What do Bowen Islanders think of the guiding principles drafted by the national park council committee? Do they establish a solid ground from which to design a national park reserve on the island? Are they strong and clear enough, representing the majority views of people who call Bowen home? Are they realistic, and effective in forming a basis for negotiation?
The national park community advisory committee (NPCAC) is asking residents to weigh in, and take a survey to indicate where they stand. Responses and feedback to the guiding principles will be encompassed in the committee's recommendations to council.
The survey on the proposed guiding principles for a national park reserve on Bowen can be found online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/bowenparksurvey. Islanders have until Friday, March 25.
The national park council committee has stated that it felt the need to draft guiding principles, enunciating and highlighting broad preliminary statements reflecting municipal and community interests. It did not seek council's endorsement of the draft guiding principles. Rather, the intent is that the preliminary list serves as a prompt to "further engage the community in the discussion and debate about what a national park might or might not contribute to the enhancement of life on Bowen Island."
The principles include 11 statements concerning: municipal costs, park fees, ferry access, historical uses of parkland, management, sustainability, education centre and Bowen interests. Some of the statements are broad, such as the statement "That the national park reserve should be designed and operated to support and nurture the quiet enjoyment and rural quality of life of Bowen Island residents ..." Others are more specific, for instance "That Bowen Islands residents and property owners should not pay national park reserve access or user fees ..."
Meanwhile, NPCAC has organized an informative session focused on Crown Lands and protective areas, set for this Friday, March 18, at Cates Hill, featuring a panel of experts from the BC Ministry of Natural Resources, BC Parks and other jurisdictions. The committee meets weekly and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.