New funding secured for Bishops Walk to Drake Road trail upgrade project

The Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) recently received $90,127 in funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (ICIP-CVRIS). Thanks in part to this funding, PARC is moving ahead with the Drake Road Trail Upgrade Project. The Drake Road (Bishops Walk) Trail is a connector trail starting at Cypress View Road through to Drake Road where users can then access Salt Spring Commons, Mouat Park and the downtown core. The trail is approximately 480 m long by 1.8 m wide and is a multi-use community trail. “This announcement comes on the heels of us completing our final phase of Salt Spring Commons, a new affordable housing project owned by Salt Spring Island Community Services. Upgrades to this established pedestrian trail will provide residents and neighbours year-round walking opportunities.” - Rob Grant, Executive Director of Salt Spring Island Community Servi…
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MLA Column: National Truth and Reconciliation Day

In the four years that we have been Members of the Legislative Assembly, hundreds of British Columbians have reached out to talk about Crown/settler-Indigenous relationships. What we have heard consistently in these conversations is that people are frustrated that they have not been taught about the true history of our country. While there is information available, we hear people feel it is not accessible, and they do not know where to start. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was mandated to “inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools.” The commission’s work concluded in 2015 and they published 94 Calls to Action. Action 80 was the establishment of a day to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” On September 30, 2021, it will be the first time in Canadian history that there will be a Nati…
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MLA Adam Olsen updates on climate change, toxic drugs, affordable housing and more

It has been a couple of months since my last column. It was not for lack of issues to write about, but a need to create some space to rest, strengthen connections with my family and focus on the needs of my constituents. As it turns out, the space was immediately filled with the intersecting crises facing British Columbia. Climate change, healthcare (pandemic, mental health & addictions), housing affordability and old growth have proven extraordinarily difficult to navigate. These coinciding crises must be addressed by working together - individuals, political parties, and governments, in collaboration and as a collective. For decades, we have known that climate change was coming. We were warned that if we do not take corrective action, we will face an emergency. This summer that reality was on full display. In June, a heat dome descended on British Columbia. We experienced the hottest temperatures in Canadian history while dozens of evacuation orders came as hundre…
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2021 Federal Election Saanich-Gulf Islands Results - Elizabeth May Wins Reelection

Saanich-Gulf Islands Member of Parliament incumbent Elizabeth May from the Green Party of Canada is the projected winner in this year's Federal Election securing the seat for the 4th consecutive time winning in 2011, 2015, 2019 and now again in 2021. May initially won over Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn in 2011 and has been MP for the riding since that time. Candidates for the riding this year were Ron Broda, People's Party of Canada; David Busch, Conservative Party of Canada; Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada; Sabina Singh, New Democratic Party; Ryan Windsor, Liberal Party of Canada. See all profiles and coverage of the 2021 Federal Election. Watch the All Candidates Debate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKsa7ANxkWo Saanich—Gulf Islands Riding History The electoral district was created in 1987 from Esquimalt—Saanich and Cowichan—Malahat—The Islands ridings. In the 2008 election, there were allegations of electoral fraud around Gary Lunn's campaign.…
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Watch: Saanich—Gulf Islands 2021 Federal Election candidates debate

Prospective candidates for the upcoming 2021 Federal Election running for the position of Member of Parliament for our Saanich—Gulf Islands riding gathered on Zoom last for a candidates debate hosted by the Salt Spring Forum. Debate attendees included David Busch from the Conservative Party of Canada, Elizabeth May from the Green Party of Canada, Sherri Moore-Arbour from the Liberal Party of Canada and Sabina Singh from Canada's NDP. The debate was moderated by Salt Spring Island resident Tarah Stafford with questions coming from the community via online chat. The Salt Spring Forum is supported by Country Grocer and the media partner for this debate was the Salt Spring Exchange. Learn more about the candidates running in our riding this year here on the Exchange. https://youtu.be/SK5qm-vh5RI
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2021 Federal Election Candidate Profile - Sabina Singh

The 2021 Canadian federal election will take place on September 20, 2021, to elect members of the House of Commons to the 44th Canadian Parliament after Governor General Mary Simon dissolved Parliament on August 15, 2021, at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request. 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 Sabina Singh, who is running to be the Member of Parliament for our Saanich—Gulf Islands riding with Canada's New Democratic Party. About Sabina Singh The islands and their majestic beauty have been home to me for most of my life. Like any good Islander I spent my youth trying to surf in Tofino and navigate the tides on camping trips. I first had the opportunity to visit Salt Spring Island frequently during my BA at …
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2021 Federal Election Candidate Profile - David Busch

The 2021 Canadian federal election will take place on September 20, 2021, to elect members of the House of Commons to the 44th Canadian Parliament after Governor General Mary Simon dissolved Parliament on August 15, 2021, at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request. 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 David Busch, who is running to be the Member of Parliament for our Saanich—Gulf Islands riding with the Conservative Party of Canada. About David Busch Currently employed as a Lawyer, David recently started his own law firm based in Saanich. In 2014 he moved to Saanich and has worked with two local law firms before striking out on his own. In his legal profession David worked with the Health Law Institute at the Univ…
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2021 Federal Election Candidate Profile - David Hilderman

The 2021 Canadian federal election will take place on September 20, 2021, to elect members of the House of Commons to the 44th Canadian Parliament after Governor General Mary Simon dissolved Parliament on August 15, 2021, at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request. 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 David Hilderman, who is running to be the Member of Parliament for our Saanich—Gulf Islands riding with the People's Party of Canada. About David Hilderman I grew up in Saskatchewan, the second oldest in a family of six boys. I had a lot of fun growing up with all those boys and we have always gotten along great. I started playing guitar and bass at around 10 and played professionally in a band after high school for …
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Islands Trust Trustee Laura Patrick provides a summer update on Local Trust Committee activities

August is a time for vacations, visits to and from family, a busy time for local tourism-related businesses, and for farmers too! At your Local Trust Committee we have also been busy working on several fronts, including the Housing Action Program Task Force, the Ganges Village Planning Task Force, and other important issues such as ecosystem and watershed protection with increasing consideration of wildfire mitigation.  At the Trust Council/federation level, we are working on updating the Trust Policy Statement. The Islands Trust is a unique governing body that works at both the federation level, with representation from all 13 groups of islands, and the local level.  Trust Council (all 26 elected trustees) sets policies for the whole Islands Trust Area and guides the operations of the Islands Trust.  The Salt Spring Local Trust Committee (two locally elected trustees along with a third appointed trustee) makes decisions on local land use matters.  Here is an update on your …
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2021 Federal Election Candidate Profile - Elizabeth May

The 2021 Canadian federal election will take place on September 20, 2021, to elect members of the House of Commons to the 44th Canadian Parliament after Governor General Mary Simon dissolved Parliament on August 15, 2021, at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request. 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 Elizabeth May, who is running to be the Member of Parliament for our Saanich—Gulf Islands riding with the Green Party. About Elizabeth May I love Salt Spring Island, but have never lived on the island. I am always amazed at how many people assume that because I am Green, I must live on Salt Spring! Since 2009, I have lived in Sidney, although recently, my husband and I have bought a place on Saturna Island. Just as J…
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David Busch to represent the Conservative Party of Canada in Saanich–Gulf Islands

David Busch to represent the Conservative Party of Canada in Saanich–Gulf Islands. At a socially distanced Meeting on Friday, the local Conservative team announced their candidate. “The Saanich Gulf Islands Conservative Association is pleased to announce that David Busch will again be our candidate in the next federal election,” remarked Ryan Trelford, President of the association. Speaking to his supporters, David Busch stated, “I think I speak for all of us here, in our beautiful community, that now is not the time for an election. The delta variant is rearing its ugly head and the last thing people want are politicians speaking at their doorstep.” Busch went on to say, “I personally call on Prime Minister Trudeau to take a deep breath, go for a walk, and cancel the plans for this election. The health and security of our country should not be in limbo for the personal ambitions of the country’s leader.” With speculation of an election call for Sunday running rampant,…
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Rural character and self-reliance

The Islands Trust was launched in 1974 to preserve and protect, among other things, the rural character of this beautiful place. The date is very important as it indicates we are not trying to protect the islands as they were prior to white arrival. Nor are we trying to protect the rural character in the latter half of the 19th century when packs of wolves, cougars, elk, and bears were commonplace, and First Nations people outnumbered the white people. The first 60 years of the 20th century featured an agrarian local economy, wherein there was broad agreement that self-reliance was important, both for individuals and for SSI as a community. That is what was to be preserved and protected. My earliest memories, from the late ‘50s, is an island with only dirt roads except for the one paved ¼ mil e up from the Fulford dock. Then in 1961, BC Ferries launched and SSI became much more accessible. In the next decade the roads were paved and the water system put in, both of which m…
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Are you considering leaving Salt Spring due to the housing crisis?

Are you considering leaving the island due to the stresses involved with finding or staying in a home? Know someone who is leaving or has already left? Please share your story. After festering for years, our workforce housing crisis has only gotten worse, with so many of us finding it harder and harder to stay on Salt Spring. Our musicians, nurses, teachers, restaurant staff, tradespeople and even the very farmers working to feed us are being forced into the heart-breaking decision of saying goodbye to this community because they can't find housing, leaving us all the poorer as a result. To all the people who are considering leaving, we SEE you, and we need to HEAR you. Salt Spring is at a critical point where decisions are being made that will either start to finally address this crisis in our community, or continue to avoid and ignore it. Without action, the Salt Spring we love – the artists, families, young people, activists, counter-culture hippies and weirdos that…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman on Fire MOU, Early Education, Parks Grants and more

Twelve joined us to welcome CRD’s Gary Holman on a lovely summer Friday in the United Church Meadow. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, Gary told us that he believes that these acknowledgements, once almost simply rhetorical, are becoming more and more real as First Nations’ rights and title to unceded lands are recognized repeatedly by the courts. He spoke of a motion he is co-sponsoring that will be discussed at the July 14 CRD Board meeting. This proposal will ask the province to provide the funding (as with the Great Bear Rainforest agreements) needed to make old growth conservation a realistic option for First Nations Gary spoke about the recent announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our Fire District and CRD. While details still have to be negotiated, in essence, this MOU supports the colocation of Emergency Operations Services (currently in the basement of the provincial building on Lower Ganges Road) in the new firehall/public safety building…
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June 2021 Update from Islands Trust Local Trustee Laura Patrick

There is increasing optimism for a return to some pre-pandemic normalcy with more islanders getting their second vaccinations.  Participating in meetings at home on virtual platforms is tiresome and challenging and I can’t wait to get back to in-person gatherings!  That said, all through the pandemic, islanders did carry on with important work for the community.  In this article, I will update you on some of the activities related to the Islands Trust’s local trust committee and federation work. Twenty two island residents have been appointed to two different task forces:  Ganges Village Planning and the Housing Action Program.  We are fortunate to have so many dedicated island residents to advise the Islands Trust on these important land use planning initiatives.  Get information about these planning initiatives and information on how to view meetings. A science working group continues to review mapping and research related to protecting coastal Douglas fir and associate…
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Islands Trust Reopen their Gabriola, Salt Spring and Victoria Offices

The public is again welcome to visit Islands Trust offices in person with the reminder that masks and physical distancing are continued requirements. Islands Trust doors are open at all three office locations: Gabriola Island, Salt Spring Island, and Victoria. At this time, each Islands Trust office has different days and times of opening and capacity limits: Salt Spring Office Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4: 30 p.m. 1 – 500 Lower Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island Maximum two people in addition to staff “We’re pleased to welcome people back into our offices,” shared Russ Hotsenpiller, Chief Administrative Officer, Islands Trust. “Face-to-face contact has been missed, but it hasn’t curtailed our activity. Since the pandemic started, Islands Trust has experienced a surge of development applications resulting in longer processing times. Staff is working to maximum capacity, and there is a backlog. If you’re considering a development application submission, please un…
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MLA Adam Olsen on vaccine roll-out and the exclusion of Salt Spring Island from the ‘Whole Community Approach’

As the provincial vaccine roll-out continues, it is important that all community members have the correct information about current COVID-19 protocols and vaccinations. We encourage everyone to register for a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Over the past few weeks, my office has been receiving many questions from constituents regarding current COVID-19 restrictions and what the rules are around travel. Restrictions have changed as of May 25th. The government has introduced a 4 step BC Restart plan and we are now currently in Step 1. Step 1 means that outdoor personal gatherings of up to 10 people and indoor gatherings with up to 5 visitors or 1 other household are allowed. Indoor low intensity group exercise is also allowed while indoor high intensity group exercise remains prohibited. Indoor and outdoor dining is now allowed with capacity limits based on physical distancing. There is a maximum of 6 people allowed at a table which is not restricted to your househ…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman Booth Canal Path Dangers, Laundromat Opening Plan and more

After appreciating a heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, 10 participants began asking our CRD Director, Gary Holman, questions about those issues that mean the most to us. Gary admitted that he was pre-occupied with a number of complex issues, one of which is the community’s - and his - concerns about safety concerns regarding the new Booth Canal Pathway. At their April meeting, Transportation Commissioners expressed their commitment to consider safety issues and possible solutions. A team of retired engineering and safety professionals, including a member of the Commission and Partners Creating Pathways, recently joined CRD engineering staff to assess the pathway. It is hoped that their report will be ready for the May 31 Transportation Commission meeting. At this April Transportation Commission meeting, there was consensus not to halt the project before it is completed. The reasoning behind not temporarily halting work was concern that the $490,000 provincial grant,…
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ASK Salt Spring: Vaccine rollout, housing challenges, climate change, childcare and more

Twenty-three gathered via Zoom to welcome all of our elected officials: MP Elizabeth May, MLA Adam Olsen, CRD’s Gary Holman, and Islands Trust Local Trustees Laura Patrick and Peter Grove. After Laura’s heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, we began by asking each of our guests what was on their minds and the issues that they hoped would be explored in our two hours together. (Elizabeth had to leave us at about noon.) Elizabeth began by expressing her frustration at not being able to get to Ottawa sooner due to COVID but also her anticipation of soon reading the federal budget. She shared her joy at getting her vaccination soon. She has high hopes for President Joe Biden’s upcoming Earth Day Summit. Her optimism is tempered slightly by the disappointment that this year’s expected allocations for the climate emergency are expected to be less than fossil fuel subsidies. Elizabeth also expressed her delight at seeing so many of her friends virtually at ASK Salt Spring. Ad…
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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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