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Spring 2019 Forum Review

April 29, 2019

On Friday April 26, 2019,  65 people that included elected officials from member communities, Provincial and Federal representatives, local government staff and non-government observers travelled by water taxis to Camp Fircom on Chá7elkwnech/Gambier Island for the Alt’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Community Forum, hosted by the Gambier Island and Area Local Trust Committee.

The day began with a gathering and song at the Welcome Pole acknowledging we were on the traditional unceded lands of the S?wx?wú7mesh Úxwumixw. With hands raised, the Squamish Nation’s Welcome Poles can be found in several prominent locations within their territory and Atl’ka7tsem.

Islands within the Gambier Island Local Trust Area – by Wooden Charts

After a short walk to the meeting hall, the forum began with Trustee Dan Rogers providing a short history of the Forums for the Council members attending for the first time since they were elected in the fall. Islands Trust Chair Peter Luckham presented an overview of the Islands Trust – Governance for Protection of the Islands in the Salish Sea and Howe Sound.   Trustee Kate Louise Stamford then gave an overview of the local Trust Area followed by Trustee Sue-Ellen Fast providing information on Islands Trust Conservancy. 

Squamish Nation Council member Joyce Williams provided an update on the many priorities the Nation is engaged in. Trustee Stamford, Co-Chair with District of Squamish Councillor Doug Race of the Ocean Watch Task Force provided a report on the activities of the task force that was struck by the Howe Sound Community Forum members in 2017. The report and summary of the strategic plan were circulated and Consultant Susan Abs explained the process taken for assisting the task force in meeting its objectives of considering local government actions to improve ocean health that were noted in the Ocean Watch Report for Howe Sound. Fiona Beaty, Project Director for the Marine Reference Guide provided an update on the project, a strategic priority for the local governments. The phase two edition of the Ocean Watch report is underway as explained by the manager of Ocean Watch, Aroha Miller. Members were invited to contact Dr. Miller if they are wishing to participate in the June 7th workshop being held at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Deirdre Finn, Fisheries Management Officer, Sustainable Fisheries Framework, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, presented on phase two of the Glass Sponge Reef Conservation Initiative. Adam Taylor of the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society thanked the Forum members for their support that resulted in protections announced in March.

Jeff Juthans, Resource Specialist for the South Coast Region of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development presented on the recently published reports from the Cumulative Effects Project for Howe Sound and explained the management objectives resulting from the reports. This is the culmination of a five year project that was first announced at the Forums in 2014, all local governments have expressed their support for the project as a decision making tool for future planning.

After lunch, Bill Wareham of the David Suzuki Foundation presented the finished product of the Atl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Marine Conservation Assessment, another project followed by the Forum members since inception. This has been 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.

Ruth Simons provided an update on the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative first introduced to the Forum in 2016 and Bob Turner explained the Biosphere Region Boundary and zoning that tells the story of the current land use designations. The initiative for Howe Sound to be designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve was fully supported by Forum members and is making good progress towards the nomination. Bob explained the story of the map and the proposed Biosphere Region boundary.  

Community updates from representatives from each of the communities included; Squamish Lillooet Regional District, Gibsons, Bowen Island, Squamish, Whistler, Islands Trust, West Vancouver, Lions Bay, the Gambier Island Local Trust area and Sunshine Coast Regional District. MLA’s Jordan Sturdy and Nicholas Simons provided updates and friendly banter, MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones also provided an overview of the Federal Government’s advancements on issues affecting the Howe Sound marine environment.

The final topic of discussion initiated by Trustee Rogers was that of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. Resolutions for declaring a Climate Emergency were discussed and numerous examples of action items were shared by the Forum members, a topic that is certainly top of mind following the winter storms and storm surges that caused much damage around the Sound.

Many questions were posed for follow up at the next meeting being hosted by the District of Squamish in October. Gratitude to Camp Fircom for the use of their venue and for the delicious food and service.

April 2019 Forum – Camp Fircom, Gambier Island – photo Ruth Simons.


One Response so far.

  1. SLS Dubai says:

    Hey! The initiative for Howe Sound to be designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve was fully supported.

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