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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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Prepare for heavy rain combined with snowmelt

The Province is urging British Columbians to prepare as Environment and Climate Change Canada advises that substantial rain, with snow at higher elevations, is expected for coastal B.C. throughout this week. Heavy rain is expected for coastal areas including east and west Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, inland Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. A wind warning is in effect for the central coast - coastal sections, Haida Gwaii, North Coast – coastal sections, and North Vancouver Island. The River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for: Howe Sound; Sunshine Coast; Sea-to-Sky; North Shore Mountains; Metro Vancouver; Fraser Valley, including the Chilliwack River and surrounding tributaries; and Vancouver Island (North, East, South, West, and Central). The rainfall expected this week, combined with the melting of recent snow, is a concern. Rivers are expected to rise, resulting in possible flooding. Previously flooded ar…
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Potential BC Ferries service interruptions due to crew shortages

Like many other transportation providers, BC Ferries is anticipating that a combination of issues may result in unplanned service disruptions on all routes, and particularly on inter-island routes, over the coming months. There is no single factor driving service interruptions. It is a combination including the Omicron variant's potential to impact employee wellness, regular cold and flu season, severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff. Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual's qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work. Regulations require these positions to be filled with the appropriate crew, or the vessel cannot sail. Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if…
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