By GAYLE BAKER
The Oct. 16, 2019 Driftwood editorial stated “. . . the new ASK Salt Spring initiative of the Salt Spring Community Alliance is a rather brilliant effort . . . (to) fill gaps in service and make the community a better place for all of us.”
So, after two months welcoming islanders each Friday at the Thrifty Florist Shop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is that optimism warranted?
Quite honestly, it has been far better than anticipated. Over 100 islanders have come to the eight Friday sessions, most to ask questions but some to simply participate in the lively conversations.
And they also enjoyed the camaraderie, a cup of coffee and some cookies.
Islanders have learned who to contact for dangerous trees, what is happening concerning logging on private land, where to donate winter clothes, who has jurisdiction of our beaches . . . and the list goes on.
They have made connections, like the four seniors’ service volunteers who met one Friday and now work together, the housing and homeless advocates who have forged new working relationships, and the laundromat folks who find a treasure of helpful connections at ASK Salt Spring each week.
The dialogue has been lively, often including as many as 16 islanders, and ranging from safety, our live-aboard community, the environment, our forests and waters, housing, and roads, roads and roads again.
And, already there has been some action addressing concerns:
• Every road-related comment brought to ASK Salt Spring is forwarded to local Emcon manager Andrew Gaetz within three days. Maintenance issues are addressed, and ministry issues are given to the appropriate individual. Want to ask Andrew about your road maintenance pet peeve? He will be at ASK Salt Spring from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 at the Thrifty Foods florist shop.
• ASK Salt Spring helped Wagon Wheel Housing Society volunteers identify some potential funds for our laundromat and submit a promising application.
• Roads are scheduled to be repainted this spring.
• And, this list goes on. Who knows what 2020 will bring?
MLA Adam Olsen said, “I am grateful to participate each month knowing that my colleagues from the CRD and Islands Trust are also available to engage in these important conversations.”
Isn’t it about time you participated as well?
Adam will be at the Thrifty Florist Shop the first Friday of every month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., CRD director Gary Holman on the second Friday, Islands Trust trustee Laura Patrick the third Friday, and Jessica Harkema, Chamber of Commerce executive director, will be there on the fourth Friday.
Our hope for the New Year?
Address concerns about our roads. How hard can it be to get safety painting?
Stay tuned every Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.