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


November, 2009  Newsletter

Dear BVCA members:

The BVCA directors met on November 18, 2009. We hope you find the following items of interest:

Beckwith Farm

The BVCA directors met with Wayne Hopkins and Mark Eraut to discuss the progress and future plans of the Beckwith Farm. The following information was provided by Wayne and Mark.

Approximately 40% of the 50,000 blueberry bushes have been planted. The rest will be planted in the spring. As much of the farm's preexisting infrastructure as possible has been utilized. Irrigation for 30 acres has been installed. Deer barriers have almost been completed. It is anticipated that 45 of the 68 acres will be planted in blueberries.

Five varities of berries will be planted so that the harvest dates will be staggered between late June and mid September. Cold storage and packaging facilities will be built some of which are expected to be built on this property. There is expected to be an agritourism component such as an education centre. Bird control is a major issue for blueberry farms. Netting is not an option on this farm because of the cost and because an overhead irrigation system has been installed. Noise makers are the most successful form of bird control but the decision on which form to use is being delayed until the first harvest year which is expected to be 2013. Bird control will also require a trial and error approach as to which method is most successful. Cannons, sounds of birds-of-prey and sounds of distressed birds are possibilities. The bird deterrants would also be used on an as needed basis where staff could activate them when birds are present.

All of the irrigation needs will come from Blenkinsop Lake. A drainage system has been devised where unused water will filter back into the lake. It is not planned for the crop to be organic. Some non-organic fertilizers and sprays are expected but products which inactivate rapidly will be chosen.

A web site is planned which will provide information for neighbours such as fertilizer types being utilized. The owners expressed a willingness to communicate with neighbours.


Heritage Road

The Heritage Road concept is gradually evolving. This concept was proposed by the municipality but the BVCA has been given ample opportunity for input. The history of Blenkinsop Rd and some of the adjoining properties will likely be highlighted. The heritage designation may outline broad guidelines as to how the road should continue to be maintained. Possible examples could include retaining wooden rather than concrete poles, signage could be made from wood rather than metal and ditches could remain open. The guidelines could also list exceptions for safety or other issues. The municipal representative feels the heritage status should pertain only to public property.

Your comments and ideas would be greatly appreciated. These can be forwarded to either the BVCA or to municipal staff.

Park Acquisition

The BVCA directors have been kept informed about progress of negotiations between the municipality and the owners of a private property which may become part of Mt. Douglas Park. The BVCA has written to the municipality supporting the acquisition of part of this property for the park. One of the owners of the property is a BVCA director but he has not participated in the BVCA decisions on this issue.

With thanks,

the BVCA directors