By JEREMY MILSOM
I would like to send a hearty “thank you” to Rowena Dixon for echoing in last week’s paper what I have been hearing daily (“Resident: Lower Ganges Road maintainance a disgrace”).
Visitors and locals who come to Ganges often point out that the village has become more drab, dirty, unsafe to pedestrians and substantially under-maintained.
While I would like to be offended by this feedback, it is easier to embrace the obvious evidence and get started with a positive “self-help” plan of action that will make a difference.
After a presentation to the community-minded Chamber of Commerce, a local village committee (LVC) was formed with broadly based leadership and creativity, and a focus on improving village optics by providing three basic and achievable improvements:
• sweeping and cleaning;
• weeding and gardening;
• adding colour with flowers and painting.
A “call to action” will be featured in local news media, our MLA Adam Olsen has been invited, and arrangements are underway to schedule street sweeping machinery and dumpster services. Every resident and business in Ganges will receive an inspiring invitation to be involved in enhancing the village charm by making their property and road-front clean and colourful.
We have divided and mapped the village into small sections to help divide the tasks.
Volunteers from our community are being recruited to:
• “Ticket” vehicles with requests to park off-street on the scheduled night for the street sweeper activity;
• Swarm the village and dig out unsightly weeds, garbage and invasive species;
• Assist with sweeping sidewalks and around doorways;
• Bring tools and brooms and support other volunteers.
The day of action will coincide with the Earth Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 with a “rain date” of April 28-29. It will end with recognition of achievements and prizes for the most notable improvements and for our supporting volunteers.
The Driftwood is also organizing a separate but complementary island-wide clean-up called Greening Salt Spring. (See details in this issue of the paper.)
By keeping it simple, we are actively looking for community-minded volunteers to join, guide and support this exciting opportunity to revitalize and refresh the face of our village. The results will make us all proud to be here and will establish a lasting impression for our community and impress our visitors.
As with every community, our village is the “beating heart” of Salt Spring. Ganges is the commercial, residential and cultural hub.
The original Salt Spring Official Community Plan stated that Ganges should be “a special place,” aesthetically pleasing” and “a place with special concern for people of all ages with particular concern for accommodating the elderly.”
With those thoughts and visions apparently lost, we look to a team of LVC supporters, who, as volunteers always instigate action to address needs and will create positive outcomes through their community-minded generosity.
We also look forward to seeing as many “helpers” as possible for the clean-up day team that will revitalize our Ganges village to its “special-place” position.
For more info, see www.saltspringchamber.com and sign up to volunteer at the Visitor Info Centre.
Bring it on!
The writer is a member of the new local village committee, the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce and a Ganges business owner.