Serious Incident Under Investigation on Salt Spring Island

UPDATE: 2020 June 2nd - 12:35 PM - Local RCMP were called to a home on Fulford-Ganges Road just before 5 PM yesterday. Officers found a deceased 48-year-old male on the property and a 41-year-old female suffering serious injuries. The female later succumbed to her injuries. Police say no one else was injured or involved in the incident and there is no danger to the public. "Police are not looking for suspects and no charges are anticipated," RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau said in a statement. UPDATE: 2020 June 2nd - 06:58 AM - Serious incident occurred in our community late yesterday afternoon in the 1500 block of Fulford-Ganges Road. RCMP police investigators have been on site all evening and are still in place as of this morning. Police checkpoints and white tents could be seen on the property. RCMP's Major Crimes Unit is investigating. BC Coroners Service is also investigating. This is an isolated, private incident. There is no active threat for the community according…
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Ganges Fire Hall Project: New Hall Planning During COVID-19

The Board and the Advisory Committee are keenly aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the local community and the economy in planning for a replacement for the Ganges Fire Hall – the main hall and operations centre for the Island’s emergency response. We are doing the research necessary to identify actions and options and will continue to inform and engage the community in the process. As recently announced, the community volunteer-based Fire Rescue Advisory Committee and the Board of Trustees reviewed the two detailed technical reports on the status of the Ganges Fire Hall. Both reports provide conclusive evidence that the building nor the physical site are suitable for rebuilding: the site is not seismically sound, it is too small, and it would cost in the millions of dollars to retrofit. As a result, the District is now investigating the Brinkworthy site, a property the District already owns, thanks to a generous donation. Next Steps Additional items discussed at both …
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Ganges Fire Hall Project: Reports Recommend New Home for Ganges Fire Hall

Project Update #3 Regarding Ganges Fire Hall With health and safety top of mind amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board and the Fire Rescue Advisory Committee now meet online to continue to work on the Fire Rescue Needs and Facilities Assessment Project. The Board and the Advisory Committee are deeply committed to creating safe, responsible solutions for fire protection and public safety, recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on our Salt Spring community. Our goal is to continue the leg work, ensure all questions are answered and be ready when the time is right to move forward. We are developing online opportunities for you to learn more and to provide feedback on any proposed options for a new fire hall. Please stay tuned for more details. Reports Recommend New Home for Ganges Fire Hall Two recent reports confirming the status of the Ganges Fire Hall were reviewed by both the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District Board of Trustees and the Fire Rescue Advisory Co…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2020 March

There have been drastic and substantial changes in our Fire Department since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We had taken what was viewed at the time as extraordinary measures to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of our membership and community at large. We closed our offices to the public and prohibited all non-essential member traffic to our fire halls. We cancelled all face-to-face group training and meetings, which have since moved online with great success. Staff began multiple daily decontamination protocols of our halls and apparatus. Listing all the measures here is too lengthy for this letter. Suffice it to say, we were a month ahead of recommended government guidelines. By taking measures so early on, we have been able to keep our membership completely healthy and able to respond 24/7. We responded to a structure fire on March 27th in the early hours of the morning and the house was saved. We want you to know that we are here for you, we are heal…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Fire Rescue Update - April 7th, 2020 - 11:12 AM

Good day, I am writing to you today to give you an update on what has changed in the Fire Department since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We had taken what was viewed at the time as extraordinary measures to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of our membership and community at large. We closed our offices to the public and prohibited all non-essential member traffic to our fire halls. We cancelled all face-to-face group training and meetings, which have since moved online with great success. Staff began multiple daily decontamination protocols of our halls and apparatus. Listing all the measures here is too lengthy for this letter. Suffice it to say, we were a month ahead of recommended government guidelines. By taking measures so early on, we have been able to keep our membership completely healthy and able to respond 24/7. We had responded to a structure fire on March 27th in the early hours of the morning and the house was saved. We want you to know …
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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…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2020 January

Response Report: Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 62 calls for the month of January. Operations The emergency generator project is now complete, and all three fire halls are now equipped with small portable generators for emergency backup. One last detail is the construction of outdoor housing structures for them. These new units will be critical to operating emergencies during mass power outages. The project came in under-budget. The process to replace the Engine from Fire Hall 2 has been initiated. The specifications for the engine and a request for proposal are currently being created by staff. The repurposing of Mini Pumper 1 is complete, with the fire pump and plumbing successfully removed. The apparatus still has the capability to pump water for brush fires, but the overall weight has drastically been reduced. The unit now houses all our technical rescue equipment for rope rescue, hazardous materials, confined space, water and ice rescu…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 December

Vision; A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission; Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 44 calls for the month of December. SSIFR finished off the year with 655 calls. Operations December 27th Firefighters responded to a kitchen fire on Richard Flack Road. Before Firefighters arrived on scene RCMP made a quick rescue and stopped the fire spread with a fire extinguisher. The RCMP Constable’s swift action saved the sole occupants life. The Fire was extinguished, and one male occupant taken to Hospital with minor injuries. On behalf of the organization I would like to recognize Constable Hastie for his quick actions. December, Roof repair work was undertaken by an Asbestos remediation company, as one of the steps towards fixing the Hall 1 roof. Following the Asbestos work, an engineer inspe…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 November

Vision A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 54 calls for assistance in November. Operations As part of our ongoing community education and outreach SSIFR hosted the 1st series of Salt Spring Island Emergency Resiliency Training (SSERT) for the community organized by the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program.  The first session was a great success with over 20 community members partaking in four nights of resiliency training.  The skills they learned will help them and our community be better prepared for emergencies.  The next series of SSERT will be held in December and registration is already full.  With the success and interest from the community there will be future SSERT classes offered thanks to the support of the Salt Spring Island Em…
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Working Together on Emergency Training

On November 28 & 29, 2019 a workshop called EOC Essentials (Emergency Operations Centre Essentials) was held at All Saints by the Sea. The workshop was sponsored in a large part by the Salt Spring Island Foundation - covering the cost of the course, books and instructor fees. Without their support we would not have been able to host this course on the island for this many people. Other agencies (SSI Fire Rescue, SSI Search and Rescue and the Emergency program) contributed additional funding for the venue and food. This workshop brought people together from many different agencies on the island  to discuss the operations of our Emergency Centre in the event of an emergency. The instructor was Sybille Sanderson, the recently retired Cowichan Valley Regional District, Emergency Program Coordinator. She brought lots of personal experience to the course including coordinating the Cowichan Valley Regional EOC during the windstorm last December. SSI Fire Rescue (7) Grou…
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Life Safety Teams Work on Coordinated Emergency Event Communications

Last night, December 3, a group of stakeholders met to discuss planning and communication in preparation for any weather events or emergencies on the island this winter. This group was made up of representatives from many different agencies on the island including: Salt Spring Fire Rescue, RCMP, Salt Spring Search and Rescue, BC Ambulance Service, Coast Guard, RCMSAR, Ministry of Transportation, CRD Director Gary Holman, CRD Headquarters, the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program, BC Hydro, Emcon, North Salt Spring Water District, Salt Spring Amateur Radio Society, and others who were unable to attend such as School District 64, telus, Shaw, Harbour Air, SSI Transit and Lady Minto. Brian Bogdanovich, SSI Emergency Program Coordinator has had a key role in working collaboratively to bring all these people together in one place to discuss these issues. This was the second gathering over the past month to discuss communication strategies between the stakeholders and the EOC (…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 October

Response Report: Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 32 calls for the month of October. Operations As part of our ongoing community education and outreach SSIFR is hosting the 1st series of Resiliency training for the community organized by the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program. The first block consists of four three-hour training sessions covering several key areas that will help our community be more resilient during emergencies. Registration is full for the 1st and 2nd series but there are plans to continue this community education program with the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue conducted our annual hose testing with over 25,000 feet of fire hose tested. Thanks to the testing we were able to find several hose lengths that were in need of replacing and failed the test. The C.R.E.S.T. roll out of the P25 digital radio system is only months away. Our department will be outfitted with new Motorola radios thr…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 September

Response Report: Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 66 calls the month of September. Operations Our wildfire season has come to an end with far fewer fires on Salt Spring and throughout BC compared to 2017 and 2018. Below is an overview of the burning prohibitions over the past three years. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue follows the BC burning restrictions. This summer we worked with the Salt Spring Exchange and launched a daily Fire Danger Rating public notice that was well received with 751,006 views this summer. With the new changes to the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations (OBSCR) there has been a change in how the air quality “Venting” is reported. There is now 1 Day venting that displays in blue, as where the 2 day more stringent venting is displayed in a light green. Map locations that are in red are areas with poor no venting. With the new update of the OBSCR Venting is now required for all burning where the material is gre…
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Detailed: Martin Galen Vandenberg Not Criminally Responsible in Death of Mother

Read the full detailed judgment that found Martin Galen Vandenberg not criminally responsible in the death of his mother. The identity of the deceased in the death on Salt Spring Island that occurred on Dec 6th, 2017 was confirmed to be that of 47 year old Heather Jones. 22 year old Martin Galen Vandenberg was released from police custody and was apprehended under the Mental Health Act. Mr. Vandenberg was suffering from a serious mental disorder at the time he killed his mother, and was not capable of knowing that what he was doing was morally wrong. The judgement also details a problematic pattern of cannabis use that lead to clinically significant impairment or distress and that there was ample evidence that schizophrenia existed in the absence of cannabis. He was under the delusional belief that killing his mother would save her from a worse fate.

DETAILED JUDGEMENT

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

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Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue Recognized With 'WOW' Provincial Inclusion Award

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue is being recognized with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) for their leadership in championing inclusion in Salt Spring Island communities. Spring Island Fire Rescue has set an example of inclusion by welcoming a CLBC supported individual, CJ, into the “fire hall family” for the past 16 years. Staff and volunteers fully involve CJ in a variety of duties at the fire hall, as well as activities, fundraisers and celebrations in community. For over 16 years, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has set an example of inclusion by welcoming CJ into the fire hall family. Every week, fire fighters have CJ test the emergency lights on the engines and other fire vehicles along with the sirens, radios, hoses and other vital equipment. They support him to go out on inspections and equipment testing runs, to change the fire hazard ratings on the signs at the three ferry terminals on the island, and at times,…
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ALERT: Have You Seen High-Risk Missing Man Jericho Labonte?

Victoria Police patrol officers are asking for your help as they work to locate high-risk, missing man Jericho Labonte. Jericho is described as a 31-year-old Caucasian man, standing 6’1” tall with a slim build. Jericho has dark brown curly hair and a full beard, however he recently may have trimmed his hair and beard short. A recent photograph of Jericho is below. If you see Jericho, please call 911 Jericho was last seen in the Oaklands neighbourhood of Victoria, BC on September 30th. He may be headed to Salt Spring Island. The circumstances under Jericho has gone missing are high-risk. Jericho’s family members and officers are deeply worried about him. Jericho is suffering from a health concern and needs to be located safely and quickly. If you see Jericho Labonte, please call 911. If you have any information on where he may be please call (250) 995-7654. To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 August

Response Report: Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 58 calls the month of August. Operations The Ganges Fire Hall suffered two roof leaks over the month with the light summer rain. To rectify this issue before winter arrives a roofer and an engineer are needed. Work has been undertaken to arrange both of these tasks. We also experienced an infestation of red and carpenter ants in the Ganges Fire Hall offices this summer. We will be closing the Office to undergo fumigation Sept 8th for a minimum of 24 hours. We are also in the works of removing all overhanging tree branches and bushed away from the building to reduce the issue. On August 7th, SSIFR Firefighters responded to a vessel fire offshore in the harbour off Maracaibo. The large vessel anchored offshore was showing heavy smoke on arrival. The Canadian Coast Guard was unable to suppress the fire but secured the vessel from drifting. SSI Firefighters patrolled the shoreline to ensure…
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Maracaibo Vessel Fire

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue responded to a boat fire off Maracaibo on Salt Spring Island on August 7th, 2019. The initial call came in at 17:38 and crews completed the scene at 01:15 10 Firefighters responded with 4 fire trucks along with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard and Eagle Eye Vessel Assist. On scene Firefighters found a 70’ vessel moored approximately 350’ from shore showing heavy smoke from inside the vessel. The Coast Guard was unable to assist with suppressing the fire due to safety risks and a large propane tank. Coast Guard was able to secure a second anchor to prevent the vessel from drifting to shore. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue’s primary objective was to ensure the safety and fire spread to land or structures from flying embers. Fire crews patrolled for fire and extinguished a small wooden dock that had drifted in from the vessel. The vessel later sunk in the early morning of August 8th, 2019. Special thanks to Eagle Eye Vessel Assist, a…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 June

Vision: A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission: Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 58 calls the month of June.   Operations We experienced a very dry June with below-normal precipitation.  Over the month we fluctuated between HIGH and MODERATE fire dangers.  Our crews are prepared for this summers wildfire season as well as any deployments requested from the Province. For more information on Fire Danger Ratings and High Risk activities please visit:  https://saltspringfire.com/high-risk-activities-new/ Wildfire and Summer Forecast     Membership Training Our dedicated members trained on several disciplines over the month of June including: First Responder Training Ocean Water Drafting (Ganges test trials) Water R…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 May

Vision: A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission: Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 61 calls for assistance in May.  (Calls to Date:  291) Operations To be proactive regarding wildfire prevention a recommendation was submitted to the local Islands Trust Committee to consider adding a Wildfire Hazard Development Permit Area (DPA) with in the Salt Spring Island Official Community Plan.  An effective Wildfire Hazard DPA would consider such things as building construction materials, and FireSmart principles. Our past month we have concentrated our efforts to wildfire response conducted several training sessions and courses to ensure our members are response ready for this summers fire season.  The Province of BC recently posted their summer forecast and our region has been highlighted as…
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Extensive Vandalism to Moon Snail Bus Shelter

In the morning of June 1, 2019 the glass moon snail bus shelter located in front country grocer was vandalized. This asset falls under the SSI CRD Transportation Service. The vandalism has been reported to the Salt Spring RCMP and their investigation is ongoing. At this point, the cost to repair the damage remains unknown. I encourage anyone with information on this crime to contact the Salt Spring RCMP at 250-537-5555, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Dan Ovington | BBA Acting Senior Manager, Salt Spring Island Capital Regional District
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