Disturbing Comments in Mayor’s First Year Assessment

October 26, 2006 – Last week’s excellent lead article in the Undercurrent about Bob Turner’s first year included some very disturbing comments. He is clearly frustrated by the current course of the potential development of Bowen Island’s precious Cape Roger Curtis lands. The Mayor was quoted as saying “… we [the Council] are essentially spectators to the process” and “… there’s no guarantee that there ever will be a public process [concerning the development of the Cape].”The Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society (CRCTS) is a substantial voice for the public interest, with over 300 members. In addition, we liaise with other groups who have a demonstrated interest in CRC, such as the BI Conservancy and Tunstall Against Traffic (TAT). Our members care very much about the future of this extraordinary and unique tract of land and they care about the impact of unmanaged development on the Island.

We are all very disturbed by the current stalemate that exists relative to any effort to find some satisfactory middle ground between an uninspired 60-lot development and the well- established public interest.

We worked hard in the last election to make the potential development of the Cape a central issue. We were pleased and optimistic when the newly-elected council defined the public interest in Cape Roger Curtis in a motion passed in February/06. However, we were disappointed when the Municipality issued a Preliminary Layout Review (PLR) last summer, thus allowing the dull and unimaginative 60 ´ 10 acre lot development proposal to move another step closer to reality.

Council has called for the owners to apply for a comprehensive rezoning, so that the future of CRC can be addressed in a more creative and thorough manner. Nothing has happened. Instead the owners have blocked community access and applied for the go-ahead on the first 10 lots plus the roads needed to service these lots. All this is happening without any comprehensive examination of the consequences to the Island of this development. This death by a thousand cuts approach, each cut of which may (according to the article), appear “reasonable” is very worrying.

Our Society’s goal, from the beginning, has been to work for a result that includes a modest development on the CRC lands, with housing concentrated within a limited footprint, while a significant portion of the land remains in its current natural state.

There are many excellent examples, elsewhere in BC and on Bowen too, where an innovative collaborative approach by all parties – developers, regulatory authorities and the public – has lead to development where everyone wins. We will be preparing a series of articles on these and related issues to promote a more sensitive and creative dialogue between all parties.

We hope for an outcome which everyone can be proud of.

Directors, Cape Roger Curtis Trust Society