Islands Trust Comments

These are the written comments made about the four Islands Trust representative by Electoral Area A respondents who participated in Decafnation’s Local Government Performance Review. Comments that breached our journalistic standards have been eliminated. All other comments appear as entered into the online survey platform. Click on each image to enlarge the view.

David Critchley — Denman

⇒ Don’t know his work.

⇒ Does not adequately connect with all sectors of Denman’s community.

⇒ Only 2nd time I’ve heard his name. 1st time, he apparently did not know there is a shortage of affordable housing on Denman. Really dude, open your eyes!! Be in touch with the people who live in the area you represent.

⇒ Has has had to take a lot of complaints on the Denman Green which is undeserved. David cares about the community and listens to all points of view prior to making a decision.

⇒ My general sense about the Islands’ Trust is that it’s getting progressively more expensive, for progressively fewer benefits. Despite all the cost increases, Denman’s population keeps growing, and the environment gets further and further away from a “natural” one. My suggestion would be that our LTC’s mandate should be limited to land use applications only, and any surplus funds directed to health care.

⇒ Taxes for the Trust are almost as big as for the hospital. What does the Trust do except hold complicated meetings?

⇒ David seems to stand up for what is right in preserving the beauty and fabric of the Denman community.

⇒ Trustee Critchley is a lawyer and performs his LTC job officiously. He tends to take a conservative position on certain issues, particularly housing which has become a hot-button again as the IT Council has decided to crack down on non-conforming dwellings and has been issuing eviction notices since last winter. These “illegal” dwellings have existed on this Island for 47 years—ever since the imposition of the Islands Trust. They exist because they are critically necessary: the AVERAGE age on Denman is 61 years old and younger workers of every sort are needed—and need places to live. Trustee Critchley has tended to support the recent crackdown on non-conforming dwellings. About 20% of our population lives in these.

Works hard, ethical, great work on marine issues

⇒ David is extremely out of touch with the community. His current actions are an embarrassment to humanity in regards to acknowledging that a housing crisis exists.

⇒ Critchley is choosing to ignore/dismiss a housing crisis happening under his nose, in spite of it being brought to his attention on numerous occasions. He does not engage with his community, not does he speak up on serious issues that impact people.

⇒ This trustee is out of touch. He says he doesn’t know anything about the current housing crisis on Denman (it has been a long time coming but recent Bylaw enforcement has forced evictions on Denman Island). He attends meetings and committees and as far as I can tell that is all he does. He neither communicates regularly with the community. Nor is he approachable. Nor does he listen to feedback from his constituents. Time to retire Mr. Critchley.

⇒ I’m not sure if I’m dissatisfied with the performance, or more lack of performance. I have gone to him 3 times about checking on a possible by-law infraction, asking for clarification on it and he’s not offering guidance. He says there is no way to find out about permits until after they’re approved. We both said that wasn’t satisfactory, but he didn’t offer to put forward a way to change that.

Alex Allen — Hornby

He is a good communicator and raises issues which are pertinent to life on the island.

Not sure what he has done for us. First time I’ve seen his name. Don’t live on Hornby.

Grant Scott — Hornby

He’s learning the ropes and is committed to making the Trust more accessible.

Not sure what he has done for us. First time I’ve seen his name. Don’t live on Hornby.

Seems disengaged

Laura Busheikin — Denman

⇒ She’s a very clear speaker and well organized, but I don’t follow Denman issues.

⇒ Admirable!

⇒ I know Laura brings up concerns and issues that need to be addressed. I.E. low-income housing. She is well-spoken and kind.

⇒ She doesn’t really answer your questions. I find the local gov. It making it difficult for landowners. They have never made bylaws for the farm plan.

⇒ At times has spent too much time on First Nations issues instead of local day to day infrastructure concerns. Otherwise, Laura is a wonderful, considerate, intelligent representative for our community.

⇒ Don’t live on the island

⇒ Laura is very responsive to community needs.

⇒ My general sense about the Islands’ Trust is that it’s getting progressively more expensive, for progressively fewer benefits. Despite all the cost increases, Denman’s population keeps growing, and the environment gets further and further away from a “natural” one. My suggestion would be that our LTC’s mandate should be limited to land use applications only, and any surplus funds directed to health care.

⇒ The Trust has outlived its mandate. They make projects up to look busy.

⇒ Laura responds and acts upon demands and requests from a very small select group of total idiots on Denman’s Facebook group! Laura’s reading and interacting with these Facebook posts is extremely dangerous, as I truly believe they do NOT represent the views of the silent and vast majority of people on Denman at all! She should remain distanced and non-commital to these people and simply take their views into account in the overall scheme of things. For example, she should NOT be promoting lowering the standard of bylaw enforcement to support this small group of people who would love to see Denman become a slum of trailers, shipping containers and live in vehicles. She should not suggest, for example, that seacans would be a great solution to the housing shortage. If people are not able to afford living on Denman for whatever reason, then they should seek housing elsewhere in the much larger world out there where there are much larger taxpayer-funded programs to assist such people. I do not believe the argument that homeless type people are needed to staff the businesses on Denman is a good one. With some exceptions, for the most part, businesses are staffed by the owners or young people living with their families on the island. There is no need to promote homeless type people moving here to staff the businesses. These people are not the main workers here. They come to Denman because it has a reputation for low-cost living and lax rules. Then they expect to be handed a place to live for practically nothing and to live off of this very generous community’s handouts.

⇒ Laura is by far the best Islands Trustee we’ve had in the 31 years I’ve lived on Denman Island. She’s smart, hard-working, and faultlessly ethical despite being cast, in some Islanders’ minds, as a foil to Local Trust Committee members whom they regard as “elitists.” I’m sure she wouldn’t agree with that characterization, but it relates to her tireless, decade-long effort, before she was elected Trustee, to realize a creative housing solution, the “Coho Landing” co-housing development (fifteen households sharing a number of amenities to reduce environmental footprint and offering affordable opportunities whenever old members move on and new ones are lucky enough to fill their spot; all required special land-use zoning). Laura spearheaded this community project and, probably for this reason, many voters expect her to represent their concerns about the chronically severe lack of affordable housing on our Island. She works well with her LTC colleagues and within the rules, nevertheless. Very professional—and a very nice person, too!

⇒ Laura B is the hardest working, clearest communicating, most democratic process-oriented I’ve experienced in 35 years of full-time residence on Denman.

Very engaged, great communicator, patient, fair-minded, ethical

⇒ Laura is extremely intelligent and very aware of what is happening on her island, has articulated truth in LTC meetings, and regularly engages with her community

⇒ One of our very best trustees. An excellent elected official

Herring fishery hurts bi-national orca recovery efforts

Herring fishery hurts bi-national orca recovery efforts

The  Hornby-Denman islands herring fishery in the 1980s  /  Bob Cain photo — View gallery below

Herring fishery hurts bi-national orca recovery efforts


Killer whales that live, play and forage for food in the Salish Sea are starving to death. To help them, both sides of the U.S.-Canada Pacific Northwest border have launched multi-million dollar initiatives to increase the chinook salmon stocks that comprise 80 percent of the orcas’ diet.

But the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ plans to undercut those international efforts have baffled orca conservation organizations.

FURTHER READING: Canada and Washington state announce orca recovery programs

In March, the DFO has scheduled a massive industrial kill of the small silver Pacific herring in the Denman and Hornby island area. It’s the last remaining significant herring spawning area in the Pacific Northwest, from Alaska to Washington state.

Conservancy Hornby Island has asked the federal government to close the herring roe fishery planned for next month. Pacific Wild, a conservation voice dedicated to ensuring preservation of the Great Bear Rainforest, has demanded termination of the fishery.

Grant Scott, spokesperson for the Hornby Island group, says the the DFO has failed to consider the impact of the herring fishery on the entire Salish Sea ecosystem.

The diet of the endangered and declining populations of southern resident Killer Whales consists of 80 percent chinook salmon. And the diet of salmon consists of 80 percent Pacific herring.

“It doesn’t take a scientist to make the important link between herring and killer whales,” Scott said in a statement to Decafnation. “Wouldn’t it make sense to leave this stock alone to hopefully rebuild all the herring schools on our coast and the marine life that needs them for survival?”

Scott said discontinuing the fishery wouldn’t harm anyone.

The industry now supports few jobs or taxes for the province. In the mid-1980s, commercial fishermen were awash in profits when herring earned up to $5,000 per ton. Today, the price ranges from $150 to $700 per ton, because Japanese taste for the delicacy has faded.

According to BC Ministry of Agriculture data, the herring fishery was valued at $309 million in 1995 (adjusted for inflation), but only $58 million in 2017 for the same tonnage of fish.

But that isn’t the worst impact of continuing the herring fishery.

“Ninety percent of the herring are ground up for fish farm food and pet food.” he said. “Using wild fish for non-human consumption is illegal under the federal Fisheries Act. When 90 percent of the herring is used for fish farm and pet food is the federal Minister of Fisheries breaking the law?”

The DFO doesn’t exactly have a good track record of managing the herring population. It’s policies have lead to the closure of four of the six major herring stocks on the BC coast in the last 20 years, according to Scott, who is a former commercial fisher. Basically, herring have declined because they’ve been overfished.

The DFO set a top limit for killing 28,000 tons of spawning herring in the upcoming March opening. That’s the rough equivalent of 200 million fish.

Scott says Conservancy Hornby Island believes this last productive spawning ground will get overfished this year, and that will impact other species, such as salmon and Killer Whales.

“We are asking for our politicians’ support in closing down the herring roe fishery, or at least closing the senine roe fishery in the Strait of Georgia, especially around Hornby and Denman islands,” Scott said.

According to the Hornby group, Vancouver businessman Jimmy pattison owns most of the seine boats working the coast.

Historically abundant fish

An archeology study of fish bones on the Pacific Northwest coast found that herring was the region’s most abundant fish dating back 10,000 years.

But herring stocks started to decline for the first time in the late 1800s when the industrial fish kill began. A Simon Fraser University study concluded that spawning patterns and population decline had been altered by 1910.

And yet, DFO has increased the number of herring allowed to be caught.

According to Pacific Wild’s website, Denman-Hornby will be the only area fished in 2019. But while the “coast-wide catch has declined with herring abundance in the last 30 years, the quantity of fish taken from the Salish Sea has more than doubled,” the organization says.

Scott says that although the DFO claims to manage herring according to the principles of Ecosystem Based Management. But the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which evaluates ecological sustainability of wild-caught seafood in North America, thinks otherwise.

In its 2016 evaluation of the herring fishery, the program said, “Currently (DFO) management of the herring fisheries does not account for ecosystem considerations when determining abundance (or) allowable catch. As herring is an important source of food for a variety of species, the lack of ecosystem considerations … in the fisheries’ overall management warrants a score of ‘high’ concern.”

Canadian and Washington state governments might be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on orca recovery programs to increase salmon stocks, if the salmon themselves don’t have enough food to sustain even current population levels.






Pacific herring prefer spawning locations in sheltered bays and estuaries. Conditions that trigger spawning are not altogether clear, but after spending weeks congregating in the deeper channels, both males and females will begin to enter shallower inter-tidal or sub-tidal waters. Submerged vegetation, especially eelgrass, is a preferred substrate for oviposition. A single female may lay as many as 20,000 eggs in one spawn following ventral contact with submerged substrates. However, the juvenile survival rate is only about one resultant adult per 10,000 eggs, due to high predation by numerous other species.

The precise staging of spawning is not understood, although some researchers suggest the male initiates the process by release of milt, which has a pheromone that stimulates the female to begin oviposition. The behavior seems to be collective so that an entire school may spawn in the period of a few hours, producing an egg density of up to 6,000,000 eggs per square meter. The fertilized spherical eggs, measuring 1.2 to 1.5 millimeters in diameter, incubate for approximately 10 days in estuarine waters that are about 10 degrees Celsius. Eggs and juveniles are subject to heavy predation.

— Wikipedia


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