The North and South Pender Island communities, of the Southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada, involve various local governments and communities.
Firstly, these lands are part of the traditional territory of the Coast Salish First Nations, including Tsawout, Tseycum, Tsartlip, Penelakut, and others, who lived here beginning 10,000 or more years ago. Some of their governments and people are now on the Saanich Peninsula of nearby Vancouver Island, and steps are being taken by other Gulf Islanders to reach out and co-operate in meaningful ways.
In our quest for greater sustainability and resilience, our Pender Island community has much to learn from First Nations communities and culture, and we have much to share with them as well! Some initial Heartwood steps in this direction have been the traditional Basketry Classes with Tsawout Elders in February, 2015 and October, 2016 , and also the Coast Salish Knitting Classes with Tsartlip Teachers in March, 2014 and February, 2015 (see picture below).
As for more recent local governments, the Pender Islands originally only had the Capital Regional District (see below). Then an additional unique level of local government was created, with some jurisdiction over land use planning and conservation. This is the Islands Trust local government , thanks to which we have key ecological protections, and also very valuable North Pender and South Pender Official Community Plans (OCP). However, the two OCP’s primarily involve limited jurisdiction over land use planning, with some additional “advocacy policies”. For the brightest possible future, it’s really up to all of us, to cooperatively plan and act on everything else.
In addition, there’s our regional government, the Capital Regional District (CRD), which provides services relating to health, building inspection, emergency preparedness, and more. And finally, our British Columbia provincial government and the Canadian federal government provide additional services and infrastructure.
In particular, we thank Islands Trust Local Trustees Derek Masselink, Gary Steeves, David Greer and Wendy Scholefield, and CRD Directors Ken Hancock and David Howe, for providing key financial and other support to our non-profit society right from the start!
Image from Heartwood’s Knitting & Wool Learning Day with Coast Salish Teachers