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Tim Peterson

Islands Trustee

Greetings all, There has been a lot of discussion about the proposed Islands Trust Policy Statement revision, and some asks of the Province, including tree cutting regulatory powers. While I was surprised to hear the Chair state at our April 11th meeting that Trust Council could in theory impose such restrictions for the whole Trust Area, I was reassured by referring back to the ask  “Amendment sought: Change in regulation by order-in-council. Lieutenant Governor in Council may make s. 8(3)(c) of the Community Charter apply to LTCs under s.53(2)(j) of the Islands Trust Act." I asked CAO Hotsenpiller if he agreed with my assessment that since the request specifically mentions LTCs, not Trust Council, that this would mean that such regulatory authority, if granted by the Province, would be strictly a local matter. He replied, “My view of this is that you are correct.  LTCs that did not develop and pass a ‘tree protection bylaw’ would not have to comply with a regional approach for same.” In mid-April, the Province announced that it would not grant the same powers to Regional Districts, in reply to a request from the Union of BC Municipalities. As reported in the  Gabriola Sounder, April 6, 2022, “A key challenge is that the context of urban tree management in municipalities and tree management in the rural areas of regional districts is different, with the latter more directly raising the potential for conflict with forestry values,” the Ministry of Municipal Affairs responded. Based on this response, I don’t see how the Province could justify denying Regional Districts, and then granting these powers to Islands Trust.

There have also been questions about leaving the Islands Trust altogether. This would require the Province agreeing to amend the Islands Trust Act, as there is currently no opt-out option in the Act.

The workings of Trust Council are often deemed of not much interest, and I almost never get any questions about the parts of my Trustee Notes that refer to Council and Committees. That being said, I will continue to report on items I think may be of interest, and to do so using the plainest language I can. Public engagement at any level of government has challenges, and Trust Council can certainly improve the way it communicates to the residents and landowners of the Trust Area. This is something I will continue to advocate for at Council and in Committees.

Our next Local Trust Committee meeting is  June 6th. In the meantime, please feel free to contact your Trustees with your questions, comments, or concerns.

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