The Islands Trust is a unique form of government, created by the province in 1974 to control unbridled development and to ‘preserve and protect’ the islands. Since then, the Province has amended the Islands Trust Act many times.
For example, it increased local representation in 1977, improved local autonomy in 1989, introduced open meetings in 1998 and updated ethical standards in 2003. Changes to the Act have included:
1973 – A Provincial Report of the Select Standing Committee on Municipal Affairs sets out the vision and rationale for the creation of an Islands Trust.
1974 – The Province recognizes the Gulf Islands as a unique area threatened by over-development and establishes the Islands Trust. The Islands Trust Act solidified the Province’s mandate to preserve and protect the environment and unique amenities of the islands.
1977 – Islands Trust Act amended to give Islands Trust land use planning authority.
1987 – The trust fund provisions of the Islands Trust Fund are proclaimed, allowing the Trust to receive gifts of land and money.
1989 – Islands Trust Act amended to create Islands Trust Conservancy Board (then called Trust Fund Board), require a Policy Statement, give the ability to conserve heritage property and educate about heritage, enable heritage designation bylaws, and to authorize an increase in the size of the Executive Committee.
1994 – Islands Trust Council adopts Islands Trust Policy Statement.
1994 – Amendments to the Islands Trust Act stemming from Heritage Conservation Statues Amendment Act to empower Islands Trust with tools and procedures for heritage conservation activities.
1994 – Islands Trust Act amended to enable better coordination of local planning.
1998 – Islands Trust Act amended to require open meetings.
2000 – Islands Trust Act amended to provide capacity for First Nation protocol agreements.
2002 – Islands Trust Act amended due to new Community Charter.
2002 – Islands Trust Act amended to enable the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program.
2003 – Islands Trust Act amended to include new ethical conduct rules.
2009 – Islands Trust Electronic Meeting Regulation (BC Reg 283/2009) adopted to allow Islands Trust corporate bodies to hold special meetings electronically and allow a limited number of members to meet electronically at regular meetings
2018 – Islands Trust Act amended to change the name of the Trust Fund Board to Islands Trust Conservancy.
2019 – Islands Trust Council passes Reconciliation Declaration and declares a Climate Emergency.
2021 – Islands Trust Act amended to include a specific reference to First Nations in the Trust’s Object statement to recognize its ongoing relationship and reconciliation efforts with First Nations.
2021 – Islands Trust Act amended to enable Islands Trust to give financial support to third parties for activities that provide education about or preserve the environment and unique amenities of the Trust Area.
2021 – Islands Trust Act amended to give Trust Council the ability to adopt and amend development approval information bylaws to local trust committees.
2021 – BC Regulation 275/2021 deposited under the Islands Trust Act to enable local trust committees to delegate, by bylaw, issuance of development permits to staff with allowance for re-consideration of staff decisions by the local trust committee if warranted.