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Fall 2019 Forum Review

November 1, 2019

On Friday October 25, 2019,  58 people found their way into the woodlands of Paradise Valley north of Squamish for the Alt’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Community Forum, hosted by the District of Squamish.

Mayor Elliott

The Forum was held on the unceded lands of the S?wx?wú7mesh Úxwumixw at the Cheakamus Centre in the Environmental Learning Centre, an appropriate location for the afternoon’s discussion on Leading in a Climate Emergency.

Following the welcome from Joyce Williams, Squamish Nation Council member, Mayor Karen Elliott gave an overview of the challenges and opportunities in fast growing Squamish.

Newly elected MP elect Patrick Weiler, MLA Jordan Sturdy and representatives from each local government in the region provided updates on priorities and issues in their communities of Whistler, Bowen Island, Gambier Island Local Trust Area, West Vancouver, Gibsons, West Howe Sound, Squamish and Lions Bay.

Co-chair Doug Race of the Ocean Watch Task Force reported on the tasks completed by the Task Force that has now concluded its mandate. A request was made to the forum members to participate in an upcoming meeting to set out a new terms of reference and appoint a new chair. The Ocean Watch Task Force’s strategic plan is online and is important in leading the Marine Reference Guide through to completion.

Bob Purdy of the Fraser Basin Council gave a presentation regarding the winding down of the Sea to Sky Clean Air Society after many years. This Society was initiated by a task force of the Howe Sound Forum back in 2002 as described in Chair Peter Frinton’s report found here. Forum members indicated their continued interest in air quality and finding solutions to carry on the work of the airshed management plan.

Stephanie Hewson and Georgia Lloyd-Smith lawyers with West Coast Environmental Law presented on their upcoming publication Guide to Coastal and Ocean Protection Law and a campaign for a BC Coast Protection Act. Members were welcomed to join in on further conversations.

Squamish Nation Council Member Joyce Williams, MLA West Vancouver Sea to Sky Jordan Sturdy and MP Elect Patrick Weiler

The afternoon dialogue was hosted by District of Squamish staff planner Sarah McJannet and Mayor Elliott on the question of leading in a climate emergency. Bowen Island, West Vancouver, Squamish, Islands Trust, Squamish Nation have all passed resolutions declaring a Climate Emergency. The attendees considered three questions 1)What meaningful actions and bold moves is your community taking to address the climate emergency 2) How are you engaging on, operationalizing and prioritizing climate action plans? 3) How can we support each other? What is the role of the Howe Sound Community Forum in this work?

Volunteer facilitated 45 minute roundtable discussions. Actions and next steps will be found here in the upcoming report.

At the close attendees were welcomed to walk to the Longhouse where we gathered around the fire to experience and learn more about the culture of the Squamish Nation. The Longhouse at the Cheakamus Centre run by North Vancouver School District, provides many youth and adult programs.

The Longhouse at the Cheakamus Centre Brackendale

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