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Islands Trust Matters

NEW SPREADSHEET - Trust Payment to all vendors for the last 5 years,
formatted for easy reference and analysis. See where those millions go!

Trust Fund Documents

Trust Wide News
The names and amounts paid to all suppliers of the Islands Trust, responding to a Freedom Of Information Request

There are tons of documents to go through, but still, we have to follow the money.

May 5th, Gulf Islands Citizens' Council Delivers Petition to Minister Ida Chong

Transparency and Accountability are fundamental to our democratic process.
The Islands Trust should be operating within a framework that honours those principles. 

Islands Trust Council Bylaw No. 42
Under Organization 2.5, subsection 5.8.4, it states

Trust Council holds that island communities within the Trust Area are themselves best able to determine the most effective local government structure to support their local autonomy and specific community needs within the object of the Islands Trust.

The Trust's policy statement says:

“Public involvement in decisions that affect a community is also critical to the health of that community.  Participation in the decision-making process influences whether an individual or group is able to realize aspirations, satisfy needs or cope with change.”

The Trust's 2008-2011 strategic agenda sets goals of:

"strong public involvement in decision-making" and
"cultivating community engagement and participation in land use planning".

Yet we are effectively shut out of the process because of the hours the meetings are held. Alternately when we make an effort to voice our concerns as demonstrated in our input regarding the 2011-12 budget, our voices are silenced by a trustee (Christine Torgrimson, Salt Spring) who minimized our outrage and advised the other trustees to keep it in perspective. Read more about this...

Who represents us? Who fights for us?

Accessible Government? Not here

Trust Council meets mid-day and mid-week.  Each of the Local Trust Committees meet mid-day and mid-week.  These times only serve that segment of the community that need not work for a living.  This policy essentially and deliberately disenfranchises the majority of the community. 

The People of the Islands? Disenfranchised and Distrustful

Over this last year there has been a rising tide of discontent expressed across the communities within the Islands Trust.  A rally on Salt Spring last summer saw a crowd of several hundred people expressing frustration at the lack of good governance, the cronyism, the favouritism.  The numbers of people signing on-line petition (coupled with hard-copy distribution), urging review of the Trust Act, is increasing constantly.

Even the most cursory reading of comments on this petition brings to light some pervasive concerns about fairness vs. favouritism; arbitrariness vs. consistency; fiscal restraint vs. empire-building; accountability vs. omniscience. 

Access to Information

Does the Trust follow its own stated principles?

One needs to look no farther than the agenda package for  the Trust Council meeting in Galiano, March 8th-10th, 2011. In a digital information age, one can only wonder why this important document framing a significant meeting is unavailable electronically to anyone who wishes to see it.  Yet, short of paying $20 for a photocopy of 210 double-sided pages (so much for concerns about waste or the environment) or spending hours at either the Salt Spring or Victoria offices, no access was provided to the public. 

Minutes of prior meetings which are posted to their website offer scant indication of what they are pursuing on behalf of the 25,000 residents they represent. 

Does the Islands Trust carry out the Mandate of the People it represents
… or its Own?

So many issues have yet to be introduced for discussion within our communities
(e.g., the Green Shores initiative).

Yet it is being funded and pursued.

 How can this possibly demonstrate public participation or consent?

An Agenda to Protect the Environment? Or to Control the People?

What IS the issue? Is it, as the Trust would have you believe?

“Environmentalism vs. Development”?
Or, rather, is it “Fair Government vs. Controlling the Agenda”? 

Rather than acknowledge the legitimacy of people’s concerns, there has been an overt effort to be dismissive of them, and to marginalize dissent by framing the argument as being about environmentalism vs. development. 

This characterization is simply a lie. 

The Trust has become entrenched in preserving and protecting not the islands, but the bloated bureaucracy of the Islands Trust.  

To send us messages regarding transparency and accountability

write to: