BLENKINSOP VALLEY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
info@bvcanews.com PO Box 30063, 3989 Quadra St., Victoria BC, V8X 5E1  www.bvcanews.com
250-477-8539

 

                                                      ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
February 19, 2014

 

The meeting took place at Cordova Bay Elementary School and commenced at 7:10 PM.

1. Illarion Gallant introduced our guest speaker, Elizabeth May.

2. Elizabeth outlined the importance of local food production. She indicated its benefits to fight global warming and to provide food security. She commented on how Vancouver Island has only a few days of food on hand. She gave an example where grain for Vancouver Island cattle was recently down to three days supply because trains were occupied carrying bitumen instead of prairie grain. She pointed out that our area has a long growing season and we should be able to produce more of our own food. She reviewed some high-intensity growing procedures and gave the example of Cuba which suddenly had to produce 90% of its food because of embargoes and the collapse of the Soviet Union. She also mentioned the World War II "Victory Gardens" and the wartime use of London’s Hyde Park for food production.

Elizabeth mentioned that a community garden contributes to a healthy community. Healthy communities have social cohesion and show resilience in times of crisis. For example, residents of an older neighbourhood did better than those in a newer neighbourhood during a prolonged heat wave because the residents in the older neighbourhood knew each other better and looked out for one another.

She spoke in support of a recent proposal by Dean Murdock to create a farmland trust. She saw this as an opportunity for young farmers to access farmland. She made reference to the recent possible threats to the Agricultural Land Reserve and she pointed out that nowhere else in Canada is there such a land reserve as we have in BC.

After her talk Elizabeth answered several questions on a variety of topics. Someone pointed out that in some communities there are covenants on the property which prevent people from creating vegetable gardens and from having outdoor clotheslines.

She commented on the concerns of some farmers of being prevented from saving their own seed because of patents on genetically modified seeds. She also referred to the loss of diversity in various farm animal breeds. She felt that the organic food label provided consumers with the only certainty that the food they were purchasing was free of additives or genetic modification.

Ray Galey pointed out that there are no genetically modified potatoes grown in British Columbia.

Elizabeth pointed out that there are no added hormones administered to Canadian milk cows, however, if trade regulations are altered the dairy farmers will likely feel a need to add hormones in order to remain competitive.

She discussed hazardous train cargoes and expressed an opinion that train tracks should be owned by Canada. Canadian ownership has been lost from some tracks.

In Saanich and the Gulf Islands there was a 75% voter turnout in the last federal election.

Ray Galey outlined some of the challenges which farmers are facing including the difficulty to earn a profit because of trade regulations which let foreign food products into our country which out compete local growers.

Elizabeth also outlined  some of the current issues in Parliament. She had comments about the recent budget and provided some insight into the lack of numbers presented in the budget which makes it difficult to understand the financial implications. She pointed out that corporations are holding $600 billion in investment accounts. She feels that this money is not contributing to the Canadian economy.

Elizabeth is introducing a private members bill proposing the development of a national Lyme disease policy.

Matt Belanger thanked Elizabeth for her presentation.

Elizabeth and other members of the audience who are not BVCA members departed at about 8:30 PM.

The business part of the AGM commenced about 8:35.

3. It was reported that Mrs. Joan Outerbridge passed away on February 2. She developed the property which is now called Outerbridge Park.

4. The minutes of the March 26, 2013 AGM were approved as circulated.

5. Joanna Linger provided a Directors’ Report which outlined the activities in which the directors had participated over the last year.

She outlined the role played by the BVCA in the development of the Pearce Crescent Rotary Play Area and the BVCA’s involvement in the Valley Painters project. The directors wrote a letter to Premier Clark in support of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission in view of media reports suggesting there are plans to make significant changes to both. The BVCA participated with the Broadmead Area Residents’ Association  to host an all candidates meeting prior to the last provincial election. The BVCA unanimously supported the proposed amendment to the farm market by law which would permit markets to sell red meat. Representatives of the BVCA met with Saanich councilor Vic Derman to discuss pedestrian and cyclist safety on Blenkinsop Road.

At directors’ meetings we had presentations from Max Gallant regarding his sailing program and from Ed Polinsky regarding the rebuilding of a school in Nicaragua.

Treasurer’s Report

6. Earl Hannan gave the treasurer’s report. He indicated that the bank balance as of December 31, 2013 is $5292.84. Our liabilities are $1335.20 representing money we are holding in trust for the Pearce Crescent Rotary Play Area. Our 2013 financial statement was presented as was the 2014 budget.

There was a motion to accept the 2013 financial statements as presented which was passed with no opposing votes.

There was a motion to accept the 2014 budget as presented and this was passed with no opposing votes.

7. Cyclist safety on Blenkinsop Road was reviewed. Three directors met with councilor Vic Derman and the comments from that meeting were presented. Concerns expressed by the Saanich engineering department were also presented. The three proposals presented by the board were reviewed and included the installation of Sharrows (a painted outline of a bicycle with two arrows) , "Share the Road” signs, and bicycle pullouts. The pullouts were described as a long-term goal. The board was wanting to assess the degree of support within the membership for the Sharrows and the signs.

Several comments came from the membership regarding road safety issues. Concern was expressed about a curve near Miramar and Blenkinsop Road which is felt to be dangerous when a bicycle and two cars are passing on the curve. Concern was expressed about pedestrians no longer walking on the left side of the road facing traffic. There was also a recommendation for further education of cyclists and motorists.

By show of hands there was support and no opposition for the Board to proceed to approach Saanich about the installation of Sharrow's and signs.

8. Elections were held for the Board of Directors’ positions. All were elected by acclamation as follows:
Members at large: Alex Ball, Duncan Chiu, Mark Collins, Illarion Gallant, John Lawler, and Joanna Linger
Secretary: Dawn Loucks
Treasurer: Earl Hannan
Vice President: Matt Belanger
President: Barry Loucks

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM.