Salt Spring Island

Russel Kwan

My mom, Ling Weston, lives on Salt Spring Island, which lies in the strait between Vancouver and Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.  She has been there for over twenty years, but mysteriously, I’ve never really photographed there until just the past couple of years.

Mom is an inveterate activist environmentalist and has either single-handedly or collectively participated in the classification and protection of many important habitats on the Island, including a blue heron sanctuary, large tracts of forest, an aboriginal burial ground, and my personal favourite, her private swamp.

She bought the swamp from a land developer after a long running battle over development permits.  The developer wanted to fill the swamp to build more of those ubiquitous condos that Salt Spring neither wants, nor can afford the infrastructure for.  So, Mom now has five acres of swamp, complete with beaver pond.  The swamp naturally drains into St Mary Lake, which is the largest body of fresh water on the Island, and is also the Island’s main water supply.  Since the lake is separated from the swamp by the main road leading to the north part of the Island, there is a culvert under the road to carry swamp overflow to the lake.  Problem is, beavers hate the sound of running water, so they keep damming the culvert, and it overflows the road.  Hah!  So, now a running battle with the highways department over the beavers.  The life of an environmentalist in these parts is never dull.

There is a house standing on one edge of the swamp property, and when Mom was in-between tenants last winter, we stayed there a few days.  It snowed almost every day we were there, something actually pretty unusual for the area, even in winter.  After seeing these pictures, I wondered why I never really photographed there.

This is the garden shed next to the house next to the swamp.


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