Feb 3 - A gap in the bike lane network

BC releases safer supply report. Ferry route changes. Oil leak at Swan Lake. Local kid gets NHL VIP treatment


Good morning !

The next few years will bring changes to some of the major Victoria-Saanich roads, with Interurban and Shelbourne both needing to be partly torn up to update underground infrastructure.

More on those changes, and on Victoria making biking and parking changes in the meantime, below.


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Today’s approx. read time: 6 minutes

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Victoria extending bike lanes to connect with Saanich, replacing Shelbourne street parking

Shelbourne trees & parking. File photo (2020): James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Victoria council has passed a motion calling for an interim extension of the north-south Shelbourne bike corridor by summer 2025 to prevent “a gap” in the regional cycling network. The lanes Saanich is building along Shelbourne from PKOLS / Mt. Doug will extend to the Victoria border at North Dairy, where it would stop short of Victoria’s own current network.

“There will be a gap at that point if this motion does not go forward,” Coun. Dave Thompson, who introduced the motion, told the council. “And it will be on us, not on Saanich.”

Street parking on both sides of Shelbourne between Haultain and Hillside would be removed to avoid interfering with the route’s century-old London planetrees, planted as a memorials to soldiers, city staff said.

Major road work for Shelbourne in 4-8 years

The city would build only lower-tier bike infrastructure, likely two one-way painted lanes with “quick-build” buffers. That’s because Victoria’s Official City Plan (OCP) calls for extensive underground work, curb and gutter corrections, and repaving in four to eight years.

“When Saanich is done, we want to be ready to connect,” Thompson said. “That’s part of being a good regional partner in any network.”

Lanes to be upgraded again during other construction

Thompson said upgrading to AAA protected bike lanes on Shelbourne once the underground work is financially prudent. He said when a portion of the Fort and Government bike lanes were built in tandem with underground and surface construction, it allowed federal and provincial grant money to cover “more than the bike portion” of that work.

“Victoria residents, through their property taxes, paid nothing for both Fort and Government cycle lanes.”

Quick-build prefab protected lanes, built on Saanich’s Cloverdale-Kelvin stretch a year ago. Photo (cropped): District of Saanich

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen ferry route changes will change sailing schedule this month. [BC Ferries]

Missing woman: Last seen in Nanaimo. [RCMP]

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Bonnie Henry calls for expanded safer drug supply program, including heroin

Bonnie Henry. Photo: BC Government file photo

Dr. Bonnie Henry released a report Thursday calling for an expansion of the province’s safer supply program, backing Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe’s recommendations.

In the report, the provincial health officer says the benefits of BC’s safer supply program—a first in Canada when introduced in 2020—outweigh its risks, calling early evidence “largely positive.”

Henry: Expand drug variety, recovery centres, and supports

Henry recommends proposing alternatives to the currently prescribed substance hydromorphone, calling for different dosages, delivery methods, and substances—including prescribed heroin and fentanyl—to meet individual needs.

Her report showed anecdotal evidence—findings based on data from Victoria’s Cool Aid Health Clinic—that hydromorphone is “inadequate for wholly meeting the needs of clients with high opioid tolerance due to daily fentanyl use,” with some returning to street drugs as a result.

She also recommends increasing holistic support, such as treatment and recovery centres, and expanding housing and food security options.

Report: No evidence that supply raised deaths or youth addictions

Henry acknowledged the risks of drug diversion, where those without a prescription obtain a safer supply of substances.

While she confirms that happens, she says there’s no evidence of a rise in opioid use disorder diagnoses in young people. BC’s coroner’s service has emphasized there is no connection between a safer supply and increased toxic drug deaths.

There were more than 2,500 deaths in BC last year, 145 in Greater Victoria. In Dec., outreach workers told Capital Daily they’ve seen first-hand the rise in the number of overdoses and can’t keep up with the growing toxic drug supply. They said the city’s at-risk population desperately needs an increased safer supply.


Your prescription for better health? A walk in the woods 

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Connecting to nature is good for your health. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of nature therapy, book now at Tall Tree Health

⭐️ Capital Picks

🌮 New Tacofino in Langford is opening this weekend. [Announcement]

👚 Fat Sisters, a new plus-size vintage clothing store on Fort, opens today.

🌴 Escape to Thailand and leave the cold weather behind, with non-stop travel from YVR.*

📆 Marmot Day: Van Isle Violet was brought out yesterday morning—watch below to see if she saw her shadow (and six more weeks of winter for us).

🤝 Now hiring: Insurance Advisor Life, Health & Wealth at RBC

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Aging power cable project to create disruptions in 2025, ‘26
Among the underground lines that need replacing are 7.1km power transmission cables that connect substations in Victoria and Saanich. Construction would affect traffic on Interurban for up to two years. The other cables to be dug up and replaced, likely starting in late 2025, are between Victoria and Esquimalt. [Times Colonist

Oil leaks into Swan Lake marsh from a nearby residence
A siphon dam has been built near a home on Swan Lake Rd. after its oil furnace leaked hydrocarbon into the nature sanctuary on Tue. Earlier in Jan., another residential oil tank spilled into the Gorge. [Victoria News

Oak Bay boy gets NHL treatment from Columbus Blue Jackets
Simon Hoskins has Mucopolysaccharidosis, a rare disease that affects children’s cells and can cause dwarfism. The Willows Elementary kid’s medical procedures took him to the US, where he met NHLer Ivan Provorov. Provorov’s current team was in Vancouver last Sat.—and so was Simon. [CHEK]

🗓️ Things to do

🧑‍🎨 Free Gallery Days at AGGV. Check out the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria for no charge. Today. 5-9pm. [Info]  

🥖 Moss Street Market. Discover local vendors, get farm-fresh produce, and hear live music at this weekly market. Today. 10am-2pm.

🎉 Black History Month Launch Reception: Hosted by the African Arts & Cultural Society and ISSAMBA Centre this celebration of the beginning of Black History Month will feature dinner, music, and dance. Edelweiss Club. Today. 7-10pm.

🎹 Ashley Wey Trio: The pianist will be joined by guests Kim Greenwood and Diane Pancel at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Today. Doors 5:30pm. Show 7pm.

🎥 Physician, Heal Thyself: As a part of the Victoria Film Festival, the documentary about Dr. Gabor Maté will be shown. The Vic Theatre. Today. 12pm. [Details / more on the Film Festival]

🎭 Creepy Boys: The bizarre comedy play about a pair of twin orphans’ birthday party will be performed. Intrepid Theatre. Today. 8pm.

🎙️ Ora Cogan: The psych-rock folk singer will be joined by Hope City Waters and Actual Human People. Victoria Event Centre. Tonight. Doors 8pm. Show 8:30pm.

👯 Dance Days is Jan. 26-Feb. 4 and It'll Move You! Local studios offer FREE adult dance classes in all kinds of styles. Visit the website today!*

🎫 Free Enterprise: During the Victoria Film Festival, the classic comedy starring Canadian actor Eric McCormack will be shown. Vic Theatre. Today. 4:15pm.

Sponsored Listing

👀 In Case You Missed It

CRD and Pacheedaht First Nation sign new agreement—here’s what that will mean. [Capital Daily]

Friday’s headlines: Van Island marmot numbers up; Students walk out of SD62 schools; Teddy Bear patrol; Yates crash. [Feb. 2]

Five-Alberta-based teams ‘defect’ to BCHL. [Victoria News]

National dental care plan: Seniors aged 72 and up can now register for the program.

That’s it for today!

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