A Closer Look at My Constituency and Legislative Work

As we near the autumn equinox, I would like to share a brief update with you and take a closer look at the two halves of my work as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. For about half of the year my work is based out of the Legislature in Victoria. There is a spring session and a fall session. In February, we begin a four-month stretch sitting Monday to Thursday. Fridays and weekends are reserved for in-constituency events, meetings with constituents and reconnecting with family. The fall sitting is in October and November and the rest of the year I’m working in my constituency or visiting other parts of the province. I have had a wide-ranging legislative agenda over the past two years. A couple of highlights include, working with government early in the term to successfully ban big money from British Columbia and a persistent effort to launch wild salmon into the provincial political discussion by connecting the health and well-being of salmon with the province’s manage…
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Partnerships Working to Create More Child Care Spaces on Salt Spring and Across BC

Families throughout British Columbia will have better access to closer-to-home child care, thanks to new provincial guidelines that allow local governments to pair funding programs and purchase land to create new child care spaces. Municipalities and regional districts can now apply for up to $4 million to buy land for child care centres and create new licensed child care spaces in their communities. Previously, the maximum funding available was $1 million and local governments had only one fund to draw from, leaving them to cover the costs of land purchases and additional spaces for new child care projects. “We recognize this government is making historic investments in child care in B.C., and on behalf of the Capital Regional District and Salt Spring Island, I want to express our gratitude for the project funding we received through the first intake. We look forward to pursuing further opportunities resulting from this exciting announcement today.” - Gary Holman, e…
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Elizabeth May - Listening is the Primary Ingredient

As we open the menu for Canada’s election, how will Canadians choose the healthiest possibilities? Who looks most appetizing? We really must investigate the ingredients, starting with the one we know best, here in Saanich/Gulf Islands. Elizabeth May lifted a glass to us when she said, “It is the community spirit of our area that inspires and encourages me to be the best MP I can be. For the last eight years, it has been an honour to work for you.” Maintaining top attendance in that wine cellar known as Ottawa’s House of Commons, she refuses the acidity of heckling – instead, sprinkling other MPs with kindness even when strongly disagreeing with their policies. The savory in her more than 80 townhall meetings since 2011 is her respectful, 1 1⁄2-hour recipe: 25 minutes summarizing parliamentary activities, followed by an hour listening to questions and providing answers. Elizabeth understands that listening is the primary ingredient, as it is the only way that meanin…
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Transition Salt Spring Leads New Climate Action Plan for Island

The Climate Action Group, a project of Transition Salt Spring, is developing a citizen-led climate action plan to address the climate emergency. The plan, due to be released Spring 2020, will focus on the island’s transportation, food systems, land use, buildings and infrastructure and natural systems. This past August, they formed a steering committee to guide the climate action planning process. Recommendations in the plan will outline what the three levels of government, businesses, organizations, and residents can do to reduce emissions as well as adapt to a rapidly destabilizing climate. The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere. For Salt Spring, the impacts are already being seen through more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns including wind and snowstorms, dangerous local fire conditions and smoky air from forest fires in neighbouring jurisdictions. The destabilizing climate is also having a profound impact on everything from the health of our…
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Affordable Rental Housing Cottages Survey

Please join us on Saturday, September 7th for a Community Information Meeting regarding Bylaw No. 512 (Affordable Rental Housing – Cottages). This is an opportunity to learn more about the project and discuss the proposed rezoning of approximately 400 properties on Salt Spring Island to permit cottages for full-time residential rental, instead of “seasonal cottages” for temporary use. Bylaw No. 512 was developed to increase the supply of affordable rental housing on the island in a way that is consistent with policies in the Salt Spring Island Oficial Community Plan.
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Salt Spring Island LTC Takes Legal Action on Unlawful STVR

The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SSI LTC) has authorized legal action be taken against the owner of an unlawful short-term vacation rental (STVR) located on an Upper Ganges Road property. The SSI LTC is seeking a court order stopping the use of the property as a STVR, which is contrary to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee Land Use Bylaw. In response to the ongoing housing crisis on Salt Spring, the SSI LTC has taken a proactive approach on unlawful STVRs, which are potentially removing accommodation from the long-term housing market. “Islands Trust has heard from the public about growing concerns over the impacts of STVRs on their lives and the community at large,” said Peter Luckham, Chair of the Salt Spring Island LTC. “In addition to the very real concerns that these unlawful STVRs are affecting the amount of long-term rental housing available for island residents, we’ve also heard about increased noise, problems with traffic and parking, and …
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Video: Elizabeth May Opens Salt Spring Green Party Office for Fall Re-Election Campaign

The Salt Spring Green Party office opening ceremony featured bags of buttery popcorn; it was also the launch party for a short film about our MP, Elizabeth May. Why make a film about Elizabeth now? As Elizabeth explained, for many Canadians, she is known mainly as one of Ottawa’s ablest politicians. But to really understand her political life, you need to know that she is first and foremost an activist. Politics is the vehicle she saw she needed, to get to where we need to go now. The 24th of August, she remembered, “that was the anniversary of when I was first tear-gassed”. Elizabeth’s mother was working to quell the nuclear arms race and had gone with her 14-year-old daughter to support the election of the anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, at the Democratic national convention. Eventually, her family moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where Elizabeth became heavily involved in efforts to prevent the spraying of the pesticide agent orange on local forests. Even thou…
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Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission Releases 10-Year Strategic Plan

Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) has released the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation 2019-2029 Strategic Plan. The Plan outlines strategies, actions and priorities that guide opportunities for parks and recreation, seek community and stakeholder input and explore the long-term program and facility needs for the community. The following strategic priorities have been identified: Provide a diverse mix of outdoor athletic facilities; Create more and enhance existing access to our lakes and oceans; Create, enhance and maintain our community parks; Plan and develop an interconnected network of exceptional trails across the island; Provide a diverse range of indoor recreation facilities; Provide engaging recreation programs; Invest in our capacity to deliver excellent service; Communicate with our residents; Minimize barriers to participation The mission of the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission is to provide access to quality, safe…
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Trust to Put Brakes on Fulford Inn 'Vortex' Project

As many of you know, our proposal is a Development Permit with Variances. We propose to amend the motel, liquor store, and pub uses under the existing zoning into a modern, vibrant village square that offers an immersive Saltspring experience to visitors, while providing an essential gathering place for South Island residents, an essential community component sadly missing since the closure of the Fulford Inn ten years ago. Our application represents the highest standard of professional development, which provides a significant cultural amenity for our community while ensuring ongoing stewardship and protection of the Fulford Creek and estuary. After an extensive application process, we have finally learned that the staff will not recommend the application. Their interpretation of the bylaw is that the variances, which include three small retail kiosks of 300 sf (which would replace the liquor store use approved for the site), a market square for community gathering, while…
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Minister Seeking Input on Private Managed Forest Land Program

Minister wants your input on future of British Columbia forests - On May 28, 2019, the provincial government announced a review of the Private Managed Forest Land Program. They have invited British Columbians to add your voice to the program review. The province is accepting public comments until July 22, 2019. Over the past few months there has been a flood of correspondence to my office. My constituents on the Southern Gulf Islands, residents on Southern Vancouver Island and in the Kootenays, are raising substantial concerns about the impact of logging practices on privately owned forest lands. The City of Nelson and the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments have recently added their voices asking the province to tighten restrictions of logging on private land. There are a range of issues that we need to address. These include water supply (watersheds and aquifers) and slope stability, to name a couple. There are others and the province wants to hear from …
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BC’s Rural Islands Launch Economic Forum to Build Resilient Partnerships

For the first time BC’s rural islands have launched an initiative to cultivate rural island economic partnerships. The Rural Islands Economic Forum (RIEF), a two day event, will bring together leaders from rural island communities to focus on advancing local and regional, sustainable, economic capacity building. The Forum gets underway on Pender Island on November 7 – 8, 2019, and prioritizes actions related to economic well-being, the sharing of best practices, and how partnerships can be fostered across the islands. Communities include – Bowen, Cormorant, Cortes, Denman, Gabriola, Galiano, Hornby, Malcom, Mayne, Pender, Quadra, Salt Spring, San Juan, Saturna, Texada, and Thetis Island.

Spearheaded by the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) of Salt Spring Island, CEDC Chair, Francine Carlin says there’s enthusiastic support for the program, “There’s considerable interest in creating a conference that f…

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Salt Spring Island Centennial Park Playground Replacement

Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) has adopted a 20 year Master Plan to prioritize infrastructure investments for Centennial Park. With site assessments and central drainage complete, and the washroom facility anticipated to be finished in a few weeks, planning can begin to replace the playground. This much needed replacement project was made possible thanks in part to a $100,000 donation from the Salt Spring Island Lions Club. “The Salt Spring Lions Club has a history of providing the community with quality recreational facilities such as Portlock Park and the Lions Commemorative Bike Park,” said Gregg Dow, Chair of Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation, CRD. “PARC welcomes the opportunity to again partner with the Lions as we recognize play as a hugely significant part of any child’s development, and creating safe, interactive and stimulating environments for children to play in is so important.” The most recent addition to the public playgroun…
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Building a Tiny Home Community for the Unhoused on Salt Spring Island – Step One

“A community safely housed.  A path to stability.  A better quality of life”  Housing forms the building blocks of a community. The recent housing crisis has illustrated exactly how important stable housing is to the solidity of our island. When people don’t have secure housing, their work, school, family life, and even the community suffer. But with a suitable place to live in a safe neighborhood, people are better able to focus on work, health and education and can get to know and help their neighbors. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, decent, and affordable home.  Tiny homes are a progressive approach to delivering housing that is safe, clean and healthy. In December of 2013, the non-profit organization Community Frameworks completed the development of Quixote Village in Olympia Washington.  It is the only publicly subsidized permanent supportive tiny house project in the United States. Quixote Village is comprised of 30 tiny cottages with ½ baths…
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Positively Forward Updates On Community Initiatives

Following our local elections in which, happily, the three candidates endorsed by Positively Forward (Holman, Grove and Patrick) were successful in their bids to become elected officials, our coordinating group took a short break. Just time enough to recharge. We remain committed to conducting research  to advance better local governance options, as well as monitoring the work and initiatives of our elected officials. We are also dedicated to keeping channels of communication open, with you our supporters, and with our CRD director, the two trustees, as well as with local commission representatives. All part of pushing for increased transparency and accountability within our governance system. Governance Updates We were delighted that CRD director Gary Holman held a public session on his budget allocations last month. The room was full and interest high. Sadly, the trustees did not see fit to follow suit. This is the second  consecutive year that Positively Forward's r…
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Community Economic Development Commission Invites Island Businesses to Educational Opportunity & to Expand Your Market

How can island businesses offset Impacts of seasonal fluctuations… - Initiatives that boost our island’s economic health and well being are a key focus of the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC). The CEDC is inviting island businesses to learn more about programs currently available that provide knowledge and expertise to help offset impacts of seasonal business fluctuations. An opportunity to learn how to expand markets is scheduled for Monday, March 4 at the Salt Spring Public Library. Darrell Goertzen, Export Advisor with the Export Navigator Program from Small Business BC will be the speaker. “We’re really excited for folks to come and join us to learn how to identify new markets and see what support services are available via the province and through federal programs. There’s also an opportunity to diversity your customer base, increase profits and to foster innovation. And plus it’s a great networking event to share and learn from those in attendance,” say…
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Local Group Seeks Water Action on Housing

At the root of so many solutions to the affordable housing crisis is water. We have to do better, and in one of the wettest parts of Canada, we know we can. Our local water utility's recent moratorium on any new hook-ups to their system - while created with positive intentions of protecting our precious resource - has had many unintended negative consequences on our community's social sustainability. North Salt Spring Waterworks District's (NSSWD) 2014 moratorium was a well intentioned and forward-looking policy that aimed to protect current ratepayers from the increasing impacts of climate disruption (longer, drier summers). It has however made it nearly impossible for new affordable housing projects to happen within their service area. Smaller footprint dwellings and cottages, low income rental housing, or even tiny house villages can all be created with mandatory water conservation, water catchment, and graywater systems, yet literally none of these can happen in the N…
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BC Green Caucus Calls for an Inquiry Into Money-launder

A growing chorus of British Columbians have been calling on the BC NDP government to establish an independent public inquiry into money-laundering - The consistent flow of media reports over the past year, is drawing attention to the shocking state of affairs in our province. There is immense pressure on me, and my BC Green Caucus colleagues, to act. It's not just public pressure. It is also internal. Trust in government The crisis of confidence in our democracy was the ballot box question in the 2017 election. The BC Greens promised our constituents, and all British Columbians, that we would make rebuilding trust our priority. Sonia, Andrew and I, have an opportunity that few others have. We have question period. This issue became our sole focus of Question Period for the entire first few weeks of the Spring 2019 session. While there was substantial evidence that a public inquiry was necessary, Question Period is an opportunity to shed more light on the issue. So, …
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Penelakut’s Proposed Clam and Oyster Harvesting at Booth Bay

On January 17, 2019 I took part in a meeting between Salt Spring Island residents and representatives of Penelakut Tribe to discuss the proposed Tenure application for a portion of Booth Bay. My office has received a volume of correspondence on this issue. I have heard the concerns of Salt Spring residents about aquaculture and access to the beaches at Booth Bay. My facilitation to help coordinate a face-to-face meeting is the first step toward seeking and finding common ground. It was clarified in discussion that Penelakut intends to develop aquaculture through seeding and manually harvesting clams. They have chosen to pursue an aquaculture tenure, so they can seed the beach with clams and oysters. They are seeking tenure of the area in order to practice the act of aquaculture. This tenure is in addition to their four currently existing tenures, which are adjacent to their reserve lands. There is a great deal of concern about the use of plastic predator netting, as is…
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Towards Sustainable Community Economic Health

Salt Spring’s Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) embraced new directions in 2018.  We focused on initiatives that facilitated collaboration, coordination and advocacy on behalf of our island’s economic health and well-being. Here’s an overview of the areas we expanded into and the progress we’ve achieved in 2018. Championing Entrepreneurship Across All Economic Sectors Much of Salt Spring’s economic culture is shaped by resilience and a do-it-yourself ingenuity. We are a community comprised of smaller businesses and many micro-businesses, with the vast majority being sole proprietors. Many of these entrepreneurs create and produce a variety of products that are becoming known near and far as unique to Salt Spring. Being an entrepreneur is hard work and can be isolating. Through our experience with the Rural Business Accelerator Program, we know that most local small business operators are busy working “in” their business, and don’t have a lot of time t…
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Video: B.C.'s Electoral System: True or False?

Still sitting on your mail-in ballot to vote in B.C.’s electoral reform referendum? Still not sure how to vote? Feeling the November 30th deadline looming? This video should help, by offering valuable facts about our First Past The Post system, exposing misleading myths and misconceptions. Since 2002, I’ve been keen on electoral reform. Adriane Carr started a petition to change B.C.’s electoral system to Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). I signed up, determined to get 100s of signatures, back before the Internet made it easy. I agreed with her reasoning, but found the MMP system alarming. It has two ballots, the first one the same old FPTP, with its strategic voting and skewy, screwy results, and a second ballot for parties, to give them their “fair” share of seats won by the very system that needed replacing. Where were the demos, or people, if parties mattered more, with their deep-pocketed supporters and divisive politics? My readings about electoral systems began…
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MLA Adam Olsen Welcomes Newly Elected Officials and Opportunity to Work Together

First off I would like to congratulate the newly elected and inaugurated Mayors, Councillors, CRD Directors and Islands Trustees across Saanich North and the Islands. And, raise my hands to the Chief Rebecca David and her new Council recently elected in Pauquachin as well. There are more than 60 elected officials in local and first nations governments in our riding and I appreciate their hard work and leadership on behalf of our community. A special acknowledgement is due for those not returning to the table. Thank you Mayors Alice Finall and Steve Price, and Councillors Erin Bremner-Mitchell, Tim Chad, Alicia Holman, Mervyn Lougher-Goodey, Cam McClennan and Jack Thornburgh. Thank you for your community service. I started public life as a Councillor in Central Saanich. In January 2013 I decided to step away from the local government table and run provincially because I was frustrated with the dysfunctional relationship between the province and municipalities. The fr…
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