Islands Trust Conservancy Board

The Islands Trust Conservancy Board consists of three Islands Trust trustees (two elected by the Islands Trust Council, and one appointed as a representative of the Islands Trust Executive Committee) and up to three members of the public appointed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Islands Trust Conservancy’s responsibilities are defined under Part 6 of the Islands Trust Act and the Islands Trust Conservancy Board’s roles and responsibilities are defined through Islands Trust Conservancy policy.

Headshot of Trustee Corlynn Strachan

Dr. Risa Smith
Chair, Provincially Appointed Board Member
E: Dr. Risa Smith

Risa is an ecologist and current Leader of Protected Areas Climate Change Specialist Group, World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Her recent publications focus on the role of protected areas in meeting both climate change and biodiversity targets. Risa was a lead on the protected areas stream for the Summit on Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Canada, has recently been selected for the Canadian government’s Nature-Based Climate Solutions Advisory Committee and IUCN’s Nature-Based Solutions Advisory Committee. Risa has given many public talks in BC, Canada and internationally on the theme of Using Nature’s Ways to Fight Climate Change.

Prior to working with WCPA, Risa was the Manager, International Biodiversity Policy, with the Canadian Wildlife Service (2002-2017), and Head of State of Environment Reporting for the BC government (1993-2002). In those capacities she led many state of environment style reports, including Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010 and the first Indicators of Climate Change for British Columbia .

Risa lives on Galiano Island and is a founding director and current board member of the Galiano Conservancy Association and the volunteer warden, Galiano Ecological Reserve.

Headshot of Gabriola Island Trustee Tobi Elliot

Tobi Elliott
Islands Trust Executive Committee Representative
E: Trustee Elliott
T: 1-604-832-7034

Tobi has lived and worked on Gabriola Island, Snuneymuxw First Nation territory, since 2012. She advocates for healthy island communities and ecosystems through a biocultural approach that respects Indigenous knowledge in land use planning. Exploring low-impact housing solutions for rural communities, Tobi organized tiny house education courses around B.C., culminating in building a demonstration tiny home. She works in communications, documentary film, and media, and is finishing a Master’s Degree in Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University. Her action research project explores how local government and community groups can develop better ways of engaging with First Nations.

Ken Thomas
Provincially Appointed Board Member
E: Ken Thomas

English name, Kenneth Thomas, Ken is a member of the Penelakut Tribe with extensive knowledge of the lands and waters of Vancouver Island having worked for the Penelakut Tribe for over 20 years as a Fisheries Guardian. Previously, Mr. Thomas was a knowledge keeper for the Hul’qumi’num Lands and Resources Society. Active in his community, he first served as an elected Council member for the Penelakut Tribe from 2014-2016 and was re-elected in 2018. Mr. Thomas is serving in the current Chief and Council term with the next election in 2024. He was a volunteer first responder on Penelakut Island and volunteers each year to harvest elk for the tribe and organizes a team of hunters from October to March to provide meat for cultural events.

Headshot of Gabriola Island Trustee Susan Yates

Susan Yates
Trust Council Elected Board Member
E: Trustee Yates
T: 1-250-247-8086

As a Trustee for the Gabriola Local Trust Area, my job carries a responsibility for the natural environment with every decision. My children were born and raised on Gabriola Island, and I care deeply about future generations. I have witnessed the success of science-based planning and land protection. I believe that collaboration is key to our continued success, and look forward to creating long-lasting partnerships for ecological conservation.

I am committed to learning First Nations history and culture in the places we call the Trust Area, and where I live –where Coast Salish peoples have lived for thousands of years. I look forward to finding ways to engage with First Nations and finding opportunities to integrate indigenous knowledge, protect culturally significant species and places, and honour Aboriginal Rights.

Headshot of Galiano Island Trustee Lisa Gauvrea

Lisa Gauvreau
Trust Council Elected Board Member
E: Trustee Gauvreau
T: 1-250-539-2817

Lisa Gauvreau is a Trustee from Galiano Island and was elected to the Trust Conservancy Board in June 2023. She is from the Ojibwe and Chippewa Nations territory, also known as Sault Ste Marie and has been a resident of Galiano for over 20 years.

Along with her young family, she operates a year-round eatery on the island. She has many years of experience working in the non-profit sector, mentoring and educating young people. Lisa has been actively involved in two Affordable Housing projects in recent years. She played a central role in successfully navigating the rezoning process for both projects and gained expertise in managing environmental considerations and dealing with conservation covenants.

She is eager to continue learning and working collaboratively within ITC partnerships to restore and maintain natural features, habitats, and ecosystems. She believes this is a significant time for taking action toward Reconciliation and addressing the climate crisis. “We must remain committed to positivity and finding solutions that benefit both people and the planet.”

Charles Kahn

Charles Kahn
Provincially Appointed Board Member
E: Charles Kahn

Charles Kahn grew up in Montreal and has lived on Salt Spring Island for over 30 years. He has a BA from McGill University and an MA from the University of Toronto in English literature. His background is in editing and writing, mostly in educational publishing. He is the author of Salt Spring: The Story of an Island (Harbour Publishing, 1998), and Hiking the Gulf Islands (Harbour Publishing, 4th ed. 2018), which covers all of the Gulf Islands from Bowen to Cortes, as well as a number of the larger marine parks. Charles has also written three smaller history books on Mouat’s, Lady Minto Hospital, and Cusheon Cove.

Charles has been the President of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society, Friends of Salt Spring Parks, the Channel Ridge Homeowners Association, and the Salt Spring Trail and Nature Club. He also coordinated the Restorative Justice Salt Spring Island program for several years, chaired committees for the Salt Spring Island Conservancy, and continues to volunteer with Salt Spring Literacy and Salt Spring Hospice. He has served on the Public Library Board, on a focus group for one of the revisions of the island’s community plan, and with BC Parks on an ongoing basis over many years. His involvement in land acquisition on Salt Spring led to the creation of Mt. Erskine Provincial Park as well as Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve and Andreas Vogt Nature Reserve.

In his spare time, Charles’s enjoys being outdoors and doing activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking.