Posts Tagged "victoria"


Discount Flair Airlines launching flights from Victoria to Vancouver

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Flair Airlines is returning to Victoria.

The discount airline announced Thursday it will offer flights to Vancouver starting Aug. 23.

There are options for connections to several other Canadian airports, including the resource centres of Prince George and Fort McMurray, as well as Saskatoon and Regina — all new destinations also announced on Thursday.

The Edmonton-based airline, which is using four Boeing 737-800 jets, also flies to Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Kelowna.

Jim Scott, chief executive of Flair, called the return to Victoria “a much-anticipated” move.

“We continuously receive requests from our passengers to service these communities,” Scott said in a statement.

“Many of these areas are experiencing reduced accessibility, and we know that Canadians need affordable air fares now more than ever. We are committed to supporting these communities across the country as they safely reopen to travel.”


Minister’s statement on encampments in Victoria

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Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has issued the following statement regarding tent encampments in Victoria at Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue:

“Since April 25, 2020, 308 people experiencing homelessness in Victoria’s Topaz Park and Pandora corridor have been moved into safe temporary housing. The housing provided includes wraparound services such as daily meals, support with mental health and addictions challenges, and help with finding more permanent housing solutions.

“All 360 people who were camped at Topaz Park and along Pandora Avenue as of April 25 have been offered indoor accommodation. People continue to actively move into temporary accommodation today, and we will co-ordinate with the City of Victoria as we move people out and close the sites over the coming days.

“I want to thank the dozens of people who have been involved in this partnership, including staff from BC Housing, the City of Victoria, Island Health, the Province, service providers, peer support workers and outreach workers. All have approached this massive effort to house people with compassion and care, providing people with choices that best suit their individual needs.

“These actions were taken to protect the health and safety of people living in the encampments as well as the front-line workers supporting them. Moving people from these encampments to temporary safe and secure housing is a major step in the Province’s effort to support our most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“We also continue to work with the additional people who have since moved into the area to provide them with shelter and housing options. Outside of the encampments, there are still many people in Victoria who need housing and support services. Outreach workers continue to register people on the housing registry. A resource guide has also been developed so people have information on safe places to shelter, access hygiene, harm reduction, health care and food services.

“In Victoria, as in communities around the province, our work is not done. Throughout B.C., we have more than 23,000 homes already underway or complete as part of our 10-year housing plan, and there are more to come. As part of that, we are working towards creating longer term and permanent housing solutions with ongoing supports so that after the pandemic, people do not return to homelessness but instead are able to build a better and more comfortable life. This work will continue in the months and years ahead.”


New homes coming for vulnerable people in Victoria

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The Province has purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel, located at 3020 Blanshard St., to provide more affordable homes for people in Victoria.

“Everyone deserves to have safe, stable housing they can afford, and this site offers great potential to deliver a mix of permanent housing to meet the needs of people in Victoria,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This will further add to the significant efforts underway with community and local government partners in the Capital Regional District to tackle the housing crisis and build the homes people need.”

The long-term use of the site will be determined through engagement with the community. In the short term, the building will provide approximately 65 rooms of temporary accommodations with wraparound supports for people currently living in encampments on the Pandora Avenue corridor and Topaz Park.

“Often people experiencing homelessness are not able to access the support and services they need,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The purchase of the Comfort Inn, combined with medical and social supports, will help people make the transition from the street to permanent housing.”

BC Housing is partnering with Our Place to operate the building, which will start to receive people – referred by Island Health and BC Housing – in the coming days.

“This is a substantial investment in our community and will provide housing for those who need it most,” says Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “This site has significant redevelopment potential to provide a range of affordable housing in the long term. I look forward to working with the community and with BC Housing to determine the long-term use of this site.”

People will have access to services, such as meals, health-care services, addictions treatment and harm reduction, storage for personal belongings and other supports, including 24/7 staffing to provide security to residents of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.

“Our Place is looking forward to partnering with BC Housing in this bold initiative to provide indoor accommodations for our street family during this health crisis,” said Grant McKenzie, director of communications, Our Place Society. “We intend to serve this vulnerable population with dignity while striving to be a good neighbour to the community.”

BC Housing will set up a new community advisory committee that will include representatives from the Hillside Quadra and Burnside Gorge community associations and the surrounding community. This committee will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.

From April 25 to May 13, 2020, 208 people from encampments on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park have moved into safe, temporary accommodations with supports to protect their health and safety in the overlapping COVID-19 and overdose crises.

Quick Facts:

  • The B.C. government provided approximately $18.5 million to acquire the building.
  • The Province is working in partnership to build approximately 3,330 new affordable homes for people with a range of incomes in the Capital Regional District:
    • Housing for people with middle incomes: 121 homes
    • Housing for people with low to moderate incomes, including families, seniors and Indigenous peoples: 1,924 homes
    • Housing for women and children leaving violence: 39 homes
    • Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness: 431 homes
    • Housing for students: 782 beds at the University of Victoria

Learn More:

For an overview of BC Housing’s work to monitor and respond to COVID-19, visit:

For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BCCDC on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit its website:

For more information on non-medical issues like travel recommendations and how to manage social isolation, visit:
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.


Minister’s statement on major encampments in Vancouver, Victoria

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Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has issued the following statement regarding tent encampments in Victoria and Vancouver:

“This is a challenging time for everyone in British Columbia, especially those facing homelessness. Early in the pandemic it became clear that COVID-19, coupled with the ongoing overdose crisis, has created significant health and safety concerns for our province’s vulnerable people living in encampments, the professionals and volunteers that support these groups and the communities we all share.

“On April 25, 2020, the Province took the necessary steps to support people’s transition from unsafe, dense encampments in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, and Topaz Park and the Pandora corridor in Victoria, into safer, temporary accommodation as a first step toward more secure housing.

“Action needed to be taken for the health, safety and well-being of campers, and the front-line workers who support them. For those who were living in encampments, the wraparound health and other supports our government is providing will drive lasting, positive change for many individuals fighting hardship or addiction. The co-operation between the Province and the cities of Victoria and Vancouver, and the compassionate approach of BC Housing, service providers and the health authorities, has been remarkable.

“From the beginning, we committed to a compassionate, supportive approach, putting people’s housing and support needs first, to manage this transition. I’m encouraged our approach has been working. As of May 7, at 4 p.m., over 320 people have moved into safe, temporary accommodations in both Vancouver and Victoria, with wraparound supports to protect their health and safety.

“We have worked to ensure those who were living in Oppenheimer Park are moving into safe, temporary accommodations with wraparound supports by May 9.

“While we have been working with the hotel sector and service delivery partners toward the May 9 target in Victoria, it is now clear that more time is needed to ensure each person leaving Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue is moved into the accommodation that best meets their needs.

“To this end, the Province, in consultation with the City of Victoria, has extended the deadline from May 9 to May 20, 2020, to move people from Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue into safe, temporary accommodations. No one will be asked to leave these encampments without being offered a suitable temporary housing option.

“The Province is also developing plans for longer term permanent housing solutions for this population, with ongoing supports. These plans will build on the 23,000 homes already underway or complete through our 10-year housing plan and will include strategies to provide the right combination of housing and supports to mitigate the chances of a return to homelessness. That work will continue in the weeks and months ahead, but the priority now is on the immediate health and safety of people experiencing homelessness in these public health emergencies.

“Homelessness and affordable housing continue to be concerns throughout British Columbia. People and communities are suffering as a result. Over the last few years, we have taken urgent action to provide supportive housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness throughout the province, opening more than 2,100 new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness with a further 900 underway around the province, toward a goal of 4,900 over 10 years. This includes 21 units nearing completion in Victoria and 784 complete in Vancouver.

“We knew this would be a challenging transition for people, but I am proud of the significant steps we have taken to provide safer and more secure options for people. While this pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge, it is heartening to know that hundreds of people, and the communities they inhabit, will be healthier and safer through this initiative.”

Learn More:

For daily updates on the number of people being moved from the encampments, visit:


Emergency response centre opening in Victoria

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The Province is opening a 45-bed emergency response centre with wraparound supports and services at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, the first site in B.C. to feature pop-up pods that provide privacy for people staying there.

The new temporary accommodation site will house people living in encampments on the Pandora Avenue corridor and Topaz Park in Victoria.

“This is a challenging time for everyone, especially for people experiencing homelessness. In Victoria, we have seen encampments at Topaz Park and the Pandora corridor grow into unsafe, dense encampments that are compounding existing health, well-being and safety challenges,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The centre offers a temporary and secure place with wraparound support services to help people stay safe during this time.”

The temporary emergency response centre is scheduled to open in the coming days, once all staff are in place. GSL Group, the developer and operator of the facility, is extending the use of the arena to BC Housing to provide shelter to vulnerable people in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From the beginning of the crisis, we’ve said we could make our arenas throughout B.C. available for medical purposes, if needed,” said Graham Lee, president and CEO of GSL Group. “We are pleased to support the Province’s effort to provide an emergency response centre and the ongoing efforts from the Province and the City of Victoria to support those in need.”

BC Housing is partnering with PHS Community Services Society to operate the emergency response centre, which will receive people referred by Island Health and BC Housing. The centre will accommodate couples and groups of people who wish to stay together, where possible.

BC Housing is partnering with Staples Business Advantage to provide pop-up pods that are being rapidly installed in the arena to provide privacy. The advantage of this pop-up solution is the speed at which the pods can be assembled. The Province has plans to expand their use at other emergency response centres.

In addition to a space of their own, people will have access to services such as meals, washroom facilities, health-care services, addictions treatment and harm reduction, storage for personal belongings and other supports.

“We are grateful to GSL for working with BC Housing and the Province to make this facility available to help those in Victoria in need of temporary sheltering, meals or specialized health services,” said Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “Moving into the arena in the short term is a step closer for people to have safe, secure long-term housing.”

BC Housing has also partnered with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness to open 12 temporary shelter spaces at a different location to provide culturally supportive services to Indigenous peoples who are experiencing homelessness in the community.

From April 25 to May 4, 2020, 92 people from encampments on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park have moved into safe, temporary accommodations with wraparound supports to protect their health and safety in the overlapping COVID-19 and overdose crises.

Learn More:

For an overview of BC Housing’s work to monitor and respond to COVID-19, visit:

For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BCCDC on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit its website:

For more information on non-medical issues like travel recommendations and how to manage social isolation, visit:
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), sevendays a week.

To see photos of the pop-up pods in Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, visit:

And here:


Dozens of unsuspecting women video-recorded in Victoria public bathrooms

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A homeless man used his cellphone to record 78 unsuspecting women using the toilet in Victoria public washrooms, provincial court has heard.

Garth Galligan, 34, pleaded guilty to unlawfully recording the women in places where they could reasonably expect to have privacy. Galligan also pleaded guilty to breaching his probation by being in the women’s washroom at the Empress Hotel on Aug. 26, 2019. He will be sentenced next week.

Crown prosecutor Lexi Pace told the court that Galligan breached his probation on the same day he was released from jail after serving time for a sexual assault in the women’s washroom of the Royal British Columbia Museum and a disturbing incident at the McDonald’s on Douglas Street.

In December 2018, Galligan approached a young woman in the women’s washroom at the museum, tried to push her into a stall and groped her. Another woman intervened and he ran off.

Galligan also followed a woman into the washroom at the McDonald’s and propositioned her for sex. Galligan was pushing on a stall door to see if it was locked and not taking no for an answer, said Pace. The woman yelled at him to leave and called police.

Within hours of his release, Galligan was found by a member of the hotel’s housekeeping staff standing topless on a toilet seat with his pants around his ankles. She ordered him to leave.

On Sept. 1, another housekeeper walked into the women’s washroom and found a sign taped outside a toilet stall. The door was slightly ajar and the housekeeper saw Galligan naked inside the stall. She was frightened, told him to leave and alerted security, but Galligan fled, said Pace.

On Oct. 7, a woman using a bathroom stall at the hotel noticed a cellphone screen coming from the stall beside her when she flushed the toilet, said Pace. “She was horrified and didn’t know how to react. The phone was then pulled back into the occupied stall. The woman was shaken and reported the matter.”

Galligan fled but he was later identified through security cameras at the hotel.

On Oct. 10, Galligan was arrested and his cellphone was seized, said Pace. Police found a video which was a compilation of other videos showing 58 women in toilet stalls.

“These are single clips which have been strung together in one video. Most reveal the women’s buttocks and genital areas,” said Pace. “From watching the video, I can say it might surprise the court how proximal and clear the view is. … It’s extremely intimate and invasive.”

The Oct. 6 video is 46 minutes and 18 seconds in length and Galligan’s face appears on the video 13 times, she said. It’s believed the video clips were recorded between Aug. 26 and Oct. 6.

A further 20 women were video recorded between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8.

Of the 78 women, six were not recorded in a state of undress or using the toilet.

No one’s face was visible on the video, except Galligan’s. It’s not clear where the videos were taken.

Galligan suffers from serious mental-health problems and drug addiction. He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, substance use disorder for both cannabis and amphetamines, anti-social personality disorder and paraphilic disorder.

Galligan was required to report daily to the Assertive Community Treatment team, which helps him. Although Galligan was ordered to live at the Salvation Army, he didn’t and he began using hard drugs, said Pace.

Galligan was warned by the Crown to abide by his conditions, but breaches persisted.

Mitigating factors are Galligan’s Indigenous background and his early guilty pleas, said the prosecutor.

“This is not a trial that anyone wants to attend,” Pace said.

Galligan’s planned, deliberate, practiced actions are aggravating factors, she said. “It’s not impulsive. It’s not a one-off at all.”

Even though he’s under the highest level of supervision in the community, he still visited women’s washrooms at the Empress Hotel three times in a 2 1/2-month period.

Court-ordered reports prepared to assist with sentencing show Galligan has a high risk to reoffend.

Pace and defence lawyer Alex Tait presented a joint submission to the court asking for an 18-month global sentence followed by a three-year probation order.

“This is a very difficult case and Mr. Tait and I have been struggling with it. We’ve had numerous discussions,” said Pace. After his release for these offences, Galligan will be referred again to the Assertive Community Treatment team, she said.

Tait noted that his client’s offending only started at age 30 in 2016.

Galligan was apprehended at birth from the Buffalo Tribe in Saskatchewan and was eventually adopted at age five.

“His underlying problem is homelessness. He has nowhere to go,” said Tait.

Galligan now understands his behaviour unacceptable, said the defence lawyer.

“He has a long road ahead to get help. He needs to stay away from drugs and get housed. … If he had his own place to go, he may have a much better opportunity for success,” said Tait.

“Last time, he was released to the street or the Sally Ann.”

The judge is expected to sentence Galligan on Tuesday. 


Victoria taxi refused blind man service, discrimination complaint says | CBC News

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A blind man claims a Victoria taxi refused to pick him and his guide dog up, and that a second taxi driver sent by the same company scolded him on his ride home for not warning dispatchers about his disability.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear 73-year-old Andrew McCreath’s discrimination complaint over the alleged incident, after denying Bluebird Cabs’ application last week to dismiss it.

In the tribunal’s reason for decision, McCreath claims the alleged discrimination took place after a doctor’s appointment in July 2017.

According to the documents, he asked the receptionist at the doctor’s office to call him a taxi, then went outside with his dog to wait for it.

McCreath alleges that the receptionist noticed him still standing outside when the taxi should have already arrived, so she called a second one.

He claims the first taxi driver arrived, saw he was blind and had a guide dog, and cancelled his trip.

“It’s quite humiliating,” said McCreath, who has been blind for the last 60 years and relies on his guide dog, a German shepherd named Marsh, to help him navigate his surroundings.

A taxi driver is not allowed to refuse service to a customer who is visually impaired and has a certified guide dog, according to the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act.

Bluebird Cabs denies its drivers discriminated against McCreath.

The allegations have neither been proven nor formally heard by the tribunal.

Bluebird Cabs denies its drivers were discriminatory against McCreath and applied to have his complaint dismissed. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rejected that application. (Facebook/Bluebird Cabs)

The 1st cab

According to the tribunal’s reason for decision, Bluebird’s GPS and dispatch records show that the first taxi arrived outside of the doctor’s office, waited for three minutes, then marked the fare as a no-show and drove off.

The first driver said he had no idea that the person he was picking up was blind because that information wasn’t on the trip profile when he accepted the call, the reason for decision says.

The driver claimed he did not see anyone who looked like they were waiting for a taxi, nor did he remember seeing a guide dog, and that’s why he cancelled the trip.

He also provided documents that shows he has taken trips with guide dogs before and after this incident.

But in his complaint, McCreath claims — based on his alleged conversation with the second cab driver — that the first driver did see him and chose to leave.

The 2nd cab

When the second cab arrived, McCreath alleges the driver told him the first cabby had an allergy and that’s why he couldn’t drive him, according to the tribunal documents.

McCreath also claims the second driver immediately scolded him for not informing Bluebird of his disability and requirements, then chastised him for the entire drive home.

The tribunal documents show Bluebird did not deny what the second driver said, and that no affidavit was submitted by the driver of the second cab.

2015 case favoured driver

During an application for dismissal, the tribunal only considers whether the allegations as stated violate B.C.’s Human Rights Code, and does not consider any defence or alternative theories.

In this case, “the allegations in the complaint go beyond conjecture and speculation and allege an arguable contravention of the code,” tribunal member Pamela Murray said in her decision.

The tribunal will now hold a hearing to determine whether McCreath was discriminated against.

It’s not the first time McCreath has taken a complaint about a taxi company to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In 2015, he filed a complaint against Victoria Taxi for refusing him service because the driver said he had an allergy to dogs.

The tribunal ruled in favour of the driver in that case.


Victoria to join conversation on accessibility, inclusion

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People in Greater Victoria are invited to participate in a community meeting to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for British Columbia.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at Central Middle School, 1280 Fort St., Victoria, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to read the document that provides information on how the meeting will be structured, visit:

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m.


First-of-its-kind Parkinson’s community centre opens in Victoria

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For people living on lower Vancouver Island with Parkinson’s disease, there is now a community centre to help them through their journey.

Wednesday marks the official opening of the Parkinson Wellness Project (PWP) in Victoria, located at 2680 Blanshard Street. Staff refer to the facility as a community centre where people diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder can come together and talk about their struggles with others going through the same journey.

Krista Lavoie, operations manager at PWP, says when someone gets diagnosed with the disease, often people suffer from depression and self-isolation.

One of the most important things someone can do for themselves at the time is to talk about it, she says. 

“We’re here sharing stories, we’re sharing food, we’re sharing laughter and we’re also sharing the hard stuff too,” said Lavoie.

“It’s important that everyone get a chance to do that here.”

Along with the emotional support, the centre emphasises fitness. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, physicians globally recognize exercise as the number one way to combat the physical effects of the illness, according to Lavoie. 

“People with Parkinson’s need specific movements to slow their progression, so we use specific exercises that we introduce repetitively throughout our classes,” said Lavoie. “It’s helping regain those movement patterns that you’ve lost.”

Classes vary from circuit training to boxing classes, which benefit local residents like Sukhi Rai who was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago. 

Rai says he was an avid runner and knew something was wrong when he started having troubles with his left ankle. After seeing a multitude of health specialists, he finally had a diagnosis. 

“It was a relief to finally be diagnosed because I had been living with the symptoms for quite a few years,” said Rai. “I continued to work for a while but eventually I had to go on long term disability.”

For Rai, the centre offers him a weekly routine of exercise, conversation and a place to just come feel as though he is part of a community.

“Without it, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Rai. “It’s been a pillar of my health plan and my battle with Parkinson’s.”

The PWP is open to all people with Parkinson’s disease and those around them. 

“If you have Parkinson’s, everybody in your social circle potentially is living that journey with you,” said Lavoie. “We want all of those people in here and we just want to make them comfortable.”

The centre is 100-percent funded by donors, with no medical or government support. All classes are completely free but often participants will donate what they can per class.

People who are interested in learning more about the Parkinson Wellness Project or are looking for ways to donate to the facility can find out more at their website here


Victoria Conservatory of Music shows off new technology lab at open house

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News staff, CTV Vancouver Island

Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 4:31PM PDT

The Victoria Conservatory of Music showed off its facilities at its open house Saturday.

Members of the public were invited to tour the conservatory, including performance halls, practice rooms and a library featuring more than 60,000 music sheets and books. Visitors also got to enjoy free concerts by VCM faculty and students.

One of the stars of the show, from the conservatory’s perspective, is the recently opened Music Technology and Creativity Lab, which was made possible by a donation from Pitt and Sheila Linder.

The lab features computers and software for music recording, editing and production, and it’s open to both beginners and experts.

“It’s something we’ve dreamt about for years,” said Stephen Green, dean of the conservatory.

In addition to the software and the computers, the room includes a multi-channel audio system that will allow students to hear their creations and discuss with instructors and peers. There is also a large smart TV that allows the conservatory to connect live with professional musicians and teachers from around the world.

“It’s all here,” Green said. “We want to make sure that anyone who has an interest in music technology knows that it’s not just one particular group. You don’t have to be, like, a professional musician. It’s all open to everyone.”

The new space means greater accessibility for the conservatory, he said, adding that it helps the organization meet the needs of the 21st century musician.

The space cost roughly $50,000 to create, according to the conservatory.

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