Savary Island Land Trust Society
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July 26, 2002 Letter to Powell River Regional District Re: OCP

The Chair and Members of the Board
Powell River Regional District
5776 Marine Avenue
Powell River, BC
V8A 2M4

Dear Directors:

The Savary Island Land Trust Society is a non-profit registered charity with 140 members. We hold title to 6 lots on Savary Island and one ten-acre parcel. The Savary Island Land Trust Society objects strenuously to the recent decision by the current SIC and the PRRD Planning Committee to eliminate Section 8 from the Savary Island draft OCP. This action is short sighted and irresponsible. In fact it is a complete abrogation of the public trust. If the OCP currently being considered is adopted by the Regional Board there will be no regulatory provision in the OCP by-law. This will render the entire document powerless. This is completely unacceptable.

The Savary Island Committee was born out of the notion that the Island was under threat and in need of protection. Many concerned Islanders are enraged at this total disregard for their expressed interest in the protection of Savary Island. The OCP being considered currently, without Section 8, flippantly and expediently discards many years of hard work, diligence and disruption to the lives of Savary Islanders. The need for protection of the Island is now more urgent than ever. You cannot ignore your responsibility to preserve this sacred land.

We are incensed that the SIC and the PRRD Planning Committee would arbitrarily pass a resolution to eliminate Section 8 from the OCP without any public consultation, input or consideration. This is an extreme diversion from the OCP presented July 7, 2001 and contravenes due public expectations. It violates the principle of public process.

The SIC recommendation to remove Section 8 is spurious and feeble minded. It does not represent the wishes of the community as stated again and again through meetings, correspondence and documented in the Island questionnaire.

Without Section 8 the intent of the entire document is lost.

The current OCP draft cannot obtain its stated objectives without Section 8. Without the mechanism of Section 8, Sections 2, 3, 4 and 5 are irrelevant. As stated in Section 2 Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Hazard Lands:

" As development and human activity intensifies on Savary so does the risk to permanently alter or destroy valuable environmental features, environmentally sensitive areas and resources. It is important that these environmentally sensitive areas be understood prior to accommodating future development so as to not irreversibly alter the Island's aesthetically pleasing uplands, its biodiversity or marine based natural areas."

If the PRRD passes this expedient amendment to the OCP, it does so in opposition to the Ministry of Land Water and Air Protection and the Coast Garibaldi Health referral recommendations.

We would remind both the SIC and the PRRD that: "The single area of concern for BC Parks is adequate protection for the Ecologically Sensitive Areas as identified within the plan…" In addition BC Parks stated that they: "… encourage the Regional District and Savary Island residents to strive for the maximum protection of the sensitive areas…"

Section 8 and the DPA's were a part of the first OCP draft. DPA's were established based on research conducted for the PRRD by Internationally recognized environmental consultants, Golder and Associates, and have always been a part of the document. Further research by Provincial, Federal, academic and independent scientists strengthened and supported the Golder and Associates recommendations. The Provincial and Federal Sunshine Coast Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory documented rare and endangered plant communities and geological features on Savary Island. These environmentally sensitive areas have no protection without Section 8. Section 8 is based on sound science and is in response to public concern.

Furthermore Section 7, Watershed and Aquifer Stewardship is rendered futile without the supportive substance of Section 8!

The current draft OCP specifically states: "The maintenance of the quality of the aquiferial water must take priority over quantity …Therefore there is a need to conduct a hydrogeological assessment to determine the level of protection required to sustain the quality and quantity of the Islands water supply. " (Section 7.) Without a regulatory provision for the protection of Island resources and environmentally sensitive areas there is no regulatory requirement for an assessment of the Island's water supply.

Garabaldi Health Registered Environmental Health Officer specifically cites Section 8 DP- 4.a as important to the sustainability of this important source of water for many Island residents and it was also recognized as such by the former Ministry of Environment. With only limited data on the Island aquifers and ecosystems available it is very clear that the precautionary principle must prevail.

The OCP has received public comment and input throughout the process. The public has never recommended the removal of Section 8 and at the recent Information meeting July 7 there was no suggestion that this section be removed. The Planning Committee and the SIC had no mandate to adopt such a ludicrous position.

According to the 1998 Savary Island questionnaire, the majority of Savary Islanders consider conservation of the Island to be a priority. The only mechanism within the OCP to address this concern is Section 8. It is vital to the sustainability of the Island. As evidenced by the enclosures from Islanders this issue is of grave concern to the community.

We demand that the by-law before you be returned to the public. We implore you to cease this impetuous action. Do not complete the reading of this ill-conceived by-law in haste.

We demand that Section 8 be retained in its entirety, as Islanders believe it to be. If amendments are required, we demand they be subject to public consultation as required by the process.


Sincerely,


Liz Webster
Vice Chair,


Keith MacDougall
Trustee,

Per Savary Island Land Trust Society