The Islands Trust, our local government, is unilaterally giving itself new powers that will severely restrict your ability to farm, dictate the size of your home, require approval to cut a tree on your private property, eliminate future dock spaces, threaten the livelihoods of local small businesses and artisans, and so much more.
The Trust has torn up community plans built on extensive community engagement with their latest Draft Policy Statement.
As long-time residents and business owners, we deeply appreciate that the Gulf Islands are uniquely pristine, ocean environments, blessed by diverse marine wildlife and tourism attractions like the Salt Spring Saturday Farmer’s Market. We live in harmony with our Indigenous neighbours, who have also expressed concerns about this top-down, secretive process, which lacks grassroots engagement. The draft plan, developed by Islands Trust staff, is presented as virtually a fait accompli, with little room for public engagement. We believe a new, better plan can balance environmental protection and work with Indigenous communities, while expanding our fresh water supply & affordable housing options without harming our local economy or food sources.
Great Northern Management, an independent expert consultancy hired by the Islands Trust to conduct a review of their policies, practices, and procedures, has concluded the Trust is “dysfunctional”, has a “leadership deficit” and no clear direction, among other findings.
Maybe they should fix their own house before building another one with their Draft New Policy Statement that some are calling “empire building”?
Read the report we’ve yellow highlighted in the Learn More button or the original on the Islands Trust website in QR code (p.33).
A local Islander, Dennis Perch, has researched the revealing and disturbing direction of Islands Trust that removes private property rights and bestows nature (trees, mountains, oceans, wildlife) with the same rights as humans. From that, you can expect more regulations, fees and even less freedom to use your own private property. Read his research paper here.
The Islands Trust hired a Public Engagement firm, ISL Engineering, after hearing your criticisms about lack of engagement. Keep sending your letters to the various levels of government about the Draft New Policy Statement.
Many of your letters should be found on the Islands 2050 Website under the PUBLIC CORRESPONDENCE tab.
Please cc us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep our own tally.
Every voice counts.
Here’s the affected areas.
If approved, this plan could impact your:
Livelihood – Restrict local businesses, retailers, tourism, forestry, farming, artists/artisans
Housing – size limits would decrease seasonal housing & rental housing options
Farming & Agriculture – Island communities rely on local farming produce for their livelihood and food, as well as tourism opportunities with farm-based B&B’s. Even the Provincial Government expressed concerns with the scope of the Islands Trust proposed limitations on farming, housing and aquaculture in their three-page letter.
Transportation – many rely on boats to buy groceries, visit hospitals, or evacuate in emergencies. Islands have limited or lack ferry service, so public and private docks for boats and water taxis are critical.
Fresh Water Supply – the plan prohibits desalination processes to remove salt from our ocean water. We lack an adequate fresh water supply and suffer shortages, particularly in summer months. Why would we limit technology to expand our freshwater supply amidst climate change, growing populations and agricultural need? We’ve put together a history of the Islands’ freshwater challenges here.
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