On October 15, 2022, at the same time as the local government election, Bowen Island voters will be asked to participate in a Community Opinion Poll on the Islands Trust Tax Requisition. The poll is not intended to gauge public opinion about Bowen Island’s membership in the Islands Trust federation.
The question on the ballot will be:
“Do you support Bowen Island Municipality renegotiating with the Province and the Islands Trust, Bowen Island’s annual Tax Requisition Formula within the Islands Trust Act?”
The following information is provided to help you make your decision.
What is a Community Opinion Poll?
A Community Opinion Poll is an informal and non-binding communication opportunity that assists Council to gauge community interest on a specific matter.
What is Bowen Island’s place in the Islands Trust?
Bowen Island Municipality is the only island municipality in British Columbia, providing its own range of services, and is also a member of the Islands Trust regional government under the Islands Trust Act.
The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, First Nations, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia.
The Islands Trust and Bowen Island Municipality Protocol Agreement describes the principles and processes that underpin the relationship.
What is the Tax Requisition?
Property owners on Bowen Island pay property taxes towards the Islands Trust which are collected by Bowen Island Municipality as part of the annual requisition. The amount of taxes collected on behalf of Islands Trust is based on the Islands Trust Act and Trust Council’s Municipal Tax Requisition Calculation Policy.
The annual Tax Requisition collected on behalf of Islands Trust has, on average, worked out to about $320,000 total.
What services of the Islands Trust does the Tax Requisition support?
The Islands Trust provides a regional governance function for Bowen Island that emphasizes shared regional responsibilities throughout the Trust Area. As such, the Islands Trust does not duplicate local government services that are the sole responsibility of Bowen Island, such as land use planning. Bowen Island taxpayers contribute to the work of Trust Council and the Islands Trust Conservancy, but do not contribute to the operation or planning work of Local Trust Committees.
The Islands Trust provides the following services to Bowen Island:
- Review and approve the Official Community Plan and Land Use Bylaw Amendments to ensure consistency with the Islands Trust Policy Statement, including the “preserve and protect” mandate.
- Islands Trust Conservancy: protects ecologically significant and culturally sensitive places. On Bowen Island, the Conservancy manages the David Otter Nature Reserve, the Fairy Fen Nature Reserve, the Singing Woods Nature Reserve, and two conservation covenant areas.
- Education and public awareness programs, including the Community Stewardship Awards.
- Advocacy: the Islands Trust Council advocates to influence change on regional issues.
Why is Bowen Island asking to renegotiate the Requisition Formula?
Bowen Island Municipality seeks value for money in all its expenditures, and the Requisition Formula has not been reviewed since the Municipality’s incorporation in 1999.
As a member, Bowen Island Municipality will be supportive of Islands Trust in its request for an increase of the annual Provincial contribution.
The Community Opinion Poll will help Bowen Island Municipality gauge public interest in renegotiating the Requisition Formula.