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Our Community: Raising money for environmental projects; residences renamed; Abkhazi volunteers honoured

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The volunteer team at Abkhazi Gardens has won a Heritage B.C. award for Outstanding Distinguished Service. TIMES COLONIST

The Global Perspectives 11/12 classes at Stelly’s Secondary School are hosting their 21st Global Gala to raise money for environmental research on the west coast of Vancouver Island, at the school, Nov. 25.

The student-led and organized event is the first to take place in two years due to the pandemic. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Cedar Coast Field Station, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located on Vargas Island.

Global Perspectives 12 students plan to travel to the facility to engage in environmental restoration work and assist in research, paying for their own travel and personal expenses.

The gala will include a silent auction, with items ranging from art pieces by local artists to gift certificates donated by businesses and organizations throughout Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Entertainment will consist of live musical performances from local bands and student performers. There will also be presentations on environmental issues, past Global Perspectives trips, as well as light snacks.

Global Perspectives is a course for students who are interested in making a difference in the world by helping those in need locally and internationally. They have worked with orphans in Haiti, refurbished a refugee centre in Toronto and built a play area at a retraining centre for single mothers in Cuba, among other projects.

The program was recognized by McLean’s magazine in 2005, when Stelly’s was named Best High School in Canada in the Community Outreach category.

Tickets are $15 for adults, free for children under 10 and can be purchased at Stelly’s Secondary School. Tickets also available at the door. The gala runs 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 25 at the school, 1627 Stelly’s Cross Rd.

Pearson renaming student residence houses

As part of its ongoing process of reconciliation with First Nations, Pearson College is set to rename its five student residence houses to honour the Sc’ianew People (People of the Salmon) on Nov. 18.

The houses will be named after the five species of Pacific salmon in the SENĆOŦEN language.

Japan House will now be called ŦEḴI (Sockeye), McLaughlin House changes to HENEN (Pink or Humpback), Victoria House will be SȾOḰI (Spring), the former East House will now be known as QOL¸EW̱ (Chum or Dog Salmon) and Calgary House will be referred to as ŦÁ¸WEN (Coho)

A ceremony and unveiling of new house signage will take place at Pearson College on Thursday.

For more information, go to pearsoncollege.ca.

Rental housing for Métis families

Métis Nation British Columbia has acquired land in Saanich to enable the construction of below-market-rate rental housing for Métis families, Métis early education, child care programs and office space for the organization.

The purchase of the $2.2 million property at 3656 Raymond St. South is part of the organization’s goal of creating Métis centres across the province in all seven regions.

“We know that finding appropriate housing is a challenge for many Métis people in our community, including families and elders. We hope this building will help alleviate the pressure a little,” said Caitlin Bird, president of Métis Nation of Greater Victoria. “Our vision is for this to be a community space, where elders can connect with young ones in the child care centre, and families and community in the building. This building will also offer a space for our community to gather for potlucks and cultural activities. Having childcare, community events, office space and housing close together is an important part of supporting our community’s wellbeing.”

Funding, provided under the Canada-Métis Nation Housing Sub-Accord, gives governing members of the Métis Nation control over the design, delivery and administration of housing and early years programs. The federal government’s 2018 budget outlined a $500-million investment over 10 years to support the Métis Nation’s housing strategy.

The project is expected to be completed in three to four years.

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

For more information, go to mnbc.ca.

A conference about access to food

Good Food Gathering is a hybrid event that brings storytellers, food-policy actors, educators, food organizations and community together to tackle issues within the food system, Nov. 26 and 27.

Hosted by the Good Food Network, the event prioritizes the voices and stories of Indigenous leaders and community and those experiencing the effects of a broken food system. The event examines how barriers to food access are connected with racial inequity, socio-economic disparities, access to housing and income inequality.

“It should bother everyone that over 50,000 people in this region are food insecure,” said Linda Geggie, executive director of Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable, adding rising food prices coupled with a lack of housing affordability in the region are pushing these numbers up.

“On top of this, people have been divorced from their foods and medicines through colonization,” she said. “Add the impacts of global food systems on climate change and you just have to know we can do better — not one thing is going to fix this, it is complex but we need to be innovative and we must work together. That is what the Good Food Gathering is about — reconnecting the roots of food in well being, our relationship to each other and the land.”

Participants can take part in a series of dialogues, workshops and storytelling sessions to learn about the organizations, individuals and communities working to promote a shift to more climate-resilient food systems.

Tickets range from free to $75. You can purchase a virtual and in-person ticket for the full conference or just virtual sessions. The event runs 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Nov. 26 and noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 27.

For more information, go to goodfoodnetwork.info/2021-good-food-gathering.

Honouring Abkhazi Gardens volunteers

The Georgian Ambassador to Canada will be the distinguished guest at an event honouring volunteers at Abkhazi Gardens on Nov. 22.

The volunteer team at Abkhazi Gardens has won a Heritage B.C. award for Outstanding Distinguished Service.

At the event, Georgian Ambassador Konstantin Kavtaradze will be presented with a painting of the garden by local artist Ann Nolte. The painting is a gift from The Land Conservancy.

Nolte, who painted the piece as part of the garden’s Artist in the Garden program, used to walk by the Abkhazi property when she was a young girl, occasionally playing on the rocks.

The event starts at 11 a.m. Nov. 22 at the garden, 1964 Fairfield Rd.

For more information, go to conservancy.bc.ca/featured-projects/abkhazi-garden.

parrais@timescolonist.com