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Our Community: Tire recycling program celebrates 30th with community development grants

A not-for-profit group dedicated to the collection and recycling of scrap tires in British Columbia is celebrating its 30th anniversary with matching grants of up to $30,000 to community groups, schools or First Nations and Métis settlements.

A not-for-profit group dedicated to the collection and recycling of scrap tires in British Columbia is celebrating its 30th anniversary with matching grants of up to $30,000 to community groups, schools or First Nations and Métis settlements.

Since it began in 1991, Tire Stewardship B.C. has recycled about 100 million tires with Canadian companies, transforming them into new environmentally friendly products. It is the oldest and largest scrap tire recycling program in Canada.

Its 30th-anniversary celebration was postponed last year because of the pandemic. Instead, the milestone will be marked throughout 2022 with events that focus on recycling and environmental sustainability across the province.

“Tire Stewardship B.C. and all our dedicated tire processors, haulers and retailers across the province have worked extremely hard over the years to create an effective and efficient tire recycling program,” said Rosemary Sutton, executive director. “As a result, it has grown into the most successful recycling program in North America.”

As part of the celebrations, the group will provide grants to B.C. organizations that are planning to use recycled tire products in their community developments throughout the year.

Grants can be used for a variety of projects, including rubber surfacing for playgrounds, water parks, fitness areas, walkways, running tracks, and playing fields. Municipalities, registered non-profit community groups or organizations, schools, and First Nations and Métis settlements are eligible.

The deadline is March 17. For more information, go to

Nanaimo dealer donates $12,700 to Unique Kids

Nanaimo car dealership Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln is known for its charity work in the community, including donating $100 from every car sold in December and January and hosting a socially distanced drive-through donation event. Recipients of the dealership’s past community-centred campaigns include the Haven Society and the Salvation Army.

This year, with the money put aside from every sale in December and January, they were able to present a cheque of $12,700 to the Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit organization that provides services to children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, among others.

Local youth artists wins awards at CVAC galleries

Local youth artists have come away with awards at two art shows at Cowichan Valley Arts Council galleries in March.

The Art of Math, for students and artists showing the beauty of patterns from the golden ratio to Escher-like tessellations, runs until Monday at the Cowichan Community Centre. The show includes about 30 pieces including an architect’s model of the Mondrian condo building in Victoria (designed using the golden ratio) and works by fine artists Wilma Millette and Claudia Lohmann.

“It’s a very different art show with work by both fine artists and local students,” said Susan Down, managing director of the arts council. “The idea for the show began with a simple conversation about the beauty of mathematics. Local teachers and artists took up CVAC’s challenge.”

The annual Youth Art Showcase, with 75 entries on display, celebrates sculptures, photography, paintings and drawings done by artists, 13 to 25 years old. The exhibit runs now until April 1 at the Cowichan Community Centre.

Prizes for both the shows were awarded last Friday.

More details at cowichan

Learning the trades, doing good deeds

Students from Cowichan Valley Open Learning Co-op learned practical skills and did a good deed helping out on a new project with the Cowichan Housing Association.

The CHA recently opened The Village, conceived as a shelter and a community at the same time. It offers purpose-built sleeping units that will provide shelter for 34 individuals experiencing homelessness in the Cowichan Valley.

Students from the co-op’s skills and trades exploration class contributed to the project. The class gives students a sample of three trades — electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.

Students can explore basic skills in each of the trades over a semester to see if that is the career path for them.

“It is wonderful for our students to learn essential skills like plumbing, electrical and carpentry,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the board of education for the Cowichan Valley School District. “To have them apply these skills to the benefit of those who are experiencing homelessness is amazing to see.”

Each student had a chance to measure, cut, drill and build some of the seven picnic tables that will form the gathering place at The Village.

“There are so many factors that contribute to people becoming homeless. Cowichan Housing Association and our many community partners work hard to ensure that there is housing and support for all those in need,” said Dr. Shelley Cook, executive director of the Cowichan Housing Association.

“We are grateful to the students at Cowichan Valley Open Learning for working with us by making picnic tables for the people who will soon be housed at The Village on Trunk Road. Little touches like these make all the difference in people feeling a sense of belonging and community.”

Credit-union donates $25,000 to Ukraine relief

A Vancouver-Island-based credit union is donating $25,000 in support of Ukrainian relief efforts, as well as temporarily waiving transfer fees for persons sending financial support to Ukraine.

First West Credit Union and its local divisions Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings, and Enderby and District Financial have donated $25,000 to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal. The money will go toward immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs arise.

“Canada is home to more than 1.3 million Ukrainian-Canadian residents — these are our neighbours, family and friends — many of whom are impacted by these events and need our support right now,” said Launi Skinner, CEO at First West Credit Union. “As a member-owned financial cooperative, supporting our communities is at the core of who we are, whether that means our town, our province or our global community, we will always be there to help during times of need.”

This donation is happening in conjunction with the relief efforts of credit unions across Canada in partnership with the Canadian Credit Union Association and Central1.

For more information, or to donate, go to or call 1-800-418-1111.

Indigenous law expert to speak at CC event

The Canadian Club’s guest speaker for its next event is Dr. Val Napoleon on Possibilities and Hopes for Indigenous Law, at the Hotel Grand Pacific, on Tuesday.

Napoleon, is acting dean, professor and Law Foundation chair in Indigenous Justice and Governance at the University of Victoria. She will speak on how the new field of Indigenous law in Canada and elsewhere in the world has been one of constant change and growth, of innovation and challenge.

Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non-members and are available on The event runs from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St. For further information call Tom Williams 250-361-4842.

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