Getting the Lay of the Land
Rules, Regulations and Registrations
Good news! We don’t have business licenses on Gabriola.
But it’s always a good idea to join a professional or trade association – plus the Chamber. It adds a layer of community acceptance that you are not a fly-by-night operator. Your business will be subject to all relevant regional, provincial and federal regulations, taxes and land-use bylaws.
Do your research and be certain of all licenses or registration processes that apply to your business. If you’re putting yourself or others at risk in the job you do, or in some way producing any kind of waste, noise, pollution, or other materials with your business activity, there will be rules and regulations that apply. Also, be sure to check with your insurance company and get quotes for business property and liability insurance.
Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law, or bad relations with your neighbours and community!
Land-use Zoning & Bylaws
Islands Trust (BC Gulf Islands Regional Government) administers and regulates land-use and bylaws.
Most businesses on Gabriola are home-based, and our bylaws allow for lots of flexibility and uses ... BUT, with restrictions!
Gabriola has three commercially-zoned business areas: the Village; Twin Beaches Mall and Silva Bay/Pages. There are also several parcels of land that are zoned commercial or industrial in these areas that have not been fully developed.
Re-zoning of land on Gabriola for other uses is very difficult given the legislative mandate of the Islands Trust and its bylaws.
♦ Gabriola's Elected Trustees ♦ Land-use Zoning Maps ♦
♦ Land-use Bylaws ♦ News ♦ Projects & Initiatives ♦ Applications ♦
♦ Other Islands ♦
TIP: The Trust has a regional office on Gabriola. The most relevant sections of the bylaws for businesses are Parts B & D, plus the detailed zoning maps.
Gabriola is in RDN "Area B". We have a locally elected Trustee that sits on this regional government board of directors.
The RDN administers and regulates most other functions you would normally have in a municipality: waste collection, building permits and inspections, recycling, local transit, library, animal and noise bylaws, parks & recreation, etc.
TIPS: "Learn More" link gets you to their A - Z site directory, otherwise it's hard to find what is relevant.
Bylaw & building inspection staff keep an office and part-time hours at the Islands Trust building on Gabriola.
Communications & Connectivity
Full Internet, TV, and phone service is available anywhere on the island.
Cell service is available on Gabriola from most providers, although there are many dead spots. Telus provides the most complete on-island coverage. But you know cellphone companies! Ask a Gabriola realtor for tips.
Over-air TV and radio coverage is different between the North and South sides of the island due to the plateau in the middle and locations of broadcast station antennas on Vancouver Island and the Mainland.
Moving Goods and People
There are many options for moving goods and/or people on and off Gabriola Island . . .
- BC Ferries operate our main ferry service directly to downtown Nanaimo (25 minutes).
- Gulf Island Seaplanes operate a floatplane service between Gabriola and the Vancouver International Airport (South Terminal).
- Public fisheries dock at Degnen Bay and barge landing charter service at Green Wharf or Brickyard Beach.
- Parcels/shipping -- Canada Post Gabriola / ACE Courier / Purolator (offers discount for Chamber members).
Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 249
#6 - 480 North Road
Gabriola BC V0R 1X0
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© Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce