Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shutting the barn door after the horse has run

Yesterday I witnessed the first pilings being pounded into the eelgress meadows on the sea bed near the lighthouse at Cape Roger Curtis.  Today, our local government posted on its website a memo about a study being conducted by the Islands Trust and the Bowen Island Municipality to study and map the eelgrass beds on Bowen to better understand the potential impacts of things like wharves and docks and other foreshore uses.  The reason for the mapping project is this:


The Islands Trust Policy Statement, section 3.4.4, states: 
Local trust committees and island municipalities shall, in their official community plans and regulatory bylaws, address the protection of sensitive coastal areas.  
The recently released Audit of Biodiversity in B.C. (Office of the Auditor General of B.C.) highlighted the importance of collecting sufficient and reliable information on species distribution in order to make well informed decisions about conserving biodiversity. With sensitive ecosystem mapping completed in the Islands Trust Area (2008-2010), the Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) and local trust committees have access to ecosystem data for terrestrial species. The Islands Trust and Islands Trust Fund are now working to secure good mapping of sensitive coastal areas to help island governments meet the requirements of the Islands Trust Policy Statement.
And so, despite the government's auditor highlighting the lack of sufficient and reliable data about these ecosystems, both the province and the municipality have gone ahead and approved foreshore leases and  building permits for docks that are being planted directly in these environments.  yesterday I made my objections known to the dock applications at Lot 1 and Lot 14 at Cape Roger Curtis.  The one at Lot 14 will be less than 100 meters from the one next door at Lot 13, both of them right up against the Cape itself and the Lighthouse, and both extending more than 100 meters out from shore.

If you make your objections today, please mention that these foreshore leases should be delayed until this study can be completed.  As it is, the maps will be made in August and September with possibly three big docks planted right in the middle of the environment the study is meant to understand better.