Tuesday, September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023

Court upholds Trust forest bylaws on Galiano  

Another victory for Galiano’s Local Trust Committee (LTC) came in B.C. Supreme Court, as a judge has once again upheld the LTC’s authority to regulate construction on forest land.  

Justice Alan M. Ross dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of property owners on its merits Tuesday, Aug. 1. The Galiano Forest Lot Owners Association, Preston Family Forest Ltd., Olaf Knezevic, Winstanley Forest Ltd. and Boscher Construction Ltd. had argued that the LTC lacked jurisdiction over parcels they owned, provincially classified as “managed forest land.”   

Galiano trustees passed a bylaw in 1992 prohibiting construction of dwellings on properties zoned forest land on that island, updating the regulation in 2000 to allow for a single small residential building.   

In the meantime, the provincial government had legislated several changes to its regulations — “forest land reserves” became “private managed forest lands,” for example — and there were court challenges to the regulatory authority of Galiano’s LTC by multiple landowners; Justice Ross noted relevant petitions against the LTC in 1992, 1996 and 2009 were unsuccessful, despite appeals.  

In dismissing this petition, Justice Ross wrote the 2000 bylaw was reasonable, within the jurisdiction of the LTC, and not made unenforceable by provincial regulation passed since; the LTC was also awarded costs in the case, according to the decision.  

“We are pleased when the courts have upheld our bylaws,” said Islands Trust Council chair Peter Luckham, speaking at a meeting of the Trust’s executive committee Wednesday, Aug. 2 where the court result was shared.   

That committee directed staff to prepare a news release regarding the decision. 

UPDATE: That news release was issued Thursday, Aug. 24.


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