ASK Salt Spring with Trustee Laura Patrick

Nine Salt Springers came to welcome Trustee Laura Patrick on a rainy August Friday. While this was an usually-low turnout, the rains and the winds whipping through the Portlock Picnic Pavilion go a long way towards explaining the smaller-than-usual group of participants. Did they ever miss a great discussion! Much of this discussion centred on housing and the imperative for our community to do the work necessary to guide us toward the future we need and deserve. Without that vision, according to Laura, we will be hard-pressed to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of housing on Salt Spring, including its ecological, climatic, and socioeconomic dimensions. As an important step in this direction, Laura began by giving us some details about the Housing Working Group with which she has been working with since shortly before the pandemic. This group has written a report recommending a process for involving stakeholders and the community in an encompassing convers…
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Vesuvius Terminal Trestle Repairs August 31, 2020 - September 2, 2020

Please be advised that BC Ferries will be doing maintenance work on the Vesuvius trestle. This work will take place at night from August 31 to September 2, 2020. Work will include replacement of deck boards and cross ties on the trestle. Equipment being used will increase the normal sound levels within the terminal from 10:30 pm to 5:30 am. All efforts will be made to minimize noise. BC Ferries would like to thank customers and neighbours for their understanding as we complete the necessary work.
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COVID-19: Possible Exposures in Sidney

Island Health is notifying people who visited the following locations in Sidney between August 20 and August 22 about possible exposures to COVID-19.

Location

Address

Dates and Times

10 Acres Cafe & Market at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa (NOT The Pier restaurant)

9805 Seaport Place, Sidney, B.C.

· Thursday, August 20 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

· Friday, August 21 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe

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Join the 'Throw a Boat Down' Physical Distance Fundraiser for RAVEN Trust

A local organization has found a unique way to host a covid-safe, socially distanced fundraiser. Thursday, September 3’s “Throw a Boat Down” event will be a paddle-powered, floating concert where the audience is invited to arrive by paddle board, kayak, canoe or rowboat to tune in to the songs of Vancouver’s Luke Wallace. With a full paddle’s distance between watercraft, it’s a COVID-safe but splashy way to celebrate the start of the Labour Day long weekend. Wallace launched his new album, What on Earth, in early March and was set to tour behind the suite of songs at community halls and theatres up and down the B.C. coast. But covid-19 put the breaks on those plans, and he was forced to shelve the 1000 freshly pressed CDs and wait out the pandemic. Now, inspired by a summer of paddling around the Gulf Islands, Wallace is ready to call fans to a socially distanced ‘flotilla’ show. The live performance will begin at 6:30 pm - high tide - and will also be broadcast via Zoo…
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ASK Salt Spring with CRD Director Gary Holman

A total of 23 came to welcome Gary Holman and ask him questions about the issues on their minds. When folks began gathering in the United Church Meadow, there was pleasure in the clear, sunny day. Soon after noon, some had started to wilt in the unaccustomed beating sun while others huddled (too closely) to participate from the shade of the apple trees. Questions began with the recent unfortunate incident in which a bylaw enforcement officer was hurt in Centennial Park. Some expressed feeling that things felt out of control and that the Park no longer felt safe. Gary understood and agreed that it was very troubling. The RCMP has recommended a charge of “assaulting a Peace Officer,” a very serious charge. The individual has also been banned from Centennial Park. Gary stated that he had supported gradual, but consistent, increases in the budget for CRD bylaw enforcement since his term began and that has he will continue to support such increases. Gary and CRD staff are also…
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BC Ferries Adds More than 750 Sailings to Help Rebuild Local Economies

BC Ferries announced today that its ongoing engagement with Ferry Advisory Committees has resulted in the company adding 769 sailings above contract on its minor and northern routes, with the new schedule matching pre-COVID-19 service levels. These additional sailings will be in effect from September 8, 2020 through to March 31, 2021. On behalf of coastal communities, BC Ferries thanks the government of B.C. for its support of the sailings above contract during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our communities are very supportive of these sailings above contract,” says Keith Rush, Co-Chair of the Ferry Advisory Committees. “Ferry Advisory Committees have advocated for years for increased service levels to ferry dependent communities. I applaud BC Ferries for their commitment to provide additional service through to the end of March 2021.” “Ferry service and sailings that meet community needs also help strengthen economic activity and recovery from COVID…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Hockey Stick Apart

As new daily cases continue to increase, we are seeing the result of expanded social interactions of the last few weeks. In order to be able to enjoy the remainder of the summer and avoid going back to Phase 1 type restrictions, we need to keep practicing social distancing. Please continue to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to protect the vulnerable members of our community.
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Elders Unveil New Interpretive Signage at Xwaaqw’um Village / Burgoyne Bay

On Sunday August 9, 2020 under COVID-19 precautions, a few families and elders unveiled interpretive signage at Xwaaqw’um Village. Please come and enjoy a seat at the new Xwaaqw'um Interpretive Signage with your friends and family. End of Burgoyne Bay road on the left, just before driveway to the red dock and parking lots. "My mom and my dad, in the spirit world now, they’re smiling now. This becoming a reality. So I’m really thankful, I’m really grateful for everyone to make this happen. Everyone who came to witness. All who came to be part. I’m so ever grateful for that. My name is Tousilum. I am of this home. I am of this land of Xwaaqw’um. I can’t say thanks enough. It’s such an honour to be home here in Xwaaqw’um. My late great granny lived here. There were 5 longhouses here. It’s always good to be home. With the interpretive signage here in Xwaaqw’um, so many of the friends and relatives have come together. The elders have come to be here. All of those who …
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Opinion: Concerns About Islands Trust Consultation and Direction

On July 20 the Islands Trust Council shared a News Release announcing the release of a report which summarises the input received from engagement with people in the trust area. As you may know, this report titled “What we Heard” will be used to revise the Islands Trust Policy Statement, and determine the future direction - and priorities - of The Islands Trust. It is a beautiful report, with icons, easy to follow and read. But as I read this (extremely easy to read, accessible and informative summary) document I became increasingly alarmed by the content - on a number of levels. Please note that consultation with the 28,000 Coast Salish Peoples will happen separately, so this letter refers to the non-Coast Salish Peoples of which I am a part. Here are my 5 main issues I have with the report and why I was so upset: 1) Extensive engagement? The Press Release says it was “an extensive public engagement process to inform planning and policy for the next 30 years.”…
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COVID-19: Research Team Using Island Health Data To Find Hidden Cases

A Victoria research team is using math and statistics to help anticipate future COVID-19 waves so that public health strategies can target ways to manage possible future outbreaks. This work is possible thanks to a $149,300 award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) COVID-19 Research Response Fund and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s (VHF) generous donors. “By estimating the number of undetected cases, we will gain a better understanding of the spread of the current wave and the underlying spread of a future wave,” explains Dr. Laura Cowen, principal investigator and Associate Professor in the University of Victoria’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “Our mathematical model will allow the detection of early signals that a future wave has begun, and identify infections among high risk groups such as the elderly, school children, and long-term care clients.” Using Island Health data, Cowen (also the Associate Dean, Research in the Fac…
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ASK Salt Spring: Affordable Housing, Road Upgrades, Forest Protection and More with MLA, Adam Olsen

Last Friday, a total of 37 Salt Springers gathered at the United Church Meadow on a practically-perfect summer Friday to welcome our MLA, Adam Olsen. While some did stand just outside the circumference of the circle (too close to one another for my comfort), everyone who wanted to participate was able to join the gathering. While many stayed the entire time, some did come and go, so that total numbers at any time were in the high twenties. As Salt Springers initially seemed uncharacteristically-shy, Adam began with a recap of some of his legislative load - heavier than expected with several bills that have taken a great deal of work: Bill 22 (Mental Health Amendment Act) includes the involuntary detention of youth who are experiencing drug poisoning. Both the Chief Coroner as well as children and youth advocates raised concerns about this clause. Adam cited work that still needs to be done, including engagement with indigenous leaders, before the bill moves forward. If th…
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COVID-19: Hundreds of Contact Tracers to Be Hired in BC

The Province of British Columbia will hire approximately 500 additional health professionals to increase contact tracing around British Columbia, helping keep communities safe as it continues its COVID-19 restart plan. “We want to make sure people are kept safe in any COVID-19 outbreak, and one of the ways to do that is through strong contact tracing,” said Premier John Horgan. “These new contact tracers will provide an extra layer of protection by jumping into action as soon as there is an outbreak, and will start their detective-style work to find out who may be infected in order to protect all British Columbians.” Contact tracing works by following up with each person who has tested positive for COVID-19 to understand who their contacts may be and providing appropriate followup. Health authorities’ public health teams typically have staff who do contact tracing of communicable diseases as part of their regular work. However, given the scale of the response needed for C…
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Under Pressure - Lady Minto Site Director Recalls Learning to Deal with COVID-19

Researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control estimate that less than one percent of this province’s population was infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic’s first wave. That’s good news and bad news. The bad news, of course, is that the vast majority of us are still susceptible to the virus and must remain vigilant. The good news, however, is that the steps BC took to combat the pandemic worked to keep exposure and transmission rates low. Salt Springers are familiar with the very public role Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has played in teaching British Columbians about combatting the COVID crisis. However, few have been privy to what it was like inside the hospital, learning to deal with COVID. Lady Minto Hospital Site Director Sara Gogo says it was a rollercoaster. “With the information changing so quickly, we’d tell the staff one thing and then, sometimes that would change minutes later. We were really excited about some of the changes…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Receives Federal Funding the Safe Restart Agreement

BC Ferries is pleased to hear confirmation that the company is eligible for funding from the federal and provincial governments under the Safe Restart Agreement. We have been collaborating with both levels of government over the past several months regarding the significant impact of the pandemic on the coastal ferry system. We welcome the news of potential financial assistance for ferry users and coastal communities, and appreciate the efforts of both the Province and the federal government. BC Ferries has delivered safe, affordable and reliable lifeline ferry service to coastal communities throughout the pandemic, operating in the public interest regardless of financial losses. Ferry system reliability and accessibility are near all-time highs. In recent weeks to meet increased demand BC Ferries has maintained ferry system capacity approximately 20 per cent higher than demand to ensure access for essential goods, workers, travellers and residents, and will continue to do s…
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Maliview (Salt Spring Island) Wastewater Discharge Notice

A failure of the outfall pipe from the Maliview Wastewater Treatment Plant has occurred resulting in treated effluent being discharged onto the beach intertidal zone. The area impacted is in the vicinity of the Maliview Wastewater Treatment Plant outfall pipe at the intersection of Maliview Drive and Walkers Hook Road on the northeast part of Salt Spring Island. As a result of this discharge, residents are advised to avoid entering the waters along the affected shorelines as the wastewater may pose a health risk. As a precaution and in consultation with Island Health, the beach within the affected area will be posted with public health advisory signs until repairs are completed and marine water sample results indicate enterococci levels are below the 70CFU/100mL recreational limit.
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Last Sowing, Thinning, Summer Fruit Pruning

This month we are coming to the end of the seeding season for winter harvest vegetables. With the cooler temperatures this week, conditions are ideal for sowing lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens (leaf mustard, leaf radish, Chinese cabbage) as well as winter radishes and daikon. For sowing this month, choose frost hardy lettuce varieties to extend your harvest all winter. There are some excellent hardy lettuce varieties, including ‘Winter Density’, ‘Rouge d’ Hiver’, ‘Arctic King’, ‘Continuity’ (AKA ‘Merveille des Quatre Saisons’). These can be sown up until the end of this month, along with arugula and corn salad, which is a super-hardy lettuce substitute for winter months. The leaves are small (so grow lots), but the plant is indestructible in winter ice, snow and below freezing weather. If you haven’t sown kale, collards, leaf beet or Swiss chard before this, try to find seedlings to transplant as it is getting too late to start these larger plants from seed. If you a…
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New Live Cam at Vesuvius Ferry Terminal

One of the locations for which we get the most requests to install a travel planning cam for Salt Spring Island is now finally live on the Salt Spring Exchange! The Vesuvius-Crofton Ferry is one of the most notoriously difficult locations to plan travel through on the island. Over the last many years, the run schedule has changed, there have been numerous ship changes, then there are the occasional mechanical and weather delays. Mix in seasonal tourism, hazardous cargo sailings and now, COVID-19 uncertainties, and you have a perfect storm of not having much sense about when, or if, you should travel through the Vesuvius terminal. Our team at the Exchange hope this new cam helps with some of those uncertainties and becomes another great travel and tourism resource for locals and visitors like the other cams already in our network. The new Exchange Live Cam at the Vesuvius Ferry Terminal is generously hosted courtesy of the wonderful team at the Seaside Restaurant who of…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Stay the Course

First, a big thank you to the community for trying so hard over the long weekend to follow the rules, even though the rules can definitely put a damper on having fun. Unfortunately, nothing changes: we need to stay the course with washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks when we can not maintain a 6-ft distance. This is the way we all need to function for the foreseeable future. Messages about school reopening in just a few short weeks are causing both anxiety and relief. There is still much to sort out to make school a safe environment for students and staff, and we will need to be patient as our education and health leaders work together to sort this out. Family physician offices and our Lady Minto emergency department are currently very busy, in part due to the accommodations in place for COVID. Please be advised that patients with non-urgent issues might have to wait to be seen.
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On Salt Spring, Solutions for Environment Must Include People

A recent commentary might make Times Colonist readers think the beautiful and protected Gulf Islands are about to be destroyed by an unlikely villain — affordable housing advocates. “Development has put Gulf Islands in death spiral” wasn’t a very subtle headline. The writer is well-known on our idyllic but argumentative Salt Spring, and his favourite target of late is the affordable housing “lobby” that is set to ruin his little slice of paradise. I am one of those housing advocates, so allow me to provide a more complex picture of the pressures impacting both the island’s population and its ecology. Frants Attorp and I, like most Gulf Islanders, share great concern for the twin crises in biodiversity and climate change. Where we differ greatly is on the local issues making things worse, and who gets to benefit from the solutions proposed. Our volunteer advocacy group, Salt Spring Solutions, was formed three years ago when we saw multiple non-profit affordable housi…
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COVID-19: BC Transit to Mandate Use of Face Coverings

BC Transit, in alignment with TransLink and other transportation agencies, will be proceeding with mandatory use of face coverings on buses in BC Transit communities across the Province as of August 24. Accommodations will be permitted for children under the age of 5 and those that cannot wear a face covering for health reasons. We recognize the advice from health professionals, including Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, has been to wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible including on transit vehicles. Customers have indicated making the use of face coverings mandatory will create a more comfortable environment. “Transit is an important service for many British Columbians. BC Transit's decision to make masks mandatory on their vehicles will help make transit safer for fellow passengers. Find one that's comfortable, and make time to get used to wearing them and taking them on and off as needed. Those of us who are able should be using masks…
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ASK Salt Spring with Elizabeth May, MP Saanich - Gulf Islands

Forty-four gathered to welcome Elizabeth May to the ASK Salt Spring gathering in the United Meadow last Friday, July 31. While we had feared a larger crowd (strictly adhering to social distancing as well as the BC limit of 50 for all gatherings), we were relieved to be able to welcome everyone who wanted to participate. Elizabeth began by expressing her delight and enthusiasm to be able to chat with us in the lovely setting rather than being confined to yet another one of her many daily Zoom meetings. She announced the good news that the Vista Coal Mine would now have to go through federal environmental approval before proceeding. She also announced that there would be no big oil company bailouts in the recovery funding, employing workers, instead, to clean up orphan wells. Her first question concerned the long-awaited Salish Sea Trail, sorely-needed bike lanes from Fulford to Vesuvius. Too long-awaited, these bike lanes would finally complete the trail linking communit…
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