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MLA Adam Olsen on the Recent Wet’suwet’en Swartz Bay Protest

This week I saw my riding grapple with mixed emotions to the protesters who blocked the Swartz Bay ferry terminal for two hours in what they said was an act of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who are opposed to the Coastal Gas Link pipeline currently being constructed in their territory. Living in this vibrant democracy is not easy. We all recognize the constitutionally protected right to protest, but when these acts of democratic engagement impact our daily lives, it can be hard to stand behind those foundational principles. Things are often easier in theory than in practice. But nothing worth doing ever does come easy. The very freedoms and rights we enjoy today as Canadians have not come easily and protecting them today requires every one of us to remain diligent and engaged. While I must defend the right for people to peacefully demonstrate it is also important to publicly encourage people to use tactics that advance the interests that they are…
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Fulford Vortex Proposal In Focus

With regard to the proposed Vortex development at the site of the former Fulford Inn (17 commercial guest accommodation units, a restaurant, and associated facilities), the public should be aware that the Local Trust Committee, in granting a variance to decrease septic setback distances from Soule Creek and Fulford Harbour, did not heed the recommendation of Trust staff. The staff report states: “Staff do not support this variance request and consider it to be contrary to Land Use Bylaw and OCP provisions for water quality protection.” Here is the rationale: “Adjacent to a fish-bearing stream. Adjacent to a sensitive estuarine ecosystem. Projected to be subject to climate change-induced flooding. Presence of recorded archaeological site.” Trust bylaw regulations require a minimum setback of 30 metres – a safety margin based on scientific research. The variance now allows a setback of just 10 metres from Soule Creek and 26 metres from the harbour. The CRD’s Coastal Sea …
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 November

Vision A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 54 calls for assistance in November. Operations As part of our ongoing community education and outreach SSIFR hosted the 1st series of Salt Spring Island Emergency Resiliency Training (SSERT) for the community organized by the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program.  The first session was a great success with over 20 community members partaking in four nights of resiliency training.  The skills they learned will help them and our community be better prepared for emergencies.  The next series of SSERT will be held in December and registration is already full.  With the success and interest from the community there will be future SSERT classes offered thanks to the support of the Salt Spring Island Em…
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The Personal is Political: A Critique of Bylaw 512

There was a time on Salt Spring Island, twenty years or so ago, when cottages were just that—cottages…with no “seasonal” qualifier. I don’t know when the seasonal restriction was imposed on Salt Spring Island cottages, or why. The six staff reports on the proposed bylaw 512 (a bylaw which would remove the “seasonal” qualifier from a handful of cottages in hopes of increasing the number of affordable rentals) that were written between 2017 and 2019—on our tax dime—do not address why the “seasonal” qualifier was added to cottages in the first place, or when. Perhaps it happened during the process of drafting the Official Community Plan in 2008—in any case, at some point in the last twenty years, our Local Trust Committee and planning staff decided that cottages should seasonally restricted, and that year-round cottage living be prohibited. As a relative newcomer, I still shake my head in disbelief at the maze of prohibitions that pass for local governance on this beautiful isl…
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Grad Rates Improve in the Gulf Islands

The Six-Year Completion Rate for BC residents, often referred to as the “grad rate”, increased and approached the BC average in June 2019. The percentage of Gulf Islands School District students graduating in six years from their grade 8 to 12 program jumped from 74.2% for the previous year to 82.7%, the 4th largest increase in the province. The results were confirmed by BC’s Ministry of Education in December 2019. "Focused work by teachers and staff have contributed to this accomplishment,” stated Scott Benwell, Gulf Islands’ Superintendent of Schools. "This is one important indicator of the work we do as a public school system to ensure students have equitable and meaningful options for success when they graduate. Achieving results and improvement like this takes effort from all and it is heartening to see that more of our students walked the stage with dignity, purpose, and options. While this is a positive gain, we know that our continued work on behalf of students wi…
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Alert: Wet’suwet’en Blockade Against Coastal GasLink Blocks Swartz Bay Ferry Traffic - 2020 January 20 - 7:35 AM

UPDATE: Posted Monday, January 20, 2020 - Update as of 9:00 AM: Please be advised that traffic access to the Swartz Bay terminal has been restored and all sailings to and from the terminal have resumed. Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): Victoria (Swartz Bay) - Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour); Victoria (Swartz Bay) - Southern Gulf Islands and Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay) UPDATE: Traffic is now flowing to the terminal, and all vessels departing the terminal will be delayed until the traffic on the highway has cleared. This includes the Fulford Harbour - Swartz Bay ferry. Expect delays this morning and possibly into early afternoon. A blockade in support of Wet’suwet’en against Coastal GasLink has reportedly prevented traffic on Highway 17 from getting to the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. At this time all ferry traffic in and out of Swartz Bay, including Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island ferry t…
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Notice: Alternative Approval Process for Regional Housing First Program

Alternative Approval Process for Bylaw 4326 and 4327, Regional Housing First Program - The Capital Regional District ("CRD") Board proposes to adopt Bylaw No. 4326 “Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking Service Establishment Bylaw No. 1, 2010, Amendment Bylaw No. 1, 2019” to remove the limitations to borrowing and Bylaw No. 4327, “Regional Housing First Program Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 1, 2019” to authorize the borrowing of an additional ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for the Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking Service. The intent of Bylaws No. 4326 and 4327 is to extend the Regional Housing First Program for a total contribution of $120M, with the intention of meeting the original program goal of 400 units of affordable housing. Adoption of both bylaws is required in order to receive $10M in matching funds from BC Housing. Elector Approval The CRD may proceed with Bylaws No. 4326 and 4327 with the consent of 2/3rds of service participants, or at least 11 of …
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New Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy

The Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) announces three new Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy - Salt Spring Island’s Community Economic Commission (CEDC) is announcing three new initiatives to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Piloting in mid-2020 will be the development of a commercial distribution and export hub providing local food and beverage producers, artisans and craftspeople, along with health and wellness fabricators, the opportunity to share the cost of services and/or resources needed to grow and sustain their operations. Through the initiative local producers will have access to dedicated marketing and sales agents; shared labour force resources, and a value chain designed to facilitate more efficient production of supplies. The second initiative is the planning of an Innovation Centre for Rural Sustainability to help foster an environment appropriate for testing and scaling innovative green business soluti…
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Alert: All Salt Spring Ferries Cancelled Due to Adverse Weather - January 15th, 2020 - 3:39 PM

Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): - Victoria (Swartz Bay) - Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour) Update as of 3:39 pm: Please be advised that the Queen of Cumberland has cancelled the following sailings due to adverse weather conditions - high winds: 5:50 pm departing Fulford Harbour 7:00 departing Swartz Bay 7:50 departing Fulford Harbour 9:00 departing Swartz Bay Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): - Crofton - Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) Update as of 3:20 pm: Please be advised that the MV Quinitsa has cancelled the following sailings due to adverse weather conditions. 6:45 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 7:20 pm departing Crofton 8:00 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 8:30 pm departing Crofton 9:30 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 10:00 pm departing Crofton Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): - Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Southern Gulf Islands Update as of 2:00 pm: Please be advised that…
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