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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Video: Attempted Assault of CRD By-Law Officer In Centennial Park

An aggressive incident was captured on video this evening in Centennial Park with a suspect attempting to assault the CRD By-Law Officer after being asked to leave the park after a separate alleged earlier assault attempt. This was the 2nd incident witnessed with the suspect attempting to assault the By-Law Officer. This video was of the 2nd incident after the suspect left the scene and then returned, attempted to throw a football at the By-Law Officer at full force at short-range but missed, then this incident was captured on video. Community members have been increasingly concerned about large groups of citizens gathering in the park, openly consuming alcohol and leaving significant amounts of trash and garbage in open park areas. At the time of this incident there was a group of 25+ people who appeared to be drinking alcohol in and around park benches, tables, trees and bushes while at the same time other community members were setting up for this evening's open air pe…
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Which Areas of Salt Spring Had the Most Accidents between 2015 and 2019?

Well, it's probably a surprise to no one, that the most heavily travelled, and you could also say one of the most poorly built main roads of any community in the Southern Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands area is... Fulford-Ganges Road. This one road on Salt Spring has racked up the most number of car related accidents causing injury, fatalities and/or property damage. The recently released data from ICBC compiling all available self reported accident data from 2015-2019 shows that the main road of our island is in need of significant safety improvement, especially as it relates to cycling related accidents. Other hot spots and the worst area in town for accidents include the crosswalk intersection at Lower Ganges Road and Rainbow Road. An area now under construction that will improve sidewalks, the crosswalk and lighting in the area. Other areas in the North End that have chronic crash related challenges are the intersection at Central, which still records fair…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Kindly Wear Masks

Please be kind. As we move into month seven of the pandemic, in the medical field we are seeing more episodes of people lashing out at others or disregarding the rules. If you are feeling irritated, whether with the receptionist at your Family Doctor's clinic or the unit clerk at the entrance to the hospital, please remember they are doing their best under extremely difficult circumstances. New policies, new technologies, and ongoing stress are taking their toll on many of our staff. This also applies to all those individuals who are working in the community at grocery stores, the recycle depot, pharmacies and restaurants, to name a few, so that the rest of us can carry on with our day-to-day activities and enjoy our summer as best we can. Please do not take your frustration out on all the wonderful individuals who are trying so hard to keep all of us safe. We hope everyone has a chance to enjoy the BC Day long weekend with friends and family, but please follow the rules. I…
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SD64 Schools to Employ Learning Group Model for September Restart

Many of you will have seen the announcement from the province regarding school opening in September. In School District 64 (Gulf Islands) we are following the advice from Public Health to begin organizing our schools to follow a “learning group” model to promote the safety of our students and staff. This model organizes students into consistent groups that limit daily contacts (elementary/middle = 60; secondary = 120). Stage 2 of the provincial plan is built from an understanding of how schools and districts can best organize so that students receive the education they need while following the guidelines set out for British Columbians to ensure responsible and effective management of COVID-19. Some notable changes in the province from the schooling experience in June are: learning will return to the regular in-class model blending of remote and in-class options will be discontinued talking about learning groups rather than limits to density of class number…
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Accessible Art: Meet Rhiannon, Dawn, and Debbie

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions' until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Rhiannon: Rhiannon is 26 years old and moved from New Brunswick to Salt Spring, where she finished high school. Her birthday is on January 7th. Her hobbies include designing clothes and sewing dresses for bears. Her favorite colours are purple, black and blue. Rhiannon lends time to hel…
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Finish the Salish Sea Trail As Part of a Green Recovery

The Salish Sea Trail Network would be a gem for the province, creating a world class cycling destination, boosting local economies across the region, while supporting sustainable tourism, healthy living, and green transportation. Completing the network's only "broken link" - Salt Spring Island - would also solve a terrible safety problem keeping cycling from being a part of our lives, like it was only a generation ago. The Salish Sea Trail Network is an idea hatched almost 15 years ago, and amazingly, it is 90% complete. Connecting the safe, mostly off-road Lochside, Galloping Goose, Cowichan Valley Regional Trail, and the E&N Railroad, this cycling, walking and active transportation network connects some of the most populated - and stunning - parts of coastal BC. The missing link is the Vesuvius to Fulford ferry terminals on Salt Spring, where we well know the issues with narrow roadways, lack of shoulders, dangerous blind crossings, and fast moving traffic on often u…
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Saturday Market in Centennial Park Reopening with Limited Capacity

The Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) is reopening the Saturday Market in Centennial Park in Ganges with new protocols and a limited capacity for vendors and visitors. Since July 16, the CRD has allowed vendors to purchase park use permits to set up in Centennial Park ahead of a new Market Coordinator starting August 1. Last Saturday, July 25, 11 vendors were in attendance and a similar number the Saturday before that. Space allocated to individual vendors is currently limited to a maximum of 20 vendors. We will be increasing from the current 20 vendor cap as we continue to assess distancing requirements and other safety protocols. The number of available spaces will also depend on the sizes of the vendor booths that have booked. Some vendors have 4ft booths some have 10ft booths. Starting Saturday, August 8, the Market in Centennial Park will open from 9am-4pm in a limited capacity, operating with modified protocols to meet safety standards s…
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ASK Salt Spring: Discussing Salt Spring's Climate Action Plan

Fifteen gathered in the United Church Meadow last Friday on a comfortably-cool summer day last Friday. While all questions were welcomed, the conversation was focused on our soon-to-be-released Climate Action Plan 2.0 (CAP). Darryl Martin, the chair of the huge volunteer-driven effort, led the conversation. He had able back-up from Bryan Young, lead writer and member of the CAP steering committee, and Anne Parkinson, Chair of Transition Salt Spring. Major goals of this CAP were to: quantify our climate action realities, identify mitigation recommendations (a whopping 250 of them!), and suggest adaptation strategies. Darryl began the conversation with some history. We learned that there had been a plan in 2011 that had some successes, most notably the emergence of a strong electric vehicle group, a major force in placing Salt Spring in the enviable position of having more electric cars per capita than anywhere else in North America. Last year, our CRD Directo…
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Scrap Your Car for an eBike Rebate Increase and Business Cargo Bikes

The Province is increasing e-bike rebates for individuals and businesses to help make electric-powered bikes more affordable and accessible, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “The popularity of e-bikes is on the rise and our government wants to encourage more people to purchase and ride these bikes,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “That’s why we are boosting the e-bike rebates for people and businesses. E-bikes are a much cheaper alternative to cars and are a safe way to travel. We look forward to seeing more people using e-bikes for getting around.” People who trade in a vehicle to scrap now have access to a rebate of $1,050 toward the purchase of any type of new e-bike — an increase of $200 from the previous year. The rebate is delivered through the Scrap-It transportation options program. The ministries of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure are providing $1,000 toward the rebate,…
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Watch: BC Air Ambulance Services at Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island

We're fortunate to live in a community that has an outstanding local hospital, but when one of us is hurt and we need specialized medical attention at one of the larger hospitals in Vancouver or Vancouver Island, and we need it fast, this is how it happens. Watch the video below. BC Ambulance can transfer patients by ferry, but when the circumstances are critical and time-sensitive, in most cases here on Salt Spring Island, that transport is by helicopter. Since 1998, Helijet has been contracted to provide helicopter transport for the British Columbia Emergency Health Services’ (BCEHS) Air Ambulance using air medical equipped Sikorsky S76 helicopters. From their bases at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, BC, Prince Rupert, BC and Kamloops, BC, a dedicated team of pilots and engineers are on call to aid the need of the ambulance services for patients. The twin-engine helicopters and their dedicated crews are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. T…
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ASK Salt Spring: Short-Term Vacation Rentals & Temporary Use Permits

Last Friday, 13 attended the ASK Salt Spring gathering under the apple tree in the United Church Meadow, welcoming Islands Trustee Laura Patrick. Laura’s comments were her own and not representing the Local Trust Committee. The discussion began with a question about regulating Short-Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs). Laura believes that chairing the Local Trust Committees on Saturna and Pender Islands has given her the opportunity to see other models of addressing the issues of vacation rentals. While she did not propose any solutions, she did offer some observations. For example, if STVRs were “registered” or “licensed” in some way, there would be the ability to regulate them. This could also allow for limiting the number of available units (for example Tofino). While rules around STVRs are being proactively enforced, it is an endless battle: for every illegal one that is closed, more pop up. This constant need for enforcement, with the potential of escalating legal cases, is e…
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COVID-19: CRD Reminds Park and Beach Visitors to Maintain Social Distancing

To support community health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Capital Regional District (CRD) is reminding visitors to CRD regional and electoral area parks to demonstrate responsible use in parks and on beaches. With summer weather conditions in the region, visitor numbers are continuing to increase with many residents choosing to visit swimming beaches in CRD Regional Parks. Visitors need to do their part to ensure responsible park use including: Stay at home if you are sick Keep 2 metres apart from other visitors outside of your group Share the beaches – maintain appropriate social distancing on the beach and in the water Yield to other users on bridges, stairs and narrow sections Stay to the right of the trail in a single file Only park in designated parking spots to ensure emergency vehicle access If you are unable to properly maintain a 2 meter distance from other visitors consider visiting other areas in the park If the parking lot is f…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Increase in Cases

As numbers of COVID cases increase across the province, closer inspection reveals that a disproportionate number of these originated in Kelowna due to just a few larger gatherings and a relaxation in social distancing. If we want to keep our hard-earned freedoms over the rest of the summer, all of us must continue to do our part and follow the rules. For the sake of our local businesses, farmers and artisans who are all struggling to stay open, please follow the rules whether in a pub, at the market, or in the grocery store. If you are travelling off Salt Spring or welcoming visitors to your home, remember that these activities could bring the virus into our community. All Salt Spring medical clinics are open and our local family physicians are seeing patients. Please be patient with staff as they do their best to keep you safe. Finally, if you think you should be screened for COVID, please call 1-844-901-8442 and they will arrange an appointment for you at Lady Minto…
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Local Resort Connected to Wellness Organization and Alleged Mainland Murder

Salt Spring Mineral Springs Resort is owned and operated by CreateAbundance International Institute Inc. / Golden Touch and has been the focus of recent media reports because of its alleged connection with Bo Fan, a Chinese citizen living in Surrey who was murdered in June, 2020. Create Abundance/Golden Touch was started in China and focuses on wellness or self-help through tapping energy in nature, according to videos and other information posted online, apparently by the group. It has been offering expensive classes and holding special events promoting its view on finding wealth and inner happiness to Chinese-speaking students in many places in the world, including in B.C. according to the Vancouver Sun. Mysterious activity near Salt Spring Mineral Springs Resort on Salt Spring Island has been recorded by local Joe Clemente as far back as 2018 when he captured video of military style training on North Beach Road that appears related to the resort. According to CTV an…
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Accessible Art: Meet Mahjor and Dominic

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions' until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Mahjor: Mahjor is 54 years old and moved to Salt Spring in 1994. His family is from India, and that is where he was born, as well as where his name comes from. He goes to Victoria to visit his mom every two weeks, and they go to the Hindu Temple together. They often go to weddings at …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - New Phase of Risk

After a long absence from posting, the LMH Medical Staff have felt that it might be time to update the community on all things COVID. While all cases on Salt Spring have long since recovered, we are entering a new phase of risk as more and more visitors arrive and each of us starts to expand our “bubble”. First, thank you so much to all the businesses and individuals who have clearly made a huge effort to put in place precautionary measures as recommended by our provincial leaders to keep all of us safe. Second, please do not allow all the hard work and sacrifices go to waste. As all of us start to socialize more, please do NOT meet with friends or go to work if you feel ill. Remember to wash your hands, do not touch your face, and if you need to sneeze or cough, cover your face with your elbow. Masks should be worn in any situation where it is difficult to maintain the required 6 feet separation from anyone not in your bubble. Finally, thank you to the CRD and the coo…
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Accessible Art: Meet Joanne and Jason

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy for members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, and Meadowbrook. Beyond providing individual and group tailored creative explorations, the project also aims to bring visibility to local islanders with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions'  until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Joanne. Joanne is 66 years young and has lived on Salt Spring for approximately 40 years. Joanne is an intelligent non-verbal communicator with plenty to express. She enjoys journaling, colouring, organizing her personal space, and taking care of her home. Jo especially loves babies an…
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ASK Salt Spring Talks Explore Salish Sea Bike Trail and Thermoplastic Road Paint

A total of 18 participants came to the United Church Meadow last Friday from 11-1 for the weekly ASK Salt Spring gathering. The discussion began with a few updates from previous ASK Salt Spring gatherings: A) Adam’s visit last week initiated two conversations: Salt Spring Solutions volunteers as well as other enthusiasts in our community are in the initial stages of generating community-wide advocacy to complete the long-delayed Salish Sea Trail, consisting of bike lanes from Fulford to Vesuvius. The completion of this would finally close the loop connecting Salt Spring to the popular Vancouver Island trail network. As the result of Adam’s questioning of provincial urban standards for our rural pathways, a conversation has begun advocating for these far less expensive rural standards. B) As a result of Emcon’s visit, there are efforts to bring over a water truck to keep down the dust so that our roads could be swept in dry weather. There is also an effort to bring …
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Accessible Art: Meet Amy and Lucky

In 2020, with support from the Disability Alliance British Columbia's Accessibility Project, the Salt Spring Arts Council is delivering a year-long Accessible Art Therapy project to provide access to art therapy to members of our community with disabilities. Lead by Artist Stefanie Denz and supported by Talia Peckel, we are proud to work with local organizations G.I.F.T.S., Friends and Choices, as well as with Meadowbrook. Beyond individually and group tailored explorations utilizing the arts, the project also aims to bring visibility to Salt Spring people with disabilities. Project participants' work is on display as part of 'creative expressions'  until August 3, in the Mahon Hall Annex Gallery. Meet Lucky:

Lucky started painting after recovering from his 4th open heart surgery in November 2016. He chose to embrace his recovery by expressing his emotions through Abstract painting. He was encouraged by his support staff at…

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