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Letters to the Islands Trust From Hornby Island
Letter of objection to proposed changes

To Whom It May Concern:

As a property owner and taxpayer on Hornby Island, for the longest time I  could not understand whether the Islands Trust was a governmental body. Over time this question led to a very simple answer.  I realized what I had suspected, that to go through the motions of an election to elect but two people as Trustees, is directly at cross purposes with a representational democracy. Two elected persons can rarely decide anything without a third vote to break a tie. 

More enlightening still was to come to the full realization that the swing vote which decides every single land use decision on Hornby is routinely cast by an non-resident and non-locally elected individual who did not even live on the island, in this case a Trustee who, to make matters worse, won her own campaign on Denman by running on the promise to drastically reduce Hornby bound seasonal vacation traffic. As it turns out, my sense from the start that this was intentionally an undemocratic structure and decision making body was intuitively correct. 

In reality, the Islands Trust, and its outreach arm, the LTC, appear to be nothing more than a land use planning department, in other words, functionally just an adjunct to the Regional District.  Whether or not the LTC members have forgotten this fact, the Province has granted the Islands Trust very limited powers and even less actual authority, whether those who are part of it choose to try to exceed these limits or not.

Why, I had also asked myself, did the Islands Trust, and specifically the LTC, spend countless years going after home owners and trying to curtail something as indispensable to the local economy as short term vacation rentals?

Of late, I am given to understand that apparently the LTC thinks that houses not used for a few weeks of seasonal rental would somehow magically be willingly handed over as year round low rental housing.  How in the world the LTC arrived at this erroneous conclusion is something I still don't understand.  No one that I know in my Hornby social network would be willing to cease coming to Hornby in order to turn their homes over to year round renters. 
In fact many people would rather sell than ever do so. 

Yet the LTC's primary mandate seems to be the provision of housing for this purpose. It is this mandate that has been used to justify rotating and proliferating schemes for acquisition of cheap affordable rental housing, including using existing homes and re-arranging our OCP so as to displace any other uses for existing houses and homes which are owned by either year round owners or by occasionally absentee owners.  I, for one, cannot accept that this motive serves as one of the primary reasons offered by LTC members as an argument for the necessity to restrict the practice of short term rental use of one's own private property on an island requiring two ferries to reach which has historically always been largely used as a destination for vacationers.  It works as it is.  Why change it?

Since then, I have discovered that this flawed logic by the LTC seems to be nothing more than the thinly disguised politics of envy put into practice to the detriment of all.  It presupposes that our own properties are essentially theirs to reallocate to whomever the LTC arbitrarily defines as those in need, regardless of why or from where this demographic happens to originate before they choose to arrive on Hornby Island, at their behest.
It is truly amazing to realize that this LTC reallocation scheme turns out to be one of the main presenting forces behind this push to "proactive" reallocate property, a scheme which functionally serves to displace one group in favour of another group and to run anyone off island who is a property owner in need of seasonal income.
This attitude reveals a stunning lack of political and professional insight into just how most human beings respond to these kinds of baseless assumptions.  Apparently the LTC defines as their top priority the necessity to undermine the security of anyone who depends on income generated from short term vacation rentals.  Why?  For whose benefit?
The status quo has been democratically arrived at by the community itself.  Yet despite our possession of a current OCP which endorses and fully supports this activity, has made certain that seasonal rentals are to remain included, and are to be encouraged as a home occupation for both part and full time owners, the LTC  deems the will of the majority and a legal OCP  to present a threat to their own agenda.  The proof of willful disregard lies in the fact that the LTC is proposing to delete every last one of the clauses which protect us, which tells the whole story.
We are property owners who have worked long and hard to own property and who will not be either hoodwinked or deterred quite so easily.  

I wish to go on record as strongly objecting to any further disregard or imposition on Hornby's own full and part time property owning community of any LTC initiated proposals. Such changes are vehemently unwanted, and certainly an OCP revision is uncalled for. This community has no need for any drastic alterations, the procedures for which lack both full transparency and indispensably necessary accountability.
This entire process has only drained the time, energy and life blood out of all who participate in what is tantamount to an example of the most extreme disrespect for this community and its people. 
I also wish to object to the absence throughout this process of any demonstration or expression of genuine respect
from the LTC for all of us who have been force to participate repeatedly in fruitless activities of this nature only to preserve a status quo endorsed by the majority.
We continue to waiti for any acknowledgement by this same LTC of the unavoidable relevance of clear cut Federal and Provincially granted vacation rental case law, which in turn constitutes the law of the land, and which is in place to serve to protect our private property rights from just such proposed encroachment.

Thank you for your attention.

Elena Feder
3495 Hardwood Rd
Hornby Is., B.C., V0R 1Z0