We sent the information below to Parks Canada in March 2011, in response to their request for feedback on the Preliminary Park Concept. The text is formatted in accordance with Parks Canada’s feedback form.
“Please note that the answers provided below reflect the views of the Bowen Island Conservancy (BIC) in the context of BIC’s Mission statement and objectives, and do not consider other issues such as infrastructural, social or economic impacts.
What are your initial thoughts on the preliminary park concept?
We have already advised that the draft Vision Statement presented by Parks Canada is closely aligned with the Mission Statement and Purposes of the Conservancy. We endorse the key elements of PC’s vision—in particular the first item, namely ‘Maintain or restore ecological integrity on national park reserve lands’. Similarly, we believe that the best protection of the natural habitat is achieved by ensuring that the areas protected are of the greatest area possible to maintain environmental integrity. Fragmentation should be avoided.
What aspects of the preliminary park concept do you feel work?
The protection that would be achieved under the Federal Parks Act is very important. In addition we would hope that the management plan will include a substantial budget to ensure monitoring the Park and taking any measures appropriate to ensure the maintenance of biodiversity and limiting any misuse that can lead to its degradation. PC has indicated that there will be varying levels of use and that areas such as the Ecological reserve would maintain their ‘off lim’its status.
What aspects of the preliminary park concept do you feel don’t work?
The lack of any even tentative plan to, or at least acknowledgement of the possibility of, purchasing key private lands to improve the Park–the lots that surround Huszar Creek watershed are a critical example.
There is insufficient stress laid on the need for a truly cooperative approach with the local community. The Advisory group must be more than window dressing with final decisions always resting with PC.
The process flow indicated suggests limited input from Bowen Islanders once a Yes vote is achieved. This is unacceptable and jeopardizes the outcome of the vote.
What are your thoughts on the proposed park boundary?
The area comprising Headwaters Park should be included. In addition, the only parts of Crown Block 6 that should be excluded are those that are part of existing leases.
What are your thoughts on the marine component of the proposed park boundary?
We have not had the opportunity to address this aspect in detail. Our preliminary observations are that it would be worth considering the expansion of the Marine Park to include the south shore of Bowen (Cape Roger Curtis) and include Collingwood Channel. Perhaps Worlecombe, Paisley and Hutt Islands, also. There are about 22 other small islands around Keats/Bowen/Gibsons: Could they also be considered?
What improvements would you suggest to make a better park concept?
More attention should be addressed to Connectivity to Crown parcels across either Municipal or private lands. For example, one improved connection would be the park strip at the corner of Adams and Bowen Bay Roads which runs parallel with Bowen Bay Road; there is then a road right-of-way to Crown land – Mt Gardner. At this corner—Adams and Bowen Bay Roads—there is an opportunity to create a much needed rest stop for hikers and bikers: picnic tables, bus stop, sani-cans, trail kiosk indicating Tunstall Bay, Mt. Gardner, Bluewater, etc.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Not at this time.”
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