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