The Future of Howe Sound Society (FHSS) got a chance to pitch its proposal for a comprehensive management plan during the Howe Sound Community Forum on Feb. 26 in Lions Bay.
Seven municipalities and three regional districts were represented at the annual forum, including the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).
SCRD board chair Garry Nohr said the elected officials who attended were not yet willing to commit to developing a joint management plan, “but they were committed to going to the meeting.”
FHSS will host another meeting April 13 in West Vancouver to spur interest in comprehensive planning for the region.
“The forum’s objective is to bring together local, provincial and federal government representatives, First Nations, industry and business associations, and non-profit organizations who have a geographic connection to the region,” FHSS spokesman Jeff Gau told Gibsons council during a presentation last month. “The plan is to move forward on a dialogue about a common vision for Howe Sound to preserve the balance between all user groups, while recognizing the area is now experiencing environmental recovery from past years of industrial abuse.”
The group opposes the Burnco gravel mine project proposed for McNab Creek.
“This non-sustainable heavy industry we deem to be a threat to the recovery of the sound’s ecosystem as well as impact on sustainable economic development and liveability of the region,” Gau said.
Gau thanked Gibsons council for agreeing to send delegates to the April meeting, and asked for a resolution supporting a comprehensive management plan for Howe Sound.
Mayor Wayne Rowe said a resolution in support of the plan would be considered, but not until after the meeting.
“What will be important for us is to see what’s going to come out of April 13, what the tone of that is, and what direction communities in the area see themselves going,” Rowe said.
Councillors Lee Ann Johnson and Dan Bouman both spoke encouragingly to the FHSS delegation, which also included volunteer executive director Ruth Simons, a former Lions Bay councillor.
“Your role in moving this forward is really critical. It’s been quite helpful having a non-profit group with a defined purpose,” Johnson said, adding the initiative “will need provincial support and motivation to move forward.”
“I’ve been aware of your work and I appreciate what you’re doing,” Bouman said. “I do believe the answer to a lot of problems that we have is strategic higher level planning. I support that entirely.”