COVID-19: Low-Interest Loans for Salt Spring Farmers and Food Processors - March 31st, 2020 - 10:43 AM

Do you need help with cash flow over the next few months? Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Co-op (TSSEC) recognizes that the pandemic may create cash flow difficulties and we are therefore offering low interest micro-loans with flexible repayments at this time to help Salt Spring’s small farmers and processors. Locals supporting locals through uncertain times. TSSEC has loaned over $120,000 for green projects on Salt Spring since 2011. Contact TSSEC at (250) 537-2616 or by email to TSSEnterpriseCoop@gmail.com
Read more

COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund Reaches $93,000 - March 30th, 2020 - 1:49 PM

As of March 30, the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has grown to $93,000. Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store have donated $50,000, and community donations have reached $18,000. The fund was started with a Foundation contribution of $20,000 and a CRD Grant-in-Aid of $5,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We are extremely grateful for the heartwarming response from these caring businesses and individuals. We are working to get funds out quickly to support the local charities that are fighting on the front lines of this crisis.” Donations may be made at ssifoundation.ca or by mail to: Salt Spring Island Foundation, Box 244, Ganges PO, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V9. Please indicate on your cheque that the donation is to be directed to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, su…
Read more

COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 30th, 2020 - 1:05 PM

Fortunately, for the moment, these posts have little new information and are quite boring. This is good. This means we may be flattening the curve, but it is still too early to say. It can be hard to appreciate the severity of what is happening elsewhere in our province and country when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Spring is so clearly making itself known. Once again though, we must implore you to carry on with all the physical distancing measures. It is our only hope for slowing the virus, saving lives, and being able to lift some of the restrictions we now face, a bit earlier. Again we offer some resources to help Salt Springers to cope during this time. With school technically back in session, here are some activities for children and youth. Museums around the world are offering free virtual online tours. The US Centers for Disease Control website now has a section devoted to maintaining mental wellness during the pandemic. Editorial Note…
Read more

COVID-19: CRD Enhances Communication with Electoral Areas - March 30th, 2020 - 9:18 AM

As part of its response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has launched an additional way to communicate with residents in the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas. With people directed to self-isolate and not gather in groups, the remote electoral areas pose a unique challenge to share information with residents. To help mitigate these challenges, three new email addresses have been created for residents in the CRD’s electoral areas to ask questions and communicate directly with the CRD. These inboxes are monitored Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and the CRD will respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. If questions fall outside the CRD’s area of responsibility for electoral area governance, best efforts will be made to re-direct inquiries to the appropriate resource. Juan de Fuca: jdfcovid@crd.bc.ca Salt Spring Island: ssicovid@crd.bc.ca Southern Gulf Islands: sgicovid…
Read more

COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Local Elected Officials Joint Message - March 29th, 2020 - 3:55 PM

We, your three locally elected officials (Gary Holman, CRD Electoral Area Director, and Peter Grove and Laura Patrick, Islands Trust Trustees) have settled into our work-from-home environments and are practicing social distancing. We are proud of how quickly our respective organizational staff have adapted, and how they are ensuring that the essential services you need are being maintained. We know that you care about your fellow islanders and that you are looking after your neighbours who may need assistance. We appreciate everyone who is following the directions of Dr. Bonny Henry and the Ministry of Health, and are staying home and practicing appropriate social distancing. We are so grateful to our local medical staff and essential service providers. Please understand they are counting on you to do your part to avoid getting infected and infecting others. It is crucial that we are 100% committed to Dr. Henry’s directives and guidance to ensure we do not overload our ver…
Read more

COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 28th, 2020 - 1:00 PM

Every single person on Salt Spring has the potential to save a life by practicing physical distancing. Never before have any of us been able to have such an incredible impact by such a small change in behaviour. Simply staying home and maintaining a physical distance from others is the single most effective measure to control and stop this pandemic. The provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s address yesterday gave us a glimmer of hope, but as many know, statistics can be interpreted in many different ways. Now is NOT the time to relax any of the containment measures. Rather, it is crucial that we hold the course we are on, continue to practice physical distancing, stay home, and wash our hands. The coming days will reveal if we are truly ‘flattening the curve’ of new cases. Lady Minto Hospital remains open with restrictions on visitors and all the recommended infection control measures in place. We continue to be ready and able to care for you. We …
Read more

COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 27th, 2020 - 1:28 PM

A gentle reminder to people who have been asking whether there are cases on Salt Spring—we are committed to the confidentiality of our patients and will not disclose any more than the information you are receiving from the Medical Officer of Health. Our regulatory body, The College of Physicians and Surgeons has said: “….Dr. Henry is taking great care to ensure the privacy of individuals who are affected, which of course is of utmost importance. The College has recently learned of instances where information has been posted on social media or provided to the press about individual patient cases and test results, including the identification of certain smaller communities. This is not acceptable. Physicians must not disclose information about individual patients in any setting, including stories shared directly with other people, even if patient identities are not revealed. The risk of a privacy breach is too great”. We are also aware that there is a time lag between th…
Read more

COVID-19: Donate to Support the Lady Minto Hospital - March 27th, 2020 - 12:15 PM

Lady Minto Hospital is here for you during the COVID-19 crisis, however the hospital and the people who take care of all of us need your help. In light of the potential COVID-19 risk we all face, Lady Minto Hospital is planning, training and working to be ready for all eventualities. More critical than ever, supply shortages need to be anticipated, identified, and taken care of as quickly as possible to ensure adequate inventory exists for the safety of hospital staff and patients. The Foundation has begun to pay for such extraordinary supplies, ensuring the need will be met. We are asking for the community's help at this critical time. Your donation will be used exclusively to help the hospital ensure that it doesn't run short of the supplies and equipment necessary to fight COVID-19. In this time of uncertainty and anxiety, we can all take comfort in knowing we have a community hospital and amazing team that is here for us. Donate online at ladymintofoundation.…
Read more

COVID-19: Harbour Air Temporarily Suspends Flights - March 27th, 2020 - 9:02 AM

Harbour Air will temporarily suspend regularly scheduled flights beginning Sat, March 28. - As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread throughout the Province and with safety as our top value at Harbour Air, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and our customers to cease all Harbour Air scheduled service flight operations. Our current plan is to start flying again May 4th, 2020. We understand the impact that this decision has on the communities we service, and because we don’t want to leave anyone stranded, as we are deemed an essential service in the province, we will continue to offer charter services which will include private flights, freight and government support services as required. For the safety of our flight crew and private flight passengers, these flights will be completed utilizing our larger DeHavilland Otter aircraft, which will allow for on board distancing. We will continue to follow the stringent cleaning and sanitation proto…
Read more

COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Launches Emergency Fund

The Salt Spring Island Foundation has established the COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation is making an initial contribution of $20,000 and will also be receiving a CRD Grant-in-Aid of $5,000 for the fund. In addition, Country Grocer will be partnering with the Foundation to support the fund. Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, such as seniors, or other pressing community needs as they emerge. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “As Salt Spring faces this unprecedented challenge, the Foundation is committed to helping the charities and not-for-profit organizations that are on the front lines of this fight to assist those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Islanders have always been incredibly caring and generous to others in times of need, and we appeal for their help now.“ The Foundation is inviting i…
Read more

COVID-19: SD64 Letter from Superintendent Scott Benwell - March 26th, 2020 - 4:01 PM

Dear families of students in SD64: As we all know, the return to school after Spring Break this year is anything but normal. I want to reassure you that district staff have been working throughout the break, in partnership with provincial authorities, to ensure that public education continues to provide high quality learning and support services to our students, families, and communities. Like the communities we serve, the school district is resilient and ready to take on the challenges that lie before us in the coming weeks. Our responsibilities as a school district are numerous and I would like to share with you some of the things we are working on and some of the ways that we see our services continuing – services that will look and feel different for all of us. The BC Ministry of Education, with advice from the Provincial Health Officer, announced the suspension of in-class instruction to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and to ensure that our students and families…
Read more

COVID-19: Open Burning Restrictions Issued for Salt Spring Island - March 26th, 2020 - 2:02 PM

Open Burning Restrictions Issued for Salt Spring Island and All High Smoke Sensitivity Zones in British Columbia - As cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in BC continue to increase, the BC Centre for Dis- ease Control recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province. There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollu- tion increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function. This means that: Deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall Deterioration in air quality may lead to more cases of severe COVID-19 infections, adding further demand to our healthcare system, and Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects. Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularl…
Read more

COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 26th, 2020 - 1:07 PM

We are in the calm before the storm and it is what we do right now that will determine the severity of the coming storm.

We want to thank all the residents and businesses of Salt Spring who are doing an incredible job of physical distancing and thus literally saving lives. So many people are helping in all sorts of different ways it would be impossible to mention them all, but thank you. Every day we delay the storm is a precious gift to everyone as more protective gear and ventilators are organized and information and treatments are developed.

Today, we’d like to provide some links to more support resources and the latest news on Covid-19 as it relates to our Salt Spring community.

Many people ask how long the virus can live on surfaces. The short answer is, it depends on the surface:

up to 3 days on smooth surfaces such as glass, plastic and metal up to 24 hours on cardboard about 4 hours on c…
Read more

COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 25th, 2020 - 1:03 PM

Over the last week or so, we have focused on what individuals can do to prevent transmission of COVID, how to access care, etc. Today we would like to recognize the stress and anxiety that this virus has caused in the community. Many of us have friends, family members, and neighbours who have lost their jobs. Our Island is highly reliant on tourism for income. Small business owners and their employees are worried about how to feed their families, pay rent or mortgages, and other basics. If you’re feeling anxious about the virus - about finances, the economy, or how to cope while staying at home - please take a look at some of the resources provided below. The federal and provincial governments are working to create a financial safety net for those who need it most during the pandemic. Please remember that compassion is one of our community’s greatest strengths. Help one another from afar, be kind, and we will get through this. RESOURCES: If you are experiencing any …
Read more

COVID-19: BC Ferries Continues to Operate In Service to Communities Along Coastal BC - March 24th, 2020 - 5:27 PM

BC Ferries continues to provide ferry services to connect communities and deliver essential goods to urban centres and more isolated areas such as the Gulf Islands and smaller towns in the northern part of the province. In line with directions provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other leading health authorities, BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time. To date, BC Ferries has not been instructed to restrict travel. BC Ferries continues to carry all types of traffic. “None of us should be travelling if it is not essential,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We want our customers that need to travel to know that we have taken steps to keep ferry travel as safe as possible. We are asking our customers to adhere to safe practices for their own safety and for the safety of BC Ferries employees.” Enhanced health and safety measures include additional cleaning and disinfecting, allowing and recommending passe…
Read more

COVID-19: Letter from MP Elizabeth May to Her Constituents - March 24th, 2020 - 4:59 PM

Hi all, I know all of us like to be social, so social-distancing is a challenge, but please do it! I am keeping our Sidney office staffed, but only one staff person at a time. Please call ahead as we are not taking walk-in meetings. We are dealing with quite a few stranded constituents and trying to get their travel plans sorted. We appreciate your calls and updates, which I relay to key ministers. When we had a lot of calls from people who wanted the U.S.-Canada border closed, I used that for additional pressure as we have been pushing for the border to close. As you know, that is now happening and will take effect Friday night. I have sent emails to all the other elected levels of government, MLAs, mayors, CRD directors, First Nation chiefs and the Islands Trust office in Victoria to maintain contact and share developments in this fluid situation. Meanwhile, all Members of Parliament are offered a daily technical briefing by telephone conference on developments an…
Read more

COVID-19: CRD Asks Parks Visitors to Maintain Social Distancing - March 24th, 2020 - 2:17 PM

To support community health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Capital Regional District (CRD) is asking visitors to Regional Parks and community parks in electoral areas to adhere to the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). CRD Regional Parks has seen a large increase in visitors in the recent weeks. Though many parks allow for appropriate social distancing measures to be followed, it has been observed that some parks are seeing traffic that does not allow for adherence to proper protocol as ordered by the PHO. The PHO recommendations and orders include keeping at least two metres of distance between yourself and others and not gathering in groups. While outside for fresh air and exercise, only be close to members of the same household and keep at a distance from everyone else. Responsible use of Regional Parks and Trails may allow them to remain open. Should measures outlined by the PHO not be able to be maintained, parks will have to be …
Read more

COVID-19: Letter to Constituents from Adam Olsen MLA, Saanich North and the Islands - March 24th, 2020 - 2:02 PM

Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia Provincial Health Officer, and the Minister of Health Adrian Dix, have been exemplary in the handling of this crisis. It’s important that everyone in our community follow their recommendations to help stop the growth of this virus. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit http://covid-19.bccdc.ca. As a result of their recommendations we have closed our constituency office to walk-in traffic. Our team is working from home and will be available by email (Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca) and by phone (250-655-5600). We will continue to process casework as usual and advocate on behalf of everyone in Saanich North and the Islands. I’m very concerned for the health and well-being of everyone in our community, especially those who are at the greatest risk and for those whose income or business is affected by the closures. I’m working hard as your MLA to advocate for solutions that meet your needs, especially for those hit harde…
Read more

COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 24th, 2020 - 1:03 PM

This is a surreal and strange time for all of us. Going for a walk or looking out at the water, everything looks the same as always. However, all over the world including here in BC people are dying, and intensive care units are filling up. We hear that people are losing patience with the social distancing measures which are being asked of you. You may be feeling frustrated by the limitations of not being able to meet with friends, or just don’t feel you are at risk. Please remember that social distancing and hand washing are the only preventive measures that have been proven to work for the pandemic. We are pleading with you to stick with it! The longer people don’t comply with social distancing, the longer we’ll have to do it. On Salt Spring we are in a period of relative calm and we hope it stays this way. Please remember that all of our local Family Doctors offices are open. They are taking phone appointments and will arrange to see those who need to be seen in p…
Read more

COVID-19: Harbour Authority of Salt Spring Island - March 23rd, 2020 - 5:19 PM

Information Bulletin regarding changes to the management of the government docks Harbour Authority of Saltspring Island (HASSI) due to COVID-19. The Harbour office, showers and washrooms have been closed to the public for over a week and remains so until further notice. Staff are working on site, please respect public distancing and limit contact to phone and email. In emergency call 911, the Harbour Master at 250 537-7530. For non urgent issues, call office at 250 537-5711 or email at Harbour@HASSI.ca. Docks: essential or emergency only, specifically: Kanaka dock will not re-open to transient visitor moorage at this time. Monthly moorage contracts will be extended. Breakwater dock will be open to essential and emergency vessels only (this includes outer islanders getting supplies). We are in ongoing discussion with the floatplanes. Centennial dock is open to existing monthly contract customers only. Temporary dinghy moorage at Centennial is being relocated t…
Read more

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…
Read more