Regional Director

It’s nice to feel the days lengthen …

Regional Director Town Hall: Thanks to everyone who turned out for the Town Hall on Feb 16. It was fairly well attended, and the discussions were helpful to me. An on-line format has both pros and cons. It seemed to have been a good format for many at the meeting, but of course is not the best for everyone (in particular those with little to no internet access).

Topics discussed were focused on: LIVFD/dispatch, qRD-related issues in OCP, and budget.

2021 Budget Draft 3: The budget is nearly complete, and will determine the rates for the regional district portion of your property taxes. There are no dramatic changes to rates from last year. At the Feb Financial Committee meeting, the qRD Board discussed the third draft of the budget, which will be adopted before the end of March. If you are interested, the budget is on pages 87-228 in the agenda available at:

Invasive Species of BC Forum (Feb 9-11): I attended this forum as part of my role on the Board of the Coastal Invasive Species Committee. There were nearly 300 participants, and it was more interesting than I expected, with some presentations and discussions relevant to Lasqueti.

According to Invasive Species of BC: “Invasive species are plants, animals or other organisms not native to BC whose introduction and spread harms the province’s native species, economy and human health.


Most invasive species are unintentionally introduced by human activities into places outside their native habitat and, once they’re removed from natural predators and diseases they often reproduce, spread and survive better than native species.


With few limits on their populations invasive species can easily take over sensitive ecosystems permanently upsetting the balance of plant, insect, bird and other animal life.


Invasive species can alter habitats and disrupt essential ecosystem functions.”

Some (but by no means all) of the invasive species on Lasqueti include the following, each posing unique challenges:

  • Rats: other than one rat defender on the island, nothing needs be said as most of us have direct experience with the difficulty of eratication (I mean eradication). New Zealand has embarked on a multi-decade effort to reduce and eliminate rats (which are a major threat to their native birds).

  • American bullfrogs: eat almost anything that fits in their mouth (including snakes, fish, chicks, native frogs, smaller bullfrogs) and can transform the animal communities of wetlands into species monocultures. On the worst 100 list. Pose an extirpation risk to the last population in BC of native Northern Leopard Frogs in Creston Valley.

  • Japanese Knotweed: can grow up to 3 metres deep, crack concrete, spread rapidly, and is very hard to remove. Knotweed can reduce property values. In the UK, properties with knotweed may not be eligible for insurance or mortgages. For treatment options and avoiding spread, see:

I had a small patch, and eliminated it with repeated cutting over nearly a decade (leaving all cuttings covered at the site), then covering when it was weakened.  It is a humbling experience.

  • Yellow flag iris: can exclude all other plants around ponds and along creeks. Pretty flowers can lure people into planting near their ponds. Better to plant non-invasive irises.

  • Spurge Laurel/Daphne: unlike most invasive plants, this one can spread into undisturbed forest. There are some patches mid-island. I have seen some areas in parks near Victoria with a full understory of daphne beneath Douglas-fir, Garry Oak and Arbutus.

  • Eurasian water milfoil: clogs lakes, ponds and streams up to 12.5m deep, causing swimming and boating hazards, and ecological harm. Spreads mostly by pieces of stems and rhizomes, and can be easily transported by accident with small bits on boats.

  • Apple maggots: tunnel through apples as they develop, and overwinter in the soil.

  • Spotted wing Drosophila: females have a serrated ovipositor (“egg positioner”) to stab and inject eggs into soft fruit (blueberries, raspberries, plums, …), allowing larva and mold into the fruit. Not so delicious. There is research on improving methods to release sterile males to prevent females from producing offspring.

  • White pine blister rust: kills white pine trees within a few years, and can also live on red/black currents and gooseberries. A forest ecologist once described to me stands of white pine on Vancouver Island 5 feet in diameter in the 1950’s. Such trees are now rare, partly from logging, but mostly from this fungus.


There are others that may find their way here over time, such as white nose syndrome (harms bats), chytrid fungus (affects amphibians), Asian giant hornet (up to 5cm / 2 inches long and preys on other insects; first detection in BC was near Nanaimo 5 years ago), chronic wasting disease (mostly affects deer, but no detections yet on coast), …

In case you were hoping to see/not see feral sheep in this list: I don’t believe that there is disagreement that the feral sheep are non-native and introduced, but I believe that we lack agreement on their effects and social value, which might be helped with credible scientific data and an interest-focused community process. I also left off the list blackberry, Manila clams, Pacific oyster, Homo sapiens… ‘nuf said.

The following sites have information for BC on identification, potential impacts, management, reporting, etc.:

Please feel free to contact me. I am honoured to be your regional representative.

Director Andrew Fall, qathet Regional District

Contact: Tel: 250-333-8595


Peter Johnston

Islands Trustee

Trust Policy Statement Amendment Project – Virtual Open House by Zoom or telephone Wednesday, March 3, 7-9pm

You are invited to join the evening session where trustees and staff will co-host an overview of the Islands 2050 project and provide time for questions.

Join the session by Zoom by pre-registering at:

Or join by telephone:

Dial  (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):    

Canada: +1 778 907 2071 or 833 955 1088 (Toll Free) or 833 958 1164 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 667 1962 6478

International numbers available:


Send questions (before the meeting) to or  telephone   250-405-5151

Full information available at:


News Release at:

Trust Council Meeting  March 9 -11

Join electronically or by telephone.  Information will be posted at:


by early March. Delegations and Town Hall session scheduled for Tuesday evening, March 9, 7 – 9pm.

Next Lasqueti Trust Committee Meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 26, electronically.

Comments and suggestions on our draft/proposed Official Community Plan will be accepted by our planner until mid March. Send written comments to her at  or  Islands Trust Northern Office, 700 North Road,  Gabriola Island, BC  V0R 1X3.  Telephone  250-247-2063   Fax  250-247-7514    


If you have questions, or topics you’d like to see the Lasqueti Trust Committee address, send an email to   or send a letter or fax to the Northern Office, or talk with Tim or me (but not when we’re together).

Thank you for your interest, concern and participation.  Peter



Islands Trustee

The Top Priorities of the Lasqueti Local Trust Committee remain  OCP/LUB Review, Freshwater Sustainability, and the Model Cell Tower Strategy. The OCP Project will next be officially discussed at our April 26th meeting, but public input to the proposed changes is welcome at any time. Trust Fresh Water Specialist William Shulba will give the LTC an update on his progress at the April meeting as well.


On the Trust Area level, March Trust Council will mark one year since we held an in-person meeting. The establishment of the Islands Trust Governance and Management Review has raised many questions about the future direction of the Trust. The Spring awaits just weeks away, and before you get engrossed in the garden, please feel free to contact your Trustees with your questions, comments, or concerns.




Islands Trust Contact Information:


Evacuation Plan Lasqueti:

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