In a level four drought, what lies ahead?

In a level four drought, what lies ahead?

Cortes Island is in the midst of a level four drought. There have been worse dry periods in the instrumental records, much worse according to a University of Victoria study of tree ring data, and most likely more severe droughts in the years to come. “Summer is very typically a very dry time of year for the Island, as well as for the Gulf Islands. The problem is that because we didn’t get the Spring rains, we’re starting at a level that is lower than what it would be within a typical year,”  said Ashlee Jollymore, a Hydrologist with the Water Management Branch in Victoria Shallow wells Some of Cortes Island’s shallow well owners are approaching a critical point. John Preston describes the situation in terms of the Island’s aquifer. “When we moved to Cortes Island, 18 years ago, a dear architect friend who looked over this property for us said, ‘you will need water.” “I said, ‘Okay. we’ll drill a well.’” “He said, ‘Please do not drill a well. Have a high quality surface well. Every well we drill now ultimately weakens our long term water aspect.’” Preston agreed and now has a 27’ deep surface well, but the water situation appears to be worsening. The marshland above his property used to remain swamp all year round; now it is dry during the summer. Preston has been dealing with water shortages every summer for the past five years. This is the worst. The water shortages he usually deals with in late August is already here. “We are four weeks early in our water deprivation and there is a chance our water...
RCMP lack of training may have led to Indigenous deaths

RCMP lack of training may have led to Indigenous deaths

Chief Darren Blaney, of the Homalco Nation, suggests that six months training is not enough to equip the Campbell River RCMP to deal with intense situations like that which led to the recent shooting of Jared Lowndes. Photo credit: Street-side memorial to Jared Lowndes in Campbell River – photo by Roy L Hales Lack of training dealing with complex issues “There is a lot of emphasis on physical training and physical fitness, but not policing with social problems and mental health issues. Escalation and racial bias are not really examined during the training period,” said Blaney, who has relatives in the force. “I think there are a lot of things we miss in the lack of training. I wonder how they handle stress? How do they handle pressure situations like what happened to Jared?” Jared Lowndes fled when they attempted to serve an outstanding warrant for weapons offences, on July 8th. When the RCMP caught up to him in the Tim Hortons parking lot, they allegedly smashed into his vehicle from three sides – boxing Lowndes in. Then they sent a police dog in. Lowndes defended himself with a knife, killing the dog, and the police responded by gunning him down. The Independent Investigation Office said it cannot comment, but  the victim’s family informed CKTZ News that the warrant was old and Lowndes had already been acquitted by the court. Chief Blaney said that if the police were better trained and knew how to de-escalate, both Lowndes and the police dog would be alive today. Lowndes two daughters, Phoenix and Patience, would still have a father. Too many Indigenous killings It has been six years since...
The memorial for Jared Lowndes in Campbell River

The memorial for Jared Lowndes in Campbell River

About a hundred people attended the memorial for Jared Lowndes, who was gunned down by the RCMP outside the Campbell River Tim Hortons takeout on July 8, 2021. The public portion of the memorial began in downtown Campbell River at 11:30 AM on Tuesday July 20th. From there, participants drove to the RCMP station, where the crowd voiced their anger outside the door.  Lowndes mother, Laura Hamilton, and more than a dozen protesters went inside, where three officers met them. You could see the officers mouth’s moving, but their words were drowned by the roar that erupted in response. The only voice you hear in the audio is Hamilton’s, who would not accept the RCMP explanation. “There is no possible way you could understand the terror every time I close my eyes. I see the holes in his face, I see the f____ holes in his face. Do you understand, every time I close my eyes I see my son’s brains blown out,” she shouted, above the rising chants. Chief Darren Blaney, of the Homalco Nation, blames the shooting on the RCMP’s lack of training. He said the police should not have the authority to use lethal force after only six months training. The First Nations community, and people of colour, are paying the price. The RCMP were attempting to serve an outstanding warrant for weapons possession. According to Fay Blaney, the great aunt of Lowndes daughters Phoenix and Patience, Lowndes was acquitted of the associated charges years ago. The court dismissed them after Lowndes common-law wife confessed she had planted the gun in his possession. However the warrant, to obtain a sample of DNA...
Dino Tsakonas: the face of CityWest in our area

Dino Tsakonas: the face of CityWest in our area

After more than two decades with local internet provider Twincomm, Dino Tsakonas has become the face of CityWest throughout much of our our region. Where fibre optic cable will reach land on Cortes Island – courtesy CityWest In this morning’s interview he explains how this came about and gives a few more details about the Last Mile project that will bring more reliable high speed internet to homes on Cortes and  Quadra Islands, as well as other communities throughout our region. “It really started with me being involved in the undersea fibre project, that was the partnership between the SRD (Strathcona Regional District) and CityWest. I was heavily involved because I was trying to get more fibre for Twincomm, “ he explained. “What happened was we were trying to work out a deal last fall, between Twincomm and City West, that kinda fell through a little bit and then CityWest just offered me a job.” Now Tsakonas is CityWest’s Regional Manager for our area. He is overseeing a potential expansion into multiple islands, – including Quadra and Texada Islands – as well as potentially Bliss Landing, Powell River and yet to be revealed parts of Vancouver Island. One of his first actions, however, was to get Twincomm and CityWest back to the negotiating table. “Right now we are in negotiations to see if CityWest can purchase Twincomm,” he explained. He still works out of his home on Cortes Island. Cortes will also be the first local location where fibre optic cables are brought directly into the homes. In the podcast above, he discusses their use of a technology that can go under roads, without disturbing them. Tsakonas advises everyone on Cortes to...
Campbell River RCMP may have gunned down an innocent man

Campbell River RCMP may have gunned down an innocent man

The opinions expressed in this article belong to the people expressing them and are not necessarily shared by CKTZ, its board, staff, volunteers or listeners.  The Campbell River RCMP may have gunned down an innocent man when they killed Jared Lowndes on July 8, 2021. A really old warrant, from a case already resolved The Independent Investigation Office informed Cortes Currents they could not discuss the warrant RCMP were attempting to enforce, when they killed Lowndes. The National Police Federation said they were pursuing him for an outstanding warrant for weapons offences. “The warrant was really old, an outstanding warrant for his DNA, and he was standing on sovereignty, saying they had no right to it,” explained Fay Blaney, the greataunt of Lowndes daughters Phoenix and Patience. She is also a close friend of Lowndes mother, Laura Hamilton, and has agreed to be the family spokesperson Blaney added that the case requiring Lowndes DNA had been dismissed. It arose out of a domestic dispute with his common-law wife. She planted a gun in his possessions and called the police. There was no need for his DNA after Lowndes’ common-law wife confessed. He was acquitted. So why did he run? “He’s Indigenous. He was by himself and knew what they would do. I mean, they did what he thought they would do,” said Blaney. Lowndes grew up in East Vancouver where, Blaney explained, there is considerable friction between police and the Indigenous community. “The police officers used to chase them on weekends: beat them, sick dogs on them, maim young Indigenous men and they actually shot one,” she said. Blaney mentioned two occasions in which police dogs had mauled people...