Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Gibsons Rescues a Rare White Crow

Just before the smoke rolled into Howe Sound this month, I watched a group of birds swoop through the sky. Three black birds and one white bird looped over the water by a beach near Gibsons. The black birds looked like crows.

One of the black birds broke formation and darted toward the white one. It pecked at it in the sky. The white bird fell.

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The White Crow at the Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, a few days after its rescue.

I had assumed the white bird was a gull, but it turned out to be a rare bird: an albino crow.

A neighbor rowed out to save the injured bird. The white crow is now recuperating at the Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Its prognosis is good, thanks to dedicated volunteers, helpful veterinarians, and especially to the centre’s operators Irene and Clint Davy.

The Davys have cared for close to 9,000 injured animals in the past 30 years. They have taken in raccoons, fauns, seals, bear cubs, and even an unruly bob cat. Most of their wildlife patients are birds, and many reside in the Davy’s home–the centre’s 1.6-acre property is so full of animals.

“Somebody needc to help all these critters. Most of them are getting hurt by human activity,” Clint Davy said.

The Davys work tirelessly caring for injured wildlife, seven days a week and into the evening. They get 3,000 calls a year from people who find or have questions about injured wildlife. They need more help.

You can volunteer or donate to the non-profit society through its website.

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Distillery in Roberts Creek is a Honey

They raised chickens. They raised bees. Now they’re raising the bar on vodka making–you may find their spirits in a local bar one day. But first, they have to make enough to keep their distillery flowing with customers.

Danise Lofstrom and Jeff Barringer opened the Bruinwood Estate Distillery early this summer. I tasted their first vodka product this week. It was as good as gold, like the  honey they also produce.

They’re building their product list batch by batch. It’s a long process, Lofstrom says, involving trial runs and tastings.

Danise Lofstrom at Bruinwood Estate Distillery

Danise Lofstrom raised chickens and bees, and then branched out into vodka making. The chicken coop and bees hives are in the background.

In addition to vodka and flavored vodka products, Lofstrom and Barringer plan to product gin. You can also buy honey at the distillery and free-run eggs when the hens feel like laying them. The honey comes from blackberry and other local flowers.

It took the couple two years to build the distillery and get approvals from the province. Now you can visit Bruinwood’s tasting room at 2040 Porter Rd. in Roberts Creek. The sign–on the north side of the Sunshine Coast Highway–is small, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

Letter from the Coast Association of Cloaked Homes

Dear Cloaked Home Buyer,

Great news has arrived for you!pexels-photo-731082.jpeg

The recent provincial budget came with an excellent incentive plan for all of you wishing to invest the income you earned from the sweat of your brow and the toil of your minions who stand on rainy street corners in the dark of night selling fentanyl. You can wipe the grime off your profit on the Sunshine Coast.

Whether you pack it in a shipping container or filter it through your favourite loan company in China, you can continue to bring that cash into British Columbia. Thanks to the myopic new budget you are encouraged to hop on the ferry and park those muck-covered bills in the beautiful towns of Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, and the charming communities farther north on the Coast.

Finance Minister Carole James announced last week that the government would hike the foreign home buyers tax. Starting in 2016, it was levied at 15 percent in Greater Vancouver. B.C. plans to raise the percentage to 20 and spread the tax to the Fraser Valley, Okanagan and Vancouver Island. That may put a plug in your accumulation of piggy bank homes in those areas. But don’t despair.

Obviously James was thinking of you, esteemed buyer, when she left the Sunshine Coast open for business.

Our view homes and waterfront estates are ready for your inspection—although you don’t need to bother to inspect them. We realize you’re way too busy managing the cartel to visit those homes before or after you buy them. You may be buried in work at the drug lab, or perhaps you’re on holiday, gambling the proceeds from your last cocaine shipment at a casino somewhere in the world. No matter, you are welcome here.

Our homes are such a bargain; why not consider buying 40 of them? It may be harder for CSIS to find your numbered company if you spread your assets around. Looking for a dozen or two fixer-uppers? We will find you a contractor that can pack the drywall with cash.

The budget came just days after B.C. Attorney-General David Eby recognized your practice of buying houses though private lenders “under a cloak of secrecy.” The budget’s omission of a foreign buyer’s tax on the Sunshine Coast suggests that it plans to push the shroud to Vancouver’s nearest untaxed neighbour. Prices here will ramp up soon, so don’t waste time. We can work with your lawyer—whose money cleaning isn’t tracked by Canada—to speed things up.

Yes, dear cartel owner, your home purchases are welcome here. They will fit in well with our Sunshine Coast culture. We’re used to seeing empty homes during Air BnB lag time. No one will notice the extra two months vacancy you throw in.

Sincerely,
your friends from CACH

Still no bear in the trap

 

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The Conservation Officer Service placed this trap on Tideview Road in Langdale on Monday. The red item in the front is a cooler filled with meat and sweets that attract bears. The back side of the trap (not seen in the picture) holds a steel door that swings shut when a bear–or anything–gets inside.

It’s midweek as I write. I just checked the trap and it has yet to snare a bear. You can read more about the bear trap in my West Howe Sounder column in the Aug. 18 issue of the Coast Reporter.

Gambier Park Proposed

Residents of Gambier Island are talking about the David Suzuki Foundation’s proposal to create a national park on the west side of the island. Area F director Ian Winn suggests that people should consider the history of Stanley Park when assessing the park’s potential.

Before its dedication in 1888, Stanley Park had been used mainly for food gathering and fishing by aboriginals and non-aboriginals. There had been some logging and a military reserve. A few cabins squatted on the land, but mostly it was wilderness. The government at the time showed great vision in protecting the area so it could become the jewel it is today, Winn says. Gambier has jewel potential too.

Developers and investors see the lush green landscapes of the islands and the Sunshine Coast and “no doubt salivate at the prospects for their interests,” Winn wrote in an email to me. “The time would be now to advance the feasibility studies and concepts of protecting part of Gambier Island as a park for future generations to admire and enjoy.”

Fires, Floods, Earthquakes, Snow and Ice Storms, Explosions: Are You Protected?

The West Howe Sound Community Association will ask that question at a general fireextinguishermeeting on Feb. 22. The focus is on Area F, where a fire in Dogpatch wiped out a family home last year and where 45 families lost power for 18 hours during the recent snowstorm. Experts will talk about protecting yourself in a disaster and what kind of protection you can expect from the regional district.

The West Howe Sound Community Association meets several times a year to discuss issues important to residents of Area F. The meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 22, takes place at 7 pm in Eric Cardinall Hall, Shirley Macey Park, 930 Chamberlin Road, West Howe Sound.

West Howe Sound Community Association to discuss fire safety and residential care

Fire protection is a hot topic in West Howe Sound, especially after residents of Dogpatch, near Port Mellon, watched a home burn down last year. Firefighters were told they did not have jurisdiction in the area. The West Howe Sound Community Association will discuss this and other topics of concern to Area F residents at a general meeting Feb. 8.

In addition to a discussion on fire protection and emergency services, the meeting will hear a community update from Area F director Ian Winn. Sue Jackel will also be there to discuss residential care on the Coast.

The WHSCA meets several times a year to explore issues of interest to area residents.  Anyone who lives in Area F is welcome to join the association.

The event takes place at 7 pm, Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Eric Cardinall Hall in Shirley Macey Park, 930 Chamberlin Road.

A new year on the Coast!

Onlookers at Armours Beach watch the polar bear swim. About 80 people gathered for the  event in Gibsons.

Onlookers at Armours Beach watching the polar bear swim. About 80 people gathered for the event in Gibsons.

I was happy to watch the polar bear swim at Armours Beach in Gibsons on New Years Day–and happy to be on dry ground! Still, the polar bears seemed to have fun despite the zero temperature and overcast sky. It was a great welcome to what’s sure to be a wonderful year on the Coast.

Art Crawl Crawls into the Evening

Despite a rainy weekend, the 2016 Sunshine Coast Art Crawl got off to an engaging start with 130 venues throughout the Coast displaying artwork.

Several artists kept their doors open until late in the evening October 21, the first day of the crawl. Events included a rip-roaring bluegrass concert at the Forst Pottery Studio on Chamberlin Road and a wine-and-munchies gathering at Jennifer Ettinger’s studio on Chaster.

Anyone who missed the weekend event can visit many of the artists’ studios throughout the year. Some require an appointment. For details, check out the  Coast Cultural Alliance’s Purple Banner Index.

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Jennifer Ettinger shows a silk print to Art Crawl visitor Al Hyland. The print design originated as one of Ettinger’s paintings.

Move over George, here comes the Aristocracy Castle

Mansion 4

One of four signs at the entrance of the mansion property at 1393 Port Mellon Highway.

First there was the George Hotel. Next may be the Aristocracy Castle. That name (translated) comes from the foreign investor group that purchased the hilltop mansion in Langdale that overlooks the ferry terminal. Plans on the investors’ website* show the terminal gone. Instead there would be a grandiloquent village of shopping plazas and apartment projects, a string of hotels along the shore, and a massive waterfront structure that would make the George look like a small B&B.

I doubt if that’s a vision many Sunshine Coast residents want to see.

The investors purchased the property in 2015 for $6.666 million. (Six is a lucky number in China.) They are looking for funding to complete the project. They have asked the Gibsons Chamber of Commerce for support in changing the zoning for the property—just like the George did.

The George proposal went through with majority support from the business community in Lower Gibsons. The small, pretty shops and restaurants along Gower Point had suffered from the ebb and flow of the tourism dollar. The George promised to make it a steady stream.

Now that the George has achieved its rezoning ambitions, those shops are beginning to worry. Already at least two businesses on Gower Point Road have been refused the usual five-year renewal for their leases. Instead each was offered only a two-year lease. In two years, the George may loom high above Lower Gibsons, and if it is successful, rents are set to climb. The little businesses townspeople love may be pushed away in lieu of big-city franchises willing to pay top dollar for a tourist-attracting location.

In Langdale the development issue is further into the future but to me it seems scarier. If the SCRD bows to pressure from the mansion’s developers, the zoning for the property could be changed much more radically than the George’s. The mansion is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and the zoning allows only B&Bs. If the investors get their way, the entrance to the Sunshine Coast may one day be inhabited only by the very, very rich.

* For an English version of the site, hit the Google “translate” button. In most browsers it is on the upper right.