Tourism booming on friendly Penders, claim businesses

February 14, 2000

My experience with living on, visiting and housesitting on many of the Gulf Islands on the west coast Canada has made me realize that winter life and even winter lifestyle is quite different from summer life and a summer life style.

One thing, for sure, is Gulf Islanders experience lean economic times in the winters and, although they do not always welcome tourists in the summer, they do welcome tourism dollars:

Gulf Islands Driftwood – Pender Islands Edition

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Tourism booming on friendly Penders, claim businesses

by Tanya Lester

Accommodations businesses report that tourism is busier than ever on the Penders this summer and they chalk it up to a strong American dollar, hospitable islanders and nicer weather.

At the Inn on Pender Island, owner Dave Dryer said he is “busy as a bird dog.” Last years was a decent year while this year is fantastic, he said, with July’s business surpassing that of last August which is traditionally the best month. July and September are usually the second best months.

Room bookings are up 40 per cent, Dryer said. He keeps thinking the bubble will burst but bookings are already looking good for September. Restaurant business is also good.

Dryer is checking in more people from farther away in the United States including California, North Carolina and Texas. There are more Albertans over last year while people form BC still make up the bulk of his guests. He always gets some Germans each year and there was also an Italian visitor this season.

The better weather earlier on in the summer was a factor as was the strong US dollar, Dryer said.

The only fly in the ointment has been some snags for tourists coming from Nanaimo who found they were out of luck if they did make a reservation for the ferry.

Penny Tomlin-Skillen of Sahhali Serenity Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast told the Penders Edition that 70 per cent of her guests are Americans this year. The strong US dollar is enticing them across the border and into the Gulf Islands.

Once here, Tomlin-Skillen said, the tourists appreciate the great food at local restaurants, the first-class kayaking and the “good-hearted people of Pender.”

Tomlim-Skillen has several stories about the residents going the extra mile for visitors. One man repaired a jeep’s roof rack, used for carrying a kayak, at no charge. Another rescued a man who in trouble in a kayak on the water.

American guests have the highest praise for local doctors when they require medical assistance, said Tomlin-Skillen.  They appreciate how effective and efficient the physicians are.

In another case, someone who experienced a stroke was impressed with the ambulance crew.

Several commented about how the work of local artisans has diversified, said Tomlin-Skillen.

She also felt another factor contributing to booming business is the warmer sunnier weather over last summer.

Barry Lynd at Beauty Rest by the Sea Bed and Breakfast also finds business is up over last year.

He said his bed and breakfast seems to attract retired and professional people including the man who owns and underwater motel in Florida. They spend a day looking around the islands and then tend to want to sit outdoors and relax, taking in the ocean traffic.

He said a lot of Albertans have visited this summer as well as tourists from the Lower Mainland and the Pacific Northwest.

Surprisingly, he has had a number of guests from Vancouver Island.

Lynd figures that after they pass by the Gulf Islands on the ferries to Vancouver a few times, they are enticed to come and visit.

Some of his visitors have bought property on the Penders, including a family from Singapore. Tomlin-Skillen has had the same experience with guests from England, Texas and Langley purchasing homes here.

Other businesses not specializing in accommodations are finding visitor impact not as significant.

Business is fair at the Galloping Moon Gallery according to Bob Culmer.

Culmer said the threat of BC Ferries workers going on strike earlier in the season put a damper on people’s plans to come to the islands.

Malcolm Armstrong of Armstrong Artists’ Studio indicated he is doing reasonably well. He said the studio, which he has operated for 13 years, used to do better before studio numbers increased on the Penders.

“There are probably more people coming to Pender but not in proportion with the studio numbers,” he said.

Shirley LePers of the Lions Club’s Visitor Info Centre estimates the number of tourists was up 25 per cent in July as compared to an-all time low last year which left figures at 30 per cent less than other years.

There is no question that 95 percent of visitors who seek information from the info centre kiosk are from other parts of BC, she said.

Next in numbers is Washington State followed by Alberta and then the Prairies, with a smattering from Europe and Asia.

They almost always want a map and want to know where the walking trails, beaches and craft stores are. LePers added that the Saturday markets are also popular.

Most come with accommodations already booked, said LePers.

The info cenre is volunteer-run with two students — one from May to September and another from July to August — employed there for the summer.


To read more posts on this blog of eclectic stories and other writings by and about Tanya, go to and

Tanya’s books are available in some library systems and Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew can be purchased from the author or on  Her other titles are Women Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters.

Tanya now works as an intuitive counsellor who specializers in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling, gypsy card reading and mediumship. She is also a Reiki master and fulltime housesitter. For more on her services go to her website at   She also has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google and is an Align member. You can also contact her directly by texting or calling 2505380086 or emailing




New Directions: four books by Manitoba women….final post continued from last 3 posts

February, 11, 2008

Prairie Fire

Vol. VII, No. 3

New Directions: four books by Manitoba women

by Margaret Clarke

…..continued from last three posts…

Creating the life, the identity, through an act of imagination is central to No Fixed Admission, in which Jacqui Smyth writes of that moment in a woman’s life when coming to an understanding of the two people who created her becomes essential knowledge for her own survival. The protaganist, Alice, like Wonderland’s disoriented heroine, has fallen into that all too likely “hole” of modern life, the death of a male-female love relationship. To understand what has lead her to this failure, Alice spends some time with her father, who long ago separated from her mother. This leads to a series of recollections that bring her to a measure of peace and acceptance.

To summarize Smyth’s “story” in this narrative fashion is to not do justice to her technique. Smyth brings a poet’s love of the finely polished image to her first “novel” ( in length and organization more a series of prose poems) which consists of a series of penetrating, imagistic glimpses into Alice’s past. Each discreet glimpse comes to the reader as a cross between a dream and a suddenly recollected moment that arrives purely to the mind when prodded by some seemingly insignificant sensory detail, like “white kid gloves”, or the memory of the “smell of onions frying in a skillet.”

Smyth not only gives us the vivid recreation of one woman’s memory world. but allows that woman to become the rememberer of several people’s stories, of three generations of living. We not only see Alice recreates herself by remembering her mother and father, but how they too become more whole for the reader because of Alice’s memories of their parents, her grandparents. The purpose of all this remembering is to give the individual a firm center so that “when people change we hold on tight to a perfect memory.”

But Smyth’s characters are not disembodied voices weaving memory in isolation from others. A mother and daughter work their way through a liquor cabinet while resurrecting their pasts. A typical post mortem between father and daughter is framed by the daughter’s sensibility which moves from the mundane, to the sensual to the imagistic and toward the philosophical:

Ran out of cigarettes, smoked my father’s Exports, a haze of

dragon smoke, and now my throat aches. He cried whiskey tears

for old loves, his mother, my mother. His stale breath makes me

feel so old makes me feel tired. I can only nod, yes, yes, and my

elbows slide onto the arborite table. I look at him with swollen

eyes and he pushes my bangs off my forehead and whispers,

Lorna, Lorna, But I’m not Lorna, I’m Alice and the sun is an orange

ball of wool dancing in the sky. Heredity is the sliding blue vein.

The reader dependant on the temporality of novelistic style may find herself occasionally impatient with Smyth’s prose poems, but the brief seventy-four page text has a gathering force which gives an intimate knowledge of the protaganist’s world. Perhaps Smyth’s editors might have helped her amend passages where her desire for simple, clear images leads her to use too many similarly constructed short declarative sentences, but these are only occasional and are offset by the very real accomplishment of the book, which is to take us into a world in which identity is created by an act of the imagination. The many beloved “others” of the past are remade in the present consciousness of the individual. Thus identity is dependent on relationship, not ego consciobouusness.

I don’t wish to end this brief look at these four works with facile generalizations about the “direction” of women writing in Manitoba today. Each of these women has her own direction. Each book offers the reader a separate experience. Kamboureli’s book has the special power of the autobiographical persona, in which writer, narrator, and main character are the same person, and exert the full impact of the three-in-one personality of the reader. Anyone who is a reader of autobiography will understand the immediacy and intimacy such accounts produce. Lester’s book offers one of the first unabashedly feminist collections that has been published in Manitoba, and as such may mark a new (and long overdue) direction for women writing. Shields’s short stories give those of us who followed the progress of her work the satisfaction of seeing an important Manitoba writer enter a new phase of accomplishment. Smyth offers us a formal experiment in the novel that bridges distance between prose and poetry. Yet, whatever their individual achievements may be, these writers share a common concern about identity, relationships with others, and the place of imagination. The pleasure of their texts arises from both their similar concerns and their contrasting modes of presentation. Moving from Kamboureli to Lester, to Shields to Smyth is to experience both the continuity and variety in recent Manitoba women’s writing.


Tanya Lester, author of Dreams and Tricksters included in is review, has been a practicing intuitive reader, specializing in tea leaf reading and tarot, for over 20 years now. She is also a Reiki master and fulltime housesitter. Her website at explores her work in greater detail. She also has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google as well being a member of Align. To book her services, text or call her at 2505380086 or email her at

To read more posts in this eclectic blog of a variety of writing on many themes and interests, go to and

Tanya’s books are available in some library systems and the last two titles listed here can be purchased from her or from  The titles of them are: Dreams and Tricksters, Women Rights/Writes, Friends I Never Knew and Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader. 


continued from last post…New Directions: four books by Manitoba women

February 10, 2018

This post is a continuation of the lo ast two posts.

I realize I did not input the last paragraph of the part of the book review that refers to my book, Dreams and Tricksters, so I will begin this post with the last paragraph pertaining to my book and continue from there.

This is a big, important part of the review because it examines a book by Carol Shields. Yes, I am in the company of that Carol Shields. The Governor General, Pulitzer Prize, Booker Prize winning author who lived in Winnipeg at the time that this book review was written and went on to spend the last years of her life in Victoria.

I remember running in to her in the washroom at the Winnipeg Art Gallery during a writing event. “Hello,” I said, thinking her face looked very familiar.

“Do I know you?,” she asked.

It was later that it dawned on me she was the Carol Shields. If I had remembered who that familiar face was in time, I would have liked to have said, “No but I know who you are.”

In those days, I guess she was still hoping for some privacy as this was pre-Booker Prize winning days. When she did win that award, I remember a writer and English professor from University of Manitoba confiding in me how, when they had a celebration honouring her, it brought together all the many factions of the city’s writing community.

A rare occasion, indeed.

Anyway, let’s continue on….

Prairie Fire

Volume VII, No. 3

New Directions: four books by Manitoba women

by Margaret Clarke

continued from last two posts…

I doubt however that there are very many editors in a position to get a book-length fiction about social-activist women published. Sadly, I think most editors would want the writer to betray her feminist philosophical basis in favour of a smoother surface to her stories. For writers like Lester, self-publishing may be the only viable route at present.

Whatever instinct led Carol Shields to collect her previously published short fiction (two thirds of the titles have appeared elsewhere) in Various Miracles, was certainly a good one. In these short stories, some of them almost personal essays, Shields’s two vigorous talents come together: her ability to enliven characters who live in their relationships more than their egos (often without their conscious knowledge), and her keen but gentle irony in her recent books. Perhaps “Mrs. Turner Cutting the Grass” is the best illustration of the strength of the collection. The opening sentence, “Oh, Mrs. Turner is a sight cutting the grass on a hot afternoon in June!” invites us into Shields’s ironic vision of an old woman who is more the “subject” than the main character of the several stories within a story that follow.

One story is the heavily ironic “long poem” of a university writer who, after seeing Mrs. Turner touring Japan with her sisters, writes a scathingly humourous piece featuring Mrs. Turner’s “pink pantsuit” and “grapefruity buttocks.” The undergraduates are predictably blown away with hilarity. Another story is the ironic narrator’s who reveals, while making light of all adversities, the courage and the optimism with which Mrs. Turner has faced her sometimes difficult life, while never giving way to bitterness. Mrs. Turner is a victim who manages to get the better of a bad system by luck, good health, and her ability to outlive a kindly husband. Reading between the lines, or just below the surface, we find various perspectives. For the male poet of rare sensibility, she is all that is mundane and laughable in our world. For her neighbours she is the unenlightened queen of pesticides. For the teenagers walking past her lawn as she mows in shorts, she is beneath contempt. For some of us Mrs. Turner may well be a heroine. All views are valid in Shields’s world. The special miracle of the writer’s craft is to give us Mrs. Turner in all her prismatic glory, making her the “rare ornament” she truly is.vo

Shields prefaces her book with Emily Dickenson’s instruction to “tell all the truth but tell it slant.” This slant allows for some devastating undercutting of prescribed viewpoints in fiction. “Flitting Behaviour, ” her story of the prototypical le best-selling (but still literary) novelist, portrays the man not from the position of his greatness but as he appears as nurse to his wife, who while dying of cancer, is withdrawing the strength on which the novelist’s talent nourished itself. Moving from the writer’s view to the viewpoint of her female editor, Shields shows how the writer’s need for sustenance has already switched his loyalties to a new source while the man himself continues his last ministrations to his wife.

Many of Shields’s stories are about writer figures, and about their relation to the feminine. The “adbridger” in “Accidents,” carefully abridges reality in order to protect her wife’s feelings (or is it to keep her wife’s feeling for himself alone?). In “Sailors Lost at Sea,” the daughter of a mother who is also a poet, scoffs at her mother’s sentimentality, while beginning to experience some of the magic of her mother’s feeling for place. In “Poaching,” two writer figures drive around England picking up hitch-hikers and pumping them for their stories.

As well, there are stories that show the sweetness and bitterness of the life choices women find, often to their surprise, they have made. In “Taking the Train”, “Fragility,” and “Others,” Shields creates a world in which the female doesn’t so much choose her life directions but, with the aid of imagination, makes the best of what life has chosen for her. My favorite illustration of this principle is “The Journal,” in which a middle-class wife recreates the very ordinary events of a European adventure, and the not so bon mots of her husband, in the much more lovely words of her diary. After a night of sexual ecstacy, the diarist, trained in the literary conventions of what is correct to record in one’s travel journal, comments only that “H. and I slept well.” In many ways Various Miracles says that given the confining nature of life, men and women, but especially women, get the lives their imaginations create for them…. to be continued…


To read more posts in this blog of eclectic witings by and about Tanya Lester, go to and

Besides Dreams and Tricksters, Tanya also wrote Women Rights/Writes, Friends I Never Knew and Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader. These books are available in some library systems. Dreams and Confessions can be bought from the author or from

Tanya has worked for over two decades as a tea leaf reader and tarot reader. She is also a Reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. Her web site is  Her pages are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. To book a reading or arrange for a housesit,  text or call her at 2505380086 or email:

continued from previous post: New Directions: four books by Manitoba women

February 4, 2018

This part of the Prairie Fire book review featuring books by four women writers who wrote books on being women and writers is about my book entitled Dreams and Tricksters:

Prairie Fire

Volume VII, No. 3

New Directions: four books by Manitoba Women

by Margaret Clarke

…continued from last post:

A different kind of translation is being made by Tanya Lester in Dreams and Tricksters. Self-growth is connected to the experience of oneself through the life and personality of an “other”, one that would seem remarkably different from oneself. In this series of interconnected stories, a Metis single mother, Betsy, and a white writer, Tyeanne, with no children are thrown together in the same slum apartment building. Through their interdependence they discover other parts of themselves.

The stories are unapologetically feminist in tone and theme, but often humourously so, as in the tale “Josephine and the Pomegranate”. Here Lester goes a few steps beyond Aristophane’s Lysistrata which portrayed women conducting a sex strike to stop war. Lester portrays, by means of her fable, women holding out for a truly egalitarian society. In fact, men are excluded until they prove themselves in three tests, demonstrating their ability in cooking, sewing and child care! My evocation of the great Greek comic playwright in this context may seem hyperbolic but it is deliberate. Without making any aesthetic judgements on either the ancient writer or this comtemporary writer, both Lysistrata and Dreams and Tricksters share a common tone, a strange mixture of farce and gravity, of politics and poetry.

At one moment the predicaments of Tyeanne and Betsh seem impossibly grave: Betsy, in constrant fear of eviction, wrestles with the problems her kids create in their deprived environment, while Tyeanne doubts her ability to live up to her own high principles. “Most of my life I’ve had to fight to keep my babies,” Betsy confides. “Has anyone failed at being a feminist before?” is the thought Tyeanne cannot confide. But at the same moment, Betsy’s gritty street language and Tyeanne’s delight in going along with Betsy’s confrontation of authority figures — even to finding new twists to the old game of civil disobedience — gives us a series of enjoyable farcical plot developments. The two women’s antics reach their limits when they lead their fellow tenants in a peaceful invasion of their slum landlord’s offices, and end up being served sandwiches, playing pool and getting a drive home in his Cadillac.

Humour is not the only bond between reader and writer in the reader’s acceptance of the weighty thematic material. Lester’s ability to make her point in a variety of forms enriches the book. Lester’s ability to make her point in a variety of forms enriches the book. The collection of “stories for social change” also contains letters, plays, a fairy tale and a poem, and Lester often varies the viewpoint between third and first person. One hilarious piece presents itself as an answer on an adult education exam in grade ten English, painfully penned by the undereducated Bill Hapey, Betsy and Tyeanne’s building superintendent. His personal essay on the two women who are often the bane of his existence, offers the observation that Betsy and Tyeanne “act crased a lot” but “mak a man think”. His written work may not get him a pass in English composition, but certainly gets A in observation.

In some ways Bill’s lack of language skills is symbolic of her creator’s problems in this book. Lester has no lack of English expression, in fact she has a real ability, in dialogue particularly. But the book does miss the kind of artful finish that a good editor can help a writer to accomplish. Dreams and Tricksters is self-published and there are times its shows. The writer moves too awkwardly between the events of women’s lives, often ignoring motivation. We yearn to know more about Tyeanne’s suicidal urges or Betsy’s softer maternal side so often hidden behind the front she must present to the world. In fact, the psychology of the feminist, be she theorist like Tyeanne, or activist like Betsy, is largely ignored. We need to see more of these women’s inner lives. Most of all, it seems to me, the book wants to be more about the relationship between the two women. This would not have taken the sting out of its political message; it would have broadened it……review to be continued…..

— END–

Tanya Lester now has works for over two decades as a psychic who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot and psychic channeling. She is also a Reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. For more about her services go to her web: and/or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.

Tanya’s books are: Dreams and Tricksters, Women Rights/Writes, Friends I Never Knew, and Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader. The last two can be purchased from the author or from  All of the books are available in some library systems.

To read more posts in this eclectic blog of writings by and about Tanya Lester, go to and





New Directions: four books by Manitoba women

January 31, 2018ry

One of my books, a collection of inter-linked short stories called Dreams and Tricksters, is one of the four books reviewed here by a fifth Manitoba author. The Prairie Fire editorial staff likes this idea of authors reviewing the work of other authors and it is always a bonus for authors to read books other than their own.  Consciously or subconsciously, it provides the author with ideas that may invigorate their own writing:

Prairie Fire

New Directions: four books by Manitoba women

by Margaret Clarke

Four books published in 1985 illustrate the variety of responses that Manitoba women writers are having to their identities as women and as writers.

Smaro Kamboureli’s in the second person is, of the four, the most overtly concerned with the problem of creating a coherence of personality. The “second person” that Kamboureli writes of in this diary-style collage of poetry and prose is the younger Greek self who the writer finds she has not left behind when she becomes a Canadian. Instead, this old self lingers, sometimes as a very real presence interfering with the new self attempting to create itself in the new language, sometimes felt as an “absence” that leaves the writer incomplete in her new identity.

In her introductory essay, “An open parenthesis,” (first published in Prairie Fire, Spring, 1984) Kamboureli defines the experience of immigration as ” a form of abjection. It is a desire for a yet unknown object that kills its subject.” Ironically, while she feels at home in Canada, she not at home within herself. This has its advantages: “My immigrant condition affords me the (perverse?) pleasure of a doubled view.” But this doubleness, of pleasure in the creation of a new identity and pain in the loss of the old, creates a psychic incompleteness which the writer explores in various ways throughout the text. It is most vividly recreated for the reader in the entries that cover a trip back to Greece which Kamboureli takes after having lived in Canada for some time and having made the decision to become a Canadian. There, the new Canadian is not only confronted with the mundane problems of returning to a place where she lived as a younger person, such as the difficulty of relating to parents who still see her as their child, the immersion in the old language once more, the rekindling of old relationships, but is also confronted with the very real existence of the old self: “It would have been easier has i been after memories only. there is always an excess of remembrances…but you are not memory. you are the act of remembering itself.” The diarist-poet begins to understand the essential part of the old self plays and the need to form a marriage of identities. This is figured in the image of marriage which emerges in the last entries.

The idea of “marriage” and its appendant metonymies of desire and romantic involvement with another, are the most notable ways in which Kamboureli dramatizes her identity crisis. Since she comes to Canada in the first place primarily to live with the man she loves, some of the detail of her struggle to come to terms with her new and old identities is expressed in images reflecting that relationship. In this way the outer relationship with the man, acts as a commentary on the inner relationship with the other self. As a persona grows towards “marriage” in one area, so she does in the other. The implied comparison between the two relationships is expressed most powerfully in the June 11, 1981 entry when the writer, sleeping alone in her homeland, feels the other self as a very real presence, almost like a lover: “your own voice reaching inside your ear feel your body touching the belly of your body between white sheets breath breeding despair at this splitting image of the self.” Kamboureli’s book suggests that changing one’s identity is integrally connected to changing one’s language, indeed it is akin to “translation”….. to be continued.

— END–

To read more posts in this blog of eclectic writings , go to and

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters, Women’s Rights/n Writes . The first two books can be purchased from the author or from All of her books are in some library systems.

Tanya has worked for over 2 decades as a tea leaf reader, tarot reader and psychic medium. She is also a Reiki master and a fulltime housesitter.  Her pages are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. She is also an Align member. Her web is at  To book an appointment for a reading text or call 250-538-0086 or email:



Traffic caught in residents’ snarl

January 28, 2018

I have been in traffic jams from Los Angeles to Lisbon to Vancouver to London and so on and so forth in a total of 22 countries in which I have travelled.

Never did I think I would have to write about traffic congestion on Salt Spring Island but on that island and in life, in general, I have come to learn that anything is possible. (By the way, the cheeky headline was not my idea.) :

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Traffic caught in residents’ snarl

by Tanya Lester

Proposals to solve traffic congestion on Cusheon Lake Road have run up against either government or area residents opposition, with there being little hop of any resolution at least until the fall.

I don’t know what we’re going to do, said Bob Webb, Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MOTH) district technician. We are looking for a win-win situation.

He pointed out that MOTH has been knocked off course by a not in my backyard attitude among residents in the Cusheon Lake area.

The only thing everyone appears to agree on is that traffic on the road poses a safety problem and an environmental concern because the lake is a drinking water source.

To upgrade the road is not feasible for financial and other reasons, as it runs between houses located extremely close to the water on one side and along a steep bank on the other side, said Bill Monahan, Beddiss and Cusheon Area Residents Association (BACARA) president.

Complicating the matter, he said, is the question of residents property lines actually extending out onto the road.

At a meeting initiated by MOTH in January, Webb and other highways representaties met with BACARA executive members to explore traffic re-routing options.

Four options emerged by the meeting’s end. One was to leave the Cusheon Lake Road situation as is. Another was to link up the two sections of Horel Road on the side of the lake opposite Cusheon Lake Road. This would make a through road between Fulford-Ganges and Stewart.

The third would re-route traffic even further from the lake opposite Cusheon Lake Road by joining Horel Road with Kitchen Road. Again, this would serve to connect Stewart and Fulford-Ganges.

Webb said there was immediate opposition to either of the Horel Road options as this could mean polluted run-off into the drinking water system.

Monahan recently told the Driftwood that an area between the two parts of Horel Road is a park reserve and as such acts as a water purifier for the lake.

The fourth option proposed at the January meeting was to join the two parts of Sky Valley Road just east of Cusheon Lake Road. The hook on Lord Mikes Road would need to be straightened for traffic to flow more smoothly and safely between SkyValley, onto a short part of Cusheon Lake and to the turn down Stewart Road or on to Beddis Road.

According to Monahan, the concept would be that if Sky Valley was a through road, people approaching the area from Ganges would turn down that road to connect with Stewart Road instead of continuing on to the Cusheon Lake Road turnoff.

On April 10, at MOTHs request, BACARA met with Sky Valley and Lord Mikes residents who adamantly opposed the road link proposal, said Monahan.

These residents argued convincingly, according to the BACARA president, that the plan was flawed. They pointed out that a deep ravine between the two parts of Sky Valley might require an expensive bridge. They also talked about a possible increase in accidents with motorists turning left onto Sky Valley at a part of Fulford-Ganges where a sharp turn obstructs the vision of drivers approaching from the south.

Their third point was that straightening out the hook on Lord Mikes would take out two homes.

Sky Valley resident Peter Nuk told the Driftwood that he and other residents feared a decrease in property values and an increase in noise pollution and traffic that would change the road’s character.

He said he purposely bought his property 26 years ago on a road with a cul-de-sac because he anticipated an increase in traffic on any of Salt Spring’s through roads.

Nuk has since fired off a petition  to MOTh containing about 45 signatures from Sky Valley and Lord Mikes property owners opposed to the re-routing in their area.

He has also sent a position paper and at least six letters from residents detailing their opposition.

The BACARA executive was convinced by the objections that the Sky Valley option was not viable. Monahan stated this in a letter to MOTH.

Sky Valley (residents) don’t have to lose sleep over their road being linked, said Monahan.

Webb, however, was not willing to rule out Sky Valley-Lord Mikes as an option.

In the same letter, Monahan also outlined another traffic re-routing possibility for MOTH to consider. This one would turn Cusheon Lake Road intoa one-way road with traffic flowing from Fulford-Ganges Road to Lords Mike Road.

Any vehicle approaching Cusheon Lake Road from Stewart Road would only be able to turn right if going as far as Lord Mikes with a road block preventing any further travel down Cusheon Lake Road in the Fulford-Ganges direction.

All other traffic would have to turn right and proceed down Beddis Road to Ganges, for example.

MOTH has not responded to BACARAs letter but Moss sees several problems with this proposal. He anticipates protest from Beddis Road residents. He said upgrading that lengthy road would be extremely expensive, more so that the Sky Valley link.

In addition, MOTH has sunk over $150,000 into paving Stewart Road over the last half dozen years. For that reason the ministry would like to see the road used extensively.

Moss added that residents councerned with the environment should not shoot themselves in the foot by, one hand, saving Cusheon Lake from pollution while on the other polluting the atmosphere to a larger extent by using more gas for a longer drive into Ganges.

According to Moss, MOTH is not willing to pursue the issue until it knows whether Salt Spring Island intends to incorporate as a municipality. If it does, the municipality will be in charge of island roads.

Moss intends to meet again with BACARA in the fall if incorporation does not appear imminent.

Meanwhile, it is left up to Environment Canada and local psychics to  predict just how hot, dusty and hazardous Cusheon Lake Road will end up being for drivers and residents this summer.


For more on Tanya Lester, go to her web at

‘Stacks-Maxx’imum musicial performance at Lion’s Hall

January 26, 2018

When I was writing articles for newspapers, I guess ‘the power of the pen’ made me immune to public criticism. Until I worked on the Gulf Islands Driftwood, that is.

On Salt Spring Island, the ‘tide can turn against you’ even when you think you are being fair and empathetic. One of the three musicians in the following article had ‘a bone to pick’ with the Driftwood and I guess with me, too,  as I wrote the piece. I didn’t know whether to me more embarrassed  for me or her as she criticized the article and the newspaper from behind her mic.

For a long time now, as a psychic who does readings, I have noticed that when people go through crisis in their lives, they usually come out the other side with a new and very dynamic life that can make them soar to new levels.

As a journalist, I learned the people in the public eye often serve as positive role models for many.

If you can figure out what’s vindictive about the following article, please let me know what it is:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, October 13, 1999

“Stacks-Maxx’imum musical performance at Lion’s Hall

by Tanya Lester

Friday evening promises to be acoustic entertainment at its best with the Stack sisters and Lisa Maxx, three well-known Salt Spring singers and songwriters, stepping up to the microphone at Lions Hall.

They will perform a selection of songs written over the years and do new material as well. “We’ve got a huge body of material,” said Maxx.

The three have performed together once previously at Rose’s Café in Fulford but Kathy and Jane Stack have been singing together since they were babies. “Our father would parade us out when friends came over, ” said Kathy Stack.

The Stack family moved to Salt Spring from Santa Barbara, California when Kathy and Jane were teenagers. Their parents were “bohemians” wanting to get away from American politics.

The sisters are versatile: playing the blues, country, gospel and folk, and they like to do it with humour.

A song with a Mexican rhythm penned by Kathy goes like this:  “I wish I were tall and thin. I wish I didn’t have a double chin.”

Jane wrote one called You Fixed My Car dedicated to Richard Murakami and other island mechanics.

Among their new songs at Friday’s concert is one by Jane called Cinqo de Mayo about a Mexican Independence Day celebration.

Kathy has penned a country piece titled Tonight I Need a Lover.

Kathy once opened for Valdy during a cross Canada tour, yet this Friday he will be back-up musician for the Stacks and Maxx.

Maxx, too, has been a musician since she was a child, and she began writing songs at 12 years old. A turning point came in her career five years ago when she was debilitated by arthritis.

“When I first got sick, I remember how my voice opened up,” Maxx said. “Maybe it’s being faced with your own mortality. I was laying in bed and something just shifted in me.”

Maxx  added that she has lost any hesitancy to hold back when it comes to singing.

Things have also changed in relation to the instruments that Maxx now uses in performance. She is losing her ability to play the guitar but will be playing an autoharp this Friday.

It has buttons to push instead of chords for her to finger, and she can sit it on her lap to avoid the discomfort of reaching over an instrument.

The autoharp is on loan from the MS), a group which supports musicians with disabilities.

According to Maxx, VAMS sends musicians into the schools to work with disabled children. It also helps them find work performing and assists with accessibility issues.

Maxx said the disease has also lowered her energy level. She can no longer “sit up for hours working n a tune.”

But this Friday she will be singing about angels (and people who know her voice might say it sounds like an angel). A song she has penned is called While Angels do Watch.

Another is Walk the Walk, which is about “hitting rock bottom and turning upward.”

“I feel the arthritis has run my life for five years and now I’m reclaiming (my life),” she said.

The Stack sisters and Maxx will perform three songs together with three-part harmonies during the two-hour evening….


Tanya is a psychic who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling, etc. She is also a Reiki master and housesitter. To learn more and/or to use her services, go to her web:  or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. She also a member of Align.  To book a reading, Reiki attunement or a housesit, you can also contact her directly by text or calling 2505380086 or emailing her at

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew which you can purchase directly from the author or from She also wrote Women Rights/Writers  as well as Dreams and Tricksters. These books are available in some library systems.

To read more posts of a wide range of stories and other forms of writing  by Tanya, go to and



This is blog of the many articles published by and about me over several decades as a freelance writer and a tealeafreader/tarot reader/psychic.