Nine things you need to know about the Unist’ot’en blockade

Nine things you need to know about the Unist’ot’en blockade

Unist’ot’en camp photo

By George Le Masurier

What is going on in northern British Columbia where RCMP have broken up a Wet’suwet’en First Nation camp protesting a natural gas pipeline to the Kitimat LNG project?

In this article, Zoe Ducklow, a reporter and photographer for The Tyee, explains nine things you need to know about the blockade by the Unist’ot’en Clan, one of five clans of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

“Brooklyn Creek is a small creekshed whose hydrology and ecological services have been altered and degraded by decades of land use impacts,” — Tim Pringle in the preface to Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Watershed Assessment: Brooklyn Creek Demonstration Application in the Comox Valley.

 

 

WHAT IS THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS (EAP)?

Ecological Accounting Process — “The EAP approach begins by first recognizing the importance of a stream in a natural state and then asking: how can we maintain those ecological values while allowing the stream to be used for drainage,” says Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

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More News

Area A candidates meet with Royston voters

Saturday’s Royston meeting had over 50 citizens in attendance, giving up part of their sunny afternoon to listen to and question both candidates. There was a twist to this all candidates affair, the moderator was ill, and there was no one willing to take his place, so both candidates were running the show, alternating recognizing questions from the floor.

In the Comox Valley, Decafnation recommends ….

There’s a youth movement in Comox Valley politics and Decafnation supports it. Former council members have had their chance. It’s those who must live with the impact of decisions tomorrow who should have the opportunity to make them today

Patrick McKenna gets serious about council, housing

With a background in both corporate retail and the nonprofit sector, Patrick McKenna believes he would bring a unique perspective to his first term on the Comox Town Council. He’s focused on affordable housing, the arts and community safety

Kiyoshi Kosky decides on economy, social, environment

Kiyoshi Kosky, the Courtenay City Council candidate from Cortes Island with the Japanese first name, says we could learn a lot from First Nations culture, and about affordable housing from Whistler, BC   o describe his view of local...

Gwyn Sproule is focused on village’s economic diversity

Over five terms on Cumberland Council, Gwyn Sproule has shifted her agenda from saving trees to growing the village’s commercial base with light, green industries along Bevan Road. And she wants to see the wastewater treatment project to completion

With much drama, CVRD denies 3L Developments

With tension thick in the boardroom, with accusations of lies and corruption, slander flying back and forth, and despite 3L Developments’ last-minute tactic through Mano Theos to salvage their Riverwood subdivision, the application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy failed on a 6-4 vote

Dancing in Gumboots: Comox Valley stories of cultural shift

Dancing in Gumboots: Comox Valley stories of cultural shift

Anthologist Jane Wilde at the Blue Heron Bookstore in Comox  |  George Le Masurier photo

By George Le Masurier

You can see everything I love about the new book Dancing in Gumboots on its cover. Two young women sit on a log at a Crown Zellerbach logging site high above Comox Lake in the 1970s, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer from what we used to call stubbies and sharing a private joke.

We don’t get the exact punch line that brought smiles to Jeanine Maars and Gloria Simpson in that cover photograph by Jane Gilchrist. But the book’s 32 first-person stories of women who moved to the Comox Valley between 1970 and 1979 reveal the underlying reason for their happiness.

These were women feeling free and enjoying their lives in ways that previous generations could not.

Dancing in Gumboots is an anthology by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde. It follows the success of their first book, Gumboot Girls, featuring similar adventurous women who migrated from cities, the United States and Europe to settle on Haida Gwaii or the Prince Rupert area.

“The goal of the books was, first of all, to save our stories,” Wilde told Decafnation. “But they also document a generation that represents a big shift in culture.”

Written in the first-person and without much editing, these stories reflect on how a wave of women who settled in the Comox Valley broke down gender barriers as tree planters and fishers, embraced feminism and built lives based on self-confidence and self-reliance.

Many of the women speak with surprising candor about the most intimate parts of their lives, including divorce and sexual orientation, and the challenges of building their own homes. But there is a vivid sense of joy and fun that runs through each of the stories.

The Comox Valley was a small community back then. People knew almost everyone else. There was only one stoplight at Fifth and Cliffe. In 1971, just 13,000 people lived in Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland.

So when long-haired young women — and men — started arriving to scratch some internal itch to live on an island, work as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat or to merely search for a taste of the pioneering lifestyle, it was noticeable.

And was hard to not notice them.

In their stories, these women speak about the early days of the Arts Alliance and the Renaissance Faire, about illegal midwifery, starting the Women’s Self-Help Network, the Youth Chance Society and the Comox Valley Transition Society. That was wildly progressive stuff for a little community still defined at the time by logging and fishing.

For those of us who arrived at the same time and know these women, reading their mini-memoirs will recall fond memories of our own. It takes us on a trip back through our own journeys.

But for those who have discovered the Comox Valley more recently as the surging knowledge-based urban center it is today, these stories provide not just historical references but a deeper sense of place. Knowing who it was that came before you and how they shaped your town’s culture, helps a person understand their own place in the continuum of community evolution.

Plus, Dancing with Gumboots is just fun to read. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure.

 

Gumboot anthologist

“These are flash memoirs,” Wilde said. “We told the writers not to agonize over their essays, just keep them fresh.”

Wilde and Allison created the whole book with only few in-person meetings. They sent five questions to potential contributors via email and asked them to respond in 1,000 to 1,500 words and to do it within two months. It was the same formula they used for their North Coast book.

“The first book was done almost as a lark,” Wilde said. “But then we sold 1,000 copies in the first month and our publisher said, hey, you’ve got something here.”

Wilde and Allison are part of the generation of women featured in their books. They both migrated to Haida Gwaii in the early 1970s and both wrote their own stories in Gumboot Girls, which has sold 8,000 copies to date.

Wilde arrive on the North Coast in 1976 and stayed until 1979. They she left for nursing school, but returned to Prince Rupert in 1981 to practice her new profession. For health reasons, she and her long-time partner, Richard, moved to the Comox Valley in 2016. He died in December.

“As I started to meet women in the Comox Valley, my eyes were opened to a completely different, yet similar migration of women from those I had known on the North Coast,” she said.

Wilde says no writers make any money from either of the books. All of the profits from the latest book go to the Comox Valley Transition Society, and to a similar nonprofit in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii from the first.

Wilde remains noncommittal about producing future anthologies, maybe because she’s accomplished what she set out to do in her first two books.

“It’s kind of the chicken soup of aging baby boomers. It’s stories about our generation,” she said. “They needed to be written down.”

 

 

 

NEXT READING: 2:15
JAN. 17 COURTENAY LIBRARY

 

 

AVAILABLE IN COMOX VALLEY
BOOKSTORES

 

Blue Heron Books
1775 Comox Ave., Comox
339-6111

Laughing Oyster Books
286 Fifth St., Courtenay
334-2511

Abraxas Books
1071 Northwest Road
Denman Island

 

 

LIST OF AUTHORS
IN DANCING IN GUMBOOTS

Roberta DeDoming, Patti Willis, Peggy Kabush, Sandy Kennedy, Susan Holvenstot, Gerri Minaker. Sally Gellard ,Cara Tilston Lee Bjarnason, Devaki Johnson, Rosemary Vernon, Jackie Sandiford, Monika Terfloth, Susan Sandland, Sure Wheeler, Anne Davis, Nonie Caflisch, Denise Nadeau, Olive Scott, Phyllis Victory, Linda Rajotte, Brenda Dempsey, Gloria Simpson, Jeanine Maars, Marguerite Masson, Judy Norbury, Linda Safford, Ardith Chambers, Linda Deneer, Josephine Peyton, Gwyn Sproule and Lynda Glover

 

Both Dancing in Gumboots and Gumboot Girls were published by Caitlin Press, Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia

 

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More Culture

Area A candidates meet with Royston voters

Saturday’s Royston meeting had over 50 citizens in attendance, giving up part of their sunny afternoon to listen to and question both candidates. There was a twist to this all candidates affair, the moderator was ill, and there was no one willing to take his place, so both candidates were running the show, alternating recognizing questions from the floor.

In the Comox Valley, Decafnation recommends ….

There’s a youth movement in Comox Valley politics and Decafnation supports it. Former council members have had their chance. It’s those who must live with the impact of decisions tomorrow who should have the opportunity to make them today

Patrick McKenna gets serious about council, housing

With a background in both corporate retail and the nonprofit sector, Patrick McKenna believes he would bring a unique perspective to his first term on the Comox Town Council. He’s focused on affordable housing, the arts and community safety

Kiyoshi Kosky decides on economy, social, environment

Kiyoshi Kosky, the Courtenay City Council candidate from Cortes Island with the Japanese first name, says we could learn a lot from First Nations culture, and about affordable housing from Whistler, BC   o describe his view of local...

Gwyn Sproule is focused on village’s economic diversity

Over five terms on Cumberland Council, Gwyn Sproule has shifted her agenda from saving trees to growing the village’s commercial base with light, green industries along Bevan Road. And she wants to see the wastewater treatment project to completion

With much drama, CVRD denies 3L Developments

With tension thick in the boardroom, with accusations of lies and corruption, slander flying back and forth, and despite 3L Developments’ last-minute tactic through Mano Theos to salvage their Riverwood subdivision, the application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy failed on a 6-4 vote

The snow is falling … but it won’t last

The snow is falling … but it won’t last

By George Le Masurier

Snow starting falling in the Comox Valley today, and forecasters expect between 5 cm to 20 cm to fall throughout the day. But enjoy the snow while it’s here. It will start raining overnight, and probably be gone by Wednesday morning.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Decafnation newsletter.

More News

Area A candidates meet with Royston voters

Saturday’s Royston meeting had over 50 citizens in attendance, giving up part of their sunny afternoon to listen to and question both candidates. There was a twist to this all candidates affair, the moderator was ill, and there was no one willing to take his place, so both candidates were running the show, alternating recognizing questions from the floor.

In the Comox Valley, Decafnation recommends ….

There’s a youth movement in Comox Valley politics and Decafnation supports it. Former council members have had their chance. It’s those who must live with the impact of decisions tomorrow who should have the opportunity to make them today

Patrick McKenna gets serious about council, housing

With a background in both corporate retail and the nonprofit sector, Patrick McKenna believes he would bring a unique perspective to his first term on the Comox Town Council. He’s focused on affordable housing, the arts and community safety

Kiyoshi Kosky decides on economy, social, environment

Kiyoshi Kosky, the Courtenay City Council candidate from Cortes Island with the Japanese first name, says we could learn a lot from First Nations culture, and about affordable housing from Whistler, BC   o describe his view of local...

Gwyn Sproule is focused on village’s economic diversity

Over five terms on Cumberland Council, Gwyn Sproule has shifted her agenda from saving trees to growing the village’s commercial base with light, green industries along Bevan Road. And she wants to see the wastewater treatment project to completion

With much drama, CVRD denies 3L Developments

With tension thick in the boardroom, with accusations of lies and corruption, slander flying back and forth, and despite 3L Developments’ last-minute tactic through Mano Theos to salvage their Riverwood subdivision, the application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy failed on a 6-4 vote

CIC Director Greg Baute hopes to redefine cannabis breeding

CIC Director Greg Baute hopes to redefine cannabis breeding

Turning wooden bowls on his lathe is one of Cannabis Innovation Centre Director Greg Baute’s many hobbies /  George Le Masurier photo

By George Le Masurier

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
– Albert Einstein

 

Greg Baute, the director of breeding and genetics at the pioneering Cannabis Innovation Centre in Comox, is a scientist. And that means, if you can imagine, every day he will clone plants, phenotype them, explore terpenes, take DNA samples, conduct controlled pollinations and pour over pages of data compiled by a team of bioinformaticians.

Even if you don’t know what that means, you probably envision research scientists as people who eat, sleep and breathe graphs and charts of their collected data, upon which they will apply cold logic and reason. And even a short conversation with Baute, 33, will tell you this is partly true.

He can take you quickly and so deeply down a rabbit hole of information about plant architecture, genetics, sunflowers, or even wood turning on his shop lathe, that before you realize you have no idea what he’s talking about, you had believed it all made perfect sense to you, even though it did not.

Baute points out the traits of a wild sunflower from his birds eye maple desk, still under construction

But to fully understand Baute, you need to know that there’s another, equally powerful side to his scientific mind: his imagination. He’s dreaming about what’s possible beyond existing knowledge.

And that’s what pulled the Ontario native from a good job in California back to Canada to head up the world’s first cannabis breeding and genetics laboratory.

“In the 1960s, P. Leclecq was the first person to cross wild sunflowers, and he changed the sunflower growing business forever,” says Baute, looking up excitedly from an article on his laptop that he’s using to explain genomic selection.

“He produced 30 percent higher yields … it’s something that won’t ever happen again!”

Baute says cannabis is at that same level of opportunity today. And, because of legalization, Canada is the hotbed of cannabis science.

“Somebody in the next five to 10 years will make a similar discovery and define how cannabis is bred forever,” he said. “It happens only once. And it’s just too much fun not to try.”

A family of farmers

Greg Baute was born into a family of farmers. His great-grandfather started the family farm in an area of southern Ontario where most of Canada’s F1 seed corn is grown. His grandfather also farmed. Then, in 1985, his parents started an independent hybrid seed corn company, called Maizex Seed Inc.

Maizex Seeds initially produced hybrid corn for food grade corn and Canadian food processors, and also for the US wholesale market. Later, it developed hybrids for the Canadian market and entering products into provincial trials.

Baute recalls spending his summers detasseling corn in the family fields. It was an annual rite of passage for most Tilbury High School students, who were bussed to the fields to remove the immature pollen-producing tassels from the tops of the corn plants, and stomping them into the ground. It’s a form of pollination control, so the plants could be cross-bred to create hybrids.

He also remembers walking his parents’ fields and comparing plants with the hybrids they produced, a curiosity that inadvertently, he says, led to his passion to understand the process that causes it.

Baute earned a Biology degree from the University of Guelph, doing a thesis on how carrot flowers are developed for seed production. He studied molecular evolution, specifically hybrid rice, for his masters degree at the University of British Columbia.

During his work on the domestication and improvement of sunflower, which earned him a doctorate degree at UBC, Baute developed several hybrid sunflower lines now used in production around the world.

Before being lured to Comox, Baute worked as a trait geneticist, studying the “important and complex traits” in tomato.

“Where we are with cannabis today is where we were 100 years ago with tomatoes,” he said.

New Valley resident

Baute and his wife, Kasia, purchased a rural, two-acre property, just eight kilometres from the site of the future Cannabis Innovation Centre (CIC) near the Comox Airport. An easy commute for an avid cyclist.

If the CIC had been located in Vancouver, Baute says he might not have taken the job. But the opportunity for a more rural lifestyle sealed the deal, and the couple have found the community welcoming.

Baute and Kasia share an office in their new rural Comox home

“There’s a lot of pride in the Valley … there are good restaurants, and the brewery scene is quite good,” he said.

While the CIC laboratory and greenhouse are being constructed, Baute has set up a temporary office in his home. He built his desktop out of bird’s eye maple from a fallen tree, working in a shipping container temporarily converted into a makeshift wood shop.

He has built some of their household furniture, but Baute’s real woodworking passion is turning bowls on a lathe. There’s room for a full woodworking shop in a new garage currently under construction.

He’s also a runner and picks up his electric guitar a few times every week.

The couple have been landscaping around their new home, including a garlic bed, raised vegetable beds and preparing the site where Baute hopes to plant about 400 sunflower plants this spring.

Baute and Kasia met while both were pursuing undergraduate degrees at the University of Guelph. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in toxicology and a Master of Arts degree in medical genetics at UBC.

While Baute was working in California, Kasia did community service work at a bird sanctuary, hospice and at a community outreach shelter. She is currently working on a master’s degree in counselling, which is online through Yorkville University.

Typical day at the lab

When it’s finished early this summer, the Cannabis Innovation Centre will have a 21,000 square foot greenhouse broken down into seven isolated breeding zones, and a 10,000 square foot laboratory.

The facility was conceived and planned by Jonathan Page, PhD, whose Anandia Labs was bought out by Aurora Cannabis, of Edmonton, in August. Page was the first scientist to sequence the cannabis genome. He and his twin brother, Nick, grew up in the Comox Valley.

The CIC laboratory building is being pre-manufactured in BC with parts from Europe. The greenhouse is being prefabricated in the Netherlands — “the epicentre of greenhouse technology” — and should arrive on site sometime in February.

Baute takes a DNA sample from a sunflower plant at UBC while completing his PhD degree

When the CIC opens, Baute and his staff will be cloning plants and germinating seed, and finalizing the number of plants of each genotype they will grow, and how they will be arranged in the greenhouse. Throughout the grow cycles, they will collect data on growth habit, plant architecture and disease resistance.

“The process of recombination is totally random,” he said. “Like shuffling a deck of cards.”

The CIC will grow plants to seedlings, then take a leaf punch to test its DNA. They will throw out the ones they don’t want, and grow up the others.

“Sequencing one gene is less expensive than growing all plants to maturity,” he says.

For the nursery work (where they will produce seeds), staff will treat plants and bag them for controlled pollinations.

Harvest is the biggest job, especially at the CIC where each plant will be individually phenotyped as it is harvested. They will measure things like total biomass, total flower weight, how consistent the flower size is, the shape and color of the flowers and so on.

All along the way, Baute will gather information from each experiment that can feed into and influence the others. For example, he might find that upon harvest a plant has an exceptionally high yield, so he might use stored pollen from it to do more crosses.

“For me, this means a lot of coordinating projects and information between team members and working with them to make decisions,” he said. “The experiments will also influence, and be influenced by, all the other research that is happening across Aurora, which translates to me being on the phone for a good chunk of time each day.”

All the flowers grown in the CIC greenhouse will be destroyed after their value for research has expired.

Baute is in the process of assembling a team of scientists to work on site, and bioinformaticians who will mostly work remotely from locations around North America.

No transgenic plants at the CIC

Baute is careful to note that the Comox cannabis laboratory will be doing only marker-assisted selection, not making transgenic plants, which are commonly but inaccurately referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMO).

“GMO is an unfortunate term. What most people mean by GMO is transgenic,” he said. “Transgenic is an organism that contains genetic material into which DNA from an unrelated organism has been artificially introduced — it leaps over species barriers. It creates changes that pollination could not do.”

BT Corn, for example, has been modified with the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium found in soils that naturally produce a protein that selectively kills a few specific insect species.

But the CIC’s work will do recombination staying within the primary gene pool of cannabis to select for disease or pest resistance.

“Something that’s only achievable through plant sex,” he said.

Baute says that with cannabis there’s no need to engage in transgenics because there hasn’t yet been any scientific breeding. It would be years before there are such diminishing returns from breeding that other technologies would be considered.

“There are still gains in breeding tomatoes,” he said, noting that plant has undergone 100 years of scientific enquiry.

What’s next

Baute is anxious to get his laboratory and breeding program up and running, and so are other scientists who are now delving into the cannabis plant. As with every other scientific discovery in the history of humankind, it’s important who gets there first.

All other crops in the world have had game-changing breakthroughs, similar to the sunflower example cited by Baute.

“The reason it hasn’t happened yet for cannabis is not because science has neglected the plant. It’s been illegal,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A WITH ANANDIA LAB FOUNDER JONATHAN PAGE

Decafnation asked Jonathan Page, PhD, Chief Scientist for Aurora and the founder of Anandia Labs, a few questions about the Cannabis Innovation Centre and its Director, Greg Baute.

 

DECAF: What was it about Greg that convinced you to hire him for this important job?

Jonathan Page: A couple of things led me to hire Greg: he came highly recommended from colleagues I know well who all thought his set of skills in genomics and applied breeding were a perfect match for the Anandia job. One former supervisor of Greg’s told me he was a unique talent in Canada. This, and the fact that he visited Anandia and gave a great talk on his work with sunflowers, convinced me to hire him.

Decaf: What is the significance of Greg’s role as director of breeding and genetics?

Page: Greg’s R&D program and the Comox breeding facility itself will be world leading and one-of-a-kind. There is no other location in the US, EU, Australia or Israel that I know of that will have the facilities and know-how that we will have at Comox.

Decaf: What discoveries do you think the Cannabis Innovation Centre will make?

Page: I think there will be scientific discoveries made at Comox, and they will come from identifying the genetic basis for certain traits such as disease resistance and flowering time. These will revolutionize how cannabis is grown.

Decaf: What is your hope the CIC will ultimately achieve?

Page: I hope the CIC achieves three things: that it helps solve many of the challenges in cannabis production, and this makes it possible to grow cannabis with fewer inputs and concerns about contamination; that it furthers a scientific understanding of cannabis; and, that we create an environment in Comox that attracts scientists that are creative and innovative. In effect, we are not just building a cannabis lab but a think-tank for cannabis science.  

 

 

 

DEFINITION OF TERMS
USED IN THIS ARTICLE

F1 hybrid seeds refers to the selective breeding of a plant by cross pollinating two different parent plants. In genetics, the term is an abbreviation for Filial 1 – literally “first children.” Crossing two genetically different plants produces a hybrid seed. This can happen naturally, and includes hybrids between species (for example, peppermint is a sterile F1 hybrid of watermint and spearmint). These F1 hybrids are usually created by means of controlled pollination, sometimes by hand-pollination. 

Phenotype — (from Greek, Modern phainein, meaning ‘to show’, and typos, meaning ‘type’) is the composite of an organism’s observable characteristics or traits, such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior (such as a bird’s nest).

Terpenes — There’s something about the aroma of cannabis that soothes the mind and body. Terpenes are what you smell, and knowing what they are will deepen your appreciation of cannabis whether you’re a medical patient or recreational consumer. Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are aromatic oils that color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine.

Detasseling corn is removing the immature pollen-producing bodies, the tassel, from the tops of corn (maize) plants and placing them on the ground. It is a form of pollination control, employed to cross-breed, or hybridize, two varieties of corn.

Recombination —  A process by which pieces of DNA are broken and recombined to produce new combinations of alleles. This recombination process creates genetic diversity at the level of genes that reflects differences in the DNA sequences of different organisms.  Thus, recombination is one of the important means to promote and increase genetic diversity between generations.

Sources — Wikipedia, gardeningknowhow.com, nature.com, biologyonline.org, yourgenome.org, greenrelief.ca    

 

 

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The Week: Tolls on the Fifth Street Bridge, and quieter coffee shops, please

The Week: Tolls on the Fifth Street Bridge, and quieter coffee shops, please

George Le Masurier photo

By George Le Masurier

Four people died every day in BC last year from a drug overdose. One hundred, twenty of them died in November, 13 percent more than last year. We lost 1,380 people in 2018. Two decades into the opioid epidemic and these numbers are still shocking.

The BC Corner reported that the numbers of deaths on the North Island went down from 38 to 25, but it doesn’t feel like something to celebrate. Especially not when Courtenay RCMP announced last month that they had seized a potentially lethal combination of drugs, including fentanyl, from a man who was still in custody.

Not one of last year’s drug-related deaths occurred at a safe consumption site. But, please, people, let’s stop calling these live-saving facilities “drug overdose prevention sites.” Even trained professionals supervising these sites cannot prevent someone from overdosing. They do not know what’s in the concoction someone injects. But they can, and do, prevent that person from dying of an overdose.

Two clever Decafnation readers have independently suggested the “perfect” solution to the City of Courtenay’s Fifth Street Bridge problem. The bridge desperately needs a renovation that’s expected to cost up to $6.3 million. The city doesn’t have that much laying around, and, anyway, why should Courtenay residents have to foot the whole bill when it’s used by a lot of people who don’t live there?

Our reader’s obvious solution: toll bridge.

At $2 per crossing, it would take 8,630 crossings per day for one year to pay the bill. Okay, so there’s lots of practical problems with this idea, but …

It only took a couple of days into 2019 to issue the year’s first boil water advisory for the Courtenay and Comox water system. It’s not a coincidence the advisory came after this week’s big rain events. But, of course, no one dares mention logging above Comox Lake in this discussion, or how restoring the watershed to a natural state could reduce the need for a $100 million dollar water treatment plant. Did you also notice the color of waters in the Courtenay River and K’omoks Estuary had turned Sediment Brown?

Some Cumberland die-hards started a New Year’s Day swim in Comox Lake this year, and the “my water was colder than your water” arguments have already heated up with the Goose Spit swimmers. Cumberlanders want bragging rights.

What they don’t have is a unique name. The Cumberland “Black Bear Dip” has been tossed out, but it’s kind of lame, right? A reference to the village’s coal history? Who knows. What name do you suggest?

If you weren’t that worried about climate change before, this might tip your scales. New research published in Nature Plants, a nature research journal, predicts climate change will cause a worldwide beer shortage.

According to the study, expected droughts and extreme temperatures will diminish barley crop yields by three percent to 17 percent. And since most barley goes to feed livestock, beer producers will get even less than a proportionate share of the declining yields.

That means the price of beer would double and global consumption would decline by about 16 percent. Consumption would decline by as much at 32 percent in some of the poorer countries, while more affluent countries might see less of an impact, according to the researchers.

And without beer or BC wine, what are Albertans going to drink?

We read this important New York Times article — ‘How to be a better person in 2019’ — so you don’t have to. Here’s our Cliff Notes summary: More sex and CBD, less screen time and consumer spending. 

When did Comox Valley coffee shops get so loud? Didn’t they used to be a place of quiet refuge, where someone could go for a moment of reflection? Not any more, and we blame the interior designers.

Not all coffee shops are noisy, but those that are have a particular style in common: sleek, hard surfaces, slate, shiny wood, and a noticeable absence of soft, sound-absorbing materials like tapestries or upholstery. The grinding and whistling of the espresso machines mix with a rattling of cups and human conversation to bounce around the room in a cacophony that is not just audibly annoying, it can become a barrier to thoughtful conversation.

Can we get back to coffee shops where you don’t have to shout to be heard and where you leave without a post-rock concert ringing in your ears?

 Happy New Year to the Decafnation. Spring is coming and the days are getting longer!

 

LIST OF TOLL BRIDGES IN CANADA

A. Murray MacKay Bridge
Ambassador Bridge
Angus L. Macdonald Bridge

Blue Water Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge
Confederation Bridge

Deh Cho Bridge

Fort Frances–International Falls International Bridge

Golden Ears Bridge
Gordie Howe International Bridge

Lewiston–Queenston Bridge

Ogdensburg–Prescott International Bridge
Olivier-Charbonneau Bridge

Peace Bridge
Port Mann Bridge

Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls)

Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge
Seaway International Bridge
Serge-Marcil Bridge

Thousand Islands Bridge

Whirlpool Rapids Bridge

Yukon Suspension Bridge

— Wikipedia

 

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