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