Letter to Peter Luckham, Chair of the Islands Trust Council

Tuesday, December 8 2015

Dear Mr. Luckham,

I am shocked, dismayed and generally frustrated to find that Gabriola’s Local Trust Committee (LTC) has decided to proceed with approval of the above policy despite the opposition by local residents.

It is obvious from an outsiders perspective that due process has very little meaning and effectively has been ignored for the simple fact that a small number of individuals adamantly pushing through their own agenda to meet their personal objective.

It has also come to my attention that a number of LTC members have a personal vested interest to see that dog sitting permitted use is passed since they themselves, are dog owners. If this is the case, shouldn’t these LTC members recuse themselves due to potential conflict of interest? It is my understanding under the Island Trust Act, appointed members are supposed to serve for the best interest of “all”, not just the few.

What is more frustrating is the fact that this entire process to engage public feedback was virtually ignored including making the public aware that in fact this policy was even on the table in the first place. A number of individuals have tried to solicit feedback from the LTC regarding;

- Provide certifiable quantitative rationale and reasons of why there is a need to make ‘boarding of dogs’ a broad policy on all properties

- Public/neighbourhood engagement to solicit input from what individuals thought about ‘boarding’ in their neighbourhood, especially on clustered lots throughout the Island

- Noise bylaws, what and how they would be enforced

- Increased animal waste and potential environmental and ground/well contamination

As a landowner on Gabriola, I for one do not cherish the thought of having a neighbour with a number of dogs on any given day run free on his/her property or neighbourhood with potential ongoing noise, disturbances and disruptions. We are on the Island for the simple fact to get away from noise and interruptions to enjoy our tranquil surroundings. 

We all know that no matter what restrictions, special bylaws or other forms of governance is legislated for boarding owners, the real issue is who will enforce, check and regulate non-conformance owners to ensure the peace, quiet and integrity of neighbourhoods are maintained.

It is my recommendation that the Island Trust revisit the boarding policy with the local LTC and provide factual quantifiable reasons of why there would be a need for this policy now and in the future. I also recommend to engage the public in a more meaningful democratic process to encourage feedback on this issue. It is quite clear from talking with other Gabriola owners/residents regarding this issue that there appears to be no need for this policy. There are over 4,000 full time residents on the Island. I find it difficult to fathom that a dog boarding policy is warranted given the size of the community. In fact it would be interesting to see other neighbouring communities if they have policies such as this in place.

Respectfully

Marc Herrmann