Gabriola LTC asking Trust Council for $36,000 to fund next phases of housing options and impacts project

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, March 4 2020

The Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee will be asking the Islands Trust Council to provide $36,000 over the next two fiscal years to move forward the Housing Options and Impacts Review Project.

$24,000 is requested for the 2020-2021 fiscal year; and the remaining $12,000 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Three motions were passed at the Gabriola Local Trust Committee meeting on February 27.

The first one, that the LTC endorse the “February 2020 Engagement Strategy” text as presented; and request staff to post the Engagement Strategy to the project website, was approved with votes in favour by Chair Dan Rogers and Trustee Scott Colbourne. Trustee Kees Langereis abstained.

Langereis was the voice of opposition for the next two motions which endorsed the amended, “Housing Options and Impacts Review Project Charter,” and requested staff to prepare a work plan to then request the funding from Trust Council.

In the report to the LTC, staff state the budget estimates for the 2020-2021 fiscal would allow for robust public engagement activities and the true cost financing to develop a comprehensive groundwater sustainability plan to inform the project’s final policy and regulatory options. 

The groundwater sustainability work proposed to be completed under the supervision of the Islands Trust freshwater specialist includes four phases of work. A detailed project plan would be prepared for LTC review once budget approval was confirmed. 

The first three phases could be completed in fiscal 2020-2021 and the final phase in fiscal 2021-2022:

- Phase 1: Definitions, Delineations, and Data Management

- Phase 2: Groundwater Recharge Potential Mapping

- Phase 3: Regional Groundwater Assessments and Climate Change Analysis

- Phase 4: Groundwater Policy and Sustainability Planning

According to staff, the housing project is unique across the Trust federation, as it is the only current LTC top priority project intentionally designed to review and evaluate policy and regulatory options across multiple competing community priorities in the housing and environmental sectors. 

The project may result in progressive updates to the Gabriola Official Community Plan and Land Use Bylaw to support housing diversity, demonstrate social innovation in engagement techniques and effect positive change in how land use planning is conducted on Gabriola Island. 

Other LTC projects could benefit greatly by the templates being created with this project’s charter, engagement strategy, establishment of an HAPC and development of policies and regulations.

The Funding for the Housing Project will be subject to Trust Council’s approval. Trust Council will be meeting March 10 to 12 on Salt Spring Island.