June Simmons

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The Coronation Oak trees were planted in May, 1937

Oak seedlings were propagated from acorns gathered from trees at Windsor Great Park. They were distributed throughout the Commonwealth to commemorate the coronation of George VI and his wife Elizabeth – the parents of our current Queen Elizabeth II. 


Windsor Forest still has some huge, ancient, solitary oaks standing in the Park. According to experts, the oldest,Offa’s Oak, might be 1500 years old! Offa was a Saxon king in the 8th century.






I know the location of three Coronation Oaks on Salt Spring. Many of them across the country were placed at Anglican churches and cemeteries and that is true of two of them on the island.








The first is located at St. Mary’s, across the street from Fulford Hall. It is an historic 1894 Anglican parish church. The beautiful English oak is planted at the front of the church – you can’t miss it.



The second is on the SW corner of Fulford-Ganges Road and Dean Road. This location was the home of St. Paul’s Anglican church, built in 1913. The church was destroyed by a fire in 1939 but the coronation oak has survived.









It is unfortunate that both of these trees are located adjacent to the overhead power and phone lines. Their shape has been altered by pruning over the years. I wonder if the trimming crews know anything about the history of these trees?







The third tree is lucky to have planted away from the road and has had the luxury of being able to grow to its natural shape. It is truly a magnificent tree and is located at what is now the Salt Spring Elementary School in Ganges.




I have heard that there was a fourth Coronation Oak but I do not know where it is. Do you know of others on Salt Spring or where you live?

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If you like to walk or bike on a flat route, North Beach Road and Walker Hook Road is the place to go. They run along the ocean, Trincomali Channel, on the north east side of the island. The Fernwood Wharf is located along the way and makes a good starting or turn around spot. There is a coffee shop and a restaurant for refreshments.


So - I thought this was a nice simple location to discuss - but I made the mistake of googling "Fernwood Wharf". I wanted some historical information because it was Federal Government property but has since been handed over to the community and is run by the CRD. There is a special Parcel Tax for SSI Fernwood Dock on your property taxes to pay the costs.


In typical Salt Spring, or is that Saltspring (?), manner names are never a simple thing.


The CRD website calls it the Fernwood Dock but has it located in Swanson Channel. Swanson Channel is on the south side of the island, nowhere near the Fernwood Dock and Trincomali Channel. School District 64 and Trip Advisor both refer to it as the Fernwood Pier. The gulf islands guide website dubs it the Government Dock at Fernwood Point. Another suggested calling it the Fernwood Jetty. Personally, I use either wharf or dock depending on the day.


Its location can also be a point of confusion, so here is the definitive answer: It is located where Fernwood Road comes down the hill to the ocean where Walker Hook Road (or is it Walkers or Walker's Hook?)changes its name to North Beach Road.


When the tide is out, there are steps on the right side down to the beach. It is sandier on the left and also has only live sand dollar bed on the island that I know of. People also have fun fishing off the end and even put down crab traps. If you're really lucky a pod of orcas might come by too.


Definitely a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

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Contrary to what some may think, Salt Spring Island has a number of rules and regulations affecting the use of land and water.


Here is a list of some things that could apply. Some are general and applicable to all properties. Some will only affect specific properties and you might have to refer to maps to know for sure. Staff at the Islands Trust, Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) can and should be consulted for up to date and additional information.


Islands Trust Islands Trust – Salt Spring Island


Official Community Plan (OCP) – check maps to see if property is in one or more Development Permit Areas (DPA) as well as other guidelines. Salt Spring Island OCP


Bylaw No. 355 – Salt Spring’s land use and zoning bylaw. Salt Spring Island Bylaw 355


MapIT – Islands Trust mapping tool. You can see property outlines, add satellite imagery, contours, Development Permit Areas and lots more. MapIT


Agricultural Land Commission is dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia. A number of properties on Salt Spring Island are also in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and there are some special rules that might apply. Agricultural Land Commission


Building Permits and Inspections CRD – it’s where you go to find out if someone else has followed the rules. Seriously though, I love the building inspectors. Their job is make sure that the work on your home home is done safely and to code. That is a good thing. Please note that the building code and inspection rules have changed over the years. Building Permits


BC Assessment – find out what they say a property is worth and get comparables too. Saltspring assessments can be all over the map. Our BC system is very accurate on a large scale but not necessarily for individual properties. Add that to the fact a number of dwellings here do not have accurate descriptions and permits and you can get some numbers that are very wrong along with some that are accurate. Property Assessments

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Yum - this is an Early Yellow Plum but it should have been called extra early. Ours is often ripe on July 1 but the wet and cold weather this year has set it back a week. It is the first tree fruit to ripen in the yard by a long shot and wins the honour of being named favorite because of that! 


The flavour is quite nice and the fragrance intoxicating but only for a brief time. It quickly turns redder and mealy. Not great for fresh eating then but it still makes delicious wine or pretty jam that point. This single tree can produce 400 pounds of fruit in a good year.


I know of three or four others on Salt Spring. I think they were available about 16 years ago at one of our island nurseries - either Foxglove or Fraser's Thimble Farms - and I'm really happy one is growing in our yard. Establishing fruit trees on your property can be a great way to add value and you get the added benefit of fresh fruit!


Note to readers: I tend to have new favorites as the season progresses so stay tuned.

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I have listed a new property at 144 Douglas RD in SALT SPRING ISLAND.
Harbour views, salt air, breezes - enjoy the island life. Hidden behind artistic privacy fence, near town, above the sailing club on a creek. Versatile 1.05 acres, two-level home and a two-level studio. Extensive reno’s and upgrades including kitchen, bathrooms and heat pump. The open-plan main floor, awash with natural light, has wood floors and vaulted ceiling. It's a gathering place for family and friends, while the high-end kitchen makes food prep a breeze. Features a spalted maple island with prep sink and seating, Heartland stove/wall ovens and Miele dishwasher. Decks and patios add versatility to the indoor spaces. The lower level walkout includes 2 compact bedrooms, den, sunroom, laundry and one of the 2 stylish, tiled bathrooms. The studio: upper level has a large room, 2 piece bath, outdoor shower and view deck - main has carport and workshop with 100 amp service. The property is complete with a vegetable garden, established fruit trees and berry patches.
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I have listed a new property at 278 Pringle Farm RD.
Rare usable open acreage with sweeping ocean views from this 6-acre property which is located in an area of fine homes. This acreage is very private and would be a stunning lot to build your dream home on. The property is totally fenced with a fenced orchard within the perimeter, electric power, water, and septic field in place and all ready to go. If your planning on building your dream home do not miss out on this premium acreage.
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