Friday, May 6, 2011

Some reason why I'm voting for a Park

Responding to some calls elsewhere for clarity and certainty on the future of life on Bowen Island with a National Park, I wrote: in things like this there is only so much certainty anyone can give you. Who knows what will happen in 30 years on Bowen, park or no Park? There are lots of unknowns because communities are complex beasts. They exhibit all kinds of emergent properties and you can't simply engineer them into simple cause and effect relationships. Creating a national park on Bowen is a huge game changer. We can guess at how those changes will go, but we can never be sure. The future itself is hugely uncertain. All I know is that I feel up to the task of moving forward into the long term future of this community with a National Park (literally) in my backyard. It feels right that we could have all of that green space slowly and irrevocably transition to old growth forest, that we can establish small and historical community uses of the meadow and the village park lands and that we could share this island in a low impact way. I imagine too that my property value will increase due to both scarcity and desirability and I imagine that we will then need to find ways to use the park's benefits to fund affordable housing for real. I imagine small business development and sustainability and a walking island, with trails that cross the Park and traverse the rights of way. I imagine a significant presence for the Squamish Nation here so we can all understand the real deep history and cultural ecology of this place. 

I can't tell you that these are facts, concrete proposals or certainties - but these are things I'm willing to work towards. I can see how elements of a park proposal give me starting places to pursue these ideas, and I can see that it is up to us to make those happen. So if we vote yes, much of what I have written will require the active participation of loads of Bowen Islanders to make it all work and to take advantage of the opportunity. Our engagement begins now and continues for all time, should we choose it.