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Best Wishes for 2014

January 9, 2014

Gambier-from-Cypress-Feb11_resize-80x80The Future of Howe Sound Society was formed by a concerned group of people who understand and appreciate the unique value of Howe Sound for all of the Lower Mainland and indeed the world.

Since 2010 our group of volunteers has been focused on raising awareness of the need for a comprehensive plan for Howe Sound and to encourage communication and co-operation between various government agencies and regulatory bodies in order to develop a regional vision for Howe Sound.

The need for a comprehensive plan has come to the forefront in this past year.  In addition to the ongoing demands associated with the ever-increasing recreational and tourism usage, a number of industrial proposals have been advanced including:

  • the Burnco aggregate mine proposal that is under active review by the environmental assessment agencies;
  • a new natural gas pipeline proposal for Squamish that is pending review;
  • an LNG plant at Woodfibre is coming up for review;
  • a municipal waste incinerator is proposed for Port Mellon;
  • new woodlot tenures are being offered on Gambier Island.

All of this at a time when the extensive environmental remediation efforts of the last twenty years are bearing results.  In the past year, the marine environment has shown remarkable signs of recovery evidenced by the return of killer, humpback and grey whales as well as large salmon runs and other evidence of recovering marine life.

Change and development in Howe Sound will be inevitable in the coming years.  We can’t avoid change, but we can plan for it and ensure that it is managed in a way that preserves the unique heritage of Howe Sound for future generations.  The next several years will be critical in managing this change.  If steps aren’t taken quickly to develop a comprehensive plan through broad-based input, we will lose the ability to manage change and this time, the impacts on Howe Sound will likely be irreversible.

All of us need to actively engage in the dialogue about future development and make sure that our political leaders understand that there is a pressing need to engage in planning for the whole of the Sound.  Your participation in the process is essential to ensure that the future of Howe Sound is one that will allow new generations to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the area that we have come to appreciate.

Peter Finley, Chair

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