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Glossary: Key Policies on Managing Growth

This glossary provides definitions for terms used in the “Key Policies on Managing Growth on Gabriola Island” resource document (available as a PDF download by clicking here).

 1. Affordable Housing 

Affordable housing is commonly defined as adequate, suitable housing, typically costing less than 30% of household income. 

 2. BC Energy Step Code 

The BC Energy Step Code is an optional way for local governments to encourage or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes above and beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code. Builders may voluntarily use the BC Energy Step Code to meet the energy-efficiency requirements of the BC Building Code. 

 3. Build Out 

Development of land to its full potential or theoretical capacity as permitted under current or proposed planning or zoning designations. 

 4. Commercial 

Commercial development can include the selling, storing or servicing of goods and commodities. For more information on commercial zones on Gabriola, see “zoning”. 

 5. Density Bank 

According to Gabriola’s Official Community Plan, density banking refers to a process wherein unused residential densities are held by the Local Trust Committee for an unlimited time and for the purpose of enabling affordable multi-dwelling housing for low-income families and without any net increase to the allowed density on Gabriola Island. The deposit of one or more densities to the density bank takes place through bylaw amendments resulting from the rezoning of the property from which the density was removed for deposit into the density bank. Withdrawal of one or more densities from the density bank requires a similar amending bylaw and rezoning process. 

For more information see Section 2.5 of the Gabriola Official Community Plan 

6. First Nations 

British Columbia is home to 198 First Nations, about one third of all First Nations in Canada. The First Nations of BC have rich and varied cultures, histories and traditions. Gabriola is in Snuneymuxw Nation territory, who are Coast Salish people. For more information: 

7. Food Security 

The state of having reliable access to enough healthy food that you can afford.

8. Gabriola Official Community Plan (Gabriola Island Official Community Plan, 1997) 

The Official Community Plan was adopted in 1997 and has had some amendments over the years. It offers a vision of the future community on Gabriola. The Plan sets out the community’s goals, objectives and policies regarding land-use, future development as well as social and environmental considerations applicable in the planning area. The purpose of the Plan is to provide direction to government agencies, businesses, land owners and residents concerning future land use and the provision of services. 

9. Gabriola Planning Area 

The Gabriola Planning Area includes Gabriola Island and surrounding islands such as DeCourcy Island, Mudge Island, and additional smaller islands. 

To see the full list of associated islands

For more information: 

10. Groundwater 

Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers. 

11. Housing Agreements 

A housing agreement is a legal contract entered into by the property owner and the Local Trust Committee to ensure affordable housing. In the agreement the owner, usually an organization or society, agrees to specific terms such as rental or leasehold rates, allowable amounts for rate increases, or the amount for which a unit may be sold. Housing agreements can also stipulate tenant or owner eligibility based on income or other criteria. These terms can vary between different agreements. 

12. Home-Based Business 

A home-based business is a commercial use in a residential property on a lot. 

13. Islands Trust’s Coastal Douglas-fir Ecosystem Protection Toolkit 

The Islands Trust’s “Protecting the Coastal Douglas-Fir Zone” toolkit (2018) describes the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone and its threats, and explores the various regulatory tools that Local Trust Committees can use to preserve and protect the zone. To download, click here. 

14. Land Use Bylaws (LUBs) 

Land Use Bylaws contain all the rules and regulations that govern the use and allowable density of the land, as well as setbacks of buildings to property lines, height restrictions, parking requirements, signage restrictions, drainage restrictions and subdivision servicing. Land Use Bylaws are adopted and administered by each Island’s Local Trust Committee. 

For more information:

15. Local Food System 

A food system is a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, and consumption, and when it is localized this refers to these activities happening within a local community. 

16. Local Trust Committee / Islands Trust 

Gabriola and the other Gulf Islands that are under the jurisdiction of the Islands Trust each have a Local Trust Committee (LTC). These LTCs are made up of people elected by local residents. They are responsible for land use planning and regulation for their respective area of jurisdiction. 

LTCs are required to prepare and adopt Official Community Plans, Land Use Bylaws, and zoning and subdivision bylaws, regulate soil removal and deposit, and authorize permits under Part 14 of the Local Government Act. 

Two local trustees are elected for each group of islands designated as a local trust area or island municipality. The two local trustees, together with an appointed chair from the Executive Committee, form the Local Trust Committee, or LTC. 

Islands Trust 

The Islands Trust is responsible for leading the preservation and protection of the Trust Area. The Islands Trust cooperates with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia. 

The Islands Trust Policy Statement sets out three main goals: 

  • Foster the preservation and protection of the Trust Area’s ecosystems 
  • Ensure that human activity and the scale, rate and type of development in the Trust Area are compatible with maintenance of the integrity of Trust Area ecosystems 
  • Sustain island character and healthy communities. 

For more information on Local Trust Committees

For more information on Gabriola’s Local Trust Committee 

For more information on the Islands Trust Policy Statement

17. Market Housing 

Housing that is privately owned by an individual (or a company) who generally does not receive direct subsidies to purchase or maintain it. Prices are set by the private market. About 95% of households in the province live in market housing, either rental market housing or home ownership. 

18. Ministry of Health 

The Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for ensuring that quality, appropriate, cost effective and timely health services are available for all British Columbians. 

19. Rainwater Harvesting 

Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting and storing rainwater for use, rather than having it run off into the ground. Typically, this means using a variety of technologies including a guttering system on the roof, piping, cistern(s), fittings, pumps and other plumbing requirements. In the BC Building Code, this is defined as a type of private water supply system. 

20. (Residential) Rental Tenure Housing 

In July 2018, the Province enacted a new authority that empowers local governments to apply residential rental tenure zoning to protect rental units in existing and future apartment buildings, to increase the overall supply of rental housing in their communities. It can be applied to an area, a building, or units within a building which have a residential use. It does not apply to commercial buildings/ units. The zoning restricts the form of tenure (i.e. occupancy of the unit) to rental only. 

21. Residential 

There are different zoned areas within the Islands Trust for different uses of land. Those zoned residential are for dwellings meant for residing in, as opposed to commercial uses for instance. For more information see “zoning”. 

22. Residential Density 

Residential density refers to the average number of people living on any given area of land. High residential density is often the result of the construction of multi-family dwellings such as apartment or condo buildings. Rural areas like Gabriola are often characterized by low residential density. 

23. Subdivision 

Legally any proposed changes to a lot line are a form of subdivision regardless if additional lots are created. While most subdivisions need to go through an approval process some types of subdivision can be done by the Registrar at the Land Title and Survey Authority, such as the consolidation of adjacent lots. 

24. Universal Access Design Principles 

Universal design creates housing that can work for everyone. It makes housing accessible to those with disabilities. It also lets people stay in their homes as their circumstances change, without expensive renovations. 

25. Zoning 

Zoning bylaws regulate how land, buildings, and other structures may be used. Different areas of land on Gabriola are designated as different zones – such as residential, resource, recreational and institutional, or commercial and light industrial zones (Gabriola Island Land Use Bylaw, 1999, p. 42). These can be seen on the Gabriola zoning maps: 

For more information about zoning bylaws.

For the Gabriola Land Use Bylaw.