COVID-19: Shower Program at Rainbow Road Pool to Support Vulnerable Populations

The Capital Regional District (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) will be opening the shower facilities at the Rainbow Road Aquatic Centre (262 Rainbow Road) starting May 11, 2020. Access to washroom and bathing facilities has been deemed an essential service for unsheltered persons by the Government of BC. As a result, funding has been provided by Emergency Management BC to help PARC cover the costs of free showers which will be made available to Salt Spring Island’s most vulnerable populations from 9am-1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the public health emergency. Patrons will be served one at a time and assigned a 30-minute time slot and private shower space. Between each shower time, change rooms and showers will be cleaned in accordance with the CRD Facilities Management COVID-19 Janitorial Guidelines. Patrons are encouraged to register for a time slot to avoid lengthy wait times. For more information, please call 250.537.14…
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COVID-19: Mental Health During the Pandemic

I have felt so many things during this unfolding time of the COVID-19 pandemic—the challenge of adjusting to the unknown; grief in what is happening in the world; care for our elderly and immunocompromised; appreciation for my own life slowing down and my own privilege when I know that there are so many in our world and in our community experiencing hardship. There are more. As I read the news and observe comments and reactions, it seems to me that the pandemic is showing us where there are gaps in society. Some have safety nets; others do not. Disparity in income, race, ability, the haves and have-nots, is being revealed to all. I have greatly appreciated leaders like Dr Bonnie Henry who have shown themselves to be knowledgeable, pragmatic, and caring. I also appreciate how many people are coming together. There is a different kind of reaching out occurring, whether it is people reaching out to family, friends, people they haven’t contacted for a while, or building connecti…
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Obituary: Ann Van Oeveren

Ann was born December 2, 1943, in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and passed away peacefully on April 29, 2020, on Salt Spring Island after a determined and long fight for 10 years against her cancer. While she kept up her 3 times a week workout which she had done for about 40 years, even during all her Chemotherapy and other treatments as she considered the people there her Support Group. After completing college she accepted a job as a Dental Assistant and thereafter worked sales in her mother's store of books and magazines where she met in 1960 her future husband Robert who delivered the merchandise 3 times a week. By coincidence, they met unexpectedly at a Film theater where their love for each other started to blossom until well into the small hours of the night against her mother's instructions for an early homecoming. But the marriage happened much later on August 3, 1967, due to the unacceptable "living together unmarried" mentality of the time. Subsequently, she worked…
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Tricky May Weather vs. Eager Gardeners

It finally looks like night time temperatures will be reaching the comfort zone (10oC/50oF) for planting out well-grown squash and tomato plants this week (don’t rush to plant small plants that can wait awhile). In some inland gardens it might even get hot enough by this weekend that seedlings and seed beds may require shading in midday. With forecasted highs of 25-27oC (up to 80oF), very young plants and seeds in the process of germinating could easily be killed by the hot sun because their tiny roots are so close to the surface. For temporary shade, use anything you have: upside down pots or latticework seedling trays, newspaper or lightweight fabric supported on stakes or hoops. If you are using opaque materials for more than 2 days, only cover plants for the hottest part of the day (11:00 to 3:00 or so) so they receive light in the morning and late afternoon. For a long term investment, you might want to buy horticultural shade cloth or build wooden latticework to shade pla…
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ASK Salt Spring Gets Answers from MLA Adam Olsen

This virus has highlighted the imperative of a living space for all. What can we do to encourage the province to support the tiny home model so successful in other communities? The provincial government has recently announced a comprehensive program to provide short-term housing for people in our community that are experiencing homelessness and who need to uphold physical distancing requirements. The BC Green Caucus has advocated for housing-first models, and this is a positive step forward. As the public health emergency passes and we are considering options for the economic recovery, the provincial government will have an important opportunity to develop long-term programs that address housing and the associated supports to provide people the solid foundation they need to build. Tiny homes are a housing solution that I have long advocated. I have met with Hon. Selina Robinson (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) to discuss the challenges tiny home advocates are e…
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The Pandemic Postcard Project - Salt Spring Edition

The Pandemic Postcard Project, Salt Spring Edition, is a literacy and/or art-promoting project, started by Literacy Alberni, that fosters community connection and legacy-keeping through storytelling and sharing. We’re inviting everyone in our community (as individuals or as families, partners, roommates, work teams, etc.) to share their stories, thoughts, struggles, successes, lessons learned, blessings given or received, and resolutions made during this moment in history… on postcards. Why? We’re connected primarily through technology these days through our own profiles and pages. The goal of this project is to celebrate that, while also creating a lasting, physical record of our resilience. Throughout the project, as submissions come in, we will share some of the Pandemic Postcards on the Salt Spring Exchange and on social media. When this is over, we will curate the cards and make them public in a display at the Salt Spring Library. Then all local Pandemic Postcards…
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COVID-19: Survey Results Indicate Salt Spring Businesses Hit Hard

The results from the recent COVID-19 island business survey have alarmed many in the business community including executive director of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Harkema. The response and recovery survey, a joint initiative of the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce and the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), was sent to local businesses to gauge how the pandemic is impacting business. Harkema expected bad news, but the scale of challenges presented by local businesses was more than she anticipated. “Almost 60% of the businesses who responded to our survey are very experienced.  They know how to run a business – in normal times at least. But the pandemic has thrown many business owners into deep waters,” says Harkema. The survey garnered close to 100 responses and asked businesses a range of questions, such as whether or not they will be able to restart once the pandemic recedes.  About half of the respondents said they would reopen, but…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Literacy Cancels 2020 Book & Jewellery Sale

The Salt Spring Literacy Board has made a difficult decision: we have cancelled the annual Book and Jewellery Sale, which is held in November. The preparation and planning process for this sale begins in April. The volunteers need seven months to collect, sort, clean, repair and price donated items. We are unable to collect the books due to the need for social distancing and limiting the exchange and handling of goods. The volunteers who contribute the countless hours to make the sale possible would be put at risk should we begin collecting before it is entirely safe to do so. Please hang on to your books as we depend on your donations. We will communicate as soon as we can coordinate a book collection in a safe manner. Jewellery donations are easier to manage in a safe way. Island Savings has agreed to have a collection bin for jewellery in its branch, effective May 1. This bin is a safe receptacle for your treasured donations – simply drop your jewels into a hole at the…
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COVID-19: 2020 Salt Spring Island Fall Fair Cancelled

After much thought, the Board of the SSI Farmers' Institute has decided to cancel the 2020 Fall Fair. Our next Fall Fair will be September 18/19 2021. On a happy note, 2021 is the 125th Anniversary of our first Fall Fair. We will prevail through the current challenges and be ready to celebrate with gusto so mark your calendars now. Our thanks to all the exhibitors, volunteers, vendors and visitors who help to make our fair possible. Looking forward to your involvement in 2021. In the meantime, please stay safe, stay at home and we will all stay well.
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COVID-19: Harbour Air To Resume Salt Spring Flights with a Reduced Schedule

Daily flights begin operating between Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Sechelt and Salt Spring Island Over the past 38 years, Harbour Air has become a vital transportation link for coastal British Columbia. During the last few weeks, we have also seen the impact our service reductions have had on the communities we support. We know that “returning to operations” is not a “return to normal.” As we look towards the future, we are working hard to ensure that we are providing the safe, essential travel services you’ve come to expect from Harbour Air. The safety of our employees, their families and our communities is of the utmost importance to us. Please rest assured, we have adopted stringent safety measures that exceed both Transport Canada and Health Canada’s recommendations. We have introduced vigilant cleaning and physical distancing protocols, suspended scheduled flights and reduced our operations across the Province. Although we will continue to monitor the demand for …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 30th, 2020 - 1:27 PM

Thank you Salt Springers for your efforts to flatten the curve. It has worked and you have given local health care providers time to organize and prepare to care for you in the coming months. Ongoing, we will only post if there is news that is specifically relevant to Lady Minto and Salt Spring. Please continue to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendations, wash your hands, do not touch your face and maintain your distance.
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Ganges Fire Hall Project: Reports Recommend New Home for Ganges Fire Hall

Project Update #3 Regarding Ganges Fire Hall With health and safety top of mind amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board and the Fire Rescue Advisory Committee now meet online to continue to work on the Fire Rescue Needs and Facilities Assessment Project. The Board and the Advisory Committee are deeply committed to creating safe, responsible solutions for fire protection and public safety, recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on our Salt Spring community. Our goal is to continue the leg work, ensure all questions are answered and be ready when the time is right to move forward. We are developing online opportunities for you to learn more and to provide feedback on any proposed options for a new fire hall. Please stay tuned for more details. Reports Recommend New Home for Ganges Fire Hall Two recent reports confirming the status of the Ganges Fire Hall were reviewed by both the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District Board of Trustees and the Fire Rescue Advisory Co…
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ASK Salt Spring Answers from Emcon and the Chamber of Commerce

Emcon Managers, Andrew Gaetz and Lisa Herschmiller What effect has this pandemic had on your operations? We have had to adjust in a variety of ways including: additional sanitization measures, staggering shifts, minimizing access to our shops and offices, adjusting work practices to meet social distancing guidelines, numerous training exercises and education on personal hygiene, and an increased number of pick ups in our larger yards to facilitate social distancing. We worried when a few staff caught colds and had to follow the protocol for a 14-day quarantine, but we are very proud to report that we are still running a 24/7 operation, and our staff is healthy and working. Despite the good health of our crew, some of these emergency measures have delayed our responses, so we appreciate your patience in these challenging times. When do you think that our roads will be swept and ready for lines to be painted? We now have a sweeper on Salt Spring…
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ASK Salt Spring with Salt Spring Islands Trustee Laura Patrick

First, how are you doing during this crisis? Our household is adjusting to the stay home and social distancing norms. We worry about our eldest family members who are most vulnerable. My mother can now answer a FaceTime call, and she appears to be enjoying this form of communication. Can you tell us what the Islands Trust, especially our Local Trust Committee (LTC), is doing to help address this pandemic? On the operations side, Islands Trust has taken clear steps to minimize the transmission of Covid-19. This has included closing our offices to the public, sending most staff home to work, and suspending all site visits to limit off-Island visitors. As we emerge from this situation, the LTC will be eager to engage Salt Springers in a conversation about what regulatory and policy changes are necessary to ensure that our community is as resilient as possible to address future challenges. In addition to Islands Trust business, I am chairing a task force to coordinate o…
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COVID-19: Photos of the Empty Streets of Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island has seen many 'unusual' events over the last number of years. These 'unusual', or lets call them unexpected events, mostly took the form of some of kind weather related event that turned the island upside down. I've taken 1000s of photos of these 'events'. The snow storms, the wind storms, but also the cultural events. The human-made events. The Pride Parades, the Grace Islet protests, and more. The kind of big events that make for interesting stories. Stories that might be worth capturing and recording for the future. Stories that seemed compelling because of all the action. One thing I would never have imagined was photographing a series on Salt Spring where the focus would be something so big, it would be about the opposite of action. It would be about nothingness. An unexpected nada. An event so transformational, so unexpected, that its outcome was unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. In this case, these photos are transformed by the absence o…
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COVID-19: Local Charities Respond to Challenges

Salt Spring Island non-profit organizations have been rallying to assist islanders who are struggling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the local Salt Spring economy is expected to slump for many months, demand for their services will undoubtedly increase. The Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has distributed $83,033 to Salt Spring charities. This includes $35,300 in food gift cards distributed via local charities to those in need in the community. This has been made possible through the generosity of Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store. Simone Cazabon, Salt Spring Island Community Services Food Program Manager, says, "We are expecting a continuing increase of clients at the Food Bank, our meal/food delivery services, and Tuesday Market Coupon Program. The gift cards are great because they allow people to customize their food preferences and address their sensitivities." IWAV has also received gif…
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COVID-19: Have symptoms? Get Tested

B.C.’s COVID-19 testing strategy has been expanded to include anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild.

While testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. They include:

Fever chills cough shortness of breath sore throat painful swallowing stuffy or runny nose loss of sense of smell headache muscle aches fatigue loss of appetite

At this time, any physician or nurse practitioner can order a test for a patient with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms based on their clinical judgment.

If you do not have a primary care provider, please call Island Health’s Call Centre at 1-844-9…

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MLA Adam Olsen: Showing Up for Business Who Have Showed Up for Us

In times of hardship and challenge humans show incredible adaptability, resilience and innovation. While we are largely able to deal with the disruption and calamity caused by localized natural disasters or collapse of man-made systems, we have rarely had the dramatic challenge at a global level like we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of physical distancing and social isolation for individuals, communities, enterprise, businesses, institutions and governments is intense. We see the diverse web of interconnectivity of all our systems, and our weaknesses and vulnerabilities are exposed. As we move through the initial aspects of the public health emergency it is critical that we continue to maintain the effective tactics ordered by Dr. Bonnie Henry, our provincial health officer, including physical distancing, frequent handwashing and only going out on essential business, that have helped British Columbia keep our transmission rates relatively low.…
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ASK Salt Spring with Gary Holman, Salt Spring Island Electoral Area CRD Director

While ASK Salt Spring Friday gatherings at Thrifty’s have been temporarily-suspended, the need for information is still there. . . and is possibly greater than ever. Gary offered these answers to  Salt Springers’ questions: First, how are you doing during this crisis?  My family and I are well, and we feel grateful to be living in such a beautiful part of the world where governments, health systems, and communities are rising to this challenge.  My thanks to everyone in public or private sector organizations who are taking care of our essential needs, particularly our health care providers who are saving lives while putting theirs at risk. What is the hardest part for you to address as our CRD Director?  One of the most difficult issues has always been difficult - providing safe shelter and services for the homeless. I have prioritized CRD grants in aid this year to help support the Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund, as well as organizations like Community S…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Community Raises $125,000 for Lady Minto Hospital

Thank You, Salt Spring! – We Counted on You – and You Came Through! A big island thank you to everyone who has contributed to COVID-19 Relief during this unprecedented time. Through your generosity, we have raised $125,000 to help Lady Minto Hospital cope with this pandemic. To date, your donations have been used to provide: Hospital Scrubs C-Can container for COVID supplies Personal Protective Equipment for community medical staff and first responders The hospital is now well positioned to respond to immediate, short-term and longer-term needs, should this emergency situation continue for some time. We encourage you to continue to share your appreciation for Lady Minto Hospital staff. Your comments are very much appreciated. Look for more in-depth stories about the difference your contributions have made, in the next issue of the Minto Messenger coming soon! On behalf of the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, thank you and stay safe. You made a …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 27th, 2020 - 1:05 PM

Plans are being made to open up businesses and relax some of the restrictive measures that we have all been living with. This is an exciting, but also risky and scary time, and there are a few things to remember. We are incredibly lucky on Salt Spring to have more space than city dwellers to get outside while still maintaining at least 2 meters’ distance from others. However, as businesses open, all of us may find ourselves in situations where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance. For this reason, masks are another tool we can use to help reduce spread. Even more important will be the need for all of us to be vigilant about our health and not go to work or go out if we are ill. If you develop any new respiratory symptoms - fever, cough or difficulty breathing - you must go home and book an appointment to have yourself tested for the novel coronavirus. Employers must not only allow workers to stay home when ill, but support them to do so. Our culture of going…
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