ASK Salt Spring with MLA, Adam Olsen on healthcare shortages, two-tier health, governance and more

Twenty gathered via Zoom to welcome our MLA, Adam Olsen. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, Adam took a few minutes to share his personal resolution to seek positive things, never forgetting how lucky we are to live in these islands of beautiful British Columbia. He also acknowledged ASK Salt Spring for the regular opportunity it offers him to look deeply at the issues that matter most to us. Adam sees his top 2022 challenges to be in the continuing housing crisis; Indigenous rights; and concerns about local, provincial, federal, and global political climates. These challenges are exacerbated by COVID and severe climate changes, threatening our health, mental health, security, and fragile infrastructures. The first question explored our healthcare system, asking Adam whether it is better under NDP leadership. Specifically, Is progress being made addressing the shortage of doctors (approximately 700,000 British Columbians do not have primary care physicians) and oth…
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Prepare for heavy rain combined with snowmelt

The Province is urging British Columbians to prepare as Environment and Climate Change Canada advises that substantial rain, with snow at higher elevations, is expected for coastal B.C. throughout this week. Heavy rain is expected for coastal areas including east and west Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, inland Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. A wind warning is in effect for the central coast - coastal sections, Haida Gwaii, North Coast – coastal sections, and North Vancouver Island. The River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for: Howe Sound; Sunshine Coast; Sea-to-Sky; North Shore Mountains; Metro Vancouver; Fraser Valley, including the Chilliwack River and surrounding tributaries; and Vancouver Island (North, East, South, West, and Central). The rainfall expected this week, combined with the melting of recent snow, is a concern. Rivers are expected to rise, resulting in possible flooding. Previously flooded ar…
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Potential BC Ferries service interruptions due to crew shortages

Like many other transportation providers, BC Ferries is anticipating that a combination of issues may result in unplanned service disruptions on all routes, and particularly on inter-island routes, over the coming months. There is no single factor driving service interruptions. It is a combination including the Omicron variant's potential to impact employee wellness, regular cold and flu season, severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff. Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual's qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work. Regulations require these positions to be filled with the appropriate crew, or the vessel cannot sail. Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if…
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Salt Spring Island's first licensed retail cannabis store 'Harvest Moon' opening soon

The seasoned retail team behind the new Harvest Moon is excited to announce that they are opening the Island’s first licensed retail cannabis store at 366 Lower Ganges Road. Located at the south end of the Country Grocer shopping plaza, Harvest Moon has completed its modern and engaging renovations and is busily stocking the store for business with a wide range of available product offerings. Salt Spring Islander and Store Manager, Mike Burd, says “Harvest Moon’s friendly and enthusiastic team will provide a welcoming, safe, and enjoyable cannabis and related-products shopping experience for all adults.” Mike is an experienced retail manager who was most recently the bulk foods manager for Country Grocer. He has been taking various cannabis training courses during the past two years, and his newly hired team members have all completed their “Selling it Right” training for cannabis. Harvest Moon has common ownership with the Country Grocer, Country Grocer Pharmacy, and …
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Property assessments on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands increase an average of 35% over previous year

In the next few days, owners of about 382,000 properties throughout Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands can expect to receive their 2022 assessment notices, which reflect market value as of July 1, 2021. “Vancouver Island’s real estate market has increased in value across all property types over the past year,” says Vancouver Island Deputy Assessor Jodie MacLennan. “Increases of 15 to 35 percent are generally evident for single family dwellings, strata homes, industrial and commercial properties throughout the island with notably larger percent increases in both central and northern Vancouver Island communities.” As B.C.'s trusted provider of property assessment information, BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year. Overall, Vancouver Island’s total assessments increased from about $269 billion in 2021 to $343 billion this year. Over $4.85 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and the…
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Obituary: Randy Smith

Randy Smith’s Epilogue I, Randall Smith passed to the next level [Tuesday, December 28, 2021]. I am predeceased by all those who died before me and survived by those who are still alive. I was born to George and Beryl Smith, June 5, 1949, at a very early age in Welland, Ontario, in the same hospital where my mother was, as I wished to be close to her. From my mother’s point of view the doctor recommended that I be removed in pieces due to problems anticipated in childbirth. She courageously opted for a caesarean section, a hazardous procedure at the time. From my point of view, a skylight opened up and a masked man all in white lifted me gently into a new world. Little did I know at the time this simple act would put the kybosh on a well meaning woman’s attempt later in my life to convince me to do a re-birthing seminar that recreated the birth trauma as a form of therapy. She had a hard time with the skylight analogy. I hung around for many years and did lots o’ stuff…
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Ganges Creek and Harbour wastewater discharge notice

A spill of wastewater has occurred at the Ganges Wastewater Treatment Plant on Salt Spring Island. A mechanical failure of part of the above ground piping system, likely as a result of the current cold temperatures, was the root cause of the spill. Much of the volume was contained on site, but some sewage ran overland, entered the storm water system leading from the facility to Ganges Creek and out to Ganges Harbour. Crews have completed clean-up efforts, placed warning signs, and cordoned off the affected area including a section of the path located immediately north of the facility adjacent to Ganges Creek. As a result of this discharge, residents are advised to avoid contacting the affected areas where the spill occurred as well as avoid entering the waters along the affected shorelines, as the wastewater may pose a health risk. As a precaution and in consultation with Island Health, the affected area will be posted with public health advisory signs until environmental…
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Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue quicky contain structure fire at 140 Swanson Road

At 1:48am on December 30th Salt Spring Fire was dispatched to a residential structure fire at 140 Swanson Road. Arriving on scene, crews made a rapid exterior knock down and transitioned to the interior where the fire had made entry into the attic. Given the close proximity to the staffed firehall, crews were able to quickly take care of the blaze despite the heavy snowfall. All occupants are safely accounted for and there were no injuries. We had a strong number of members turn out with the weather and poor driving conditions. Captain Warren Nuyens Salt Spring Fire Rescue
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The fix for Route Six (Vesuvius-Crofton) is a two ferry service

For those of us that use Route 6 - Vesuvius Bay to Crofton on a regular basis - Students, Commercial Trucking, Contractors, Residents, Tourists and the Residents of Chaplin St. in Crofton the answer is unequivocal, there is insufficient capacity. In a recent letter from BCF Customer Relations on behalf of CEO Mark Collins it stated that they don’t expect Ridership to recover for the next 2 to 3 years over the effects of the Pandemic on business. They went on to state they anticipate that the MV Quinsam (vehicle capacity 63) which will be redeployed from Route 19 Nanaimo – Gabriola Island in the Spring of 2022 to Route 6 which they anticipate will serve capacity demand adequately until 2035 when the ship’s useful service life is complete at approximately 55 years of age. The above two comments by BCF Management are patently unreasonable given the current state of Ridership on Route 6. The actual data from BCF repudiates their own comments. From July thru October of this ye…
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Garden cold warning and best wishes for the season

The first spell of really cold weather this winter is forecast to hit the coast later this week as a polar air mass continues to slide over the continent. With long range forecasts predicting -3 to -5oC (23-26oF) starting around Christmas Day and continuing for what might possibly be several weeks, do try to find time in the next day or two to prepare your garden for extreme cold. I know it might not be top of mind this week, what with the covid situation and holiday plans, but a little effort now could make a big difference in how well your winter crops come through. I won’t be sending out notices every time it gets cold, but because this is the first one of the winter, here is a reminder of what to do: In the next couple of days, while above-ground vegetables are not yet frozen, you might want to harvest enough vegetables to see you through a couple of weeks of bitter cold. Root crops won’t freeze in the soil so can be harvested any time (but it’s no fun digging in freezin…
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News Alert: Magnitude 3.9 earthquake occurs near Ganges on Salt Spring Island

An estimated 3.7 to 3.9 magnitude earthquake that was centered 10 KM East-Northeast of Ganges, BC on Salt Spring Island was experienced this morning at 4:13 AM with a reported depth of 17 km according to Earthquake BC and the Earthquake Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Reports of the mild tremor are being relayed from as far away as Victoria. There are no reports of damage at this time and no reports of service interruptions. Did you feel it?

What to expect during an earthquake

Small or moderate earthquakes These can last only a few seconds and represent no emergency risk. Ceiling lights may move and some minor rattling of objects may occur in your home. You may feel a slight quiver under your feet if you are outside. If you are close to its source, you may hear a loud bang followed by shaking. Large earthquakes These can last up to several minutes and constitute a natural disaster if its epicentre is near a densely…
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Obituary: Uri Cogan

Uri Cogan Oct.21, 1935- Nov. 12, 2021 "The dewdrop slides into the shining sea." This is the message Uri wanted to leave for everyone. Uri was born in Haifa, Israel, the youngest of three children born to his parents Miriam & Eli Cogan who immigrated from Latvia and Russia escaping persecution. He served as a submariner on Israel's first submarine. After his service in the navy he began his career as a photo-journalist with "Olam Hazeh" (This World) a popular publication in Tel-Aviv. This occupation provided him with a thorough understanding of the underbelly of politics and society. He was a pioneer in the use of L.S.D. and part of an artist and filmmakers collective known as "The Third Eye". We met during that time in 1970. His last participation in combat was the Yom Kippur War where he served with his camera. When he found his unit, they had all perished. He wound up helping wounded in transport planes. This event left him with PTSD, and it consolidated his desire to…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman discussing the SeeBreeze Inne and local housing issues

Fourteen gathered at the Library Program Room to welcome CRD’s Gary Holman and participate in conversations about the issues that matter most to us. While these conversations touched upon North Salt Spring Waterworks District, Transition Salt Spring’s federal award of $100,000 for forest restoration, and the possibilities of a Local Community Commission on the October 2022 ballot, the major theme of our two hours together was housing. The focus of this housing conversation was upon the proposed purchase of the SeeBreeze Inne by the Lady Minto Foundation and the resulting need for accommodations for the 18-20 people currently living there. Gary strongly believes that this purchase by the Foundation is a good thing for our community. After renovations, it will provide housing for health care workers, a high priority in our community. While the Foundation Board still needs to approve this purchase, Gary warned that if the Foundation dropped out of the sale, the SeaBreeze w…
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Salt Spring Island RCMP conclude investigation on local property

On Friday December 10, the Salt Spring RCMP conducted an investigation on a local property Beaver Point Road. Throughout the morning several police vehicles and officers were deployed to the property for a report of a serious incident. This property was reported to the Salt Spring RCMP as being part of a very serious allegation, and the officers did their due diligence in thoroughly investigating it said Sergeant Clive Seabrook, Salt Spring RCMP Detachment Commander. The owner of the property, and those located there were fully cooperative, and it was determined that the allegations made were unfounded. No one was arrested, and no further investigation is ongoing. The Salt Spring RCMP appreciate the patience of those who may have been affected while this investigation took place. Released by Sgt. Chris Manseau Division Media Relations Officer BC RCMP Communication Services
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Obituary: Susan Bloom

Susan Bloom 1936 – 2021 Susan died peacefully in her beloved Castle by the Sea on December 6th, 2021. The flag on her dock has been lowered to half mast as friends and family remember this remarkable woman. Her philanthropic work began as a young woman and continued up until her very last day – working to preserve and protect some of the most amazing wild places for future generations. She worked tirelessly and was genuinely committed to the protection of wildlife, their habitats, and the protection of ancient forests and oceans. During the past 35 years, she generously supported her Salt Spring Island community (often behind the scenes) - she will be missed immensely. Susan believed strongly in grassroots organizing and worked to help small groups of passionate people do extraordinary things. Over and Out Mama Bear.
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Obituary: Martin Glenn Woodley

Glenn passed away peacefully on November 23rd He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Linda, son David (Christina), daughters Deborah (Bill), Barbara (Gregg) & Glenda (Paul), and his 12 grandchildren. Glenn lived a full life, making the most of everyday. Growing up in Chemainus, he excelled in sports as an all-star athlete, winning provincial titles in basketball and baseball. Glenn became a member of the Salt Spring Golf Club in 1966; he was a player, a volunteer, Club President, and a proud Popo as he’d get all of the grandkids out on the course. He loved to travel for golf, and teeing it up at Scotland’s St. Andrews Old Course was a lifelong highlight. Glenn worked just as hard at academics as he did in sport. He took a position as Principal at Saturna Island Elementary School before moving to Salt Spring Island in 1964, a move that truly sparked his nearly 40 year teaching career starting with a teaching position at Salt Spring Elementary. While teaching, Glenn ear…
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Transition Salt Spring secures federal grant to protect Maxwell Lake watershed from fire

Climate project to focus on Maxwell Lake watershed -- source of water for 3,000 - Transition Salt Spring has been awarded $100,000 by Environment and Climate Change Canada through the EcoAction Community Funding Program to trial on-the-ground strategies to protect a critical local watershed from the impacts of climate change. A key outcome of the project will be to share watershed resilience and fire prevention strategies with large public and private landowners across the region. By doing so, Transition Salt Spring hopes to build regional capacity to address climate change-fuelled risks from drought and fire in threatened Coastal Douglas-fir and arbutus/Garry oak forests. “Residents of the Gulf Islands consistently identify drought as the top concern,” says Ruth Waldick, Transition Salt Spring director who is the project’s lead. “This project is important because it’ll allow us to understand and develop strategies that can reduce the risk of fire while protecting watersh…
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Obituary: Victoria Linda Hadassa Mihalyi

Victoria Linda Hadassa Mihalyi (AKA Vicki Miller) has flown up into the wide blue sky. Famous on Salt Spring Island for her Flying Dreams Productions, such as HuM, The Dharma According to Fifi, and SpeakEasy, Victoria brought Aerial Arts to Salt Spring, borne aloft ever since. Countless dance and aerial artists have been inspired by her work here—she was a consummate athlete, dancer, martial artist, … if this list went on it would fill the page! As with many islanders, Victoria had an extra-ordinary life before she re-invented herself here. Born in Toronto, April 23, 1952, she married Max Miller at 20, and enjoyed a flourishing love with him ever since. Known as Vicki Miller, she was a powerful animal rights activist and rescuer for many years, swerving Canadian beliefs toward mercy to the protein-providers we forget. Unto herself, and ever-amplified by her faithful Max, she was a Force. Her long-time Toronto friend Lynne Thomas wrote this: “You took over the Humane So…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA, Adam Olsen discussing forestry, legislative momentum, pipelines and more

After a Territorial Acknowledgement suggesting we read The Dawn of Everything to better understand how Indigenous societal structures have impacted our democracy, 22 Salt Springers welcomed our MLA, Adam Olsen. Adam began by briefly reviewing some of the bills from the recently-concluded legislative session. Among them were two concerning childcare - one to regulate the childcare industry and the other to further the provincial commitment for universal childcare. Adam also told us a bit about two complex bills with long-awaited amendments to forestry policy. Among other things, it moves the responsibility for creating forest stewardship plans from the logging company to the Chief Forester who is now responsible for creating forest landscape plans as well as creating oversight for road building. This bill also provides a mechanism for the province to buy back timber licenses and clarifies the process for the provincial government to gain consent from First Nations. In A…
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IWAV announces anonymous sexual assault reporting

Most sexual assault survivors make the complex and difficult decision to not report a sexual assault to police. They may be reluctant to engage with the criminal legal system for various reasons, or they choose not to report because they know the person who has assaulted them — a reality in up to 80% of all sexual assault cases. It’s one of the most underreported crimes in Canada, with around 90% of all cases unreported. On Salt Spring and the other Southern Gulf Islands, sexual assault survivors now have another option. They can go through a third party agency to make a simple and anonymous report of a sexual assault. This is called Third Party Reporting (TPR). The agency submits information to the police on the behalf of the survivor. For survivors on the islands, the third party is the Sexual Assault Response Program (SARP) at IWAV (Islanders Working Against Violence). Here’s how it works: With the help of the SARP coordinator, the survivor provides the information and…
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MLA Adam Olsen updates on the pandemic, emergency management and more

It has been a challenging year in British Columbia. The persistent COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis have required an unparalleled public health response. The heat dome, wildfires, and flooding are powerful examples of the demand climate change will put on our provincial and community infrastructure and public safety response. The confluence of these social and climate crises has taken the lives of loved ones and pushed our public systems and infrastructure to the brink of collapse. We are grateful for the courageous work of all the first responders, emergency management staff, local government leaders and staff and community volunteers this year. We are concerned about our individual and collective preparedness. We have asked several questions of the government about our emergency response, vulnerabilities of transportation infrastructure, and contingencies for food security. The provincial government is reviewing and updating the Emergency Program Act. The…
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