Posts filed under ‘Victoria’s economy’

Adventures in personal lubricant

Don’t you hate when you finally find something long after you gave up looking for it? In this case it was an industrial size quantity of personal lubricant.

I worked on a TV movie called “Sorority Wars” a while back. One scene that took place in a nightclub called for a partygoer to barrel down a soapy slide into a pool of suds.


The foam party scene. Filmed at Sugar Night Club, Yates Street. I helped with some of the props and painted the big foam party sign.

The art director, wanting to ensure the stuntwoman didn’t end up with a head-to-toe rug burn declared that a vast stockpile of KY Jelly or similar product was essential and went about seeing if any Victoria drugstores carried lube in such quantities. I told him that I had no clue if it was sold by the jug although I confess that if I were aware you could buy bulk lube I probably would not have admitted it to the crew.

The search was fruitless, and he returned to set with a case of bubble bath, the next most agreeable substitute. The scene went as planned and the stunt went off without a hitch, after the stuntwoman determined that the run-up and slide would not actually be slippery enough to launch her straight over the pool into the stage Wile E. Coyote-style. You can see the finished scene here on YouTube by skipping to the 2:30 mark (safe for work–it’s not that type of movie).

Now, Nick Bergus alerts us to the fact that a massive drum of the slick product is available for sale at a reasonable cost, although the shipping would be killer.

One thing I learned working in movies is that if something is really needed, any reasonable effort will be made to get it. For example, I painted these plastic letters that were only on screen for a few seconds, seen from a distance. They were rushed to Victoria by float plane even though any local sign shop could have printed out a similar-looking banner for a fraction of the price.

So the moral is, always be inquisitive, as you never know when that knowledge will come in handy. And if you need a barrel of lube, try Amazon.

March 2, 2012 at 11:31 am 3 comments

Why I’m supporting Barry Hobbis for Victoria City Council

I’m endorsing Barry Hobbis for City Council. If you live in the City of Victoria you should check out what he has to say.

Continue Reading November 13, 2010 at 12:53 am 4 comments

Hudson Grand opening

I took a tour of the new Hudson heritage renovation yesterday. I wrote about it here.

City of Victoria heritage planner Steve Barber said the Hudson will “spark a rejuvenation of the Downtown core” and hoped that the Hudson will spur further work that will strengthen Downtown’s position as the centre of the region.

The Times-Colonist covers it here. Hey, how did I get in those photos? There’s some great city photos in that gallery, too.

A quick video tour of one of the corner loft suites follows:

September 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm 1 comment

Times Colonist: Pandora homeless troubles soar

Police say 24/7 patrols not feasible despite rise in crime on 900-block

By Katie DeRosa and Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist July 16, 2010

Problems stemming from homelessness and drug use in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue have dramatically worsened in the last five years, according to Victoria police statistics.

However, the department says it can’t justify the $1.2-million cost of having police there around the clock and said the problem has to be dealt with through housing and support.

read more

I witnessed yesterday’s Planning and Governance meeting at City Hall where Council went over the budget for next year and the five year plan*. The block is sucking away most police resources. The police budget already comprises a huge amount of the annual budget. Patrolling the 900 block Pandora costs thousands in police overtime wages but this is still more cost effective than hiring and training new officers.

I’ve said it before but the solution addiction, homelessness and crime is treatment and housing for those willing and able to get with the program and institutionalization or incarceration for those that can’t. The Federal and Provincial governments must continue to do their part.

*side note: Where was the Johnson Street Bridge in previous five year plans? Engineers knew for years it was unfixable. Did Council?

July 16, 2010 at 9:27 am Leave a comment

Vic News: Downtown plan being drafted

New vision for downtown

By Roszan Holmen – Victoria News
Published: June 22, 2010 9:00 AM
Updated: June 22, 2010 9:48 AM

The downtown is a great place to live, said Robert Randall, chair of the Downtown Residents’ Association.

“New shops are opening all the time and new residential buildings are coming online meaning more choices,” he wrote in an e-mail to the News.

“The challenges continue to be related to social issues and making sure problems aren’t simply displaced from one district to another,” he added.

“The loss of St. Andrew’s school and the Village Marketplace (on Pandora Avenue) remind us that when social problems are ignored and businesses falter it has the potential to create a dead zone that takes years to recover from.”

Buy-in from every department is a big concern, Randall added.

“For instance, is the engineering department looking at innovative solutions regarding sewage in Harris Green which is already at capacity? If this area is Victoria’s new high-density neighbourhood we need more than just dreaming from the planning department. Our half-billion dollar infrastructure deficit is a big roadblock to achieving these goals.”

June 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

TC: Drug use, camping spiralling out of control on Pandora, businesses and residents say

Article in Saturday’s Times Colonist about the problems on Pandora Avenue. People ask me what should be done (or what I would do).

“It’s like a cancer that grows. We are at that tipping point right now,” says Rob Randall, chairman of the Downtown Residents Association.

Victoria police Insp. Jamie Pearce, who heads the city’s focused enforcement team, says the 900-block of Pandora — bordered by Quadra Street and Vancouver Street — accounts for more of his officers’ time than any other area of the city.

He says drug arrests are made daily and people are regularly ticketed for things like public urination, but as far as camping on the grassy stretch in front of Our Place is concerned, their hands are tied.

“They’re allowed to be there,” says Pearce. “The appeal court has actually said that camping in parks is legal and they are allowed to do so and that is designated as a park area.”

Many of the problems on the street involve 20 to 25 individuals, a number of whom have been banned from Our Place yet continue to hang around in the area because it’s a focal point for street people. They’re well known to police and regularly cycle through the justice system, landing back on the street.

“It’s a very complex social issue,” Pearce says. “We’re talking mental health, addictions and homelessness issues that we’re dealing with at the crux of the issue. You’re not seeing this in any other part of town. Unfortunately, it’s now centralized.”

Randall is sympathetic to the police and agrees that in many respects they are caught between a rock and a hard place, but warns the 900-block of Pandora is dangerously close to being lost.

“I think there is a push to ghettoize it and make that the dumping ground for all the city’s social problems,” Randall says, adding a VIHA proposal to put a fixed needle exchange in the block, which was subsequently quashed, “would have been the last straw in writing off that whole neighbourhood.”

“The people who think that was merely NIMBY concerns are simply not understanding the issue and the dynamics of how a neighbourhood changes,” he says.

As it is, the combination of Our Place, the provincial Ministry of Housing and Social Development — which delivers income assistance — and a pharmacy dispensing methadone within the same block has the neighbourhood teetering on the brink of “total oblivion,” Randall says.

Read more

The most evil part of all this is that the more the City does to fix homelessness, the more the other levels of government offload their responsibilities.

In addition to more treatment and housing, we need a community court system so that criminal activity can be dealt with–instead of ignoring it. It will work here.

June 13, 2010 at 1:03 am 2 comments

New brew pub proposed in Rock Bay

My new article for Vibrant Victoria is up. Don and Bonnie Bradley are looking for a rezoning so they can sell their own beer at “The Moon Under Water”, their English-style pub on Bay Street:

Hoping to head off the rezoning headaches experienced when they investigated opening a pub in the old needle exchange building on Cormorant Street, the Bradleys searched for a location that had industrial zoning (including restaurant and brewery uses) close to Downtown’s border population. Unfortunately for them, in order to sell their own beer in the restaurant, a liquor primary license was also required, triggering the rezoning they hoped to avoid. Antiquated “Tied House” laws, drafted before the era of the neighbourhood brew pub and with national breweries in mind, have been the bane of the Victoria publican’s existence for generations, forcing pubs to sell competitors’ products unless special permission was granted.

Don and Bonnie vow to press on with their chosen location and are in the process of installing fireplaces, skylights, furniture and brewing equipment in the former Direct Buy location at 350-B Bay Street. Named “The Moon Under Water” after George Orwell’s article on the hypothetical ideal pub, the Bradley’s alehouse will be modeled after traditional English self-serve pubs.

Read more.

April 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm 2 comments

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