Update on Islands Trust Policy Statement and Tree Cutting

Yesterday, at the Trust Council meeting, a number of changes were approved to the draft Trust Policy Statement. The policies advocating for authority to regulate tree cutting have been removed, along with removal of the ban on desalination, and a redrafting of other controversial policies on private docks, and seawalls.  This means that there is now no request to the Province for regional tree cutting authority. The request to the Province to allow for Local Trust Committees to have tree cutting regulatory authority remains, however, the wording of that request makes it clear that, should the Province grant those powers, it will be up to each Local Trust Area to decide whether or not to create tree cutting bylaws. 

This decision clarifies the autonomy of Local Trust Committees for any potential tree cutting regulation, which is more in line with the majority of public commentary and Trustees. Although a new Trust Council may choose to revisit this decision in the future, for the time being those concerned about regional tree cutting regulation can have some confidence that no request for such authority is imminent. 

Other changes to the draft include a reformat of the draft to simplify the structure and shorten the length to improve readability, and to develop a Glossary of Terms used in the Trust Policy Statement to be an appendix to that document.

If you have questions or concerns about this or any other issue concerning the Policy Statement, please feel free to reach out to me, and I’d be happy to discuss it with you.

Tim Peterson   250-607-7094   tpeterson [at] islandstrust [dot] bc [dot] ca


slightly different understanding

My understanding is somewhat different from Tim's. Trust Council did not make any changes to the draft Policy Statement. We asked staff to prepare some changes to the structure and the text for the next Trust Council to consider. The changes we recommended to them will be considered by the committee, the executive committee and then the next Trust Council. I presume that they will make reasonable decisions, and there will be consultation with the public as part of the process of adopting a revised Policy Statement

The request from the Islands Trust to the government for some sort of power to regulate tree cutting is still in place. I expect that the government will seriously consider this request, and will deal with it fairly sensibly. I doubt that they will give the same powers as municipalities have, and I doubt that they will give up provincial control over logging in the Trust area. Some Trust areas now have Development Permit Areas that regulate tree cutting within the designated area.

Please remember that each Local Trust Committee has authority to regulate their area as they and their community see fit, as long as the overall mandate of the Trust to preserve and protect is followed. At this point, the Policy Statement requires Local Trust Committees to address issues in the Directive policies. It does not prescribe how they must be addressed, just that they must be addressed.

There is a tendency towards centralization, but there are still 13 independent Local Trust Committees, each with two locally elected trustees and one outside chair from the Executive Committee. Each of the EC members is a locally elected trustee from one of the Trust areas, and they are elected by Trust Council to serve as EC members.

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