Once more with feeling!

Council Holds Public Hearing For Docks Bylaws

Here’s the best opportunity as well as the last opportunity ever to show you care, both for the Cape Roger Curtis coastline and the Mayor and councillors who are trying to protect it. It’s been a long road, and we’re finally at the stage where we have something we can feel good about.

May 14th at 7:15pm

UPDATE: (May14th, 2015) People opposed to the Docks Bylaw have mounted a letter-writing campaign of their own. If you haven’t made a submission this time yet, would you consider a quick email to Council today? We can even take a lesson from the bylaw opponents (most of whose emails are the same) and simply use this handy template:

“I support the proposed dock bylaw #381 prohibiting further construction of docks at Cape Roger Curtis. I would like the Cape coastline to remain in its natural state.”

Write this message to all the councilors at once. You can edit it before you send it if you like.

Or use this link if you use Outlook.

You can read up on the bylaw, as well as comments from the public about it and the Cape Roger saga on the Municipality website.

The whole purpose of the meeting is for Council to hear from the public. But it’s not just Council, it’s the whole island that is listening. Even a short comment from you in public at the hearing or by email helps them feel the support they need, and reduces somewhat the sting of lawsuit threats and controversy. Let’s create a supportive atmosphere where anyone can feel comfortable to speak regardless of their position on the bylaw. Our strength of numbers and the common sense in what we’re asking can carry the day.

It would be great to put this issue behind us as a community and get on with the other work that needs to be done.

Presentation to Islands Trust by Melissa Harrison

Read her insightful and articulate exposé on the Stop The Docks website.

Municipal Candidate Survey

We sent a request for a position statement about docks to all the candidates in the 2014 Municipal Election, with a form asking three yes/no questions and a providing space for a comment. Read their responses.

Summer 2014 Update

Time for Phase 2 of the Docks Bylaw

What is Cape Roger Curtis like now? There is a dock at Lot 13. It broke apart in a mild early summer storm. There is a dock at Lot 11, Pebble Beach. It has been modified with additional pylons, presumably to reduce the likelihood of it falling apart, too. And there is a dock at Lot 15, the lighthouse. All of these docks are located in inappropriate locations, destroying the viewscape and harming the marine environment. No one lives on these properties. These are docks created for absentee owners. One more dock is permitted for Lot 6.

The dock at Lot 13 twisted and broke in a mild June storm.

The dock at Lot 13 twisted and broke in a mild June storm.

Two docks at the Cape have been pending review since last summer. Another megadock application has been submitted by the International Buddhist Society for a dock at Grafton Bay. And the most recent megadock application is for Bowen Bay.

The dock bylaw we pushed so hard together to get in place last November should prevent the approval of the last two applications on the grounds of excessive length. We shall see.

In the meantime, municipal council has chosen to forget the docks. They have not proceeded, as promised, with the second phase of bylaw development, the phase that protects the beaches and foreshore in the public interest. While we wait to witness the further damage wrought by nature (“Nature bats last”), and to see how the four pending applications are decided, we are preparing for the next part of the fight: to ensure that the second phase of the bylaw is on the agenda to protect the public interest at Cape Roger Curtis.

Giant docks resume construction: Lot 11 dock will block view from two public beaches.

Work resumed on Wednesday, February 12, on the dock at Pebble Beach, a public beach on Bowen. Also, surveying work and diving is in progress at Lot 6, at Arbutus Point. Two additional dock footings have been installed at Lot 15, at the Lighthouse. Both Lots 6 and 15 appear to be again for sale (MLS listings and new signage on the Lot 15 property). Possibly a dock is intended to add value in any real-estate flip. The developer and Lot 11 owner, Edwin Lee of Leeda Developments, has not commented publicly on public dismay at his construction.

Stop The Docks encourages Bowen Islanders to drive down to the Cape and see for yourself what is going on. Wakefield/Hanson Marine have typically fast-tracked this stage of construction, bringing a barge over in the early morning, pile-driving into the seabed all day, and working until dark. It may be your last opportunity to see Pebble Beach without a dock running through it.

Beginning of the end for the view from Pebble Beach


The dock at Lot 11, now under construction, will dramatically impact the recreation area at Pebble Beach. Now the float will appear right in the middle of the bay, and reduce the unobstructed view from the public beach by about half. Click on the map for a larger version, to see how the raised portion of the dock is now 95% longer than presented for public consultation.

The new view for kayakers at Cape Roger Curtis

The new view for kayakers at Cape Roger Curtis

Hard at work on the 'untouched shores' of Cape Roger Curtis

Hard at work on the ‘untouched shores’ of Cape Roger Curtis

Cape Roger Curtis had long been considered the “jewel in the crown” of the southern fjord waters called Howe Sound. The property is on Bowen Island, accessible from Vancouver by 15 minute ferry ride. This area is part of the Howe Sound viewscape enjoyed by millions of BC Ferry passengers, cruise ship tours, boaters and kayakers each year. Cape Roger Curtis is the gateway to silhouetted islands, rising to the majestic mountains of Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Photo of the little lighthouse out on the point at Cape Roger Curtis

The lighthouse at Cape Roger Curtis. One of the four giant docks will appear in the middle of this iconic landscape. How could we say or do nothing?     Photo © Will Husby

The Cape Roger Curtis public beaches and tidepools are highly valued by thousands of Bowen Island residents and visitors. The shoreline and intertidal habitat feature a unique and sensitive environment.

The owners applied through proper channels to approve their dock applications. Docks on Bowen Island are not uncommon. What is uncommon in this case is the quality of the public property and the effect the structures would have upon this singular seascape. To date over 1,385 people have signed the petition to stop the dock projects.

At the end of April 2013, the owners of the property, Edwin Lee and Don Ho, began erecting four giant docks, the largest as long as the Queen of Capilano, the ferry which connects Bowen Island to the mainland. With wharf, ramp and float on end, it would be similar in height to Vancouver’s third tallest building.

Photo of a ferry.

The Queen of Capilano, our local ferry, is 315 feet long. One dock in particular will be over 400 feet long including wharf, ramp and float.

The Stop the Docks Campaign has been created to explore every avenue to prevent the construction of these docks.  We respect the environmentally sensitive aspiration expressed on the owners’ website, TheCapeOnBowen.ca. We feel that leaving the shoreline as it is would prove the sincerity of their mission statement and we are asking them to do so.

At the same time, we hope to convince both the province of BC and Bowen Council to use their powers to stop the dock construction and ban private docks on the public waterfront at Cape Roger Curtis, as this project may be the first of many.

The timing is urgent. Without concerted effort immediately, the beauty of this area may be forever scarred to satisfy the interests of four private property owners. Please join us and help Stop the Docks!

See videos of four locations – prior to dock building

NEWS and Recent Additions to the site

  • Giant Docks – Coming to a Beach Near You? By Melissa Harrison Bowen Island, BC – March 10, 2015 Presented to Islands Trust I think we will all agree that beaches and shorelines are of prime importance to our enjoyment of our island homes. Many of us, especially those with young children, spend many hours on public beaches each year. Beaches are not only important for our ...
  • Protest against the Dock at Pebble Beach Continues The following letter from Dr. Richard Wiefelspuett was sent on February 13, 2014, to Bowen Island Municipality, Transport Canada, and the Province of BC (Forest, Lands and Natural Resources and the reponsible minister). It was published in part in the Undercurrent (February 21 issue). Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bowen Island Municipality Land Use Bylaw regulates water ...
  • Amended Dock Bylaw Passes – No Protection for Cape Roger Curtis Bowen Island Municipal Council passed an amended dock bylaw on Nov. 25. For details, including the Stop The Docks Nov. 26 letter to Minister Thomson, see dock bylaw passes despite widespread opposition. Two important and positive amendments were made in third reading. 1. The maximum length of a dock was reduced from 60m to 40m. 2. The purpose ...
  • Benefit at the Bowen Island Pub Come enjoy a cup of cheer, good company and great music and help support our campaign. Adam Woodall will join us with his guitar and rich repertoire of popular music. Drop in for a while or stay for the evening. Tuesday, December 10, 7 to 10 p.m. Bowen Island Pub Suggested donation at the door: $10 Proceeds will be ...
  • Dock Bylaw Passes Despite Widespread Opposition Bowen Island Municipal Council gave third and final reading to the dock bylaw on Mon., Nov. 25, enacting a dock bylaw that fails to protect Cape Roger Curtis. In a letter sent Nov. 26, Stop The Docks again appealed to Mr. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, because our municipal government has ...
  • Video: CRC 20 Chains This short film shows the problems associated with the long anchor chains for the dock floats — chains that will scour the sea floor — and documents the rich marine life that will be affected by the chains and boat use at the Lot 13 dock. Thank you to Neil Hammond for editing the footage. CRC 20 ...
  • Public Comments re: Proposed Docks Bylaw Public comments closed at the end of the hearing on November 12. On this page are comments that were sent through our site by the public to Bowen Island Municipal Council regarding the proposed Docks Bylaw. You can find out more about it on our home page, and the  Zoning for Private & Group Moorages page ...
  • The Orcas Return September brought back the whales and the surf scoters: http://stopthedocks.ca/the-orcas-return/
  • Gordon Reid Says Undeveloped Waterfront a Huge Asset There is news! The District of West Vancouver’s Land and Property Agent, Gordon Reid, has this to say about the Bowen docks bylaw: It seems that the Municipality is determined to create bylaws to allow docks. This is very unfortunate and shortsighted. Once privatized this public land area will never be returned to the public. Municipalities spend ...
  • Province rejects request to stop docks FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 19, 2013 Province Rejects Request to Stop Private Dock Construction at Cape Roger Curtis Work Commences on Second Private Dock at Pebble Beach Campaign Calls for Public Action On July 22, 2013, Stop the Docks Campaign wrote the Province of BC to request that all efforts to proceed with private docks on the public lands at ...