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Mark Forsythe on B.C. stories

B.C. Almanac host Mark Forsythe. (CBC)
What are the under-reported stories in your part of B.C.?

Is there something happening that the rest of the province should know about?

Share your stories and questions with Mark Forsythe, host of B.C. Almanac on CBC Radio One.

Mark has traveled all over B.C., and hosted CBC Radio programs in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Prince George and Kelowna.

Click here to submit your question, and check back to see Mark's answers.

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Comments: (11)

Steve Fleck (Prince_George) wrote:

Q| How can communities take advantage of international education to increase the number and quality of international linkages in their regions?

A| An interesting question that can be considered from many possible angles.

What comes to mind for me right away is a recent attempt to create new linkages between the Kootenay region and Africa. The College of the Rockies in Cranbrook hosted a conference this fall that looked at key development issues facing the continent. Speakers from Kenya described various needs — from better access to education to small scale economic development; Stephen Lewis also spoke of critical needs around the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

A new Kootenay Action Group for Africa has been formed that's now working toward practical, sustainable solutions that will make a difference. Another outcome from this conference is the Stephen Lewis Foundation's "Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign" being launched in Creston, Invermere and Golden. For more information, here's a web link from the College of the Rockies.

If other listeners have other thoughts and examples, please send them along.

Posted December 16, 2007 09:21 AM

Dan Schubart (Port_Alberni) wrote:

Now that Conrad Black and Robert Picton have more or less had their hash settled, can we please have some of the same rabid coverage of the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi? This affair speaks volumes on how the government and court system can tie up the public good for years with nary a sniff of it making the sort of waves that Black's fraud and Pickton's sordid lusts seem to generate. There's a roaring silence out there, and you and your colleagues need to fill the airwaves with the public scrutiny that will protect us from closed trial sessions and prosecutorial stonewalling. Someone needs to break the silence.

Posted December 10, 2007 11:35 AM

Larry (North_Shuswap) wrote:

We have had a rash of B&E's including auto theft and yet nothing is reported in our local rag. The month it happened the RCMP report in the paper only mentioned a break in at the Subway in CHASE B.C. a half hour drive away. In the next issue there is again nothing in the RCMP report, but there is an article about how the owner of the stolen truck found his truck with one of the culprits behind the wheel in HOPE B.C.!
There is more to this story but I wanted to say we are a quite community out here and auto theft, or any theft is rare. I don't know if not wanting to scare off the tourists away have anything to do with it. Plus the lack of staffing at the local detachment of the RCMP.

Posted November 13, 2007 02:13 PM

Don Grant (Victoria_BC) wrote:

A comment rather than a question.

I heard a part of BC Almanac yesterday ( Monday the 5th ) and a bit of the discussion of carbon tax, and some comments made about the forestry and TFL situation here on Vancouver Island.
I recently visited Saturna Island and picked up a copy of the "Straight of Georgia Island Tides" newspaper ( Oct. 18-31 volume ). In it was a rather extensive commentary on the controversy of TFL's, PMFL's and the statements of two Islands's Trust Committee members as relates to the conflict now boiling over on Galiano Island. In the same paper, there are several letters from readers commenting on the issue, and it seems that many Galiano residents have spent a lot of time and energy in understanding the details of the Provincial Governments changes to the Forest Act, and how PMFL's affect their Islands situation. The fight is over and an attempt to rezone land for developement on the Island. It seems that the Island's OCP has given the local citizens some zoning control that does not exist for other regions or municipalities. And it is this OCP that is being used as a weapon to try to prevent, or at least control, a condition wich could allow large-scale developement of forest lands.
I see this fight as an example of what many rural communities will be facing in the near future, and I think this example may be a good story to highlight.

Posted November 6, 2007 01:03 AM

Laurel Hodgins (Courtenay_BC) wrote:

Q| Here in the Comox Valley there is a large contingent of parents, rallying against a new school configuration. Recently the school board has voted to remove the middle school model, in favour of a K-7& 8-12.
It would be really interesting to hear what the configuration is in other school districts and how they are dealing with dwindling school populations.
Thank you

A| Laurel, your district is not alone.

More than 135 schools have been closed since 2001. Just last week Langley school board approved a plan to turn a local high school (H.D. Stafford) into a middle school for grades 6 to 8. Another secondary school in the area will pick up displaced students from grades 9 to 12, and elementary schools will lose some students.

Vocal opposition from some parents and students made for some very testy public meetings. The district is now looking at closing another school in Murrayville.

Most districts in the province have faced similar challenges and when we open our phone lines on this there are mixed opinions: many listeners want the government to inject more money into the system. Others say we can't afford to keep schools with low student populations open.

An interesting counterpoint to this story: School District 27 in the Cariboo closed rural Forest Grove Elementary back in 2004. Parents were outraged and set up a blockade in the parking lot; but eventually the school was boarded up. Parents started their own independent school right next door (B.C. Almanac visited two years ago), but they also kept up the appeal to the local district. Forest Grove Elementary has recently reopened as a fully funded public school.

Posted November 5, 2007 06:31 AM

Patty Hudson (Former_Victoria_resident_now_living_in_South_Carolina) wrote:

Q| Last week I saw a news story about the sale of a large amount of land along Vancouver Islands south coast, by a forestry company, and approved by Gordon Campbell's minister of forests.

Is there a follow up story? Is this Crown Land? Have the parties involved been investigated for conflict of interests?

Thank You.

A| We've covered the story you're talking about Patty, and there's more to come.

It's truly a sign of the times as forestry operations on the coast are in decline and real estate development is the new gold rush.

Western Forest Products successfully had private lands (roughly 28,000 hectares) removed from its tree-farm license back in January. The three parcels - located at Jordan River, near the Sea-to-Sea Blue Greenbelt park reserve and adjacent to Sooke Potholes regional park - are highly valuable as lands for development.

However, the B.C. government didn't require compensation or parkland for access WFP had to crown lands as part of its TFL. The UVic Environmental Law Clinic is calling for a review by the Auditor General, and now First Nations are considering legal action. They argue these lands are part of their traditional land claims.

Forests Minister Rich Coleman has so far rejected Opposition demands for an audit.

Posted November 5, 2007 06:25 AM

bird (terrace) wrote:

anything that happens here goes unreported, nov 2 a deceased male was found corner Hwy 16/ tetrault. right by our overpass.. no reports ... a body is found in maple ridge nov 3, CKNW shouts info in capital letters on their web site..

Posted November 3, 2007 05:48 PM

Shevaune Battiston (Terrace_BC) wrote:

Q| The children of this region have been only going to school for four days a week for years. Why is this okay and under reported? Why do we continue to receive tons of money for new playgrounds here but for some reason there isn't enough money for our children to go to school 5 days a week like other children all over the world?

I found a school in africa that is offering children food for their families if they go to school 5 days a week because it's so important. They are starving and they still manage to offer a 5 day school week! Something is really wrong here, our children deserve way better.

A| You're right Shevaune, this is an under reported story.

Terrace is now in year number 4 of the 4 day school week. The district tells me this was a necessary cost saving measure, and done after they closed 4 schools. In fact a new school has also been built in your city and they can't afford to open it. (There's a chance the local college may operate the facility).

Your local school board is reviewing the 4 day school week, and if "financially feasible" they would like to return to a 5 day school week.

As for the playground equipment - that's one time funding from the province (a separate envelope if you will). I asked about the impact of the 4 day school week on students' performance and was told provincial test results suggest they're holding their own - for now.

Posted November 3, 2007 12:22 PM

Sam Lukow (Squamish_BC) wrote:

Q| B.C. has a lot of beautiful mountains, and I have enjoyed hiking in many of them. My favorite mountains are the Coast Mountains - namely around Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. The Rainbow Mountains are so beautiful, Hunlen Falls is as awesome as it gets, the Turner Lakes canoe chain is paradise, and Mount Waddington (the Tallest Mountain in BC) is spectacular. The list could go on.

My question is why do the Rockies get so much attention across Canada while the Coast Mountains get very little? According to the CBC show this summer the Canadian Rockies are one of the seven wonders of Canada, while the Coast Mountains didn't even get a mention.

A| Great question Sam. I wonder if this may have to do with the way the country evolved from east to west?

Remember, there were only a few hundred Europeans here in New Caledonia — until the gold rush of 1858. As the population advanced westward, the Rockies presented a huge barrier, over time they also became a powerful national symbol.

When the CPR came through the Rockies, William Van Horne said: "Since we can't export the scenery, we'll have to import the tourists." They started building hotels that were promoted around the world, with a magnificent Rocky Mountain backdrop (Banff Springs opened in 1888).

Later they enlisted the country's best painters, including members of the Group of Seven, who painted and sketched the Rockies. They included murals on the trains and promotional brochures.

If you love the Coast Mountains, then you must see John Baldwin's book Mountains of the Coast (Harbour).

This B.C. mountaineer and photographer has spent 25 years exploring the Coast Mountains, logging 250 first ascents. His images dramatically capture this spectacular spine that rises from the Pacific Ocean.

Posted November 1, 2007 08:39 PM

Sheldon Dwyer (Kamloops) wrote:

Q| Are these modified loud mufflers legal?

They are everywhere now and I wonder what the decibel rating is on these. I hear them at all hours up to kilometer or more away. Some are deafening when they pass. What about Noise Bylaws in communities?

If they are illegal why are they allowed to be sold and why are installers allowed to put them on?

This question was prompted by todays DVD player question... thanks, Sheldon

A| Victoria taxi driver Gerry Swanson got our attention when he described seeing a motorist with a DVD player mounted on his dash board.

"I followed this guy almost to a stop wondering that the problem was, until I got beside him to see he was more interested in the DVD than the road...how many people do they kill before authorities notice?"

Steve Martin, Superintendent of Motor Vehicles told us this is illegal and fines exist; he also said his office is investigating driver distractions (like GPS devices and cell phones), and plans to report to government in the next few months.

As for Sheldon's question about loud mufflers, the City of Kamloops tells me they've noticed more cars with modifed mufflers in recent years.

There is a bylaw that says you can't make noise that "causes a disturbance," but it's difficult to enforce. The bylaw enforcement agency doesn't have the power to stop a vehicle. There also needs to be more than one person complaining before the city responds.

My suggestion: take note of the license plate, get another witness and call the city. They will ask the RCMP to investigate — but don't hold your breath. Police have higher priorities to worry about. Ear plugs perhaps?

Posted November 1, 2007 12:44 PM

Lee (Vancouver) wrote:

Q| As a former Merritt resident, I think there are some stories from that city that are sadly unknown - the Merritt Mountain Music Festival tends to overwhelm the good news items that could be covered.

One of these that has received little outside coverage is the Youth Mural Project, which has been helping to spruce up the downtown core of the city using government and private funding to partner a professional muralist with at-risk youth. The youth are taught life and job skills while at the same time creating murals of country music stars that tie into the Walk of Stars project (also somewhat underreported).

I think positive stories such as this are lost in the Mountainfest rush sometimes, and it would be great to see some exposure for this great youth-focused project.

A| You're right Lee. Good news stories often go missing because of the nature of news gathering: usually revolving around conflict, disaster or some controversy.

You've highlighted a positive story that sounds like it's worth following up on. We'll see what we can do.

Update: We ended up taking your suggestion, Lee. On Friday's B.C. Almanac program, we talked to Michelle Loughery, a muralist on the program, and Josh Stahan, the foreman of the project. Thanks.

Posted November 1, 2007 11:24 AM

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