Parks Canada Initiative – Fall/Winter 2009

Following the April 5, 2009 public information meeting at BICS in which Trust Society Board member Jan Wells added Option F from the floor (requesting the Municipality to explore the possibility of acquiring enough funds from various levels of government to acquire all 631 acres of The Cape), council passed the “Jan Resolution” on April 20, 2009.

Excerpt from Council Minutes:

RES# 09‐069

It was Moved and Seconded
That Council direct Councillors Poole and Hooper and any other interested members of Council to work with the municipal consultant Mel Turner, the Bowen Island Conservancy, The Land Conservancy of BC, The Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society, the Islands Trust Fund Board and other non-governmental land conservation and recreational park interests and interested individuals to establish options and strategies for fundraising and soliciting assistance (monetary and otherwise) with the goal of securing an agreement (based on willing seller, willing buyer) with the CRC owners for the purchase, for fair market value, of all or a portion of the CRC lands for public use as a recreational park and ecological reserve; and
That Council direct Councillors Hooper and Poole and any other interested members of Council, together with municipal staff, to formally establish discussions with the governments of Canada, British Columbia and Metro Vancouver (including related ministries or departments, such as Parks Canada, BC Parks or Metro Vancouver Parks) to secure their support and financial assistance in purchasing, for fair market value (based on willing seller, willing buyer), all or a portion of the CRC lands for public use as a recreational park and ecological reserve;

Co-incidentally, Parks Canada’s future plans just happened to include a desire to create a park (or possibly more than one) close to a large urban area and it intended looking at the Howe Sound area.

Parks Canada expressed interest in considering Bowen’s Crown Lands, existing parks and protected areas for a potential national park. In a case where Parks Canada is interested in acquiring land, it would make a direct approach to the owner. This would not involve the municipality. Such a purchase would only be successful if the owner was willing to sell.

On Friday, November 20, 2009, three members of Parks Canada visited Bowen to have a preliminary look around. With the able assistance of Sue Ellen Fast as a guide, Mayor Turner and Councillors Hooper and Poole led them on a walkabout through the Metro Vancouver Crippen Park and the community lands and then on a boat tour around the island. The Parks Canada members will be reporting to the head of Parks Canada on their assessment of Bowen. The assessment will include highlights of the environmental, cultural, historical and other values on Bowen. The Municipality expects to hear the results of this report early in 2010. If there is further interest in the possibility of a national park on Bowen, Bowen Island Municipality will work with Parks Canada to develop a plan for public consultation and to obtain community feedback about this initiative.

In a recent letter the Trust Society has expressed its thanks and appreciation to Bowen Island Councillors, for supporting this initiative by forming a committee to liaise with and help Parks Canada.