Tragedies on B.C. Highways Prompt Coroners’ Safety Reminder

This week has been marked by several fatal motor vehicle incidents on highways throughout British Columbia. Between Friday, July 5, and Wednesday, July 10, 2024, there were 19 accidental motor-vehicle-related deaths reported to the BC Coroners Service (BCCS). Twelve of those deaths occurred during three incidents reported in the Interior Health Authority. Collisions reported to the Coroners Service include single-vehicle incidents, as well as multi-vehicle crashes. In the wake of these incidents, BCCS is urging residents and visitors to take extra care while planning road trips. “We extend our condolences to all affected by these tragedies. We know there are far-reaching impacts, as family and friends across the province, and beyond, mourn the loss of their loved ones,” said John McNamee, acting chief coroner. “While so many of us look forward to summer trips, unfortunately, statistics show the risk of deadly motor-vehicle crashes is much greater in July, August and Se…
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Notice: Cycle of Life Tour is coming to Salt Spring Island - July 20-21

The annual Cycle of Life Tour, is happening on July 20-21 and will see 95 riders cycling from Victoria, through the Cowichan Valley, over to Salt Spring Island and back to Victoria. On Saturday, July 20, the cyclists will be on the 2:20 p.m. ferry from Crofton – Vesuvius Bay and will be riding two different routes to their overnight venue on Rainbow Rd., arriving by 4:00 p.m. On Sunday, July 21, cyclists will leave the venue on Rainbow Rd. at 8:00 a.m. and will ride to the Fulford ferry terminal where they will catch the 11:10 a.m. ferry to Swartz Bay. There will also be a few support vehicles on the road with the riders on both days. This fundraising event supports Vancouver Island hospices and Salt Spring Island Hospice. Riders are from up and down the island and are currently at a fundraising total of more than $230,000 in support of compassionate end-of-life care. We are grateful for the continued support of residents and businesses on Salt Spring Island and we thank…
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Harbour Air Connects Salt Spring Island and Victoria with Launch of New Flight Route

Harbour Air, North America’s leading seaplane airline, has launched a new flight route between Salt Spring Island and Victoria, available from June 1st until September 30th, 2024. Harbour Air’s new Salt Spring Island-Victoria / Victoria-Salt Spring Island route will help connect both regions by providing people with fast and convenient 20-minute flights, and low fares starting from just $91 one way. This new route is in addition to other Harbour Air flights between Salt Spring Island and Vancouver or Richmond (YVR South), which gives island residents and visitors even more travel options throughout the summer season. Travelers booking this route will enjoy stunning panoramic views as they depart from Victoria or Salt Spring Island (Ganges Harbour), soar above the Gulf Islands, and arrive at their destination after a brief 20-minute flight. With multiple scheduled flights per day from Monday and Wednesday to Sunday, the route offers a quick and easy way for people in Sal…
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Summer Service Change for Salt Spring Island Transit

BC Transit and the Capital Regional District are informing transit users of an upcoming change to the Salt Spring Island Transit System effective June 26, 2024. Changes are being made to routes that will better align with the BC Ferries’ schedule. In addition, Route 9 service to Ruckle Park will be reintroduced for the summer season. You can find all the trip time changes in the most recent Rider’s Guide. For more information on trip planning, fares or to sign up for customer alerts, please visit bctransit.com/salt-spring-island
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ASK Salt Spring Welcomes Owen Page, our MoTi Area Manager

April 19 Fifteen joined us for all or part of our time together at this ASK Salt Spring gathering that welcomed our Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) Area Manager Owen Page. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, we asked Owen what excites and delights him. Personally, he was looking forward to watching a great basketball playoff while enjoying a beer that evening. Professionally, he loves spending time in the communities for which he is responsible, always listening, learning, and seeking the best use of the resources he has been allocated. Later ,when asked if the number of Salt Spring emails were a bit overwhelming, he responded a resounding No. He appreciates hearing our suggestions. He is able to address some. Others he routes to the correct managers, keeping track and advocating for them, as appropriate. When asked to detail his area of responsibility, we learned that, although the Gulf Islands are split between three Area Managers, leaving Owen …
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BC Ferries’ People Receive Substantial Wage Increase

VICTORIA – BC Ferries’ unionized team members are set to receive a one-year 7.75 per cent general wage increase, with many jobs receiving extra “special increases” including some licensed mariners receiving up to an additional 10.0 per cent, better reflecting the significant daily contributions they make and more closely aligning their pay with compensation standards across the industry. Today’s settlement is retroactive to October 1, 2023. “We know wages haven’t kept up for our people and that more was needed for us to get back to being an employer of choice. I’m grateful to our people for the patience they demonstrated over the last few months,” said Nicolas Jimenez, President and CEO of BC Ferries. “Getting to this point has been a long time coming. The offer we put on the table six months ago was a very good one then, and it’s still a very good one today – even more so when you consider it’s a one-year increase. In fact, it's one of the largest increases in the compan…
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BC Ferries: Discount Fares Available

MORE DISCOUNT FARES AVAILABLE VICTORIA – Customers can expect to have more opportunity – and more choice – in booking discounted fares to travel with BC Ferries from April 1 onwards. More than double the amount of people travelling between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island will now benefit from discounts by booking Saver fares. In addition, cancellation fees are being reduced for Prepaid and Saver fares to give passengers more flexibility should their plans change. New savings will be offered to customers or families who carpool and book in advance, or who take alternative modes of transportation, helping make it less busy at the terminals. Specifically, savings will increase for those who book a Saver fare and are travelling together in the same vehicle. Also, a new Foot Passenger Saver Fare of $15 is being introduced for select sailings, when booked and paid for in advance. “By offering more discounts for those who book and pay in advance, we expect less conges…
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Low-interest community loans available for new or used fully electric vehicles

Are you aware that as a Salt Spring Island resident, you can borrow up to $7,000 with a very friendly low interest 3.5% loan, towards the purchase of a new or used fully electric vehicle (not a hybrid). Yes, and you may be eligible. I am very excited to announce that the very first loan has been granted. In this case, the loan has been funded by a partnership of the TSS - Electric Vehicle Group and our local Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Cooperative (TSSEC). Future loans will be available from TSSEC’s Climate Action pool. TSSEC is a cooperative with about 100 members who loan funds to go to individuals, community projects and businesses for climate action initiatives. In the past 12 years just under a quarter of a million dollars has been loaned to 37 projects and people! TSSEC acts as a “broker” between lenders and borrowers, and it offers low interest rates and a simple application process for its Climate Action Loan program. Larger loans are available as well for…
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ASK Salt Spring on all things local emergency management with Corey Anderson, Jolette Schenk and John Wakefield

While only 10 joined this ASK Salt Spring conversation about our preparedness for emergencies, we learned so much! Led by John Wakefield, Emergency Management Lead, Salt Spring Island, he was joined by Jolette Schenk, CRD Electoral Area Emergency Services Coordinator and Corey Anderson, Manager, Emergency Programs, both of whom had come from Victoria to join us. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, John spoke briefly about accelerating challenges from climate-related weather emergencies. While things may seem to be much the same, it is John’s observation that on Salt Spring, much like the rest of the world, record heat domes, drought, and storms are ramping up awareness and concern. We learned that virtually all of Ganges - as far inland as the Library - are in a tsunami hazard zone. After recognizing our vulnerability as an island, John reminded us that there are simple, concrete things we can do to prepare. These include: Sign up for Alertable, free and available…
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Beta testing electric vehicle “Full Self Driving” mode on Salt Spring Island

I really enjoyed Shilo Zylbergold’s humorous take on self-driving cars in his Nobody Asked Me But column in the Sept. 27 Driftwood. Most of you readers may not be aware of the fact that self-driving cars have been operating on the streets of Salt Spring Island for over 2 years. Tesla has been on the forefront of this technology. The current software is a beta version, which is not ready for prime time, just for select cool beta-testers. When you purchase your car on the Web site (that’s how Tesla does stuff), the self driving software is an optional add-on. However, to be able to use it, you have to apply and commit to some safe driving rules. The first is that you must have your hands on the steering wheel at all times in case something goes awry. You also have to agree to some legalese. You have to manually turn the FSD (for “Full Self Driving”) software on and optionally enter a destination. At all times when the FSD software is active, your driving habits are monit…
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ASK Salt Spring with Cycling Salt Spring discussing active transportation, cycling safety and more

Only seven came to welcome Island Pathways’ President, Bob MacKie, board member Margaretha Nordine, and Treasurer Luke Campbell of its Cycling Salt Spring committee. While the numbers were small, the conversation was rich, and all had the opportunity to participate. Our Territorial Acknowledgment morphed into a brief exploration of some of the events in our colonial history that set the stage for our need to reconcile injustices. Soon, though, we launched into our topic at hand: the many exciting projects of Island Pathways: Celebrating its 35th year, Island Pathways has been the driving force behind safer walking and cycling on Salt Spring since 1988. Partners Creating Pathways (PCP), an Islands Pathways committee, created our pathway network around Ganges. By 2017, PCP had completed its commitment to create the 10-section Ganges Village Pathway Network. This over five kilometer network of pathways cost local taxpayers only $250,000, a fraction of the cost paid by other com…
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ASK Salt Spring with MOTI Area Manager Owen Page and Emcon Roads maintenance Operations Manager, Andrew Gaetz

Twenty joined this ASK Salt Spring gathering to welcome Owen Page, our Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) Area Manager, and Andrew Gaetz, Emcon (our roads maintenance contractor) Operations Manager. After our Territorial Acknowledgement, both Andrew and Owen told us that they were thrilled to be with us and, according to Owen, this was the very best part of his job. Andrew’s span of responsibility is the entire south Vancouver Island from Chemainus south and including all the Gulf Islands. Owen’s scope of responsibility is the CRD on Vancouver Island as well as Salt Spring, Saturna, and Piers Islands. Each with different sets of responsibilities, we are lucky that they speak to one another on a regular basis, coordinating projects as well as emergency responses. Despite the many communities they both serve, they expend a great deal of energy on Salt Spring, a credit to them as well as our involvement and advocacy efforts. Concerning our soon-to-be-posted…
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Salt Spring Island Active Transportation Network Plan focuses on five big moves

The Salt Spring Island Active Transportation Network Plan (ATNP) has a strong focus on making Ganges Village a walkable community that is easily accessible by cycling and connected by active transportation. The ATNP focuses on prioritizing low-cost, quick-build, and actionable solutions recognizing limited resources on the island. The ATNP directs the Capital Regional District (CRD) and its partners, including the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, to focus on implementing five big moves first. The five big moves for Ganges Village are highlighted in Section 8.1: 30 km/h posted speed limit McPhillips Avenue improvements Increasing off-street parking options Land ownership survey of Ganges village Fulford-Ganges improvements “Embracing more active transportation in Ganges Village is not only a shift in how we move; it's a commitment to fostering a sense of belonging and community,” said Gary Holman, Salt Spring Island Local Community Commission…
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Salt Spring Island Cycling Safety Review Freedom of Information support needed

In the last few years, the B.C. government has added “bulk contracts”, as I call them, to its way of procuring contractors. The specifics of work given via these sweetheart deals aren’t listed on Bid BC or in Civic Info BC, as is required of all other procurements awarded for goods & services over $10,000. To find out, in this instance, how much the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure’s 2023 May “Salt Spring Island Cycing Safety Review” cost to produce, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request is required. I filed one this past January, asking also for the Terms of Reference for the contract and all relevant correspondence -- likely just a few e-mails -- to get a bit more about instructions, limitations, etc. This report was promised last September, but wasn’t completed until 2023 March. MoTI then planned to publish it this coming November, hence I did another FOI request to see it asap, since it was done, just not available. MoTI posted it online in early May, aft…
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Opinion: Testing the Waters

In response to the Driftwood’s July 12, 2023 “Testing the Waters” editorial, Clean and Safe Harbours Initiative (CASHI) members would like to make the following comments. CASHI members think it’s terrific, as does the Driftwood, that the June 21, 2023 Island Health/CRD fecal matter water test results show that at Centennial Park bulkhead and Churchill Beach enterococci levels are “safe for swimming.” This does not mean that there is no fecal matter in the water, as the Driftwood points out, but that it is not “unsafe” for swimming. A regular water quality monitoring program for Ganges Harbour is long overdue, of course, given that our harbour is permanently closed for shellfish harvesting because of the risk of sanitary contamination. As the Driftwood points out, no doubt human waste and garbage are being dumped into our harbours and that this pollution comes from both liveaboards and transient vessels. The Driftwood also notes there are derelict boats in our harbours at …
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EV Charging - The NACS Standard and what it means for EV owners on Salt Spring Island

Perhaps you have seen the recent announcements of initially Apterra, then followed by Ford and GM shifting their electric vehicle charging strategy to support the NACS (North American Charging Standard) otherwise known as Tesla Chargers (Level 2 Destination chargers and Tesla Superchargers for high-speed charging). Now other charger companies like Rivian, Flo and ChargePoint are following suit. This finally seals the deal for a single charging standard in North America. Such technology battles are not new. Consider the Beta vs VHS battle which was followed by Blue Ray vs HD DVD and now the many streaming options. Another format competition was Palm Pilot vs Blackberry vs iPhone. Eventually, there are just a few winners. Try to find someone using a beta machine or Palm Pilot today. One of the first deaths in the EV charging arena was ChaDeMo, the Japanese standard. Vehicles that use it will see that receptacle not being supported and being considered the standard, CCS, the…
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Crofton and Vesuvius Ferry terminal timber trestle repair work

As part of BC Ferries ongoing commitment to ensure the safe operation of their terminal facilities, BC Ferries will be carrying out marine work activities to extend the life of the timber trestles on the following dates: Crofton terminal: Monday, July 17 - Friday, August 11 Vesuvius terminal: Monday, August 14 - Friday, September 8, 2023. A marine rig will be mobilized to the site, and this work will include the use of equipment that may increase the normal sound levels within the terminal. The installation of new piles will have the most notable noise impacts for the residents surrounding the terminals. Installation is expected to take place during the following weeks: Crofton terminal: Tuesday, July 18 - Tuesday, August 1, Vesuvius terminal: Tuesday, August 15 - Friday, August 18. To mitigate traffic disruptions for customers, construction activities will be carried out overnight between the hours of 8:00 pm – 6:30 am, and all efforts will be made to minimize th…
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Safe And Clean Harbours Initiative strongly supported

The Safe and Clean Harbours Initiative, aiming to clean up Salt Spring’s harbours, is widely supported by islanders, according to a representative poll taken among Salt Spring Insights panelists in May. Seven in ten residents support the Safe and Clean Harbours Initiative (35% strongly support and 36% somewhat support). About one in eight residents oppose it (12%), and a further one fifth (18%) are unsure about support or opposition. Glenn Stevens, the coordinator of the initiative, explained that “The polling we’ve done confirms what we heard from so many citizens about the need for doing something and not simply ignoring the worsening environmental situation that has been allowed to go on and on for far too long in our harbours and adjoining waterfronts.” The initiative will be presented to Islands Trust June 22, setting out standards for disposal of waste by revising the bylaws that are currently in place (but not being enforced), and legitimizing live aboard resident…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA Adam Olsen and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI), Rob Fleming on all thing island transportation

The atmosphere at the ASK Salt Spring gathering in the Mouat’s Meadow (one time location) had a celebratory party atmosphere, markedly different from our more serious times together each Friday. Energized by enthusiastic cyclists, led by the Island Pathways Cycling Group, there were toddlers and preschoolers on tiny bikes cavorting, smoothies, and a huge carrot cake graciously-donated by County Grocer and proclaiming The Chamber Welcomes ASK Salt Spring. What was different? Once again, our MLA, Adam Olsen, brought a special guest to his regular monthly visit to us: Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI), Rob Fleming. Normally accurately reporting how many gather each week, we stopped counting at 60. Instead, we simply enjoyed a meadow full of engaged Salt Springers. Not only did Minister Fleming and Sophia Brownsey from the Ministry join us, but MoTI managers Mike Pearson, Vancouver Island, and Shawn Haley, South Island Operations, came as well. Adam was …
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Join the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rob Fleming and MLA Adam Olsen to discuss transportation on Salt Spring Island

I am excited to host Hon. Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, this Friday at ASK Salt Spring to discuss transportation issues on Salt Spring Island. I invited Minister Fleming following a visit from Minister Mike Farnworth earlier this Spring where we discussed public safety on Salt Spring. Transportation was repeatedly raised as a top public safety concern and it remains a high-traffic topic of correspondence to me from Salt Spring residents. We will hear from you about a range of issues including BC Ferries, road maintenance and repairs, and upgrades to the Fulford-Vesuvius corridor to accommodate active transportation like walking and cycling more safely. Minister Fleming has been responsive to our advocacy regarding the needs of Salt Spring Island, and I look forward to his visit so you can raise your ideas and concerns with him directly. A year ago, the Ministry commissioned a cycling safety review of the corridor, and with the recommend…
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Fulford Harbour ferry terminal timber trestle repair work May to July 2023

BC Ferries will be performing repairs to the holding compound timber trestle at the Fulford Harbour terminal. Construction will begin May 23 with expected completion early July 2023. This necessary work addresses important safety upgrades, and will take place Monday to Friday between the hours of 10:00 am and 8:30 pm for the most part. We have chosen these hours to mitigate disruption to important early morning commuter sailings, however, during this time customers should expect additional weekday congestion at the Fulford terminal. Overnight work will be necessary for one week during this time to mitigate traffic disruption for our customers. All efforts will be made to minimize noise levels for our neighbours. Further information, including specific dates for night work, will be provided through updated Service Notices. There will be a reduction to the terminal vehicle holding capacity to facilitate the construction activities, while traffic patterns may also be modi…
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