Larmour Lands Protected!

A dedicated group of islanders and their many supporters and donors are celebrating a successful community fundraising effort this month. Both Lot H and Lot F of the Larmour Lands are now protected! With a final appeal to “help us cross the finish line,” donors jumped to action. Their support and generosity, along with that of the Salt Spring Island Water Preservation Society and conservation partners, secured the rich habitats and ecological values on both Lots H and F from logging and other development pressures. In the fall of 2020, their first fundraising target was met, and the 20 acres that comprised Lot H was purchased. This success meant that its vital forests and wetlands will be protected in perpetuity as a nature reserve, managed and stewarded by the Water Preservation Society and the Island Trust Conservancy. At the end of August 2021, Lot F’s 20 acres were also purchased. The biodiverse mature forest on the upland portion of Lot F will receive long-ter…
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Locals gather at 'Right to Choose' sidewalk rally in opposition to pandemic mandates

Around 200 community members gathered together this afternoon in Ganges on Salt Spring Island in what organizers described as a 'Right to Choose' sidewalk rally. The event was intended to demonstrate solidarity with those who oppose mask and vaccine mandates being implemented by Federal and Provincial governments in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Demonstrators stood together along the Centennial Park pathway and Lower Ganges Road encouraging passing motorists and pedestrians to join them in their support of medical freedom and the right of choice in opposition to mask and vaccine mandates. Numerous protest signs with messages that included 'My body, my choice", "If the vaccine works, why the passports?", "No masks on kids", "Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.", "Stop medical tyranny, say no to mandatory vaccines" and more were carried by participants, many of whom hoped to raise awareness about what they see as the infringement of pe…
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Provincial government launches COVID-19 BC Vaccine Card

The Province is launching the BC Vaccine Card, a digital or printed document that shows the stage cardholders are at in their COVID-19 vaccine progress. The BC Vaccine Card will allow vaccinated people to conveniently and securely show their proof of vaccination at higher-risk social and recreational events and settings when new COVID-19 vaccine requirement rules take effect on Sept. 13, 2021. This will help increase vaccinations, while protecting people in these settings, keeping businesses open and allowing events to take place. “Getting vaccinated means we can bring people back together and do more, safely, and with confidence that we’re not putting those who aren’t fully vaccinated at risk,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have made the BC Vaccine Card easy for people to get, and easy for businesses to check at a glance. The card is a significant step in getting our economy running on all cylinders, and returning to social events safely with the confidence that those ar…
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New Emergency Department Campaign: Preparation meets opportunity

According to the Roman Senator and philosopher Seneca, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I am living proof of that centuries-old adage. At 56, when I experienced persistent discomfort across my shoulders and ribs, I put it down to a recurrence of acid reflux, which I had experienced years ago prior to my permanent move to Salt Spring Island. But when the pain persisted during that September of 2016, I asked my brother and sister-in-law, who—fortunately—were visiting us from Toronto, to drive me to Lady Minto Hospital to get checked out. In retrospect, I thought at the time that I might be overreacting and wasting valuable emergency time and resources on a minor inconvenience. Little did I know I was on the verge of death. Days later, lying in the ICU cardiac wing of the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, the puzzle pieces slowly came into focus. When I exited the vehicle in front of the Lady Minto Hospital emergency doors (my brother, Jim, thankf…
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Locally elected leadership make appeal to vaccine hesitant

Dear residents of Salt Spring Island, We understand that some Salt Springers are hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We understand that your body is your own, and that we all look after our bodies in the ways we personally deem as important. This pandemic has shown us that we also have to look after one another. As neighbours, as family and friends, as Salt Springers and Gulf Islanders, we have come together to protect our communities for the past year and a half. We supported our healthcare and frontline workers with a nightly cheer. We checked in on each other when we were all asked to stay home. We are all exhausted by COVID-19, but the pandemic is not over. We are encouraging all our constituents to make community health a top priority by getting vaccinated. As of August 23rd, 71% of eligible Salt Springers have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, this is the second lowest in the Capital Region. Vaccines have dramatically reduced the…
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Locals gather at Salt Spring RCMP detachment in solidarity with Fairy Creek protestors

Over 100 community members gathered together this afternoon in front of our local Salt Spring RCMP detachment in solidarity with protestors defending old-growth forests in and around Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island. The demonstration was part of a coordinated series of peaceful protests in Burnaby, Victoria, Sooke, Dunca, Parksville, Courtenay, Nelson, Sechelt, Vernon and in other communities across BC working to send a message to the Provincial Government and RCMP leadership to 'stand down' and stop what advocates are calling highly aggressive and violent protester extraction tactics involving RCMP use of force, pepper spray and other police tactical techniques. Protestors at Fairy Creek have been on site in the old-growth forest valley for more than one year now in opposition to the planned and ongoing clear-cutting of the dwindling old-growth forests across Vancouver Island. Clear-cutting which numerous Indigenous community members, scientists and global forest protect…
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B.C. launches proof of vaccination to stop spread of COVID-19

Starting Sept. 13, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required in B.C. for people attending certain social and recreational settings and events. This important step will continue to increase the vaccination rate across the province and provide confidence to fully vaccinated people that those around them are also fully vaccinated. “Vaccines are our ticket to putting this pandemic behind us,” said Premier John Horgan. “So I call on all eligible unvaccinated British Columbians to roll up their sleeves to stop the spread, and help protect themselves, their loved ones and the people in their community. British Columbia has one of the strongest vaccination rates in Canada with 75% of eligible people now fully vaccinated, but there is still more work to do.” A new order from the provincial health officer will require individuals to provide proof of vaccination to access a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province. As …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Salt Spring Not Exempt from 4th Wave

BC is in the fourth wave of the COVID pandemic and we on Salt Spring are not exempt. We continue to experience cases of new infection with COVID-19 although these have been confined to small clusters since the start of the pandemic. Salt Spring residents have embraced vaccination against COVID in large numbers although there continue to be those who are hesitant about getting vaccinated. Vaccination has allowed us to re-open our extended care unit and residential care facilities to residents and, along with the rest of BC, to remove the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor spaces. The Health Canada approved vaccines have proven to be safe and effective at preventing individuals who are exposed to COVID from developing severe illness. However, evidence has shown that while vaccines reduce the risk of virus infection, even vaccinated individuals can catch the COVID virus. The Delta variant is much more highly contagious and asymptomatic, vaccinated individuals can carry a high…
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Island Health prepares to transition mass immunization clinic operations

After eight months of intense work to immunize as many people as possible against COVID-19, Island Health is preparing to scale back mass immunization clinics - but not before making it easier than ever to be fully vaccinated. For maximum convenience, anyone in need of vaccination can simply find a nearby clinic and walk in without an appointment for their first or second dose. Appointments are also readily available for people who prefer that option, and expert immunizers are ready and willing to support anyone who needs extra time or accommodation during their appointment. “The COVID-19 immunization effort in Island Health and across the province has been a monumental undertaking,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “Thanks to the exceptional dedication of Island Health staff and physicians, the unwavering support of community partners and, most importantly, each individual’s commitment to protecting themselves and others from infec…
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COVID Recovery Grants Announced

Thanks to the generosity of donors to the Covid Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund, the Salt Spring Island Foundation announces a grand total $237,548 has been awarded in contribution to the many innovative pandemic relief, recovery and re-start efforts in our community. "The Foundation's Pandemic Impact Survey revealed priority needs among island charities related to re-building volunteer, staffing and fundraising networks in order to thrive during the Public Health phased re-start. In response, the Foundation Board offered Covid Recovery funding as a means for SSI charities, and any non-profits working in partnership with qualified donees, to move through this final phase of the pandemic and to build their community work anew," stated Sandra Heath, the Foundation's Grants Advisory Committee Chair. The Salt Spring Island Foundation made a call for applications for up to fifteen Covid Recovery Grant awards of up to $5,000 per community organization for projects that a…
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Lady Minto Hospital Foundation Hires New Executive Director, Roberta Martell

The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Roberta Martell as its new Executive Director. Roberta has a master’s degree from Royal Roads University in leadership and training and a 25-year career in community development, social justice, and sustainability. Roberta honed her community building skills working with foundations like the David Suzuki Foundation, and in consulting assignments on affordable housing strategies for Tofino as well as executive director roles for Kluane First Nation in the Yukon and Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group in Victoria. Many will know her as the successful entrepreneur behind the Twig & Buoy. For that project, she built a restaurant to provide housing for her young family. She has a background in running capital campaigns, undertaking board development, organizational analysis, and has built numerous units of affordable housing. “I’m honoured to have been chosen to lead the Lady Minto Hospital Foundat…
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Salt Spring Island residents and visitors asked to increase water conservation efforts

As the local government as well as the operator of a number of water utilities on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands, the Capital Regional District (CRD) appreciates the efforts made to conserve water to date. However, due to the current high level of sustained drought in the region, the CRD is requesting that residents and visitors increase their efforts to conserve water. Drinking water systems on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are especially vulnerable to drought conditions and the levels in most water supply sources are already low with little or no rain to replenish them in the short-term forecast. In an effort to preserve an adequate drinking water supply, all residents and visitors to Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are encouraged to decrease their indoor water use where possible and stop all outdoor water use with some limited exceptions. These outdoor use guidelines include: No watering of lawns, turf or…
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Country Grocer donates $50,000 for new Emergency Department at Lady Minto Hospital

Country Grocer is pleased to announce our support for the construction of a New Emergency Department at Lady Minto Hospital. We hope that our $50,000 donation will help to “Strengthen the Lifeline” by building a state-of-the-art facility that will serve us for years to come. We’re an integral part of this community. Our staff, customers and visitors rely on the institutions that provide critical services to help Salt Springers thrive. Leigh Large, owner of Country Grocer Salt Spring, Pharmacy and Upper Ganges Liquor Store, encourages Salt Springers to join us in helping Lady Minto Hospital Foundation reach its fundraising goals. The health of our community has always been a priority for Country Grocer. We’re delighted that islanders will receive even better care, thanks to the new Emergency Department at Lady Minto Hospital. Leigh added: “Similar to many others on Salt Spring, I have benefitted from excellent care during an unplanned visit to the Emergency Ward at Lady…
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Sexual Assault Response Program Launches This Week

Sexual assault affects a person in many ways. It can be disorienting, confusing, and frightening trying to get the assistance the survivor most needs. Even trying to get the most basic help can make someone feel vulnerable and afraid. And for some survivors, they stop seeking support then and there. First—what is sexual assault? Sexual assault is any form of sexual contact done without consent. And it happens with disturbing regularity on the Gulf Islands. In response to this problem, IWAV is launching a Sexual Assault Response Program on the Southern Gulf Islands. Starting July 15, sexual assault survivors on the islands will be able to access a free, coordinated emergency response by a team of professionals. These services are available 24/7 through the Sexual Assault Response line. The local number is (250) 931-7712 and the toll-free line 1-833-946-1706. There are three key aspects of the new Sexual Assault Response Program (SARP): emergency response, ongoing suppor…
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Salt Spring Island Building Culture Helps Nurture World Leading Rammed Earth Building Innovation

In the early 1990s, our community center launched a Sustainable Salt Spring Island Roundtable, including members from as many facets of the SSI community as possible. We met every week for a couple of years and published a booklet on Sustainable Development. Through our conversations, we recognized that the most effective way to initiate transformation in sustainable living would be to change how we build. So, in 1992, we organized a Sustainable Building Conference on Salt Spring Island. Leaders in sustainability from across the continent responded to our invitation to participate. Speakers included David Easton, the leading rammed earth expert; Malcolm Wells, the expert in underground building; Carole Venolia, a leading architect and educator for healthy buildings; and advocates for permaculture and strawbale building. It was an amazing weekend of talks at the Elementary School gym that received an enthusiastic response from the community with over 1,000 people attending…
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Watch: Circle Salt Spring Education Society Celebrates Their Donors

As another school year comes to an end, The Circle Salt Spring Education Society would like to thank all of its members, donors, and funders for their unwavering support over the last year. Everybody has felt the highs and lows of this past year as we all navigated the challenges of the pandemic. The Circle was fortunate to discover the silver linings of COVID-19 and be able to continue providing its social-emotional programs to youth in the community. The organization adapted its traditional delivery of programming to an innovative online platform that, for many teachers, proved to be more powerful. Says one teacher, "I love the interactive aspect of the video delivery—I didn't expect it to be so engaging for my students. Another perk is the flexibility of timing—I could fit the program anywhere into my weekly schedule. It was fun and super relevant." You may have noticed that The Circle rebranded a year ago. When the program facilitators noticed that the challenges stud…
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Lady Minto Foundation Launches Campaign for New Emergency Department

A $10.4 million expansion project will bring improvements to emergency department patient care and privacy at Lady Minto Hospital. Capital costs for the project are being shared by the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, which has pledged $7.4 million, and the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD), which will contribute $3 million. “We know that upgrades are needed to allow Lady Minto Hospital and its dedicated staff to continue to provide high quality care for Salt Spring Island residents,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This project will greatly enhance patient-centred care for this region, providing patient privacy and the opportunity to provide more specialized treatment including for mental health and substance use.” “Island Health is grateful the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation and the CRHD have committed to funding this important expansion at Lady Minto Hospital,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “This project will help support excellent healthc…
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From Ocean Consumption to Ocean Stewardship

To see the waters surrounding the Gulf Islands simply as ‘the perfect background for a selfie’, is to miss the secrets of the colourful flora and fauna that live below the waves. At low tide, purple, orange and green alien-like species stand out among the rocks. From sea stars to sea cucumbers, the coast has hosted an array of marine life for millions of years. With the passing of World Ocean’s Day, we should recognize not only how vulnerable these species are to human impact, but also, how we can bolster their resilience and our own. Human activity does not degrade the ocean by default. In fact, Coast Salish peoples have refined techniques over thousands of years and built infrastructure that improves the survival of Butter clams, supports biodiversity and protects shorelines from storm surges and erosion. Sea gardens (A.K.A. clam gardens) are a technology that involves building a rock wall at the low tide line. This increases inter-tidal habitat and harbours an abunda…
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COVID-19: B.C. launches restart plan to safely bring people back together

With more than 60% of adults vaccinated with their first dose and COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations steadily declining, British Columbia is moving forward with the cautious first step of a four-step plan for a careful and safe restart. “British Columbians have sacrificed so much over the last 15 months to help keep people and our communities safe,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have made tremendous strides with our vaccination program, and we are now in a position where we can move forward with a plan to slowly bring us back together. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will be closely following the guidance of public health and supporting people and businesses as we take the next steps in putting this pandemic behind us.” BC’s Restart – a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together will be a slow and gradual return to a more normal life, with safety and health protocols such as mask wearing and physical distancing remaining in place and mandatory during t…
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Capital Regional District Approves New Mountain Biking Guidelines

On May 12, 2021, the Capital Regional District (CRD) Regional Parks Mountain Biking Guidelines and short-term actions to support the Mountain Biking Advisory Committee Advice and Guidance Report were passed by the CRD Board. In addition, the Board directed that the CRD Regional Parks Mountain Biking Guidelines be reviewed in the context of the Regional Parks Strategic Plan update. The Mountain Biking Guidelines will play an important role in the enhancement and growth of sustainable quality mountain biking experiences in the regional parks system where deemed appropriate. Implementation of the guidelines is forward-looking. The Mountain Biking Guidelines apply to all mountain biking activities taking place within the CRD regional parks system. This includes mountain biking as an activity as well as the construction and maintenance of mountain biking trails and related facilities and infrastructure. The guidelines are forward-looking and intended to be applied by CRD st…
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Island Health thanks nurses for answering the call

It is fitting that the Canadian Nurses’ Association theme for National Nursing Week May 10-16 is “We Answer the Call.” From day one of this unparalleled and extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic that has enveloped our world for over a year, nurses have continued to stand where they always do – caring for patients, families and communities when they need it the most. Nurses are in every part of our health and care system. In hospitals, long-term care homes, public health units, clients’ homes, testing centres, vaccination clinics, undertaking cutting-edge COVID-19 research, and leading pandemic response from boardroom to point of care, nurses unique contribution to the health and wellness of our region is ever-present. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light more than ever the professionalism, wisdom, knowledge, skill, and compassion that nurses bring to work everyday and the important roles they play in our communities. “While the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, …
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