Troubling sign: Food Bank on the Edge numbers up

At last week’s District of Ucluelet municipal council meeting, Coun. Geoff Lyons spoke to a recent meeting he attended with the Food Bank on the Edge society.

The Food Bank’s year started off with a significant increase from 113 clients in December to 176 in January, according to Lyons.

“The need is out there and unfortunately growing,” he said.

He said the society’s Christmas Hamper program was a triumph and the community’s support filled 88 hampers that lifted the holiday spirits of locals in need. “It worked out great; lots of volunteers,” he said, beaming.

He said the society is currently brainstorming ways to increase its visibility in the community and to keep locals informed about volunteer opportunities.

Changed course not deterring marathon Coun. Dario Corlazzoli spoke to a recent Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce meeting.

He said the meeting started off with a visioning session facilitated by Ricardo Manmohan and discussions around improving the chamber’s services and membership.

The chamber-run Edgeto-Edge Marathon was discussed and Corlazzoli said registration is currently on par with past years.

The marathon’s route has been changed and will be run entirely in Ucluelet this year to nix safety concerns on the Pacific Rim Highway and the altered course means the event will lose its status as an official qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

“There’s still good response,” Corlazzoli said. “There hasn’t been much negative feedback at all for changing the route other than two or three people questioning the value of it because it used to be a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and now we have to wait a year, to run it, and make sure there’s no bugs, before we actually make it a qualifier again.”

Ucluelet ramps up online presence Coun. Corlazzoli said he has been receiving complaints from residents regarding a perceived lack of information on the district’s website.

He said the site is not being populated efficiently and web users are receiving “data not available” messages when they should be receiving community information.

He asked for a report from staff indicating a timeline for getting the page populated and maintained.

“It’s a very valuable tool and we spent a lot of time and effort to get that site up and running and I think that it’s our responsibility to make sure it’s maintained,” he said The website serves as a hub for a variety of Ucluelet organizations and services and Corlazzoli suggested that if the district does not maintain its portion, it will be difficult to ask other groups to keep their portions maintained. “We need to lead by example and get those pages up and populated and get as much information on there as possible,” he said.

He believes the online events calendar is one of the site’s most important tools and suggested its potential is not being realized.

“I think we need to make that a place for people to get information and get them hooked on logging on to our website,” he said. “The more they get the information the more they’ll come back for it.”

The website can be found at www.ucluelet.ca.

Biosphere centre idea taking shape Coun. Lyons attended a Clayoquot Biosphere Trust retreat at Black Rock Oceanfront Resort over the weekend.

He said the main focus of the two-day retreat was to discuss the establishment of a Biosphere Centre on the West Coast.

The Trust has identified the creation of a Biosphere Centre as a core priority and hopes it will become a place for residents and researchers to learn and share information.

Lyons said the planning process is going well because there is a recognized need and support for such a centre on the West Coast.

He said collaboration between the West Coast communities has been running high during the centre’s discussions but noted a location for the centre has not yet been determined.

“Obviously there are lots of people who want it in lots of different places,” he said.

reporter@westerlynews.ca