Environment, Economy, Housing, Transportation & More Will Be Impacted

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 consultants, 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.

Islands Communities

Here’s the affected areas.

Gulf Island Views

We’ve compiled a variety of letters and comments from local residents and businesses. Here’s what some long-time Islanders have to say below. You can also view more on our Facebook page.

Former Senator Pat Carney said she tried to engage the Islands Trust but found challenges around getting clear information, even on matters such as population numbers. With many years in federal politics, she admitted the language around the policy is bureaucratic and the process needs engagement with senior governments. “I can’t really understand what it is that they’re really trying to achieve,” she said. “The goals are undefined. The data is inconsistent…. It’s unclear whether our autonomy is going to be taken away.”
Comox Valley Record newspaper

Prominent S. Gulf Island resident and former Islands Trust Community Representative for Saturna Island for 21 years, John Money has already
sent a letter to the government with his concerns. “This Draft Policy Statement has changed all policy from “should” to “must”, totally shackling all the individual communities and their plans, basically making each and every Community Plan redundant, along with their locally elected representatives.”

Pender Island residents: “The Trust needs to stop and listen. The Trust should have direct individual contact and support their proposed bylaws with sound research or a validating plebiscite.”

“We have a lack of effective accountability of the local trustees to the residents that elect them, a non-resident civil service operating relatively independently of the senior provincial government.” - Donn Korbin

The Islands Trust has announced that we will be seeing "unheard of in modern times" (their own words) tax increases! They are pushing an already bloated budget through the roof! And this is during a period when development has decreased! - Carol Money

I have become increasingly alarmed by the administration of the Trust object. The governance structure seems deeply flawed, the costs, both direct and indirect are substantial and largely unhinged from fiscal reality, and the bureaucracy that implements the Act on our islands seems largely uninterested in the socio-economic conditions faced by island residents. This is not a fault of any one individual. Indeed, I suspect the majority of participants in the Trust, be they trustees, staff or advocates, are good, well-meaning people trying to do a good job pursuing a mission in which they believe. The problem, in my view, is deeply structural.” - George Leroux

Instead of discussing the issues, the Trust “justifies” its demands for more power by pointing to the current Trust Policy Statement being “25 years old”. This is poppycock, manifesting Trust awareness that the public stand is strong.
Source: The Akoyonenews

“The document was definitely crafted, intentionally or otherwise, to give the resident of the IT region the impression that if you did not support this document, you were not in support of First Nations reconciliation. The reconciliation word was ubiquitous through the document.
However as dialogue has increased since July it has become clear that First Nations were barely consulted.”
-Jim Allan

“(Professional forester) David Dunnison did an excellent job explaining the information used by staff when presenting Forestry and species at risk in the gulf islands to Trust Council. He carefully laid out how the information was misinterpreted, misleading and at the best very selective, creating a misleading alarmist report to Trust Council when there was, really, no species at risk.” - John Money, former Islands Trustee

“It seems to me as though residents (many belonging to families that have lived here for generations), their businesses and livelihoods are just inconveniences to be legislated out of existence. All with no attempt at a balance between communities and the environment. A balance that is recognized all over Canada. The Gulf Islands are special but then so is the whole of BC, as are its residents – why do we get to live in a museum while paying our local government to act as curators?” -Dave Paton

Why Should You Care?

If approved, this plan could impact your:

Livelihood – Restrict local businesses, retailers, tourism, 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.

Let’s talk taxes.

Taxation – The Islands Trust has been expanding their mandate with associated tax increases business and residents pay. Have a look at the substantial budget growth, an increase of $1.5M (19%) over the 4 years of the current Trust Council. Taking on all the new regulatory powers inherent in the New Draft Policy Statement will make living here even more costly.

-courtesy of Concerned Island Residents Association. Please visit and “like” their Facebook page.

What Can You Do?

Join Us by signing up below. Share This Page. Speak Up for Your Community at Public Meetings. Email the Island Trustees & your MLAs. Group list here.

Please read the Draft Policy Statement and send your own letter/email.
Feel free to share a copy with
us for posting on our social media if you choose.

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Please reach out to us if you’d like to know more, share your story or can help spread the word, raise funds, or speak at community events.

Paid for by Southern Gulf Islands Coalition
PO Box 647, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1A0

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