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  • Gayle Baker

Interested in Envisioning an Even Better Ganges?

January 21

A total of 15 joined for all or part of the conversation at this ASK Salt Spring Zoom gathering. Trustee Laura Patrick offered a moving Territorial Acknowledgement and spoke briefly about her hopes for the Ganges Village Local Area Plan. She noted that Ganges Village is the heart of Salt Spring, and it is important to take the time to do good, inclusive, and collaborative planning.

Salt Spring Island’s Official Community Plan (OCP) applies to the entire island. The Ganges Village Local Area Plan will form a detailed part of the OCP, and it is intended to guide the realization of the vision for the village over the next decade or two. Laura strongly believes that collaborative partners are required to create this successful and inclusive plan for the village. Laura reports that more task force members are needed. If you can bring a collaborative spirit and focus on planning to the table, please let Laura know.

A participant enthusiastically shared her vision of a vibrant Ganges with a welcoming and attractive atmosphere. Others jumped in with their visions for a village with a central pedestrian square (instead of parking lots), and for a place that celebrates culture and artisans. And, let’s create a pedestrian-friendly village!

When asked how this local area plan will avoid ending up on the shelf, Laura responded that including an implementation plan is standard practice for community planning. She encouraged people to have a look at the draft plan for Saanich’s Cadboro Bay as an example:

When asked about Salt Spring’s carrying capacity, Laura indicated that the most effective way to measure and manage human activity is to look at per capita impacts on the ecosystem and infrastructure.

When asked about the freighter anchored in the south end of Ganges Harbour, Laura indicated that there is ongoing advocacy by elected officials at various levels to seek solutions for mitigating its impacts like noise, lights, and anchor drag. The newly-formed Southern Gulf Islands Forum (a gathering of all elected officials and First Nations representation from across the southern Gulf Island region) has identified freighter anchorages as a discussion topic.

Laura was asked what is needed to increase Salt Spring Island’s representation to four local trustees on the Islands Trust. While Laura would welcome greater representation for Salt Spring at the Trust Council table, she recommended waiting for the results of Islands Trust Governance and Management Review, which will be publicly available in March. And, while she is looking forward to reading the report, she agrees with MLA Adam Olsen that the province alone has the authority and responsibility to review and make changes to the Islands Trust Act.

A participant asked Laura about ongoing bylaw enforcement on short term vacation rentals (STVRs). She supports working towards a system to regulate STVRs within principal residences and is patiently waiting for a report from the CRD on the feasibility of developing a regionally-led business license program for STVRs.

This is probably the first ASK Salt Spring gathering with Laura in which the draft Policy Statement was not central to the conversation. She told us that the enhanced public engagement is about to begin and suggested that we subscribe to the Islands Trust website ( so that we will receive emails about opportunities to participate in the public engagement activities. These activities will also be advertised in the Driftwood and Salt Spring Exchange.

As 1:00 PM approached, Laura was asked about her biggest frustration. Highest on her list is communication. She harkened back to the day when many of us got most of our information from one place - the Driftwood. Today, with so many sources of information - and misinformation - she is finding it hard to keep islanders up to date. She asked us to remember that we all share this amazing island home and that we all need to work to make it the best that it can be . . .together.

On this note, we thanked Laura for her tenacity, willingness to tackle complex issues, and her tireless work to do what she sees as best for our community. (Thanks, Laura!)

Concerned about our preparation for emergencies? Please join us Friday, January 28, 11-1 to welcome managers from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; Emcon, our roads maintenance contractor; and CRD’s Emergency Program.

Given COVID concerns, we will be gathering virtually via Zoom:

(In case you need it, the passcode is 947504)

What do you want to ask them?

  • What did we learn from our recent emergencies? Are we better-prepared than we were before our recent flooding? If yes, how?

  • We keep hearing about decades of deferred road maintenance. How can we help you address this?

  • Safe Active Transportation as well as addressing vehicular safety concerns is a high priority for Salt Springers. What can we do to help you make our roads safer for all?

  • And. . . .?

See you Friday, January 28, 11-1 on Zoom to learn about our roads and

emergency preparedness!

Any question, anytime:

Want to see reports from all the ASK Salt Spring gatherings?

Want to help? ASK Salt Spring now has a Save-a-Tape box at Country Grocer.

We love your receipts! Remember: #15

(Our Partners. . . .

Our rent - reduced through the generosity of our Library -

is being paid for byIsland Savings’ Simple Generosity grant.

Cookie and coffee fixings are the result of the generosity of Country Grocer.

What a team!)

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