Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Lazy Post

I'm feeling too lazy to generate any original content today, so to commemorate Post #700 on this blog I'm going to steal from the best and bring you up to date on a number of things.

First off, Hayley Shephard's expedition around South Georgia Island is finally underway. She's had a rough start. An injury to a member of her support boat's crew almost scuttled the mission. Then she discovered that her kayak had been smashed up in transit. These delays required Hayley to change the date of her return flight, and that almost became another expedition ending issue. But the good news is that she has arrived at South Georgia and is five days into her journey. At last report she is making slow progress against strong winds. Check out her blog here.

Meanwhile Jake Stachovak is into day 88 of his Portage to Portage paddle along the entire east coast of the US. He's spent the last few days kayaking with manatees, and has some great pictures on his blog.

Helen Skelton, host of the BBC's children show Blue Peter, recently completed her 2,010 mile down the Amazon River from Natau, Peru to Almerim, Brazil, the first woman to make the journey. She set two world records on this trip -- the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman, and the longest solo journey by kayak. This second record seems rather dubious as others (Freya Hoffmeister and Paul Caffyn who each went around Australia come to mind right away) have paddled solo much longer distances, and the previous official record for the longest journey by canoe or kayak was apparently only 326.98 miles.
What isn't dubious is that it is still a great achievement and done for a good cause. Check out the BBC's coverage.

DSC01202Locally, a lot of press coverage has been given to the on-going debate concerning the Mega-Yacht Marina proposed for Victoria's Inner Harbour (our latest coverage is here), but there's another big land-use issue brewing on the west coast of the Vancouver Island in the area between Sooke and Jordan River. A couple of years ago Western Forest Products asked the BC Liberal government, through the office of then Forests Minister Rich Coleman, to allow it to remove land from three Vancouver Island Tree Farm Licences so that it could sell it for development. The Minister approved the request, no doubt delighting his brother who is an executive with Western Forests Products which will reap a windfall of $150 million on the sale of the land.
Some however weren't delighted, namely local residents, First Nations councils, local town councils and other stakeholders, none of whom were ever consulted. A 2008 Auditor General's report on the matter slammed the decision, saying, "Based on this evidence, I concluded that the removal of private land from TFLs 6, 19 and 25 was approved without sufficient regard for the public interest...I expect that such decisions will be thoroughly informed and that stakeholders will be consulted. In this case, the minister's decision was based on an incomplete analysis." Our pro-business provincial government continues to not give a damn on this issue and has refused to revisit the decision. And now it's getting down to crunch time as WFP finalizes its plans to sell the land.
Last night, Richard (Adventures on the Blue) attended a public information session on the matter and wrote a fine piece about it here. These are huge tracts of land whose development will drastically alter the Island's west coast. The Dogwood Initiative has more info here.

And finally, Sarah Palin is shopping around a reality TV show idea starring her family. Oh, is that the sound of the last of the four seals being cracked open I hear? You betcha!

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