Islands Trust has a governance structure unique in the world. Islanders vote to be represented by islanders. Without Islands Trust, regional district boards would make land-use decisions from Vancouver Island or the BC Mainland, decisions that would not be rooted in a mandate to preserve and protect.
Each major group of islands (known as a local trust area) and Bowen Island Municipality elect two representatives that sit on Islands Trust Council.
Trust Council then elects from its 26 elected members, a Chair and three-vice chairs, who sit as the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee is comprised of the Chair of the Islands Trust and three vice-chairs, elected for four-year terms by Trust Council from amongst its members. Executive Committee’s primary functions include overseeing the day-to-day business of Islands Trust and reviewing bylaws.
In local trust areas, the two locally elected representatives, along with the chair, or a vice-chair, make up a three-person local trust committee.
Local land-use planning decisions are made by the local trust committee with the exception of Bowen Island, which voted to become an island municipality. This governance model ensures that island communities have local representation, while the off-island chair brings a valued regional perspective to local decisions and can share best practices from other islands.
All decisions must be consistent with the mandate of the Islands Trust to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the trust area and British Columbia as a whole.
All trustees serve on:
- Local trust committees or Bowen Island Municipal Council to vote on local land-use decisions
- The Islands Trust Council, which sets policies for the whole Islands Trust Area and guides the operations of Islands Trust
Islands Trust Conservancy
Up to six trustees serve on the Islands Trust Conservancy board. Two trustees are elected by Trust Council from its membership, one is elected from the Executive Committee, and three trustees are appointed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs as coordinated through the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office. The Islands Trust Conservancy is guided by a five-year plan which is approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Legislation, Policy & Strategic Plan
Local trust committees, Trust Council and its committees, the Islands Trust Conservancy and Bowen Island Municipality must comply with the Islands Trust Act and related legislation.
In 2019, the Province of British Columbia passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Islands Trust looks forward to supporting the Province of BC through the implementation of this Act in the Islands Trust Area.
The Islands Trust Council, Executive Committee, local trust committees, and some decisions of Bowen Island Municipality are guided by the Island Trust Policy Statement that is approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Islands Trust Council appoints staff and auditors, adopts the annual budget, and elects trustees to the Executive Committee and Islands Trust Conservancy Board. Trust Council has created a Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 to identify its goals and develop a plan to achieve them.
The Islands Trust Executive Committee and the Minister of Municipal Affairs approve local trust committee official community plans and land use bylaws.
Bowen Island Municipality must submit its Official Community Plan (OCP) bylaws to the Executive Committee and Minister for approval and refers non-OCP bylaws that include a reference to a matter included in the Policy Statement to the Executive Committee.