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Gulf Islands issues and news


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#1 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 03:19 AM

As the drought deepens — about three months now with only scant traces of rain — my wife and I do as always: flush the toilet as few times as possible, take navy showers, and hand-water the garden.

 

Unlike those living in surrounding urban centres, Gulf Islanders cannot rely on distant watersheds. They must make do with whatever precipitation falls on their little piece of terrain.

 

Water scarcity is a major reason the islands cannot be developed like any other area.

 

Another consideration is legislative. The Islands Trust Act was passed by the provincial government in 1974 to protect the Gulf Islands’ fragile ecosystems from overdevelopment. It created the Islands Trust with a mandate to “preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of residents of the Trust Area and the province generally.”

 

In 1974, the spirit and intent of those words was probably clear to everyone. But today, as people pressure mounts, the interpretation is being challenged by those who want fewer restrictions.

 

 

 

https://www.timescol...islands-5911062



#2 Mike K.

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:20 AM

Sounds like it’s time for bridges to the Gulf Islands.

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#3 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:20 AM

A water pipeline seems easy. From Cowichan.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 05 October 2022 - 06:20 AM.


#4 Mike K.

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:22 AM

Can we settle on a water bridge?

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#5 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:23 AM

I think that’s called an aqueduct.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 05 October 2022 - 06:23 AM.


#6 Mike K.

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:24 AM

Ok, Caesar.

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#7 Spy Black

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 11:39 AM

My memory is a bit hazy, but didn't the Islands Trust come into being as a result of the poorly planned and executed development at Magic Lake on Pender?

 

Considering what Pender looked like at the time, this development caught a lot of residents (and a few different levels of government) completely off-guard, and is undeniably a total sh_t show in terms of fire protection, water supply, sewage, and other infrastructure concerns for what was (and still is) basically a subdivision plunked down around the circumference of a lake that had previously see only trees and a few farms.



#8 Matt R.

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 12:47 PM

The advice I got when we moved here was that when you are looking to buy or rent a home, make sure there is enough water and sunlight. Everything else you can change. I took that to heart.
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#9 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 04:27 AM

Comment: Salt Spring's governance model needs to be fixed; families are leaving, a middle school has closed

 

Mission creep is already pervasive within the Trust and part of what is locally known as “getting to no.”
 
 
 
^ That's from David Fullbrook, developer.


#10 Spy Black

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 07:14 AM

The Trust has been a thorn in the side of Gulf Islanders lives for decades.

Nothing is different today than it was when the heavy hand of the Trust first got up into Islanders business over 4 decades ago after the Magic Lake fiasco.

 

It's most definitely not going to end well, as the only thing that solves the question of "where do the minimum wage workers that keep things functioning live?" on an island with almost no apartments, and homes that all cost well over a million dollars ... are those 120 unit apartment buildings that will never get built on any of the Gulf Islands.

 

I guess that's the inevitable end result when a group of what were once sparsely populated, and undeniably beautiful Islands become Canada's 2nd and 3rd home playground for the very affluent among us. That the cost of homeownership thus reaches beyond what almost all can afford is hardly surprising ... indeed it should be anticipated and expected.

 

I'm not sure how things play out when there are no coffee shops, drugstores, gas stations, or restaurants left in the Gulf Islands to serve those owners of the multi-million dollar homes, but I would guess that, much like the Universe itself, the expanding bubble reaches a breaking point, after which it self-destructs, and property values begin to decline as homeowners leave the Gulf Islands for destinations that actually offer basic and optional services to those homeowners who live there.

Unfortunately for Gulf Islanders who don't fall into the "affluent" category, the model above tends to play out over many, many decades, likely beyond the lifespans of many of the folks who are currently affected by the heavy hand of the Islands Trust.

 

The one thing you can say about the Trust, is that the reason the Gulf Islands look today very much as they looked 50 years ago ... is because of the Trust and their unwillingness to accommodate progress in any substantial way. 

If you're a fan of the Gulf Islands remaining the same forever (and it's patently obvious more than a few Islanders fall into that category) you're also the prime candidate to run for a position as a new Trust member.



#11 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 07:17 AM

I'm not sure how things play out when there are no coffee shops, drugstores, gas stations, or restaurants left in the Gulf Islands to serve those owners of the multi-million dollar homes, but I would guess that, much like the Universe itself, the expanding bubble reaches a breaking point, after which it self-destructs, and property values begin to decline as homeowners leave the Gulf Islands for destinations that actually offer basic and optional services to those homeowners who live there.

 

 

Where - in a similar desirable place - in the world has this happend before though?  This hasn't happened in Martha's Vineyard, Vail, Whistler, or the Hamptons.


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 08 October 2022 - 07:20 AM.


#12 Matt R.

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 07:17 AM

I hope Fullbrook has a couple of staff houses, but I guess he won’t be an operator anyways. You’d have to be nuts to start a service business here these days that relies on regular working folks to clock in everyday. At least Crofton has some housing for the workers here, too bad that ferry run has become unreliable.

Edited by Matt R., 08 October 2022 - 07:18 AM.

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#13 Spy Black

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 07:34 AM

Where - in a similar desirable place - in the world has this happend before though?  This hasn't happened in Martha's Vineyard, Vail, Whistler, or the Hamptons.

It's hard to apply specifics as to the how and the why, beyond positing that perhaps there are always a certain percentage of Islanders who have inherited their homes from their parents or grandparents, but who aren't independently wealthy ... thus there are always a limited number of folks who do have a place to live (presumably fully paid off), but who also need to work for a living.

 

The other model is the van/bus/camper/trailer model, which always seems to be in direct conflict with local governments who have an admittedly vested interest in ensuring that the streets (of Ganges for example) don't become wall to wall RV's dumping their blackwater tanks into the bush just outside of town, and otherwise turning any given area in the Islands into one giant RV squat.

 

I guess there's also the possibility that the Gulf Islands aren't identical models when compared to your examples, in that all four of those locations have substantial destination resort facilities, many (or most) of which likely offer employee housing as well.

I'm not sure the Gulf Islands qualify as a "destination resort" though ... simply because the Trust won't let any of the individual Gulf Islands ever go down that road.

In many ways, perhaps it's the large scale resort developments that could prove to be a solution to the issue in the Gulf Islands?

 

But as noted, examples of large Gulf Islands resorts are currently few and far between.

I guess there's always Poets Cove and the like ... but they seem to show up on the map only once every few decades (if that).


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#14 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 07:43 AM

The resort industry has taken a beating, in that there is less demand for resort properties than there was up to the 90s and 00s even.

AirBnB changed all that.

As for workers, we are pumping out more university and post secondary grads/skilled workers than ever before in our history. Most kids today have a piece of paper for something. Working retail or food services is no longer going to cut it. Automation is stepping up, though, for that reason.

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#15 Matt R.

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 09:05 AM

The shakeout will continue.

There is no hope of substantial staff housing, so we end up with a mix of back lot trailer parks like Country Grocer has, normal houses being used for rooming like many, many businesses have, or downsizing of businesses to require fewer staff to operate. Or, in the case of Lady Minto with deep pockets, purchasing of an entire motel operation for staff accom. No sense waiting for government to fix this problem.

Unfortunately the housing market has surged so much in the last couple of years that a reasonable 3 or 4 bedroom house a few years ago for $600k was doable, now that house is 1.2m and the business can’t subsidize it enough to make the numbers work.

Downtown has so many rv’s and vans parked now, it’s become a major hot button issue. Those folks with the smashed up school bus apparently work at a cidery. A few days ago some TikTok nerd posted a vid about how to #vanlife here to his 400k followers, holy hell did that blow up on him. He posted how to get free water from businesses, cup by cup, how to get food from the food bank (!) and more. He’s a VIU student, his girlfriend was living here in a van, and they caught such flak they moved the vehicle off Island out of fear of retaliation. The bag of groceries from the food bank really set some people off.

We got slammed during Covid with so much demand from people selling in bigger markets and buying million dollar homes here sight unseen, that it further eroded the already crappy rental market.

#16 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 09:32 AM

So where’s the spec tax?

If what you say above is true, and I believe it to be 100% true, where is the province and their new tax that they told us is designed to return housing to local populations?
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#17 dasmo

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 09:40 AM

If you are able and willing to buy an 80’s shack on half an acre on an island off an island for 1.2 million the spec tax probably doesn’t deter you.

#18 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 10:00 AM

It would, immediately.

The smaller Gulf Islands have about 50% of their housing inventory in the hands of non-residents. Greater Victoria has less than 5%.

So we have to wonder, why would the province avoid those areas?
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#19 Nparker

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 10:14 AM

...why would the province avoid those areas?

Here are a few reasons:
New_Democrat_BC_Govt_Caucus_Nov_2020.jpg



#20 dasmo

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Posted 08 October 2022 - 10:17 AM

Zing!
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