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  • Gayle Baker

Will Islands Trust Housing Bylaw Equal More Rental Housing?

April 15

Six Salt Springers joined this ASK Salt Spring gathering at the Library to welcome Laura Patrick, one of our two local Islands Trust elected officials. While the holiday may have been a factor in the the lower than normal participation, rising COVID numbers has convinced us to return to Zoom. The link for ASK Salt Spring gatherings each Friday through May is:

After her Territorial Acknowledgment, Laura spoke about the upcoming Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting on April 19. She suggested that we would be interested in the four staff reports concerning LTC planning projects in the agenda for this meeting: (

Laura is pleased to report good progress with the LTC’s work on wildfire resiliency. This project will collaboratively develop management practices for healthy forest ecosystems to reduce wildfire risk. She noted that the CRD is seeking a consultant to develop Community Wildfire Resiliency Plans for the three electoral areas, Salt Spring, Southern Gulf Islands,.and Juan de Fuca. She believes that the LTC’s project will support this CRD planning effort.

With the election of two Trustees for the North Salt Spring Waterworks District’s (NSSWD) on the minds of many, there was a discussion about their moratorium on water connections. While deeply interested in Salt Spring water issues, as an elected official, Laura would not comment on this upcoming election.

There were also questions about BC Housing’s planned supportive housing project on Drake Road. BC Housing has said it will communicate with the public about the project, and Laura encouraged us to direct our questions to BC Housing and the CRD.

Our conversation shifted to the local Trustees’ work on accessory dwelling units (otherwise known as secondary suites, cottages, and suites in accessory buildings). One participant was surprised to see a proposed bylaw in the April 19 agenda package, wondering if a community discussion should precede this draft bylaw. Rather than being concerned that this draft bylaw is hasty, Laura is glad that staff have set the stage for this discussion by drafting this bylaw.

Laura pointed out that the Housing Action task force made this recommendation last August, and the housing crisis has continued to worsen each day. Rather than too quick, Laura believes that progress is too slow on this issue, reminding us that the island’s rental housing market has all but disappeared. In this draft bylaw, the LTC is hoping to encourage islanders to become landlords by allowing some flexibility to those willing to provide long-term rental housing.

When asked why the proposed maximum size of accessory dwelling units is larger than that of seasonal cottages, 90 m2 (968 ft2) versus 56 m2 (602 ft2), Laura reminded us that families require rental housing that is an adequate size to accommodate their needs.

Due to the number of important items on the April 19 agenda, Laura anticipates that this housing bylaw will not be discussed at this meeting. She believes that it is likely that a special meeting will be planned to allow the Trustees more time to discuss this important housing bylaw.

And, despite our small group, the time flew and it was suddenly 1:00. We bid Laura a fond farewell, appreciating her willingness to listen, explain, and work so hard to address those complicated issues that challenge our community. (Thanks, Laura!)

As housing is a nearly-constant conversation at ASK Salt Spring, it is a bit surprising that one of our local leaders, Kisae Peterson, Executive Director of Island Women Agains Violence (IWAV), has not been our special guest before. But . . .that will be corrected by enthusiastically welcoming Kisae this Friday, April 22, 11-1 to join us to talk housing.

Due to ongoing COVID concerns, we will be Zooming at:

(Passcode: 947504, if needed.)

What would you like to ask her?

  • What is the mission of IWAV?

  • What have been the challenges and successes creating housing for our most vulnerable?

  • What do you think is our most important housing challenge?

  • Can you tell us more about the Housing Council and the Homelessness Coalition?

  • And?

Please join us to welcome Kisae Friday, April 22, 11-1, via Zoom!

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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