Pender Harbour Area Residents Association (PHARA) is asking for an extension to the 22-day comment period for sweeping changes proposed to an expanded dock management plan.
The proposal to ban boathouses on private tide and freshwater moorages and the extension of dock management regulations throughout the shíshálh swiya (world, birthplace, lands, territory) was released Nov. 24.
shíshálh Nation and the province presented details of the potential adjustments to directors of the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association (PHARA) in a Nov. 24 meeting.
The comment period indicated, which ends Dec. 15, is “insufficient time to understand and respond adequately to the proposed changes,” according to a PHARA press release.
“This time period does not allow for fair, true and equitable consultation,” it stated.
PHARA had not received a copy of an engineering review report conducted for the Nation and the province that led to the latest proposed plan adjustments, PHARA president Peter Robson told Coast Reporter said in an email to Coast Reporter.
The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is presenting a delegation to the Sunshine Coast Regional District board on the matter at a special Nov. 30 meeting. According to SCRD communications manager Aidan Buckley, the board has been given the same period as the public to comment on the plan.
PHARA’s views on changes and processes
PHARA is working on getting a follow-up meeting with the plan’s proponents in early December, Robson said. It plans to focus on asks that existing docks and boathouses that have been previously approved be grandfathered into the new rules and that dock sizes that meet the “diverse requirements of property owners” be allowed.
“The sudden ban on boathouses and the reduction in the maximum float size to 30 square meters present immediate challenges for property owners, creating uncertainty moving forward,” PHARA’s press release stated. It also pointed out that such adjustments to moorage infrastructure will impose costs on property owners.
It also asserts that some docks in the existing plan area that were modified to meet the existing plan criteria and subsequently received approvals would “shockingly” no longer be compliant under the proposed new rules.
PHARA stated it will “advocate for the protection of existing docks, some of which have been in place for many decades, from retroactive compliance measures to prevent unnecessary financial burdens on responsible property owners.”
In its release, the association encouraged members of the public with concerns about the proposed changes to respond to the call for public comments and to copy those to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharing of concerns with Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was also recommended.
The group also urged the members of public to attend the Nov. 30 SCRD meeting. In his email, Robson said he anticipated “that event is going to be very noisy” based on comments the group has heard from community members.