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swiya-wide dock management plan proposed

Introduction of a dock management plan throughout the shíshálh swiya (world, birthplace, lands, territory) has been proposed by that Nation and the province.
swiya-map
Proposed mapping for shíshálh swiya Dock Management Plan

Introduction of a dock management plan throughout the shíshálh swiya (world, birthplace, lands, territory) has been proposed by shíshálh Nation and the province. A public comment period on proposed adjustments to the Pender Harbour Dock Management Plan is open until Dec. 15.

The amendments call for renaming the document as the shíshálh swiya Dock Management Plan to clarify that it would apply throughout the Nation’s territory. An updated map of the proposed plan area shows it extending over land and tidewater areas south from kalpilin (Pender Harbour) through xwilkway (Halfmoon Bay) to xwesam (Roberts Creek). It extends to the west to cover the southern half of spliksen (Texada Island). To the north and east, new mapping covers portions of the upper Sunshine Coast as far north as xenichen (the head of Queens Reach). she shashíshálhem place names are included on that map.

Proposal details became available online and were communicated to interested parties via email by the province on Nov. 24. Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation negotiator Jennifer Spencer is slated to provide an update to Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) elected officials on the plan and the shíshálh Nation/British Columbia Foundation Agreement at a special board meeting on Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m. The public can attend that meeting, either in person at the SCRD’s Field Road office in Sechelt or virtually with meeting attendance links available on scrd.ca.

In a posting to a Pender Harbour-based Facebook group, the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association (PHARA) board member Guy Halford-Thompson encouraged those with comments to submit feedback through the links provided and to send a copy of any submissions to board@phara.ca, as that group is collecting feedback to put together a unified response. He also encouraged people to attend the Nov. 30 meeting and to “spread the word” with others. “This is affecting docks, including freshwater docks, in the entire swiya,” he wrote. 

Changes including a ban on private boathouses proposed

A document labelled “What’s Changed?” contrasts the proposals with 2021 dock management plan components.

The proposed changes identify that boathouses on private moorages are “not in alignment with Provincial and shíshálh policy” and would not be allowed. According to the Frequently Asked Questions document included in the communication links, existing “boathouse structures within a private moorage authorization will be required to be removed at the end of their interim tenure terms in alignment with BC’s Private Moorage Provincial Policy and shíshálh Nation policy.” 

For commercial docks, applications for such structures would be required to demonstrate alignment with the goals and intent of the Dock Management Plan. Those are to help minimize and mitigate impacts to marine resource values, protect archaeological resources, address the impacts of dock development on Indigenous interests and advance collaborative management between the shíshálh Nation and the province.

Proposed are maximum float areas and total dock lengths, which were not included in earlier plan iterations. For private docks, a total float area of 30 square metres is identified, with dock length limits of 50 metres. Commercial dock length maximums of 60 metres are proposed and float area maximums of 40 square metres per vessel to be moored at those locations.

New requirements related to lighting on structures and inspections of docks have been drafted. The proposal is for dock tenure holders to conduct annual inspections of their facilities. For commercial docks, inspection reports would become part of their annual reporting requirements. Private moorage holders would also need to arrange for annual inspections, with results to be provided to the province upon request or should they apply to replace their dock. A proposed addition for all tenure holders reads: “Outdoor lighting should be minimized and should be on a timer/motion detector."

Changes to structure width maximums for access ramps and walkways on private and commercial moorages from 1.2 to 1.8 metres are up for comment. Maximum float width increases to 3 metres for the main floats of commercial sites are proposed, with no changes from the 1.5 metre width for commercial finger and private float structures suggested.

Background

The Pender Harbour Dock Management Plan was introduced in 2018, the same year that the shíshálh Nation-British Columbia Foundation Agreement was endorsed. That agreement introduced a shared decision-making process for the parties and in 2020 that was expanded to include Land Act decisions, including moorage across the shíshálh swiya.

The plan was amended in 2021. At that point, the province and the Nation had an engineering review of the plan conducted. With input received from that process, amendments have been proposed “to separate the Best Management Practices for commercial moorage from private moorage," according to the province’s posting. No link to the review report has been supplied.

No estimate on timing for a decision on the amendment to follow the consultation period was provided.