November 15, 2006 – Cape Roger Curtis need not be cut up into 58 trophy lots. Many examples exist where owners/developers, government and citizens have worked together to produce a solution where everyone wins.
For example, BC Tourism now proudly proclaims:
“Francis Point Marine Park is an eco friendly park established in 2001 to protect some very sensitive ecological marine and forested areas. The large park protects the waterfront of the Francis Peninsula. The parkland is a combination of forested hills and open grassy, moss covered landscapes.”
Not long ago the owners were advertising this land at Pender Harbour for sale. Existing zoning allowed potential developers to subdivide into >400 half acre lots. Instead, the stakeholders (owners, government, conservation organizations and local public interest groups) came up with a creative solution that included ecological gift rebates for the owners, contributions from conservation-minded philanthropic donors and limited contribution from Government. Now the public can enjoy 180 acres of nature and ecologically sensitive zones are protected. Forty acres remain for potential development.
Bowen has its own example – Quarry Park. About 5 years ago, a 35-acre lot south of Cowan Point Drive was to be developed. Instead of dividing it up into 5 acre lots, local developer, John Reid, worked with the owner, the Municipality and others to create a much more eco friendly solution which would benefit everyone.
The area to be developed was reduced to 15 acres, 20 acres was given to the Municipality for a park and money was provided to fund restoration of the landscape.
Quarry Park, officially opened last September, is more than just the Municipality’s first park, it is also an important part of the Greenway which is gradually being secured across our “Island of Walks”. The Greenway is a means of linking natural areas with corridors for wildlife and trails for people. When complete, it will extend from the Cove to the Cape – the jewel at the south-west corner.
There are many other impressive examples –700 acres on Gabriola; Central Park on Denman; Burgoyne Bay on Salt Spring; the Matson lands in Victoria.
If solutions are being found elsewhere, why can’t we do the same? The exceptional lands and wild coastline of Cape Roger Curtis should not be lost to the wealthy few but kept for people and wildlife for all time.
Directors, Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society