BREAKERS: Cyclo-cross a hit – QB is COVID central – Local youth climate action – French Press supports Every Child

  • Cross on the Commons 2021 a huge success
  • Qualicum Beach is COVID-19 central
  • Local youth advocate for climate crisis action
  • French Press customers support Every Child Matters

Cross on the Commons 2021 a huge success

The Arrowsmith Cycling Club (ACC) hosted Cross on the Commons at the Qualicum Beach Community Park on October 2nd/3rd. This was the fourth time that the ACC has hosted the event. By all accounts this year’s competition was a huge success, drawing participants from across the Island and beyond.

Cross on the Commons, Qualicum Beach, BC. Photo courtesy Patrick Burnham

Cross on the Commons is the second of six cyclo-cross events scheduled each fall by Cross on the Rock, self-described as “a grass roots, laid back, fun, social, surprisingly competitive Cyclo-cross series on Vancouver Island.”

Dozens of Club volunteers looked after course setup, registration, timing, parking, race marshalling and course breakdown. Cross on the Commons was sidelined in 2020 due to the pandemic, but was back on track (literally) this year, complete with COVID-19 precautions and protocols to ensure a safe, healthy event for all.

In 2019, the QB event attracted over 400 participants. ACC organizers Roy Kregosky and Dean Vinden are justifiably pleased with this year’s registration of 334 riders, of all ages, an impressive turnout indeed given the impact of COVID-19 on travel.

Well done Roy, Dean and your whole team!

Qualicum Beach is COVID-19 central

The news that Qualicum Beach Councillor Anne Skipsey tested positive for COVID-19 reminds us that even a double-vaccinated healthy young mother can be struck by this virus. Fortunately, Skipsey is at home in self-isolation, and recovering well. She says she consistently followed all the recommended best practices out of concern for her family, including her elderly father, former mayor Art Skipsey, who lives with the family. “I still only go grocery shopping once a week,” she says, “just to minimize interaction with others.” Testing and contact tracing revealed that she became infected around September 29 after contact with another infected person.

Qualicum Beach Councillor Anne Skipsey

Skipsey is to be commended for her willingness to inform the public that she tested positive for SARS – COV-2. Unlike other provinces or countries, BC does not provide community-based statistics, so it’s easy to believe that no one is becoming infected or dying here in Qualicum Beach. And, many people still think that just because they have a vaccine passport confirming they are double vaccinated, they are immune to this deadly virus. That’s wrong. Double vaccinated people can still become infected or infect other people. That’s why mask wearing and maintaining safe distance from others are critical tactics for us to emerge from this pandemic.

In a very real way, Qualicum Beach is COVID-19 central. What??? How’s that? Qualicum Beach is the site of the only COVID-19 testing centre between Courtenay and Nanaimo. Any mobile person within this catchment area who suspects they may be infected travels to the QB Civic Centre drive-through testing station, after which they may also take the opportunity to stop at one or more places in Qualicum Beach. So, those of us who live in QB are exposed to far more potentially infected persons than people who live in other communities in the region that don’t have a COVID-19 testing centre in their midst.

So the headline for this piece could have been: QB infection risks highest to date. Compared to fall 2020: put more students into classrooms with fewer precautions, open a testing centre in Town drawing infected persons from a 25 km radius, mislead thousands of people into thinking double-vaccination prevents infection and transmission = perfect storm for a long winter shutdown.

But, there is some good news. Finally, we can all breathe a bit easier — now that masks are mandatory for all BC children attending school, K-12. But masks can be problematic, for adults as well as children. In the article Why we need to upgrade our face masks and where to get them published by Scientific American on September 30, 2021, health and medicine editor Tanya Lewis explains “A wealth of evidence has shown that wearing a face mask helps prevent people from spreading the virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2, to others and from becoming sick themselves. But there has been less guidance from public health officials on what kind of masks provide the best protection.” Her article delves into the effectiveness of masks, and recommends this video Kids Mask For 12 & Under – A Primer for Parents in Under 20 Minutes.

Local youth advocate for climate crisis action

QB youth bringing the climate crises message to the Town of Qualicum Beach. September 2021

Every Friday, local youth from QB’s Kwalikum Secondary School are gathering in Qualicum Beach to advocate for climate crisis action as part of Fridays for Future, a youth-led and -organized global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be held in Glasgow from 31 October – 12 November 2021.

In a recent interview, climate-change activist Thunberg, when asked how optimistic she was that the conference could achieve anything, responded “Nothing has changed from previous years really. The leaders will say ‘we’ll do this and we’ll do this, and we will put our forces together and achieve this’, and then they will do nothing. Maybe some symbolic things and creative accounting and things that don’t really have a big impact. We can have as many COPs as we want, but nothing real will come out of it.” [Wikipedia]

We applaud the efforts of these young QBers to call attention to the climate crisis right here in QB. Drop by to chat with them Fridays in the square outside Qualicum Beach Town Hall.

French Press customers support Every Child Matters

French Press, QB’s popular meeting and eating space at 692 Primrose Street, was doing a brisk business on the occasion of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Orange was a popular colour on many customers. Staff were decked out in Every Child Matters t-shirts, and ALL of the day’s profits went to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society. Now this is the spirit!