And: Vital Signs report reveals declining quality of health in the region
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United Way Southern Vancouver Island
Good morning,

Over the past few weeks sunsets have quickly become my favourite part of the day—not just because of the vibrant colours that make sunsets appealing, but because of murmurations of birds that seem to dominate the horizon.

While I’ve been quietly and unquestioningly enjoying the view, our intrepid newsletter editor Nina Grossman has been regarding the phenomenon with a more inquisitive eye: What type of birds are they? What’s causing the murmurations? Why now?

Turns out, these flocks are much smaller than they used to be. Read her story below to learn more.

Brishti Basu,

🌧 Today's Weather: Cloudy with periods of rain. High of 9 and low of 2.

European Starlings flock in Greater Victoria. 📸 : Provided by Ann Nightingale


It's a bird! it's a plane! Actually, it's 1,200 invasive European starlings!

One evening in November, the setting sun washed downtown Victoria in a fleeting blush of pink, just as a biting chill began to creep in from the coastline. People down Government Street had stopped in place and were pointing up to a black cloud of motion, buzzing above the empty high rises and the construction cranes, in a synchronized, balletic dance, punctuated only by a symphony of trills and chirps.

The European Starlings had returned for the winter.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the invasive bird has been in North America for more than 100 years— introduced on a colonial whim to bring every bird mentioned by Shakespeare into the continent. But now, the population is shrinking. The question is, why?

Capital Bulletin

🚨 Victoria Police have released an age-progression sketch of a missing woman on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance. Emma Fillipoff was 26-years-old when she went missing on Nov. 28, 2012. The sketch predicts what Fillipoff would look like now, at 36-years-old.

Vital Signs survey respondents gave health and wellness a C+ grade in the 2022 report. 📸 : Brishti Basu


Victorians’ health and wellness on a steady decline over past three years: report

In the 2020 Vital Signs report, 12% of Victoria residents rated their overall health and wellness as below average or poor. This year, that number jumped to 39%.

At a glance, it could be surprising to see Victorians’ health rated lower now than it was during the first two years of the pandemic. But according to Dr. Astrid Brousselle, director of UVic’s School of Public Administration and a public health system analyst, the longer-term impacts of the pandemic—and viruses like COVID-19, RSV, and influenza currently spreading unchecked amid a dearth of infection prevention measures—mean things are worse now than ever before.

Sidney on its way to developing first-ever economic development plan

Discussion of the economic development plan dominated Sidney's committee of the whole meeting this week. The plan, currently in the works, will help guide Sidney’s economic direction for the next five years.

The plan, produced listed finding workers and preserving land for businesses as some of the biggest challenges for the township. The established seaside town has one of the oldest populations in the province, and finding more space for industrial use has been a concern in Sidney since at least 1993. While the town has done some economic planning before, it’s the first time they are developing a long-term, strategic plan for the future.

"I think that it's a good thing coming out of COVID – after so many businesses have been impacted – that we take the time to look at how can we make our economy more resilient," Coun. Terri O’Keefe told Capital Daily.

By Michael John Lo

United Way Southern Vancouver Island

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Capital Picks

⚓️ East Coast folk and bluegrass takes over the Lucky Bar: Newfoundland pop/folk duo Fortunate Ones and Nova Scotian bluegrass singer Old Man Luedecke bring their guitars and banjos to the Lucky Bar stage tonight. Tickets start at $25.

🏡 Real estate: Stay on pulse of the fast moving real estate market. Access the latest listings and sold prices of homes and condominiums across Greater Victoria.*

🥨 The Pretzel Logic Orchestra at Hermann's Jazz Club: Check out Victoria's premier Steely Dan tribute band tonight at the local jazz bar. Tickets $30 online and $35 at the door.

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In Other News

🛩 Survivors yet to be found after float plane crash near Port Hardy: Two passengers and a pilot are missing after a Cessna float plane crashed near Strachan Bay on northern Vancouver Island this past Wednesday. RCMP marine teams are still searching for the passengers, and the plane is presumed to have sunk. Investigators with the RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board are investigating to determine how the plane went down. [Times Colonist]

🚔 BC Human Rights Commissioner recommends removing police from schools: The provincial human rights commissioner recommended in a letter to school trustees across the province that they end the School Liaison Officer programs "unless and until they can demonstrate an evidence-based need for them that cannot be met through other services." The letter cites concerns from Black, Indigenous, and marginalized communities with the officers’ presence in schools. The Greater Victoria School District looked into its liaison officer program last year. A draft report obtained by Capital Daily shows 15% of survey respondents wanted the officers gone, while 60% supported the program. LGBTQ+ students were the least comfortable with the officers’ presence, with more than one in three saying they were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable.

✍️ CRD reaches deal with workers: The Capital Regional District (CRD) and workers represented by CUPE Local 1978 have reached a 3-year collective agreement which includes $0.25/hour and then 3.24% wage increases for the first year (retroactive for 2022), a 4% increase in 2023, and a 3% increase in 2024. It also includes flex schedules and modified work week arrangements.


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In Case You Missed It

💵 Multiple families allege Tutti founder has perturbing history of exploiting Chinese immigrant families: In August, multiple business owners in Victoria posted online that local delivery service company Tutti owed them thousands of dollars. Capital Daily reported that Tutti's parent company, Kavl Technology, was served with a civil claim alleging the company owed local business J&J Wonton House over $200,000. An investigation for the Tyee by Capital Daily’s intern, Michael John Lo, reveals a shocking history of extortion, impersonation, and fraud by the CEO Kaisa Aierken.

🍺 Home to lots of memories, even if they’re a little fuzzy. Swans Pub is a place to meet friends. A place to pause while the noise stays outside. Drop by today.*

💪 Financial success means different things to different people: Victoria-area Portfolio Managers Brian Howe and Gareth Dickson at Odlum Brown Limited can help you define and achieve your financial goals.*
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