Letter: Dear Editor and Trustees,

Tuesday, March 21 2017

Sadly, according to the Sounder’s March 7 lead story, I haven’t misunderstood the situation.

The Local Trust Committee really has proposed allowing kitchens and bathrooms in every accessory building – of which every lot owner is entitled to three – on every lot on Gabriola. 

And to be clear, this actually means any kind of kitchen – not just commercial ones – because this move will be made by reversing a current bylaw that disallows kitchens and bathrooms in accessory buildings. 

The Sounder also quotes staff to say the illegal dwellings resulting from this reversal can be policed by the rat-out-your-neighbours regulatory system – perhaps because that approach has worked so well on this problem up till now. 

I realise it’s not easy to prevent people from creating illegal dwellings and concomitant ersatz densities. And I doubt anyone will deny that what has been affectionately known as the “toilet bylaw” was extreme. 

However flip-flopping into complete surrender to bad building behaviour is not the solution. Especially if one believes, as the Trust once did, that such dilemmas should be resolved in the environment’s favour. 

My dilemma is that I’ve been trying – clearly with only relative success – to ignore what the LTC is doing. After years of being “The Shingle” I’ve burnt out on following the Trust. 

But I’ve also felt a sense of responsibility to my beloved Gabriola’s well-being; to keeping her healthy for future generations. 

So since I first read about this proposal I’ve been conflicted – wondering, with a sense of deepening dread, if I shouldn’t be paying closer attention to Trust meetings, given that the LTC seems to be about to make what I believe is a really bad decision. 

A really, really bad decision! 

Then I read the Sounder editorial defending that decision. 

And it reminded me: not only that I am getting old, but that you – the Sounder, the current local Trust administration, and the cohorts thereof – not only are those future generations, but are also now the lead generations on Gabriola.

 It is you who will have to deal with the results of that decision, and you who will inherit poor old Gabriola’s likely soon-to-be even more sewage-sodden, water-challenged, illegally over-densified earth. 

So I’m thinking I won’t stop ignoring the LTC after all. I’ll just start ignoring the Sounder as well. 

It’s quite a liberating thought. 

Yours in retirement,

~ Chris Bowers