Overview of Islands Trust

Video date: May 17, 2018

What We Do

Islands Trust is a special purpose government mandated to preserve and protect over 450 Islands in the Salish Sea.

At home, across the country, and internationally, the southern islands of BC have long been recognized for their beauty, fragile ecosystems, character, and natural and cultural places.

The Province of British Columbia created the Islands Trust in 1974 in response to the potential environmental effects of dense residential subdivisions that were in development in the Gulf Islands. There were requests at the time to preserve and protect the region into the future.

Today, the Islands Trust preserves and protects the islands in the context of many complex challenges including:

  • climate change
  • lack of affordable housing
  • freshwater limitations
  • many species at risk
  • development and tourism pressures

The Islands Trust Mandate

The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, First Nations, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia.

The Islands Trust Area

Encompassing the waters and islands of the Salish Sea between southern Vancouver Island and the mainland, the Trust Area of British Columbia has been home to Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial.

The region features spectacular beauty, extensive archaeological and culturally important sites, and endangered ecosystems. The Islands Trust Area covers 5200 square kilometres and includes 13 major islands, 450 smaller islands and is home to over 30,000 residents and 10,000 non-resident property owners and is the homeland of over 28,000 Coast Salish People.

The Islands Trust Council acknowledges that the lands and waters that encompass the Islands Trust Area have been home to Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial and honours the rich history, stewardship, and cultural heritage that embody this place we all call home.

Islands Trust’s Activities

Place Protection Planning

Elected local trust committees’ and Bowen Island Municipality’s decisions on how land and marine areas are zoned and used must respect the preserve and protect mandate.

This means that official community plans and land use bylaws in the Trust Area have a strong emphasis on preserving and protecting the region’s unique amenities and environment.

Regional Collaboration, Policy Development, and Advocacy

The 26-member Islands Trust Council advocates on issues important to the entire region and works with others in a non-regulatory way to preserve and protect the Trust Area for future generations.

Land Conservation

The Islands Trust Conservancy works with landowners and donors to preserve and protect landscapes across the Trust Area. Through conservation covenants and nature reserves, the Conservancy protects over 100 properties totaling 1,300 hectares.

For more on the history of the Islands Trust please see The Islands Trust Story, written in 2009 by former trustee Peter Lamb.

Islands Trust Area map featuring all 12 Local Trust Areas and 1 municipality
Islands Trust Area