Home 2018-09-20T18:40:12+00:00

Laura Patrick 

Candidate – Islands Trust Salt Spring Island Trustee

My Campaign Platform

Islands Trust is as unique as the people it serves. Every one of us who lives on Salt Spring, who owns land here or vacations in this special place has a role in working to “preserve and protect” our world-class natural environment. “Sustaining island character and maintaining healthy communities” are an equal part of the Trust’s mandate, but too many important community concerns remain unaddressed or unsupported. The many impacts of the affordable housing crisis and the way the water moratorium was handled are both signs that the needs of community and the environment must be evolved to sustain a healthy community.

My own background is in environmental management and international consulting, and now, with local experience on Salt Spring in economic development and housing issues, I have decided to run for the Trust in an effort to fix the urgent challenges faced by our community. This is a creative, compassionate and generous Island society and I know we can and MUST do better if we are to build a healthy, vibrant community that is in harmony with the natural environment, both for today and, more importantly, for tomorrow.

The specific issues that I want to work on are:

  • Maintaining and strengthening our environmental safeguards to keep Salt Spring and the Trust Area special and a world-class example of sustainability.
  • Creating innovative solutions to provide both immediate and long-term relief for the affordable housing crisis that is affecting too many fellow islanders.
  • Improving governance and cross-organisation coordination that is more responsive to local needs and a changing world.

Maintaining and strengthening our environmental safeguards to keep Salt Spring and the Trust Area special and a world-class example of sustainability  

Our island environment is under stress from the impacts of climate change, a heated housing market, increased tourism, and changing demographics. I believe the Islands Trust can be the world-leading model of ecological-based land management:

  • We can do better by communicating how every one of us who lives in, owns land on, vacations in or travels through this region needs to become a steward of our precious ecosystem. We need to know what actions we can each take to protect it.
  • We can do better by managing and conserving our water supplies and employing standards to ensure long-term ecological sustainability of our watersheds while encouraging ecologically-sound housing solutions.
  • While appreciating that many in our community are already voluntarily reducing their ecological and carbon footprints, we can do better by doing even more to achieve greater reductions through innovative incentives, policies and bylaws.
  • We can do better planning the future of our community. We must realistically consider the benefits and challenges of tourism as well as the impacts of climate change.

Creating innovative solutions to provide immediate and long-term relief for the affordable housing crisis that is affecting too many fellow islanders.

We have a housing crisis that is impacting everyone on this island. Working people – among them nurses, teachers, servers, chefs – struggle for housing security. We risk losing organizations and businesses that are integral to our island life. The Islands Trust can do better to support the development of housing solutions that will help sustain a healthy community:

  • We can do better by making immediate amendments to the Land Use Bylaw to remove unacceptable encumbrances to farmworker housing, secondary suites and cottages. We can implement other positive changes that have already been well-researched by the Islands Trust staff.
  • We can do better by directing staff to review the many reports, surveys and studies that have already been done that identify affordable housing innovation and best practices appropriate to our community and to recommend steps for implementation.
  • We can do better by holding community forums to better understand housing needs, to find innovative solutions, and then getting to work to remove the barriers and implement solutions.
  • We can do better by strongly advocating to senior levels of government, especially the Capital Regional District (CRD) and BC Housing, for a unique housing strategy with dedicated funding for the Island Trust Area.

Improving governance and cross-organisation coordination that is more responsive to local needs and a changing world.

Since the outcome of the incorporation vote last fall, many islanders are seeking and developing ideas to improve governance on our island. As a Trustee, I will provide leadership, seek to work effectively with the CRD and other government agencies, and take some governance improvement actions right now:

  • We can do better by improving coordination and collaboration with the other governments and agencies that have an influence on local planning and services such as CRD, Island Health, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and BC Housing.
  • We can do better by engaging our community in determining our priorities and developing ways that help us to know if we are making progress.
  • We can do better by listening to the needs of our island’s green businesses, farmers and cottage industries and finding innovative land use solutions that recognize their valued contribution to a healthy community.
  • We can do better addressing the many problems we face on Salt Spring, by reaching out and working with other Island Trust Area communities and their Trustees where they are facing similar challenges.

I am running for the Islands Trust because I believe it is time for strong new leadership that is more attuned to the needs of today’s diverse population. I know we can honour the mandate of the Islands Trust while also strengthening the fabric of our communities, local small businesses and farms, and important services. I have proven leadership abilities, I like to get things done, and I want to work with the people of this community.

Together, We can do better! Please vote for me this October 20.