Great to See All Candidates Prioritize Housing - Now to the Hard Work

Over the course of the past 6 months, volunteers from across the Island have been exploring solutions to our affordable housing crisis. Members of our group have held hundreds of meetings and conversations with community leaders, current elected officials, planners, non-profit housing proponents, engineers and water experts, builders and rental suite owners, and those most impacted by the current crisis including seniors, teachers and healthcare workers, young families, farmers and business owners. Through these discussions we have identified four high priority housing solutions that, if implemented, we believe would go a long way towards easing the crisis. There are of course many other ideas that will help however we believe these four will have the most significant impact and are the most viable given Salt Spring’s unique governance. At the root of any long term solution is the need to increase the supply of long-term rental housing and affordable homeownership for Sal…
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2018 Elections – Candidates Perspectives on Impacts of New Projects

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on impact of new projects. Question: (CRD Only question) When making a cost-benefit analysis for a capital project, how would you account for the environmental impacts of that project, and what priority would you place on minimizing these impacts? Gary Holman (candidate for CRD Director): Depends on the project. Some projects (eg, liquid and solid waste, cycling/pedestrian/EV charging infrastructure, expansion of public transit, waste water reclamation, water/energy conservation investments) are already primarily driven by environmental factors. For new buildings (eg, fire hall, library, pool, CRD main offices), typically the level of energy and environmental standard (e.g., such as various levels of LEED certification) is analyzed in terms of incremental capital costs versus future energy and water savings. The loc…
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2018 Elections – Candidates Perspectives on Alternative Housing Options

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on alternative housing options. Question: What would you do to bring the current Land Use Bylaws in line with the OCP’s support for alternative housing options to allow innovative projects that support our most vulnerable community members and farmers (i.e. tiny homes, mental health housing, land sharing, cooperative housing?) Sabrina Ali (candidate for Islands Trustee): Any bylaws that are not in line with the OCP are capable of amendment. I would encourage broad community consultation prior to amendment. I would particularly look at the bylaws affecting secondary suites to see how affordable, safe and ecologically harmonious living situations can be achieved. I would support the Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Authority (SSIWPA) working with the North Salt Spring Waterworks District to find solutions to wat…
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We Need a Cohesive Housing Strategy Now

We have a housing crisis that is impacting everyone on this island either directly or indirectly. Working people – among them nurses, teachers, servers, chefs - struggle to find long-term homes. We are losing organizations and businesses that are integral to our island life. Enrolment in our school district is falling. This is a complex problem and there is no single or easy solution. We are in a housing crisis that is affecting too many of our fellow islanders. Elect me and I will work to identify and implement innovative solutions to provide immediate and long-term homes that fit within the character and capacity of our island. The very first thing I will do is to bring the Trust, CRD, our MLA, BC Housing and local housing organizations together to collaboratively develop an understanding of the housing issue, and work with the community to develop a comprehensive Housing Strategy. The strategy will identify solutions, and the timeline, the responsible agency, and a fu…
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2018 Elections – Candidates Perspectives on Health

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on health. Question: How would you support the proposed Salt Spring Community Health Centre so that it is completed in a timely and effective manner? Sabrina Ali (candidate for Islands Trustee): The Salt Spring Community Health Center is a worthy initiative. I would do whatever I could to promote community wide access to primary health care services. I would be pleased to continue to work with Community Services on Salt Spring Island and the Community Health Center under their Intermediary Agreement. I support any initiative that will provide holistic health care to our community, particularly to vulnerable populations, especially bearing in mind that statistically 2500-3500 residents of our island are without a family doctor. This initiative would take pressure off emergency room doctors and staff. It is vital to …
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2018 Elections – Candidates Perspectives on Water

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on water. Question: How will you use the numerous reports and knowledge currently available on Salt Spring’s water stresses and vulnerabilities to resolve concerns and deliver safer, more sustainable, water to our residents? Sabrina Ali (candidate for Islands Trustee): I enthusiastically support the development of a comprehensive Water Management Strategy, specifically to address rainwater catchment, gray water and irrigation. It seems to be a consensus that the development of ‘measureables’, against which we can chart our progress would be advisable. This would include monitoring and management of species at risk, invasive species and ecological restoration. Clear goal setting includes the development of checkpoints. I would like to investigate what opportunities exist or can be created to encourage voluntary stewar…
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Sustain Our Vibrant Community and the Environment

Our island environment is under stress from the impacts of climate change, a heated housing market, and increased tourism. I believe the Islands Trust can be a leading model of ecological-based land management. I know we can and MUST do better if we are to build a healthy, vibrant island community that is in harmony with the natural environment, both for today and, more importantly, for tomorrow. Elect me and I will work on maintaining and strengthening our environmental safeguards to keep Salt Spring and the Trust Area special and a world-class example of sustainability. We can do better by communicating how every one of us who lives in, owns land on, vacations in or travels through this region needs to become a steward of our precious ecosystem. We need to know what actions we can each take to protect it. We can do better by managing and conserving our water supplies and employing standards to ensure long-term ecological sustainability of our watersheds while…
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2018 Elections – Candidates Perspectives on Bylaw Enforcement

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on Bylaw Enforcement. Question: Do you have interest in finding alternatives to complaint-driven enforcement of bylaws? If yes, what alternatives would you suggest? Sabrina Ali (candidate for Islands Trustee): Yes, the complaint driven system does not seem to be working well, as it results in a patchwork of bylaw enforcement and can result in neighborhood discord. A restorative justice model is the best practice where there will be a continuing relationship between the parties. As the purpose of our bylaws is to enable us to live in harmony, it seems sensible to transform an adversarial process into a consensus building one. This could be done at the monthly town hall meetings or as an associated procedure. I would also encourage voluntary stewardship of the natural environment (per the Islands Trust Strategic Plan.)…
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2018 Elections – Candidates Perspectives on Coordination of Services

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on Coordination of Services issues. Question: What is your opinion of the proposed establishment of an Inter-Agency Working Group (described in the Governance Working Group Discussion Paper) to improve coordination of local services, and what skills would you contribute to making it a success? Sabrina Ali (candidate for Islands Trustee): The Interagency working group is very close to the town hall meeting that I am advancing. I recognize and agree that greater co-ordination between decision-making authorities with exclusive jurisdiction in their area is the best way to accomplish mindful community building. Where I differ in approach is that I prefer a direct democratic model contained within the monthly town hall meeting. The IAWG could be characterized as simply another level of bureaucracy, but one without bindin…
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2018 Elections - Candidates Perspectives on First Nations

In the lead up to Election Day on October 20th, 2018, the Community Alliance will post answers from candidates to crucial questions. Today, we focus on First Nations issues. Questions about First Nations What would you do to recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples concerning the use, access and protection of un-ceded lands and resources, especially with archaeological, cultural, and historical sites? Sabrina Ali (candidate for Islands Trustee): I would establish the firm protocol of beginning every meeting with recognition of the traditional territory upon which the meeting is taking place. Further, I would like to have regular consultation with the First Peoples, particularly the nations traditionally around Salt Spring. Because the mandate of the Islands Trust is to “preserve and protect”, it seems appropriate to seek input from the first guardians of the land. Kylie Coates (candidate for Islands Trustee): The federal and provincial government are…
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Positively Forward releases its report, "Improving Capital Regional District (CRD) Service Delivery on Salt Spring Island: options for positive change"

Positively Forward is pleased to announce the release of its report, "Improving Capital Regional District(CRD) Service Delivery on Salt Spring Island: options for positive change" . A team of researchers, writers and their editor prepared the 44- page report, working for more than ten months to complete the study. Their work is based, in large part, on the evidence, analysis and observations provided by 32 people, all of whom, in different capacities, have first hand experience working with or for the CRD These include current or former CRD directors and staff members, as well as current or former CRD commissioners , local service commissioners and consultants to the CRD. Their information was collected from in depth personal interviews and through questionnaires. Lead researcher, Maxine Leichter said: " The report is the culmination of a great deal of effort and commitment on the part of many people, not least of whom are those who agreed to be interviewed about CRD serv…
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Housing in Saanich North and the Islands

As I knocked on doors leading up to the Spring 2017 election, there was no question what issue was top of mind. Housing. I heard over and over again the stories of a lack of affordable, accessible and safe housing. As the MLA, housing continues to be a top concern. The housing problems cover a wide spectrum: proximity to work or school, security of landlord/tenant rights, under-utilized housing, crowded and unsafe housing, skyrocketing prices, fear of a collapse, the impact of foreign capital and domestic capital overpowering limited local capital, fairness, housing for seniors, housing for young people and families, housing for workers. Saanich North and the Islands is a diverse riding with people across the socio-economic spectrum. Housing issues in our riding are being expressed on every street, in every neighbourhood, in every community and on every island. While the concerns are different, the unifying theme is the same - the current housing situation is not worki…
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Parting Words from Wayne McIntyre, Electoral Area Director Salt Spring Island

While I have advised those who have asked that I don’t intent to run for elected office in the forthcoming local government elections, I felt it was timely to release something more formal. First of all I want to thank the community for giving me the opportunity to represent Salt Spring as the CRD Director for the last two terms. It has been an honour. Like many decisions this was a difficult one for me. I have had decades of experience in local government matters and have always been involved in some capacity wherever I have lived, including ten years in elected capacities: three years in a municipality as a councillor and seven years as the CRD Director for Salt Spring Island. While the experiences were very different, based in part on the difference in governance, both were challenging, gratifying and at times frustrating and in both systems community volunteers were an essential element of the heart and soul of the communities. While volunteerism is certainly not uni…
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The Court’s Ruling

When the Federal Court of Appeal announced its decision to quash the Justin Trudeau Liberal government approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) many of us in Saanich North and the Islands celebrated!

Not only did the decision recognize that the federal government needs to respect the law with Indigenous people, but it also recognized that the project’s impacts on the critical habitat of the Salish Sea must be considered.

Those of us who live here and indeed the rest of the world got a wake up call this summer through the vivid pictures of Tahlequah (also known as J35) pushing the corpse of her baby calf for nearly three weeks. Through the tenuous and tragic situation of our friends, neighbours and relatives, the Southern Resident Killer Whales, we saw that the Salish Sea is in trouble.

When the court’s decision was made public some pe…

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Salt Spring Nine: Guilty to Contempt of Court

My Lord, I have great respect for the law. My great-great-grandfather was Justice Tyrwhitt-Drake one of the first supreme court judges in the new colony of British Columbia. His picture is hanging just outside the courtroom. My cousin, also Justice Tyrwhitt-Drake, was one of the judges for the Clayoquot Sound trials in 1993 and prepared decisions that are being used for these trials. In fact it was a recommendation from those very judgements that I took to heart when Justice Bouck (also presiding over Clayoquot) told the arrestees “Standing on the side-lines and complaining about government policy is no test of character. Neither does it take much to go and sit on a road, block traffic and ask to be carried away by the police. What really shows a commitment to this country and to an idea is persistent involvement in the political process, listening to opposing points of view, fashioning reasonable replies and persuading others. That is difficult and time-consuming work. B…
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Video: Proportional Representation Town Hall

June 16, 2018, a town hall meeting on proportional representation featured guest speakers Elisabeth May, and Gary Holman. Here are two videos from the Town Hall meeting on Proportional Representation. https://youtu.be/NvcDGvvcjxk https://youtu.be/d_EgR7vRZRI
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Beachside / Island Escapades Open Letter to Islands Trust

This is a letter just sent to Peter Grove after a disappointing shift today, after what seemed like a terrific meeting with Islands Trust staff - Stefan, Toby and Karol - at our site. Hello Peter, I am sort of confused. I just spoke with yet another person I have not met, adding another layer of bureaucracy to the other planners/enforcement folk - Stefan, Jason, Karol, Toby. Yesterday, Stefan said that at our potential expense of removing a portion of the patio and planter at a future date if professionals deemed it somehow detrimental (a wall was already there, so not sure how that could be, and professionals have already agreed that it is perfectly fine, even a superior type of structure for this purpose), we could finish the project so that we would at least have the patio section for summer. Today, Miles, the apparent boss, called and rejected that entire plan after meetings with the others. Then stated that after we do an up to date survey, perhaps we could talk ab…
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Islands Trust Devastates Island Escapades

It seems we have to cancel reopening Island Escapades, which was to be renamed BEACHSiDE. Islands Trust has told us that we will be subject to fines, etc. if we complete work on our replacement retaining wall, or the back patio, or stairs. They stressed that the permit to replace a wall will take months. (We did not even know the wall was devastated and much of the hillbank holding the house was gone until we started cutting down all the ivy! The summer IS what makes a business here!) When we were cutting down the two invasive ivy species behind the building (the equivalent of a couple dump trucks full!) we came across three major issues: 1. The ocean had been piercing through the sandstone retaining wall and had taken out massive amounts of soil from the hill bank, that holds up the building, out to sea, leaving huge entangled invasive ivy root masses without much soil. 2. The entire large boulder sandstone retaining wall had crumbled and was wrapped in ivy root masses…
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Island’s Trust Escapades

I have been writing a column for Fishbowl Magazine for over 9 years. As some of you know, I write in a humorous tone about the quirky island we live on. However, if you are expecting this next piece of writing to be funny, you should surf in another direction. Allow me to start with a joke: What does Fulford Pub, The Salt Spring Coffee Company, Vesuvius Pub, Tree House and Salt Spring Metal Recycling have in common with Island Escapades? Punchline: Everything. Was that funny? I was deeply affected after reading about the stop work order the Island’s Trust has placed on the Watkin family, and their dream to re-activate the Island Escapades property. The businesses that I listed in my joke are the prominent tip of the iceberg in what is obviously a bigger issue. If you surf over to the Island’s Trust, one of the first things you will read is this: “Preserving Island Communities, Culture and Environment.” I understand that beyond this brief mission statement, there are lega…
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Thoughts on My Arrest

I’ve learned some things from being arrested at the main Kinder Morgan gate in Burnaby for civil contempt of an injunction to stay at least 5 metres away, important details that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. They might be of interest to others. First, despite being told not to talk to the police, I dared to make comments to a few of them and to ask some questions. They provided some heartening feedback and thought-provoking information. I thanked the commander of the two-dozen or so RCMP in attendance for their respectful treatment of protesters. Not one officer wavered from total professionalism throughout their long hours spent upholding the Supreme Court of B.C. injunction. He replied that, in Canada, we have the right to peacefully defy the law where we see that our laws and legal processes need changing. They have to play their part, and we’re allowed to play ours, understanding that consequences follow our actions. In other places and forms of government, re…
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MLA Adam Olsen Statement on Speculation Tax

Seeking clarity - I have heard from many constituents, particularly on the Gulf Islands, on their concerns about how the speculation tax might impact them. The legislation to implement this tax will not come until the Fall. While the government has stated there will be exemptions, they have yet to provide full clarity on what they will look like. We are seeking clarity and continuing to press the government to articulate its intended outcomes of its housing policies. Many communities across BC are experiencing a housing crisis. We have heard from British Columbians from Vancouver to Nelson, that the housing crisis is hurting their local economies. It is driving out young people, limiting the ability of businesses to attract workers and driving up costs for businesses. Need action on housing but must protect British Columbians Government needs to take action on the housing crisis so that people can afford to live where they work and so that we can have a sustainable, di…
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