Your input informs Islands Trust bylaw drafting

Land use planning can be equally as boring as a two-sailing wait for a ferry and as fraught with drama as a high school musical. Today I’m writing to help you understand the draft land use bylaw for accessory dwelling units that just had its first reading at the Local Trust Committee. Planners call them ‘accessory dwelling units’, but regular folk call them cottages and suites, and they’re not a new thing here on Salt Spring.  But the bylaw is new, and with it we’re attempting to provide a policy that will grow our on-island compliment of resident landlords -- people with a primary residence who are willing to let either a secondary suite, a suite associated with an accessory building, or a cottage. Your Local Trust Committee (myself, Peter Grove, and Peter Luckham) gave first reading to the draft bylaw at our April 19 meeting.  I supported first reading because I wanted to start the process and I’m serious about increasing the availability of long-term rental housing in …
Read more about Your input informs Islands Trust bylaw drafting

CRD Local Community Commission (LCC) Discussion Paper: Introduction

One of my 2018 election platform commitments was to improve governance on Salt Spring, including seeking voter approval for an elected CRD Local Community Commission (LCC). This discussion paper initiates public consultation on the proposal, and will be available in several venues, including online (Salt Spring Exchange, Driftwood, social media), and hard copies at the library and local CRD office. This paper was drafted at my request by several members of the Governance Working Group of the Community Alliance organization, which was formed to consider governance improvements after the failed referendum on incorporation in 2017. The paper makes a number of recommendations regarding the composition, responsibilities, and remuneration of an elected at large LCC for Salt Spring. The possibility of an LCC has been considered as part of previous governance studies undertaken during Provincially-initiated incorporation processes. I’ve also outlined the LCC proposal in previous Dri…
Read more about CRD Local Community Commission (LCC) Discussion Paper: Introduction

Southern Gulf Islands Forum addressing issues of unregulated industrial parking lot in Salish Sea

For years, my constituents living on the Southern Gulf Islands have dealt with the environmental and social impacts created by large transport ships anchored throughout the Salish Sea. Increased consumer demand for goods from around the globe has stretched supply chains and combined with inefficient operations at the port in Vancouver has meant more vessels anchored for longer. These vessels are disruptive, creating excessive noise and light pollution, sometimes for weeks at a time, and their generators constantly pump out greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful particulates. They regularly drag their anchors destroying the ocean floor and threatening each other. And ships anchored outside the port waters are unregulated. For more than a decade the voices of community advocates have been ignored by the federal government. On March 14, 2022, I hosted a half-day meeting of the Southern Gulf Islands Forum, including First Nations leaders, elected officials from the …
Read more about Southern Gulf Islands Forum addressing issues of unregulated industrial parking lot in Salish Sea

Lady Minto emergency department expansion breaks ground

A $12.8 million emergency department expansion project at Lady Minto Hospital has been launched with an official ground breaking ceremony. Capital costs are being shared by the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, which has pledged $9.8 million, and the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD), which will contribute $3 million. “The Lady Minto Hospital means a lot to people living on Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I thank the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, the Capital Regional Hospital District and all those who donated to the project to make it happen, showing true community spirit.” “This important expansion at Lady Minto Hospital will create improvements to emergency department patient care,” said Leah Hollins, Board chair, Island Health. “We are grateful to the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation and the Capital Regional Hospital District for funding the capital costs for this project and working so collaboratively with our sta…
Read more about Lady Minto emergency department expansion breaks ground

2022 North Salt Spring Waterworks District Election Candidate Profile - Sandra Ungerson

The North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD) provides potable water to a large portion of Salt Spring Island, including over 5,500 year round residents, the hospital, schools, hotels and restaurants, and many island businesses in the village of Ganges. The District’s trustees are elected officials who serve a three year term on behalf of the District ratepayers. Elections take place at the Annual General Meeting – usually held in April of each year. To be eligible as a nominee candidates must be a Canadian Citizen, 18 years of age or older, an owner of land in the North Salt Spring Waterworks District whose account is in good standing, and entitled to be registered as a voter under the Elections Act. Trustees are elected by the ratepayers of the District who are present at the Annual General Meeting to represent them and make decisions on their behalf for a term of three years. Trustees receive a small honorarium for their services which include; attending one or …
Read more about 2022 North Salt Spring Waterworks District Election Candidate Profile - Sandra Ungerson

2022 North Salt Spring Waterworks District Election Candidate Profile - Leigh Large

The North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD) provides potable water to a large portion of Salt Spring Island, including over 5,500 year round residents, the hospital, schools, hotels and restaurants, and many island businesses in the village of Ganges. The District’s trustees are elected officials who serve a three year term on behalf of the District ratepayers. Elections take place at the Annual General Meeting – usually held in April of each year. To be eligible as a nominee candidates must be a Canadian Citizen, 18 years of age or older, an owner of land in the North Salt Spring Waterworks District whose account is in good standing, and entitled to be registered as a voter under the Elections Act. Trustees are elected by the ratepayers of the District who are present at the Annual General Meeting to represent them and make decisions on their behalf for a term of three years. Trustees receive a small honorarium for their services which include; attending one or …
Read more about 2022 North Salt Spring Waterworks District Election Candidate Profile - Leigh Large

Rainbow Road Recreation Centre site master plan survey

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) is developing a 20-year master plan for the Rainbow Road Recreation Centre site. This project was identified as a priority in the 2019 Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan in response to the community’s desire for increased access to indoor recreation facilities for residents and visitors. The site master plan will assess current and future capacity needs to identify suitable expansion opportunities. This plan will inform a phased capital planning approach for new facilities and program amenities based on input provided from First Nations, key stakeholders and the public. The first round of public engagement with key stakeholder and a public survey is now complete and feedback has been compiled to develop three draft Recreation Centre Site Master Plan conceptual designs. Public feedback on the draft plans is being gathered until April 4, 2022. Feedback will t…
Read more about Rainbow Road Recreation Centre site master plan survey

Salt Spring Island philanthropist continues her conservation legacy of protecting islands for future generations

Late Salt Spring Island resident Susan Bloom continues to build on her conservation legacy with a recent donation of $100,000 to help protect islands in the Salish Sea. Islands Trust Conservancy has received a donation of $100,000 in support of its continued conservation efforts on islands in the Salish Sea by the late conservationist and philanthropist, Susan Bloom of Salt Spring Island. Susan Bloom passed away in December 2021. She was genuinely committed to the protection of wildlife, their habitats, and the protection of ancient forests and oceans, and is perhaps most well known for her donation and work to protect Clayoquot Island near Tofino with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Susan believed strongly in grassroots organizing and worked to help small groups of passionate people do extraordinary things,” says friend and estate trustee Janet Theunisz. “I feel sad that Susan Bloom, the epitome of quiet philanthropy, has passed away; and at the same moment, happy…
Read more about Salt Spring Island philanthropist continues her conservation legacy of protecting islands for future generations

Provincial Government 'Missing in Action' as Islands Trust Founders

One year and $75,000 after commissioning an independent review of its own performance, the Islands Trust, the governing body charged with “preserving and protecting” the Gulf Islands, has received a devastating report card. The bad news is summed up on the first page: “Current Trust Council practices do not meet the requirements set by good governance principles.” Created by special legislation in 1974 in response to “unprecedented pressure for residential development”, the Islands Trust received passing grades in only four of thirteen subcategories. The most serious indictment is that Trust Council, the political body of the Islands Trust, cannot agree on its role: There are “persistent divisions around the meaning of the Preserve and Protect Object, and the measures necessary to uphold it”. Equally damning is the observation that the Trust has no idea about the sustainability of existing development, let alone what has yet to come: “There is no comprehensive analy…
Read more about Provincial Government 'Missing in Action' as Islands Trust Founders

MLA Adam Olsen updates on transportation, cycling and ferry services

There is always a long list of transportation issues in Saanich North and the Islands and I’m thankful for the millions of dollars invested in our riding over the past five years. I am grateful to Minister Rob Fleming and his regional team for their responsiveness to our advocacy. In August 2019 the provincial government announced a long-awaited upgrade on the Pat Bay Highway at Keating X Road. The new flyover project already has a $16 million commitment from the federal government and $2.5 from Central Saanich, the provincial contribution will be known when the design is finalized. I expect a detailed report on public consultation to be released soon with more details of how this critical project will proceed. In January of this year the Ministry announced another long-awaited upgrade to the Pat Bay Highway at Mt. Newton X Road. For years Central Saanich commuters have been requesting transit stops at this major crossroad. The $7.6 million dollar project will allow…
Read more about MLA Adam Olsen updates on transportation, cycling and ferry services

Salt Spring Island population increases 10.2% between 2016 and 2021

Statistics Canada has released new data from its 2021 census showing that the population on Salt Spring Island officially increased 10.2% between 2016 and 2021. The official population count now sits at 11,635 persons, up from 10,557 in 2016. The number of private dwellings on the island now numbers 6,105.
Read more about Salt Spring Island population increases 10.2% between 2016 and 2021

Wastewater Discharge Notice – Maliview Estates

An equipment failure at the Maliview Wastewater Treatment Plant occurred on Sunday February 6 resulting in partially treated wastewater being discharged to the Plant’s marine outfall. The equipment is being repaired on February 7 and the treatment plant should be operating per normal by 6 pm. Out of an abundance of caution, in consultation with Island Health, the shoreline in the vicinity of the outfall will be posted with public health advisory signs. The shoreline impacted is at the intersection of Maliview Drive and Walkers Hook Road on the northeast part of Salt Spring Island. As a result of these discharges, residents are advised to avoid entering the waters along the affected shoreline, as the wastewater may pose a health risk. The shorelines within the affected area will be posted for 48 hours following return of the wastewater treatment plant to normal operations.
Read more about Wastewater Discharge Notice – Maliview Estates

CRD Director Gary Holman reports on housing and services progress

The decision by a group of well-meaning advocates for our most vulnerable residents to locate a “warming space” at Peace Park, then at Mouat Park, has precipitated a barrage of conflicting complaints, from concerned neighbours and park users urging CRD to enforce its bylaws to accusations of heartlessness by the “Warming Space Collective.” Despite numerous complaints about noise, public intoxication and families feeling unsafe, CRD bylaw enforcement was not initiated for over a month, mindful of the coldest days of the year. I requested CRD staff to work with the collective and other agencies like Salt Spring Island Community Services (SSICS) to explore options for a temporary warming station. Staff held several such meetings to discuss options, including arrangements at Mouat Park consistent with the longstanding bylaw. I’ve already raised Drake Road possibilities with the CRD Board, but the property has no services. Staff have also suggested the possible use of the cour…
Read more about CRD Director Gary Holman reports on housing and services progress

Building back better starts in the legislature

As the BC NDP government attempts to move into the post-pandemic world, the scars from our global fight against this vicious virus have been revealed. The pandemic has exposed divisions in our society and as I prepare for the Spring 2022 session of the BC Legislative Assembly, a major focus will be the coming budget. At the beginning of the pandemic there was a multi-partisan effort to provide the provincial government with the resources it needed to support British Columbians through the challenging time. There was hope that the government would lead us in a collective effort to build back better. COVID-19, and the series of severe weather events in 2021, has shone a light on deepening social inequality and decaying infrastructure, and how that is hampering the delivery of services like public health, transportation, and education. The impact of unsustainable resource extraction methods has led to collapsing biodiversity, wildfires, floods, and landslides. The impa…
Read more about Building back better starts in the legislature

Housing projects are moving ahead on Salt Spring Island

It feels good to be able to publish those words. Minister David Eby, BC Housing and the Capital Regional District announced a partnership to develop a project that includes permanent individual supported housing and shelter spaces on a CRD owned site located on Drake Road. The project will be managed by Salt Spring Community Services. Tension has been increasing on the Island since last Fall when the Seabreeze Motel was listed for sale. Rooms at the motel were leased as part of a temporary housing initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With housing in short supply there was fear that the tenants would potentially be displaced with the sale. Last summer Rob Grant, Executive Director of Salt Spring Community Services, raised this situation with CRD Director Gary Holman and me. We met several times in the ensuing months with senior staff and management at BC Housing, as well as Minister Eby, and proposed that the motel be purchased and renovated to provide perma…
Read more about Housing projects are moving ahead on Salt Spring Island

Permanent homes, shelter spaces coming to Drake Road on Salt Spring Island

The Province, through BC Housing, has partnered with the Capital Regional District to create new independent housing with supports and shelter spaces on Salt Spring Island. "This new project will provide permanent safe and secure housing with supports to vulnerable members of the Salt Spring community who have struggled to find a place to live," said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "This successful collaboration between BC Housing, Capital Regional District, Islands Trust, Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, and Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services Society shows what we can accomplish when we work together. This outcome means health-care workers have a place to live on the island, and the most vulnerable residents of Salt Spring also have a home. I'm very grateful to everyone who helped us get to this positive outcome." Located at 161 Drake Rd., the new housing project will provide up to 28 new permanent homes with support…
Read more about Permanent homes, shelter spaces coming to Drake Road on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Insights public opinion panel launched on Salt Spring Island

First survey of Salt Spring Insights Panel will ask about the Fire Department - It has sometimes been said that Salt Spring is an argument surrounded by water. Well, a new venture called Salt Spring Insights has been created to raise the level of conversations here and offer a clearer picture of local opinion on Salt Spring topics. A survey panel of Salt Spring Island residents is being created to provide a reliable, accurate picture of opinions. Salt Spring Insights is an online public opinion forum, created by two local companies, Return On Insight, a market research consultancy, and Marketworks, a digital media company, which want to enhance the quality of conversations taking place in our community, providing a safe, respectful space to express opinions and to share insights that encourage better decision making. Salt Spring Insights is now inviting people to sign up to become panel members. Once signed up, they will receive regular invitations to participate in surve…
Read more about Salt Spring Insights public opinion panel launched on Salt Spring Island

Property assessments on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands increase an average of 35% over previous year

In the next few days, owners of about 382,000 properties throughout Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands can expect to receive their 2022 assessment notices, which reflect market value as of July 1, 2021. “Vancouver Island’s real estate market has increased in value across all property types over the past year,” says Vancouver Island Deputy Assessor Jodie MacLennan. “Increases of 15 to 35 percent are generally evident for single family dwellings, strata homes, industrial and commercial properties throughout the island with notably larger percent increases in both central and northern Vancouver Island communities.” As B.C.'s trusted provider of property assessment information, BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year. Overall, Vancouver Island’s total assessments increased from about $269 billion in 2021 to $343 billion this year. Over $4.85 billion of the region’s updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and the…
Read more about Property assessments on Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands increase an average of 35% over previous year

Ganges Creek and Harbour wastewater discharge notice

A spill of wastewater has occurred at the Ganges Wastewater Treatment Plant on Salt Spring Island. A mechanical failure of part of the above ground piping system, likely as a result of the current cold temperatures, was the root cause of the spill. Much of the volume was contained on site, but some sewage ran overland, entered the storm water system leading from the facility to Ganges Creek and out to Ganges Harbour. Crews have completed clean-up efforts, placed warning signs, and cordoned off the affected area including a section of the path located immediately north of the facility adjacent to Ganges Creek. As a result of this discharge, residents are advised to avoid contacting the affected areas where the spill occurred as well as avoid entering the waters along the affected shorelines, as the wastewater may pose a health risk. As a precaution and in consultation with Island Health, the affected area will be posted with public health advisory signs until environmental…
Read more about Ganges Creek and Harbour wastewater discharge notice

MLA Adam Olsen updates on the pandemic, emergency management and more

It has been a challenging year in British Columbia. The persistent COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis have required an unparalleled public health response. The heat dome, wildfires, and flooding are powerful examples of the demand climate change will put on our provincial and community infrastructure and public safety response. The confluence of these social and climate crises has taken the lives of loved ones and pushed our public systems and infrastructure to the brink of collapse. We are grateful for the courageous work of all the first responders, emergency management staff, local government leaders and staff and community volunteers this year. We are concerned about our individual and collective preparedness. We have asked several questions of the government about our emergency response, vulnerabilities of transportation infrastructure, and contingencies for food security. The provincial government is reviewing and updating the Emergency Program Act. The…
Read more about MLA Adam Olsen updates on the pandemic, emergency management and more

Provincial disaster financial assistance available to Salt Spring Island area residents

BC residents impacted by recent flooding may be eligible for provincial Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA), including those in the Capital Regional District’s Electoral Areas: Salt Spring Island, the Southern Gulf Islands, and Juan de Fuca. This financial assistance is a grant program provided by the province and is in place to help replace or restore uninsurable essential items and property that have been destroyed or damaged. The provincial DFA is available to qualifying home owners, residential tenants, small business owners, farm owners, and charitable organizations who experience property damage due to the rains on November 14 and 15, 2021, where the losses could not be insured or where other programs are not available. Financial assistance is provided for each accepted claim at 80 percent of the amount of total eligible damage that exceeds $1,000, to a maximum claim of $300,000. Applications for the provincial DFA must be submitted by February 12, 2022. Full det…
Read more about Provincial disaster financial assistance available to Salt Spring Island area residents