Regulations & Logistics

Doing Business on Gabriola, Mudge and Decourcy

Gabriola Chamber

Local business is regulated by the Islands Trust & the Regional District of Nanaimo.

There are no business licenses required to operate on the islands. However, if you do business in Nanaimo, you may want to apply for a license there.

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.

Be sure to check with your insurance company and get quotes for business property and liability insurance.

Land-use Zoning & Bylaws

♦ Gabriola’s Elected Trustees
♦ Land-use Zoning Maps
♦ Land-use Bylaws
♦ News
♦ Projects & Initiatives
♦ Applications
♦ Other Islands

Island’s Trust

Islands Trust is a special purpose government mandated by the province of B.C. to preserve and protect over 450 islands in the Salish Sea. There are 13 main islands in the Trust Area, and each of these has 2 elected Local Trustees. The Islands Trust administers and regulates land use bylaws and regulations. Most businesses on Gabriola are home-based, and the land use bylaws allow for a variety of uses, but with restrictions.

Gabriola has three commercially-zoned business areas:

  • The Village
  • Twin Beaches Mall
  • 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 may be prohibitive, given the legislative mandate of the Islands Trust. Islands Trust staff and planners are available to help with such enquiries, and the northern Islands Trust office is located on Gabriola at 700 North Road, phone 250-247-2063.

The most relevant sections of the zoning/land use bylaws for businesses are Parts B & D of the Land Use Bylaw, plus the detailed zoning maps. Print copies of this Bylaw and the Official Community Plan are available at the local library and the Trust office on Gabriola.

Regional District of Nanaimo

Gabriola is in Regional District of Nanaimo “Area B”, which includes Gabriola, Mudge, and Decoursey Islands. We have a locally elected Director that sits on this regional government board of directors.

The RDN directly offers services like issuing building permits, conducting inspections, managing regional parks, operating the landfill, and overseeing emergency management. Additionally, it collaborates with community groups and contractors for services such as bylaw enforcement, economic development (through the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce), recreation (via the Gabriola Recreation Society), transit (through the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation), and waste management (contracting a waste management company).

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.
  • Canada Post Gabriola / ACE Courier / Purolator (offers discount for Chamber members) all ship from Gabriola.