One of my 2018 election platform commitments was to improve governance on Salt Spring, including seeking voter approval for an elected CRD Local Community Commission (LCC). This discussion paper initiates public consultation on the proposal, and will be available in several venues, including online (Salt Spring Exchange, Driftwood, social media), and hard copies at the library and local CRD office. This paper was drafted at my request by several members of the Governance Working Group of the Community Alliance organization, which was formed to consider governance improvements after the failed referendum on incorporation in 2017. The paper makes a number of recommendations regarding the composition, responsibilities, and remuneration of an elected at large LCC for Salt Spring. The possibility of an LCC has been considered as part of previous governance studies undertaken during Provincially-initiated incorporation processes. I’ve also outlined the LCC proposal in previous Dri…Read more about CRD Local Community Commission (LCC) Discussion Paper: Introduction
CRD Director Gary Holman reports on housing and services progress
The decision by a group of well-meaning advocates for our most vulnerable residents to locate a “warming space” at Peace Park, then at Mouat Park, has precipitated a barrage of conflicting complaints, from concerned neighbours and park users urging CRD to enforce its bylaws to accusations of heartlessness by the “Warming Space Collective.” Despite numerous complaints about noise, public intoxication and families feeling unsafe, CRD bylaw enforcement was not initiated for over a month, mindful of the coldest days of the year. I requested CRD staff to work with the collective and other agencies like Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS) to explore options for a temporary warming station. Staff held several such meetings to discuss options, including arrangements at Mouat Park consistent with the longstanding bylaw. I’ve already raised Drake Road possibilities with the CRD Board, but the property has no services. Staff have also suggested the possible use of the cour…Read more about CRD Director Gary Holman reports on housing and services progress
CRD Candidates Differ on Important Issues
As the local CRD campaign unfolds, significant differences between candidates on important issues and priorities have emerged. This is my view of these differences and their importance our community. Affordable Housing Affordable housing is Salt Spring’s top priority. I believe my platform proposals are the most comprehensive, and include provision of supporting infrastructure, strengthening SSI’s Housing Council, enforcing the STVR ban, increasing the CRD Housing Trust Fund, and reconsidering the Provincial “speculation tax.” Infrastructure Projects Growing our network of pathways and bus shelters, expanding public transit, and building a new fire hall are shared priorities for both CRD candidates. However, I’m the only candidate emphasizing the importance of finding an on-island solution for our liquid waste, costing $350,000/yr to truck off-island. Unlike the other CRD candidate, I believe we should keep the strategic Ganges Fire Hall site in publi…Read more about CRD Candidates Differ on Important Issues
The Way Forward on Affordable Housing
If elected CRD Director on October 20, my top priority will be to help address the crisis in affordable housing on Salt Spring. As CRD Director (2002─2008), I opted SSI into the CRD Housing Trust Fund that has helped create hundreds of units of affordable housing within the Capital region, and once the Croftonbrook project is completed, about 90 units here. SSI has received grants that are many times our contributions to this regional fund. As former President of the SSI Abbeyfield Society, I also worked with Island Women Against Violence to help establish the Cedars transition housing for women. My main focus will be the seven affordable housing projects already underway, all with land secured, including Croftonbrook (with $6.5 million in committed funding); Dragonfly, Community Services’ SSI Commons and the CRD itself (all in the Drake Road area); Norton Road; Meadow Lane seniors housing; and Brackett Springs. These projects, representing over 250 units, address a range…Read more about The Way Forward on Affordable Housing
Let’s Get to Work, Salt Spring!
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 …Read more about Let’s Get to Work, Salt Spring!
Incorporation: Trust-Centred Governance Can Work
Salt Spring’s accomplishments demonstrate our trust-centred governance can work and be improved without risks of incorporation; While serving as MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, I felt honour-bound to remain publicly neutral about the incorporation issue on Salt Spring, because the Province, along with locally elected officials, is a caretaker of the public information process leading to a referendum. I am no longer constrained by political office from expressing my personal views on incorporation, and have joined with hundreds of other islanders in the Positively NO campaign to oppose this regressive change in governance. Make no mistake, incorporation will significantly diminish the presence and authority of the Islands Trust. Only 2 of 7 municipal councillors will be Trustees, as opposed to all members of the Local Trust Committee (LTC). While a municipality must "have regard" for the object of the Trust, this does not mean it will be legally bound by the preserve a…Read more about Incorporation: Trust-Centred Governance Can Work
Incorporation: Gary Holman on Infrastructure Funding
I’m writing in response to John McPherson’s column in which he argues that Salt Spring will not get its fair share of infrastructure funding unless we incorporate. Mr. McPherson focuses on one particular source of funding – the Strategic Projects Fund (SPF) that is part of federal gas tax funding. He cites data for 2015 indicating that Salt Spring has only received $60,000 planning grant from the fund, but fails to mention that no other individual municipality in the CRD received SPF funding either, except for Saanich which also received a planning grant. All the other SPF funding within the CRD was for joint projects of regional significance involving several municipalities. The article omitted a few other facts. Salt Spring has received millions in Community Works gas tax funding over the past decade, that has helped finance a number of water, pedestrian/cycling infrastructure projects on the island. Community Works funding, currently at roughly $400,000/yr, is direct…Read more about Incorporation: Gary Holman on Infrastructure Funding