Viewpoint: Oppose proposed safety service

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By SHELLEY MAHONEY

Regarding “Safety Service Proposed for Salt Spring,” Sept. 4 Driftwood.

The article references “gaps in service.” No kidding, the biggest gap being that we have no government with the authority to do much outside the parameters of their “committee, commission or board rules.”

By an alternative approval process we are asked to approve a bylaw to fund a security service for $68,000 per year with no real plan. Stakeholders include RCMP, CRD Parks and Rec (already collecting our tax dollars) and several non-governmental organizations that already have their hands full sticking Band-aids wherever “permitted” on our hemorrhaging community.

The problem of parkies, garbage, dogs and their poo hardly deserves a new bylaw and the perpetual tax burden. The broken windows in Ganges we now know were caused by a troubled local man upset about the “ugly” parts of this island. The “crisis” parts we know how to fix, but don’t want to because we are too busy creating a gated community eventually serviced with daily worker ferries and a coveted local security service. 

We already pay for bylaw enforcement for the parks, the garbage and dogs, so let’s get it done and hand out the fines. That is how the system works and pays for itself.

Our community has a housing and homeless crisis. If you have the highest number of homeless people per capita in Canada it stands to reason that you would have a proper homeless shelter right? No. Not Salt Spring. We have the only CRD commission allowed to own land, Parks and Rec, say we can’t use “our” land for emergency housing or laundry, which would be effective “community outreach support” because, you know, there are liability issues, which will somehow magically disappear as they lay the framework with advisory stakeholders for this new island-grown security force.

One of the two Kanaka Drive lots that “we collectively” own could solve so many problems: modular housing, a laundromat and a mental health nursing clinic. We don’t even need to ask for local taxpayers’ dollars! Local NGOs have some plans and the know-how; the feds and the province have money for modular housing. They just don’t want to own it or run it, but they will pay for it, so let’s pass a bylaw that says Parks and Rec will step up and partner with an NGO and make it happen. Emergency housing for children and families first, then singles. Heck, it could even be part youth hostel to help pay the expenses and normalize the experiences of those living in crisis in this tourist town. The lots are fully serviced by water (in the right district for a laundromat), sewer and hydro.

Please do find the counter petitions to stop this overreaching and myopic proposed Bylaw 4325  when they become available and sign one.

2 Comments
  1. Paul Marcano says

    Thanks Shelley for keeping us in the loop on some of the background noise being used to suggest throwing more property-tax money at our local governance structure, such as it is, will somehow adequately address lack of basic community services found elsewhere. A ‘space force’-like concept will not address underlying Salt Spring Island inequities and deficiencies as you have so clearly outlined. Existing bylaws, as you mention, are self-funding or contribute to their sustainability through various fines and fees. Perhaps new tax proposals should attempt to have some kind of eventual self-funding attributes like; if Salt Spring Waterworks had sponsored a profitable community Laundromat into its 8.5 million dollar upgrade plans.

  2. tony maude says

    Could not agree more. The only way to address our specific concerns and issues is to have our own citizens determine our own solutions through self government. For an island of free independent thinkers it amazes me that we want or think that bureaucrats in Victoria will manage this island better then us that live here. The result of that thinking is the ineffective and, at times, misguided approach to solve issues through bandaid solutions that waste our taxpayer funds. We need focused, integrated solutions to our concerns/issues that will only come through self-management.

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