Thank you for your continued support as our grassroots volunteer group works on your behalf on the widely-opposed new regulations proposed by the Islands Trust in their new Draft Policy Statement.
Below are the findings of the recent poll of Southern Gulf Island residents and businesses held over two weeks in November. We polled approximately 450 locals who joined us through a public website, via flyers at grocery stores and bulletin boards, word of mouth and social media.
The survey had a 42% response rate, representing 189 individuals of diverse ages and occupations from Salt Spring, Galiano, Mayne, Pender, and others. Thanks to all those who participated. You can see full survey results here.
Since that poll, we’ve grown to more than 1000 members strong.
If you like what we’re doing, please share this with your families, friends and neighbours and ask them to join us.
A selection of your comments has also been included below.
- 85% of respondents said the Islands Trust Draft Policy Statement should be deferred until the next municipal election mandate in Oct. 2022
- 69.3% say “scrap it” entirely
- 58.7% of respondents demand a grassroots consultation, but, at the same time, 75% are not confident the Trust will integrate community concerns into a new Draft Policy.
- The majority of respondents learned about the policy from their neighbours through word of mouth (50.3%) or a neighbour’s email (43.4%), followed by social media (18%) or their local newspaper (16.9%).
- Only 15.3% identified the Islands Trust as their source of news on the proposed new mandate.
- 74.1% were “strongly opposed” to the new Draft Policy Statement, stemming from the belief the Islands Trust used a top-down, secretive process to ram through 51 new directives, including:
banning desalinization despite chronic water shortages
prohibiting new docks in areas with poor ferry service,
disallowing tiny homes in a housing crisis,
retail options or
the ability to cut a single, diseased tree on your property, .
Islands Trust suggesting heavy-handed intervention on tree cutting despite the act a recent environmental consultant report found only 1.5% of the Gulf Islands had any evidence of “deforestation”. See Chart.
- Despite the range and importance of the proposed planning issues, 78.3% said the Island Trust Public Engagement to date has been “very poor”.
- Affordable or Workforce Housing was cited by 24.9% as a key challenge facing the Gulf Islands. While this is similar to other regions in BC and Canada, 35.4% pointed to the Islands Trust, Regional Governance, Local Government, Capital Regional District as the biggest obstacle to solving these issues.
Ranked in order of importance, people were most concerned with impacts on the following areas of their lives and livelihoods. Multiple answers were permitted.
Tree Cutting: a new requirement for every landowner to pay for a permit to cut a tree on private property (84.1%)
Taxation: taxes on local residents and businesses will substantially rise to support this expanded Islands Trust mandate that is proposing to include climate change, affordable housing and Indigenous reconciliation normally addressed by higher levels of government (83.1%)
Top-down approach to engagement: presenting a fully baked plan with little opportunity for input/changes (82%)
Moratorium on new public docks despite the lack of or limited ferry service between islands. People rely on boats to buy groceries, visit hospitals, or evacuate in emergencies (76.7%)
Doesn't recognize the uniqueness of each island (75.1%)
Livelihood: restrict local businesses, retailers, tourism, hotels, short-term rentals, farming, artists/artisans (69.3%)
Prohibition of desalinization plants that would help increase freshwater supply (64%)
Housing: size limits would decrease seasonal housing & rental housing options (63%)
Farming & Agriculture Restrictions: Island communities rely on local farming produce for their livelihood and food, as well as tourism opportunities with farm-based B&B (62.4%)
Heritage and Sustainability Values Defined by the Islands Trust not Individual Community Plans (49.7%)
These poll results were shared in a media release and a letter to all the trustees on your behalf.
We are inviting them to meet with us to discuss a collaborative way forward. We’ll keep you posted.
“I asked what was the cost of the implications of the trust's decision...was promised an answer, never got it.”
“The Policy Revision places way too much control in the hands of the un-elected and unaccountable staff in Victoria.”
“Islands Trust needs to stick with its original mandate of land use and not try and expand its purview into areas of jurisdiction of other government agencies.”
“This is big brother at its worst.”
“The Trust needs to decide if Salt Spring is to be a tourist destination and pro-business or a nature reserve. There is a middle way!”
“Banning of docks, for those who use boats for work, community and helping neighbours, is absurd.”
“If people need to build on their land, let them! People should be able to make housing to rent which in turn will give jobs.”
We’re always seeking new volunteers to share their stories, speak at events or to the media as well as financial contributions to help defray costs of advertising, website, flyers, etc. Please email email@example.com if you’re able to help in some way. Don’t forget to follow our Facebook and Instagram channels in the links below for news and views.
Stay informed on the latest news about the Islands Trust Draft Policy Statement.
© 2021 Southern Gulf Islands Coalition