After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular paint nights are back in the Cowichan Valley and on Vancouver Island.
Tyler Bate and his wife Ginja ran the franchise Paint Nite Vancouver Island from 2015 to 2020, but have recently launched their own local company called Island Art Night.
In a nutshell, Bate said the couple brings art supplies to various venues; like pubs, restaurants, school gyms and people’s homes and sets up everything needed for people to paint along with a host artist at each event.
He said the host artist leads the group step-by-step in how to create the “art of the night”.
“It’s more of a party than a class, and we encourage people to relax into it with fun music, food and drinks if they choose,” Bate said.
“Zero previous painting experience necessary. We are back at the Mill Pizza and Grill on Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.”
Tickets are $45 each and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/island-art-night-27521590953.
The website also contains information about other upcoming Island Art Night events.
Data from Economic Development Cowichan’s second edition of its State of the Cowichan Economy report shows changes in the local labour force, including a rise in working from home, and a higher proportion of jobs in health care and construction, while retail, accommodation and food services saw declines.
EDC’s series highlights the latest data and economic trends for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and is published twice a year.
In this report, EDC highlights more Census 2021 data, as well as information on the living wage, job vacancy rates, and house prices.
“We’re also starting to see the housing market cool, with benchmark prices now three per cent lower than the same time last year, but still 67 per cent higher than five years ago,” said Barry O’Riordan, manager of EDC.
“The link between housing and the labour market is of particular interest to us. This report shows a continued labour shortage in our region. That coupled with an insufficient supply of affordable housing means many prospective workers are struggling to find suitable places to live in Cowichan. In response, EDC has launched a Workforce Housing Strategy project aimed at developing solutions to the housing crisis as it relates to employment.”
EDC’s reports are available on its website at ecdevcowichan.com.
Employees of Duncan’s Lombard Pre-Cast ratified a three-year collective agreement providing them with wage increases and other improvements.
The 25 employees are represented by Construction and Allied Workers Union, CLAC Local 68.
The new contract provides employees with a 6.6 per cent wage increase retroactive to Nov. 1, 2022, followed by 3.5 per cent wage increases in years two and three, wage market adjustments, and the creation of new classifications.
Other improvements include the creation of a $250 fitness account, increases to designated and back-up first aid premiums, better training and experience for back-up machine operators and a new $1 per hour premium for those positions, and more inclusive personal protective equipment provisions for probationary employees.
In addition, unused illness and injury days can be paid out or contributed to the employees’ RSP plan.
“The union bargaining committee did a great job determining the many varied needs of the membership,” says Chas Herrod, CLAC representative.
“We’re pleased with the outcome of negotiations, especially needed wage improvements to help offset members’ rising cost of living in these inflationary times.”
The Cowichan Valley Regional District and Fisher Road Recycling recently worked together to significantly reduce the amount of material destined for landfill when the old auditorium seats from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre reached their end of life.
The auditorium seating in the CPAC was replaced over the holiday season, installing new seats that include armrest cup holders for the newly fully-licenced venue.
The old seats had been original to the theatre’s opening in 1978.
The CVRD arts and culture division was awarded a grant in 2021 through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program that made replacing the seats possible, as well as other forthcoming renovations to the venue scheduled for July, 2023.
Fisher Road Recycling was contracted to dismantle the various theatre seat components to minimize landfill waste.
With resources and knowledge to maximize material reuse and collaboration with various recyclers on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, Fisher Road Recycling was able to dismantle the 731 seats, and divert the wood, metal, plastic and foam components from becoming landfill waste.
“The only part of the seats that may get land filled is the fabric seat cover, although we are working on a solution for it,” said Spencer Atkinson, manager at Fisher Road Recycling.
“We are happy to be able to provide solutions to a recycling challenge, and helping our communities keep material out of landfills whenever possible.”
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