A GRAB BAG for the first weekend of spring:
• There has been a certain amount of chortling/eyerolling — it depends on where your sense of humour is at — about the mysterious appearance of a bunch of fake memorial plaques on benches (and portapotties) around Greater Victoria.
Actually, they’re stickers, not plaques, and they have been found around B.C., from Vernon to Whistler to Ladner, over the past couple of months. And we can only assume they’re fake, since they read “In loving memory of Jack Schitt/He was an Asshole, but he was a funny Asshole.”
They include a QR code that links to a Facebook site on which are posted photos of the stickers in a variety of locations, including the Government House gardens, Saanich’s Cedar Hill golf course, outside Cold Comfort Ice Cream in Fernwood and at a variety of spots around the Inner Harbour.
It would be nice to know the genesis of the campaign, since the intro on the Facebook page hints that while Jack Schitt might not be a real name, he might have been a real person: “Jack was a shining light of humour in this dark and overly serious world. Welcome to his tribute.” Alas, a Facebook message to whoever is behind the effort did not prompt a reply.
Some people aren’t happy about the stickers, though they’re probably not as miffed as those people who paid municipalities what they thought were one-time charges for commemorative benches or planters, only to see municipalities rewrite the rules a few years ago to put time limits on the memorials.
• Paul Servos, the owner of Victoria’s Flag Shop, isn’t a fan of the way the maple leaf has been co-opted by horn-honkers protesting pandemic measures.
He has even begun closing his store on Saturdays to avoid serving convoy protesters who want to use the maple leaf outside the legislature. (He says one guy asked how much the store would charge to make an upside-down flag. “I told him it would be double.”)
It pains him to see the way the maple leaf has become identified with the protesters, to the point that others no longer want to fly it for fear of being lumped in with them. “We have had dozens of people come in and say they won’t put a flag up.”
Store staff were left wondering how to show their displeasure in a way that wouldn’t further inflame the situation. “We were trying to find a way to politely poke fun at these guys.”
What they came up with was a design that incorporates the Canadian and B.C. flags and the quote John Horgan directed at convoy protesters: “Goodness me, get a hobby.” The banner depicts the store’s artist’s cat, Lulu, doing just that, taking up knitting as a hobby and fashioning a Canadian flag. (Lulu, by the way, has her own Instagram account: @lulubattlecat.)
Staff made just a handful of the flags, sending one to the premier and another to VicPD Chief Del Manak as a sign of support.
It was meant as a good-natured gesture, but Servos really is bothered by the appropriation of the maple leaf. “We need to take the meaning of the flag back.”
• More than one local municipality must be squirming as B.C.’s housing minister, David Eby, eyes legislation that would let the province override councils deemed not to be pulling their weight when it comes to approving new-home construction.
On Friday, the TC’s Andrew Duffy detailed Eby’s discontent with Oak Bay, which rejected a 14-unit housing project last week and saw just 27 housing starts last year.
The thing is, if a council can’t control zoning, why does it exist at all? The greatest argument against municipal amalgamation in Greater Victoria is that it would rob communities of their ability to define their character by controlling development.
Metchosin has been aggressively rural forever, even as its fast-growing neighbours have crowded its borders (remember the legendary headline: “Many are Colwood, but few Metchosin”).
Don’t forget that Costco only built in Langford because both Central Saanich and Sidney rejected it. In leafy North Saanich, just the question of whether to include housing when reviewing the official community plan has been controversial. Saanich has long had an urban containment boundary.
Can that be reconciled with the housing crisis?
• It has now been more than a year since someone busted a bronze bust of the Queen in Beacon Hill Park. Whoever did it gave her the Marie Antoinette treatment. Her noggin is nowhere to be found.
I therefore remind readers of the reward I offered at the time: a jar of my wife’s dill pickles for the return of Her Majesty, no questions asked.