LETTER: Annual Trust membership tax worth the cost

Dear Editor,

I am writing you today to express my continuing support for keeping our Bowen Island Municipality within the Islands Trust.

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Even under the umbrella and mandate of the Island’s Trust since 1974, preserving and protecting the unique amenities and environment of our island has not been easy over the years. We must continue to act as long-term stewards of this beautiful place for the benefit of residents, visitors and future generations.

Starting in 1974, I was elected as a Bowen Island Trustee for two consecutive terms and served as a pioneering member of the Islands Trust. I was also an Advisory

Planning Commission volunteer, working with a planner and members of the community on a blueprint for the future growth and protections of Bowen under our first Official Community Plan (OCP).

During the 10-acre freeze on property developments within the trust area, we needed to bring about a democratic consensus, which reflected an OCP compromise and supporting land use bylaws for the entire island, in order to lift the freeze on development.

The Snug Cove Plan was completed later and the OCP is refined over the years. Extensive studies were carried out in the groundwork that led to the creation of the OCP and the carrying capacity of the island, the resources necessities of drinking water, watershed protection and septic dispersal capabilities continue to guide our population growth.

Today there seems some question in the mind of Michael Kaile, municipal councillor and Island Trustee, about paying our assessed share in supporting the Islands Trust. A necessary part of budgeting is reviewing how much we pay and questioning the amount at budget and tax time. However, we need to pay our annual Trust membership tax.

The core values of sustainability and provisions within our community planning have been carefully and democratically established with the assistance of numerous studies, resources and volunteers over the years and have stood the test of time: 45 years of Islands Trust preservation and protection.

Looking at our history and location – within an hour’s drive of well over two million people – I believe it would be extremely dangerous to suggest that the legal oversight provided by the Trust be abandoned as an ill-conceived trade-off for lowering our Bowen municipal taxes.

Robb Schultz was a Bowen Island Trustee from 1974 to 1980

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