SCRD Directors look to land use planning for Mt. Elphinstone

Daniel Bouman, executive director for Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, spoke as a delegation to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) board on Sept. 27, urging for conservation on Mt. Elphinstone.

Bouman said he had prepared the presentation because he had “good reason to believe the door is opening a crack for a little bit more protection on Mt. Elphinstone.”

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He walked the board through the “landscape units” on the Sunshine Coast and its biogeoclimatic zones, and described the impact of logging and species at risk. He suggested the SCRD’s geographic information system (GIS) capacity could be used to create maps that “illustrate in terms that industry and government professionals would recognize” why areas ought to be protected, and emphasized the need for “an extremely strong scientifically based” explanation for why areas require protection.

Bouman listed three priority areas for protection, including a patch of the oldest forest on Elphinstone known for its mushroom diversity; District Lot 1313, which he said has “large potential for public education;” and lands on Elphinstone where water replenishes local aquifers.

“To me that would be incredibly important,” he said.

Following the presentation, Roberts Creek director Mark Lebbell noted the absence of shíshálh Nation Keith Julius and said he was “a little bit uncomfortable” having the discussion without him and recognized the land also includes Squamish territory.

West Howe Sound director Ian Winn noted that while “protection is one aspect,” all the economic benefits of forestry ought to be considered. He said if the province is “willing to step up and engage on that, so much the better.”

Following the delegation, Lebbell made a motion for SCRD staff to “promptly” contact provincial staff “with regards to engagement around discussions on land use planning on Mt. Elphinstone.” It passed unanimously.

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