Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island (Credit: Kristine Mayes, Islands Trust)
In an area of rich biodiversity and stunning natural beauty, how do we decide where and how to subdivide land for development?
The Islands Trust was created by the Province of BC to manage the impact of development on the more than 460 islands located between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.
Under the Islands Trust Act, 12 local trust committees and one island municipality uphold the provincially mandated object of the Islands Trust: “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 generally . . .”
The development process actually starts long before a subdivision application is submitted; it starts, arguably, with each island’s official community plan (OCP) and land use bylaw. These are the documents that detail local area objectives for housing, transportation, community character, amenities and services, environmental and cultural preservation, subdivision, allowable uses, and more.
Planning staff at Islands Trust review subdivision applications against local OCPs and land use bylaws to make sure proposed development is not at odds with local policy objectives, particularly the protection of the islands’ ecological value. Other agencies are also involved in the application review process: regional districts, health authorities, water service providers, and other service agencies. Subdivision in the trust area is a multi-step, multi-agency process.
Many physical factors must be considered when developing in the trust area. Steep slopes and soil erosion, endangered or at-risk flora and fauna, archaeological assests, and non-potable water are just some of the challenges that those wishing to subdivide in the area must address with sensitive development strategies.
Find out more about planning and development in the Islands Trust area from author Jason Youmans, land use planner in the Islands Trust’s Salt Spring Island office, in the Spring 2015 issue of Input, page 16.
More information about Islands Trust
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