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News Alert! What YOU need to know as a resident residing under the Islands Trust.
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, ban desalination, threaten the livelihoods of local small businesses and artisans. Sadly, most people have not taken the time to read the latest Draft Policy Statement.
YOU Need to GET involved. Thank you!
First and foremost, we would like to draw your attention to Islands Trust seeks input on its proposed 2022/23 budget. This has a February 6th deadline. Please complete asap.
TO COMPLETE THE ISLANDS TRUST BUDGET SURVEY
The Island Trust budget process is not complete yet – we still have an opportunity to make sure that our message gets through clearly.
Complete the Islands Trust Budget Survey. Deadline is Feb. 6th 11:59 pm. The QR code is at the bottom of the page.
- Forward this email ASAP to all your island friends to act on now. Each member of a household can submit a survey response by using separate devices and email addresses.
- Do not assume for a minute that anyone has received it or will complete it. We need to push all our circles to complete the survey.
- If you already filled out the “2 Simple Questions” Citizen Survey – DO THIS THIS ISLANDS
TRUST BUDGET SURVEY TOO please.
Use your camera to open the Islands Trust Budget Survey
YOU need to GET informed. Thank you!
JANUARY 21, 2022 – CRITIQUE ON ISLANDS TRUST DRAFT BUDGET
BY FINANCE PROFESSIONAL & VOLUNTEER JEFF GREEN
The Trust is asking for a $9.1 million budget. The increase (5%) is to largely to conduct additional studies, hire new staff (e.g., endangered species specialist) and expand their mandate into several new areas (marine management, housing, climate change, endangered species). Most of these regulatory areas are already handled and done well by provincial and federal agencies.
The Trust, even with hiring, does not have the knowledge, expertise, experience or resources to
take on these roles. Plus these new areas are outside the Trust’s core mandate of land planning, development review and permitting, and managing the Trust Conservancy areas. The Trust should be advocating in these new areas — as directed in their Act — not expanding roles and staffing.
The Islands Trust levy in our taxes has increased from $2.1 MILLION in 1994/95 to $7.1 MILLION last year (2020/21). That is over a 300% increase in 28 years.
The proposed increase this year does not include the multiple additional areas the Trust is trying to
secure in the new Draft Policy Bylaw, so next year’s budget increase will likely be even higher.
The Islands Trust only plans and reviews development applications. Other than bylaw enforcement, the Trust is NOT responsible for any physical improvements or maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, bicycle trails, parks, schools, hospitals and medical clinics, paramedics, policing, fire response and the other services that make our community work.
I leave you to your own decisions on the budget. I indicated I support a decrease for almost all areas with staying the same for several areas (I.e., conservation areas). I think the Trust is out of control and needs to be reminded of who they serve and how. Jeff Green
This is the 2 minute talk John Money gave to the Islands Trust Select Committee last week: My name is John Money, and I was a Trustee for 21 years and on the Executive for 6 years.
The Islands Trust was created to supply planning services to 13 island communities in the southern & central Salish Sea. I believe all, except maybe 1, already had their Official Community Plan & Land Use By-laws in place.
These Plans were created with the planner help of several Regional Districts.
The Islands Trust was created to make a federation of these different island communities. Their very different Official Community Plans and Land Use By-laws were tied together because they are islands.
The Islands Trust was charged to help conserve the unique amenities in the area while supplying planning services. The flora and fauna in all these gulf islands is very similar, transportation problems are similar…..the real uniqueness comes from each and every different community.
The Islands Trust has lost its way.
- They are trying to create a Policy Statement that strips the goals and individuality of each and every community and their individual Official Community Plans and Land Use By-laws without proper community input.
- They have lost focus on supplying planning services and become a tax payer funded
advocacy group stripping the property rights given to land owners by their Official
Community Plans & Land Use By-laws.
- They show no concern for community health or an economic base. Their bloated budget is growing at an alarming rate while development and land use applications are becoming less and less!
The Islands Trust is no longer supplying proper governance in the Gulf Islands in my opinion.
John Money, Saturna Island
“Ten percent cut backs are always opposed but HAVE been successfully imposed–so take a look at personnel costs versus services delivered.” Pat Carney, former senator
Subject: Questions for tonight’s webinar on IT Budget Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2022 From:Pat Carney
To:Peter Luckham email@example.com
CC:Paul S Brent <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lee Middleton <email@example.com> Dear Peter.
Great virtual presentation on budget tonight. You and staff did good job on answers. I hope you
continue using virtual presentations. Two notes.
First despite the comments of your financial person some of us DID read in detail the actual budget and comparison with previous years and many of our questions were asked and answered. It insults the audience to suggest otherwise!
Second I was president (first woman) of federal Treasury Board back in the day. Ten percent cut backs are always opposed but HAVE been successfully imposed–so take a look at personnel costs versus services delivered.
Please note that my questions below which relate to what areas are covered in budget planning were NOT addressed. I waited until all Q and A’s were answered. Two hours later I need that one scotch and supper! Pat Carney PC, former senator, Saturna Island.
Wasteful expenditures. Nothing has changed in 16 years. (Mar 2020)
I am here today speaking on behalf of all property owners in the Trust Area who are or should be outraged at the state of affairs of application processing in the Trust Area as I outlined in my recent letter to you all. As a taxpayer I was shocked last year to find just how poorly the Trust has been operating when it comes to processing land use applications, and, the resulting impact on taxes.
To be clear, when I say “the Trust” I am collectively referring to the corporate body, Trust Council, its appointed CAO, the provincial government employees employed as planning staff, including the Director of Local Planning Services and the Regional Planning Managers, all of whom have a
statutory duty to follow established Trust Policies. In 2004 I was likewise shocked to find the average cost of processing an application within the Trust Area was $17,000. When I brought the matter to the attention of Trust Council senior staff could not provide a substantial explanation of why it was costing so much, or where the time was being spent. I recommended to Council that time tracking software be purchased and implemented, and, I understand my recommendation was followed in 2006 after I left office. However, at the time there was already Trust Policy, established circa 1993 through 1996, which should have acted as a failsafe to protect taxpayers. However, that failsafe has failed because the Policy has not been followed by Staff, and, has been ignored by Trust Council as a whole. As a result of that failure, I estimate that over $20 million of subsidy to development within the Trust Area has been inappropriately placed on the backs of the very same taxpayers who elected every local trustee sitting around this table to represent their best interests…as local trustees who have a duty to ensure the trust placed in their elected representative is upheld and not broken. Ok It was
reported to you last year at this time that 92.7%, or $2,092,000, of the cost of application processing was paid by taxpayers. How much should have been paid by taxpayers if the failsafe Trust Policies were followed? Zero dollars. How then has this been allowed to continue since 2004 when I first rang the alarm on behalf of those I represented? Eric Booth, Trustee 2002-2005
Please use your camera to open the links to more letters.
Right now, despite perhaps best intentions, we have a document very much divorced from the needs of the islands’ ecology and people that cannot serve as a policy guide to 2050.” Lee Middleton, Saturna Island Trustee
More Letters can be found here:
Your future is at stake here. Thank you for participating and considering taking action. Stay well. Stay strong.
-Ron Spencer, Jamie Harris, Mary Beth Rondeau, Mairead Boland
on behalf of the
—Southern Gulf Islands Resident & Business Coalition (SGIRBC)