The snow is here! It’s the first snowfall of 2021 and Bowen Island Municipality is reminding islanders to prepare for winter conditions by stocking up on salt and sand, ensuring vehicles have winter tires, taking public transit when possible and having other equipment and supplies in place for inclement weather. As well, islanders are to make sure there’s enough room for plows (see your road’s plowing priority.) The forecast calls for snow most of the week.
For those in the Cove-Snug Point area, BIM is planning a water outage Monday, Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for "urgent maintenance to waterlines." The affected areas include: Bowen Island Trunk Rd. from just below the pub building to the BC Ferries washrooms (including the washrooms), Cardena Dr. and Rd. (including the Library, Caring Circle and Cove Commons), Union Rd. and Venture Rd.
In the news
Park protection: Bowen Island Conservancy is asking folks to steer clear of the new Cape park for now (or if they must go, to stick to the gravel driveways and building pads). The sensitive coastal bluff ecosystems are already seeing damage from humans and dogs. The conservancy is in the process of developing the park with trails and signage so as to protect the vulnerable species. Expected opening is spring 2021.
Taxes: The Islands Trust’s draft 2021 budget is open for comment until Feb. 7. The budget proposes a 4.78 per cent tax increase for Bowen Island with 1.1 per cent of that coming from new development and construction, according to a press release. The overall increase for the rest of the trust is 3.26 per cent. For context, the tax requisition for Bowen Island decreased 8.1 per cent in 2020 while the rest of the trust saw an average zero per cent increase.
Islands 2050: The Islands Trust has released the high-level policy direction for its policy statement update. (Some might remember Islands Trust staff visiting Bowen mid-2019 asking for islanders’ opinions.) Trustee and BIM councillor Sue Ellen Fast, who also sits on the Trust executive committee, has likened the policy statement to a regional growth strategy for the whole Islands Trust area (Jan. 11 council meeting). Official Community Plans and Land Use Bylaws of the local trust areas and Bowen Island Municipality have to align with the policy statement. The three major themes of the high-level report are reconciliation and First Nations engagement; climate action and affordable housing. One can provide feedback through an online survey until Feb. 5.
Coming up at Bowen Island Municipality's Jan. 25 council meeting
- CAO Liam Edwards will give a community centre update, including some minor project modifications.
- Council will consider issuing notice that they will consider a temporary use permit to allow a Dorman Pt. home to operate as a short-term rental for more than 120 days. “The owners stay at the property intermittently and have struggled with fitting long term rentals into their schedule,” explains the staff report. “They have no wish to permanently rezone the property for commercial use but are rather seeking a temporary extension of the time limit.”
- Staff is asking for authorization to apply for a CleanBC grant for an on-island composting facility and for a commitment to cover up to $466,600 of the $1.4 million project.
- Staff is asking for authorization to apply for an infrastructure grant for the cross-island multi-use path.
- The revised agenda includes a recommendation from Mayor Gary Ander to ratify the following motion: "That Council direct staff to develop a bylaw to restrict camping or and/or the creation of encampments on public places."
Watch on YouTube starting at 6:15 p.m.
Bowen Island people
The wontons are back: Frank Patt’s island famous soups are back on the menu as the Soup Fairy opens at a new location. In this week’s feature story, we chatted with Frank about the Soup Fairy’s origins, what it’s like to have such a beloved product and seeing customers again after months and months apart.
Serving the community: Kristine Kumar and Gale Lyttle are Bowen Island’s community paramedics, charged with filling some of the health care gap on the island. Both started their paramedicine careers on the island but started in very different eras.
Microfibres in the Arctic: Our sister paper, the Squamish Chief, covered a new study that found that synthetic fibres are invading the Arctic Ocean. Bowen Island’s Dr. Peter Ross, special advisor to Ocean Wise and adjunct professor at Earth, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences at UBC, was lead author of the study.
Chasing away the monsters: Bowen author Christie Lea and award-winning Bowen artist Di teamed up to create the gorgeous picture kids book Safe in Starry Arms about dealing with childhood anxiety. As 10-year-old Nic confronts his anxiety monsters, readers are treated to a spectacular journey of poetic prose and Di’s iconic art.
In other media
For the parents: One of Bowen’s school bus drivers, Michael Morgan, wrote a tear-inducing piece about his early mornings collecting the island's kids for school – anxious parents, road sign mishaps and a whole lot of island heart. Read it in the Globe and Mail.
When we can travel again: There’s a new inn coming to the Deep Bay area. Scout has a lovely feature on the Kitoki Inn, "a new Japanese-inspired boutique [inn] that’s been taking shape on Bowen Island."
Have you seen our new column?
While we’re all staying apart, the Bowen Islanders have needed to find creative ways to create and tend to our connections – to our community fabric (different from the synthetic textiles referred to above). One of the Undercurrent’s contributions is our new column, Meet your Bowen Island Neighbours, a weekly Q&A with a randomly selected Undercurrent subscriber. The first two weeks saw Bob Turner and Tina Nielsen answering the tough Bowen questions.
A new era: The Hearth’s Mini Art Show...With a Twist launches next week. We’re excited to see what creative 8x8 mini artworks Bowen Island artists have created. This is the organization's largest fundraiser of the year and this year the artists are signing their works. The show runs Jan. 28 through Feb. 20.
Conservancy talk: Jan. 28 the Rotary Club features B.I. Conservancy president Owen Plowman in its speaker series. "Owen has held this position for eight years and will be speaking about the latest acquisition of lots on the cape for the Conservancy and the role of the organization. Owen will be delighted to answer questions on the other parts of the island held by the conservancy, this will be a very informative and up to the minute presentation. We hope you can join us for what will be a lively discussion. Check bowenrotary.com for the Zoom invitation."
On inclusion: Diversity and inclusion educator Alden Habacon is offering a webinar for Bowen Islanders Feb. 1. The free event, thanks to the BICS Diversity Committee, requires pre-registration. "This workshop relates to inclusivity and diversity on all levels including race, culture, sexual orientation, gender diversity and neurodiversity. We don’t need a perfect understanding of every issue. However, we do need to learn how to respond to questions and situations that challenge us, and to do so in ways that create space, connection and continued communication," Meribeth Deen explains in her piece.
For a smile
Bowen Island's Di Izdebski captured gorgeous footage a pod of orcas just off the Cape Saturday. In the Howe Sound Cetacean Sightings Facebook page, Raf Izdebski identified them as the Northern Residents A42 orcas.
Also at the Cape, Murray Atherton some birds of a feather making use of one of the docks.
That's all for this week!
Our Jan. 28 edition is the first island-wide edition of the Undercurrent in 2021. If there are stories you’d like to see or contribute to the edition that gets sent to every mailbox on the island, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Bronwyn Beairsto, Bowen Island Undercurrent editor