Cape Trust Society praised for quality of work

by Julie Andres – Bowen Island Undercurrent
April 11, 2008

Mayor Bob Turner gave a round of compliments to The Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society at their AGM last Saturday. “You deserve credit for your professionalism and for seeking legal advice,” he said. (See ‘Fifty-eight-lot subdivision application for the Cape shouldn’t be on the table’, the Undercurrent, April 4, or go to www.bowenislandundercurrent.com and click on the Letters tab in the main menu.) “The outcome here depends on quality and respect, and I applaud the Trust Society for their approach,” the mayor added.

The Trust Society’s mandate is, in part, “To ensure that as much as possible of the the Cape Roger Curtis lands remain in their natural state”.

In audience handouts the Trust Society distributed a three-page, month-by-month list of their preservation activities for the Cape since January 2003, when they received a Certificate of Incorporation under the Society Act. Commenting on the list, Mayor Turner said, “Many more pages will be added to this list. Patience is everything, and the Trust Society will be an important player over the long haul.

The CRC landowners’ plan for development currently proposes over 60 per cent—including all waterfront—as dedicated park, but a much higher number of units than allowed under current zoning. The starting number discussed at the AGM was 224 units, which, according to Community Planner Jason Smith, is the number envisioned for the property in the Official Community Plan.

Council has assigned the proposal to the Greenways Committee, the Civic Facilities Working Group, the Sustainability Framework Working Group, The Affordable Housing Working Group and the Advisory Planning Commission for review. Each group is charged with providing a report on the plan to council. In their minutes of Feb. 6, the APC passed a motion by unanimous consent that read: “The APC recommends that Council consider utilizing alternative approaches to calculating density in a creative manner, such as floor area limits and/or bed unit counts, recognizing that any alternative approach be cognizant of equating to a dwelling unit yield of 224 units.

The other above-noted referral groups, which are appointed and funded by council, are either not represented on the Municipal website, or their minutes are not up to date.

The owners of the Cape, (acquired by Don Ho, Edwin Lee, Wolfgang Duntz and others in August 2004) were represented by their project coordinator Mark Sager, who said they have a good working relationship with everybody involved. “We are optimistic that both sides are going to find middle ground. We expect to have another public information meeting in May and a formal public hearing in early September,” he said.

At their public information meeting in December 2007, the developer’s exhibits showed expectations that the process would move along much more quickly than it has. The timeline graphic presented then showed adoption of a rezoning bylaw by March 2008.

True to form, the Trust Society included a high quality educational component in their AGM. Research ecologist and Bowen Island resident Alejandro Frid gave a talk about predators and climate change as they pertain to CRC. Lindsay Coulter, a conservation policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation spoke about her work around the province “pleading the case for B.C.’s biodiversity and the need for change in policy to protect it”.