Sustainable Gabriola Initiatives

Gabriola Talks was conceived as a series of conversations between fellow islanders about complex issues that affect the community. Members of Sustainable Gabriola hosted the first meeting in May 2019 to ask participants to envision what effective cross-community dialogue could look like, and to help identify topics for future discussion. Read more about Gabriola Talks and come join our next community discussion.


Heat Pump Social Enterprise – Based on heat pumps using approximately 1/3 the amount of electricity that baseboard heaters do to produce the same amount of heat, a social enterprise has been established whereby Gabriola homeowners can acquire heat pumps at cost in return for a donation to Sustainable Gabriola. Over 700 have been installed as of August 2019. Improving heating efficiency by replacing baseboard heaters with a heat pump has the potential to save the average homeowner who heats (only) with electricity an estimated 1,100 kWh or around $1,200 per year. For more information, see And here are the heat pump manuals.


Co-ops – bringing the economy home.

Gabriola has a long history of people working together for all, and member-owned and controlled Co-operatives is one way we do that. Ethical by design, co-ops grow local capital, employ local people, and share both the risks and the rewards of the enterprise among members and the community. Our co-ops are: Parent Participation Childcare Co-op, Sustainable Energy Co-op of Gabriola, Gabriola Community Investment Co-op, Gabriola Co-op Network – and branches of Mid-Island Consumer Co-op, Coastal Community Credit Union, and the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

** Got a group that is interested in starting a co-op?  For more info, see Gabriola Co-op Network  or visit the Let’s Grow Co-ops Facebook page. **


Fix it Fairs: Many fix it fairs have been held on Gabriola since September 2016. Suitcases, lamps, vacuums, VCRs, computers, and many more items were brought to our volunteer fixers. They discovered the problem, looked for solutions, discussed with other fixers if needed, and either fixed the item or let the owner of the item know what part was needed or whether it was worth fixing.


How much energy do your appliances use? The idea of putting kill a watt meters in the local library so that people could borrow them with their library card came from Bowen Island. There are now three kill a watt meters in Gabriola’s library ready to be used. For details on how to use them, click Killawat-instructions. For wattage requirements for appliances click How Many Watts Do You Need.






Photo Credit: Victor Anthony

Road Safety

In an effort to make the roads safer, in particular around the ferry terminal, several Gabriolans have put together a proposed rerouting of pedestrian traffic – ferry-village-trail.  This rerouting is being discussed with MOTI and BC Ferries.


Cyclepaths – A group of Gabriolans starting working on island cycle paths following a Sustainable Gabriola community discussion about transportation priorities. The Cyclepaths group created a report that outlined a proposed cycling route, together with a corresponding Land Use Bylaw. Stretches of the route that have safety risks were identified together with recommendations regarding addressing those risks. The focus of the report is on side of road cycle paths. Pedestrians, young children, people using electric carts, strollers, and walkers are also users of these paths. The Islands Trust LTC used the report as the basis for incorporating cycle paths into the Official Community Plan. Work is now underway to make these paths a reality. To view report: Cyclepaths of Gabriola Report.


Village Visioning: Discussions at a Sustainable Gabriola meeting flowered into the creation of a group focused on creating a more sustainable vision for Gabriola’s village area. You can find out more at:


Community Bus Project – For more info check out For many years, a keen interest in public transit for Gabriola has been evidenced in numerous petitions, surveys and our last two Official Community Plans. From discussion at forums initiated by Sustainable Gabriola, a core community group has emerged committed to carrying this interest forward. In late spring 2013, a 3-year pilot study started and in February 2017 the community voted to keep Gertie on the road.


Well-being Survey: In 2010 Gabriolans filled out a well-being survey that asked questions ranging from their satisfaction with life to their connection to the environment, to their satisfaction with the health care system. Mike Pennock, who worked on Bhutan’s Happiness indicators helped create the survey questions and provided his analysis at an SG forum.

Here is the November 2010 report: Gabriola Well-Being Survey Results.