the BC Liberals granted this project environmental approval. They claim that the benefits outweigh the social and environmental costs of building it.

The Federal Government has said the same thing.

The next step that a responsible Government would take in a project this size, 8 to 10 (or more) billion taxpayer dollars, would be to send it to the BC Utilities Commission.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Protect Maltby Lake

UPDATE: Location change! 

The event is now being held at Claremont School, 4980 Wesley Rd. (Map here

No RSVP necessary.

Dear Friends,

Please join me at my Community Office on Tuesday October 21st, from 7:00pm - 8:30pm for an Open House & Discussion about Maltby Lake. 

Few are aware of this extraordinary place, even though it is in Saanich and just ten kilometres from Victoria. There is no place closer to the provincial capital that surpasses Maltby Lake in terms of ecological value or wild beauty. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

People of faith, thank you!

Faith in Action is a social-justice group made up of community leaders from different religions and faith traditions. The group has released an evocative 'social covenant' that defines our concerns and responsibilities as citizens of British Columbia. 

Please come to the front steps of the BC Legislature at 11:30am on Wednesday, October 8. Your presence will demonstrate the importance of these ideas.    

Friday, September 19, 2014

New poll confirms overwhelming support in BC for the ALR

As Opposition spokesperson for agriculture, I have very important news to share with you: a poll released this week shows that more British Columbians than ever want strong protections for B.C. farmland.
Commissioned by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia and the Vancouver Foundation, the poll found an astounding 95 percent of British Columbians believe our Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) should be preserved for green space and growing food.
A full 80 percent of those polled were concerned about our dependence on other countries for our food supply.

Our society is stronger, safer and more productive when we support those in need

My office helped this family secure temporary shelter and I will keep working with them and others in Saanich South who are homeless or in crisis. Our society is stronger, safer and more productive when we support those in need. Lana
PS. Excellent editorial in Today's Times Colonist: "Housing worth public expense"

'We're at our breaking point:' Saanich family in housing crisis

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The fight for public education is far from over

It is excellent news that public schools may re-open next week. 

However, it is an absolute outrage that our kids have missed 5 weeks of school in total.
This has been the longest province-wide shut-down of schools in BC’s history.  

Teachers will vote today on whether or not to accept the tentative agreement reached between their union and the BC Government.

I offer a heartfelt "thank-you" to the teachers for fighting so hard for public education.
Every citizen of this province benefits from a well-educated population.  A sure way to “grow the economy” is to fund a public education system that allows the opportunity for everyone to reach their potential.

In my opinion,  we have a Premier and Education Minister who do not appreciate the value of what public school teachers do and do not understand the importance of public education.

The loss of teaching time has hurt our kids' education and is a shameful mark on the record of the BC Liberal government.

Regardless of the outcome of the current contract negotiations today, the struggle to protect public education in BC is far from over. 

As a parent of a public school student and as a Member of the BC Legislative Assembly, I will continue to fight for a public education system that we can all be proud of. 

Our kids deserve nothing less. 

My recent statements on the school shut-down:

Sep 10, 2014
As the parent of a child in public school (grade 11), I personally understand how unacceptable the current situation is. I am working with my colleagues in the Official Opposition to press the government towards a fair resolution.
We continue to advocate for arbitration. The government is currently rejecting arbitration. It is important to maintain pressure and rally the public to demand the government reconsider its rejection of arbitration ….

Sep 04, 2014
Tuesday should have been the first day of school in our province. It should have been the exciting beginning of a new year, but instead, it brought another day of frustration and disappointment for children and their families ….

Opposition Education Critic calls for education minister to step down

Aug 31, 2014
New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming released the following statement on the breakdown of talks in the education dispute:
“With just two days left before the start of school, it is clear Education Minister Peter Fassbender has utterly failed kids and families in B.C. Either he should admit he is not up to the task and step down, or Premier Clark should remove him ....

Aug 07, 2014
I'm also a parent of a grade eleven student in public school. And I'm a citizen who believes passionately in the importance of accessible high-quality K-12 education for all, regardless of one's ability to pay. That is why I argue ....

Jun 20, 2014
Instead, we see the government turning away from the breakdown in our public school system. In fact, we know from testimony made under oath in Court by the BC Liberal government's own chief negotiator that the ....

May 27, 2014
I'm also angry at how the BC government is treating our teachers and the school system. Premier Clark and her government have not only failed to negotiate an agreement with teachers, they have escalated the conflict with a ....

Feb 03, 2014
A child who entered kindergarten when Premier Clark was first made education minister will graduate this year having spent all their years in school in larger classes with fewer supports because of her legislation. Legislation ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The renaissance of "local food" continues to grow

New Residential Care Facility in Saanich South

Almost done: The Heights at Mt View is in the final stages of construction.
An opening ceremony is scheduled for October 16, 2014
Dear Saanich South Residents,

After much hard work, The Heights at Mt View is nearly complete! 

This  facility is located in Saanich South at 3814 Carey Road, will be a tremendous community asset, providing critical housing and complex care for more than 250 seniors. 

Click on the image to the right to see a live-cam of the building in its final stages of construction. 

I would like to congratulate Howard Johnson and his entire team at Baptist Housing. They have put in a million dollar donation and countless hours over the past decade to bring this project to life and will continue on managing the facility and providing care and related services with funding from Island Health. The project is part of a regional effort with excellent contributions from the Capital Regional District, Island Health, Saanich, the Mt. View Colquitz Community Association and the Province of BC. 

The Heights at Mt View will include 2 20-patient houses designed for seniors with early-stage dementia, 55 affordable housing units for seniors, 36 supportive housing units to reduce homelessness and 18 housing units available to middle- to low-income families. This facility will replace suites at Mount Edward's Court and the Central Care Home. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Premier, my son wants to go to school

Dear Saanich South,

As the parent of a child in public school (grade 11), I personally understand how unacceptable the current situation is. I am working with my colleagues in the Official Opposition to press the government towards a fair resolution.
We continue to advocate for arbitration. The government is currently rejecting arbitration. It is important to maintain pressure and rally the public to demand the government reconsider its rejection of arbitration.
Accepting arbitration is an excellent compromise by the teachers.  It would allow for a balanced solution and get kids back into the class-room immediately. (School could resume now, while the arbitration process unfolds.)
In my view, the government has been unwilling to compromise to end this dispute and must be held accountable for the longest province-wide shut-down of schools in B.C. history. 
Providing quality public education is a fundamental obligation of the provincial government and the BC Liberal government is obviously failing miserably in that regard. That is why we are calling on Education Minister to resign and for the government to adopt a new approach to this dispute. 
It seems clear to many that the Premier has no compunction about depriving children in the public system of education for weeks or months longer. That would be terrible for many BC families. We will need to work together to bring about a resolution. I encourage you to write (or keep writing) to the Premier (premier@gov.bc.ca).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chris Gainor reviews the Summer of 2014 at the Saanich Observatory

Chris Gainor
Check out this great blog post from the indefatigable Chris Gainor. Chris is a well-known writer and historian specializing in the history of space exploration and aeronautics. He is the Second Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. He has authored four books and has a Ph.D. in the history of technology.

A great summer at the Centre of the Universe

The first summer of public outreach at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory since last year's closure of the Centre of the Universe educational centre has gone in the books as a major success.

Large crowds came out for Saturday night public observing at the DAO, and space camps held for young students were also well supported. Having said that, this year's public outreach was not trouble free, and a lot of work needs to be done in the coming months to ensure that public outreach continues on a more permanent basis.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Local recycling business forced to close after government changes to recycling sector

Click here to sign my petition calling on the Auditor General to review MMBC.

Both the Times Colonist and the Black Press local papers picked up on this story. Visit the links to read more:

Times Colonist, Sept 9 2014
New provincial recycling program killed Central Saanich firm, says ex-GM

Peninsula News Review, August 30 2014
Starved of Plastics, Syntal Products on Keating closes

Syntal General Manager Brian Burchill and MLA
Lana Popham, August 2014

The provincial government continues to push forward with recycling regulations that are bad for the environment and bad for local business. In fact, the BC Liberals are breaking small businesses in the recycling sector by gifting a monopoly over residential recycling to a handful of mega-corporations. 

Example number one is the recent closure of Syntal Products, located on Keating Cross Road.

Over the last sixteen years Syntal has allowed residents to drop-off used hard plastics at no charge for recycling. Syntal took in thousands of tons of the stuff, diverting it from the Hartland Landfill. The company uses innovative green technology to transform the material into all-plastic lumber, which never rots and, because it is non-toxic, is a more-environmentally responsible product than chemically treated wood.

According to Syntal’s General Manager, Brian Burchill, 60% of their supply of residential plastics was cut off the day the MMBC program started. The company was not longer viable and has now been shut down and sold to a business in another province.

MMBC is demanding that all materials collected are siphoned off to specific big businesses it selects. That is why smaller operations like Syntal are being shut-down and why small businesses across the whole sector are very concerned about being pushed under.

The closure of Syntal is a significant loss: thanks to the monopolistic practices of MMBC, enabled by the provincial government, we have lost good local jobs, a great and green local business and an environmentally-friendly system to locally handle and reuse plastic waste.

I’m extremely concerned for the future of our BC recycling businesses. The BC Liberals claims they are pro-business, but here is an example of them meddling with the free market to ensure large corporations can profit from the residential recycling sector. Ultimately it is the environment and the people of BC who will be worse off.

MMBC, a contentious and much-criticized residential recycling program, was introduced by the BC Liberal Government and came into effect this spring. It is controlled by the Ontario-based Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance’s board of directors, which includes representation from Unilever Canada, Metro, Walmart, Tim Hortons, Loblaw Companies, Coca-Cola Canada and Procter & Gamble.

Please click here for background on this issue.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Time for Premier Clark to set a new tone with teachers

Here is an Op-Ed from the Leader of the Official Opposition about the shut-down of public schools in BC. -L.
By John Horgan, leader, B.C. New Democrats, Sept 7 2014

Tuesday should have been the first day of school in our province. It should have been the exciting beginning of a new year, but instead, it brought another day of frustration and disappointment for children and their families.

Premier Christy Clark and her education minister have tried to say the things they think people want to hear – like that they are willing to meet 24/7, and that class size and composition issues are important – but their actions speak much louder than words. The premier’s only actions as the education labour dispute have been to inflame the situation further and show disrespect to our province’s teachers.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Don't miss the last Star Party of the year!

Opposition Education Critic calls for education minister to step down

New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming released the following statement on the breakdown of talks in the education dispute:

“With just two days left before the start of school, it is clear Education Minister Peter Fassbender has utterly failed kids and families in B.C. Either he should admit he is not up to the task and step down, or Premier Clark should remove him.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bill 24 consultations ignore voices of farmers

Dear Saanich South,

I'm writing today from Cranbook, where I am attending another one of the government's sham "consultations" on changes to the Agricultural Land Commission. The consultations were scheduled for the middle of summer – that’s when farmers are farming. I've heard from many in the agriculture community that they just don’t have the time to participate at this time of year so their voices will not be heard.

Let’s not forget that 90 per cent of our ALR lands are now open for development because of Bill 24.

If the B.C. Liberals really wanted an authentic process they wouldn’t have chosen the time of year when participation would be lowest. At a minimum, the Minister of Agriculture should extend the consultation process until the end of the year.

As it stands, this process is deeply flawed, and will result in a report and regulation changes to the ALC that agriculture stakeholders can’t even review before it is final.

Bill 24 removed protections for 90 per cent of ALR land, opening it up for development. The B.C. Liberals failed to consult with farmers before bringing in the bill and pushing it through in the spring legislative session.