How to ‘Love Local’ across the Southern Gulf Islands - Find an oasis on Galiano Island

The Chambers of Commerce from Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Saturna, and Salt Spring have been ‘island hopping’ this spring, encouraging local residents to shop, eat, and stay where their hearts are. Because our communities are interconnected, supporting our neighbour islands strengthens our region as a whole. Our next stop on this Southern Gulf Islands tour is Galiano Island: tag along! Known as the gem of the Salish Sea, Galiano Island boasts an impressive list of trails and some of the most creative food west of the mainland. Find cliffside views, views, and more views with a visit to the Bluffs, a hike up Mount Galiano, or by exploring Bodega Ridge Provincial Park. Meander the shoreline at one of the island’s 69 shore access points or with an afternoon at Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park, with its white shell beaches, open meadows, and tidal lagoons. Or adventure to an isolated refuge with incredible sandstone formations at Dionisio Point Provincial Park which is access…
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New live cam with views of the Vesuvius Dock and Stuart Channel

Just in time for the long-weekend, and the beginning of typically higher volumes of ferry traffic, the Salt Spring Exchange is pleased to announce the latest addition to our travel planning and local tourism live cam network. This new live cam has a view of the ferry slip at the Vesuvius Dock, the waters of Stuart Channel and a sneak peak of the mill in Crofton thrown in for good measure. Now, in addition to being able to have a view of the traffic in the terminal at Vesuvius with our Vesuvius Terminal cam, you can also have a better sense of where the ferry is at in its travels across the channel, along with real-time wind and water conditions. We also might be able to see a nice view of the sunsets at different times of the year! Special thank you to the good folks at Seaside Restaurant who are generously helping to host this cam. Visit them to enjoy their fantastic fish and chips and more! Support local businesses who support our local community. Thank you for suppo…
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How to ‘Love Local’ across the Southern Gulf Islands - Explore the unexplored on Saturna Island

Keeping the spirit of ‘Love Local’ alive, the Chambers of Commerce from Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Saturna, and Salt Spring invite you to continue shopping, eating, and staying where your heart is. Our next stop on our Southern Gulf Islands tour is Saturna Island: join us! Wilderness and rural scenery abound in the unhurried serenity that is Saturna Island. With the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve protecting over half the island’s landscape, you can find the time and space to watch the eagles soar above, the orcas swim past, and the sun sink out of the sky. Whether you choose to cycle across the island, sleep under the stars, kayak beneath ancient cliffs, or hike along the highest point in the Islands, a visit to Saturna means being part of its cozy island family, if only for a moment. A drive to the top of Mount Warburton Pike is one activity that’s not to be missed. Take in the stunning view of Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Peninsula while hiki…
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Increased bus service this spring on Salt Spring Island

BC Transit and the Capital Regional District are informing transit customers of some seasonal changes, beginning Saturday May 7, 2022. These spring changes will see an increase in some trips to align with ferry schedules. The changes will affect the Saturday schedule for route 2 Fulford Harbour. There will be an earlier morning service to meet the first ferry of the day as well as southbound service along Cusheon Lake Road on select trips. For more information on fares, routes and schedules, please check your Rider’s Guide or visit bctransit.com/salt-spring-island
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Harbour Authority of Salt Spring Island eco-certifies all eight local facilities

The Harbour Authority of Salt Spring Island has certified all eight of its facilities in through the Georgia Strait Alliance’s Clean Marine BC program, an eco-certification program that supports boating facilities to make improvements that benefit the marine environment and also extend to business operations. The eight facilities, located around Salt Spring Island, have all achieved four-anchor ratings out of five. CMBC anchor ratings range from one anchor for facilities that comply with federal and provincial legislation and are starting to implement environmental best practices to five anchor facilities, which have comprehensive and stronger operational and ecosystem conservation initiatives. These may include reducing and containing toxins, collecting and disposing of various wastes, conserving water and energy, as well as emergency preparedness, and habitat protection initiatives. “Certifying all eight of our facilities is already having a positive impact on the local…
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BC Ferries crewing challenges expected for peak summer season

As experienced throughout the fall and winter of 2021/22, the impact of crew shortages at BC Ferries is expected to continue through the spring and into summer, affecting sailing times and plans to provide additional service on some routes. BC Ferries is not alone in facing recruitment challenges. The states of Washington and Alaska, along with New Zealand and interior ferries here in B.C. have announced the impact crew shortages are having on sailings and the level of service they can provide. Higher than expected retirements in key shipboard positions, the impact of vaccination policies and difficulties recruiting international candidates due to COVID-19, as well as the 25-year global shortage of professional mariners are expected to pose ongoing challenges to hiring sufficient employees for what is expected to be a busier than usual peak summer season. Adding to crewing challenges are changing travel patterns coming out of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sp…
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Legislation introduced to support ferry passengers

The provincial government is introducing changes to the Coastal Ferry Act to increase oversight of the public interest in delivery of coastal ferry services. Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, tabled Bill 7 on Feb. 23, 2022. As BC Ferries recovers from the pandemic, the legislative amendments will help ensure people living in B.C.’s coastal communities, and all British Columbians, continue to be well served and supported by the ferry service. In 2019, based on recommendations in the coastal ferry review conducted by Blair Redlin, the role of BC Ferries’ shareholder, the B.C. Ferry Authority, was expanded to oversee the strategic direction of BC Ferries to support the public interest. Increased oversight is important to ensure affordable and reliable ferry service for all travellers, including those on the 25 routes serving coastal communities. The legislative amendments will build on the changes made in 2019 by ensuring the authority is bett…
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Increasing cost of fuel leads to BC Ferries fuel surcharge

BC Ferries is advising customers that due to current fuel market conditions, the company will implement a fuel surcharge of 1.0 per cent on March 1. BC Ferries closely monitors the cost of fuel and applies a rebate or surcharge, or neither, under a regulatory process that is set by the BC Ferries Commissioner. Here is an example of what a 1.0 per cent fuel surcharge will be: 15 cents for an adult and 55 cents for a vehicle on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, and 5 cents for an adult and 20 cents for a vehicle on a variety of inter-island routes. Over the past 18 years, BC Ferries has been using a fuel rebate/surcharge mechanism to manage the volatility in the price of fuel. When fuel prices are lower, BC Ferries passes lower fuel prices on to customers through a fuel rebate. When fuel prices are higher, BC Ferries charges a fuel surcharge specifically designed to cover the additional cost of fuel. There have also been periods with neither. The company does n…
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Salt Springers leading the electric vehicle charge

John Holmes with his Nissan Leaf charging up at ArtSpring

It’s a grey January day, and John Holmes pulls up to the charger at Artspring, “Round trip from my house in the Northend to get a load of gravel at Lee's hill was 50 cents.” He has been driving his Nissan Leaf for the past five years and estimates he has saved about $2,500/year in fuel costs since switching from gas to electric. These savings might entice potential electric vehicle (EV) drivers, especially as fuel costs in BC are climbing again. According to the Vancouver Island Free Daily, the provincial average was $1.49 in 2021 versus $1.19 per litre in 2020. The Saanich News reported that post-Christmas gas prices in Greater Victoria are the highest they’ve been in 5 years at $1.65. Despite the attractive savings electric vehicles offer, many islanders are still on the fence about making the leap. “I would seriously consider an EV but just waiting for more range and affordabl…
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Potential BC Ferries service interruptions due to crew shortages

Like many other transportation providers, BC Ferries is anticipating that a combination of issues may result in unplanned service disruptions on all routes, and particularly on inter-island routes, over the coming months. There is no single factor driving service interruptions. It is a combination including the Omicron variant's potential to impact employee wellness, regular cold and flu season, severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff. Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual's qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work. Regulations require these positions to be filled with the appropriate crew, or the vessel cannot sail. Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if…
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The fix for Route Six (Vesuvius-Crofton) is a two ferry service

For those of us that use Route 6 - Vesuvius Bay to Crofton on a regular basis - Students, Commercial Trucking, Contractors, Residents, Tourists and the Residents of Chaplin St. in Crofton the answer is unequivocal, there is insufficient capacity. In a recent letter from BCF Customer Relations on behalf of CEO Mark Collins it stated that they don’t expect Ridership to recover for the next 2 to 3 years over the effects of the Pandemic on business. They went on to state they anticipate that the MV Quinsam (vehicle capacity 63) which will be redeployed from Route 19 Nanaimo – Gabriola Island in the Spring of 2022 to Route 6 which they anticipate will serve capacity demand adequately until 2035 when the ship’s useful service life is complete at approximately 55 years of age. The above two comments by BCF Management are patently unreasonable given the current state of Ridership on Route 6. The actual data from BCF repudiates their own comments. From July thru October of this ye…
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Prepare for a series of storms to hit B.C.

The Province is urging people to prepare and be diligent as Environment and Climate Change Canada issues weather alerts for a series of storms with heavy rain, strong winds and snow in some areas. The storms are expected to arrive in B.C. later today, Wednesday, Nov. 25, through to next week. Winter storm, rainfall, wind, snowfall and flood warnings have been issued throughout B.C.’s coastal areas, including the north coast, central coast and Vancouver Island. Special weather statements are in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Squamish to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast. Flood conditions may arise in the areas over the period of these storms. The River Forecast Centre has issued high streamflow advisories for all regions of the coast. People in these areas are asked to avoid all non-essential road travel during the upcoming storms. For up-to-date public weather alerts, visit Environment and Climate Change Canada's website. People living in thes…
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Provincial state of emergency declared as result of widespread damage caused by severe flooding and landslides

The B.C. government is declaring a provincial state of emergency to mitigate impacts on transportation networks and movement of essential goods and supplies, and to support the provincewide response and recovery from the widespread damage caused by severe flooding and landslides in British Columbia. “Provincial, federal and local governments are working with emergency personnel to make sure people and communities get the help they need as they work through yet another natural disaster. This provincial declaration of emergency will ensure the transport of goods, and essential and emergency services,” said Premier John Horgan. “Thank you to everyone for doing what you can to stay safe and to help one another as we work through this catastrophic time.” Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, made the declaration on Nov. 17, 2021, based on the recommendation from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Emergency Management BC. The declar…
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Watch: Landslide closes North End Road in both directions

Heavy rains from last night's rain has caused extensive damage around the island. It now appears that one of the areas most impacted is in the 1200 block of North End Road. The road is closed in both directions due to a landslide that has come down from the West side of Trincomali Ridge onto the road bringing trees and debris across the center lane. The force of the slide was strong enough to displace the concrete median protecting the road from the steep rock face along that section of the road. Emcon does not have an estimate date or time for the reopening and motorists are advised to avoid the area. You can see the extent of the damage in the video and photos below. https://youtu.be/7tOHnA5skwU
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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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Rising cost of fuel leads BC Ferries to remove fuel rebate

Due to market conditions and rising fuel costs, the 0.5 per cent fuel rebate applied to fares will be removed on December 1. BC Ferries closely monitors the cost of fuel and applies a rebate or surcharge, or neither, under a regulatory process that is independent of fares. This will result in customers no longer receiving a rebate of 10 cents for an adult passenger and 30 cents for a vehicle on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, and approximately 5 cents for an adult and 10 cents for a vehicle on inter-island routes. Over the past 17 years, BC Ferries has been using a fuel rebate/surcharge mechanism to manage the volatility in the price of fuel. When fuel prices are lower, BC Ferries passes lower fuel prices on to customers through a fuel rebate. When fuel prices are higher, BC Ferries charges a fuel surcharge specifically designed to cover the additional cost of fuel only. There have also been periods with neither. The company does not benefit financially fro…
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Island Pathways gathers to celebrate achievements

Island Pathways held a Thank-You Event at Portlock Park on October 1st that was long overdue. Host and chair of Island Pathways’ Partners Creating Pathway (PCP) committee, Jean Gelwicks, said, “We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have been and are supporters of community pathways.” Island Pathways had planned to hold a much larger event before COVID hit, to celebrate its completion of the sections it spearheaded of the Ganges Village Pathway Network (GVPN). The final section is the pathway from Central at Portlock Park to the beginning of St. Marks Cemetery, located on Barker Road. The realization of this pathway network, a CRD-PARC Community Task Force wish from 30 years ago, has gone unheralded, even though islanders have been working steadily toward the fulfillment of this goal since the Task Force recommended, followed by its embedding in SSI’s Official Community Plan. “Island Pathways takes thanking people seriously” says Gelwicks. “We owe all the people from the…
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New e-bike charging station installation completed at Ruckle Provincial Park

Salt Spring Island’s latest e-bike charging station is now complete. At Ruckle Park, by the parking lot just up from the barn, there are two bike racks and four 120-volt plugins. It also has two signs. The smaller one, by the receptacle, notes that the outlets are for “E-Bike Charging ONLY” (not EVs, although ideas are swirling about how to get Level 2 chargers out there). The larger sign, on the front of the kiosk, covers a bit of cycling history on Salt Spring, which goes back to at least 1887, decades before the first car. Safety is an ongoing concern, which e-bikes help address. Their riders go faster up hills, impeding fewer drivers, hence lessening risky passing moves. Three years ago, Island Pathways and Friends of Ruckle Park Heritage kicked off the e-bike station idea with BC Parks. It took Ron Watts—career photographer and e-energy advocate—to get it done. He gathered additional partners and shepherded it to conclusion. Big thanks to Ron, SSI Foundation Neigh…
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New bus route coming to Salt Spring Island in October

BC Transit and the Capital Regional District are announcing the introduction of year-round service to Beddis and Cusheon Lake roads effective October 1, 2021. Starting on Friday, October 1, the 7 Cusheon Lake will run three trips per day. This route provides increased transit coverage on Salt Spring Island and serves a number of destinations and visitor accommodations. It also provides additional service along Fulford Ganges Road, so that residents have more options for service in that area. Service on all other routes is being adjusted to match demand and align with BC Ferries’ schedules. Earlier Sunday and Holiday service is also being introduced on the following routes: 1 Ganges Local 3 Vesuvius 4 Long Harbour 5 Fernwood 6 SS Connector 9 Ruckle Park – Fulford direct Early service on Saturday is also being added to routes 3, 4 and 5. BC Transit reminds customers that that Free Transit for Children 12 and Under launched on September 1, and more information on …
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BC Ferries reminds customers travel restrictions Order in effect

In advance of the May long weekend, which is typically a popular travel time, BC Ferries is reminding customers that the Province’s travel restrictions Order remains in effect and travel is limited to essential reasons only. No additional sailings are scheduled this long weekend. BC Ferries continues to deny travel to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones as defined in the Order announced on April 23, 2021. This affects the following routes: Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay Tsawwassen – Duke Point Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay Comox – Powell River Port Hardy – Prince Rupert Customers travelling on these routes are asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential. Customers travelling on routes that operate within the same regional zone are reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel at this time. The Province defines situations that qualify as es…
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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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