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Letters Fuel Challenge The promised BC Fuel Rebate has left a lot of us scratching our heads. Whether you feel insulted, guilty, irritated, grateful or ambivalent about what amounts to a token gesture, there is a solution: you can give some or all of the money to the charity of your choice. Rather than apply a blunt one-size-fits-all rule, here’s our proposal: simply decide which situation below applies to you, and make your donation accordingly. If you drive an electric car, you’re among the lucky who haven’t felt the impact of rising fuel prices. You can afford to donate $110. If your vehicle is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, your pain has been somewhat less. You can donate in dollars whatever your vehicle’s advertised range on a full charge might be. Hybrids present a bit of a challenge. How about donating the same percentage of the rebate as you tell your gas-guzzling friends you are saving by having gone hybrid? If you drive a gas-powered car and are insulted by the thought that $110 makes any kind of a difference, get rid of it. Many charities could make good use of that same $110. If you own a gas-powered car but haven’t driven much since COVID arrived, pick a percentage that works for you. If you drive a gas-powered car and are grateful for even the tiniest little bit of help from the government, accept it as a gift. This rebate was made for you.

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Cassidy Aquifer Under Threat

Lloyd and Judy Wilson charging their Volt. Photo submitted.

Time for full disclosure: We drive a Chevy Volt and are also members of a group working to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. Our car promises 85 kilometres per charge. We have, therefore, donated $85 to the Ayash3 Refugee Sponsorship Group. To learn more about this project, visit ladysmithrefugeesponsorship.org or email Ayash3project@shaw.ca for more information. — Lloyd and Judy Wilson

Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition and its member groups have been given a grant from West Coast Environmental Law to assist in attempting to protect the Cassidy Aquifer. This aquifer is one of the largest on Vancouver Island. It provides drinking water, water for agricultural lands and water for Harmac Pulp Mill in Area A of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and Area H of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). Most of this aquifer has been determined to be highly vulnerable. This means that anything that is on the surface of the aquifer could taint the water below. Our concerns have arisen because of the lack of care given to this underground body of water by the RDN in Area A and the CVRD in Area H. The RDN has amended the Area A OCP to allow for the building of light industry, a hotel and other buildings on Airport Lands that sit directly over the aquifer. The entirety of the Airport Lands is shown as “high” vulnerability. The Airport Lands do not appear to be serviced by either an RDN Community Water System or the North Cedar Improvement District (NCID) water system, meaning that an aquifer impact assessment was required before adopting zoning amendments for the Airport Lands. June Ross, Vancouver Water Watch Coalition, says, “I have not been able to locate an aquifer impact assessment with respect to the Bylaw Amendments, so it appears that they were adopted in contravention of this policy.” The RDN needs to expand the Aquifer Protection Development Permit Area to include the Airport Lands, which would ensure that all new development must be assessed considering its potential impact on the aquifer. The CVRD has allowed its own bylaws to be breached by allowing Schnitzer Steel, an automobile recycling plant, to grow and expand on a site that was not designated to contain this industry. Schnitzer Steel has applied to the CVRD for a rezoning of the area they are currently sited on. This must not be allowed to go through. If the CVRD allows the rezoning to go through, the Cassidy Aquifer will be highly threatened. The two regional districts must be held responsible for all impacts to the aquifer because of their actions. It is the citizens who live and work in these areas that will bear the brunt of the consequences of inaction and actions of the regional districts. Both regional districts need to move quickly, in conjunction with VIWWC and the citizens of the area, to protect the aquifer by reconsidering their lack of action concerning Schnitzer Steel and the amendments to the Area A OCP. Bylaws that outline clearly how the aquifer will be protected in the future must also be developed. A project of NODRA-North Oyster/Diamond Ratepayers Assoc. & VIWWC - Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition. — June Ross (250-729-0185) and Pauline Hunt (250-2452754) nodra.areah@gmail.com Letters to the editor on community topics and concerns are welcome. Please note that opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of TAKE 5 or its agents. This is a Public Forum. Letters may be edited for length and legality. Contact info will not be shared but is for verification. Email; editor@take5. ca, or: PO Box 59, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A1.


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National Hospice Week The first full week of May marks National Hospice Palliative Care Week in Canada. This year’s National Hospice Palliative Care Week will take place from May 2 to May 8. “Cowichan Hospice is celebrating the work of our volunteers who support caregivers and provide grief support and support to those who are facing serious illness at home, in a care facility or at Hospice House,” said Todd Foley, Communications Coordinator. Cowichan Hospice services began back in the 1970s, with Biddy Worsley, Anne Springford and Joan Robinson discussing and planning for Cowichan’s Hospice. The women later joined forces with Jerry Rothstein from Volunteer Cowichan. In 1981, the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society became a legal organization. From their own homes to the basement of city hall to their own space, Cowichan Hospice House has continued to grow with services offered by staff and trained volunteers in the Cowichan region, free of cost. While Cowichan Hospice receives Gaming Grants and is supported by generous donors, donations are always appreciated and can be made at any time at Cowichanhospice.org or by mailing a donation to their Community Services Centre on Gibbins Road. The death of someone close to us can be a life-transforming event that affects all aspects of our lives. It is manifested physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially. Grief is unique to each individual, but there are common themes. Whether you are a caregiver, facing the end of your life or grieving for someone, the first step is meeting with a hospice staff member to discuss your needs. “No one should ever grieve alone,” said Foley. “Cowichan Hospice is here for you!” For information call 250-701-4242.

Cowichan Fish and Game present a cheque to Cowichan Hospice. Photo: Cowichan Hospice Facebook page


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Ladysmith Agricultural Hall 100 plans underway Did you know that Aggie Hall turns 100 in 2022? The Ladysmith Agricultural Hall 100th Celebration Planning Committee has been working on producing a series of events an projects to mark the centennial. The planning committee includes the Town of Ladysmith/PRC, the Ladysmith Historical Society, the Ladysmith Air Cadets, the Ladysmith Lions Club, and others. In 2021, the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage granted funds for the purpose of hosting this community anniversary event. A series of smaller events will lead up the main event on Saturday, September 24, 2022, mid-day through the afternoon (TBD). Some events featured are the Agricultural Hall Open House, including the Lower Cadet Hall; “Inside the Hall,” a static display depicting an old time fall fair, photos, artifacts and artwork and a continuous running slide show; the unveiling of a set of exterior Legacy Pedestal Story Boards; and the dedication of a commemorative plaque. Other projects include a commemorative souvenir booklet and collector items, pop up exhibits, and family activities. A concert and Sock Hop featuring Zacchary Stevenson and his tribute band is also under consideration. The hall is a source of pride for the whole Ladysmith community,” says historian Rob Johnson. The Ladysmith Lions and the Ladysmith Air Cadets played a key role in the hall’s history and preservation. The histories of the hall and the groups it has hosted are intertwined, points out Eric Mah, president of Ladysmith Lions. Considering the generations of Air Cadets and, most recently, the LaFF programming here, Aggie Hall is one of the first places the young people will imprint on, he said. When you think of all the events and users since its beginning, the Aggie Hall has been at the heart of our community — a place where the community comes together to celebrate, from fall fairs and sporting events to old-time rock and roll concerts to Ryan McMahon’s recent concert, says Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone. “It’s a beautiful asset and a lot of thanks goes to everyone who participated in its refurbishment through the years. Every day it comes to life, and I think this foundation with Air Cadets and LaFF keeps the building having such a good vibe.” Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) has been operating out of the Aggie Hall for close to 20 years, says LaFF founding member Monica Stied. Pre-COVID, the family resource program had over 100 people attending per day. Now, they have families playing in the gardens and the new park above the parking lot of the Aggie. The Aggie is home to the Air Cadets, who will be celebrating their 80th anniversary next year. One of the highlights at Aggie Hall is the Ladysmith Air Cadets’ annual ceremonial review. “It’s an important day with lots of cadets, parents and people that come together in a building that’s built by the community for the community,” says Ladysmith Air Cadet Flight Sergeant Elliott Kinsey. Whenever there is a big community meeting or a celebration, there is only one place most people think of — and that is the

l-r back row: Ladysmth Air Cadets FSgt. Elliott Kinsey, Cpl. Yaseen Hammoud, L.A.C. Kadeen Hammoud, l-r front row: Ladysmith Air Cadets Squadron Sponsoring Committee secretary Cathy Gilroy, LaFF member Monica Stied, Ladysmith Lions President Eric Mah, LDHS Rob Johnson, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone. Photo: Marina Sacht

Aggie. “I think it even has a brighter future, and hopefully, in 100 years from now, our great-grandchildren will be celebrating it and still feel as connected to it as we all do,” says Stone. The committee is looking for photos and artifacts and asking anyone with stories they would like to share to contact them. For more information on events, volunteering or sponsorship, email aggiehall100@yahoo.com.


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Sailpast celebration BY ELLY SMITH The Ladysmith Yacht Club is celebrating their Opening Day & Sail Past on Saturday, May 7th. Sail Past is a tradition that began nearly 200 years ago in England and is a ceremony of inspecting a fleet of ships, determining the readiness, capability to put to sea and showing respect to the Commander-inCharge. Throughout history, this ceremony has included royalty, heads of state and admirals, all inspecting fleets or entire navies. This year the LYC tradition continues after the COVID break, with a bagpiper playing as the Captain and Crews assemble and walk down the docks to their boats. The participating Sail Past vessels will assemble on the water at Ladysmith Marina at 1 pm where they will receive the Commodore’s salute and the Faith Representative blessing of the fleet. The procession will motor out of the harbour south to Lagoon Bridge and return toward Transfer Beach. A sounding of the vessel’s horns will end the parade and thank the shoreside participants. Watch the parade from Transfer Beach at 1:15 pm while enjoying bagpiper music and face painting stations. For details call 604-910-2435 or visit ladysmithyc.bc.ca

Ladysmith Sail Past 2021. Photo: Marina Sacht

Museum re-opens! Ladysmith Museum is reopening Mother’s Day weekend, with two new exhibits: a collection of photos featuring images of Ladysmith from the 1890 to 1960s in addition to a hat collection. Curator Lesley Moore invites the public to view the photos on a deeper level. Allow yourself to take in all the things you see, and then tuck your observations away for a moment. As you look at more specific details, you may be surprised that your first impressions aren’t always accurate. The museum has been going through an update and renovation thanks to a grant for $89,000 by the Province of BC. Some of the key changes include the installation of storage units, improved flow in the galleries, an expanded space for a gift shop and the creation of a public meeting area.

Ladysmith Museum curator Lesley Moore with some of the photos of new exhibit. Photo: Nick Longo


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“You will be surprised what you see and also amazed as to the many changes that have occurred over the years,” says Moore. The photo and hats exhibits are here for a limited time only. Admission is free, and spring hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information or to volunteer, contact 250-245-0423 or museum@ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca.

Walk for Service Dogs What do you know about service dogs? Eastern Star can answer your questions! On May 25, Ladysmith’s Fraternal family, the Order Eastern Star, Free-Masons and Jobs Daughters will walk the walk, and talk the talk. Join the members of as they stroll down the street bringing awareness to the important work of service dogs in this and many other communities across our province. Put on your walking togs and bring your special canine friend, or just come and say hi. Gather outside St. John’s Lodge, at 26 Gatacre Street, at 1 p.m., stroll from there to the Credit Union, to the 49th Parallel Grocery and end back at St. John’s Lodge. People in the community are welcome to join in the stroll with or without their canine buddies. For more information, contact Mernie Sutton at 250-722-2321 or goodmorning2017@ gmail.com. Eastern Star in BC is a Founding Patron of the BC and Alberta autism and support dog program, and over the last five years have donated $55,923.57 to this project!

LRCA Campaign for Affordable Housing Project As the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) Affordable Housing Project quickly rises on the hill at Third Avenue and Buller Street, the focus is turning to public fundraising to equip the building’s first-floor community kitchen and multi-purpose hall. The LRCA is already engaged in a $200,000 capital campaign, seeking grants and other special funds, and is connecting with Ladysmith’s philanthropic businesses, organizations and individuals, said Jennica Graham, capital campaign chair and vice-president of the LRCA board. Funds will be used to equip the first-floor space with commercial-grade appliances, fixtures, cabinets, counters, special donor board and furniture. The four-story building features 36 units for seniors, families and people with developmental disabilities. Donations can be posted at www.lrca.ca/donate/ under the category choice of Community Kitchen/Multipurpose Hall or drop off cheque. For more information about the capital campaign, contact the LRCA at 250-245-3079 or email rick@lrca.ca.

Ladysmith Eagles Donate $50,000 for New Scoreboards The Fraternal Order of Eagles #2101 Aerie and Auxiliary donated $50,000 to the Town of Ladysmith to fund the purchase and installation of three new scoreboards. The scoreboards will be installed at Forrest Field, Aggie Field and Holland Creek Ballpark, benefiting local youth and sports organizations, as well as supporting the capacity of our local sports organizations to host games and tournaments. “On behalf of Council, thank you to our local Eagles mem-

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Club and Ladysmith Kinsmen to help implement amenities defined with the Lot 108 Area Plan at Forrest Field.

Hill Dash and Running of the Balls Returns

Ladysmith Eagles present cheque to Town of Ladysmith. Photo submitted.

bers for your ongoing commitment to local youth sports,” says Mayor Aaron Stone. “Your generous gift will have a lasting legacy in the community and provide a more entertaining experience for spectators and players during events.” The funds raised by the Eagles is part of a long-standing involvement of almost three decades with the Harbour City Bingo. The Eagles are very excited about this scoreboard project, because at one time or another, they’ve had family members participating in games on these fields. The Eagles also continue to partner with Ladysmith Rotary Club, Ladysmith Lions

After a two-year COVID hiatus, the Hill Dash and “Running of the Balls” are back on High Street, one of the community’s finest hills. This time the special fundraisers are part of Ladysmith and Area Hometown Tourist Weekend on Saturday, June 18. Hosted by the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, the Hill Dash typically draws relay teams from all over to compete, says organizer Tylor Nelson, co-owner of CrossFit Ladysmith. “If you think you have what it takes — stamina, speed, strong legs and a good dose of craziness — then get your team together, register online or in person at CrossFit Ladysmith and start practising!” says Nelson. Following the exhaustive Hill Dash feat is the excitement of “Running of the Balls,” put together by the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA). Hundreds of coloured plastic balls are released out of the back of a truck and race back down High Street as entrants have a chance at three cash prizes valued at $500, $300 and $100. “This event has always been about having fun, getting locals and tourists into the downtown core and helping raise some funds for the LRCA,” says Rick Rake, LRCA manager of communications and events. “We are excited about organizing the event this year,” says Nelson, who is recruiting sponsors and looking at bringing back a beer garden featuring a local brewery.


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Rake (rick@lrca.ca) is seeking setup volunteers and has strong support of “Running of the Balls” founder Duck Paterson. The $5 tickets (for one ball) are available at the LRCA office on Second Avenue and at other community locations. The race starts at 11 a.m. with the “Running of the Balls” at 12:30 p.m. For more information or for teams to register, go to the Hill Dash Facebook page, or stop by in person at CrossFit Ladysmith (521 First Avenue). Nelson says the teams should be excited with anticipation of the challenge —a huge one — and everyone watching is so supportive as each runner sprints up the hill. “I love that the community comes out to watch, with encouraging cheers all the way up the hill.”

Cedar Community Hall Centennial Excitement is building as organizers prepare for the centennial of Cedar Community Hall. Flip ahead to June on your calendar, and mark Saturday, June 25, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a big star — that’s when you’re invited to the hall’s 100th birthday celebration. The centennial planning group thinks you’ll find lots to do. Hop on the shuttle bus and take an historical tour of North Cedar. Grab a hamburger or hot dog and listen to live music under one of three large tents. Try your hand at heritage games or crafts. Check out the petting farm. Everyone can enjoy the videos and slideshows, photo display, antique vehicles, homemade sweets, antique handpress .... the list goes on. The Cedar branch of Island Savings has stepped forward with a generous donation of $2500. With that support and contributions from other local organizations and businesses, organizers hope all activities will be free or by donation. For more information, call 250-2457516.

Plant Sale The Ladysmith Saltair Garden Club Plant Sale starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, 2022, until sold out in Aggie Hall at Symonds and First Avenue (at the roundabout) in Ladysmith. Annuals, perennials, shrubs, herbs, vegetable transplants and houseplants, grown by members. Raffle, experienced

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garden equipment, and Mother’s Day gift plantings. Master gardeners will be in attendance to answer questions.

OCP Review Survey Seeks Feedback The Town of Ladysmith has identified a draft vision statement, goals and growth directions for the new Official Community Plan (OCP) and is now seeking the public’s feedback as we continue moving forward with the creation of this important policy document. An OCP is intended to help manage growth and development in a way that meets community goals. The document can influence how people experience their town, including where you live, shop and recreate as well as your transportation choices. The community-wide engagement for the OCP Review has so

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far involved participation and input from hundreds of people voicing their opinions on the future of Ladysmith. The draft growth directions can be viewed at www.ladysmith.ca. Please share your impressions by taking a brief online survey before Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Divers clean up at marina On April 24, over 70 volunteers descended on Ladysmith Community Marina. Nanaimo dive shops Sundown Diving, Nanaimo Dive Outfitters, and Sink or Swim Scuba, along with 50 divers and 20 shore crew from Victoria to Nanaimo participated volunteers were at the Marina to clean up debris around and under the docks. The event was organized by Christina and Trent Bell.


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These accessible poems were written through the lens of awe and wonder, and several feature Ladysmith. Leedahl’s events include a book launch at Fox and Hounds, Thursday, May 19th, 7:00 PM and a book signing at Salamander Books on Saturday, May 21st, 1:30 PM. Her book is available for purchase at radiantpress.ca, at Salamander Books, or by emailing Shelley for a signed copy @ shelleyaleedahl@gmail.com.

Council Notebook

Volunteer divers clean up at Ladysmith Community Marina. Photo: Nick Longo

Some of the debris brought up included motors, bicycles, cassette players, boom boxes, many tires, boat anchors, pipes, aluminum siding, steel and PVC piping, whiskey bottle and numerous small items. Along with the debris, there was a stow-away. A baby octopus that was promptly returned unharmed to a much-cleaner ocean.

Emergency Preparedness Week, May 2–8, 2022 During Emergency Preparedness Week, the RDN is offering a series of informative webinars via Zoom to help residents be as prepared as possible. Plus, there will be some great emergency-related prizes webinar participants will be eligible to win! To register for the free webinars, visit getinvolved.rdn.ca/ nepp or phone the RDN at 250-390-6759 with your name and session you want to attend.

Flood Recovery Funding New Democrat MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan Doug Routley says Cowichan Valley will benefit from $550,000 in new provincial funding to support recovery work. The Cowichan Valley is one of ten communities in BC that was severely impacted by the November 2021 floods. “The damage to people’s home and local roads caused by last November’s floods highlighted how important it is to plan ahead for future floods,” says Routley. “This funding for planning and an early warning system for the Chemainus River floodplain will help the Cowichan Valley Regional District prepare our communities for potential flood events.” The grant comes from the $53.6 million in provincial funding to assist communities in meeting the additional pressures of ongoing recovery and infrastructure planning. Disaster Financial Assistance is not available for losses due to wildfire because of the availability of fire insurance, which is why it is important to discuss coverage with an insurance company or representative.

New book launch Professional Ladysmith writer Shelley A. Leedahl is celebrating the release of her 13th book, Go, a poetry collection published by Radiant Press (Regina).

Ladysmith Council met for a Regular Meeting of Council on April 5, 2022, with the 2022 property tax rates and a pair of development variance permits among the agenda highlights. Council directed that the property tax rate for 2022 increase overall by 3.8 per cent after accounting for growth (also known as new construction values or non-market change). Ladysmith Council met for a Regular Meeting of Council on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, with a Rezoning and Official Community Plan (OCP) Amendment Application for Lot 5 Holland Creek and the 2021 financial statements among the agenda highlights. A majority of Council approved the necessary recommendations in order for a Rezoning and OCP Amendment Application for Lot 5 Holland Creek to proceed to a public hearing. The 17-hectare parcel is in the northwestern corner of the Holland Creek Development, eventually connecting to the Holland Creek crossing at Colonia Drive. The proposal by the applicant includes a mix of strata homes and townhomes, fee simple single-family homes, commercial and parkland. Further consultation with Stz’uminus First Nation and the Nanaimo–Ladysmith School District is a part of the next phase. Additionally, Council is requiring the applicant secure multiple covenants prior to the adoption of the amendments — several of the conditions relate to restoration of the natural environment, including trees and native species. A majority of Council accepted the Nanaimo–Ladysmith School District’s projections that are used to develop school site acquisition charges — one of the recommendations of SD68’s Long Range Facilities Plan. The Town will collect school site acquisition charges at the same time as development cost charges on new residential developments with two-doors or more. The funds, minus an administrative fee, are then transferred to the school district for the purpose of purchasing land for future school facilities. Funds are not used by the school district for construction costs, such as new schools or portables. Council directed staff to bring forward a bylaw for school site acquisition charges on duplex units once the new OCP is adopted. The charge will not apply to homes with secondary suites and/or coach houses. Council then adopted a series of bylaws related to 1250 and 1260 Churchill Place. The property at 1250 Churchill Place was dedicated as park, while the land use at 1260 Churchill was changed to a mix of multi-family residential, single family residential and park. Council also adopted a bylaw to establish a housing agreement and covenant scheme to provide for an affordable housing unit at 1260 Churchill Place. The Churchill Place property was purchased by the Town to facilitate an emergency access during repairs to the Fourth Avenue culvert at Rocky Creek.


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Local gardens on display After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 22nd Annual Self-Guided Garden Tour returns on Sunday, May 29. Not only is this a fun and informative event it is also a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Ladysmith. This year the tour will feature eight gardens of varying sizes from Cedar to Brenton Page Rd, to Ladysmith to Saltair open from 10am-4pm. Watch for artists at work and Master Gardeners available to answer your questions. One of the new gardens on this year’s tour belongs to Marla and Steve Barnes. Both Steve and Marla are now retired. Marla worked as a nurse in a hospital, palliative care, geriatrics, and Worksafe BC. Steve worked as a manager for Telus and then ran his own business. The Barnes moved onto their property on 4th Avenue Extension, 17 years ago when the 1/4 acre was all grass. “Friends and family bought them trees, plants and bushes to help soften

Marla and Steve Barnes in their 4th Ave Extension garden. Photo: Marina Sacht

the yard. They planted two apple trees, one cherry, one amber maple tree, two rose trees and two lilac bushes. The garden’s main features are the Gravenstein and Fuji. trees and their ga-

zebo which their daughter and her husband designed and built. “We barbecue, listen to music and generally entertain family underneath it.”


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Above: Gardens in August. Bottom: 4th of July roses blooming. Photos submitted.

Roses are Steve’s domain. “They reward you with their beauty,” says Steve who usually picks roses every day to bring into the house. Lavender grows between the roses helping keep pests away. Beautifully decorated birdhouses are scattered throughout the garden. Their granddaughter who graduated from art school painted one birdhouse when she was young. “Our garden is pretty versatile- things grow, die off, something else takes its place and then it too dies off only to reappear next year fuller and healthier.” Every year they top up the garden and the soil with real compost, peat moss, sand, manure and topsoil. “Then I cover with mulch. I think the plants and the insects like that. I know our earthworms like it as they are as large as snakes!” What tips do they offer other gardeners? “Just do what you can every day and enjoy what you do as the rewards will pay back in contentment. It is healthy to be outside; it is lovely to hear the birds and the hummers and it is nice to hear children in the neighbourhood laughing. And when you grow your food and eat it, then it tastes so much better as you worked for it.” Tickets are $20 in advance from Ladysmith Rotarians, Nancy’s Fashions, and 49th Parallel Grocery or $25 on the day of tour, at the Rotary Tent located at the upper parking lot of the 49th Parallel Grocery store from 9 am onward.

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Environmental & Health Benefits of Having a Pond BY LYNN NELSON Did you know that having a pond not only adds beauty to one’s home landscape, it is also good for our environment and our health? Environmental Stewardship Not only a home for goldfish and koi, a pond is an oasis and sanctuary for the abundant variety of the indigenous wildlife we live amongst on Vancouver Island: • Pollinators: Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna), Western honey bee (Apis mellifera), western tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio rutulus) and the West Coast lady butterfly (Vanessa annabella). • Birds: Let’s not forget the many species of birds that live on the Island year round, including migratory birds. Learning Opportunities A pond is a complete miniature ecosystem and one of the best ways to teach children about the delicate balance of our natural resources, sustainability and what all of us can do to be good environmental stewards of our precious planet. Plant Health and Nutrition Nutrients for your garden: Skip the hose! Pond water is better for your plants than municipal water due to its rich nutrient profile; therefore, it can serve as

organic fertilizer for plants. Natural Pest Control Attracting beneficial insects and amphibians to your pond is an environmentally friendly and non-toxic method to control pests. These beneficial insects include spiders, dragonflies, ladybugs and ground beetles. Look for amphibians such as the Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla), northern redlegged frog (Rana aurora; tadpoles feed

on pond algae) or the western redback salamander (Plethodon vehiculum). Good for You Consider the positive correlation between our mental health and ponds: when we are around water, it gives our brains and our senses a rest from overstimulation. The soothing sights and sounds of a pond can help improve our physical and mental well-being.

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Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols, author Blue Mind, writes: “There are numerous cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by water, in water or underwater. … When you see water, when you hear water, it triggers a response in your brain that you’re in the right place.’ Synergistic Gifts Wisdom teaches that our natural environment is interconnected and that its splendor is dependent upon maintaining this relationship. From Tofino to Victoria on Vancouver Island, anyone searching for the grandeur of nature need look no further than right here in the Cowichan Valley. A pond provides us an opportunity to be a steward of our environment, as caretakers of an ecosystem of interconnected living beings from the microorganisms living in the water to the indigenous wildlife that depend on it for their existence. By maintaining our close connection with nature, a pond gives us the gifts of well-being and the knowledge we are all interconnected. Lynn “The Pond Pixie” Nelson is “spreading the magic of beautifying ponds in the Cowichan Valley one pond at a time. …” Lynn and her husband, Michael Abdelmesseh are co-owners of Into the Garden Inc. Together, they create and maintain a close connection to nature through colour, texture and form; and strive to help their customers really love their yards and ponds. Visit www. intothegarden.ca or call 250-466-9339


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Bringing the Inside Out BY KERITH WADDINGTON With nice weather (hopefully) just around the corner, people are preparing their outdoor spaces for another season of enjoyment. The good news is that whether you have a tiny balcony, a covered front porch or a huge backyard, there are plenty of ways to create an inviting retreat and add additional living space to your home at the same time. The trend towards designing outdoor spaces for everyday use — rather than periodic weekend parties or warmweather cookouts — is growing as quickly as grass in spring. With COVID health restrictions lingering, travel dicey, working from home a continuing reality for many and inflation at a 30-year high, the “staycation” has never looked so good. And it’s not hard to see why. With a bit of imagination, outdoor areas can be made suitable for work, play, cooking, relaxation and, of course, entertaining. Ryan Christie, owner of MC Construction in Ladysmith, is seeing a growing interest in people wanting to create their own private oasis. “People want to be able to entertain but still be at home and outside,” he says. Whether hiring contractors or going the DIY route, he acknowledges that “budget will always dictate the scope of a project, but otherwise, options are almost limitless.” He adds the proviso that anyone undertaking an extension of their living space needs to be sure to check area zoning and set-back requirements before get-

Outdoor living made easy. Whether its an expanded deck or a backyard kitchen, more people are spending time outdoors. Above: Backyard makeover includes a dining area. “Before” photo courtesy of Ryan Christie, MC Construction Left: Additions offer attractive space. Photo Ken Brownlow, Brownlow & Sons

ting started. “Make those preliminary calls,” he stresses. When it comes to designing an outdoor area, Christie reminds people to think about what they’re most likely going to use that space for and let that — as well as their budget — guide them. Do you want a soft spot to sit in the sun? A shady retreat for curling up with a book? A dining table to entertain friends and a firepit to gather around? Or simply a garden to work in? Christie acknowledges that here on the Island, firepits are popular, as is outdoor cooking: that might mean a fancy barbecue for some, or a built-in cooking station for others. Unfortunately, bugs are unwelcome guests at many a gathering too: many people on the Island are choosing to screen in their outdoor living room, gazebo or entertaining area. Sean Dunlop of Ladysmith Home Hardware says, “Some trends we are seeing around deck projects, and bringing the indoors out, are adding comfortable patio furniture and even elaborate outdoor cooking spaces.” He adds, “In terms of materials, we are seeing an increase in customers opting to go with the composite decking for its durability and ease of maintenance.” Ken Brownlow of Brownlow and Sons Contracting believes people are spend-

ing more time and money on their outdoor spaces, because with the housing market so limited, moving isn’t really an option. “So, they are hunkering down, staying put and making their homes what they want,” he says. He also has a rather humorous take on the surge of renovations that began during COVID. “Interest rates were low at that point. Combined with health regulations requiring isolation and a lot of people working from home, I think people were renovating out of boredom!” He laughs. And what are people looking for as attention remains focused on expanding the indoors out? A quick search of outdoor living trends for 2022 includes space-defining features, such as a rug under a dining table or tile for a lounge seating area; woven rattan furniture; vibrant colours; painted ceramics; and of course, a touch of greenery. Focal points, such as firepits or dining tables, invite people to gather round. And durable textile accents, such as pillows and curtains, are showing up in florals and crisp whites with classic blueand-yellow cabana stripes. Whatever your inspiration or budget, the outdoors — and summer — are waiting.


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Mulch: The Gardener’s Best Friend BY JO-ANN CANNING MASTER GARDENER Forcing plants to rely on fertilizer is like relying on candy for nutrition: a short-term buzz with long-term problems. Plants need the balanced nutrition of healthy soil to truly thrive. Anything else results in growing problems, along with pest and disease vulnerability. The remedy? Mulch. Mulch is not compost. Although it does “compost” (decompose over the growing season), it supports actual compost by enhancing that wonderful super-

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food made from organic wastes. When mulch is spread on the top of compost, the combination is all that most of our landscapes need to remain healthy. One of mulch’s most important jobs is slowing drainage rates, giving soil and compost time to release nutrients to plants rather than quickly draining away. Moisture retention in the soil is highest at 15 centimetres (6 inches) where most feeder roots are found. Soil studies conducted at the University of Washington State and in Stanley Park, Vancouver, proved that mulch neutralizes pollutants, enhances levels of beneficial micro-organisms in the soil and kills many pathogens, weeds and weed seeds. It also lowers pest numbers by feeding the beneficial insects that eat them, thus decreasing the need for pesticides. The best mulch is arborist or mixed mulch. The differences in mulch shapes, sizes and sources allows it to breakdown as nature intended, with good air and water circulation promoting aerobic decomposition. When only finely shredded bark is used, a crust can form, preventing water drainage and turning natural

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wood oils into a fire hazard. Here’s a do-it-yourself mulch that’s easy. When you are spring pruning, cut everything into five to ten centimetres (two to four inch) lengths. Add leftover autumn leaves, weed tops, lawn clippings, and some animal manure (not pig or pet waste); even clean sawdust is good (up to five per cent of bulk). Don’t believe the myths. Scientific studies proved that “raw” or fresh mulch does not rob nutrients, including nitrogen, from plants. “Aging” is not needed. It only leaches nutrients that plants will use as the mulch breaks down. Walnut, oak and cedar mulches do not poison the soil. Cedar oil actually suppresses molds and fungal diseases. Caveats Do not use landscaping cloth or layers of newspaper and cardboard in place of mulch. They all create air pockets that become pest havens, hold excess water that enhance rot and fungal diseases, and allow weed root runners to spread more easily. And when they’re dry, they soak up water that our plants need. Leave the area under the house eaves bare for at least one metre (three feet)


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Garden making good use of mulch. Photo: Homesteadchill.

from the siding so weepers do not get clogged with fine organic matter. This is also a fire-smart practice, as it keeps possibly flammable organic material away from the dwelling. Consider leaving places for native bee pollinators. Most of our native bees, about 70 per cent, need some bare ground for their underground nests. Make a few piles of rocks along the back fence. Keep ten centimetres (four inches) of bare dirt around the stems of large shrubs, then add the mulch. It’s spring, pull back old mulch, then scratch fresh compost into the soil. Cover with the old mulch, topped with fresh. Use a 10 to 15 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) mulch layer for food gardens, 15 centimetres (6 inches) for ornamental beds, and between 20 to 32 cm (8 to 12 inches) for restoration sites. If your mulch looks depleted in autumn, top up to stop frost damage. The easiest way to do this is simply mix in all those fallen leaves. Store the extra leaves in black garbage bags, and they’ll give you lushest leaf mold for next spring’s mulch. Certified Vancouver Island master gardeners are volunteers who provide education to the home gardener using current, science-based horticultural knowledge that exemplifies environmentally responsible practices and stewardship.

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RDN Area A Cedar I’ve been bumping into an issue over and over again in the past year or so. As some may know, as well as being RDN Electoral Area A director, I work at Nanaimo Youth Services Association. NYSA works in the areas of skills development, job readiness training and housing for youth with challenges that are aged 16 to 30. Much of my time is spent on researching and providing housing options that work for the young people that need them. And in my role as director, housing has come up regularly as an issue that the RDN needs to look at. Since the pandemic, housing options for young people have shrunk noticeably. Landlords were not allowed to evict for much of the pandemic, some renters didn’t pay rent and many rentals disappeared from the market because of financial losses suffered by owners. The good news, if there is any, is that BC Housing, the federal government and others, including NYSA, provide housing support for many youth who need it. However, I have come to realize that full-time employees of NYSA were also facing difficulties finding affordable housing. Our staff are university graduates with expertise in social work, criminology, psychology, law and other professions, and many are spending nearly 50 per cent of their pay cheques on housing. And they are not on the radar of government when it comes to the issue of housing costs. When I began to dig deeper and ask around, I found out that the issue is much larger. There is a huge swath of our community that is paying in excess of 30 per cent of their income on accommodation. And the challenge is hitting all age groups: young people starting out, graduates trying to pay off student loan debt, veterans and seniors trying to get by on a fixed disability or retirement income. Thirty per cent is the level that the federal government sets as a desir-

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able level of an individual’s income allocated to housing. I came to realize that my own idea of who lived (or should live) in affordable housing was out of date. We have all heard of instances where a low-income, multi-family development was planned for a neighbourhood, the neighbourhood organized and reacted, and the development didn’t go forward due to the “notin-my-backyard” reaction of the community. While I didn’t necessarily agree with this solution, I did see the point of concern over property values, increases in petty crime and what this development would look like in the years after it was completed. However, I was way off base! In our community, affordable housing should be a goal for all segments of our population. If our teachers, mechanics, police officers, social workers and retail employees can’t afford to live in our community, they will move somewhere else. And ultimately, what kind of community will we have when they have left? Will it be rich people in gated communities, working poor and homeless people living in the street? That’s not a future I want for my kids and grandkids! Do you want to share your housing challenges? Do you have a story that you would share with me about housing costs? Or do you have a different perspective on housing affordability? I would like to hear your stories as I try to figure out how we can tackle this challenge as a community. Feel free to share with me by emailing me at keith. wilson@rdn.bc.ca. I would love to hear from you.

CVRD Area H North Oyster/ Diamond Town Hall Meeting - A Town Hall meeting will be held at the North Oyster Community Centre on May 12 at 6 p.m. The agenda will include a presentation on Nanaimo Airport by President and CEO Dave Devena, followed by the

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following topics: 2022 CVRD Budget, Cassidy Aquifer, CVRD Fire Smart program and the Modernization of the Official Community Plan. Members of the Area H Advisory Parks Commission will also be there with a display of all the parks in Area H. So, mark your calendar. I hope to see you there. Official Community Plan Update Community circles for the modernization of the OCP are well under way. In early April, the CVRD delivered training for facilitators to host their own circles. Since then, the CVRD has facilitated a number of community circles. In May, the focus shifts to a community circle on Local Area Plans. It is expected to be one scheduled community circle for Area H, to be held online, on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 2 to 4 p.m. You can check on any updates and register at www.Planyourcowichan.ca. I will also provide an update at the Town Hall meeting. Local Area Plans (LAP) in the OCP are specific to each electoral area. The CVRD needs your input to detail the unique identities and character of our area’s community. The first step in the process is called the Area Plan Prioritization. The focus will be on identifying plan area boundaries, making a decision about the sequence of plan development, identifying what type of plan each area will have and how they will differ (i.e., local area, neighbourhood or master plan) and identifying a timeline for undertaking plans for the nine electoral areas. This phase is to be completed this summer. The timeline to deliver all area plans will vary and will be influenced by budget, gaps analysis and other considerations. A recommended timeline will be one outcome of the Area Plan Prioritization Phase. What’s Burning? - Recently, it seems that folks have been smelling a lot of smoke from outdoor burning. And, after watching the smoke drift slowly across neighbouring properties, I realize that


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its likely the current regulations are not understood. It is confusing, as the CVRD does have a bylaw. However, Area H does not follow the CVRD Smoke Control Regulation bylaw — which only limits open burning from March 15 to April 15 and October 15 to November 15. It is the provincial regulations for burning that apply to Area H. These regulations set the when, where and what you can burn. The North Oyster Fire Department (NOFD) provides information on their website about burning. Their website divides open burning into two categories: small backyard burning and large machine-built piles/land clearing. Both categories are regulated by BC Open Burning Smoke Control. The focus of this regulation is to reduce the health risk to you and your neighbours. It states, if possible, to use alternatives to burning, such as chipping, mulching or transporting your material to a facility like Peerless Road. However, if you need to burn, then you are required to check on whether you can burn and whether the wind conditions are right to blow the smoke away (also known as the venting index). The venting index is not new. It has been in effect for some time. There is an Interactive Map that gives a colour coding of the venting index by location. It is quick and simple to use if you have access to the Internet and search for Venting Index Map BC. It also has a very useful the link in the map’s legend to the fire bans and restrictions in your area. If you are unsure, please visit the NOFD website. Ben.maartman@cvrd.bc.ca, 250-510-5930

CVRD Area G Saltair/Gulf Islands Basketball Hoop Let’s shoot some hoops. By the beginning of May, the CVRD staff will have installed a commercial, flexible-height, basketball hoop in the Centennial Park multi-purpose court. After the public safety closure of the upper court, many missed their ball-time, shooting hoops. This new hoop will provide an opportunity for budding basketball stars to practise their skills. Those who enjoy shooting hoops just for fun will use it too. Cowichan Valley Trail — North Watts to Ladysmith Boundary Update Approvals are in place. Planning details are to be completed April to June. The project will go out for tender in July to September. If the bids are within budget, construction will start October to December. CVRD staff advise these plans are subject to change as project timelines can move with logistics. This will be great for connecting Saltair and Ladysmith.

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Saltair Water System Reservoir that holds 1 day of Saltair water requirements. Photo submitted.

Wow, we will be able to walk from Ladysmith to the end of the Mount Brenton Golf Course! There is a blip in the trail just before Henry Road, where the trail diverts to Chemainus Road. CVRD 2022 Budget - I have posted an article on the Saltair News & Views Director’s Corner to update Area G Saltair/ Gulf Island increases. Community Works Funds (CWF) — Gas Tax Grant Since I took office in Nov 2018, the Area G has been allocated a total of $889,985. It is wonderful to have these Gas Tax Grant funds to invest in our communities. MOCP - Did you participate in the CVRD community circle policies? It will be good to receive input from the circles. Saltair Water System (SWS) - What are your goals this year to help conserve water? The SWS reservoir holds only one day of water for the community. Saltair Coastal Slope Stability Assessment - CVRD staff will host a Public Information meeting in mid-May. More information is posted on the Saltair News & Views website. CVRD Parks and Trails - We all enjoy hearing ball played in Centennial Park. However, the use of all CVRD parks and trails are subject to the CVRD Parks Bylaw, No. 738. This bylaw applies to all users. This year, the Saltair Slo-Pitch League Special Events Permit Application came to EASC and Board for approval, with

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a Staff Report from the CVRD Parks Division. Staff reported compliance issues that they worked diligently with the league to address. The Board has now authorized a permit to be issued with greater accountability included in the permit. Calling 911 from Old Victoria Road - Did you know calling 911 from Old Victoria Road in Saltair involves complications? For some reason, North Cowichan changed the name of Old Victoria Road to Victoria Road. This had an impact on Saltair residents on Old Victoria Road. A Saltair resident brought this to my attention. We worked together to investigate what could be done to ensure a response to a 911 call from Old Victoria Road was directed quickly to Saltair residents. Thank you, Dale Tuck, for bringing this to my attention and working with me to find solutions that protect our community. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance of CVRD staff member Merrick Grieder for his dedication to the Saltair community’s 911 needs. Saltair Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt hosted by - Saltair Association for Local Teamwork (SALT) Wow, what a turn out. The sun was shining. Kids were coming across the fields, out of the trails and up from the parking lots. About 80 - 90 kids, not sure how many parents, grandparents and additional family members came to this first Easter Event in two years. Thank you to all those that came and made it a special event. A big thank you to the amazing volunteers, Danielle Paydli, and Janet & Tim Evans, Trish Mutcher & Sue Roe, Becky Kay and her daughter Evie and everyone that gave a hand with the decorations and clean up. What a team. A special thank you to local quilter Kate Abraham who made the lovely bunting (flags) that hung around the pavilion, and to Sara Stayte who obtained the CVRD Special Event Permit for SALT. A huge thank you to 49th Parallel Grocery Store for the donation of juice and cookies, and the Ladysmith Thrift Store for keeping an eye out for googly eyes and having such a great selection of Easter decorations. Thank you to all for making this an amazing event. Meeting - I continue to work towards a Saltair Town Hall meeting near the end of May or in early June. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at lynne.smith@cvrd.bc.ca or 250-701-1407. Below: Ryan Shields in the foreground at Saltair Easter Egg Hunt. Photo: Maggie Donald


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The Wondrous World of Lichen BY K. BRAUCKMANN, EIS NATURALIST There is an organism alive today that is older than the dinosaurs, has survived the mass extinction, and can be found from the Arctic to Antarctica and everywhere in between. It may surprise you to find out that it is neither plant, animal nor fungi. In fact, it belongs to a class of its own. At first glance, this wonder may seem insignificant. You might walk past it on a sidewalk thinking it is an old piece of gum or a questionable stain, but no, that is a living organism. If you have given

Forking Bone Lichen (Hypogymnia inactiva). Photo submitted.

up on guessing what it is, I’ll let you in on this peculiar secret. Fossil records show that lichens are 250 million years old! So, when you see that mark on the sidewalk, you are walking by a creature that has been around since the Mesozoic Era! Lichens were able to survive the mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs be-

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cause they are technically two species coexisting in one body. A lichen is a symbiotic relationship between an algae and a fungi. The fungi creates a protective outer layer for the algae to live inside and the algae photosynthesizes — something the fungi cannot do on its own. It was this fungal shield that created a greenhouse for the algae to survive inside when other organisms were wiped out. Having survived a mass extinction, these organisms can live anywhere: tundra, desserts, cities and even adrift at sea. Lichens are so tough that a specimen was able to survive a year outside the space station in open space, and when brought back inside, it continued to perform its normal functions. Lichens also have medicinal uses. In the Wildwood Ecoforest, there are several species of lichen with healing properties. The most memorable for me is the commonly named old man’s beard from the genus usnea. According to Dr. Luschiim Arvid Charlie, it is called she’itun (literally “hair”) in Hul’qumi’num. These species have long light-green threads that can be spotted on almost any trail throughout the for-


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Cladonia sp, and Methuselah’s beard (Usnea longissima) Photo submitted.

est. It has antimicrobial properties and is good for treating infections. Another species, which is slightly less noticeable, is the pixie cup lichen (Cladonia asahinae). It looks like a miniature version of Shrek’s ears — the character from the popular DreamWorks production — although they are much smaller, standing only a few centimetres tall. This species has antibiotic properties. Tree lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria) is called smuxt’ulus in Hul’qumi’num. It is a leaf-like lichen that grows on trees and has lobes that resemble lung tissue. It is bright green on one side and silverygrey on the other, and is used to treat ailments of the lung. According to Dr. Luschiim Arvid Charlie, it can be made into an energizing drink similar to Gatorade. These are just a handful of the wondrous lichen species found at Wildwood. I hope you are as fascinated with these incredible organisms as I am, and remember, if you are planning to take a closer look at one of these lichens, make sure to only gather what has fallen to the forest floor already. Do not harvest lichens that are still growing. Please note the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional to treat any medical ailments. For more information on Wildwood and events, please visit ecoforestry.ca

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Joining the No-Till Farming Revolution BY CAROLYN HERRIOT AND NIKKI TOXOPEUS Come on down and join the revolution. The Ladysmith Food Bank Garden at Kiwi Cove Lodge is going no-till. It is more of an evolution rather than a revolution, but it is still exciting. Local community volunteers have grown food bank vegetables at Kiwi Cove for 16 years, and with the help of our local gardening guru, Carolyn Herriot, and her amazing greenhouse, we have doubled the produce from the 140-by-40-foot plot in the last two years. Last year, we delivered 4,200 pounds of fresh, organic produce to the Ladysmith Food Bank on Tuesday mornings, for same-day distribution. Every year, the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary (LHCA), Dinter Nursery and West Coast Seeds contribute money, plants and seeds to the garden and the volunteers contribute time, expertise and equipment as needed. The

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indomitable Bill Tilland coordinates the volunteers, supplies them with coffee and snacks on Tuesdays, sends out the updates and plans, and does so much more to keep the volunteers happy and productive community. Q: So why are we going no-till? Carolyn Herriot: We are fed up with all the time we spend weeding. Although grateful to previous Lodge owner, Doug, for rototilling the garden every fall with his heavy-duty tractor, the result was the most amazing crop of healthy weeds, which grew in competition with food plants. Watching volunteers spend countless hours pulling up wheelbarrows of weeds seems such a futile waste of time, as well as a waste of all the soil nutrients that go into growing them! Last year, when the garden was under the destructive influence of the “heat dome,” I decided to use piles of weeds to mulch our block of pepper plants. I wrapped a collar of weeds around each pepper plant, and lo and behold those peppers went on to thrive and produce huge yields of the largest bell peppers I have ever grown. The weeds provided a protective collar for the roots of the plants, against the heat dome. They prevented loss of moisture from the soil, and when they broke down, they provided nutrients to the plants and prevented the emergence of any more weeds. Bingo! That mulch of weeds has inspired us to wean ourselves off weeds, stop destroy-

Kiwi Cove Community Garden volunteers Bill Tilland and Carolyn Herriot surveying the high yielding garden. Photo: Nikki Toxopeus


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ing the upper layers of our soil by tilling, and instead use protective mulches (such as straw and leaves and manure) to lock in soil moisture, cut down on watering, and build the soil, locking up carbon as it builds. This is the princi-ple of regenerative agriculture, which is part of the solution to climate change, the restoration of Earth’s delicate mantle of soil, drawing down carbon levels as soil sequesters carbon. The goal of no-till organic farming is do the minimum disturbance necessary to get the soil back to a biologically active, friable state suited to the plants we want to grow and let the soil bacteria and fungi keep the plants fed and healthy. Q: And how are we doing this? Nikki Toxopeus: When the new owner of the Kiwi Cove Lodge, David, allowed us to stay on the plot year-round, and the LHCA provided funds for a permanent fence, I did a garden layout with permanent four-foot wide vegetable beds and permanent paths. With this layout, we should be able to avoid stepping on the beds and compacting the soil and can easily plant crops in rotation. We need one last rototill to break up the existing hardpan layers and old paths and mix in the mulch and winter green crops. Then we need to eliminate the weeds and the weed seeds or “seed rain.” It will take a few seasons to get to “zero seed rain,” and we need to take away all space for weeds by ensuring the beds are covered year-round with mulch or the crops we want. While we still have weeds, we will use them for mulch, which is always in short supply. We will learn as we go but have a head start. We have the teacher and graduates from Deep Roots farming course, we have a Soil Food Web student, the library has terrific “no-till” books, and there are practitioners on the island and mainland who are doing no-till, regenerative agriculture. We are on our way, and the community support is heartwarming. Deep Roots Farm has lent their rototiller, and Xtend Rentals gave a discount on the post pounders for the fence. We could still use more labour and mulch for beds and paths. Feel free to offer, bring your mug to Kiwi Cove on Tuesday mornings, or contact Bill at tillandb@gmail.com. You never know, Peggy, a former owner of the Lodge, may come back to play revolutionary songs on her ukulele to spur us on. (right) Peppers. Photo: Carolyn Herriot

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The Magnetic Hammer I have a confession to make. I am a lousy carpenter. Though I have built or renovated three buildings on our property, 90-degree angles are as rare as 4-leaf clovers. Lots of 89s and 91s, even a depressing number of 87s, but few 90s. My wife doesn’t understand how this can be. She thinks all men automatically know how to build things. It comes with the territory. The guy next door, for instance, can throw up a garden shed in an afternoon. It takes me all morning just to hit my first thumb. I assured her I had other talents. As soon as I could remember what they were, she’d be the first to know. Not that walking on my hands impressed her much before. I told her that Ed next door might be able to put up a garden shed but has never cooked a meal in his life, not even breakfast. I, on the other hand, have frequently thrown together mean leftovers on toast. That should count for something. I guess I could blame my father. He was an even worse carpenter than I am.

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But he taught me other things. How to be a husband, for example, where the first ten lessons involve getting the tone of “Yes, dear” just right. He taught me that timeless piece of oriental wisdom: “Happy wife, happy life.” I’m not a lousy carpenter right across the board - certain aspects I’ve nailed. That would be swearing. Put me next to a real carpenter and I’ll match him curse for curse. Although I have trouble hitting nails, no one is better at thumbs. I can hit my thumb even if it’s having lunch in another room. I am also a Canadian record holder. One fateful day last summer, it took 562 swings of the hammer to drive home a 3 1/2-inch nail. After a whole morning spent pounding this one nail, my brotherin-law, seriously dehydrated from the tears of laughter running down his face, took pity and informed me I was using a tack hammer, not a framing hammer. Not that a larger hammer helped much. It only increased the size of the dents in the wood surrounding the nail, what we call ornamental mouIding in the trade. You’re familiar with the old saying that “a good worker never blames his tools”? Fortunately, we lousy workers are under no such restriction. You see, the problem is with my hammer. It’s magnetic. There’s nothing wrong with a magnetic hammer. They can be a good thing, but only if the nails have the opposite polarity. With opposite polarity, a hammer strike even 90 degrees off course - trust me, it happens - will be pulled toward the nail by friendly electrons.

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Unfortunately, all my hammers have the same polarity as the nails. The two repel each other. Just when it looks like a direct hit, magnetism kicks in and pushes the hammer away from the nail, leaving another crater in the wood. Fortunately, I found a way around this nail problem. I don’t use many. If a real carpenter uses twelve nails hammering two pieces of wood together, I use two, and finishing nails at that. This practice started innocently enough. I’d diligently hammer in all 12 nails only to discover I’d hammered the wrong two pieces of wood together, yet again. With two finishing nails, it’s easier to start again. This practice also serves as earthquake preparedness. Come the big one, my buildings will just fall apart effortlessly rather than be torn to shreds like the true carpenter’s house. But since I’ve numbered all the parts, reassembly will be a snap. Post-quake my brother-in-law will ask, “Hey, how did you get your building back together so quickly? Mind if we stay with you for a while?” I’ll say, “Forget it, Buddy! I still remember that tack hammer comment!” The most important wine decision to make over the summer is to box up or not. You’ll know the first time the wine container is dropped on a hard surface. For maximum servivibility over a rocky beach, our favourite is the 16 litre size Wine o‘clock chardonnay, $122 bucks. Follow Delbert at Slightlycorkedandmore.wordpress.com


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Dining al fresco BY ELLY SMITH For this month’s Table Talk, I ventured to our neighbour in Cedar to visit with Stephen Wilson, executive chef and owner of the Mahle House. Many of us have driven by this stunning 1904 heritage home in Cedar, and today, I stopped in to meet with Stephen and find out what’s new at his table. The big news is the PATIO IS OPENING SOON! This is exciting, as we are looking forward to sampling Chef Stephen’s dinners al fresco in May surrounded by the beautiful gardens on the property. Mahle House grows many of the organic veggies they use in their dishes, and in between creating incredible dishes for his guests, Chef Stephen gets out the gardening tools for planting and harvesting his small crops. Depending

New patio expands outdoor seating at Mahle House. Photo: Elly Smith

on the time of year, they produce a variety of organic veggies, from carrots to numerous herbs to kale, squash and tomatoes. The beginning of each planting season also gets the creative juices flowing with one or two experimental crops. Chickens are part of the family, as the eggs are used along with fresh fruit from the apple and pear trees, all finding their way into his tasty treats. Did you know that your dessert is made by Chef Stephen? He is the man behind those delicious delicacies for your sweet tooth — the most popular being his crème brûlée Napoleon. Yum! Chef Stephen is also proud to be serving local poultry and works closely with

local farmers and farmers co-ops, along with fishermen for fresh from the sea mussels, clams and in-season halibut. Many of the wines you enjoy are also from the nearby vineyards on the Island and the Okanagan. A long tradition of service excellence has been the trademark of the Mahle House, with a loyal customer base from Ladysmith to Nanoose. Chef Stephen tells me he serves a “unique dining experience with a high level of professionalism.” With the popularity of the Adventurous Wednesdays and their loyal following, be sure to plan ahead, the patio will fill up quickly as the evenings become warmer. Visit www.mahlehouse.ca or


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call 250-722-3621. Transfer Beach Food Trucks Beach days are just around the corner and with that brings the food truck concessions to Transfer Beach, Ladysmith. The lineup consists of the Yellow Sub Machine, Tuesday to Thursday; Thunder Struck Truck, Friday to Monday; Moodies Ice Cream, Wednesday to Saturday; and, everyone’s favourite, the Summer Snow Shaved Ice, Sunday to Tuesday. The concessions open at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., beginning the May 21 long weekend through to Labour Day. For updates, menus and specials follow their Facebook page www.facebook.com/transferbeachfoodtruckconcession/. TABLE TALK welcomes you to submit your dining news/info to Elly at info@ take5.ca.

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DARRELL ESSAR RENOVATIONS. Over 35 years’ experience, certified journeyman carpenter. Renovations For free estimate, call Darrell 250-714-3823.

WHAT’S HAPPENING May 1–30 Art Council of Ladysmith Art Classes: Paper Mache, Art Camps, Painting, etc. May 19 Ladysmith Arts Council, AGM May 4 Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show, Opening Night May 7 Ladysmith Yacht Club Opening Day & Sail Past, Transfer Beach May 7 Ladysmith Saltair Garden Club Plant Sale, Aggie Hall May 13–15 Nanaimo Spring Home Show, Beban Park Social Centre May 18 Chemainus Wednesday Market Opening Day, Waterwheel Square May 29 Cowichan Family Life Garden Tour May 29 Ladysmith Rotary 22nd Annual Garden Tour FOR SALE FISH FISH FISH. Buy direct from the guy who caught it! High-quality salmon, lingcod, rockfish. All fish blast frozen at sea. Satisfaction guaranteed! Contact Jim at oceandancer. wallace@gmail.com or 250-245-5957/250-7391123. CAL 25’ SAILBOAT with sails and Honda 9.9. $2,000 obo. We’ve had a lot of fun, but now it’s time for new adventures. Boat has been hauled out every year and bottom cleaned and painted professionally. The boat needs TLC but can be used for day sailing and exploring the coast. For photos, call 250-756-8892.

MAY 2022

HEALTH & WELLNESS TAI CHI for mental & physical health. Beginner class starts September & January, Monday mornings. Ongoing class every Wednesday morning. For class time and location and more information, visit www.taichinanaimo.org or call Sara 250-245-1466. WORKSHOPS THAT HEAL. Anyone Can Massage! The Sanctuary – 1 day Retreat; Fun With Essential Oils; Art Heals; and more! Info at www.wildflowernaturalhealth.ca. YOGA BY THE SEA with Elly - Wednesday mornings 9:30 – 10:30am, Nanaimo Curling Club, 106 Wall Street, off Comox. All levels welcome! Information & Registration - ellybythesea@gmail. com . HOME & YARD PAINTER. Certified journeyman; clean, efficient, respectful, punctual, responsible; 20+ years’ experience. WCB coverage. Enhance your enjoyment of the home you love. Call Howard 245-2751. KB HANDYMAN AND YARDWORKS. Minor carpentry work, decks, fences, power washing, tree pruning, yard clean up, lawn fertilizing, mowing. Seniors discount. Contact Karl kbhandymanandyardworks@ gmail.com or 250-714-2738.

BUSINESS

QUALITY RENOVATIONS. Big or small. 25 years’ exp/journeyman, affordable. For free estimate, call Lars 250-616-1800.

I CAN EDIT. Copy editing, proofreading, structural editing & more. Fiction or nonfiction, web content and eBook prep. For more info, email editican@gmail.com.

ALL ACRES providing all aspects of tree work. Pruning, falling, hedging, dangerous tree removal. Fully insured. Professional work at reasonable rates. Call 250-246-1265.

MAKE IT NICE qualified, experienced, gardening and fruit tree pruning. Available for private, residential gardens. Please call 250-754-9346. CONCRETE RESULTS. Foundations, retaining walls, patios, driveways, walks and stairs. Full forming and finishing. 40 years’ experience. Email Gord at concreteresults@ live.com. HEART LAKE ROOFING for all your roofing repairs; 250-668-9195. TAKE 5 ADS WORK. Call today and book your space for the June edition. MUSIC & ART IRISH CONCERTINA CLUB FOR BEGINNERS at 2pm at Cedar Heritage Hall 1644 MacMillan Road, on May 1 & 15 & June 5 & 19; 12–90 years; learn scales and simple toe-tappin’ Irish Dance tunes; $5 at the door. There are Irish music fans around the world and it is not necessary to be of Irish ancestry to learn Irish music. Please pre-register and to borrow a beginner concertina, contact Morgan greengarden@shaw.ca or 250-2455778. EXPERT FINE ART CLASSES. “My fine art practice makes me fully alive and gives my life meaning and purpose.” Is this what you want? If so, visit www.strasbourgthomsponstudio. ca or call Barry at 250-210-2237. JOYFUL JAZZ. Sax, piano, drums and base; jazz favourites and a few gospel songs with a touch of jazz. Jazz on the Dock — Ladysmith Maritime Community Marina, June 16th & July 29th, at 7pm. Jazz at the Shack – 10862 Chemainus Rd., Saltair, June 10th & July 15th, at 7pm. For more info, contact Ken Oakes kenoakes@gmail.com or 250-2459310. PETS PROFESSIONAL PET CARE SERVICE “leash ’em & walk ’em” with Marlena. I have Animal First Aid, CPR and criminal record check. My service for all pet includes dog walking, home care visits, overnight in your home and much more. As my love is yours! Call 250-246-3394. THE PET NANNY is back. I have cared for animals for the last 7 years. I offer overnight care at your home or daily home visits for pets or home security. Email sburchard@hotmail.ca or call 250-924-8809.


TAKE 5

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TAKE 5

Book Worm There is more treasure in books, than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island - Walt Disney I have a confession — a shocker for some. Although I like to write and love to talk (really?), I’ve never been a reader, a pleasure reader, that is. I have indeed digested many a medical tome. During my nurse training, the favourite party tale was about how I sustained a black eye while studying late into the night. The massive anatomy book that I had propped up on a pillow suddenly careened over just as I was momentarily checking my eyelids for cracks. I believe the term was Grey’s Anatomy did a fullfrontal face-plant. So “necessary” reading — yes; for enjoyment — not so much. My parents never really encouraged it. The nomadic lifestyle of an army family was not conducive to shipping books around the world. I was content to spend my leisure time outside in true tomboy fashion. But what about those required reading novels from high school English: The Grapes of Wrath, Wuthering Heights? Surely, they should have tempted me, lured me in, made me think perhaps reading would be an enjoyable as well as useful pastime. Nope. I thanked my lucky stars that there were movies of many of the literary masterpieces, with special kudos to my best buddy Mr. Cole and his notes! Maybe, it all stemmed from the fact that I was a slowww reader (lack of practice no doubt). In class, when asked to read a passage aloud, it was pure torture — for everyone. I did give it the ol’ college try, encouraged by Laurie, who was himself a voracious reader. The Hobbit. He finished it in a day. It took me two weeks. The Lord of the Rings? Isn’t that really three

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books? Sheesh! I fared better with short stories, some sci-fi, maybe like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut. But only occasionally, just a smattering. And now? Now, that I’m retired? Well, all I can say is, I don’t know how I managed to nurse AND work this farm. But I’ve been promising myself that I’d slow down a mite —ya know, smell the roses and all. And then it happened, real sneaky-like, so as not to hardly notice ... I found myself in the company of yet another avid reader. Got his first library card when he was probably about five years old and never looked back. And about a year ago, we started watching the British network series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the real-life experiences of country veterinarian James Herriot. I was glued to the boob tube, not missing an episode from either the old (1978) or the new version (2020). I was fascinated, spellbound. Maybe, it was a combination of anything medical, farming and my childhood dream of becoming a vet (a no-pet home can do this to a child). But that’s another tale for the TAKE 5? The comment only had to be made once: “Oh, Jackie, if you like the TV version, you’d really love the books. They’re all short stories too.” I was more than a little bit interested. No procrastinating for this gal. Well, it took almost a month before one of the slim editions became available at the library. Then on Valentine’s, I was surprised with my own volumes. Hey, maybe that’s why the spring chores went by the wayside. The real sad thing is that as much as I want to read non-stop chapter after chapter, I’ve already finished All Creatures Great and Small, I’m two-thirds through All Things Bright and Beautiful, and the third and final book, All Things Wise and Wonderful, is not in the library system. Chapters says they’re all sold out. Yikes! Am I feeling the pangs of book withdrawal here? Small segue here: My nurse friend Kathryn might just understand. The big difference here is I think she’s been a “reader” all her life and I suspect she belongs to many many book clubs and reading groups. When we did the night shift together, she would read not sleep through her break, and often mention about a terrific novel she was into. Gotta

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admit I was kinda jealous. Recently, she posted something from Once Upon A Time Book Club: I explained to my husband that I do not have too many books. They all fit in one box. He said I must stop calling our home a box! I have boxes and boxes of books, of all kinds, collected from uni days, Malaspina College days, early (and later) gardening days, and collected by others throughout the years. The important word in that last sentence — boxes. I’ve always loved the look of the grand home library: tall walls stacked with books, complete with one of those ladders on wheels, possibly a hidden room behind the corner shelf ... hmmm. Books — I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Jackie Moad is attempting to balance farm work with relaxation, finding that she could be fast on her way to becoming a literary annelid, as she continues to farm that 20-acre organic slice of Paradise in Cedar.