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: https://youtu.be/2sTBZc7REgo
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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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Last Chance to Save Mt. Erskine - Manzanita Ridge Connector Trail

We have a very short window of opportunity to save a well-loved trail on Salt Spring, and if we don’t act, now, it will soon be forever split in two. Walkers, hikers, runners, adults and kids all love Mount Erskine’s trails with their stunning views of beautiful forest. Accessible from Toynbee Road, Collins Road, and Trustees Trail, they all interconnect on public land. Or so we thought! We now know that the short connector between the Conservancy’s Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve and Mt. Erskine Provincial Park is on private land, and there is no alternative for a safe trail. This land is part of a strata that will soon be developed. It’s quite possible that a future owner will build a house right on the existing trail, which most people now believe is public land. The Salt Spring Island Conservancy acquired Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve from Martin Williams in 2003, and two years later it fundraised to buy the centrepiece of Mt. Erskine Provincial Park in partne…
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An Opportunity to Help Protect the Forest on Lot F of the Larmour Lands

A dedicated group of islanders is working to ensure over 8 acres of mature coastal Douglas fir, Western redcedar, and Bigleaf maple forest remains standing. This healthy mixed forest is on the upland portion of Lot F of the Larmour Lands, and ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­its future is threatened. The community is invited to join us in this effort to prevent Lot F from being clearcut or developed. Through the generous support of many donors, the adjacent forest and wetlands of Lot H have recently been saved and will be preserved in perpetuity! Now the focus is on extending this and creating a larger protected area to increase and enhance the health and function of this important ecosystem. With conservation covenants already in place on nearby properties, the forest on Lot F is the missing puzzle piece. Connectivity is key to increasing biodiversity, and protecting Lot F’s forest will create 46 acres (about 18.5 hectares) of pristine natural habitat, now and forever.…
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Civil Forfeiture Office Seeks Default Judgement on Baker Road House

The BC Civil Forfeiture Office has filed a lawsuit seeking to seize a Salt Spring Island property allegedly linked to a large international stock fraud. The lawsuit filed December 11th, 2019 in BC Supreme Court alleges the property located at 391 Baker Road on Salt Spring Island is the proceeds of crime and was used to launder money.  Now, the BC Civil Forfeiture Office has asked the court to grant judgment against Vincent Manalastas on his rights related to a $2,500,000 Baker Road home. In its court action, the civil forfeiture office alleges the property is the proceeds of crime and was used to launder money. The listed owner of the property is Beresford Estates Inc., of which Manalastas is the sole director. Manalastas was served the notice of the civil claim but neither the lawyer representing the claim or the office of civil forfeiture has received the requested documentation or a response from Manalastas. Given the schedule to respond to the action has elapsed, the …
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Fulford Hall Association Benefits from 100 Men Who Care Donation

What a successful and fun evening we all enjoyed tonight.  The second meeting of the 100 Men Who Care organization was held at Harbour House Hotel.  Within less than hour over $10,500 was raised for the winning charity.  The winner chosen by the membership at the March 4 meeting was the Fulford Hall Community Association.  Prior to the voting and cheque presentation, members had an opportunity to network.  This was an evening of giving, both to ourselves and to our vibrant Island community.
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SWOVA Receives $18,500 from 100+ Women Who Care

When Erin Lee arrived at the podium at the 100+ Women Who Care meeting on February 24, 2020, she said in a shaky voice, “I’m not a public speaker. I actually hate public speaking. But the fact that I’m up here is a testament to how much I believe in the work of SWOVA.” With that, all of the members present for that meeting were intrigued. But that introduction isn’t what guaranteed the members’ votes. Members heard three excellent presentation at this meeting, one by Louise Doucet presenting for Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS), the presentation for SWOVA Community Development and Research Society, and the final one by Dorrie Ferster for Greenwoods Eldercare Society. They were followed by murmurs such as “so difficult to choose” and “I’d like them all to win!” These three presentations, like those in previous meetings, were heartfelt and informative and exuded the passion and care prevalent on Salt Spring Island. Members who are present for these presentatio…
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Local Trust Committee Approves the Meadowlane Project

The Local Trust Committee has unanimously approved Bylaw 515 that establishes the zoning required for our planned Meadowlane facility at 154 Kings Lane in Ganges. At the same meeting, the LTC granted approval of the Development Permit for the facility and voiced support for the project “…as a valuable addition to the affordable housing and community infrastructure of the island.” Meadowlane is a 75,000 square foot building at the site of the existing Saltspring Island Health Centre on Kings Lane. The medical clinic, so important to our community, will remain in place and operate unchanged, throughout and after the construction of the Meadowlane residential and community hub complex. The Salt Spring Community Hub is a much-needed facility on the island and will become the new home of the Salt Spring Seniors Services Society. In addition to the arts and crafts space, small library, lounges and boardroom, the Community Hub will provide affordable meeting and multi-function s…
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Screening of "The Gender Lady: The Fabulous Dr. May Cohen" for International Women’s Day

Every March 8th, people around the world celebrate International Women's Day. An opportunity to acknowledge women’s achievements throughout history and across nations, the day is also a focal point in the movement for women's rights and gender equity. This year, local celebrations include a special screening of The Gender Lady: The Fabulous Dr. May Cohen. For over 60 years, Dr. Cohen advocated powerfully in Canada and internationally for women physicians’ advancement within the medical profession and is widely recognized for her many contributions to women’s health, sexuality, abortion choice, and human rights. Numerous medical awards bear her name. Two Canadian colleagues of May Cohen, family physicians, and gender equity advocates Cheryl Levitt and Barbara Lent created the documentary “to share May’s remarkable accomplishments, to make them visible, and to offer the film as a tool to help promote gender equity, reproductive rights, and equity for women physicians.” Acco…
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Salt Spring Foundation Aims to Strengthen Local Charities

For 36 years the Salt Spring Island Foundation has been supporting the charities that make our island a caring community. Thanks to many generous donors, over 550 grants have been awarded to over 85 local charitable organizations, totalling over $3.3 million. Foundation grants have supported many areas of need and many types of projects and programs, from capital improvements to services and events that engage and assist community members. Other grants have funded projects that aim to strengthen the organizations themselves and help them to better fulfill their mission. This year the Foundation will be putting even more emphasis on strengthening our charities, committing $25,000 to projects that aim to build the capacity of qualified local non-profits. Of that amount, $15,000 will be awarded during the spring grants cycle. Examples of capacity-building activities could include strategic planning, technology upgrades, operational improvements, board development, improvin…
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