BREAKERS: timely tidbits

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

  • Public Hearing for Todsen proposal expected on February 3, 2021
  • Salmonella-infected birds suspected in QB, now confirmed
  • Island beaches disappearing — astonishing new research shows devastating erosion
  • New testing station built in QB as confirmed COVID-19 cases rise on Vancouver Island
  • Local restaurant take-out website appreciated, but why the secrecy?

Public Hearing for Todsen proposal expected on February 3, 2021

As we have been regularly reporting, beginning in July 2020, a proposal by Rick and Linda Todsen to sub-divide a 6.5 acre portion of their land in the Estate Properties into 16 building lots is lurching its way toward approval by Qualicum Beach Town Council.

The Official Community Plan and Zoning amendments required to enable this project are scheduled for Second Reading at the January 13, 2021 QB Town Council Regular Meeting. See meeting Agenda for details here:

Our previous coverage of this controversial development application includes the following stories, as well as many letters from residents:

Salmonella-infected birds suspected in QB, now confirmed

Editor: On Saturday, January 9, 2021, the front page of the Victoria Times-Colonist warned that pine siskins infected with salmonella were sighted on the south Island and other parts of the province. However, Matthew McDermand alerted us to the possibility that local flocks of these tiny birds may be infected with salmonella, a potentially lethal bacteria dangerous to both birds and humans. [January 12, 2021 – North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRC) confirmed the salmonella outbreak has reached the QB area.]

On my walks from my home to KSS [Kwalikum Secondary School] for courses, I’m usually oblivious to the small birds that soar above Qualicum Woods, moving among the leafless trees. One day, I noticed something odd. A small bird, stuck on the ground, or so it seemed. It was in what I would consider a precarious spot for a bird, on the north shoulder of Village Way between KSS and Hemsworth, the gravel roadway that students often use.

When I came near it acted like a crow, moving away a couple of feet, but seemingly undaunted by my presence. It ignored me completely. However, when I looked down at the ground, there was nothing of interest, not even any food left by a snacking student. On the way home I saw another tiny bird with the same markings, white belly and brown top, with yellow highlights on the tips of its wings and tail. It could have been the same bird, but the behavior was the same. Days later, I saw the bird in the same spot as the first time, except it was dead. No lacerations or deformities. A day later the cadaver still laid there, untouched by nature’s scavengers.

On Saturday, while selling a newspaper at my workplace, I saw a photo of a similar bird with the headline saying bird deaths were linked to bird feeders”. I learned that the bird was a pine siskin, and its tragic demise was caused by salmonella, which spreads between these birds in meeting spots, particularly bird feeders.

As if one virus in our community isn’t enough to deal with, these little birds could use some help with theirs. Please take down your bird feeders for the season. They are like little Covid hot spots, a bird bar if you will. Reminder to use caution when taking down your bird feeders, as the salmonella CAN and WILL spread to you. Use gloves and that handy dandy mask you have lying around. Wash the feeder and bird baths with a 10 percent bleach solution and put them in storage for a minimum of two weeks [recommended by the NIWRC].

If you happen to stumble upon one of these birds in trouble, contact the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre located at 1240 Leffer Road in Errington, 250-248-8534. Matthew McDermand

Island beaches disappearing — astonishing new research shows devastating erosion

Two weeks after publishing our article, Waterfront remediation — unintended consequences + taxpayer liability?, astounding research findings demonstrate how oceanfront property owners, acting in unfettered self-interest, can destroy a shoreline. The ocean’s response is remarkably similar to what’s happened in Qualicum Beach.

This story from ProPublica, Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing, states, “Over the past two decades, oceanfront property owners across the state have used an array of loopholes in state and county laws… armoring their own properties at the expense of the environment and public shoreline access.”

Your jaw will drop when you see the graphic evidence of the damage Hawaii has already suffered.

New testing station built in QB as confirmed COVID-19 cases rise on Vancouver Island

We note that the temporary canvas tent COVID-19 testing station in Qualicum Beach that we reported on in the December 16, 2020 Breakers section was replaced by a built structure over the holiday season.

Semi-permanent COVID-19 testing station in Qualicum Beach built during the holiday break.

This may reflect the continuing and expected further increase in coronavirus infections. Island Health recorded its highest daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases this week, and the mid-Island area (which includes QB) continues to have the highest number of cases in Island Health.

Surprisingly, an on-site Town employee said that taking photographs of this coronavirus testing site was not permitted. When asked why, he declined to respond. The testing site is in full view, on public land, and the last time we checked, Canada wasn’t an authoritarian police state. Why the secrecy?

Local restaurant take-out website appreciated, but why the secrecy?

We were pleased for our beleagured dining establishments to see a new website listing local restaurants that offer take-out meals. It’s similar to what Second Opinion QB has published since October 15, 2020 in its QB Drinks+Eats section.

Another quibble perhaps, but this website doesn’t identify who is behind this venture. There’s a Contact Us page, but the website doesn’t state who “us” is. Why such secrecy? Is the website just a hasty, incomplete effort, or is there some other reason for not letting the public know who manages the site’s content?