Thetis Island Owners Have Options to Provide Lasting Protection for Properties

VICTORIA | February 9, 2012

Thetis islanders have always cared for and protected their island. Many Thetis residents and property owners, enchanted by the quiet beauty and rural lifestyle of the island, have maintained much of the island's natural appeal through careful stewardship of private property. As a result, rich, mature forests blanket much of the island, and vibrant marine environments remain intact. 

However, with development pressures growing in the Gulf Islands, some Thetis residents are looking for more formal arrangements to protect the island's natural beauty for generations to come.  With concerns about a warmer, dryer climate in the future, there's a rising interest in caring for those ecosystems that collect, filter and store the fresh water that provides for our forests and residents.

"After living on Thetis for a while, you realize how important clean water, wetlands, forests and natural shorelines are to this special place," said Peter Luckham, Thetis Island resident and one of the two locally elected island trustees.  "On an island as small as Thetis, if one natural area is damaged, we're left with fewer other natural ecosystems to sustain our community." 

By partnering with a land trust, like the Islands Trust Fund or the Cowichan Land Trust, a landowner can permanently protect the natural features on their property by placing a conservation covenant on a portion of their land.  A conservation covenant is a voluntary, legal agreement binding the current and future owners to protect the natural features on the property.  In return for restricting some land uses on the covenanted portion of the property, landowners can protect the special features of their land forever, while retaining the rights to live on, enjoy and sell the land knowing that the protection will carry on to future owners.

Unlike Vancouver Island, eligible property owners on Thetis Island also have access to a tax savings program that can provide a financial incentive for land conservation.  The Islands Trust Fund's NAPTEP program (the Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program) provides landowners who protect their land with a conservation covenant an annual 65% exemption in property taxes on the protected portion of their land.  

"NAPTEP seems to me to be a win-win solution for both island property owners and the Thetis community" said Luckham.  "Property owners keep money in their pockets, find relief knowing the land they've cared for will remain natural after they've moved on, and get the satisfaction of making a lasting commitment to the community and the future of Thetis Island.  Through this kind of agreement the Thetis community receives assurance that the green space will never be developed or damaged, and the ecosystems on that private property will remain intact in perpetuity.  Though the 65% tax exemption is shifted among the rest of the region's property owners, the implication for other owners on Thetis is mere pennies each year - a small price to pay for permanent land protection."

If you are a Thetis Island property owner and would like to learn more about land conservation, conservation covenants, or NAPTEP, please visit the Islands Trust Fund at .   To speak with a person, contact the Islands Trust Fund toll free through Enquiry BC at 1-800-663-7867 (or 604-660-2421 in Vancouver).


Page last updated: 10/02/16
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