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Supporting Local Tourism and Ten Tips for Responsible Travel

Last week, the Province announced moving into Phase 3, the biggest change is encouraging travel throughout our Province. In June, we saw an uptick in visitors, and even more so when the announcement came last week. From conversations with shop owners, visitor centre staff and volunteers as well as personal interactions, most visitors are concerned about being welcomed, about minimizing their impact while they are here, and are excited to support the local businesses. I would like to remind everyone that patience and kindness need to be at the forefront right now. Our island businesses have taken a really hard hit over the last four months in an effort to keep their staff, customers and community members safe. Our local businesses are demonstrating a high level of diligence to health & safety practices while trying to stay afloat. Island businesses also need our community to step-up and welcome visitors who were respectful and stayed in their own communities until the …
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Carrot Day, Winter Planting Schedules and Fruit Thinning

It’s nearly here! Carrot day, which in my garden, is July 1st (sadly, not being celebrated with the usual fireworks this year due to COVID-19). But long time readers will know that the first week of July is when to sow the last bed of carrots, beets and rutabagas for winter harvests. This gives the plants enough time to mature by the end of October when growth essentially stops. Of course carrots, etc. sown before this can also overwinter, but roots from an early spring sowing might be over-mature and rather woody by late fall. Also due to be planted this week or next: endives, radicchio and kohlrabi. And if you want to add more Swiss chard to your garden, do it by early July. Chard sown earlier this spring provides winter harvests too, but you will need more plants to ensure a good supply of leaves in the winter, when plants are not growing new leaves. I figure I need at least 4 times more chard plants for winter picking as I do for summer picking, This is when I also sow t…
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Watch: Gulf Islands Secondary Celebrates Safe Grad 2020 with Country Grocer

Of all the news stories done, this video is for the Grads of 2020, their parents, The Safe Grad Committee, and all of us who are so proud of these young folk. It all began with the glitch of COVID-19. The Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) Grads wanted to get together to see each other in their grad finery and bid farewell. The parents on the Safe Grad Committee were trying to organize various events but kept coming up against Covid guidelines. Then the light bulb went off. Shopping is OK, and all the precautions are in place at Country Grocer. This video is a glimpse at the evening that saw 80 GISS Grads shop for the local Food Bank. It's a Win Win. Congratulations to the Grads of 2020. https://youtu.be/peZsMdYe0PQ
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Trust Council Asks Travelers and Locals to Continue COVID-19 Measures

BC's Restart Plan has entered Phase 3, allowing people to participate in smart and safe travel within BC, including the Islands Trust Area, which includes the Gulf and Howe Sound Islands. As the Province moves into this new phase and heads into the July long weekend, the Islands Trust Council reminds visitors and island residents to continue using COVID-19 prevention measures to protect themselves and others. If you are sick, stay home. Please wash your hands often, practice physical distancing, wear masks when distancing isn’t possible, and minimize community interactions, as recommended by our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the BC Centre for Disease Control. “Everyone needs to be respectful, safe, smart and use extra caution when they travel, including Island residents who go on and off the islands,” shared Peter Luckham, Chair of the Islands Trust Council. “Until a vaccine is available, we will continue to be cautious and safe to avoid a COVID-19 outb…
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BC Green Caucus Advocates for Rebuilding With Cleaner, Green Economy

After nearly four-months away the British Columbia Legislative Assembly will finally resume. MLA’s will sit for eight weeks through July and August. British Columbia has been widely recognized for our collective handling of the pandemic. Our public health professionals, civil service and politicians have all been focussed on addressing the emergency as best as possible. Our response and the result have been remarkable. As we begin the economic recovery there are critical choices that must be made. Are we going to rebuild the economy of the last century? Or, are we going to build a cleaner, greener, more resilient economy of the future? With this key question in mind, the BC Green Caucus has been working closely with the provincial government to encourage them to invest in the latter. We recognize the investments coming out of the pandemic will set the direction for the coming decades. B.C. has the opportunity to be a climate leader, make strategic investments and build…
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Salt Spring Island Foundation Announces Additional COVID-19 Emergency Fund Grants

The Salt Spring Island Foundation has made four more grants to local charities from its COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund. The fund has reached almost $202,000 and distributed $148,000, including $61,550 in food cards, to support community needs. The food card program, made possible through the generosity of Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store, has benefitted many community members experiencing the economic impact of COVID-19. One local artisan, market vendor and single parent says, “The Saturday Market is my main income for the year. It sustains me to March, right when COVID hit. I had been running on empty and have been hustling to make ends meet. Groceries are the biggest expense. The grocery cards gave me almost a physical relief from stress and worry." Other major donations to the fund have come from the Foundation, Island Savings and the CRD, in addition to many individual donors. Recent emergency grants include: $12,562 to SSI Com…
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Island Researchers Offer Timely and Defensible Knowledge

Every response to a large-scale disaster presents a window of opportunity to create profound change.   What are the opportunities for Islands Trust?  Our community has a renewed appetite for planning the community – they want a community and an economy that can be resilient to shocks, like pandemics or storms. Decades of poor resource management are manifesting themselves in declining fish populations, fragmentation of forest ecosystems, and loss of species diversity and habitat.  There are growing frustrations with land use planning and regulatory systems – not just ours but throughout the various levels of government. I believe it is time to clearly embrace the other powerful words in the Trust’s objective – “in cooperation with.” We need to work with residents, other partners and First Nations to protect our ecosystems, and to sustain this generation and those of the future. We have to help our island communities become more resilient in the times that lie ahead. In…
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Salt Spring Comes Together in Solidarity with Black, Indigenous and People of Colour

Over 250 Salt Spring Island community members gathered this afternoon in a call to action confronting racism in our community and within each of us individually. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) Community Collective Organizers shared stories of violence and discrimination experienced both personally, across the United States and here in Canada asking that we all actively stand with BIPOC people to create a more equitable and just society. In a gathering that was graceful, fierce, somber and celebratory, organizers called for education, awareness and actions of support in honour of the countless Black, Indigenous and People of Colour who have been murdered, killed or harmed in racially motivated acts of violence. Speakers called for community members to take responsibility for BIPOC equality and to be active participants in anti-racism action. The event was an opportunity to come together to show support and love for fellow BIPOC community on these Coast S…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Implements Transport Canada’s Face Coverings Requirement Today

Effective today, passengers travelling with BC Ferries will be required to be in possession of a face covering that covers their mouth and nose, and asked to wear this covering in situations when a physical separation of two metres cannot be maintained. This Transport Canada directive applies to all passengers over the age of two, including those passengers travelling in a vehicle. On sailings longer than 30 minutes, passengers will be asked to confirm they have a face covering and are willing to wear it when necessary. If a passenger answers ‘no’, or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel. For routes under 30 minutes, BC Ferries requests customers possess a face covering to wear if they cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing. On all routes, BC Ferries requests customers remain in their vehicle for the entire sailing if possible. Customers must also bring their own face coverings as BC Ferries will not be supplying them to travellers. As defined by the…
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Islanders Working to Create a Community Space for Horse Activities

When I arrived on Salt Spring as a super awkward 12 year old I was homesick and lonely. Luckily, I had been promised more horse time and even my own horse one day to help sooth the sting of immigrating. I immediately began riding lessons with Jacky Cooper and joined the local Pony Club. At that time there was a booming community of “horsey” kids and we were a very active club. When we went to regional and provincial competitions, the SSI Pony Club was known for its outstanding horsemanship and we almost always won the horsemanship award! We were asked by other clubs how we managed to create such a cohesive and co-operative group and I believe our biggest asset was having a central barn where we all had our horses together. As a club we moved several times to different facilities until we most recently lost our beloved stables on St Mary’s lake, a blow we have not been able to recover from. Since the loss of our last home, the equine community has scattered and many have…
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