Planning approach misguided

by Nerys Poole
Bowen Island Undercurrent, Dec 21, 2007

I attended the three-hour ‘Planning & Design Workshop’ organized by the Cape Roger Curtis owners and planning team, where the mayor and council and various municipal committees were invited on Nov. 27. As noted in the article CRC plan beyond comprehensive, Mark Sager said that the meeting was not productive as they “got off on the wrong foot”. More accurately, their whole approach to this community is misguided. The CRC planning team presented their plan for almost two hours before finally agreeing to listen to what the people in the room had to say. As pointed out by several people, most of the participants have years of experience of living on Bowen and participating actively in this community. They expected the CRC planning team to have invited them to this workshop in order to hear their views. It was apparent early on in the evening that the planning team was holding this workshop in order to defend their plan and to argue about its benefits; they did not hold this workshop to listen to the views of those attending.

The participants at the workshop were unanimous (amongst the many who spoke) in encouraging the planning team to enter into an ongoing dialogue with these various community groups – not just on a one-off basis – to try and create a solution for the CRC lands that is one that the public of Bowen Island will feel confident in supporting. These are the people that the CRC planning team needs to be communicating with on a regular basis. The planning team for the CRC lands does not seem to realize how alienating it is for most Bowen Islanders when an outsider talks about a visioning process for this island, and then attempts to dictate his vision of what this island needs.

It will only be through a lengthy process of discussion and dialogue that the CRC owners and planning team will begin to discover what will address “this community’s desires and needs” (a quote from the advertisement written by Bob Ransford, another outsider). The timeline set by Sager, in which he refers to “rezoning bylaw readings and adoption” for March of 2008, further emphasizes the lack of understanding of how this island works. Sager need only look at the timeline for the secondary suites bylaw (arguably a less sensitive issue than the CRC rezoning) to realize how completely unrealistic and impossible such a timeline is. It certainly does not allow for the public input that many on Bowen are advocating.

Nerys Poole
On behalf of the directors of theCape Roger Curtis Trust Society