Of late there has been much discussion around future land use in and around Howe Sound.
With the increase in sea life and the witnessing of a major return of pink salmon, dolphins and whales, the subject of future land use in and around the sound have come to the forefront of many communities.
The question still remains: What are appropriate land uses that have the least impact on the natural environment, while providing employment opportunities and a tax base that can sustain current infrastructure needs and provide the required revenues for new infrastructure in the future?
Many positions and opinions have been taken and provided; however, I have yet to see one that provides clarity on the economic side of the equation.
Yes, in an ideal world we would get off our addiction to fossil fuels, and we would all walk or bike to and from work and play at all times. We may even choose to only use recycled or re-used resources rather than having resources further exploited or extracted.
Is this realistic? Is this achievable while still enjoying the finer parts of our lives that have brought and kept so many of us in this great region around Howe Sound? Maybe so… however, it will take a significant effort on all of Howe Sound’s communities and beyond to play a part.
A deeper level of understanding will be required as all our communities are important and unique. It will also take a level of sacrifice that may include accepting some land-use decisions that perhaps are not optimal in the eyes of everyone. After all, brownfield sites are just that, and not all brownfield may be turned into shopping malls and condominiums. If all brownfield sites were to be redeveloped into shopping malls and condos, where are the natural resources required extracted and processed from? Or does it really matter if it is not in our backyards?
In the coming days and months, even perhaps years — it is government, after all — we shall see the fates of a number of resource extraction and processing projects in and around Howe Sound decided at a federal, provincial and municipal level.
Would we rather see these projects regulated by the watchful expert eyes of Canadian professionals and citizens, or would we rather these projects take place out of sight, out of mind, for us only to receive the finished goods all polished on store shelves in shiny packaging.
All will have an impact on the future of Howe Sound, no doubt. My preference would be having a voice at the table, rather than no voice at all!