BC lifts last COVID restriction for public

And an arrest made in arson of Ukrainian pastor's home

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TOGETHER WITH

Good morning !

Our top story today follows yesterday’s announcement from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on lifting the last COVID restriction for the public, and all but one for healthcare workers. The province believes the “emergency phase” of COVID is ending, but many others are arguing that the long-term effects mean continued danger.

Following that, we have an update on the Ukrainian pastor’s home that was set on fire last April—an arrest has been made. Now let’s get to it.

The Capital Daily Team

Dr. Bonnie Henry. Photo: BC Government via Flickr

NEWS

BC lifts last COVID restriction for public and all but one for healthcare workers

BC has now lifted universal mask-wearing in healthcare facilities, and requirements to show proof of vaccination and rapid test when visiting long-term care and assisted living facilities. Health workers must still be vaccinated, a measure Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry called “incredibly important” to overall success and to being able to lift other measures.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in Thursday’s conference that BC is coming out of respiratory illness season and that while COVID transmission continues it is not causing high hospitalization and critical-care admissions. Dix said that risk to the general public had declined but that caution should be taken as the pandemic continues—though Henry believes that the “pandemic” designation for COVID-19 will soon end.

But several independent expert groups continue to be at odds with the province about risk levels.

“Part of what they are doing can only make sense if you truly believe that COVID is a mild respiratory virus,” said Lyne Filiatrault, a former emergency doctor who helped keep SARS at bay in Vancouver in 2003.

Filiatrault is part of the group Protect our Province BC, which this week launched a campaign promoting public awareness of continued COVID risks, particularly the long-term impact of multiple infections.

More on this debate, what is changing for BC, and what will be done next, in the full story at Capital Daily. 

Capital Bulletin

☁️ Today’s weather: Mainly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers throughout the day. High 11C / low 6C.

💲 BC will raise min. wage to $16.75 on June 1, up from $15.65. This inches BC back ahead of the federal minimum, which rose to $16.65 on April 1.

🏘️ Applications open for My Great Neighbourhood Grant: Victoria residents can apply for grants of up to $7,500 from the city to fund projects or activities that will bring neighbours together. Applications are open until Oct. 15.

Photo: Martin Bauman / Capital Daily

NEWS

Arrest made in arson of Ukrainian church pastor’s home; police say hate was not motivation

The home, owned by the neighbouring Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and occupied by its pastor and his family, was in flames around 1am on April 20, 2022. That pastor, Yuriy Vyshnevskyy, said at the time that the family—including children then aged 5, 7, and 11—woke up to gasoline being poured through the mail slot of the home on Caledonia and Cook and escaped.

Police announced on Thursday that they have arrested Walter “Theo” Machinski of Nanaimo and that he is being charged with one count of arson with disregard for human life. Last spring there was concern that the fire, occurring only a few months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, was a hate crime. But police now say that it was “not motivated by hatred towards an identifiable group” and that “the accused was known to the family.”

Arrested man is church’s former priest, per website and president
No more details were given, but Theo Machinski is the name of a pastor who began work at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in 2011, per the church’s history page, and was at Nanaimo’s Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Michael the Archangel in 2017.

Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker president Alec Rossa told the Times Colonist that this is the same man, and that Machinski was the priest there until Sept. 2015, was transferred to the Nanaimo parish, and has left the church.

The family has asked for privacy, police said. During the blaze three of them leapt from a second-floor window while one exited the first floor and another was rescued by firefighters. The daughter aged 11 was cut by glass and had surgeries for bone fractures and nerve damage, according to a family update on their fundraiser page. The family cat also required surgery. That fundraiser and another one raised $57,000+ for the family.


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Capital Picks

⛰️ Surface Tension opens at Xchanges Gallery: This exhibition explores mountain ranges and ocean waves through photography, paint, and more. Opening night is tonight and the exhibition runs on weekends until April 23. [Details]

🎺 Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at McPherson Playhouse: This multimedia experience will feature Herb, Lani, and their band playing their classics along with footage from the couple’s music careers. [Tickets]

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💃 Victoria International Kizomba Festival: This three-day festival hosted by the Afro-Latin Cultural Exchange Society at Centennial Square will feature music, dance lessons, live performances, and more. [Tickets]

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In Other News

⚖️ Ehattesaht First Nation challenges BC mineral policy under DRIPA 
The west-Island First Nation and the northern-mainland Gitxaała were in court this week for the first legal challenge to BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The First Nations argue that BC violates the declaration by granting mineral tenures via an online system without Indigenous consultation in the initial process. [CBC]

🏠 Couple transplants 127-year-old Esquimalt house to Sooke
After their home was destroyed by fire in 2021, a Sooke couple found a replacement by relocating an Esquimalt house to their property. The yellow house was slated for demolition for a new condo development, but Mandalena Lewis and Dave Dick negotiated to have it gifted to them. They had lived in it in 2018, when they first moved to Victoria. Lewis and Dick are launching a business to help others save existing homes from the landfill, which they say saved them hundreds of thousands. [CTV]

Last month two homes from an Esquimalt redevelopment site were relocated to the Songhees reserve and given to families there, as part of broader efforts to reduce local construction waste.

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In Case You Missed It

🤼 A look inside the Island’s pro wrestling scene: Photojournalist James MacDonald captures a night of top holds, leg locks, jeers, and more at a 365 Pro Wrestling event in James Bay. [Capital Daily]

🏘️ Province releases plans for housing: This week, the premier announced a slew of BC-wide policies aimed at tackling the housing crisis while hundreds of municipal officials from across BC met in Vancouver for a housing summit. [Capital Daily]

📈 Don’t try to time the market. Victoria-area Portfolio Managers Brian Howe and Gareth Dickson at Odlum Brown Limited can help you understand your investments and reach your financial goals.*

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