Planning for island life in 2050

Scott Colbourne

Gabriola Island Trustee

Wednesday, October 16 2019

It’s been a year full of learning for me as a rookie Trustee representing Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy on the Islands Trust.

I have learned a lot working with fellow Gabriola Trustee Kees Langereis and the Chair of our Local Trust Committee, Dan Rogers from Keats Island.

At Trust Council, when the 26 Trustees representing 13 groupings of islands meet and debate, I’ve learned that unanimous declarations -- to declare a climate crisis and our commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples -- can help shape the strategic direction of a special-purpose federation such as the Trust.

At the most recent Council meeting in September, as we debated adding affordable housing to Trust Council’s interim strategic plan, which we eventually did, I even learned that I’m the lone renter among those 26 Trustees. 

Who knew?

But there’s something I’m still coming to terms with: What the heck is the Islands Trust and what does it do?

Luckily, I’m not alone. And for the first time in decades, the Islands Trust is asking those questions of the real experts: islanders, the First Nations who have lived here since time immemorial, and everyone who cares for and about these special places in the Salish Sea. It’s an engagement project called Islands 2050, and its purpose is to update the Trust’s Policy Statement.

That Statement essentially puts the Trust’s mandate from the Province -- to preserve and protect the environment and unique amenities of these islands for the benefit of all British Columbians -- into action. It informs Official Community Plans and by-laws, but it needs an update to plan for the decades ahead.

To have your say on that plan -- or to simply check out the cool storyboards about the history and current state of these islands -- please join us for an Islands 2050 open house and community discussion on Thursday Oct. 24 at Gabriola’s Arts & Heritage Centre (6:30pm-8:30pm).

The next Local Trust Committee meeting, on Oct. 24 at the Rollo Centre, is a very special one. It’s starts at 3pm, parents and children are welcome, and at 5:30pm we’ll be sharing food and refreshments and celebrating Snuneymuxw Elder Geraldine Manson, the recipient of the Islands Trust Community Stewardship Award for Enduring Achievement. Visit IslandsTrust.bc.ca to learn more and RSVP for the celebration.