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

January 2013


This is an early notice to let you know that the BVCA AGM will be held at 7PM on Tuesday March 26, 2013. Mayor Frank Leonard and Blenkinsop Valley resident and public artist, Illarion Gallant, will give their respective views on the future of the Blenkinsop Valley. The mayor has agreed to accept questions afterwards on other municipal issues.

Illarion has created several public art works in Victoria and across Canada. He, for example, created the tall metal flower display at the Victoria International Airport. More about Illarion is written below.


The BVCA directors invited Illarion Gallant, a Blenkinsop Valley resident and a public artist, to speak at one of our meetings. Illarion was educated at the Emily Carr Art School in Vancouver. Illarion is a Registered Landscape Architect. His main vocation is landscape designing and building gardens. He also is trained as a sculptor and this skill is what he uses to create public art. He trained in stone sculpting in Germany and Austria. His father was a graphic artist and his grandmother was a painter.

Some of his works include: the large metal followers at the Victoria airport (the "Bouquet of Memories"), the granite avocados at the Grand Pacific Hotel, the "History Reassembled" display at Douglas and Yates, the canoe in Bastion Square and the aluminum tree at Fort and Foul Bay. As well, Illarion has created works in several cities across Canada including "Tom Thomson's Canoe" in Toronto.

The inspiration behind the creations was interesting to hear. For example, the idea for the flowers coming out of the sidewalk at the airport originated from a teenage memory of plants growing up through an abandoned runway and also from seeing columns of Monarch butterflies when travelling in New Mexico.

Illarion eluded to his feeling that the Blenkinsop Valley is rich with assets and much could be done by  looking at innovative approaches with an eye to pragmatic costing.

Illarion presents his work with great enthusiasm and his talk was very enjoyable. The directors expressed an interest in exploring further Illarion's thoughts about the Blenkinsop Valley.



At a BVCA directors’ meeting in April, Ed and Suzie Polinsky described their visit to the earthquake damaged regions of Christ Church, New Zealand.  During Sept. of 2010 there was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake which did cause some damage. On Dec. 26, 2010 there was a magnitude 6 tremor which also caused some damage. Many buildings were vacated after these two tremors in order to restore or demolish them. Because they were vacated, it is thought that several lives were saved when a 6.3 magnitude after-shock occurred on Feb. 22, 2011. This aftershock caused most of the damage because it was closer to Christ Church than the previous tremors.

Rocks fell and cliffs collapsed. Eleven hundred and nine buildings required demolition in the downtown area. Three hundred and ninety-five heritage buildings required demolition. The 150 year old cathedral will likely need to be taken down. Sixteen thousand homes were lost. Some houses were split and others were hanging over cliffs. Wooden homes and steel buildings fared the best. About 50% of the buildings in the downtown area suffered some damage. Some people were barred from entering their homes and businesses for weeks. There was widespread liquefaction  of soil resulting in 400,000 tons of silt coming to the surface.

There have been over 10,000 aftershocks and 18 of these have been greater than magnitude 5.

The population of Christ Church is similar to Victoria with 375,000 residents. There were 184 confirmed deaths and since the earthquake 27,000 people have moved out of Christ Church.

The cost is estimated at 27 Billion New Zealand dollars (a NZ dollar is valued at about 80% of a Canadian dollar).

A central part of the city has now reopened with over 30 businesses temporarily setting up in colorfully painted shipping containers thereby creating a vibrant, positive atmosphere amongst all the destruction.

There was discussion about emergency preparedness. Saanich provides educational meetings on the topic and will send a team to a community meeting. The Neighbourhood Watch program is often incorporated as the two have similar organizational plans. Saanich has also provided kiosks to some neighbourhoods in which emergency equipment and stores are kept.



Stacy Louttit, a Blenkinsop Valley resident, AND John McRobert participated in sailing at the London Paralympics. They won a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and had a 4th place finish at London. The BVCA gave a financial contribution to their cause.

A trucking firm representative was invited to a directors’ meeting to discuss the issue of dumping fill. This didn’t result in any further action being taken by the BVCA, however, Saanich council has recently made interim changes to the fill bylaw with a full new bylaw expected in about 6 months. The interim changes consist of fill volume and dumping time limits.



 The Saanich council has passed a resolution to instruct municipal staff to prepare a report to be presented to the Planning, Transportation and Economic Development Committee with options for consideration regarding the use of propane cannons. It is expected the report will be discussed early in the new year at the above committee.

Earl Hannan provided the BVCA directors with a report on a recent tour of the Hartland landfill which was organized by the Saanich Community Association Network (SCAN). Approximately 22 people were on the tour. There was discussion about recycling practices. Previous active sites and the current active site were toured. When one area is filled, it is covered by a thick waterproof covering over which topsoil is deposited and trees planted. Hartland serves approximately 340,000 people. The site comprises 48 hectares and it is expected to be totally filled by approximately 2040. Methane is presently captured and is used to produce electricity, some of which is sold to BC Hydro. A stewardship program is administered through Hartland and it accepts some items for recycling without charge. This includes such items as batteries, paint and appliances. Rainwater is deflected off the landfill by plastic tarps. The water that does get through is sent to collecting ponds. Earl found the tour fascinating and was complimentary of the work and programs that are carried out there.

Plans for the Pearce Crescent Play area are progressing with construction expected to start this spring. This project was initiated by the residents of Pearce Crescent and they have raised close to $10,000.00 to fund it. Saanich has given permission for the play area to be located on an unused road allowance. Saanich is also providing planning expertise. The Saanich Rotary Club has made a generous donation and the BVCA has committed to donate $1000.00.

Saanich council recently reversed a previous decision and is now forwarding an application to the Agricultural Land Commission for the removal of approximately 5 acres of land on Mt. Douglas Cross Rd from the ALR.
After the land owners proposed farming projects which would be very disruptive for neighbours, there was strong neighbourhood support for a residential subdivision.
The BVCA supported the retention of this property within the ALR.

We are sorry to report that two BVCA directors have resigned since the last AGM. John Emes who was in his second year on the board felt he needed to resign because of other commitments. Devon Girard who was in her first term resigned because her family moved to Ontario to pursue a new job opportunity.

Both of these directors made significant contributions. John was very helpful in developing the BVCA position on the use of propane cannons. Devon was one of the organizers of the Pearce Crescent Play Area