COVID-19: Salt Spring Fire Rescue Update - April 7th, 2020 - 11:12 AM

Good day, I am writing to you today to give you an update on what has changed in the Fire Department since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We had taken what was viewed at the time as extraordinary measures to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of our membership and community at large. We closed our offices to the public and prohibited all non-essential member traffic to our fire halls. We cancelled all face-to-face group training and meetings, which have since moved online with great success. Staff began multiple daily decontamination protocols of our halls and apparatus. Listing all the measures here is too lengthy for this letter. Suffice it to say, we were a month ahead of recommended government guidelines. By taking measures so early on, we have been able to keep our membership completely healthy and able to respond 24/7. We had responded to a structure fire on March 27th in the early hours of the morning and the house was saved. We want you to know …
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ASK Salt Spring: Emcon Managers Answer The Most Asked Questions About Our Roads

Salt Springers have lots of questions about our roads. While the vast majority of the questions were about sweeping and line painting, the other more specific questions also gained the attention of Emcon, our roads maintenance contractors. With our questions in hand, Emcon and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) managers recently toured Salt Spring. While some answers emerged, others raised a number of new questions. Stay tuned. . . ASK Salt Spring volunteers will continue to seek answers to those unanswered questions. 1) As debris-free roads make our narrow, winding roads far safer for cyclists, when are our roads going to be swept and how often? MoTI requires Salt Spring’s most-traveled roads (class one and two) be swept this spring before May 15. Also in compliance with MoTI’s mandate, the rest of Salt Spring’s roads will be swept this spring before June 15. To get more frequent sweeping of our roads, MoTI would have to authorize it. The unask…
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COVID-19: CRD Continues to Provide Support for Vulnerable Populations

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is working with its municipal and non-profit partners and key Indigenous stakeholders to support the most vulnerable people in the capital region. Currently, the CRD and its partners are assessing the needs of people who are without shelter or housing throughout the region and are developing strategies to provide health and support services, as well as resources to meet the basic needs of people experiencing homelessness.

The CRD is receiving an additional $1.3 million from the Government of Canada through the Reaching Home program to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This funding is to help improve the capacity of service providers and can be used to secure additional accommodation to reduce overcrowding, purchase supplies and materials to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and increasing the frequency of cleaning with di…

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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 6th, 2020 - 1:11 PM

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Vancouver Island Health Authority has remained stable for some days now. This means physical distancing measures are working. It also means that those who need hospital care or a ventilator have access to them. At some point we may be able to ease up on some of the measures but that time is NOT YET. We all must continue to do our part. As your health care team we have been working for many weeks now with the health authority and province on contingency plans should there be an outbreak of COVID-19 on Salt Spring or in any rural community. While plans are in place to address transport needs, it is clear that any rural community could easily and quickly exhaust its resources. Therefore, it is imperative that with the nice weather arriving and a long weekend approaching, each of us stresses to friends and family NOT to visit. Please celebrate and remain connected virtually. It seems that there are more questions than answers about keepi…
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COVID-19: Vinyl Panels on Light Duty Salt Spring Island Buses - No Fare Collection - April 6th, 2020 - 12:05 PM

BC Transit is continuing to provide transportation services customers can rely on as we recognize people still need to get to work, including at healthcare facilities, or other activities such as weekly grocery shopping trips. BC Transit places the safety of our riders, staff, and communities as our top priority. The Province of BC and the Provincial Health Officer continue to lead the response to COVID-19, and BC Transit is taking their advice to identify and implement new measures to enhance safety throughout the BC Transit system. We want to assure you we are taking the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation seriously, and we are implementing plans based on advice from health experts. We have already implemented enhanced measures in response to COVID-19 including: Enhanced cleaning on buses and at BC Transit facilities Communication to staff and customers about physical distancing procedures Rear door loading (as available) Not collecting fares Limiting passen…
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COVID-19: Foundation Emergency Fund Aims for $200,000 for Community Charities

The Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has distributed $26,633 to local charities since the fund was launched with $20,000 from the Foundation on March 26. The fund has reached $130,114 with a target of $200,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We have received many applications for COVID-19 relief from our local charities and are working to distribute the funds as quickly as possible. We know community charitable initiatives in response to the emergency will really make use of the new targeted amount." Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, such as seniors, and other pressing community needs as they emerge. Major donors include Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store, the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Island Savings and the CRD. Over $45,000 has been received in donations from the wider community. The foll…
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COVID-19: Essential Services Farmers Market to Operate in Centennial Park

The Salt Spring Community Market Society operates the Tuesday Farmers Market in Centennial Park through a permit issued by the Capital Regional District (CRD). Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on markets on Salt Spring. To help limit the spread of the virus, the Province has restricted the size of gatherings and has required some types of businesses to close or significantly alter their operations. The Province has designated farmers’ markets as an essential service, but has limited them to food and beverage sales, with specific restrictions. They are a place to access food, not for groups to gather. The Society and the CRD want to provide residents of Salt Spring safe access to local food until regular markets can start again. Beginning Saturday April 11, the Society will operate an Essential Services Farmers Market in Centennial Park on Saturdays from 10-2 until the regular Saturday Market is able to resume. This market will provide direct acces…
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Save Seeds, Help New Gardeners

Finally, the forecast is for a warm, sunny week of seasonal temperatures. I was more than a little put out by the frequent snow showers that fell on my garden last week—and had to apologize to the peas I planted outdoors the week before [in these strange times, talking to your vegetables is OK, right?…as long as you aren’t hearing them reply, of course…] If you are starting seeds indoors, it is time to sow summer and winter squashes, cucumbers and melons. I wait until now because these plants grow quickly and can’t be set out until the soil is really warm, often mid-May. Among the squashes, zucchinis are generally the most robust and sometimes can be set out in late April, depending on the weather. Cucumbers and melons are the most delicate, with the least will to live; in some years I haven’t been able to plant them outdoors until early June. As for planting in the garden, the soil is still cold, but that will change after a week of sunny weather. When the soil is dry en…
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PARC Assumes Responsibility of Salt Spring Island United Church Meadow

The Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) has assumed responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the Salt Spring United Church (SSUC) meadow located at 111 Hereford Avenue in Ganges. The church meadow has been accessible to the public as a “park” in the centre of town since the 1980s and the CRD looks forward to continuing this tradition through a license of occupation. In recent years the meadow has increasingly become a place where people are conducting themselves outside of the church’s intended use. With limited enforcement options and a desire to keep the space open for public use, the SSUC has requested that the CRD assume responsibility for this community space and thereby implement the ability to enforce CRD park bylaws. The CRD invites the public to continue the use and enjoyment of this green meadow space within the parameters of existing local CRD Community Parks Bylaw No. 3795. The meadow is acces…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Ferry Schedule Adjustment Coming Soon - April 3rd, 2020 - 7:06 PM

BC Ferries is adjusting the schedule on the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Southern Gulf Islands and Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands routes soon. Traffic across all of our routes is down approximately 80% because of COVID-19, and BC Ferries is adjusting service levels across multiple routes. The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the Province of British Columbia has been amended to permit these service reductions. The Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Island services will be combined with the Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Islands services to one ship service using a Salish class vessel based out of Swartz Bay transiting to Tsawwassen, and a second ship serving the Southern Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay. Service to Long Harbour will be suspended and Salt Spring Island will be served by its two other routes, Swartz Bay – Fulford Harbour and Crofton – Vesuvius. Details are currently being finalized and will be announced soon. The adjustments in service levels across…
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COVID-19: Local Groups Organize to Manufacture Re-usable Face Shields and Isolation Gowns - April 3rd, 2020 - 5:17 PM

The Salt Spring Community Health Society (SSCHS) and the Salt Spring Chapter – Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice (SSC-RRDFP) are pleased to announce joint funding by the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation and Salt Spring Island Foundation to manufacture and distribute re-usable face shields and isolation gowns as well as alcohol sanitizer to on-island physicians and health care workers, first responders, and other highly exposed community workers. “This is an exciting example of how four local organizations can partner to work in the best interests of the community, and is the culmination of many, many hours spent by highly-skilled and creative professionals and volunteers to leverage the considerable open-source and maker movement,” said Jennifer Williams, President, SSCHS. This equipment will protect physicians in their community practices, their staff, as well as first responders and community workers who serve vulnerable populations, among others. This, in turn…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - April 2nd, 2020 - 1:15 PM

We all continue to follow the daily updates from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, and hope for good news. So far, physical distancing seems to be working in our Health Authority and in BC as a whole. The increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 has not been as rapid or as extensive as it might have been, and this is undoubtedly due to the extensive measures in place to stop the spread between individuals and within the community. The challenge will be to continue to physically distance, practice excellent hand hygiene, and avoid touching our faces in the days, weeks and months ahead. We need to remember that the virus does not move, but rather people move the virus. This means that staying at home in our community is very important as a way to stop transmission. If you need to travel to a different community, you should be following all of the recommended precautions strictly. Similarly, if you know of people wh…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Farm and Business Response & Recovery Task Force - April 2nd, 2020 - 12:55 PM

Task Force Forms to Provide Resilient Local Planning to COVID-19 - To further support the Salt Spring community during COVID-19 a newly formed coordination team, the Business and Farm Response & Recovery Task Force, has come together representing key farm and business stakeholders. Its goal is to ensure island-wide coordination and address the significant current and anticipated impacts to Salt Spring Island as a result of COVID-19. Island residents require coordinated economic and community services support to respond to the unique local economic consequences of this crisis. Laura Patrick, Task Force Chair, and SSI Trustee, says the farm and business response action plan is underway, “Planning for recovery now, by collaborating, coordinating and instituting protective measures, will ensure that we are able to sustain and support our community through this crisis.” Anne Macey, co-facilitating work on the Agriculture Response Plan as part of this overall initiative, adds,“ Th…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund Helping Island Charities - April 1st, 2020 - 5:04 PM

In just six days, the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has reached $114,803. Funds are currently being directed toward local charities with urgent needs. As a consequence of the strong community response, the Foundation has increased the fund’s goal to $200,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “The needs are large and complex, but we can meet the challenges ahead. We feel confident we can achieve this target.” The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, which has supported agriculture and food security on Salt Spring for many years, has donated $10,000 to the fund. Island Savings Credit Union has contributed $2,500, in addition to supporting food banks through its own signature program, The Full Cupboard. Lawson says, “We so much appreciate their compassion and support. We have surpassed the target of $100,000 in only a few short days since launching the fund and are grateful for the generosity of the entire comm…
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COVID-19: Low-Interest Loans for Salt Spring Farmers and Food Processors - March 31st, 2020 - 10:43 AM

Do you need help with cash flow over the next few months? Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Co-op (TSSEC) recognizes that the pandemic may create cash flow difficulties and we are therefore offering low interest micro-loans with flexible repayments at this time to help Salt Spring’s small farmers and processors. Locals supporting locals through uncertain times. TSSEC has loaned over $120,000 for green projects on Salt Spring since 2011. Contact TSSEC at (250) 537-2616 or by email to TSSEnterpriseCoop@gmail.com
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Foundation Emergency Fund Reaches $93,000 - March 30th, 2020 - 1:49 PM

As of March 30, the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has grown to $93,000. Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store have donated $50,000, and community donations have reached $18,000. The fund was started with a Foundation contribution of $20,000 and a CRD Grant-in-Aid of $5,000. Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We are extremely grateful for the heartwarming response from these caring businesses and individuals. We are working to get funds out quickly to support the local charities that are fighting on the front lines of this crisis.” Donations may be made at ssifoundation.ca or by mail to: Salt Spring Island Foundation, Box 244, Ganges PO, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V9. Please indicate on your cheque that the donation is to be directed to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people in our community, su…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 30th, 2020 - 1:05 PM

Fortunately, for the moment, these posts have little new information and are quite boring. This is good. This means we may be flattening the curve, but it is still too early to say. It can be hard to appreciate the severity of what is happening elsewhere in our province and country when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Spring is so clearly making itself known. Once again though, we must implore you to carry on with all the physical distancing measures. It is our only hope for slowing the virus, saving lives, and being able to lift some of the restrictions we now face, a bit earlier. Again we offer some resources to help Salt Springers to cope during this time. With school technically back in session, here are some activities for children and youth. Museums around the world are offering free virtual online tours. The US Centers for Disease Control website now has a section devoted to maintaining mental wellness during the pandemic. Editorial Note…
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COVID-19: CRD Enhances Communication with Electoral Areas - March 30th, 2020 - 9:18 AM

As part of its response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has launched an additional way to communicate with residents in the Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas. With people directed to self-isolate and not gather in groups, the remote electoral areas pose a unique challenge to share information with residents. To help mitigate these challenges, three new email addresses have been created for residents in the CRD’s electoral areas to ask questions and communicate directly with the CRD. These inboxes are monitored Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and the CRD will respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. If questions fall outside the CRD’s area of responsibility for electoral area governance, best efforts will be made to re-direct inquiries to the appropriate resource. Juan de Fuca: jdfcovid@crd.bc.ca Salt Spring Island: ssicovid@crd.bc.ca Southern Gulf Islands: sgicovid…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Local Elected Officials Joint Message - March 29th, 2020 - 3:55 PM

We, your three locally elected officials (Gary Holman, CRD Electoral Area Director, and Peter Grove and Laura Patrick, Islands Trust Trustees) have settled into our work-from-home environments and are practicing social distancing. We are proud of how quickly our respective organizational staff have adapted, and how they are ensuring that the essential services you need are being maintained. We know that you care about your fellow islanders and that you are looking after your neighbours who may need assistance. We appreciate everyone who is following the directions of Dr. Bonny Henry and the Ministry of Health, and are staying home and practicing appropriate social distancing. We are so grateful to our local medical staff and essential service providers. Please understand they are counting on you to do your part to avoid getting infected and infecting others. It is crucial that we are 100% committed to Dr. Henry’s directives and guidance to ensure we do not overload our ver…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 28th, 2020 - 1:00 PM

Every single person on Salt Spring has the potential to save a life by practicing physical distancing. Never before have any of us been able to have such an incredible impact by such a small change in behaviour. Simply staying home and maintaining a physical distance from others is the single most effective measure to control and stop this pandemic. The provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s address yesterday gave us a glimmer of hope, but as many know, statistics can be interpreted in many different ways. Now is NOT the time to relax any of the containment measures. Rather, it is crucial that we hold the course we are on, continue to practice physical distancing, stay home, and wash our hands. The coming days will reveal if we are truly ‘flattening the curve’ of new cases. Lady Minto Hospital remains open with restrictions on visitors and all the recommended infection control measures in place. We continue to be ready and able to care for you. We …
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Current Update - March 27th, 2020 - 1:28 PM

A gentle reminder to people who have been asking whether there are cases on Salt Spring—we are committed to the confidentiality of our patients and will not disclose any more than the information you are receiving from the Medical Officer of Health. Our regulatory body, The College of Physicians and Surgeons has said: “….Dr. Henry is taking great care to ensure the privacy of individuals who are affected, which of course is of utmost importance. The College has recently learned of instances where information has been posted on social media or provided to the press about individual patient cases and test results, including the identification of certain smaller communities. This is not acceptable. Physicians must not disclose information about individual patients in any setting, including stories shared directly with other people, even if patient identities are not revealed. The risk of a privacy breach is too great”. We are also aware that there is a time lag between th…
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