After a stretch of warm sunny weather this week, rain’s returning for the weekend. The Environment Canada forecast calls for periods of rain Saturday and a mix of sun and clouds with a chance of rain on Sunday.
Runs returned: In a short-term win for Bowen Islanders, the Queen of Capilano’s 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. sailings on Sundays and Tuesdays have been restored after BC Ferries and the province reached a temporary funding agreement. The runs are set to be removed from the schedule after the Labour Day weekend.
LifeLabs update: Bowen Island Integrated Health (beneath the pharmacy) is reminding islanders that the LifeLabs cut-off time is 8:30 a.m. and to treat the LifeLabs staff with respect.
While usually health appointments would be scheduled around the Tuesday and Thursday morning LifeLabs slots, due to COVID-prevention measures BIIH co-owner Greg Smith has had more overlap with the biweekly blood clinic.
“I’ve noticed that there’s…definitely not the nicest interactions that I’ve seen [toward the LifeLabs staff],” said Smith. This prompt came after an incident last Thursday where, following some confusion with cut-off times, someone came into the clinic and confronted the technicians. After the event Smith said one of the technicians said she didn’t want to return to the island.
“I’ve been talking to LifeLabs over the last six to eight months, trying to increase their hours,” said Smith. He explained that Bowen not a cost-effective place to serve and there are staffing issues. “In these sort of situations we’re running the risk, if we upset these techs, they’re going say that they don’t want to come to Bowen anymore.”
“We need to be as respectful as possible and we know it’s stressful times right now [but] they’re doing their very best.”
Smith also clarified that the decisions about hours and such are made by the higher ups, not the technicians on Bowen. While the posted hours for LifeLabs are 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., the techs have to stop taking blood by 8:30 a.m. in order to process it for travel. Smith warned that wait times have been longer than usual.
BIRCH news: "Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH) has exciting news to share! BC Housing has recently supported BIRCH with a $101,500 interest-free loan under its Pre-Development Funding program. This funding supports early stage projects in initiating design for non-market housing by providing funding for refining the building project design and developing more accurate project budgets. This funding will allow BIRCH to continue working with our architects, Boni Maddison Architects, and our development consultants, CitySpaces, to apply for project funding through the BC Housing Community Housing Fund and CMHC’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund. If our final applications are successful, it will allow BIRCH to complete the final design and engineering to begin construction - the ultimate goal being the completion of new community housing on Bowen Island, something the community urgently needs. As always, we appreciate the support of the Bowen Island community, including Bowen Island Municipality, and look forward to sharing more good news in the near future!" ––Robyn Fenton, Executive Director, Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing
Meet Shay: Emily McCullum has long adapted to her severe hearing loss but her world's expanded as a Lions Foundation of Canada Hearing Guide Dog joined her life. Read her story.
Aging in place: It's a big topic on Bowen. The Undercurrent caught up with interior designer Barbara Wahler this week to discuss tips for modifying one's home to help one age in place.
The curtain is falling: Theatre on the Isle has kept Bowen entertained through COVID with play readings over Zoom. Marcus Hondro returned to his reporter’s notebook to profile Inside the Actor’s Quarantine, which has just two weeks left of its run.
Food bank update: Request forms at church to be filled out in advance, if possible, for distribution or delivery Wednesday and Saturdays 11-12 a.m. Otherwise turn up during those times or text or phone Sue at 604-240-2475. (New number!)
“We must remain vigilant and practicing the safety measures that’ve got us this far,” said Mayor Gary Ander in his weekly video update. “We’re moving forward with caution.”
Ander said that they’re slowly transitioning into reopening the municipal offices. As of June 17, Municipal Hall is open 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for property taxes only.
Ander said that they’re also looking at getting back to live council meetings hopefully by September.
The week ahead:
It’s the grad edition next week: We’re looking for stories, photos, and most of all grads! Grads can submit up to 100 words and a photo before June 22. Send anything and everything to email@example.com.
It's 82 pages long: BIM is finishing up an evacuation plan for the island. Emergency Program Coordinator Jennifer McGowan is holding a virtual Q&A June 23 at 6 p.m. Join via Zoom. Meeting ID: 836 1175 7033. Password: 280124. Keep an eye out for a more in-depth story from BIU next week.
On the agenda for the regular council meeting June 22:
- First reading of an amendment to the Official Community Plan to allow temporary use permits on Bowen.
- Development variance permit for Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing
- Approving 2020 community grants to Caring Circle, Bowen Children’s Centre, B.I. Health Centre Foundation, Bowen In Transition, Island Pacific School
- Directing staff to identify barriers to housing development in Land Use Bylaw and Official Community Plan; considering amending OCP to promote “gentle densification outside of the cove where servicing and infrastructure improvements present less of a challenge to the creation of diverse housing;” directing staff to develop a housing policy.
The Well is holding a compassion meditation: "Join us for a Compassion Meditation on the Pier led by Lusungu Kayani Stearns with offerings from the community in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, followed by coffee/tea/smoothie at Tell Your Friends Cafe. All proceeds will go to Community Bail Funds & Hogans’ Alley Society. Physical distancing practices will be followed. Bring your own meditation cushion. Taking place Sunday, June 21 9 a.m .to 10 a.m. $20 per person. Ticket sales limited to 50 in accordance with the BC CDC guidelines for social gatherings. More information: thewellonbowen.com."
The Nexwlélexwm sign blessing Sunday won’t be livestreamed after all: But for COVID-19 safety, organizers are still asking that the public not attend. A documentary will be available afterward. The event is being held on National Indigenous People's Day.
Wider world of news:
Bowen has 28 municipal committees and none are dedicated to diversity CBC’s municipal affairs reporter Justin McElroy pointed out in "Here's what Metro Vancouver municipalities are doing to combat racism, or more accurately, aren't."
For a smile:
Someone mailed out masks to every mailbox on the island. As the do-gooder's identity is a secret, some have speculated that Batman or Spider-man are responsible for the act of kindness.
That's it for this week! Have a happy weekend!
Bronwyn Beairsto, Editor