Islands Trust Trustee Laura Patrick Provides an Update on Local Initiatives

It’s reasonable to assume that the Islands Trust is endeared by many but may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  As one of your hard-working trustees, I’ve encountered seemingly endless criticism that at times can be disheartening. I do this job because I love these islands just like many of you. We want to maintain our island culture and its uniqueness, but we also want to sustain our communities, economies and quality of life, ALL within healthy, fully functional ecosystems. These things are not at cross purposes to each other, because they are all dependent on each other. To be very clear – I am not saying do one at the expense of the other. In its March 2021 meeting, Trust Council affirmed its understanding that the mandate of the Trust, which is embodied within the Islands Trust Act, includes the concept of, and protection of, healthy and inclusive communities including (but not limited to) housing and transportation. This affirmation is not a shift in direction or a reorder…
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MLA Adam Olsen on Reforming the Police Act

I am a member of the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act. Parts of the Act have been amended over the years, but it has been decades since there were any major reviews of the entire legislation. With increasing pressure on the provincial government last summer to address systemic discrimination, bias and racism in policing, Minister Mike Farnworth called for the review and gave the committee a sweeping mandate. Through January committee members have received informational briefings from several government ministries and agencies. In the coming weeks we will be expanding to wider stakeholder presentations from experts, community groups and the public. What is systemic discrimination, bias and racism? In 2005, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal adopted a definition and Kasari Govender, B.C. Human Rights Commissioner, shared it with the committee. It offers an important frame for our work. “Discrimination means practices or attitudes that have, whether by design …
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Join Elizabeth May and Gary Holman for the Release of Salt Spring’s Climate Action Plan

What if, by pulling together, our island could not only withstand the increasing stresses arising from climate change, but also build a more just, healthy, and cooperative community? That’s the vision behind the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Plan. Transition Salt Spring is proud to announce the release of the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Plan in a live online public presentation on Tuesday, March 2nd at 6:30 pm. The presentation will feature an overview of the key aspects of the plan and what we need to do to address climate change head on here in our own backyard. The plan is intended as a positive solutions-focused roadmap with more than 250 recommendations on what we all can do to ensure a sustainable future for our island home. “We had a truly talented team of citizen volunteers who took the job seriously, and I am very proud of the recommendations we developed together. It’s been an honour to have been involved in this project,” said Darryl Martin, who …
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Island Coastal Economic Trust Launches Program to Strengthen Rural Communities and Businesses

Provincially funded initiative supports creation of temporary employment in rural areas - A new Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) economic recovery program addressing capacity challenges in rural, remote and Indigenous communities has launched, with funding from the Province of British Columbia. The new Rural Business and Community Recovery Program (RBCRP) will provide full funding support for the creation of new, temporary, term positions that strengthen business and community economic recovery and resilience. Projects must be located in eligible rural areas, which include Vancouver Island north of the Malahat, Capital Regional District Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas, the Sunshine Coast, Powell River, as well as Bowen Island. “This is a timely initiative supporting nimble, community-based and regional economic recovery,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “We are grateful to the Province of BC for the opportunity to leverage…
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ASK Salt Spring with Capital Regional District Director Gary Holman

Fourteen gathered via Zoom to ask Capital Regional District's (CRD) Gary Holman questions about the issues that matter most to them. After a heartfelt territorial acknowledgment, Gary was asked if he wanted to begin by sharing what was on his mind. While he preferred to spend our time together answering participants’ questions, he did express his concerns about the Lower Ganges Road pathway from Booth Canal to Baker Road that is currently under construction. Gary agrees that the tree cutting was probably excessive and sees this as part of a larger issue - a pathway that appears to have been over-designed to meet urban standards. Gary repeated his public commitment, one shared by the SSI Engineer, to develop rural standards for pathways that are more appropriate for Salt Spring. Despite this concern, Gary did ask us to appreciate the fact that this pathway, which received almost $500,000 in provincial funding, will allow pedestrians to walk safely all the way from Ganges to t…
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Working Together to Solve the Housing Crisis

I’m pleased to report that progress is being made towards tackling the affordable housing issue on Salt Spring. The Islands Trust’s Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) has just approved a bold new Housing Action Program, and I’m confident it will finally put us on the right path to a solution. The LTC which is made up of your locally elected representatives, like me, is ready and willing to provide leadership in meeting the housing needs of residents. Most crucially, if we are to make any headway, it is imperative that we start with providing more certainty to housing providers and developers, property owners, and residents, with clear, consistent, detailed policies and guidelines. Addressing the housing challenges that took decades to emerge will not be easy or quick, but we can prioritize action on solutions that address urgent housing needs.  All of our decisions should be fair and well-balanced, and rooted in solid environmental, economic and social equity …
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MLA Adam Olsen Supports Acquisition of Mt. Erskine Connector Trail

Salt Spring's Trail and Nature Club is working with BC Parks to acquire a piece of land on Mt. Erskine to protect a very popular 6 kilometre trail from Collins Road to Toynbee Road. I am pleased to support this acquisition as part of the development and expansion of our province’s beautiful park system. In addition to securing the trail corridor, incorporating this land into the provincial park will provide access to several beautiful viewpoints and potential picnic sites. The trail winds through forest that includes many pine trees, stands of Coastal Douglas Fir, and arbutus. As a trail already exists on this piece of land, no new trail construction will be required. BC Parks had the land professionally appraised, contracted with the landowner to buy it, and will cover most of the related survey and legal costs. Although the BC Parks Foundation is collecting donations and issuing tax receipts, the Salt Spring Island community is responsible for raising the funds to pu…
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ASK Salt Spring: Francis Bread Trying To Remain Operational During Rezoning Application

We were lucky enough to have both Islands Trustees as special guests at this ASK Salt Spring Zoom gathering, with Peter Grove joining fifteen of us for the entire time, and Laura Patrick joining us at about 12:30. While Francis Bread took the spotlight for much of the gathering, we also learned about Islands Trust challenges, logging, and housing restrictions and opportunities. After a heartfelt territorial acknowledgement, Peter began by sharing some of his thoughts and concerns. He expressed his horror with the events rocking our neighbor to the south and his deep, on-going concerns about COVID. These terrible dramas have forced us to recognize what is really important in our lives. He had read the ASK Salt Spring report from Gary Holman’s visit last week and asked us to recognize how hard Gary is working on so many fronts to address our local needs. And, to recognize how much he is accomplishing. Peter then briefly addressed some Local Trust Committee issues, primar…
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Laura Patrick Trustee Report – Getting Down to Work in the New Year

One day, in the not-too-distant future COVID-19 will be an unhappy memory. It was a problem contained, certainly on these islands so far, by a coordinated and cooperative spirit. We wear our masks, keep our distance and get on with our lives. Now I believe we should apply that same cooperative spirit to solving the critical problems facing this precious little island we call home. There are substantial challenges that can only be properly addressed jointly and NOT in the singular and piecemeal way that they are being dealt with in the past. If Salt Spring is to flourish it is imperative that we plan for the future, seeking integrated solutions that are both urgent and eminently feasible. Posted proudly on the wall by my home office desk are the words “Healthy People, Healthy Society, and Healthy Environment”.  In almost every meeting, I point to them saying that one of these cannot exist without the other. I want to kick off the New Year by telling you a little abou…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman

Eleven participants welcomed CRD’s Gary Holman to an ASK Salt Spring Zoom gathering - the first in 2021. Gary began by confirming that the Salt Spring Island Transportation Commission is committed to getting a pedestrian pathway on the west (uphill) side of the Ganges Hill roadway. Hopes are that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) will repave and add bike lanes to the Ganges Hill portion of Fulford Ganges Road (from Seaview to Beddis) this summer. While we may not be ready to construct this pathway at the same time, plans are to proceed as quickly as possible. Funding is a top consideration, with a strong preference for securing as much grant funding as possible before using Transportation Commission reserves or Community Works (gas tax) funding. Asking voters to approve additional funding through counter petition or referendum would be a last resort. Despite CRD staff efforts, it appears that getting MoTI’s design work for repaving in time to devel…
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Opinion: How Our Bylaws Undermine Rural Life and Livelihoods

Our complaint-driven bylaw system, and many of the laws themselves, are undermining rural people’s lives and livelihoods here on Salt Spring Island. By prohibiting the traditional economic stepping stones and ways of life of homesteaders, artisans, and the rural working class, as well as increasingly curtailing the ways land holders may participate in the tourist economy, our LUB (Land Use Bylaw) exacerbates already economically and socially polarizing housing, real estate and construction industries. It favours affluent estate owners whose livelihoods are not dependent on being able to use their land. The ‘preserve and protect’ mandate driving the Trust’s LUB ossifies select aspects of Salt Spring’s settler past. The present is shackled by it. Creativity is stifled. Forcing the non-elite into untenable moulds, the LUB effectively outlaws both “non- nuclear family structures” and the forms of social capital which homesteaders, artisans, and the rural working class rely on. A…
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Advocating for Change from Urban to Rural Designation to Access Government Funding

For nearly a decade Capital Regional District (CRD) Electoral Area Directors from Salt Spring Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca have been advocating for a change in their designation from urban to rural. There is no doubt that these unincorporated communities are rural, however because they are members of the CRD they are deemed urban. As a result they are not able to apply for important government supports and grant programs designed for rural communities. The CRD Board has written the province several letters advocating for a change to the designation. I have also written letters, met with Ministers, and raised the issue in budget estimates. All along the provincial government has agreed that Gulf Islands communities in Saanich North and the Islands are rural. They told us that the only way they could change the designation was to have the three Electoral Areas added to the definition of the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET). For the past three y…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen - Bravely Diving Into Complex Issues like Health Care

Fifteen joined the ASK Salt Spring Zoom gathering to welcome Adam back as our MLA. We had all missed him as he was forced into that candidate role again. Throughout the gathering, joy was repeatedly expressed that he can now get back to work to address those issues most important to us. He was pleased to introduce a new member of his team - Kate O’Conner - disappointed the she did not win in her riding but committed to providing her a wonderful experience serving our community. In the meantime, Adam and we all will benefit from having her on our team. Welcome, Kate! After a heartfelt territorial acknowledgment, we spent the first half hour learning more about the newly-released report, In Plain Sight, Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care and discussing its implications. Among the shocking findings, we learned that 84% of the Indigenous British Columbians surveyed reported experiencing racism while seeking medical attention. Wh…
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ASK Salt Spring Report with CRD Director Gary Holman

Fourteen gathered at the Foxglove Nursery Greenhouse to welcome our CRD Director Gary Holman. With higher numbers this week, we needed both the speaker system as well as more seats, but, despite a bit of scurrying, all seemed pleased with the idyllic setting. After a participant’s heartfelt territorial acknowledgment, Gary began with some good news: the Capital Regional Hospital district, a group to which we contribute each year, has allocated $3 million towards Lady Minto emergency room expansion, a $10 million project. The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation has committed $4 million and plans to raise the additional $3 million in a fundraising campaign. Gary will also be exploring additional funding possibilities with the Foundation. More good news is the completion of the North Ganges Transportation Plan (NGTP), Phase Two. With the completion of this project, we finally have a safe way for pedestrians to get from Country Grocer to the village with a pathway loop that includ…
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Re-Elected MLA Adam Olsen Giving Thanks

I raise my hands in gratitude for the opportunity to continue as the representative of Saanich North and the Islands in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Thank you! I’m honoured to be entrusted with this important responsibility and I pledge to work everyday to better understand our communities so I can more effectively advocate on our behalf. Over the past three and a half years I have established strong community networks and by continuing to work in the spirit of coordination and cooperation we will advance our local interests to government institutions and secure investments in healthcare, education, transportation and infrastructure. Together, we will speak with a unified voice when we need to seek the support of the provincial government. In the coming weeks will be moving the constituency office to a new location in Sidney. We are seeking a street level space that accommodates community engagement as well as a secure and safe environment to serve con…
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ASK Salt Spring Updates on Local Roads and Provincial Election

For the second week in a row, the number of participants was lower than usual (eight this week as well), but, given pandemic concerns, the small number provided the perfect intimate - but socially distanced - gathering in the idyllic Foxglove Nursery Greenhouse. Nestled among the ferns on a clear, cold day with all the huge doors open for maximum ventilation, all appreciated the perfect setting - both lovely as well as one of the safest possible indoor gathering spots on Salt Spring. While our Fridays under the apple trees in the United Church Meadow were spectacular, participants expressed joy that such a perfect winter location had been offered to us. (A heartfelt thank-you, Foxglove!) For the first time in all the ASK Salt Spring weekly gatherings, we did not welcome a special guest. Instead, all of us were special, and we each had plenty of time to ask questions of each other, listen to answers, and participate in lively conversation about a wide variety of topics, inclu…
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Protecting the Coastal Douglas-Fir Zone and Its Associated Ecosystems Benefits Us All

Every single one of us who lives, visits, works and plays on Salt Spring Island depends on the health of our island ecosystems, and the health of these ecosystems depends on all of us. That’s why the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) has implemented a proactive planning project called “Protecting the Coastal Douglas-fir Zone and Associated Ecosystems.” You are invited to an online community information meeting on Thursday November 5th at 6:30 PM to learn more about this planning project. The meeting will mark the beginning of an extensive community engagement process about how best to maintain the health and rich diversity of the island’s precious forest ecosystems for the benefit of all of us. At this meeting we will learn about the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone and its associated ecosystems and why it is important to protect them. The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone, which is one of the rarest forest types in B.C., encompasses a unique set of ecosystems found …
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ASK Salt Spring with Mary Richardson, Chair of the Liquid Waste Commission

Eight came to our first ever ASK Salt Spring in the idyllic Foxglove Nursery greenhouse to welcome Mary Richardson, Chair of the Liquid Waste Commission as well as passionate advocate of the proposed composting facility in the Burgoyne Valley. While the numbers were small, they allowed us to learn so much about one of our most important, if not sexy, subjects: waste. We learned about offal and effluent and, yes, it was a great conversation. (Thanks, Mary!) Mary began by offering kudos to Elizabeth White for her dedication and the many hours she and others had contributed to making the proposed composting facility a reality. She was also very appreciative of the vision and drive of Community Services and the Farmland Trust. Hopes are to locate a composting facility at the Burgoyne Valley Community Garden (also known as the Shaw Family Community Garden). This large, 62-acre parcel of farmland has been continuously farmed since 1887 and was granted to the Farmland Trust for …
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ASK Salt Spring 2021 CRD Budget with Director Gary Holman

Thirteen came to the Lions Hall - a one-time ASK Salt Spring location - to welcome Gary Holman to discuss the soon-to-be adopted 2021 Capital Regional District (CRD) budget. While not as many as usual attended this ASK Salt Spring gathering, the blustery rain may account for some of this. Also, from an optimistic perspective, it is possible that very few Salt Springers have concerns about the proposed CRD budget with its 1% increase over 2020. After acknowledging living and working in the first nations land of the Coast Salish peoples, Gary walked us, step-by-step through, the proposed budget, including the budget process, COVID impacts, the overall 2021 CRD requisition, major contributions to the 1% increase, revenue sources, debt costs, and a summary of CRD Salt Spring requisition totals broken down by services. He also gave us a list of approved Community Works (gas tax) projects as well as those funded by his Grant-in-Aid funds. (For a copy of this detailed summary, plea…
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2020 BC Provincial Elections Preliminary Results for Saanich North and the Islands

While CBC news is predicting that the BC NDP will form government during this year's election, it also appears that Green Party incumbent MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, Adam Olsen is poised to hold his seat for our community. "Never before have so many voters voted before election day in British Columbia electoral history," Elections BC's chief electoral officer Anton Boegman told reporters on Friday. The following are preliminary voting results from initial count. Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count. The timing of final count will be announced as soon as possible following the completion of initial count. Final count results are expected approximately 13 days after the election to ensure adequate time to count the unprecedented number of mail in ballots. Preliminary Results for Saanich North and the Islands as of October 24, 2020 9:33 PM from CBC Preliminary Results for Saanich North and the Islands as of…
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ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trustee, Laura Patrick

With rain predicted, nine hearty Salt Springers gathered to welcome Islands Trustee, Laura Patrick, as our special guest in the United Church Meadow. Other than gusty winds that blew over a few of the unoccupied chairs, the weather was practically-perfect for our last Friday in the Meadow for this season. And it has been so good! Participants have clearly enjoyed our summer gatherings in the lovely Meadow - a welcome change from our spring of self-isolation and, for many, far too much Zooming about. We actually measured greater participation - average attendance has almost doubled during these summer months! After a heartfelt acknowledgment of our journey of Reconciliation offered by a participant, the question about the Local Trust Committee’s (LTC’s) Housing Challenges and Solutions planning process began. Recently, the LTC adopted this planning process as a priority. While Laura was pleased that this is being made a priority, she cautioned that more support is needed…
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