It was standing room only and some people were actually turned away on the evening of Sept. 26 as community members interested in changing Salt Spring for the better pushed Lions Hall above its capacity.
Billed as a way to move forward after the failed incorporation referendum, the event was intended to move “beyond yes and no” and into a new spirit of cooperation between factions that seemed unreconcilable before the Sept. 9. vote. The organizers have accepted the working title “Community Forum” until they establish an official name.
“If there’s anything this recent referendum process did, is it really engaged this community. It got governance talked about,” said Greg Clayton, one of the event’s coordinators. “Tonight we move forward and we put our differences aside. There’s only one team here and today we’re all on that team: we’re on the Salt Spring Island team. We get to look forward and we get to create the community that we want.”
Tuesday’s event started with acknowledgement of First Nations traditional territory by Joe Akerman, along with his hope that more First Nations will feel welcome to make their home on Salt Spring once again.
“I think the importance of that acknowledgement is really key to our thinking here, and I think another acknowledgement is the acknowledgement of climate change. Its impact around the world is clear and we’re unlikely to escape it here,” said Samantha Sanderson, another key organizer. “So it makes sense to give attention to building relationships across divisions and to seek close connections with each other as fundamental to having the ability to face hard times in the future.”
The next event will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at Lions Hall from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
The group can be reached at their email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more of this story, see the Oct. 4, 2017 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper or subscribe online.