The following statement was issued by Salt Spring Island trustees Laura Patrick and Peter Grove at the June 29 Salt Spring Local Trust Committee meeting, in relation to the Islands Trust Policy Statement update process.
We are concerned about the level of tension that has arisen in this community regarding the upcoming July 8 Trust Council meeting. At that meeting, consideration will be given for a first reading of a bylaw that is introducing a draft of the Islands Trust Policy Statement, which is undergoing an update to address reconciliation, climate change and affordable housing.
Islands Trust staff have done what trustees asked them to do with the limited resources allocated to them and in COVID times, to provide an update to the Policy Statement. Criticism of staff is unwarranted. We have heard from some members of the public loud and clear that they have deep concerns and do not feel they were appropriately consulted. As well, people want to understand the implications of the proposed changes and how a federation level policy statement gets translated to the local level in the official community plan and land use bylaws.
At this juncture, faith in the process is diminished and there is no way we can just put our heads down and forge ahead.
At the July 8 Trust Council meeting, to restore faith in the process and in the Islands Trust, your locally elected Salt Spring trustees will propose that the current process be paused with the receipt of the draft while Trust Council reevaluates its public consultation plans. We believe an additional phase of consultation should be added to develop a draft Policy Statement that both honours Trust Council’s Reconciliation Declaration and that can be supported by island residents.
This additional phase of consultation needs to be appropriately resourced to facilitate a deliberative dialogue at both the federation and local island level.