PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

September 26, 2011

Stop the invasion!

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 4:09 pm

Bullfrog Pair  
Photograph by S. Price; courtesy The Bullfrog Project
From the Pender Islands Farmers Institute:The American bullfrog is one of the 100 worst alien species in the world and is now found on Pender in increasing numbers.

Help stop the invasion!

The American bullfrog Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana is a robust, brilliant green amphibian native to eastern North America.  However, its natural range does not extend across the prairies or west of the Rocky Mountains.

It is an unwelcome visitor!

Thriving populations of bullfrogs are now found all over the world because people have imported and released them.  This has resulted in unwanted, noisy, and ecologically damaging American bullfrog populations.

What’s the problem?

  • Adults are carnivorous and feed ravinously.
  • They eat anything they can swallow, including native birds, invertebrates, mammals, fish, reptiles, frogs (even other bullfrogs), newts and salamanders.
  • Bullfrogs’ prey includes endangered species like painted turtles and economically important species like coho salmon.
  • Bullfrogs decimate native species through direct predation and competition for food resources.
  • On Pender there are few, if any, natural predators.
  • Native ecosystems are at risk, including riparian zones.

What’s the solution?

  • Humane removal of bullfrogs without disturbing other species.
  • Complete eradication on Pender may take 2-4 years, as existing tadpoles mature at varying rates.

What does it look like?

  • No pair of raised lines (dorso-lateral ridges) on it’s back.
  • Huge tadpoles; up to 10 cm.

What does it sound like?

  • Juveniles make a “meep” sound when startled.
  • Adult males make a very loud, sonorous basso profundo mating call that sounds like the distant roar of a bull.

Life Cycle (lifespan about 5 years)


  • Tadpoles, juveniles and adults sit at the bottom of lakes or ponds in a cold-induced torpor.


  • As water warms up, tadpoles and frogs emerge, and can be seen along pond margins and surface, and hopping around on land.


  • Major growth (and eating) period.
  • They grow up to 8″ (20 cm) long, *plus legs!* and 1.5 lbs (750 g).
  • Each adult female deposits up to 20,000 eggs in a jelly-like mass.
  • Tadpoles hatch from eggs; may take 2-4 years to mature.
  • Tadpoles and frogs are not preferred by potential predators.

Late Summer – Fall

  • Juveniles migrate to nearby ponds, spreading the population.

Success stories

  • Bullfrog eradication program on Vancouver Island has collected over 15,000 bullfrogs, and examined the stomach contents of over 5,400.
  • Numbers can be driven down to zero in 4 years or less.

How to help

For more information, or to volunteer  or contribute to the Bullfrog Eradication Project, please contact:

Dianne Allison  250 629-3372  or  Margaret Alpen  250 539-0848

Please make any donations payable to:

Pender Islands Farmer’s Institute, PO Box 38, Pender Island, BC, V0N 2M0 (Attn Bullfrog Eradication Project)

More Information:


With thanks to Stan Orchard and

June 26, 2011

Red Tree Opening

Filed under: Arts and Entertainment — Jocko @ 11:10 pm

A quick message to remind everyone to drop in on a showing of new works by local artists at the Red Tree Gallery, Hope Bay, starting this weekend.


June 16, 2011

Community stewardship awards announced

Filed under: Sustainable Living — Jocko @ 12:14 pm


From the Islands Trust:


The Islands Trust Council selected the recipients of the tenth annual Community Stewardship Awards today, during its quarterly meeting on Denman Island.

“These awards recognize individuals and groups for significant contributions towards preserving the community, culture or environment of an island,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Chair of the Islands Trust Council. “The award program is designed to promote the mandate of the Islands Trust by celebrating the dedicated people who have donated countless hours to enhancing the quality of life in the Trust Area.”

“Every year I am so impressed with the diverse nature of the work of the nominees and the quality of the projects in which they have been involved was outstanding,” said Malcolmson. “This year we had the pleasure of giving a special award for enduring achievement as well as one for work on climate change.”

In 2009, the Islands Trust added a new category to the Community Stewardship Award Program to recognize and encourage the actions of individuals and organizations that are working in the area of climate change.

The individual awards go to:

Sue Ellen Fast, Bowen Island, for community and conservation work; and Jane Wolverton, Galiano Island, for her work with the Galiano Food Program.

The group awards go to:

Hornby New Clinic Committee for planning, coordinating and building a new community medical clinic; and, Pender Island Fire Rescue Department for serving and protecting the Pender Islands.

The climate change award goes to Barry Mathias, Pender Islands, for the Car Stops Program.

A special enduring achievement award goes to Sara Steil, Pender Islands, for her community and conservation work.

The Community Stewardship Awards will be presented at local trust committee meetings later this year on the islands where the recipients live. Next year’s award nominations will open in March 2012.

To view the news release as a pdf file go here:  newsjun152011.pdf

May 29, 2011

Ferry fare increases contested

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:27 pm

An Open Letter From the Pender Island Chamber of Commerce:


Dear Hon. Christy Clark, Premier of the Province of British Columbia,

Our community of Pender Islands is home to about 2,500 permanent residents, but our part time population has increased tremendously and there are about 4,500 people here most weekends and all summer long. We are on the Southern Gulf Islands ferry system or Route 5 (Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Islands) and Route 9 (Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Islands). Tourism runs our island economy. Our businesses depend on tourism to produce sufficient income to justify their existence, which in turn provide a major source of employment to local residents and summer students. Over the past two years many of our local businesses have suffered a 40% decline in revenue.  We believe the ongoing increases in ferry fares and insufficient sailings have played a significant role in this alarming decline. Sailings are frequently overloaded on weekends and on many days in the summer, leaving local residents and tourists behind. This is a crushing blow to our island businesses.

Whether living on an island, or on the mainland of British Columbia, can citizens not expect fair and equal support from their government to provide basic services? A portion of provincial taxes from island tax payers goes towards building and maintaining the highways in our province, but islanders, when voicing a complaint, frequently hear the phrase “You chose to live on an island, so get over it!”  British Columbia is branded as “beautiful”, and its coastal islands, including Vancouver Island, play a major role in conveying this message to the world.  Citizens living on the mainland rightfully expect snow removal, new roads, maintenance of highways, and reasonable public transportation. All taxpayers in our province fund these programs, and island taxpayers expect that the same would apply to their only mode of transportation to and from their places of work and homes.

The general consensus among most islanders is that fair and equal treatment by our government is not being offered to support a basic service in the form of affordable transportation being provided by the BC Ferry Corporation. Why are our coastal waters not included as an extension of the BC highway system, and supported on an equal per kilometer basis? We also question why fourteen ferries in the BC interior are offering their services free to travellers? Why do you subsidize those routes 100% and ours is not even getting the 50% that you realized was required when you wrote the first contract?

A large amount of land on the Gulf Islands has been acquired by Parks Canada. Parks Canada – Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is actively inviting travellers to visit their parks on Pender Islands, part of their tourism attraction strategy, in their publications at Tourist Information Centres across Canada. Many potential visitors have called our local inns and bed and breakfasts to book accommodation, only to call back to cancel when they learn the high cost of the ferry fares, and the insufficient sailings from Tsawwassen.

•  In short we request that you review your subsidy to the BC Ferry Corporation, and provide at least the 50% that you approved for the Gulf Islands routes originally in your contract.

•  We are also greatly opposed to the elimination or Route 9 which BC Ferry Corporation has stated will be forthcoming if subsidies are not increased, as this move would be a major blow to the economy of Pender Islands.

•  We ask that the provincial government provide the capital funding to replace the present aging Route 9 ferry (Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands) as was done for the northern route, and reconsider the increase in fares which are threatening to eliminate travel to the Southern Gulf Islands.

As our new Premier, we are pleased to hear that you have asked us to be a partner in change and that we can count on you to listen. We anxiously await your reply.

BC Ferries Committee Pender Island Chamber of Commerce.
cc Hon. Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

Pender Island Chamber of Commerce
Local businesses working together to support and promote each other and Pender Island
Box 123, Pender Island, British Columbia    V0N 2M0 (250) 629-3988

To print out and sign a letter of petition, go to letter-to-bc-ferry-commission-re-price-caps.pdf (.pdf file)

Islands Trust Council Chair Sheila Malcolmson wrote to Minister Blair Lekstrom seeking lower ferry rates and changes to the Coastal Ferry Act.

To view the letter click here:  blairlekstrom.pdf

July 12, 2011 – BC Ferries’ Board Chair Donald Hayes issued a statement today on behalf of the Board of Directors in response to recent media stories concerning the compensation and pension arrangements of company President and CEO David Hahn.  View the press release here:  salarydefence.pdf

April 27, 2011

Brooks Point Completion

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 6:16 pm


Gowlland Point as seen from Brooks Point (photo by Jocko)

From the Pender Islands Conservancy Association:

We need your help to Complete Phase III of our Brooks Point Regional Park Reserve.

Phase III is the parcel of land lying between Brooks Point and Gowlland Point.  The Capital Regional District (CRD) is now holding a $1.65 million loan against this property.  The fund-raising will go towards paying the interest on this loan until the CRD is able to retire it, using future parkland acquisition funding.

Support from the community will play a key role in determining whether the Phase III Land will be a protected conservation area in its entirety or whether it will be subdivided and a part sold to cover the CRD loan.

The Pender Islands Conservancy Association (PICA) is leading this fund-raising campaign on Pender in support of The Land Conservancy of BC (TCL) which is coordinating province-wide fund-raising.  PICA’s goals are to:

1.  Retain the property in its entirety as a conservation area for inclusion in the Brooks Point Regional Park Reserve.

2.  Maintain the ecological values of the property in perpetuity.

Your donations will be much appreciated by all who want to protect and enjoy this unique ecological area.  Donations are tax-deductible.

Visit the PICA Booth at the Farmer’s Market and purchase a Brooks Point T-shirt, some nature cards, a fridge magnet, and learn about the special ecological features of Brooks Point.

Drop off donations to the Conservancy folder at the Pender Island Realty Office at the Driftwood Center or mail to PICA, Box 52, Pender Island, B.C.  V0N 2M0.  Make cheques payable to Pender Islands Conservancy Association.  Tax receipts issued.  Tax Reg.  No: 887 391 068  Please include your name, address, phone number and email address.

For more information about Brooks Point, visit the CRD website here.

February 12, 2011

Muses on proposed riperian and aquatic development permit areas

Filed under: Nature watch — Jocko @ 2:13 am

From the Blog “Salt Spring Folly”


Magic Lake

A Riperian Areas Regulation (RAR) draft bylaw (view here: rar-draft-bylaw.pdf – map.pdf ) is in the works on North Pender. [Public hearing on Bylaw 184 on the 26th at noon. Anglican church hall. Mice or menMayne time.]

The idea for a an RAR draft bylaw on North Pender goes back to 2006 but maps were poor and the work was delayed. Trust Council’s strategic agenda includes RAR adoption in every OCP as a primary goal. The North Pender LTC, obedient servants, designated RAR a top priority and work began in late 2009. Staff were directed. A consultant was hired.

North Pender is almost all private land. One cannot wander willy nilly across property. That would be criminal trespass. The consultant would need to ask permission to cross private property while tracing watercourses. An easy way out was needed.

For the full account, go here:  The smell of fish on North Pender

February 6, 2011

You’ve got to come and see this!

Filed under: Nautical bits — Jocko @ 1:06 pm

 From Bob Vergette:

Press Release:  Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit 20 Joint Exercise




Unit 20 SAR Vessel

On February 21 starting at 10:00 the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit 20 based on Pender Island will be holding a joint training exercise at Hope Bay.  Featured at the exercise will be the Canadian Coast Guard Hovercraft Penac.  The Penac and her sister ship the Siyay are stationed at a base in Richmond near the Vancouver Airport and conduct search and rescue operations throughout the southern Georgia Straits.  These 25 meter long hovercraft are unique in that they float over the water on a cushion of air.  The 3600 horsepower engines powering variable pitch propellers enable a maximum speed of 45 kts.  Also attending the exercise will be Auxiliary Unit 25 based on Saltspring Island.

Pender residents are invited to come out to Hope Bay and see Unit 20 putting their 400 hp Titan 249 XL response vessel through all manner of maneuvers with the Penac.  “Bring your camera – this is some thing you will not see too often!” say’s Dave Hargreaves, one of the four coxswain’s of the Pender Unit 20 and organizer of this joint training event.

After the exercise visitors are welcome to tour all the vessels at the dock and learn more about their rescue missions and capability.

The Pender Island based Auxiliary Unit 20 is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to provide marine search and rescue service and to promote public boating safety.  The Unit also supports land based search and rescue activities with shoreline search and transport.  In the last two years the Unit has been called out for over 40 search and rescue missions.

The Hope Bay Cafe will be open that Monday so everybody can watch this special occasion from a warm window seat. Come and have a breakfast or lunch while watching the highly trained Coast Guard and Auxiliaries put their vessels’ through their paces.

For more information contact Unit 20 Leader Elizabeth Wilkes at 629 3021.

February 4, 2011

BC ferry fares could skyrocket

Filed under: Services — Jocko @ 2:12 pm


From CBC News:

Ferry fares may be heading for a big increase unless the provincial government provides BC Ferries with a bigger subsidy.

Over the next four years, fare increases on major routes will go up 20 per cent and double on smaller routes, according to a plan submitted by the ferry corporation.

In an interview on Shaw TV on Thursday, BC Ferries CEO David Hahn said the projected rise in rates is “substantial” unless service is cut or the government provides a larger subsidy.

Read more: Fares could skyrocket

Transportation Minister responds

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