Bylaw Enforcement on Lasqueti Island:
By: Trustee Tim Peterson, Lasqueti Island Local Trust Committee
The Lasqueti Island Local Trust Area, like other jurisdictions, has bylaws to help capture the vision of the community and to regulate land development accordingly. The two most relevant Islands Trust bylaws are the Lasqueti Island Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 77, and the Lasqueti Island Land Use Bylaw No. 78. These bylaws may be reviewed on the Lasqueti page of the Islands Trust website, and include the dates of any revisions. Bylaw No. 77 was last amended in September 2012, and Bylaw No. 78 in January 2019.
When Bylaws 77 and 78 were created, it was with public engagement and the community provided input. If the public feels that any bylaw is no longer serving the community, it should be brought to the attention of the Local Trust Committee (LTC) for consideration of amendment. A public process would then follow, and public input would be considered, including a formal Public Hearing if a new bylaw is drafted.
The Islands Trust Council has adopted a bylaw compliance and enforcement policy to guide the work of its bylaw compliance and enforcement team. The enforcement of bylaws is primarily a complaint-driven process. If there has been a complaint, bylaw compliance and enforcement officers investigate. If a contravention of a Local Trust Committee bylaw is found to exist, the property owner will be asked to take steps to comply with the bylaw.
Depending on the specific circumstances, the bylaw compliance and enforcement officer will negotiate a reasonable plan and time for voluntary compliance. This compliance plan may accommodate unusual circumstances (such as seasonal or financial constraints or personal situation) which means a property owner is given extra time to comply. If voluntary compliance is not achieved, the bylaw compliance and enforcement officer may issue a Bylaw Violation Notice (ticket), if the LTC has adopted such a system, or recommend that an LTC approve legal action to acquire a court order to gain compliance.
It is important to note that Lasqueti does not have a Bylaw Enforcement Notification Bylaw. Many local trust areas do, some do not. Bylaw Enforcement Notification Bylaws allow for fines for violations, and are sometimes used as an intermediate step between voluntary compliance and court action. In 2012 the Lasqueti Trust Committee considered such a bylaw, but ultimately decided not to proceed.
The bylaw compliance and enforcement team investigates alleged contraventions of the land use bylaws of the LTCs comprising the Islands Trust. The LTC and local trustees are not involved in any way with specific investigations except when the bylaw compliance and enforcement officer recommends the LTC approve legal action. The decision whether to approve legal action is taken in-camera, a meeting which is not open to the public. If the LTC supports staff’s recommendation then funding for legal action is sought from the Islands Trust Executive Committee. Enforcement through the Court is a last resort to enforce the bylaws. This step is avoided until other compliance attempts have proven to be unsuccessful.
For immediate release
Livingstone Forest Covenant on Lasqueti Island. Photo by Doug Hopwood.
Lək̓ ʷəŋən, METULIYE/Victoria, B.C. ¾ The Islands Trust Conservancy’s new Livingstone Forest covenant protects 11.35 hectares of forest and wetland on Xwe’etay/Lasqueti Island. The covenant provides important habitat for species at risk including the Northern Red-legged Frog, Western Toad, and Little Brown Myotis Bat.
Christine Ferris and Doug Hopwood, long-standing conservation stewards, placed the conservation covenant on their land to ensure long-term protection of the property’s biodiversity and carbon stores. Ferris and Hopwood chose to register the covenant through the Islands Trust’s Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP) which will lower future property taxes on the area protected by the covenant.
Lasqueti Island is located southwest of Texada Island in the Georgia Strait. The Livingstone Forest covenant is named after the Livingstone family, who stewarded the land for 60 years prior to Ferris and Hopwood’s purchase of the property in 1992. In August, both families will gather to place a plaque on the property to commemorate Kate Livingstone, who settled on the land in 1912 and raised her six children there. Several of her grandchildren retain their connection to Lasqueti today. The Livingstone Forest NAPTEP covenant is located in the territory of Tla’amin Nation and Qualicum First Nation.
The covenant protects a mature and productive second-growth coastal forest ecosystem and a wetland. The forest, with tree species including Coastal Douglas-fir, Western redcedar, and Red alder, acts as a natural carbon sink, while the wetland is an important water source for local species and provides filtration for groundwater.
“For close to 25 years, Doug and I worked for the Islands Trust Conservancy annually monitoring conservation areas, and we saw how a covenant can allow landowners to protect conservation values while retaining the use of the land. We met many owners who were so grateful to know that the features that make their properties so special will be protected for the long term,” said Christine Ferris. “A big factor in our decision to put a covenant on our land was our awareness of the climate emergency. Conserving forests, along with eliminating fossil fuels, is essential for the future of humanity and nature.”
“Livingstone Forest NAPTEP covenant is the Islands Trust Conservancy’s first covenant on Lasqueti Island,” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Islands Trust Conservancy Board. “We hope that this gift from Christine Ferris and Doug Hopwood will open the doors to other Lasqueti Island landholders who may be considering conservation options.”
- The Islands Trust Conservancy (ITC) protects natural landscapes across the Islands Trust region. The support of individuals and partners has helped to protect more than 1,375 ha of land within 33 nature reserves and 79 conservation covenants on islands in the Salish Sea.
- More than 65% of land on islands in the Salish Sea is privately held – meaning that individual, voluntary conservation actions are critical to protecting biodiversity and addressing impacts from climate change in the region.
- A conservation covenant is an agreement that is registered on a land title to protect natural features on privately held land. It is designed to be perpetual and to bind future landholders.
- The Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP) offers a 65% property tax reduction on the protected portion of land when landholders place a conservation covenant on land with the Islands Trust Conservancy. The program is unique to the Islands Trust Area in British Columbia.
- C. is the most biologically-diverse province in Canada – but it is also a hotspot for biodiversity loss.
- More than 100 species listed in the federal Species at Risk Act as being at risk of extinction are found in the Islands Trust Area. Protecting habitat is one of the best ways to prevent species from becoming at risk of extinction and aid in the recovery of those currently at risk.
You can download the full news release from our News Release page.
High-resolution images have been made available for download to support this news release. You can access and download these assets from our Photo Gallery page. Please use only the images identified in the Islands Trust Conservancy Media Assets gallery in support of this story with credit to the appropriate authors (in the file name).
Islands Trust Conservancy is the conservation land trust for over 450 islands of the Salish Sea and is a part of Islands Trust. Since 1990, Islands Trust Conservancy has protected more than 113 properties, covering more than 1,375 hectares of island ecosystems. This success is thanks to the vision, support, and generosity of donors and partners.
For all media enquiries please contact Micaela Yawney, Communications Specialist, Islands Trust Conservancy