PO Box 30063, 3989 Quadra St., Victoria BC, V8X 5E1


April 2010 Newsletter

Dear BVCA members

Since the last newsletter, the BVCA directors met on March 17 and April 14, 2010. As well, we had our AGM on March 30, 2010. We hope you find the following items of interest:


At our AGM, Nathalie Chambers introduced a documentary video which she has prepared in which she interviews several long-time Blenkinsop Valley residents. Many memories of past years and neighbours were told. Some of those interviewed included Phyllis Roberts, John Lawler, Steve Mann, Annette Barclay, Ray Harwood, Coyne McGhee, Thelma Simmonds and Doris Simmonds. After the video, more stories and memories were related by those present.

Also at the AGM, Bill Turner who is the Executive Director of The Land Conservancy gave a presentation about heritage properties and the rewards that one can obtain by looking into the history of properties and the people who have lived on them. He showed examples of properties in the interior of BC as well as several on the Saanich Peninsula. He provided some interesting insights into the history of Elk and Beaver lakes and what is now public property adjoining the lakes. He also showed how some of the old railroad beds can still be identified on the peninsula and how development in the wrong places can interrupt potential public trail systems.

 Three representatives from Saanich (Colin Doyle from the engineering department, Councilor Dean Murdock  and Jane Evans from the planning department) were present to provide comments and field questions about the suggestion to designate Blenkinsop Road as a heritage road. A summary of the proposal was given which indicated that it has two main elements. One element is to promote the heritage of the Blenkinsop Valley and the other element is to develop guidelines to which the municipality can refer when alterations are being considered to the road. It was pointed out that the designation would not result in restrictions for private properties.

Several questions and comments came from the floor. Some expressed a concern that heritage designation could lead to unwanted restrictions in the future. Some people would like Blenkinsop Road to be developed similarly to Royal Oak Drive with street lights, medians and sidewalks. It was mentioned that open ditches can be a hazard to motorists

 Others expressed a desire to retain the road as it is now and to avoid the more urban appearance which medians and sidewalks would bring. There was a suggestion to add a limitation on street lights to the suggested guidelines and there was support voiced for the development of paths which are separated from the road.

By a showing of hands, the opinions of those present were sought on some of the questions which are in the questionnaire which was sent out by newsletter. The majority felt that Blenkinsop Road should not receive heritage designation; that pedestrian safety should be improved; that traffic calming ideas should be evaluated and that historical information should be promoted. The majority is not content with Blenkinsop Road as it is today.

The questionnaire results have been tabulated and attached to the accompanying e-mail.

The BVCA directors will forward the results of the questionnaire to the municipality. In view of the concerns expressed about the Heritage Road proposal at our AGM, the BVCA directors will recommend to Saanich that rather than seeking Heritage Road designation, that consideration be given to amending the local area plan to note those guidelines which received general support at the AGM. This could include items such as promoting historical information, improving pedestrian safety and evaluating traffic calming ideas.



Deputy Chief Bob Downie and Police Board member Jacqueline Beltgens met with the BVCA directors to discuss a police initiative to seek community input on identifying police priorities for the next five years.

The Saanich Police criminal case load is 39 per officer as opposed to a provincial average of 46. The crime rate in Saanich is 52 per 1000 population with a provincial average of 76. The Saanich policing costs are $205 per citizen with a provincial average of $249.

The Saanich Police receive approximately 30,000 calls annually and about 7000 relate to crime.

The Block Watch program in Saanich is the second largest in the province. Neighbourhoods with Block Watch are three times less likely to have crime.

Saanich has 50 reserve officers who volunteered 6000 hours last year.

There are several special investigative units such as youth offices, street crimes, major crimes, child abuse and the family protection unit.

There is now a survey on the Saanich Police website ( and click on “Community Surveys”) where you can submit your opinions on what policing priorities should be.


At a Saanich Community Association Network meeting, all community associations were asked to write a letter opposing the use of ALR land for residential subdivision. The BVCA has decided to write a letter to the Mayor and Council of Central Saanich supporting the principles of the Regional Growth Strategy and the preservation of ALR properties.


The BVCA has received some expressions of concern about the use of a propane cannon to control bird populations on farm land. We have also received communications from Beckwith Farm outlining the reasons for the cannon use and their attempts to minimize the frequency of cannon use as follows:

Unfortunately we have had significant plant damage from geese and ducks.  We have posted our bird predation management plan on our website
The bird scare cannons will commence use Tuesday April 13 at 7am.  We are testing differing intensities and times of use and hopefully we will be able, over time to reduce the use of the cannons.
Please see our website for further details.”

The Beckwith Farm has also hand delivered a letter to many neighbours. The following is an excerpt from that letter:

“Over the month of March we have seen a substantial increase in the number of Canada Geese and other birds on the property, and we have been employing different methods in an attempt to move the birds from the property. Unfortunately our efforts have not been successful and this past week it was determined that the geese primarily have now damaged an entire area of the crop to the point where we must act to save the remainder of the plants.

Over the next few weeks a Bird Predation Management Plan will be implemented, including the use of audible deterrents, and visual deterrents. The use of the visual and audible devices will occur over the next few weeks to evaluate their effectiveness. The use of the audible deterrents has been planned in accordance with Best Farm Management Practices as established by the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

A copy of our Bird Predation Management Plan for the use of audible devices is available by visiting our website at

Updates on the Predation Management Strategy will be posted on our website when available.”

The management strategy being used by Beckwith Farm seems to be helping as indicated in the following excerpt from a communication received from the farm on April 14:

the propane cannons seem to be working very effectively, and in fact I believe he was able to scale back their intensity and frequency already.  (We) are monitoring and the use the cannons will continue to be used only as needed, and as soon as the other deterrents arrive we are hopeful the cannon use will decrease greatly.”

The BVCA had reports last spring of significant crop damage from Geese. The BVCA has also had representatives attend a Peninsula Agricultural Commission meeting last year on this issue which was attended by minister Murray Coell. It is a region-wide issue.

The BVCA has also had a report of successful management of geese on a smaller farm by using methods which block the flight paths of geese (such as vertical rods pushed into the soil) and thus prevents them from landing.

The BVCA directors have decided to help to make known the problems facing the farms when questions are presented to the BVCA and to continue to monitor the situation.


Six directors were elected at the AGM. We would like to increase this number in an attempt to better ensure that we are representative of the various opinions of residents in the valley.

Our bylaws permit the directors to appoint new directors to fill vacant positions.

After the AGM we had two people express an interest in becoming directors. One is Annette Barclay who has previously served as a director and the other is Alex Hoole whose family has, for 3 generations, farmed the Dogwood Farm in Central Saanich. The BVCA directors have appointed Annette and Alex as new directors.

We would like to appoint more directors. The BVCA board meets one evening a month. It is understood that attendance is not always possible. The debate at the meetings is often lively and it provides board members an opportunity to interact with neighbours and municipal staff. If you would like to become a director, please let us know.

With thanks

the BVCA directors


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