Savary Island Land Trust Society
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Finding Solutions

David Suzuki Foundation Letter (re-typed) June 19, 2000

Mr. Howard Hunter, Provincial Approving Officer,
Ministry of Transportation and Highways,
200 - 1065 Columbia Street,
New Westminster, B.C. V3M 6H7

Ref. No. 0339/Savary Island/dune system

Dear Mr. Hunter:

It is my understanding that you are presently considering an application form Mr. David Syre (Trillium Corporation) and Mr. Roger Sahlin to subdivide DL1375 and three adjoining parcels into 33 ten acre parcels.

Savary Island is just over 1000 acres in size and this subdivision would affect one third of the entire Island.

Our Foundation has reviewed a number of documents and studies of the dune ecosystem that comprises the area under consideration for subdivision. We have also reviewed the Land Title Act provisions that empower you to approve or reject an application. We note that should you find an unacceptable level of adverse affects on the natural environment from the anticipated development of the subdivision then you may not permit it.

We also note that you must base that decision upon all available environmental impact and planning studies. A Judicial Review of major land-use decisions can be taken by either the proponents or opponents of matters under federal or provincial law. I raise that because of my familiarity with environmental impact assessment and the magnitude of this proposed subdivision upon a very small island. There is a direct and inverse relationship between the number of species found and the size of an island. Some excellent work has been done in this field and I urge you to study aquifer and biodiversity materials carefully in light of the conclusion reached by Dr. Brian Bawtinheimer, Senior Park Planner in his recommendations that Ecological Reserve status would be the best management strategy for this sensitive ecosystem. His report titled Report on Natural and Recreational Values District Lot 1375 Savary Island, notes; "The uniqueness of the site automatically justifies classifying the area as rare and potentially threatened given potential future development."

We note the views of Dr. John Claque, Professor of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University that there should be no subdivision until its potential impacts are known.

We note the views of Dr. Kathy Dunster, a registered professional biologist that "The property (DL 1375) provides one of the best examples of the geography of dune ecosystems in Canada."

In light of the magnitude of impact that could come from 33 separate developments on these fragile dunes we believe you must accept the obvious. The anticipated development of the subdivision would have an unacceptable level of impact on the natural environment. You cannot therefore permit it. Period.

Should your good offices continue to consider approving the subdivision we wish to be notified and intervene in the public interest. We wish to formally intervene and provide you with "all available environmental impact and planning studies" as required by the Land Title Act. These are substantial. At our offices alone there are many documents which you have not reviewed and which would assist you.

We look forward to learning that this fragile core of Savary Island has been spared the destruction of a 33 parcel subdivision.


Jim Fulton,
Executive Director

cc. Hon. Harry Lali, Minister of Transportation and Highways
  Hon. Joan Sawicki, Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks
  Hon. David Anderson, Minister of Environment

2211 West 4th Ave., Suite 219
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6K 4S2
Tel: (604) 732-4228
Fax: (604) 732-0752