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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Unpaid COVID-19 fines may lead to driver’s, vehicle licence denial

People who leave COVID-19 fines unpaid may be unable to obtain or renew a B.C. driver’s licence or vehicle licence under proposed legislation introduced today. “That small minority of persons who have been fined for violating the rules in place to protect us all are going to be held accountable for the debt they owe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We’ve already moved up the deadline for sending unpaid COVID-19 fines to collections. Now, we’re going to refuse to issue offenders a driver’s licence or vehicle licence if they still won’t take their tickets seriously and pay up.” If passed, proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act will extend “refuse to issue” (RTI) restrictions to fines issued under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act. RTI will apply to all outstanding fines issued under these acts and will be applied retroactively. People with outstanding fines will receive notice of the RTI from ICBC ahead…
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Laughing Apple Farm Survey to gauge support for slower speed traffic on Beddis Road

This past week it was reported locally here on Salt Spring Island that a petition was sent to the B.C. Legislature seeking to return our private portion of Beddis Road road to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). The petitioners want this section of road to be maintained at “highway standards” which means removal of the speed humps, and the speed limit signage, as well as perhaps some trees and hedgerows. This would make it a faster more urban-looking road, contrary to the heritage status of Beddis Road. Last week the petition was not accepted by the legislature because “it was out of order” and contained “many errors”. But we have a different vision for Beddis Road and several other secondary rural roads on Salt Spring Island (e.g. Cusheon Lake Road – also a heritage road). We have posted an informal survey at our farmstand at 900 Beddis Road to gauge the amount of community support for slower and more democratic heritage roads on Salt Spring – roa…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries passengers will be asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential

Starting immediately, in support of the provincial travel restrictions Order announced today by the Province, BC Ferries will deny travel to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones as defined in the Order. 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 will be 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 will be reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel at this time. The Province defines situations that qualify as essential travel here. “BC Ferries supports doing everything we can to discourage non-essential travel, and this Order gives us the legal authority we need to deny travel for non-essential reasons,” sa…
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COVID-19: Province introduces travel restrictions to curb spread

To help keep communities safe and protect British Columbia’s health-care system from COVID-19, the Province is introducing travel restrictions that limit non-essential travel in B.C. On the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has issued a new order using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act to prohibit non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province, using health authority boundaries. The regional zones are: Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Coastal Health regions); Vancouver Island (Island Health region); and Northern/Interior (Interior Health and Northern Health regions). While the order puts legal limits only on travel between regional zones, the PHO’s guidance remains unchanged throughout B.C.: everyone should continue to stay within their local community – essential travel only. This order will be in effec…
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ASK Salt Spring Everything You Need to Know About Electric Vehicles (EVs)

ASK Salt Spring welcomed Jim Standen, Salt Spring’s passionate and energetic electric vehicle (EV) expert, as well as lead of Transition Salt Spring’s Electric Vehicle Working Group. If you want to know anything about electric vehicles, Jim is your man. This was clearly illustrated by the information-filled and fascinating discussion in this ASK Salt Spring gathering. After our Territorial Acknowledgment, our learning about electric cars began. In general, we learned a lot about the reasons behind the rapid growth in electric car ownership, what one might want to know if considering an electric car, and everything that we wanted to know about charging stations. The rapid growth in electric car ownership: We began by asking if it was myth or truth that Salt Spring boasts the highest per capita EV ownership in North America. It is true - verified! BC has the highest ownership of EVs in North America. And, to the distress of the extremely-active and cheerf…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Union 'Deeply Disappointed' Members Aren't Included in First Release of Extra Vaccine

BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union Executive Director, Jack Bruckman, has released a statement to union members and media regarding vaccination timing for BC Ferries Union members. "Prior to today’s public announcement, Government informed us that Ferry Workers will not be included in the first release of extra COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca), and that this was a decision of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Henry. On this call we were also told other transportation workers will not be included (e.g. BC Transit, Translink, Inland Ferries, etc.) at this time." The release goes on to say that Union President Graeme Johnston has expressed his deep disappointment to the Provincial Government, stating "it seems wrong that our members’ diligence and efforts to minimize COVID-19 outbreaks would be used to support delaying our vaccine priority relative to other businesses and sectors that are receiving vaccination supplies because of their seemingly poorer Occupational Health and S…
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BC Ferries and First Peoples' Cultural Council Announce Name of New Salish-Class Vessel and Call for Artists

In recognition of the Coast Salish as the traditional stewards and original mariners of the Salish Sea, BC Ferries has named its new Salish-Class ferry Salish Heron. BC Ferries will honour the Salish Heron name with Coast Salish artwork on the exterior and interior of the vessel, and is partnering with the First Peoples' Cultural Council once again to facilitate the commission of an original design from a B.C. Coast Salish artist. Salish Heron is the fourth Salish-Class vessel to join BC Ferries’ fleet and will sail in the Southern Gulf Islands starting in 2022. Salish Orca, Salish Eagle, and Salish Raven entered service in 2017, sailing between Comox and Powell River and in the Southern Gulf Islands. BC Ferries held a public naming contest for the Salish-Class ferries in 2015. Salish Heron was among the shortlisted names because it reflects both the West Coast travel experience and the culture of British Columbia. A Call to Coast Salish artists is now open to invite expr…
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Watch: 'Abandoned Dreams' Documentary Features Local Work of the Dead Boat Disposal Society

Derelict and abandoned boats are one of the most frustrating and alarming issues faced by British Columbia’s coastal communities today. Reaching the end of their usable life cycle, with current disposal options being prohibitively expensive and no way to track ownership, old sail and powerboats are being left to rot on their moorings in public anchorages and bays in staggering numbers. Not only do these vessels clog up BC’s most prized destinations and waterways but they often end up drifting onto beaches and into public property—costing taxpayers and communities millions of dollars in damage and environmental clean-up each year. The Documentary After covering this issue in Pacific Yachting, we continued to monitor the problem and heard from many people in the boating community that this was a growing concern. In the fall of 2019, we were presented with an opportunity from Sportsman Channel Canada to share the story as a documentary. Abandoned Dreams looks into th…
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BC Ferries Launches New Fare Options for Vancouver – Vancouver Island Routes

BC Ferries announced the launch of new fare options today on the three Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes. These new fares will benefit customers travelling for essential purposes only and once it’s safe to resume non-essential travel, all customers will be able to take advantage of more fare choices. In addition to BC Ferries’ At Terminal and Reservation Only fares, customers currently travelling for essential purposes will immediately be able to take advantage of a new Saver fare and Prepaid fare. The Saver fare is BC Ferries’ most affordable fare and will be available on less busy sailings, while the Prepaid fare lets customers book and pay for their full travel in advance, saving time at terminal check-in. These new fare options are available for advanced purchase only. BC Ferries expects these additional fare options will reduce sailing waits at popular times, make better use of all sailings and help make the ferry system more efficient. “Our routes between Me…
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BC Ferries Seeks Community Input on Ferry Schedules in The Southern Gulf Islands

With the introduction of a new Salish-Class vessel and its increased capacity to the Southern Gulf Islands in 2022, BC Ferries is reaching out to island communities to identify ways to enhance ferry service in advance of the new ship's arrival. Engagement will take place in two phases. In Phase One, now underway, BC Ferries will work with the community to develop a list of criteria to evaluate schedule options later in the process. In Phase Two, the company will present schedule options to the community and use the criteria to evaluate them. Community feedback will help create an improved schedule for the Southern Gulf Islands. Ferry Advisory Committees for the Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island will be heavily involved in the engagement process throughout, helping to review community feedback, and refine and finalize schedule options. “The Southern Gulf Islands are growing and changing, and working towards pandemic recovery,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ Pres…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Encourages Essential Travel Only This Holiday Season

Delivery of goods and holiday packages remain a priority - BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel over the holiday period, in keeping with direction provided by the Province of British Columbia. The company continues to transport commercial traffic, delivering essential goods and services to coastal communities. Commercial traffic, in fact, is as strong or stronger across all routes than for this same period last year. For customers who need to travel for essential reasons, BC Ferries offers the following advice to support safe travel this holiday season: Plan in advance. Priority will be to keep essential goods, groceries, holiday letters and packages moving. Book in advance. This guarantees passengers travel on the sailing of their choice. BC Ferries recently launched a new mobile-friendly website that makes it easier for customers to book and manage their bookings online. For full schedule information, current conditions and bookings, pleas…
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Making the Case for Safe Cycling with Alternative Options

As a long time island cyclist it is very encouraging to hear Capital Regional District (CRD) Director Gary Holman announce new cycling infrastructure to be built in the next year. Especially notable is a 1.5 meter shoulder going up the Ganges Hill from Seaview Avenue to Beddis Road, and while I applaud such moves, much is still needed to make our island safe for cycling. I have seen lately a big increase of cyclists on our island roads and with ebikes making hill climbing much easier, I believe we are going to keep seeing more cyclists for the next few years. Many are rediscovering the joys of bicycling because of COVID and social distancing; it is an activity that remains safe, that is as long as no one gets hit by a car. The reason there is poor cycling infrastructure on Salt Spring is that for many years, local cyclists have been told that bike paths are very expensive and in this part of the world, where bicycles are often looked at as a toy rather than a viable mode …
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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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Watch: Bicycle Life - How The Electric Bicycle Is Transforming Island Lives

What if we chose the electric bicycle as our primary way of getting around? Instantly lowering our costs of living, reducing our carbon, increasing our health, supporting the autonomy of young and old, reviving a vibrant local economy, on streets designed for everyone? Swapping our car for the ebike took some courage, but with safe, connected trails like the Salish Sea trail network, it would be an easy choice for many. This little film imagines the possibilities. https://youtu.be/_GGx9cnP624
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North Ganges Transportation Plan Sidewalks and Bike Lanes Nearing Completion

The North Ganges Transportation Plan design for pedestrian, cycling, and intersection improvements along Rainbow Road, non-harbour side of Lower Ganges Road and design intersection improvements to Upper/Lower Ganges intersection is now nearing completion. The estimated $1,700,000 project was built by Victoria, BC based Don Mann Excavating. Have a look at the video of the project nearing completion, photos of the project during construction, photos of the project nearing completion and detailed plans of the original working drawings outlining the scope of work of the project. Take a Video Tour of the Project Nearing Completion https://youtu.be/UWaF8J-jpSU Photos: Project Under Construction Photos: Project Nearing Completion Engineering Drawings for the Proje…
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Local Advocates Rally for Safe Cycling and Salish Sea Trail Completion

Over 70 local bike riders and cycling advocates gathered today for a social bike ride from Portlock Park to the United Church Meadow in Ganges in a show of support for safe cycling and to challenge local governments to support investments in local cycling infrastructure. Organized by Salt Spring Solutions as part of the GoByBike Week events being hosted around the province, the gathering was also an opportunity to rally support for investments in the completion of the Salish Sea Trail across Salt Spring Island. Local advocates are working to motivate Salt Spring's unusual, and for the purposes of these kinds of initiatives, not particular well structured government organizations, to take charge of implementing the long-held vision of improving Fulford-Ganges Road from the Fulford Ferry through to the Vesuvius Ferry to not only improve conditions for drivers, but to extend the width of the road shoulders to offer safe spaces for bikes to transit onto and across the island as …
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