In a post published on January 22, 2021, I wrote that I wasn’t able to locate any information about the “Housing Challenges and Solutions Planning Project” on the Islands Trust website. Ten days later, an open letter from Trustee Laura Patrick appeared on the Salt Spring Exchange: “I’m pleased to report that progress is being made towards tackling the affordable housing issue on Salt Spring. The Islands Trust’s Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) has just approved a bold new Housing Action Program, and I’m confident it will finally put us on the right path to a solution”.
Full of excitement, I followed the link mentioned in Laura’s post, and there it was: The Salt Spring Island Housing Action Program!! My excitement didn’t last long, as I soon realized that the word ‘ACTION’ used in the name of the project was a misnomer. Instead of action, which is defined as: a thing done; an act, the project is merely a ‘study’ , a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation. By the end of the project’s 30 month duration, no actions will have been taken to solve the housing crisis. Rather, phase three of the project will: Provide further timeline on the adoption process, final report to local Trust Committee (Fall 2023), and Public Hearing (Fall 2023).
So here’s the thing. By Fall 2023, Salt Spring will find itself in exactly the same situation in regard to affordable housing as it is now, as it was in 2016, in 2010, and way back in 2005, when the Community Housing Background and Report was published. That’s not progress. That’s not a solution that will address urgent housing needs.
Ideas for action:
- Legalize all 900 potential seasonal cottages on Salt Spring which were not legalized under the recent Bylaw 512
- Legalize the use of suites on every property on Salt Spring
- Tiny homes, Z240RV trailers and 5th wheels, are to be included within the definition of “mobile home” within the Land Use Bylaw
Apart from Islands Trust covenant only Capital Regional District (CRD) Building Inspection water, septic building code requirements need to be met prior to issuance of building permit.