Incorporation: Gary Holman on Infrastructure Funding

I’m writing in response to John McPherson’s column in which he argues that Salt Spring will not get its fair share of infrastructure funding unless we incorporate.  Mr. McPherson focuses on one particular source of funding – the Strategic Projects Fund (SPF) that is part of federal gas tax funding.  He cites data for 2015 indicating that Salt Spring has only received $60,000 planning grant from the fund, but fails to mention that no other individual municipality in the CRD received SPF funding either, except for Saanich which also received a planning grant.  All the other SPF funding within the CRD was for joint projects of regional significance involving several municipalities. The article omitted a few other facts.  Salt Spring has received millions in Community Works gas tax funding over the past decade, that has helped finance a number of water, pedestrian/cycling infrastructure projects on the island.  Community Works funding, currently at roughly $400,000/yr, is direct…
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Incorporation: Cheese Maker, David Wood on Voting Yes

David Wood, cheese maker and well-respected community member, has moderated many Salt Spring political panels and debates for the last 25 years. He wants to let everyone know that there has NEVER been a threat of ONE “pro-development” candidate on Salt Spring Island in all these years of his experience.
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Incorporation Opinion: Joan McConnell on Voting Yes

Joan McConnell came to Salt Spring Island from Montreal at the end of 1988 with her husband Allen. They were soon involved with their fellow islanders at numerous town meetings as the mandate to preserve and protect the Gulf islands evolved. Joan believes that this sacred trust will endure with incorporation while other problems arising from the growth of the population can be better addressed with our own council. The past has been wonderful and the future is not to be feared believes this nonagenarian. Joan has been a huge supporter of the arts on SSI and has been the main contributor to the prizes for SSNP.
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Incorporation Opinion: Roads - A Critical Assessment

I attended Brenda Guiled’s roads presentation at the Lions Hall on June 20th. Brenda deserves credit for all the work she’s done on Salt Spring’s transportation issues, and for the digging she’s been doing about the true cost of roadworks during and after our incorporation study committee’s work. Regrettably, I found some of Brenda’s points speculative. A committed No voter would use them to support their position. A committed Yes voter would dismiss them as hand waving. An undecided voter would wonder what’s true. For example, Brenda remarked about the province’s commitment – if we vote Yes – to widen and resurface 13km of Fulford-Ganges Road when it’s 14km long, suggesting that they would leave out Ganges and Fulford hills, the most expensive parts of the project. That met with nods and murmurs from the committed Nos in the audience. But Brenda misrepresented what the province promised. The Minister’s letter of September 20, 2016 promises “complete resurfacing of a…
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Incorporation Opinion: Tree House Owner, Mark LeCorre on Voting Yes

Salt Spring Island’s Tree House Cafe faced a huge challenge a few years ago that threatened the cafe’s existence and resulted in an online petition signed by thousands of people. Tree House Owner, Mark LeCorre explains what happened. And why he is voting yes. Vote Yes to Salt Spring Island Municipality Group
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Incorporation Opinion: Municipality Critical for Grant Funding

NSSWD’s decision to support a “yes” vote brings the issue of grant funding into focus. Peter Lamb (DW June 28) and others claim NSSWD is misleading ratepayers, because grants are supposedly just as likely if the CRD takes over. The facts show that Peter and the others have it all wrong. Salt Springers should know we are missing out on a lot of money for infrastructure projects by not being a municipality. It’s not just the grants that our water and fire districts are ineligible to apply for, which usually provide 2/3 of funding needs. We are missing out on gas tax funding too. The Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) - funded by gas taxes and available through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) - provides up to 100% of funding for eligible projects up to a max of $6 million per project, for drinking water, wastewater, asset management, public transit, highways and major roads, and infrastructure related to culture, sports and tourism. This year BC Municipalities membe…
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Incorporation: Local Trustees and Director Request Addendum Roads Report

We wish to advise Salt Spring electors that we have written to the ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development asking for an addendum roads report to be prepared that deals with the contents of a presentation currently being circulated within the community that challenges the roads information in the Incorporation Study Report prepared by the consultants to the committee, Urban Systems. The elected officials welcome critical analysis and comment on the Incorporation Study Report and its contents. Rational and civil debate advances knowledge of the implications of the choice that electors are being offered and should help broaden understanding of the two forms of governance available to us. With the assistance of some members of the Incorporation Study Committee we have examined the presentation being circulated within the community and believe it contains false assumptions and material inaccuracies. An addendum report is the appropriate mechanism for dealing with t…
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Incorporation: Video - Roads and Infrastructure Review

Brenda Guiled has done amazing research on the issue of Salt Spring roads and the looming liabilities. This is solid research on the subject. She presented this information in public meetings at the Lions Hall and Fulford Hall. Watch the video for the entire review.     .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Editors Note: We welcome and invite all members of the community to share perspectives regarding the discussion of the upcoming incorporation referendum. If you have a story, video or editorial to share on the matter that meets our moderation guidelines for opinion submissions then please be in touch with us if you would like to have it considered for publication.
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Bike Riding on Salt Spring Pro Tip: Lateral Bike Safety Flag

Could this $14 piece of plastic save your life riding a bike on Salt Spring roads? Remember the adage of what to do when you see a bear? You make yourself bigger! Why? So the bear thinks twice about chasing you down knowing it might not work out well. So imagine for a moment, that the bears here on the roads of Salt Spring are cars and trucks. More often than not they are driven by considerate and aware drivers, but often enough also by folks who drive as if their car and themselves are all that matter in the world. You're the one the bear driver has their eye on (or doesn't in some cases) while you're riding your bike. How do you make yourself just a little bit bigger when you're riding a bike? Well one simple answer has been around since the 70s. It just isn't used nearly enough from what I can tell. When we moved to Salt Spring 10 years ago, one of the biggest laments was the challenge of safely riding a bike on our narrow, hilly, winding roads. Since the island was…
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The Top 10 Island Life Faux Pas

Do not be deceived by idyllic appearances. There is stuff that you must not do when living on a piece of land surrounded by water with 10,000 other people, who all shop at the same grocery stores, visit the same doctors, dentists, restaurants and post offices as you. The following are rules to live by. Sneaking ahead of your turn on the ferry line. You are not unnoticed, especially by your neighbours, and most definitely by the ferry staff. Moving someone’s jacket, bag, or other item signifying that the seat is reserved at your local theater. I almost incited a lynch mob the last time I was at the Fritz and someone moved my scarf – luckily the situation deescalated before anyone could get through the popcorn line. Because, priorities! Never gossip about anyone, ever. Gossip is a lesser name for character assassination. You know that the cashier or person behind/in front of you in line at the grocer is most likely related to your object of discussion in some way. Alwa…
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Let Us Harness Our Anger and Our Fear

Thank you to Nomi Lyonns, Kim Tebbutt and Sharyn Carroll for organizing the rally and march on Saturday. Thank you to Christopher Roy for recognizing the significance of the event and recording every moment. I don't shed tears often, but at that gathering, my eyes kept leaking. My heart and mind were touched, as I felt my hope for what we commonly hold precious for All: safety, nourishment, connection, mutual support and respect.... Through music, speech, poetry, and walking together in silence; we were met with the theme “Let us claim and live what we value-- what we value about ourselves, about being human, and about all life on planet Earth.” We were affirmed around our ache and our hope: that what we value, we desire for our decedents as well. And if we can know how to make that happen, we will do all we can. For many of us who live on Salt Spring, and as evidenced by hundreds of rallies and marches in response to Trump's inauguration, the truth is: We care. And,…
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Government Paradigm Shift Needed For Addiction & Mental Illness

I am a Salt Spring Island based mother of one of the over 622 people who have died from (primarily) Fentanyl overdoses in 2016 in our province alone. I also am the mother of an adult son struggling with a mental health disorder. Both my children had the benefit of a loving, supportive and economically-secure home with parents willing to spend whatever it took to get them help. The problem is that Canada simply does not have effective mechanisms in place to provide the kind of assistance that the most vulnerable among us desperately need. What we need is a complete paradigm shift when it comes to helping Canadians with addictions and mental illnesses. Please let me share with you why I have come to believe that this is absolutely critical. On July 6, 2016 I found my beloved daughter, Kate, splayed over the side of her bed cold, hard and with a bluish/blackish mottled face. She had been dead for several hours. The on-site coroner and attending RCMP officer concurred that…
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Incorporation: Clarifying the Tax Numbers

There have been some questions posed in the last week regarding the property tax impacts of incorporation. To clarify the numbers, Urban Systems is making changes to the Final Report and will re-issue an updated version after the Final Report is approved at the last Incorporation Study Committee meeting, on November 21. This final version of the Study Report will replace the October 26 version currently posted on the website and in the Salt Spring Public Library, CRD office and Islands Trust office. In the interim, a description of the changes to be made has been posted to the website. As well, the 2-page infographic summary has been updated. Print copies of both of these documents will be available at the final Open House event. Urban Systems has issued the following communication below to explain the changes: Clarifying the tax numbers By Urban Systems As the consultants working on the Salt Spring Island Incorporation Study, our goal is to provide the commun…
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Should the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District Be Dissolved?

I was elected eighteen months ago by ratepayers of the Fire District to further their interests. Nearly 2000 hours of unpaid work later, I felt I could no longer do so. Ratepayers know they are getting a raw deal. Ratepayers should know there is nothing the trustees can do about it. The fire department is staffed by capable, motivated, and well trained men and women who do what is at times a difficult and dangerous job. Unfortunately, their skills and dedication aren’t enough. A detailed explanation of the District's morass can be found below. If you can't read it all through, I'll summarize in one sentence. The District is no longer of net benefit to ratepayers; they should be given an opportunity to dissolve it. Why did you quit, Norbert? There was a straw that broke the camel’s back. It happened behind closed doors and I will not discuss it. Why this story? There are things that SSIFPD ratepayers should understand. Distilled down, the issues aren’t that har…
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Fire Department Misinformation Doesn't Help Us

One has to wonder why there is so much misinformation in the community regarding the fire department. Probably a lot of it comes down to former trustees who hadn't been willing to recognize their own limitations, some of it was arrogance, some an unwillingness to discuss issues in front of the public and some was just, plain misinformation by the Board . The Province admits that Improvement Districts have problems with professionalism and accountability. This seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophesy. Without the guidance or involvement of qualified administrative staff, we've had trustees claim: that the public has no right to question the budget; that releasing information about employee compensation violates the employee's right to privacy; that recording public meetings is improper; that Improvement Districts are prohibited from establishing Renewal Reserve Funds when, in fact, they're required; that it's okay to purge bylaws from the record books. A c…
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Shop Locally Please

Fellow Salt Springers. Wake up and SMELL THE COFFEE. If you are not spending HALF your Good and Services money, here on Salt Spring, YOU ARE DAMAGING OUR COMMUNITY. We have just lost STITCHES, that great little “Mom and Pop” sewing and quilting shop, BECAUSE IT DID NOT GET ENOUGH LOCAL BUSINESS. STITCHES did not get fed enough. Locals voted it OFF THE ISLAND, by voting with their money for Sprawl Mart and Lostco. It is your choice to vote for the future you wish to create. I find it hard to understand, how people can knowingly harm our community, if they understand the value of locally recycling money, so I felt obliged to point out these facts. If you call the Big Box stores with a sewing problem, are they going to be as helpful as Stiches was. Not likely. The small picture, is that BC Ferries purchased our last ferries in Poland, because they were cheaper. Yes they were cheaper, if you only look at that page 1. If you look at the bigger picture, we did not get any of t…
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Straight Talk on the Fire Trustee Election

I am Maxine Leichter, an independent candidate for fire trustee, running against a group running together who, if elected, will form a majority of the Board. Every member of the Board should have an equal voice. It may be that a majority of trustees are like-minded. But to have a block that does not need to consult with other trustees is not democracy. My husband is a paid-on-call support member of the Fire Department who performs communications, safety and logistics duties. That is how I became informed and concerned about our fire department. There is more to being a fire trustee than implementing the changes recommended in the Walker Report independent review. It is about setting the direction of an essential public service in an open, thoughtful and business-like way without reducing essential service levels, without diminishing community safety and without drastically increasing our homeowners’ fire insurance rates. It requires giving our firefighters the …
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Course Correction Needed on Fire Board

The recently delivered Walker and Firewise reports on the governance and operations of the fire district have been an eye opener for Salt Springers. Add to that the release of 2013 compensation figures for full time members of staff, and comments like, “The fire district seems to be adrift,” and “Who is running the show here?” and “It's time for some common sense,” are flying. We agree. It's time for a course correction. There is no need for panic or wild accusations: the Walker report concludes that fire service performance is on par or better than in other BC communities. However, twenty recommendations were made re necessary improvements in governance, and at least half a dozen more operational recommendations that suggest lapses in board oversight. The reports – for which we paid $40,000 – set ambitious timelines for resolving these open issues. Of the twenty Walker recommendations, seven have 45 day deadlines, indicating urgency. Despite this, the current board decided …
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Message from Your Fire Fighter Team

Firefighters at Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR), both career and on-call, are one united team. We train and work together to serve Salt Spring Island. Our team only functions as well as each and every component. We rely on each other in hostile and dangerous environments. With friendships forged through adversity, we have grown to consider each other “brothers” and “sisters.” We provide professional responses, with a combination of on-call and career firefighters. The main reason we do what we do is because of our community. We want to protect our community, and we desire to be a strong diverse team that is there for the needs of Salt Spring. The firefighting team constantly strives to perfect our craftsmanship. We are responsive to community needs and we value your feedback. Misinformation and confrontational attitudes about SSIFR politics when shared in public can be damaging to our mission, morale and team cohesion. We urge the community to learn about how SS…
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Fire Services - Seeking Solutions

No doubt there are quite a few people in our community who disagree with disclosing compensation for members of the fire department. However discomforting the information may be, we can't deal with a problem that we don't know exists or aren't allowed to understand. The Board of Trustees has resisted sharing information with the public, creating obstacles at every step of the way. As mentioned by others, it should never have required a Freedom of Information request to obtain this data. Hiring full-time fire fighters more than a decade ago was an attempt to fix something which wasn't broken to begin with… the community had been well served by a body of committed, well trained volunteers. That initial "fix" and the subsequent Union contract have restricted the involvement of the volunteers and, regardless of their training and competence, renders them "second class citizens". The result has limited the community's choices while upping the ante on the cost. It has fostered an …
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