Incorporation: Where Is the Larger Voice?

Salt Spring is in the midst of an incorporation campaign as everyone on our island knows. But who else knows? I love all our Gulf Islands and want to protect them all from over and inappropriate development. I have a hard time abiding views of others who can only see what is good for them personally or for their island only, for that matter. I have been fortunate to visit all the Gulf Islands many times and know they are each unique and all special and in need of protection. I am wondering where is the voice of other islanders, who will feel the effects of Salt Springs Incorporating on them? Why have they been left out of this decision?

Where indeed is the voice of the rest of the Province? After all, these Islands were put in a Trust for all British Columbians by an ALL party vote (one of those rare times in history where all the political parties agreed with each other). Dave Barrett (NDP BC’s premier at the time) always felt it was one of his greatest legacies. The latest Ipsos Reid poll on the Islands Trust (Public Attitudes Towards BC’s Gulf Islands), showed about 90% of BC residents polled felt BC Gulf Islands should be protected from over development and that the BC Government should take action to make sure the Gulf Islands are preserved and protected for all British Columbians. There was also a very strong feeling that even tourism in the Gulf Islands should be managed to protect the islands unique environment. If the Islands Trust was set up to protect the Gulf Islands for all British Columbians where is their voice in all this?

It is often the case, that a few individuals with deep pockets can sway opinions, as they do in many elections these days. This often benefits very few individuals and the greatest good for the community gets lost. This is why the Islands Trust was formed in the first place and human nature has not changed. The Trust is virtually invisible on Bowen Island these days.

I think the Islands Trust was a brilliant idea to begin with. It still is a good idea and always will be a good idea. The Trust is a new vision of how to steward environmentally fragile and rare places. Trustees work together with out all the political bickering and wrangling in municipalities. There are no political parties…..just a federation of Islands represented by Trustee who take an oath to uphold the mandate (the foundation) of the Trust. The municipal model is the old way and urban model that does not protect special areas, for the long run, and for everyone.

I believe, the Islands Trust should be supported by the Province forever, for all British Columbians, and all Canadians. Where is the larger voice on this matter? Why is it being left to a few of us to decide the fate of these unique islands?

Jean Gelwicks

August 17, 2017 2:08 PM