Support Local This Holiday

It’s one of the most exciting times of year again but of course, everything is different. Winter is upon us as we lead up to the holiday season and I want to encourage islanders to make this holiday as local as it can be, especially with… Black Friday quickly approaching! Every year, this season is the make it or break it for local small businesses, especially for artisans, retailers, food and hospitality. Most businesses are not going into this season with their typical summer savings to make it through until spring and they need local help, especially with travel restrictions coming into place this week. I want to remind you of the positive impacts supporting local has - it puts food on hard working people’s plates, it employs locals, it has an economic multiplier effect in our community, you receive personalized service, you choose with your dollars who to support, it reduces the impact on the environment and it keeps our community culture and identity. This year, t…
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Salt Spring 2020 Cheer Challenge Photo Contest - Let's Keep the Cheer Here!

Support, buy, visit, explore, entertain and celebrate local for the holidays right here on Salt Spring Island! Take a new photo of you (or your friends, dog, partner, etc.) doing any one of the 100 activities in our cheer challenge (listed below) and submit your photos each week (using the form below) to win weekly local prizes and one of our three amazing grand prizes! Watch: How do to the cheer challenge! How it works! Take a new photo of you (or your friends, dog, partner, etc.) doing any of the 100 cheer challenges listed below between November 16th and December 18th, 2020 Submit your photo entries each week here on the Salt Spring Exchange using the form below for your chance to win weekly prizes Agree to the Salt Spring Cheer Challenge Rules when submitting your entry Then share the love! Then also share your photos on social media with #saltspringcheer to help families in need For every photo shared with #saltsp…
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Salt Spring Chamber Welcomes New President

It is with much anticipation that we welcome Darryl Martin as the new Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce President. Darryl began his time on the Chamber Board as an individual member in June 2019. Darryl was previously the Chair and a Commissioner on the Salt Spring Community Economic Development Commission, as well as alternate to CRD Director Wayne Macintyre before becoming a board member of the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce in 2019. With this change comes recognition of Li Read, the Chamber’s President from June 2013. Li took over the presidency role after spending two years on the Board of Directors. She guided the Chamber of Commerce through difficult and successful times, and remained in the role until November 4, 2020. A special thank you to Li for all her time and dedication to the Chamber. Darryl is looking forward to accelerating the Chamber’s efforts to help businesses during the pandemic and prepare to do business in the changed economy. He also a…
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2020 Salt Spring Chamber Salty Award Nominees

Congratulations to all of this year's Salty Award Nominees. We encourage community members to read the comments written by those who nominated these outstanding businesses and individuals, it is truly humbling. We’re excited to celebrate all nominated businesses, non-profits, charities, and individuals. We have asked nominees to make a short video or written response to tell us why they should win a Salty Award. Be sure to keep an eye out! Voting begins November 3rd! See the nominees in each of the award categories below. Resilient Small Business of The Year Award: Presented to a business with 20 employees or less who demonstrated perseverance and the ability to adapt to the challenges presented by 2020. Al's Gourmet Falafel & Fries Altar Ink Amber Wood Health Apple Photo Aroma Crystal Therapy ArtSpring Barb’s Bakery and Bistro Bean Drinkin Cafe Bite Me! Treats Buzzys Luncheonette Co-op Gas Diggin’it excava…
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Salt Spring Island Natural Cemetery Opens on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island is known in many parts of the world as a unique and progressive community. Its reputation for local farming, food, arts, music, culture, politics, EV transportation, and environmentalism belies its small size. And now once again, Salt Spring Island is at the fore of a growing movement. This time in the world of green, natural burials. (Watch the video tour and see the photo tour below.) Over the last 50 years there has been an incredible transformation in burial practices in North America. Burial and cemetery services, which were at one time a more modest affair and often carried out by locally owned services providers, has been transformed under capital market consolidation. While Indigenous cultures the world over have always practiced 'natural' burial, the dominant colonial culture of the West saw local funeral and burial business services transformed into highly specialized, profit driven industries controlled by a small handful of publicly traded c…
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Nominations Now Open for the Salt Spring Chamber's 2020 Salty Awards

The Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Windsor Plywood, with support from the Salt Spring Exchange, is excited to announce that the 2020 Salty Award nominations are open! This year’s awards will look different than previous years, focusing on businesses and organizations that have demonstrated resilience and ability to adapt in this year’s challenging business environment. There will be 10 business awards centered around resilience, community, service and innovation and one community award in honour of Matt Steffich, a long time Chamber board member and the MC of the annual Salty Awards Gala, highlighting his commitment to the Salt Spring Island community. The selection system will also be different this year. Nominations and voting will still take place online, followed by the top of each category being judged by a panel. We’re introducing the popular vote / judging panel combination to ensure that deserving businesses and individuals are consid…
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Time-Lapse: Salt Spring Marina Demolition and Reconstruction

After 30 years of keeping boats safe and secure, the old Salt Spring Marina on Salt Spring Island was showing its age. In October of 2018, Island Marine Construction began demolition of the cherished marina. It was with a mix of emotion that the team who manages the marina watched the docks, pilings and the memories taken apart in Ganges Harbour. With a few issues and delays along the way, the harbour dredging was completed and Island Marine began construction. Along with the new ramp, pilings, docks and break water, the refurbished marina now includes new a Wi-Fi system for guests, online booking form and new surveillance security tools. The new marina is engineered to withstand immense wind conditions and waves, while also being eco-certified by Clean Marine BC. Sea-Flex anchors, cleated fingers and double pilings are designed to help ensure guests sleep safe & sound in their berths. While the reopening of the marina was delayed, and continues to be impacted by the COVI…
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COVID-19: Tree House Cafe Set to Re-Open

We want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful staff and community for helping us navigate the crazy summer of 2020. And thank you to all of the musicians who graced our stage. Although the season was shorter than usual, the nights of music under the plum tree let us all to feel a bit closer to normal and once again we felt the healing power of music. We may not have been hugging but connection was still there. And thank you to all of the local farmers and businesses who shared their bounty and talents with us to bring another season of wonderful food. The Tree House will be re-opening this Friday September 18th, 2020. New hours will be 8am-4pm seven days a week. COVID-19 UPDATE: Sept 14 On Sept 3 we were informed that one of our back of house staff members had tested positive for covid-19. We decided to close the restaurant to allow staff to self-isolate and get tested. We are happy to report that no other staff members have tested positive and it has been…
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Spreading Poo All Over BEACHSiDE Doors

To the vandals who are responsible for, just wow. This was literally a “shitty morning.” This happened last night Sep 4, 2020. Three entryways affected, but cameras were in the wrong positions, we have moved them all this morning. Anyone who has more information, please call us at BEACHSiDE 250-537-2553 or call Constable Ian Hastie at 250-537-5555 Case # ss20-2028.
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COVID-19: Tree House Cafe Temporarily Closed After Staff Member Tests Positive

We would like to notify everyone that we have been informed that one member of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19. It is important to note this staff member did not have direct contact with customers while symptomatic. Since the case was confirmed, we have been working closely with Island Health’s Public Health team. Island Health has informed us that they have completed their contact tracing related to this case. Anyone deemed a potential contact has already been informed or will be informed as soon as possible and advised to self-isolate. Island Health has confirmed that the risk of exposure to customers or those not identified as a potential contact is extremely low. However, out of an abundance of caution, people should continue to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If they feel sick, stay home and reach out for advice or testing. Although we have not been ordered to do so, we have made the decision to close for the time being, to allow some of our staff to self…
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ASK Salt Spring: Affordable Housing, Road Upgrades, Forest Protection and More with MLA, Adam Olsen

Last Friday, a total of 37 Salt Springers gathered at the United Church Meadow on a practically-perfect summer Friday to welcome our MLA, Adam Olsen. While some did stand just outside the circumference of the circle (too close to one another for my comfort), everyone who wanted to participate was able to join the gathering. While many stayed the entire time, some did come and go, so that total numbers at any time were in the high twenties. As Salt Springers initially seemed uncharacteristically-shy, Adam began with a recap of some of his legislative load - heavier than expected with several bills that have taken a great deal of work: Bill 22 (Mental Health Amendment Act) includes the involuntary detention of youth who are experiencing drug poisoning. Both the Chief Coroner as well as children and youth advocates raised concerns about this clause. Adam cited work that still needs to be done, including engagement with indigenous leaders, before the bill moves forward. If th…
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ASK Salt Spring: Short-Term Vacation Rentals & Temporary Use Permits

Last Friday, 13 attended the ASK Salt Spring gathering under the apple tree in the United Church Meadow, welcoming Islands Trustee Laura Patrick. Laura’s comments were her own and not representing the Local Trust Committee. The discussion began with a question about regulating Short-Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs). Laura believes that chairing the Local Trust Committees on Saturna and Pender Islands has given her the opportunity to see other models of addressing the issues of vacation rentals. While she did not propose any solutions, she did offer some observations. For example, if STVRs were “registered” or “licensed” in some way, there would be the ability to regulate them. This could also allow for limiting the number of available units (for example Tofino). While rules around STVRs are being proactively enforced, it is an endless battle: for every illegal one that is closed, more pop up. This constant need for enforcement, with the potential of escalating legal cases, is e…
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ASK Salt Spring Talks Explore Salish Sea Bike Trail and Thermoplastic Road Paint

A total of 18 participants came to the United Church Meadow last Friday from 11-1 for the weekly ASK Salt Spring gathering. The discussion began with a few updates from previous ASK Salt Spring gatherings: A) Adam’s visit last week initiated two conversations: Salt Spring Solutions volunteers as well as other enthusiasts in our community are in the initial stages of generating community-wide advocacy to complete the long-delayed Salish Sea Trail, consisting of bike lanes from Fulford to Vesuvius. The completion of this would finally close the loop connecting Salt Spring to the popular Vancouver Island trail network. As the result of Adam’s questioning of provincial urban standards for our rural pathways, a conversation has begun advocating for these far less expensive rural standards. B) As a result of Emcon’s visit, there are efforts to bring over a water truck to keep down the dust so that our roads could be swept in dry weather. There is also an effort to bring …
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Be a Local and “Name the Local Campaign” Contest!

Win a gift basket of local goodies! - What’s in a name? Everything! In this time of crisis, there have been ongoing calls across the island asking folks to live, breathe, sleep, eat and shop Salt Spring. Let’s make that happen together! We’ve all heard the cliché wording, everything from “SHOP the ROCK” to “Resilient Are Us”, to “Bake It, Make It, Shake It LOCAL”. We’d love a name that comes from you and that’s why we’re asking the community for help. Our goal is to create a message, a local campaign slogan, or name that makes you feel proud to be a Salt Spring Local, one that supports your neighbours, friends and family by investing funds and energy into all aspects of our community. Who benefits? Small producers, farmers, artisans, local businesses, YOU, our environment and everyone who values who we are and what we do as islanders. Salt Spring is more than an island. It’s a community, a culture and a mindset. Let’s celebrate our community’s identity and bring out th…
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Supporting Local Tourism and Ten Tips for Responsible Travel

Last week, the Province announced moving into Phase 3, the biggest change is encouraging travel throughout our Province. In June, we saw an uptick in visitors, and even more so when the announcement came last week. From conversations with shop owners, visitor centre staff and volunteers as well as personal interactions, most visitors are concerned about being welcomed, about minimizing their impact while they are here, and are excited to support the local businesses. I would like to remind everyone that patience and kindness need to be at the forefront right now. Our island businesses have taken a really hard hit over the last four months in an effort to keep their staff, customers and community members safe. Our local businesses are demonstrating a high level of diligence to health & safety practices while trying to stay afloat. Island businesses also need our community to step-up and welcome visitors who were respectful and stayed in their own communities until the …
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Watch: Gulf Islands Secondary Celebrates Safe Grad 2020 with Country Grocer

Of all the news stories done, this video is for the Grads of 2020, their parents, The Safe Grad Committee, and all of us who are so proud of these young folk. It all began with the glitch of COVID-19. The Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) Grads wanted to get together to see each other in their grad finery and bid farewell. The parents on the Safe Grad Committee were trying to organize various events but kept coming up against Covid guidelines. Then the light bulb went off. Shopping is OK, and all the precautions are in place at Country Grocer. This video is a glimpse at the evening that saw 80 GISS Grads shop for the local Food Bank. It's a Win Win. Congratulations to the Grads of 2020.
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Island COMEBACK a Regenerative Initiative To “Keep Our Island Vibe Alive” Launches

Salt Spring Island has joined a pandemic economic response and recovery initiative called Island COMBACK. Created by a diverse cross-section of BC’s rural islanders, this grassroots gift certificate and donation program will assist our most vulnerable businesses and community groups during the pandemic and beyond. Rural islanders are interconnected, strong, and caring. Island COMEBACK’s goal is to help each island be better able to recover from the current crisis. There are 18 rural islands taking part including Salt Spring. Island COMEBACK is both a people-first, e-commerce site designed to promote and sell island created non-perishable and durable goods and services, and a donation platform allowing Salt Spring community groups and organizations to receive funds to assist with their immediate needs. It calls upon our local community, and the world, to support the recovery of our rural island culture, and economy by purchasing a gift certificate, making a donation or by doi…
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Salt Spring Climate Action Survey Launched

Major Milestone Reached for Long-awaited 2030 Climate Action Plan - Transition Salt Spring has launched an online public engagement survey, giving Salt Spring Islanders a big opportunity to tell their leaders what they want to see in a climate action plan for their island home. “We’re really excited to offer Salt Springers this unique opportunity to participate online to help develop a climate action plan for our community," says Darryl Martin, chair of the volunteer committee working in cooperation with local officials to develop the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Plan. “We’re lucky to be one of six communities across Canada piloting this forward-looking community climate action tool.” With COVID-19 making in person public meetings impossible, the online tool couldn’t have come at a better time.  Participants are able to vote on policy options and community actions, and build a plan that works to reduce emissions as well as to prepare Salt Spring for higher wildfire r…
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COVID-19: Navigating Re-opening Local Businesses

As businesses are navigating the guidelines set out by the government, Public Health Officer, and WorkSafeBC, some are also experiencing extreme criticism from local residents about re-opening after nearly two and half months of being closed. Although re-opening our economy is daunting to many, every business is working hard to follow the guidelines and directives. Many of the requirements come at a high financial and human resource cost, leave their employees feeling vulnerable and affect overall business viability. We are so lucky to live in BC during this time, with the strong leadership and communication skills of Dr. Bonnie Henry and compliance by BC Residents our Province has been exemplary in flattening the curve. We must continue trusting her leadership and support businesses as they adjust to comply with the new business environment. Business owners are aware that it is not “Business as usual” and need locals to be understanding and supportive through this try…
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COVID-19: Survey Results Indicate Salt Spring Businesses Hit Hard

The results from the recent COVID-19 island business survey have alarmed many in the business community including executive director of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Harkema. The response and recovery survey, a joint initiative of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce and the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), was sent to local businesses to gauge how the pandemic is impacting business. Harkema expected bad news, but the scale of challenges presented by local businesses was more than she anticipated. “Almost 60% of the businesses who responded to our survey are very experienced.  They know how to run a business – in normal times at least. But the pandemic has thrown many business owners into deep waters,” says Harkema. The survey garnered close to 100 responses and asked businesses a range of questions, such as whether or not they will be able to restart once the pandemic recedes.  About half of the respondents said they would reopen, but…
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