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  • Gayle Baker

Our First ASK Salt Spring Session: October 11, 2019 with CRD's Gary Holman as Special Guest

October 11:

Guests: 10 (each staying approximately one hour)

Special Guest: Gary Holman

Summary of Issues:

4 - Senior Services

3 - Completion of North Ganges Transportation Loop

3 - Harbour Walk

1 - Garbage

2 - Speed Limits

1 - Purchase of home (currently for sale) at corner of Lower and Upper Ganges Roads

4 - Ganges Hill

3 - Laundromat

3 - Safety Counter-Referendum

(Please note: Numbers reflect those who participated in the discussion, not necessarily the number of folks who came to address the issue.)

ASK Salt Spring volunteers learned quite a bit about senior services on Salt Spring and the challenge of knowing about all the resources that exist and how to access them. Margaret Monro, coordinator of the Caregivers’ Support Group for 20 years, announced that she has just been appointed to the Council of Special Advisor to the Office of the Seniors Advocate of BC where she advocates for senior services at the provincial level. (250-537-5004,, She also serves on the Meadowlane Board.

Joan Douglas, a nurse educator for 30 years and recent member of Greenwoods Board, introduced a new Seniors’ Services Directory. A wonderful effort, she identified even more resources to add at its next printing as a result of this ASK Salt Spring session.

Patricia Flanagan arrived, president of the Southend Seniors’ Society, with a poster for the upcoming Senior Wellness Event, Thursday, October 16 at the Fulford Hall. Joan and Margaret committed to participate in this event.

Some excellent new connections were established among these four seniors’ advocates.

Gary was challenged to collect garbage in public places. He spoke of PARC’s efforts to provide garbage collection in our parks. He agreed that trash/recycle opportunities may be lacking in the village but that there was currently not a service in place to address this. In the past, there had been a Solid Waste Committee, but this group no longer meets. Given our pressing need to do better recycling in our climate emergency, reconstituting this committee might be a possibility. Maureen committed to speak for BC Ferries and Laurie’s Garbage for more information about bins and garbage options.

Three individuals were very concerned about the danger to pedestrians near the intersection of Upper and Lower Ganges Roads. Gary replied that this was a key element of the North Ganges Transportation Loop project, stalled due to archaeological First Nations’ concerns, but, hopefully, to be underway for completion of its final phase early next year.

Participant were interested in progress on the Harbour Walk. Gary told us that CRD had taken over this initiative from Islands Trust as it would need to be built by CRD. (Islands Trust may still receive zoning requests for this area.) A Public Right of Way has been requested across the marina property before their now-expired lease is renewed. Required studies have been submitted, and CRD is awaiting word if Salt Spring’s request has been approved. If this approval is given, initial funds for design of the Harbour Walk have been allocated; Costs for construction have not yet been identified.

Roads were a concern, with four citing Ganges Hill as an extreme danger and two concerned about speed limits that are too high. Those with speed limit concerns were told about Myna Lee’s petition and promised to sign it. Gary spoke about the Ministry of Transportation’s plan to repave Ganges Hill to Beddis early in 2020 as well as their top priority to continue that work to Fulford. He also spoke of the Transportation Commission’s hope of adding paved bike lanes on both sides as well as a multi-purpose trail on the west (high) side.

I promised to follow-up with Robin about a possibility he mentioned concerning the purchase of the home (currently for sale) at corner of Lower and Upper Ganges Roads. Royal BC Museum is not interested due to parking constraints.

Progress on the laundromat was relayed, with hope of renovations beginning in the former computer store in the village in January 2020, and there was a lively discussion of the pros and cons of the Safety Counter-Petition.

And, we were all stumped by one question: Whatever happened to the gravel barges that came to Ganges Harbour? Wouldn’t this be a better way to get gravel than all those fossil-fuel-powered trucks on the already over-crowded Crofton Ferry heading to Duncan for gravel. Anyone (Answer: When the seaplane dock was constructed, there was no longer room for the gravel barges.)

While Gary invited everyone to simply call or meet with him (he is very available,) several commented that they preferred the casual forum that ASK Salt Spring provided. I was especially pleased by the new connections that were made and the conversations that emerged because everyone seemed to appreciate listening to others’ questions rather than only being focused on their own issue.

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