RE: Trustee’s frustration with ALC

Tuesday, March 13 2018

 In the previous Sounder, our Local Trust Committee (LTC) was reportedly blaming the Staff of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for the Proposed Bylaw 293 debacle. In my opinion, the finger of blame should squarely point to Trust Staff and by no means do I solely mean our local Staff. As early as July 2017, several Gabriolans clearly understood the housing policy on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) lands, including the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce in its referral response to the Trust Committee. So why would Staff recommend to the LTC to give Second Reading to a Proposed Bylaw that was inconsistent with the ALC housing policy on all ALR lands on Gabriola of 4.94 acres or more?

In the recent past, on North Pender, Salt Spring, Galiano and Gabriola, Trust Staff (from three different offices) recommended Bylaw Readings inconsistent with the ALC Act, regulation or order of the ALC. How many more Islands in the Trust have experienced the same thing and why? I only know of the four so far. Is this Islands Trust Policy?

It seems that public pressure was instrumental in a reversal of Trust Staff position on three Islands, ours included. Unfortunately the Galiano Island Bylaw was adopted but will not be legal unless or until it has received approval from the Agricultural Land Commission: the proverbial “cart before the horse” scenario.  What is the point in passing a bylaw that you know to be inconsistent with ALR regulations on the off-chance that it might be approved after the fact?

Had there been no public pressure, where would these Proposed Bylaws be today? If challenged in Court they would have been found to have “no force or effect” (AC ACT) but what happens in the meantime? What happens when development takes place that is allowed in the Bylaw but not in the ALR regulations if the ALC never approved it? 

We should never be in a situation where islanders and/or Island organizations have to sue the Trust for passing bylaws that are inconsistent with provincial goals and legislation…And why are the planners recommending that local trust committees pass bylaws that have no legal effect? Are they getting bad advice or direction and if so, from whom?

Regards,

~ Jacinthe Eastick, Gabriola Island