I'm lucky to be right across from the Harbour and the Ganges Marina, in the seaside village (there's an "upper village", too, about two blocks up a hill, out of the Harbour one).
Back in 1974, the Islands Trust came into being. A Provincial Government body, with the mandate of "to preserve & protect" the environmental beauties of all the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents, Salt Spring is the one that has evolved into a stand alone community.
The Trust controls growth through very strict density controls/bylaws, all of which were put in place in 1974. All that seems to have happened, over the years, is that the various bylaws have been narrowed in their interpretation/scope, so as to totally control all growth. The idea is that population has been capped, for all the Islands, and while there may be a few individual differences, on each Island, the overall Trust document is mostly the same as in those early days.
When the sewer came to Ganges Village, back in 1990 (after a 12 year "conversation" between the pro and the anti development sides on the Island), it allowed the building out of things that had been approved by the Trust, back in 1974, which couldn't be built until the sewer was developed. Suddenly, we had townhomes, plus new 'downtown' buildings replacing very old structures.
The Village is a very organic thing, though, as it built out slowly, the architecture isn't "uniform", and there is a pleasing "undeveloped'/development" aspect to it all.
This aerial shot shows how tiny the actual seaside village is, and its boundaries cannot expand (there's that Trust, again!). More details? Call me!
Meantime, I get to look straight out to the Harbour and all its pleasures...kayaking, anyone?