Misled Public is Real RAR Issue

As reported by the Driftwood last week, Linda Adams, CAO of the Islands Trust, said “…that (Eric) Booth’s submission to the LTC relies on a staff report written in 2005 before the RAR was enacted and details were known.”

Ms. Adam’s statement is entirely untrue and disingenuous for three reasons:

1.  As is clearly stated in my submission (see full text at https://islandstrust.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/rar-opinion-april-71.pdf), the Province’s Riparian Area Regulation (RAR) policy directive was in fact enacted in July 2004. This is not conjecture on my part, but an historical, legislative fact, one which Ms. Adams surely is, or should be, well aware of.

2. The “details” of the RAR were exceedingly clear in March 2005. In fact, the RAR, enacted the previous year, gave local governments until March 31, 2005 to implement it. How much clearer can you be? The Regulation was clearly “known” to Ms. Adams and I challenge her to produce any additional “details” which prevented any local government in BC from implementing them by March 31, 2005. In early March, 2005, Bill Barasoff, the Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection, confirmed there were local governments which had already implemented the RAR, and, “…those who want to move forward now can do so, and for those who have issues, we are developing a timeline that contains some flexibility.” Subsequently, the Province extended the compliance date from March 31, 2005 to March 31, 2006.  However, as is clearly stated in my submitted position, as of March 7, 2005, the Salt Spring LTC was deemed to already be in compliance with the RAR, and since then 15 Riparian Area Assessments have been conducted on the island.

3. My submission does not, as Ms. Adams suggested, “rely” upon the staff report to make my case. My case, as is clearly stated in my submission, is reliant upon (a) Trustee Lineger and my knowledge of the Riparian Area Regulation, which both of us had read and understood, (b) our knowledge of our Land Use and Official Community Plan bylaws, which we were extremely familiar with, (c) the Fish Protection Act, which enabled the RAR and SPR, (d) the Streamside Protection Act which had been repealed by the RAR, and (e) the Local Government Act provisions regarding the use of development permit areas for the protection of the environment. The March 7, 2005 Islands Trust “staff report” helped further inform us, and, supports my position that Salt Spring was deemed to already be legislatively in compliance with the RAR.

In order for Ms. Adams to claim to “know” what was in my, and Trustee Lineger’s, political heads at the time, she would have to ask us what we thought. She has not. In fact, she is willfully ignoring what we have clearly stated we did think at the time. Why?

While Ms. Adams is free to provide advice to Trustees on matters, she is not an elected representative, and does not have the authority to make any “decision” about whether elected representatives’ “opinions” are legally “right” or “wrong.” That is a job for a lawyer and/or the courts.

Given this matter is about a proposed OCP amendment, winding its way through a public process, it is however Ms. Adams’ duty to ensure the public is being properly and correctly informed, and, if there is a logical and reasoned question of authority, or legality, of a proposed bylaw, she should defer to the Trust’s legal counsel for advice, something I suggested in my submission.

The following quote is not from my website, but from the Ministry of Environment’s – “Section 8 of the Riparian Areas Regulation provides that if a local government has bylaws or permits that establish streamside protection and enhancement areas in accordance with the direction in section 6 of the Streamside Protection Regulation, on or before March 31, 2005, then that local government is deemed to have met the requirements of the Riparian Areas Regulation.” This is the basis of our position.

To paraphrase Ms. Adams, while the “Provincial roll-out of the RAR was a bit confusing” to her, Trustee Lineger and I were not at all confused on March 7, 2005, or at anytime thereafter, regarding our compliance with the RAR.

Our existing OCP and Land Use Bylaws, and our development permit process, gave, “in our opinion,” “a comparable level of protection” to the SPR, and therefore complied with the RAR. In the words of the March 2005 staff report itself  – “Assuming that the implementation of the regulation may proceed as scheduled, we (Trust staff) have considered our readiness should the regulation be implemented on March 31, 2005…There is little that local trust committees need to do at this time to prepare for the regulation….Generally, local trust committees official community plans recognize fish bearing streams as Development Permit Areas and impose setbacks from streams for development proposals.With this is place, there is no need to amend planning documents.” (e.g. OCP’s or LUB’s).”

Ms. Adams stated, “The Ministry of Environment and legal advice confirm further work is necessary to comply with provincial standards.” I hereby request Ms. Adams to release that advice to the public, because I can guarantee it will not address the basis of my submission, but in fact will ignore the applicability of the Transitional provisions of the RAR.

I also challenge Ms. Adams to correct her false statements, provide to the public a “legal opinion” or argument which contradicts the basis of my submission and cease making statements which appear to be designed to do nothing more than deflect from the real issue at hand – that the public is currently being misled.

Eric Booth

Former Islands Trustee (2002-2005)


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