In 1974, in recognition of the special nature of the islands in the southern Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound, the Government of British Columbia enacted the Islands Trust Act to protect this unique part of the world. This remarkable area is home to an exceptional variety of species of birds, fish, intertidal life, wildlife and plants. Outstanding scenery and recreational resources include panoramic viewpoints, sheltered bays with secluded beaches, protected marine waterways and anchorages and pastoral vistas. The islands also support strong communities characterized by a mix of lifestyles, livelihoods and individuals. Island residents join together to bring special skills and viewpoints to sustain a tradition of community involvement.
The Act also established the Islands Trust Conservancy as part of the Islands Trust that holds conservation covenants and nature reserves in support of the Islands Trust's goals.
To find out about the history of the Islands Trust Act, read more >>
Our Provincial Object
The reasons the province created the Islands Trust in 1974 are still valid today -
'to preserve and protect the trust area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of residents of the trust area and of the province generally, in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the Government of British Columbia'.
The Islands Trust Council is responsible for carrying out the Islands Trust's provincial object. The province approves the Islands Trust Policy Statement that guides the content of Official Community Plans and land use regulations throughout the Islands Trust Area. Each term, Trust Council also adopts a strategic plan to focus efforts in some priority areas related to the goals of the Policy Statement and adopts an annual budget to support planned activities.
What is the Islands Trust Area?
The Islands Trust Area covers the islands and waters between the British Columbia mainland and southern Vancouver Island, including Howe Sound and as far north as Comox. This is a unique and special place composed of 13 major islands and more than 450 smaller islands covering approximately 5200 square kilometres of land and water - an area almost the size of Prince Edward Island. About 26,000 people live on these islands and another 10,000 people are non-resident property-owners.
Find maps of the islands and surrounding waters.
What We Do
The Islands Trust achieves its mandate in several ways, with programs at both the local and the regional level.
At the local level, much of the work of the Islands Trust is carried out by local trust committees, a special-purpose form of local government, given authority for land use planning and regulation under the BC Local Government Act for the purpose of carrying out the Islands Trust's object. Local trust committees develop and adopt Official Community Plans and land use bylaws for each local trust area to carry out the policies expressed in the Islands Trust Policy Statement.
- Please visit the individual local trust area pages to find Official Community Plans, land use bylaws and related projects.
As the land conservation arm of the Islands Trust, the Islands Trust Conservancy also works at the regional level, helping island communities to protect special places throughout the Islands Trust Area. It accepts donations, grants and bequests of money, land and covenants in order to preserve and protect significant natural and cultural features in the Trust Area.
The islands of the Islands Trust Area are grouped into twelve 'local trust areas' (LTAs) and one 'island municipality'. Every four years, each island group elects two trustees to represent electors, when local elections are held throughout British Columbia. These twenty-six trustees sit on the Islands Trust Council, which in turn elects four of its members to sit on an Executive Committee.
With the exception of the two municipal trustees from Bowen Island, all trustees also sit on a local trust committee, a three-person body made up of two local trustees and a member of the Executive Committee appointed as chair. Read more about governance.
For more on the history of the Islands Trust please see The Islands Trust Story, written in 2009 by former trustee Peter Lamb.