The Islands Trust Act gives the Islands Trust responsibility for leading the preservation and protection of the Trust Area and invites the Islands Trust to cooperate with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia. It also requires Trust Council to adopt a Policy Statement with the policies it will use to achieve this goal.
The Policy Statement sets out the Island Trust's three main goals:
- Foster the preservation and protection of the Trust Area's ecosystems
- Ensure that human activity and the scale, rate and type of development in the Trust Area are compatible with maintenance of the integrity of Trust Area ecosystems
- Sustain island character and healthy communities
Overview and history of the Islands Trust Policy Statement: December 2015 PowerPoint presentation
Use of the Policy Statement
The Policy Statement is fundamental to the operations of the Islands Trust. It guides the development of land use planning and regulatory bylaws of local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality, as well as Trust Council's strategic plan and advocacy program. In some ways, it is similar to the Regional Growth Strategies that guide land use planning documents in other parts of British Columbia. Within the Islands Trust Area, Regional Growth Strategies do not apply; instead, official community plans and land use bylaws must be consistent with the Policy Statement.
Graphic: BC's Land Use Planning System - from Regional Vision to Local Regulation
The Policy Statement contains the principles and policies that guide the Islands Trust's work towards these goals. The guiding principles outline broad guidance for day-to-day planning and decision-making while the policies in the Policy Statement:
- establish a position or philosophy of Trust Council;
- direct local trust committees and island municipalities in the Trust Area to address certain matters; or
- recommend actions to other agencies and/or the public.
The Policy Statement is also used by external agencies such as the regional districts of the Trust Area and provincial agencies to determine if their plans and policies are compatible with those of Islands Trust.
History of the Policy Statement
The current Policy Statement was developed over a period of two years from 1991 to 1993, through a comprehensive public consultation process that generated a high level of public participation and interest. Trust Council considered input from individuals, groups and other government agencies through presentations and more than 400 written submissions that outlined values, hopes and concerns. The Islands Trust Council adopted the Policy Statement by bylaw in June 1994, following approval by the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Trust Council made updates to the Policy Statement in 1996, 1998, and 2002, following further consultation and ministerial approval. (For more information see: Summary of past Policy Statement amendments.
Reviewing the Policy Statement
In March 2010, Trust Council established a Policy Statement Assessment Task Force to conduct a preliminary assessment of the Trust Policy Statement and make recommendations regarding further actions. The task force produced a final report in May 2011.
In March 2012, Trust Council decided not to undertake a three year comprehensive Policy Statement review process with funding from Canada's Gas Tax Fund.
Policies about the use and amendment of the Policy Statement
Trust Council policies 1.2.1(amendment) and 1.3.1 (implementation) guide the use and amendment of the Policy Statement.