Photo of a sunlit trail through forest

Our Mandate

Gabriola Lands & Trails Trust was formed in 2004 with the stated purpose: “…to secure, develop and sustain a network of parkland and trails on Gabriola Island for the benefit of the public, and to preserve sites of environmental, historical, and social importance”.

It’s unusual for a conservation organization to work toward building a sustainable trails network, or for a trails organization to have an equal focus on conservation, because the goals of the two kinds of work can come into conflict. But we believe they are interconnected in many ways—building appropriate trails, for example, may enable more bike riders to leave their cars at home, with positive environmental impacts. Having clearly defined trails keeps trail users from trampling ever wider areas in our wild places. Ultimately we believe that a community’s support of environmental stewardship is enhanced when people have the opportunity to explore and learn about the natural world. Our work therefore attempts to balance the two mandates in ways that benefit both the environmental and social health of our community.

Recent activities reflect a consensus from our last Strategic Plan review in 2019 that we need to make conservation a higher priority. Other recent initiatives include working to improve accessibility for all.

How we work

Our activities are governed by our Constitution and Bylaws, our Operating Policies, and our five-year Strategic Plan.

Constitution and bylaws

The Gabriola Land & Trails Trust is governed by the terms of its Constitution and Bylaws, as required by the BC Societies Act and ratified by the Annual General Meeting.

AGMs

Members are notified at least two weeks ahead of AGMs and are sent copies of relevant documents and the slate of candidates for Board membership. Members may attend and vote at the AGM, including for the election of new Board members. GaLTT’s Secretary ensures that complete minutes of AGMs are recorded and they are presented the following year for approval by the membership (see Records).

Policies and practices

GaLTT’s board executes its business following agreed policies and practices. These include our core values, board member orientation and guidance, conflict of interest, fundraising and acquisitions, financial and asset management, membership, communications, land-ownership, and advertising. Our policies are in alignment with the Societies Act.

In 2018, the board revised and updated existing policies and added new policies. You can download that full 2018 policy document.

The Board is currently revising several specific Policies to ensure that they are in full compliance with the most recent standards and practices of the Canadian Land Trust. The fully revised policy document will be posted when this process is complete. In the meantime, updated sections that have been finalized include:

Investigation guidelines and complaint forms

Individuals who wish to file a complaint about harassment (OP#14) by GaLTT personnel or report some other wrongdoing by GaLTT (OP#15) may use the following complaint forms. The guidelines describe GaLTT’s process of investigation in detail.

Strategic planning

Periodically GaLTT’s board invites the Society’s members to join them in focusing on broader planning for GaLTT’s future. The objective of such discussions is to produce a five-year strategic plan for the Society.

This was most recently done at the end of 2019 and the developed plan was presented to our members at the AGM on March 3, 2020. You can download GaLTT’s Strategic Plan (pdf) for 2020 to 2025.

Our strategic planning from 2012 to 2025

Late in 2011, GaLTT’s members and Board worked together to develop a Strategic Plan for 2012 through 2017. Goals included reaching out to the community with guided forest and beach walks, a Facebook page, and Welcome Wagon cards offering a free guided walk with a GaLTT member. We also wished to develop a Big Tree Registry, engage youth, and deepen our cooperation and partnering with other community groups such as, Streamkeepers, The Commons and The Cyclepaths.

Late in 2014, with the 2017 goals largely met, board and members worked together again to make a Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2020. Our aims included further enhanced cooperation with other local volunteer groups and the school, and a deeper relationship with Snuneymuxw First Nation. We also aimed to update our graphic identification with a new logo and updated web design, and to improve signage in our trail system, working as needed with RDN and other government bodies.

Board and members met at the end of 2019 to assess progress and set our goals for 2020-2025. Discussion centred on the difficulty of achieving our dual mandate of conserve and connect—most unusual among land trusts.

Our responsibility toward conservation has increased since Gabriola Conservation Society folded in 2018 and passed their assets to GaLTT. To this end we are working to identify ecologically significant areas on Gabriola to be acquired for conservation or otherwise protected, and to have dedicated committee make greater efforts to control invasive plants old and new.

Also, we aim to improve access to some beaches and trails for the mobility-impaired, in line with needs revealed by our 2019 Accessibility Survey. This includes identifying needed improvements to our shore accesses, many of which are overgrown or blocked, or have decaying ramps and stairs.

We are committed to increasing cooperation with local First Nations to discover common interests on their existing territory and on the extensive lands set aside for Treaty negotiation.