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October 2000 Savary Island Land Trust Newsletter

Committed to the preservation of natural areas and biological diversity on Savary Island for present and future generations.

SILT Board of Trustees: Paula Butler, Karen De Lorenzo, Daryl Duke, Norma Flawith, Christopher Harvey, Sherwood Inglis, Paul Leighton, Tom Lightburn, Anna Linsley, Keith MacDougall, Liz Webster, Wynn Woodward.

In July, the Powell River Regional District voted that they had no objection to the application to subdivide DL 1375 and adjoining parcels. Despite scientific reports and letters from numerous scientists indicating the national significance and incredible fragility of this parcel, despite the representations and objections of the Savary Island Committee, the Savary Island Land Trust and many Savaryites, our local government has failed once more to take the Island and Islanders into account and instead voted to register no objection.

This decision is difficult to understand, given that Directors Colin Palmer and David Murphy are on record as being in favour of saving the dunes. Director Gisborne has indicated that in an alternate subdivision layout plan of DL 1375, there may not be any more than 33 clustered lots, with the balance, 300 acres preserved.

The decision not to oppose the subdivision seems at odds with their public statements. The PRRD had a choice and made the worse possible selection.

The PRRD claims that after the current subdivision application is approved they will negotiate an alternative plan with the owners. If the application is approved the owners will have a transferable right conferred. What interest will they have in considering alternatives, after the fact? What would serve to compel the developer to preserve a Canadian national treasure, when the local government, despite what they have said, have chosen not to act in the public interest?

One can hope, that the professionals in the Ministry of Environment, other referral agencies and the Approving Officer himself will take a closer look; consider the scientific evidence, and the environmental degradation that will occur, recognize the devastating consequences of slicing up of the dunes on this parcel, act in the public interest and not permit it.

The PRRD did not object to the subdivision application, but Savaryites did and very strongly. A petition mounted to oppose the subdivision and object to the PRRD’s lack of objection to it was signed by close to 300 people. More than 50 letters were written to the Approving Officer objecting to the subdivision and copied to SILT.

In August the PRRD held a meeting about the draft OCP. One area of contention between the PRRD and the SIC with regard to this document is section 3. This section deals with subdivision. SIC recommended a process for considering increased density in the case of new subdivisions. According to minutes of the SIC meeting: Rod Kirkham (Wharf area) moved that any subdivision proposal should be considered based on the amount of Environmentally Sensitive Area's and greenspace preserved for the benefit of the Savary Island community. The motion was seconded by Stephen Jeffery (Indian Point area). Peter Raven (Savary Shores) abstained from the vote and Lowell Johnson (Mid Island), who left the meeting early, requested that it be recorded in the minutes that, had he been present , he would have voted against the motion. Section 8 was also endorsed by the SIC, with only minor changes. Both motions were carried with 7 of 9 in favour.

The PRRD wrote their zoning formulae for increased density right into their draft of the OCP. When questioned at the public meeting in August, PRRD Chair, Colin Palmer was not able to explain the PRRD version of section 3.3d and admitted that it did not make sense. No other Island in the Strait has an OCP that writes the zoning right into it. In a recent letter to the SIC, the PRRD noted that: their version of section 3.3d would ease development, the SIC version would not, as it would require more public information sessions and hearings. One thing we can all count on, the PRRD is dedicated to more development on Savary Island, and it would appear, at any cost. More development simply means more tax dollars, and in these budget cutting times, more for less must be a very tempting proposition.

Savary Island is according to OCP consultant Derek Pratt “reaching critical development thresholds.” In 1910 Savary Island was over subdivided in a land speculation scheme, which imposed a city style grid plan on this un-serviced rural island landscape. No provision was made for public land, watershed or greenspace.

When polled in an Island wide questionnaire in 1998, Savaryrites noted that preservation of island greenspace was a top priority. When asked:
How important is the preservation of green space on Savary?
81% chose Very Important
16% chose Moderately important
3% chose Not Important

A news article in the Powell River Peak (October 11, 2000) titled Bylaw full speed ahead reported that the PRRD directors reversed their position on the possibility of preparing a zoning bylaw for DL 1375 before the completion of the OCP. In the summer of 1997 the PRRD told a large group of islanders at a public meeting that no zoning bylaw would be adopted before the OCP was finalized.

What is required now is the on-going education and commitment of the SIC and all Savary Islanders to agree to a plan that protects the unique ecology of Savary and addresses the horrendous legacy of 1910. Without this, the present community, their children and grand children will suffer the consequences of ignorance, greed and narrow self-interest.
Let your new SIC know how you feel about the future of this fragile island! Liz Webster.

Savary Island Committee Election. Island owners and residents may vote for up to 3 people. Votes are weighted choose carefully!


 

Lot needed at Indian Point: I have the promise of funds to purchase another lot for the Trust which is beside the 3 lots I donated last year at Indian Point. This is a wonderful opportunity as it would preserve 4 contiguous lots in an area of particular natural beauty. If, on the other hand, the lot were developed it would reduce the value of the Trust's 3 lots. However, this deal is contingent on finding another vacant lot for the present owner. Bill Palfrey is actively looking for such a lot. The two other Island realtors also know of it. Nothing has come up however. So I think it is time for all SILT members to do what they can to assist. The present owner's requirements are for an interior lot preferrably in the Indian Point area not too far from the beach, an undeveloped lot, in the $30,000 to $45,000 range I think. Does anyone know of anyone willing to sell such a lot?

Christopher Harvey, Q.C.
mailto:charvey@van.fasken.com
Tel: (604) 631-4822


 

It is not too late Stop the subdivision of Savary

SILT believes that the subdivision of DL 1375 will cause serious adverse and unacceptable destruction of this ecological national treasure. Science suggests that this subdivision, if approved will adversely affect the natural environment to an unacceptable level; clearly, this outcome is against the public interest.

The chance to preserve this ecological and geological gem is here now. Please ACT! Write to the Provincial Approving Officer.

Mr. Howard Hunter Provincial Approving Officer
Ministry of Transportation and Highways
200-1065 Columbia Street,
New Westminister, B.C. V3M 6H7
Fax (604) 660-8371 or
EMAIL: Howard.Hunter@gems8.gov.bc.ca
Send copies to:

The Honourable David Anderson, PC, MP
Minister of the Environment
808-300 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 6B4
Fax: (604) 666-4524
EMAIL: Anderson.D@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Minister Joan Sawicki.
Environment Lands and Parks
Room 337, Parliament Buildings,
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
FAX (250) 387-1356
EMAIL: elpmail@gems2.gov.bc.ca

The Honourable Gordon Wilson, MLA
4685b Marine Ave.,
Powell River, B.C. V8A 2L2
FAX (604) 485-0787
EMAIL: Gordon.Wilson@gems1.gov.bc.ca

Mr. Colin Palmer,
Chair Powell River Regional District
5776 Marine Ave.,
Powell River, B.C.
Fax (604) 483-2229
EMAIL: palmer@prcn.org

The Savary Island Committee
c/o Paul Leighton,
Lund BC, V0N 2G0
EMAIL: paull@aisl.bc.ca

Please send a copy of your correspondence to SILT for our records.
SILT Box 141
Lund, BC V0N 2G0
EMAIL: silt@prcn.org