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Housing projects are moving ahead on Salt Spring Island

It feels good to be able to publish those words. Minister David Eby, BC Housing and the Capital Regional District announced a partnership to develop a project that includes permanent individual supported housing and shelter spaces on a CRD owned site located on Drake Road. The project will be managed by Salt Spring Community Services. Tension has been increasing on the Island since last Fall when the Seabreeze Motel was listed for sale. Rooms at the motel were leased as part of a temporary housing initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With housing in short supply there was fear that the tenants would potentially be displaced with the sale. Last summer Rob Grant, Executive Director of Salt Spring Community Services, raised this situation with CRD Director Gary Holman and me. We met several times in the ensuing months with senior staff and management at BC Housing, as well as Minister Eby, and proposed that the motel be purchased and renovated to provide perma…
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Pruning, weeding, thinking about starting seeds

Only last week I woke up to the fact that it IS January and that there ARE gardening tasks to get on with as the days get longer and the new season picks up speed. Snowdrops and other spring bulbs were already emerging and showing buds as the snow receded. February is a tricky month, often with at least one Arctic outbreak, so it is likely we haven’t seen the last of cold and snow, but with a spell of dry, mild weather forecast, there are a few things to do outdoors now. By now you have had a chance to see what plants survived the brutal cold spell in late December. While the summer broccoli that was still producing in my garden before Christmas is now green mush, I was happy to see how well winter broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and hardy cabbage came through (some had tarps over them, others did not, but both groups have survived). The oldest leaves of winter broccoli and cauliflower may be dead from cold injury, but as long as new leaves look crisp and alive, t…
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Permanent homes, shelter spaces coming to Drake Road on Salt Spring Island

The Province, through BC Housing, has partnered with the Capital Regional District to create new independent housing with supports and shelter spaces on Salt Spring Island. "This new project will provide permanent safe and secure housing with supports to vulnerable members of the Salt Spring community who have struggled to find a place to live," said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "This successful collaboration between BC Housing, Capital Regional District, Islands Trust, Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, and Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society shows what we can accomplish when we work together. This outcome means health-care workers have a place to live on the island, and the most vulnerable residents of Salt Spring also have a home. I'm very grateful to everyone who helped us get to this positive outcome." Located at 161 Drake Rd., the new housing project will provide up to 28 new permanent homes with support…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Looking Ahead, the abattoir, housing and more

Thirteen gathered via Zoom to welcome CRD’s Gary Holman and to discuss those issues that matter most to us. After the Territorial Acknowledgement, we began with a brief discussion of Gary’s Looking Ahead article in the Driftwood. (Copy at the end of this report.) We learned more about progress with the long planned composting project. It is designed to initially focus on green waste from large users, like Country Grocer and our local abattoir. Its location at the large Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Burgoyne Valley Farm is ideal because rezoning will not be required if the materials generated are sold to farmers on the site. (A number of these farmers are already buying compost from other sources.) Over time, the composting facility can accept green waste from a broader range of businesses and households. With Islands Trust approval, compost can also be sold off site, including to retail outlets, such as Country Grocer, which are already selling commercially-packaged compos…
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Salt Spring Insights public opinion panel launched on Salt Spring Island

First survey of Salt Spring Insights Panel will ask about the Fire Department - It has sometimes been said that Salt Spring is an argument surrounded by water. Well, a new venture called Salt Spring Insights has been created to raise the level of conversations here and offer a clearer picture of local opinion on Salt Spring topics. A survey panel of Salt Spring Island residents is being created to provide a reliable, accurate picture of opinions. Salt Spring Insights is an online public opinion forum, created by two local companies, Return On Insight, a market research consultancy, and Marketworks, a digital media company, which want to enhance the quality of conversations taking place in our community, providing a safe, respectful space to express opinions and to share insights that encourage better decision making. Salt Spring Insights is now inviting people to sign up to become panel members. Once signed up, they will receive regular invitations to participate in surve…
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Island Health adjusting services to strengthen patient safety

Island Health has implemented several temporary service adjustments to strengthen patient care during Omicron-related COVID-19 staffing challenges. “Omicron-driven COVID-19 staffing challenges significantly impact the ability of Island Health staff and medical staff to provide safe, quality care for those whom we are responsible to support. While temporarily pausing or changing services has a real impact on those who have to wait longer for care, we recognize it is necessary at this most extraordinary time,” said Kathy MacNeil, Island Health president and CEO. Service adjustments include: Surgery and Ambulatory Care: · Elective, scheduled surgeries were postponed at the majority of hospitals in early January, and will continue to be postponed until the end of the month at our three largest sites (Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital) while remaining sites begin restarting where staffing levels support. The re…
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Salt Spring RCMP Community Report - 2021, 4th Quarter and Year-End Statistics

As of December 31, 2021, Salt Spring Island RCMP responded to 2,948 calls throughout the year, averaging 8 calls per day. This is a decrease of 30 calls from the 2020 call volume which totalled 2,978 calls for that year. Of the near-3,000 calls this year, there were 520 mental health-related files, 505 traffic-related complaints, and 112 calls to Centennial Park and the downtown area. Dozens of sex-related offences were reported to SSI RCMP; an additional 56 calls involved COVID-19 and/or Provincial Health Orders and enforcement. 122 motor vehicle collisions were reported and Police responded to 40 firearms-related offences. Over the course of the year, Police conducted over 1,300 foot patrols in the Centennial Park and downtown areas. Police also gave presentations at some of our local schools and participated in various community events. In the 4th quarter of 2021, there were 684 calls for service between October 1 and December 31; in addition to the near-700 calls for …
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA, Adam Olsen on healthcare shortages, two-tier health, governance and more

Twenty gathered via Zoom to welcome our MLA, Adam Olsen. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, Adam took a few minutes to share his personal resolution to seek positive things, never forgetting how lucky we are to live in these islands of beautiful British Columbia. He also acknowledged ASK Salt Spring for the regular opportunity it offers him to look deeply at the issues that matter most to us. Adam sees his top 2022 challenges to be in the continuing housing crisis; Indigenous rights; and concerns about local, provincial, federal, and global political climates. These challenges are exacerbated by COVID and severe climate changes, threatening our health, mental health, security, and fragile infrastructures. The first question explored our healthcare system, asking Adam whether it is better under NDP leadership. Specifically, Is progress being made addressing the shortage of doctors (approximately 700,000 British Columbians do not have primary care physicians) and oth…
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