October Islands Trust Advocacy Highlights
October has been a busy month, with the Islands Trust advocating on behalf of constituents on range of critical issues, including the proposed Trans Mountain expansion and marine protection. Here’s a quick round up of what’s been happening.
On October 3, the Chair wrote to BC Hydro regarding their plan to curb the amount of energy net metered customers can sell to BC Hydro. Concerns have been raised by constituents that changes to the net metering program will deter solar panel purchases in the Islands Trust Area.
Also on October 3, the Chair provided a written submission regarding the National Energy Board’s reconsideration hearing over the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The hearing was set up in the wake of the Federal Court of Appeal decision that quashed the Order in Council approving the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Island Trust remains opposed to the proposed expansion project and in its submission recommends that the Board require the review of additional evidence about the environmental effects of Project-related marine shipping, including increased demand on anchorages based in the Southern Gulf Islands region, the cumulative effects of increasing vessel traffic in the Salish Sea, and the impact of an oil spill from project vessels would have on human health and the ecology and economy of the Salish Sea.
The Islands Trust submission also suggests that subsequent hearings be held on Vancouver Island to allow those directly affected by marine shipping and potential marine spills to participate. The Islands Trust has further requested that the Province use its roles as an intervenor to raise Islands Trust’s concerns during the hearing. The Province has agreed to do so whenever possible.
On October 5, the Chair made a submission in response to Transport Canada’s Proactive Vessel Management Discussion Paper. Islands Trust supports the proposed collaborative approach the Government of Canada is suggesting, which aims to address vessel traffic in local waterways and to reduce the impacts of shipping in the short and long term on ecologically and culturally sensitive marine and coastal areas. The Trust is hopeful that solutions will be founded on local knowledge and experience.
On October 10, the Chair wrote to BC Ferries regarding the dumping of holding tanks. Reports have come in that dumping of sewage could by taking place closer than three nautical miles from land. The letter follows correspondence that took place between Islands Trust staff and the ferry corporation, with assurances from BC Ferries that best practices will be followed and that crew training and monitoring will be reviewed.
On October 15, the Islands Trust made a submission to Transport Canada’s Strengthening Marine Environmental Protection and Response Potential Legislative Amendments Discussion Paper. Welcoming the focus on preventing oil spills, the submission underlined how a healthy ocean habitat is vital to the economic viability of the Salish Sea region, the health of salmon, and the survival of species at risk such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale. Protecting and preserving the lands and waters of the Salish Sea must be a priority for all Canadians from coast to coast, now and into the future.
The Islands Trust is currently seeking applications for an Employee Services Coordinator and a Program Coordinator. Information about these Victoria-based employment opportunities is available on our Employment Opportunities page.