Residents have until Sunday, February 6 to give their thoughts on the proposed 2022/23 Islands Trust budget.
Bowen’s share, applied through a municipal tax levy, is $324,000. This is a four per cent rise from last year (up $12,497) and will be split three per cent to the current tax base and one per cent to new development and construction.
On Bowen, the primary focuses of the budget are the creation of an affordable housing model bylaw, and a groundwater science and mapping program. Development of a heritage preservation overlay mapping and model bylaw is also in the works.
“The proposed 2022/23 budget supports work we have heard is important to communities such as land use policies and regulations that support affordable housing, increased knowledge of groundwater, and protection of species at risk,” says Islands Trust council chair Peter Luckham.
Islands Trust trustee Michael Kaile, who represents Bowen Island along with Sue Ellen Fast, made it clear he wasn’t in support of the rising costs.
“I make no secret of the fact I will not be voting in favour of this budget. When I look at this budget and I itemize it and I go through it line by line by line, and I review how the various lines have increased over the recent years… we are now in the nine millions. Go back to just the beginning of our term and it was around $7.3 million,” says Kaile.
“It’s one of the largest increases in Islands Trust history. So it’s going to be a matter of pretty strenuous debate, because it certainly isn’t going to be accepted as it stands 100 per cent. This is not going to be a unanimous vote at all,” predicts Kaile.
The handling of the survey, which opened Jan. 21 and closes Sunday, also frustrated Kaile. “How did the Islands Trust intend, in this period of time, for this budget to get out in the community for people to do the survey?”
Kaile says despite the time frame he hopes Boweners will still find a chance to fill it out. “There’s no point issuing a survey if no one completes it. And I’m sure it’s not the intention of Islands Trust to issue a survey and then have no one complete the survey, because that is the epitome of a pointless exercise.”
But Kaile did acknowledge that while there will almost certainly be revisions, he will likely be in the minority voting no, and the budget is expected to pass.