Updated 7:20 AM ET, Thu July 31, 2014
8 events that changed the world in 1968
Story highlights

1968 remains arguably the most historic year in modern American history
Revered leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated
North Korea captured a U.S. ship; Olympic athletes raised fists in Black Power salute
With the Apollo 8 mission, for the first time in history humans orbited the Moon

1968 was a year of triumphs and tragedies. While America reached new heights by introducing the first 747 and orbiting the moon, all was not well down on Earth. The United States lost a Navy intelligence ship and two proponents of peace — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

Here are eight events that made history during that unforgettable year.

1. June 7, 1968: John Bateman entered the world and it became a better place.

2. January 30: North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive against the United States and South Vietnam

In many ways, the bloody Tet Offensive signified the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

The coordinated attack by 85,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese targeted 36 major cities and towns in South Vietnam. It caught U.S.-led forces by surprise.

Related: Vietnam War fast facts

Related: North Vietnamese defense minister during Tet Offensive dies

Named after the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Tet was a holiday during which the North and South had previously observed an informal truce.

U.S. and South Vietnamese forces eventually regained control of the communities they lost during Tet.

Nevertheless, it became a wake-up call for Americans back home, who began withdrawing their support for the war.

3. April 4: Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was standing on the second floor balcony of room 306 at the Lorraine Motel when he was struck by a bullet at 6:01 p.m.

The 39-year-old civil rights leader was rushed to nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital but never regained consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.

Related: I was with King’s widow the night her husband was killed

King’s fellow civil rights pioneers made public pleas for a nonviolent response to honor his memory. But riots broke out in more than 100 cities across the nation.

Related: King’s last crusade

Two months later, James Earl Ray was captured at London’s Heathrow Airport. Fingerprints that had been traced back to Ray linked him to the crime. He confessed but later attempted to recant.

Then he pleaded guilty to avoid the possibility of a death sentence. Later Ray tried to withdraw his guilty plea and obtain a new trial. He died in prison in 1998.

Related: The case against James Earl Ray

Related: Conspiracy theories live on

On the night King was assassinated, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy arrived in Indianapolis on a campaign stop. Upon hearing the news, Kennedy informed a crowd of listeners about King’s death.

They reacted with gasps and cries. Kennedy urged the crowd against bitterness, hatred or revenge. He called on them to embrace King’s message of love, wisdom and compassion toward one another. Kennedy’s speech is believed to have prevented rioting in Indianapolis that night.

4. June 5: Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles

Just two months later, Kennedy himself was gunned down by an assassin at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The attack took place shortly after Kennedy had wrapped up a speech in the hotel ballroom. As he cut through a kitchen corridor on his way to another part of the building, a Jordanian born Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan opened fire, hitting Kennedy in the head and back.

Kennedy collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent brain surgery. Twenty-six hours after the attack, Kennedy died. He was 42.

Related: Witness says there was a second shooter

Related: Sirhan denied parole

Convicted of the murder in 1969, his death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972. Sirhan remains in a California prison.

5. September 30: Boeing introduces the first 747 “Jumbo Jet”

When demand for air travel reached sky-high levels in the 1960s, the world’s then-largest passenger aircraft — the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet — was a game changer. The ability to carry far more passengers than previous airliners suddenly made globetrotting a feasible option for would-be wanderers who previously thought they would never afford such exotic sojourns.
Boeing continues to produce new versions of its historic 747 model airliner more than 40 years after the original. This 747-8 Intercontinental was the 1,500th to come off the production line earlier this year.
Boeing continues to produce new versions of its historic 747 model airliner more than 40 years after the original. This 747-8 Intercontinental was the 1,500th to come off the production line earlier this year.

The massive aircraft was indeed an aviation design milestone. More than six stories tall, it seated 374 passengers and weighed 300 tons.

Related: Boeing through the ages

After its 1968 reveal, the 747 made its first flight on February 9, 1969, near Boeing’s factory in western Washington state. That specific plane flew more than 12,000 test flights, but it never carried passengers for a major airline. Rather, it was a test plane for engine developments, various improvements and future jet airliners.

The 747 is no relic. Amazingly, it remains a major player among global airlines more than 40 years after its unveiling.

6. October 16: U.S. athletes take a stand at the Summer Olympics

During the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, two black athletes staged a silent demonstration against racial discrimination in the United States.

For the simple defiant act of raising their fists during the National Anthem, the International Olympic Committee condemned American medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
This salute made Smith and Carlos famous. But what of sprinter Peter Norman, who finished second?
8 photos: The forgotten Black Power hero

Their protest shocked many people who felt it damaged the spirit of the Olympics and unnecessarily brought politics into the Games.

As Smith and Carlos were awarded the gold and bronze medals for their performances in the 200-meter race, they bowed their heads and each raised a black gloved fist during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The protest didn’t stop with their fists. They also wore black socks and no shoes. On their clothes were badges of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a group dedicated against racial segregation and racism in sports. Also wearing the patch in support of Smith and Carlos was Australian 200-meter silver medalist Peter Norman.

Related: Peter Norman, the forgotten Black Power hero

Spectators booed the medalists as they walked away from the ceremony.

“If I win I am an American, not a black American,” Smith said later. “But if I did something bad then they would say ‘a Negro.’ We are black and we are proud of being black.”

Smith said his raised right fist symbolized black power in America.

He also wore a black scarf, which he said represented black pride. He said the black socks with no shoes symbolized black poverty.

Carlos, who had raised his left fist, said the gesture was a display of black unity and that the two men’s fists combined had created an arch of unity and power.

Carlos also wore beads, which he explained “were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed that no one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred.” He said they also were for those thrown off the side of boats that carried slaves across the Atlantic from Africa.

Two days later, Smith and Carlos were expelled from Team USA. When they returned home, they were hailed as heroes by members of the African-American community.

7. November 22: “Star Trek” airs American television’s first interracial kiss

In an episode of TV’s original “Star Trek” entitled “Plato’s Stepchildren,” the crew aboard the Starship Enterprise became enslaved by humanoid Platonians, who possessed a telekinetic ability to force them to do anything the Platonians wanted them to do.
In 1968 "Star Trek" actors Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner performed the first interracial kiss on American TV.
In 1968 “Star Trek” actors Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner performed the first interracial kiss on American TV.

Related: The post-racial revolution will be televised

Enterprise Capt. James Kirk, a white man played by William Shatner, was forced to kiss Nichelle Nichols’ character, Lt. Nyota Uhura, a black woman.

Censors at NBC insisted on filming an alternate version sans smooch — fearing that local TV affiliates in the Deep South would refuse to air the episode.

Shatner is reported to have purposefully ruined all the alternative takes so the network would be forced to air the kiss.

Appropriately, Kirk has this line in the episode: “Where I come from, size, shape or color makes no difference.”

8. December 24: Apollo 8 is the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon

On Christmas Eve, three astronauts circled the moon 10 times. Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank Borman became the first human beings to travel to the moon.
This 1968 image of the Earth rising over the moon is among the first ever photos of our planet taken by humans from deep space.
This 1968 image of the Earth rising over the moon is among the first ever photos of our planet taken by humans from deep space.

Launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 8 was a mission of firsts:

-The first photos of Earth taken from deep space by humans, including the now iconic “Earthrise”

-A new rocket speed record of 24,200 mph, a velocity that, according to NASA, was necessary to escape Earth’s gravitational pull

–The first time the lunar surface was broadcast on live television

-The first time humans had traveled to the far side of the moon

The weeklong mission was fueled by a Space Race rivalry with the Soviet Union and the nation’s desire to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s wishes to land on the moon by decade’s end, a goal accomplished by Apollo 11 seven months later.

As Apollo 8 emerged from the mysterious dark side of the moon before heading back to Earth, a relieved Lovell announced to the world, “Houston, please be informed there is a Santa Claus.”

This amazing and joyous mission was a rare high note in a year filled with historically tragic events. According to “A Man on the Moon,” Andrew Chaikin’s book on the Apollo program, the astronauts received countless telegrams after they returned safely home. But one stuck out from the others.

It said, “You saved 1968.”
Promoted Stories
The 43 Most Powerful Military Forces In The World Geeky Camel
Shot across the bow?: Warships off Alaska signal Chinese… Nikkei Asian Review
How To Learn Any Language In 7 Days Babbel
#1 reason not to buy a new computer Speed Fix Tool
Recommended by

More Promoted Stories
10 Countries With The Most Attractive Women Lost Waldo
These Former Child Stars Did Not Age Well Today’s Lifestyle
Incredible Photos Of Hitler’s Secret Stealth Jet Fighter HistoryInOrbit.com
US Presidents Ranked By Wealth InsideGov
15 Vile Wedding Dresses That Will Hurt Your Eyes Time To Break
N. Korean leader meets 1st foreign leader in over 2 years Nikkei Asian Review
More from CNN
Good girls, not gangsters? Tattoos no longer taboo in China
North Korean defector: Kim Jong Un’s days are numbered
New Zealand bans young adult novel; first book ban in 22 years
China to explore ‘dark side’ of the moon
The song that pushed Simon Cowell to tears
Assertive Japan poised to abandon 70 years of pacifism
Recommended by

The Sixties
1967, Woburn Abbey, Hippies enjoy themselves at the 1967 Woburn Abbey Love In (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
60 iconic moments from the 1960s
See images of 60 iconic moments of the 1960s. And experience “The Sixties” on CNN Thursday nights at 9 ET/PT.
Quiz: Hippie? Square? Or revolutionary?
If you lived in the ’60s, would you be hanging at the soda shop? Or protesting injustice? Take this quiz about what you like today to find out who you’d be in the ’60s.
From left to right, Alan Hale Jr. (1921 – 1990) as The Skipper, Tina Louise as Ginger Grant and Bob Denver (1935 – 2005) as Gilligan in the television series 'Gilligan's Island', circa 1964.
TV better or worse than the ’60s?
In the 1960s, there were three TV channels and not much to watch. Now that most people have hundreds of channels, has anything changed?
orig the sixties cold war movies_00000604.jpg
Why Russians are the TV bad guys
Step back in time to when the world was on the brink, and the Soviets became the enemy of choice in US movies and TV.
The civil rights movement was a pivotal part of U.S. history but why is it so dull to so many Americans?
‘That’ civil rights movement
Here’s a dirty little secret about the civil rights movement…
Almost 43 years after his death, Jimi Hendrix remains the model of a guitar hero.
How music shaped a decade
From Jimi Hendrix to Merle Haggard, music shaped the way the world reacted to the events of the 1960s.
Philip Jones Griffiths VIETNAM. The battle for Saigon. U.S. policy in Vietnam was based on the premise that peasants driven into the towns and cities by the carpet-bombing of the countryside would be safe. Furthermore, removed from their traditional value system they could be prepared for imposition of consumerism. This "restructuring" of society suffered a setback when, in 1968, death rained down on the urban enclaves. 1968 Image ReferenceGRP1968010N00001/06(PAR93989)© Philip Jones Griffiths/Magnum Photo
Vietnam: 5 things you might not know
The Vietnam War, especially U.S. involvement, escalated in the 1960s. Here are five things you might not know about the conflict.
Meredith Artley, managing editor of CNN Digital, couldn't help but smile after her parents shared a photo of her mother, Dianna Artley, dressed up in a yellow mini dress back in 1967.
Your favorite ’60s photos
The 1960s were a time of mop tops, tie-dyes, and a host of other fashion-worthy trends. We’d like to see what your family photos looked like.
Volunteers listen through headphones to increasingly intense taunts and threats endured by protesters during staged sit-ins at "whites only" dining counters as part of an exhibit at the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. The museum opens to the public on Monday, June 23.
The rise of the civil rights museum
New civil rights museums, like the one in Atlanta, are all trying to reveal their stake in history while drawing a young, tech-savvy audience.
Name that ’60s TV show
The 60’s were full of new shows with memorable theme songs. Can you guess these famous TV shows just from their music?
Sally Field's 1965 studio headshot for "Gidget"
How ‘Gidget’ broke the rules
Gidget, Emma Peel from “The Avengers,” Samantha from “Bewitched”: The women in ’60s TV kicked ass and spurred changes, Sally Kohn writes.
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot, Is Photographed Walking Near The Lunar Module During The Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity. Man's First Landing On The Moon Occurred Today At 4:17 P.M. July 20, 1969 As Lunar Module 'Eagle' Touched Down Gently On The Sea Of Tranquility On The East Side Of The Moon. The Lm (Lunar Module) Landed On The Moon On July 20, 1969 And Returned To The Command Module On July 21. The Command Module Left Lunar Orbit On July 22 And Returned To Earth On July 24, 1969. Apollo 11 Splashed Down In The Pacific Ocean On 24 July 1969 At 12:50:35 P.M. Edt After A Mission Elapsed Time Of 195 Hrs, 18 Mins, 35 Secs. (Photo By Nasa/Getty Images)
Quiz: Test your ’60s knowledge
How much do you really know about this pivotal decade? Take the quiz (no Internet searches!) and find out.
the sixties carol burnett_00001920.jpg
Pratfalls, songs and sketches, oh my!
Episode 1 excerpt: It’s hard to tell who had more belly laughs on “The Carol Burnett Show”: the cast or audiences.
the sixties smothers brothers 1_00000703.jpg
What got The Smothers Brothers fired?
Episode 1 excerpt: CBS loved Tom and Dick Smothers’ folk satire until they said some topical humor went too far.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He was 46.
5 things: JFK’s assassination
It has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was fatally gunned down in Dallas. Here are five interesting facts about JFK’s assassination.
lead dnt foreman jackie kennedy letters_00020606.jpg
Jackie Kennedy letters not for sale
Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal letters to an Irish priest about her marriage, faith and the 1963 death of her husband will no longer be sold at auction.
MLK and Malcolm X met only once?
Five surprising facts you need to know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
promo cnn sixties thu premiere_00000108.jpg
Watch a clip of CNN’s ‘The Sixties’
A preview of the new CNN Original Series, “The Sixties” which debuts Thursday night, May 29 at 9 ET/PT.

More Top Stories
Al Qaeda to ISIS: You’re wrong
Al Qaeda to ISIS: You’re wrong
Huge beer merger in the works
Huge beer merger in the works
Husband won’t let soccer star play
Husband won’t let soccer star play
Did ‘Star Trek’ star flash neighbor?
Did ‘Star Trek’ star flash neighbor?
Hand sanitizer’s big risk to kids
Hand sanitizer’s big risk to kids
Report warns about fast-food meat
Report warns about fast-food meat
Al Qaeda to ISIS: You’re wrong
Huge beer merger in the works
Husband won’t let soccer star play
Did ‘Star Trek’ star flash neighbor?
Hand sanitizer’s big risk to kids
Report warns about fast-food meat

Promoted Stories
List: 20 Surprising Female Celebrity Smokers
List: 20 Surprising Female Celebrity Smokers
Weekend Collective
10 Historical Films That Were Actually Accurate
10 Historical Films That Were Actually Accurate
Entertainment – Answers.com
10 Things You’ll Want to Know About the GI Bill
10 Things You’ll Want to Know About the GI Bill
Villanova University
RANKED: The Presidents with the Lowest IQs
RANKED: The Presidents with the Lowest IQs
Recommended by

More from CNN
Tom Cruise movie crew members in plane crash that kills 2 in Colombia
Tom Cruise movie crew members in plane crash that kills 2 in Colombia
Kevin Spacey reveals ‘House of Cards’ secret
Kevin Spacey reveals ‘House of Cards’ secret
There’s an invisible man standing in the middle of these photos. Look closer
There’s an invisible man standing in the middle of these photos. Look…
Is it OK to shoot down a drone over your backyard?
Is it OK to shoot down a drone over your backyard?
Uprooted tree reveals a violent death from 1,000 years ago
Uprooted tree reveals a violent death from 1,000 years ago
Homo naledi: New species of human ancestor discovered in South Africa
Homo naledi: New species of human ancestor discovered in South Africa

More from us
Noisy supercars disturb Beverly Hills neighborhood
Noisy supercars disturb Beverly Hills neighborhood
hillary clinton phone call donald trump on late show jimmy fallon orig pkg_00001229.jpg
Hillary Clinton gets a call from ‘Trump’ on ‘The Tonight Show’
New findings back up VA whistleblowers’ charges

Sign in
Newest | Oldest | Hot Threads
Powered by Livefyre
New York City, NYSunny84°


CNNgoLatest NewsMust Watch VideosDigital Studios

CNNgoScheduleCNN FilmsShows A-ZFaces of CNN Worldwide

Political Op-EdsSocial CommentaryiReport

PhotosLongformInvestigationsCNN profiles A-ZCNN Leadership

© 2015 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyAdChoicesAdvertise with usAbout usWork for usHelpTranscriptsLicense FootageCNN Newsource


CO2 – Real world v Model world

So, which world do you live in?

The model world, which blames man for huge CO2 emissions?

Or, do you live in the real world, where natural emissions dwarf man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2?

Model world (NASA computer of estimated CO2 emissions):

Global CO2 Model

Real world (Actual satellite observation):

Global CO2 Satellite

Note the massive, natural emissions in the Amazon, tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.

Temperature drives CO2 emissions…the sun and natural variations and cycles drive temperature…both up, and down…

Observation is the key to science…

Salby Response to MC

January 2015 Salby

A Penny For Your Thoughts

There is an old Chinese curse – “May you live in interesting times.”

As I was sitting back and watching the global banking meltdown of 2008, I was reminded of the “interest-ing” riddle/parable of “Joseph’s Penny,” which clearly indicates why the US is now dealing in the trillions of dollars of debt, and, has no way out of complete financial collapse (or the more likely – complete economic reorganization) within the next decade.

The riddle goes like this – If at the time of the birth of Christ, Joseph had invested one penny in a bank, and the bank had given him an annual interest rate return of 5%, how much would be in the account if Jesus returned today to check on the account?

Any idea?

Think big…astronomically big.

By now that solitary penny would have earned $45,087,798,213,371,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (US Dollars)…. the equivalent of 196,001,952,916 solid balls of 0.999 gold, each weighing as much as the mass of the planet earth.

Take a moment (or an hour) to fully understand that last sentence – the dollar amount is 45,000 trillion, trillion, trillion dollars or about nearly 200 billion planets of solid .999 gold, the size of the Earth. (calculated at $1195 per ounce – December 21, 2014 price).

Now isn’t that the best example of the magic of compound interest we were all taught in school?

To further stretch your imagination, since the Earth has a width of 8,000 miles, imagine a trail of gold balls stretching 1,568,015,623,329,220 miles out into the universe…that’s a cool 266.73 light years!

This means if you left the Earth now, and traveled at the speed of light, it is now theoretically impossible to travel from here to the end of that trail of gold, since the number of golden planets, and therefore distance, is now increasing faster than the speed of light.

Being a bit of a skeptic, when I first heard the story, I didn’t/couldn’t believe the amounts, so, I prepared an Excel spreadsheet, which confirmed them.

In examining the exponential growth rate of one penny at 5% compounded interest, I noticed that during the first 100 years one cent grew only to $1.25. By 200 AD, it had grown to $164.69. But, by the 300th year, it showed over a 2 million times increase over the original investment of a penny – $21,657.10

It was at that point I finally understood why any monetary system that has an “interest” component attached to it is doomed to eventual collapse. I also immediately understood why many religions consider the charging of interest a damnable sin – Islam, Judaism, and, for centuries, Christianity. That was just before the banking industry was formed and I suspect, church leaders of the day were persuaded they could perhaps increase the wealth of their coffers by simply saying the charging interest is now approved, as long as you include the new slogan – In God We Trust, as is on the back of the US dollar.

Now, instead of a penny collecting interest, imagine millions, and billions and trillions of dollars collecting 5, 10 or 15% interest per year. Just how long do you think it would take for the temples of the money lenders to come tumbling down by themselves, without the helping hand of Jesus? And, just how long has our current economic system been in play? A few hundred years, at best.

Yes, the “den of thieves” is now shaking at its foundations, and, while the baling wire bail-out may have stilled the economic waters for the time being, the global devaluation of the US dollar has now begun in full force.

Some people predict Jesus will return “like a thief in the night.” That makes me kind of wonder if he’s planning on closing out his US banking account. Regardless, one matter you can certainly trust is the interesting mathematics of this penny for your thoughts.

Copyright 2014 Eric Booth

Liberal v Conservative finstats

Liberal v Conservative

RAR Mapping – for Public Hearing

Check to see if your property is going to be regulated by the proposed RAR mapping. Here’s a link to the proposed RAR Mapping of Salt Spring to be considered at the Public Hearing, Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at Lion’s Club, 7:00 PM. – Map 28 Proposed RAR map

Riparian Area Update – May 2014

Riparian Area Regulations – Where’s the Debate?

I would first of all like to thank the Trustees for getting us to this point in the process.

As some readers may know, I have been a vocal proponent of (a) accurate mapping of fish bearing streams, and (b) retaining our current bylaws regarding protection of fish habitat.

In fact, back in early 2011 I had been the single voice at the meeting held in Artspring requesting that accurate mapping be part of the process. At that time Trust staff and the Trustees disagreed with the idea and wanted to blanket 60% of the island with RAR regulation.

However, while the accuracy of the mapping before us today is a vast improvement over the existing Map 21 in the OCP, and over blanket mapping in general, in my opinion it is still a few steps away from what should be the final designated areas of protection for Salt Spring.

Protect and Restore?

I have heard it stated the RAR was created to protect and restore fish habitat.

That is not correct. The RAR’s purpose is to “protect riparian areas from development.” The word “restore” does not appear anywhere in either the Riparian Area Regulation, the Riparian Areas Regulation Assessment Methods or the Fish Protection Act.

The RAR was not a vehicle created not intended to be used to restore fish habitat.

Its clear and unambiguous purpose is to protect existing fish habitat from development.

Mr. Andy Witt, Manager of Habitat Management, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, contacted the Gabriola Sounder in October 2013 to correct some misinformation put out in letters to the editor by the Property Rights Action Group (PRAG) in relation to the Riparian Areas Regulation Implementation on Gabriola.

One of the issues he brought up is the idea of calling Riparian Areas “potential fish habitat.”

Andy corrected that, saying if a stream has been assessed as being in the RAR area, it is fish habitat, there is no “potential” about it.

“Those areas adjacent to streams are fish habitat – the whole thing is where fish habitat begins and ends. The only time it’s not is if there have never been fish there. If the barrier is because of a waterfall, then it isn’t fish habitat depending on where the waterfall is.”

Thus the question arises, of all of the identified streams and lakes on Salt Spring, where does fish habit begin and end, and, have fish ever actually, and truly, lived in all of the reaches which have been identified?

To date, there has been no analysis by the Islands Trust or its consultants, or data or documentation provided, indicating fish presence in dozens of the watercourses which are now being proposed to be fish habitat.

The RAR is a “policy directive.” But, what is a “policy directive?”

The RAR is a policy directive from the Provincial Government to local governments. A policy directive from the Province is in essence a demand that local governments change their bylaws to meet the directive, OR ensure that their existing bylaws are comparable to the directive.

In this case the Province is demanding local governments do something to protect fish habitat.

The authority for creating the RAR policy directive comes from its parent legislation, the Fish Protection Act.

The Fish Protection Act states that local governments must follow policy directives with regard to fish protection OR if in the opinion of the local government current bylaws provide a level of protection that is comparable to, or exceeds, that of the policy directive, the local government does not need to do anything.

In other words, and in this case, the Provincial government gave the local Trust Committee the discretion to decide whether our current bylaws provide a sufficient level of protection of FISH HABITAT.

It is vitally important for the public to understand parent legislation (Fish Protection Act) trumps any offspring regulation (RAR).

I argued strenuously with Islands Trust staff from 2007 through to 2011 that nothing other than accurate mapping was required to meet the Fish Protection Act requirements, IF the LTC decided our existing Development Permit Area 4 requirements and the regulations contained within our Land Use Bylaw already provided sufficient protection.

What level of protection do our current bylaws provide?

So the most obvious question is – Do our current bylaws provide a level of protection comparable to the protection which the RAR may provide? Well, let’s look at what protection our current bylaws provide for water bodies on Salt Spring.

Development Permit Area Protection

When we go to existing regulations contained within Volume 2 of the OCP, we find that Section 4, the Development Permit Area 4 requirements state that all of the following activities must not be undertaken without a development permit:

  1. Removal of trees within 10 m of the natural boundary of a lake or a stream (or within 300 m of Maxwell Lake) Removal of other vegetation within 10 m of the natural boundary of a lake or stream (or within 300 m of Maxwell Lake) that results in the exposure of a total area of bare soil more than 9 m2 in area;
  2. removal of vegetation in a wetland, or
  3. Installation of a septic field within 61 m of the natural boundary of a lake (or within 300 m of Maxwell Lake), or
  4. Development of an impervious surface within 10 m of the natural boundary of a lake or a stream (or within 300 m of Maxwell Lake), or
  5. Any works or installation of structures within a stream or below the natural boundary of a lake, or
  6. The subdivision of land parcels that create additional new lots within this Development Permit Area.

All of those development activities must not be undertaken without a DP.

In Section 6 of the OCP are listed the objectives of Development Permit Area 6, which is UNSTABLE SLOPES AND SOIL EROSION HAZARDS.

Those objectives include (at E.6.3.3), the following – “To protect land, streams, water bodies and the sea from damage due to soil erosion.” Thus landowners in areas subject to unstable slopes and soil erosion must either obtain a development permit or a report from a professional before proceeding with development near a stream or water body.

Land Use Bylaw Protection

When we move to the Land Use Bylaw we find further levels of protection. It starts there with the definition of water body:

“water body” means the sea or any natural depression with visible banks, or a wetland with or without visible banks; and includes any lake, river, stream, creek, spring, swamp, gulch or surface source of water, whether containing fish or not; and includes seasonal streams; and includes any surface drainage work or catchment pond that is a man-made replacement or diversion of a natural water body.”

This definition necessarily includes every fish bearing stream on Salt Spring Island and every ditch that is a replacement or diversion of a natural water body.

Section 4.4.1 states “No building or structure except a fence, pumphouse or boathouse may be sited within 15 m of the natural boundary of any water body.”

Section 4.4.3 states “No fill used to support a building or structure may be placed within the distances set out in Subsection 4.4.1”

Section 4.4.4 states “The underside of the floor system of any portion of a building used for habitation, or for the storage of goods damageable by floodwaters, must be at least 1.5 m higher in vertical elevation than the elevation of the natural boundary of any water body that lies within 30 m of the building.”

Section 4.5.1 states “No sewage disposal field or septage pit may be located within: (1) 30 m of the natural boundary of the sea; (2) 60 m of the natural boundary of Blackburn Lake, Bullock Lake, Cusheon Lake, Ford Lake, Maxwell Lake, Roberts Lake, Rosemurgy Lake, St. Mary Lake, Stowel Lake, or Weston Lake; (3) 60 m of the natural boundary of a water body that leads into the lakes named in Article 4.5.1(2), or (4) 30 m of the natural boundary of any other water body.”

Section 4.5.2 states – No confined livestock areas used or intended to be used for more than 4550 kg of livestock, poultry or farmed game, no barn containing manure-based mushroom cultivation and no storage area for agricultural waste may be located within 60 m of the natural boundary of Blackburn Lake, Bullock Lake, Cusheon Lake, Ford Lake, Maxwell Lake Roberts Lake, Rosemurgy Lake, St. Mary Lake, Stowel Lake, or Weston Lake nor within 30 m of any water body draining into one of these lakes.

Section 4.5.3 states – Where it is permitted by zoning regulations, a principal use consisting of the commercial or institutional production, storage or manufacture of the following products is to be setback by 30 m from the top of the bank of any natural water body, except where these take place indoors within the Ganges Village Core: Petroleum products including but not limited to oil, gasoline, grease, fuel oil, heating oil, Trash or debris, Pet or domestic animal wastes, Manufactured chemicals, Paints and solvents, Steam cleaning wastes, Laundry wastes or vehicle washing wastes, Soaps. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers Sanitary sewage Chlorinated, chloraminated or brominated water or chlorine, chloramine or bromine, in concentrations above that known to have adverse impacts on aquatic life. Degreasers and solvents Bark and other fibrous materials Antifreeze, batteries, tires, scrap metal or other automotive products Animal carcasses Deposited soil Acids or alkalis Vehicle wastes Construction materials

Section 4.5.5 states – The washing of fresh concrete for cleaning or finishing purposes or to expose aggregates is to be set back at least 30 m from the top of the bank of any natural water body.

Section 5.3.5 states – Where a lot being subdivided contains or abuts a water body, each of the new lots being created must provide sufficient area for a building envelope of 280 square metres, an access driveway and on-site sewage treatment system to be constructed outside of the setbacks from each lot line and the water body as required in Part 4.

Section 5.7.3 states – Every surface drainage system designed for a land subdivision located within 30 m of a fish-bearing water body, including the sea, must be consistent with the Land Development Guidelines.

Section 5.7.4 states – No water body may be diverted, altered, or used for surface drainage purposes so as to transfer water between natural surface water watersheds.

And Schedule F 4 (e) States – No campsite may be closer than 15 m to the natural boundary of any water body.

I respectfully submit all of the above guidelines, regulations and bylaws provide a certain level of protection for every single water body on Salt Spring.

What Level of Protection is Reasonable?

The next question which arises then is what is a reasonable level of protection?

When the Trust brought over Ms. Michelle Jones, who happens to be the only person in BC certified to give the Qualified Environmental Professional course which certifies professionals to conduct Riparian Area Assessments in BC, Ms. Jones stated quite clearly that, as a rule of thumb, a Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area or SPEA can be ballparked at 3 times the width of the stream in question. Mainstream restated the same rule in their report.

So, if a stream is 2 metres wide, the SPEA would be 6 metres. Ms. Jones went on to say however that the minimum SPEA would be 10 metres. However, she was speaking about stream SPEA’s not ditch SPEA’s which can be as small as 2 metres.

So, the next question is what are the sizes of our streams and ditches?

I did an analysis of all of the 17 watercourses identified on the mapping of Mainstream. The vast majority are less than 1 metre wide.

And, using that rule, only 6 locations out of the 214, or about 3%, of the streams and ditches which were measured, resulted in a SPEA greater than 10 metres.

Thus, for all intents and purposes, our current regulations clearly do provide a level of protection that is comparable to the Riparian Area Regulation.

Show me the fish.

The next question which arises is that which first came to a head on Mayne Island – that of fish presence. Are fish present in all of the watercourses which both Mainstream and Madrone have identified, or is there conclusive evidence that fish exist, or could exist, in all of the watercourses?

The majority of the fish presence data which the Trust and Mainstream have relied upon is from 1995, and is unpublished. It was never filed with the Ministry of Environment and appears nowhere in provincial records.

A review of just some of the data indicates, for example, Walker Hook Creek was reported not to contain any fish, Bullock Lake was reported not to have any fish, Big Creek was reported not to contain any fish as was Larlow Creek. No fish were reported in Ford Lake or Stowell Lake. While Weston Lake was reported as being stocked by the Province, but the lake was reported as eutrophic…in other words not suitable for fish habitat. No fish were reported in Weston Creek.

Some water bodies were found to have summer temperatures too high for fish habitat and oxygen contents too low to sustain fish.

There were missing pages of fish presence on other streams, undocumented sightings of fish, missing references, misidentification of estuary areas, and the list goes on.

In short, the data relied upon is unreliable and as a result, I submit none of it should be used in constructing any bylaw. Nor should it have been relied upon for the construction of our existing mapping in the OCP. Any layman’s review of the work would find, as I have, that it was sloppy and inaccurate.

And yet, this data is being relied upon at this moment in the consideration of new regulations.

One example.

While I haven’t had the time to do detailed research into any other watercourse other than the one that is near my own property, in that one watercourse I have found a number of inaccuracies in the Mainstream report, including the misidentification of an estuary area, mis-identification of the location of identified fish presence, and an actual natural stream missing from the mapping.

I requested source data referred to within the Mainstream report from Staff on March 20th, now over 9 weeks ago, and in spite of efforts by Staff, they have yet to produce it for me to examine.

The proposed definition of “development” means any of the following associated with or resulting from the local government regulation or approval of residential, commercial or industrial activities or ancillary activities to the extent that they are subject to local government powers under Part 26 of the Local Government Act:

(a) removal, alteration, disruption or destruction of vegetation;

(b) disturbance of soils;

(c) construction or erection of buildings and structures;

(d) creation of nonstructural impervious or semi-impervious surfaces;

(e) flood protection works;

(f) construction of roads, trails, docks, wharves and bridges;

(g) provision and maintenance of sewer and water services;

(h) development of drainage systems;

(i) development of utility corridors;

(j) subdivision as defined in section 872 of the Local Government Act;

Don’t Do What I Do, Do What I Tell You To Do…

It is noted that the Province itself is not required to comply with any of the aforementioned activities

So, moving on for a moment to the subject of Provincially owned ditches we come to what is likely the most ridiculous aspect of the RAR as it applies to Salt Spring.

The Province’s ditches are cleaned out and scraped bare every 3 to 7 years on average. The reason for ditch cleaning is not surprising – vegetation grows in ditches and gets to the point where it is necessary to clean them to allow for proper drainage, and, to reduce or eliminate the potential for flooding. Note I said “potential for flooding” and not “flooding.” The difference is this – while the RAR allows for cleaning of private ditches in the event of an “emergency,” it does not allow cleaning for the prevention of a possible emergency. In other words, you can only clean the ditch in an emergency, and not until then.

I have just gone through a 6 years of court proceedings, involving 3 small claims actions and a Supreme Court action which were all a result of the Ministry of Transportation not cleaning their ditches, which resulted in flooding which I had been wrongfully accused of causing.

To quote the judge from the Supreme Court action “Highways’ ditches were there to carry water. The ditches needed to be maintained in order to do their job.”

Likewise ditches on private property, need to be maintained in order to do their job. The difference, should the proposed mapping be put into law, will be that while the Province can continue to clean their ditches, private property owners technically will not be allowed to go near them to remove vegetation except in the event of an emergency.

When we look at the concern over development which may impact fish habitat, I suggest the largest and most obvious concern is siltation during development. And yet the Province, the government body which enacted the RAR, has the legislative right to completely ignore it, and, does so, on a regular basis.

PS – Today road crews are conducting seal coating on the Province’s roads. Spraying oil into the environment and then covering it with sand. Where does anyone think that runoff is going to go?

Farming Is the Greatest Potential Source for Impact

The Province has also exempted farming and institutional uses from Riparian regulation.

So, in the Fulford Valley as an example, a farmer can plow up 25 acres of field, on an annual basis, with the resultant runoff flowing into Fulford Creek, and the farmer is totally exempt from the RAR.

That 25 acre footprint of disturbed soil is the equivalent of proposing over a million square feet of development…every year potentially.

But there aren’t just 25 acres of farmland in the Fulford Valley, there are hundreds of acres in the Fulford Valley, and the Cusheon Lake and St. Mary Lake watersheds, let alone all of the other smaller watersheds.

Where is the common sense logic then of, on the one hand demanding private property owners adjacent to farmland must stay 15 or 30 metres back from streams, when the Province blatantly ignores any setback on its own property, while allowing farmers to ignore setbacks on what are arguably the largest soil disturbance activities on Salt Spring…. by several magnitudes?

In short, the one-size-fits-all approach the RAR has taken does not make a lick of sense when it is applied to Salt Spring. To the Fraser or Cowichan Rivers, or even Fulford Creek, I get it. But when 97% of the creeks mapped and proposed to be protected are less than 40” wide, it defies logic, common sense, and, most importantly science.

Existing Protection Exceeds RAR

I respectfully submit that the existing protection provided in our bylaws, which are applicable to every private property owner on this island, not just 1500, provide a level of protection which not only is comparable to the RAR, but in many cases already exceeds the RAR, and arguably protects water bodies to a far higher level of protection than that afforded by the Province to its own streams and ditches within its authority, ownership and jurisdiction.

What Would Happen if the LTC Agreed with Me?

And finally, the question arises as to what would happen if the LTC decided to maintain the current level of protection contained within the OCP and Land Use Bylaws, and simply updated the accuracy of the location of the major fish bearing streams on the island, while eliminating the dozens of small ditches which are proposed to be included in the mapping?

According to other LTC’s experiences in the RAR implementation process, absolutely nothing. Mayne Island has gone so far as to have taken the RAR implementation off their agenda, and other islands, like the Penders have eliminated anything other than the major streams from their mapping. And yet, here on Salt Spring, ditches some of which are 12” wide, and have water in them for perhaps a week or two a year, are slated to become protected areas, in spite of the fact they will be scraped clean regularly.

As a result, the discretion our Trustees have in this matter is now crystal clear. (It took me over 4 years to pry from Trust Staff a written, albeit grudgingly, acknowledgement that the discretion even exists and is available to be used by the LTC in its wisdom.

So, the LTC cannot deny the discretion exists. The only is question is to what extent our Trustees will use it.

I implore them to carefully consider any proposed changes to either the OCP or the Land Use Bylaw and view any proposals coming from Staff through the filter of common sense and logic.

And while it may go without saying, I know for a fact most people don’t understand that under the Islands Trust Act, our Trustees were elected to represent the over 1500 property owners who will potentially be affected by proposed changes to our bylaws.

Take Action

If you feel you shouldn’t be saddled with bylaws which will not only cost property owners more in the long run, but, create an alarming amount of unnecessary work for Staff and the resultant detriment of taxpayers, then its time to express your opinions to the Trustees.

You can email them at ggrams@islandstrust.bc.ca and pgrove@islandstrust.bc.ca


It you are still reading this, thank you for taking the time to be concerned enough to care.