1995 Legislative Session: 4th Session, 35th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
MS. MARGARET LORD
HER MAJESTY, by and with the consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 In this Act:
"minister" means the Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks;
"officer of a trust" shall be deemed to include a voluntary worker as well as a paid officer of a trust;
"provincial trust" means the British Columbia Land Trust;
"registrar" means Registrar of Companies;
"trust" means a Community Land Trust designated pursuant to section 4 of this Act;
"waterway" means any lake, river, canal or other waters.
2 (1) Community Land Trusts may be established for the purposes of promoting the permanent preservation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest and as regards lands for the preservation (so far as practicable) of their natural aspect features and animal and plant life.
(2) Subject to the provisions and for the purposes of this Act, a trust is an agency of the Crown and may:
(a) acquire by purchase, gift or otherwise and may hold lands, buildings and hereditaments and any rights easements or interests therein or thereover and any other property of whatsoever nature;
(b) manage or assist in the maintenance and management of lands as open spaces or places of public resort and buildings for purpose of public recreation, resort or instruction;
(c) accept property in trust for any public purposes and may act in any trusts for or as trustee of any property devoted to public purposes;
(d) do all acts or things and take all such proceedings as they may deem desirable and in the furtherance of the objects of the Community Land Trust and they may upon or with respect to any property belonging to them or in which they have any interest do all such things and make all such provisions as may be beneficial for the property or desirable for the comfort or convenience of persons resorting to or using such property;
(e) exercise full powers of ownership over their lands and property according to their estate and interest therein not inconsistent with the objects for which they are constituted; and may apply their funds to all or any such objects;
(f) promote the preservation of
(i) buildings of community, regional, provincial or national interest or architectural, historic or artistic interest and places of natural interest or beauty and the protection and augmentation of the amenities of such buildings and places and their surroundings;
(ii) furniture and pictures and chattels of any descriptions having provincial or national or historic or artistic interest;
(iii) the access to and enjoyment of such buildings places and chattels by the public;
(g) do anything which appears desirable to the trust for the purpose of providing, or improving, opportunities for the enjoyment of the property by the public, and in the interests of persons resorting thereto, and in particular --
(i) to provide or arrange for the provision of facilities and services for the enjoyment or convenience of the public, including meals and refreshments, parking places for vehicles, shelters and lavatory accommodation;
(ii) to erect buildings and carry out works;
(iii) to make such reasonable charges as they may from time to time determine for the use by the public of any facilities, services, parking places or other accommodation provided under this subsection.
(3) The erection of any building (other than a shed for tools and materials) or the construction of any other work, whereby access by the public to any trust property is prevented or impeded, shall not be lawful unless the consent of the British Columbia Land Trust is obtained.
3 (1) No dividends bonus or other profit shall at any time be paid out of the income or property of a trust to any member of the trust.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), it shall be lawful for any member of a trust (not being a director) by agreement with a trust to reside in or occupy any trust property either at the best rent that could be reasonably obtained or at a less rent or gratuitously and on such other terms and conditions as the trust shall think fit to approve, provided that it shall be the duty of a member who resides in trust property to declare the nature of their interest at any meeting at which any question in relation to that property is considered and shall not take part in the consideration or discussion of, or vote on, the question.
4 (1) The directors of a society which has objects not inconsistent with this Act and is:
(a) registered pursuant to the Society Act, R.S.B.C. c. 390 and
(b) has registered charity status pursuant to the federal Income Tax Act
shall apply to the registrar for designation as a Community Land Trust.
(2) The application for designation shall be accepted if, in the opinion of the registrar, the objects of the society are consistent with those of this Act.
5 (1) From the date of designation, the trust is a member of the British Columbia Land Trust authorized by this Act.
(2) Each trust is entitled to one seat on the board of the directors of the British Columbia Land Trust.
(3) Property acquired by a trust shall be exempt from:
(a) property transfer tax levied pursuant to the Property Transfer Tax Act, 1987 S.B.C. c.15; and
(b) real property taxes levied for municipal, regional district, school and provincial government purposes.
(4) Each trust shall be exempt from:
(a) corporation capital tax levied by the Corporation Capital Tax Act, 1992 S.B.C. c. 4; and
(b) corporation income tax levied by the Income Tax Act, R.S.B.C. 1979 c. 190.
6 Each Community Land Trust may hold lands, buildings and hereditaments and any rights easements or interests therein or thereover and any other property of whatsoever nature in trust for the provincial Crown.
7 (1) The directors of each trust may, by resolution, determine that such lands or tenements or such portions thereof as may be specified in the resolution are proper to be held for the benefit of the community in perpetuity and such lands or buildings shall thereupon be so held by the trust and shall be inalienable.
(2) Once a trust has declared its property to be inalienable, this resolution may only be set aside or varied by:
(a) a resolution of the directors carried by a two-thirds majority and confirmed by a resolution of the directors of the British Columbia Land Trust carried by a simple majority; or
(b) a specific Act of the Legislature which provides for an alternate disposition of the property or a portion thereof.
8 (1) Each trust may raise money by
(a) borrowing on the security of any of their property
(except property rendered inalienable) by way of specific mortgage thereof; and
(b) charging or appropriating as security for money borrowed the rents, profits or income derivable from any of the lands and properties of the trust including the rents, profits and income arising from any inalienable property.
9 (1) A trust may make such reasonable charges for the admission of the public to any property of the trust or any part or parts thereof or for the use by the public of any such property as they may from time to time determine.
(2) A trust shall not make charges for admission to any land or other property of the trust to which the public had a right of access at the date when such property was acquired by the trust.
(3) A trust may make such reasonable charges as they may from time to time determine in respect of the playing of games, sailing, boating, bathing and fishing and other forms of recreation on any lands or property or waterway of the trust.
(4) Nothing in subsection (3) of this section shall empower the trust to make any charge in respect of navigation in tidal waters.
10 A trust may act in concert with and make any arrangements and agreements with any local authority now or hereafter constituted or with any residents or committee of residents in the neighbourhood of any land or property of the trust or with any other person for giving effect to the objects of this Act.
11 (1) A trust may make bylaws for
(a) the regulation and protection of and for the prevention of and suppression of nuisances;
(b) the preservation of order upon and the regulation of the conduct and securing the safety of any person resorting to any lands or property held by a trust;
and in particular without limiting the generality of the foregoing, for the following purposes:
(c) for prohibiting any person without lawful authority from digging, cutting or taking turves, sods, gravel, stone, sand, clay or other substance on or from such lands or property and from cutting, felling or injuring any gorse, heather, timber or other tree, shrub, brushwood or other plant growing thereon;
(d) for prohibiting or regulating the lighting of any fire on such lands or property;
(e) for prohibiting or regulating the firing or discharge of firearms or the throwing or discharge of missiles on such lands or property without lawful authority;
(f) for prohibiting the deposit on such lands or property or in any pond thereon of road-sand, materials for repair of roads or wood or dung, rubbish or other offensive matter;
(g) for prohibiting the injury, defacement or removal of any building, structure or other thing upon such lands or property or of seats, fences, notice boards or other things put up or maintained by a trust;
(h) for prohibiting or regulating the posting or painting of bills, placards, advertisements or notices on trees, fences or notice boards on such lands or property;
(i) for prohibiting any person without lawful authority from bird catching, setting traps or nets or liming trees or laying snares for birds or other animals, taking birds' eggs or nests and shooting, driving or chasing game or other animals on such lands or property;
(j) for prohibiting or regulating vehicles upon such lands or property;
(k) for prohibiting or regulating the placing on such lands or property of any show, exhibition, swing, roundabout or other like thing and for authorising an officer of a trust to remove from such lands or property anything placed therein in contravention of the bylaws;
(l) for regulating games and other means of recreation;
(m) for prohibiting or regulating horses being exercised or broken on such lands without lawful authority;
(n) for prohibiting or regulating livestock on trust property and authorizing an officer of a trust to remove therefrom any animal being in contravention of the bylaw;
(o) for prohibiting or regulating sailing, boating, bathing and fishing and other forms of recreation on any waterway forming part of such lands or property.
(2) Copies of the bylaws for the time being in force shall be put up the trust on the trust property at such places and in such manner as the trust think best calculated to give information to persons resorting to such property.
(3) For the purposes of this section any lands or property in which a trust is entitled to a leasehold interest in possession shall be deemed to be lands or property of a trust.
12 (1) The British Columbia Land Trust is established by this Act as an agency of the Crown.
(2) The affairs of the provincial trust shall be administered by a board of directors comprising:
(a) one representative from each Community Land Trust and
(b) one representative of the minister.
(3) The provincial trust has all the powers of a trust under this Act but shall also:
(a) foster the creation of a trust in an area of the province where none now exists by the provision of advice and support;
(b) promote the concept of land trusts as a means of stewardship of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest and as regards lands for the preservation (so far as practicable) of their natural aspect features and animal and plant life;
(c) solicit funds and donations for the purposes of the provincial trust or a trust;
(d) provide loans and grants to trusts for purposes of this Act;
(e) provide group liability for trusts registered under this Act;
(f) act as an agent for the pooled investment of funds on behalf of a trust or group of trusts;
(g) provide management expertise and support to trusts for the appropriate management of the properties;
(h) administer mitigation bank funds and land for mitigation required by statute, provincial or federal crown agencies;
(i) hold a reversionary interest in the property and lands of a trust in the event of the demise or winding up or dissolution or a failure to remain in good standing under the Society Act, R.S.B.C. c. 390.
13 (1) The British Columbia Land Trust:
(a) shall report on their activities to the minister annually by 1 May for the fiscal year ended on the preceding 31 March; and
(b) may make such recommendations as they may consider expedient for the attainment of the objects of this Act.
(2) On receipt, the minister shall table the report in the Legislature as soon as possible.
(3) Once tabled, the report shall be deemed to have been referred to the Select Standing Committee on Environment and Tourism for consideration;
(4) The Select Standing Committee on Environment and Tourism is authorized to:
(a) sit and receive evidence while the Legislature is sitting and while it is adjourned;
(b) adjourn from place to place as may be convenient; and
(c) offer advice and make such recommendations to the minister as the Committee considers appropriate in response to the report of the provincial trust.
14 The Lieutenant Governor In Council may make regulations.
15 This Act comes into force on the date Royal Assent is given.
In the United States community-based land trusts have been extremely successful in conserving millions of hectares of regionally important privately held land. In the United Kingdom organizations such as the National Trust and English Heritage have been successful in preserving land and buildings for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.
No comparable structure exists in British Columbia and yet there are numerous examples where the community has rallied to preserve lands of regional and provincial importance, e.g., Jedediah Island, Glencoe Cove in Victoria, Gowland Range on Saanich Inlet, Sohmenos Marsh in Duncan, Neck Point in Nanaimo, Macdonald Wood in Comox and the north-eastern section of Comox.
This bill proposes a flexible system of charitable community land trusts augmented by a British Columbia Land Trust which would have advocacy and support functions. To take maximum advantage of federal tax laws, both the community land trusts and the British Columbia Land Trust are designated Crown agencies. This will enable donors to qualify for a tax deduction equivalent to 100% of their annual income for the previous five years plus the current year. It will also enable a trust to operate largely free of a variety of taxes.
Representatives of the community land trusts would have majority control of the British Columbia Land Trust and direct its operations. The functions of the community land trusts are modelled on the United Kingdom's National Trust Acts.
Three accountability mechanisms are proposed in this bill:
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