Plotting Howe Sound’s future

About 80 regional leaders meet on Gambier Island

It was a rare chance for the local government leaders who make up the Howe Sound Community Forum to meet in the middle.

On Sunday, Gambier Island hosted the meeting of the forum, which covered issues ranging from the Squamish Nation’s marine plan to the current state of health of the surrounding ocean.

article continues below

The forum includes municipalities and regional districts from around Howe Sound, as well as the Squamish Nation and Islands Trust. West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy and West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones joined about 80 other participants, including Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman and Councillor Karen Elliott.

Ruth Simons, executive director of the Future of Howe Sound Society, helped coordinate the meeting and was pleased Goldsmith-Jones planned to talk about the Sound in Ottawa. “I do believe her voice will be taken to cabinet and Howe Sound will be heard of,” Simons said.

In fact, Goldsmith-Jones was able to offer some good news on the derelict vessels issue, telling the forum that federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau had scheduled a May 2 teleconference for the Liberal caucus on dealing with derelicts. 

Kate-Louise Stamford, an Islands Trustee for Gambier and one of the meeting’s hosts, pointed to the importance of having the Squamish Nation well represented.

“One of the challenges I think communities have on Howe Sound is we’re divided up with jurisdiction structures.… It’s such a complex area, geographically and politically, but they [the Squamish Nation] cover the whole of Howe Sound,” Stamford said.

That importance was acknowledged by using traditional Squamish names when referring to the various forum communities during the meeting.

Gambier residents have been on the front lines of a few recent concerns over activity in the Sound: a proposed gravel mine at McNab Creek and woodlot licences.

Stamford said those concerns came up, but her main focus was a presentation on assessing the cumulative effects of development in the Sound, something that’s been an outstanding issue for the forum and the Future of Howe Sound Society.  

“One of the things that we’ve focused on traditionally has been the industrial expansion – the reindustrialization of Howe Sound – but at the same time, there’s other forms of development that are equally impactful,” she noted. “Residential development, recreational development, the impacts of the fixed-link study.”

Stamford cited 11,000-plus new residential units planned in the Sea to Sky Corridor as a prime example.

Simons said when it comes to the long-standing goals of completing a provincially funded cumulative impacts study and developing a comprehensive land use plan for Howe Sound, some important milestones could be met soon. “While it is very slow, they have made progress [on the cumulative impact study],” she said. “The next step will be a draft policy around how cumulative effects should be managed.… This year will actually see some results from that.”

“I think the intent is there,” Stamford said. “I’m not sure if we can move fast enough for the level of changes we can expect in this area.”

Read Related Topics

@ Copyright Squamish Chief


NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Squamish Chief welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Weeklu POLL

Do you repair your own vehicle?

or  view results

Related column

Popular Chief Community