Thoughts about the 2022/23 budget
The cost of the Islands’ Trust is too high, its programs expanding out of control, its connections to the communities it’s supposed to serve increasingly hostile.
Some thoughts about the budget could be scaled back:
Three-year moratorium on new hires.
Three-year moratorium on sponsorship applications other than Indigenous cultural ones.
Two-year moratorium on hiring of co-op students.
New projects for RPC/LTCs should be achievable in one fiscal year or deferred or dropped acknowledging that a new LTC/TC may have different priorities.
Planned work should be reduced to account for a ‘shortened’ year due to elections taking place in November 2022
Development application fees should cover a much larger share of the actual processing costs.
Development applications formerly processed through the Capital and Nanaimo Regional Districts (and maybe other RD’s) shouldn’t require pre-approval from the Islands’ Trust.
Cost-saving recommendations from the governance review should be implemented.
LTC projects should prioritize using staff, not consultants.
The Climate Indicators Project should be dropped as potential results re. global environmental impacts from one-half of one percent of BC’s population couldn’t justify the cost. The IT should publicly acknowledge its limitations in addressing this global problem.
The Freshwater Sustainability Strategy should be scaled back to the scope of the freshwater policy of the most progressive of our 7 Regional Districts, rather than the IT positioning itself to be “the most progressive regional government in British Canada (typo?) and indeed the country.” (Econics Consulting, 2021).
Limit of $5,000 to be awarded to community environmental initiatives authorized by Bill 26. These to be decided by community referendum. If community groups need additional funding, they should seek it through environmental organizations grants.
No more than one Planner and one Regional Planning Manager and a recorded should ever be allowed to attend a regular LTC meeting, in-person or electronically.
Numbers of Planners on staff should parallel numbers of Planners on staff in other jurisdictions of similar population.
Numbers of staff attending committee meetings should be limited.
More trustees are needed to promote democracy. Islands with over 1000 residents should have three elected trustees, and islands with over 4000 residents should have five. There would then be no need to have Executive Committee members serve as ties-breakers on at least 6 of the islands, and so EC members shouldn’t attend those meetings. The elected LTC Chair could report to the EC.
Elected trustees should serve as communication specialists, and the full-time Communication Specialist position should be dropped. At least three LTC meeting in each year should be replaced by a “Trust café” session, on a weekend or evening. These should serve coffee and cookies (or whatever), play music, other friendly things, and the trustees should explain in plain language what’s happening in the IT, including controversial issues and costs of programs. Trustees should include explanation of the governance structure of the IT, its jurisdiction, and what projects/problems are ongoing on other islands and how their LTC’s are coping with them.
Mapping initiatives should reflect need, not technological capability. If maps duplicate those made by other jurisdictions, the IT shouldn’t make them. If they haven’t been used for meaningful on-the-ground work in a year, they shouldn’t be updated until a need arises.
No public money should be spent on advocacy letter-writing to higher jurisdictions.
No staff time should be spent on paperwork exercises re. affordable housing that don’t directly generate new affordable housing.
The words “unique amenities” should be dropped from all IT language, too be replaced by “environmental, social, and economic amenities.”