Aug 29 - BC Ferries staffing struggles

Indigenous youth revive clam garden practice. Thunderstorms in the forecast. Parksville sand sculpture winners.

Good morning !

Thunderstorms began yesterday and look like they’ll continue this morning for the south Island. I’m not usually a big fan of thunderstorms, but their rarity in Victoria makes them a unique change of pace.


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Today’s approx. read time: 6 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: ⛈️ 17 / 14

Tomorrow: ☁️ 21 / 13

Thursday: 🌧️ 20 / 13

🌫️ Air quality: Low risk today (2/10). Light smoke expected.

🚘️ Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Staff shortages caused 40% of BC Ferries’ cancelled sailings last year, company says

Photo: Robyn Bell / Capital Daily

According to its own statistics, two in every five sailings BC Ferries cancel are due to a lack of available workers.

“Frankly, it’s frustrating,” Eric McNeely, provincial president of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union, told Capital Daily.

A report released last week at BC Ferries’ annual general meeting (AGM) said 40% of cancelled sailings last year were the result of a lack of crew.

In an attempt to attract more workers, BC Ferries president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez said the company has beefed up its employee referral program, invested in staff training, and changed job classification to casual from seasonal so those workers no longer are on a fixed term.

The company has hired 1,200 workers over the last several months “to beef up our crewing rosters,” Jimenez said at the AGM.

“It’s certainly led to more hirings, but what we’ve also seen is some challenges retaining those newly hired employees,” McNeely said, adding employee turnover has jumped by 52% over the last two years.

McNeely said shift hours and pay—two contentious issues as the two sides begin to negotiate a new contract ahead of next year’s expiry of the current agreement—are two reasons staff don't seem to stay long.

“Because of the uncertainty of employment, and by that I mean you don’t know when you’re going to work, you’re sort of on-call almost all hours of the day.”

McNeely said 51% of the union’s membership—of BC Ferries 4,399 unionized workers, 1,583 are seasonal or casual—said they have secondary jobs to BC Ferries.

“And while BC Ferries did provide a guarantee of 420 hours over the summer period, that doesn’t mean that people knew when they were working.”

He says the BC Ferries’ fleet basically runs on overtime.

“And there’s only so much overtime people can do on their days off before they burn out.”

Calls to BC Ferries for comment were not returned in time for publication.

By Mark Brennae

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Temporary intersection closure at Church and Throup. From today until Sept. 1.

Road work on Bay in Vic West until Sept. 1 will limit traffic to westbound only. [Map]

Cordova Bay’s Beach House closed on Sunday after over a decade of operations.

Thunderstorm warning for the east and north Island; chance of lightning in Victoria this morning.


Nuu-chah-nulth youth restore clam gardens for future generations

Photo: Submitted

An ancient Indigenous practice is making a comeback thanks to efforts by young members of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation.

In late spring, $80K was allocated to the Nuu-chah-nulth Youth Warrior Family Society with Ka:’yu:’k’t’h/Che:k’tles7et’h to support food security and the development of clam gardens throughout Nuu-chah-nulth territory. Since then, youth from across Nuu-chah-nulth have restored two clam gardens located in Tla-o-qui-aht and Huu-ay-aht territory, with plans for more to come.

According to Clam Garden Network, modified beaches have 150 to 300% more clam production than unmodified beaches, as well as double to quadruple the biomass.

Youth, community members, and elders have come together to share knowledge and methodically move rocks throughout the intertidal zones of Sarita Bay in Huu-ay-aht territory and Meares Island in Tla-o-qui-aht territory to create clam gardens their nations can use.

“It's investing into our future for creating food sovereignty and also more independence for ourselves,” said Hayden Seitcher of the Tla-o-qui-aht Youth Warriors.


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🎹 Fall youth programs: Register for programs like piano classes, babysitting lessons, dance classes, and more.

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🗞️ In Other News

Parksville sand sculpture festival picks winners: This year’s top sculptures are Age of Wonder and World of Wonder, which depict childlike amazement at natural creatures. See them below, and check out the other sculptures in photos from photographer Colin Smith and the festival’s page.

Oak Bay to review sidewalk conditions: Oak Bay looks to hire a consultant to fix one of its most notoriously inaccessible sidewalks. The sidewalk on Granite—voted as the second “jankiest” sidewalk in a contest run by Walk On Victoria—curves around a tree before turning into a set of stairs. Assessments from the consultant will be used to create an inventory of sidewalks in the municipality and a five-year plan for improvement. [Times Colonist]

Out of control Island wildfires caused by lightning: At least six new wildfires were found burning out of control in Strathcona Park, with the largest measuring 60ha. Firefighters are monitoring the fires, but are not fighting them due to their remote location. No evacuation orders or alerts have been issued. [CTV]

🗓️ Things to do

😂 Nurse Blake at Royal Theatre: Get your laughter on tonight at Blake Lynch’s comedy show, 8pm.

🎥 Satan Wants You at The Vic Theatre: The documentary about Victoria's satanic panic will show tonight, 7:30pm.

🎭 Bad Dog: The dramedy performance about a pandemic puppy and a cat who search for their forever homes will show tonight at SKAM Satellite Studio during the Victoria Fringe Festival, 8:30pm.

🎬 Oh Mother: The comedy musical about parenthood shows tonight at SKAM Satellite Studio, 6:30pm.

🖌️Arts and Culture Colwood Society and Parks Canada present 'In Sight Festival' September 9 and 10 at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. Free Admission!*

🎟️ Jimmy Hogg: The Potato King: Comedian Peter Stevens will perform tonight at Wood Hall as part of the Victoria Fringe Festival, 6:30pm.

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👀 In Case You Missed It

Indigenous women and youth reclaiming surfing: Hawaiian and Tla-o-qui-aht surfers are coming together in Tofino. [Capital Daily]

Monday’s headlines: Victoria’s new bus payment system, raccoon causes mayhem at Westshore home, Sooke getting new crosswalks, and more. [Aug. 28]

Stay in the loop with the Victoria Foundation. Sign up for our newsletter for updates about non-profits, donors, funding and grant announcements, publications, and more.*

Cool off at these breweries’ patios: Enjoy the sunshine and sip on a delicious brew. [Tasting Victoria]

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