ASK Salt Spring with RCMP Sergeant Clive Seabrook on speed checks, limited duration Officer terms and more

Nineteen gathered in the shade under the apple trees, welcoming RCMP Sergeant Clive Seabrook to explore issues with us. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, Clive spoke briefly about how thrilled he is to be on Salt Spring, deeply respecting its sense of community, the perfect place for him to watch his family thrive. He spoke briefly about his previous experiences as a police officer, including as a plainclothes commander responsible for homicide and drug trafficking investigations. While many of his calls now deal with folks in crisis, he is committed to reach out to them proactively before they are in crisis. In his opinion, many of Salt Spring’s issues are not criminal but stem from mental health and addiction challenges. Salt Spring is soon to have a Speed Watch program again! This volunteer program uses a mobile ICBC radar speed reading board to monitor speeds. Volunteers with background checks and wearing safety vests will go to selected areas of our island with …
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with RCMP Sergeant Clive Seabrook on speed checks, limited duration Officer terms and more

ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen on environmental, social, health, and economic challenges

Beginning with a touching and gentle Territorial Acknowledgement, this ASK Salt Spring gathering of nineteen welcomed our Adam Olsen and his new constituency advocate, Jake Rees, to a conversation under the apple trees at the United Church Meadow. There was joy to see Adam in person again after so many months of virtual gatherings, but this joy was tempered by the reality of the serious health/mental health, social, economic, and environmental crises buffeting us. Clear indication of the multiple crises looming over us all is that six British Columbians continue to die of an overdose each and every day. In addition, Adam pointed out that 700 British Columbians died during the recent heat wave while the government was celebrating the re-opening from the lockdowns that were a result of the global pandemic. Adam was clear - our government needs to focus on being better prepared rather than bouncing from one crisis to another. Adam spoke of his nine-year old daughter wh…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen on environmental, social, health, and economic challenges

Local Salt Spring Island business Dos Amores Tortilleria makes Living Wage a priority

As we move towards a post COVID-19 pandemic world, we have been carefully considering what we can contribute to better both our local and global communities. Racial injustice, environmental collapse, basic human needs unmet for so many across the globe - the list goes on and on. It feels overwhelming. We are reminded in these moments that it is more important than ever to use our skills and platforms to affect positive, tangible change. We have chosen to be small business owners first and foremost to do good. It is painfully clear the traditional ways of doing business that prioritize profits over people must become a thing of the past, and that both reparations and climate justice needs to be at the forefront of every decision we make. Being small business owners we feel intimately connected to our community and our suppliers, and we see the direct impact our businesses makes on our community. Everything we do, every dollar we spend, makes such a beautiful, woven i…
Read more about Local Salt Spring Island business Dos Amores Tortilleria makes Living Wage a priority

ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Trustee, Laura Patrick on the new policy statement, housing, preserve and protect

Eleven gathered to welcome one of our Islands Trust’s Local Trustees, Laura Patrick, to this ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Church meadow on a cloudy - and, at times, almost chilly - summer Friday. This gathering was so different from last month’s large and energized group who gathered to learn more about the Islands Trust new draft Policy Statement. After a meaningful Territorial Acknowledgement by one of the participants, Laura added that one of the actions from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls for Actions is that each of us should learn about the legacy of residential schools. We all now know now that one of these residential schools operated very near to Salt Spring Island within a system that was, itself, an act against humanity. Speaking briefly of the draft new Trust Policy Statement, Laura reported that, in preparation for an upcoming Trust Council Executive Committee meeting, she had gone back and reviewed the entire Policy Statem…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Trustee, Laura Patrick on the new policy statement, housing, preserve and protect

ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Local Loans, Road Speeds, HarbourWalk and more

Significantly-different from the highly-energized group welcoming Trustee Laura Patrick, the 10 folks who came to discuss issues with Gary at this ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Church Meadow were relaxed and savouring an opportunity to sit together in the shade of the apple trees. After our Territorial Acknowledgement and a few brief words from Gary, mostly about his on-going focus on the safety concerns along the Booth Canal - Central Pathway, we began by learning quite a bit about Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Cooperative (TSSEC). Providing loans for green projects, it has provided 26 loans totaling $150,000 to local individuals, non-profits, and small businesses. The first such organization in rural BC, it has been giving loans for a decade. Boasting over 100 members, each member can lend up to $10,000, receiving their money back as well as some interest. Remarkably, as these loans commonly are given to those who cannot get a low interest line of credit (…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Local Loans, Road Speeds, HarbourWalk and more

ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Trustees Laura Patrick and Peter Grove

Photo courtesy of Gail Sjuberg / Gulf Islands Driftwood Interested in learning more about the Islands Trust’s policy statement update work, a standing room only crowd attended the ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Church Meadow on Friday, June 18. Both of our Islands Trust’s Local Trustees, Laura Patrick and Peter Grove, joined us for this conversation. After offering a Territorial Acknowledgment, Laura began by explaining that the Trust’s Policy Statement is required under the Islands Trust Act and is intended to be a general statement on policies to carry out the object of the Trust: The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia generally, in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia. Laura told us that the Policy Statement…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Trustees Laura Patrick and Peter Grove

ASK Salt Spring with Salt Spring Chamber Executive Director Jesse Brown and President Darryl Martin

Ten gathered in the United Church Meadow, delighted to again be in-person despite the threatened rain. We welcomed our Chamber’s new leadership, Executive Director Jesse Brown and President Darryl Martin. After Jesse offered a touching Territorial Acknowledgement, Darryl gave us an update as well as sharing some of his hopes for the Chamber. He began by acknowledging that many who normally participate in ASK Salt Spring were in Victoria supporting our old growth forests. We all wished them well, recognizing that all our forests are replenishing on so many levels as well as important drivers of our economy. And, that we all must work together to seek solutions to address this complex issue. Darryl reminded us of our Centennial Park concerns last year, hopeful that a combination of factors will not see a repeat of these concerns this summer. He cited our new RCMP sergeant, Clive Seabrook, as an important factor in addressing issues with kindness and intelligence rather than …
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with Salt Spring Chamber Executive Director Jesse Brown and President Darryl Martin

ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen on Residential Schools, Provincial Border Reopening and more

Given the tragic news of the Indigenous burial site that was made public this week, we asked our special guest, MLA Adam Olsen, to offer the Territorial Acknowledgement. He graciously agreed, thus beginning this gathering of 12 Salt Springers committed to learning and seeking solutions together. We spent our time together talking about the experiences surrounding the findings at Kamloops Residential School. Adam has asked that we do not publish a written account of the discussion but rather provide a link to his Response to the Ministerial Statement on the issue instead. On Friday morning Adam was very emotional, and these are difficult conversations that require care and the ability to respond to the complexity and nuances. Adam is open to discussing this issue with you either individually or in small groups, and if you wish to schedule a time to meet you can contact him through his constituency office at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca. Adam thanks you for all the kindness and…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen on Residential Schools, Provincial Border Reopening and more

ASK Salt Spring with Emcon Road Maintenance and our Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Area Manager

Sixteen gathered for a conversation with Andrew Gaetz, manager of Emcon, our road maintenance contractor, and Jake Roder, our Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) Area Manager. After a moving Territorial Acknowledgment, we learned from Andrew that our maintenance crew is working hard to complete spring duties like moving, sweeping, and brush clearing. Their sights will soon turn to larger projects, such as the smaller paving jobs. (MoTI is responsible for the larger paving projects, but Emcon takes responsibility for some of the smaller projects.) Questions began with a concern about safety issues on the narrow, winding Vesuvius Bay Road. We learned that it is 3.5 km long and has 14 curves, six hills that obscure sight of oncoming traffic, and eight intersections. He recounted six occasions last year alone in which he drove his vehicle on a curve to encounter a car barreling down on him on the wrong side of the road. On each of these occasions, the oncomin…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with Emcon Road Maintenance and our Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Area Manager

ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust’s Local Trustee Laura Patrick on expanding outdoor dining, food forests, housing agreements and more.

After a heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, 16 participants launched into our Islands Trust-focused conversation with one of the Islands Trust’s Local Trustees, Laura Patrick. She began by speaking about Reconciliation and how it makes her aware of language and the ways she makes decisions. She is excited to see various island groups and organizations taking steps toward Reconciliation. She acknowledged Salt Spring Art Council’s ArtCraft, which is undertaking a pilot project to bolster inclusion and build connections with Indigenous artists. The owner of Taco Loco shared his efforts to make his restaurant more attractive as well as safer. She explained that the Local Trust Committee had proactively adopted a policy to permit local restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops to expand outdoor seating during the public health emergency. He currently has an active development permit application with the Islands Trust. Laura encouraged him to continue to work with Islands Trust st…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust’s Local Trustee Laura Patrick on expanding outdoor dining, food forests, housing agreements and more.

Opinion: Salt Spring Island’s Sawmill Scandal

This story is about the problematic way laws are made and enforced on Salt Spring Island. It is about how, in less than a year, one complaint about a portable sawmill led to an island-wide ban on milling wood, and the creation a new stream of discretionary revenue for Islands Trust Staff, Management, and Officers. On November 10th, 2020 I watched a landmark decision take place at a Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting—the banning of portable sawmills on Salt Spring Island. I had taken the day off work to attend the LTC (Local Trust Committee) meeting, via Zoom, to present my Delegation to Islands Trust. This Delegation was my response to being evicted from my trailer home during the height of the COVID pandemic. It was about how the complaint-based bylaw system was being used in unfair and classist ways. You can read it here. As I watched the Temporary Use Permit (TUP) proceedings for the sawmill, I knew I was witnessing a pivotal moment in the ‘soft war’ the Trust is w…
Read more about Opinion: Salt Spring Island’s Sawmill Scandal

ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen discussing traffic calming, COVID fears and the Police Act Review Committee

Sixteen gathered to learn and explore issues with our special guest, MLA Adam Olsen. After a heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, we launched into a discussion of our roads, specifically private ownership and traffic calming. While this conversation was spurred by the petitions supporting and opposing the speed bumps on the privately-owned section of Beddis Road, the conversation ranged far beyond speed bumps to our many complex road issues. First, we learned that private ownership of a section of Beddis Road is - alas - not unusual: Many, many sections of roads on all of the Gulf Islands are privately-owned. Adam reminded us that these roads were originally wagon trails, built on farms and designed to connect farms to one another and to distribution centres. Most often, these roads and adjacent rights of ways were eventually acquired by the province. Throughout the decades, they were improved, transitioning from wagon trails to important island thoroughfares. In some case…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen discussing traffic calming, COVID fears and the Police Act Review Committee

ASK Salt Spring with BC Transit Planner Ericka Amador

Ten gathered for this ASK Salt Spring Zoom gathering to welcome BC Transit Planner Ericka Amador. She is the lead for Salt Spring’s year-long analysis of our current system designed to result in recommendations for our bus system’s future. Since August of last year, Ericka has been meeting every month with a team from Salt Spring, including Gary Holman and Gayle (as Chair of the Transportation Commission), to get their feedback about this study. The timing of. Ericka’s visit is especially-relevant as the community engagement portion of this study is currently underway. If you have not already completed the survey, you have until May 6 to add your opinions to this important study. So far, about 300 Salt Springers have responded. While Ericka is pleased, we can do better, Salt Spring! After a heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, Ericka began by sharing something that “excites and delights” her: While she is so very aware of the tragedies and challenges of our pandemic, s…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with BC Transit Planner Ericka Amador

Opinion: How Outlawing Extended Families, Communal Living, and Home-based Businesses is Gentrifying Rural Lands in the Name of Affordable Housing

There is a strong feeling among Salt Spring Island’s farmers, artisans and tradespeople that the local land-use government (Islands Trust) is attempting to ‘cleanse’ the Island of its ‘working classes’ in the interests of turning the land base into a nature preserve comprised of a conglomerate of private properties owned by a wealthy few. This report confirms that a process of gentrification is indeed proactively taking place. Drawing its research primarily from the public record, this report looks at how new legislation and abusive enforcement processes are undermining the grassroots Island culture of artists, artisans, tradespeople, and farmers. Livelihood, economic resilience, and food security are being eroded at a time when they need to be fostered. This gentrification is taking place by reclassifying home-based businesses as commercial operations and thus as ‘unlawful land uses’. The reclassification of home- based businesses as ‘unlawful land uses’ is accomplished by …
Read more about Opinion: How Outlawing Extended Families, Communal Living, and Home-based Businesses is Gentrifying Rural Lands in the Name of Affordable Housing

ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Centennial Park, COVID Numbers, Water and More

Welcoming CRD’s Gary Holman, 10 gathered for this week’s ASK Salt Spring. During the discussion, there were some creative suggestions about enticing larger numbers of Salt Springers to join these weekly gatherings with our elected officials. While it was agreed that the information-rich reports are read by many Salt Springers each week, most agreed that it was a lost opportunity for those who do not participate. While between 20 and 30 gathered each Friday in the Meadow last summer, fewer typically participate in the Zoom gatherings. While averaging about 20 each week during the winter, spring numbers have dropped. It was surmised that Zoom Gloom had impacted many, understandably enticing folks outdoors to savour spring weather. And, that ASK Salt Spring was designed as a face-to-face gathering to share ideas (and cookies.) with Zooming about together only a temporary adaptation. While confident that participation will increase when protocols allow ASK Salt Spring to host…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Centennial Park, COVID Numbers, Water and More

An Open Letter to our Community: Working Together on Forests and Forestry

On behalf of the board of directors of Transition Salt Spring, we write to all Salt Springers in response to the direct mail recently mailed to all islanders from the stoptheislandstrust.com initiative regarding forestry and forest protection on Salt Spring. We are concerned about its misleading statements, and would like to offer alternative approaches that if acted on could result in solutions that work for everyone and bring our community together in support of forests and foresters. First of all, there is a lot we agree on. Yes to strengthening the diversity of Salt Spring. We agree that we run the risk of becoming a wealthy-only enclave. A casual read of real estate flyers makes that clear. If we don’t include people at various income levels, the divide between those with and without means grows and we start to look like other countries like Mexico or the United States. We must implement policies that support on-island jobs, affordable housing, and discourage empt…
Read more about An Open Letter to our Community: Working Together on Forests and Forestry

ASK Salt Spring with Local Islands Trust Trustee Laura Patrick

This week’s ASK Salt Spring Zoom gathering welcomed one of the two Salt Spring Local Trustees for the Islands Trust, Laura Patrick. After a traditional Territorial Acknowledgment, we spoke with Laura for two hours on a variety of topics including the Trust Council meetings held virtually March 9-11, and Salt Spring Island long range planning projects. We heard from an islander who listened into all three days of the Trust Council meetings March 9-11. This participant explained that she was impressed by the thoughtful dialogue and commitment shown by all of the trustees to these special islands. She was also impressed with Laura’s respectful discussions in the various debates. A highlight of this past Trust Council meeting was the passing of the 2021/22 budget. This year’s budget contains a considerable increase in grant revenue that is being directed to federation-wide work related to species at risk and freshwater sustainability/watershed protection. Also included in the…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with Local Islands Trust Trustee Laura Patrick

The Brain Is Part of The Body – Let’s Include It in Our Healthcare System

We have been asking questions of the provincial government about their response to the growing mental health crisis in British Columbia. Every one of their responses have been framed with sincere condolences. Yet, urgent action is lacking. We have heard from numerous community advocates that the provincial programs to deliver a safe supply of pharmaceutical grade alternatives to poisonous illicit street drugs are not enough. We have heard that the province has not moved quickly enough to decriminalize people who possess a personal supply of illicit street drugs. For too long our friends, family and neighbours who struggle with mental health and addictions have faced relentless stigmatization and judgement instead of receiving the support and care they deserve. There are far too many stories of how our fellow citizens have been forced to overcome obstacles deeply entrenched in government institutions. Rather than receiving the medical treatment they need, people suff…
Read more about The Brain Is Part of The Body – Let’s Include It in Our Healthcare System

Letter to Ministers Outlines Concerns Regarding Un-Regulated Tree and Clear-Cut Logging on Salt Spring Island

We bring to your attention a serious issue regarding the lack of clear authority for our local Islands Trust Committee to protect forests and watersheds within its jurisdiction. Changes to provincial legislation are needed to address and solve this problem, and we call on you to take action to achieve this without delay. Almost two years ago we wrote to the former Cabinet Ministers, outlining a number of our concerns regarding clearcutting and logging practises on Salt Spring, including the negative impacts on watersheds, natural ecosystems, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, slope stability, neighbouring property values, community values and tourism. We pointed out that recent and current clear-cutting we see here contravenes the legislated mission of the Islands Trust to “preserve and protect the Trust area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust area and of B.C generally.....” We explained that our elected representat…
Read more about Letter to Ministers Outlines Concerns Regarding Un-Regulated Tree and Clear-Cut Logging on Salt Spring Island

We Did It! Anti-Housing Motion Defeated

(Photo: March 9 2021 photo of Trust Chair during a public zoom meeting. The motion proposed might have seen the Trust just roll up that third flag, in order to focus only on the environment.)

Thank you to the 106 of you who took the time to write a letter to the trust, and the other 100 or so who attended various Trust public meetings in the past two weeks. Due to the overwhelmingly clear message from the community, the anti-housing and anti-community motions put forward to the Trust Council last week were both defeated. Housing remains on the priority list and healthy communities remain in the Trust’s mandate! The last few weeks were a whirlwind. When we first heard about the Trustee from Pender’s sneaky motion to remove affordable housing from the priority list of the Trust, it was hard to believe. Buried deep inside a 1,000 page document published only two days before a public meeting, and not mentioned at all in their recent public …
Read more about We Did It! Anti-Housing Motion Defeated

ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director, Gary Holman on Vaccinations, CREST, Climate Action Plan and More

Still struggling with a dose of Zoom Gloom - many likely drawn outdoors on this spring-like Friday - only 10 joined thisASK Salt Spring gathering. Despite our slim numbers, our CRD Director, Gary Holman, was welcomed enthusiastically and the conversation was rich and varied. After a heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, Gary began by speaking briefly about what was on his mind. His was aware of island-wide frustration with the rollout of the COVID vaccination appointment system and the weariness with restrictive gathering protocols. Gary did remind us of the unbelievable feat of getting as many different vaccines developed and fully-tested in such a short time. While Canada’s response to the pandemic has been better than many other countries, most notably the United States, Gary does believe that many lessons have been learned. Among them is concern about Canada’s relinquishment of its pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity. Among the good news is that Community Service is…
Read more about ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director, Gary Holman on Vaccinations, CREST, Climate Action Plan and More