Incorporation: Less Government Please

Since becoming a permanent resident on Salt Spring in 1998 I have been active in this community both politically and as a volunteer. As such, I have had dealings with many of our “governing bodies” such as the CRD Board of Directors, the PARC Commission, the CRD Building Inspectors, the Fire and Rescue Board of Directors, the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation Board and a few others. I have run for elected office and am president of the Salt Spring Pool Association and needless to say have seen our political process from a number of sides. Everyone says we are an Island surrounded by an argument and I would like to add to that, “and confusion”. We have so much “government” we are literally drowning in it. Nothing gets done easily on our Island because there are too many fingers in every pie. Every decision needs to work its way up or as I prefer to see it, down the chain of government officials. Everything seems to spiral down. As an example, think of the affordable housing pro…
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Incorporation: Nothing Will Change

I’m another one of the 30 percent who voted yes in 2010, but plan to vote no this time round. By the time you read this, I will have voted no to incorporation in the advance poll. Why have I changed my mind? The last time round I felt that we could take greater control over what happens on Salt Spring if we ran everything ourselves. Today, I’m not convinced that this would happen. First, we already make most of our own decisions right here on the island. Most important to me, the major land use decisions are currently made by our two elected Islands Trust trustees. We could increase their number to four if people agreed to that. However, even the two we have can make the same land-use decisions that a council of six plus a mayor could make. A municipal setup would just replace the Local Trust Committee and do the same work. I’ve heard people complain about the official community plan (OCP) and the Islands Trust planners. However, nothing would change under a municipal…
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Incorporation: Positively No Campaign Calls on Public Officials to Correct Misleading Ads

The Positively No referendum campaign is calling on our locally-elected Islands Trust Trustees, George Grams and Peter Grove, and our CRD Director, Wayne McIntyre, to correct misleading statements made by the pro-incorporation Yes campaign about a municipality’s legal obligation to the Islands Trust. In a letter sent to them today, the Positively No campaign called their attention to recent advertisements in which the Yes side stated: "The council will be legally bound to support Trust aims" (Driftwood, August 23) "A municipality is LEGALLY BOUND to support the aims of the Trust” (Driftwood, August 23 and august 16) "Our local council would be bound by ‘preserve and protect’" (Fishbowl, July) The Islands Trust has responded to this issue on its website (repeated on the Salt Spring Exchange August 24). The relevant excerpt from their response is as follows: "In summary, direct land use control on Salt Spring Island would be under the authority of the new municip…
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Incorporation: Bruce Cameron on Voting Yes

"I have seen first hand how the current system is mired in paralysis. It is time to trust in participatory democracy,” Says Bruce Cameron. "I believe that the creativity, community commitment and sense of collaboration that defines Salt Spring Islanders will be best reflected by having a locally elected and accountable council. Those 7 elected individuals will meet and debate issues right in Ganges, openly and respectfully, to help us address our challenges and realize our fullest potential as a place to live, work and play for all of our residents. It is time to trust in participatory democracy by bringing the lively debate about our future back home, where we can all listen and participate, rather than be beholden to voices in Victoria and other islands that do not fully understand or appreciate our situation." Bruce Cameron moved to Salt Spring full time 5 years ago, but has been a frequent visitor for over 30 years. He plays drums in several local bands, and over the …
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Incorporation: Peter Lake on Voting Yes

Peter Lake first came to Salt Spring in 1972, and has served the community in many ways over the years. He joined the 2002 Incorporation Study Committee because he was worried it was a ruse for developers to take over the island. He realized his concerns were unfounded and subsequently became an advocate for supporting a municipality. Peter retired to the island after a career in business in Australia, South Africa, Singapore, Vancouver and SSI. He was key in saving Fernwood dock for our community and other federal Gulf Island docks. Was a PARC commissioner for 5 years. Was alternate CRD director for 1.5 terms. Chaired Burgoyne waste water facility for 6.5 years, and "experienced extreme frustration over the CRD not listening to our local board.
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Incorporation: Misrepresentation of Islands Trust Position

A Letter-to-the-Editor was sent to the Driftwood from the Islands Trust Chief Administrative Officer, regarding disinformation about the Trust being circulated within the community in advance of the municipal incorporation vote for Salt Spring Island electors on September 9, 2017. Below is the copy of the letter: There is much information and disinformation about the Trust being circulated within the community in advance of the municipal incorporation vote for Salt Spring Island electors on Sept. 9, 2017. A publicity poster recently circulated by the YeSS! Campaign regarding the Salt Spring Island incorporation process describes a ‘Salt Spring Island Municipality’ and includes the phrase, “IN CONCERT WITH THE ISLANDS TRUST.” This leaves the reader with the impression that the Islands Trust approved the messaging of this poster and is supportive of the YES side of this important civic decision. We wish to make clear that the Islands Trust, at direction of Trust Council,…
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Incorporation: Vote NO and Keep Our Options Open

If Salt Spring were to vote for incorporation on Sept. 9, this would close the door for a number of options for positive change that are open to us under our current system. This is one of several reasons why I will be voting “no”. Like many others, I would have liked our governance and incorporation studies to look into options for modifying our current system. But the provincial government paid for those studies and placed considerable restrictions on them. Now an ad hoc group of citizens is organizing an information session to discuss options for improving governance after a no vote and I can imagine some people who support incorporation will cry foul. So I’d like to provide some context to explain why I look forward to the information session. After the “no” vote in 2002, some supporters of incorporation formed the Islanders for Self Government (ISG) group. Then, in 2006, elected officials began a governance review which led to a referendum in 2008 on whether o…
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Kinder Morgan + the NEB Process

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMX) has been a contentious issue in British Columbia for three years. I have had many conversations with people passionately placed all along the spectrum of support to opposition. The BC government announced recently that they will be taking a different approach to Kinder Morgan’s project than their predecessor. They will intervene in the Federal Court of Appeal Judicial Review and hire Thomas Berger as external counsel guiding the government’s legal approach on the file. They also provided an update on the construction timeline, stating that construction is unlikely to proceed in September, as Kinder Morgan has suggested, as five of eight Environmental Management Plans are incomplete and have not been approved. As an intervener in the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings for the project, I witnessed the deeply flawed process firsthand; its failures have been well documented and reported on. The Board’s report and recommend…
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Incorporation: The Islands Trust - Saviour or Scapegoat?

The Islands Trust may seem both noble and necessary to one side of the incorporation debate, but it’s a scapegoat for all that ails us to the other. Perhaps the Trust does say no more often than it says yes, but the average person probably doesn’t know how many pressures there have been to develop our community in ways that would make it, essentially, a different island. We’ve talked to a number of people who understand those pressures intimately because they’ve had to visualize, in their minds’ eyes, exactly what these developments would have looked like. Linda Adams, a former community planner in the 1990s, recalls these development proposals. “Before we got our OCP into place in the late 1990s,” says Adams, “the pressure was so intense that the LTC limited new proposals to ten a week. They were coming from everywhere, not just across Canada. They included: a golf course and condominium complex in the Ford Lake area; a golf course, hotel and small-lot subdivision on Bedd…
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Incorporation: Minister Notice and Clarifications for Proposed Patent Letters

CRD Director Wayne McIntyre, Islands Trust Trustees George Grams and Peter Grove have been notified of additional incorporation related details and key elements of potential letters patent for a proposed Salt Spring Island municipality by Selina Robinson Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville. They are posted here for our community review. If Salt Spring Island voters support incorporation, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing may recommend that the Provincial Cabinet implement the incorporation by enacting letters patent to establish the new municipality. Letters patent largely deal with the transition of the community’s services, local government regulations and inter-governmental relationships into a municipal context. Once established, a municipality may exercise any municipal authority and must observe any municipal requirements established in the broader legislative framework. The letters patent do not duplicate authorities …
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Incorporation: Island is Already an Almost-perfect Paradise

In 1968 I moved from London, England up to the Arctic, to Old Crow, to do a photography assignment for the National Film Board for the summer months. On my way back to London, I stayed at a friend’s cottage in Vancouver, and somehow never went back to London. Vancouver in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s charmed me with its neon, the old round house, the Sweeney’s Cooperage, the On-On, The Green Door and Foncie, the street photographer, the False Creek boatyards and the Ovaltine Café. Then, one by one, they all disappeared, and one by one shiny new high-rises emerged. In 1973 I moved to Victoria, charmed by the quaintness of the city, and I didn’t have to own a car, and could ride my bike everywhere, with very little car traffic. Then, slowly, after 15 years, many of the old heritage buildings downtown were demolished, or turned into shopping malls, and my neighbourhood gradually shifted from funky-run-down-affordable to upscale chic and more high-rises emerged. In 1989 w…
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Incorporation: Warning to Salt Spring from Two Bowen Islanders

Recently I talked about incorporation with Nerys Poole, a Bowen Island municipal councillor and trustee from 2008 to 2011 and with Gayle Ferguson, the contract minute taker for the Bowen municipality from 2000 to 2013. At the top of Nerys's warnings for SS islanders is the loss of the Islands Trust preserve and protect mandate. On the top of Gayle's list is the huge cost of municipal staffing. Both speak of the “nightmare of roads”. Islands Trust I got the sense of an island that had almost completely abandoned the Islands Trust. An Island which could afford little other than to maintain it's roads. An island where most of the goals identified at the time of the referendum, have not materialized due to lack of money. I asked Nerys what she would say to Salt Springers about our upcoming referendum. Here's some of what she said. “If you believe in the Islands Trust Act preserve and protect mandate you do not want to become a municipality because you lose the overall pro…
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Incorporation: Local Governance Options without Incorporation

The incorporation debate is generating creative and exciting solution-seeking discussions throughout our island. Conversations about those things we love about Salt Spring - and the reasons we moved here - are being enriched by explorations of creative ways to enhance local governance without incorporating. Most of these conversations are random, taking place while shopping at our favourite stores, at potlucks, and even while walking our dogs. But, a growing number of those conversations, driven by concern of the increased taxes, liability, and development that incorporation could bring, are focused upon rejecting incorporation and, instead, seeking promising local governance opportunities. Emerging from these wide-ranging discussions are a number of viable and exciting options available to us if we do not incorporate. Many of these could be implemented under existing policies and legislation; a few would require provincial approval - a very real option given the recent c…
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Incorporation: Debate Live Stream Hosted on the Exchange

(Note: The video archive of the debate is available here now that the live stream is complete. There were a total of 1148 people who watched the stream at different times during the time it was live with an average of 275 peak concurrent viewers.) In partnership with local streaming media specialist Robert Reinhardt at VideoRx, the Salt Spring Exchange will be hosting a live-stream of the upcoming Salt Spring Island Incorporation Referendum Debate. The debate will be presented live at the Gulf Islands Secondary School on Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 at 7 PM and will be streamed live here on the Exchange. Panelists Announced The panelists who are to participate in the upcoming incorporation discussion have been announced. Michael McAllister, Ken Marr and David Wood will present their case for a change to an incorporated structure. Greg Clayton, Brenda Guiled and Gary Holman will be supporting the arguments for our current, rural, uncincorporated structure. The…
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Incorporation: A Vision of Co-Creative Sustainable Development

Hi all, I know this post is long, but I have poured my heart into these thoughts and words, I really care about this community where I grew up, and have returned to nest and raise my family. We are collectively making a decision that is critical to our future and the future of our children. Please take the time to consider these thoughts and perspectives….. Yess! I believe we can be an amazing, pro-active and visionary community, manifesting and exemplifying the essence of Sustainable Development by becoming an Island Municipality within the Islands Trust. We are a community full of talented, smart and caring people who can come together and guide our natural growth in the most harmonious way, tailored to our unique island all the while resisting the pressure of large scale commercial development. With all due respect to the valid concerns of the “positively no” crowd, I believe that too much emphasis is being placed on fear of losing protection of the Trust when really i…
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Incorporation: Email to a Friend

I don’t think there are meaningful answers to the questions you have raised. I think the actual vision for Salt Spring is still best articulated in the Islands Trust object: “to preserve and protect the environment and amenities of the Gulf Islands for all British Columbians.” I haven’t heard any articulation of another vision for us that was more promising. Those of us on the NO side simply do not believe that incorporation supports that objective, in spite of the YES side’s protestations to the contrary. My understanding from others who have witnessed similar transitions is that it only takes one or two election cycles for the development community to capture the local government, after which all bets are off on things like the OCP and zoning variances and bylaws. Asking who will step forward as future Trustee and CRD Director candidates is like asking what the stock market will do. Future trustees and CRD directors are anybody’s guess. It is a tribute to the steadfastness…
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Incorporation: A Chance to Express Who We Are!

What an opportunity we have before us! We have a chance to truly express who we are, our past and importantly, our values as they relate to our future. Now we have the opportunity to dispel the undeserved title: C.A.V.E. dwellers (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) by spearheading the measured and exciting change that will propel Salt Springers to the forefront as the leaders of tomorrow. We have such an extraordinary wealth of wisdom and experience on this island that we no longer need off island babysitters to tell us what to do, how to do it and all the while controlling the purse strings. We can ‘out Island Trust’ the Island Trust if we have the compunction to do so and become the most eco sustainable island with an equally sustainable community if we all work together, rather than barely survive in the silos of today. Where does it state that council members are also developers? On our island we have far more eco warriors than anywhere else that I know o…
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Incorporation: Order Vs. Chaos

For me the Sept 9th referendum is a vote of order-vs-chaos. Salt Spring’s quaint hodge-podge of electoral and improvement districts represents anything but order, in my opinion. It’s a creature with many tentacles but no brain. Just look around: No acceptable traffic plan in Fulford village; inadequately marked walking trails; none of the roads leading out from any of our three ferry terminals have even so much as a welcome sign for tourists. Speed limit signs on Fulford-Ganges are inconsistent which invariably means ending up behind a confused tourist settling on 50 km/hr for the drive to or from Ganges. Water lines supply drinking water to homes, but provide a questionable supply to fire hydrants, when they’re even connected. I understand to some people who defend the status quo these might seem like minor details, however one can easily extrapolate from there. Under a municipality that aforementioned creature would have a brain – able to coordinate and efficiently c…
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