Education, Edification or Edict?

What a difference an exclamation mark makes!

Did you notice?!!

It’s four months to the election, but I guess it has already started!!!

So, what’s up with all the “!’s” you may be wondering!!!!

“A sentence ending in an exclamation mark is an actual exclamation (“Wow!”, “Boo!”), the imperative mood (“Stop!”), or intended to be astonishing or show astonishment.” – Wikipedia

So, what do you make of the following advertisement by the Islands Trust run in the July 20th edition of the Driftwood?

“What is Proposed Bylaw 448? A New Bylaw to Support Local Food Processing and Improve the Viability of Home-based Businesses!

Are we supposed to (a) show astonishment, or (b) say Wow or Boo, or (c) say Stop to the New, Proposed Bylaw?

What I found most interesting is that while this is a proposed bylaw of the “Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee,” their name is not mentioned once. Only the Islands Trust’s logo (surprisingly without the mercury bulb) is shown. To me this indicates yet again the disconnect between what the LTC is, and what the Islands Trust is.

The most amusing/amazing portion of the ad is the line that says, “The amendments also relax noise restrictions by removing the requirements that noise be less than 40db (about the volume of a whisper – 60db is the volume of normal conversation). Instead, the new regulations are less specific by saying that home based business should not create noise that is audible from outside the property boundaries.”

Translation? – No longer will even a whisper of business be acceptable. They are planning on increasing the noise requirements by relaxing restrictions. Better governmental, bureaucratic double-speak you couldn’t find anywhere on the planet.

So, how stupid is this proposal really? Are you ready? Normal breathing is 10 db.  20 db is the sound of rustling leaves or a mosquito. All three sounds would be considered “audible.” Under the proposed bylaw, if you could hear virtually anything from the home based business, it would technically be out of compliance.

Yes, the proposed bylaw is “less specific” and more draconian/ridiculous than ever! Keep it up Trustees!! Only 4 months to go!!!



Set Your Own Slaves Free First

The following letter was sent to the Driftwood by Jan Slakov. My response is below.


Take Time to Learn About RAR

Once upon a time, people could legally own slaves, could do what they wished with another human being because that human being was their private property.

Those who tried to abolish slavery were up against a great hue and cry from people who were convinced that the British (or U.S., etc.) way of life was in jeopardy because the economy relied on the cheap labour of slaves.

Now we have a very similar struggle about whether or not owning land gives one the right to “trash” it — to clearcut it, or bulldoze it or otherwise destroy nature’s ability to nourish the great variety of life we love.

I support the RAR because I think we need the ability to prevent the kinds of “development” that have already so seriously damaged many of our streams, lakes and other wetlands.

Given that enforcement of Trust bylaws ultimately rests with the Trust’s ability to take offenders to court, which is a very labourious and expensive process, people who inadvertently cut down a tree where they shouldn’t, or plant some daffodils alongside a ditch, are not going to be taken to court. But hopefully the fact that the new regulations cover even such relatively low-impact activities will help all of us learn that everything we do, not just the big things like how we build roads, homes, stores and landscaping, but even how we grow gardens, make a difference.

If you are worried about what the RAR means, please take the time to learn from people who have been working to protect our water and environment for years before you believe those who are mainly concerned about protecting property rights. For example, the Salt Spring Water Preservation Society  ( and the Salt Spring Island Conservancy (250-538-0318) have members who have studied the bylaw and can answer questions.

JAN SLAKOV, Salt Spring

My Response

Really Jan? Comparing property owners to slave owners? This is what the debate has come to?

While it is clear the proposed over reaching, unnecessary regulations are OK with you, it is apparent they are not OK with over 70% of islanders.

When will adding yet another layer onto the layer upon layer upon layer of existing land use bylaws and regulations be enough for you?

I would love to see all of the people who agree with you covenant and then donate their property to the Islands Trust. That way you can all set yourselves free from the guilt you must be feeling in the participation of (a) the perceived destruction of the environment and (b) the free market economy.

Make sure that covenant includes a clause that any manmade structure on the property cannot be repaired, rebuilt or replaced. That way, over time, your property will revert back to nature, as you apparently wish it so.

The shining example of selflessness you will set should act as a beacon in the wilderness to those who are like minded, lighting the way to a new Salt Spring, one where only those you see as selfish property owners actually live here.

By starting this kind of a movement you won’t have to deal with the rest of us, just your own fellow left-wing, anti-capitalist, extreme environmentalists. Surely there won’t be any further debate necessary. You must all be in agreement with restoring nature through self sacrifice. How much easier could it get?

I’ll even offer to write a model covenant for your group for free. Just send me the legal description of your properties. I’d love to help you fulfill your dreams.

Who knows, maybe the rest of us will catch on eventually. On the other hand maybe we will continue to be on the vigil against those who would suggest taking away our property rights on one hand, while comparing us to slave owners on the other.

You first. Set an example.