Comox Valley issues boil water advisory

VANCOUVER; NANAIMO – The Comox Valley Regional District under the direction of Island Health has issued a boil water advisory.

Due to the rainfall experienced over the last several days, turbidity levels have risen in Comox Lake. The water that supplies the Comox Valley water local service areas originates in Comox Lake and is taken from the Puntledge River and delivered to approximately 41,000 residents. All users of the Comox Valley water system (especially those with compromised immune systems), are advised to boil their drinking water for one minute at a rolling boil. Those areas affected by this boil water advisory are the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, and the Comox Valley, Arden, Marsden/Camco, Greaves Crescent, and England Road water local service areas.

Until the boil water advisory is lifted, all users are asked to minimize non-essential water use. The CVRD will advise users when the problem is resolved.

If you have any questions regarding this notice call the CVRD engineering services department at 334-6000. For updated information and resources on the boil water advisory, visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/boil.

The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.

Parolee sought Nanaimo RCMP issued a Canada-wide warrant Monday morning for a parolee who breached the conditions of his release.

Ben Christian Moen, 37, was under conditions not to consume or possess illegal drugs.

“Due to previous convictions involving violence, Moen should be considered violent and not approached,” said Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien.

Moen has contacts and family throughout Nanaimo and may be driving a brown, older model Honda Civic with B.C. plates 568 MTG. He has several tattoos on his arms and several on each side of his neck that spell “City of PITTY.”

Moen is white, six foot one, 175 pounds with short brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone who knows of his whereabouts should call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.nanaimocrimestoppers. com

Students rally against ESL cuts

Students rallying on the lawn of legislature and opposition members inside the house slammed the B.C. government Monday for not coming up with money to save English-as-a-second-language courses, in the face of federal cuts.

“Why is it that this government has known for two years that the federal government has vacated the field of Englishlanguage training and they

have done nothing, nothing to fix it?” B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan asked of Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk during question period.

The legislature’s public gallery was filled with Vancouver Community College students who travelled to Victoria to take part in a rally of about 300 people who want the provincial government to step in and fill the funding gap left by the federal government.

In 2012, the Conservative government announced it was axing an agreement with the B.C. government that meant colleges and universities lost $17 million in federal money to provide ESL training to immigrants and domestic students. The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which distributes the funding, will provide the money directly to not-for-profit, community-based language-education providers instead.

The Ministry of Advanced Education pledged about $17 million in one-time transitional funding for the 2014-15 school year, but has not come up with a plan for after that money runs out.

Camosun College received enough provincial money – about $2.4 million – to continue the ESL program for a year. Almost $8 million of the provincial funding went to Vancouver Community College, which trains nearly half of B.C.’s 9,000 adult ESL students. But colleges are warning that once that funding runs out next year, they’ll have to cancel a range of courses if the province doesn’t step up with more money.

Karen Shortt, president of the VCC faculty association, said she was finally granted a meeting with Virk Monday morning after almost a year of trying. She said she left the meeting even more frustrated.

“There’s no plan at this point for the 2,300 students who will have nowhere to go on Jan. 2,” Shortt told the crowd on the legislature lawn. “I hear the ministry saying we can’t afford to fund ESL. And I say, you can’t afford not to.”

Virk said while the B.C. government opposed the federal government’s plan to change the delivery model for ESL courses, ESL students can still take courses through 35 not-for-profit providers in more than 80 locations across the province. “So ESL students do have a place to study ESL as we speak.”

Critics counter, however, that colleges provide an opportunity for students to transition from language courses to academic and career-oriented programs.

Virk said the province provides block funding to post-secondary institutions and his staff will work with the colleges to find ways to make ESL sustainable.

Mohammad Salehi, 33, who arrived from Iran four months ago to take English courses at Camosun College, said he was “very happy” to see such a large crowd supporting ESL funding. “My first plan, learn English. After learn English, need a job,” Salehi said.

Rachael Grant of the Camosun College Student Society said ESL students are in the dark about the future of their English education. “A cut to ESL is a cut to the prospects and prosperity in B.C.,” Grant said. “It makes no sense to take away programming that is so effective and enables students to pursue their dreams.”

Saltspring man had fascinating history

To the people of Saltspring Island, B.C., he was an avid gardener and former banker, who lived a quiet life with his wife and children.

But records recently released by the British National Archives reveal Eric Roberts was an Mi5 agent whose wartime heroics uncovered hundreds of Nazi sympathizers in England.

Using the code name Jack King, the unassuming bank manager posed as an undercover Gestapo agent and intercepted secret information meant to aid the Nazis.

He is also believed to be one of the inspirations for spy writer John Le Carre’s character George Smiley.

His daughter, Christa McDonald of Qualicum Beach, B.C., says he was a humble man and a great father.

McDonald says she and her brother are pleased their father, who died in 1972, is receiving some recognition for what he did for his country.

Aboriginal rights lawyer named chancellor at VIU

Louise Mandell, one of Canada’s foremost aboriginal-rights lawyers, has been named chancellor of Vancouver Island University.

Mandell succeeds Shawn Atleo, a hereditary chief of the Ahousaht First Nation, who served two terms as chancellor after he was appointed in 2008. Atleo became VIU’s first chancellor after the post-secondary institution formally became a full-fledged university.

Mandell, who was born in Toronto but moved to the West Coast in her early 20s to work in treaty law, is recognized for her work in advancing aboriginal and treaty rights. She is one of the founders of the law firm Mandell Pinder, established in 1983 to support indigenous people to achieve recognition and implementation of their constitutional rights.

In 1997, Mandell was appointed Queen’s Counsel and, in 2001, she was awarded the Georges Goyer Q.C. memorial award for exceptional contribution to the development of aboriginal and treaty-rights jurisprudence across the country.

Mandell’s three-year term as chancellor begins immediately. She will be installed during VIU’s January 2015 convocation ceremonies.

The chancellor, a volunteer position, acts as an ambassador for the university. The chancellor is the titular head of VIU, presiding over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees and providing advice to the president.