Summary Report on the Islands Trust Public Forums: These Islands of Ours … Framing our Common Future     September 1992

Apology for the odd formatting. This was from a typewritten paper copy. If you want to see the whole report, including summaries from each island community, search the Trust web site  www.islandstrust.bc.ca  for the title as above.

4.6 Lasqueti Island

July 10, Community Hall

Attendance: 42 at sign in; 45 in circle discussion

Some 70 people attended the evening public forum at the Community Hall (many did not

sign in).

In an initial round of questions, a number of participants aired their frustrations about the

role of the Trust in constraining development opportunities on the island. Others however,

supported the Trust mandate and argued that the Trust should have more authority to

preserve and protect.

The initial brainstorm identified a wide range of values. The opportunity for individuals to

lead their own chosen lifestyle emerged as a strong theme, and a number of participants

emphasized that they valued the absence of inspectors and enforcement officers. Other

participants valued the peaceful environment, a feeling of safety and community, and an

affordable lifestyle. Most participants agreed that the low densIty and low population were

important attributes that they wished to maintain.

During the discussion of hopes and fears, some participants expressed concern that the Islands Trust was imposing regulations and that the community's wishes were not being heard.

There were a number of strongly voiced opinions arguing that the Trust was becoming too

bureaucratic and was charging unreasonably high taxes. Others challenged this viewpoInt,

suggesting that the Trust should be empowered to deal with services such as highways, water supply, and forests so that the planning function for the island could be combined with the maintenance function. During the triads and circle discussion, these opposing viewpoints

were explored more fully and a number of key issues were identified.

Most participants agreed that the community should have more say in the future

development of the island. It was suggested that Lasqueti be considered unique and that Trust planning initiatives for the island be tailored accordingly. It was also suggested that the

planner resp.onsible for the island be encouraged to spend more time.in the community and

that a more Intense process be used to develop the OffIcial Community Plan.

Population growth and its potential impact on forests, water and wildlife was highlighted as

an area of concern. Participants also feared that a dramatic increase in population would

undermine the sense of community. One participant suggested that this could be partially

offset by hosting more community events to promote a sense of sharing. Some participants

raised concerns that rising population would, in turn, result in further regulations and further

restrictions on personal property rights. It was argued that such changes be resisted by

maintaining the passenger-only ferry service as a disincentive, and by not paving the roads.

A number of points were raised regarding economic opportunities on the island. Some

participants argued that a thriving economic base was essential in order to ensure stability of the community and to provide an alternative to earning a living through real estate

development and speculation. The need for attractive economic opportunities for young

people was also recognized.

Conservation and ecological sustainability were raised as important issues and it was

suggested that Lasqueti was in the enviable position of having the most varied forest cover of all the Gulf Islands. Limited groundwater was identified as a key concern although opinions differed as to whether there actually was a potential water shortage on the island and whether saline intrusions had actually occurred. Other environmental pressures from beyond Lasqueti, such as acid rain and marine pollution, were mentioned briefly.

The forum closed with a lengthy discussion of strategies and initiatives to resolve outstanding differences, encourage communication and build a stronger sense of cohesion in the community. As a symbolic gesture, some participants invited others who held different

points of view to share a meal with them and to discuss the future together. Many

participants supported the idea of .working towards agreement on !he ideal population for the Island, and learning to deal with differing points of view and conflict more constructively.

One participant suggested that community land trusts be promoted as a focus of these

collaborative efforts.

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