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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New Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy

The Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) announces three new Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy - Salt Spring Island’s Community Economic Commission (CEDC) is announcing three new initiatives to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Piloting in mid-2020 will be the development of a commercial distribution and export hub providing local food and beverage producers, artisans and craftspeople, along with health and wellness fabricators, the opportunity to share the cost of services and/or resources needed to grow and sustain their operations. Through the initiative local producers will have access to dedicated marketing and sales agents; shared labour force resources, and a value chain designed to facilitate more efficient production of supplies. The second initiative is the planning of an Innovation Centre for Rural Sustainability to help foster an environment appropriate for testing and scaling innovative green business soluti…
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Opportunity Portraits: Pod Contemporary Gallery

Pod Contemporary Gallery: Selling Contemporary Art and Artful Pieces - At Pod, owner Helen Mears offers an opportunity to take in contemporary art and boutique style shopping at the same time. How do you combine your passion for art and convert that into something you do for a living? I remember being in my early twenties and I traveled to Seattle for numerous weekends away and noticed how a lot of hotels and restaurants had original art displayed.It wasn't very prevalent in Vancouver and decided that I wanted to incorporate into my business endeavor. At the time, in East Vancouver, where my shop Mecca was located, there were many struggling artists with not many options to exhibit. I had a beautiful old storefront with 12 foot + ceilings. Art enhanced the space. I continued to incorporate it into my future businesses:Cafe Talia and Pod contemporary. I watch as people react, connect with and observe the work I exhibit. It's an exciting element of my work. As a woman en…
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Opportunity Portraits: InDro Robotics

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of InDro Robotics who specializes in the manufacture, distribution and operation of commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Their technology has been utilized in disaster planning, search and rescue missions, climate research, early detection of wildfire hazards and to provide agriculture & vegetation management. We recently caught up with local President and CEO Philip Reece. Indro Robotics - Q & A With Philip Reece, President and CEO How has InDro Robotics changed the way drones are positioned in terms of delivering services that make a difference in the world? InDro Robotics has been working on delivery of urgent care equipment from the very start. We were the first in the world to deliver and AED (heart defibrillator) back in 2014, and we have built on that success ever since, working with industry regulators, first responders and hospital to deliver urgent care items, blood and bl…
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Opportunity Portraits: Rhubarb Designs

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of Rhubarb Designs: Goods That Inspire and Preserve Tradition and Art Forms - Lorraine Hamilton is known for her inspiring landscape ideas and imaginative plant combinations. How has your move from the world of natural landscapes into the world of home décor been? Well, I see everything as an extension of the outdoors so the move for me has been an easy one. I am still heavily involved in the landscape world and it is a constant frame of reference. For me the outdoors captures so many things that are intrinsic to the way we experience the world. The shop is full of goods that connect us to that and to the world beyond our doorsteps. The running criteria for the goods I carry are they must be made of natural materials, mostly made by hand, have a story, be goods that support other communities, preserve tradition, have a small footprint, be useful, celebrate good design, be original, and add inspiratio…
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Opportunity Portraits: Twang & Pearl

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of Twang & Pearl: Inspired by the People & Stories Behind the Goods Curated - Jana Thomas combines her love of travel with a sincere appreciation for beauty. You’ve been a traveller and a buyer, how has your eye for curated goods expanded or changed over the years? I didn’t really set out to be either. I discovered a love for travelling as most people do - by travelling. I tend to appreciate and find beauty in experiences as much as I do in ‘things’ and travelling has opened me up to both in spades - one feeding the other. In other words, whether travelling near or far, it’s the people or community of people behind the products that really makes the beauty shine thru. So I guess as I travel more, my community expands and my eye for curation expands with it. Being a long-time Salt Spring Island-er you’ve seen many changes in the business landscape, what keeps you inspired? I can’t li…
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Opportunity Portraits: The Pottery Shop + Studio

We're starting off our Opportunity Portraits with "The Pottery Shop + Studio," a new communal pottery studio in Fulford Village,  run by three savvy potters.  So many sectors on Salt Spring are achieving great things and our island entrepreneurs are creative, innovative and award-winning. Read more below in our Q&A Portrait. The Pottery Shop + Studio - Q & A With Erin Morris, Partner What prompted you to open your new venture in Fulford? My time at my last studio was coming to an end and after looking for several months for a decent space (and not finding one) I decided to think outside the box a little and brainstorm some options. In order to grow my business I knew I needed a larger workspace to accommodate the volume of work I want to make. I also knew that I’d been working alone in my studio for many years and was really missing the richness of a shared creative space. Another reason for this venture is that I want to bring more education to the public abou…
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Shop Local This Season - BC Shop Local Week

Did you know it’s BC Shop Local Week!? I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this designated week for shopping local falls at the beginning of December. As we all prepare for the holidays, it is a great reminder to support the local businesses and creators that are here year round supporting our community in so many ways. When you shop local (all the time!) you contribute to the health and vitality of Salt Spring Island. But what does shopping local really mean? In our case, shopping local is more easily defined - Purchasing your goods and services on Salt Spring Island. I think by now, we all understand the economic impact of shopping local as there have been many campaigns around these benefits in recent years. There are additional benefits to shopping local that include but are not limited to environmental sustainability, health, supporting local artisans, creators and farmers, quality personalized service, knowing where the products are sourced etc. I find this quote sa…
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2019 Salt Spring Chamber Salty Awards Winners

Salt Spring community members gathered last night at the Harbour House hotel to celebrate business and community award nominees and award winners. The awards and dinner were organized by the Salt Spring Chamber board and staff members to celebrate the best parts of our Salt Spring community and the entrepreneurial spirit of the island. Twenty-nine awards were given out across two business and community award categories. Thank you for voting the Salt Spring Exchange your favourite Local Media Choice again this year. We're grateful for all our supporters and advertisers who help make the service of the Exchange possible. We'd like to thank all the other local media organizations on the island, The Gulf Islands Driftwood, The Fish Bowl and the Islands Marketplace who all work tirelessly to help share the news and events of our very special island community. We all benefit from their work engaging people on and off island in stories about our island. Our Local Media Choice aw…
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