Re. “New hope for Newport Creek,” Chief, Nov. 1.
The statement that “it is no secret that the Dowad Group and L&A… effectively destroyed a serious section of Newport Creek” is completely inaccurate.
While our late father Wilf Dowad had work completed near Newport Creek during 2009 which ran afoul of a private agreement between the DFO and the former golf course owner of which Wilf was not aware, that work did not result in the destruction of any portion of Newport Creek. No portion of Newport Creek was on lands that Wilf owned.
Any impact on Newport Creek occurred in 2002 when the golf course builder and DFO agreed upon the construction of the 13th hole. Under that agreement, the entire creek was rerouted into a trench along the base of the hillside, through a culvert under a cart path and into a large artificial lake of still and stagnant water. Under this 2002 agreement, the course owner agreed to not undertake any unauthorized works within 15 metres of Newport Creek. Regrettably, DFO failed to register this restriction under the British Columbia Land Title Act so as to be enforceable against subsequent landowners according to common practice in B.C.
In 2007, the course owner applied for subdivision approval of 11 lots in an area adjacent to Newport Creek. Although DFO objected because of the 15-metre setback, the District exercised its authority to grant approval to the course owner.
After an aborted sale of the entire project to another Squamish developer, our late father purchased the subdivided, but as-yet undeveloped lots from the golf course in July 2009. He immediately undertook the necessary onsite work mandated by the District in accordance with design specifications settled between private and government engineers, which included the installation of a stack rock wall (not a retaining wall as your article incorrectly states) to provide housing for legally required municipal services.
Although DFO was aware of this ongoing work, neither the former owner, DFO nor the District notified our father of the unregistered 15-metre setback agreement of the former owner. Rather, DFO waited until December 2009 before delivering a letter of complaint alleging that some of the work infringed upon the setback and constituted a wrongful interference with fish habitat. This complaint came as a complete surprise to our father.
After my father’s death in April 2011, some members of our family were in communication with officials from the DFO about this complaint and agreed to make a charitable donation to the local streamkeepers to put an end to the matter. Our share of the donation was made expressly in memory of our late father Wilf Dowad.
At no time were we charged with anything nor were we aware of any likelihood of charges of any sort being laid. Furthermore, at no time has any public authority made any suggestion that any of the work that was completed constituted the “destruction of a serious section of the creek,” as stated in your article.
In closing, we do wish to affirm that we will continue to support the efforts of local and federal officials and local service organizations to take positive steps to protect and enhance the fisheries in our community. We have always and will continue to be of that view.