Ganges Village Area Plan

An Area Plan to Help Meet Community Goals

The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee is working with residents, businesses, and First Nations to create a vision and plan for the future of Ganges (Shiya’hwt/SYOWT) Village.

Shiya’hwt/SYOWT are the names of this place used by the Hul’q’umi’num and SENĆOŦEN speaking peoples.

The new plan will be shaped by the hopes and insights of the community. It will guide future development and change in a way that supports the community’s social, economic, cultural, and environmental goals. It will support the Trust’s commitment to tackling the causes and impacts of climate change, and to reconciliation with First Nations, including the preservation of First Nations’ heritage.

The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee has engaged Ahne Studio to work with them and the Salt Spring Island Ganges Village Area Plan Task Force to host the community engagement process. Ahne Studio is an engagement planning consultancy rooted in participatory design, whose plans are co-created with the communities they consult.


Focus on First Nations and public engagement

With the conclusion of the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee’s work with Ahne Studio, at their May 17 meeting trustees expressed gratitude for the work by Ahne Studio, Trust staff, Task Force members and all the public that have participated so far.


The Ganges Gathers Engagement Summary PDF can be found here.



Public Engagement Activities Summary

Based on the Community Engagement Activities Overview by Ahne Studio the following activities have been completed:

  • Community Survey completed by 553 people.
  • Walking tours of the village to share insights and ideas on December 4.
  • Community Ideas Fair at the Public Library on December 5 for all-ages to share input in fun and creative ways.
  • Pop Up Kiosks from December 2 – 5 for passersby to share input in a fun and casual way.
  • Conversation Circle to engage those who have or are currently experiencing housing challenges as well as challenges related to additions, mental health and inadequate income and supports.
  • Virtual Sessions with community organizations that have specific interest, knowledge and/or influence/jurisdictions over topics that relate to the planning process.
  • Student Activities through self-directed, student-focused engagement exercises.




At their meeting on October 6, 2020, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SSI LTC) directed staff to develop a Ganges Village Area Plan to ensure development occurs in a coordinated, sustainable, and resilient manner in order to address the issues impacting the social, economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability of Ganges Village.

On November 10, 2020, SSI LTC adopted resolutions to approve the Project Charter and its associated budget to launch the Ganges Village Area Plan planning process. A robust public engagement plan will be developed in accordance with the Ganges Village Area Plan Public Engagement Framework to ensure an effective and meaningful public engagement process. Due to the complex nature of developing an area plan and the plan’s potential impacts on land use planning for Ganges Village, the SSI LTC recommended the establishment of a task force encompassing members from diverse backgrounds that could offer a broad range of points of view from the community to assist in the process. The members on the task force will objectively apply their expertise, experience and knowledge of the subject matter as related to the development of the “Ganges Village Area Plan” process.


First Nations Engagement

The SSI LTC will seek to engage with First Nations with treaty and territorial interests in the Ganges Village area. Engagement will be reflective of the Trust Council adopted policy on First Nations Engagement Principles, and the foundation documents of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice. The engagement process will be guided by concerns or responses from First Nations on how to proceed in a mutually respectful and relationship building framework. “Dust & Bones” – a documentary on First Nations archeological significance can be found here.


Project Charter

The Project Charter is available here.


Public Engagement Framework

The Ganges Village Area Plan Public Engagement Framework incorporates the format and essential elements modeled after the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) best practices for public engagement. In addition, the proposed Ganges Village Area Plan Engagement Framework intends to comply with statutory requirements set forth in the Local Government Act, and the Island Trust Policy Statement on open, consultative and meaningful public participation process.

The Public Engagement Framework is available here.

The Public Engagement Plan is available here.


The Ganges Village Planning Task Force

The Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee would like to thank the Ganges Village Planning Task Force members for their planning efforts on the Ganges Area Plan. The Task Force included the following members: David Dunnison, John Gauld, Bob MacKie, Jenny McClean, Martin Ogilvie, Robert Steinbach and Jennifer Maksymetz.

The Ganges Village Planning Task Force met on the third Thursday of every month in the past fourteen months to explore and discuss the planning options, and the public engagement process.

The Task Force also engaged in a two-day workshop facilitated by Ahne Studio. The summary of the workshop can be found here.


Next Steps

  • Research and analysis on existing conditions, and issues relating to land use development, transportation and mobility, housing, cultural and archeological protection, climate change resiliency, infrastructure servicing, and protection of aquifers and biodiversity.

To learn more about this work please visit the Salt Spring Island Projects page or contact Louisa Garbo, Island Planner: 250.537.9144,