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Jack Knox: Deer and gardens, cycling and a billionaire's indulgence

Jun 26 2012

Right, time to follow up on some earlier columns, starting with our old friend Buck the deer -

? Wacky thing: They encourage us to grow our own food, yet won't let us build fences high enough to keep Buck out of the garden. This might not be an issue in those parts of B.C. where marauding deer are dealt with via bylaw .303 - or, failing that, bylaw thirtyought-six - but is more of a conundrum in a region where Bambi roams as unmolested as the sacred cows of India.

This is what Saanich's Mark Reuten and Pat Coppard (in the interest of full disclosure: she works at the Times Colonist) discovered when the municipality told them to cut the height of the 7.5-foot-tall deer mesh with which they fenced off the apple trees, veggies and berries in their Clovelly Terrace front garden (shade from Garry oaks precludes growing in the back).

It seems a neighbour complained that the deer mesh contravenes a bylaw that says front fences may stand no higher than 4.9 feet - a height that wouldn't keep out a determined bunny, let alone your garden-variety deer.

When the couple argued that this contradicts Saanich's food-sustainability stance, they were told that yes, staff had been directed to look at easing the restrictions on deer fencing, but had yet to report back to council. The couple were told they could appeal to the board of variance - a process that would cost $200, win or lose, wiping out the value of the garden produce.

Coun. Dean Murdock says the bylaw, like the old ban on backyard chickens and covenants that prohibited outdoor clotheslines, needs to be revisited. "It's a product of a different era." Better, he says, to come up with rules that protect both gardens and the character of a neighbourhood.

As it stands, though, Saanich must enforce its existing bylaw, he says.

The couple have until next week to comply.

? Sunday's profile of Ryder Hesjedal mentioned that the Victoria cyclist was only the second non-European to win the 95-year-old Giro d'Italia, the other being Andy Hampsten of the U.S. in 1988.

That led Andy's brother Stephen Hampsten to write with news of a Victoria connection.

It seems the brothers lived here as pre-schoolers from 1963-66 while their father taught at UVic. "We have fond memories of our Cadboro Bay neighbourhood and the beach nearby," he wrote.

"Victoria was followed, for us, by a move to North Dakota, which may have made us the hard men we are today but at the price of growing up in one of North America's prettiest cities.

Every time I get up to Victoria from my current home town of Seattle it is with a slight pang of regret for what could have been."

The brothers are now bike-makers, founding Seattle's Hampsten Cycles in 1999.

The moral of the story is that if you're a North American cyclist with aspirations of winning the Giro d'Italia, you had better live in Victoria at some point.

? Hesjedal is a Belmont Secondary grad. So are Adam Todd and Shauna Kirby, who with 14 others completed a 1,600-kilometre ride from Victoria to San Francisco on Friday.

The remarkable thing, writes Shauna's mother, Diane Kirby, is that the ride was led by Adam's dad, Alf Todd, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007.

It was the fourth time Alf has made the trip. He first did so with his eldest son, Aaron, in 1987. He repeated the journey with 10-year-old Adam four years later, then with daughter Cindy in 2001.

This year's group, known as Parky's Peddlers, raised money for Parkinson's research and support.

? This month we learned U.S. billionaire Craig McCaw had put James Island, his downtown-Victoria-sized private ecoretreat east of the Saanich Peninsula, for sale for $75 million.

Seems he also just paid a world-record price for a car.

Eagle-eyed reader Jeremy Why came across a Bloomberg news report detailing McCaw's $35million purchase of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO built for Stirling Moss.

McCaw bought the car from a Dutch-born businessman.

Don't go looking for it on James Island, though: Internal-combustion vehicles are all but banned on its leafy lanes, shunned in favour of golf carts and electric cars.

jknox@timescolonist.com

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