PenderBlog An Alternative View From The Pender Islands Of Canada

January 3, 2014

Winery update

Filed under: Food and Wine — Jocko @ 3:15 pm

Submitted by David Goudge:

 Sea Star Vinyards
Sea Star Winery

The Winery on Pender Island is very much alive and being rebranded and improved in numerous ways under new ownership as;

Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards

Our website is under construction, ( we are actually opening for business in April 2014 ).  It will be

Our email address is

6621 Harbour Hill Drive, V0N 2M1  Call: 250-629-6960

Our 26 acre vineyard property is name Sea Star because it is the only vineyard in Canada to actually reach the shoreline of the sea, the Salish Sea. The terraced vineyard then ascends up to Mount Menzies providing full exposure to the long sun filled summer days that we enjoy in the Southern Gulf Islands.

We grow mostly aromatic white wines plus Pinot Noir and Marechal Foch, and Estate crabapples, blackberries and raspberries which are added to our dessert wines.

Tasting room will be opening in April 2014.

August 13, 2013

The Power & Sail Squadron…..What Will Be Number 10?!

Filed under: Arts and Entertainment — Jocko @ 12:12 pm

Suspense is mounting as the local Canadian Power & Sail Squadron prepares their 10th performance-art style parade float for the Fall Fair Parade that begins at 10:30 am on Saturday August 24th.  Arrive by 10 to ensure that you can park and get to a spot to see the parade.

Each year the Squadron draws attention to boating safety with its spirited floats and accompanying mini-skits.  To date they have performed Gilligan’s Island (2003); The Pirates of Thieves Bay (2004); Getting Married to Boating Safety (2005); The Boatcracker Suite (2006); The Titanic (2007);  Popeye (2009);  The Starship Penderprise (2010); Greek Gods present the Safety Dance (2011);   Gilligan’s Reprise (2012) and number 10 for 2013???

Its anyone’s guess, except for Richard Fox and Helen Lemon-Moore who are once again leading the creative CPS team’s efforts for the float.

Be there, and boat safely!  Boating courses start in September.


January 31, 2013

Mining claims in the Islands Trust Area?

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:25 pm

 From the Islands Trust:

Islands Trust Council Chair Sheila Malcolmson has written to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas seeking regulations that would reserve the Islands Trust Area from the staking of mining claims and exploration under the Mineral Tenure Act.  Her letter can be viewed here:

December 10, 2012

Ferries’ future feedback reminder

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:56 pm

From B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement:


Reminder to Submit Feedback into the B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement by December 21, 2012.

The B.C. coastal ferry service has been wrestling with cost pressures for more than 20 years. These cost pressures, if not addressed, could threaten the financial sustainability of the entire system.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has embarked upon a province-wide consultation and engagement to provide information on the depth and nature of the challenges and invite British Columbians to provide input on two areas under consideration:

Immediate Challenge: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, working with BC Ferries, has identified considerations to achieve $26 million in savings to 2016. The first part of this consultation and engagement seeks feedback on the considerations.

Long-Term Vision: The second part of this consultation and engagement invites feedback on what elements should be pursued to connect coastal communities in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner in the long-term.

Learn more and provide your input on the B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement by:

Reading the Discussion Guide online at

Completing the Online Feedback Form

Participating in the Webinar on December 11, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Click here to register!

Providing a Written Submission by Email: or Mail: PO Box 2223 Vancouver Main, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3W2

Your feedback is important to us. Input received into this consultation and engagement will be considered, along with technical, financial and policy considerations, as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Ferries plan for the long-term sustainability of the coastal transportation network. Public and stakeholder feedback will be received until December 21, 2012.

B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement Team

December 4, 2012

A woeful tale in numbers

Filed under: Commentary — Jocko @ 4:07 pm


I think the following is apropos to all of us living on the Outer Gulf Islands, J.M., moderator, PenderBlog

From Paul Brent, Saturna Island Trustee, re: Ferry Rate Hikes

Mayne Presentation (by Paul Brent)

Good evening. I’m speaking in support of the short-link proposal between Mayne and Saturna.

I support the concept because it deals with those early morning and late night deadhead runs, where BC Ferries move near empty vessels, wasting crews and fuel to reposition their vessels from and to Swartz Bay. The Short Link home-ports the vessel on island, ending that wasteful practice.

I support the concept because it doesn’t cut service – it restructures it to be more cost effective, while improving accessibility, our economies and our communities.

I support the concept because it is scalable. By combining a smaller (26 car) ferry, and a short 1.6 nautical mile journey, you can add service to deal with peak demand, by simply adding another ½ hour run.

But I have more to say than support for the short link. I’ll try to do it quickly.

I’m an Island Trustee from Saturna. I’m also a transportation consultant. I’ve worked for a Provincial Transportation Crown, as a VP with BC Rail, until its privatization in 2004. So I know a little about transportation. And a little about our area.

The Islands Trust Act governs our area. It is a Provincial Act. The core of the act is its object, which reads thus –

The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia generally….

Preserve, protect. Unique amenities. For the benefit of residents and British Columbia. Impressive words.

But we are at a crisis in preserving and protecting those residents, and their unique amenities. We are being told it’s a crisis, as we can’t afford the transportation costs to serve those islands.

I’m here to tell you this crisis is a manufactured one. This same government mandating we be protected, has manufactured the crisis threatening our communities, its resident, and its unique amenities. It is a made in BC crisis, through a policy of discrimination regarding basic transportation to coastal communities. It is called the Coastal Ferry Act.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is the setup. We’re talking about finding $26 million over three years. But the consultation materials point to $564 million funding gap in the following 8 years.

And the province has known this for decades. The Wright Report in 2001, identified an aging fleet, aggravated by the $500 million fast ferries failure, as the fiscal cliff facing government. That report showed that BC Ferries fleet had not been replaced, with the average vessel age going from 12 years in 1982 to 28 years in 2001.

So the provincial government’s solution; the 2003 Coastal Ferry Act, frozen provincial funding, and placing the burden of dealing with under-funding vessel replacements, including the failure of the Fast Cats, on ferry users.


Did our government really establish a discriminatory policy, which treats our basic transportation links in a manner totally dissimilar to every other region in BC? Where we pay not only operating costs, but contribute to capital replacement costs. Especially those costs from decades of government underfunding.

Did it work? Well, Ferries bought half a dozen new vessels – having bought just one in the decade prior to 2003.

Well, financing and amortization costs went through the roof – up over fourfold – $150 million per year more this year than in 2003. Fares up 80% – and revenues from fare increases over $650 million. But still not enough.

Today the average fleet age is 31 years. So that fiscal cliff is even bigger. And on the minor routes – the average age is 37 years

So the Coastal Ferry Act, despite its punitive nature, didn’t solve years of government underfunding. Isn’t this really our fault, as these consultation materials infer. Lets look.

We all know that the province subsidizes roads – and in most cases at 100%. They fund capital, and they fund operating costs.

$800 million for the highway to Whistler.

$250 million replacing the Pitt River Bridge

South Fraser Perimeter road estimated at $1.2 billion

Kicking Horse Pass upgrades $ over a billion in tandem with the feds

$100 million for the new Kelowna Bridge

$100 million for Lion’s Gate refit

And all 14 of our inland ferries are free. Yes, fully 100% subsidized by taxpayers.

Even the $3.3 billion for Port Mann Bridge Highway 1 has $150 million in provincial subsidy that won’t be repaid with tolls – and the ultimate risk for the project – lies with the government. Taxpayers. You and me.

But that’s not all. The province subsidizes more. They subsidize transit.

In 2008, as part of its provincial Transit Plan, the province committed to 4.75 BILLION in new transit subsidies to 2020.

And we can all agree, basic transit is a good thing, right. But there is no BC Transit on Mayne, or Saturna, or Galiano, or North Pender, or South Pender. So no, we don’t see any of that subsidy either. Passenger ferries and no transit. Really?

At BC Transit, the province has increased its subsidy by over 93% since 2004. And for BC Ferries, they’ve kept their subsidy fixed for the same period.

Those same BC Transit users & advertising pays 33% of the cost of their ride, taxpayers subsidize the rest. And those folks choose to live where they do, be it Whistler or Williams Lake, just as we do.

But instead, we ferry users pay 75% of all ferry costs, more than three times their rate. And most importantly, we users cover all of ferry’s operating costs.

At Translink, the Lower Mainland’s transit service provider, which the province subsidizes, users pay less than 40% of total Translink cost.

Have their fares grown like BC Ferries. No. Why? Because their fare increases are limited. Yup, limited by PROVINCIAL legislation – the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act Section 197(1) of the Act sets Translink’s annual fare increase at a targeted rate less than 2%. If that sounds totally opposite to our Coastal Ferry Act PROVINCIAL legislation, well, that is because it is.

You’ll hear that Translink is funded by regional fuel tax, property tax and parking tax. Well, 60% of those fuel taxes come from the province, a couple of hundred million annually. Oh, and then there are the grants.

Evergreen Line – provincial government will contribute $583 million

Canada Line – The province of BC contributed $425 million

Millennium Line – The province of British Columbia contributed $435 million

And the millions of provincial contributions to the original Expo line

Even the fare gate installations at Translink’s rapid transit stations are getting a $40 million provincial subsidy.

So there is a whole bunch of money – billions in fact for basic transportation services, all funded by the province and all to support users who pay nothing close to what ferry users do.

So the province bailed on us. How about BC Ferries? BC Ferries costs have risen by 50% since the Coastal Ferry Act came into force.

In 2008/2009 ferries had 3,620 FTE’s, an increase of 675 full time employees over 1992. A 23% increase. To handle the same number of vehicles and passengers.

But to be fair, BC Ferries added 2 new routes, Duke Point/Tsawwassen and the Discovery Coast Tour. The Duke Point/Tsawwassen run loses $30 million per year. Last year it handled 600,000 vehicles, yet the other two major runs that bracket it had 1,500,000 vehicles in unused capacity. Brilliant! The commercial trucking association must have one hell of a lobby group in Victoria.

And Route 40, the Discovery Coast tour, handled 2,000 vehicles last year, sailing only in the summer – BC Ferries bills it as a “soft adventure tour”. It loses $4 million per year. With 80% fare increase since 2003, is it a surprise that it now handles 40% less traffic, and its loss has more than doubled? And you know what? It serves pretty much the same communities as Route 10.

Brilliant! Lets add two duplicate routes, add hundreds of new employees, and use up scarce vessels, so we can lose whopping more money to which we’ll blame on users.

Yes – providing basic transportation is expensive, and virtually all transportation and transit systems receive government funding. Most can’t even dream of users covering all of the operating costs, as we do at ferries. BC transportation users, including all of us served by coastal ferries, are as deserving as anyone, whether they choose to live in Whistler, Langley, Williams Lake or on Mayne Island.

Don’t let anyone in the provincial government tell you otherwise.

November 25, 2012

You’re Not the Boss of Me

Filed under: Views — Jocko @ 3:34 pm


From Alma Lightbody:

Dear Friends,

First of all I would like to invite you to my launch and book signing at Talisman’s on Pender Island, December 9, at 1pm.

I would also be pleased if you are willing to share the body of this message with other contacts and friends to help ignite my November 28 Amazon Launch. Any help is appreciated.

The launches are for my new book:

You’re Not the Boss of Me: Discover Your Authentic Self

Identity theft is not only financial fraud but can be about the theft of pieces of your soul.  It is time to understand how the agendas and opinions of family, society and technology have stolen parts of your authentic self. Insights in my book will help you discover how to take back your true identity.

See the book Trailer:

While the book is a simple read, only 116 pages, it is full of valuable and helpful information. It is not expensive so will be a great option for Christmas gifts.

For all of you who would like to buy on ‘Amazon,’ unified buying on my launch date of  Wednesday, November 28, would give the book a great start based on exposure and ratings.

If you miss the date of November 28, you can still buy the book online anytime and/or recommend your local bookstore or library bring it in for you.

I would appreciate your help by forwarding this message to as many of your contacts as possible to assist with widespread coverage.

With Love & Gratitude to all of you,

Alma Lightbody

November 20, 2012

Island Savings Comes to Pender Island

Filed under: Services — Jocko @ 2:35 pm

From Island Savings:


November 19, 2012

Island Savings, a financial institution that is well known for its personal service and deep loyalties to Island families and businesses, announced today that its expansion plans will now include Pender Island.

This December, Island Savings will be opening a branch at Driftwood Centre. The location was formerly held by HSBC, who is leaving the Island on December 7th after nearly 25 years of operation.

“We have a very successful banking model that is well suited for Island living,” explained Rod Dewar, President and CEO of Island Savings. “Our original expansion plans for 2012/2013 were focused primarily on the Victoria and Duncan areas; however, when we heard about the dilemma that Pender Island residents and business owners faced, we felt compelled to look seriously at a solution that would work for the Island community and ourselves.”

“We look forward to welcoming Pender Island residents to Island Savings and have a transition plan in place. We expect to be operational within the week of December 10th

Pender Island resident Janie McAulay will be working with Island Savings to set up operations for the branch. McAulay is also a former General Manager of the financial institution and is optimistic about the fit. “Island Savings stepping forward is not only a great relief for us; their brand philosophy is an ideal fit for the unique character of the Island,” she said.

“Their exceptional level of professionalism, focus on community investment and personal style of customer service reflects the values we on Pender Island take great pride in. When an organization of this size takes a personal interest in addressing the challenges that we are facing here, it says a tremendous amount about the type of community partner we will have moving forward.”

Other residents of the Island also agree. “It’s a big relief for Pender Islanders to know that there will continue to be a financial institution on the Island,” commented Jan Garnett, a Pender resident since June after many years in the Victoria area. “The fact that Island Savings has stepped forward to fill the gap says a lot about their understanding of Island community values. As fans of their way of doing business, many of us are very pleased.”

To make it easier for residents and businesses who wish to transition to Island Savings, they will be invited to do so by either accessing an online membership form after November 26th, or by meeting with Island Savings employees who will be in the community – offering in person assistance to help bridge any banking needs – prior the closure of HSBC on December 7th.

Island Savings will also be extending their Waves of Kindness offer to new members of their Pender Island branch, until December 31. For every new member account that meets the offer’s criteria, the account holder will receive $50 and can direct a matching donation of $50 from Island Savings to a registered, local charity of his or her choice.

The Pender Island branch will join Island Savings’ newest Tuscany (December 2012) and Jubilee (Spring 2013) locations in Victoria and the newly renovated Duncan Centre location as part of their three-year, $15M expansion plan announced at the beginning of this year.

Frequently Asked Questions:When will Island Savings be operational on Pender Island?

  • We expect to be open to the public within the week of December 10th.

What will happen to the staff at the HSBC location?

  • The staff that residents have worked with over the years will continue to support Pender Island through Island Savings.

What financial services will Island Savings offer?

  • We want to help the residents and businesses of Pender Island very quickly, so we will be introducing our banking services in two phases.
    • Phase 1: During the initial 60 days we will offer basic deposit and transaction services, account openings, term deposits and RRSPs. Support will be offered from Island Savings’ other branches (primarily Brentwood) for any other banking needs.
    • Phase 2: We will include virtually all other services including credit cards, lending through our business development team, small business services and bi-weekly Personal Financial Planning + Advice appointments.

How can Pender Island residents and businesses start transitioning financial affairs to Island Savings now? Do we have to wait?

  • Pender Island residents and businesses will be able to apply online for Island Savings membership and begin the account opening process after November 26.
  • Island Savings staff will also be available on Pender Island to assist with new accounts and transitions as well, with exact details still being finalized.

How can we connect with Island Savings?

  • We want to get to know you! Island Savings will be participating in community events so that residents will have a chance to meet us and have their questions addressed in person. Notifications of dates and times and locations will be posted on our website,, and at locations around Pender Island.

Island Savings is the Islands’ most recommended banking experience. As a Top 50 Best Employer in Canada, its neighbourhood experts offer financial, insurance and investment advice and products to over 58,000 Islanders. Managing a total portfolio of $2.8B under administration, Island Savings is investing $15M from 2012-2015 to expand their branch network and all service delivery platforms. Their successful Growing Island Families Together (GIFT) program has proudly given $6.45M back to members and community organizations in recent years.

October 30, 2012

Short Term Vacation Rental Decision on Salt Spring

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 1:51 pm


From the Islands Trust:

October 30, 2012


VICTORIA – The Supreme Court of British Columbia has not supported an attempt launched last term by the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee to more effectively enforce community zoning related to short term vacation rentals (STVRs) on Salt Spring Island. The local bylaw prohibiting STVRs remains in place, but an attempt to enforce the bylaw by focusing on a vacation rental agent, rather than individual STVRs, has not been successful.

In March 2011, the local trust committee instructed Islands Trust legal counsel to seek an injunction that would restrain Westcoast Vacations Inc. from using or facilitating the use of residential homes for STVRs on Salt Spring Island. With the advent and growth of STVR booking agencies, enforcement of the community zoning bylaw has been more difficult and more costly for taxpayers.

The case was argued in court before the Honourable Mr. Justice Leask of the BC Supreme Court on October 25 and 26, 2011. Legal counsel for the local trust committee argued that Westcoast Vacations Inc. was using or permitting the use of residentially zoned properties for commercial guest accommodation, and was thereby breaching Salt Spring’s Land Use Bylaw.  Westcoast Vacations did not argue that STVRs were a legal land use, but argued that only the individual owners of the properties could be subject to court injunction preventing this use.

In his Reasons for Judgment released on October 29, 2012, Mr. Justice Leask, noted that “Commercial guest accommodation use is not a permitted primary or accessory use of any land in the Residential Zones.” However, he found that the activities of Westcoast Vacations do not, on their own, constitute a breach of the bylaw, in that Westcoast Vacations could not prevent or prohibit the use of a property for an STVR.

“This was an effort to make bylaw enforcement more efficient, given the SSILTC’s direction last term to actively enforce the land use bylaw regarding STVRs,” said Miles Drew, Islands Trust Bylaw Enforcement Manager. “I will now seek further direction from the current local trust committee as to how it wishes to proceed.”

Salt Spring’s long-standing Official Community Plan policies and zoning regulations prohibit STVRs – the use of private homes in rural and residential zones for commercial guest accommodation. The prohibition does not affect legal bed and breakfasts in residential zones, or legal resorts, hotels and motels in commercial zones, all of which are widely available on the island. People may also continue to rent portions of cottages as part of a bed and breakfast operation in most zones and to rent their residential properties for periods longer than 30 days to a tenant for residential use. – End.

On Pender, STVR’s have continued over the past summer with few or no interventions.  The issue, no doubt, is yet to be settled. – PenderBlog


November 9, 2012

At its regular business meeting yesterday, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee announced it would not appeal a decision of the BC Supreme Court in a case launched last term against Westcoast Vacations Inc. — an agent for short term vacation rentals (STVRs) on Salt Spring Island.

In late October, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its reasons for not supporting an injunction that would have restrained Westcoast Vacations Inc. from using or facilitating the use of residential homes for STVRs on Salt Spring Island. The unsuccessful legal action focused on the activities of the vacation rental agent, rather than on individual property owners. While noting that STVRs are not a legal land use in Salt Spring Island’s residential areas, the Honourable Mr. Justice Leask found that the activities of Westcoast Vacations did not, on their own, constitute a breach of the bylaw. The local trust committee had until November 28, 2012 to give notice of its intent to appeal.

“I think our decision not to appeal is correct,” said Peter Grove, a Salt Spring Island trustee. “While it is the duty of the local trust committee to uphold the official community plan and the land use bylaws, and to enforce the law as may be necessary and appropriate, I believe that launching the lawsuit in this case was heavy handed.”

“I believe it’s right to accept the judgment of the court,” said George Grams, the other local Salt Spring Island trustee. “Continuing this action serves neither the interest of the community nor the local trust committee.”

The local zoning bylaw that prohibits STVRs remains in place. The local trust committee has asked bylaw enforcement staff to suggest other options for enforcing it.

Salt Spring Island’s long-standing Official Community Plan policies and zoning regulations prohibit STVRs – the use of private homes in rural and residential zones for commercial guest accommodation. The prohibition does not affect legal bed and breakfasts in residential zones, or legal resorts, hotels and motels in commercial zones, all of which are widely available on the island. People may also continue to rent portions of cottages as part of a bed and breakfast operation in most zones and to rent their residential properties for periods longer than 30 days to a tenant for residential use.

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