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 this....wow, 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. https://youtu.be/peZsMdYe0PQ
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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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ASK Salt Spring Answers from Emcon and the Chamber of Commerce

Emcon Managers, Andrew Gaetz and Lisa Herschmiller What effect has this pandemic had on your operations? We have had to adjust in a variety of ways including: additional sanitization measures, staggering shifts, minimizing access to our shops and offices, adjusting work practices to meet social distancing guidelines, numerous training exercises and education on personal hygiene, and an increased number of pick ups in our larger yards to facilitate social distancing. We worried when a few staff caught colds and had to follow the protocol for a 14-day quarantine, but we are very proud to report that we are still running a 24/7 operation, and our staff is healthy and working. Despite the good health of our crew, some of these emergency measures have delayed our responses, so we appreciate your patience in these challenging times. When do you think that our roads will be swept and ready for lines to be painted? We now have a sweeper on Salt Spring…
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MLA Adam Olsen: Showing Up for Business Who Have Showed Up for Us

In times of hardship and challenge humans show incredible adaptability, resilience and innovation. While we are largely able to deal with the disruption and calamity caused by localized natural disasters or collapse of man-made systems, we have rarely had the dramatic challenge at a global level like we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of physical distancing and social isolation for individuals, communities, enterprise, businesses, institutions and governments is intense. We see the diverse web of interconnectivity of all our systems, and our weaknesses and vulnerabilities are exposed. As we move through the initial aspects of the public health emergency it is critical that we continue to maintain the effective tactics ordered by Dr. Bonnie Henry, our provincial health officer, including physical distancing, frequent handwashing and only going out on essential business, that have helped British Columbia keep our transmission rates relatively low.…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Chamber Addresses Current Community Challenges

Salt Spring Island and its residents have a long history of happily welcoming thousands of visitors all year around. We are proud of our safe community and love sharing it with people from around the world. Given the situation, we ask that you stay safely in your home to help our island, province and country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community, like other small communities, has very limited resources to deal with the pandemic. It is important that our essential services are not overwhelmed by an added risk from an influx of visitors. Salt Spring Island will be here when it’s over. We are working hard to make sure that the wonderful shops, restaurants, cafes, artisans, farmers, tour companies, accommodations and adventure operators that make Salt Spring what it is, are able to open again. We need to ensure that our businesses, their owners, their employees, and all community members remain safe and healthy so that they can offer you the world-class service that the…
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COVID-19: Island Savings - Changing Hours - March 16th, 2020 - 3:47 PM

Valued members, For as long as COVID-19 remains a concern in Canada, we encourage you to take full advantage of our online and mobile banking services, and/or call our Member Advice Centre at 1-888-597-1083 as opposed to visiting our branch in-person. We have outstanding online, mobile and telephone-based banking services to meet your financial needs. In an effort to reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus we are also asking our staff members to stay home who: *are experiencing any symptoms of illness, *have anyone in their family who has recently travelled internationally *have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed or being tested for COVID -19. With the reduced staffing levels we will be changing our hours of operations across the organization from Mon-Thurs 9:30am-2:30pm and Fri 9:30am-4:00pm. This will take effect on March 17, 2020. Thank you for understanding. Editorial Note: Read all official, current and ongoing updates on COVID-1…
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COVID-19: How to Help Local Businesses Through the Pandemic

Social distancing, cancelled events, self-isolation,and working from home are supposed to help “lower the curve” of the spread of COVID-19, but it is likely to leave our local small businesses suffering. Without discounting the importance of public health and safety, it is also important to recognize that small businesses are going to need help to get through the pandemic. Unfortunately, the virus hits us at a tough time for business on Salt Spring, especially those that depend on the seasonal influx of visitors. Businesses are typically ramping up to welcome visitors to the island, whereas now they are trying to figure out how to keep their staff employed, pay rent, keep the lights on and their doors open. The Federal Governments announced a Small and Medium Business aid package, however we are unsure what that will look like for local businesses. In turn, individuals can definitely do their part. Here are a few things we can all do to get our small business through t…
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Defendants Cite Lack of Evidence In Response to Civil Forfeiture of Salt Spring Property Linked to Alleged Stock Fraud

The BC Civil Forfeiture Office has filed a lawsuit seeking to seize a Salt Spring Island property allegedly linked to a large international stock fraud. The lawsuit filed December 11th, 2019 in BC Supreme Court alleges the property located at 391 Baker Road on Salt Spring Island is the proceeds of crime and was used to launder money. The defendants have now submitted responses to the civil claim citing lack of evidence to substantiate the allegation. "The defendant Skye Lee does not have any proprietary or financial interest in the property. As such, the defendant states that this action should be discontinued against him. The defendant has no knowledge of the alleged unlawful scheme referred to in the Notice of Civil Claim. The defendant has not and is not connected to such unlawful scheme and was not a beneficiary of the alleged Unlawful Scheme. Mr. Lee pleads that he has no interest in the property and that the herein action should be discontinued against him and/or di…
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