Royal Roads Receives Largest Gift in University’s History to Expand Programming to Salt Spring Island

Royal Roads University is proud to announce we have received a generous and transformative gift valued at $9.93M from the Bloom Canadian Alter Ego Trust 2020 which will yield expansive programming for the Salt Spring Island community and beyond. This gift represents the largest donation in the university’s history. The gift includes two exceptional acreages on Salt Spring Island featuring waterfront gardens, an orchard of heritage fruit trees, an architecturally significant house, outbuildings, and a foreshore lease, located near Beddis Beach. The property will benefit the Salt Spring Island community, RRU students, faculty, and staff and the broader academic community. The gift also includes significant financial resources: $5.268 million in funds ($4.6 million of which will be endowed) for the ongoing maintenance and immediate improvement of the lands, and its activation through programming and events. This contribution was made possible through the generosit…
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ASK Salt Spring Bids a Sad Farewell to MLA Adam Olsen

July 5 Twenty-six joined this ASK Salt Spring gathering to welcome Laura Parker, Outreach Coordinator, and to bid a sad farewell to MLA Adam Olsen who has decided not to run again. The clear message throughout our time together was our support for his decision to focus his attention on family and personal opportunities as well as heartfelt appreciation of the terrific job he has done representing us over the years. We began our conversation with Adam’s Territorial Acknowledgement , reminding us of the uniqueness of our islands and that it should be our privilege to belong to them rather than owning or dominating them. When asked what “excites and delights “ him by facilitator Grant Fredrickson, Adam explained that he was thrilled to be able to speak openly about feelings that had been growing for him. At 48 with 16 years of elected service behind him, he began to think that it was time for him to move into his next phase. Not retiring - he has plenty of work yet to do! -…
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ASK Salt Spring Welcomes MLA Adam Olsen

The first ASK Salt Spring gathering in May welcomed MLA Adam Olsen and Constituency Advocate Jerram Gawley for a rich and diverse conversation. Adam used his most recent weekly two-minute speech to the Legislature (https://adamolsen.ca/2024/05/my-duty-to-stand-up-for-the-salish-sea-never-diminishes/) as his Territorial Acknowledgement, speaking of disturbing changes to the waters surrounding us. The site of one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, this once-rich region has become noisy and polluted. Local fishing, once our First Nations’ economic foundation, is now only a pastime. This Acknowledgement of a marine environment that was once far richer led us to a discussion of our local harbours. Adam expressed the frustration he and others are experiencing with multiple agencies, each having responsibility but doing nothing, layers and layers of bureaucratic inertia. Local governments are left with water-based issues that need to be addressed but with neither the authority…
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Salt Spring businesses breathe new life into the Salt Spring Home & Garden Show

This year’s Home & Garden Show is shaping up to be better than years past with more diversity and excitement among participating businesses. Those attending the show can expect to meet greenhouse builders, garden art makers, garden designers, general contractors, irrigation contractors, solar experts, painting crews, garden supplies, pest control specialists, flooring experts, stove suppliers, heat pump installers and the list goes on. “Our goal was to register 30 businesses for the show and we have now surpassed that. We have a lot of new businesses and returning businesses this year, it’s going to be a great event” Sue King "These businesses contribute significantly to our community in many ways, and it’s a great opportunity to support them and find out more about their businesses" - Mike Stefancsik The show takes place at the Salt Spring Farmers’ Institute from March 9-10th, presented by Windsor Plywood who is the leading force behind the show with generous sup…
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2024 Salt Spring Film Festival Guide & Trailers

The Salt Spring Film Festival takes place from March 1 to 3, 2024, at Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS), featuring three dozen feature-length documentaries and a dozen short films, many of them presented by the filmmakers and film subjects themselves. Full Festival Passes are $50 and include the Opening Night Gala Film on Friday, March 1, are available for advance purchase via the ArtSpring Box Office. Other options (half-day, one-day and two-day passes) will be sold at GISS during the Festival weekend. Subsidized passes are available by request, thanks to financial support from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92. Film Festival Guide Film Descriptions and Trailers AITAMAAKO’TAMISSKAPI NATOSI: BEFORE THE SUN [Dir: Banchi Hanuse, 2023, Canada, 88 min.] Don’t miss Nuxalk filmmaker Banchi Hanuse’s intimate and thrilling profile of Logan Red Crow, a young Siksika woman in the golden plains of Blackfoot Territory, as she prepares for one of the most dangerou…
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Transformative Repair Cafe event empowers community

Salt Spring Island recently witnessed a transformative event as Transition Salt Spring (TSS) hosted a Repair Cafe at the Salt Spring Public Library this past weekend. In a world overrun by fast fashion and disposable goods, this gathering showcased a commitment to sustainability as Islanders learned to repair and rejuvenate cherished items, steering away from the throwaway culture. A team of passionate volunteers demonstrated their skills, exemplifying the heart of the Repair Cafe. Islanders of all ages arrived with a diverse array of items, from lamps and toasters to clothing and electronics, seeking to extend the lifespan of their belongings. One attendee, Kathleen Maser, expressed her joy at being able to repair a beloved purse she had cherished for over three decades. "I've had this beloved purse for a long time. The strap broke six months ago, but the rest was still in perfect condition. I would never have thrown it out," Kathleen remarked, emphasizing the import…
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Salt Spring Island Saturday Market Society become the new managers of the Salt Spring Saturday Market

The Salt Spring Island Saturday Market Society (SSISMS) is happy to announce that the Salt Spring Saturday Market will be managed by SSISMS, effective January 1, 2024. This commences an exciting new chapter where the Saturday Market is a community led initiative, steered by a committed group of community members. The nine-member board of directors consists of Salt Spring residents with strong backgrounds in diverse areas who are keen to support this project. SSISMS looks forward to the opening of the market season and to seeing you at the first market of the year on Easter weekend, Saturday March 30. The market philosophies of 'Make It, Bake It, Grow It’ as well as ‘Vendor Produced and Sold’ will remain the same. The regular market season will also remain the same as previous years - operating through to the end of October and with at least two December markets around the holiday season. SSISMS is seeking a Market Coordinator for the 2024 season. Please look for detail…
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Robert and Shauna Makaroff Nature Reserve: One family’s conservation legacy

Salt Spring Island Conservancy (SSIC) is excited to announce the donation and protection of 35.75 acres of land as an addition to the Robert and Shauna Makaroff Nature Reserve. This gift contributes to the largest network of contiguous undeveloped land on Salt Spring Island (including ecological reserves, park and Crown land, as well as private land protected by conservation covenants,) stretching from Musgrave to Hwmet’utsum (Mount Maxwell). This is significant for conservation as studies demonstrate that intact, extensive and connected ecosystems benefit wildlife and are more resilient to changing climate regimes. The extension of the Robert and Shauna Makaroff Nature Reserve is part of the conservation legacy of a remarkable family with a profound history in support of both environmental and social causes. Robert and Shauna Makaroff were born in the 1920s and grew up in Saskatoon and Red Deer, respectively, in small, supportive communities. Both spent time with their fami…
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Transition Salt Spring and BC Climate Emergency Campaign unveil climate action report cards and call for urgent collective action

In the wake of an unprecedented summer of wildfires and drought, Transition Salt Spring and the BC Climate Emergency Campaign are teaming up to present a crucial webinar, "Ready or Not: Facing the Climate Challenges Ahead." Scheduled for November 28th at 6:30 PM, this event is not just a webinar – it's a rallying cry for our community to unite and take charge in the fight against climate change. Climate Report Cards Unveil Hard Truths: Local and Provincial Insights Recent climate action report cards independently released by Transition Salt Spring and the BC Climate Emergency Campaign have delivered a stark reality check – our efforts to combat the climate crisis are falling short. The unveiling of critical points of the assessments during the webinar will provide a firsthand look at the challenges we face on Salt Spring Island and throughout the province. A Diverse Coalition Calls for a Real BC Climate Emergency Plan The BC Climate Emergency Campaign boasts a line-…
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$10,000 donation from 100 Men Who Care Salt Spring to Tree Frog Daycare

100 Men Who Care Salt Spring Island are happy to announce that Tree Frog DayCare is now the happy recipient of a donation of $10,500. In our latest meeting, held October 11 at Woodley's lounge in Harbour House Hotel, Tree Frog edged past Salt Spring Hospice Society and Viva Chorale! to win the award and on October 30 we visited them to present their prize. 100 Men Who Care Salt Spring Island is just one of approximately 400 chapters in North America, a supportive and encouraging group of people who care about their communities. Locally we have given over $120,000 to Salt Spring Island charities since 2018. Three times a year, we meet for an evening to learn about the great work being done by three registered Salt Spring charities. After the presentations, the members vote on their favourite, and the winning candidate gets a $100 donation from each member. Members then get a tax receipt for their charitable donation. It’s THAT Simple! No fees. No dues. No pressure. Just…
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Centennial Park plaza construction upgrades set to begin

The Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Salt Spring Island (SSI) Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture (PARC) department has received $561,748 in grant funding from Pacific Economic Development Canada (PEDC) to complete additional upgrades to Centennial Park. “My thanks to the Province of BC for this innovative funding program that will help us to continue to revitalize Centennial Park and support increased park use, special events and our community markets. Centennial Park is centrally located in Ganges Village and is a key economic driver and a crucial pillar of island life to promote community wellbeing, active living, as well as park amenities and activities for people of all ages” said Gary Holman, Salt Spring Island Electoral Area Director. The Centennial Park Plaza has been identified as the next phase of park upgrades as part of the approved 20-year Master Plan. Work on this phase began in 2022 and included detailed designs to replace the park plaza and install lighting…
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New conservation area on Reginald Hill protects rare woodland ecosystems

Community support and a family’s commitment to conservation helped realize ambitious conservation project - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing some good news for nature with the protection of a large Salt Spring Island property. The site supports one of British Columbia’s most rare and imperilled ecosystems: Coastal Douglas-fir forests. The 161-hectare property sits on Reginald Hill at the south end of the island and hosts a thriving diversity of rare and at-risk species. The new conservation area nurtures a maturing Coastal Douglas-fir forest, with mossy outcroppings, Garry oak plant communities, rocky bluffs and multiple wetlands. These woodland ecosystems are amongst the most imperilled in Canada and are vital habitat for many unique threatened or endangered species. The Coastal Douglas-fir zone (CDF), like what is found on Reginald Hill, is the smallest and most at-risk biogeoclimatic zone in BC. Within Canada, it is found only on southeastern Va…
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Creekside rainforest saved - Rare coastal temperate rainforest permanently protected on Salt Spring Island

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy (SSIC) is thrilled to announce that Creekside Rainforest is now protected in perpetuity as the Conservancy’s ninth nature reserve. The acquisition of the 6.3 hectare (15.5 acre) Creekside Rainforest is part of a long-term vision of Salt Spring Island’s conservation community to protect the fresh water, salmon habitat, rare species, imperiled ecosystems, and archaeological and cultural features of this rare area of coastal temperate rainforest. In 2008, the 7.9 hectare (19.5 acre) property adjoining Creekside Rainforest Nature Reserve was protected thanks to a community fundraising effort. Initially held by TLC The Land Conservancy of BC, this land became the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Jarrod’s Grove Nature Reserve in 2015. Creekside Rainforest Nature Reserve (CRNR), together with Jarrod’s Grove Nature Reserve, represents a unique area of lowland coastal temperate rainforest within the drier forest ecosystems more commonly associated wit…
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Islanders Working Against Violence honour Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This April, once again, Islanders Working Against Violence (IWAV) will honour Sexual Assault Awareness Month, or SAAM, with an event at Transitions Thrift Store on Tuesday, April 4. Salt Spring Islanders are invited to write and read messages of hope and healing for sexual assault survivors at Transitions Thrift Store in Ganges. IWAV staff will be offering notepaper for these messages. Last year, all messages were posted to the store window and also to social media where the messages continued to inspire and support those who have been sexually assaulted. IWAV staff will also be selling vegetable seeds provided by Grow For It Seeds, a new food gardening project of the resident community at IWAV’s second-stage housing. IWAV believes that communities that heal together also grow together. With this event, IWAV hopes to plant the seeds for change for the Southern Gulf Islands to become a community that supports its sexual assault survivors. Come to support sexual assault …
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Celebrating International Women’s Day with Inspirational Movies

The Circle Education and IWAV teamed up with the Salt Spring Film Festival this year to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8th). Who missed the festival, or who wants to see more movies about inspiring women, with a strong female lead, or fitting this year’s theme Embracing Equity, staff and board members of both organizations are sharing their favourites here. James Cowan, board member of The Circle Education - Still Working 9-5 (2022): This film features the original stars of the 1980 film 9 to 5. Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin reflect on the experience of making the film and the political messages for equal rights which are still being fought for today. It’s an incredible insight to what was happening behind the scenes at the time and how the film evolved with its quirky humour and not-so-subtle revealing of the disparity between women and men in the workplace. The film was cutting-edge technology at the time, using San Francisco as a backdrop for th…
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Species and ecosystems at risk in the Salish Sea get federal funding boost

Northern Red-legged Frog - Photo: Kristine Mayes Islands Trust Conservancy has received a three-year funding boost of $660,000 from Environment and Climate Change Canada to address biodiversity loss in the Islands Trust Area. This additional funding begins in April 2023 and will ensure that the Islands Trust Conservancy’s Species at Risk program continues over the next three years. British Columbia has some of the highest biodiversity in Canada, with the majority of this diversity concentrated within the southwest coastal region. It is also home to some of the most threatened ecosystems, such as the Coastal Douglas-fir and Garry Oak ecosystems, and iconic threatened species like Southern Resident Killer Whales, and Western Screech-Owl. The southwest coastal region is also where people prefer to live, with the large cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo putting increasing human pressure on the fragile island ecosystems in the Salish Sea. Islands Trust Conservancy i…
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Gulf Islands property assessments increase an average of 11% in 2023

In the next few days, owners of about 384,000 properties throughout Vancouver Island can expect to receive their 2023 assessment notices, which reflect market value as of July 1, 2022. The typical home in the Gulf Islands has an assessed value of $876,000, up from $789,000 in 2021. The highest-value home on Salt Spring Island located on Scott Point Dr. is currently assessed at $13,196,000. “Homeowners across Vancouver Island can generally expect about 10% to 20% rise in assessment values with a few exceptions," says Vancouver Island Deputy Assessor Jodie MacLennan. “While the current real estate market has been trending downwards, it is important to consider that 2023 assessments are based on what your home could have sold for as of July 1, 2022, when the market was performing higher." As B.C.'s provider of property assessment information, BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year. BC Assessment cautioned late last year that ass…
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Susan Bloom Trust steps up to support the conservation of Reginald Hill

Late Salt Spring Island resident made sure to leave a lasting legacy for nature that would keep on giving - Long time environmental advocate and Salt Spring Island resident Susan Bloom passed away a year ago, but not before ensuring that she could continue to give to the causes that meant the most to her in life. Now the trustees of the Susan Bloom Trust have pledged a substantial gift to the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s campaign to conserve Reginald Hill. The Trust will contribute $150,000 directly to the project, and has committed to match all donations made to the project starting December 15, up to an additional $150,000. “We are so honoured to receive this gift,” said Krista Sheppard, senior director of development and communications with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “Susan has left an incredible legacy for nature and for the island community that she called home. She was always bold and encouraging about getting conservation done – it’s heartwarming to see he…
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Times are changing and opinions matter

Salt Spring Insights, an online research panel created in 2022 to enhance the quality of conversations taking place on Salt Spring, has concluded its first year. The Salt Spring Insights online research panel is structured to represent Salt Spring residents by key demographics and regions on the island. And it has proven very accurate at capturing the mood here. A lot happened on Salt Spring in 2022; you told us you were happy, but have serious concerns about housing affordability, and you questioned the value you are receiving for the tax dollars you pay and approved borrowing to build a new fire hall. Here are some of the highlights revealed by Salt Spring Insights panelists. The mood is upbeat but concerned Salt Spring Islanders are happy with their quality of life (87%), but concerns include access to affordable housing, providing more services and facilities, building better road and ferry infrastructure, and the perennial issue of improving the governance stru…
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IWAV successfully completes significant Croftonbrook housing solar system installation

Islanders Working Against Violence (IWAV) is pleased to announce the completed installation of a large photo-voltaic system to the new apartment buildings at Croftonbrook. This is likely the largest solar project in the Gulf Islands, with 298 solar panels installed over 3 buildings and 134.1 kW capacity. In May 2021, IWAV partnered with Salt Spring Community Energy (SSCE) to initiate this project with the shared goal of generating local green energy for affordable housing. Salt Spring Community Energy is a not-for-profit society of local citizens concerned with sustainability, encouraging renewable energy and clean technology on Salt Spring Island. Salt Spring Community Energy was able to provide technical expertise through the Request For Proposal (RFP) process to select the solar energy contractor. SSCE also provided project oversight, digital recording of the installation and will assist with the install of education monitors in the buildings. In 2017-2018, IWAV design…
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‘What do you mean violence on Salt Spring? This is paradise!’

It was in the winter of 1991 when a woman on Salt Spring Island was almost beaten to death. If she hadn’t fought back ferociously to protect herself and her 8-year-old daughter, she would have been another name on the too-long list of women who have died from gender-based violence. The woman, Marie-Té, was a friend of Shellyse Szakacs, who had moved to the island in 1990 to work on her master’s degree. “This is a powerful story about a very courageous woman,” Shellyse says. “What happened to her was horrible, yet it resulted in some very important changes in our community. It was the start of two organizations, the first, now called Islanders Working Against Violence (initially Gulf Islands Women’s Resource Network) and The Circle Education (formerly SWOVA); which respectively provide support, resources and refuge for women who need it, and address change at its roots with educational programs for youth with the goal of preventing violence in the future.” When Shellyse…
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