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Vancouver Island - Victoria Campfire Ban

campfire

Extreme dry conditions throughout the Southern coast of B.C. has prompted a sweeping campfire ban in effect as of Friday across much of Vancouver Lower Mainland, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast.

No outdoor fire no matter how small is permitted during this ban. Violators could face hefty fines of $345 or in the event that your fire sparks a wildfire you could face 3 years in jail or $1 million in fines.

Fireworks and torches are included in the ban.

photo credit: motograf

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Navy Cuts Won't Hurt Victoria Economy After All

What first started out as a real threat to our local economy, has now subsided, for now...

Just a few short days ago, the military announced major cutbacks to its Naval fleet which could have docked up to three B.C.-based ships.

"It's inconceivable that the government is choosing to cut funding to the navy... These are very serious cuts that go to the heart of operations at our navy, because our navy isn't designed to be sitting on the dock. It's designed to be out on the ocean."Liberal MP Keith Martin

However, after substantial backlash from across the country the government has decided against following through with the proposed cuts. Needless to say this is a big relief for everyone in our community that has a tie to the military.

The Canadian Forces found this out the hard way Friday when the country’s top soldier cancelled a politically explosive order to take half the navy’s coastal patrol vessels out of active service.
Read more:
Military torpedoes plan to mothball ships

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Victoria Home Sales On The Decline

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Back in March 2008, the residential real estate market could do no wrong. Prices were at an all-time high and the volume of transactions was steady. Fast-forward to the close of 2008, and it appears the wheels have fallen off the market for the time being. BC residential home sales closed 2008 down 33% from the previous year, making it the weakest year in terms of volume since 2000.

“The housing market came in like a lion and went out like a lamb in 2008,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Home prices reached a record high in March, but edged lower during the balance of the year.” The average residential sales price hit $483,291 in March and ended the year at $429,210, an 11 per cent decline in nine months.

“The global financial crisis, a sharp correction in the equity markets and a recessionary environment in Canada has wreaked havoc on consumer confidence,” added Muir. “While it’s difficult to predict when consumer confidence will strengthen, home affordability is quietly improving as lower prices and mortgage interest rates increase the buying power of BC households.”

Needless to say, it has quickly become a 'buyers market' and it looks like it's going to stay that way for much of, if not all of 2009. You can read the full end-of-year 2008 BC real estate report over at the BCREA website.

image: pnwra

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Experience Old‐fashioned Christmas at Helmcken House

helmcken_house.jpgIf you haven't been to Helmcken House yet, this is a great time of year for a visit to one of Victoria's oldest houses.

Every Christmas season, Helmcken House gets completely decked with boughs of fir and holly and homemade decorations in an effort to re-create the spirit of an authentic Victorian Christmas. Starting on December 20th and running through January 11th, you can catch this old‐fashioned Christmas tradition.

You can read more about Helmcken House and other holiday events at the at the Royal BC Museum website or call 1‐888‐447‐7977 for more information.

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Tuba Christmas

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I've always had an affection for tubas and tuba players. Tuba Christmas will bring together 50+ tuba players from across BC and the Pacific Northwest at Market Square on December 6/08. This lively tradition originated over 30 years ago in New York City's Rockefeller Centre.

When: December 6/08, 1-3 pm
Where: Market Square
Cost: FREE Admission
Information: Visit Downtown Victoria Business Association online or Call 250-386-2238.

Image courtesy of www.freepixels.com

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WinterFest and Family Expo, December 6-7/08

Do you really love Christmas? Chances are you'll fancy WinterFest and Family Expo, Vancouver Island's 2nd Annual Gift Craft Show and Family Expo on December 6-7/08.

There will be music, theater and demos on the main stage, 50+ artisans, Christmas ideas and fun,interactive displays for kids, and GIVING CARNIVAL supporting over 20 local charities.

Highlights will include Photos with Santa; Teddy bear adoption centre; top crafts people teaching and selling their work; hands-on activities and crafts; face painting, performers and food.

When: December 6 10:00am - 5:00pm, December 7 10:00am - 3:00pm
Where: Eagle Ridge Arena, 1089 Langford Parkway
Price: Adults $5.00 ($4.00 with a donation of a non-perishable food item); Seniors and children under 3 years will be free. Please note that children will receive 10 play tickets for the Giving Carnival.

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Carolling Week at City Hall

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Come out, listen and sing along to the sounds of Christmas at the 43rd Annual Carolling Week at City Hall, December 1-5/08. Greater Victoria School District and Glenlyon-Norfolk School will be performing favourite Christmas carols next week at City Hall. Rod Berod will be on keyboard and Al Ferraby of CFAX 1070 the Master of Ceremonies.

Parking will be available in the Centennial Square or Johnson Street parkades. Attendees can pick up a one-hour free parking voucher at the Public Service Counter in City Hall.

Where: City Hall Ante Chamber, 1 Centennial Square
When: December 1 - 5 (note: no performance on December 2), 12:00 p.m. to 12:40 p.m.
Choir Schedule:
Monday, December 1 12:00 Tillicum Elementary 12:15 Lake Hill Elementary
Wednesday, December 3 12:00 Sir James Douglas 12:15 Strawberry Vale Elementary
Thursday, December 4 12:00 Oaklands Elementary 12:15 Margaret Jenkins Elementary
Friday, December 5 12:00 Glenlyon Norfolk Elementary

Image courtesy of www.freepixels.com

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Yeti Snowshoe Adventure Race

I'm super excited about the upcoming Yeti Snowshoe Adventure Race on January 17/09 in Comox Valley.

The popular Nordic Snowshoe Race will stop, the only Vancouver Island one for the 4 Race mountain snowshoe series, at Mount Washington.

For more information, visit Mount Washington online.

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What is Sustainability?

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Do you think about sustainability for Victoria? The City of Victoria has launched into a new initiative, Victoria Sustainability Framework, focusing on how the municipality can improve its operations and measures the community must take to keep Victoria sustainable.

The framework will identify how the City can contribute towards sustainability with practical examples such as green purchasing policies, new standards for managing stormwater, organic waste collection and bike sharing.

Victorians are being encouraged to participate in community engagement activities including:
-Online sustainability forum for youth (13-24 years old)
-Online survey for residents of all ages
-Drop in coffee talk sessions

For more information, visit the city online.

Image courtesy of Tourism Vancouver Island

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New 2009 Great Skates schedule


The City of Victoria Recreation Services has released its Winter 2009 Great Skates and Arena Program Schedule. It includes a Public Skating Schedule, information on Adult Learn to Skate, Power Skating, Passport to Skating and more.

Monthly Free Skates at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre for December/January will be:
Christmas Skate with Santa, Sunday, December 21/08, 2:30 pm-4 pm
New Year in Paradise, Sunday, January 11/09, 2:30 pm-4 pm

Download Great Skates here.

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