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Howe Sound in Balance, 2018

January 8, 2018

Winter in Lions Bay

Winter in Howe Sound – whales, seal lions, dolphins visit unharassed, water taxis, freighters and ferries slip quietly through the dark and mist and all kinds of birds spend time in the Sound escaping wild winters elsewhere.   What does 2018 look like after this calm?

We anticipate increased tourist trips along the Sea to Sky Highway now Squamish has been named by Expedia as a top place to visit.  Developers will be hoping to start construction of multiple residential and commercial developments in the corridor.  Renovations are already underway at Furry Creek Golf and Country Club  who intend on building hundreds of townhouses framing a revamped golf course and clubhouse, with apartment units, a general store, a boutique hotel and possibly even a marina thrown in.  Britannia Beach will see many changes with mixed use development proposed by Britannia Oceanfront Developments .  The proposals are too numerous to list here, but transportation on the Sea to Sky highway will continue to be a hot topic at the Howe Sound Community Forums this year.

It will be a difficult time for many of us when the Provincial and Federal Environment ministers make their decisions to approve or kill the Proposed Gravel Mine at McNab Creek early in the new year.   We can put aside concerns about the Fixed Link to the Sunshine Coast  since it has been concluded to be dead, and while logging operations will be ongoing in the sound we understand logging plans for Bowen Island and Gambier Island are on indefinite hold.  While Woodfibre LNG is still being regarded as a possible go, there is no news on the Fortis BC Eagle Mountain pipeline project that  needs to deliver gas to the proposed Woodfibre LNG project.  Both projects have many approvals required still ahead and it is unlikely there will be any action in 2018.

Birgitta von Krosigk photo

There are many environmental stewardship projects in the works this year.  The Squamish River Watershed Society has several major projects, the latest is a multi-stakeholder initiative for improvements to fish passage and habitat for central Squamish estuary.   The Department of Fisheries and Oceans  stakeholder engagement is underway for permanent protection of Glass Sponge Reefs in Howe Sound and communities will see more support from Transport Canada on the management of Derelict boats and wrecks that continue to plague our waters.

Howe Sound will continue to be a topic of interest for the upcoming Municipal elections this October and we welcome engagement with the newly elected that sit on the Squamish Nation Council.

Meanwhile on the planning front,  the Province’s Cumulative Effects Assessment for Howe Sound will be released this spring, a Marine Resources Guide for Howe Sound will start to be developed,  the Suzuki Foundation is moving ahead with a park feasibility study for Gambier Island and the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative will continue towards recognition of Howe Sound as a UNESCO Biosphere Region.  Various municipalities will be wrapping up their revisions to their official community plans.

We welcome your comments, support, donations and engagement during this busy year ahead.

 

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Fred Bain says:

    Thanks Ruth for keeping all of us informed. In the busyness of activities that are common to all who are serving and/or concerned about our neighbourhoods and region, it is good to receive your updates and insights into what is going on around us.

  2. John Phillips says:

    This a good news start to the New Year! Thank you.
    Especially the likely lack of progress with the pipeline and LNG plant.
    Also the deferred logging plans.
    I am less happy about the real estate developments at Furry Creek and Brittania. They will greatly increase traffic on the Sea to Sky and pressure the environment with all the extra people.

    McNab Creek is the big concern now – I think it will have a bigger impact than people realize – especially for Squamish but for those of us in Lions Bay as well and the whole Howe Sound region.
    I hope the Government can see that. It is not compatible with all the other good things happening in Howe Sound.
    We will all be supporting you in 2018
    You are all doing such great work in bringing awareness to the Howe Sound Ecosystem

    Best wishes

    John

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