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  • Gayle Baker

OCP? LUB? CCA? Lots of Letters Tell the Story of Some Exciting New Islands Trust Projects for Salt Spring

May 24

Nineteen joined the ASK Salt Spring gathering to welcome Islands Trust Planner Jason Youmans, and Trustee Laura Patrick to provide an overview and answer questions about two important Local Trust Committee land use planning initiatives: the Complete Communities Assessment; and updates of the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Land Use Bylaws (LUB).

During her Territorial Acknowledgment, Laura spoke briefly about her own personal journey learning about reconciliation and referenced Culturally Connected as a good resource. (You can learn more about Culturally Connected and reconciliation here:

When asked what “excites and delights” him, Jason told us that, personally, he loves the return of the sun and, professionally, he is enthusiastic about being involved in local Islands Trust projects that hold the promise of addressing longstanding Salt Spring issues using environmentally sustainable principles.

Laura spoke of her joy watching new seedlings appear each day in her garden as well as how proud she is of the work Islands Trust staff are doing to prepare and plan - or what she calls “set the table,” - for these community planning projects.

So, tell us a bit about these projects.

The first is a Complete Community Assessment (CCA) for the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Area. (Learn more about Complete Communities here: ( Funded through a provincial grant program, this assessment is a geospatial analysis across four themes: housing, transportation, daily needs and infrastructure. This geospatial analysis will not only gather and assesses local data, it will then represent it visually. This CCA will provide an up-to-date, fact-based, foundation of information for future discussions about community planning, including the upcoming OCP-LUB update.

The project team will engage with a diverse group of island organizations to round out the list of indicators that help measure our community’s completeness. Wider public engagement will follow, using information gathering, online consultation, and live events. A fast track project, this Complete Communities project is targeted to be complete by this September.

The primary questions about this Complete Communities project focused on the kinds of information that would be used to inform the CCA. Jason assured us that all this work is being done within the context of the Islands Trust mandate and the values of our community.

We then moved on to discuss the OCP-LUB project. The purpose of the Salt Spring Island OCP-LUB Update Project is to modernize the Salt Spring Island official community plan (OCP) and land use bylaw (LUB) to provide a framework that will guide growth and change on Salt Spring Island over the next decade or more. It will do so in a manner that addresses contemporary challenges while remaining consistent with the Islands Trust Policy Statement.

The goal of this OCP-LUB update is to increase housing options and housing equity in ways that integrate the interests of First Nations with treaty and territorial interests in the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Area, ecosystem integrity/connectivity, and climate change resiliency.

Questions sprung up as to what a “focused” or “targeted” review means. Jason noted that, while some communities undertake comprehensive reviews of their OCPs, others choose a more targeted approach to address specific issues. Saanich, for example, just completed a focused strategic OCP update.

Jason shared his opinion that our existing OCP remains a good representation of the mandate of the Islands Trust and need not be comprehensively reviewed. We were reminded that the scope of the proposed OCP-LUB update reflects the fact that both Trustees Patrick and Harris were clear when they ran for office that they planned to take steps to address the island’s housing challenges. We learned that the project is designed to be completed this term, hopefully by June 2026.

Laura said that the current OCP sets out a vision for a place that values the natural environment and our sense of community. She said she wants to live in “that Salt Spring.” But, in her opinion, we seem to be moving away from that vision. Without adequate housing options, we are not maintaining the diverse population necessary for a healthy community. So, she is hoping we can focus on improving the policies and regulations that support diverse housing options.

Some of those present were concerned that loosening of current restrictions would result in environmental damage and runaway growth. Others in the room felt that people advocating for diverse housing options are being branded as anti-environmentalists. A conclusion from this conversation was that we all deeply care about healthy ecosystems, rural living, and the housing options needed for a diverse island community.

Laura described what she and the other elected officials are hearing and seeing. While many islanders only see the “help wanted” signs around the island, the lack of housing options is having harmful impacts on the health and welfare of our friends and neighbours.    

Those present discussed topics such as buildout, density caps, density transfers, and even down zoning. Understanding people’s desire for change and/or fear of change is important, Jason and Laura believe that an open, transparent, and equitable public engagement process will help our community to have these conversations.     

Laura said that she does not have any predetermined changes to the OCP-LUB in mind. Her sole focus is upon ensuring an open, equitable public engagement process in which the community will be heard. While this focus is clear, we were reminded that Local Trustees and Trust staff are only in the initial planning phases of the details of this project. Professional public engagement expertise will be sourced to assist staff. Stay tuned on how you can be involved in the engagement process to update the OCP/LUB.

On that note, we thanked Jason and Laura for joining us, appreciative of their clear commitment to our community, hard work, willingness to face seemingly unsolvable challenges, and promise to come back again soon. (Thank-you, Laura and Jason!

Please join us this Friday, May 31, 11-1, in the SIMS (former Middle School) classroom next to the Boardroom to welcome our hardworking, caring Restorative Justice ( folks.

What would you like to ask them?

  • What is Restorative Justice?

  • Please describe how Restorative Justice helps those conflict better understand each other.

  • How do you identify folks Restorative Justice can help?

  • Please tell us some of your success stories.

  • What are your Circles?

  • Are their instances in which Restorative Justice cannot help?

  • How would you like to see Restorative Justice grow and change in the next few years?

  • And?

Please come to welcome the Restorative Justice folks this Friday!

Just in case you are interested. . . .This report has been written by Gayle Baker, Ph. D., founder of ASK Salt Spring, currently also a Salt Spring Local Community Commissioner. This report has also been edited by this week’s special guests.

Want to help? We welcome volunteers to join the team.

Please join us making ASK Salt Spring ever better!

Big News:

ASK Salt Spring now has ongoing funding! A heartfelt THANK-YOU to the Institute for Sustainability, Education, and Action (I-SEA) and its Executive Director, Peter Allen !!!

***New fundraising option***

You can now give the Return It change you earn from your bottles to ASK Salt Spring: Account #230.

Any questions, anytime:

Want to see reports from all the ASK Salt Spring gatherings, and

monthly schedule of upcoming gatherings?

Want to listen to interviews of our special guests?ASK Salt Spring Answered

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

We love your receipts! Remember: #15

Our Partners. . . .

Institute for Sustainability, Education, and Action (I-SEA), Country Grocer through Save-a-Tape and Gift Cards and Island Savings' Simple Generosity grant.

A heartfelt Thank-You!

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