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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New Fire Hall – To Be Or Not To Be?

Salt Spring property owners have had the opportunity to review and vote upon a number of proposals for a replacement of the Ganges Fire Hall. All have been defeated but it’s time to look a little more closely at the reasons for the proposals and the reasons for the defeat. The Ganges Fire Hall has provided service since 1959. Most residents are aware that it was built on landfill, and should the Island suffer a major disaster, such as an earthquake, our Fire Hall, our rescue vehicles, and our personnel would disappear. That in and of itself provides the reason to construct a new Fire Hall at a new location. But there are more reasons. Our existing Hall is quaint, and some say sufficient. I disagree. It cannot house today’s standard “ladder truck” – a needed rescue vehicle. The current Hall was built for small pumper trucks. Limiting our equipment to pumper trucks jeopardizes our safety. We must be able to provide fire safety to any structure needed and approved…
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Fire Board Election Monday April 29, 2019: Risk of Foreign Influence?

Is there a risk that foreign powers will try to influence our 2019 Fire Board Trustee election? The good news is: Absolutely not. Nobody outside of Salt Spring Island really cares how we structure and manage our fire service. But this also shows how uniquely isolated we are as an island. While the Crofton Fire Department can call seven other departments for help, and they will respond within a very short period of time, our fire fighters here must deal with any possible threat scenario with the equipment, manpower and tools that they have at their disposal. The big storm before Christmas was an eye opener for our island. Within less than two hours of the storm hitting, the Island was completely disabled. Many residents lost power and even road access for weeks. While our emergency service and many volunteers were working tirelessly to a point of exhaustion, this storm showed how limited our resources really are when disaster hits. How will it look like if the big ear…
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Andreas Gedeon - 2019 Fire Board Election - Candidate Profile

My wife Annebeeke and I have been calling Salt Spring our home since 2007. Our two children Emily and Wynn were born here, and we plan on continuing to raise them in this truly special part of our planet. Born in 1975 in West Germany, I grew up during the Cold War. Our emergency services were extensive and designed to cover scenarios like chemical and nuclear warfare on a scale that is hardly imaginable today. I was drawn to those environments early on and served in several fire departments and disaster response units from the age of 15. My professional career began as a MARS officer in the German Navy, graduating from Munich Military University with a degree in Educational Sciences. I came to Canada in 2004, and soon decided to stay. Initially living in Vancouver, I started a construction company that specialized in concrete work for high rise construction. Since 2009 I have been building international cannabis businesses, bringing two of them public. As a Canadian Ci…
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Jo MacDonald - 2019 Fire Board Election - Candidate Profile

I am thankful every day to be a resident of Salt Spring. Born in Alberta, I moved first to Vancouver, then Courtenay, then Victoria, but my soul quickly settled in Salt Spring. My family (husband Bill and our five children) have a deep love of this Island. We also have two "Salty Dogs", Maddi and Molli, who love to muck about on our 6 acres of forest, gardens and quiet places. Our family’s best times have been here. We support our local businesses, marvel at the rich and diverse talents of the residents and treasure the genuine caring nature of Salt Spring Islanders. Although I work for the District of Saanich, I gladly commute daily in order to live in the place I love best. I, like the rest of you, experienced the dramatic effect of weather systems on our Island this past winter, and saw the heavy demand placed on our emergency services. They worked tirelessly and their response was phenomenal. I have both an ability and a desire to apply my professional knowledge, skil…
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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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Thoughts on My Trial

This last March 23rd, I was arrested protesting in front of Kinder Morgan’s gate in Burnaby -- now Trans Mountain Corporation, bought by all Canadians in August for $4.5-billion. I wrote an Exchange piece, published on March 29th, called  "Thoughts on My Arrest". Time for an update. In Vancouver’s B.C. Supreme Court last week, I represented myself, pleading not guilty. My trial ran from Monday to Friday, with more to come, resuming on March 12th. There were three other arrestees pleading not guilty, represented by three lawyers. This graphic shows the layout and seating in the impressive, red-carpeted Courtroom 20, specially built for the Air India trials. Becoming a criminal-defence lawyer almost overnight has been a lot of work, but I think I’ve done okay. Judge Affleck (who wrote the Injunction Order I’m accused of breaching) is required to help self-represented defendants. People who’ve watched many of these trials from the public gallery told me that he was more atte…
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Poll: Pro Rep Referendum Vote Mail In Parade Photos and Video

Local proportional representation advocates gathered this past Saturday to share their support for changing our provincial voting system to a proportional system from our current first past the post system (FPTP). British Columbia is having a referendum on what voting system we should use for provincial elections. The referendum is being held by mail from October 22 to November 30, 2018. Registered voters will get a voting package in the mail from Elections BC between October 22 and November 2, 2018. Proportional representation advocates believe that proportional systems will offer BC more equitable and representative governance for the province. See all photos and videos from the mail in parade below. Every household in BC was mailed a referendum voter’s guide in October. The guide covers how to vote in the referendum and information about all four voting systems on the referendum ballot. Provincial residents vote to keep the First Past the Post (FPTP) system or change t…
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Electoral Reform Ballots in the Mail

Does our electoral system need changing? Andrew Coyne has argued it most certainly does: “Anyone who ever proposes to change anything inevitably runs into the unanswerable objection that this would mean… changing things. Nowhere is this more true than with regard to electoral reform. […] At some point someone invariably invokes that ancient bit of cornpone philosophy: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, which is very good advice unless it is broke.” He continued, explaining why our current system is less than democratic - often, majority governments are formed with less than 40% of the popular vote. For democracy to work, people need to be free to vote for the candidate and party of their choice. But under our system, fear of splitting the vote means people are told, “you can’t vote for the party you prefer, but must vote for a party you don’t like to prevent a party you detest from getting in." Canada’s democracy has evolved over the years, sometimes to improve democrac…
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