Dead End Street Folks

Dead end

Its over. Get over it. This “community,” which used to be the “toast of our town,” is toast.

School enrollment is down. Number of available rental units down. Rents up. Average home for sale is over $1,000,000. Median house price is $850,000. Income required to qualify (with 5% down) for median house = $200,000/year. Homeless numbers are up. People are living in tents and cars and boats and trailers, not by choice, but by circumstance. Country Grocer is bussing employees in from Vancouver Island. Island Savings has a number of off-island employees. Businesses are having challenges finding people to fill starting positions because of lack of housing in the low end. Health care beds are full. Assisted care facilities are full. Waiting lists are full.

The above trends aren’t temporary unless something drastic is done to pull this community out of the nose-dive it is in, and all indications are nothing drastic is being contemplated.

So, please…someone…anyone… tell me how making climate change a “top priority” is going to make things better? I don’t see a voluntary decrease in line ups at the Co-op. I don’t see a decrease in ferry traffic. I don’t hear a decrease in islanders taking vacations in far away warm climates. I don’t see a decrease in food from other countries being bought and consumed on a daily basis. I don’t see a decrease in the number of wood stoves or fireplaces in environmentalists’ homes. I don’t see an increase in bicycle traffic.

Please, point me in the direction of the saint on the island who doesn’t have a carbon footprint, or even nominate the person with the smallest carbon footprint – likely a homeless person living in a tent.

And pray tell, why is the latest sideshow distraction the concern over the future of the Coastal Douglas Fir forest on Salt Spring? Really? Look out your window and I would bet each and every person reading this will see a 60+ year old Douglas fir. I would further bet there is a Douglas fir tall enough to be within easy falling distance of the majority of homes. I challenge you to drive along our road systems and find a stretch of road longer than a hundred feet where you won’t see a Douglas fir growing on the road allowance. Douglas firs are doing just fine. In fact, they are becoming one of the greatest dangers facing Islanders. Far greater than climate change over the next decade or two.

Believe it or not, each year those trees grow taller, and their “sails” gain more area. Last year’s windstorm gave us a glimpse into the future of falling Douglas firs near you. That was just the appetizer. Full course meals will be served on a regular basis.

And, as each Winter windfall season ends more debris is accumulated on the forest floor across Salt Spring, waiting for that fateful day when a spark ignites a conflagration.

Is anyone cleaning their forest floor? How many people have even read the Fire Smart guidelines, let alone put them into effect?

But, back to my main point – climate change and Douglas firs are not our immediate solvable problems. Immediate and long term, affordability and availability of housing are.

The local government that can do something about that is the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee.

The “what” they can do is to make immediate changes to the OCP and Land Use Bylaw to increase density island wide for community housing.

But that’s just not going to happen. NIMBYists and BANANAists have taken over the island.

Those opposed to development, of any kind, have the loudest voices, and, emotionally shout out “stop climate change!” and “protect Douglas firs!” and “there’s no water!” as they drive their SUV’s, throw firewood into their woodstoves, and have their 20 minute once or twice daily shower.

Those nagging voices of doom are being listened to over the voices asking for decent places to live, so they can work and raise young families here.

Practical solutions abound, and have been submitted ad nauseum, but aren’t being acted upon.

Here’s a truth – In the history of humankind, lip service and/or myriads of studies and/or clutching of pearls over environmental issues have never built a single home.

Goodbye Salt Spring, I hardly knew ya…

Rest in peace 1







One Response to Dead End Street Folks

  1. Pingback: Crisis “Redefined”… | islandstrust

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