Life for most of us here has been pretty hard since the pandemic. Particularly for many who were just barely making island life work before Covid, the combination of forces that smacked into the whole world has made life even more difficult for many on Salt Spring. "I am living in a mobile home with my two kids for $1,700 a month. I can barely afford gas and food, and I work more than full time hours. I barely get to hang out with my kids because I am working so much just to keep a roof over their head." In the past 3 years of working on the issue, I’ve come to learn more about the drivers of our housing crisis than I ever really wanted to. From the wider trends of what happens to desirable communities when market forces are allowed to run without any controls, to all the ways the Islands Trust, CRD, North Salt Spring WaterWorks, and even private homeowners contribute to our very local version of the problem here. “We have moved nine times. Lived in a one room vacation re…Read more about Is this #GoodbyeSaltspring?
Are you considering leaving Salt Spring due to the housing crisis?
Are you considering leaving the island due to the stresses involved with finding or staying in a home? Know someone who is leaving or has already left? Please share your story. After festering for years, our workforce housing crisis has only gotten worse, with so many of us finding it harder and harder to stay on Salt Spring. Our musicians, nurses, teachers, restaurant staff, tradespeople and even the very farmers working to feed us are being forced into the heart-breaking decision of saying goodbye to this community because they can't find housing, leaving us all the poorer as a result. To all the people who are considering leaving, we SEE you, and we need to HEAR you. Salt Spring is at a critical point where decisions are being made that will either start to finally address this crisis in our community, or continue to avoid and ignore it. Without action, the Salt Spring we love – the artists, families, young people, activists, counter-culture hippies and weirdos that…Read more about Are you considering leaving Salt Spring due to the housing crisis?
Watch: New Film About Creating a Resilient Salt Spring Released Online
Salt Spring Solutions is a group of volunteers who care about protecting our incredible natural environment while ensuring we maintain a vibrant, diverse, and fair community for all. Like many, we care deeply about ensuring our island is resilient in the face of the many big challenges facing us in the 21st century. Yet in order to get there, we need to first talk about the sometimes big gap between what we think we are as a community - green, progressive, fair, and low-impact - and what the reality is. We made this short film, ‘Making A Stand in the Salish Sea’, to highlight some amazing local leaders and thinkers working on solutions, explore what’s standing in their way, and spur discussion and action. We want to invite us all to imagine new ways of thinking about how Salt Spring can be a beacon of hope and action, and ignite a collective fire to work together to create the solutions our community needs to become more equal, more just, and truly sustainable. We n…Read more about Watch: New Film About Creating a Resilient Salt Spring Released Online
We Did It! Anti-Housing Motion Defeated
(Photo: March 9 2021 photo of Trust Chair during a public zoom meeting. The motion proposed might have seen the Trust just roll up that third flag, in order to focus only on the environment.)Thank you to the 106 of you who took the time to write a letter to the trust, and the other 100 or so who attended various Trust public meetings in the past two weeks. Due to the overwhelmingly clear message from the community, the anti-housing and anti-community motions put forward to the Trust Council last week were both defeated. Housing remains on the priority list and healthy communities remain in the Trust’s mandate! The last few weeks were a whirlwind. When we first heard about the Trustee from Pender’s sneaky motion to remove affordable housing from the priority list of the Trust, it was hard to believe. Buried deep inside a 1,000 page document published only two days before a public meeting, and not mentioned at all in their recent public …
Finish the Salish Sea Trail As Part of a Green Recovery
The Salish Sea Trail Network would be a gem for the province, creating a world class cycling destination, boosting local economies across the region, while supporting sustainable tourism, healthy living, and green transportation. Completing the network's only "broken link" - Salt Spring Island - would also solve a terrible safety problem keeping cycling from being a part of our lives, like it was only a generation ago. The Salish Sea Trail Network is an idea hatched almost 15 years ago, and amazingly, it is 90% complete. Connecting the safe, mostly off-road Lochside, Galloping Goose, Cowichan Valley Regional Trail, and the E&N Railroad, this cycling, walking and active transportation network connects some of the most populated - and stunning - parts of coastal BC. The missing link is the Vesuvius to Fulford ferry terminals on Salt Spring, where we well know the issues with narrow roadways, lack of shoulders, dangerous blind crossings, and fast moving traffic on often u…Read more about Finish the Salish Sea Trail As Part of a Green Recovery
Reimagining Salt Spring Island: Forward for the Better - not “Back to Normal”
This is an offering to our Salt Spring Island community in these troubled times where crisis and opportunity are the two faces of the situation we face as a community, as society, as a planet. In order to get through this to some kind of better normal, we all need to raise big questions. We need to talk about what’s hard to talk about. That’s what we are trying to do here. In doing so, we might upset some of you. We can’t get this all right but we want to start the conversation. This is coming from a place of care and concern about the world we live in. And of hope for the one we could co-create. What if we don’t go “back to normal” on Salt Spring Island. Normal was nurses and teachers without stable housing. Normal was tons of visitors travelling by CO2 emitting planes, ferries and cars to go for a hike and have a nice dinner. Normal was watching the Sysco food trucks drive off the ferry and past fallow farmland every single day. Normal was locals avoiding Gange…Read more about Reimagining Salt Spring Island: Forward for the Better - not “Back to Normal”
Local Group Seeks Water Action on Housing
At the root of so many solutions to the affordable housing crisis is water. We have to do better, and in one of the wettest parts of Canada, we know we can. Our local water utility's recent moratorium on any new hook-ups to their system - while created with positive intentions of protecting our precious resource - has had many unintended negative consequences on our community's social sustainability. North Salt Spring Waterworks District's (NSSWD) 2014 moratorium was a well intentioned and forward-looking policy that aimed to protect current ratepayers from the increasing impacts of climate disruption (longer, drier summers). It has however made it nearly impossible for new affordable housing projects to happen within their service area. Smaller footprint dwellings and cottages, low income rental housing, or even tiny house villages can all be created with mandatory water conservation, water catchment, and graywater systems, yet literally none of these can happen in the N…Read more about Local Group Seeks Water Action on Housing