Dave neads

I have decided to run for election as a Trustee for the Islands Trust

Since moving to Gabriola in the Fall of 2013, Rosemary and I have been active members of our chosen community.  We have made many new friends and enjoy the island spirit that is so prevalent here.  I wanted to return something to this community that has absorbed us so well, so in response to the urgings from friends I have decided to run for election as a Trustee for the Islands Trust.

My past experience in land use planning and the organization of community groups, as well as liason between those groups and government bodies, has well equipped me for this role.

The mandate to protect and preserve is an ethic I firmly believe in.  As I see it, the task of a Trustee is to strike a balance between the natural values here on Gabriola and the growing pressures of development in a way that meets the needs of both.

I look forward to being involved, over the next weeks before election day, in many discussions about the various issues that we three islands—Gabriola, Decourcy and Mudge—must face while maintaining that balance.

For more information about my relevant experience, please click here.

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Land Use Planning

Land Use Planning in the Niut Mountains

I have been an activist all my adult life.  I cut my teeth in the union movement during the late sixties; organizing and helping to unionize  Bell Canada in Ontario.  In the mid eighties, when we moved to our wilderness home in Precipice Valley, the introduction of wholesale clearcut logging posed a threat to the forests around us, so I formed a group to negotiate with the logging interests.

This started a chain of events which eventually led to me becoming a full time negotiator for biodiversity and conservation interests at various land use planning tables established under the provincial land use strategy, legislated by the Harcourt government in 1992.  

In this capacity, I helped create several organizations to assist communities in dealing with environmental and land use planning issues. As a negotiator at these land use planning tables I have been part of the creation of several protected areas, including the Itchas and Entiako Provincial parks, and biodiversity reserves in the central interior.

At various times during these years, I chaired a province-wide coalition of environmental groups, managed the Eniyud community forest which was a partnership between the local community of Tatla Lake and the Redstone First Nation, and represented various wilderness tourism interests, lobbying the Provincial Government for biodiversity and wildlife issues.

I continued in these roles right up to 2013, when we moved to Gabriola, and I retain a keen interest in conservation issues as they relate to residential/commercial use and development.

Strategy Session
Community Forest Education


Bob and Alice with their self-built array

Solar! It’s an important part of our fast-changing times.  Having solar energy for your own use doesn’t have to be expensive.  It doesn’t have to be unattractive.

I designed my first solar array in 1986, long before companies sold complete packages.  My wife Rosemary and I had moved to a very remote mountain valley, built a house, and lived off-grid for 27 years, using solar to power our very comfortable home.

When I moved to Gabriola, I was fascinated by the new modules with built-in inverters, and the grid-tie option.  But I was appalled at the cost of purchasing a system and having it installed.  A friend who felt the same way and I founded GabEnergy, a non-profit organization  dedicated to getting high quality solar into homes and businesses at a reasonable cost. We were fortunate to hook up with a solar supplier who gave us wholesale prices, so we could pass that savings to our clients.   I gave lectures, DIY workshops around the Gulf Islands,  on how to get involved with solar.

GabEnergy has withdrawn from active involvement, but I continue to do workshops and consultations and sell equipment to people, operating under DN Consulting.  I feel very strongly about clean energy and promote it whenever I can.

Contact me for discussions and a free assessment.

Solar doesn’t have to be unattractive.  Look at this 40-panel roof mount on Gabriola, in its last stages of electrical hookup. Hardly noticeable!
Here is my own 16-panel ground mount, squeezed into our front yard. We get enough solar energy from half of them to power our little electric Kia for 13,000 km for a year—more than we need!  And since the power we generate goes first into our home, we see a savings on our Hydro bill as well.


I have always enjoyed working with wood, experiencing its grain, colour, and strength.  Wood never lies to you; it is what it is.  All you can do is to coax the best out of it and go from there.

Fine woodworking is new to me.  Before we moved here I’d worked with wood on a grand scale, using huge firs cut from our own property in a remote area of the West Chilcotin.  These were cut on a portable mill into the various sizes we needed to build the post and beam home that we designed.  With no neighbours or heavy-duty equipment, and a lot of naïve determination, Rosemary and I eventually completed our 2,200 sq ft, two storey home.  

But during those years wood got its hold on me.  So now that we live on Gabriola, I’ve an opportunity to work with it on a more intimate scale.  I’m learning new skill sets—including precision and patience!  I recently joined the Gabriola Woodworkers Guild, which is comprised of very skilled woodworkers who create all manner of exquisite wood forms, from kayaks to wardrobes.  We held our first wood show in August and we all were impressed by the tremendous interest that Gabriolans showed us.  

I really enjoy my new association with wood, and look forward to learning from others as this adventure continues.

Wilderness Experience

Precipice Valley

In the spring of 1986,  Rosemary and I moved into a small mountain valley in a remote part of the West Chilcotin, adjacent to Tweedsmuir Park, called Precipice Valley.  There, we used centuries-old fir trees horse logged on our property and milled into posts, beams and lumber for our self-built home in the valley.

We lived in that wonderful Precipice Valley until access to services beckoned and we moved to Gabriola in the fall of 2013. Our home was solar powered for all of those years, first in a small log cabin and eventually fully powering our 2,200 square foot timber frame house.  As you can imagine, we have had a great variety of experiences living in the wilderness and I wrote a Blog about them for several years.  I haven’t kept up that blog since moving here, but for those of you who are interested this is an invitation for you to share that  lifestyle and our view of the world generated by nearly three  decades of wilderness living.  

View From the Precipice Blog

Our Firhome

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