Salt Spring is Burning…

The Island is on fire, and, although we have enough water, we aren’t being allowed to use it.

I am speaking allegorically…the island isn’t literally on fire…yet.

But, our community is burning down due to lack of housing.

The primary answer to putting the “fire” out is water…water that North Salt Spring Waterworks District controls.

The CRD says we are short over 600 housing units.

NSSWD has more than enough water in Lake Maxwell to service the 600 units with water left over.

NSSWD has had two studies which confirm we have sufficient water, and, have had for the past 8 years since the water moratorium was wrongly instituted.

That is the read-between-the-lines conclusion of the two, independent studies.

I brought this to the attention of NSSWD staff and Board in November 2019, now 2 ½ years ago.

I updated that report in June of last year:

And here we are still waiting for the moratorium to be lifted.

Ironically it was announced at last week’s NSSWD AGM that NSSWD is losing two employees – a waterworks technician, and the District Manager, because, as the NSSWD Chair put it….wait for it….they couldn’t find “suitable/affordable housing on the Salt Spring.”

In addition, there are now 5 current positions open…Who exactly are they expecting to attract to the island who can magically find housing, when their last two employees haven’t been able to?

The Chairman went on to say, “The District expects to be fully staffed by the summer…Recruitment has to be our number one priority over the next several months as the burden on existing staff is not sustainable. Until this happens, we are going to have to slow down on our most pressing strategic priorities.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the disconnect and/or optimism.

And, while the Board only represents ratepayers (property owners) I submit they have a moral duty to take into consideration the needs of the greater community given the studies support the lifting of the moratorium IMMEDIATELY.

Ferry sailings are being cancelled regularly due to staff shortages…how will BC Ferries ever attract young people to work on the 3 ferries based out of Salt Spring?

How will the hospital continue to find staffing….or how will doctors be attracted to serve the island? Or teachers, or store clerks, or police or fire personnel?

Wake the HELL up Salt Spring!

Next month NSSWD is expected to hold a public meeting to discuss the moratorium with the public.

That meeting should be packed to the rafters with ANGRY islanders and ratepayers asking the same questions I have been asking for years and demanding the “hydrant” gets turned back on before the lack of housing wildfire burns this community to the ground.