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Bowen council reaffirms Mount Gardner and Woodfibre LNG decisions

Despite split votes, council will again voice their opposition to both projects
Muni Hall
Bowen Island Municipal Hall

A pair of motions meant to reaffirm council’s position on two contentious topics were passed earlier this month, though not unanimously.

Motorized Mount Gardner

Councillors Maureen Nicholson and Sue Ellen Fast raised both motions at the last council meeting July 11. First on the agenda was dealing with the ongoing motorized Mount Gardner saga. The majority of public feedback has shown opposition to the idea, and Fast said it was important to add council’s voice to this list.

“We’ve heard from the people on Bowen, we have concerns with wildfire… campfires, and all the planning and the budget that would be required to manage this,” said Fast. “I just think it’s important for the community to know we’ve been listening to them, and for us to take to UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) in the fall that we have reaffirmed our resolution.”

Bowen council passed similar motions in 2020 and 2021, leading some members including Mayor Gary Ander to question why a third iteration was necessary.

“We just want to be clear… that we reaffirm the resolution that we made before,” said Fast.

Ander perhaps wasn’t fully convinced, but determined “I don’t really think it’s necessary, but it can’t hurt.”

The new resolution that council once again voice their opposition to any motorized vehicle use on Mount Gardner passed 6-1, with Coun. Alison Morse in opposition.

“I think we should just be letting the consultation process play out. Isn’t there a chance to find some reasonable grounds of in between to – given all the kilometres of trails up there – to allow at least one, if they require permits and all that sort of stuff, to use it?” said Morse.

Recreation Sites and Trails BC will make the final call on the issue, though a decision isn’t expected until next year.

Woodfibre LNG

Council then turned their attention to the Woodfibre LNG plant set for construction outside of Squamish. A delegation from the company presented to Bowen council at the end of May.

A motion of opposition to the project was most recently passed in 2020, again prompting the question why this reaffirmation was necessary.

“I think one of the main reasons is that the community has expressed concern about this relatively recently… and have asked us to reaffirm our support for these motions,” said Nicholson. “So it’s intended to provide that assurance… to the community that we still, as a council, support that position.”

Coun. Michael Kaile felt the municipality had already made their position clear. “This is a long game with Woodfibre… I feel we’ve stated our case. I’m sorry but a good case should not need restating, and very often it suggests there’s a problem with the case if it has to be repeated,” said Kaile.

This vote was slightly closer but still passed comfortably 5-2, with Kaile and Morse in opposition.