LETTERS: Plants for pollinators – Cold weather shelter


Our pollinator population (bees, birds and beneficial insects) is decreasing. This reduces our ability to grow gardens and commercial crops, and diminishes the biodiversity of the region.

The Arrowsmith Naturalists encourage everyone to add host and nectar plants to their gardens, decks or other spaces in order to increase habitat that is being reduced by urban development.

We invite your readers not only to join us in this venture, but to spread the word and encourage others to participate in any way they can. Anything from a small potted plant to a whole garden filled with an attractive variety of pollinator-friendly shrubs and flowers, along with host plants for insect development can make a big difference. Further information is available at the link below:

Rosemary Taylor, Arrowsmith Naturalists


Most of us “live a sheltered life” (double meaning intended): warmly housed, fed, clothed. It’s February and, still, cold and wet people in our communities have no access to a most basic need: shelter.

Where is the political will to provide this basic need? On both Parksville and Qualicum Beach municipal websites, the most recent (identical) information about homelessness is dated 2014. On the Oceanside Homelessness Task Force website, this sad notice is found:  “A Cold Weather Shelter has NOT been confirmed for the 2020/21 winter in Parksville / Qualicum Beach yet. Watch this website for info.” The RDN website’s last update, January 19, 2021, [said] “No Shelters available at this time. Please check back later.”

Political will is late and lacking in Qualicum Beach Council Meetings:

●October 28, 2020: Mentions a motion will be coming…

●November 18: Council directed staff to discuss the use of town land for a temporary cold weather shelter.

●December 9: No mention by mayor, councillors or staff.

●January 13, 2021: Staff reports discussion involves BC Housing, the City of Parksville and the RDN; there was a “resurgence of interest” in December 2020, and BC Housing to date has not responded.

At a February 3, 2021 meeting, QB Council was requested to write a letter of support to the RDN, which Council agreed to do, to establish a Treatment Facility and Complex Care Housing in the RDN. Amazing! This would address the needs of the homeless in the future, but not this year or even next. At the same meeting, a notice of motion to discuss the use of Town-owned land for a cold weather shelter for 15 people was made by Councillor Harrison. The next Council meeting is February 24, 2021 when hopefully a Motion will be made, and progress will begin.

Meanwhile, political will elsewhere is active and alive. Comox Valley funds a Warming Center, open six days a week even in a pandemic. Cowichan Valley just added 39 Emergency Shelter individual “sleeping bunkies.”

We all know a shelter is required during the winter. The region’s homeless count is 70+ people, many in their later years, which I learned while serving at a church soup kitchen. Currently, only a takeout lunch can be offered, so people are eating outside in the cold, wet weather, sitting on a curb. We recognize the need for warming centers and shelters; places where homeless people can gather strength. Why expect churches to do all of this work? Municipalities have a clear social responsibility. I would appreciate hearing from our municipalities about their own actions and when our communities will provide warm, dry, caring help for homeless people. 

Laurie Sieber, Qualicum Beach

READ previously Published Letters