Islands Trust to Disallow B&B Use with Proposed Changes to Bylaw 512

The Islands Trust is proposing changes to Bylaw 512 that will impact specific properties on Salt Spring, but the changes will also have an impact  on all of us. What the bylaw 512 says: Adds the concept of a full-time rental cottage (2.1); Rezones around 400 properties that currently allow a seasonal cottage to now allow a full-time rental cottage (2.3); Disallows the use of any cottage for home based B&B (3.15.7): ” On lots where a full-time rental cottage is permitted, no seasonal or full-time rental cottage may be used as part of a bed-and-breakfast home-based business. “ What This Means: If you are affected by this Bylaw then when it is adopted you will lose the right to use a seasonal cottage as part of a home based B&B business. This is true even if you don’t yet have a cottage, and regardless of whether you want to provide long term rental accommodation. What You Can Do: If you are OK with the Trust arbitrarily changing your zoning to r…
Read more

MLA Adam Olsen on the Recent Wet’suwet’en Swartz Bay Protest

This week I saw my riding grapple with mixed emotions to the protesters who blocked the Swartz Bay ferry terminal for two hours in what they said was an act of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who are opposed to the Coastal Gas Link pipeline currently being constructed in their territory. Living in this vibrant democracy is not easy. We all recognize the constitutionally protected right to protest, but when these acts of democratic engagement impact our daily lives, it can be hard to stand behind those foundational principles. Things are often easier in theory than in practice. But nothing worth doing ever does come easy. The very freedoms and rights we enjoy today as Canadians have not come easily and protecting them today requires every one of us to remain diligent and engaged. While I must defend the right for people to peacefully demonstrate it is also important to publicly encourage people to use tactics that advance the interests that they are…
Read more

Fulford Vortex Proposal In Focus

With regard to the proposed Vortex development at the site of the former Fulford Inn (17 commercial guest accommodation units, a restaurant, and associated facilities), the public should be aware that the Local Trust Committee, in granting a variance to decrease septic setback distances from Soule Creek and Fulford Harbour, did not heed the recommendation of Trust staff. The staff report states: “Staff do not support this variance request and consider it to be contrary to Land Use Bylaw and OCP provisions for water quality protection.” Here is the rationale: “Adjacent to a fish-bearing stream. Adjacent to a sensitive estuarine ecosystem. Projected to be subject to climate change-induced flooding. Presence of recorded archaeological site.” Trust bylaw regulations require a minimum setback of 30 metres – a safety margin based on scientific research. The variance now allows a setback of just 10 metres from Soule Creek and 26 metres from the harbour. The CRD’s Coastal Sea …
Read more

Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 November

Vision A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 54 calls for assistance in November. Operations As part of our ongoing community education and outreach SSIFR hosted the 1st series of Salt Spring Island Emergency Resiliency Training (SSERT) for the community organized by the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program.  The first session was a great success with over 20 community members partaking in four nights of resiliency training.  The skills they learned will help them and our community be better prepared for emergencies.  The next series of SSERT will be held in December and registration is already full.  With the success and interest from the community there will be future SSERT classes offered thanks to the support of the Salt Spring Island Em…
Read more

The Personal is Political: A Critique of Bylaw 512

There was a time on Salt Spring Island, twenty years or so ago, when cottages were just that—cottages…with no “seasonal” qualifier. I don’t know when the seasonal restriction was imposed on Salt Spring Island cottages, or why. The six staff reports on the proposed bylaw 512 (a bylaw which would remove the “seasonal” qualifier from a handful of cottages in hopes of increasing the number of affordable rentals) that were written between 2017 and 2019—on our tax dime—do not address why the “seasonal” qualifier was added to cottages in the first place, or when. Perhaps it happened during the process of drafting the Official Community Plan in 2008—in any case, at some point in the last twenty years, our Local Trust Committee and planning staff decided that cottages should seasonally restricted, and that year-round cottage living be prohibited. As a relative newcomer, I still shake my head in disbelief at the maze of prohibitions that pass for local governance on this beautiful isl…
Read more

Grad Rates Improve in the Gulf Islands

The Six-Year Completion Rate for BC residents, often referred to as the “grad rate”, increased and approached the BC average in June 2019. The percentage of Gulf Islands School District students graduating in six years from their grade 8 to 12 program jumped from 74.2% for the previous year to 82.7%, the 4th largest increase in the province. The results were confirmed by BC’s Ministry of Education in December 2019. "Focused work by teachers and staff have contributed to this accomplishment,” stated Scott Benwell, Gulf Islands’ Superintendent of Schools. "This is one important indicator of the work we do as a public school system to ensure students have equitable and meaningful options for success when they graduate. Achieving results and improvement like this takes effort from all and it is heartening to see that more of our students walked the stage with dignity, purpose, and options. While this is a positive gain, we know that our continued work on behalf of students wi…
Read more

Alert: Wet’suwet’en Blockade Against Coastal GasLink Blocks Swartz Bay Ferry Traffic - 2020 January 20 - 7:35 AM

UPDATE: Posted Monday, January 20, 2020 - Update as of 9:00 AM: Please be advised that traffic access to the Swartz Bay terminal has been restored and all sailings to and from the terminal have resumed. Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): Victoria (Swartz Bay) - Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour); Victoria (Swartz Bay) - Southern Gulf Islands and Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay) UPDATE: Traffic is now flowing to the terminal, and all vessels departing the terminal will be delayed until the traffic on the highway has cleared. This includes the Fulford Harbour - Swartz Bay ferry. Expect delays this morning and possibly into early afternoon. A blockade in support of Wet’suwet’en against Coastal GasLink has reportedly prevented traffic on Highway 17 from getting to the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. At this time all ferry traffic in and out of Swartz Bay, including Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island ferry t…
Read more

Notice: Alternative Approval Process for Regional Housing First Program

Alternative Approval Process for Bylaw 4326 and 4327, Regional Housing First Program - The Capital Regional District ("CRD") Board proposes to adopt Bylaw No. 4326 “Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking Service Establishment Bylaw No. 1, 2010, Amendment Bylaw No. 1, 2019” to remove the limitations to borrowing and Bylaw No. 4327, “Regional Housing First Program Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 1, 2019” to authorize the borrowing of an additional ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for the Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking Service. The intent of Bylaws No. 4326 and 4327 is to extend the Regional Housing First Program for a total contribution of $120M, with the intention of meeting the original program goal of 400 units of affordable housing. Adoption of both bylaws is required in order to receive $10M in matching funds from BC Housing. Elector Approval The CRD may proceed with Bylaws No. 4326 and 4327 with the consent of 2/3rds of service participants, or at least 11 of …
Read more

New Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy

The Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) announces three new Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy - Salt Spring Island’s Community Economic Commission (CEDC) is announcing three new initiatives to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Piloting in mid-2020 will be the development of a commercial distribution and export hub providing local food and beverage producers, artisans and craftspeople, along with health and wellness fabricators, the opportunity to share the cost of services and/or resources needed to grow and sustain their operations. Through the initiative local producers will have access to dedicated marketing and sales agents; shared labour force resources, and a value chain designed to facilitate more efficient production of supplies. The second initiative is the planning of an Innovation Centre for Rural Sustainability to help foster an environment appropriate for testing and scaling innovative green business soluti…
Read more

Alert: All Salt Spring Ferries Cancelled Due to Adverse Weather - January 15th, 2020 - 3:39 PM

Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): - Victoria (Swartz Bay) - Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour) Update as of 3:39 pm: Please be advised that the Queen of Cumberland has cancelled the following sailings due to adverse weather conditions - high winds: 5:50 pm departing Fulford Harbour 7:00 departing Swartz Bay 7:50 departing Fulford Harbour 9:00 departing Swartz Bay Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): - Crofton - Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) Update as of 3:20 pm: Please be advised that the MV Quinitsa has cancelled the following sailings due to adverse weather conditions. 6:45 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 7:20 pm departing Crofton 8:00 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 8:30 pm departing Crofton 9:30 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 10:00 pm departing Crofton Note: This Service Notice applies to the following route(s): - Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Southern Gulf Islands Update as of 2:00 pm: Please be advised that…
Read more

Alert: All Sailings for Vesuvius-Crofton Resume for Today - 2020 January 11th - 18:32

Update as of 6:32 pm: Please be advised that the MV Quinitsa will resume sailing with the 6:45 pm sailing departing from Vesuvius Bay.The ship was experiencing a problem with its Right Angle Drive which has since been resolved. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of the earlier cancellations. -------- Please be advised that the MV Quinitsa has cancelled the following sailings due to a mechanical difficulty: 5:30 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 6:05 pm departing Crofton 6:45 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 7:20 pm departing Crofton 8:00 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 8:30 pm departing Crofton 9:30 pm departing Vesuvius Bay 10:00 pm departing Crofton The ship is experiencing a problem with its Right Angle Drive. A water taxi will sail in place of the MV Quinitsa on the same above posted schedule. Vessel will dock at both public docks adjacent each terminal. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any …
Read more

Turf Field Still Best Option For Youth Sports on Salt Spring

If the recent decision by the school district to rescind their support for a turf field proposal put forward by the local soccer association feels familiar to the Brinkworthy athletic park rejection a few years ago, that's because it is.  Last time the “no” crowd was comprised of agricultural land advocates and complaints from neighboring property owners. This time the no’s came from some environmentalists and anti-plastic advocates.  In both cases the loser is ultimately youth and community sports groups and their proposals to upgrade our athletic fields and parks to modern standards.  It seems that while everyone has been objecting, no one has been listening. Our community sports infrastructure is woefully inadequate, especially when compared to our neighbouring communities.  We lack ball diamonds, enough quality soccer fields, and even a skating rink if you really wanted to dream big.  This is not a new problem, it’s a problem our community has grappled with for decades, …
Read more

Seeds, Weeds and Rodent Deeds

As the days are noticeably lengthening, thoughts of garden plans begin to dance in our heads. I usually start pruning fruit trees in a few weeks, but it is not too early to start now, especially of the early blooming peaches and cherries. With the mild weather so far, people are wondering if buds swelling buds on fruit trees, garlic that has come up and other early growth will be harmed by cold. Some people already have snowdrops in bloom! IF we have several more weeks of mild weather, then a really severe cold period occurring after that could injure them, but usually early buds and shoots are hardy enough to withstand late cold spells. Just keep an eye on the forecast and beef up mulches or throw a tarp over plants if the weather looks dicey.

Germination tests: A task for a wet day is to sort out your seed collection and see what you need to replace. It only takes a couple of days to do a germination test to check…

Read more

The Greatest Future We Can Possibly Imagine...?

The New Year affords us the opportunity to look a bit into the distance. Will we make a resolution, reflect on the year past, or set a goal for one year from now?  Is anyone looking farther into the future? We live in a world of quarterly reports, monthly rent or mortgage, hourly pay or paid biweekly, and parking by the minute. Time is money. Our reality is immediate. Climate change creates another pull to deal with the immediate. There is more certainty in the short time frame, but to neglect the longer view is to miss out. All great things are only possible inside a medium or long view. Things such as getting an education, building or buying a house, committing to a career, or having children are an expression of medium range thinking. Long range thinking is to think and plan beyond one’s lifetime in order to benefit one’s descendents, or the future of the human species. The future we create can be anything but frightening. It needs to be so great that we can’t wa…
Read more

Salt Spring and Gulf Islands Real Estate Values Rise 5%

In the next few days, owners of more than 374,600 properties throughout Vancouver Island can expect to receive their 2020 assessment notices, which reflect market value as of July 1, 2019. "The market has stabilized in most areas of Vancouver Island this year," says Vancouver Island Assessor Tina Ireland. "In the south part of Vancouver Island, the majority of residential property values are moving -5% to +5%, while up island the value increases are a little higher. The commercial and industrial markets are generally showing increases over last year's assessments." BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data throughout the year. Overall, Vancouver Island's total assessments increased from about $246 billion in 2019 to $255 billion this year. A total of almost $4.14 billion of the region's updated assessments is from new construction, subdivisions and rezoning of properties. BC Assessment's Vancouver Island region includes all communities located within …
Read more

Kids and Families Ring In New Year at New Centennial Playground

Salt Spring Island kids and families had a new way to celebrate New Years this year. A free event generously hosted by Windsor Plywood and the Salt Spring Lions welcomed all in the community to enjoy the new nature based playground. While the playground won't be completed and officially opened until this spring, there was still much to enjoy this evening for the kids who ventured out in the early evening rain. Many enjoyed the free hot dogs and hot chocolate offered by the Lions and Windsor while also enjoying a wonderful fireworks display out in the harbour to celebrate the park and the new year.
Read more

Opportunity Portraits: Pod Contemporary Gallery

Pod Contemporary Gallery: Selling Contemporary Art and Artful Pieces - At Pod, owner Helen Mears offers an opportunity to take in contemporary art and boutique style shopping at the same time. How do you combine your passion for art and convert that into something you do for a living? I remember being in my early twenties and I traveled to Seattle for numerous weekends away and noticed how a lot of hotels and restaurants had original art displayed.It wasn't very prevalent in Vancouver and decided that I wanted to incorporate into my business endeavor. At the time, in East Vancouver, where my shop Mecca was located, there were many struggling artists with not many options to exhibit. I had a beautiful old storefront with 12 foot + ceilings. Art enhanced the space. I continued to incorporate it into my future businesses:Cafe Talia and Pod contemporary. I watch as people react, connect with and observe the work I exhibit. It's an exciting element of my work. As a woman en…
Read more

Before and After: New Nature Based Playground Opens in Centennial Park

The new Centennial Park Playground is now open. Additional elements including the iconic rocking horse, benches, water fountain, and landscaping will be completed in the spring of 2020. The berm, slide and wooden stepping stones are closed for now to allow settling. Park Master Planning Community Engagement Before Photos During Construction After Partial Completion - Final Completion in Spring 2020
Read more

Opportunity Portraits: InDro Robotics

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of InDro Robotics who specializes in the manufacture, distribution and operation of commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Their technology has been utilized in disaster planning, search and rescue missions, climate research, early detection of wildfire hazards and to provide agriculture & vegetation management. We recently caught up with local President and CEO Philip Reece. Indro Robotics - Q & A With Philip Reece, President and CEO How has InDro Robotics changed the way drones are positioned in terms of delivering services that make a difference in the world? InDro Robotics has been working on delivery of urgent care equipment from the very start. We were the first in the world to deliver and AED (heart defibrillator) back in 2014, and we have built on that success ever since, working with industry regulators, first responders and hospital to deliver urgent care items, blood and bl…
Read more

Opportunity Portraits: Rhubarb Designs

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of Rhubarb Designs: Goods That Inspire and Preserve Tradition and Art Forms - Lorraine Hamilton is known for her inspiring landscape ideas and imaginative plant combinations. How has your move from the world of natural landscapes into the world of home décor been? Well, I see everything as an extension of the outdoors so the move for me has been an easy one. I am still heavily involved in the landscape world and it is a constant frame of reference. For me the outdoors captures so many things that are intrinsic to the way we experience the world. The shop is full of goods that connect us to that and to the world beyond our doorsteps. The running criteria for the goods I carry are they must be made of natural materials, mostly made by hand, have a story, be goods that support other communities, preserve tradition, have a small footprint, be useful, celebrate good design, be original, and add inspiratio…
Read more