Should Bowen host a national park?

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On November 19, 2011, Bowen Islanders voted on the question: “Do you support the creation of a national park reserve on Bowen Island?” At that time Parks Canada was studying the feasibility of creating a national park reserve on Bowen Island.

The proposal was defeated.

This was due in part to the scope of the proposal, as well as other political change on the island.

This site is a project of Partners for the Park, a group of Bowen Islanders and mainlanders who helped explore the possibilities and the potential benefits of a national park reserve on Bowen. The content gives a snapshot of how we thought then, and the strong convictions many of us share about helping preserve the natural environment.

The remainder of the text on this site is as it was on the evening before the municipal election.

We’ll be voting ‘Yes’ to the question, and we encourage you to as well.

Parks Canada considers Bowen Island – and its unique Howe Sound marine ecology – sufficiently rich to warrant protection and celebration within the national parks system. As Howe Sound itself comes back to life,
Bowen Island can be at the centre of a regional renewal.

Our understanding is that there will also be other opportunities to approve or disapprove a park, after more negotations have been explored.

We encourage open conversation about how a park could work with the community, and to engage with Parks Canada and others in imagining what the best park for Bowen might be. In general we’re positive about the idea, but know that a number of concerns must be addressed before a park becomes a reality.

Naturally the scale and impact of a national park reserve has sparked a debate among islanders. Our focus is on the positive possibilities we believe will unfold for our community.

Imagine Bowen much as it has always been. Plus…

  • improved recreation opportunities
  • enhanced environmental and watershed protection & management
  • parkland-related upgrades we don’t need to pay for
  • new economic & business opportunities and jobs
  • new infrastructure possibilities
  • better fire protection
  • increased educational, interpretive and research opportunities
  • improved heritage preservation
  • more support for the arts

We believe it is important that our community thoroughly debate the various concerns associated with the possibility of having a national park as a neighbour. Before a new park is created, Parks Canada will have to provide more specifics concerning a range of issues, including…

  • managing an increased number of visitors to Bowen Island
  • providing ferry access for residents during peak periods
  • managing Crippen Park
  • addressing potential resident fees for park use
  • reducing local options for use of crown land
  • compensation for potential wear and tear on island infrastructure
  • effectively managing the impact on properties bordering the park
  • potential increases in property values and our ability to create and maintain low cost housing
  • governance and control, ensuring that promises will turn into appropriate actions
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