Category Archives: Letters

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 well-being and enjoyment, but they are also vitally important for the economies of the islands; for attracting visitors and new residents, access to beautiful coastline is key.

1. The Situation on Bowen

The shoreline of Cape Roger Curtis has long been treasured by Bowen Islanders, because of its pristine, rugged, windswept beauty, with rock pools and many pocket beaches and swimming beaches as well as great nature watching. Located in the mouth of Howe Sound, with pockets of forage fish habitat amongst the cobbles and rocks, the Cape is a stop off for migratory fish, birds and marine mammals.

When the developers of the Cape applied for four large docks, the applications attracted significant opposition. Fifty six letters were written to the Province opposing the proposed docks. The municipality wrote with a number of concerns, including the specific mention in the OCP of protecting that stretch of coastline, and asked that some further studies be done, refusing to support the applications as they stood. Additionally, the applications seemed to conflict with the Province’s own dock policy, which says that docks should not negatively impact the environment, community values or public interest. Despite all this, the Province approved the licences, citing a lack of specific prohibitions in the municipal bylaws. The approval prompted a petition in opposition which gained 1345 signatures.

For context, private docks on Bowen tend to be below or up to 65 feet long, including the length of the float. The longest dock at the Cape is 431 feet long, and stands 27 feet above the beach. Please see the second photograph below. These industrial scale structures stand beside empty lots, essentially as a developer amenity. They have been used less than a handful of times, and as they are so exposed, they will likely never be used. And yet there they will stand, monuments to bad policy and process. And there are four more dock applications with the Province for this development alone.

2. The Issue for the Islands Trust

We are seeing increasing numbers of large docks being approved by the Province in the face of public and neighbourhood opposition. I have heard directly about one on Galiano, and we have all read about the 2500 sqft, Chip Wilson application in Sechelt. Islands Trustees need to recognize that megadocks seem to have become fashionable. I suppose that large docks are needed where you plan to own a large boat and you have chosen a home because it fronts a beach but would like to reach deep water. Whereas in the past, waterfront owners would have simply accepted that their property is not suitable for a dock, now people see that as a surmountable difficulty and are willing to spend the $100k plus to do it.

2.1 Concerns with the Dock Application Process

Short Timelines Imposed

What brings me here today is a letter that Bowen municipality received two weeks ago. In that letter, the FLNRO manager of authorizations, Keith Anderson, stated that FLNRO has ‘recently developed a 140 Day Turnaround Project’ where their ‘Performance Measures’ state that ‘80% of new Land and Water Act Tenure applications must have a decision made within 140 days from the acceptance of the application.’ Bear in mind that this includes: BC notifying local authorities, proponents publishing the required public notice, public responses to the proposal, assessment of those responses, instructions to staff, assessment of the site, consideration of the application as part of a public process, responses to FLNRO. It seems to me that this timeline is an impossible imposition for small authorities to meet, given that while some applications may be very straight forward, many are complex and time consuming for local jurisdictions to assess. And yet that complex work is vital to ensure public and private interests are appropriately balanced. To give one example, folk I know in Galiano spend the winter in warmer climes. The entire application process for their neighbour’s dock took place while they were away without their even hearing about it, and they came back to find a large dock had been approved and  construction was underway, crossing in front of their property. They were devastated.

Default Approvals Encroach on Jurisdictional Right to Determine Land Uses

A giant dock oscures half the horizon from a bech on Bowen Island - The Cape On Bowen's 'Untouched Shores'

A dock with no house, obscuring half the view from our beach – approved by Provincial Government despite protest.

The 140 day processing time limitation becomes exceptionally problematic, given that FLNRO’s default seems to be to approve projects, as an implicit consequence of their ‘public commitment to cut red tape,’ rather than to take a precautionary approach, i.e. declining applications where a local jurisdiction cannot support them. In the case of the Cape Roger Curtis dock applications, the municipality refused to send a letter of support because they had asked for further studies and accommodations that were not fulfilled. Despite this, the Province chose to approve.  In my view the Province is overstepping the mark with respect to land use, by developing their ‘Turnaround Project’ and ‘cutting red tape’ policy, without any consultation with, or even giving notice to, local jurisdictions, especially since the Crown is under no obligation to approve any land disposition. Unfortunately, by limiting the ability of local jurisdictions to adequately respond, the Province severely curtails its ability to fulfill its own duty to ‘maximize and sustain the flow of economic, social and environmental benefits to British Columbians, now and in the future,’ (from the Crown Land Use Operational Policy: Private Moorage, Appendix 3) given the significant negative impact on public recreational amenities that giant private docks on public beaches impose.

Undermining Environmental Protection

The Bowen Land Use Bylaw clearly states that docks should not ‘negatively impact eelgrass meadows, kelp beds, clam beds or mussel beds.’ This statement is both clear and absolute. The Cape biological dive surveys undertaken by the proponents showed two of the docks to be located in important kelp and eelgrass beds. However the Province decided that ‘effective mitigation measures, best management practices and monitoring can be used to address impacts to aquatic values resulting in no net loss to the areas’ productive capacities’ (from their ‘Reasons for Decision, Oct 29, 2012). In this statement, the Province is accepting mitigation measures where they have neither the capacity nor interest in assuring a) that the proposed mitigation is accepted practice, b) that the proposed mitigation is carried out, or c) that the municipality has the capacity to monitor mitigation. The reality is that many of the mitigations suggested, eg transplanting eelgrass, are neither proven nor were they carried out. So in this case, even a clear and absolute prohibition of negative environmental impact in the municipal Land Use Bylaw proved to be no protection at all, because the Province took it upon itself to interpret the bylaws and to err on the side of approval rather than precaution.

Public Consultation Failure

In the case of Cape Roger Curtis, the Province received significant negative feedback from the public, totaling fifty six letters. And yet this feedback had no impact on the outcome. As the Province described their ‘referral process’ to me, they refer the applications to a small number of agencies (principally Transport Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, relevant First Nations and the local authority). But the Province’s interest in public comments extends only as far as riparian access and the legal right to apply for a moorage in that location. So every single one of those families and organizations which responded to the invitation to comment were wasting their time, but more importantly, they were mislead into believing that they were contributing to a consultation process that would be an opportunity to influence the outcome. It was not.

Given that the Province also ignored the municipality’s interpretation of their OCP, this means that in effect, the only opportunity for public input to influence the outcome of dock applications is through explicit prohibitions, nailed down in local bylaws, and even those, it seems, are subject to interpretation.

2.2 No Protection of Enjoyment of Beaches in the Islands Trust Policy

Moving on from the Provincial dock application process, in exploring the issues surrounding the Cape docks, I looked to the Islands Trust Policy Statement. In Part V: Sustainable Communities, the policy speaks to protection of ‘scenic values, views, distinctive features,’ the preservation of ‘natural amenities’ and ‘natural heritage’. All of these could apply to beaches and coastal viewscapes; yet in the directive policies and recommendations section, there is mention of preserving tree cover, but it says nothing about the aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of beaches, for just hanging out at the beach. Further, in Part IV: Stewardship of Resources, 4.5 Coastal Areas and Marine Shorelands, the policy says that development should not ‘restrict public access to, from or along the marine shoreline’ and should ‘minimize impacts on sensitive coastal environments.’ However, again it omits to refer to aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of beaches. Given the significance of beaches as a natural amenity to islanders’ social, cultural and economic wellbeing, this seems to me a significant omission which could be easily and uncontroversially addressed, and would provide better guidance and safeguards to the local trusts.

2.3 Recommendations for Trustees

In summary, I have a number of recommendations that I urge you to consider:

  • All trustees should be informed about the risks posed to treasured beaches and shorelines by the growing trend for giant docks, as well as the Province’s new policies that are making it difficult for local jurisdictions to satisfactorily influence the outcome of dock applications.
  • Trustees should consider updating local bylaws, zoning and OCPs, posthaste.
  • The Trust as a whole should consider updating the Policy Statement to explicitly include the protection of aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of beaches, in the sections suggested above.
  • That the Trust should inform the Province that:
    • The 140 day ‘Turnaround Project’ is impossible for local authorities to administer.
    • That the Province needs to consult with those who have jurisdiction over land use before adopting such policies.
    • Beaches and coast aesthetics are important public amenities for the social, cultural and economic wellbeing and character of islands, and dock applications are complex to assess. Therefore BC should exercise their option to decline applications where they cannot be wholeheartedly supported by the local jurisdiction.
    • Public process needs to have an impact to be valid, and the Province should either consider handing the responsibility for managing that to the local jurisdiction, or change their criteria for assessment to include the public interest.
    • The Province should consider dealing with private and community docks in a  completely separate process to that with which they manage mining, forestry, aquaculture, because these procedures and policies, geared towards industry, are proving to be too blunt an instrument to manage the subtleties of the disposition of local, residential shorelines.

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 not listened:

“Please find attached another letter detailing the public’s continuing concerns and our request that your department take action to protect the public shoreline and sensitive ecosystems at Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island, BC. Specifically, there are at least two pending water tenure licence applications for private dock construction which should be denied and continuing failures of the first four approvals granted by your department that require remedy or retraction of approvals. Additionally, the province should act to formally ensure future dock applications at Cape Roger Curtis will not be considered until Bowen Island Municipality completes the second phase of its Land Use Bylaw amendment process. Thank you again for your consideration of this matter.”

Read more of this second request for a ministerial review.


July 22: Initial request for ministerial review

Aug. 17: Video record of damage to marine environment at Lot 13

Sept 21: Covenant violated at Lot 11

Nov. 12: Presentation on eelgrass damage at Lot 11

Nov. 12: Comments from Bowen Islanders opposed to the dock bylaw and copied to Stop The Docks

Nov. 12: Public hearing video link (Part 1)

Nov. 12: Public hearing video link (Part 2)

Nov. 12: All comments (101) from Bowen Islanders on the dock bylaw, virtually all opposed to the dock bylaw: summary with links to the original documents (Item 2.3 in the minutes)

Nov. 26: Who cares? Petition to Stop The Docks at Cape Roger Curtis


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 on the Bowen Municipality website.

Please do NOT pass the bylaw regarding the docks. Rather send it back to the municipal planners to add protection for public beaches and ensure that they are there in their natural beauty for the great majority of Bowen Islanders who do not have waterfront property.

Mary Selman
Bowen Island

I strongly opposed the building of any docks on this coastline and feel there should be a moratorium on docks along this coast. We must preserve undeveloped coastlines for future generations to enjoy not just one or two weathly property owners, please think wisely and stop development of these docks!

Sandra Campden

I strongly support the following statement:

The Dock Bylaws must be re-worked to Stop Private Docks at Cape Roger Curtis. Protect the public beaches and trails and keep the Cape in its natural state!

Jack Little
Bowen Island

November 08, 2013

Mayor & Council members,
Bowen Island Municipality,
Bowen Island, B.C.

Subject: proposed Docks Bylaw for Bowen Island.

The proposed Dock Bylaw for Bowen Island must be re-worked to stop private docks at Cape Roger Curtis, plus provide adequate protection for our public beaches/access, sensitive marine habitat & shoreline trails. The CRC shoreline/foreshore must be protected & kept in its natural state for the greater good of the B.I. community now & for future generations.

The proposed Dock Bylaw does not provide an adequate buffer between public beaches & private docks/dock access. The size of allowable docks proposed is excessive. I urge Council to amend the proposed bylaw to include STRICT limitations on dock size, location, their impact & proximity to public beaches, plus sensitive &  important marine life ecosystems.

Over 1350 people have voiced their concern to Council in a public petition asking Council to do the right thing, to protect our public beaches/shoreline & stop the CRC docks. This petition represents a large part of our community, that wants adequate protection for our public beaches/shoreline from docks that are oversized & inappropriate to be placed in our prized natural state of shoreline/beaches.

I urge Council to do the right thing & implement the most stringent dock bylaw controls to forever protect our irreplaceable, beautiful shoreline/beaches/viewscapes from the eyesore of private docks at CRC & other equally valuable shoreline areas on Bowen Island.

B. Lindsey,
Bowen Island, B.C.

I cannot be at the meeting on Tuesday evening, but want to clearly state that I am entirely opposed to the private docks at Cape Roger Curtis.

I fully understand from the Mayor’s statements about it being fine that there were more docks than people in the Swedish islands where he was sailing earlier in the summer, that these words are falling on deaf ears as far as he is concerned.

However, I truly hope the rest of the council will listen. There are reasons why some areas are more heavily protected than others. In the words of the developer this area is “pristine, untouched and wild”. So little remains on our island and we have a chance to save this. This is a legacy you would be leaving for many generations. Cape Roger Curtis is iconic, stunningly beautiful, and full of wildife and should be left for future generations to enjoy.

I have no grievance against the houses. They are on private land and as such the owners have the right to do what they want within Island regulations. However, the docks cross public beach and waterfront. They are our concern. It also does not matter to me whether there was more or less density. It is private land and the owners have the right to make that decision too.


1. The current dock is dangerous. People are walking down it daily as it has no gated access and only one very tiny “private” sign, not very visible. It has no gate on the far end either. If a couple of drunken teens, an elderly person, a child or anyone who can’t swim falls off the end, they are out of luck and will, in all likelihood, drown. They will fall from a height of six to twelve feet and will have no way to climb back up in an area of strong tides and powerful waves. This is just the first problem

2. If you inspect the dock, the deck is made of untreated lumber and the welds are very poor – even an untrained eye can see that. It was erected so quickly to get in before the opposition started. In one season, this dock will start to look shabby, and not long after that it will start to become structurally unsound. It is a liability.

3. Lastly. It encroaches so substantially across the view and is a total eyesore. The future proposed docks, even more so. I have hiked the trails to Cape Roger Curtiss for over 25 years, and still go there once or twice a week. I am so frustrated and angry that this area would be just thrown away. It is special. In more densely more populated areas we acknowledge that more “conveniences” such as docks, shops, roads, bus services etc. will be part of the landscape, but in more remote areas we need to preserve the balance and leave some things untouched. It should be treated differently.

Please revisit this bylaw to protect the Cape shoreline from such a blatant show of power and greed on the part of a few powerful individuals.

Julia Courtenay
Long term island resident (28 years)
Bowen Island

Dear Council,

I am writing to express my deepest concern on the proposed dock development at Cape Roger Curtis as well as the unseemly conduct of the mayor when a concerned citizen tried to raise legitimate concerns about the dock development. We are new residents to the island and I was shocked and dismayed at the Mayor’s rude and dismissive behavior at the council meeting last month. We have moved here to raise a young family and found that type of behavior unacceptable in a modern democracy. It was behavior that was both embarrassing and disappointing. Mayors should be members of the public that children and the community can look up to for exemplary good conduct and I am afraid I will not be voting for that type of public behavior.

We have moved to the island so that our children can enjoy and learn from the beautiful natural environment of the island. We will never be able to afford a million dollar property on the island but what we will be able to enjoy and savor is the access to the water’s edge, combing the beaches for “mermaid treasure”, re-homing stranded star fish, enjoying humpback whales playing on Thanksgiving, climbing over driftwood,  being engulfed by fog early in the morning and simply enjoying being a family together out in nature.

We are against large private docks that only service a few individuals and spoil an area for many. We are against large docks that potentially endanger and harm the undersea environment. We are against large unsightly docks that ruin the natural beauty of the shore line. We are completely in favor of legislation that protects and strengthens protection of public beaches and access to public beaches/foreshore. We are against rude and boorish behavior by an elected mayor and a council that seemed in whole completely oblivious/unmoved by the Mayor’s rude and bullying behavior.


Melanie Surtees Mason
Bowen Island

To: Bowen Mayor and Council
The Dock Bylaw must be re-worked to stop private docks at Cape Roger Curtis. Please listen to the voices of the people who elected you…it is your duty to protect our public beaches and trails, not only for those now living, but for all those generations yet to come. Please listen, please act, please do the right thing and keep the Cape in its natural state!

Carol MacKinnon
Bowen Island

My husband and I are distressed about the abuses to the CRC coastline that are taking place.

We urge the council to implement the most stringent controls to maintain the quality of this most irreplaceable and spectacular area.


Ron and Lea Ann Rochon
Bowen Island

Hello Bowen Island Mayor and Councillors;

As a member of SKABC (Sea Kayak Association of British Columbia), I have concerns about dock bylaws…mostly that they are not regulated enough to protect the marine habitat that we so enjoy as British Columbians.

Please do not balk at talking the dock talk, and walking the walk (in lock step), that you are elected to do regarding this important subject. Better yet, hop in a kayak and have a gawk y’rselves!

Sincerely, Joan Boxall

November 7, 2013
Dear Mayor and Council
Re Proposed Docks Bylaws

I have been closely watching the docks issue since last year. It has been very painful for islanders in general, especially for members of Council, and certainly for myself and those close to me.

I’ve witnessed the ongoing story of missed opportunities and vague government intent that has led to the construction of a giant eyesore at Cape Roger, and the imminent construction of another one to placed right in front of two public beaches. I have heard agreement from councilors – some very sincere and some not so – that seemed to point in a direction of protecting our shared heritage, and so was very surprised and disappointed in the results we see with the bylaw on the table.

My hope going in to this lengthy and frustrating process was that government would hear and understand the issue clearly, and weigh in to help the community protect its resources. Indeed some provisions are helpful, such as preventing breakwaters and the damage they and their attachments would likely bring. But I also see that nothing has been done to prevent further docks at the Cape, nothing will protect viewscapes on beaches in general. Nothing will prevent giant docks, the likes of which have only three or so precedents on the island and none in so controversial a location.

In fact, as far as I can tell, putting in the bylaw may make matters worse – places like Bowen Bay – where there was a general understanding that it would be un-neighborly to build a dock over the beach – would be fair game if minimal standards were obeyed.

Ideas that councilors put genuine effort into, such as identifying beaches that should remain dock-free for the enjoyment of all, disappeared in a cloud of smoke. I don’t know why those good councilors’ ideas were shot down.

There may be details I don’t understand, limitations to the power council has in this situation, or a climate of derision that prevents decisive action – if so that should be clearly and publicly communicated. But I am also aware that jurisdiction and legal arguments have been provided from reputable sources that show we can indeed decide as a community – if council is engaged with our community – about how our shorelines should look.

Please, please take another look at this legislation and take to heart our concerns with appropriate action. This is the opportunity to show that public consultation is not dead on Bowen Island.


John Dowler
Bowen Island, BC

Dear Councillors,

As a long time islander now living in Vancouver I have been constantly disappointed with the direction of Cape Roger Curtis for a number of years. I spoke at one of the early hearings with the developers and would like to see Municipal Council protect the access to public beaches and prevent development in sensitive marine habitat, as well as prevent the foolish development of boathouses or similar structures in areas exposed to strong winds, waves and currents such as Cape Roger Curtis. I believe the currently proposed bylaw regarding private docks lacks adequate protection of sensitive marine ecosystems and habitat and does not adequately protect public access to public beaches either by recognizing public use areas such as Cape Roger Curtis, or by setting a reasonable buffer between public beaches and docks/dock access. The size of allowable docks is excessive and I ask you to consider amending the proposed bylaw to include limitations on dock size and their impact and proximity to public beaches and sensitive or important marine ecosystems.

Being part of a family that owns a cabin with a float I can speak from personal experience regarding how monstrously oversized 60 meter docks are (my grandparents owned a yacht and could easily moor at our 30 foot float), and how private docks impact usage of a public beach when located on or immediately adjacent to the beach or access. The presence of a private dock/pier/path adjacent to public beaches/access paths creates the perception amongst members of the public that they are intruding on the landowners, effectively decreasing the usable shoreline. There can also be conflicts between landowners and beachgoers regarding the public space below the high tide line, and the inevitable disagreement as to the ‘personal space bubble’ that should be respected around the docks. As seen in Deep Bay and Tunstall Bay private floats are often used by members of the public who do not realize that docks on a public beach are in fact private, resulting in disgruntled landowners and sometimes public and unpleasant confrontations or festering ‘us vs them’ mentalities. I am also concerned that public beaches, and swimmers, waders, or paddlers, will be intimidated or harmed by the movement of the vessels moored at proposed docks located close to public access points to the shoreline or beaches.

Ultimately we can look at many places on the island, within the province, and beyond where docks and access to the shoreline create conflict and negatively impact our sensitive marine areas. Please consider amending your docks bylaw in such a way that we can create as pleasant a shoreline as possible; the foreshore and land below the high tide line are not private lands and so to allow docks and other shoreline structures to effectively claim ownership of that space seems short-sighted and against the public interest.

Thank-you for taking the time to consider my input,

Sarah Haggerstone

To the Mayor and Councilors

November 5, 2013

Dear Bowen Island Council,

“The Docks Versus The Natural Environment”

This was a comment I made originally at the regular council meeting held on September 9, 2013 and it was with regard to, specifically, negative environmental impact on the marine environment at Cape Roger Curtis. I have revised now to include my extreme concern regarding the proposed Bylaw Amendment No. 335, 2013, to be brought forth at the Public Hearing on November 12, 2013. This amendment, as it reads in draft form, will not protect any beaches on Bowen Island!

WG1 zoning criteria for a dock states, “Moorage shall be located such that it will not limit use of, or physically divide a beach, or negatively impact eelgrass meadows, kelp beds, clam beds or mussel beds.” I don’t believe this is an ambiguous bylaw at all. And, for CRC I would add that it should be tweaked to also include, “Or never negatively affect magical tide pools, or interfere, in any way, with the return of the whales and dolphins to the Howe Sound Area.”

The Future of Howe Sound Society will surely eventually bring to light how sounds carried by drilling, hammering, electrically driven bolting, chain scraping, etcetera, all intensified by multiple dock constructions, and ensuing docking and maintaining activities will disturb such marine life. Additionally, all on-going sounds of concentrated boating activities will, without doubt acerbate damage to this “pristine environment” (as described in The Cape’s sales promotional material by the owner/developers), as will heavy chains scraping along the sea floor anchoring floating platforms destroy sea beds.

Therefore, please prevent any further docks from being erected, or any further divisions on iconic Cape Roger Curtis beaches from being established. The dock fronting Lot 13 is a GLARING example of a divided beach. If the dock fronting Lot 11 proceeds, it will intensify the devastation in progress, both in terms of the aesthetic interference and the health of the sea life and other marine life habitat. All will be ill affected – the birds, the fish and mammals, and us, the citizens of British Columbia.

I ask that you work to have Lot 11’s license to build that dock revoked now, and ensure the denial of the two pending applications as, really, there is nothing like the grandeur at Cape Roger Curtis anywhere else on Bowen! It is a uniquely exotic stretch of shoreline majestically enhanced by the open vista of the ocean and islands of the British Columbia coast. This is a place to be forever protected and unmarred by private docks.

Yet, this is not to lessen the importance of all of Bowen’s beaches. Please do not forsake this obligation to steward well the treasures that are our island shorelines, and amend with ironclad protection for these, our most important island assets.

Thank you.

Edna Thomson
Bowen Island

8 November, 2013

Dear Mayor and Council,

It appears to me that under the new dock bylaw you are proposing that I could apply and get a permit to build a private pier and dock from my waterfront property right across Bowen Bay beach. I think you would agree that is not a good thing for me or anyone in the community to do on any of our public beaches – including those at Cape Roger Curtis.

This bylaw does not provide adequate protection for public beaches nor does it stop large scale docks from being built on Bowen. It is worse than having no bylaw – it should not be passed in its current form.

I am away for the public hearing on the Bylaw and respectfully submit this letter in lieu of my attendance. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Susan Alexander
Bowen Island

To: Mayor and Council

While I appreciate your efforts to grapple with the issue of foreshore protection, I don’t think much of your bylaw. It does not adequately protect Bowen’s beaches, nor does it prevent large scale docks from being built on Bowen. In fact, it facilitates the building of megadocks such as those erected and planned at Cape Roger Curtis. I have heard, including from some Councillors, the good suggestion of naming certain beaches that are highly prized by the community as “no-private-dock-zones”. I am disappointed that this idea was not built into the draft bylaw. The argument that such protection can be added at a later stage is meaningless when (a) this bylaw offers a template to upland owners to build large scale docks right now, and (b) I fear that Council possesses neither the time nor the will to follow through with a second step to add protection for Bowen’s beaches.

Please resist the artificial deadline imposed on you by the Province in connection with the pending dock applications at the Cape, and re-work the bylaw so that it genuinely enhances the enjoyment of Bowen’s foreshore by those of us (80% of lots on Bowen) not fortunate enough to enjoy waterfront. Adopting this permissive bylaw will be worse than having no bylaw.

Tamsin Miley
Bowen Island

I am in full agreement with Tamsin Miley. Please work with us on this.

Jacquie Mani
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

Please instead pass a docks bylaw that will protect our beaches. Specifically, I believe that individual beaches need to be named as dock-free zones. If your intention is really to protect our fragile environment, then immediate action is needed.

Marty Levenson

To Elected Members:

Please respect the beauty of our shore lines, especially our beaches. Do not destroy them for the special interests of a few. This elitist approach is shortsighted and fails to protect the beauty of Bowen for current and future generations.

Be responsible to the needs and wishes of the greater number.

Georgia Nicols
Bowen Island

Mayor & Council,

I will be brief, as you know my position with respect to protection of public lands at Cape Roger Curtis. As Councillors Lucas and Morse will recall from our Council term, I know it is often challenging to coherently tackle a long list of issues in a single new bylaw amendment. (For instance, witness the challenges with the noise bylaw and environmental bylaws.) As public debate escalates, Council and staff can sometimes lose sight of the core objectives and complexity becomes the enemy of the good. In the case of the proposed dock bylaws, I fear such a failure is near at hand. The two-stage regulation process and prescriptive nature of the bylaws will both fail to address the core concerns and, more likely than not, will exacerbate the problems of the current private dock approval system.

The core objective, catalyzed by the unwanted construction of private docks at Cape Roger Curtis, is very clear – protect our public beaches and special shorelines. In that regard, the docks bylaw could simply state that “private docks must not impair the public use and enjoyment of any beach, foreshore, coastal trail or park.” The review and approval process for the Cape Roger Curtis docks has established that environmental protection is lacking at both the provincial and federal review and approval stage. Therefore, a second objective should be clearly defined, that “private docks must not harm sensitive foreshore or marine environment.”

Both of these objectives could be left in what regulators call ‘permissive form’ – that is, conditions to define words like ‘impair’ or ‘enjoyment’ or ‘harm’ are left to be determined by staff and Council, with considered public input and scientific expertise, as the case warrants. By taking a ‘prescriptive’ approach to dock regulation (e.g. defining appropriate lengths, setbacks, materials, etc.), Council is creating certainty for conditions under which any dock application must be approved. This will most assuredly harm our public beaches and precious shorelines. It will absolutely fail to protect our three municipal parks, coastal trail, and covenanted foreshore at Cape Roger Curtis.

The public has done its part – Council knows the public’s concerns, and it knows that over 1,350 resident and visitors especially care about conservation of the Cape Roger Curtis shoreline. In addition, the Stop the Docks campaign laid out clear legal options that are available to responsibly protect our shorelines. All attention turns to Council – the two primary objectives will not be achieved without substantial re-working of the dock bylaws. Generations to follow will celebrate your success, or mourn your failure.

Doug Hooper
Bowen Island

Hello Councillors and Mayor,

I wish to express my profound disappointment in your handling of the Cape Roger Curtis Docks issue. The current bylaw governing dock construction at Cape Roger Curtis and elsewhere around the island is wholly inadequate and fails to provide even close to a sufficient level of ecological protections. The scale of the docks under construction at CRC is completely inconsistent with the protection of public lands and access that is the responsibility of this council as representatives of the public interest of all Bowen citizens.

You have an opportunity to protect the foreshore of Bowen Island from private structures that encumber public access to public lands.

Please halt construction immediately and open the development of the bylaw governing foreshore construction to a public consultative process.

James West
Alan Trujillo
Bowen Island

Hi everyone,

I like and understand the concept of a “Net Benefit” test; such as what Canada has in the Investment Canada Act. While this act obviously doesn’t apply, their explanation of a “Net Benefit” test is helpful to me. From

What does “net benefit” mean?

In determining whether an investment is of “net benefit”, the Minister will consider the following factors:

a. the effect on the level of economic activity in Canada, on employment; on resource processing; on the utilization of parts and services produced in Canada and on exports from Canada;

b. the degree and significance of participation by Canadians in the Canadian business or new Canadian business and in any industry or industries in Canada;

c. the effect of the investment on productivity, industrial efficiency, technological development, product innovation and product variety in Canada;

d. the effect of the investment on competition within any industry in Canada;

e. the compatibility of the investment with national industrial, economic and cultural policies; and

f. the contribution of the investment to Canada’s ability to compete in world markets.

I have tried and cannot see the “Net Benefit” to Bowen Island of allowing private docks on our shoreline. Going through the above criteria:

a. Economic activity could be reduced because fewer tourists will think our beaches beautiful and want to visit the island

b. Residents with a private dock may be less inclined to participate within the community

c. Doesn’t apply positively or negatively

d. The competition is with two companies: English Bay Launch & BC Ferries; both could become less viable.

e. Doesn’t really apply, except for point (b)

f. Doesn’t apply positively or negatively

I cannot see the rationale for allowing private docks.


David Demner
Bowen Island

As elected officials, I respectfully remind you of your duty to act on behalf of the population that you serve. The docks bylaw has serious shortcomings and does not respect either the OCP or the wishes of the 1000+ people who signed the petition against the CRC docks.

Please leave a legacy on Bowen that your children, and their children, can be proud of. Please stop the personal feuds and keep Bowen beautiful.

Tom Carchrae
Bowen Island

Dear councillors and Mayor, just for a moment imagine Bowen island if every waterfront owner decided to go ahead and accept your invitation to build a dock in accordance with your new bylaw. Beaches and foreshores presently, and blessedly, clear of private docks would be bristling with them. You speak of private rights: what about public rights? It appears this proposed bylaw will strengthen in writing the private owners right to use and have personal enjoyment of the public foreshore, while weakening the inherent rights of the public to enjoy one of the island’s greatest assets, its uncluttered beaches and coastline, in their natural state.

As with CRC, dock owners can simply point to weak, ineffective, enabling government processes and boast that they have followed the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of them. If a written bylaw is to replace or weaken council’s rigorous assessment of very specific context, consideration of public/neighborhood rights and and yes, sometimes arbitrary, discernment of “reasonableness” on a case by case basis — then this document needs to be a Rottweiler not a lapdog.

Now, do I think every waterfront owner is going to want to build such a dock? No. Or I certainly hope not. But this bylaw needs sufficient teeth to also protect the public interest and acknowledged inherent rights to use and enjoyment of Bowen’s coast. I would argue that private docks of the scale and locations you are allowing with this bylaw would dramatically diminish and interfere with that right for the many, for the benefit of a few. Vague statements that the document will improved at some later date will only provide time and incentive for those wishing to sidestep the public interest requirement.

I would also encourage a shift from private docks (attached to land) for each owner to, instead, using existing Marinas or a single dock for shared use of owners in the same vicinity. Given the impacts and cost of docks, that just makes sense to me.

As I cannot make it to the public meeting, this is my contribution to the discussion around this issue which is important to anyone to appreciates the natural coastal beauty of our island, and doesn’t want to have to use photoshop to get a decent photograph. Thank you for your time.

Wynn Nielsen
Bowen Island

To the Mayor and Council,

I am unable to attend the public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and therefore, I am writing to speak against the amendments to Bylaws 335 and 336. I do not feel that these bylaws will protect our beaches on Bowen Island. I am asking that you reconsider the wording and bring in stronger bylaws that will really protect our beaches so that they can be enjoyed by all. I believe that as Mayor and Council, you should do more to protect the natural assets of Bowen Island; our beautiful beaches are for everyone to enjoy. The proposed bylaw amendments would still allow developers and the owners of large lots on the waterfront at Cape Roger Curtis to build docks that will destroy the views and the natural beauty of the beaches. Please, have a second look, re-work bylaws 335 and 336 and show that you really want to protect our beaches.

Elizabeth Gautschi
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor and Council.

While I appreciate the need for a bylaw for docks on Bowen, I am very concerned about the current draft bylaw.

The current Draft Bylaw does not provide an appropriate level of protection for the public foreshore of our Island. The wording in earlier drafts of this Bylaw that more fully addressed the public interest has either been removed or watered down, so that the draft currently under consideration does not properly take into account the interests of the approximately 80% of Island households that are not located on the waterfront or the interests in the important marine environment around BowenIsland.

The deficiencies in the current draft include:

The allowed 60M (almost 200 feet) length is too extreme and should be reduced considerably (any need for a dock of such length should be considered as a variance to the Bylaw default).

The original wording in an earlier version of the Draft Bylaw prevented any dock from dividing a public beach (and, therefore, effectively prevented a dock from being located on a beach): this has been removed and replaced with wording that only prevents a dock from impeding pedestrian access along a beach (so that a dock may now traverse a beach as long as people can make their way over or under it). Such wording does not properly provide for public enjoyment of a beach at all.

•Environmental impact assessment is left in the hands of the party wishing to construct a dock: this party should not be in a position to hire their own environmental consultant to study the impact of a dock: they should be required to pay for one commissioned by the Municipality.

•The failure to define/recognize an inventory of public beaches (such an inventory is, in fact, currently available) essentially removes all protection for our beaches until such time as an inventory is defined by some other process, which could be months/years away.

Please consider my concerns and those of my fellow islanders before you pass a bylaw that will have such a negative effect on the well being of this island community.


Pam Matthews
Bowen Island

Please protect the beauty of our beaches by stopping the docks.

C. McTaggart

Dear Council and Mayor,

I urge you to amend the docks bylaw to include greater protections for Bowen’s shoreline. The size, number and placement of docks on our beaches affects sensitive marine habitat and the aesthetic value of public land for all Bowen residents and visitors. You must take the necessary measures to ensure that what is happening on the shores of Cape Roger Curtis – essentially the privatization of public land – is not allowed to continue there or elsewhere on Bowen. You are responsible for protecting more important community and natural interests than the visions of private land holders – especially with respect to impact on public lands. The proposed bylaw is insufficient, allowing for large docks in very close proximity to public access points, and with too few construction restrictions relative to habitat protection.

The process of crafting a truly useful dock bylaw will take more time, and shouldn’t be rushed. As this process is underway, please ensure that no new docks are approved until the bylaw is in place.


Deborah Thomson
Tunstall Bay
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor Adelaar and Councillors:

Re: Proposed Amendments Nos. 335 & 336 to the Land Use and Building Bylaws

I am pleased that this work is being undertaken but concerned that the proposed amendments regarding docks are too permissive and not comprehensive enough. They need to include:

1. greater protection of public interest in public beaches – beaches are the essence of island life and should be for everyone’s enjoyment;

2. greater protection of the environment – other creatures need to live here too. As a result of many years of effort to bring Howe Sound back to life, various creatures are returning and we must be mindful of their needs.

3. greater protection of the viewscape not only for all islanders and visitors but also for those who have coastal lots without docks who do not want a neighbour’s giant dock ruining their view or reducing their real estate value;

4. a much shorter maximum length of dock;

5. a list of specific stretches of shoreline that are unsuitable for docks;

6. a statement that an applications for a docks will only be entertained after a house has been built on the property – this prevents a developer from installing docks to increase real restate value.

7. a statement banning the use of Styrofoam, or similar, in the construction of docks – this eventually breaks down and escapes to the open sea or washes up on beaches. [Thank you for including a statement banning creosote.]

All protections need to be included now and not at some future (perhaps mythical?) date. If this takes a little longer, so be it; the Province will have to wait. We need this bylaw to be sophisticated and sensitive, so that it doesn’t need revisiting, except perhaps for minor tweaking.

Yours sincerely,
Pamela R. Dicer
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor and Council,

Please do the right thing. The beaches on Bowen should be for the enjoyment of everyone. The bylaw under consideration does not do not do enough to protect our beaches.

It’s time to go back to the drawing board and address the following: the current length stated in the bylaw – 60 metres – is too long; the bylaw must not be passed until the inventory of beaches has been considered, and protected areas designated; and dock builders should pay for an environmental assessment commissioned by the municipality.

Thank you.

Pauline Le Bel
Bowen Island

To Mayor and Council of Bowen Island

Thank you for your efforts to draft a by-law governing docks on Bowen Island. Please do not pass the draft by-law as presently written for the following reasons.

*The allowed size of the docks (60 meters) is way too long and should be reduced to something less than 100 feet and anything longer should be dealt with as a variance.

*No dock should be allowed to cross a beach

*Environmental impact assessment must not be left to the person wishing to build the dock but should be done by a competent consultant hired by BIM and payed for by the person wishing to build the dock.

*Public beaches and covenanted waterfront as well as particularly high value non-beach waterfront need to be identified in the by-law and declared to be free of docks.

Paul Fast
Bowen Island


We are writing to add our voices to the discussion to be held November 12 re the proposed docks bylaw.

We strongly ask you to go back to the drawing board and draft something that stops the construction of private docks across public beaches on Bowen.

Specifically we ask you to protect the coastline from the Roger Curtis lighthouse around to Tunstall Bay, as this stretch is particularly spectacular and dear to the hearts of Bowen residents.

We believe that you have every right and authority, including the moral authority to stop the construction of the private docks.

Along with the Bowen Islanders represented by the one thousand plus signatures on the Stop The Docks petition, we respectfully ask you to listen to your community and protect our coastline and public spaces.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ellen and Rory MacIntosh
Bowen Island

To Bowen Island Mayor & Council

The proposed dock bylaws are near useless in helping to limit and control private docks across Bowen Island’s public beaches. They are more an invitation to build them. Please increase and improve these bylaws to give Bowen’s beaches some protection. Surveys of public opinion on the Island prove this is what the public here wants to see from their elected officials.

Thank you,
Dee MacCarthy
Bowen Island

One of the widely accepted insights of the 21 century is that while we are living in a world of great diversity we are also interconnected. Everything we do has impact, above and beyond the intended outcome and the short-term reality of strategic plans. This holds true for all disciplines and is of particular concern when we start meddling with things we do not fully understand.

With more specific reference to the docks at Cape Roger Curtis: When we permit the construction of the planned dock at lot #11 of the Cape on Bowen we will permit the destruction of the eelgrass beds in front of Pebble Beach. Eelgrass is simply not equipped to deal with the destructive impact of spud barges, pilings, anchors and anchor chains. The destruction of these eelgrass beds will upset the existing natural balance and will have a consequence not only for this location. No one knows with authority just how much of the coastline and regions beyond Bowen Island will be impacted by this change. Once we acknowledge this fact and our inability to predict reliably what will happen next we will conclude that any productive discussion on the protection of the complex ocean environment requires a diverse and multidisciplinary approach. It is neither helpful nor constructive to inform this discussion with subjective experiences and casual observations on the surface of things.

The issue is about accepting responsibility and accountability for our related decisions and the consequences these will have for Bowen Island and Howe Sound.

The argument that these docks and chains will improve the biodiversity is contrived and does not warrant any further discussion. In fact, the only tangible argument for the docks that has been brought forward has been the principled defense of the right of private property owners. And while it is debatable if such an argument will be supported in the limited confines and narrow interpretations of the local laws it is clear that the significance of the perceived rights of private property owners is quickly dwarfed when pitched against the public interest in defending the value of the public good of Cape Roger Curtis and other public beaches on Bowen Island.

At this Public Hearing of the dock bylaw people of Bowen Island have an important opportunity to decide the future of Cape Roger Curtis and Bowen Island’s unique coastline and to challenge their elected representatives to fully engage in the process.

The dock bylaw determines the future of the Bowen Island shoreline and the integrity of the environmental balance. There are two ways to go at such a significant crossroads in the young history of Bowen Island Municipality: There is the familiar way, which sort of complies with the prevailing mainstream thinking based in convenient ignorance and safety in the status quo, and then there is a more forward looking way that requires thorough research and full consideration of all aspects brought forward by an intelligent, informed and sensitive public. Only this latter approach will ensure that this bylaw will be an improvement and a first step in the right direction.

It is disappointing that the current Council has demonstrated little interest in the public comments presented so far and has shown virtually no inclination for the research required to formulate a well-informed and responsible bylaw. A walk on the beach and a reference to the Swedish archipelago simply don’t cut it. Further, there is no evidence of any meaningful consultation with other communities in the region that have come to approve more forward thinking and protective regulations when it comes to private docks on their shores. Without a full-hearted engagement of our Council it is no surprise that the proposed draft of Bowen Island’s dock bylaw is nothing more but a first kick at the can. The current draft is overly simplistic. It is especially troublesome that the proposed regulation bypasses current legislation such as provided in the OCP, which provides for protection of the environment and public beaches.

It is important that the new bylaw get’s it right the first time. This matter is too important to justify a one-dimensional approach and a hasty conclusion. Provincially imposed deadlines are not an acceptable reason to rush this bylaw. Once in place this bylaw will be the law. Promises made today to fix what’s wrong and to add what’s missing later may quickly be forgotten and in any case are not legally binding. As it stands, this draft bylaw is inadequate and requires more work by the planners.

Richard Wiefelspuett
Bowen Island

During the last six months I have followed the developments leading to the current draft of the dock bylaw with increasing concern. In this period I have heard about illegal closed Council meetings in relation to the dock approvals of Cape Roger Curtis. I have observed a Council that has displayed at times a shocking level of ignorance about docks and related issues. I have watched repeatedly – life and on video – a Council confused about jurisdiction and its own powers. I have noted delayed and hesitant responses to obvious violations of the specially protected covenant zone at CRC. I have listened to irritated comments by Council members and I have witnessed rude behavior by the Mayor in response to well prepared and presented public comments and concerns related to the docks at CRC and the dock bylaw.

All of this despite the significance of the dock issue for Bowen Island, evidenced in the nearly 1400 signatures on the Stop-the-Docks petition and the active participation of the public and the substantial input and expression of concerns during public comment periods and related hearings.

I would have expected an open dialogue and full-hearted engagement with the public and a genuine display and demonstration of a sincere interest in making this bylaw count in protecting what is dear to Bowen Islanders. But maybe I was aiming high.

I have come to wonder about the true intentions of this Council as the current bylaw draft provides little proof that there is a genuine interest in the well–researched and justified concerns brought forward by the people of Bowen Island. On the contrary the bylaw draft does not provide improved protection of public beaches or the marine habitat. It appears designed to fast-track dock applications and does in fact enable dock construction on public beaches such as Bowen Bay.

The presentation of this bylaw draft at the public hearing on 12 November comes as a further embarrassment of the current Council.

This draft document clearly that the Council is going through the motions of the bylaw approval process and is insincere in accommodating public input.

This impression is further underlined by the inadequacy of the assigned venue. Holding this public hearing in the confines of the Council meeting chamber hinders the effective participation of the public in this crucial event. The failure of providing a meeting place representative of the magnitude of the dock issue can be seen as a further attempt to marginalize the issues and to diminish the importance of this public input.

This meeting is a call for action to provide a bylaw that is adequate and serves with integrity what we have in common – protecting the public interests and the public good. Remember our beaches and our coastline are not for sale.

It is the work of the Councilors to differentiate and to consider carefully a response that reflects concern for all. If this undeveloped bylaw stands and is pushed through carelessly it will ignore the public’s grave concerns with the preservation of public beaches and a sensitive ecosystem that protects our environment and creatures great and small.

May the Councilors:
- work to create a bylaw that supports the community and reflects the will of the people;
- know that they can make a difference;
- have the courage to act in an open, honest and direct way and send this bylaw draft back to the planners.

Lesley Gaunt
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor and Council,

I am writing to express my views about the Public Hearing tomorrow concerning docks, as I am travelling and unable to attend the Public Hearing in person.

I very much welcome the fact that you are working with the Municipal Planners to draft a bylaw to
regulate the construction of private and group docks on Bowen Island. I regard this as an important opportunity to get the wording right so that it will not be controversial or have to be revisited later. I also regard it as an opportunity to truly reflect public opinion and to implement the wishes of Bowen Islanders.

I have read the draft bylaw and in my opinion in its current form the draft bylaw does not provide an appropriate level of protection for the public foreshore of our Island. I have followed the process and the debate over the past few months and I am very concerned that the wording in this draft has watered down or removed entirely proposed wording in earlier drafts that more fully addressed the public interest.

Below are particular points that I strongly believe should be included in the bylaw.

1. The maximum permitted length should be much less than the proposed 60 metres. I would like to see the maximum permitted length set at 30 metres. This would of course not prevent anyone applying for a variance to the bylaw. That would require them to make the case for a longer dock.

2. The bylaw should explicitly prevent any dock from dividing a public beach. This would effectively prevent a dock from being located on a beach. I find the current proposed wording, which would only prevent a dock from impeding pedestrian access along a beach, far too weak. The idea of privileging the occasional use of a dock by a handful of private individuals over the common good of 3500+ residents to enjoy the beaches of Bowen without climbing under docks is mind-bogglingly undemocratic.

3. In fact I would request that the bylaw go further than prevent any dock from transecting a beach. I would like the new bylaw to prohibit docks being constructed within the sightlines of any of our major beaches (as per the inventory of beaches already drawn up and available), at least without application for a variance. It is a matter of great regret that some large docks have already been constructed around beaches such as Bowen Bay. They really spoil the view for the rest of us.

4. To that end, I believe it would be helpful to include the existing inventory of beaches in this piece of legislation so that Council’s intent in protecting Bowen’s beaches is clear and remains clear from the outset.

5. Environmental impact assessment must be carried out by an independent consultant hired by the Municipality and not by the applicants wishing to construct a dock themselves. It would be very easy to require applicants to pay the Municipality to hire an independent environmental consultant.

6. There should be an explicit ban on the use of certain environmentally destructive materials in dock construction, such as styrofoam and creosote.

I strongly urge you not to pass the Bylaw in its current state but to get it right first time around: you need to make revisions that provide a much tighter degree of regulation and control, reflecting the strong and consistent expressions of opinions by a large number of Bowen residents.


Susanna Braund
Bowen Island

Mayor & Council members,
Bowen Island Municipality

The first dock at CRC is completed. I think if you were to query, most members of the community agree, that the scale of this construction is all out of proportion to its benefit. In other words its utility (for one man) does not come close to justifying it’s visual impact (on the community). Because of its location, directly on the Strait of Georgia, it will require continuous, intrusive maintenance in order to be used at all. The proposed bylaw amendments referenced above would appear to do nothing to prevent the construction of other similar structures. I strongly encourage you to rework the bylaws so that constructions of these structure are not automatically approved.

Reed Bement
Bowen Island

To the Mayor and Council
Bowen Island Municipality
November 11, 2013

RE: Proposed Bylaw #335

Thank you for this opportunity to provide comment on the proposed Dock Bylaw #335.

The proposed Bylaw does very little to protect the public interest in Bowen’s shoreline and, as such, I am opposed to its adoption.

The largest oversight – and this is huge – is the complete lack of protection for Bowen’s foreshore and public beaches. The Bylaw, as written, says in essence that a dock can be placed adjacent to any lot anywhere along our shoreline. While the proposed Bylaw does place limits to size of docks, it does not restrict areas on the island where a dock cannot be built, apart from Snug Cove. This is a major oversight and has significant consequences.

Our dock bylaw should include “no dock zones” that protect:

· All beaches that people commonly use
· All of the Cape Roger Curtis coastline for its iconic and sensitive shores
· All shorelines with scenic value
· All environmentally sensitive shorelines that provide critical habitat such as eelgrass beds and areas that support forage fish (vital to salmon survival).

Further, all proposed docks should be subject to a full environmental study that indicates the dock would have no adverse effects on sensitive marine habitat.

I urge you to remember that once a dock is installed it instantly changes coastal processes – in terms of habitat, scenic values, coastal sediment transport, and the way the public can use our beautiful shoreline.

However, there are other options. There are numerous BC municipalities who have suitable bylaws and shoreline protection plans that do protect both the environment and public interest. I am sure they would be happy to share some of their bylaw language with you so that we can get an appropriate bylaw in place quickly.

Please consider your fellow islanders, your children’s children, and future generations and do NOT pass the proposed bylaw as written.

DG Blair, M.Sc.

To all members of Bowen Municipal Council,

I strongly urge you NOT to pass the bylaw regarding docks on the island.

The proposed bylaw does not protect sensitive marine habitat, nor does it aim to establish and protect special public beach areas, including Pebble Beach, Lighthouse Point and Arbutus Point at the Cape. It is within your powers and capacity to create a much more detailed, thoughtful and rigorous piece of work that will have a lasting positive impact on the preservation of shoreline.
PLease allow for further public and professional input, and delay the passing of this incomplete proposal until we have effectively included comprehensive, long-term protection and preservation details for all of our precious, irreplaceable marine environment.
Thank you.

Deborah Bramm

Dear Mayor and Council

Council is in a challenging position. It has spent considerable time crafting a bylaw regarding docks on Bowen Island. Private dock applications to the Province are on hold pending completion of the bylaw and the Province has set the end of November as a deadline. However, there is strong opposition from the community to parts of the proposed bylaw and Council is under pressure to amend it.

I urge you to stay focused on the reason for developing this bylaw. There was a failed attempt to stop the first docks at Cape Roger Curtis and council vowed to do better. The community gave council a clear mandate to act. But will the proposed bylaw stop further docks at Cape Roger Curtis? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

It is also unfortunate that the bylaw would have unintended consequences. It changes language in the existing legislation such that docks would be allowed across public beaches anywhere on Bowen, and existing environmental protections would be removed. There is overwhelming opposition from the community to such changes and Council has no mandate to do this. The suggestion has been made that there will be, at some point in the future, a second bylaw that provides environmental and beach protection; it is not wise to pass flawed legislation on a promise that it will be corrected.

Another unintended consequence would be the promotion of larger docks everywhere on Bowen. While most private docks on Bowen are less than 35 m and only a few more than 50 m, this bylaw allows any private dock up to 60 m.

What Council needs is to do is to direct staff to expedite the necessary changes to the proposed bylaw so as to accomplish three outcomes: 1) prevent docks at Cape Roger Curtis, 2) prevent docks across public beaches on Bowen, and 3) reduce the allowable length of docks to 35 m. It is the job of Council to give clear direction; all that is needed is one councillor to bring forward a motion to direct staff to amend the bylaw, and 3 other councillors to support the motion. It is the job of staff to find a way; our planner working with our CAO and legal help should be able to quickly figure out the right few words and bring them to Council. Time is tight, but if given priority, these amendments could be quickly made. If a short extension is needed, it is highly unlikely that a Minister would turn down a request from a local government making an earnest effort to complete an important piece of legislation.

There is another way to deal with the deadline if time is too short to complete a revised bylaw. The Municipality could respond to the Ministry’s request for comment on the pending CRC dock applications with a reasoned rejection.

When this Council came to office it presented itself as the Council who would get things done. The community is behind you on this and saying – get it done.

Bob Turner
Bowen Island

To: Bowen Mayor and Council,

I have long been concerned about what is happening to our island and its beautiful shorelines. Time and time again, Bowen Islanders have expressed our passionate interest and desires to protect the natural and scenic coastline of our island and as stated in the OCP to encourage the retention of portions of Cape Roger Curtis in a natural state accessible to the public, including ecologically sensitive bluffs…..and significant marine shorelines. We want these areas protected not only for the marine life and wildlife but as an essential legacy for our children and grandchildren.

In other countries with far less financial means and education than ours eg. Ecuador – nature including rivers have been given legally enshrined rights. If we were as conscious and progressive as they are, we would be doing that here. Its interesting to note that for thousands of years, indigenous people including those who once used this island were able to leave it natural and beautiful with no ugly scars of their civilization. They made decisions by listening to nature (they would have taken the message when the footings were destroyed in the storm last year as a message for no more construction). They recognized that nature sustains us and they made decisions for the good of the whole, what we would now call the public good.

As our elected officials, I ask of each of you, that you listen to the wisdom of the public and do what is for the public good. Keep not only the Cape but this jewel of an island in the Salish Sea in its natural, beautiful state. There’s now only a small portion of the Cape that is publicly accessible and to me it is blatantly obvious for many reasons – ecological, aesthetic, recreation (swimming, kayaking), nature for nature’s sake…that it has to be preserved for the public good without artificial human created structures like private docks.

Please as elected officials inspire us with peaceful, progressive, transparent and open leadership. Please make the obvious ethical decisions that are in integrity with living and working in a place that is a gift in all our lives. Please listen to the wisdom and the voices all around you…the voice of the land and water, the voice of the people, the voice of your children and your grandchildren and those not yet born. Work with all of us and please make the responsible decisions so that you and all of us will leave a legacy of respect for nature and for the will of the people that we can all be proud of. Thank you.

In Spirit and Peace,
Ellen Hayakawa
Bowen Island

To Bowen Island Council,

Please DO NOT pass this bylaw. It provides inadequate protection to the foreshore and the erodes the value of public beaches.

Shasta Martinuk & Brian Hoover
Bowen Island

To whom it may concern:

Please preserve our shoreline for future generations. The existing new dock at Cape Roger Curtis is a travesty. Any future docks would further ruin one of our most beautiful sections of coastline. It is also the most accessible one of its extraordinary beauty to Vancouver and In that way, is one that we should preserve for ourselves, our children and people from afar.

Sue Hetherington
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor Adelaar & Councillors:

Re: “The Docks Bylaw revision”: Proposed Amendments Nos. 335 & 336 to the Land Use and Building Bylaws

I object strongly to the present form of the proposed revisions. I support revision but the proposed changes are deficient in the following areas:

1. Permitting docks as close as 10m. each side of a public beach access, potentially limiting the usable width of every public beach on the island to 20m.

2. 60m. length is unacceptably long for a private dock. 40m. is a much more realistic figure in keeping with the scale of private residential property.

3. There is no ban on private docks on public beaches or on areas of outstanding natural coastline enjoyed by Islanders, property owners and visitors alike. (Such as is called for by the 1350 signatory petition calling for dock-free preservation of Cape Roger Curtis.)

4. There are no provisions at all for considerations of preservation of special marine habitat or wildlife areas, both the in-water ecology and the winter sea-bird colonies which depend on the Cape Roger Curtis area for winter feed.

I urge you not to enact this bylaw until the above points have been addressed: to recap:-

1. Greater protection of public beaches – beaches are for everyone.
2. Dock length limited to approx 40m.
3. Definition of areas of coast (such as Cape Roger Curtis) where foreshore conditions or public interest require dock bans.
4. Definition of areas requiring protection of important marine ecology where docks should be prohibited.

All protections need to be included now and not at some future date. We need this bylaw to be effective and to reflect fully the serious concerns of Bowen’s residents.

Yours sincerely,
Robert E. Milward
Bowen Island

“What do you want when you act like that?!”. This is what a university friend of mine would ask me whenever I was acting in a counterproductive manner. So I ask that of council. What do you think you’re going to accomplish with this watered down bylaw? This matter is far too important for a large segment of the community that has repeatedly, stridently, and consistently spoken for stronger protection of the foreshore. “Beach, beach access & waterfront park access” was even a close second (to trails) at 53.9% in areas of importance in the 2012 survey commissioned by the municipality.

You are adding fuel to the controversy instead of resolving the issue. These ineffective bylaws with the promise of a more restrictive second bylaw in the future will stimulate more dock applications. Do you think the community will not rise up again at your doorstep to protest new dock applications which put the privilege of a few over the rights of many? Moreover, your have failed to communicate your rationale to the community so we are left to assume the worst.

I urge you, once again, to take a different approach with this matter and “do it right the first time” …. or, at least, make specific beaches and areas of foreshore “off limits” until the second phase of bylaws can be formulated. You have the opportunity to unite rather than divide the community by your actions and tone. So far you’ve been going the “wrong way” but it’s not too late.

Dennis Vetter
Bowen Island

Dear Mayor and Council,

For your deliberations and discussion tonight, please accept this email from me as input from one of Bowen residents since the late 1980s.

To this day, my family, friends and I, love and appreciate access to our shores and beaches. Please, do your utmost to prevent further private docks to be built across ANY Bowen public shoreline or beach. We must protect them and also protect marine habitat, we must ensure that people of all ages may continue to enjoy the beaches and ocean, at all times of the year.

(Ms.) Renate Williams
Bowen Island

Dear Municipality, Councillors and Mayor of Bowen Island,

From our four months of living on Bowen Island we would like to put forth our opinion of the current docks controversy that is occurring right now with regards to Cape Roger Curtis.

My husband and I moved to Bowen in July 2013 from Kitsilano with our two daughters aged 6 and 12. We are here to spend a year in order to decide whether we would like to make Bowen our permanent home. We are actively looking at properties and locations on Bowen to determine whether it would be a wise decision to purchase property here or instead keep our investment in Vancouver.

We are determined to support the local economy while here. This means we shop at the local grocery stores for all that we can get (without packaging), we buy our teas, coffee, chocolates, baked goods and deli items from the local specialty shops and our children are involved in on-island dance and music lessons. We enjoy eating regularly at local restaurants and pubs and have enjoyed some great live music here. We have taken all our visitors from Vancouver for lunch or dinner at Doc Martins. We have rented kayaks at Snug Cove and taken a week long sailing course in Tunstall Bay. I volunteer my time at the school, regularly clean up garbage from the streets, trails, ditches and beaches and have volunteered to work at BIRD in December. We support living the zero waste lifestyle and create very little garbage or recycling. My husband commutes to Vancouver with rideshare and bikes home, I do not drive our car and instead choose to walk or take transit.

We understand the ecological importance and aesthetic values at Cape Roger Curtis. This place was incredibly beautiful and has the best sun exposure on Bowen Island. We all like to spend as much time at the beach as possible. After visiting CRC last year it was one of the factors in our decision to move here. This was untouched wilderness and beauty that is rarely found this close to Vancouver. It was sacred. It was a place where we would have liked to visit frequently with our children during our stay on Bowen. It was a place to pray, to meditate, to picnic and wonder at the beauty surrounding us.

We understand that approximately 20% of Bowen Islanders own waterfront property and therefore have the privilege to apply for a lease to install a dock over OUR common land known as foreshore. We also understand that in many jurisdictions in BC the municipalities have decided not to allow any more docks to be constructed due to public opposition for either aesthetic or ecological reasons.

We all ventured out to CRC on a sunny November afternoon for the first time since moving here. We had already heard about the one dock that had ruined the sacredness of this place but thought it prudent to go see for ourselves before making too many assumptions. We saw the homes that have already been built or under construction and thought how lucky the owners are to live in such a location. We were very grateful for the wonderful public trail along the ocean front.

Then we saw the massive dock extending out into the ocean, standing out like a sore thumb across OUR pristine public lands and waters. This vision made our stomachs turn. It was a monstrosity. We hated it. We resented it. We wondered how the municipality could have allowed this after so many of their own constituents had opposed it and given them plenty of time to prevent it?

We also saw the footings where the next dock was waiting to cross the beach where our children had played last year. This visual pollution invoked very negative feelings for us. We noticed that a couple of ‘private property’ posts had been ripped out of the ground and left strewn nearby. We carried on towards the lighthouse. There was garbage along the trail that I could not be bothered to pick up. I chose to leave it there to blend in with the other eyesores that now are part of this waterfront landscape. I doubt we will be visiting this place in our future recreational activities on Bowen.

Properties for sale or rent in this area (Cape, Whitesails, Tunstall) are not as desirable to us as they were this time last year.

We have met many kind and interesting people on Bowen. It is still a beautiful place with a great community. We will be paying a lot of attention over the next few months as to how Bowen Island Municipality handles this controversy and what type of culture they support. This will be a big factor in our future investment decisions.

John, Janine, Jasmine and Rose Brossard
Bowen Island

To Bowen Island Mayor and Council:

As far as I am concerned you failed to represent the interest of Bowen islanders in regards to the docks at Cape Roger Curtis. The proposed Docks bylaw is your opportunity to undue some of the damage done, during the twists and turns and general mishandling of that situation. In other words it is an opportunity to make amends.

Bowen Islanders have expressed our passionate interest and desire to protect the natural and scenic coastline of our island. We want the coastline protected not only for the marine life and ecology, but as an essential legacy for our children and grandchildren.

In other countries with far less financial means and education, waterways and coastlines have been given legally enshrined rights. If we were as conscious and progressive as they are, we would be doing the same here on Bowen Island.
As our elected officials, I urge each of you to listen to the public will and do what is for the public good. Put some teeth back into the proposed Docks bylaw.


Gail Lotenberg
Bowen Island

To: Mayor and Council, Bowen Island Municipality

Re: my comments on Amendment Bylaw no.335 – 2013

I am one of the 80% of property owners on Bowen who do not reside on the waterfront. I moved to Bowen because I love the easy access to the water and the natural beauty that surrounds us. My children, my grandchildren and I swim at many of the beaches and bays around Bowen. We appreciate especially those beaches that are free of unsightly docks that impose a blot on one’s enjoyment of the natural surroundings. I took my seven year old grandson to Cape Roger Curtis a week ago and had great difficulty in explaining to him why the monstrous metal structure that will only be used at most two to three months a year, was allowed to ruin the panorama that we used to so enjoy.

Like many other island residents, I place a high value on maintaining the rural atmosphere of this island and protecting its beauty for future generations.

I therefore ask you not to pass the above bylaw amendment as is presently constructed. If you are going to do a job, do it right. This bylaw does not meet the concerns of the many residents who have been advocating for protection of the Cape Roger Curtis shoreline and for protection of all our public beaches.

Please send this bylaw back to the municipal planner and instruct her to draft something that incorporates the protection we are asking for, i.e. protection of our public beaches for our recreational enjoyment and protection of our ecologically sensitive areas in places like Cape Roger Curtis. This is consistent with the objectives expressed in our Official Community Plan.

If you are concerned about the artificial deadline imposed by the Province with respect to the two pending dock applications at Cape Roger Curtis, tell the Province that the municipality does not support approval of these two applications for the following reasons:

1) the residents of Bowen Island are overwhelmingly opposed to any docks at Cape Roger Curtis and that, because of this, the muni is working on a bylaw that will ensure this area is protected from any further dock construction;
2) staff has been instructed to work on adding sections to the current draft bylaw amendment (send the Province a copy) to address the public’s concerns and to better incorporate the objectives expressed in the Official Community Plan, with respect to protection of Cape Roger Curtis coastline and of all public beaches
3) 1400 plus island residents and visitors have signed a petition opposing docks at Cape Roger Curtis (send the Province a copy of the petition and all submissions received to date opposing docks at CRC and on public beaches)

I urge you to send this bylaw back to your planning staff to incorporate protection of the Cape Roger Curtis coastline and protection of our public beaches on Bowen. I urge you to tell the Province that Bowen Island does not support any further docks at Cape Roger Curtis. Do not allow an artificially imposed deadline to rush this process.

Yours truly,
Nerys Poole
Bowen Island

Dear Mr Mayor and Council members,

I would like to add my voice to the discussion regarding large docks on public beaches on Bowen Island.

When we moved here nearly 23 years ago, Bowen was a respite from the commerce and development of the greater Vancouver area. A place, close to the city that was a refuge for city dwellers. It was also a community close to the metropolitan area where we could live in a rural atmosphere while continuing to work in the city.

Beaches have been an important part of that area of respite. Places where we can be close to the elements – and of course especially water. It is sad and tragic that one of the beaches that has most been frequented by those wanting a place for reflection and renewal has been desecrated by a metal structure that has destroyed the atmosphere of a space that was remarkable for many. A few months ago my family and friends had a memorial for a special person who had died. It was held on the rocky shore of Pebbly Beach. It was a time of spiritual reflection and solace. It is appalling that this space is lost for future moments such as ours.

I urge Council not to let this happen to other public beaches on Bowen. If we do not respect these spaces we will no longer be the resource we have been to the population of Bowen and the larger population of Metro Vancouver!

Mary Ellen deGrace
Bowen Island

The Bowen Island Mayor and Council:

Re: Bylaw No. 335-2013 cited as “Bowen Island Municipal Land Use Bylaw No. 57, 2002 Amendment Bylaw No.335, 2013”

I am writing as I am not able to attend the public hearing regarding the above-mentioned bylaw and I ask you to please take my comments into consideration.

The ongoing process surrounding the Cape Roger docks applications has demonstrated the level of concern that the Bowen Public has for the Bowen coastline and foreshore. Bowen Islanders consistently state that beaches are top priority for consideration in municipal planning. Yet, the bylaw as currently written will not adequately protect the Bowen foreshore and marine environment, nor will it protect the use and enjoyment of public beaches and the shoreline.

The bylaw, as currently worded, only prevents docks from restricting pedestrian access on public beaches. This is not sufficient. A dock located on a beach, especially one of the magnitude allowed by the bylaw, will destroy the character of a beach. View will be impeded and the environment affected. A private dock should not be allowed to bisect a popular public beach.

The bylaw as written is weak with respect to the requirements of an Environmental Impact Assessment. The level and quality of such a study should not be left in the hands of the ones making the dock application.

Previously, under the Official Community Plan and with the discretion of the municipal government, a dock application could be turned down completely. Under the current wording of the proposed Bylaw, a private dock application will not be turned down if it meets the specific requirements detailed in the bylaw. The current wording almost welcomes dock applications. There are places where and circumstances under which no dock should be allowed to be built.

The “BIMLand Use Bylaw No. 57, 2002 Amendment Bylaw No.335, 2013” should not be passed as currently written,

Yours truly,
Katherine Wolters and Gordon Rose
Bowen Island

As Alison Morse said in another bylaw amendment context, “This one doesn’t
cut the mustard.”

Please send the dock-related amendments back to the planner to:

• Decrease the maximum dock length to 30m
• Identify no dock zones, including Cape Roger Curtis
• Require independent environmental assessments paid for by the dock
• Respect the requirement to conserve sensitive marine habitat
• Protect public beaches
• Ensure clear provisions for environmental monitoring

Despite a whole lot of noise around “jurisdiction,” you have both the
jurisdiction and the responsibility to protect the public interest, as
clearly stated by Keith Anderson, Manager, Resource Authorizations, Province
of BC: “The Ministry’s position continues to be that if the residents of
Bowen Island want to prohibit the construction of docks at Cape Roger
Curtis, then the local government must implement the appropriate zoning
bylaws, which they have the power to do, to reflect those community goals.”

Almost 1,400 people are directly asking you to do that.

Maureen Nicholson
Bowen Island

To the Mayor and Council:
Please do NOT pass this dock bylaw. I respectfully request that it be amended so that public beaches on Bowen Island will be protected from construction of private docks and that the coastline at Cape Roger Curtis be designated a “no private dock zone.”
Thank you.
S. Proske
Bowen Island

Please reconsider the By-Law concerning the building of docks at Cape Roger Curtis. The docks should not be built where they inhibit the use of public beaches or are the main feature to look at when sitting on the beach. Some will also prohibit the use of the beaches by other boaters.

Malcolm Pitches
Bowen Island

Dear Councilors,

I am very much opposed to allowing any more docks on Bowen. We live right on the point you see on the right from the ferry, the house with the big sloping metal roof. We would benefit tremendously if we put in a dock. But, I care more about the free seashore, since we also have a boat dock in Snug Cove.

The values for the whole island should matter to us more than the private needs of a few wealthy people. Since I am one of the fortunate ones and also have more important values than just my own benefit, can’t you also consider the greater good. Please vote against the dock bylaw today.

Barbara Clow
Bowen Island

I need to voice my grave concern that above bylaws do not protect our shoreline and beaches from negative visual impacts, i.e. the destruction of the beauty of nature. Can we agree that the beauty of landscape and seascape is the single most important asset of Bowen Island which attracts new residents and tourist/visitors alike, supporting our fragile local economy? To actively support the local economy is written right into our Mission Statement and I hope that council will give serious thought to this aspect of the matter.

My early experience regarding natural beauty and economics was formed in the countries of Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria where the protection of shorelines of lakes for the benefit of residents and tourists is a matter of course and these countries have very strong economies. The same is now true of course in our neighbouring communities right here in B.C.

May I recommend relevant reading material, to google “methodology of visual impact assessment of shoreline development”.

Thank you to staff and council for your public service – and may The Wisdom be with you.

Sincerely Sigurd Sabathil
Bowen Island

Dear Bowen Island Municipal Councillors and staff,

I write in advance of the Public Hearing Regarding Proposed Bylaw No. 335, 2013

I hope to address Council at the Hearing but want my strenuous objections to this Bylaw included in the record.

In my experience, regulatory bylaws are meant to be protective in nature, not enabling of environmental destruction and the infringement on public access to public places. This is an enabling bylaw that will only serve to protect the private interests of a very small number of owners of already high-value property. They may expect their property values to rise through this enablement of private purpose structures in public areas. This amounts to a form of public subsidy to private interests.

This bylaw does not conform with either the Bowen Island Municipality Mission Statement:

Mission Statement:
In carrying out its mandate, Bowen Island Municipality will work towards conducting operations in a way that:
1.Improves the economic, environmental and social well-being for present and future generations;
2.Encourages and fosters community involvement;
3.Enhances the small, friendly, caring character of the community;
4.Maintains an open, accountable and effective operation; and
5.Preserves and enhances the unique mix of natural ecosystems and green spaces that Bowen Island possesses.

nor does it conform to the provisions of the Community Charter, Section 7 of which states:

7 The purposes of a municipality include
(a) providing for good government of its community,
(b) providing for services, laws and other matters for community benefit,
(c) providing for stewardship of the public assets of its community, and
(d) fostering the economic, social and environmental well-being of its community.

I submit that an enabling bylaw such as Bylaw No 335, 2013 falls far short of the purposes enumerated in the Charter and, in enabling only a very few to build massive docks, floats and other associated infrastructure fails to recognize the general interests of the community at large, including the ecological communities under our stewardship.

Yours sincerely,

Lisa Barrett, Former Mayor and Councillor, Bowen Island Municipality

It does appear that the concerns and desires of the people of Bowen Island with regard to the private dock issue are falling on deaf ears when it comes to this council. I have no idea why this is the case but it has to change now. All of you were elected to represent Bowen Island as a whole….not to cater to the wishes of a select few with deep pockets.

Short of storming into the chambers carrying torches, we have done everything we can to let you know that massive docks on public beach areas are not wanted by Bowen Islanders. To continue to dismiss this large majority is unacceptable.

As written, the bylaw will allow more massive docks to be built. With no breakwaters, these docks will most likely destroyed by storms and this contentious issue will become yet even more complicated.

You do not work for the developers of Cape Roger Curtis. You work for us! The bylaw must be rewritten to protect our public beaches and maintain the beauty of Bowen Island for generations to come.

Kelley Voyer
Bowen Island

The following submission was deemed out of order as it did not address the substance of the bylaw. Mr. Rahn therefore did not have an opportunity to speak at the public hearing. He has given permission for his letter to be posted here.

Re: Public Meeting November 12th, 2013

Mr. Mayor, Counselors:

I am writing to comment on the choice of time and venue for the Public Meeting concerning Bylaw 335 at 6:15 p.m. on November 12th at Municipal Hall.

In the past, meetings of particular importance have been held on weekend days starting around 9:00 a.m. either at Cates Hill Chapel or the Gym at BICS in order to allow the maximum number of interested people to attend.

This meeting scheduled for Nov. 12th is dealing with an issue which is surely very important to a great number of Bowen Islanders. The Bylaw to be commented on is dealing with private moorages on Bowen Island’s shores, but with specific aim at the monstrous structures proposed to be built or having already been built at The Cape on Bowen, formerly known as Cape Roger Curtis under the unwatchful eyes of the present Council.

The meeting is to take place on a weekday, in the early evening at 6:15 p.m. For people commuting to town for work this is at best an awkward time to attend a public meeting or at worst impossible. For most people who are at home this is dinner time and therefore also a most awkward time to leave home. I suspect, Mr. Mayor and Counselors, that at this very hour you yourself would prefer to be at home with your families and have dinner instead of sitting through what may turn out to be an uncomfortable meeting for you.

The meeting is to take place in the Council Chamber at Municipal Hall. This is a most unsuitable venue for an event that will very likely draw a considerable audience, despite the awkward time for which it is called. There is sitting room for maybe 50 to 60 people. After that it is standing room only, in the doorway, on stairs across from the door and in the hallway. People without seating inside the room don’t see anything of the proceedings and can barely hear what is being said.

I cannot help thinking that at best this is a case of very poor planning or at worst that Council has made a calculated effort to keep the maximum number of Bowen residents away from this meeting in order to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

Alfred Rahn


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 millions of dollars to build, maintain and replace public infrastructure such as playing fields etc. The foreshore provides this same public amenity at no cost to the taxpayer. All that it takes is for the municipality to enact legislation to protect it and they will have a highly valued asset that is in existence in perpetuity with no cost or maintenance.

The District of West Vancouver has completed its Park Master Plan (June 7, 2012) and one quote in regard to the foreshore that speaks volumes is section 3.4 which reads: “The long spectacular waterfront is one of the District’s most unique and treasured assets. It is also very well used, as indicated in telephone survey. Protecting, enhancing, celebrating and ensuring access to the waterfront was among the key themes of focus groups.”

I think the Bowen Island municipality should include this language in any policy related to the foreshore and not allow any new construction of any kind on the foreshore that would be used for private purposes.

Please forward this to those people at the municipality and in the community who have an interest in this matter.

Thank you

Gordon Reid

P.S. Undercurrent – please publish this in the next available edition.

Gordon Reid


Province rejects request to stop docks


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 Cape Roger Curtis be stopped immediately. The letter to Minister Thomson was copied to our elected officials, other governments (Canada, Islands Trust, Bowen Municipality) and responsible departments (DFO, Transport Canada). The Minister responded on August 12, 2013 and rejected the Campaign’s request to intervene.

In its response, the Province refused to take responsibility for enforcing its own land use policies, or those of its subordinate governments (Islands Trust, BIM), or ensuring proper process in determining the appropriate use of public foreshore lands at Cape Roger Curtis. The Province prefers, instead, to hand the ball of responsibility directly to local government. In a follow-up email from Keith Anderson (Manager, Authorizations, South Coast Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), dated August 13, 2013, he clarified the Province’s position as follows:

“The ministry’s position continues to be that if the residents of Bowen Island want to prohibit the construction of docks at Cape Roger Curtis, then the local government must implement the appropriate zoning bylaws, which they have the power to do so, to reflect those community goals.”

In closed meetings, Bowen Island Council has twice overturned staff recommendations to oppose the private docks at Cape Roger Curtis. Despite overwhelming support by 1,300+ residents and visitors to protect our three municipal parks, coastal trail and public shoreline at the Cape, Council has refused to properly enforce existing Official Community Plan policies and regulations in the community’s Land Use Bylaw. Further, Council has failed to act in a timely and responsible manner to lawfully adopt and enforce measures to stop the first four docks from proceeding to construction and prevent future docks from further harming the coastline area at the Cape.

On August 13, 2013, work commenced on the wood forms to encase one of the cement platforms for the private pier at Lot 11 at Cape Roger Curtis. This dock will bisect the main public beach and extend over 250 feet directly into the sheltered bay used for public swimming, boating and other marine activity.

Stop the Docks Campaign representative Doug Hooper (former Councillor, BIM) reflected on governments’ refusal to act to prevent the destruction of the Cape Roger Curtis foreshore: “The Province and Bowen Council have failed Bowen Island residents and all British Columbians. The Cape had been protected for generations by good land stewards, wiser governments and more diligent public servants. It has always been a place where families and individuals went to play, learn, reflect, create and heal and nourish themselves. For either government to place responsibility with the other is a farce – our local government and our provincial government have fundamentally failed to uphold their own policies and regulations and responsibly serve the needs of the community, visitors and the environment.”

In responding to the new construction work at Pebble Beach, Cape Roger Curtis, Hooper stated: “The Lighthouse and Pebble Beach municipal parks at Cape Roger Curtis are two of three natural jewels and major public use areas. This second dock will destroy the pristine beach park that we have worked for decades to protect. The damage being done by a handful of private interests will permanently impair public use for generations. The public is urged to take action – we must, collectively, insist that Bowen Council and the province take responsibility for protecting the Cape.”

Media contacts:
Melissa Harrison 604-349-7324
Doug Hooper 778-773-1122


Reply from Keith Anderson, Manager, Resource Authorizations

August 13, 2013

From Stop The Docks to Keith Anderson, Province of BC:

In reviewing the response to our requests for intervention, I wish to reflect some personal comments. Firstly, let me say how much I have appreciated the access and support from you and your team in responding to our multiple inquiries in our efforts to understand what happened, and when and who was responsible. I believe you have been both generous and fair in the process.

Ultimately, however, I am deeply disappointed by how the province has failed British Columbia residents with respect to the private docks at Cape Roger Curtis. Fundamentally, I reject the notion that BC has put forward that the responsibility lies solely with third parties such as Bowen Municipality, DFO, Transport Canada or First Nations. BC owns final responsibility for granting licences of occupation for private docks – your department decides. It’s not only a local government issue – we belong to the Islands Trust (an agent of BC) and there are numerous policies and regulations that are in place (provincial, Islands Trust, BIM) to ‘preserve and protect’ the unique features at the Cape. Yes, local bylaws could be strengthened, and yes the local government should have stepped in (and still should step in) to properly and responsibly exercise their powers, but the tools are essentially already in place for the province to properly deny the applications. We know this, you know this.

The harm to our public use and enjoyment and the environment of the Cape is now manifest. Less evident, but equally manifest, is the harm to our community. It is not an overstatement to say that the Cape docks have pierced the soul of our community – you’ve created anger, conflict, stress and … well, I guess, just simply profound grief. Your failure is also our failure – many of us tried, but faith and ignorance didn’t trump bad decisions. Maybe more of us needed to do more, or maybe you would have chosen to permit these docks, even if all 1300 of us had written to oppose these docks at the outset.

Understand what has been done: a large, ugly scar has been erected in the middle of our most sacred natural seascape – in the middle of three public parks and our only coastal trail. A place where families and individuals went to play, learn, reflect, create and heal and nourish themselves. A place that had been protected for generations by good stewards, wiser governments and more diligent public servants. Desecrated. Why? Because one person wanted something for himself, over the needs of the community, visitors and the plants & critters.

Shame on us for letting this happen.

From Keith Anderson to Stop The Docks:

I understand that you have received a letter from the Minister recently that addresses your appeal.

I also understand that the Bowen Island Municipality has initiated the process to establish zoning regulations for private moorage. We are currently waiting for a response from Bowen Island Municipality on how long they expect the process to take so that we can consider their request to defer our review of the applications for private moorage at Cape Roger Curtis.

I believe you have articulated your concerns and preferences on the docks fully and we have no doubt where you stand on the matter. The ministry’s position continues to be that if the residents of Bowen Island want to prohibit the construction of docks at Cape Roger Curtis, then the local government must implement the appropriate zoning bylaws, which they have the power to do, to reflect those community goals. [emphasis added]


Reply from Minister

August 12, 2013

Doug Hooper, Representative
Stop the Docks Campaign

Dear Mr. Hooper:

Thank you for your letter of July 22, 2013, regarding private moorage licences and applications at Cape Roger Curtis.

I have addressed your inquiries in the order they were presented:

1. Cease work order:
The ministry only issues a cease work order to a tenure holder, where the tenure holder is not complying with the terms of the Land Act agreement. Ministry staff have not received any information to suggest that the client is either building the facility outside of their tenure boundaries, or that they are constructing it in a manner that is inconsistent with the purpose of their tenure. Therefore, there are no grounds to issue a cease work order.

2. Defer pending applications:
Bowen Island Municipality has advised the Surrey Regional Office that they are starting a process to amend their bylaw governing private moorage facilities (Bowen Island Municipality Land Use Bylaw No. 57, 2002, Amendment Bylaw No. 335, 2013). The municipality has requested that the ministry defer a decision on the two new applications until after the bylaw is approved. Ministry staff have asked the municipality when the bylaw is expected to be completed, as approval by the ministry to defer a review of the applications cannot be used to circumvent the bylaw process nor replace it.

3. Impose moratorium:
This is a local land-use issue and falls within the jurisdiction of local government. The municipality has various tools, including land-use zoning and building bylaws that they can use to control private moorage development. There is no need for the province to impose a moratorium.

4. Ministerial Review:
The application process followed to make a decision on the existing tenures and current applications has already been reviewed by Craig Sutherland, Assistant Deputy Minister, in response to inquiries from members of Stop the Docks in May 2013. The application review process is consistent with the review of other private moorage applications. A ministerial review is not required.

I have responded to your specific questions below:

Whether due process was followed:
Crown Land Authorizations followed the same process and considered the same criteria in reviewing and making decisions on these private moorage applications as they do on all private moorage applications. This includes sending referrals to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations – Ecosystems, Environment Canada, Navigable Waters, and Bowen Island Municipality; conducting First Nations consultation; as well as consideration of comments from the public. The review process did not identify any impacts to the environment that could not be mitigated, significant infringement on First Nations interests or contravention of any applicable legislation, including local zoning. Comments from the public were also considered in light of these agency responses.

Whether referral parties (specifically Bowen Island Municipality, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada) properly applied their policies and regulations and responsibly conducted their assessment of impacts:
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations does not have any jurisdiction over federal agencies or municipal government and has no authority to evaluate their processes.

Whether adequate measures are in place for independent, professional experts to monitor and assure ‘Best Management Practices’ (BMP)are in fact followed in the design, construction of the private moorages:
Best Management Practices are recommended practices that have been demonstrated to be an effective and practical means of preventing or limiting harmful impacts associated with the construction and maintenance of private moorage facilities. These guidelines are not legislated and cannot be enforced by provincial staff. Provincial
staff do not actively monitor construction of private moorage facilities or facilities for other types of land use, including marinas, log dumps, and barge grids. The proponents advise that they intend to have a qualified professional environmental monitor on site during construction. Impacts to fish or fish habitat are under the jurisdiction of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and they have the jurisdiction and authority to take action where there is any harmful alteration or destruction of habitat.

Actual impacts of the private docks on public use, environment, navigation:
The private moorage tenures do not authorize dock owners to interfere with the public’s access along the foreshore. Based on the current designs provided by the applicants, the public will be able to walk and kayak under the dock approach ramps without any interference.

Impact ecological values:
The subject areas do not contain any recorded species or ecosystems at risk, according to the BC Conservation Data Centre website ( A registered professional biologist conducted dive surveys for the application areas and determined that effective mitigation measures, best management practices and monitoring could be used to address impacts to aquatic values resulting in no net loss to the area’s productive capacity. Navigation is under the jurisdiction of Transport

Based on the results of the foregoing, whether revocation of the water licences, and rejection of pending and future applications is appropriate:

The current licences are in good standing. As noted above, the ministry is waiting for further information from the municipality before giving consideration to defer decisions on new private moorage applications while the municipality proceeds with their bylaw amendments.

If you have any further questions, or would like clarification on the above, please contact Keith Anderson, Manager, Resource Authorizations by phone at 604 586-4323 or by email at

Steve Thomson

pc: The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Gail Shea, Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans
John Weston, MP, West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky
Jordon Sturdy, MLA, West Vancouver – Sea to Sky
Dave Peterson, Acting Deputy Minister, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural
Resource Operations
Craig Sutherland, Assistant Deputy Minister, Coast Area
Keith Anderson, Manager, Resource Authorizations
Jennifer Karmona, Land Officer, Resource Authorizations


Request for Ministerial Review

July 22, 2013

Honourable Steve Thomson
Minister Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations
Province of British Columbia

Dear Minister Thomson,

Re: Private Docks at Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island

[ILMB Files: 2410700, 2410701, 2410702, 2410703, 2410880, 2410881]

Further to our correspondence to you on May 28, 2013, we are writing to follow up on the referenced subject and request your immediate intervention to prevent further impairment of public lands and waters on Bowen’s iconic southwest shores. Over 1,260 citizens have now expressed opposition to the construction of private docks on the shores of Cape Roger Curtis and we urgently request you to take immediate action to keep the Cape waterfront in its natural state.

The petition signatories and comments are attached herein (see Schedules II and III, respectively), and further information is available at: (Please consider all petition signatories and comments to be hereby submitted pursuant to the formal public comment period currently being conducted by your department for files 2410880 and 2410881.)

Given the location, scale and impact of the proposed development of at least 6 private moorage structures, this matter is of urgent concern to the Province of BC. We are seeking immediate intervention by you to stop further work and conduct a Ministerial inquiry regarding the approval of private docks at Cape Roger Curtis.

We have established, through a review of information released to date1, that there were significant failures in the review and approval process, and resultant conclusions reached to authorize the first four private docks at Cape Roger Curtis. We are concerned that consideration of two pending applications (and, possibly, more) will further compromise the public use and environmental integrity of our public shoreline at Cape Roger Curtis.

[Note 1: information was compiled from discussions with department staff (FLNRO, BIM, DFO and TC) and a review of documentation released to the public (both voluntarily, and pursuant to Freedom of Information requests).]

Specifically, we are requesting that the following steps be taken immediately:

  1. Cease Work Order: Place a ‘cease work order’ on the construction of private docks on the water licence tenures granted for four docks at Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island (files: 2410700, 2410701, 2410702, 2410703);
  2. Defer Pending Applications: Defer further consideration and processing of water licence tenure applications for two private docks at Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island (files: 2410880, 2410881);
  3. Impose Moratorium: Place a moratorium on any consideration of future water licence tenure applications for private docks at Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island; and
  4. Ministerial Review: Convene a Ministerial review of the four water licence tenures and two pending applications to consider:

i.         Whether due process was followed;

ii.         Whether referral parties (specifically Bowen Island Municipality, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada) properly applied their policies and regulations and responsibly conducted their assessment of impacts;

iii.         Whether adequate measures are in place for independent, professional experts to monitor and assure ‘Best Management Practices’ (BMP) are in fact followed in the design, construction of the private moorages;

iv.         Actual impacts of the private docks on public use, environment, navigation; and

v.         Based on the results of the foregoing, whether revocation of the water licences, and rejection of pending and future applications is appropriate.

We ask that the Ministerial review be conducted in an open and transparent manner, allowing for public input and peer review of expert evidence. The cease work order on existing water tenures (#1 above), the deferral of pending applications (#2 above) and the moratorium on future applications (#3 above) should not be lifted until a public hearing to receive the Ministerial report has been conducted.

We have provided a highlight of key findings in Schedule I to provide evidence that the foregoing Ministerial review, while an extraordinary intervention, is both warranted and appropriate. The findings submitted are only a partial list of errors, omissions, and failures in the integrity of the water licence review, approval and construction management issues that have been identified.

In summary, we have established that, in the review and approval of the four private dock applications at Cape Roger Curtis, that:

i.         BIM failed to properly observe its Official Community Plan (OCP) policies and enforce its Land Use Bylaw (LUB), and BC failed to uphold the terms and conditions of BIM’s OCP and LUB;

ii.         The Islands Trust failed to observe the terms and conditions of its Policy Statement, and BC failed to uphold such requirements;

iii.         DFO failed to review the moorage impacts, and BC failed to ensure a responsible assessment of environmental considerations was conducted;

iv.         Transport Canada failed to properly review the moorage impacts, and BC failed to ensure a responsible assessment of navigation and safety considerations was conducted;

v.         BC’s Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) ministry failed to observe the terms of its private moorage policies;

vi.         BC and BIM have failed to properly consider the public interest and conduct their review processes in a proper manner; and

vii.         BC and BIM have failed to assure proper oversight of ‘Best Management Practices’ (BMP) to protect public access and environmental features in the design and construction of the moorages.

We ask that you meet with us, at your earliest convenience to discuss the issues in more detail and allow us the opportunity to more fully explain where the provincial review of the Cape Roger Curtis docks has failed, resulted in an improper decision to grant four water licences and why revocation of these tenures and abandonment of any further consideration of private docks at Cape Roger Curtis should be fully considered. To prevent any further compromise of the private landowners interests (e.g. by further expenditures on dock construction), and to address the pressing nature of our community’s concerns, we ask for your immediate attention to these matters.

Respectfully yours,

Stop the Docks Campaign

Doug Hooper, Representative



  1. Mr. Jordan Sturdy, MLA – West Vancouver – Sea to Sky
  2. Mr. John Weston, MP – West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country
  3. Mayor and Council – Bowen Island Municipality
  4. Islands Trust Council
  5. Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport
  6. Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

SCHEDULE I: Key Findings – Cape Roger Curtis Dock Approvals

The following notes were compiled from discussions with department staff (FLNRO, BIM, DFO and TC) and a review of documentation released to the public (both voluntarily, and pursuant to Freedom of Information requests).

BC – Bowen Island Municipality

  1. 1.     Did the Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) and BC properly consider the land use policies (as set out in BIM’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and Land Use Bylaw (LUB), the Islands Trust Policy Statement and FLRNO’s private moorage policies), and abide by due process in their mutual review of the applications?

a)     BC wrote BIM to convey issues raised by public correspondence (56 opposed, 1 supporting) regarding the dock applications and directed BIM to determine whether the applications affected public use of the beaches and foreshore and adhered to our Official Community Plan (OCP). The province asked two direct questions in this regard and warned BIM of its responsibility to determine these matters. The email states:

“1. Are these applications consistent with the intent of the public amenity provisions of the Cape Roger Curtis subdivision plan, e.g. byways, access and enjoyment of beaches and foreshore?

2. Are these applications consistent with BIM’s OCP, e.g. objective 40, objective 68 policy152?

The Province looks to local government, in this case BIM, to interpret their own OCP and applicable bylaws.” (emphasis added) (May 30, 32013)

b)     BIM’s Official Community Plan (OCP) states:

Objective 40: To encourage the retention of portions of Cape Roger Curtis in a natural state accessible to the public, including ecologically sensitive coastal bluffs, other sensitive ecosystems such as Arbutus and Douglas Fir Woodland, portions of the shoreline, archaeological features, viewpoints, and significant marine shorelines.“ [Section 2.11]

Objective 68: To continue to promote the public interest in the development of the Cape Roger Curtis lands.

Policy 152: Notwithstanding that Cape Roger Curtis has an approved subdivision plan28, the Municipality continues to promote the public interest at Cape Roger Curtis by encouraging the development of the site to:

  • conserve the majority of the coastline for eco-system protection, but especially the south facing ecologically sensitive and unique coastal bluff;
  • where there are no adverse ecological impacts, develop public, waterfront, walking trails along the majority of the coastline, connecting to the cross-island greenway;
  • protect environmentally sensitive areas and rare species; …” [Section 3.4.6]

c)     BIM’s Land Use Bylaw (#57) states:

“moorage shall be located such that it will not limit use of or physically divide a beach, or negatively impact eelgrass meadows, kelp beds, clam beds or mussel beds”  [Section 14.13.1(1)]

d)     BIM is an island municipality within the Islands Trust. The Islands Trust was created by BC to:

  • Foster the preservation and protection of the Trust Area’s ecosystems
  • Ensure that human activity and the scale, rate and type of development in the Trust Area are compatible with maintenance of the integrity of Trust Area ecosystems
  • Sustain island character and healthy communities

The Islands Trust Act gives the Islands Trust responsibility for leading the preservation and protection of the Trust Area and invites the Islands Trust to cooperate with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia. It also requires Trust Council to adopt a Policy Statement with the policies it will use to achieve this goal. The ‘object’ of the Islands Trust is to:

“The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia generally, in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia.”

e)     BC’s Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) Ministry provides the following policy guidelines for its review and approval of private moorage facilities:

“Protecting Our Shores and Coastlines

Crown land is a public asset and the Province has a responsibility to ensure it is managed to maximize and sustain the flow of economic, social and environmental benefits to British Columbians, now and in the future. Crown land is available for the use, benefit and enjoyment of all British Columbians.

The Private Moorage policy is intended to provide owners and Crown tenure holders of waterfront property an opportunity to occupy and use the Crown foreshore fronting their property for personal and private use, and guide that use so that it does not impact the environment, navigation, safety, community values, public and First Nation interests and the legal rights of others.” (emphasis added)

f)     BIM advised BC that “The rocky foreshore at Cape Roger Curtis is punctuated by a number of features at Collingwood Beach [sic Pebble Beach] and the Cape Roger Curtis Lighthouse which are enjoyed by the public. At the time of the approval of the Cape Roger Curtis subdivision, relief was provided from the provisions of the Local [Government] Act for public access to the sea every 200 metres, in exchange for public access in these areas and the design, size, and scale of these moorages and breakwaters would significantly impact the aesthetics of this coastline and the public enjoyment of the coastal trail and the key viewpoints.” (emphasis added) (July 27, 2012)

g)    BIM Council’s meetings to review and discuss the private docks at Cape Roger Curtis were all conducted in meetings closed to the public (various, 2012-2013)

h)    BC approved the four dock applications, stating that the “public amenity provisions of the Cape Roger Curtis subdivision plan (walkway, beach and lighthouse) will not be impeded by these moorage facilities”  (October 29, 2012)


                        i.         The Cape Roger Curtis private docks are not consistent with BIM’s OCP policies and objectives (e.g. because they fail to retain the Cape shoreline in its natural state, with public access and protection of environmentally sensitive areas);

                       ii.         The Cape Roger Curtis private docks will not conform to the requirements set out in BIM’s LUB provisions (e.g. because they do limit public use, physically divide a beach and negatively impact eelgrass, kelp and mussel beds);

                     iii.         The Cape Roger Curtis private docks are not consistent with the Island Trust object and policy statement (e.g. because they fail to preserve and protect the unique amenities and ecosystems, and the scale and type of development is incompatible with maintaining ecosystem integrity)

                      iv.         The Cape Roger Curtis private docks are not consistent with the BC FLNRO’s policy guidelines (e.g. because they negatively impact the environment, navigation, safety, community values of the public)

                       v.         BC’s conclusion that the docks “will not impede” public use is in conflict with BIM’s statement that the docks “will significantly impact” public enjoyment; BC did not accept BIM’s interpretation of its OCP and applicable bylaws;

                      vi.         With respect to (i) and (ii) above, BC and BIM made errors in fact;

                    vii.         With respect to (iii), (iv) and (v) above, BC did not ensure that current policies were upheld and that due processes were followed; and

                   viii.         With respect to the conduct of deliberations with regard to the Cape Roger Curtis private moorages in meetings closed to the public, BIM Council did not follow due process.

Environmental Impacts

  1. Did the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), or other referral agencies (e.g. FLNRO, BIM, other) properly consider the environmental impacts of the docks, and have government authorities properly ensured management and mitigation measures would be responsibly enforced?

a)     BC has advised that DFO has “primary mandate for fish and fish habitat in the marine environment” and that referrals with respect to environmental review were sent to “those government agencies who have jurisdiction over the application area.  In this case, DFO, Environment Canada,  FLNRO Ecosystems and BIM” (June 11, 2013)

b)     DFO has advised that “Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has not reviewed an application for these residential docks and has not issued any authorizations under the Fisheries Act” (emphasis added) (May 23, 2013)

c)     Islands Trust has announced its intentions to conduct an eelgrass survey in and around Bowen Island in the summer 2013 and release mapping results in 2014:

“The Islands Trust Fund is mapping nearshore eelgrass habitat in the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound, in partnership with SeaChange Marine Conservation Society, the Mayne Island Conservancy Society and the Seagrass Conservation Working Group. 

Why we are mapping eelgrass

Seagrasses form large meadows that serve as nursery habitat and a refuge for juvenile fishes.  The leaves serve as a cornerstone for the marine food web, supplying nutrients to salmonids and other fish, shellfish, waterfowl and about 124 species of faunal invertebrates.  Eelgrass habitats within the Salish Sea provide the basis for the region’s commercial and recreational fisheries revenue.  The productivity of native seagrasses rivals the world’s richest rainforests.

Eelgrass habitats capture and store large amounts of carbon at much more efficient rates than terrestrial forests.  Scientists estimate the salt marshes and seagrass meadows of B.C. sequester the equivalent of the emissions of some 200,000 passenger cars.

Contaminates and shoreline development put pressure on fragile eelgrass meadow ecosystems.  To protect eelgrass, we need to know where it is.  We’re mapping eelgrass habitat so that we can better plan our strategies to conserve these valuable underwater ecosystems.  (emphasis added)

d)     BIM sent BC a letter which noted its requirement for dive surveys to assess compliance with the LUB Section 14.13.1 (April 5, 2012)

e)     No environmental review of the docks has been documented from either Environment Canada or FLNRO Ecosystems

f)      No independent, professional assessment of the dive studies (provided by the applicants) and the findings and recommendations contained therein has been documented from either BC or BIM

g)     No independent, professional assessment of the modified design of the private moorage at Lot 13 (which was altered to remove an unauthorized sun deck, but retained redundant footings and bracing features which negatively impact both environmental and public use) was conducted

h)     For works conducted between July 9-19 on the Lot 13 private moorage, the prescribed requirements for an Environmental Monitor to be present has not been upheld or enforced during active construction in the environmentally sensitive (kelp and mussel bed) areas


               i.         Based on established marine data and the submitted dive surveys, the Cape Roger Curtis docks will negatively impact known eelgrass, kelp and mussel beds in the area around, under or adjacent to the private moorages – this is contrary to Section 14.13.1(1) of the BIM LUB

              ii.         Dock approvals have relied entirely on environmental reports submitted by the applicants – no independent, professional assessment of the environmental impacts has been documented by any responsible government authority (BC, BIM, or DFO)

            iii.         Dock approvals have been granted in advance of important marine habitat surveys to be completed by the Islands Trust

             iv.         Environmental mitigation and management measures were recommended by the applicants – no independent, professional assessment of the environmental mitigation and management recommendations has been documented by the responsible government authorities (BC, BIM, or DFO)

              v.         No independent, professional assessment of the private moorage designs has been documented by any responsible government authority (BC, BIM)

             vi.         Mechanisms to monitor and oversee the construction processes and enforce conditions regarding independent, professional monitors and adherence of the works to approved designs, ‘Best Management Practices’ (BMP) and ‘mitigation measures’ required by the terms of approval of the Licences of Occupation are not fully in place and are not  functioning to properly control construction activity currently underway

Navigational Impacts

  1. 3.     Did Transport Canada (TC) properly consider the navigational impacts of the private moorages and properly ensure the safety of the marine users during the construction, operation and potential (catastrophic) failure of the private moorages?

a)     TC reviewed the initial private moorage applications and advised (on July 3) that:

i.         The applications originally submitted would require a review under Section 5.2 of the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) ( as the breakwaters would impede the access to the sea from the lots adjacent to the planned breakwaters;

ii.         The docks and breakwaters were not seen to be of any consequence to the shipping lanes in general;

iii.         The potential impact of the docks on the visibility of the Cape Roger Curtis lighthouse was also reviewed. The planned docks were not found to be in any way constricting the visibility. The light source is 9 m above the high water line. The docks are 2 m above the high water line. According to TC this 7 m difference does not lead to any problems; and

iv.         Subsequently, the applicants went back to the drawing boards and re-submitted altered plans, without the breakwaters. These revised plans showed the docks in different configurations and dimensions compared to the previously submitted plans.

b)     After removing the breakwater features, the private moorages qualified as a “Minor Work Order” and, accordingly, TC did not conduct a review of the revised dock applications under the NWPA.

c)     The applicants may ‘bring back’ an application to approve breakwaters for their private moorages at a later date. Notably, the Licences of Occupation granted by the Province contain the original, large licence area applied for to accommodate breakwater features.

d)     Marine engineering experts have considered the revised private moorage designs and noted that the natural conditions may be extreme at times and the likelihood of catastrophic failure of the docks or moored vessels (i.e. partial or complete destruction during a storm event) is considered to be high:

“On reviewing the CHS charts of Bowen Island I see that the SW corner of Bowen has a very short shelf before dropping quickly into very deep water (>100m) Even the shelf itself appears to quickly drop to  at least 30m depths. To this end it might be useful to know that piles of over 20m~25m become extremely ‘flexible’ like spaghetti and, regardless, a floating breakwater would provide little (if any) protection to the docks and the attending yachts. Without a breakwater the results are predictable!  (Although on a much larger scale, this is something I deal with almost every day in my work).

I can guarantee that nothing short of a solid breakwater, with foundations on the seabed would provide the necessary protection for such an endeavour. Even then, because of its exposure to westerly environmental and surface conditions, the residual and reflected energy from the shore would make the facility unusable and unsafe for its intended use.

Herein lay a possible angle of meaningful criticism/attack. The risks to yacht/s moored in such an unstable, unsafe and exposed facility will without doubt lead to hull damage, breakaways and multiple sinking’s. This, by extension, will lead to repeated pollution events as a consequence of on-board oil and fuel being released into the sea. The damage to sea and bird life is likely to be extensive. Clean-up expensive.” (email July 10)

e)     A comprehensive review of the private moorage review and approval process, including detailed notes on navigation and safety issues, by Dr. Richard Wiefelspuett, Associate Dean, BCIT Marine Campus, is appended hereto in Schedule IV


i.         TC conducted a partial review of the private moorages at Cape Roger Curtis, including a preliminary assessment of:

a)     Impact on shipping lanes

b)     Impact on navigational aids (lighthouse)

                       ii.         Ultimately, TC did not conduct a review of the revised private moorage applications

                     iii.         No assessment of the impact of the private moorage designs on marine use has been documented by any responsible government authority (BC, BIM, TC) with respect to:

a)     Impact on recreational boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, diving

b)     Impacts on recreational/sport fishing

c)     Impacts on navigation (shipping lanes, aids) with the addition of large, moored vessels

No assessment of the impact of the private moorages on marine safety has been documented by any responsible government authority (BC, BIM, TC) with respect to the construction, use or (catastrophic) failure of the moorages.


Council Over-ruled Staff Recommendation to Reject Cape Roger Curtis Docks

July 24, 2013

Bowen Island Undercurrent

Dear Editor:


The Stops the Docks campaign has received BIM Documents on July 22, 2013 under a Freedom of Information Request.

In the Planning Department Report of June 25th 2012, BIM staff recommended that Council pass a resolution “that the Province be requested to withhold approval of all private moorage applications at Cape Roger Curtis” pending extensive studies (paid for by applicant) about the impact of dock applications along that coastline. This report was submitted to Council on June 25, 2012. Council elected to convene a closed meeting (no members of the public allowed) and, in that meeting, ignored the very clear recommendations of its planning staff and permitted the docks at Cape Roger Curtis. The report from staff included the following:

“In this case staff are of the view that while the uses are foreseen in the LUB, the cumulative impacts of this development may be in contravention of the zoning and of the OCP. The size and scale of the individual applications, their location immediately adjacent to the points for public access to the sea, their cumulative environmental and aesthetic effect if extended along the coastline, the precedent that their approval would set and the potential for significant impact to the CRC coastline are of significant concern. The incremental approval of applications in the absence of a vision for the future of the coastline is not a preferred solution.”

A full copy of the staff report will be placed on the stopthedocks website.

Through a copy of this letter, we are asking BIM Council to explain:

1. Why did Council reject staff’s recommendation to NOT APPROVE the Cape Roger Curtis private docks?
2. Why were Council’s meetings on the Cape Roger Curtis private docks held in secret sessions closed to the public?

Yours truly,

Nerys Poole
(on behalf of the stopthedocks campaign)

cc. Mayor and Council, BIM


Response to Lots 1 and 14 Dock Applications from André Chollat

Senior Land Officer
# 200, 10428 153rd Street

Re: Application for Crown Land Tenures by ZONGSHEN (Canada) Environtech Ltd of 1500-885 West Georgia St, Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3E8, for private moorages covering Lot 1 (DL 1548, Group 1, NWD, BCP 43260) and Lot 14 (DL 1548, Group 1, NWD, BCP 43260) situated on Provincial Crown Land located at Bowen Island. Land file # 2410880 & 241 0881.

July 22nd, 2013

Dear Sir or Madam,

My wife and I firmly oppose the present applications for Crown Land tenures for private moorages at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island by ZONGSHEN (Canada) Environtech Ltd for the multiple reasons presented hereafter and we ask the Honorable Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources operations to reject all such applications.

To the surprise and consternation of most islanders applications for several moorages at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island were granted in the past year with total disregard for our letters of opposition in March 2012 (to all parties involved) with the reason for our opposition. The work for the moorage is now in the process with all the damage to the seashore, public beach and the destruction of the environmental integrity of the foreshore of Cape Roger Curtis. Covenants and repeated guarantees have not been respected and no environmental control is being provided to prevent such destruction (see letter to read and delivered to BIM mayor and Council by Tamsin Miley 22 July 2013).

Here are our four main reasons to oppose the disposition of Crown Land for private moorage:

  1. A functional reason: Any moorage on the open seashore of Cape Roger Curtis is contrary to sanity and logic, given the destructive power of the sea elements during the winter storms. It is the reason that there was no such construction in the past on all that side of Bowen Island (see letter of Richard Wiefelspuett, Naval architect with relevant experience in offshore and structural engineering, here attached).
  2. A legal controversy: to allow private use of public land and access to public beaches for the construction of moorage structures which disrupt public activities by land and by sea is against the expressed desire of most Bowen Island residents entitled by law to the use of foreshore and beaches.
  3. Good governance: in the past private moorage were allowed where no access to property was possible by land. The property owners at Cape Roger Curtis have ample access by land and no imperious reason for a private moorage for access by sea as many moorage facilities are provided on Bowen Island for all boat owners. Why should there be a precedence created by such applications.
  4. There is a moral duty for the government and agencies responsible to maintain and protect the public domain and the environment for the citizen at large against the encroachments by any entity for private interest without substantial return for all. Here a corporation with foreign interest is preempting the interest of Bowen Islanders and all British Columbians to satisfy the pleasure of private individuals without consideration for the damage being done to the environment, the well being of wildlife at sea and on the land. This is being done with your ascent without any compensation now and in the future. This is morally wrong from the ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources operations to allow such development to happen. We are to protect Cape Roger Curtis for the next generation, it is our duty.

We ask you to reconsider any application for such demand within the parameters of the reasons above. We shall do anything in our power to stop any development, this is our reason to oppose any moorage application.

Sincerely yours,


CC: STEVE THOMPSON, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources operations
BIM mayor and council