OPINION - What’s worse, Covid-19 or the shutdown?
0303 - Texas governor Greg Abbott formally ended his state’s Covid lockdown Tuesday, announcing “Texas is now 100-per-cent open”. Mississippi quickly followed suit. No more mandatory masks, no more distancing, all
businesses open with no restrictions, and all other gatherings, including churches and all schools are back in business. Florida did something similar earlier and their virus numbers have gone down. That raises the question, what’s creating more
suffering – the virus itself or shutdown? We’ve been getting daily figures in B.C. of “positive” tests for the virus but no indication of how many listed as active cases are actually stricken. Insurance companies in the U.S. are claiming
almost double the number of mental-health-related claims, predominantly among youth. And education has suffered immensely. B.C. has now vaccinated more people than have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic and that raises the question of whether
it’s time to let the foot off the gas. We’ll be watching those southern states with keen interest.
Increased care-home visits expected by month end - 0303 - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expects increased visits to
long-term care homes may be possible by the end of this month. She explained science has shown just how effective the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been after one dose. The province will now space out first and second doses to as long as four months in
order to give out more first doses. She said evidence shows that high-level of protection is there, at least in the short term, after one dose. So that does move up the timeline for us to be able to increase visits to long-term care. Henry said the impact
of most long-term care residents and workers being vaccinated is already being noticed.
B.C. Ferries introduces new reduced fares
You can now save on ferry fares if you travel at special times. BC Ferries has introduced new fare options for the three Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes. Now you can get
a ‘Saver’ fare and a ‘Prepaid’ fare, which are available for essential travellers and will become available for all passengers once it’s safe to resume non-essential travel. The Saver fare will be a discount option for passengers,
described as the most affordable fare. The company says this new Saver fare will be available on select, less-busy sailings throughout the year. See full
Get set for
a wet and windy spring season - 0303 - Forget about global warming, it’s going to be a lot wetter and a bit cooler in our region this spring. AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson says if the seasonal forecasts are right,
the next two months will be pretty stormy. Temperatures are forecast to be near normal for Vancouver Island but cooler through the rest of the province. He forecasts several storms in spring, which would bring heavy rain to the coast in March and into
April, along with possible flooding. How much rain? Forecasters say the south coast could see 125 to 200 per cent of our typical rainfall this month. Coastal areas could see a lot of wind, says Anderson.
Council to use negative-petition to decide on BIA _ 0303
- City council voted Monday to begin the process for downtown businesses and property owners to decide on a new business improvement association. Business owners will have to vote against it or it will come into force though a petition-against process. That
will determine whether downtown business and property owners want a BIA and the tax levy that would come along with it. The BIA will operate autonomously for its five-year term with no grants or other financial commitments by the city.
Auditor general not buying into budget process - 0303
- Auditor general Michael Pickup says the province’s accounting process does not present a true financial position. His office has had a nine-year accounting difference of opinion with the way federal funds for capital projects are added to the province’s
annual budget totals. That accounting difference means the 2019-20 budget deficit of $321 million should actually have included accumulated revenue of $5.7 billion, producing a surplus of $5.4 billion. He uses generally accepted accounting principles but the
province uses the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act.