PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

January 31, 2013

Mining claims in the Islands Trust Area?

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:25 pm

 From the Islands Trust:

Islands Trust Council Chair Sheila Malcolmson has written to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas seeking regulations that would reserve the Islands Trust Area from the staking of mining claims and exploration under the Mineral Tenure Act.  Her letter can be viewed here:  http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/news/pdf/tcltrjan302013richcoleman.pdf

December 10, 2012

Ferries’ future feedback reminder

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:56 pm

From B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement:

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Reminder to Submit Feedback into the B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement by December 21, 2012.

The B.C. coastal ferry service has been wrestling with cost pressures for more than 20 years. These cost pressures, if not addressed, could threaten the financial sustainability of the entire system.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has embarked upon a province-wide consultation and engagement to provide information on the depth and nature of the challenges and invite British Columbians to provide input on two areas under consideration:

Immediate Challenge: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, working with BC Ferries, has identified considerations to achieve $26 million in savings to 2016. The first part of this consultation and engagement seeks feedback on the considerations.

Long-Term Vision: The second part of this consultation and engagement invites feedback on what elements should be pursued to connect coastal communities in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner in the long-term.

Learn more and provide your input on the B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement by:

Reading the Discussion Guide online at www.coastalferriesengagement.ca

Completing the Online Feedback Form

Participating in the Webinar on December 11, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Click here to register!

Providing a Written Submission by Email: coastalferriesengagement@gov.bc.ca or Mail: PO Box 2223 Vancouver Main, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3W2

Your feedback is important to us. Input received into this consultation and engagement will be considered, along with technical, financial and policy considerations, as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Ferries plan for the long-term sustainability of the coastal transportation network. Public and stakeholder feedback will be received until December 21, 2012.

Sincerely,
B.C. Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement Team

October 30, 2012

Short Term Vacation Rental Decision on Salt Spring

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 1:51 pm

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From the Islands Trust:

October 30, 2012

BC SUPREME COURT RELEASES DECISION ON WESTCOAST VACATIONS INC.

VICTORIA – The Supreme Court of British Columbia has not supported an attempt launched last term by the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee to more effectively enforce community zoning related to short term vacation rentals (STVRs) on Salt Spring Island. The local bylaw prohibiting STVRs remains in place, but an attempt to enforce the bylaw by focusing on a vacation rental agent, rather than individual STVRs, has not been successful.

In March 2011, the local trust committee instructed Islands Trust legal counsel to seek an injunction that would restrain Westcoast Vacations Inc. from using or facilitating the use of residential homes for STVRs on Salt Spring Island. With the advent and growth of STVR booking agencies, enforcement of the community zoning bylaw has been more difficult and more costly for taxpayers.

The case was argued in court before the Honourable Mr. Justice Leask of the BC Supreme Court on October 25 and 26, 2011. Legal counsel for the local trust committee argued that Westcoast Vacations Inc. was using or permitting the use of residentially zoned properties for commercial guest accommodation, and was thereby breaching Salt Spring’s Land Use Bylaw.  Westcoast Vacations did not argue that STVRs were a legal land use, but argued that only the individual owners of the properties could be subject to court injunction preventing this use.

In his Reasons for Judgment released on October 29, 2012, Mr. Justice Leask, noted that “Commercial guest accommodation use is not a permitted primary or accessory use of any land in the Residential Zones.” However, he found that the activities of Westcoast Vacations do not, on their own, constitute a breach of the bylaw, in that Westcoast Vacations could not prevent or prohibit the use of a property for an STVR.

“This was an effort to make bylaw enforcement more efficient, given the SSILTC’s direction last term to actively enforce the land use bylaw regarding STVRs,” said Miles Drew, Islands Trust Bylaw Enforcement Manager. “I will now seek further direction from the current local trust committee as to how it wishes to proceed.”

Salt Spring’s long-standing Official Community Plan policies and zoning regulations prohibit STVRs – the use of private homes in rural and residential zones for commercial guest accommodation. The prohibition does not affect legal bed and breakfasts in residential zones, or legal resorts, hotels and motels in commercial zones, all of which are widely available on the island. People may also continue to rent portions of cottages as part of a bed and breakfast operation in most zones and to rent their residential properties for periods longer than 30 days to a tenant for residential use. – End.

On Pender, STVR’s have continued over the past summer with few or no interventions.  The issue, no doubt, is yet to be settled. – PenderBlog

UPDATE:  NO COURT APPEAL PLANNED FOR WESTCOAST VACATIONS CASE ON SALT SPRING ISLAND

November 9, 2012

At its regular business meeting yesterday, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee announced it would not appeal a decision of the BC Supreme Court in a case launched last term against Westcoast Vacations Inc. — an agent for short term vacation rentals (STVRs) on Salt Spring Island.

In late October, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its reasons for not supporting an injunction that would have restrained Westcoast Vacations Inc. from using or facilitating the use of residential homes for STVRs on Salt Spring Island. The unsuccessful legal action focused on the activities of the vacation rental agent, rather than on individual property owners. While noting that STVRs are not a legal land use in Salt Spring Island’s residential areas, the Honourable Mr. Justice Leask found that the activities of Westcoast Vacations did not, on their own, constitute a breach of the bylaw. The local trust committee had until November 28, 2012 to give notice of its intent to appeal.

“I think our decision not to appeal is correct,” said Peter Grove, a Salt Spring Island trustee. “While it is the duty of the local trust committee to uphold the official community plan and the land use bylaws, and to enforce the law as may be necessary and appropriate, I believe that launching the lawsuit in this case was heavy handed.”

“I believe it’s right to accept the judgment of the court,” said George Grams, the other local Salt Spring Island trustee. “Continuing this action serves neither the interest of the community nor the local trust committee.”

The local zoning bylaw that prohibits STVRs remains in place. The local trust committee has asked bylaw enforcement staff to suggest other options for enforcing it.

Salt Spring Island’s long-standing Official Community Plan policies and zoning regulations prohibit STVRs – the use of private homes in rural and residential zones for commercial guest accommodation. The prohibition does not affect legal bed and breakfasts in residential zones, or legal resorts, hotels and motels in commercial zones, all of which are widely available on the island. People may also continue to rent portions of cottages as part of a bed and breakfast operation in most zones and to rent their residential properties for periods longer than 30 days to a tenant for residential use.

February 17, 2012

Proposed Policy Statement Review

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:18 pm

 

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From the Islands Trust:

At its March 6 – 8, 2012 meeting, Trust Council will consider whether to review its Policy Statement and whether to accept an offer of up to $250,000 from Canada’s Gas Tax Fund to facilitate undertaking this review.

The purpose of the Policy Statement is to express a vision for the future of the Trust Area and to translate that vision into policies of Trust Council.

We welcome your comments and your interest in the proposed review. Please Email policyreview@islandstrust.bc.ca by noon on March 5th if you want Trust Council to consider your views.

For more information visit our website:  http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/tc/polstreview.cfm

January 19, 2012

Islands Trust Launches Online Mapping Tool

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 4:24 pm

From the Islands Trust:

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VICTORIA – The Islands Trust has now launched its new online mapping system – MapIT – identified on their web site with a new logo for easy access: www.islandstrust.bc.ca

“This is a very exciting new online mapping tool that gives islanders quick online access to much of the same mapping information that our staff and trustees use during the land use planning process,” said Linda Adams, Chief Administrative Officer.  “Now you can explore the islands with the click of a mouse in your own home.  Or you can build your own custom map of a single property or an entire island. I think this will be a particularly useful and interesting tool for homeowners, community groups, students and businesses that need property information, but anyone interested in knowing more about the islands or specific properties will find it helpful.”

More detailed information is available on this .pdf file News Release:

http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/news/pdf/2011-02-IT%20IslandsTrust%20launches%20on-line%20mapping%20tool.pdf

May 29, 2011

Ferry fare increases contested

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 2:27 pm

An Open Letter From the Pender Island Chamber of Commerce:

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Dear Hon. Christy Clark, Premier of the Province of British Columbia,
premier@gov.bc.ca

Our community of Pender Islands is home to about 2,500 permanent residents, but our part time population has increased tremendously and there are about 4,500 people here most weekends and all summer long. We are on the Southern Gulf Islands ferry system or Route 5 (Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Islands) and Route 9 (Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Islands). Tourism runs our island economy. Our businesses depend on tourism to produce sufficient income to justify their existence, which in turn provide a major source of employment to local residents and summer students. Over the past two years many of our local businesses have suffered a 40% decline in revenue.  We believe the ongoing increases in ferry fares and insufficient sailings have played a significant role in this alarming decline. Sailings are frequently overloaded on weekends and on many days in the summer, leaving local residents and tourists behind. This is a crushing blow to our island businesses.

Whether living on an island, or on the mainland of British Columbia, can citizens not expect fair and equal support from their government to provide basic services? A portion of provincial taxes from island tax payers goes towards building and maintaining the highways in our province, but islanders, when voicing a complaint, frequently hear the phrase “You chose to live on an island, so get over it!”  British Columbia is branded as “beautiful”, and its coastal islands, including Vancouver Island, play a major role in conveying this message to the world.  Citizens living on the mainland rightfully expect snow removal, new roads, maintenance of highways, and reasonable public transportation. All taxpayers in our province fund these programs, and island taxpayers expect that the same would apply to their only mode of transportation to and from their places of work and homes.

The general consensus among most islanders is that fair and equal treatment by our government is not being offered to support a basic service in the form of affordable transportation being provided by the BC Ferry Corporation. Why are our coastal waters not included as an extension of the BC highway system, and supported on an equal per kilometer basis? We also question why fourteen ferries in the BC interior are offering their services free to travellers? Why do you subsidize those routes 100% and ours is not even getting the 50% that you realized was required when you wrote the first contract?

A large amount of land on the Gulf Islands has been acquired by Parks Canada. Parks Canada – Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is actively inviting travellers to visit their parks on Pender Islands, part of their tourism attraction strategy, in their publications at Tourist Information Centres across Canada. Many potential visitors have called our local inns and bed and breakfasts to book accommodation, only to call back to cancel when they learn the high cost of the ferry fares, and the insufficient sailings from Tsawwassen.

•  In short we request that you review your subsidy to the BC Ferry Corporation, and provide at least the 50% that you approved for the Gulf Islands routes originally in your contract.

•  We are also greatly opposed to the elimination or Route 9 which BC Ferry Corporation has stated will be forthcoming if subsidies are not increased, as this move would be a major blow to the economy of Pender Islands.

•  We ask that the provincial government provide the capital funding to replace the present aging Route 9 ferry (Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands) as was done for the northern route, and reconsider the increase in fares which are threatening to eliminate travel to the Southern Gulf Islands.

As our new Premier, we are pleased to hear that you have asked us to be a partner in change and that we can count on you to listen. We anxiously await your reply.

Sincerely,
BC Ferries Committee Pender Island Chamber of Commerce.
cc Hon. Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

Pender Island Chamber of Commerce
Local businesses working together to support and promote each other and Pender Island
Box 123, Pender Island, British Columbia    V0N 2M0 (250) 629-3988 http://www.penderislandchamber.com    travel@penderislandchamber.com

To print out and sign a letter of petition, go to letter-to-bc-ferry-commission-re-price-caps.pdf (.pdf file)

Islands Trust Council Chair Sheila Malcolmson wrote to Minister Blair Lekstrom seeking lower ferry rates and changes to the Coastal Ferry Act.

To view the letter click here:  blairlekstrom.pdf

BC FERRIES’ BOARD DEFENDS CEO PACKAGE
July 12, 2011 – BC Ferries’ Board Chair Donald Hayes issued a statement today on behalf of the Board of Directors in response to recent media stories concerning the compensation and pension arrangements of company President and CEO David Hahn.  View the press release here:  salarydefence.pdf

April 27, 2011

Brooks Point Completion

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 6:16 pm

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Gowlland Point as seen from Brooks Point (photo by Jocko)

From the Pender Islands Conservancy Association:

We need your help to Complete Phase III of our Brooks Point Regional Park Reserve.

Phase III is the parcel of land lying between Brooks Point and Gowlland Point.  The Capital Regional District (CRD) is now holding a $1.65 million loan against this property.  The fund-raising will go towards paying the interest on this loan until the CRD is able to retire it, using future parkland acquisition funding.

Support from the community will play a key role in determining whether the Phase III Land will be a protected conservation area in its entirety or whether it will be subdivided and a part sold to cover the CRD loan.

The Pender Islands Conservancy Association (PICA) is leading this fund-raising campaign on Pender in support of The Land Conservancy of BC (TCL) which is coordinating province-wide fund-raising.  PICA’s goals are to:

1.  Retain the property in its entirety as a conservation area for inclusion in the Brooks Point Regional Park Reserve.

2.  Maintain the ecological values of the property in perpetuity.

Your donations will be much appreciated by all who want to protect and enjoy this unique ecological area.  Donations are tax-deductible.

Visit the PICA Booth at the Farmer’s Market and purchase a Brooks Point T-shirt, some nature cards, a fridge magnet, and learn about the special ecological features of Brooks Point.

Drop off donations to the Conservancy folder at the Pender Island Realty Office at the Driftwood Center or mail to PICA, Box 52, Pender Island, B.C.  V0N 2M0.  Make cheques payable to Pender Islands Conservancy Association.  Tax receipts issued.  Tax Reg.  No: 887 391 068  Please include your name, address, phone number and email address.

For more information about Brooks Point, visit the CRD website here.

June 30, 2010

What do you know about the Islands Trust Fund?

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 7:18 pm

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Roesland, North Pender (photo by Jocko)

Islands Trust News Release, June 30, 2010

ISLANDS TRUST FUND SURVEYING ISLANDERS

VICTORIA ⎯ An online survey has been launched to help determine what people know about the preservation work carried out by the Islands Trust Fund. The information gathered in this survey will help the Islands Trust Fund develop communications materials and public awareness initiatives over the next two years and improve communication with those living in the Howe Sound and Gulf Island areas.

“The people who live and work in the Islands Trust Area are the most important link to realizing our goals of protecting the special places of this region”, said Jennifer Eliason, Islands Trust Fund Manager. “If there are ways we can improve our communications with islanders, we want to know”.

The short survey, which takes less than 10 minutes to complete, can be found at:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ITFsurvey

The survey closes July 12, 2010.

CONTACT:  Jennifer Eliason Manager, Islands Trust Fund 250.405.5191

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