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Our Community: 'Wonderful step' as Metis child-care centre opens

Good news stories from around the region.
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Island Metis Child Care Centre on Church Avenue in Saanich aims at providing culturally safe and relevant child care for Metis and urban Indigenous peoples. COURTESY METIS NATION B.C.

The Métis community in Greater Victoria has now got a licensed child-care centre.

The recently opened Island Métis Child Care Centre at 1581 Church Ave. in Saanich will provide culturally safe and relevant child care for Métis and urban Indigenous peoples.

It was set up by the Métis Nation British Columbia and the Island Métis Family and Community Services Society, along with the Ministry of Education.

Funding was provided by Employment and Social Development Canada. The Rapid Renovation funding program was used to renovate a building for the new centre.

“Providing access to quality, culturally relevant child care is vitally important to the growth of our nation and a key strategic goal of our cabinet,” said Debra Fisher, the nation’s minister of education. “This project is a wonderful step in the right direction for Métis families in the Greater Victoria region.”

The nation signed a Métis Nation Early Learning and Child Care Accord with ­Canada in 2019, which supports a Métis-centred community early learning and child care model.

“I am so grateful that our children will have a child-care centre where they can be immersed in the culture and language so they can develop a strong sense of belonging and identity within the Métis community,” said Melanie Hudson, executive director of Island Métis Family and Community ­Services Society.

Experts offer tips on rain gardens

Peninsula Streams and Shorelines is hosting a webinar symposium with the theme Rain Gardens for Headwaters on June 28.

Experts will talk about rain gardens and green stormwater infrastructure, including approaches to rain garden design, construction and how local residents and policies can support and scale implementation.

Taking part is free but registration is required. The event is on Zoom and starts at 5 p.m. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email explaining how to join the webinar.

For more information, go to peninsulastreams.ca.

Saanich student chosen for memorial bursary

Tahlia Cook, a student from Saanich School District No. 63, has been chosen to be the first recipient of the Nils Jensen Memorial Bursary.

Established by the Capital Regional District, the $2,500 bursary will be awarded to local school districts on a rotating basis.

Participating secondary school principals will recommend a student on the basis of financial need and an interest in environmental protection or water security.

Jensen, who died in 2019 at 69 after a battle with cancer, was a member of Oak Bay Municipal Council for 15 years. He became the mayor of Oak Bay in 2011, a position he held until 2018. He was also chair of the CRD board and chair of the Regional Water Supply Commission for 12 years.

“Nils had a passion for environmental protection and water security and spent his life serving his community,” said Jean Jensen, his wife.

“I am pleased to be able to honour his memory with the establishment of this bursary fund to support students with similar interests pursue their goals.”

Jensen was instrumental in spearheading the raising of the Sooke dam in 2002, nearly doubling the capacity of Sooke Reservoir. He also supported the purchase of the Leech Water Supply Area, which protects and ensures the region’s drinking water supply well into the future.

Miracle on the Mountain raises cash for hospitals

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation hosted more than 280 community leaders at the sold-out Miracle on the Mountain Gala and raised more than $430,000 for leading-edge medical equipment for Victoria General Hospital.

The event at the newly-renovated Westin Bear Mountain Resort on May 28 marked the foundation’s first gala on the West Shore.

Funds raised will go towards buying a $318,000 O-Arm imaging system for Victoria General Hospital and other prioity needs identified through the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Emerge Stronger campaign.

“Our hospitals serve all of us on Vancouver Island, said Avery Brohman, CEO, Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

“We are immensely grateful for the generous spirit of our West Shore communities, and delighted to have a new opportunity for our supporters to stand with care teams and help our hospitals emerge stronger from the impacts of the pandemic and beyond.

“Our Miracle on the Mountain Gala was a testament to the power of our local communities, united to shape the future of Island health care.”

The evening included tributes to hospital teams in recognition of their efforts to serve communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a four-course dinner, live entertainment and silent and live auctions. Guests heard stories from local care teams and grateful patients, including a woman whose life-altering surgery was made possible using the Island’s first and only neurosurgical O-Arm imaging system.

Since launching in October 2021, more than 2,800 donors have raised over $4 million towards the campaign’s $10-million goal. The foundation’s signature gala, Visions, returns on Nov. 19. To purchase tickets or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, go to victoriahf.ca/visions or call 250-519-1750.

Library wall graphic honours Black pioneers

Greater Victoria Public Library has a new wall graphic that tells history of the Black pioneers and their importance in Canada’s multicultural society.

The permanent graphic, B.C. Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character Influenced the Vision of Canada, was unveiled at the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay branch on June 11. The graphic, in the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs study room, provides a local link to the permanent exhibit, designed by the library, developed by the British Columbia Black History Awareness Society and hosted by Digital Museums Canada.

“We were honoured to be invited to support the B.C. Black Pioneers Community Stories initiative by providing a permanent space to display a promotional wall graphic for the exhibit,” said Maureen Sawa, CEO of Greater Victoria Public Library.

“This exhibit, hosted by Digital Museums Canada, helps us understand the stories of those who have positively changed our world. Celebrating their accomplishments helps us to be better stewards of the privileges that we have gained because of their achievements and sacrifices.”

The British Columbia Black History Awareness Society signed a Community Stories Agreement with the Canadian Museum of History as part of a federal government investment program that enables community organizations to develop bilingual online community-focused exhibits. The B.C. Black Pioneers exhibit features 20 stories, nine videos and 86 gallery items that include images, photographs, maps and documents.

“It makes me happy to know that the Greater Victoria Public Library is making history by giving this exhibit a permanent home, where the history of B.C. Black pioneers in this province will be more accessible to everyone who visits this library,” said Silvia Mangue Alene, president of the British Columbia Black History Awareness Society.

parrais@timescolonist.com