Our Community: Gorge swim raises money for waterway; success for Saanich forest campaign

Gorge event raises money for swim fest

The Snowbirds flying above and supporters cheering her from shore were some of the highlights of Marlaina Rhymer’s ­fundraising swim for the Gorge Swim Fest Society on Monday.

Rhymer swam six kilometres along the Gorge — from Portage Inlet to the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort in the Inner Harbour — to raise funds to further enhance the Gorge Waterway.

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To date, she has raised more than $1,500. Money raised will go toward ­environmental improvements in the ­waterway, ­especially to the beach at Banfield Park, and increased access for swimmers and ­boaters.

She was accompanied on her swim by the society’s giant rubber ducky. He was there both for moral support and to ­advertise the upcoming first Rubber Ducky Derby on the Gorge Waterway, set for Aug. 7.

Co-sponsored by the Gorge Swim Fest Society and Rotary Club of Sidney, the derby will see 4,000 yellow rubber ducks dropped off the Craigflower Bridge into the Gorge Waterway, where they will float 200 metres downstream. The first three ducks over the finish line will win cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for their sponsors.

• For more information, go to ­gorgeswimfest.ca or rubberduckyderby.net.

Saanich forest campaign met success

While it came up short, the Habitat ­Acquisition Trust’s fundraising campaign to acquire 49 acres (20 hectares) of urban forest in Saanich for a new CRD park was nonetheless successful.

While the campaign to acquire 4692 Mountain Rd. ended up $300,000 short of its original goal of $1.4 million, HAT said the strong show of support from the ­community inspired the owners to agree to work with the CRD and a new fourth party to acquire the Mountain Road Forest ­property.

HAT executive director Katie Blake thanked the neighbourhood associations that held bottle drives; individuals who dedicated their COVID stimulus cheques to the effort; those who created ­fundraising T-shirts and those who bought them; ­Phillips Brewery for dedicating its 2021 Benefit Brew to the cause; Creatively United for the Planet and Victoria Natural History Society; family foundations that donated to the cause; and those who “lent their voices, expertise and influence.”

“Thank you to each of you who dug deep to give generously what you could,” Blake said.

• For more information, go to hat.bc.ca.

Métis communities given funding boost

The Métis Nation British Columbia has announced $25,650 in funding to its chartered communities on Vancouver Island.

The funding is part of the nation’s new Regional Initiatives and Innovation Grant Pilot Project, intended to encourage the communities to join together to stimulate innovation and solve issues at the regional level.

“The new Regional Initiatives and ­Innovation Grant Pilot Project ­encourages our Chartered Communities to pool resources, work together and find ­innovative solutions to the complex issues that our grassroots communities face,” said Patrick Harriott, director for the region. “Providing more resources to our Chartered Communities is a central goal of MNBC’s cabinet and we will continue to look at ways to provide them the funding they need.”

The funds will also go toward a grant-writing mentorship program, to teach ­community members techniques for ­writing successful grant applications.

Jackie Lever, executive director of North Island Métis Association, said the funding will allow Métis chartered ­communities to “provide more and better services” for community members. The association provides traditional knowledge and wellness services that allow “our ­children, youth, adults and elders to heal and thrive as a proud nation.”

Métis Nation British Columbia ­represents nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people in British Columbia, about one-third of the Indigenous population in B.C.

• For more information, go to mnbc.ca.

Telus grant for Children’s Health Foundation home in Campbell River

The Telus Vancouver Island Community Board recently announced a $50,000 grant to the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island’s Q̓ʷalayu House in Campbell River.

Q̓ʷalayu House is a home away from home for families and youth from the North Island region and surrounding islands who need to travel to receive critical medical care.

Formerly the Telus Victoria Community Board, the newly created Vancouver Island board will support registered charities and help marginalized populations across the Island.

“Telus has provided extraordinary support to our foundation, enabling the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island to support families during the most stressful, and sometimes heartbreaking, time in their lives,” said Veronica Carroll, CEO of the foundation.

Telus Vancouver Island Community Board is one of 13 community boards across Canada that allocate funds from the Telus Friendly Future Foundation.

• For more information, go to friendlyfuture.com.

Malahat Royal Canadian Legion reopens

Share a drink with a veteran as the Malahat Royal Canadian Legion branch reopens its doors on Saturday, July 31.

There will be two meat draws, at 3 and 5 p.m. The kitchen and bar open at 1 p.m., with Happy Hour from 3 to 5 p.m.

Fun 8-ball and darts are allowed as well, with restrictions.

The branch is at 1625 Shawnigan Lake Mill Bay Rd.

• For more information, go to malahatlegion.ca.

Credit unions donate $50,000 to help people affected by wildfires

Island Savings and other credit unions, along with one of their members, have donated a total of $50,000 to support individuals and families affected by recent B.C. wildfires.

First West Credit Union and its local divisions Island Savings, Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby and District Financial have made a combined donation of $40,000.

First West Credit Union board member Ken Voth pledged an additional $10,000, bringing the total amount donated to Food Banks B.C to $50,000.

“As a member-owned financial cooperative, our members align themselves with us for this very reason, to serve their local — and sometimes broader B.C. community— when they need it most,” said Kendall Gross, Island Savings president. “It’s times like these when communities need to come together, and we hope that this gesture can help keep food on the table for the individuals and families impacted by this unfortunate situation.”

First West is also leveraging its branch network and digital platforms to encourage its members to donate to the cause. For more information, or to donate, go to islandsavings.ca/community-leadership/full-cupboard.

Indigenous youth boxing team seeks funding

Team 700, the first Indigenous youth competitive boxing team in B.C., has launched a GoFundMe campaign to replace lost funding.

The program, intended to create a safe place for Indigenous youth to aspire to greatness inside and outside the ring, has a roster of 10 committed boxers, plus a waiting list.

Founded in late 2019, Team 700 is the brainchild of the Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council — an Indigenous youth council for youth in and from government care — and head coach Ivy Richardson.

They hope to raise $20,000 to provide the team with six or more months of stability.

• To contribute, go to GoFundMe.

New affordable homes in Langford

Construction of 58 new affordable homes in Langford for low to moderate-income seniors, individuals and families, including those with disabilities, has begun, with completion expected in the fall of 2022.

The project at 2782 Spencer Rd. is a partnership between the Capital Regional District, the provincial government and the Capital Region Housing Corporation, which will operate the building.

“As the largest non-profit housing provider on Vancouver Island, the Capital Region Housing Corporation is a strong community partner that can make a real difference in people’s lives by delivering affordable housing and services to over 3,500 residents,” said Lisa Helps, corporation chair. “I’m confident this development will make a significant impact to housing solutions with 58 much-needed affordable homes.”

Located near Langford’s urban centre, the development is close to parks, shopping and schools.

The five-storey wood-framed building will offer a mix of sizes, with studio, one-bedroom, one-bedroom accessible, one-bedroom plus den and two-bedroom units.

Eleven of the units will rent for a subsidized amount of $375/month, geared to very low-income tenants.

B.C. Housing is providing $5.9 million through the Community Housing Fund towards the $19.9 million project.

2782 Spencer Rd is part of a larger redevelopment that includes the Tri-Way Mobile Home Park lands and a mixed-use commercial area along the Trans-Canada Highway.

• For more information, go to the CRD website.

parrais@timescolonist.com

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