Bulk Carrier 'Freighters' Idling Around Salt Spring - Initiative to Reduce Ocean Acidification

Bulk carriers around Salt Spring Island, or also called freighters, are not resting silently when at anchor. Large on-board diesel generators produce massive amounts of greenhouse gases, even if these ships are not moving and their main engine is not turned on. A new report submitted to the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Council estimates that a single bulk carrier produces about 10 tonnes of CO2 and other greenhouse gases per day. Consider how this may cancel out many of our local community efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. For example, one single day of one bulk carrier idling at anchor equals: 10 years of recycling by a family of three; Sacrificing one annual return flight Vancouver-London for 10 years; Driving an electrical vehicle instead of a standard vehicle for 5 years. But climate heating is not the only issue. CO2 and other gases such as NO2 or SO2 are highly reactive when they come in contact with water and they form an acidic solution. In ra…
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Starting Seeds... or Not; Sweet Potato Update

As February ticks along without serious weather on the horizon, gardeners are getting antsy to plant something. I used to start onion and leek seeds indoors in early February, but have shifted to starting them in early March, with excellent results: the roots are as big as ever and I have fewer weeks babysitting tiny plants. Other things to sow by early March include tomatoes, peppers, celery and celeriac. I always start 2 plants of zucchini the first week of March, too. Although that is too early to start other squash or cucumbers, I keep the early zuccs growing rapidly in ever larger pots and haul them out to my unheated greenhouse during the day (it is usually too cool to leave them in the greenhouse at night). The result is a first squash harvest around mid-May. I also start my first batch of peas indoors in early March and, if I am low on cauliflower or cabbages for spring harvest, I start some of those indoors too. I will have to start early cauliflower this year, because…
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Find Out Who Won the 2020 Country Grocer Valentine's Photo Contest!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Country Grocer Valentine's 'Show Us Your Love' photo contest! Country Grocer has generously donated prizes again this year and select winners will receive: One 'Grand Prize' of a $175 Dinner for Two at House Piccolo Restaurant; Two 'Runners Up' $50 Country Grocer Gift Cards Prizes and all Entrants Win a 10% Discount Voucher at Country Grocer Salt Spring Island (Voucher is redeemable in store until March 4th, 2020) Winners were selected by random draw live at Country Grocer Salt Spring Island. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who sent in amazing photos of their love. Check out all the photos and scroll to the bottom to find out if you won! …
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Salt Spring Foundation Aims to Strengthen Local Charities

For 36 years the Salt Spring Island Foundation has been supporting the charities that make our island a caring community. Thanks to many generous donors, over 550 grants have been awarded to over 85 local charitable organizations, totalling over $3.3 million. Foundation grants have supported many areas of need and many types of projects and programs, from capital improvements to services and events that engage and assist community members. Other grants have funded projects that aim to strengthen the organizations themselves and help them to better fulfill their mission. This year the Foundation will be putting even more emphasis on strengthening our charities, committing $25,000 to projects that aim to build the capacity of qualified local non-profits. Of that amount, $15,000 will be awarded during the spring grants cycle. Examples of capacity-building activities could include strategic planning, technology upgrades, operational improvements, board development, improvin…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 December

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 44 calls for the month of December. SSIFR finished off the year with 655 calls. Operations December 27th Firefighters responded to a kitchen fire on Richard Flack Road. Before Firefighters arrived on scene RCMP made a quick rescue and stopped the fire spread with a fire extinguisher. The RCMP Constable’s swift action saved the sole occupants life. The Fire was extinguished, and one male occupant taken to Hospital with minor injuries. On behalf of the organization I would like to recognize Constable Hastie for his quick actions. December, Roof repair work was undertaken by an Asbestos remediation company, as one of the steps towards fixing the Hall 1 roof. Following the Asbestos work, an engineer inspe…
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2020 Country Grocer Show Us Your Love! Valentine’s Day Photo Contest

Join Country Grocer in celebrating love on Salt Spring Island for Valentine's Day! Enter our 'Show Us Your Love!' photo contest for a chance to win wonderful prizes to help you celebrate your love. Everyone has a chance to win! To enter the contest, all you have to do is upload a photo with you and your sweetheart. Show us your love! All entrants receive a 10% discount voucher and a chance to win the grand and runners up prizes. Check out last year's entries for inspiration! Whether you’re young and ecstatically in love, or in your 90's with a twinkle in your eye whenever you see each other, whether you’ve taken your “flirt” down a few notches over the years or you’ve taken your flirt up a few notches, share it with your community! Country Grocer has generously donated prizes again this year and you now have a chance to win: One 'Grand Prize' of a $175 Dinner for Two at House Piccolo Restaurant Reservation has already been made for you on Valentine's Day! (Ch…
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Contract for Additional Southern Gulf Islands Salish Class Vessel Awarded

BC Ferries continues to roll out its Clean Futures Plan and has awarded Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk, Poland a contract to build an additional liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled vessel scheduled to go into service in the Southern Gulf Islands in 2022. This vessel will be identical to the three Salish Class vessels built by Remontowa for BC Ferries in 2016. “Our Clean Futures Plan is our path to replace diesel fuels with cleaner energy options. While this cannot be achieved in a single step, we are continually seeking energy sources that offer a cleaner, lower carbon-intensity option to displace non-renewable diesel,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. “In our move towards a sustainable future, adopting LNG is one way to reduce our impact on the environment today. This new vessel will be our sixth ship fuelled by natural gas.” The agreement with Remontowa is a design-build, fixed-priced contract…
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Abandon Proposed Bylaw 512 - It Isn't Part of the Housing Solution

At the January 28th Public Hearing for Bylaw 512, several members of the public criticized the bylaw as ineffective at achieving its stated goal of increasing the supply of long-term, rental housing. Representatives from Salt Spring Solutions spoke-up in opposition to the current iteration of Bylaw 512. They believe the bylaw is too limited and onerous to make any real impact, and that Trust resources should be redirected to other housing work. They noted that the recommendations they had submitted to improve the effectiveness of Bylaw 512 in October 2019 had not been integrated. In fact, few of the housing solutions requested by a coalition of island groups that includes Salt Spring Solutions, the Chamber of Commerce, Transition Salt Spring and the Housing Council have been made it onto any of the Islands Trust actions plans or project lists. About 150 people rallied in front of the Islands Trust Office on November 22, 2019 in support of housing solutions and over 900 re…
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Photos and Video: Winter Waterfall Wonderland Hike

We live in a remarkable part of the world blessed with incredible natural beauty. We also get to enjoy a relatively mild winter compared to other parts of Canada. One of the great Sunday traditions on Salt Spring is getting out to enjoy the wonderful network of trails around the island. And this time of year, after many days of heavy rains, small seasonal streams sometimes turn into wildly beautiful waterfalls. Here are some photos and a video of an outing this past weekend. Salt Spring Island is where where locals and visitors alike get outdoors all year around no matter the weather. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Photos and videos © Christopher Roy
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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…
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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…
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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 …
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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 …
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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…
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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…
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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 …
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