- BC Games
Large docks a loss to Bowen Island residents
To the editor
The ongoing construction of very large docks on Cape Roger Curtis represents a significant loss to the people of Bowen Island. Others have written articulately here about the many aesthetic and spiritual values of the unique CRC foreshore, which no one has disputed is public property.
I also wish to add the view that, in light of the value that this Council has purported to place on our local economy, Council has placed the private economic interests of a very few non-residents in front of the (now) undeniable broad public expression of value in the CRC coast. These docks not only return nothing to our island’s economy, they have also destroyed in perpetuity the economic value to islanders inherent in the Cape’s uninterrupted seascapes. This value would only have grown over time to those island businesspersons who rely in part on the until-now beauty of the Cape to draw visitors looking for solace and rejuvenation, and benefit us all in so doing. Council sadly failed to see that.
In June 2012, I spoke about my opposition with a municipal Councilor, soon after the initial dock applications and when Council still had the means to protect the public interest. With little equivocation, I was told that CRC had nothing about it that warranted special treatment, and that Council had not discussed a public interest statement.
So it surprised me to hear the narrative emanating recently from municipal hall that Council, too, did not like the applications when they were submitted, but were stymied by problematic legal counsel.
Whether Council really was opposed as year ago to the applications or not is secondary right now to this question: does Council intend to fulfill its duty to actively protect the public trust? The horse-left-barn proposed bylaw is clearly not satisfying the unprecedented outpouring of expression for a change in tack. If Council acts now to stop these inappropriate structures, yes, it will likely come at a cost. But weigh that against the cost to our island of inaction - for decades to come. A mistake has been made; I urge Council to return the public interest to its rightful place in this matter. There is clearly public will to do so.