Today we look to the groundhogs to find out whether it’s six more weeks of winter (sees shadow) or an early spring (no shadow).
Wiarton Willie and his namesakes have been doing it since 1957, and Punxsutawney Phil and descendants have been prognosticating since 1887.
Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes
CRD and Pacheedaht First Nation enter historic deal with MOU signing
CRD CAO Ted Robbins, paaʔčiidʔatx̣ (Pacheedaht) First Nation elected Chief Jeff Jones and CRD Board Chair Colin Plant sign Memorandum of Understanding. Photo courtesy CRD/Pacheedaht First Nation
The Capital Regional District (CRD) and Pacheedaht First Nation near Port Renfrew have announced they’ve entered into a groundbreaking government-to-government relationship, formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Despite Pacheedaht's non-representation on the CRD board, the MOU positions them as equal partners in decision-making. Pacheedaht Chief Jeff Jones emphasized his community’s ongoing and historical role as stewards of lands, waters, and resources.
The MOU outlines operational commitments focused on service provisions, development, and links between regional parks. Economic and social development are seen as core objectives of the MOU, aligning with the Port Renfrew Official Community Plan and emphasizing infrastructure capacity and growth.
CRD Chair Colin Plant said he envisions the agreement as a model for fostering partnerships with other First Nations in the region, emphasizing collaborative, respectful government-to-government decision-making.
Wanted man arrested after 11 days on the lam. [VicPD]
My Great Neighbourhood Grant: Funding is now available for community events and projects that build strong neighbourhoods.
National dental care plan: Seniors aged 72 and up can now register for the program.
Lindsay Buziak Walk for Justice is today. Starts at Saanich Municipal Hall at 10am.
It’s Groundhog Day: Our marmots had an exceptionally good year
Young marmots bump noses with parents to bond. Photo courtesy Oli Gardner
Groundhog Day is a perfect day to check in on Vancouver Island’s marmot population—and the news is good. The Island’s wild marmot populace has grown by one-third over last year, to 303 from 204 of the cute little critters.
That’s a far cry from the 22 counted on the Island back in 2003.
Seems our groundhogs got busy last year, something they do only every two years. The Marmot Recovery Foundation (MRF), which has actively helped to resuscitate the future of Canada’s most endangered mammal, reports observing 59 pups last year—37 more than the previous year.
Why are they doing so well? Well, for one, the MRF released 42 marmots into the wild in 2023, compared with 23 the previous year. The MRF also says it knows of three new lively marmot colonies—and confirms a colony first spotted two years ago is still bustling with the furry mountain mice.
So when you hear about Wiarton Willie, Punxsutawney Phil, Manitoba Merv, or any of the other prognosticating woodchucks today, think about our own Van Isle Violet and the other marmots here on the Island who unwittingly are battling valiantly to keep their species alive.
SPONSORED BY PACIFIC OPERA VICTORIA
An opera not to miss
Filled with the passion for flamenco and set in the heat of a civil war, Ainadamar is a delicious journey into the life of poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca through the eyes, and voice, of his muse Catalan actress Margarita Xirgu. Nuanced and spicy, this 90-minute tapa-sized tapestry of sound is both delicate and bold, with a masterful composition that transports you to the heart of Andalusia.
Tickets from $30, two-show combo with Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (April 3-9) starting at $50.
⚡ Victoria to Saanich Cable Replacement Project virtual open house. Today at noon.
🏐 CCAA Men’s National Volleyball Championship at PISE. [Tix]
🍣 Taisho Japanese Grill and Bar opens today: The new venture from Nubo takes over the old Collective Wine Bar & Kitchen location in Cook St. Village.
VicPD seeking lone suspect after dozens of vehicles vandalized in Fernwood
The mischief began at approximately six yesterday morning, with damage—ranging from scratch marks to smashed windows and lights—to vehicles parked on Gladstone, Chestnut, Stanley, Florence, and Amphion. The suspect is described as a Caucasian male in his mid-20s, six feet tall, wearing a grey jacket and riding a skateboard. [VicPD]
Car slams into Moxies building on Yates
Thursday's 4:30am crash damaged both the car and the building but caused no injuries. Police suspect drug impairment. [CHEK]
Rogers Sugar strike ends, new labour agreement ratified
Sweet news for bakery buffs who’ve seen a four-month-long sugar strike affect their local boulangerie—especially at Christmastime—the union representing refinery workers ratified a new agreement with 94% voting to take the five-year deal. Workers walked at the end of Sept. in protest of issues such as wages, benefits, and the company’s demand to keep the plant open day and night. [CBC]
Gun used in Saanich bank heist attempt still legal in Canada
Two brothers used Russian SKS semi-automatic rifles in their doomed attempt to rob a Bank of Montreal on Shelbourne in June 2022. The guns are not among those banned under Bill C-21, which received royal assent in Dec. The brothers were killed and six officers were shot in a gunfight outside the bank. [Victoria News]
🎞️ Victoria Film Festival’s opening film: 500 Days in the Wild. 🍁 Vic Theatre. Today. 3:15. Seven Veils. 🍁 Vic Theatre, 6:30pm. Opening Gala. Kwench. Tonight. 9pm. [Info]
🕺 Compagnie Herve Koubi: See this unique performance featuring street dancers from around the world. Royal Theatre. Tonight and tomorrow. 7:30pm.
🎤 Late Night Pop-Up Cabaret: This pop-up performance hosted by Ez Sybom and Earle Gay at Intrepid Studio will highlight trans voices through storytelling, drag, music, and comedy. Tonight. 10:30pm.
🥁 Tight & Bright Party: Enjoy throwback hits at this dance party at Hermann’s Upstairs. Tonight. 9pm.
🖤 Black History Month. Various events. Tomorrow. [Info]
Black History Month events: Uplift Black culture and learn about Black history at events across the city this month. [Capital Daily]
Security towers coming down at William Head Institution: The two structures will be replaced with camera towers as the status of the institution shifts. [The Westshore]
Thursday’s Headlines: Langford motorcycle club raided; Man swinging a hatchet arrested; Green Party’s Furstenau to run for re-election in different riding, and more. [Feb. 1]
Sooke School District (SD62) students walk out of class in protest. [CHEK]
Everyone Deserves to Smile. Cool Aid’s dental care funding drive.
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