March 15 - CRD approves $777M budget

Plus: short-term rental motion rejected, Canada's hottest winter yet

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Today’s approx. read time: 6 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: ☀️ 13 / 6

Tomorrow: ☀️ 17 / 6

Sunday: ☀️ 17 / 6


CRD announces $777M budget for 2024

Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

The Capital Regional District (CRD) has revealed its $777M financial plan for 2024, targeting essential services for over 450,000 residents. 

With $431M allocated for operations and $346M for capital investments, adjustments include increased funding for the Alliance to End Homelessness and a renewal fund for the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. 

Amendments also reflect support for rural fire protection and reduction in requisitions for specific services. Notably, the plan boosts long-term care with a $2.8M contribution for a new 306-bed facility in Royal Bay. The support addresses rising demands from a growing senior population and an existing gap in the availability of care facilities. Mayor Doug Kobayashi hailed the plan as a chance for seniors to age with dignity.

Infrastructure upgrades like trail improvements and renewable energy initiatives are also prioritized. With inflation and interest rate changes in mind, the CRD is budgeting for a balanced approach to meet the diverse needs of residents while working to reduce the financial impacts of rising housing and living costs throughout the region.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Milling and paving on Lampson today, with rolling closures from Devonshire to Ellery and at Rockheights from 9am-3pm. 

New “Saver” price for BC Ferries: Fares will cost less when you book in advance, starting April 1. Saver fares for a vehicle and driver between the Island and Vancouver will start at $49 and foot-passenger Saver fares will cost $15. 

Belleville Terminal: Passengers taking the CoHo or Clipper ferry services to Washington will soon have an upgraded terminal, with first-phase work starting early.

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Short-term rental ban motion falls flat at Vic council

Mayor and Council. Photo: City of Victoria

Yesterday council voted against asking the province to delay its short-term rental (STR) legislation. Effective May 1, homeowners will be allowed to rent their home for less than 90 days if they reside there.

“In a housing crisis, the priority must be housing,” Coun. Jeremy Caradonna told Capital Daily shortly after he voted against the motion. 

The law was enacted in Oct. to control the number of STRs and to open up housing for a province starved for rental units—Victoria’s vacancy rate is 1.4%.

“Approximately 2.8% of the entire housing stock in Victoria is wrapped up in these short-term rentals,” Caradonna said.

Mayor Marianne Alto and Coun. Stephen Hammond introduced the motion to support STR owners who said they felt blindsided by Bill 35—and to create maximum lodging options during the busy tourist season. Coun. Marg Gardiner also voted to petition the province to postpone the law’s enforcement until Nov. 1.

“This will have an impact on our tourism economy, but the hotel industry has thousands of rooms and is ready to host visitors, and their staff will benefit from these units opening up as well,” Coun. Matt Dell told Capital Daily.
“While short-term rental owners are undoubtedly facing a challenging timeline, my focus is to create new homes for residents as soon as possible,” Dell said.

On Tue., Tofino—exempt from the provincial legislation because it’s a resort community—decided to opt in, in an attempt to ensure rental options for residents and seasonal workers.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🤣 Kid in the Hall Dave Foley coming to Island FanCon.

🎐 Velella velellas, also known as sea-rafts, wash up on Tofino beach. [Photo] 

🩰 Dance Victoria presents Õkāreka Dance Company who will perform the all-female work Mana Wahine [Powerful Women] on March 27 at the McPherson Playhouse. Visit the website for more info.*

🐟 Red Fish Blue Fish reopens for the season. The seafood shack recently named among the best restaurants in Canada is back to business as usual at 1006 Wharf. 

🥘 Kinu by Sizzling Tandoor now open: The new restaurant at 3600 Uptown Blvd. serves contemporary globally-inspired tapas with an Indian flair as well as a cocktail menu that celebrates South Asian women who continue to push boundaries.

🤝 Now hiring: IT Systems Specialist at The Butchart Gardens.

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Royal Jubilee and Vic General named among Canada’s best hospitals 
Royal Jubilee ranked 22nd with a score of 73.39% and Vic General ranked 29th with a 72.93% score in the Newsweek-Statista ranking of the top 80 hospitals nationwide. Scores were determined through post-hospitalization patient surveys, medical expert surveys, hygiene metrics, and patient-doctor ratios. Toronto General—the highest ranking hospital—received a 88.8% score.  

Parents call for school police liaisons due to increased gang activity
A Victoria parent claims gang members groomed her 14-year-old son, recruiting him to run weapons and drugs. She believes calling the police allowed the relationship with the gang to break, following unsuccessful attempts at punishment and detox. [CHEK
Saanich will ask the Greater Victoria School District (SD 61) to reinstate the school police liaison program discontinued last year.
SD 61’s board ended the program last year due to lack of district oversight of officers and the BC Human Rights Commissioner’s recommendation to end SPLO programs that make marginalized students feel unsafe.

Parksville wolf-dog strikes again
The wolf-dog, nicknamed “WD40” for its ability to slip away from capture, attacked another dog on a rural property in Coombs on Thursday. The dog’s owner was able to chase the wolf-dog off, with the dog suffering puncture wounds. This follows a string of attacks by WD40, which killed a family dog in Coombs in November. [CHEK]

Canada records hottest winter yet
The average temperature spiked 1.1C over the previous 2010 record high, this year hitting 5.2C above the long-term average. Climate scientists say this was due to a blend of factors, including El Niño, warm oceans and climate change. This has sparked concern for drought and wildfire conditions in BC this summer. [Times Colonist]

🗓️ Things to do

✂️ Shredathon. Reynolds Secondary’s robotics team holds paper-shredding fundraiser for world championship trip to Texas. Reynolds Secondary School. Tomorrow. 10am-1pm. [Info]

🛍️ Crafted Farmhouse Spring Market: Shop from over 60 handmade vendors and enjoy live music, food trucks and a licensed sip and shop at this boutique artisan market at Mary Winspear Centre. Today, 5-9pm. Tomorrow, 10am-5pm.

🎤 TEDx comes back to Victoria: The deadline for early bird discounted tickets for the May 15 event is today. It's the first TEDx event in Victoria in nine years. 

🍷 Sommelier Dinner at L'Apero Wine and Cheese Bistro: An evening of wine and dining showcasing the flavours of South America. Today. 6pm. 

🧛 Dracula: Watch a ballet performance of the classic vampire tale at the Royal Theatre. Today and tomorrow, 7:30pm. Sunday 2pm. 

🎈 Circus of Light: An immersive light show with visual and sound dynamics featuring Psycho Circus at Capital Ballroom. Today. Doors 8pm, show 9pm.

🎸 Rowan Farintosh: The saxophonist will be joined by guitarists Wes Carroll and Sean Duhaime, bassist Louis Rudner, and drummer Sascha Enns for a jazz improv performance at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Today. Doors 5:30pm, show 7pm.

🎤 The Legendary Life of Tom Petty: Juno award-winning musician Clayton Bellamy will perform the music of the beloved rock and roll singer at McPherson Playhouse. Today. 7:30pm.

🎹 Royal Wood & Jeffery Straker: The singers and instrumentalists will bring their The Piano Men Tour to the Mary Winspear Centre. Today. 7:30pm

👀 In Case You Missed It

CRD facing pressure over biosolid waste plan as provincial June deadline looms and waste continues to mount. [Capital Daily

Reynolds Secondary off to world robotics championships in Houston following a provincial title win last month. The team has been undefeated in 18 matches this year. [Capital Daily

Thursday’s headlines: Coral reef thriving off BC coast, former Vancouver-Victoria ferry spotted in Caribbean, suspect arrested after alleged stabbing in James Bay, and more. [Mar. 14

Beacon Hill Children’s Farm reopens for spring season, with three newly born baby goats.

What’s the best bakery in Vic? Check out the nine finalists and vote for your top choice in the Tasting Victoria Best Restaurant Awards. 

Blossom hunt: Find out where trees are blooming in Victoria with this interactive map.

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