Skip to content

Local groups not satisfied DMP announcement detail

Waterfront Protection Coalition asked to participate on the new advisory committee on the swiya-wide Dock Management Plan amendments.
Madeira Park aerial
Aerial view of Madeira Park, one area to be covered by the swiya-wide Dock Management Plan.

A briefing and joint press release from the shíshálh Nation and the province on the swiya Dock Management Plan (DMP) raised concerns for organizations and one elected official on the Sunshine Coast. Details shared by those entities on March 14 did not satisfy what two community groups have identified as outstanding issues related to amendments to the plan.

Included in the announcement was a commitment to set up an advisory committee to consider the over 1,700 pieces of public input received between late November and February.

Considering an invitation to join

The Waterfront Protection Coalition (WPC) has been asked to participate on the committee, according to the coalition’s website, which states it represents thousands of B.C. residents.

“We are currently reviewing the terms of reference relating to our involvement in this advisory committee and seeking assurances that our involvement will be meaningful, constructive and focused on real solutions,” WPC posted on its website.

The group identified that 16 “important topics have not been mentioned” in communications from the Nation and the province. Those range from specifics related to proposed new limits on dock sizes, light transparency requirements for waterfront infrastructure and a potential ban on private moorage boathouses. In addition, concerns were expressed regarding a requested expansion on the plan to cover freshwater moorages and wider-ranging legal impacts of the amendments being proposed. According to a March 17 statement on WPC’s website entitled “What the Government Hasn’t Said” information shared with it “does not touch upon concerns residents have that if Land Act Amendments and, Section 7 agreements begin negotiation, this whole exercise will need to start again and or agreements rescinded."

DMP 'cobbled together hastily'

Also searching for more detail and more public engagement on the matter is the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association (PHARA). The association penned a letter to BC’s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, Nathan Cullen on March 17 and shared a copy with Coast Reporter.

“Our organization of concerned, ordinary citizens has been trying for years to meet with you or your staff to discuss the dock management plan in a publicly transparent manner, with no preconditions. Yet your government has refused to do so. We know government would like everyone to believe the dock management disaster is now in the rearview mirror. But let’s be honest – the changes were cobbled together hastily, and many problems remain,” the letter stated.

That correspondence goes on to urge the minister to publish the full text of the more than 1,700 comments received on the proposed amendments, to “scrap” the present DMP and “start again from scratch, in an inclusive, public and transparent process” and to keep final decision-making authority regarding dock tenures under the Land Act.

“The Sunshine Coast dock management plan has become a bellwether for your government’s reconciliation plans across BC, and you surely must see that ordinary people are getting increasingly concerned,” PHARA wrote.