Views from Citizens Concerned About Impacts to their Lives & Livelihoods

We’ve compiled a variety of letters and comments from local residents and businesses about Policy Statement impacts on their daily lives and livelihoods. You can also view more on our Facebook page.

I understand that at the Financial Planning Committee meeting on February 16th, the Committee approved a $9.5 million dollar budget for referral to the Trust Council, a budget that was $400 thousand more than the budget that the public had been asked to comment on. This is directly opposite to the results of the public survey on the budget; specifically, 49% wanted to see a budget decrease and 31% wanted the budget to stay the same. Combined, 80% of the respondents do not support an increase in the Trust budget versus 14% supporting an increase. I am also aware the Trust received a number of letters and emails that did not support an increase in the Trust budget.” Jeff Green, 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

Vote Wisely Oct. 15, 2022

“Clearly, this ever-increasing radicalization within the Islands Trust must halt if residents wish to live in relative peace without anxiety about constant activist attacks upon our already responsible rural lifestyles. Sanity needs to be restored and the needs of our communities placed on an equal footing with our protection of the environment. We should not be captive to the community-negative views of activists using us as a tool to serve their views of social justice.

Fortunately, we can make this happen by choosing responsible candidates for our islands on October 15th.”

-Dennis Perch, Indigenous Resident of South Pender Island
Read more here.-Photo from Pender Island volunteer.

A Thoughtful Analysis

Local North Pender Island resident George Leroux wrote a thoughtful and compelling analysis of all 51 directives in the Trust Policy Statement and shared a letter he’s sent the Trustees with us.
It is my observation that the Trust is a largely unmanageable beast, whether from a staff or trustee perspective. The organization has tied its processes up in knots so as to take control of both the direction and nature of any change…”

Read more here: Analysis and Letter.

Your Letters…

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

Letter from Susan de Stein to Islands Trust Chair and responses

Read her first letter pictured, then download the subsequent responses here.

….More Letters

“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

Letters Galore…

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

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