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Bowen meets Metro Vancouver over Cape park proposal

More discussion will take place at Regional Parks Committee meeting in October
A Metro Vancouver sign at Cape Roger Curtis explaining the proposed regional park.

The municipality and Metro Vancouver met twice this month to discuss the latter’s Cape rezoning application.

The first meeting on Sept. 6 was attended by Mayor Andrew Leonard, along with Coun. Tim Wake and chief administrative officer Liam Edwards, and board members from Metro Vancouver. Leonard said the meeting was meant to assess how Metro Vancouver planned to address a list of additional conditions developed by the municipality (BIM) over the summer, the non-compliance of the application according to Islands Trust, and general feedback from the Bowen community.

In a summary of the meeting during council on Sept. 25, manager of planning Daniel Martin explained that major changes to the application did not appear to be coming. Metro Vancouver’s position was “that it was up to BIM Council to consider the re-zoning application that is before them as it stands unamended,” and that no signifcant amendments “were forthcoming or would be presently recommended by Metro Vancouver’s staff or political leadership,” according to Martin’s report.

Leonard expressed surprise that no substantial amendments were being explored. “Phase 1 of engagement as stated by Metro Vancouver was intended to be a listen and learn – listen to our community, learn what’s happening, and that input was to feed forward into their overall park concept design that was unveiled in Phase 2. In the summer during the open houses when Phase 2 was unveiled, there was some dismay – shared by myself – that we didn’t see any sort of changes to the underlying proposal or the park concept,” said the mayor.

“Ultimately the question that we went into the meeting with Metro Vancouver was, as the applicant for a rezoning proposal what is it that you’d like to do? I think the challenge… was that there did not seem to be an appetite to bring forward amendments or bring forward changes that would deal with many of the substantial impacts that increasing tourism or visitation on the island would have,” continued Leonard.

The second meeting Sept. 13 included Edwards, Martin, and manager of parks planning Carla Skuce. Metro Vancouver provided responses to BIM’s list of 21 conditions, reacting positively to some such as funding remaining portions of the Multi-Use Path and implementing various environmental measures. Proposals such as subsidizing a passenger ferry or reducing the number of vehicle-based campsites were not supported by Metro though. The full list can be found in the Sept. 25 Council agenda.