Edward Porter met with a group of Bowen Islanders on Zoom in November and described the draft plan f...
A chance to re-envision the Cape
Where there is curiousity and honesty, there is a chance for positive change. At Cape Roger Curtis a shift in generations opens an opportunity to overcome our history and reconnect with aspirations for a balanced community at the Cape that islanders can believe in.
In spring 2019 we began asking Bowen Islanders what they would like to see in future at Cape Roger Curtis. One option is to leave the zoning as is, with the downside being that gradually as the 10-acre lots are sold, the community would lose access to the southern coast and the forests.
The other option is to try to balance island needs with four main objectives:
- Protect the environment through parks, conservancies and covenants
- Deliver a public waterfront park
- Promote affordability and diversity of housing
- Offer community gathering places and amenities
We interviewed people who had opposed the previous rezoning over a decade ago for their unvarnished opinions on the past and future of the Cape. We met with individuals and groups of many different backgrounds and opinions about the area. We engaged online and conducted small surveys, and reviewed documents such as the Bowen Island Community Foundation’s Vital Conversations Report, the Bowen Community Lands Workshop Report and the OCP. Many island aspirations emerged, though some are at odds with others. We’ve posted a searchable, representative sample of the public comments made before a plan was formulated.
The questions before us are: is a better future for the Cape possible? If so, what would it be? And could this draft plan satisfy that?
One comment we heard a few times was that it was hard to give an opinion when there was no plan to react to. In the fall of 2020, we are presenting a draft plan that tries to balance what people told us in a rezoning plan for the approx. 340-acre area. The draft isn’t perfect, and it will benefit from public review now to ensure it is representative and worthwhile for islanders.
In the spring of 2021 the planners will update the draft to better reflect what people are telling us. After that, a polished plan will go to the Municipality for a public process.
Significant challenges need community help to solve. How can the negative impacts be softened or avoided so that the positive aspects can be enjoyed by islanders? Now is the time of greatest flexibility, before the submission of a plan to the Muni, when individuals and groups have the best opportunity to influence the details. And we encourage you to do so.
Video: aerial footage of the section of southern coastline that could become public parks, conservancies and a small eco-spiritual retreat. The western boundary is where you’ll see a house under construction on a neighbouring lot; the southern boundary is just beyond the farthest clearing to the right (east).