Saturday, December 3, 2022
December 3, 2022

Editorial – One small form of housing action can be taken now

Salt Spring trustee Laura Patrick’s dedication to tackling our island’s housing crisis, with support from her fellow trustees, is admirable. 

A lack of affordable housing is the one problem that almost all island residents are aware of and can identify as needing some concrete attention, even if their own housing situation is secure. Difficulty attracting and maintaining qualified workers due to a lack of housing is something that impacts everyone who lives on the island. To not do something about it could be viewed as an irresponsible act by those we have elected to lead our community. 

The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SSILTC) has stepped up in recent months by creating what is dubbed a Housing Action Program, with a task force about to be created. It has done so even though it is but one government agency whose policies contribute to residential housing or a lack thereof. One could  argue that since the Trust’s original mandate was and remains one of environmental preservation, that it is not the most appropriate body to be leading the housing charge.

Ironically, an application that is before the SSILTC at its next meeting on Feb. 16 blatantly illustrates the conflict inherent in the way the Trust does its business. After years of bylaw enforcement pressure, a property owner wishes to legalize through rezoning a north-end cottage that has been used as a rental property for some 25 years. It is currently lived in by a young woman who works in a retail business on Salt Spring. 

This person’s home is on the chopping block, and if a Trust staff recommendation is followed by trustees, it will perpetuate the trend of the island’s rental stock shrinking one dwelling at a time. 

We don’t want to rain on the Housing Action Program parade before it is even assembled. Some practicable recommendations will hopefully and assumedly arise from its work. But how absurd is it to be pouring untold amounts of energy and resources into another housing study on one hand, while on the other to be forcing the eviction of exactly the kind of person the program aims to house.

The Housing Action Program charter references a need to promote “art of the possible” thinking in its work. The SSILTC has a chance to do just that in the case of the north-end cottage.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Other stories you might like

BC Housing assessing Drake Road site for more dwelling units

BC Housing may be planning to expand a supportive housing project on Salt Spring before it’s even begun — potentially increasing the number of units, as the island’s housing crisis shows no signs of ending. 

Lawsuit launched over Seabreeze

A dispute over the former Seabreeze Inne spilled over into court last week as one Salt Spring Island charitable society filed legal action against another.  

Video: Salt Spring CRD/Trust all-candidates meeting

Video of the event organized and hosted by the Salt Spring Forum and Driftwood, moderated by Aletha Humphreys.

Candidates Answer Housing Position Questions

The Salt Spring Housing Council sent a questionnaire to all three candidates for CRD director and seven candidates for the Islands Trust. Responses were...


Salt Spring Island
moderate rain
-0.4 ° C
2.1 °
-2.3 °
100 %
100 %
1 °
-0 °
-1 °
-0 °
-0 °