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Moratoriums Be Gone – The 80,000,000+ Gallon Question

The following is an open letter to the Board of Trustees of the North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD) Board.

Warning – The following contains an in-depth analysis of data and may lead to your eyes glazing over. If you feel signs of drowsiness, please skip to the Conclusion Questions section.


November 29, 2019

To – North Salt Spring Waterworks District Trustees Chris Dixon, Les Howell, Gary Gagne, Michael McAllister and Sandra Ungerson

Re – NSSWD Moratoriums

Dear Trustees,

North Salt Spring Waterworks District’s moratorium on water supply was “effectively” placed into effect in March 2014, when it did not approve water supply for the CRD’s Drake Road, 80 unit, affordable housing project.

On October 1, 2014 the Board officially declared a moratorium on any further applications until such time as the hydrology studies (were) completed and studied, a demand analysis completed, and other agencies consulted with.”

Lake Maxwell Moratorium

In April 2015 the detailed hydrology study, by engineering firm Kerr Wood Leidal, on Lake Maxwell (https://northsaltspringwaterworks.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Maxwell-Lake-Hydrology-Study-Final-2015.pdf) was received by the Board.

With respect to the Lake Maxwell system, the hydrology study concluded/recommended that the “withdrawal from the lake would have to be limited to 72% of the licenced withdrawal limit such that the lake could refill the year following the 10-year return period drought.”


Based on the outcome of the hydrological and water balance analysis carried out for Maxwell Lake, we recommend that:

  1. Withdrawals from Maxwell Lake be capped at 72% of the licenced withdrawal limit (477,900 m3) such that inflow from Larmour Creek, Rippon Creek and Maxwell Lake watersheds can refill Maxwell Lake after 10-year drought conditions;
  2. The cap should remain in-place until such time that sufficient data is collected at Maxwell Lake to complete a multi-year drought analysis;
  3. NSWWD consider installing water level sensors to record lake level, spillway outflow level and Rippon Creek Parshall flume level to provide continuous hydrometric records at the lake for operations purposes as well as to provide average daily record which can be used for future multiyear water balance assessment;
  4. Once sufficient data has been collected at Maxwell Lake, carry out a multi-year drought analysis to assess if multiple years of Larmour Creek, Rippon Creek and Maxwell Lake watershed inflow could refill Maxwell Lake after 10-year return period drought conditions; and
  5. Using hydrometric data collected; conduct a review of Maxwell Lake water balance at regular intervals (approximately every 10 years) to assess potential future impacts to water availability as a result of changing climate and changes in water withdrawal.

License and Withdrawals

The total water license on Lake Maxwell is 146,000,000 gallons per year (“GPY”).

72% of that is 105,123,303 GPY.

According to the 2015 hydrology study, from 2010-2013 the average “Bulk Withdrawal” (“BW”) which was withdrawn from the Lake was 73,126,011 GPY.

In 2013, the BW amount was 63,077,000 GPY which also included 15,674,426 gallons which were considered “losses.”

In other words, in 2013, only 47,402,574 gallons were “consumed” by ratepayers…the rest of the water leaked out of the system or was utilized for system functions such as flushing. The “consumption” or “metered” figures are based on how much water flows through each Ratepayer’s water meter.

Earlier this year (2019) NSSWD contracted with Westbrook Consulting an “Analysis of Potential Demand of Undeveloped Properties” ( https://northsaltspringwaterworks.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Analysis-of-Potential-Demand-from-Undeveloped-NSSWD-Properties-FINAL.pdf ) Its stated purpose was to estimate the additional water supply required to service 65 additional single family and multifamily properties in existence within the Lake Maxwell serviced area. That additional demand was calculated to be 2,347,530 GPY.

Analysis of Available Data

Which brings us to present day, and, my following analysis of the underlying, and updated, data for the Maxwell system.

I extracted the annual BW data for 2013-2018 from the studies and NSSWD’s annual audited water reports.( https://northsaltspringwaterworks.ca/water/annual-water-demand/ )

NSSWD Data - 2010 - 2018

I found the average BW’s has dropped significantly from 73,126,011 GPY in 2010-2013 (average 4 year as reported in the Kerr Wood Leidel 2015 Hydrology Study) to a 5 year average of just 50,085,220 GPY, in 2014-2018, and just 47,926,325 GPY in 2015-18.

Most of that drop was a result of a rather staggering, but pleasant, 14,025,309 gallon reduction in “losses.” (In 2013 losses were 15,674,426 GPY compared to just 1,649,117 GPY in 2018).

It was reported by Staff to the Board on December 17, 2014 that, “The control valve that was installed at the Ganges Hill tanks to eliminate tank overflow has reduced daily flows by 30 to 40,000 imp gallons/day. The crew has recorded flow below 100,000 imp gallons/day.”

Annualized, 30 to 40 thousand gallons equates to 10,950,000 to 14,600,000 GPY.

NOTE – This information, reported in December 2014, was not incorporated into the Kerr Leidal hydrology study, in spite of the fact the study would not be released for another 5 months (April 2015).

This drop in bulk withdrawal, due to the elimination of the tank overflow, logically alters significantly the findings and conclusions of the 2015 Keir Leidal Hydrology study, AND, the Islands Trust’s 2016 Opus Dayton Knight Water Conservation and Demand Management Plan for Salt Spring Island (the findings of which were rejected by NSSWD). https://islandstrust.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/opus-dayton-report-2016.pdf

I am going to assume the balance of any drop, in consumption, was/is due to water conservation measures being taken by ratepayers due to the implemented accelerated rate structure.

Earlier this year (2019) NSSWD contracted with Westbrook Consulting an “Analysis of Potential Demand of Undeveloped Properties”. Its stated purpose was to estimate the additional water supply required to service 65 additional single family and multifamily properties in existence within the Lake Maxwell serviced area. That additional demand was calculated to be 2,347,530 GPY.

I next calculated how much “head room” water supply was left after adding together the current average BW’s (50,085,220 GPY – 2014-2018 average) PLUS the calculated potential demand (2,347,530), = 52,432,750 GPY.

52,432,750 gallons represents ONLY 35.9% of the entire licensed amount.

In other words, the average, annual amount of water being taken out of Lake Maxwell, plus the calculated future demand equals just 35.9% of the amount NSSWD is licensed to take out of the lake. This means, that there is an additional 36.1% of water left BELOW the 72% recommended restriction.

The additional 36.1% is equal to 52,706,000 GPY.

Another way of looking at is that there is over TWICE the volume currently used, which is available BELOW the 72% recommended threshold.

The proposed housing developments on Drake Road (80 units), Kanaka Road (48 units), Croftonbrook (54 units), Meadowlane (48 units), Swanson Road (6 units), Rainbow Road (2 units), Lady Minto hospital expansion, Hastings House expansion, and/or laundromat in TOTAL would perhaps amount to an additional 6,000,000 gallons per year…which would still leave 46,700,000+ GPY in reserve BELOW the 72%.

The aforenoted reductions in bulk withdrawal provide the District with a significant safety factor.

Analysis of Lake Maxwell Water Levels

The aforementioned significant decreases in withdrawals since 2013 are also evident in the historical lake level measurements.

I have overlaid the 2014-2018 bulk withdrawal data with the lake level graph from NSSWD.

Maxwell Lake Level

As shown, the drop, in withdrawals, from 58M GPY in 2014 to 48M GPY in 2018 resulted in a significant increase in lake level from 2014 to present 2019 lake level, and, are significantly above 2009 levels.

In effect, the graph shows the positive effect of the 14,000,000+ gallon leak stoppage reported in 2014.

This is further observational evidence warranting the lifting of the moratorium.

St. Mary Lake System


The 2001 Aqion Water Supply and Demand Analysis Study recommended the following actions be taken with respect to water losses from both Maxwell and St. Mary Lake systems (Note – at the time no data on losses was available from NSSWD for the St. Mary Lake system):

  1. Quantify annual flow volumes related to reservoir overflows
  2. Accumulate data on water main breaks including break frequency, pipe materials, pipe age, cause of failure, and other relevant information
  3. Replace the four aged meters in the distribution network that can no longer be calibrated
  4. Institute an annual calibration program for all water meters installed within the service area

Unfortunately St. Mary Lake losses (2013-2018) continue to hover around 25% of total BW from the lake. (2018 – 19,282,132 gallons = 26%). The amount which is lost per day is 52,827 gallons.

I am not aware of any professionally conducted acoustic leak detection study having ever been conducted on the St. Mary Lake system. The cost per mile of system, as sourced online, can be as little as $300. Assuming there is approximately 30 miles of main pipeline, the cost could be as low as $10,000 to have a study conducted. Even if it were 5 times that amount ($50,000) that cost would be recovered with just 5 new densities being created at $10,000+ Capital Expenditure Cost Charges.

The reduction of even ½ of the losses, would see about 10,000,000 gallon reduction of withdrawals, which would bring the total projected usage to about 50% of total licensed amount.

Maximum Daily Demand (MDD)

More good news. The MDD per capita has been falling significantly for the last 12 years as the combination of conservation and rate structure have taken effect.

That reduction in average per capita consumption, as shown from 2007 – 2015 is approximately 25%. Future reductions will continue as old toilets are replaced, and new construction meets higher water efficiency standards under the revised building code.


Channel Ridge and Supply

Staff have previously made the statement that NSSWD has “guaranteed” each property in the district 550 gallons/day (2500 litres/day). The alleged rationale is that the Province (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure) “require” that amount as a condition of subdivision.

That is however not true for two primary reasons.

The following is from the Ministry’s Rural Subdivision Approval Manual http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/da/manual1/SubdivisionManual.pdf Water Supply

Water Supply Regardless of parcel size, assurance of an adequate supply of potable water suitable for the proposed land use is required.

Water may be supplied from:

  • individual surface sources
  • individual wells
  • on site new water system
  • extension of an existing water system

If there is no subdivision bylaw regulating proof of water supply, the Approving Officer may require proof of 2500 litres [550 gallons] per day per dwelling unit, as well as a statement from a laboratory regarding the water’s quality.

If there is a subdivision bylaw regulating proof of water supply, the proposed subdivision must comply with it.

In general, the local government determines whether the proof of water supply requirements has been met. (See “Water Systems”)

Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee Land Use Bylaw 355 includes, within the bylaw, subdivision requirements with respect to water. However, within those regulations is the following:

5.5.6 If the required amount of water cannot be supplied or if the certification, water license or confirmation referred to in Subsections 5.5.3, 5.5.4 or 5.5.5 cannot be made, the Approving Officer may nonetheless approve the subdivision if the applicant grants a covenant under the Land Title Act to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee that restricts the development of the subdivision to the buildings, structures and uses for which the required amount of water can be supplied, licensed or certified under Subsections 5.5.3, 5.5.4 or 5.5.5.  

It is clear the Islands Trust allows the MOTI approving officer to “nonetheless approve the subdivision” in spite of a subdivision proposal not meeting the requirement for, as an example, the 1600 litres/day (350 gallons) for a single family residence required in Bylaw 355,

However, the important takeaway from this is that there is no Provincial requirement that an Improvement District MUST provide 550 gallons per day per lot on a continued basis.

Rainwater Catchment Volume Requirements for Subdivision or Construction

As to what alternative source of water an Approving Officer may accept for proof of adequate water supply, rainwater catchment has been recognized in BC as a proven source, and, in the Capital Regional District Area, which includes Salt Spring Island.

Relatively recently a subdivision of an island (with no source of water other than rainwater) within the CRD Area was approved based solely on the requirement to register on the title of each new lot, at the time of subdivision, a covenant requiring an engineered rainwater catchment system as a condition for acquiring a building permit for a residence.

The CRD Building Inspection on Salt Spring will accept a proposed engineered rainwater catchment system, with a minimum of 1500sf of catchment area, as proof of potable water supply for a residential dwelling building permit application.

The math underlying the acceptance of rainwater catchment has been overlooked by the Islands Trust and NSSWD.

1500sf x 3’ (approximate annual rainfall) = 4500 cubic feet of water x 6.22 gallons/cf = 28,000+gallons/year.

28,000gpy/365 days = 76 gallons per day.

CRD Water Districts


According to the CRD, the 6 smallest water districts within the CRD use an average of 60 gallons/day (271 litres) per residential connection/lot (NOT per occupant).

Water Consumption by smaller water districts within Southern Gulf Islands:


District Island Gallons per day per residential connection
Cedar Lane Salt Spring Island 356 L/day
Lyall Harbour/Boot Cove Saturna Island 315 L/day
Cedars of Tuam Salt Spring Island 287 L/day
Magic Lake Estates Pender Island 260 L/day
Surfside Mayne Island 220 L/day
Skana Mayne Island 190 L/day
Daily Average per Lot 271 L/day

Table 1                                   Source – Cedar Lane water service commission – 15 March 2010 – Annual Report on Operations (page 2)


Note – None of the districts have multi-family projects, and all lots are residential.


By accepting into policy that subdivision on Salt Spring could be approved by an Approving Officer on the CRD’s rainwater catchment requirements with as little as 76 gallons, then 100 gallons per day (approximate actual usage in St. Mary Lake system) would seem to be rational.

Differing Government Requirements for Water Supply

The differing requirements and actual water usage on Salt Spring are as follows:

  1. 550 gallons per day – NSSWD unwritten policy requirement (not in any NSSWD Bylaw)
  2. 350 gallons per day – Islands Trust for single family dwelling (rezoning or subdivision only)
  3. 123 gallons per day – Island Health/Ministry of Environment (225l x 2.5 residents) water license
  4. 108 gallons per day – NSSWD actual single family dwelling usage (2019 Demand Study)
  5. 96 gallons per day – NSSWD actual multi-family average usage (2019 Demand Study)
  6. 76 gallons per day – CRD rainwater catchment criteria used for subdivision and building permit (with storage)
  7. 60 gallons per day – average actual usage of 6 small water districts in Gulf Islands including two on Salt Spring

The fact that there are 7 different governmental volume requirements or actual usage statistics should give rise to discussion between the government entities.

Given CRD administers the Building Code of BC, and allows 76 gallons per day (with storage), it would be reasonable for future planning purposes, given the downward, per capita, trend in water usage reported by the District, that 100 gallons per day should be acceptable for new construction, given BC Building Code water conservation requirements.

Channel Ridge

As required volumes apply to the proposed Channel Ridge development, the existing, approved Master Development Permit was primarily approved for “building strata” units (duplexes/triplexes/quadplexes), which is NOT the subdivision of a property. A building strata is simply deposited at Land Titles and does not require the approval of a subdivision Approving Officer. The only water requirement falls to CRD at time of building permit application.

Taking the actual consumption rates from the 2019 Demand study, and applying them to Channel Ridge, which is proposed to be primarily multi-family units (MFD’s), the generalized math would be 410 units x 100 gallons per day (based on the actual 2017 usage of 108 gpd SFE and 96 MFD) = 41,000 gallons per day or about 14,000,000 GPY. That is in stark contrast to the 550 gallons per day suggested that is required = 82,307,500 GPY.

By bringing Channel Ridge back online, there is a potential for capturing approximately $3.0 million in CEC charges, which represent 60% of the estimated cost of raising the weir ($5.0 million).

Total Potential Withdrawal

By recognizing that current actual usage per SFE (100+GPD) is reasonable, NSSWD’s total annual BW from St. Mary Lake would be approximately:

6,790,168 GPY (2019 Potential Demand Study)

14,000,000+ GPY (Channel Ridge at 100 gpdu)

73,757,560 GPY Bulk Withdrawal (2017)

62,691,235 GPY Duck Creek Environmental Flow

-9,641,066+ GPY – Recapture of 50% of 2018 water loss through leak repair in system

150,906,723 GPY = 50.7% of licensed amount.


The “threshold” for withdrawal, as per the 2017 St. Mary Lake update report (Figure 4-2 below) for 95 out of 100 years is 50% of licensed amount which equals 132,253,750 gallons/year.

The additional 7% in the above scenario would potentially reduce the estimate to about 95+ out of 100 years.

You will note that the raising of the weir would not be necessary using the above scenario, since the potential yield in 95 out of 100 years is virtually identical.

NSSWD Potential Yield


St. Mary Data and Calculations

St. Mary Bulk Metered Loss Loss GPY
2013 85,053,860 62,297,983 27% 22,755,877
2014 86,074,311 64,945,923 25% 21,128,388
2015 73,256,778 56,670,008 23% 16,586,770
2016 80,619,250 56,159,761 30% 24,459,489
2017 73,757,560 54,825,530 26% 18,932,030
2018 74,229,220 54,947,088 26% 19,282,132
Average 2013-18 78,831,830 58,979,841
Buildout (2019 Demand Study) 5,024,724
Average 2013-18 83,856,554
Duck Creek 62,691,235
Total 146,547,789
Add Channel Ridge 14,000,000
Total 160,547,789
Recapture of 2018 50% Loss 9,641,066
Total projected use 150,906,723
NSSWD License 264,508,000
Percentage 57.05%
Recommended 70.40%
Buffer 13%
13% of License = Below 70.4% 34,386,040 GPY



  1. current usage per SFE and MFD (96-108 gallons per day) is a reasonable amount to use to project future usage,
  2. total projected demand at current usage plus projected usage represents only 35.7% of total licensed amount of Lake Maxwell and 57% of St. Mary,
  3. a 95-98 year out of 100 year projection is within a reasonable margin of error,
  4. Mary Lake and Maxwell have sufficient supply to lift the moratorium,
  5. over the past 5 years the MDD per capita has been reduced by 25%,
  6. Lake Maxwell lake levels have increased during the summer months due to the leaks being decreased by 14,000,000 gallons per year.
  7. An acoustic leak detection survey of the St. Mary Lake system could be completed at relatively low cost, which could be recaptured through Capital Expenditure Cost charges, with potentially a significant reduction in bulk withdrawals,
  8. Ratepayers are facing significant increases in taxation as a result of planned upgrades and improvements and the Board should be actively working to allow increased densities in both systems in order to capture CEC charges to offset future proposed tax increases.

Questions Arising From Conclusions

In 2014, as Ratepayers, we were informed the moratorium would be in effect until, “hydrology studies (were) completed and studied, a demand analysis completed, and other agencies consulted with.”

Since then, the hydrology studies were completed and studied, a demand analysis has been performed, updates to St. Mary hydrology study completed, and other agencies have been consulted with. We now have sufficient data.

In addition, since 2014, 14,000,000+ gallons per year of losses have been turned into 14,000,000 gallons of additional available supply in the Maxwell system.

Over the past 5 years, as ratepayers, we have been led to believe there is insufficient water supply to service new development within the Maxwell system. This is in spite of over a 50,000,000+gallon buffer contained within the 2015 KWL hydrology study’s 72% threshold of licensed supply.

Over the past 5 years the MDD per capita has been reduced by 25%, Lake Maxwell lake levels have increased during the summer months.

The data clearly show we are using less than ½ of the 72% conservative recommendation for withdrawal, and that over 50,000,000 gallons are available for use.

As a result of the moratorium, the District has denied several dozen applications for service, including several housing proposals in Ganges. Those denials have resulted in (a) significant ($1.5-2.0 million) Capital Expenditure Cost revenue not being realized, and (b) significant parcel tax and water usage revenue not being captured ($30-40,000/year).

As a ratepayer I am left with the following questions:

  1. If the District, CONSERVATIVELY (considering the 72% recommended withdrawal limit), now has over 50 million gallons excess water supply, which is significantly more than reported in the 2015 Hydrology study, on what scientific basis, or study(ies), or findings or rationale, is there still a moratorium on the Lake Maxwell water supply, which includes almost all of Ganges (south of Country Grocer)?
  1. If, based on observed actual consumption rates (100GPD) St. Mary Lake has sufficient supply to project a 50%+ of license scenario, why is there still a moratorium on that system’s area?
  2. Does the NSSWD Board have a fiduciary duty to existing Ratepayers to:
    1. supply water to properties with development potential within the Maxwell system IF supply (below the 72% conservative threshold), is available?
    2. realize potential Capital Expenditure Cost charges of $1.5-2,000,000+ (150-200 affordable housing dwelling units, or hospital expansion, etc. all proposed within the Ganges area serviced by Lake Maxwell), which would help to offset costs to Ratepayers?
    3. increase tax roll revenue by providing service to 150-200 SFD equivalents ($30-40,000+ year), thereby reducing the existing tax burden on Ratepayers?
    4. offset planned/proposed (2022) Lake Maxwell system treatment (est. $5,000,000) with capturing CEC charges through the lifting of the moratorium?


The above evidence indicates the moratorium should/can now be lifted.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to your response.

Eric Booth,

for Salt Spring Ventures Inc.,

NSSWD Ratepayer




  1.  $50,000 in legal fees is now budgeted for 2020…assume it is for the Channel Ridge lawsuit. (Source )
  2.  2020 parcel taxes up by 2% and in the range of $700/year average.
  3.  November 8, 2019 a Notice of Intention to Proceed was filed in the Channel Ridge Properties (Onni)/Paradigm Mortgage lawsuit against NSSWD/Salt Spring Local Trust Committee/Salt Spring Water Preservation Society. It appears the suit is moving forward at the moment.

Studied to Death…(and just one more comment about water availability.)

The issue of affordable housing has now literally been studied to death, with the last “affordable” (as per Islands Trust definition <$270,000) home on Salt Spring having been sold recently.

Over two dozen studies over about 30 years have been done on the subject. That would be a significant number of studies if they were talking about BC in general, but, I’m talking about Salt Spring and the Islands Trust Area.

The issue is now a joke…a bad joke…but a joke nonetheless. As real estate AND construction prices rise, both the Provincial and local government bureaucrats have failed to realize the magnitude of the issue, let alone address it sensibly.

The latest report that only 71 rental units of some 1500 planned have been completed Province wide because of delays (read regulations, red tape, lack of funding, etc.) only underscores the ridiculousness of government trying to fix what amounts to a market problem.

If the Province really wanted to “fix” the problem it would hire someone like Jimmy Pattison to set up a 3 person panel to administer funding to projects on a commercial appraisal basis. Have the proponent get a commercial appraiser to give an end value on a project and lend money based on an insured mortgage basis at the lowest possible interest rate the Province can get. Cut through the red tape.

On a local level, the Islands Trust should make blanket rezoning changes to allow affordable housing, instead of the one by one, death by a thousand rezonings process that currently plagues progress and infuriates each neighbourhood as the NIMBY card is played, usually by someone who has moved here in the last 20 years.

Its not good enough. It’s 2019 and planning for community housing should have started in 1974 with the passage of the Islands Trust Act. They have had 45 years to come up with a plan dealing with the effects of limiting a commodity in an area of high demand.

And While I’ve Got Your Ear, One More Comment About Availability of Water (in My Continuing Comments About Water)

The Islands Trust should get out of the water business entirely.

Remove ALL requirements for water servicing from the Land Use Bylaw and OCP, and replace them with a very simple covenant required to be placed on title at the time of rezoning or subdivision – “All buildings which require to be serviced by water must either prove availability of water from a source of water at a rate equal to or greater than the equivalent of a rainfall catchment area of 1500 square feet, with sufficient storage, if necessary, to meet BC Building Code requirements.” Period. Stop.

If a property owner can’t meet Building Code water requirements without building a rainwater catchment system (e.g. well, water system) then they have to build a catchment system to obtain their permit to build.

I repeat – The time to prove availability of water is not at rezoning, or even subdivision, but at the time of  building permit application.

A recent subdivision of an entire small island was approved on that basis by the CRD. All lots have rainwater catchment covenants on them because THERE WAS NO WATER ON THE ISLAND. You want to build on one of the lots you MUST submit your rainwater catchment plans with your permit application.

The idea that Islands Trust requirements for water somehow magically guarantee water will still be available in 20 years from now on any particular property isn’t a bet I would take. An earthquake could kill a well or a forest fire could result in sedimentation of the Maxwell watershed making the entire water system servicing Ganges unusable.

However, I would bet that 20 years from now it will still be raining here, and, that desalination will be as cost effective per gallon as any other source of water.

No one is going to die from dehydration here. Ditch the water requirements.

The next time someone tells you Salt Spring has a water problem put on your best shocked look and exclaim to them, “Oh my God…Did it stop raining at your place? Where do you live? How are you still alive? Can I get you some water?”

And yes, I know how sarcastic that sounds, but, there are still those who actually believe Salt Spring has a water problem. If you are one of them, I urge you to stand out in the rain for an hour or so and contemplate the above. The truth may just soak in.




A Pro-Life Argument You Have Likely Never Heard…Your 1st Seven Days in Inner Space

The following is meant to take a cold, hard, scientific look at the issue of abortion. You may not like what you are about to read, but, that’s the nature of reality sometimes.

I think we can start with the agreement that terminating the life of a 1 year old is not okay.

One year old

If we proceed back in time, we hopefully can agree terminating a 1 day old is also not “okay.”

New born baby

However, just before what we call birth, we enter into the gray area where agreement and opinions on “okayness” become extremely fuzzy.

But first, let’s take a look at that moment just after birth, when the newborn child’s umbilical cord is still attached and providing blood, oxygen and nutrients, while efficiently eliminating waste.


Here’s my first question – is it the child’s umbilical cord, or the mother’s umbilical cord?

New born and placenta


Well, let’s look at what specifically the umbilical cord is attached to – the new born child at one end and the placenta on the other.

My related second and third questions are (a) what is the placenta, and (b) is it the newborn’s or the mother’s placenta?

Here’s the definition of the placenta – “The placenta is a temporary organ that connects the developing fetus via the umbilical cord to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, thermo-regulation, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother’s blood supply; to fight against internal infection; and to produce hormones which support pregnancy.”

A “temporary organ”…so far, so good, BUT, that doesn’t answer the question – whose “temporary organ” is it?

Let’s look at how the placenta forms.

Take a few minutes and watch this animated video of the process.

“The placenta begins to develop upon implantation of the blastocyst into the maternal endometrium. The outer layer of the blastocyst becomes the trophoblast, which forms the outer layer of the placenta.”

So the placenta starts at the moment of “…implantation of the blastocyst”…. In other words, when the independent fertilized human egg implants/attaches itself to the mother…

Travelling a little further back in time….What is a blastocyst? The blastocyst is “A thin-walled hollow structure in early embryonic development that contains a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass from which the embryo arises. The outer layer of cells gives rise to the placenta and other supporting tissues needed for fetal development within the uterus while the inner cell mass cells gives rise to the tissues of the body.

Take a moment to reread that. The placenta is formed, not from the mother’s body, but, from the cells of the blastocyst, and, from the genetic information contained in the blastocyst, NOT the mother’s DNA, nor from the mother’s body.

So, now we know that a placenta is not formed by the mother, nor is it part of the mother, but, is in fact, part of and formed by the blastocyst.

Now, how and where does a blastocyst “begin”?

To answer that question, let’s jump right back to the moment of conception, when the joining together of a human egg and human sperm results in a flash of light (see https://youtu.be/ovzGmRrtVys ) , and cell division begins.


conception 2

This is a link to a great video explanation of the process from pre-fertilization to implantation.  (The following provides a text description)

At the moment of conception, the human sperm, from the male donor, and the human egg from the female donor, got together and become the zygote.

But, “where” exactly was the human egg when the sperm entered it?

You may say, why obviously it was in the woman’s body. That is true, but it doesn’t answer the actual question. The human egg, prior to fertilization, was in the woman’s ovaries, from where it was “released” at ovulation.

Arguably, that “release” or “detachment” is akin to the release of the sperm from the male’s testicles.

At the point of conception, “Day 1,” while it occurs within the woman’s body, neither the egg, nor the sperm, are attached to the woman’s body. They are both floating around in the space within the woman’s body.


Once conception has occurred the independent, fertilized egg, the sum product of BOTH the sperm and the egg, the zygote, does what?

If it is lucky, after four days of floating, it has evolved into a morula, and after about a week of surviving floating around in “inner space,” like an astronaut floating around in outer space, now a blastocyst, it lands and attaches itself to the woman’s body seeking nourishment in the form of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to grow. As described above, the formation, from the blastocyst’s outer layer, begins, which becomes the outer layer of the placenta.

It is worth noting at this juncture that the blastocyst contains ALL the genetic information/knowledge needed to PRODUCE itself…all it essentially needs is food and oxygen to grow, and a safe place to grow in.

Note the fact that the blastocyst attaches itself. The mother does not attach herself to the blastocyst. It is the blastocyst which is reaching out to the mother for food, just like a baby naturally does when it is first born.

The points I am making here are:

  1. The successful sperm is independent until conception,
  2. The recipient egg is independent until conception,
  3. The fertilized egg (the zygote, morula and blastocyst) is independent after conception and is unarguably not part of the mother’s body for about the first 7 days,
  4. After the egg has attached itself, and throughout pregnancy, the placenta, formed by the blastocyst, is a temporary organ of the new human being, which is attached to the woman’s body as a life support delivery system.

In other words, during the entirety of pregnancy, the independent human being which is growing, and being fed by the mother, is as dependent upon the mother’s body, as it is dependent upon nourishment from the mother after birth.


The “pro-choice” argument is that a woman can do whatever she wants with “her own body,” but, according to science, the egg, the sperm, the zygote, the morula, the blastocyst, the placenta, the embryo, the fetus, the baby, the human being, are NOT “part” of a mother’s body. In fact we all are, and have been, a separate body…one which started its life inside a woman.

Therefore, technically, a woman does not have the capacity to “reproduce,” because that is not actually what happens during human reproduction. Scientifically she acts only as a temporary host and nourisher for her child which is the product of the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm. The mother is perhaps best described as a nourishing provider.

In my opinion, the above is the scientific argument which should be made, not only in a court of law and the court of human opinion, but, as part of the educational system. Every child old enough to understand should understand exactly how their life began.

Our current understanding of science, whether one likes it or not, is definitive.

Every single reader of this article began in a flash of light, as a fertilized egg, as a blastocyst, floating around in their mother’s body, looking for nourishment. Looking for a place to rest and feed for 9 months, using the life support system it created (placenta), to receive the nourishment we required, before being launched into this world as an independent body.

Pro-choice advocates have it wrong on this particular point – Abortion is not about a woman’s body, it is, scientifically, about their child’s body.

That’s the harsh, scientific reality.

Now, the primary debate is then – “when” does human life begin?

I have always asked those who support abortion this question, ” Can you tell me, with any certainty, when, and at what exact millisecond, from the moment of conception, to the first breath,  does human life begin?

No one, including the highest courts, has been able to provide anything other than generalized, unscientific points in time – e.g. up until the 1st trimester, up until 24 weeks, etc..

Those are not scientifically supported responses.

From one cell, to two, to four, to eight, etc. there is nowhere in that time continuum of life’s cell divisions, which can be said you or I were not human. Nor, do the various terms which science has provided (e.g. zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, etc.) do anything other than describe, for descriptive convenience sake only, arbitrarty and various points of time in the continuum of life.

The reality is this – it is impossible within life’s time continuum to point to any specific milli-second after conception to say that this is the moment your life “began.”

Thus, science tells us we each began our lives as an independent fertilized egg, and, we each were lucky enough to land, first on our mother’s uterine wall, and then eventually on our own two feet.

In between, like every other form of life, we hope to survive.

The questions which remain unanswered are the moral questions – if a developing human being is NOT part of a woman’s body, does the woman have a moral responsibility to protect the individual growing insider her, and likewise therefore, does the state have the right to protect the individual?

That’s the outstanding question which society has been struggling with.

However, the existing Supreme Court ruling on the issue, in my opinion, doesn’t go far enough. However, it is interesting that in the Roe v Wade ruling, the Court left the door ajar.

The Court’s opinion in 1973 stated, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, in this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” “At the level of medical science available in the early 1970s, the beginning of the third trimester was normally considered to be the point at which a fetus became viable. Therefore, the Court ruled that during the third trimester the state had a compelling interest in protecting prenatal life, and could legally prohibit all abortions except where necessary to protect the mother’s life or health.”

The recent legislation passed in a variety of American states will eventually result in a reexamination of the “question.”

This appears to be an inevitable path forward.

The photo below is of an 18 week (4 1/2 month old) human being.

18 weeks

And, we have now the most amazing MRI of human life at 20 weeks:


About 30% of abortions happen at 20 weeks.

Our understanding of human life has advanced significantly over the past 46 years. It will be interesting to see how the debate of the issue evolves.

However, in my opinion, the “woman’s body” argument can now be severely challenged. Rather it will come down to the moral predicament that occurs when, after two adults engage in intercourse, their union results in the union of an egg and sperm, and the beginning of a human life…their baby’s life.

To violently remove a developing human being from its life support system begs many questions, not the least of which is whether the state/society has the right to create laws to protect humans at the most vulnerable period of their lives.

I would suggest perhaps the best direction to take would be to take a “scared straight” approach to the issue, and expose those of childbearing age to the miracle of life, and the potential consequences of sexual intercourse.

The 60’s sexual revolution, the failure of the Pill and Roe v Wade gave us this chart:Abortion rates

The good news is abortion rates are declining and have been since about 1980. The hope would be, that those rates continue to decline through greater education.

Finally in my personal opinion, both sides of the issue should be concentrating on how to reduce unwanted pregnancies before they start (through education, contraception, etc.), to support those pregnant women who need support, and to enforce father/parental support.

However, on the question of protecting fellow human beings, there should be universal agreement…one would hope.


Zero Sum Game?

zero sum game: a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it. 

I just pulled the current homes for sale on Salt Spring Island statistics off of the Victoria MLS System.

The lowest priced home on Salt Spring, in which you can live in year round, is a 974 square foot, 50 year old, 1969 mobile home, while the second is a 1,018 square foot condo, that is 29 years old, for $449,000.

The required income to purchase mobile is around $70,000/year, while the condo unit would be over $80,000/year.

In other words, there is no longer ANYTHING (okay…ONE) which could be considered “affordable” by the average working family on the island, using the 2015 median income of families of $70,366/year.

The number is ZERO… that’s a “0” with as many 0’s following it as you want to put.

Victoria MLS Salt Spring Nov.11/19 Income
Price Range Homes # listed Av$ Required
0 $149,000 0
150000 $199,000 0
200000 $299,000 0
300000 $399,000 1 $339,000 70,000+
400000 $499,000 5 $475,180 80,000+
500000 $599,000 7 $579,071 100,000+
600000 $699,000 12 $665,866 100,000+
700000 $799,000 11 $768,277 100,000+
800000 $899,000 9 $853,888 100,000+
900000 $999,000 3 $978,333 100,000+
1000000 $1,499,999 18 $1,244,277 100,000+
1500000 $1,999,999 7 $1,768,257 100,000+
2000000 $2,999,999 4 $2,447,500 100,000+
3000000 $3,999,999 1 $3,499,000 100,000+
4000000 $4,999,999 0
5000000 and up 0
Total 78

Compare those numbers with these from the 2015 IWAV updated  Salt Spring Housing Needs Assessment.

Table 36 – MLS listings – Single Family, Condos and Town Homes Available 2009-2015
Price Range # listed
# listed
# listed
Change 2009-2015
0 149,000 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
150,000 199,000 0 0 0 1 1 n/a
200,000 299,000 1 11 10 4 3 300%
300,000 399,000 12 53 41 31 19 158%
400,000 499,000 27 30 3 18 -9 -33%
500,000 599,000 25 41 16 29 4 16%
600,000 699,000 18 28 10 14 -4 -22%
700,000 799,000 17 13 -4 9 -8 -47%
800,000 899,000 16 11 -5 4 -12 -75%
900,000 999,000 13 9 -4 12 -1 -8%
1,000,000 and up 46 21 -25 46 0 0%
Total # 175 217 42 168 -7 -4%
Median $ 749,000 549,000 -200,000 639,000 -110,000 -15%
Average $ 1,001,757 688,486 -313,271 1,026,361 24,604 2%

BUT, the good news is…oh wait…there isn’t really any good news here.

Due to the increase in real estate values since 2015 (median house price up 10% from $749,000 to $825,000), with the average house price now…wait for it… $1,026,284….investors who have been holding on to rental properties are now selling them off and realizing a return on their investments. Why would anyone rent out a home worth $600,000 for $2,000/month, when the mortgage/tax/insurance carrying costs are likely over $4,000/month?

And, due to the poor rental rate of return VS purchase price, virtually none of the rental properties sold are being continued on as rentals. Rents can’t cover mortgages, especially when the federal government has reduced amortization terms from 35 to 25 years, AND, demanded people qualify at 2% above prime.

So, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do you suppose are the fundamental, underlying, rational, common sense reasons real estate values are so high here, and with so few listings? (Hint – think supply/demand)
  2. If you were a betting person, would you bet home prices on the island will be higher 10 years from now or lower?
  3. How many renters will be given their notices to move out over the next 10 years?
  4. How many workers are currently couch surfing or living in cars or tents, or are renting their accommodation?
  5. How many workers are currently commuting to Salt Spring?
  6. Is the housing crisis, which has been acknowledged by the Islands Trust in over 24 studies over the same number of years, going to get better, or worse over the next 10 years?
  7. Long term, how many community housing dwellings (similar to Whistler’s employee housing which now boasts 1900 units) will Salt Spring need over the next 50 years?
  8. Given NIMBYists and BANANAists decrying virtually every proposed development rezoning (including Meadowlane and Croftonbrook) when do you think it will be easier to rezone land for community housing, now? Or in 10 years?

The “zero sum game” here is this – In order to increase density for the long term health of the community, some community members are going to have to lose their sense of entitlement to less traffic, less people, less children, less noise, less disturbance… or, the community will die.

I grew up here, in a community which really cared for itself. Currently, I see that wonderful rurality of characters, artists, artisans, bakers, musicians, etc. slowly ebbing away, with no leadership to take the helm, and no vision of the future. In fact, the blindness and speed at which this community is proceeding off the cliff is staggering.

Open your eyes…its all happening right before them.



11,000 What? Zoo Keepers?

11,000 “Scientists” or 11,000 “What”?

Chloe Allen is a “zoo keeper” from Jersey.

Parisa Alidoostsalimi is just some guy with no listed credentials from Iran.

Brett Abbott is a landscape ecologist from Australia.

Ahmed Abdelmoneim is some guy with no listed credentials from the USA.

Valentina AbrilMelgarejo is a PhD STUDENT in astrophysics from France.

Maged Abutaha is a “researcher” in who knows what from Egypt.

All are on the list of the reported 11,000 “scientists” worldwide.

These are not “Climate Scientists.”

In fact the word “climate” only occurs 158 times in the entire list of 11,000 “whats.”

“Atmospheric” only occurs 64 times.

“Student” occurs 974 times.

Don’t believe me? Do a word search on the linked pdf above.

This list would be laughable, except the gullible masses worldwide are sucking this one up and passing the doom predictions of ordinary  zoo keepers.

Lions and tigers and bears….oh my!!! The sky is falling!!!

Lions and tigers



Why You Should Be Skeptical of MSM Poll Reporting

I love to follow US politics…it just doesn’t get any more entertaining…

One thing I am always amazed at though is the level of obvious biases when it comes to MSM reporting.

Here’s just one example from today:

Politico’s website today reported the following:

Support for impeaching Trump hits new high

For the first time in POLITICO/Morning Consult polling, more voters back beginning impeachment proceedings to remove Trump than oppose.

President Donald Trump

Support for impeaching President Donald Trump is growing.

A batch of recent polling confirms the Democratic impeachment push is gaining steam — including a new POLITICO/Morning Consult survey that shows for the first time that more voters support than oppose proceedings to remove Trump from office. The uptick is primarily among Democrats, as Republican voters surveyed continue to have Trump’s back.

In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 46 percent of voters said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings vs. 43 percent who said they should not. Eleven percent had no opinion. That support represented a 3-point bump from last week, when voters were evenly split.

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll comes as at least a half-dozen other media outlets have released surveys showing support for impeachment rising. The polls suggest that Democrats are gaining support for the impeachment inquiry as the Ukraine scandal unspools. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had resisted escalating the House’s investigations of Trump because of the political risks, but the latest surveys suggest the party is unlikely to bleed support from Democratic voters over the decision to challenge Trump head-on.

Still, the move isn’t without risk. The percentage of voters who disapprove of Trump’s job performance in the latest poll, 56 percent, still exceeds the 46 percent who think Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to remove him, or the 51 percent who say they support the current impeachment inquiry — a step short of actual impeachment proceedings. Those findings indicate that there is a slice of moderate voters who disapprove of Trump but think Democrats are going too far.

And when the polls ask specifically about removing Trump from office, voters are sharply divided or tilt against it. In a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, 49 percent of voters called the impeachment inquiry a “good idea,” while 43 percent said it was a “bad idea.” But only 44 percent said Trump should be forced out of office, fewer than the 52 percent who said he shouldn’t.