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On Friday May 4, 2018,  77 people that included elected officials from member communities, local government staff and non-government observers travelled to the newly renovated Furry Creek Golf and Country Resort for the Alt’Kitsem/Howe Sound Community Forum, hosted by the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).

Host Jack Crompton, Chair of the SLRD  and  Chris Lewis, Council member with Squamish Nation welcomed everyone to the very room where 18 years ago the initial  meeting of the Howe Sound Community Forum was held.

Electoral Area D – SLRD

Mike Peters, District Manager, Chilliwack Forest District

The morning started with Area D Director, Tony Rainbow describing a number of changes anticipated in his area such as proposed changes at Britannia Beach by MacDonald Development.   Michael Geller, of the Geller Group gave an overview of the upgrades to the Furry Creek Golf Course and clubhouse, and the potential land development at the waterfront by new owners Fine Peace Holdings Canada.   District of Squamish Planner Sarah McJannet spoke about the comprehensive Squamish Marine Action Strategy she is managing in this fast growing community.    At the previous forum October 13th, at Camp Elphinstone, members heard from two of the three Forestry District Managers within this region,  Sunshine Coast and  Sea to Sky.  At this forum, Mike Peters, District Manager of the Chilliwack Forest District within the Ministry of Forests, Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) gave an overview  that includes Bowen Island and parts of West Vancouver.  Continuing on the theme of forestry in Howe Sound, Jeff Fisher, President and Forestry Manager of Sqomish Forestry gave an entertaining presentation explaining the operations of this Squamish Nation owned company and his mandate to practice sustainable forest management.   Jeff Juthans, Resource Specialist for the South Coast Region provided a brief update status  on the Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) Howe Sound.

After lunch, we heard a report and request from Directors of the Sea to  Sky Clean Air Society.  The Society evolved from the Howe Sound forum in 2002 for the purpose of developing and carrying forward the Sea-to-Sky Air Quality Management Plan. Gambier Island Local Trustee Kate-Louise Stamford, co-chair of the OceanWatch Task Force formed out of the Forum in 2017,  reported on the task force’s work over the past six months to help move forward action items resulting  from the OceanWatch Report – Howe Sound Edition .

Included in the report were updates from Aleria Ladwig, Ecosystems Approach Officer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on her request for stakeholder  input on the Glass Sponge Reef Conservation initiatives in Howe Sound.   Bonny Brokenshire, Manager of Parks and Environment for Bowen Island provided a summary of the well attended Vessels of Concern workshop.  Following the last forum, communities around Howe Sound had indicated their support for  developing a “Howe Sound Marine Resource Guide” as a decision-making tool for local governments.  Fiona Beaty from Coast Ocean Research Institute provided an overview on the status of this project.   Trustee Stamford concluded by asking members to take back to their Councils a recommendation that Forum members support the ongoing work of the Task Force by resolving to provide representation from their regional district, municipality or trust after the local elections this October.    Next, Bill Wareham of the David Suzuki Foundation explained the Marine Conservation Assessment, a joint project between DSF and Coastal Ocean Research Institute to provide a tool to Howe Sound’s community that identifies and visualizes areas of high conservation need within our marine ecosystem.

NDP MLA Nicholas Simons representing Powell/River Sunshine Coast, and Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy West Vancouver/Sea to Sky provided updates on key  regional issues such as planning  and transportation in the Sea to Sky corridor.  Jack Crompton, Chair of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District spoke about the many challenges from growth in tourism and recreation within the region and work elected officials are discussing on transit.

Community updates were provided for by representatives from each of the communities included Squamish Nation, Squamish Lillooet Regional District, Gibsons, Bowen Island, Squamish, Whistler, Islands Trust, West Vancouver, Lions Bay,  Metro Vancouver Area A, the Gambier Island Local Trust area and Sunshine Coast Regional District. After the close, a dozen attendees stayed on for an informal roundtable discussion with Squamish Nation representatives.  Due to the timing of the municipal elections October 20th, 2018, the next forum will take place after the elections.

Elected officials L to R: Ron Mclaughlin (Lions Bay), Joyce Williams (Squamish Nation), Stafford Lumley (Gibsons), Fred Bain (Lions Bay), Jack Crompton (Whistler, SLRD), Jeremy Valeriote, (Gibsons), Sue Maxwell (Whistler), Chris Lewis (Squamish Nation) Deanna Lewis (Squamish Nation), Karl Buhr (Lions Bay), Jenn Ford (Whistler), Jordan Sturdy MLA (West Vancouver Sea to Sky), Dan Rogers (Gambier Island Local Trust), Alison Morse (Bowen Island), Tony Rainbow (Area D, SLRD), Ian Winn, (Area F, SCRD), Kate-Louise Stamford (Gambier Island Local Trust), Maureen Nicholson (Bowen Island, Peter Lambur (West Vancouver), Heather Deal (Vancouver Parks Board), Christine Cassidy (West Vancouver) Missing but present: MLA Nicholas Simons ( Powell River/Sunshine Coast), Patricia Heintzman (Squamish), Bill Soprovich (West Vancouver). Russel Mack (SLRD).    Coordinator in front: Ruth Simons, Lead, Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative.


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