May 13, 2015
Bowen Island Municipality were pleased to play hosts once again to the Forum members. Bowen Council member Alison Morse was present at the Forum on Bowen for the signing of the Principles for Cooperation back in 2002.
There were many new participants at the table on May 1st, 2015. This was the first forum since the municipal elections last November and the interest level was high as indicated by the good turnout from the member communities.
Mayor Murray Skeels of Bowen Island welcomed Squamish Nation Chief Bill William and Councillor Chris Lewis to provide opening welcome and provide updates on marine planning for Howe Sound. Reference was made to the Howe Sound Aquatic Forum – Science & Knowledge Holders Workshop co-hosted by Suzuki Foundation, Squamish Nation and Vancouver Aquarium on March 27th. Stephen Foster, Team Lead with Suzuki Foundation shared Suzuki Howe Sound Update on a number of initiatives Suzuki Foundation is moving forward on.
Updates on current projects proposed for Howe Sound and other community initiatives were shared by West Vancouver, Squamish, Gibsons, Lions Bay, Bowen Island, Gambier Island Local Trust, Sunshine Coast Regional District and Metro Vancouver and from MLA for West Vancouver Sea to Sky Jordan Sturdy.
A progress report on the Cumulative Effects Assessment was provided by Land and Resource Specialist with BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Jeff Juthans. The Province committed to assessment for Howe Sound region starting in 2015 and the project planning has begun as explained in the Howe Sound CEA Project Update . An important component of this assessment will be the cooperation with the federal government.
Chair Peter Luckham of the Island Trust gave two comprehensive and informative presentations about the Island Trust, how it was formed, core functions, relationship with other levels of government, goals and objective. The 70 attendees at the forum learned how Island Trust is working with others to protect Howe Sound. Introduction to Island Trust and Island Trust – Working for Protection of Howe Sound
On June 14th, the Sea to Sky Marine Trail will officially open as explained by Project Manager Gordon McKeever. This new network of trails has been a collaboration with Recreation Sites and Trails BC. The Marine Trail has seven official camp sites in Howe Sound that will eventually link with the trail network on Gambier Island. Alistair McCrone, Recreation Officer for Sea to Sky Recreation District explained the process underway to officially register the existing and new trails on Gambier. Gambier Isl. Trail Network Project. Peter Scholefield, Chair of the Gambier Island Conservancy shared the Gambier Island Conservancy trail management document and the work underway to bring greater protection to trails within the wilderness protection area.
The meeting ended with a presentation by Adam Taylor of Marine Life Sanctuary who was following up on a recommendation from the October meeting to inform the forum members again about Howe Sound’s unique sponge reefs and ask for their support to enhance protection and extension of the Halkett Bay Marine Park. Howe Sound Sponge Reef Protection.
The Forum members enjoyed the opportunity travel to the island and learn more about this part of Howe Sound. The next forum will be hosted by the District of Squamish sometime in October.