background and opinion on guest cabin survey and issue

I think it was unwise for our Local Trust Committee to put forward this survey.

I offer here some history, information and views on the Guest Cabin issue, in the hope that we can have discussions and exchange views and salvage something useful from this process. Use of guest cabins is a very important question, with huge impacts on our community and island.

In the early 70s there was a massive increase in subdivision of Gulf Islands properties into very small lots. The provincial government stepped in and imposed a 10 acre minimum subdivision freeze, and allowed each island community to consider what it thought best to do.

On Lasqueti we went through years-long discussions about what to permit on Lasqueti. We eventually decided that 10 acres was the least bad choice, and something that everyone could live with. Ten acres would generally provide space for a house and garden, firewood, privacy and probably water source and sewage disposal possibilities. As a concession, a guest cabin of limited size was added, but it was not to be used as a dwelling or residence. 

In 2008 the Islands Trust did a build-out examination on Lasqueti, to see how many lots and dwellings were permitted under our existing Official Community Plan and Land Use Bylaw, which permits one dwelling per lot, and one dwelling per 10 acres on larger lots on Lasqueti.  This map is at

There were then 376 existing lots. From the 186 larger lots with subdivision potential, a further 860 additional lots could be created, for a maximum of 1236 lots.

If each lot actually had a dwelling, there could be 1236 houses. I'm not sure what the average number of people is living in each house, but I expect that it is slightly over two. That means that there could be 2472 people living on Lasqueti. Probably many would be here part time, in the summer.  Unfortunately, this is also the time when water is in short supply, and when fire risk is highest, and space on the ferry is most in demand.

We should all be grateful for the large expanses of crown land (which could be privatized) and to our landowners who have not fully (or at all) "developed" their property. It allows those of us who live here to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Finally, I would like to observe that many of the changes in our community that I've seen since the mid 70s come not so much from the increase in the number of people here, but much more from our greater affluence and lifestyle demands. We move around a lot faster and more, and do bigger things more quickly.


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