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Islands Trust passes $10.98 million budget

The Island Trust's budget plans for enhanced land management, accessibility, and housing projects in 2024-2025
keats-island-sunshine-coast-british-columbia-canada-aerial-view-of-a-islands-in-howe-sound-during-a-cloudy-summer-evening

The Islands Trust Council passed its 2024-2025 budget last week and is putting a focus on maintaining existing service levels, supporting a new accessibility committee and undertaking land use planning projects. 

The Island Trust covers more than 450 islands and 30,000 residents. It includes the Gambier Island Local Trust Area, which represents islands that include Keats and Thormanby.

The $10.98 million budget is broken down into the following:

  • $9.5 million allocated to operations
  • $983,000 to special projects
  • $347,000 for the purchase of capital assets

About 7.6 per cent of the budget – $834,000 – was funded by approved external grants.

"In navigating development of the 2024/25 budget, trustees faced tough decisions and found compromises,” said Islands Trust Council Chair Peter Luckham. “This budget allows Islands Trust to progress work on strategic initiatives that are important to communities.”

A 5.9 per cent increase to the existing local trust area tax base plus an additional 0.5 per cent tax revenue expected from new construction and development in local trust areas was also adopted.

Bowen Island Municipal tax levy will increase by 13.1 per cent, 1.1 per cent of which is expected to come from new construction.

Planning projects of note highlighted in the budget include: 

  • Housing needs assessments for all local trust committees
  • Housing strategy action plan implementation project 
  • Denman Island housing review project
  • Gabriola Island official community plan and land use bylaw comprehensive review project
  • Mayne Island housing options project
  • North Pender Island housing access and affordability project
  • Salt Spring Island official community plan and land use bylaw major review project
  • Salt Spring Island Ganges (Shiya’hwt/SYOW╠▒T) village area plan project
  • Salt Spring Island groundwater sustainability strategy implementation project
  • Salt Spring Island proof of water at time of subdivision project

To improve transparency and reporting, funding for the development of an online bylaw compliance and enforcement portal is included in the budget as well as funding for new staff, such as a protected areas management team lead, a geographic information systems coordinator and a temporary biologist for Planning Services.

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.