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Keats IslandIt has been repeated many time by those that live, work, play and visit Howe Sound how amazing a place it  is.   People value the recovery and discovery of the marine life and see the potential to further capitalize on the natural resource and develop the new economy that is more gentle to the land.  There are signed resolutions from communities around the Sound, support and commitment of seventy plus stakeholder organizations to work together on a  comprehensive land and marine management plan.  Squamish Nation has also expressed their interest in marine planning.

Important Values have been written into community plans through public process and committed to by bylaw.  Lands under the stewardship and management of local governments have land use plans and zoning.  In these plans is zoning for multi-use, including forestry and industrial use.   Local governments through democratic processes and engagement by the public give careful consideration to any developments within their community to ensure they  align with the local values expressed through the plans.

Conflict has arisen where the Provincial Government imposes plans for natural resource development that has not involved the stakeholders in the region and the development compromises the values and objectives of local and regional plans.

Is it not in the best interest of the people, regardless of where they are from or where they live, to ensure any development in Howe Sound on Crown lands and marine use does not compromising the common most important values?  We believe so and, these values should be reviewed for suitability of a project, prior to any commitments made.    Right now three  unsustainable, heavy impact industries and large scale forestry is proposed at one time in Howe Sound, which is coming into growing conflict with local community plans and people’s tolerance levels.

A review was done by Consultant Susan Abs, of Eclipse Consulting of community plans from around Howe Sound.  Common themes were compiled representing important values were presented at the last Howe Sound Community Forum.  Here is a summary of the common themes found in all those plans:

Natural environment/ environmental stewardship

  • Protection, restoration and management [of ecosystems] –aquatic, terrestrial and marine env., foreshore, aquifers, riparian areas
  • Environmentally sensitive areas, habitats, steep slopes
  • Green spaces, open spaces
  • Natural beauty
  • Air quality; water quality, conservation
  • Connectivity between parks and other natural areas/ESAs

Smart Growth

  • Growth management, compact communities, clustered jobs/housing/services
  • Greener, smarter, cheaper infrastructure
  • Land use policies based on sustainability principles (includes economic, environmental and social factors)
  • Sustainable design, land and management policies & practices
  • Responsible services provision e.g. green alternatives and technologies

Natural Resource Conservation

  • Energy & materials conservation/zero waste

Healthy, Safe, Vibrant Communities

  • Livability and quality of life
  • Recreation: parks, trails, beach access, access to nature
  • Socially & economically diverse communities
  • Access to services, facilities and amenities
  • Vibrant downtown/island cores
  • Distinctive, attractive, economically sustainable communities
  • A strong sense of place
  • Respect for heritage

Economic diversity and resilience

  • Local employment in sustainable activities
  • Prosperity for entire community/ balanced & equitable growth
  • Diverse employment and educational opportunities
  • World-class outdoor recreation
  • Productive agricultural and forestry land base
  • Local food production

Transportation Efficiency and Diversity

  • Safe and efficient transportation and transit corridors and systems
  • Alternatives/options to car: transit, cycling, pedestrian
  • Minimize negative impacts of transport

Climate change:

  • minimize contribution/GHGs (specifics found in each community’s commitment to the BC Climate Action Charter)

Partnership and collaboration for shared vision and goals

  • With all levels of government, including First Nations and NGOs
  • Regional planning

Citizen Engagement

  • meaningful participation in decision-making

Respect for/maintaining First Nation rights, interests and sacred sites

  • Sustaining traditional territory and hunting, fishing and gathering
  • Training and jobs; economic development
  • Land use planning: forest stewardship; sensitive areas; restoration areas
  • Kwakwayxwelh-aynexws (Wild Spirit Places)
  • Collaboration/cooperation

Other topics mentioned:

  • Culture and arts
  • Crown Land Management
  • Environmental Awareness and Education

The above plans were referenced April 2014

Bowen Island Municipality, Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 282, 2010 – Towards a Sustainable Future, Second Reading, June 2011

District of Squamish, Official Community Plan, Bylaw 2100, 2009  See also: Community Tourism Plan

District of West Vancouver, Official Community Plan, 2004

Gambier Island, Official Community Plan, 2001

Gambier Island Local Trust Area 

Metro Vancouver, Regional Growth Strategy, 2011 and Regional Context Statement

Resort Municipality of Whistler Squamish-Lillooet, Regional Growth Strategy, 2010

Squamish Nation –XayTemixw (Sacred Land) Land Use Plan  & Community Development Plan: Squamish Family Meetings 2010 

Sunshine Coast Regional District  West Howe Sound – OCP, 2011

SCRD Strategic Plan 2014-2016: Core Values For A Sustainable Community

Town of Gibsons, Official Community Plan  NOTE: Plan is being revised – due in spring 2014

Village of Lions Bay, Official Community Plan, 2010

Village of Pemberton, Official Community Plan, 2012 


One Response so far.

  1. Eric Andersen says:

    Squamish Estuary Management Plan should be included in the reference list of plans. It was signed off as a legal document by several agencies in 1999, after a 20-year planning process.

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