Applications to the Islands Trust (IT) for project “sponsorships” – or having the Trust cover the cost of a rezoning proposal – are now decided by the IT Executive Committee rather than by local trustees.
At a recent Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting at the WI Hall, Planner Chloe Fox followed up on how trustees could cover the costs of a community information meeting about an application by the Gabriola Radio Society (GRS) to erect a tower on Chernoff Drive. Fox said because the LTC ran the meeting themselves, “this is now a non-issue because it was their process to run, the funds can come out of their expense account”. She added that the LTC should consider passing a resolution releasing funds for the hall rental.
Trustee Gisele Rudischer moved that the funds be released, and then noted that some people believe that when the LTC sponsors an application “that it gives the impression that there’s already a pre-judgment in favour of the application. And they had a list of this and every application we’ve sponsored we have okayed”.
Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said the Trust recently changed the sponsorship application process. She said the Executive Committee (EC) now decides whether an application will be sponsored.
LTC Chair David Graham said the perception of bias “was exactly why we felt the Executive Committee is a more appropriate body” to make that decision. Rudischer said that was “a good thing”. She said now not only does the decision not get made by local trustees, but EC members are not “playing favourites for your Local Trust Area in judging whether or not they deserve to have a sponsorship”.
As for the GRS, Malcolmson said the Gabriola LTC covered the cost of the hall rental for the community information meeting because “it was not a development application”.
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