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Updated: What’s happening with the Dock Management Plan Advisory Committee?

The province is looking to fill 12 spots on a Dock Management Plan Advisory Group (DMPAG).
Proposed mapping for shíshálh swiya Dock Management Plan

The province is looking to fill 12 spots on a Dock Management Plan Advisory Group (DMPAG). Intended to help the government and shíshálh Nation morph input received in over 1,700 public submissions into workable amendments to plans for the management of fresh and salt water moorages in B.C., the group’s formation was jointly announced in a press conference on March 14.

Who's in; who's not

In an April 4 email from the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship Coast Reporter was advised that the invitees include the Pender Harbour Area Residents Association (PHARA), the syiyaya reconciliation movement and one technical representative each from the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and District of Sechelt.

District of Sechelt communiciations department confirmed that director of planning and development, Andrew Allen, is representing that entity and has been "involved in" group meetings since March 14.

On Eastlink TV's "Talk to Your Local Government" April 4 edition, SCRD  Area E director Donna McMahon confirmed the regional district would be involved with the group but did not indicate who would be taking on those duties.

The syiyaya reconciliation movement did not respond to the Coast Reporter's request for information on its involvement.

In an April 8 email to Coast Reporter, PHARA spokesperson Sean McAllister stated that the organization had not yet received an invitation to join the DMPAG. He indicated that while that organization "has been trying for over a year to meet with the government to openly discuss the DMP... it is government that has refused – only being prepared to engage with pre-conditions and restrictions on what can be talked about, closing meetings to the public, and requiring some parties to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements."  On March 17, PHARA issued an open letter to Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, Nathan Cullen requesting the province "publish the full text of the more than 1,700 comments" received on the dock management plan, that it "scrap the present dock management plan and start again from scratch, in an inclusive, public and transparent process" and "rescind Order in Council 2022-0444 and keep final decision-making authority regarding dock tenures under the Land Act with the Province." 

Both the Waterfront Protection Coalition (WPC), which represents interested parties from throughout the province, and the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA) have been offered two seats on the advisory group.

According to a posting on the WPC website, that group met with Premier David Eby and Minister Cullen on March 21. The website states the coalition "is mindful of and willing to participate in discussions or engagements, provided a pre-determined outcome has not already been established. Our goal is that the Advisory Group, the Ministry and the shishálh Nation work together in a transparent fashion to find a workable solution, with clarity and certainty for all those affected by the DMP. Such a solution needs to be durable, and effectively & efficiently steward our waterfront communities well into the future." 

The SCCA advised via email that it has appointed executive director Suzanne Senger and Chair Lee Ann Johnson as representatives and included a statement that it was "grateful to the shishalh nation and the Ministry for enlisting us to join the advisory group". 

A single representative from Sakinaw Lake Residents Association or swiya Lakes Stewardship Alliance or Ruby Lake Landholders Association is to be included. The swiya area business community, through a marina owner, chamber of commerce or other similar organization, is also to have one representative. Rounding out the advisory group’s make-up are to be two individual private dock owners. One is to represent recently permitted dock owners and one to speak on behalf of water-access-only property owners. Details on those representatives were not made available to Coast Reporter. 

What's happened so far?

While the ministry did not indicate how many of the invitations have been accepted, its email outlined that the province and shíshálh have hosted two initial virtual meetings with the DMPAG, with the first held on March 21. The meetings have “included an opportunity to better understand the history of the shíshálh Nation and the evolution of the Dock Management Plan," it stated.

Work is also under way on the DMPAG’s terms of reference. Once finalized, those are to be made available to the public online along with additional information as the work of the group progresses.

“We look forward to hearing input and feedback from the DMPAG about changes to the shíshálh swiya Dock Management Plan…The DMPAG will also be a venue for information sharing and building understandings about the changes the Province and shíshálh Nation are proposing to make,” the email from the province stated.