Fiona Vandale, a LA ROSA cover artist in the December 12, 1995 number of that occasional paper publication formerly published and edited by the present editor of this website (Gregory Hartnell, alias ‘Goyo de la Rosa’), has had another exquisite example of her startling work reproduced on the cover of the new Focus magazine, founded and edited by Leslie Campbell.

While three examples of Fiona’s work in LA ROSA NO. 31 were only reproduced on the cover and an inside two page spread in a purplish-blue ink, the August 2009 number of Focus has just the one full colour unattributed example of her work on the cover, with an explanatory note inside on the contents page.

Despite this oversight, Fiona’s work is instantly recognizable for its bright colouration, the intricacy of the detail, the careful linearity of the design and the distinctly Pacifican fusion of Celtic, ecological and Buddhist elements of symbolism.


‘Heron Catching Salmon’ shows a stylized bird with a perfect circular stomach in the middle of the design, the inside of which is swirling with spirals.

 The heron’s neck is decorated with Celtic interlace, as is the very intricate framework surrounding the whole.

 Three corners of the design are similar in treatment, but the fourth, whimsically, is a larger, out-of-scale Buddhist mandala.

 The heron has a stylized salmon with an exotic tail in its beak.  The bird’s wing feathers make up a large part of the design, with beautiful turquoise shades emphasizing the variegated watercolour technique, and deft touches of bright crimson at the tips of feathers.  

Bird and fish are placed within the Celtic interlace frame on a stark white background, only relieved somewhat by yet more interlace in two triangles in  the upper left and lower right corners.  

Heron Catching Salmon is certainly a masterpiece of  Fiona Vandale’s  mature  Celtic art and is well-suited on the cover of Focus, as the topic of endangered wild salmon is on the minds of many readers with ecological consciousness as salmon researcher Alexandra Morton passes her torch to others to fight the good fight for wild salmon.


Here is the relevant text on Fiona Vandale from Focus August 2009, Volume 21, Number 11, on pages 3 and 22:

ON THE COVER: ‘Heron Catching Salmon” by Fiona Vandale, 24 x 18 inches, watercolour on paper.

 You can visit Fiona and 21 other James Bay artists in their studios on the James Bay Art Walk, Labour Day weekend, September 5 and 6, 11 am – 5 pm. See story on page 22.

On page 22 we read: Focus’ cover this month is by one of the artists on the Walk.

Fiona Vandale has spent years studying Celtic design from earliest times, working to master its complex techniques and using them to develop her own interpretation – in watercolour – of the wildlife and colours of Vancouver Island.

“Celtic maze patterns describe the cyclic nature of life, death, and rebirth; we arrive at the end only to begin the journey anew,” says the artist, who turned to myth, history and art when drafting plans for subdivisions and roads lost its appeal.


The James Bay Art Walk takes place from 11 am – 5 pm on September 5 and 6.  

Complete details, with a map of the studios and artist bios are available at

Brochures are available in the James Bay neighbourhood.








The headlines in the July 29 [Times Colonist] paper on the front and business sections are interesting.

“B. C. Ferries put under province’s microscope,” says the front-page headline.

Maybe the taxpayers of this province should put the Liberals under the microscope.

I happen to be, as Paul Willcocks appropriately says in his column, one of those people who has been played for a sap.

I am ashamed to admit I voted Liberal in the last election.

As for the headline in the business section, “B. C. to ease HST blow to restaurants,” what does Finance Minister Colin Hansen have to say?

“The HST, in my view, is absolutely the right public policy for British Columbia.”

Misleading taxpayers would appear to be the public policy for the Liberal party these days.

Only three months ago the HST was not on their radar.

What hogwash!


John Bidlake



[CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist,

‘Headlines tell the story of Liberal dishonesty’

Friday, July 31, 2009, page A11]



BRENDA HARFIELD: ‘There was not any honesty, openness or public discussion regarding sale of B. C. Rail, missing emails + recently introduced HST’ by Gordon Campbell’s Liberals



Like many other B. C. citizens, I fretted to learn that less than 50 per cent of us exercised their right to vote.

But in light of the actions of our recently elected Liberal government, I’m likely to join the non-voters next time around.

Transparency and accountability are a joke.

It’s one omission and sleigh of hand after another.

It seems the decision voters make is about whose brand of lies you want to believe, hold your nose and vote … so why vote at all?

There was not any honesty, openness or public discussion regarding the sale of B. C. Rail, missing e-mails and the recently introduced HST.

The legislature sits as little as possible.

None of these issues, nor the ballooning size of the deficit, was openly and honestly shared with the public during the election campaign.


Brenda Harfield



[CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist,

‘HST the last straw for Liberal honesty’

Friday, July 31, 2009, page A11]


PAUL G. STEER: GORDO CAMPBELL’S Liberals ‘appear not to care about the poor, middle class or seniors who will now pay more taxes to help pay for the overruns for the Olympics’


Is there nothing that we, as residents of B. C., can do to change this dictatorship of a government?

The Liberals have subverted the intent of democracy by trying to install the harmonized sales tax without consultation with the people of this province.

Not only that, but they appear not to care about the poor, middle class or seniors who will now pay more taxes to help pay for the overruns for the Olympics and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The only reason this tax is to be installed is to help the government get out of debt at the expense of the taxpayers.

There must be some way to recall these officials – perhaps a class action suit regarding their falsehoods.


Paul G. Steer



[CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist,

‘Time to recall the Liberals?’

Friday, July 31, 2009, Page A11]


CHARLES WILLARD BATT: ‘The Hummingbird Man,’ R. I. P.

BATT, Charles Willard (Chas)

Passed away July 24, 2009.  

He was raised in Victoria, however a local personality of James Bay.

He was a self trained artist and trained as a carver by Tony Hunt in his younger days.

He was known as the Hummingbird Man, carving little humming birds to anyone passing by and local businessmen to hang in their stores.

He leaves to mourn his passing his son Glen, his sister Shirley Rivard, brother Doug (Ann) Zeigler Moch, his half brothers Al McKay (Helen), Ron Batt (Frances), half sisters Melanie Batt, Cindy (Jim) Christou, step-mother Mary Batt, step-brother Gary Batt, step sister Valeria (Alan) Gardiner.

His many cousins, nieces and nephews, his friends in greater Victoria and the James Bay community.

An informal memorial will be held at Clover Point, Dallas Rd., Sunday August 2, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.

No flowers please, donations in Mr. Batt’s name may be made to Canadian Diabetes Association, Lung Association or the Heart and Stroke Association.



CITY OF VICTORIA GUILTY OF HISTORICAL REVISIONISM: No mention of Johnson Street Bridge designer Joseph Strauss at ‘Blue Bridge’ section of City’s website


by Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition


As if further evidence weren’t already needed that the City of Victoria is headed in a distinctly creepy philistine direction, what with its lamentable decision to tear down and replace the Joseph Strauss-designed Johnson Street bascule bridge, I find to my utter incredulity that there is no mention whatsoever at the City’s official website of this great American engineer at all.

What is it about the illustrious history of this man who also designed San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge that the City Councillors and their benighted staff don’t want us to know about, I wonder?

If one goes to the City of Victoria website and clicks on ‘Blue Bridge,’ one is taken to a one page article entitled ‘FUTURE OF JOHNSON STREET BRIDGE.’

There we learn that the ‘Johnson Street Bridge was designed under the direction of Mr. F. M. Preston, a City engineer in 1920 and opened to the public in January 1924.’

This would lead one to believe that this Mr. Preston, a name previously unknown to this writer, was the man solely responsible for the project, which apparently took four years to complete.

A number of local architectural historians have asserted that American engineer Joseph Strauss is in fact the man mainly responsible for the design of the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria.

One wonders why this very important historical fact has been obscured, and why no tie-in to Strauss’ more well-known structure in San Francisco (the world famous Golden Gate Bridge) is not mentioned either?

Could it actually be the case that these philistines have made a conscious effort to revise or distort our architectural and engineering history in a foolish and futile attempt to somehow diminish this history and replace it with something as yet undefined in terms of design, construction time frames and ultimate costs?

Just asking…



[For a link to the City of Victoria’s page on the so-called ‘Blue Bridge,’ please refer to the comments section below.]

BILL CLEVERLEY: ‘VICTORIA’S PRELIMINARY BUDGET WILL BE DRAFTED WITH A 5.46 % PROPERTY TAX INCREASE’ IN 2010: ‘Further tax increases of more than 4% are projected in 2011, 2012 and 2013’

”’It’s unfortunate that we’re going to have to do a tax increase

and not be able to increase services,”

said Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin’


Victoria homeowners still smarting from this year’s tax bill are facing a property-tax increase of more than five per cent next year.

And that’s with a bare-bones budget.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re going to have to do a tax increase and not be able to increase services,” said Mayor Dean Fortin.

“It’s just hold the line.  

“It’s just because of inflation and wage increases that we have that increase.”

Victoria’s prelimary budget will be drafted with a 5.46 per cent property-tax increase, even though city departments have been directed to prepare core operating budgets with:

* no increase in full-time employees

* no new services or service increases

* a two per cent cap on non-salary inflationary increases

Committee members were told this week that a property-tax lift of 2.9 per cent is needed just to cover increases in salary and benefit costs for City and Police employees.

Further tax increases of more than four per cent are projected in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Corporate services committee chairman Coun. Geoff Young worries the projections aren’t sustainable.

“For me, the important thing is that [the increases] are 2.5% above the expected inflation [rate] and that to me indicates a fairly rapid increase in taxes and I don’t believe that can continue indefinitely.”

The projections are of particular concern because they don’t reflect any increase in the police budget, or meet Council’s objective of reducing the tax burden on businesses, said Young, adding Council is assuming responsibilities in too many areas.

“We want to be leaders in providing social services and leaders in providing housing, even though both of those areas are traditionally the responsibility of higher levels of government, and we also want to show leadership in areas like heritage preservation and green buildings, and all of those things come with price tags,” Young said.

“We have to remember, I think, our priorities, which are: water, garbage, police, fire, parks and doing those things well.”

Committee member John Luton said he, too, is concerned about the potential tax increase, but says the City has no choice but to pick up pieces other levels of government are letting slide.

“I’m concerned about it, but I’m also mindful of the problems that municipalities continue to face because other governments in their rush to cut taxes are also cutting services.

Somebody at the end of the food chain, like municipalities, [is] being forced to pick up the slack.”

Victoria taxpayers saw a tax increase of 4.8 per cent this year.


[CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist,

Bill Cleverley,

‘Five per cent tax hike predicted,’

Sunday, July 19, 2009, page A4]