Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society Launches WILD COAST Plan 2
Urges Improvements to Parks Proposal for Cape Roger Curtis
November 26, 2007
The CRCTS does not endorse any development at the Cape. However, if development is to occur, it should be tightly clustered and contain greenway corridors to buffer sensitive areas and pedestrian trails.
In September 2007, the Cape Roger Curtis owners presented a concept plan (developed by Ekistics) for a second village, as well as a large park, at Cape Roger Curtis. After several months of discussions, the Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society has concluded that Ekistics' plan can and should be improved to better fit the needs and public interest of Bowen Island.
While we embrace the owners' offer to create a truly substantial park, it is still a fragmented park with too much housing and other activity far too close to the fragile coastal bluff habitat along the south shore. The development plan could be much better fitted to the Cape's ecological values and to Bowen's needs and public interest if the parks and greenways aspect of the plan were further expanded, as shown on the map above.
With Crown Parcel 6, including the Fairy Fen wetlands, immediately to the east of CRC, it is distinctly possible to leverage creation of an even larger park, or, more precisely, a waterfront recreational park with inland greenway/trails and a large eco-reserve to protect the Cape's rare and fragile coastal bluffs. This outcome would permanently protect not only Fairy Fen, but almost the entire Fairy Fen watershed, an idea which is already attracting interest and potential support and resources from Metro Vancouver (GVRD), BC Ministry of Environment, BC Parks, the Islands Trust, and various regional conservancies. The Trust Society would also like to see the island pursue the possibility of eventually establishing a marine conservation area surrounding the CRC coast to protect marine ecology, as well as over-wintering waterfowl and their food supply.
The above map is the Trust Society's Wild Coast Plan 2 proposal. We have used Ekistics' development plan as a base (for purposes of comparison only) and superimposed our preliminary alternative proposal. This is a working document for discussion purposes only. It can and should be further modified in response to the various scientific, archeological, hydrological, and other studies, once they are made available to us, and through negotiations with the owners and other stakeholders.
Our reasoning is as follows. The current comprehensive rezoning process will likely have one of two outcomes: either all the parties involved will agree upon a mutually acceptable plan, or an unhappy ownership group will withdraw from rezoning and reactivate their currently “parked” plan for 58 10 acre lots, with limited public access and almost no parkland. We'd be right back where we were in 2006.
The Trust Society's position has always been that we should save as much of the Cape in its natural state as possible. But we realize that, unless the owners are willing to pursue a 100% conservation deal (and so far they are not), at least some degree of development of this precious 631 acre waterfront property is inevitable. Given that circumstance, we hope the current comprehensive rezoning process will provide a genuine opportunity for engagement and resolution of the long-standing CRC controversy in a way that does indeed protect as much of the Cape as possible. So we are doing our best to be engaged in a constructive way and urge you to do so as well.
We believe it is possible for the owners to satisfy their financial bottom line, create a development that contributes to Bowen's sustainability, and leave a tremendous conservation legacy, if they are realistic in their expectations and truly willing to work cooperatively with the community whose island and future they are attempting to shape.
Directors of the Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society