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  • Gayle Baker

So, "What is this Coach Program?"

October 22

A small ASK Salt Spring gathering of eleven tuned into Zoom to learn about Transition Salt Spring’s (TSS) new Climate Action Coach Program and welcome Bryan Young, TCC Chair and Coach inspiration, and Rob Lowrie, a Coach Navigator.

Bryan began with a moving Territorial Acknowledgement, urging us to learn more about the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, (a unified, legal governing body comprised of three W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations: Tsartlip, Tseycum, and Tsawout) and our ecosystems by reading: wsanec.com/history-territory/#language.

Surprising us with the fun fact that TSS will celebrate its quarter century birthday in 2022, we learned that its newly-launched Coach program is possible through the generosity of funders like Vancity, CRD, and Salt Spring and Victoria Foundations, but that donations from Salt Springers have also been that very important fuel (ecological, not fossil) to make this program possible. Bryan reminded us that no donation is too little, telling us that as little as $10 a month is a significant help toward moving the recommended actions of the Climate Action Plan 2.0 (https://transitionsaltspring.com/climate-action-plan-2-0/)toward implementation.

The Coach Program will:

  • Help Salt Springers identify the best ecological home improvements for their particular situation,

  • Guide them toward experts who can obtain and install these home improvements,

  • Identify rebates/navigate the process to get them, and

  • Guide Islanders to the provincial BC Energy Coach Hotline at 844-881-9790.

Additionally, Coach will offer monthly webinars on ecological home improvements so that we can all begin this journey with as much information as possible. To learn about each of these webinars, Bryan suggested that we all sign up to receive the TSS newsletter: (https://transitionsaltspring.com/transition-newsletter-one-step-at-a-time/).

The first webinar on water catchment was attended by over 100 enthusiastic participants, so full houses are expected for these monthly webinars. Rob suggested signing up for these free webinars early to avoid the disappointment of a full house.

Coach’s first webinar on rainwater catchment generated so much interest in the CRD-funded catchment rebates, that the program was fully subscribed in less than a week. But, a waiting list is now being generated for future programs, with confirmation from CRD’s Gary Holman that funding will be available next year. So, Salt Spring - sign up: (https://transitionsaltspring.com/cac-rainwater-harvesting/).

A major message during our time together was that everyone’s needs are unique and that there is not one right home renovation answer for all. While much of our conversation revolved around the pros and cons of heat pumps, wood stoves, insulation, and fans, it was agreed that the first step is often an Energy Evaluation. Celebrating the imminent certification of two Salt Spring Energy Advisors, you can now schedule an assessment by contacting mike@greenerhomesbc.ca or going to the Green Homes website:(https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/canada-greener-homes-grant/23441).

While these energy assessments to identify leaks in your home are a wonderful source of information, Bryan also warned us that they are a bit complex: Costs, approximately $900, must be paid at the beginning of the process, rebated only when the assessment has been completed and all the required forms have been submitted. Interested in learning more before requesting an assessment? There will be an energy assessment webinar (time and link posted on the TSS website) in early December.

Heat pumps are a very popular option to save money while also helping the environment. With enticing rebates, we were warned that wait times for heat pumps were long. But, also, heat pumps are expensive and not the perfect option for all. Less expensive options to stem heat leakage might be heat curtains or even do it yourself options like Styrofoam on leaky basement windows.

Wood burning was identified as one of our highest polluters. (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/18/wood-burners-triple-harmful-indoor-air-pollution-study-finds. Also dangerous, our firefighters are called to too many wood stove fires each year. If you are concerned, you can get an inspection of your wood stone by a certified technician who will perform a Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT). In an effort to help rid our island of unsafe, inefficient wood stoves, TSS has applied to offer the Wood Stove Exchange Program (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air/air-pollution/smoke-burning/exchange). Bryan is optimistic, keeping his fingers crossed that good news will soon be received. Stay tuned. . . .

While it was recognized that wood stoves are a significant source of our pollution, we were reminded that trying to get Salt Springers to give up their wood stoves would be a loosing battle. What if everyone, instead, burned hot, using dry, well-seasoned wood in a safe, certified wood stove? Our enthusiastic Burn it Right expert, firefighter Mitchell Sherrin will be telling us all about burning smart in a webinar November 3: (https://tinyurl.com/BurnSmart).

If in doubt whether your wood is dry enough, moisture metres are available for about $30. If you cannot find one easily, this seems like a perfect question for our Coach Navigator, right Rob? Just send him an email (rob@transitionjsaltspring.com) about this or any Coach question.

A participant asked us to also be aware of the dangerous wood stoves in rental homes. She asked. Is there anything that can be done to protect renters in these dangerous homes? To emphasize this concern, we learned of one couple’s arduous (and so far, unsuccessful) journey to purchase a home on Salt Spring: They have recently had five different home inspections for promising purchases, their hopes dashed each time when learning of the dangerous conditions marring each of these homes. They added their voices to the query: What can we do to protect renters who are living in substandard, unsafe homes?

While there are no simple answers to this query, as our time together drew to a close, we realized what a lot of answers we had gotten. With a grateful Thank-you! to Bryan and Rob, we pressed our Leave Meeting button, committed to look at our homes through an ecological/economical lens.

Please join us November 5, 11-1, to welcome MLA Adam Olsen to join us in the Dome at the Rainbow Road Elementary School.

What would you like to ask him?

  • Please tell us more about how citizens can impact political decisions?

  • How worried should we be about our apparent surge in COVID cases?

  • Has the Police Act Review Committee been meeting recently?

  • What can you do to get the province to also review other long-unchanged acts?

  • What about a review of the Island Trust Act?

  • Do you have any good news about roads, housing, healthcare shortages, or. . . .?

  • And?

See you Friday, November 5 in the Dome!

Any question, anytime: ask@asksaltspring.com


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

asksaltspring.com


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

We love your receipts! Remember: #15


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