A healthy crowd showed up for Parks Canada's second kick at their near urban park concept for Bowen Island on August 25th, 2011 despite it being one of the nicer summer days we have experienced this year.
The presentation was positive placing things through a lens that one would expect from Parks Canada. The language used showcased Bowen as a National Park and not merely a land reserve. Richard Carson, the newly placed Director of Western Establishment Initiatives... in other words the civil servant who will be doing the heavy hitting and the representation to the federal politicians on the Bowen initiative, went to some length to assure the attendees that ferry matters were very much on their mind and would be addressed. He and his new counterpart, Helen Davies, the Field Unit Superintendent, also explained that the economic stimulus of Parks Canada on Bowen would not be trivial. Employees would be living on the island, roads used in the course of the Park would be maintained by them. Probably most importantly to a good slice of people on Bowen, they stated that Crippen Park would have to be part of the Park but they were in the process of arranging for a shared agreement between themselves and the GVRD on the management. Many of the concerns issued by the residents in their comments to Parks Canada were addressed in varying degrees of satisfaction to Bowen. Marine conservation was positively acknowledged as a requirement where possible such as the aquatic area where the newly included Lieben lands are, however, the degree to which the people of Bowen have control or say over what transpires once the process begins after the vote is questionable.
In other words, the people of Bowen vote to either go along for the ride or not. It all hinges on whether or not Bowenians feel the Parks Canada's brand, heritage and past encounters with other communities it works with make it worth our while. Worth our while both economically and the way it will shape our community thereby giving the visiting public a vehicle to experience and learn about the natural environment in a near urban setting.
The question and answer period had a wide range of people asking pointed questions, from the desire for Parks Canada to bring meaningful self-sustaining economic development to the island to the assertion that Parks Canada's thinking was flawed and they should be looking up the Sea to Sky highway rather than involving a locale like Bowen that involves a ferry.
Parks Canada's presentation was based on their Revised Park Concept document for the assessment of a National Park Reserve lands on Bowen Island. The document goes into a fair amount of detail both in word and maps. You can find the document here [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 3.96 MB]. Their previous draft document from February 2011 can be found here [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.24 MB].
If you wish to watch the video of the presentation, you can Download the video here [QuickTime - 504.64 MB] ( with Internet Explorer use right-click >
save target as, on a Mac use control-click > save link as...
or you can watch online after the break.