Savary Island Land Trust Society
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DL 1375: The Heart of the Island

The Ministry of Transportation Approving Officer made his decision on the Preliminary Layout Approval (PLA) for the subdivision of DL 1375 into 4 lots. The full report is attached and available at: http://www.powellriverrd.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/February-14-2012.pdf

The PLA follows the checkerboard pattern determined by the court, with lots 1 & 3 for the Nature Trust of BC and lots 2 & 4 for the Sahlins.

DL 1375 is the only remaining significant track of undeveloped land on Savary Island. At 330 acres, the property makes up almost a third of the island. Over more than a decade SILT has been dedicated to protecting the globally unique ecological features of this important land and to preserving it's invaluable natural and cultural heritage for future generations. 2012 will be the crucial year in our quest to finally provide some permanent protection to DL1375.

The PLA sets out the conditions that the developer has to satisfy in order to proceed. DL 1375 is the only Development Permit Area in the entire Powell River Regional District and is subject to Development Permits with respect to shoreline areas, shoreline and inland dune areas and ecologically sensitive areas. The Powell River Regional District may be asked to consider and if appropriate approve Development Permits for this parcel. The PRRD will require that “Qualified Professionals” be hired to assess and make recommendations to satisfy the conditions for development. The developers must also work with Parks Canada and the Ministry of Environment to implement a recovery strategy for the species at risk on the property and ensure compliance with the Species at Risk Act. In addition, a qualified archaeologist will need to be hired to determine whether another Archaeological Impact Assessment will need to be done. This is likely. The PLA also includes new road building through a forested portion of the property and the widening of Vancouver Blvd to accommodate two way traffic. A Development Permit is also required for the road.

The trails on DL 1375 form a network that has been used and tended to by the community for countless generations. SILT is not satisfied with the limited trail accesses dedicated in the PLA. Several of the critical trails in this network are not currently protected. According to the PLA, the Powell River Regional District requires that a development permit be completed for the trail system and may require that additional trails to those identified on the PLA map be included as part of the trail system. SILT will continue to recommend that the PRRD protect all of the trail network by statutory right-of-ways.

The applicant has a year to satisfy all of the conditions of the PLA. The costs of subdivision could be substantial - perhaps several hundred thousand dollars. They have not applied for any Development Permits yet. SILT will be watching the process carefully and will continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation, the Regional District, the Ministry of the Environment, Parks Canada, the Nature Trust of BC, and other interested parties with the goal of achieving maximum protection of this irreplaceable natural setting.