Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Community Spirit

Dear Friends,

Just over five years ago, 10-year old Dacian was diagnosed with a genetic disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Duchenne dystrophy mutates a gene so that a protein called dystrophin is not produced. Dystrophin is needed for muscles to work properly. There is no cure yet for this disease and someone with it has a life expectancy of just twenty-five years.

Dacian’s loving family and friends are determined to do everything they can to bring comfort and happiness to his life.

He now needs a wheelchair more and more, and his family wants a wheel-chair accessible van so that he is not isolated. The cost of such a vehicle is very challenging for Dacian’s family. Regretfully, a provincial government programme that used to help with such purchases has been cut.

Rather than accept the situation, Dacian’s friends and family have rallied to his side and have been actively fundraising for over a year. They have raised $30,000 of the approximately $45,000 needed for the van!

His parents have now put a down payment on the van and last weekend Dacian wheeled onto it for the first time. This joyous event was captured by CHEK News in the video-clip below:

There are many remarkable people who came together to make this dream come true. As the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich South, I would like to publicly acknowledge a few of them now.

Maya and her mom Angie have driven the efforts since the beginning. They did a lemonade stand and loom bracelet stand last year that raised over $1500. Angie helped the family connect with Cascadia Liquor Stores that raised more than $3,700 for the van.

Also wonderful is the the effort of Nicole and her daughter Shaya who raised over $1600 with a lemonade stand and cookie fundraiser.

Firefighters in Saanich and in the whole CRD have been amazing. Special thanks to Nick with the Sooke Fire Department. He ran the Victoria Marathon wearing full firefighter gear and in the process raised $3,900 towards Dacian's van.

Adrian and Daniela inspired many when they organized volunteers to build a fence that brought in more than $2,000.

The Kids Klub Victoria successfully organized a fundraiser that contributed $1,000 towards Dacian's van.

Mike and Brenda, and their son Cameron, have also made a huge contribution. They organized a neighbourhood garage sale that raised over $700.

To all of these people and the many more who helped out, I say: THANK YOU!!!

It is people like you that make our community a great place to live.



Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

PS. More details about Dacian and the fundraising effort is here:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Globe & Mail: B.C. farmland lost to tree planting for carbon credits is a frightening loss

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Companies seeking carbon offsets prefer open farmland to forests that have
been logged because the planting is easier.
(Ben Nelms/Bloomberg)

Thousands of hectares of agricultural land in British Columbia are being planted with trees so that companies can gain credits for carbon sequestration, says NDP agricultural critic Lana Popham.
During a tour of the province, the MLA has been hearing about the practice from ranchers and farmers who are worried about the loss of food productivity and who say they are being outbid for good farmland by large, foreign corporations.
Given the massive drought in California and the uncertain future of food production everywhere due to climate change, it seems crazy to take valuable farmland out of production to grow trees. That is especially true in British Columbia, where there are already extensive tracts of industrial forest land that have been logged and which are waiting to be replanted.
There’s room for more trees in the forest land base, but Ms. Popham said companies want flat, open farmland because it is easier and cheaper to replant trees there.
She first heard about the practice of replanting farmland with trees last year when meeting with farmers in Prince George. Then, last week, in Williams Lake, the issue surfaced again.
“If it was just a few hundred acres here or there I’d be, yeah, whatever, but it’s tens of thousands of acres,” she said. “So it’s an enormous situation.”