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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2020 BC Provincial Election Candidate Profile - Stephen Roberts

The 42nd British Columbia general election is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020. To help our community get to know the candidates who are running in our riding we're sharing profiles of each candidate. All candidates have been invited to share a profile with the Salt Spring Exchange and we’ll be featuring profiles on each candidate as they become available. This profile is for Stephen Roberts, who is running to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Saanich North and the Islands with the Liberal Party. About Stephen Roberts I was born in Sidney and grew up on Salt Spring. After graduating University with a degree in Economics and Political Science, I worked in accounting, law and finance. I retired as a COO of the research division for a large international investment bank overseas and moved back home to Salt Spring where I now live with my partner and our fantastic dog Sidney. I've been involved in a number of community organizations on Saltspring and t…
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Watch: 2020 BC Election Candidates for Saanich North and the Islands Video Debate

Candidates running in the upcoming provincial election for the riding of Saanich North and the Islands, Adam Olsen-Green Party, Stephen Roberts-Liberal Party and Zeb King-NDP answer questions from the public and talk about their passions going into the election On October 24th, 2020 during an online zoom call arranged to accommodate physical distancing requirements. Moderated by Tarah Stafford with an introduction and technical expertise by Jason Mogus of NetChange. Our thanks to Media Partner Salt Spring Exchange and to Country Grocer for their support. https://youtu.be/aPLKYbnkRRE
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An Urgent Plea to The One Million People Living in Canada Who Are Eligible to Vote in U.S. Elections

Opinion: Close to a million people living in Canada still retain the ability to vote in U.S. elections. The potential influence of that many voters is profound and the stakes could not be higher. My great-grandparents came to the U.S. by ship as refugees, arriving at Ellis Island in New York with only the clothes they were wearing. My great-grandfather supported his young family as an itinerant salesman travelling by horse and wagon, peddling mules and eyeglasses. The family eventually settled in southern Delaware, where they were able to do what would never have been possible in their home country: own land. They purchased farms, opened a store that provided supplies and free advice to local farmers, and eventually created an enterprise so successful that the family was able to send my father and his siblings to college, another impossible dream. In 2001, when my wife and I decided to immigrate to Canada, a choice that our relative privilege allowed, my father simply cou…
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2020 BC Provincial Election Candidate Profile - Adam Olsen

The 42nd British Columbia general election is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020. To help our community get to know the candidates who are running in our riding we're sharing profiles of each candidate. All candidates have been invited to share a profile with the Salt Spring Exchange and we’ll be featuring profiles on each candidate as they become available. This profile is for Adam Olsen, who is running to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Saanich North and the Islands with the Green Party. About Adam Olsen For the past three and a half years I was the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. Before that I was the interim leader of the BC Green Party, a Central Saanich Councillor for eight years. I am a professional communicator and I have worked in amateur, collegiate, and professional sport, public and media relations. What brought you to the area? My family has lived, worked and played in the Salish Sea since time immemorial. What one thin…
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ASK Salt Spring with NDP MLA Candidate Zeb King

Sixteen hardy folks braved the chilly winds on a rainy fall Saturday. They were well-rewarded, for they all got an opportunity to meet the NDP Candidate, Zeb King and ask him questions. Even though some freezing participants left before 1:00, it is safe to say that everyone left glad that they had met Zeb as well as all having a better understanding of why he wants to be our next MLA. The loud and clear message Zeb offered to us was of his commitment to both the climate and social justice as well as his tenacity, persistence, and unwillingness to give up these commitments when faced with opposition. He reminded us that the time to make needed changes to our environmentally-damaging habits is running out and that we simply must act immediately. He began by telling us that he lives in Brentwood Bay, a neighbour and good friend of Adam Olsen whom he recruited to serve on the Central Saanich City Council with him. (They served together for a short time until Adam left to be o…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA Incumbent Candidate Adam Olsen

Thirty-six enthusiastic Salt Springers gathered in the United Church Meadow to welcome candidate Adam Olsen. While his visit to us was much like so many other times he has joined us at ASK Salt Spring, the spattering of green Adam Olsen signs signaled a slight difference in this gathering. The plentiful applause and the evident appreciation for him clearly illustrated the appreciation for Adam that has grown considerably these past few years. Later in the gathering, Adam shared his initial concerns (and, yes, even trepidation) coming to Salt Spring where involvement is widespread, intelligence prevalent, and opinions abound. He credited ASK Salt Spring as a reason that he now welcomes his regular journeys to Salt Spring. (Thanks, Adam!) Adam began by recalling the frequent journeys of his ancestors across the often-treacherous passages between islands, each with overlapping tribal territories but no clear boundaries. They made their passages in large - 40’ long by 7-8’ wide …
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ASK Salt Spring with Islands Trust Local Trustee Laura Patrick

Surprisingly, the weather gods smiled upon us and the rain cleared, giving 10 participants another lovely – and at times even warm - day in the United Church Meadow.  Islands Trust Local Trustee Laura Patrick began our gathering by speaking about her personal journey of Reconciliation.  She then noted that she had spent the week participating virtually in the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference. While there were amazing moments, like listening to the keynote speech by Margaret Atwood, she admitted that she missed the energy and creativity that can happen when meeting together in person. A couple of takeaway messages from this year’s conference are: To respond to the climate crisis, COVID crisis, and income inequality, local governments need to reallocate their resources and deploy innovative solutions. The pandemic has kicked off a migration of people from urban to more rural settings. Salt Spring is already seeing signs of this migratio…
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Housing Working Group Proposes New Two Phase Housing Project

A small diverse group of Salt Springers, meeting since February, are proposing a creative and integrative approach to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of housing on Salt Spring, including its ecological, climatic, and socioeconomic dimensions. The proposal is up for consideration at the next LTC meeting on October 6, and it must be made a priority to be resourced. You can find the Housing Working Group report in the September 1 LTC agenda package beginning on page 264.  How is this housing project proposal different?  Driftwood headlines from January 12, 1994, “Local lot prices register fastest rise in the country,” and from August 24, 2002, “Business owners considering action to avert housing woes,” reflect the myriad studies conducted over the past three decades on the issue of housing on Salt Spring.  Today, a well-recognized housing crisis has intensified, concurrent with climate and forest (land use) cris…
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