Islands 2050 Frequently Asked Questions

This page includes answers to frequently asked questions about the Islands Trust Policy Statement Amendment Project and its process. If you have a question that has not been answered here, please Email us.

Islands Trust Policy Statement

What is the Islands Trust Policy Statement?

The Islands Trust Policy Statement contains the vision, principles and policies that guide how Islands Trust Council interprets and implements its provincial mandate to preserve and protect the unique amenities and environment of the Islands Trust Area. It also guides the development of the official community plans and land use bylaws of local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality, and the development of Trust Council’s Strategic Plan. It is the heart of the preserve and protect mandate for this special part of British Columbia.

Why does the Islands Trust have a Policy Statement?

The provincial Islands Trust Act requires Trust Council to adopt a Policy Statement with the policies it will use to preserve and protect the Trust Area. The Policy Statement contains the principles and policies that guide the Islands Trust’s work. Within the Islands Trust Area, official community plans and land use bylaws must not be contrary to or at variance with the Policy Statement.

How does the Islands Trust Policy Statement impact local decision-making and regional growth?

The Policy Statement guides the development of official community plans and land use bylaws of local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality.  The Policy Statement provides the overarching vision, principles, and policies framework for land and marine use within the Islands Trust Area.

Why is the Policy Statement being updated?

A lot has changed since the current Policy Statement was adopted 30 years ago.  The Policy Statement is being updated to reflect important topics such as Reconciliation, climate change, and affordable housing.

What role does the Policy Statement play in strategic planning?

The Policy Statement informs Trust Council’s development of its Strategic Plan and cooperation with First Nations, other partners and agencies. It also serves as a reference for external agencies that are assessing the compatibility of their strategic plans and policies with the Islands Trust mandate.

What is Islands 2050?

Islands 2050 is the name of the overall process to amend the Islands Trust Policy Statement. The Islands 2050 process includes public engagement, early engagement with First Nations, and referrals to First Nations and provincial and other agencies. The Islands 2050 webpage is where all the Islands Trust Policy Statement amendment project information is available to the public.

Where can I learn more and provide input?

Please see the Islands 2050 website for more information and how you can provide input.

Subscribe for project updates to stay informed as the process continues. Questions can be sent to

Amendment Process

How is the Policy Statement updated, and what factors are considered in the process?

The process to update the Policy Statement is guided by Trust Council’s Policy Statement Amendment Policy.  The policy sets out that Trust Council will first identify the changes it wants to make, then engage the public and First Nations on the topics it wishes to address, and then make changes to the document based on:

  • Input and feedback from the public, First Nations and referral agencies and
  • Its understanding of the Islands Trust object in the Islands Trust Act.

The Policy Statement is a bylaw of Trust Council and follows a typical bylaw development process, which is conducted in open public meetings.

What are bylaw readings? What does it mean for the approval process?

An Islands Trust Policy Statement bylaw must receive three readings before it can proceed to final adoption. This process allows Trust Council multiple opportunities to provide input into the bylaw and make necessary changes before it is adopted. Each reading and adoption is decided by a majority vote of the Trustees present and each reading is passed by a resolution.

All bylaws must be read and adopted in a meeting that is open to the public. Trust Council can make changes to the Policy Statement bylaw at any point during first, second or third reading. Once Trust Council has adopted the Policy Statement bylaw it may only be amend or repeal it through a new bylaw. The various bylaw readings are generally taken to mean:

  • First reading = tabling or introduction
  • Second = discussion in principle and on the content of the bylaw
  • Third reading = final discussion, including any changes made along the way.

Between first and second readings of any proposed Policy Statement bylaw, Trust Council must refer the proposed Policy Statement bylaw to the board of each regional district, all or part of which is in the Islands Trust Area, for review and comment by the board, and to First Nations. The bylaw must be approved by provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs before Trust Council votes to adopt it.

Has Trust Council given an Islands Trust Policy Statement bylaw any readings?


Trust Council has adopted a project timeline that does not contemplate a Policy Statement Bylaw being contemplated for first reading before 2025.

How are current official community plan amendment projects affected by the project to update the Policy Statement?

They are not. An updated Policy Statement will only be in effect after it has received approval from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and has been adopted by Trust Council. This is not expected to occur until the end of 2026, at the earliest. The new Policy Statement will only apply to local trust committee and Bowen Island Municipality bylaws created after its adoption.

Islands 2050 Process History (2019 - present)

What are the Trust Council’s three key amendment priorities?

At the outset of the Islands 2050 process, Trust Council set three key priorities for updates to the Policy Statement: Reconciliation, climate change, and affordable housing. These priorities align with Trust Council’s Reconciliation Declaration (2019), Climate Emergency Declaration (2019), and Housing Equity and Workforce Shortage Crisis Declaration (2021).

What key themes emerged from public engagement to date?

Feedback from three public engagement processes in 2019, 2021 and 2022 was plentiful and complex. Key themes included:

  • Support for the Islands Trust mandate;
  • Support for updating the Policy Statement;
  • A desire for balance between environmental protection and sustaining residents’ valued communities and way of life;
  • concerns about Islands Trust overreaching its jurisdiction; and
  • A desire for clarified language and a glossary of terms.

The new draft is responsive to the input received.  The results of three previous Islands Trust Area-wide public engagement processes are available on the Islands 2050 webpage.

What key themes emerged from earlier engagement with First Nations to date?

Key themes from earlier engagement with First Nations included concerns about governance, rights and responsibilities, and the need for ecosystem protection for cultural/spiritual/economic uses. The new draft is responsive to the input received. The results of two previous engagement processes with First Nations are available on the Islands 2050 webpage.

What has Trust Council done to date with all the input it has received?

Based on the feedback from First Nations, referral agencies, and the public, in September 2022, Trust Council made 32 resolutions to guide staff in the drafting of a new draft Policy Statement.

What is sequence of events for the current phase of amending the document?

In line with Trust Council direction provided in fall 2023, staff at Bowen Island Municipality, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Agricultural Land Commission and Islands Trust Conservancy were engaged with to refine language in a new draft and the new draft was shared with those First Nation governments who accepted capacity funding. First Nations, and the staff people from other organizations, are aware that Trust Council may make further revisions to the document.  First Nations will have continuous opportunity to comment.

Trust Council will now review an updated draft Policy Statement document to determine if it is ready for further public comment. Once Trust Council provides approval in in principle to an updated draft document, it will be referred to local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality for comment. To inform their comments to Trust Council, these bodies may choose to undertake public engagement in the manner best suited to their communities. The Islands Trust will also will also provide an online/print survey and virtual community workshop to seek public comment.

After receiving community comments, Trust Council will consider making changes to the draft Policy Statement document and providing a draft First Reading. If granted first reading, the document will be referred to comment to First Nation governments, the Islands Trust Conservancy Board, regional districts, and other agencies as determined by Trust Council.

What is capacity funding and what is it used for?

In this instance, funding was offered by Islands Trust to First Nations governments to support their capacity for meaningful engagement on the Islands Trust Policy Statement.

How much has the Islands 2050 process cost to date?

Islands Trust has spent $280,000 since the project’s inception in 2019 on public engagement, First Nations engagement, and other project related expenses, in addition to considerable staff hours.

Updated Draft Policy Statement Content

How has the updated draft Policy Statement been revised since the 32 resolutions were passed by Trust Council in June and September of 2022?

In response to Trust Council’s request for changes in June and September 2022, the document has been reformatted to simplify the structure, shorten the length, improve readability and understanding, and other changes. The new draft provides includes guiding principle policies as well as directive policies which are organized under five goal areas.

What are guiding principles in the updated draft Policy Statement?

The updated draft Policy Statement includes guiding principles that set out shared principles and priorities that are intended to guide daily planning and decision making by Islands Trust bodies.

What are directive policies in the updated Policy Statement, and how are they organized?

Directive policies are policies that local trust committees and island municipalities must address when adopting or amending local regulatory bylaws and official community plans. They are policies that are deemed integral to carrying out the Islands Trust Object, but which are general enough that they can be appropriately adapted to local circumstances.

What is the current plan with respect to Islands Trust regulating desalination plants?

None. The draft policy to prohibit new desalination plants has been removed from the new draft.

What is the current plan with respect to Islands Trust authority to regulate tree cutting?

None. Specific commitment/coordination policies and recommendation policies advocating for authority to regulate tree cutting have been removed from the new draft.

What is the current plan with respect to Islands Trust regulation of docks?

The updated draft proposes that local trust committees and island municipalities will limit or prohibit new private docks in areas identified to be:

  • culturally significant;
  • critical habitat for species at risk, and;
  • recreationally significant;

and that local trust committees and island municipalities will consider the cumulative effects of docks (see draft policy 3.5.21).

Next Steps

Once Trust Council receives the new draft Policy Statement for the first time, what will happen?

Trust Council’s Committee of the Whole will receive the draft and will carefully consider recommendations to Trust Council in light of all the input received to date and the legislative requirement that the Policy Statement be a statement of policies to carry out the Object of the Trust.  This may take several meetings.

Once Trust Council has received the recommendations from the Committee of the Whole, it will contemplate providing approval-in-principle to the document. Trust Council will then refer the draft to local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality for comment. Local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality will decide what form of public engagement to undertake locally to inform their referral responses.

Trust Council will also seek the public’s views through an online/print survey and a virtual community workshop. Trust Council may also continue to receive input from First Nations during this period. After considering all this feedback on the draft, Trust Council may make additional changes to the document and then consider First Reading and formally referring the document to other agencies and First Nations.

When will the community have the opportunity to provide input?

Public engagement is expected to occur through locally-determined processes in fall/winter of 2024 and into 2025. Once Trust Council has endorsed a draft document via approval in principle, the public will be invited and encouraged to provide input.  Trust Council is taking this approach to avoid wasting public effort on topics or policies that don’t have the support of Trust Council.

Trust Council will seek the public’s views through an online/print public survey and a virtual community workshop. Local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality will determine what form of public engagement to undertake locally to inform their referral responses. More information will be provided when Trust Council approves the draft in principle. The public will be able to monitor changes to the draft through public agenda packages and minutes.

Will Trust Council, its committees and Executive Committee discuss the draft Policy Statement in public meetings?

Yes. All discussions about the updated draft Policy Statement will be in open public meetings, unless there is a need for legal advice.



How is the recent work of Trust Council regarding a new vision statement and interpreting the Object of the Trust incorporated into the draft Policy Statement?

In December 2023, Trust Council adopted the following vision statement “While on a journey of Reconciliation, Islands Trust Council envisions a vibrant tapestry of caring, diverse and rural communities within the Salish Sea that flourish in harmony with nature”, and asked staff to provide the vision statement to First Nations directly working Islands Trust on the Policy Statement.

In addition, Trust Council has provided a statement with regards to the Object of the Trust:

“Trust Council’s determination is that every decision must include a reasoned recognition of all the elements specified in the mandate. While one element may gain priority, reasons for that decision must be clear and have considered the other elements. There has been some debate in the past about the meaning of unique amenities. Trust Council’s view is that unique amenities are broad-ranging and may include issues such as, but not limited to, housing, livelihoods, infrastructure and tourism. However, land use planning in the Trust Area must always include a focus on preserving and protecting the environment and communities of both local trust areas and the Trust Area generally and in a manner consistent with Reconciliation.

In any given decision-making situation, there must be recognition of the importance of each of the essential elements and where there is competition between those elements there must be a careful and reasoned balancing of the importance of preserving and protecting the Trust Area, and its unique amenities and environment.”

It is up to Trust Council to decide on how best to address its vision statement and its interpretation of the Object of the Trust as it considers changes to the updated Policy Statement draft.

What happens after public engagement? What are the final steps?

Once Trust Council has received local trust committee/Bowen Island Municipality and public feedback on the draft it will make any desired changes and then consider first reading of the bylaw. If first reading occurs, the revised draft will be formally referred to First Nations, regional districts, provincial ministries and agencies, school boards, improvement districts, and the Islands Trust Conservancy Board. Trust Council will then consider feedback received and will make additional changes as needed.

Next comes second and third readings of the bylaw. If the additional readings of the bylaw are passed – with or without changes – Trust Council will then refer the new draft Policy Statement to the Minister for approval, and will adopt a new Policy Statement after the Minister has approved.

Previously, updates to the Policy Statement felt rushed. What has changed?

The Islands Trust has learned from previous engagement on the Policy Statement there is a strong desire from community members to have time to fully review material and provide feedback for consideration, but that it is beneficial to first have Trust Council agreement that a draft is generally supported by Trust Council and is ready for public comment. In response, Trust Council has set out a more measured deliberative decision process that will see Trust Council discussing the document for as much time as is needed through Committee of the Whole meetings before providing recommendations to Trust Council and seeking public comment.  Trust Council has made early and ongoing engagement with First Nations a priority, and has committed to supporting the use of locally-tailored on-island public engagement, as well as Island Trust Area wide engagement, to provide the public with opportunity to provide input prior to considering first reading of a Policy Statement bylaw.

Next Steps

Please see the Islands 2050 website for detailed project information and subscribe for project updates to stay informed as the process continues. Questions can be sent to