BREAKERS: KSS COVID exposure – Alexandra Morton premiere – Chartwell residents dinged – Mt. Arrowsmith Bio-Blitz

BREAKERS – timely tidbits and follow-ups to previously published stories:

  • Kwalikum Secondary School COVID-19 exposure March 29, 30 and 31
  • Watch publishing premiere of new book by wild salmon scientist Alexandra Morton
  • Swell Sweets chocolate shop celebrates 1st anniversary on Easter weekend!
  • Chartwell residents singled out for encroachment violations
  • It’s Mount Arrowsmith Bio-Blitz time
  • Kitchen party tour with QB favourite Jesse Cook

Kwalikum Seconday School COVID-19 exposure March 29, 30 and 31

APRIL 3, 2021 In a “rare” Saturday briefing by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, it was revealed that Kwalikum Secondary School experienced COVID-19 exposure events on March 29, 30 and 31, according to an update on Island Health’s website reported CHEK News. An exposure is defined by Island Health as a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection who attended school during their infectious period.

Vancouver Island has reported 147 new test positive cases over the last two days, a record high number of cases. According to CTV News, “Before today’s report, Vancouver Island’s record for new cases of COVID-19 in a single day was 55, set on March 26.” Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Public Health Officer, in a press conference last week described Tofino, Parksville and Qualicum Beach as the Island’s COVID-19 “hotspots.”

A remarkable conversation with Alexandra Morton and coastal Indigenous leaders

Take a pass on Netflix for an hour and tune in instead to an engaging, thoughtful and inspirational conversation with Alexandra Morton and coastal Indigenous leaders led by writer and conservationist Ian Gill. It’s a welcome change from the ever-present pandemic blues; a spring tonic.

Publishing premiere of Alexandra Morton’s newly released book, Not on My Watch, originally aired on March 31, 2021. Clockwise from top left, host Ian Gill, Alexandra Morton and coastal Indigenous leaders Bob Chamberlain and Don Svanvik.

Gill says, “Alexandra Morton’s new book, Not on My Watch, is a brave, meticulous account of government corruption that lays bare multiple threats to our democracy, written by scientist-turned-activist, mother, and now author. It’s a gut-wrenching account of the effects of infestations and diseases spread by farmed salmon, and the declines of wild salmon runs to a mere trickle of what they once were. It’s a wakeup call to all Canadians; a devastating indictment of government deceit, collusion with industry, regulatory failures and shoddy science, all of it posing dire threats to the health of Canadians. It’s about salmon, farmed vs. wild—but it’s about much more than fish.” It’s also a good news story.

Watch the publishing premiere of Not on My Watch: How a Renegade Whale Biologist Took on Governments and Industry to Save Wild Salmon. Note: Skip to 14.31 min on the video for the beginning of the interview, first broadcast on March 31, 2021.

Swell Sweets chocolate shop celebrates 1st anniversary on Easter weekend!

House-made Easter specialties include a white chocolate Chick with Eggs, boxed and bowed for easy gift-giving. Owner Robin says the Oreo chick lollipops are a hit with the younger set.

One year ago, Swell Sweets opened in Qualicum Beach — at the height of the coronavirus lockdown — and on April 1st, no less. Owner Robin, originally from Newfoundland, laughs and says, “People wondered if the opening was supposed to be a joke!”

Despite the daunting challenge, Swell Sweets rose to the occasion. Their storefront windows have become a bit of a draw on Second Avenue West, gracing QB’s shopping district with whimsical and tempting displays.

Step inside and you’ll find an ever-expanding line of local and BC chocolates, including house-made chocolates. Swell Sweets also offers an array of delightful greeting cards.

When we visited this past week, Robin and her young staff were busy putting the final touches on another batch of their house-made Easter confections to replenish the almost sold-out stock. Get your bunny down there!

Swell Sweets is at 142 Second Avenue West in Qualicum Beach, BC 250-752-8483. Or shop online.

Chartwell residents singled out for encroachment violations

At their March 17, 2021 Regular Meeting, Qualicum Beach Council passed a motion instructing staff to provide notice to residents affected by encroachments on Town land in the Chartwell subdivision that they have until June 30, 2021 to address the encroachments. Second Opionion QB first reported on this issue on November 8, 2020 in Town Planner demands homeowners resolve encroachments.

At the same March 17 Council meeting, Town Planner Luke Sales acknowledged that these specific Chartwell residents are being singled out, while some 150 other residents with various encroachments on Town property have not even been notified of the Town’s concern. “Staff are preparing to send out a broader notification to everyone who may have an encroachment, based on information in our GIS [geographic information system]” said Sales. “That broader correspondence won’t have any deadline in it because the Town cannot advance with encroachment discussions with the entire group of 150 residents so we are taking them in smaller groups and discussing solutions with them individually.”

Mr. Sales provided no reason why the Chartwell folks were selected as the first target. Nor did he provide any timetable for resolving the other 150 situations. Nor has any framework or formula been brought forward for public review to assure the community that individual levies or penalties would be both reasonable and applied in a fair and consistent manner, relative to the severity of the encroachment.

Without that basic level of transparency and accountability, apprehension about arbitrary Town staff decisions will remain. Residents will be subjected to unnecessary worry about receiving “outrageous bills,” as Councillor Westbroek characterized the initial (and perhaps continuing) levies facing the Chartwell targets of the Council’s March 17 ultimatum.

It’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Blitz time again — win prizes

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region’s (MABR’s) Biosphere-wide Blitz is occurring April 16th through 18th, 2021.

Mandy Hobkirk, coordinator of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute says “This event is a modification of our Annual MABR BioBlitz, where we take a snapshot of biodiversity from one or two locations within the biosphere region. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the MABR has restructured this event to allow for social distancing and to gain a broader view of the biodiversity in our region.”

The event is free and open to everyone at all ages and levels of knowledge. The Biosphere Blitz will take place within the boundaries of the MABR, which ranges from Nanoose Bay to Qualicum Bay, as depicted in this interactive map of the boundaries of the biosphere region.

Prizes will be given out at the end of each of the three days for those who submit the highest number of observations. Sign up for a MABR iNaturalist account if you do not already have one to join the MABR Biosphere Blitz project. Observations must be logged in under this project name to be eligible to win a prize.

Kitchen party tour with QB favourite Jesse Cook

Reader Katie Swanson sent us this absolute delight of a kitchen party video by Jesse Cook, a favourite of Qualicum Beach residents. On several occasions in past years, Cook performed at sold-out Qualicum Beach Civic Centre concerts. His Covid kitchen party will put a smile on your face, and maybe even cause you to bust a move or two yourself. Enjoy!

Jesse Cook plays the pots and pans!