The Islands Trust has nailed down priorities that will help guide future budget decisions.
The organization adopted a strategic plan in September to provide a focus the 2013-14 budget and attempt to collect the common priorities shared by the local trust areas. The objectives were created after the Trust gathered public feedback during July and August.
The Islands Trust council originally identified 10 objectives, but narrowed it to six. The six objectives include protecting the natural environment of islands within the trust area, protecting coastal and marine ecosystems, protecting quality and quantity of water resources, enhancing community economic sustainability and security, strengthening relations with First Nations and improving organizational costs and operational effectiveness.
The objectives are based on the three primary goals of the Islands Trust’s policy statement, which includes ecosystem preservation and protection, stewardship of island resources and sustaining island character and healthy communities.
Sheila Malcolmson, chairwoman of the Islands Trust Council and a trustee on the Gabriola Islands Trust, said that identifying common priorities allows the trust councils to work collaboratively on issues.
Malcolmson said many Trust councils have been working on protecting quality and quantity of water resources a priority. This has been an issue Gabriola has been trying to tackle. Malcolmson said the local Gabriola Trust council has been pushing for changes to the provincial water act.
“It’s been a longstanding issue for Gabriolans,” she said. “If we did it all on our own it would be a big job, but this means we will all be pulling together.”
The objectives will also be helpful for community groups that are working on projects that align with the plan. Malcolmson said organizations that are working on projects that align with the plan may have a better chance to get funding. Other issues that are affecting many islands such as fair ferry rates is also an issue the members of the Trust can work together on, she added.
The Islands Trust is comprised of 13 major and more than 450 smaller islands and covers 5,200 square kilometres.
For more, please go to www.islandtrust.bc.ca/strategicplan.