Two Events Celebrated

Good Weather Brings Out Good Crowd For Parks
Good weather was the backdrop to this weekend's North Saanich Parks Commission Open House at Municipal Hall. Taking the opportunity to showcase the new Parks Plan, Commission members and North Saanich staff members went to a lot of work to set up displays of all kinds, including live plant demonstrations (compliments of Russell Nursery), maps, questionnaires, planning displays and, of course, refreshments. Held between 1:00 and 4:00 PM, the Open House was, in my opinion, well attended and generated a lot of interaction between the public and Parks Commission members, North Saanich staff and Councilors Scoones (Parks Commission Liaison), Chandler and Green.

Joan Gibb staffed the Dominion Brook Park display and is such a keen spokesperson on behalf of the Board that anyone would want to join the Society and certainly spend time at the Park. In fact, we have some great ambassadors who work tirelessly on behalf of North Saanich parks and the Commission. I am impressed with their dedication and commitment, given that they are all volunteers and I am also impressed with the help and support of North Saanich staffers such as Kelly Albucz, Lisa Coburn, Dawn Gould, Brian Robinson and others, who gave up their Saturday to lend a hand to the Open House. Forgive me if I have missed anyone.

The buzz while I attended was that the Open House was a big success, as was public participation in a questionnaire designed to elicit feedback on ranking which parks' projects deserve first priority over the next 4 and a half years. Beach accesses, trails, viewpoints and related projects are explored in the questionnaire, with an additional section asking respondents to list their own suggestions for neighbourhood or community projects. Neighbourhoods identified in the questionnaire include Ardmore, Central, Cloake Hill/Horth Hill, Curteis Point/McDonald Park, Dean Park, Deep Cove and the Southeast.

A big THANKS to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make the Parks Commission Open House so successful and to the public who took the time to attend and find out what the Parks Commission, with your support and input, has planned for the future.

Councilor Anny Scoones and Dawn Gould

Joan Gibb of Dominion Brook Park

Center Parks Plan Display

Parks Commission Member Talking to Resident

Parks Commission Chair Farrell Boyce

Segment of Wall Display on Parks Plan

Staffer and Admin Support to Commission, Kelly Albucz

Lieutenant-Governor Point Opens Commemorative Firefighters' Park
Chief Gary Wilton and our North Saanich Volunteer Firefighters Association scored a major honour when they managed to book Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point to attend and open the ceremony to recognize long service firefighters and a commemorative park recently established at the corner of Wain and West Saanich Roads, on the grounds of the Wain Rd. Firehall. Councilor Ruby Commandeur, as Acting Mayor, made remarks on behalf of the District of North Saanich and Mayor Alice Finall and Councilors Chandler, Scoones, Shaw and I also attended. Other dignitaries included MLA Murray Coell and MP Gary Lunn, along with BC's Fire Commissioner Rebecca Denlinger.

It was a warm sunny afternoon as firefighters, their families and friends and members of the public gathered at the new park site for the ceremony. The park is a wonderful commemoration to the dedication and sacrifice made by our volunteer firefighters on behalf of North Saanich. Our volunteers routinely put themselves in harm's way to protect the health and well-being of over 11,000 local residents. They also work with other communities when required and are a testament to the commitment of volunteer firefighters serving on the Saanich Peninsula. In fact, His Honour Steven Point reminded us about the importance of volunteerism and how giving back to our communities is truly an honourable achievement. In my opinion, North Saanich is particularly fortunate to have a long and impressive history of volunteerism by those whose tremendous efforts support our community at so many levels.

The ceremony went on to recognize individual firefighters Greg Smith and Ray Halsall for Provincial Exemplary Service Medals, Ken Herlinveaux, Russell Flower, Alex Bonare, Monte Taylor, George Hartshorne, Ed Banas, Pat Phillips and Gary Wilton for Park Dedication and Life Membership and a host of "rookies," newly recruited volunteers who have just completed over 700 hours of training to qualify as firefighters.

Congratulations to Chief Gary Wilton and our North Saanich Volunteer Firefighters! And thank you for the beautiful park space (all done by volunteers and local sponsors), space that not only serves to recognize firefighters but also provides a place of public respite and enjoyment for anyone who passes by.

Members Piped and Escorted into Ceremony

Left to Right: Councilor Ruby Commandeur, MLA Murray Coell, MP Gary Lunn, North Saanich Fire Chief Gary Wilton and His Honour Steven Point, Lieutenant-Governor of B.C.

The Plaque Waiting to be Unveiled

North Saanich Fire Fighters

Councilor and Acting Mayor Ruby Commandeur Shaking Hands with His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor

Chief Gary Wilton and BC Fire Commissioner Rebecca Denlinger