Conserving Our Island’s Rainforest

Here on Salt Spring Island is a rare coastal temperate rainforest. The air is cool and moist. It feels, smells, and looks different than the drier rainshadow landscape we are accustomed to on the Southern Gulf Islands. Yet, there is much more that makes this forest rare and special. Fifteen and a half acres of this temperate rainforest, the Creekside Rainforest, are now the object of a conservation project. Cusheon Creek, one of the few salmon-bearing streams on Salt Spring Island, flows through the land. Local conservation groups have been working to protect Cusheon Creek for almost 40 years. In 2008, a community-led project resulted in the protection of a 19.5-acre adjoining parcel, Jarrod’s Grove Nature Reserve. The Conservancy now has the opportunity to acquire and protect 15.5 more acres of this unique ecosystem. Concerned neighbours initiated the conservation efforts. In 2021, Susan Bloom, a supportive neighbour and donor to the project, said of Creekside Rainfo…
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Salt Spring Conservancy gives a hoot for Screech-Owls

Hoo hoo! It is the beginning of the owl nesting season, and the Salt Spring Conservancy’s Western Screech-Owl Stewardship Project is off and running for its second year. A group of dedicated volunteers have begun to survey the island to locate this endangered owl. We will also be monitoring territories by installing acoustic recording units, assessing habitat to determine if nest boxes are needed, and monitoring the boxes that were installed last year. Outreach and education with landowners are very important in the conservation of this species. During the evenings of winter and early spring, you might be lucky and hear a screech-owl. They don’t screech but instead their calls consist of a series of mellow hoots that start slowly and speed up towards the end, like a bouncing ball. How can you help? Take quiet walks through the woods at dusk or dawn and listen for owls calling. Learn your owl calls through or the Merlin Bird App and compare this with w…
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2022 Salt Spring Film Festival screens at ArtSpring March 1st to 6th

The Salt Spring Film Festival returns from March 1 to 6 at ArtSpring, featuring two screenings per day for six days. The festival will be screening a dozen must-see documentaries and one award-winning short film, all of which have been big hits at recent international film festivals, with visiting filmmakers and film subjects in attendance at some of the screenings. Tickets for all films are $13 each (which includes service charges). This year, festival passes will be replaced with discounts for multiple purchases (10% off 4-7 films and 20% off 8+ films). Tickets are now available online anytime or at the ArtSpring Box Office from Tuesday to Friday, either in person or by phone at 250-537-2102. ArtSpring seating is currently at 50% seating capacity for Covid safety (maximum 130 people per screening). Masks, vaccine passports & photo ID required as per provincial health regulations. Vaccine passports will be scanned at the door. …
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Prepare for heavy rain combined with snowmelt

The Province is urging British Columbians to prepare as Environment and Climate Change Canada advises that substantial rain, with snow at higher elevations, is expected for coastal B.C. throughout this week. Heavy rain is expected for coastal areas including east and west Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, inland Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. A wind warning is in effect for the central coast - coastal sections, Haida Gwaii, North Coast – coastal sections, and North Vancouver Island. The River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for: Howe Sound; Sunshine Coast; Sea-to-Sky; North Shore Mountains; Metro Vancouver; Fraser Valley, including the Chilliwack River and surrounding tributaries; and Vancouver Island (North, East, South, West, and Central). The rainfall expected this week, combined with the melting of recent snow, is a concern. Rivers are expected to rise, resulting in possible flooding. Previously flooded ar…
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Watch: Heavy rains wreak havoc on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island major road events update as of 2021 November 19 at 4:00 PM: Five days after an 'atmospheric river' blew across British Columbia and left a wake of damaged infrastructure, loss of life and livestock, a number of main roads on Salt Spring Island are still either closed or partial closed to traffic. Here are current photos and video from the main roads of Fulford-Ganges Road and North End Road. Some community members continue to willfully ignore closed road signage and requests from EMCON and Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue not to go around or remove barriers. At the washout area between Blackburn Road and Horel Road on Fulford-Ganges Road numerous vehicles were observed to be driving around closed road signs to make their way past the still very high waters of Blackburn Lake. It appeared the caution tape had been torn down, the barrier moved and the Road Closed sign had been driven over and bent out of shape before it was put back up by a passerby who had to unb…
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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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Protect yourself from online scams

The Salt Spring Exchange continues to grow and get used by more and more of our community, visitors and fans of Salt Spring around the world. Regrettably, that also puts us on the radar of people who are known to frequent places like Craigslist for scams and other fraudulent activity. There have been recent reports by the RCMP of scams targeting people looking to rent on Salt Spring. Someone has been contacting people posting on the Exchange looking to rent with offers for rentals and then asking them to send deposit cheques/wire transfers without first seeing the place or meeting the landlord in person. This is a scam. Tips for avoiding scams: Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts. Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person. Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person. Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) - anyone who asks you to is a scammer. Don't accept cashier/cert…
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COVID-19: Mask mandate to reduce transmission, protect people in public spaces

As of Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C. to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 as B.C. prepares for the fall and respiratory illness season. A new order from the provincial health officer will require people 12 and older to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. These settings include: malls, shopping centres, coffee shops and retail and grocery stores; liquor and drug stores; airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres; restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated); on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle; areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided; common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity; common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations; and inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4-12. This temporar…
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Victoria based Rent Bank offers rental supports for low-to-moderate Salt Spring Island income earners

Renters in low-to-moderate income households in the Greater Victoria and Salt Spring Island region now have longer-term access to a rent bank in their community. Started as a pilot program operated by the Community Social Planning Council, this project has been extended to March 2022 with ongoing funding by BC Rent Bank (a project funded by the provincial government), and new funding from United Way Greater Victoria. This funding will enable the Community Social Planning Council to support hundreds of households in the region with loans and/or support services, such as mediation, advocacy, referrals and help with accessing government programs. Households eligible for rent bank services are renters who are struggling to pay rent and/or utilities due to a short-term crisis or unanticipated income shortages. The need for this type of program for the community has grown dramatically in light of COVID-19. Since early 2020, United Way has worked in its capacity as convener and …
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Gulf Islands Families Together Society Receives $17,500

“Due to the generosity and support of 100+ Women Who Care, many of our vital programs such as Shauna Devlin's Dance Your Abilities and John Reid's music program, that preserve the mental health of participants, will continue to run through these challenging times,” Heather Duerichen, manager of Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS), said after the May 12th meeting of the 100+ Women Who Care. On that evening, members of the high impact philanthropic group met on Zoom. They listened to presentations for three charities that had been nominated and randomly drawn from the charity basket prior to the meeting. They were the Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS), Gulf Islands Seniors' Residence Association (GISRA) presented by Helen Hinchliff, and the Salt Spring Community Health Society presented by Martha Taylor. Each presentation was uniquely informative and compelling, but on this evening, members voted to have GIFTS be the recipient of about $17,500 in member…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman Booth Canal Path Dangers, Laundromat Opening Plan and more

After appreciating a heartfelt Territorial Acknowledgment, 10 participants began asking our CRD Director, Gary Holman, questions about those issues that mean the most to us. Gary admitted that he was pre-occupied with a number of complex issues, one of which is the community’s - and his - concerns about safety concerns regarding the new Booth Canal Pathway. At their April meeting, Transportation Commissioners expressed their commitment to consider safety issues and possible solutions. A team of retired engineering and safety professionals, including a member of the Commission and Partners Creating Pathways, recently joined CRD engineering staff to assess the pathway. It is hoped that their report will be ready for the May 31 Transportation Commission meeting. At this April Transportation Commission meeting, there was consensus not to halt the project before it is completed. The reasoning behind not temporarily halting work was concern that the $490,000 provincial grant,…
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Salt Spring Island Foundation Announce their Spring 2021 Grant Awards

The Salt Spring Island Foundation is pleased to announce $101,930 in spring grants to island charities. The 2021 spring grants support many essential programs and services, including three capacity-building grants to foster significant organizational improvement in areas of board development, operations and strategic planning. The Foundation is so grateful to the many generous donors and to the incredibly resilient charitable organizations engaged with community-building made possible in part by this funding. Institute for Sustainability Education and Action partnered with Transition Salt Spring Society – Capacity-Building for Climate Action $7,082 for a capacity-building grant to build organizational capacity as the Island’s climate action lead to spur achievement of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The new capacity measures include designing a suite of digital resources to achieve professional communication systems for outreach, education, fundraisin…
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Islanders Working Against Violence breaks ground on Phase 3 of Croftonbrook Housing Project

Islanders Working Against Violence (IWAV) is pleased to announce that they have begun construction of our new housing at Croftonbrook. This will be a 34 unit apartment building that will provide housing for people who have low to moderate incomes. The mix of suites (studio to 3 bedrooms) will allow for different options for individuals, couples and small families. It will be ready for occupancy in Spring 2022. This project has been made possible through the generous support of our funders: CMHC, CRD, BC Housing, SSI Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Aqueduct Foundation and local donors. They celebrated by having a social distanced ground-breaking photoshoot with their amazing team: Project Manager: Janis Gauthier Architect: Robert Schindelka IWAV staff and contractors: Kisae Petersen, Rachel Bevington, Sarah Cordes, Charlie Barteaux, Brent Simpson IWAV Board/Development Team: Alicia Herbert, Sophia Jackson, Susan Dann Island West Coast Developments Ltd (IWCD…
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B.C. government commits $9.5 million to derelict boat and marine debris clean up

Up to 1,200 kilometres of B.C.’s coastlines and more than 100 derelict vessels are the targets of new marine debris clean-up projects, in partnership with coastal Indigenous Nations. This summer, more than $9.5 million from the Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) Initiative Fund will be used to tackle shoreline cleanups and/or derelict vessel removals from the north coast down to southern Vancouver Island. The funding is being distributed to four agencies: the Songhees Development Corporation, the Small Ship Tour Operators Association – Wilderness Tourism Association, the Coastal Restoration Society and the Ocean Legacy Foundation. “The scale of the problem is massive, and we need to do much more to address ocean debris and its devastating impacts on marine life and food sources,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The enthusiastic response to our call for project applications shows how deeply British Columbians care about our marine ec…
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Local Group Seeking Help Mapping Spread of the Invasive, Noxious 'Gorse' Weed

The Native Plant Stewardship Group on Salt Spring Island has launched a new initiative to map the spread of the invasive, highly-flammable plant called Gorse. Gorse is a designated noxious weed that has been spreading on Salt Spring Island for many years. Its high oil content and unusually large amount of dead plant matter make it a serious fire hazard, and the dense growth prevents native plants from flourishing. Mapping the spread of gorse will be a valuable tool in seeking help from both islanders and government in future, and understanding its extent will help prioritize local efforts to deal quickly with small patches before it spreads further. The group is asking for photographs of areas where Grose has been spreading on Salt Spring Island by submitting those photographs to iNaturalist. Participants will also be able to see what has been mapped so far, and they are hoping that with many users they will be able to cover areas not publicly visible, in private propert…
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B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation Reprimands Local Salt Spring Island Teacher

A local Salt Spring Island school teacher has been reprimanded by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation for her conduct in the classroom. According to a Consent Resolution Agreement published by the Commissioner on March 30, 2021, Peri Michelle Lavender was a Grade 8 teacher in the SD64 Gulf Island School District during the period of 2016 and 2017. As a result of alleged conduct in the classroom, two parents filed complaints about Lavender under the Teachers' Act based on concerns for how the classroom was being managed. According to the Commissioner's decision, “During the school year, the classroom was loud and chaotic and often out of control, which negatively impacted the students’ learning environment”. There were also concerns that Lavender allowed students to use their iPads and phones in class for non-educational purposes. “This was disruptive to some students who wanted to learn” reads the decision. Also, as a reward, Lavender would allow some students to…
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Watch: Orca Encounter in Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island

Many of us are fortunate to live on this beautiful island and it's wonderful when we're reminded of the incredible beauty of the ocean and its creatures that surrounds us. Rod Martens shared this video he captured of orcas in Ganges Harbour yesterday around Deadman Island for us all to enjoy. Have a look:
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Local Branch of SPCA Wins $17,500

“I’ve left the manager of the SPCA a voice mail and sent an email. I can’t wait to connect with him tomorrow!” These were Ann Marie Davidson’s words on the evening of February 24, right after the seventh meeting of the 100+ Women Who Care Salt Spring Island. She had delivered the winning presentation about the needs of the Salt Spring Island Branch of the BC SPCA. Her words convinced members of the women’s high-impact philanthropy group to vote for the local SPCA, earning the charity about $17,500. She explained her excitement in her email to us: “I am happy beyond words. Animals have been key to my happiness my entire life, and I feel like I’ve done something really meaningful since I’ve retired, for a cause that I feel so passionate about. Sharing my mom’s story was an emotional journey for me. I knew it would be touch and go whether I could hold together my emotions.” In her presentation, Ann Marie spoke about her mother’s relationship with a feline companion. “Havi…
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King Tides Turn Vesuvius Beach Into a Field of Flotsam

Last night's wind storm together with 3.6m King tides brought havoc to Vesuvius Beach. Every major log was moved along with all of the kayaks, row boats, dinghies and other watercraft. Two of the row boats drifted into the bay, one of which we managed to rescue today. The area near the steps down to the beach which in summer is the gathering place of the Vesuvius Beach Indolent Society is covered with flotsam and debris and the chairs buried underneath. Next high tide is 0700hrs tomorrow but this time there should be less wind.
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Photos: Ganges Lights Up

While many of the events our community has come to enjoy over the holidays have been postponed, or cancelled outright, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, at least one trusted source of cheer has now reliably lit up Ganges. Holiday lights, installed by the CRD PARC team now grace Centennial Park, along with lights installed by many local community minded businesses. Those of us that are venturing outside in the evenings these days can enjoy the lights and a little reminder of the holiday spirit that we might all yet again enjoy this season. And you can always also enjoy the lights courtesy of our Ganges Fire Hall live cam as well.
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Greenwoods Eldercare Society Receives $16,100

The 100+ Women Who Care Salt Spring Island held its sixth meeting on November 18th on Zoom. Members voted to give the collected donations of the meeting—which totalled about $16,100—to Greenwoods Eldercare Society. Also drawn from the charity basket during that meeting were the nominated charities were Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS) and the Salt Spring Island Branch of the BC SPCA. Three members gave informative and inspiring presentations over Zoom about why their nominated charity should receive the collected donations. Dorrie Ferster, who presented the winning pitch for Greenwoods, said, “It was a new experience to join the 100+ Women Who Care on a virtual call format. I must admit, I missed the energy of everyone’s presence.” Members cast a secret online vote for one of the three, and for the first time ever, there was a tie vote. Members were asked to cast their votes again, this time for the two tied charities. Greenwoods was the winning charity. …
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