Island Politics

I write this as a letter of encouragement to my friends and community to participate in the politics that govern Lasqueti. Whether you own land here or rent, the policies and bylaws that are instituted by Islands Trust affect you. If we are not paying attention, other people are going to make rules for us that we don’t like.  Currently the meetings are sparsely attended. Most recently, at the Oct. 7th LTC meeting it was only thanks to a handful of dedicated Lasqueti long timers, that new bylaws instituting development permits was narrowly avoided.  At the last LTC meeting, Colin and I were the only reps in the under 50 demographic.  Given Lasqueti does have the youngest demographic of all the Gulf Islands and the rate at which we are losing our seniors,  I found the lack of participation disturbing.

I will be the first to admit that I have not participated in the governing politics of Lasqueti as I should have since purchasing my property 10 years ago.  However, with the proposal of the Shoreline Protection Project recently delivered to us by Islands Trust, I felt it necessary to educate myself before it was too late. I have attended these last few meetings of the Lasqueti Trust Council (LTC), Advisory Planning Committee (APC) and Lasqueti Rate Payers Association (LIRA) to learn how this project is going to affect my property and the island as a whole.

A few points about this project that concerned me were:

- The proposed shoreline project would be a blanket bylaw that would increase set backs to 30m from shore, regardless of cliff face or beach.

- Within this same project they also made recommendation for development permits for future building within the allotted protection area.

- This is to be a pilot project  - essentially a demonstration of shoreline management to the other islands within Islands Trust.

- The project was prepared by a Planner unfamiliar with our history or the uniqueness of our island

The first reading of this project was attended by less than 10% of our population, sadly an unusually high attendance from what I understand. However, had it not been for the tenacity of these individuals, this project would have moved forward and we could have been looking at a bylaw change that would affect both any future building and pocket book.   Recognizing the public resistance, Susan moved to eliminate development permits from this proposed bylaw change, this motion carried……fortunately. 

I believe that those of us who live here have a respect for nature, quite literally our lives depend on our natural environment.  So I think we all agree that the protection of our shoreline and environment is important but I have to ask, do we want our community governed top down when we currently have the opportunity to take part in how our community is managed? 

Currently the Shoreline Protection Project is still on the table.  You may think this particular initiative does not affect you but the precedence it sets of implementing bylaw changes with minimal community involvement is not good.  For whatever side you sit on, we have a great opportunity here to guide how our community evolves but it takes participation.  I too hate leaving the house after dark and I do not love sitting in a meeting for a couple hours but for the love of the community I live in, it’s worth it.

If we all tried to attend just a few meetings each year, our community could grow the way we want it to, not the way our government deems best for us.  Just a thought :)

Here is the link to the project: http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/media/344428/aug-2017-la-shoreline-mailout.pdf 

The next LTC meeting regarding Shoreline is Feb. 12. 

Comments

Thank you for your clarion

Thank you for your clarion call! Good decisions are unlikely in a vacuum, and public participation is vital for elected officials to do their job effectively, which is to represent their constituents.
One point of correction: while there are draft bylaws, none have been given first reading.
I encourage everyone to get informed on the issues, and to make your views known to your local governments. Feel free to contact your Trustees with your questions, comments, or concerns. Your participation helps us to do our job, which is to represent you, better.
Tim Peterson, local Trustee.
250-607-7094
tpeterson [at] islandstrust [dot] bc [dot] ca
P.S. I believe the next LTC meeting re: shoreline is scheduled for Feb. 19

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