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New Bylaws to Protect Drinking Water on Salt Spring Island

    Health & Wellness    April 4, 2019

Coast Salish Territory, Salt Spring Island—The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SSI LTC) has adopted two bylaws that will help maintain water quality in the Island’s drinking water lakes while also respecting the role that farming plays in the island’s culture and economy.
“Our understanding of just how precious freshwater is on an island like Salt Spring deepens every day,” said SSI LTC Chair, Peter Luckham. “In adopting these bylaws, the committee was responding to community concern about the quality of freshwater drawn from local lakes. These new policies and regulations were informed by the efforts of a special working group that included representatives from the agricultural community and water protection groups, working alongside local residents. We thank everyone who was involved in this process and who helped us to take this step to ensure the protection of fresh drinking water now and into the future.”

Bylaw 496 amends the Salt Spring Island Official Community Plan to allow the SSI LTC to make new regulations for farming on lands that are outside of the Agricultural Land Reserve, but only if those proposed regulations are for the purpose of water quality protection.

Bylaw 487 applies to land in the Rural Watershed 1 and 2 zones. These are the areas that surround the Island’s main drinking water lakes: St. Mary, Cusheon, Maxwell, Stowel, and Weston. Bylaw 487 amends the Salt Spring Island Land Use Bylaw to remove “intensive agriculture” as a permitted use in the watershed zones, introduces a 15 metre setback from water bodies for agriculture in the watershed zones, and also introduces a 30 metre setback from water bodies in all zones for storing hazardous materials used in farm operations.

Rural Watershed Uses

The Rural Watershed Uses project focuses on potential changes to the regulation of agriculture in the Rural Watershed 1 and 2 zones on Salt Spring Island. The objective of the project is to limit potential negative impacts on drinking water quality from farming.

PROJECT UPDATE: At the February 26, 2019 Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting, the LTC adopted Bylaws 487 and 496.

While copies of Staff Reports, Bylaws, Correspondence and other documents are available on this project page, the complete Public Hearing Information Binder is available for viewing at the Islands Trust Salt Spring Office.

For more information: To view Bylaws 496 and 487 and to learn more about this project, visit the project webpage here. See the final report from the Agriculture in Rural Watershed Zones Working Group here.

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