COVID-19: GISS Community Member Tests Positive - Contact Tracing Completed

In a letter posted for families with students at Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) late this afternoon, school administrators have confirmed that Island Health contact tracing and communication in regard to the confirmed case of COVID-19 reported yesterday of a GISS community member has been completed. "We are pleased to share that Island Health actions (contact tracing and communication) in response to the confirmed case of COVID-19 have been completed. Island Health has identified and notified all close-contacts and has provided them with specific guidance regarding a self-isolation period." "We wanted to share with everyone a common misconception in regard to viral transmission; that it is tied to a place, rather than to an individual. This exposure is not connected to the school itself, as our building and classrooms are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Our school continues to implement the strict protocols and procedures set by the Provincial Health Officer, Wor…
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COVID-19: GISS Community Member Tests Positive - Contact Tracing in Progress

Medical Health Officer Dee Hoyano from the Office of the North Island Medical Health Officer with Island Health, has issued a notice to the parents, guardians, families and staff of Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) on Salt Spring Island that a member of the school community has tested positive for COVID-19. The notice indicates that the date of the potential exposure for others at the school as November 26th, 2020. Island Health is completing contact tracing to identify any staff and students that need to self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms. Note: The first version of this story incorrectly identified the confirmed case was a student, but that has not been confirmed. The confirmed case in this notice was identified simply as a 'member' of the school community.
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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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Obituary: Eli Rian Johnson

We are devastated to announce the birth and the death of our son Eli Rian Johnson. He was born at lady minto hospital on November 21st, 2020 at 10:38 am, weighing 8lb 4oz. He passed away in my womb and the cause is still unknown and may never be known. It is so heart wrenchingly painful. He was pure perfection, nothing has ever smelled so sweet. He had fine dark hair, kissable pouty lips, and a perfect button nose. He took after his daddy and was very tall. He was 22 inches long and had big Johnson feet... I cherish the time I had with him in my womb, he was so deeply loved. Everyday I talked to him and told him how loved he is. Every night at bed time Emmi would say goodnight Eli I love you. Our hearts are so deeply broken and our loss is unimaginable. We are together at home trying to navigate this grief while caring for our Emmi who is grieving the loss of her baby brother and trying to understand why everyone around her is so sad. I never want Eli to be forgott…
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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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COVID-19: New Health Orders, Not Complicated... But It Is Hard

Yesterday, Dr. Bonney Henry issued a new set of public health orders increasing the restrictions on travel, gatherings, and making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. So far, we have not had COVID outbreaks on the island and we need to keep it that way. As our Island medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick has said “Until recently, the number of positive cases throughout Island Health remained relatively low. This was not by luck. It was the result of hard work by people in communities across our region who took their responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus very seriously, supported by Island Health’s staff working to control COVID-19. To everyone who has taken their responsibilities seriously to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our health-care system, we thank you.” What we have to do is not complicated … but it IS hard! We all have to follow not only the letter, but also the spirit of the public health orders and focus on the basics: avoid …
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Support Local This Holiday

It’s one of the most exciting times of year again but of course, everything is different. Winter is upon us as we lead up to the holiday season and I want to encourage islanders to make this holiday as local as it can be, especially with… Black Friday quickly approaching! Every year, this season is the make it or break it for local small businesses, especially for artisans, retailers, food and hospitality. Most businesses are not going into this season with their typical summer savings to make it through until spring and they need local help, especially with travel restrictions coming into place this week. I want to remind you of the positive impacts supporting local has - it puts food on hard working people’s plates, it employs locals, it has an economic multiplier effect in our community, you receive personalized service, you choose with your dollars who to support, it reduces the impact on the environment and it keeps our community culture and identity. This year, t…
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Mulching, Citrus Protection, Planning Ahead

As heavy rains and frequent wind storms continue we are experiencing what is to be expected of a La Niña year. La Niña conditions are forecast to last into the spring so hang onto your hats and brace for colder and wetter conditions than usual this winter. That said, the immediate forecast doesn’t show unusually cold weather for the next 10 days, which gives you time to get out and mulch the garden. Reserve some mulch to use when the first serious cold weather arrives to cover completely over the tops of root crops. Last year I wrote up pretty much everything I know about fall mulching so for more details have a look at my November 7, 2019 message; there is a follow-up message about the (non) risk of spreading pests and diseases on leaves in the Nov. 26, 2019 message. Another task to prepare for winter: Stockpile some tarps or plastic sheeting to throw over leafy greens and other above-ground vegetables in a cold spell (root crops under a thick mulch won’t need additional pr…
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ASK Salt Spring Report with CRD Director Gary Holman

Fourteen gathered at the Foxglove Nursery Greenhouse to welcome our CRD Director Gary Holman. With higher numbers this week, we needed both the speaker system as well as more seats, but, despite a bit of scurrying, all seemed pleased with the idyllic setting. After a participant’s heartfelt territorial acknowledgment, Gary began with some good news: the Capital Regional Hospital district, a group to which we contribute each year, has allocated $3 million towards Lady Minto emergency room expansion, a $10 million project. The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation has committed $4 million and plans to raise the additional $3 million in a fundraising campaign. Gary will also be exploring additional funding possibilities with the Foundation. More good news is the completion of the North Ganges Transportation Plan (NGTP), Phase Two. With the completion of this project, we finally have a safe way for pedestrians to get from Country Grocer to the village with a pathway loop that includ…
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Re-Elected MLA Adam Olsen Giving Thanks

I raise my hands in gratitude for the opportunity to continue as the representative of Saanich North and the Islands in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Thank you! I’m honoured to be entrusted with this important responsibility and I pledge to work everyday to better understand our communities so I can more effectively advocate on our behalf. Over the past three and a half years I have established strong community networks and by continuing to work in the spirit of coordination and cooperation we will advance our local interests to government institutions and secure investments in healthcare, education, transportation and infrastructure. Together, we will speak with a unified voice when we need to seek the support of the provincial government. In the coming weeks will be moving the constituency office to a new location in Sidney. We are seeking a street level space that accommodates community engagement as well as a secure and safe environment to serve con…
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Salt Spring 2020 Cheer Challenge Photo Contest - Let's Keep the Cheer Here!

Support, buy, visit, explore, entertain and celebrate local for the holidays right here on Salt Spring Island! Take a new photo of you (or your friends, dog, partner, etc.) doing any one of the 100 activities in our cheer challenge (listed below) and submit your photos each week (using the form below) to win weekly local prizes and one of our three amazing grand prizes! Watch: How do to the cheer challenge! https://youtu.be/PvUgwEi07tE How it works! Take a new photo of you (or your friends, dog, partner, etc.) doing any of the 100 cheer challenges listed below between November 16th and December 18th, 2020 Submit your photo entries each week here on the Salt Spring Exchange using the form below for your chance to win weekly prizes Agree to the Salt Spring Cheer Challenge Rules when submitting your entry Then share the love! Then also share your photos on social media with #saltspringcheer to help families in need For every photo shared with #saltsp…
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Salt Spring Chamber Welcomes New President

It is with much anticipation that we welcome Darryl Martin as the new Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce President. Darryl began his time on the Chamber Board as an individual member in June 2019. Darryl was previously the Chair and a Commissioner on the Salt Spring Community Economic Development Commission, as well as alternate to CRD Director Wayne Macintyre before becoming a board member of the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce in 2019. With this change comes recognition of Li Read, the Chamber’s President from June 2013. Li took over the presidency role after spending two years on the Board of Directors. She guided the Chamber of Commerce through difficult and successful times, and remained in the role until November 4, 2020. A special thank you to Li for all her time and dedication to the Chamber. Darryl is looking forward to accelerating the Chamber’s efforts to help businesses during the pandemic and prepare to do business in the changed economy. He also a…
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In the Works at Ruckle Heritage Farm

Finally, work in-progress since 2018 in the public area of Ruckle farm is starting to show -- modestly yet, but more and better is on its way. What’s up? Six new interpretive signs were unveiled in late September, in the kiosk opposite the barn, a Friends of Ruckle Park Heritage (FRPH) project, with thanks to funding from the Salt Spring Foundation and many historic images from the Archives, who hosted the launch. The sign information makes clear that Ruckle farm was a bustling hub for long decades, with 150 years to celebrate in the summer of 2022. Two other grant projects are also underway.. A Park Enhancement Fund grant ($900) + FRPH funds ($100) are paying for flower bulbs, flowering perennials, and related supplies, which dedicated volunteer gardeners are planting by the Henry Ruckle house -- the white one past the barn and oldest on the farm, built in the mid-1870. Lotus kept beautiful blooms around the place, until she and family moved in 1967 to Uncle Alfre…
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ASK Salt Spring Updates on Local Roads and Provincial Election

For the second week in a row, the number of participants was lower than usual (eight this week as well), but, given pandemic concerns, the small number provided the perfect intimate - but socially distanced - gathering in the idyllic Foxglove Nursery Greenhouse. Nestled among the ferns on a clear, cold day with all the huge doors open for maximum ventilation, all appreciated the perfect setting - both lovely as well as one of the safest possible indoor gathering spots on Salt Spring. While our Fridays under the apple trees in the United Church Meadow were spectacular, participants expressed joy that such a perfect winter location had been offered to us. (A heartfelt thank-you, Foxglove!) For the first time in all the ASK Salt Spring weekly gatherings, we did not welcome a special guest. Instead, all of us were special, and we each had plenty of time to ask questions of each other, listen to answers, and participate in lively conversation about a wide variety of topics, inclu…
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Watch: Take a Tour of the Newest Section of Multi-Use Pathway at Central

The Salt Spring Transportation Commission continues to make progress extending the multi-use path along Lower Ganges Road. Once completed, this new section now open to the public will extend from Baker Road to Vesuvius Road completing the first phase of this particular section of pathway. Phase two of this latest round of trail work will, when complete, connect the section from Booth Canal Road to Baker Road. Once that section is complete, it will be possible, using a combination of pathways and sidewalks, to safely walk all the way from Ganges to Central on a separate, protected, pedestrian trail connecting into the sidewalks and bike paths of the soon to be complete North Ganges Transportation Plan Project. https://youtu.be/8c53UVRipo8
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Protecting the Coastal Douglas-Fir Zone and Its Associated Ecosystems Benefits Us All

Every single one of us who lives, visits, works and plays on Salt Spring Island depends on the health of our island ecosystems, and the health of these ecosystems depends on all of us. That’s why the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) has implemented a proactive planning project called “Protecting the Coastal Douglas-fir Zone and Associated Ecosystems.” You are invited to an online community information meeting on Thursday November 5th at 6:30 PM to learn more about this planning project. The meeting will mark the beginning of an extensive community engagement process about how best to maintain the health and rich diversity of the island’s precious forest ecosystems for the benefit of all of us. At this meeting we will learn about the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone and its associated ecosystems and why it is important to protect them. The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone, which is one of the rarest forest types in B.C., encompasses a unique set of ecosystems found …
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ASK Salt Spring with Mary Richardson, Chair of the Liquid Waste Commission

Eight came to our first ever ASK Salt Spring in the idyllic Foxglove Nursery greenhouse to welcome Mary Richardson, Chair of the Liquid Waste Commission as well as passionate advocate of the proposed composting facility in the Burgoyne Valley. While the numbers were small, they allowed us to learn so much about one of our most important, if not sexy, subjects: waste. We learned about offal and effluent and, yes, it was a great conversation. (Thanks, Mary!) Mary began by offering kudos to Elizabeth White for her dedication and the many hours she and others had contributed to making the proposed composting facility a reality. She was also very appreciative of the vision and drive of Community Services and the Farmland Trust. Hopes are to locate a composting facility at the Burgoyne Valley Community Garden (also known as the Shaw Family Community Garden). This large, 62-acre parcel of farmland has been continuously farmed since 1887 and was granted to the Farmland Trust for …
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Salt Spring RCMP Community Report - 2020 3rd Quarter Statistics

Responding to community interest, Salt Spring RCMP will attempt to provide call volume information at different times throughout the year; this specific news article will include a listing of some investigations and various complaints in the 3rd quarter of 2020. As of October 1 2020, Salt Spring RCMP have responded to over 2,200 calls this year, averaging 8-9 calls per day. Approximately 700 calls were received by Salt Spring RCMP during the July 1 2020 – September 30 2020 3rd quarter period; this number does not include traffic stops, licenced premises checks or park patrols. Some of the calls for this quarter are detailed below: July 2020 Salt Spring RCMP assisted Victoria Police Department with their search for a Missing Person. Salt Spring RCMP entered into an investigation involving multiple sexual assaults that occurred on Salt Spring Island this summer. With the help of Vancouver Island General Investigative Service, the suspects were subsequently arrested …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Maintain Vigilance

Across BC we are seeing an increase in COVID activity. Although Vancouver Island has continued to maintain relatively low numbers of cases, we cannot rely on our physical separation from the rest of the province to maintain our current status. It is crucial that we maintain vigilance with our individual and collective actions. Maintain our bubbles of immediate family and our “safe six” of family and friends Maintain physical distancing when in public or with people not in our bubble Wear a mask to reduce droplet spread and limit the potential to spread viral particles from infected individuals, including those who do not have symptoms, or to inhale viral particles from others Wash our hands frequently COVID has been devastating to residents of long term care facilities where there have been outbreaks. We have been able to avoid any community or facility outbreaks on Salt Spring so far and we need to continue to do so. “There is good work being done by the Va…
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