It’s not quite this warm in the Comox Valley, but unseasonably so, according to local blueberry plants  |  George Le Masurier photo

The Week: Providence, Dutcyvich, Socialism and Blueberries

Jan 10, 2019 | Commentary

By George Le Masurier

This week’s announcement that a new entity called Providence Residential & Community Care Services Society (PRCC) has assumed ownership of The Views at St. Joe’s changes the long-term care picture in the Comox Valley. Providence, a nonprofit Catholic organization operating in the Lower Mainland, has more resources to fund the vision for a seniors ‘campus of care’ developed by the former St. Joe’s Board or Trustees.

Whether or not Island Health awards any of the promised, but much-delayed, new 151 long-term care beds to The Views, the PRCC will move forward with its redevelopment plans, including a dementia village concept.

But the larger question still remains: where are those promised new beds? As we reported a year ago, the shortage of long-term care beds is critical. In fact, 151 still won’t be enough to fulfill the Comox Valley’s immediate needs.

On that topic, a recent letter from a local group called Senior Voices had this to say:

“The money wasted on using hospital beds instead of residential care has increased to the tens of millions of dollars. Worse, the suffering (agony would not be too strong a word) of Comox Valley elders and their caregivers, with inadequate home care and needing residential care, has deepened, since the Valley probably needs at least 225 beds and more, with an ever-aging population. Where are the beds? Ask your government and your MLA. We deserve better.”

¶ I stand with the BC nurses in demanding written guarantees from the provincial government that more nurses should be hired for understaffed hospitals. For example, most Island Health facilities, but especially Comox Valley and Campbell River hospitals are not only understaffed they are chronically overcapacity with patients. That’s a double-whammy for nurses.

¶ David Dutcyvich, the wannabe Riverwood developer, is throwing another tantrum because the Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy doesn’t allow him to build 1,300 homes on a hunk of rocky ground between the Puntledge and Browns rivers. He’s set up barricades armed with employees to make sure nobody sneaks onto his vacant property.

To a casual observer, it appears that in Dutcyvich’s world, a developer should be allowed to do whatever he wants, and people who deny him this God-given right should be singled out and shamed. And then sued in court.

But what Dutcyvich desperately needs is better advisors, especially in the public relations department. His various retaliations to the publicly-elected Comox Valley Regional District board’s rejection of his subdivision proposal puts him in the same category as Donald Trump shutting down the U.S. government over a hissy fit about a border wall. That is to say, he’s making more enemies than friends.

Dutcyvich says he’s cut off easy access to Stotan Falls to mitigate any risk or liability. But if he’s hoping the move will also apply public pressure on the CVRD board to cave, he’s dreaming. It might have the opposite effect.

People should just ignore the dude. There are other ways to get to Stotan Falls, if you really need to do that. But there are fun swimming holes on other local rivers. And, honestly, swimming at Goose Spit or Comox Lake is a heck of a lot safer.

¶ The CVRD and 3L were originally due in court on Jan. 17 and 18 in Vancouver, but sources tell us that’s not likely to happen, and new dates have been set.

¶ Somebody call Ontario Doug Ford ASAP! According to a North Island director on the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste Management board, using social procurement policies to leverage municipal spending amounts to SOCIALISM! So Premier Ford needs to know right away, because the City of Toronto practices social procurement.

¶ CVRD Area B Director Arzeena Hamir, who is also an organic farmer, reports the local blueberry plants budded in January, due to the unseasonably warm weather. That could have been good news for a long growing season, except for a short cold snap.

If the Comox Valley experiences another, longer cold period frost in the next month or two, it could mean a short growing season for blueberries. If temperatures stay above freezing, there will be a long season, and a bounty crop.

Other people have reported similar out-of-season growth. Garlic already 6 inches high. Cherry trees blooming in Vancouver and Snow Bells in Victoria. Some Rhodos, Witch Hazel and Lavender have bloomed. People have also noticed tent caterpillars.

¶ Most people don’t often think about how wastewater travels from their bathrooms to a septic field or, if you live in Courtenay, Comox, the K’omoks First Nation or CFB Comox, how it gets to the Brent Road treatment plant. Nor should you have to.

But how we convey our wastewater is important. Right now, people who live in the Comox Valley’s rural areas rely on septic systems, and Cumberland has its own system.

But the Courtenay-Comox sewerage system relies on a 35-year-old sewer pipe located in the K’omoks estuary, Comox Harbour and along the beach below the Willemar Bluffs. The way our climate is changing, this is a recipe for disaster.

The Comox Valley Regional District, which manages the sewerage system for Courtenay-Comox, is in the process of creating a Liquid Waste Management Plan that will design a future vision for conveyance and treatment of sewage in the Comox Valley. That plan could, and should, include abandoning the sewer pipes in our foreshores, and rerouting them overland.

That’s why you should think about wastewater now. Your input can influence this plan.

There are two information sessions coming up at the end of this month. The public and technical advisory committees will present an early and long list of system design options. Make sure your voice is heard.

¶ I’m proud that Canada has taken the world lead on cannabis legalization. Because of us, cannabis will finally be studied scientifically; not just for breeding and genetics as the world’s first Cannabis Innovation Centre will do, although that’s critical. But also for the science that others will do about potential medical benefits and other effects on humans.

But it baffles the mind that, three months after legalization, there are still illegal pot shops operating all over the 10 provinces. There are more than 20 illegal shops in Vancouver alone. 

If legal cannabis has any hope of eliminating the black market or even reducing it to insignificance, which we know is a process that will take years, they have to eventually close the illegal operators down. We don’t allow unlicensed breweries or other moonshiners. Why do we tolerate illegal pot shops?



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