Despite the outcome of the referendum on incorporation, I still believe that we can improve governance on Salt Spring. I’ve been working with community groups on options like formalizing coordination among various agencies; holding public town hall and budget meetings; ensuring CRD services focus more clearly on community priorities; and establishing an elected CRD Community Commission.
Affordable Housing Our Top Priority
Affordable housing is Salt Spring’s most urgent issue. There is unprecedented funding available from the CRD and senior governments, with over $6 million already committed to the Croftonbrook proposal. My top priority as CRD Director will be to support completion of Croftonbrook and at least 6 other affordable housing proposals with land already secured, including the CRD itself, representing over 250 units. I’ve worked on affordable housing for years on Salt Spring, as an elected official and proponent. I know CRD can play a stronger role, including on related water issues.
Complete Projects Already Approved by Voters
Despite voter approved funding in 2008, we still haven’t found an on-island solution for our liquid waste, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands every year, trucking mostly water off island. Similarly, the North Ganges pedestrian and cycling plan remains unfinished, despite funding approved in 2014. Voters expect completion of this project before supporting similar improvements on the increasingly busy and dangerous Ganges Hill.
Other Longstanding Issues
We need to build an earthquake proof fire hall that can house our Emergency Operations Centre, Search and Rescue, and perhaps local government offices. The Fire District has secured land for a new fire hall, a significant accomplishment, and I will work with the District to retain the Ganges fire hall site in community hands. Progress is being made on the Ganges Harbour Walk, but we must secure the marine right of way from the Province, separate from controversial upland zoning. BC Transit funding will help expand our community bus system, which I established as former CRD Director.
Innovative Partnerships with Community Groups
I will renew the very cost-effective partnerships between the CRD Transportation Commission (which I also established), Partners Creating Pathways and Island Bus Shelters. I will also work with other community groups on issues such as climate action; a plan for Ganges village; completing the Root food-processing centre; health and seniors’ facilities; a public laundromat; and community radio station.
Let’s Continue Salt Spring’s Record of Success
Our island “can-do” spirit built affordable housing at Murakami Gardens; established BC’s most successful rural transit system; constructed our pool, library, water treatment plants, and kilometres of pathways; and protected thousands of hectares of land, including Burgoyne Bay and Grace Islet. I’m proud to have worked with Islanders for 30 years on many of these successes, as a community activist, former CRD Director and MLA. I know what we can accomplish when we work together.
Please let me know about your priorities and if you can help at email@example.com or at 250-653-2042. Let’s get to work Salt Spring!