Sunday, November 20, 2011


Next depot is Saturday Nov 26 at Stelly's 9 - 12.
Google Pacific Mobile Depot for details on what you can bring and what it costs.

PLEASE NOTE! There will be a depot in December this year.
  It will be the THIRD Saturday, Dec 17th - same time, same place.
Volunteers always welcome.
Maria St.Amand
Thank you to all those who supported me in the recent municipal campaign. I very much appreciate your time and efforts and votes!

I will continue actively working to protect farm and rural land in our beautiful community. I encourage you to help in every way you can. Our environment is fragile and finite, we must become better stewards to ensure a healthy green future for those who come next.

                                                                                   - Sue

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 19th

Province moves to protect farm land

Extra enforcement, oversight, funds for B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve

Read more:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Environmental Credentials

  • Helped write the terms of reference for BC Housing's Livegreen Council which promotes environmental conservation and action at work, at home and in the community
  • Hosted organic gardening workshops for members and friends through the BCGEU Cool Communities Campaign, I invited local organic farmers like Robin Tunnicliffe and Geoff Johnson, composting experts from the CRD, tree pruning and heritage tree expert Cathy Rasmussen and more to share their knowledge, many of those who took the classes have now converted their lawns to gardens, are gardening in the schoolyards etc
  • Through the BCGEU Cross Component Committee provided the first year's insurance to the HOPE Recycle Depot in Central Saanich
  • Fought to save the trees in Brentwood Bay from destruction during the Brentwood Revitalisation
  • Helped blow the whistle on Randy Sewell's mass destruction of trees in Central Saanich (he was fined $125,000)
  • Provided several species of native plants free for the past few years to those attending the Labour Day picnic (Ocean Spray, wild currant, douglas fir seedlings and others)
  • Worked to save the Vantreight hillside from development because rural land is important to farmland for mason bees and other species (Dogwood Initiative joined this action)
  • Worked to protect farmland in Central Saanich in every way I can
This is just a sample of what I have done for our environment. In addition to this I am always postings information about farming and the environment on the internet, sharing everything I can find. It's important to walk the walk and that is what I do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why I support Woodwynn Therapeutic Community

I support Woodwynn Therapeutic Community at historic Woodwynn Farm wholeheartedly, because I believe that this is a wonderful, caring, community use for a long under-utilised farm. I will never vote to rezone Woodwynn for permanent residential housing or allow it to be carved up for subdivisions, this promise is written in stone.

The application sent to the ALC is for non-farm use on a portion of the land and 100% of Woodwynn will remain in the ALR.

The buildings being proposed have been designed to be easily moved, and Woodwynn has offered a covenant to put monies in trust to remove the buildings should the program be closed. All over the world land used for everything from housing to the most poisoned industrial purposes is rehabilitated and used for farming and nothing planned here would be difficult to reverse.
The Woodwynn Community has already shown their care and concern for the farm in many ways including

·         rehabilitatating  the creek (with the help of Peninsula Streams) by planting 200 native trees, shrubs and grasses along its edge

·         extensively repairing the buildings

·         planting over 400 fruit and nut trees

·         planting 180 blue spruce

·         planting 12 garry oaks and 12 maples

·         planting a 2 acre vegetable garden  (the first vegetables grown and harvested on this land since First Nations harvested the native plants)

·         increasing the hay crop

·         installing 6 bluebird boxes (this was done by the Garry Oak RestorationTeam)

·         raising pigs
The people who have come to the farm so far have done well and have caused no harm to the community in any way.  New lives have begun and the testimonials from parents and others are inspiring to read.

The volunteerism fostered here is extensive and goes a long way to creating a respect for farming in the wider community:

·         over 2,000 individual volunteers have come to work on the farm, some for an hour others putting in 50 hour weeks

·         85 five year old girls (Sparks from the girl guide movement) came to the farm with their parents and had a wonderful day building a new pond and filling it with plants and fish

·         local farmers have been helping by providing advice, expertise and equipment

·         elementary schools, middle schools and high schools have come to the farm (St Michaels has been a few times) as well as groups of students from UVic, Camosun and Royal Roads who are currently planning a fund and awareness raising event for the farm

·         Church and community groups come to volunteer and use their experience as a team building exercise

·         3,500 attended the Open House held earlier this year and a steady flow has come to the farm market (that started slowly but ramped up as word got out)
Many of the homeless or nearly homeless in downtown Victoria are from Central Saanich and use services provided by other municipalities. I believe that we must do more to support the region in its efforts to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness. This is a piece we can do that fits our community well.

This use is a good use.  I support it because I understand the need.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What I believe

It's time for positive change in Central Saanich.

It's time to bring everyone to the table.

I am committed to maintaining the rural health and beauty of Central Saanich. We live in the centre of an exquisite jewel. This is the place I love.  I have worked hard and passionately to protect her over the years, speaking out at public hearings, writing articles and advocating for a small, sustainable and self-sufficient community. But there’s much more that needs to be done.

It’s time to understand the interconnectedness of farms, small businesses, community groups, cultures and families.

If we aren’t working together we are missing the opportunity to build a vibrant, healthy community. With 16,000 citizens, Central Saanich is full of good ideas and helping hands. Regular round tables and community discussions can make the most of this vitally important resource. We need to include our youth in everything we do. Youth are our future, they should be there when we next review the Official Community Plan and they should be sitting as observers on some of our committees so they can learn how a community works. We need to support our seniors by helping maintain the seniors centre in Brentwood Bay. This should become a regular part of our budget, they should not have to come asking for help through the grants in aid process. This is a well used centre providing all sorts of activities. Keeping it going is good for the whole community.

I am proud of the help I have been able to offer to those who would set up a recycle depot, fight to save farmland, protect our ferry route, hold a dry grad, get a new crosswalk and create a more liveable, less stressful space for our community.

We are not just another cookie-cutter suburb of a larger city. We are LÁU,WELNEW, the place of refuge, as our First Nations neighbours know, and we need to maintain that vision. We need to respect the land we are using and give back to its future wherever we can. We are here to help each other!
Central Saanich needs to refocus on families, farms and fairness.

Our families need safe, affordable, green and appropriate housing so that our community does not become a monoculture of one age group or one income level. We need to help people "live where they work and work where they live" to reduce transportation costs and the pollution that goes with long commutes. We need to find incentives and funding for alternative energy use and to encourage urban gardening and tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change.

We need to lobby our provincial government for more help for farmers including perhaps a land bank to buy farms and lease them back at low rates to other farmers. We need to nurture small businesses and help them with our patronage, our support and our creativity. We can streamline the civic paperwork so they can get down to business faster. We can help Keating by encouraging value-added agricultural businesses to start up there (bakeries, flour producers, packing, canning, weavers and more).
We need a true commitment to our Official Community Plan and the Regional Sustainability Strategy so that our community can concentrate on growing food for our families far into the future. We need to respect and understand our agreements with other communities because we are not a law unto ourselves; what we do or fail to do impacts others.

We need fairness and accountability - all votes must be recorded. Meetings must be video-taped and posted on the website. Secrecy is the enemy of openness. If you've nothing to hide you should proudly state yea or nay for the camera.

We need much more public interaction, more notification of public hearings, open houses, town halls, and council & committee meetings using all the new tools available to us. And we need to foster civic values. We can do this by being inclusive.
Central Saanich needs a clearer more readable budget and accounting system so citizens can easily access the information they need.

We need true respect for those who come before council, they are the employer and they are the people footing the bill. We need those who will spend carefully for what is needed, but hold the line on frills. Tax increases as a result of the new "run up the debt" philosophy of some current council members will hamper local families for years to come and future councils will be blamed for the mis-spending taking place now.

Development does not add to revenue sufficiently to cover the expenses it creates, as our municipal planner has clearly stated in more than one public meeting.

Development increases taxes over time as demands are made for more amenities, as growth triggers the legal requirements for more police and fire services, and as maintenance and repairs become necessary.
So who am I?

I am a BC government employee working for BC Housing. In my youth I picked berries on Veyaness, attended Mt Newton School, helped build the trail in Centennial Park and worked for Charlie White Productions on Keating X Road, marketing his Salmon Spectacular film. I have lived on Tanner Road, East Saanich Road and Wallace Drive.
I have learned a lot about the difficulties people face in our society and I have learned to respect them no matter who they are.

We are all one, we all belong.

Our respect for each other is what creates "community."

-Sue Stroud


 On November 19th remember,

Sue Stroud will make you proud!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to save small farms

By protecting farmland from development, land trusts are making small-scale agriculture more viable