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The island trust concept : a proposed institutional arrangement to implement a policy of controlled development for the Gulf Islands of British Columbia Glover, Julia Mary

Abstract

The Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia are widely recognized as having unique ecological and climatic characteristics and outstanding natural beauty. The high shoreline to land area ratio of the islands and the sheltered waters of the Strait provide considerable opportunity for a variety of recreational activities. However the scenic and essentially rural environment of the islands is currently threatened by the proliferation of residential subdivisions. Existing development controls available to the seven Regional Baords having jurisdiction in the Gulf Islands study area, appear to be inadequate. The central task of this study therefore, is to propose an institutional arrangement called the Gulf Islands Trust, to implement a policy of controlled development for the islands. The observations and recommendations of the Provincial Legislature's Committee on Municipal Matters which studied the islands during 1973, were accepted as the terms of reference for this study. The methodology is as follows: 1. To document the background developments leading to the formation of provincial policy for the islands. 2. To analyze existing similar purpose land use legislation for its relevance to the Gulf Islands. 3. To prepare a model bill which defines the structure and powers of the Gulf Islands Trust. Five pieces of legislation are examined in detail: 1. U.S. Congress, Nantucket Sound Islands Trust Bill, I 97-3. 2. Hawaii, Land Use Law of 1961, as amended 1970. 3. Vermont, Environmental Control Law, 1970 (Act. No. 250 Vermont Laws). 4. Ontario, Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973. 5. Washington State, Shoreline Management Act of 19 7 1. These laws are analyzed on the basis of several criteria. From this analysis recommendations for an institutional arrangement are given which incorporate those structures and powers thought necessary to control development activities on the islands. At the same time the recommended provisions attempt to achieve certain objectives consistent with the normative assumptions of the author and provincial policy. The recommendations are embodied in a model bill for the Gulf Islands which describes the proposed institutional arrangement in terms of certain structures, powers, and functions. The land use laws analyzed in this study are characteristic of the trends towards increased provincial/state control over regional land use matters and the increased delegation of powers to special purpose bodies. Only some of the legislation analyzed seriously attempts to accommodate local citizen input to the decision-making process. The model bill proposed in this study includes mechanisms to protect the island environment and at the same time makes provision for the participation of individuals in the policy formulation, plan preparation, implementation and monitoring stages of the planning process.

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