ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen on environmental, social, health, and economic challenges

Beginning with a touching and gentle Territorial Acknowledgement, this ASK Salt Spring gathering of nineteen welcomed our Adam Olsen and his new constituency advocate, Jake Rees, to a conversation under the apple trees at the United Church Meadow. There was joy to see Adam in person again after so many months of virtual gatherings, but this joy was tempered by the reality of the serious health/mental health, social, economic, and environmental crises buffeting us. Clear indication of the multiple crises looming over us all is that six British Columbians continue to die of an overdose each and every day. In addition, Adam pointed out that 700 British Columbians died during the recent heat wave while the government was celebrating the re-opening from the lockdowns that were a result of the global pandemic. Adam was clear - our government needs to focus on being better prepared rather than bouncing from one crisis to another. Adam spoke of his nine-year old daughter wh…
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COVID Recovery Grants Announced

Thanks to the generosity of donors to the Covid Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund, the Salt Spring Island Foundation announces a grand total $237,548 has been awarded in contribution to the many innovative pandemic relief, recovery and re-start efforts in our community. "The Foundation's Pandemic Impact Survey revealed priority needs among island charities related to re-building volunteer, staffing and fundraising networks in order to thrive during the Public Health phased re-start. In response, the Foundation Board offered Covid Recovery funding as a means for SSI charities, and any non-profits working in partnership with qualified donees, to move through this final phase of the pandemic and to build their community work anew," stated Sandra Heath, the Foundation's Grants Advisory Committee Chair. The Salt Spring Island Foundation made a call for applications for up to fifteen Covid Recovery Grant awards of up to $5,000 per community organization for projects that a…
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Local Salt Spring Island business Dos Amores Tortilleria makes Living Wage a priority

As we move towards a post COVID-19 pandemic world, we have been carefully considering what we can contribute to better both our local and global communities. Racial injustice, environmental collapse, basic human needs unmet for so many across the globe - the list goes on and on. It feels overwhelming. We are reminded in these moments that it is more important than ever to use our skills and platforms to affect positive, tangible change. We have chosen to be small business owners first and foremost to do good. It is painfully clear the traditional ways of doing business that prioritize profits over people must become a thing of the past, and that both reparations and climate justice needs to be at the forefront of every decision we make. Being small business owners we feel intimately connected to our community and our suppliers, and we see the direct impact our businesses makes on our community. Everything we do, every dollar we spend, makes such a beautiful, woven i…
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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…
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Lady Minto Hospital Foundation Hires New Executive Director, Roberta Martell

The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Roberta Martell as its new Executive Director. Roberta has a master’s degree from Royal Roads University in leadership and training and a 25-year career in community development, social justice, and sustainability. Roberta honed her community building skills working with foundations like the David Suzuki Foundation, and in consulting assignments on affordable housing strategies for Tofino as well as executive director roles for Kluane First Nation in the Yukon and Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group in Victoria. Many will know her as the successful entrepreneur behind the Twig & Buoy. For that project, she built a restaurant to provide housing for her young family. She has a background in running capital campaigns, undertaking board development, organizational analysis, and has built numerous units of affordable housing. “I’m honoured to have been chosen to lead the Lady Minto Hospital Foundat…
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Salt Spring Island residents and visitors asked to increase water conservation efforts

As the local government as well as the operator of a number of water utilities on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands, the Capital Regional District (CRD) appreciates the efforts made to conserve water to date. However, due to the current high level of sustained drought in the region, the CRD is requesting that residents and visitors increase their efforts to conserve water. Drinking water systems on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are especially vulnerable to drought conditions and the levels in most water supply sources are already low with little or no rain to replenish them in the short-term forecast. In an effort to preserve an adequate drinking water supply, all residents and visitors to Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are encouraged to decrease their indoor water use where possible and stop all outdoor water use with some limited exceptions. These outdoor use guidelines include: No watering of lawns, turf or…
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Mid-summer gardening tips; more winter crops to plant

Some plants are still recovering from the damage done by the extreme heat at the end of June (others, such as cucumbers, corn and sweet potatoes are growing like never before!). It sometimes takes awhile for heat damage to leaf and fruit cells to become visible. A week or two after high temperatures, tan or yellow areas on tomatoes, peppers and tree fruit and blackened or shriveling areas on leaves were still developing and might have been mistaken for disease. Sunscald on a few of my apples and pears is just now showing up as yellowish spots on the side of the fruit facing the sun. Heat injury to raspberries appeared as patches of white or tan drupelets (those little globes that make up the berry) on maturing berries, while younger berries simply shriveled up. Some tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and beans lost the cohort of blossoms present during the heat wave and that loss is now being seen as a period with scant fruit. But blossoms that opened after the heat wave are fine an…
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ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Trustee, Laura Patrick on the new policy statement, housing, preserve and protect

Eleven gathered to welcome one of our Islands Trust’s Local Trustees, Laura Patrick, to this ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Church meadow on a cloudy - and, at times, almost chilly - summer Friday. This gathering was so different from last month’s large and energized group who gathered to learn more about the Islands Trust new draft Policy Statement. After a meaningful Territorial Acknowledgement by one of the participants, Laura added that one of the actions from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls for Actions is that each of us should learn about the legacy of residential schools. We all now know now that one of these residential schools operated very near to Salt Spring Island within a system that was, itself, an act against humanity. Speaking briefly of the draft new Trust Policy Statement, Laura reported that, in preparation for an upcoming Trust Council Executive Committee meeting, she had gone back and reviewed the entire Policy Statem…
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Obituary: Paul Mazzei

For those of you who have not heard ...due to some serious health issues Paul Mazzei passed away in his sleep on July 1st, 2021. The outpouring of love and fond memories have been incredible. The Mazzei Family are spread throughout Canada so between the distance and the shock of losing our baby brother it has taken some time to post of his passing. We are extremely saddened by the loss of this man at the young age of 58. Paul was filled with love and kindness which he shared with everyone. He was a Buddhist and followed a practice of forgiveness and caring. He touched and supported many people and was loved by those that knew him. He was a simple man and lived a simple life. He is and will be greatly missed. We love you Paul. A heartfelt thank-you to his closest friends and Community Services that stepped up and helped with the gathering of his treasured possessions.
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Country Grocer donates $50,000 for new Emergency Department at Lady Minto Hospital

Country Grocer is pleased to announce our support for the construction of a New Emergency Department at Lady Minto Hospital. We hope that our $50,000 donation will help to “Strengthen the Lifeline” by building a state-of-the-art facility that will serve us for years to come. We’re an integral part of this community. Our staff, customers and visitors rely on the institutions that provide critical services to help Salt Springers thrive. Leigh Large, owner of Country Grocer Salt Spring, Pharmacy and Upper Ganges Liquor Store, encourages Salt Springers to join us in helping Lady Minto Hospital Foundation reach its fundraising goals. The health of our community has always been a priority for Country Grocer. We’re delighted that islanders will receive even better care, thanks to the new Emergency Department at Lady Minto Hospital. Leigh added: “Similar to many others on Salt Spring, I have benefitted from excellent care during an unplanned visit to the Emergency Ward at Lady…
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Locals Raise $8,000 for Heiltsuk Nation at Salt Spring Island Floating Concert

Over 120 Salt Spring Islanders gathered together last night on Cusheon Lake to raise funds for the Heiltsuk Nation’s “Step Up for Coast Heroes” campaign. The Nation is in the midst of a groundbreaking Indigenous Environmental Assessment project that pairs western science with traditional knowledge to uncover the full impacts of the Nathan E. Stewart disaster, while charting a way forward to restore ecosystem health. The legal challenge, with support from RAVEN Trust, is part of that path, as the case aims to enshrine the caretaker values and stewardship plans of Heiltsuk Nation into law. The event raised over $8,000 towards the campaign goals thanks to generous donors and a matching funds contributor. After observing a moment of silence in honour of all the recent Residential School grave site discoveries, the event featured live performances by local songstress Yael Wand, for whom the event also coincided with the upcoming release of her new CD titled Salt Water Heartwood, …
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Changes allow for increased housing flexibility in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)

New rules will allow property owners in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) increased housing flexibility, helping farmers and non-farmers support their families and businesses in their communities. Options for an additional small secondary home have been added to regulations, allowing farmers and ALR landowners to have both a principal residence and small secondary residence on their property with a streamlined approval process. Only permissions from local government or First Nations government will be required, and there will be no application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). The additional residence can be used for housing extended family, agritourism accommodation, housing for farm labour or a rental property for supplemental income. There is no longer a requirement that additional residences must be used by the landowner or immediate family members. “Our government’s goal from the outset has been to protect farmland for future generations, so British Col…
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Victoria based Rent Bank offers rental supports for low-to-moderate Salt Spring Island income earners

Renters in low-to-moderate income households in the Greater Victoria and Salt Spring Island region now have longer-term access to a rent bank in their community. Started as a pilot program operated by the Community Social Planning Council, this project has been extended to March 2022 with ongoing funding by BC Rent Bank (a project funded by the provincial government), and new funding from United Way Greater Victoria. This funding will enable the Community Social Planning Council to support hundreds of households in the region with loans and/or support services, such as mediation, advocacy, referrals and help with accessing government programs. Households eligible for rent bank services are renters who are struggling to pay rent and/or utilities due to a short-term crisis or unanticipated income shortages. The need for this type of program for the community has grown dramatically in light of COVID-19. Since early 2020, United Way has worked in its capacity as convener and …
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Sexual Assault Response Program Launches This Week

Sexual assault affects a person in many ways. It can be disorienting, confusing, and frightening trying to get the assistance the survivor most needs. Even trying to get the most basic help can make someone feel vulnerable and afraid. And for some survivors, they stop seeking support then and there. First—what is sexual assault? Sexual assault is any form of sexual contact done without consent. And it happens with disturbing regularity on the Gulf Islands. In response to this problem, IWAV is launching a Sexual Assault Response Program on the Southern Gulf Islands. Starting July 15, sexual assault survivors on the islands will be able to access a free, coordinated emergency response by a team of professionals. These services are available 24/7 through the Sexual Assault Response line. The local number is (250) 931-7712 and the toll-free line 1-833-946-1706. There are three key aspects of the new Sexual Assault Response Program (SARP): emergency response, ongoing suppor…
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Salt Spring artist Connie Kuhns is named as a SSNAP Finalist for 2021/22 Finalist Exhibition

The Salt Spring National Art Prize (SSNAP) has named the finalists for the 2021/22 biennial competition. Included among the fifty-two artists is Salt Spring’s Connie Kuhns. Her photograph called “Canadian Farmhouse” will be part of the Finalists Exhibition opening on September 24 at historic Mahon Hall. Kuhns learned the good news via an email notification, and was overjoyed, “Honestly, I’m a bit shocked, but I’m very, very happy. Thrilled, actually. And so very grateful to be a part of this island community.” Her photograph was taken on a country road in the Lower Mainland. “The morning I took the photograph, I was out driving around on some back roads down by the Fraser River. Fog, Farmland. I went the wrong way, and there it was. It reminded me of an Andrew Wyeth painting, and at the same time, so very Canadian. So very humble.” Kuhns, who has resided on Salt Spring for nine years says, “As a photographer you always hope that what you are feeling in that moment is con…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Fire MOU, Early Education, Parks Grants and more

Twelve joined us to welcome CRD’s Gary Holman on a lovely summer Friday in the United Church Meadow. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, Gary told us that he believes that these acknowledgements, once almost simply rhetorical, are becoming more and more real as First Nations’ rights and title to unceded lands are recognized repeatedly by the courts. He spoke of a motion he is co-sponsoring that will be discussed at the July 14 CRD Board meeting. This proposal will ask the province to provide the funding (as with the Great Bear Rainforest agreements) needed to make old growth conservation a realistic option for First Nations Gary spoke about the recent announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our Fire District and CRD. While details still have to be negotiated, in essence, this MOU supports the colocation of Emergency Operations Services (currently in the basement of the provincial building on Lower Ganges Road) in the new firehall/public safety building…
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Obituary: Bunny Campbell

Beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Bunny Campbell, passed away peacefully at Lady Minto extended care on July 8th at the age of 99. Loved by everybody she was the adopted mother of many of our friends and was known by the younger generation as Nangy. She had a kind, loving and thoughtful nature and always knew how to find the fun in everything. One of her famous remarks, on seeing a young man mooning from a bus, was "Ahh, the sights you see in the spring..." She will be remembered for her wit, her infamous rhubarb and orange pie, her wonderful lamb stew, her "square meat and tulip buns" picnics and her sunken, fudge-filled-in-desperation cake. And for flinging a spoonful of ice cream and fruit salad at her daughter, Avril, as she said "because she knew I wouldn't." Bunny was born in Sorrento, BC and lived on an apple farm on the Shuswap Lake with horses, sheep and dogs where she attended a one-room schoolhouse. Her family packed up for England as war broke…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Local Loans, Road Speeds, HarbourWalk and more

Significantly-different from the highly-energized group welcoming Trustee Laura Patrick, the 10 folks who came to discuss issues with Gary at this ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Church Meadow were relaxed and savouring an opportunity to sit together in the shade of the apple trees. After our Territorial Acknowledgement and a few brief words from Gary, mostly about his on-going focus on the safety concerns along the Booth Canal - Central Pathway, we began by learning quite a bit about Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Cooperative (TSSEC). Providing loans for green projects, it has provided 26 loans totaling $150,000 to local individuals, non-profits, and small businesses. The first such organization in rural BC, it has been giving loans for a decade. Boasting over 100 members, each member can lend up to $10,000, receiving their money back as well as some interest. Remarkably, as these loans commonly are given to those who cannot get a low interest line of credit (…
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Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District and CRD announce new working relationship

The Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District (Fire District) and the Capital Regional District (CRD) have agreed to establish a joint working group to make recommendations to their respective organizations regarding both a new public safety building incorporating a CRD Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) as well as the repurposing of the existing Ganges Fire Hall. Currently, both the existing CRD Emergency Centre and the Ganges Fire Hall are in buildings which are seismically unsound, provide inadequate storage and fail to meet Workman's Compensation Board standards for both employee and volunteer safety. “While the Ganges Fire Hall will no longer be used for its original purpose, this centrally located downtown property still holds significant value,” said Fire Board Chair Per Svendsen. “It will be kept as a public asset and redeveloped so that the community can continue to benefit from this location. Sale proceeds will go towards the Fire District's longstanding goal o…
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Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue Contain Structure Fire at Mineral Springs Resort on 1460 North Beach Road

On June 28th, 2021 at 18:45 Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue was called to 1460 North Beach Road, Mineral Springs Resort for a report of a commercial structure fire. Due to the distance from the firehall, the building construction and the abnormal temperatures, fire growth was rapid, and the initial crew faced an in trenched working fire. The four-story building was compartmentalized and built down a slope making access more difficult. Eight apparatus and twenty-two firefighters worked well into the night extinguishing the fire and ensuring it did not spread to the surrounding buildings or interface forest. The dry water hydrant at St. Mary Lake was utilized for the tender shuttle operation delivering over 30,000 gallons of water to the fire site. The fire is under investigation and we will continue to monitor the building for hot spots. Jamie Holmes Acting Fire Chief Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue
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Salt Spring Island Building Culture Helps Nurture World Leading Rammed Earth Building Innovation

In the early 1990s, our community center launched a Sustainable Salt Spring Island Roundtable, including members from as many facets of the SSI community as possible. We met every week for a couple of years and published a booklet on Sustainable Development. Through our conversations, we recognized that the most effective way to initiate transformation in sustainable living would be to change how we build. So, in 1992, we organized a Sustainable Building Conference on Salt Spring Island. Leaders in sustainability from across the continent responded to our invitation to participate. Speakers included David Easton, the leading rammed earth expert; Malcolm Wells, the expert in underground building; Carole Venolia, a leading architect and educator for healthy buildings; and advocates for permaculture and strawbale building. It was an amazing weekend of talks at the Elementary School gym that received an enthusiastic response from the community with over 1,000 people attending…
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