MLA Adam Olsen: British Columbia's Restart Plan

Last week British Columbia moved into phase two of our restart plan. Nothing about the past few months has been easy. Asking British Columbians to stay home, miss important occasions like births, funerals and religious celebrations, close their businesses, and stay at least two metres away from each other has been very difficult. However, it’s necessary in order to protect the most vulnerable people in our society - our friends, family and neighbours who are immune-compromised, and our elders. Thankfully we were successful in flattening the curve and limiting the transmission rates in British Columbia without having to close down our economy as far as many other jurisdictions did. Now officials have begun to ease the restrictions they are asking each of us to maintain the new habits we have learned while still limiting ourselves to 60% of our pre-COVID interactions. From what we are learning about this awful disease we will need to re-organize aspects of our society to…
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Our Islands Trustee, Laura Patrick, Answers ASK Salt Spring Questions

What is the scope, timing, and expected outcomes of the proposed Ganges Village Plan? It is a desire of mine to see work advanced on Ganges Village planning and on harbour planning. (Better yet, I support planning for all of our villages.) This work needs to be scoped and funded in collaboration with other agencies and organizations. I would like to see pre-planning happening now, which could result in a business case and budget request for the 2021/22 fiscal year. In 2007, as part of the Official Community Plan update project, a Ganges Village and Harbour focus group issued an excellent report. Little has changed in the 13 years since that report was issued. In a few weeks, the Climate Action Plan 2.0 will be made public. It will include maps showing that rising sea levels will submerge some of our village core – let’s plan for this. The Fire Protection District is pursuing a new fire hall which will leave the old fire hall vacant – let’s plan what should come in its pla…
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Reimagining Salt Spring Island: Forward for the Better - not “Back to Normal”

This is an offering to our Salt Spring Island community in these troubled times where crisis and opportunity are the two faces of the situation we face as a community, as society, as a planet.  In order to get through this to some kind of better normal, we all need to raise big questions.  We need to talk about what’s hard to talk about.  That’s what we are trying to do here.  In doing so, we might upset some of you.  We can’t get this all right but we want to start the conversation. This is coming from a place of care and concern about the world we live in.  And of hope for the one we could co-create. What if we don’t go “back to normal” on Salt Spring Island. Normal was nurses and teachers without stable housing.  Normal was tons of visitors travelling by CO2 emitting planes, ferries and cars to go for a hike and have a nice dinner.  Normal was watching the Sysco food trucks drive off the ferry and past fallow farmland every single day.  Normal was locals avoiding Gange…
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Gary Holman Answers ASK Salt Spring’s Questions

What are the most effective actions that have you taken to address the impact of this pandemic on Salt Spring? This pandemic is unique because the Provincial government and Health Officer have declared it a province-wide emergency, actually precluding local governments from making local declarations. The Province delegated some authority to the CRD and Islands Trust to educate and inform people about Provincial directives and guidance from the Provincial Health Office, but actual enforcement authority rests with the RCMP and Island Health. The primary role of the CRD during the pandemic has been to ensure continuity of essential services. In addition to CRD services, services provided by other organizations (e.g., recycling, library, Artspring, transit) that are funded by the CRD through contribution agreements are managed by these organizations, consistent with Provincial direction. I have focused CRD grant in aid funding to the Salt Spring Foundation’s Emergency Fund an…
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Local Trust Committee Adopts Bylaw 512 to Boost Rentals

More than 400 properties on Salt Spring Island can now provide a new form of lawful rental housing. At its April 28, 2020 meeting the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) adopted Bylaw No. 512 to permit the full-time residential rental of accessory cottages on 411 Salt Spring Island properties. Please visit the project webpage for more information.
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COVID-19: Shower Program at Rainbow Road Pool to Support Vulnerable Populations

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) will be opening the shower facilities at the Rainbow Road Aquatic Centre (262 Rainbow Road) starting May 11, 2020. Access to washroom and bathing facilities has been deemed an essential service for unsheltered persons by the Government of BC. As a result, funding has been provided by Emergency Management BC to help PARC cover the costs of free showers which will be made available to Salt Spring Island’s most vulnerable populations from 9am-1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the public health emergency. Patrons will be served one at a time and assigned a 30-minute time slot and private shower space. Between each shower time, change rooms and showers will be cleaned in accordance with the CRD Facilities Management COVID-19 Janitorial Guidelines. Patrons are encouraged to register for a time slot to avoid lengthy wait times. For more information, please call 250.537.14…
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ASK Salt Spring Gets Answers from MLA Adam Olsen

This virus has highlighted the imperative of a living space for all. What can we do to encourage the province to support the tiny home model so successful in other communities? The provincial government has recently announced a comprehensive program to provide short-term housing for people in our community that are experiencing homelessness and who need to uphold physical distancing requirements. The BC Green Caucus has advocated for housing-first models, and this is a positive step forward. As the public health emergency passes and we are considering options for the economic recovery, the provincial government will have an important opportunity to develop long-term programs that address housing and the associated supports to provide people the solid foundation they need to build. Tiny homes are a housing solution that I have long advocated. I have met with Hon. Selina Robinson (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) to discuss the challenges tiny home advocates are e…
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ASK Salt Spring with Salt Spring Islands Trustee Laura Patrick

First, how are you doing during this crisis? Our household is adjusting to the stay home and social distancing norms. We worry about our eldest family members who are most vulnerable. My mother can now answer a FaceTime call, and she appears to be enjoying this form of communication. Can you tell us what the Islands Trust, especially our Local Trust Committee (LTC), is doing to help address this pandemic? On the operations side, Islands Trust has taken clear steps to minimize the transmission of Covid-19. This has included closing our offices to the public, sending most staff home to work, and suspending all site visits to limit off-Island visitors. As we emerge from this situation, the LTC will be eager to engage Salt Springers in a conversation about what regulatory and policy changes are necessary to ensure that our community is as resilient as possible to address future challenges. In addition to Islands Trust business, I am chairing a task force to coordinate o…
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MLA Adam Olsen: Showing Up for Business Who Have Showed Up for Us

In times of hardship and challenge humans show incredible adaptability, resilience and innovation. While we are largely able to deal with the disruption and calamity caused by localized natural disasters or collapse of man-made systems, we have rarely had the dramatic challenge at a global level like we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of physical distancing and social isolation for individuals, communities, enterprise, businesses, institutions and governments is intense. We see the diverse web of interconnectivity of all our systems, and our weaknesses and vulnerabilities are exposed. As we move through the initial aspects of the public health emergency it is critical that we continue to maintain the effective tactics ordered by Dr. Bonnie Henry, our provincial health officer, including physical distancing, frequent handwashing and only going out on essential business, that have helped British Columbia keep our transmission rates relatively low.…
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ASK Salt Spring with Gary Holman, Salt Spring Island Electoral Area CRD Director

While ASK Salt Spring Friday gatherings at Thrifty’s have been temporarily-suspended, the need for information is still there. . . and is possibly greater than ever. Gary offered these answers to  Salt Springers’ questions: First, how are you doing during this crisis?  My family and I are well, and we feel grateful to be living in such a beautiful part of the world where governments, health systems, and communities are rising to this challenge.  My thanks to everyone in public or private sector organizations who are taking care of our essential needs, particularly our health care providers who are saving lives while putting theirs at risk. What is the hardest part for you to address as our CRD Director?  One of the most difficult issues has always been difficult - providing safe shelter and services for the homeless. I have prioritized CRD grants in aid this year to help support the Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund, as well as organizations like Community S…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen

Our MLA Adam Olsen was an early enthusiastic supporter of ASK Salt Spring, Neighbours Helping Neighbours Find Answers. And, that enthusiasm has continued with his commitment to come to ASK Salt Spring the first Friday every month. While these gatherings at Thrifty’s have been temporarily postponed, Adam continues to offer us many answers. Concerning Our Current Crisis: The message is simple and clear: Other than essential business, 100% of British Columbians should stay home 100% of the time. If you must go out, maintain physical distance from everyone and. make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and often. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on every aspect of our society. That freedom and liberty that we so cherish have been dramatically restricted. We are forced to recognize the fragility of the systems that we have created. My heart goes out to our frontline medical workers who face incredible challenges each day, including being forced to make hear…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee Moves to Electronic Meetings During Pandemic

Lekwungen, METULIYE/Victoria, BC—Salt Spring Island Local Trust Area residents and property owners can attend the next local trust committee meeting, April 28, 9:30 a.m., from their homes. All they need is a phone or a computer with access to the internet. In compliance with public health directives to limit public gatherings and maintain social distance, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee will be conducting its next regular business meeting via Zoom, an electronic video and audio conferencing system, which can be accessed by anyone through the internet, or phone. The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee will conduct its meeting electronically. However, provincial law requires that a physical location be provided for the public to assemble. The Islands Trust Victoria Office at 1627 Fort Street, Victoria, BC, will serve as this location, but Islands Trust hopes that meeting attendees will stay home and attend the meeting electronically. “As much as…
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COVID-19: CRD Continues to Provide Support for Vulnerable Populations

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is working with its municipal and non-profit partners and key Indigenous stakeholders to support the most vulnerable people in the capital region. Currently, the CRD and its partners are assessing the needs of people who are without shelter or housing throughout the region and are developing strategies to provide health and support services, as well as resources to meet the basic needs of people experiencing homelessness.

The CRD is receiving an additional $1.3 million from the Government of Canada through the Reaching Home program to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This funding is to help improve the capacity of service providers and can be used to secure additional accommodation to reduce overcrowding, purchase supplies and materials to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and increasing the frequency of cleaning with di…

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COVID-19: CRD Enhances Communication with Electoral Areas - March 30th, 2020 - 9:18 AM

As part of its response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has launched an additional way to communicate with residents in the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas. With people directed to self-isolate and not gather in groups, the remote electoral areas pose a unique challenge to share information with residents. To help mitigate these challenges, three new email addresses have been created for residents in the CRD’s electoral areas to ask questions and communicate directly with the CRD. These inboxes are monitored Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and the CRD will respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. If questions fall outside the CRD’s area of responsibility for electoral area governance, best efforts will be made to re-direct inquiries to the appropriate resource. Juan de Fuca: jdfcovid@crd.bc.ca Salt Spring Island: ssicovid@crd.bc.ca Southern Gulf Islands: sgicovid…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Local Elected Officials Joint Message - March 29th, 2020 - 3:55 PM

We, your three locally elected officials (Gary Holman, CRD Electoral Area Director, and Peter Grove and Laura Patrick, Islands Trust Trustees) have settled into our work-from-home environments and are practicing social distancing. We are proud of how quickly our respective organizational staff have adapted, and how they are ensuring that the essential services you need are being maintained. We know that you care about your fellow islanders and that you are looking after your neighbours who may need assistance. We appreciate everyone who is following the directions of Dr. Bonny Henry and the Ministry of Health, and are staying home and practicing appropriate social distancing. We are so grateful to our local medical staff and essential service providers. Please understand they are counting on you to do your part to avoid getting infected and infecting others. It is crucial that we are 100% committed to Dr. Henry’s directives and guidance to ensure we do not overload our ver…
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COVID-19: Letter from MP Elizabeth May to Her Constituents - March 24th, 2020 - 4:59 PM

Hi all, I know all of us like to be social, so social-distancing is a challenge, but please do it! I am keeping our Sidney office staffed, but only one staff person at a time. Please call ahead as we are not taking walk-in meetings. We are dealing with quite a few stranded constituents and trying to get their travel plans sorted. We appreciate your calls and updates, which I relay to key ministers. When we had a lot of calls from people who wanted the U.S.-Canada border closed, I used that for additional pressure as we have been pushing for the border to close. As you know, that is now happening and will take effect Friday night. I have sent emails to all the other elected levels of government, MLAs, mayors, CRD directors, First Nation chiefs and the Islands Trust office in Victoria to maintain contact and share developments in this fluid situation. Meanwhile, all Members of Parliament are offered a daily technical briefing by telephone conference on developments an…
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COVID-19: Letter to Constituents from Adam Olsen MLA, Saanich North and the Islands - March 24th, 2020 - 2:02 PM

Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia Provincial Health Officer, and the Minister of Health Adrian Dix, have been exemplary in the handling of this crisis. It’s important that everyone in our community follow their recommendations to help stop the growth of this virus. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit http://covid-19.bccdc.ca. As a result of their recommendations we have closed our constituency office to walk-in traffic. Our team is working from home and will be available by email (Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca) and by phone (250-655-5600). We will continue to process casework as usual and advocate on behalf of everyone in Saanich North and the Islands. I’m very concerned for the health and well-being of everyone in our community, especially those who are at the greatest risk and for those whose income or business is affected by the closures. I’m working hard as your MLA to advocate for solutions that meet your needs, especially for those hit harde…
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COVID-19: Open Letter to Residents of Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands

Dear Residents of Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands, We are living through unprecedented times. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a society-wide mobilization previously seen only in wartime. Public guidelines are being revised daily and the pace of change can feel overwhelming. It may be difficult to understand who is in charge and what is being done to keep our families and island communities safe. The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, is leading pandemic planning and response across BC. She has declared a provincial health emergency and ordered the closure of schools, restaurants and personal service businesses, restricted mass gatherings, and ordered international travellers to self-isolate. These orders are not suggestions. Our communities require 100% compliance for measures to be effective and violations should be referred to the police non-emergency line. Island Health and their local resources such as the Lady Minto Hospital are …
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COVID-19: Southern Gulf Islands Leaders Say Pandemic is Threatening Our Fragile Communities - March 23rd, 2020 - 10:47 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening our fragile Southern Gulf Island communities. The surge of visitors coming to these islands to seek refuge from the pandemic, are potentially compromising the health and well-being of Gulf Islands residents on Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Salt Spring, Saturna islands, plus many smaller islands in this region. These rural island communities do not have the appropriate services and emergency resources to deal with an extra 100, 200 or 300 more people. Off-island visitors don’t know if they have been exposed to the virus – our islands cannot provide adequate support. “Today our Islands need to focus on the needs of residents, says Gary Holman, Salt Spring Island Electoral Area Director – “We need our Gulf Islands precious medical resources for our most vulnerable, especially for those who are immune compromised.” Dave Howe, Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area Director, representing Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Saturna islands, urges current visito…
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COVID-19: Islands Trustees Ask Visitors to Stay Home - March 22, 2020 - 2:34 PM

Islands have a higher percentage of seniors, and limited resources and supplies - Island trustees from across the Gulf and Howe Sound Islands are going public with a plea for people to stay away to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and to reduce pressure on limited island services. Trustees urge islanders to stay home and practice social distancing as recommended by Provincial Health Office Dr. Bonnie Henry. “Now is not the time to be visiting the islands,” said Peter Luckham, Chair of Islands Trust Council. “Most Gulf Islands have a median age of over sixty years old and limited or no medical services. First responders are volunteers who are practicing sheltering in place in order to be available for normal emergencies. We urge everyone to stay home and avoid discretionary travel to and from the islands. As ferry-dependent communities, we are especially vulnerable and face additional challenges. Now is not the time to take a holiday or visit your vacation property.” Many i…
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COVID-19: Trustee Laura Patrick's Message on COVID-19

Hello Salt Spring! I’m Laura Patrick, your Islands Trust Salt Spring Island trustee. If there was ever a time for your local elected officials to be united and working together, it’s now. Our CRD electoral area director, Gary Holman, knows that he can count on my full support. Everyone on Salt Spring needs to be pro-active and take precautions to help slow down the spread of this virus. That means staying home and practicing appropriate social distancing. Listen to the Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Listen to staff at Lady Minto Hospital. Do what they say. You can find Lady Minto’s and the CRD’s daily information posts on the Salt Spring Exchange and Gulf Island Driftwood websites. I am grateful for the Lady Minto hospital and medical staff on this island who are taking the lead on this public health emergency. I am grateful for the emergency program and response personnel who are prepared to respond to this pandemic. I am grateful to all the i…
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