Trustees explore ways Islands Trust could do more


Islands Trust Council dove deep at its quarterly meeting in Victoria last week to contemplate changes that could be made to its powers with and without amending the Islands Trust Act.

The exercise arose from a council motion made one year ago and expanded to identify about 20 areas where the Trust could explore making changes.

“We took the top 20 or so and gathered some information around them,” explained Trust chief administrative officer Russ Hotsenpiller in introducing an “open space” exercise for trustee. “For some, however, and particularly one or two of the potential amendments, there’s been so much work done over such a long period of time that’s it not really a question of will these go forward or not. A lot of that work has already occurred.”

Hotsenpiller was referring to a request to change the corporate structure and name of the Trust Fund Board — the land-and-covenant-holding arm of the Islands Trust — to better reflect its land conservation activities, and to add “First Nations” to the list of those with whom the Trust works “in cooperation.”

Council has also discussed seeking provincial government funding for the Trust Fund Board rather than having costs covered entirely by Trust-area property tax requisitions.

Other ideas proposed for feedback purposes ranged from seeking the ability to acquire land for affordable housing purposes to bringing in business licences — mainly to help regulate short-term vacation rentals — and pursuing tree-cutting regulations. Allowing Salt Spring Island to have four trustees instead of the two granted all islands was another item up for discussion.

For more on this story, see the Dec. 13, 2017 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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