Viewpoint: Trust CDF project input welcomed

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By PETER LUCKHAM

As the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SSILTC) looks forward to 2021, we strongly feel the need to tell the community we are listening. 

In 2020, our Protection of Coastal Douglas-Fir and Associated Ecosystems Project got the community talking. As we head into a new year, the SSILTC wants everyone to know we want to hear from you. There will be many things to talk about: developing a Ganges village area plan, considering the regulatory and policy framework for drinking water watersheds, amending the island’s official community plan and land use bylaw to address housing issues, and ensuring we continue the important work of reconciliation. 

Forest ecosystems and the species they support have been culturally and spiritually important to the First Peoples of this region since time immemorial and are critically important to the well-being of the islands and the people who live there. It is crucial that decisions about how best to protect them into the future are well-informed by a variety of perspectives. As 2020 closes, we want to set out the facts of the Protection of Coastal Douglas-Fir and Associated Ecosystems Project and our commitment to hearing from the public, conservation groups, foresters, outdoor enthusiasts, and to engaging with First Nations. 

The Protection of Coastal Douglas-Fir and Associated Ecosystems Project is a two-year project that aims to maintain contiguous forest cover, protect and restore functioning ecosystems, protect watershed ecology, honour First Nations’ cultural heritage and minimize wildfire risk. Currently, in phase one, we are gathering and analyzing information. We are working with local scientists and First Nations knowledge holders to identify the areas of highest interest for protection. The SSILTC and islanders have a suite of options to consider, including education, advocacy, regulation and incentives. At this time, the Local Trust Committee has not instructed staff to draft bylaws. 

Throughout every phase of this project, and indeed, every project we take on, we will seek and consider input from the public and stakeholders, and will engage First Nations. We want to hear from those who rely on forestry for their economic livelihood, and those who have concerns about forestry practices and development practices that degrade ecosystem health. 

The SSILTC will be providing engagement opportunities throughout 2021 about this project and the others we have underway. We look forward to hearing from the community and First Nations and hope that sometime this year we can gather again safely in person to have these conversations. 

Islands Trust staff are available to provide details on the project, and local trustees are keen to hear from you. Please contact the Local Trust Committee at ssiinfo@islandstrust.bc.ca, or staff at the Islands Trust office at 250-537-9144. Background information is available at www.islandstrust.bc.ca/cdfssi

The writer chairs the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee and Islands Trust Council.

1 Comment
  1. AP Dorazio says

    Peter, thank you for your viewpoint on CDF and other topics.
    Firstly, I would like to thank you for the work that you do as a trustee and a difficult balancing act at that.
    I do not feel that at the outset of the CDF Project that the Trust has been listening as is often claimed.
    The CDF Project has been initiated in a biased way from the outset and is still being presented in that way.
    Take your statement above. “We want to hear from those who rely on forestry for their economic livelihood, and those who have concerns about forestry practices and development practices that degrade ecosystem health.”
    Pardon me. You are excluding the vast majority of Islanders who also care about our eco-systems yet do not fit into your select and singled-out groups. The majority of us are most likely not interested in solving the problems created by a few property owners in a manner that regulates every one of us in one fell swoop or by regulations that more significantly pertain to others, and only to realize at a later date that we need more regulations to fix the CDF regulations which were put in place as they actually created more problems than they solved.
    I also notice that you stated; “At this time, the Local Trust Committee has not instructed staff to draft bylaws.”
    That is good as a Bylaw approach is not what the ordinary home-owner is in need of.
    Besides playing with the rights of the ordinary and non-logging average lot owner, you are attempting to upset a very delicate economic balance in our community.
    There are bigger problems that we face.
    Defining the CDF problem incorrectly is one of them and likely to cause decades of more harm than the good it was intended to create.
    We often give lip service to the problems of rental housing and affordable housing in our community, yet these problems are a direct result of over-regulated Trust Bylaws which prevent these same problems from being solved. Remove these obstacles from the Trust, or put a more realistic policy in place, and these problems will see instant solutions – yes instant.
    Thank you for listening.
    AP

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