October 5, 2007 Bowen Island Undercurrent – by Asha Rehnberg
Earlier this year the owners of Cape Roger Curtis set aside their contentious 10-acre lots subdivision application and voluntarily entered into a comprehensive rezoning process. As part of that process they have now held two public meetings.
Earlier this year the owners of Cape Roger Curtis set aside their contentious 10-acre lots subdivision application and voluntarily entered into a comprehensive rezoning process.
As part of that process, they held their first public meeting in July to share their planners’ vision for what makes a “sustainable community” and how they are hoping to help Bowen achieve its sustainability goals by creating a well-thought-out secondary village at Cape Roger Curtis.
On Sept. 19, the owners sponsored their second public meeting to unveil a preliminary concept for their development and to explain how they had arrived at that plan. (See maps and rationale on the ‘Events’ section of their website at www.caperogercurtis.com.)
In brief, they are offering to create a park that encompasses up to 60 per cent of the Cape and 100 per cent of its shoreline.
The plan for the secondary village shows roughly where development clusters might be along a loop road, but does not disclose proposed densities. Clusters would contain a variety of residential lot sizes, some affordable housing (probably townhouses), senior housing, a school, a store, an outdoor amphitheatre, a hotel, one or more community buildings, a spiritual retreat center, a memorial garden, a community garden, at least one playground/ballfield and a community wastewater treatment facility.
They are optimistic about obtaining an alternative access route to the proposed village to avoid using either Whitesails or an extension of Thompson Road, but this is not yet definite.
Lacking more concrete information from ownership, Stephen Foster of the Cape Roger Trust Society estimates the proposal would probably yield 1,500 people travelling to and from such a village every day once the project is fully built out. That’s a lot of people, dogs, cats, cars and trucks whose activities would impact the currently quiet, largely unsullied wilderness that so many have fought hard to conserve.
Many at the Sept. 19 meeting thanked the owners for the generosity and vision of their park offer. Although clearly the owners are gambling that in exchange they will be granted high density in the remaining 40 per cent, listeners nonetheless acknowledged the planning team’s work as a bona fide effort to design a sustainable community on Bowen. Many also said that this was a “great start” and that now it was our turn to decide whether we really want a secondary village at Cape Roger Curtis and/or what amenities in the proposal might be better sited in Snug Cove or somewhere other than at the Cape. Density transfers, partnership with a neighboring landowner, community buy-out of selected clusters to reduce the development’s footprint, and other ideas were floated in the discussion that ensued.