November 4, 2014
On November 15th votes will be counted and newly elected representatives of communities around Howe Sound will begin influencing our future. You may want to consider your candidate’s values when it comes to sustainability.
The Squamish Nation people who were around long before us and will be here many generations into the future, understood the true meaning of sustainability. Since the word was created, it has been overused and often misused, but it is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.
Planning is so important in order to ensure we will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment. Council members must work effectively together with the support of the community and skilled staff in order to complete plans that address the external factors influencing our quality of life.
There are new challenges for Councils, populations in Squamish have twice the average national population growth, developments at Britannia Beach and Porteau Cove target 1,000 new homes, and Metro Vancouver expects to grow by 1.4 million people by 2040.
Our front yard, the Howe Sound, is a natural fjord that is a treasure for its natural beauty, rare & fragile ecosystem and is a recreation haven that drives a healthy economy. It is also industrialists and government’s opportunity for natural resource development due to its deep water port, rail system, access from northern BC and proximity to Vancouver harbour.
Climate change is another factor we can no longer ignore. Most communities in Canada have sustainability plans in place and many have climate mitigation plans that address the impacts to their community from sea level rise and the consequences of more severe weather events.
Local governments today, must be strategic and fully engaged in community and regional planning in order to protect the interests of the people they represent. In 2013 Howe Sound communities all agreed, a comprehensive land and marine use plan for Howe Sound to ensure a sustainable Howe Sound for current and future generations. Continued commitment to this goal is needed over the next four years.
Building relationships is valuable when it come to depending on services for our quality of life and our property values. Each local community sends representatives of Council to regional board meetings. Their vote counts when it comes to future decisions on issues that affect services and managing growth. Leaders who will advocate for their communities and maintain effective relationships with our Provincial and Federal representatives can make a big difference. The Provincial government holds the trump card over Howe Sound when it comes to the use of Crown lands. With many old laws protecting the mining and logging industry, we are continually faced with the threat of re-industrialization and intensive logging of the lands around us. The Federal government has the over site of our oceans and fish and the fate of the recovery of Howe Sound is influenced by decisions made in Ottawa.
Now is the time for attending All Candidates meetings and casting your vote for balanced representation. Help get out the vote and stay engaged as the pieces of the sustainable plan for current and future generations come together over the next four years.
Note: The Future of Howe Sound Society is hosting an All Candidates meeting on Thursday, November 6th in the Village of Lions Bay – theme: Lions Bay’s challenges for a sustainable future.
7:30-9:00 Lions Bay Community School.