Update: July 2022 Saanich North and the Islands Newsletter

Jul 11, 2022 | Blog, Community, MLA Updates | 0 comments

ÍY SȻÁĆEL (Good Day),

Welcome to my update for July 2022!

With the Spring session now adjourned my focus returns to the constituency. It’s not that the community work stops while I am in a legislative session but my attention is certainly divided. While I am in session I rely heavily on my incredible team of constituent advocates in my community office in Sidney.

The biggest headline since we adjourned has been that Premier John Horgan will not be seeking re-election. That news was little surprise to those working in the legislative assembly as rumours of his retirement have been swirling since last Fall.

I thank Premier Horgan for his service to our province. Being Premier is not easy, in addition, facing multiple intersecting crises has made the work all the more complex. I will never forget my time as interim-leader of the BC Greens, meeting Premier Horgan as part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement. Best wishes Premier on wherever your journey takes you.

With Premier Horgan’s announcement the BC NDP now start a process to find a new leader. I hope that while this process is underway that there is as little disruption as possible.

As you will see in this newsletter, we are advocating for many critical community services and projects and cannot afford for the party politics of the government to become a priority over addressing the concerns of our constituents. This newsletter is not exhaustive either so there are many other files we have in progress that can ill-afford disruption. I encourage the BC NDP to ensure this process does not distract them from governing our province. In addition, I encourage all the leadership candidates to commit to the set election date law, so we don’t have yet another snap general election.

It has been a few months since my last update on much of the constituency work. I’ll cover as much as I can in this newsletter. In the future, I’ll endeavour to provide a more balanced update of both constituent and legislative activities.

If you find this newsletter informative, please share it with your friends and neighbors and invite them to sign up to receive my updates.

If you need advocacy from our office, have any questions or concerns, please provide your feedback at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or 250-655-5600.

Regards,
Adam Olsen, MLA
Saanich North and the Islands


Public Circle Dialogues

Prior to COVID-19 we hosted regular conversations in our Community Office in Sidney, BC. I am restarting those conversations this summer, but I am taking it on the road and I invite you to join me in your community to discuss governance and politics. These dialogues are a free-flowing, community driven discussion about issues that are important to residents of Saanich North and the Islands.

These dialogues offer an excellent opportunity for you to connect with others, create a collaborative environment for you to engage with the Community Office, and better inform my decision making!

PENDER ISLAND
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
3:00pm – 5:00pm
Vanilla Leaf Bakery

SALT SPRING ISLAND
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Centennial Park Gazebo

MAYNE ISLAND
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
11:00am – 1:00pm
Save the Date!

GALIANO ISLAND
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
11:00am – 1:00pm
Save the Date!


SIDNEY DAYS/CANADA DAY 2022

It has been two years since Sidney welcomed people from across the region to celebrate Sidney Days and Canada Day. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many residents at the Sidney Lions pancake breakfast, Peninsula Celebrations parade and the Slegg Lumber Build-A-Boat competition.

The pandemic has been difficult for many reasons. Obviously, one of the challenges has been our ability to gather together and as an elected official I love engaging with you at community events.

Needless to say, we jumped right in. After serving hundreds of people a pancake breakfast and marching in the parade, our community office team cooled off winning the first to sink trophy in the boat building competition. I already have plans for our boat entry next year.

Click here if you want to see video of our incredibly short maiden voyage!


NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY

For years, National Indigenous Peoples Day was a day of inner conflict and turmoil for me. On one hand, I wanted to celebrate the beautiful diversity of cultures in British Columbia, and on the other I was sad, I was angry, and I was frustrated with the way things were.

I’m a committed person and take my role as the first W̱SÁNEĆ person elected to the Legislative Assembly very seriously. However, my elders always remind me to pause and reflect on the positive steps that have been taken and to not always be so serious.

With this in mind, I wanted to express my deep gratitude to the countless individuals who have worked hard to advance the issues of Indigenous peoples across this province.

I want to thank Premier John Horgan, former Minister Scott Fraser, current Minister Murray Rankin, and the BC NDP cabinet for courageously and boldly being the first jurisdiction to pass the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to all Indigenous elders. The patience, long suffering, and burden they’ve carried on behalf of their communities deserves to be recognized. Each day they show us a path of positivity and light. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to Indigenous elected and hereditary leaders. They continue to accomplish the most with the least amount of resources, and work tirelessly to advance the needs of their communities. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to all those who have stood on the frontlines engaging in acts of peaceful civil disobedience. To those who hired the first lawyer and continued practicing their culture when it was illegal: we are indebted to you. And to those who fought to raise awareness of the struggle of Indigenous peoples: HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to the Indigenous teachers who are committed to skillfully passing the wisdom of our ancestors to the next generation, and to the warriors protecting languages and culture. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to all the Indigenous organizations and workers who provide services to individuals, families and communities. Your work to support our relatives is invaluable and does not go unnoticed. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to all the Indigenous children and youth who are the next generations of elders, leaders, teachers, support workers. Thank you for the work you’re doing: be proud, courageous and powerful in your life’s journey. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to all the Indigenous artists. Thank you for preserving our cultures, and telling the stories of Indigenous peoples in new and powerful ways. Through your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, we are inspired to see the world in different ways. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM

I raise my hands in gratitude to all British Columbians who have embraced the hard work of reconciliation. Thank you for demanding better from your government and society. Thank you for making it your priority. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM for trying, and trying again. Reconciliation is work we all do together!

Finally, I raise my hands in gratitude to all other species, all our relatives, for their powerful teachings and good medicine. HÍSW̱ḴE SI,ÁM


ISLANDS TRUST GOVERNANCE REVIEW

At the June 21st meeting of the Islands Trust, Trustees voted 21 in favour and 2 opposed (with 3 members not in attendance) on the motion below.

Over the past few years I have heard from hundreds of constituents that they would like the Province to review the Islands Trust Act. While there appears to some agreement that something needs to be done, there is a wide range of opinions about what people would like to see done.

I have approached former Ministers Selina Robinson and Josie Osborne and current Minister Nathan Cullen to brief them about this situation. Each time they have been hesitant to act until there was certainty from the democratically elected Islands Trustees. With this vote there is no doubt that the ball is now in Minister Cullen’s court. The province must act.

My office has reached out to Minister Cullen to discuss this situation and the Trust Council has also directed their staff to contact the Ministry to begin a process.

I will advocate for the provincial government to follow through on the request of the Trust Council and report back on what I learn in the coming weeks.

RECOMMENDATION:

1. That Trust Council request the Lieutenant Governor in Council for the Province of British Columbia to conduct a review of the Islands Trust’s mandate, governance and structure.

2. That the Islands Trust Chair, on behalf of Council, submit a letter to the Lieutenant Governor making the review request under Section 8(2)(e) of the Islands Trust Act that outlines the potential scope of a review, including, but not limited to:

An assessment of the optimum governance model to preserve and protect the Trust area pursuant to the Province’s vision for the future of the Trust area.

The object of the Islands Trust Act and clarification of the mandate of the organization.

a) The governance structure of the organization. The alignment of decision-making processes and structures with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

b) The geographic scope of the organization and in particular authority over marine areas.

c) The funding mechanisms provided to the organization in light of a clarified mandate.


SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

I continue to advocate on behalf of the construction of supportive housing on Salt Spring Island.

As you may know, BC Housing and the Capital Regional District announced a purpose-built supportive housing project to be constructed on Drake Road. The construction is taking longer than initially anticipated.

I have facilitated many meetings between numerous interested parties with respect to the displacement of my constituents currently living in the Seabreeze Inn and continue to encourage resolution to the situation we face in finding and providing secure housing across a range of needs.

This is an incredibly challenging issue on Salt Spring Island and I’m committed to working with community partners to ensure there are sufficient programs and services to support all our community members. I will provide updates as I am able, but wanted to share with you that this issue continues to have the full attention of my office.


SALISH SEA TRAIL NETWORK

Since the 2020 election, my community office has hosted the Salish Sea Trail Network Working Group.

Including CRD Director Gary Holman, and representatives from CRD Transportation Commission, CRD Parks, Island Trust staff, Island Pathways, Cycling Salt Spring, BC Ferries Advisory Committee, Salt Spring Solutions, and Ministry of Transportation, we have been meeting monthly in an effort to improve cycling and active transportation from Fulford to Vesuvius ferry terminals.

While the work has been slow, we are making progress. In the past few weeks we have been notified that the province has hired a consultant to undertake a corridor study and safety review of the three ferry terminals and the provincial road infrastructure near the terminals.

The goal of the study is to review the current conditions, speeds, shoulder/lanes and signage which will inform future planning and identify areas for improvements for cycling and active transportation. This project is scheduled to be completed this Fall.

This exciting news is the necessary first step and a clear indication the communities effort is paying off!


SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDS ANCHORAGES

Anchorages of large transport vessels in and around the Southern Gulf Islands has been another one of those intractable issues since my election back in 2017. The issue was growing for more than a decade before that.

In March my Community Office hosted a half day meeting with Transport Canada, Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority, BC Chamber of Shipping, Islands Trustees, CRD Directors and MP Elizabeth May to learn more about the Active Vessel Management Program.

We learned that the federal government had put the issue of anchorages of vessels awaiting their cargo on the port and industry to fix. The advisory committee had no representation from the public or First Nations.

These vessels are incredibly disruptive for my constituents and marine life, they pollute the sensitive ecosystems, and there is little or no regulation. While this is primarily a federal jurisdiction, the BC NDP government promised to take action on this issue if they were elected in 2020. Since then, they have done nothing but have their individual Members encourage me to take action.

My office has been hosting meetings to coordinate our advocacy. In the past, NDP MP’s and MLA’s have hosted meetings. So far, nothing has changed. So, in coordination with MP May, my community office will host a second meeting of the South Coast Ship Watch Alliance this coming Fall to plan our next course of action. The port is entrenching anchorages in the Southern Gulf Islands and we need more than meetings and idle talk.

If you are interested in this issue and have ideas on how we can get the federal and provincial governments to act please contact my office at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca.


DEER MANAGEMENT ON MAYNE

This edition of the newsletter is turning out to be a long laundry list of seemingly impossible issues to solve. So, let’s add the long-standing challenge of deer management on Mayne Island.

This week a meeting hosted by the Mayne Island deer management committee along with representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Parks Canada, Islands Trust, CRD, Mayne Island Conservancy and my Community Office.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend. I will definitely be attending future meetings of this working group as this issue needs to be positively addressed. The impact of inaction from the provincial government is having devastating consequences on the environment.

Over the past few months, I have met with Ministry staff and outlined the challenges posed by a lack of consistent funding to solve the growing population of fallow deer. This invasive species was brought to the island and permitted by the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and so the provincial government bears responsibility for helping Mayne Island residents with the burgeoning fallow deer population.

These deer reproduce quickly and cause tremendous damage to the environment and we must work together to find a solution to return the island ecosystem to balance.

I will provide updates on this in the coming issues of this newsletter, if you are interested in this issue and have ideas on how we can get the federal and provincial governments to act please contact my office at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca.


COMMUNITY OFFICE

Contact my Community Office. We are here to advocate on behalf of residents of Saanich North and the Islands. Please note our Community Office is open to walk-in traffic Tuesday – Friday from 10:00-4:00pm. If you need advocacy or you have a question, concern, suggestion or idea, please do not hesitate to contact me at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or 250-655-5600.


BUB’S BOOK CLUB

Carl Olsen (Bub) is my father and W̱SÁNEĆ elder who has lived his entire life in W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip) village.

A former small business owner and community health representative, Carl has a lifetime of experience building cross-cultural relationships.

As we reconcile our history, and explore how we can move forward together, Carl is inviting you to join him and his family in creating safe spaces in learning and discussion.

Bub’s Book Club will feature one book per month, on the topic of Indigenous culture, history and reconciliation. The Book Club will gather on the 2nd and 4th Sunday @ 7:00pm online for a discussion about the book. The first meeting of the Book Club will be on Sunday July 24, 2022 @ 7:00pm. We will have an open discussion to start with.

This personal initiative is not formally an activity of my Community Office so I ask that if you are interested in joining the book club please email me at tsunup@gmail.com to RSVP and get the Zoom link.

July’s Book: The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King.


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