Incorporation: Islander Matt Steffich on Voting Yes

Matt Steffich is a long established islander who has worked on the Ganges Harbour Walk Project (aka 'the Ganges Boardwalk') for 5 years and counting. The project has many participants including the Islands Trust, Transportation Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Chamber of Commerce. Matt describes how difficult it's been to move forward with projects the community wants, like the boardwalk, and why he is voting Yes.
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Incorporation: We Can Do So Much Better

What we have on Salt Spring is rural sprawl. It’s the opposite approach to community planning that one would expect to see. Ganges is dead after 6PM, everyone clears out and goes home. You could fire a cannon and no one would even notice. What if home for more people was right in Ganges? Just imagine that for a second… a vibrant, lively evening scene with galleries, coffee shops, etc, open. Maybe a hostel, or two. Mahon Hall being used more frequently as a go-to place for live entertainment. Why has higher density not been adopted in and around town? Apartments, condos, etc. How about if the height restriction had been 3 stories within a given area around Ganges? We’d see the tried-and-true model of retail/commercial on the ground floor with apartments and/or condos up above used more widely. Even the library could have been designed with at least one layer of residential up above it, and that could have at least paid for that building’s overhead instead of being an …
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Incorporation: Gary Holman on Infrastructure Funding

I’m writing in response to John McPherson’s column in which he argues that Salt Spring will not get its fair share of infrastructure funding unless we incorporate.  Mr. McPherson focuses on one particular source of funding – the Strategic Projects Fund (SPF) that is part of federal gas tax funding.  He cites data for 2015 indicating that Salt Spring has only received $60,000 planning grant from the fund, but fails to mention that no other individual municipality in the CRD received SPF funding either, except for Saanich which also received a planning grant.  All the other SPF funding within the CRD was for joint projects of regional significance involving several municipalities. The article omitted a few other facts.  Salt Spring has received millions in Community Works gas tax funding over the past decade, that has helped finance a number of water, pedestrian/cycling infrastructure projects on the island.  Community Works funding, currently at roughly $400,000/yr, is direct…
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Incorporation Poll: How Would You Vote if You Voted Today?

Salt Spring Island will go to the polls for the upcoming incorporation referendum in just 54 days. The island is starting to heat up with vigorous debate and opinion exploring the merits and challenges of a myriad of questions, ideas and concerns which have emerged from the numerous camps defending No/Yes voting. Our last poll, conducted almost two months ago showed an almost even split in its results indicating no one side had been particularly persuasive to convince the majority of voters. The last incorporation referendum on Salt Spring Island in 2002 saw 70% of voters oppose incorporation. The wording of the question we will face when voting will be: "Are you in favour of the incorporation of a Salt Spring Island Municipality? YES or NO?" We're running another poll to gauge how things may or may not have changed since our last poll to see if any movement is happening regarding opinion on this issue and to see also just how many are still undecided. To vote in t…
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Incorporation Opinion: Joan McConnell on Voting Yes

Joan McConnell came to Salt Spring Island from Montreal at the end of 1988 with her husband Allen. They were soon involved with their fellow islanders at numerous town meetings as the mandate to preserve and protect the Gulf islands evolved. Joan believes that this sacred trust will endure with incorporation while other problems arising from the growth of the population can be better addressed with our own council. The past has been wonderful and the future is not to be feared believes this nonagenarian. Joan has been a huge supporter of the arts on SSI and has been the main contributor to the prizes for SSNP.
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Incorporation Opinion: Police Costs Would Increase

Police cost on Salt Spring would more than TRIPLE if we incorporate! Salt Spring Island gets the deal of a lifetime on Police cost. At the present time we pay approx $407,000 (data from final inc study) in Police tax. With our population of 10,234 (2011 Census) it works out too $39.76 per year per person. What do other areas pay per person?       Victoria $461 Port Alberni $353 Saanich $283 Nanaimo $268 Oak Bay $258 Campbell River $254 Central Saanich $233 Sidney $204 Colwood $184 Courtenay $180 North Cowichan $179 Parksville $173 Langford $169 Qualicum Beach $148 North Saanich $147 Sooke $137 Tofino $121 View Royal $116 Ladysmith $115 Comox $105 Ucluelet $81 Highlands $63 Lantzville $58 Duncan $57 Cumberland $52 The projected cost of policing in year 6 for the new corporation would be $1,278,000. We now pay $407,000. Please note all figures are from the final incorporation study. Here is how the cost of policing is worked out;…
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Incorporation Opinion: Roads - A Critical Assessment

I attended Brenda Guiled’s roads presentation at the Lions Hall on June 20th. Brenda deserves credit for all the work she’s done on Salt Spring’s transportation issues, and for the digging she’s been doing about the true cost of roadworks during and after our incorporation study committee’s work. Regrettably, I found some of Brenda’s points speculative. A committed No voter would use them to support their position. A committed Yes voter would dismiss them as hand waving. An undecided voter would wonder what’s true. For example, Brenda remarked about the province’s commitment – if we vote Yes – to widen and resurface 13km of Fulford-Ganges Road when it’s 14km long, suggesting that they would leave out Ganges and Fulford hills, the most expensive parts of the project. That met with nods and murmurs from the committed Nos in the audience. But Brenda misrepresented what the province promised. The Minister’s letter of September 20, 2016 promises “complete resurfacing of a…
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The First Sixty Days

For months, our team of volunteer canvassers knocked on doors across Saanich North and the Islands. The Greens had teams across the province. Day in and day out, we heard from voters that there was an overwhelming desire for change. The sentiment was expressed by people across the political spectrum and many voted for me, because I represent an alternative to the status quo. On election day, our riding voted overwhelmingly for change and after all the votes had been counted, and in some cases re-counted, the result was the first minority government since 1952. The BC Liberals had lost the confidence of the people. Me and my BC Green colleagues, Andrew Weaver and Sonia Furstenau, found ourselves holding the balance of power, the balance of responsibility. Responsibility to all British Columbians to create a stable government, committed to delivering an agenda that it believes in and has demonstrated a commitment to. After intense negotiations with both the BC Liberals a…
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Incorporation Opinion: Municipality Critical for Grant Funding

NSSWD’s decision to support a “yes” vote brings the issue of grant funding into focus. Peter Lamb (DW June 28) and others claim NSSWD is misleading ratepayers, because grants are supposedly just as likely if the CRD takes over. The facts show that Peter and the others have it all wrong. Salt Springers should know we are missing out on a lot of money for infrastructure projects by not being a municipality. It’s not just the grants that our water and fire districts are ineligible to apply for, which usually provide 2/3 of funding needs. We are missing out on gas tax funding too. The Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) - funded by gas taxes and available through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) - provides up to 100% of funding for eligible projects up to a max of $6 million per project, for drinking water, wastewater, asset management, public transit, highways and major roads, and infrastructure related to culture, sports and tourism. This year BC Municipalities membe…
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Incorporation: Local Trustees and Director Request Addendum Roads Report

We wish to advise Salt Spring electors that we have written to the ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development asking for an addendum roads report to be prepared that deals with the contents of a presentation currently being circulated within the community that challenges the roads information in the Incorporation Study Report prepared by the consultants to the committee, Urban Systems. The elected officials welcome critical analysis and comment on the Incorporation Study Report and its contents. Rational and civil debate advances knowledge of the implications of the choice that electors are being offered and should help broaden understanding of the two forms of governance available to us. With the assistance of some members of the Incorporation Study Committee we have examined the presentation being circulated within the community and believe it contains false assumptions and material inaccuracies. An addendum report is the appropriate mechanism for dealing with t…
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Incorporation: Video - Roads and Infrastructure Review

Brenda Guiled has done amazing research on the issue of Salt Spring roads and the looming liabilities. This is solid research on the subject. She presented this information in public meetings at the Lions Hall and Fulford Hall. Watch the video for the entire review.     .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Editors Note: We welcome and invite all members of the community to share perspectives regarding the discussion of the upcoming incorporation referendum. If you have a story, video or editorial to share on the matter that meets our moderation guidelines for opinion submissions then please be in touch with us if you would like to have it considered for publication.
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A New Era in BC Politics

The past few weeks have been a humbling experience. During the election I promised to be part of changing the discourse in British Columbia politics. I imagined to work to achieve this over the course of a four year-term as an MLA. But the final results returned a two-seat difference between the BC NDP and the BC Liberals with the BC Greens three seats holding the balance. British Columbians are used to majority governments, one party supported by less than half of the voters, holding 100% of the power. For decades politics in our Province has been a power “game.” This “game” has not benefited citizens, it has only advanced partisan interests. As a result our political dialogue and the behaviour of our politicians has become polarized. Throughout the election, I heard from people that they believed we needed a change in government. I heard that they had grown weary of the BC Liberals and that they are suspicious of the BC NDP. In Saanich North and the Islands the re…
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Video - Save a Salt Spring Cultural Institution: Hitchhiking

Islanders held a rally today at Embe Bakery in support of hitchhiking and ride sharing over recent proposed changes from MOTI and RCMP to close the hitchhiking spot at Embe Bakery in Ganges on Salt Spring Island. See live video from the event. Locals and visitors stand to lose a longstanding Salt Spring institution: hitchhiking and the hitchhiking spot out of town at the bottom of the Ganges Hill (outside Embe bakery) and they hope to save it and the cultural tradition of ride sharing on Salt Spring. They believe this issue is important because here lies the intersection between climate action (emission reductions) and inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and the preservation of island’s culture of sharing. Hitchhiking is a very essential service on the island: providing flexible transportation to people on a budget, to islanders hoping to share rides for environmental reasons, and to carless people needing to travel between the infrequently scheduled bus times. In …
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2017 BC Elections: Official Final Results

UPDATE: Final results released after all vote counting completed. At the conclusion of final count the election results were as follows: BC Liberal Party - 43 BC NDP - 41 BC Green Party - 3 2017 Election Results (Final) 1. Adam Olsen (Green) - 14,775 of votes, 41.95% of vote 2. Gary Holman (NDP) - 10,764 votes, 30.56% of vote 3. Stephen P. Roberts (Liberal) - 9,321 votes, 26.46% of vote 4. Jordan Templeman (Independent) - 364 votes, 1.03% of vote 2013 Election Results 1. Gary Holman (NDP) - 10,515 votes, 33.3% of vote 2. Stephen P. Roberts (Liberal) - 10,352 votes, 32.8% of vote 3. Adam Olsen (Green) - 10,136 of votes, 32.1% of vote 4. Scott McEachern (Independent) - 599 votes, 1.9% of vote 2009 Election Results 1. Murray Coell (Liberal) - 13,136 votes, 44.93 per cent of vote 2. Gary Holman (NDP) - 12,878 votes, 44.05 per cent of vote 3. Tom Bradfield (Green) - 3,223 votes, 11.02 per cent of vote 2005 Election Results 1. Murray Coell (Libera…
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Jordan Templeman – 2017 Provincial Election – Candidate Profile

The next provincial general election in British Columbia is scheduled for May 9, 2017 and 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 Jordan Templeman, who is running to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Saanich North and the Islands as an independent. Here’s a little background on Jordan: Jordan Templeman has lived on the Saanich Peninsula all his life. His parents own and operate a local Victoria business that has been running for over 25 years, at the same time his mother managed to homeschool him and his three siblings. He grew up playing in the peninsula soccer and baseball associations and went through the 1st Tsartlip scouts here in Sidney. Since high school Jordan has been attending Camosun Col…
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Poll: 2017 Provincial General Election

British Columbians are set to go to the polls for the 2017 Provincial General Election on May 9th. Eligible voters in B.C. are voting to elect 87 Members of the Legislative Assembly. Each Member represents an electoral district (also known as a riding or constituency) and has a seat in the provincial Legislature. After all the votes are counted for each electoral district, the political party that wins the most seats forms the provincial government. The leader of that party becomes the Premier of B.C. In the lead up to the election we're conducting a poll to gauge how the respective parties, candidates and campaigns in our riding might be performing. We have three candidates currently running for Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in our Saanich North and the Islands. Incumbent Gary Holman (NDP), Adam Olsen (Greens) and Stephen Roberts (Liberals). The same three candidates, plus independent Scott McEachearn, squared off in a closely contested 2013 election. See 2013…
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Work to Commence on Ganges Harbour Walk Project

The Ganges Harbour Walk Project team will begin work on the project’s first phase by conducting an engineering assessment of the existing structure and site investigation. The CRD has retained local resident Wayne Lee of Aqion as a project manager to oversee this phase. It is expected the initial investigation will determine whether the existing structure can be rehabilitated or require new construction. The Ganges Harbour Walk project was awarded $150,000 in grant funding to initiate the planning work. The project is divided into three phases with the second phase encompassing Peck’s Cove park design improvements and the third phase procuring designs and order of magnitude costs based on the initial engineering assessments. The Ganges Harbour Walk Steering Committee was established by the CRD Board to oversee the project as it progresses and seek ways to secure funding to construct the final harbour alignment. The Committee is comprised of Director Wayne McIntyre; Rob…
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Incorporation Poll Results - Leaning No or Too Close to Call?

As it stands right now, if Salt Spring Island were to vote for incorporation today, there might be only a slight pre-voting trend indicating which way the official results could unfold. After one week of voting and 800+ participants in our online poll, the No votes edged out a small, statistically narrow win. Of the 819 votes registered, final results saw 432 (52.75%) people voting No with the question "If the Incorporation vote were to occur today, how would you vote?" with the Yes side seeing 387 (47.25%) votes. Assuming an eligible voter base of apx. 7500 on Salt Spring, the sample size of poll respondents represents just a little over 10% of voters with +/- 3% statistical accuracy. Meaning, with the poll results being as close as they are, there isn't a strong trend based on these results as to which way Salt Spring might vote in the upcoming referendum on September 9th, 2017. We would need to see a difference greater than 6% one way or the other to say there is a def…
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