Horne Lake Intersection long awaited Fuelling Fill-up station

Thanks to Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Reclama, Council Members, and Kwalicum Crossing crew for inviting me to say a few words at the grand opening of their dream come true last week! The nation has opened its long awaited fueling fill-up station at the Horne Lake intersection along Highway 19 (700 Horne Lake Road). As I told the well-wishers and local dignitaries gathered for this historic occasion, don’t call it a “gas station”, it’s more than that, it’s an "energy station" with EV hook-ups, propane service and a convenience store and soon to be added is an A&W restaurant.

Next to the station is a pond and fountain that doubles as a beautiful water attraction and, importantly, a key water supply for the Bow Horn Bay Fire Department (BHBVFD). The BHBVFD fire chief Mark Taylor told PQB News reporter, Michael Brionnes: “The way they designed it, every bit of rain water that drops on the roof, falls on the pond over here. And this pond is specifically for us to fight fires.” The pond has 55,000 gallons of water the BHVFD will be able to access through a direct connection. "That’s going to take care pretty of much any fire that we have. It’s a fantastic design and we’re happy to have it here,” Chief Taylor told the News. Congratulations to QFN for combining a wonderful economic development opportunity with volunteer firefighting support to your neighboring communities. 

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Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon in Parksville

Thanks to SOS Chair Paul Ruffell, Executive Director Susana Newton and the board, staff and volunteers for inviting me to attend their annual volunteer luncheon in Parksville. My office works hard with SOS to help get seniors the benefits to which they are entitled. Susanna told us: "Since last June MP Gord Johns office and the SOS have helped seniors in need receive $130,000 in pension benefits owed to them." The society of Organized Services is a volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs and improving the lives of Oceanside residents. It was established in 1968 and its thrift shop draws thousands of customers from all over Vancouver Island and beyond each month. The revenues from the Shop along with community fundraising and government support flow to important community programs and services. Its more than 200 volunteers contribute their time and labour which would cost more than 1$ million annually if SOS was a for-profit enterprise. If you can volunteer for the success of our community, whether it's just one hour or several hours every week/month, give SOS a call at 250-248-2093 ext. 230 or email [email protected]. They would love to have you as a member of the family! 

National Day of Mourning in Port Alberni

Today, I was honoured to join workers gathered in Port Alberni in the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people to commemorate the National Day of Mourning and remember workers who have lost their lives, been injured or are living with physical or mental health disabilities due to work-related incidents. 

Tremendous progress has been made over many decades by the labour union movement in this province but there is much work still to do. There were 175 work-related deaths in our province in 2023 and we send our condolences to the families, loved ones and fellow workers of those who have been lost. More than half of these tragic deaths were due to occupational diseases including 48 caused by asbestos exposure, a disgrace in this era. 

In Port Alberni, the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences continues to make progress towards supporting the return-to-work for workers injured on the job. Statistics show that only %1 of workers injured in the workplace return to work if they don't return to work within 12 months of being injured. This stat needs to change . I call on the federal government to continue its support for PCU-WHS.

Thanks to Ron Corbeil and United Steelworkers United Local 1-1937, BC Federation of Labour, the Business Council of British Columbia and WorkSafeBC for today's commemoration and, importantly, their call to action. Let us renew our commitment to stand with workers and redouble our efforts to ensure safe working conditions for all. Without workers, there is no care, no growth, no profit. We must do everything we an to ensure their safety.

 

Qualicum Beach Farmers Market

It felt good to be back at the wonderful Qualicum Beach Farmers Market on Saturday for last minute shopping before heading back to Ottawa. Now in its twenty-seventh year, this is one of many outstanding farmers market in Courtenay-Alberni and I try to make the rounds to each one each year. Please support our local growers and producers, it's important to our local economies and food security. Thanks to market manager Laurie Elves and president Cheryl Reist and the entire board and all the vendors who show up every Saturday Morning from 8:30am to noon to make this market happen. As they say: As the "Eat Fresh. Buy Local. Be Healthy." 

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