Past Efforts to Change Salt Spring Island Governance
In 2002, the community undertook its first Salt Spring Island Restructure Study. In a referendum held after release of the study, 70 per cent of the voters opposed incorporation.
In 2008, the Islands Trust Council proposed that the Province change the Islands Trust Act to increase from two to four, the number of trustees representing Salt Spring Island on both the Islands Trust Council and the local trust committee. The minister of the day was prepared to permit four trustees on the local trust committee, but not on Trust Council. In a related referendum, Salt Spring voters rejected the ministry's proposal to have four trustees on its local trust committee.
Key Milestones in the current process
This section provides a chronological list of key milestones in the incorporation study process dating back to 2011 and is updated regularly to reflect the latest information.
In May 2011, a Salt Spring community group invited Islands Trust staff (CAO and Treasurer) to respond to some questions about governance at a public meeting. Here are the slides used at that presentation:
In February 2012, Salt Spring Island’s three locally-elected representatives (two local trustees and the electoral area director) wrote to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development requesting a governance study for Salt Spring Island. In October 2012, the Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development announced $60,000 funding and staff support for a first phase of a governance study. The community formed a Salt Spring Island Governance Study Committee in late 2012 and concluded its work in November 2013 by recommending to the minister that a full municipal incorporation study be initiated for Salt Spring Island.
Also in October 2012, the Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development funded an Islands Trust Impact Analysis to evaluate the impact on the Islands Trust, should Salt Spring incorporate. In April 2015 the Minister released the Islands Trust Impact Analysis and announced funding for a Salt Spring Island incorporation study.
In May 2015, an Incorporation Study Committee was formed to study the pros and cons of incorporation and inform the community.
In September 2015, the Islands Trust Council included the Study in its 2014-2018 Strategic Plan and committed to preparing an initial Transition Plan in 2016 and a detailed Adaptation Strategy in the event Salt Spring Island votes “yes” to incorporate. (Strategic Plan section 7.2.1).
In November 2015, the Incorporation Study Committee received feedback on its preliminary report requesting more information about road conditions on the island to help islanders make an informed decision in the event of an incorporation vote.
At its December 2015 meeting, the Islands Trust Council adopted the Principles and Objectives to guide the development of an Adaptation Strategy in the event Salt Spring Island votes “yes” to incorporate.
On February 15, 2016, the Ministry approved another $135,000 funding to the Incorporation Study Committee and extended its final report deadline to November 30, 2016 in order to get a road assessment by an independent engineer, hold more public meetings and update financial information in the report. Islands Trust consequently adjusted its timeline to deliver a draft Transition Plan at Trust Council’s September meeting.
On September 14, 2016 Trust Council approved a plan for how the Islands Trust would adapt in the first six months after a possible “Yes” vote to incorporate Salt Spring Island. The Transition Plan answers questions that Salt Spring Island and Trust Area residents have been asking about how the Islands Trust would adapt to an annual budget shortfall of $540,000 in the event Salt Spring Island incorporates.
On November 21, 2016 the ISC forwarded its final report to the minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and made a recommendation that the minister should proceed with a referendum on the island to allow voters to make a determination on incorporation.
On March 13, 2017 the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development ordered a municipal incorporation vote for Salt Spring Island electors on Sept. 9, 2017.
The Islands Trust has a legislative and policy framework guiding the process of incorporation for islands within the Trust Area