About Gary Gagné
I built my first home on Salt Spring in 1980 . As a bilingual retired marine officer, I’ve been a boat builder, sailor, Greenpeace Captain, and now a small scale farmer. This has all contributed to a very practical skill set which I have turned also to a great deal of volunteer work (30 years), with service to the environment (four years in Clayoquot Sound as a forest protector, campaigning for Elizabeth May, etc.) and community (on the board of directors for Island Pathways and several sub-committees: Partners Creating Pathways, Cycling Salt Spring and the newly formed Salish Sea Trail Network group; the past year on the steering committee for the Climate Action Plan 2.0 and its Transportation Working Group) and spiritual service (Open Gate Sangha). I am very happily married to artist, Cary Ennis.
What brought you to the area?
After building a sailboat and learning to sail in the Salish Sea in the early 1970's, I fell in love with the beauty and laid back nature of this island. After sailing across the Pacific on that trimaran and suffering a capsize on a rogue wave off New Zealand and surviving 17 days before being rescued, I returned here to settle down, build a home and raise a couple of boys.
What one thing about Salt Spring would you tell someone who has never visited the island?
I would share about the incredible diversity of people and talents represented on this special island. About how environmentally savvy folks are and the level of concern we demonstrate through our collective actions. I am continually blown away by the level of volunteerism and resilience expressed here.
If you could change one thing about Salt Spring, what would you change?
I would like to change the political culture to a more cohesive, transparent and harmonious one that values the sacredness of all life in its infinite forms. This might express as safe bicycling lanes on roads with lowered speed limits.
Which well known person, living or dead, do you think would be a good addition to the island?
My spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, who says "If you are going to wake up, be prepared to wake up in an insane asylum".
What do you think the number one community issue on Salt Spring Island is right now?
Currently, the pandemic is probably the most pressing issue for most folks on Salt Spring. Beyond that, I think the lack of safe active transportation opportunities (walking, cycling and scooter) is the number one community issue. This ties in with the gravest issue facing us all - the climate crisis.
As the incumbent trustee seeking re-election to the NSSWD, I am optimistic about potential solutions the board is exploring to resolve our current water issues and the related affordable housing problems.
Which elected position are you seeking?
I am the incumbent trustee for North Salt Spring Waterworks District seeking re-election for a three year term.
Why should Salt Springers vote for you?
As the incumbent trustee for NSSWD, I would like to continue the very positive work being initiated by our current board of trustees. There are many complex issues facing the water district at this time and I have been deeply involved in getting a handle on these sensitive decisions. It is critical to protect our invaluable water resources and I feel strongly that all decision making concerning water be held on the island. I think our ratepayers would be well served by keeping this board intact as it is. I am not alone with this feeling. I have heard our current chairperson, Michael McAllister, who has been on a lot of boards, say that this is the best board he has ever served on. We are dedicated to serving our ratepayers as efficiently and respectfully as possible and with full transparency.
Is there a really good interview question we should have asked you?
What values do you hold dear?
How would you have answered your question?
The sacredness of all life that expresses as love, integrity, responsibility and hard work.