Friday, July 27, 2018

A Coffee Break to Remember...

It’s been a really busy week – from representing our government at the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region’s 2018 Summit in Spokane, Washington to touring farms and orchards around Oliver, BC – but I was so grateful to find a few moments to have coffee with the indomitable Corky Evans.

For those of you who don’t know, Corky served ten years as an MLA and held several different cabinet positions over his time in office… including as Minister of Agriculture!

And just in case you were wondering about what Agriculture Ministers do once they leave office, this is Corky processing garlic on his farm during our visit this morning! Even after a few years out of politics his passion for agriculture and our province’s food security is still as strong as ever.

Thanks for the chat, Corky.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New Campsites for Parks Day!

Today is Canada’s Parks Day, and visitors to BC Parks and forestry recreation sites have an additional reason to celebrate: we’ve added 431 new campsites throughout the province!

Folks within Saanich South and from all around the province are certainly passionate about spending time in our world-class provincial parks. Our parks system – the third largest in North America, behind only the United States’ National Park Service and Parks Canada – receives an astounding 21 million visits a year!

The new campsites have been added in areas with the highest demand, which includes Vancouver Island. Along with the new campsites, existing facilities and infrastructure have also been upgraded in many campgrounds.

Still trying to plan a last-minute summer getaway? Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages 55% are reservable, while the other 45% remain on a first-come, first-served basis! You can visit the BC Parks link below to find out more!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Loving Food and Reducing Waste!

Did you know that 47 percent of food waste in Canada happens at home?! Or that the average Canadian household throws out almost 140 kilograms of food per year, at a cost of more than $1,100? Or that Canada’s 2.2 million tons of avoidable household food waste is equivalent to 2.1 million cars on the road?

Thankfully it’s not all bad news! The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the CRD, and other municipal, provincial and non-government partners across Canada have come together to support the Love Food Hate Waste Canada campaign!

The campaign offers super practical and easy tips for keeping and storing fresh food, using up existing ingredients, and planning better to avoid over-purchasing food.
What’s even better is this campaign has a demonstrated track record of success! Love Food Hate Waste is modelled on a similar campaign that ran in the UK. In its first five years across the pond, it helped to cut avoidable food waste by 21 percent – leading to savings for UK consumers of almost 22 billion dollars!!

I would definitely encourage you to check out the campaign’s website, which I’ve linked below! There’s a lot of great information, tips, and even recipes! Not only can you #BuyBC and support our amazing local farmers and producers – you can do it without excess food waste as well! 

To learn more, click here or visit 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fire Ban Starts Tomorrow

Just so you know: effective noon on July 18 (tomorrow!) open burning fires – including campfires – will be prohibited within the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, which includes all of Vancouver Island.

This ban will help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. High temperatures and no rain in the immediate forecast are both reasons the Coastal Fire Centre has implemented this ban.

Since April 1, 2018, 69% of wildfires in the Coastal Fire Centre region have been human-caused. These fires are preventable and can divert critical firefighting resources away from natural occurring wildfires.

I know many folks have plans to take advantage of our province’s amazing natural beauty this summer – whether it’s going camping, planning a road trip, or just getting out to the beach these activities are always the best part of summer! No matter what you’ll be doing in the coming weeks it’s really important that everyone respects these prohibitions.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, you can call 1-800-663-5555 (toll free) or *5555 on your cell. I’ve also posted a link to news release with more information and a map of the areas currently under the fire ban – please feel free to share and spread the word.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Buy BC and British Columbian fairs: A Perfect Match!

The fair and exhibition season has definitely started all across BC and I couldn’t be more excited!

Not only are they tons of fun, but fairs and exhibitions connect British Columbians to all the amazing products being grown, raised, processed and produced in our province.

This year, I’m pleased that fairgoers will be encouraged to visit Buy BC-themed exhibits at participating fairs to learn more about the importance of supporting local producers and farmers.
Tom Harter, president of the BC Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions says “as more consumers become better connected to where their food comes from, this campaign will be a great platform to educate fairgoers on the important role agriculture plays in almost everything that goes on the dinner table.”

Fairgoers and exhibition attendees are encouraged to post photos on social media of the Buy BC-themed exhibits with the hashtags #BCFairs and #BuyBC. For a full list of participating fairs and exhibitions this year – which includes the Saanich Fair! – click here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

First Saanich Sunday Farmers' Market This Weekend!!

Amid all of the amazing events happening in and around Saanich South this weekend (Saanich Strawberry Festival, Victoria Pride Parade, and more!) I wanted to put in a reminder about the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market!!

The first market of the season takes place this Sunday, July 8th. It runs every Sunday from 10 am – 2 pm at Braefoot Park, 1359 McKenzie Avenue.

In addition to the talented local musicians, there’s of course an all-star team of vendors and local food producers! Whether you’re looking for some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, baked goods, or maybe even some BC wine and cider there’s something for everyone at the market. Take some time to #BuyBC and #EatDrinkLocal - your taste buds will definitely thank you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How we can help

As the MLA for Saanich South, my job is to represent the 55,000 residents who call this beautiful region home in the BC Legislature. A really important piece of this work is my community office, located at 4243-260 Glanford Avenue. I often receive questions about what exactly my community office can help constituents with and so I’ve tried my best to set out an overview below!

In broad terms, my community office and the small but mighty team who work there can help residents of Saanich South who need assistance resolving issues related to the provincial government or issues related to branches of the provincial government.

We regularly help people with challenges relating to health care, education, small business, senior services, and housing and transportation. For instance, my office recently worked to resolve an issue for a constituent who was having problems with BC Hydro.

Our community office also regularly organizes public events that are free of charge and open to all residents, such as community open houses and panel discussions about important issues.

As well, our office has a boardroom that can accommodate up to 40 people! It’s available to community groups in Saanich South free of charge to use for meetings. If you or someone you know is interested in using this space, give our office a call at (250) 479 4154 or send an email to for more information.

I have included a more extensive list of the ways my community office can help below. One caveat is that our office’s mandate is to assist residents in the riding of Saanich South. If you’re unsure which riding you are in or who your provincial representative is, you can easily find out by clicking here and entering your postal code or doing a manual search.

Ways our office can help:

1. Provide information on locating government services and contact information

2. Assist in understanding provincial government policies and services and legislation and the impacts on the community

3. Assist in navigating through government bureaucracy

4. Ensure that due process is being followed

5. Attend community events and causes by promoting events and organization in the community through our website, newsletter and the community office

6. Provide congratulatory messages signed by the MLA for special birthdays, anniversaries and achievements

7. Provide government documents, legislation, discussion papers and other web-based forms if you don’t have Internet access

If you have any questions or are unsure if our office would be able to provide assistance, please get in touch! Our approach is non-partisan and solutions-oriented, and my staff will treat you with dignity and maintain your privacy.

All the contact information for my community office is available by clicking here. The office is open Monday to Thursday from 9-4, and on Fridays by appointment.

Cheers, Lana

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Monthly Micro-Action: BYOBAG

*MLA’s note* I’m so happy to introduce Laska Paré! Laska is one of our amazing constituents in Saanich South, and is also a monthly guest blogger on my website! She writes about tips on small changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to encourage us to live more sustainably. Read on below to find out more! -Lana 

July 1st and it’s finally here: Victoria's new bylaw banning businesses from providing single-use plastic bags at the checkout.

Did you know?

Each Victoria resident uses approximately 200 single-use plastic bags a year[1]. For a population of 85,000 (and growing!), this equates to 17 million plastic bags, making up more than 15% the waste at the Hartland landfill! And that’s just Victoria. Check out the June cover of National Geographic where they pose the ominous question, Planet or Plastic?

Like an iceberg looming on the horizon, plastic poses a threat in the unknown. What impact are plastics having on us, and our environment? What is the scale of the impact both now and in the future? How can we begin to untangle ourselves from our relationships with plastic, and will this be enough?

Part of understanding the plastic problem lies in understanding the ‘solutions’ that are currently available. One challenge is that while solutions do appear to exist, closer examination shows they aren’t necessarily effective at addressing the problem. “But this bag is biodegradable!” “Biodegradable” is often advertised on products or food packaging. By definition it means “to decay and become absorbed by the environment”. Do plastic bags biodegrade? Yes, they do break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic when exposed to sunlight and water. But they do not decompose into elements found in nature. No wonder people are confused. To most of us, “break down” sounds like a good thing. But what many of us may not realize is if the components are not from nature, they will only degrade so far and could become ingested by smaller life forms. But what many of us may not realize is that degraded plastic is still plastic, and once in the environment, this can have devastating results. For example, fish.

In 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme identified biodegradables as an “unrealistic solution” and concluded that “the label ‘biodegradable’ may actually encourage littering.”

Tackling the iceberg

We each have a role to play in reducing the burden of plastic on our planet. July 1st marks the first day of the new BYO Bag bylaw, which affects all businesses in the City of Victoria (for more information about the bylaw see here. Think of this as your first day with less plastic, and a great time to start your reduced-plastic frame of mind.

The City of Victoria has launched a contest seeking out creative and compelling ways to promote reusable shopping bags. Being the eco-warrior that I am, I took on the challenge and created a fun rap in support of the new bylaw. Check out my entry!

Micro-Action For July

Ditch the plastic and bring your own bag. Make it part of your daily routine to remember at least one reusable bag whenever you leave the house, and keep a spare (or two!) in the car and at work. Remember, incorporating one small change into your life and routine is how we all collectively tackle the proverbial plastic iceberg. Micro-actions are all about taking small steps toward meaningful goals.