Comox Valley social activist Wayne Bradley dies after short battle with cancer

Comox Valley social activist Wayne Bradley dies after short battle with cancer

Wayne and Janet Fairbanks  |  Photo courtesy of Canadians.org

Comox Valley social activist Wayne Bradley dies after short battle with cancer

By ROGER ALBERT

Wayne Bradley passed away on April 3rd of this year. He was informed by his GP in mid-March, after consultation and imaging that he had a growth on his pancreas and nodules on his liver. Pancreatic cancer metastasized to the liver is absolutely unforgiving especially with a late diagnosis. It has the reputation of being a cancer that kills quickly. In Wayne’s case, there was barely three weeks between diagnosis and his death at the hospice in Comox.

Wayne was two years and a day younger than me. We were both involved in social activism of one sort or another. You may have seen Wayne with Janet (his wife) selling coffee and chocolates at various events in the Valley. Carolyn and I were quizmasters at the Cumberland Forest Society’s trivia nights some time ago now, on one occasion, Wayne and Janet were there at the back of the hall with a table set up to sell World Community products. They only did the coffee and choc sales once at Trivia but had those sales regularly at Miners’ Memorial events such as Songs of the Workers.

The last time I spoke with Wayne was on our deck on the occasion of a Home and Garden Show in 2019. This was Carolyn’s last appearance in the Cumberland Forest Society Home and Garden Show. We sat around drinking tea and chatting. I was not doing well at that time and a diagnosis of multiple myeloma in October provided the reason for my ill health. I recall that Wayne was very keen to talk about electric vehicles. We were definitely interested in electric vehicles but were cautious about making that kind of investment one of the reasons being that the property was not wired for it. It is now, but we’ve moved on because of my cancer diagnosis and other reasons.

My type of bone marrow cancer leaves me completely exhausted and dizzy. That, on top of the pandemic, made it so that we were pretty much in isolation. So the summer of 2019 was the last time we saw Wayne and Janet. We (our son-in-law) bought tickets to the World Community Film Festival this past February but that was an online event.

Wayne suffered from abdominal, back pain and utter exhaustion in the last weeks of his life. That is common with pancreatic cancer, but Janet told me that strokes are also common with this disease. I had no idea. Wayne suffered a debilitating stroke on March 30th, and he was gone in just a few days.

Death in these circumstances is expected but still shocks. We all die, but the circumstances will have something to do with how well the family is prepared for a close relative dying. My type of cancer is treatable with chemotherapy and can go on for years, plenty of time to prepare for dying but when I die I’m sure it will still be a shocker for the family. Unlike myeloma, pancreatic cancer doesn’t generally allow for years of grieving. In a way that may be a blessing.

Wayne was a great guy. He was committed to his community and worked tirelessly for the good of his community but also for communities far and wide, those involved in the coffee and chocolate trade. Janet was Wayne’s partner at World Community but both were involved in other initiatives over the years. They were seldom far from the action.

Hearing of Wayne’s illness and death was certainly a shock. Cancer is often very difficult to diagnose and once diagnosed it’s often too late to do anything about it. According to Johns Hopkins Hospital, eighty percent of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed at Stage IV, when the prognosis is bleak.

Wayne will be sorely missed by family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. He was a man of integrity, strength and determination. He was a good man.

Reprinted with permission by Roger Albert. You can read more from Roger Albert’s blog here.

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BC forest march: Tell Premier Horgan to implement Old-Growth Review Panel advice

BC forest march: Tell Premier Horgan to implement Old-Growth Review Panel advice

Old-growth logging in the Caycuse region  |  Photo courtesy of the Anciet Forest Alliance

BC forest march: Tell Premier Horgan to implement Old-Growth Review Panel advice

By Guest Writer

About 100 people from Campbell River and Courtenay joined a province-wide
Forest March BC day of action on March 19 to call on Premier Horgan to honour his commitment to fully implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Review Panel.

The Review Panel found that since BC has allowed 97 percent of BC’s ancient forests to be logged, we are reaching a wide spread biodiversity crisis and we must make a fundamental change in the way we manage forests. The panel said it should be a prime mandate to protect ecosystems and to shift to sustainable second-growth forestry management with support for affected forestry workers.

Under the heading, “Immediate Response”, the Review Panel recommended that within six months, or “until a new strategy is implemented, defer development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.”

But the six months have passed and BC Forestry Minister Conroy say the province has to keep logging Old Growth while the government puts management plans in place.

“It’s now or never” for old-growth forests

“But the whole point of the Panel’s recommendation to halt Old Growth logging was so there would be something left to protect under the new management plans,” Gillian Anderson told Decafnation. Anderson is the spokesperson for the Forest March organizing group.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has also called on the province to immediately defer logging in all threatened Old Growth forests and to implement all Panel recommendations.

But, despite these actions, the province has scheduled logging of Fairy Creek, the last unprotected watershed valley in southern Vancouver Island, and defenders who have endured months of winter on a blockade there now face possible arrest

The Review Panel also called for support for forest workers and Indigenous communities as they adapt from Old Growth logging to a sustainable second-growth forestry industry.

“The government is only just now working on these transition plans, yet John Horgan has had four years to put such recommended management plans into place after his pledge in 2017 to bring in sustainable forestry management,” Anderson said. “Instead he went on to log a million acres of old-growth forests even as BC lost six forestry jobs a day.”

Anderson added that Forest Minister Conroy’s much-vaunted ‘deferment’ of logging in 353,000 hectares turned out to be under closer scrutiny only 3800 hectares of actual at-risk Old Growth.

“Premier Horgan wants the credit for creating an Old Growth Review Panel and the credit for promising to abide by its recommendations – even as he continues to allow logging of the remnants of this once mighty ecosystem against the Panel’s specific and urgent recommendation,” she said.

Virtually none of the recommended funding has been dedicated for the transition to sustainable, second-growth forestry or for conservation set-asides.

Meanwhile, BC taxpayers continue to subsidize the forestry industry (cutting publicly owned trees including old growth) by $365 million annually, according to the Forest March BC Rally team. They say Old Growth forests are worth more standing than a one-time stumpage fee, as they support sustainable economic, cultural and recreational opportunities including fisheries, tourism, carbon offset projects and non-timber forest products.

Friday’s rally participants urged people to call the premier’s office to implement the Old Growth Review Panel recommendations for the immediate moratorium on Old Growth logging (250-387-1715 or premier@gov.bc.ca).

“With so little of B.C. iconic Ancient Forests left, it’s truly now or never,” Anderson said.

 

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Enter your favorite tree into Comox Valley Nature’s annual contest by April 1

Enter your favorite tree into Comox Valley Nature’s annual contest by April 1

A portion of Comox Valley Nature’s Tree of the Year contest poster

Enter your favorite tree into Comox Valley Nature’s annual contest by April 1

By George Le Masurier

The deadline for nominating your favourite tree in Comox Valley Nature’s annual Tree of the Year contest is just a few weeks away. People can nominate tree before April using the organization’s online entry form.

Comox Valley Nature (CVN) holds the annual contest to identify and highlight individual trees of significant interest or importance or beauty in the Comox Valley. The goal of the contest is to foster a strong connection with nature, increase awareness of cherished local trees, and raise interest in the value and protection of trees.

Any Comox Valley resident can nominate a tree they love within the Comox Valley Regional District boundaries. To encourage everyone to vote with their feet, CVN will provide possible cycling and walking routes to visit these trees. Typically, the nomination period runs from early January until the end of March.

While our focus is on appreciating all the trees, a winning tree will be chosen by public vote. A small prize is awarded to the nominator of the Tree of the Year, and everyone benefits from learning about these beautiful specimens.

The CVN website suggests that when nominating a tree, a person should consider “their personal attraction to the tree. Is it beautiful or eye-catching? Is it ecologically or economically important? Does it have a unique history, or is it of cultural significance? Whatever your reason for choosing to nominate a particular tree, we invite you to share its story with us!”

 

HISTORY OF THE CONTEST

The concept began in the Czech Republic over 20 years ago and evolved into the European Tree of the Year Award, organized by the Environmental Partnership Association.  It has since spread to several countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany and Slovakia. The presentation ceremony takes place annually around March 21 which is the International Day of Forests.

CVN’s contest was started through the initiative of member Cathy Storey, with the first set of nominations solicited in 2017 and the first winner announced in early 2018. To the best of our knowledge, our contest is unique in North America.

Cathy passed away in December 2020, but her legacy is carrying on. Our 2021 contest is designated in her honour, and a memento in the form of a painting with a tree theme is being created. In addition to a gift basket, the winner of each year’s contest will have the privilege of enjoying the painting in their home for a year.

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The Week: Doing it right on the wrong side of town, CVRD gets a good result for wrong reasons

The Week: Doing it right on the wrong side of town, CVRD gets a good result for wrong reasons

The Week: Doing it right on the wrong side of town, CVRD gets a good result for wrong reasons

By George Le Masurier

As voters and taxpayers, we hope our elected officials always do the right thing for the right reasons.

The Comox Valley Regional District did the right thing last week by terminating its contract with the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS). But they did it for the wrong reasons.

The Economic Development Society was a poorly run service that clothed itself in secrecy, reported to no one but a few self-appointed friends and spent a lot of money for questionable community benefit. And in doing so, the society managed to disappoint, frustrate and antagonize broad sectors of the Comox Valley community.

That was the right reason to terminate this contract.

Hornby and Denman islands and the Village of Cumberland pulled their financial support for the CVEDS service many years ago because those taxpaying elected officials realized how little value they were getting for their money.

Regional directors from Courtenay and Areas A and B might have gotten there, too, but they were making a good faith effort to transform CVEDS into a modern and more relevant organization through — for the first time ever — serious oversight.

But the CVEDS contract was not terminated for its obvious lack of performance. It wasn’t terminated because it had lost its way many years ago by spending almost a third of its budget on a seafood festival that added nothing to the economic sustainability of local businesses beyond a slight uptick in restaurant reservations.

The society’s contract wasn’t terminated because it often claimed responsibility for things on which it actually had minimal impact. It wasn’t terminated because the society shunned accountability or that it failed to comply with requirements under the Societies Act. Or that it had trouble managing its money.

No, the regional district terminated the CVEDS contract because Comox council members objected to increased oversight and scrutiny. Comox councillors didn’t like the regional board setting goals for the society that targeted current problems, such as affordable housing for low-wage employees and familys’ access to child care.

Comox Councillor Ken Grant summed it up when he lectured Courtenay Councillor Wendy Morin about how elected officials should manage arms-length societies.

“That’s the thing about the independent governance model, you don’t get to tell them how to do their business. That’s been the problem from day one,” Grant said at the Feb. 9 regional board meeting.

Grant couldn’t have been more wrong.

When a local government creates an organization — as the regional district did by forming CVEDS in 1988 — that exists only because it receives more than $1 million in public funds annually, then the elected officials absolutely get to say what they want for their money. In fact, taxpayers expect their elected officials to set the big picture goals and to hold people accountable for achieving them.

Grant was right about one thing. The independent governance model has been the problem from day one. Day one being back in 1988. Since then the society has happily taken the public’s $1 million-plus every year and did whatever it wanted with the money. Past elected officials didn’t seem to care what they did.

What is truly amazing is that this bad example of political oversight took so long to blow up.

 

But don’t celebrate just yet

Just because the contract for economic development services gets voided later this year doesn’t mean Comox Valley taxpayers are off the hook.

The regional district wrote CVEDS a $400,000 check in January. That’s one-half of its 2021 funding. The expectation is that the society will continue to fulfil the majority of their 2021 work plan items, including the ones the Town of Comox finds so distasteful.

But, of course, the regional district has no means of ensuring that all or even most of the work will get done satisfactorily. What recourse does the CVRD have? The contract will terminate on Aug. 26 whether the work gets done or not.

The second half of the $800,000 CVEDS 2021 budget is scheduled for July. Will they automatically get another $400,000 for their last two months? Not necessarily, according to CVRD Chief Administration Officer Russell Dyson.

“CVEDS has various commitments in place to deliver services for economic development, tourism and visitors services, and destination marketing. The termination notice provides service to CVEDS for eight of the 12 months in 2021, therefore the second payment for 2021 will consider any adjustments to annual allocation for this adjustment, noting that some costs are annual whether the contract is terminated part way through the year,” he told Decafnation via email.

Dyson confirmed that the regional district would not be responsible for any severance pay for CVEDS employees because they are not CVRD employees.

But Comox Valley taxpayers might become responsible for the Visitors Centre, which some people call the “drum” building and others call the White Elephant.

According to Dyson, “Upon the wind up of CVEDS, the net assets after payment of liabilities is transferred to CVRD and the participant member municipalities. The ongoing ownership and operation of the Visitors Centre will be a key consideration of the service participants in determining future service priorities.”

Dyson says the CVRD and municipal partners will be meeting and working with CVEDS staff the next few months to “encourage” that the work plan priorities are delivered and to encourage a smooth transition to a future service delivery determined through the service review.

“The second payment amount will be determined through this collaborative work over the next few months,” he said.

 

So what will rise from the ashes of CVEDS?

How will local governments provide destination marketing, handle visitor services, manage the hotel tax money and encourage economic vibrancy?

Given that Cumberland and the islands are doing just fine managing their own economic prosperity in-house — as most other communities on Vancouver Island already do — the ideal scenario now is that Courtenay and Comox will hire their own economic development officers.

The CVRD should also hire an economic officer to focus on the three electoral areas because it’s too easy for the rural areas’ needs to be overshadowed by the municipalities. They may all feel strongly about food security, but there are different projects that need to take place in different areas.

Then all four of the Valley’s economic development officers can meet monthly to share information and work together where it’s possible.

Meanwhile, all local governments should agree to share the contract for destination marketing and visitor services to Tourism Vancouver Island (about $260,000 per year). The City of Courtenay economic development officer should have input to Tourism Vancouver Island about how local MRDT funds are spent because all of that money comes from the city.

 

Every community’s needs will evolve over time

But no matter how our elected officials propose to meet those needs, they must always favour transparency and accountability and ensure their objectives are being met without favouritism and for the benefit of the greatest number of people.

 

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The Week: Take our local government survey!

Are you satisfied with the performance of your Comox Valley elected officials? In 20 months and three weeks, voters will go to the polls again. So we’re curious how Decafnation readers feel about their councillors, mayors, directors and school trustees halfway through their current terms in office

The Week: The heart of our survey is in the comments, not the hard numerical data

The Week: The heart of our survey is in the comments, not the hard numerical data

Are local government satisfaction ratings rising or falling in the Comox Valley? It depends on where you live  |  George Le Masurier photo

The Week: The heart of our survey is in the comments, not the hard numerical data

By George Le Masurier

We published the results of our Local Government Performance Review this week and it created lots of buzz for those who follow local politics. Most people don’t, of course, unless the politicians do something to tick them off, like raise taxes, or do something really good, like reduce taxes.

The majority of people only get excited about local politics when an election comes around. So, being closer to the next election than the last one, we wondered how satisfied people were with their elected officials.

And, boy, did they tell us. It would be an understatement to say there were a lot of strong opinions expressed in the survey comments.

But here’s something to keep in mind about this survey. It wasn’t a random sampling of the Comox Valley population, at least not in the sense of a poll by Agnus Reid or Gallup.

If it had been, then our sample size of 314 respondents would have had a 4.65 percent margin of error with 90 percent probability that the sample accurately reflected the attitudes of the whole Comox Valley.

But we broke our survey down so that only people who identified as voting in Courtenay, for example, could rate their level of satisfaction with city councillors. It was the same for all jurisdictions.

And the respondents to our survey self-selected to participate. Many, perhaps most, may be regular Decafnation readers, although the sample was only a percentage of our subscriber base.

So the Local Government Performance Review was designed to be qualitative research, not quantitative. It was meant to describe the reasoning and motivations behind respondents satisfaction ratings, rather predict anything based on the hard numerical data.

So do not look at this survey and conclude that if an election were held tomorrow, Daniel Arbour would get 89 percent of the vote in Area A or that only 24 percent of voters in Comox would choose Russ Arnott for mayor.

But the survey does highlight the difference in attitudes between jurisdictions, and here the numbers and the comments intersect.

Most respondents in Courtenay and Areas A and B like how their elected officials have performed and the comments explain why. Respondents were not happy in Comox or Area C and here the comments were even more pointed and passionate.

By reading the comments, you gain an understanding of why the respondents approved or disapproved of their local government and politicians.

The last civic election in 2018 brought transformative change to the Comox Valley when voters elected more progressive-mined people in Courtenay and Electoral Areas A and B. This altered the conversation in those areas and, as a result, also at the important regional district board table.

And so far, at least, there’s an indication that this survey’s respondents are satisfied with that.

 

A farmer who leases some of the Courtenay Flats from Duck Unlimited fears that an expansion of the Highway 19A bypass will negatively impact his roadside farm stand business. Nobody wants to choose between farmland and more roads.

But the possibility of widening the highway bypass shouldn’t surprise anyone. It was planned decades ago.

The City of Courtenay and the Ministry of Transportation have been seeking a solution to growing congestion at the 17th Street bridge. Two years ago, a consultant working with the city on its Transportation Master Plan, suggested a bridge at 21st Street and set off fire alarms in diverse segments of the community.

A bridge at that location would have cut through the heart of the Courtenay Airpark and forced the facility to close. It would have connected on the other side of the river into the heart of the Kus-kus-sum and derailed a joint city and KFN reconciliation project.

The city never intended a bridge at 21st and deleted the overreaching consultant’s bad idea. But a serious conversation ensued about a third crossing and the city’s limited options and alternatives.

Among the most promising short-term solutions was raised by Dan Bowen, a former Highways Ministry employee.

The primary problem, he said then, is that there are two northbound lanes of traffic approaching the bridge from the south on Cliffe Avenue and two lanes on the bridge. But whether you turn north or south, you have to merge down to one lane.

It’s the same approach to the bridge from the north on the Island Highway bypass, which is two lanes at Superstore, but merges down to one lane at the bridge.

Bowen believes there should be four lanes of traffic approaching the 17th Street bridge, across the bridge and then all the way to the Shell gas station at the old Island Highway and also part way toward Comox.

The long-term solution, he said, is to twin the 17th Street bridge. The highways ministry purchased extra land on the northside of 17th Street east of Cliffe Avenue to anticipate a widened bridge. That land looks like a park with cherry trees.

The ministry also designed the bypass for four lanes, which is why the shoulders are extra wide through the S-turns.

We don’t know what the ministry surveyors were doing when they alarmed the Courtenay Flats farmer, but it’s possible they were gathering new data about expanding the bypass into four lanes.

As Bowen said, that was the plan from the beginning but the province opted for a half-measure. It should have put four lanes in right away. It would have been less expensive in the long run and farmers and farm stands could have developed as they did, just in a slightly different location.

 

Anyone else a little disturbed that the U.S. is vaccinating about 1.7 million people per day while nearly three months after vaccines became available, Canada still hasn’t vaccinated that many in total?

And Canadians can’t tell whether the Trudeau government screwed up its negotiations for vaccine supplies or if the drug companies screwed us because Ottawa has kept the deal a secret.

 

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The Week: Take our local government survey!

Are you satisfied with the performance of your Comox Valley elected officials? In 20 months and three weeks, voters will go to the polls again. So we’re curious how Decafnation readers feel about their councillors, mayors, directors and school trustees halfway through their current terms in office

Free webinar lectures on herring and the protection of natural shorelines in the Salish Sea

Free webinar lectures on herring and the protection of natural shorelines in the Salish Sea

Herring fishing near Denman and Hornby island in the 1980s  | Bob Cain photo

Free webinar lectures on herring and the protection of natural shorelines in the Salish Sea

By Guest Writer

The demise of the Salish Sea’s unique population of our resident killer whales confirms what biologists increasingly recognize: that the Salish Sea is “a collapsed ecosystem.”

The food chains that support the chinook salmon populations on which orcas depend have been largely driven to extinction through the destruction of beaches and estuaries that support forage fish on which chinook depend as well as through overfishing.

In keeping with its educational and civic mandate Comox Valley Nature presents a week-long series of five (5) free public lectures on the state, importance and protection of natural green shorelines for herring and forage fish starting Monday, Feb. 22 and ending Friday, Feb. 26 at 10 am.

Although overfishing is an important current public concern, shoreline armouring is no less responsible, even though it is politically overlooked. The state of Washington has recently passed very progressive laws that place the responsibility squarely on landowners, industries and municipalities to reduce and even remove hard armouring detrimental to fish habitat.

To restore BC’s fisheries to a semblance of their original productivity BC must take similar steps. The University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre recently published an important report: “Saving Orcas by Protecting Fish-Spawning Beaches”. The report explores legal avenues to enable similar legislation within Canadian law.

Dr. John Nielson (DFO) will kick things off with an overview of the state of herring off Cape Lazo. That will be followed on Tuesday by the UVic Environmental Law Centre presentation.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24 internationally Dr Ignacio Vilchis from San Diego Zoo who is internationally recognized for his work on the negative impacts of hard shores on seabird populations will present “Assessing seabird ecological correlates to inform conservation.”

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Dr Robert Rangeley from the non-profit “Oceana” will present a report on Canadian Fisheries and the importance of forage fish in “Rebuilding fisheries: unlocking Canada’s potential for abundant oceans .

The series will close with Salish Sea Herring Archaeology, an eye-opening overview of the state of herring before contact, as revealed from archaeological reconstructions, by UVic’s Dr Iain McKechnie.

The series is hosted for Comox Valley Nature by the Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists. The webinars are free and open to the public. URL’s for registration is can be found at the CVN website under the heading “CSEB Webinars”,

CVN is a non-profit always welcomes new members. Inquiries should be directed to Dr L. Maingon (250 331 0143). Parties interested in the status of herring in the Salish Sea are encouraged to also sign up for the Hornby Island Herringfest.

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