August 1, 2005—Will the protection of a series of small pocket areas be enough? No. The south coast ecosystem functions as one unit of land, with seeping soil moisture levels and so on depending on complete protection from large-scale disturbances such as development. It also requires a wide inland setback to maintain the ecological integrity of the whole system.
Progress towards the conservation of Cape Roger Curtis has been made during the past few months, including:
- The developer has stated that he is ready to welcome discussion and input to the planning process.
- Some candidates in this fall's municipal election support the protection of these special lands.
- Our current councilors have agreed to open discussions with GVRD Parks, so that the Cape will be on their list later in the process when and if any gap in the conservation plan remains to be filled.
Major challenges remain, however. Consider this:
- Initial development plans made public by the developer so far contain only tiny fragments of park and narrow public beach access corridors.
- A development permit for a road into Cape Roger Curtis from Whitesails Drive has been issued.
- The developer has not endorsed a community-led process for discussion and input into the planning process.
On July 27, the developer’s consultants confirmed the environmental significance and sensitivity of the coastal fringe along the south shore. Some of the unique plant communities were so rare and vulnerable that the consultants did not mark their locations on maps that the public could see. This wild coast is indeed an ecological treasure.
Will the protection of a series of small pocket areas be enough? No. The south coast ecosystem functions as one unit of land, with seeping soil moisture levels and so on depending on complete protection from large-scale disturbances such as development. It also requires a wide inland setback to maintain the ecological integrity of the whole system. The natural area required would be at least half of the land base.
Walkers and riders treasure the natural beauty and sense of wilderness they feel at Cape Roger Curtis, along with the restorative contemplation and healthful exercise. A trail along the entire coastline is part of our conservation vision, inspiring respect and stewardship among trail users and providing protective eyes and ears. The Coastal Trail Zone marked on the map would contain one section, while the southern trails would ramble through the natural area. The most sensitive coastal areas can be protecting by keeping trails higher on the slope, where there are some fabulous views down to the glittering sea. Coastal trails will link up with the island’s greenway trail network.
Islanders love the small beach on the west coast, often called Pebble Beach or Pirate’s Cove. One end of the green line embraces this beach. The other end curves up to connect with the proposed Fairy Fen Nature Reserve and the rest of the Cove to Cape Greenway, reflecting the ecological need to maintain connectivity across the Cape’s natural area and the island.
This conservation plan map reflects the input of many members of Bowen’s conservation community. It has remained well-supported with very few adjustments through the abandoned neighbourhood concept planning process, discussions at the CRCTS AGM and in other meetings earlier this year.