MERIBETH DEEN / BOWEN ISLAND UNDERCURRENT
FEBRUARY 1, 2015 09:43 AM
The Executive Director of the Future of Howe Sound Society, Ruth Simons, came to Bowen on Monday to discuss the Howe Sound Community Forum and urge council to accept the invitation to host the Forum this coming April. As municipal CAO Kathy Lalonde reminded council, each community that is a signatory to the Forum is supposed to host it, but Bowen has not done so, “in a very, very long time.”
The Howe Sound Community Forum, as Simons explained to council, was started in 2002 in response to the recognition that the Howe Sound region was moving from a place of industrial activity to more recreation and tourism, and also, that there are many districts, communities and regional bodies (including First Nations) who play a role in managing the Sound. Simons added that a study conducted in the 1990s recommended that planning for Howe Sound be coordinated at the government and community level.
Simons continued to outline the status of just a few of the industrial projects which have been proposed in Howe Sound:
The proposed waste to energy facility at Port Mellon on the Sunshine Coast, could be on hold a bit longer.
The proposed gravel mine at McNab Creek has yet to file a formal application to the Environmental Assessment Office, but in response to the 1,200 questions raised during the first public comment period. Burnco Rock Products has since expanded the size of the proposed operation, and moved it closer to residential areas.
Simons also mentioned the proposed Woodfibre liquid natural gas processing and export facility, proposed just outside of Squamish.
“The Environmental Assessment office responded to our call to provide more information, to more communities in Howe Sound that will be impacted by this project,” says Simons. “This is why there will be an open house on the project on Bowen Island this Friday.”
Following Simons’ presentation, council voted unanimously to take on the task of hosting the forum in April. As there will up to 80 delegates from the Howe Sound region at the Forum, the venue is likely to be Cates Hill Chapel. Simons mentioned that one of the most significant accomplishments of the most recent Howe Sound Forum, is that the province of British Columbia agreed to step up and work towards conducting a cumulative effects assessment of all the projects proposed for Howe Sound, and Squamish Nation is interested in moving forward with Marine Use planning. This work will move forward in April’s forum.
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