Archive for the 'Powell River Regional District' Category

Pondering local government on Texada

By Tom Read

BC's Local Government Act, the Regional District Tool Kit (available at the Texada Library) and "A Guide to Regional District Board Delegation to Committees and Commissions" are some of the information sources about Local Community Commissions in BC.

Last night at the Texada Island Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting we heard a presentation on the possibility of a Local Community Commission (LCC) for Texada. The speakers were Dave Murphy, now in his fourth term representing our island on the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) Board of Directors, and Frances Ladret, the District Administrator.  More in a moment on what they had to say, how some people reacted to it, and what might happen next. Warning: this is a longer-than-usual post; please bear with me.

First, it’s important to note that the Chamber is a private, non-profit organization that serves mainly as an informal forum for Texadans to discuss “what’s happening” on the island. Indeed, at last night’s meeting we also heard local farmer Dave Opko give a very informative talk about recent changes to Provincial livestock farm-gate sales regulations. Those changes favour places like our island, but that’s another story.

The Chamber sometimes sponsors public meetings open to all, such as a candidates forum at election time. But its regular meetings are held at the Texada Legion and are limited to members and guests only, by advance reservation. Seating space is limited to about 50 people for such dinner meetings. In the interest of full disclosure, I must add that I’ve been a director of the Chamber since 2002, and the just-elected president of the Chamber happens to be Linda Bruhn, my wife. Last night’s meeting was her first in that role.

Back to the LCC presentation. The idea of a Local Community Commission for Texada piqued quite a lot of interest, especially from those already involved in local government activities of one sort or another. We had a full house, including several trustees from Texada’s two Improvement Districts, along with past and present members of various committees, commissions and community organizations. Many people in the room wear multiple hats, serving on various community groups and as businesspeople.

Dave Murphy introduced the topic by saying that he wasn’t necessarily for or against an LCC, but he wanted us to be aware of the possibility of such an entity, and he wanted to get an informal idea from our group whether we would be interested in learning more about it through a public consultation process. Then Frances took to the podium and gave a succinct explanation of the LCC concept, how others have used it, and why Texada might want to consider adopting it. I don’t have the space to go through the whole presentation here, but I do want to cover a few highlights, below.

So what is an LCC, and why would Texada be a possible candidate for one? Under section 838 of the BC Local Government Act, Regional District Boards can delegate some of their authority for operating services to an LCC whose members are elected from within a remote electoral area, such as Texada Island. Although it can administer day-to-day operation of local services and can advise the Board on budgets and policies for those services, an LCC can’t pass bylaws or enter into contracts. But, as Frances mentioned, the Board would normally approve the LCC’s budget and policy recommendations, provided there was no additional cost or liability incurred by residents of other electoral areas or by the Board itself.

Local Community Commissions were designed for geographically well-defined remote areas with several local services. Texada happens to support several island-only services administered by Regional District staff who live in Powell River. There’s an economic cost to having our local government administered by people who don’t live on the island. Because of travel time, an administrator may spend five or six hours on a Texada task that would have taken less than half that time on the mainland. And Texadans who want to provide input on policy or meet with administrators have to travel to Powell River to have a meaningful voice in local government.

Frances mentioned that Texada has more services than any other electoral area in the PRRD, but there’s no coordinating body on the island to see that our services are delivered efficiently. Instead, each one acts independently of the others. Take building management, for example: our Recreation Commission maintains certain buildings, our Airport Committee looks after other buildings at the airport, and the Health Services Society advises the PRRD on the building that houses our Health Centre. There’s no island-wide venue for setting priorities or taking advantage of joint operating efficiencies.

About 80% of Texada’s residents also receive services from our island’s two Improvement Districts, one in Van Anda and the other in Gillies Bay. These existing layers of bureaucracy — PRRD and Improvement Districts — don’t coordinate much, either. According to Frances, there might be greater operating efficiency and ability to obtain grant funds by changing the Improvement Districts into Service Areas administered on Texada through an elected LCC. That might eliminate a layer of bureaucracy while still keeping local control of those services in each of the two villages.

There’s a lot more to the story, but the above highlights are enough to indicate that an LCC would represent a significant change for Texada. Not surprisingly, this prospect alarmed a number of audience members.  Objections included the following:

— Since it couldn’t pass bylaws or enter into contracts, an LCC would be powerless, so why do it?

— An LCC would be just another layer of bureaucracy with additional costs, which we don’t need.

— The only reason to even look at this would be to get funding for fixing our water systems, and there’s no guarantee of that.

— Everything is fine with our Regional District services today, so why bother?

There are also compelling arguments supporting the LCC option. Now that the topic has surfaced, I hope Texadans will do some research and learning on their own, not just relying on information brought to them by PRRD. Frances provided a background handout, and a little more delving on the Internet readily yields much more detail about possibilities and options for local influence on a regional district.

The next step, I believe, is for Director Murphy to call a public meeting to present the LCC concept to a wider audience. That meeting could address the objections that surfaced at the Chamber last night, and could also help us decide, as a community, whether to further pursue the LCC concept. We owe ourselves a more thorough and well-informed discussion about this possibility — or even other options.

More parks for Texada like shipping coals to Newcastle

By Tom Read

About one hundred years ago a large hotel stood on this bluff overlooking Texada's harbour at Marble Bay. Some of the ruins are still visible among the trees and along the shoreline at low tide. Today this spot is a local park administered by the Powell River Regional District.

To the Directors

of the Powell River Regional District:

I am a full-time Texada Island resident and business owner who has lived on the island for the last 10 years. My comments relate to the proposed Regional District Parks and Greenspace Plan in relation to Texada.

Texada has ample existing parks and publicly accessible recreation areas, along with relatively low development pressure. Even a cursory reading of Texada’s Official Community Plan (OCP) confirms that approximately 75% of Texada’s 100,000+ acres are Crown land, and many lakes and trails contained therein are freely available for public recreational use. In addition, Texada already has a host of designated parks and recreation areas, including Shelter Point Park with its two campgrounds and nature trail, Van Anda Cove, Erikson’s Beach, Marble Bay Bluffs, two large provincial parks totaling hundreds of acres at the south end of Texada, Shingle Beach and Bob’s Lake forestry campgrounds, the Emily Lake trail, and the walking trail and access points all around Gillies Bay. We have oodles of acres of designated parks and recreation areas already, considering our small population of 1,100 residents.

So I was surprised that our electoral area director would include Texada in the proposed Parks and Greenspace Plan (PGP). Also, as a practicing licensed realtor serving Texada Island, I can confirm that there isn’t much happening in private land development here. So why is the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) pushing a PGP on our island?

Could it be that the mainland electoral areas and PPRD administrative staff feel they need a PGP, and they want Texadans to help pay for the consultants? If so, then I feel this is a misuse of Texadans’ tax dollars, because our island clearly doesn’t need more parks or “greenspace.”

I put that word “greenspace” in quotes because it is an urban planning term that’s inappropriate for rural Texada Island. Cities need “greenspace” among their large swaths of concrete and blacktop; we don’t. Unlike a crowded urban area that has destroyed almost all of the natural flora and fauna in its vicinity, Texada retains much of its natural inheritance.

Texada’s OCP already contains several potential park and recreation sites should our community someday need them. These areas were carefully selected by Texadans only five years ago both for their natural beauty and to avoid conflict with potential resource development. Our OCP also designates certain lands for “Resource” and “Rural Low Density” uses, which explicitly support environmentally and socially responsible mining, forestry and other industrial activities. It appears to me that the PGP, a mainland- and consultant-driven process, is both duplicating and undermining our OCP by trying to add more parks and “greenspace” on Texada at the likely expense of our Resource and Rural Low Density lands. This could ultimately discourage local industrial investment, endanger local businesses and choke off the well-paid industrial jobs that support Texada’s generous community and public services.

Finally, parks cost money. Given current economic conditions it should be obvious that many of us would prefer not to have our taxes increased just now to buy and operate yet more Texada Island parks.

For the above reasons, I object to including Texada in the PGP process in the first place. But since that ship has sailed, I strongly oppose any PGP recommendations for further parks or “greenspace” on Texada Island.

Sincerely,

Tom Read

An island needs a wharf

By Tom Read

Two adjacent signs warn the public to stay off the wharf during repairs. Why two signs? Maybe this has something to do with lawyers and consultants. At least we're finally seeing our only public wharf get some well-deserved repairs.

A few days ago, men with hardhats and heavy construction equipment began repairing Texada’s only public wharf, located at Van Anda Cove. It has taken several years to reach this moment, so I’m glad that it’s finally happening. The cost of labour and materials kept going up year after year while commencement of work was delayed and the wharf continued to deteriorate, so some of us wondered if it would ever be saved.

In fact, we’re losing vehicle access out to the end of the wharf; henceforth, it will only accommodate foot traffic. But that’s all we can afford today, if wharf repairs are to meet the liability-proof standard set forth by an engineering consultant hired by the Powell River Regional District. Consulting invoices, over the years, ate up a mid-five-figures chunk of the “marine services” budget, an unfortunate fact of life. At least we still have a public space where Texadans and visitors can get out on the water, as people of all ages have done for more than a century at Van Anda Cove.

Yes, an island community just ought to have a structurally sound public wharf, and that’s exactly what I expect we’ll get when the current work is done. Then all we’ll have to do is maintain it, which should be easy by comparison to this painful, multi-year wharf rescue project.

Citizenship practice

By Tom Read

The Powell River Regional District lives in a former residence in the Townsite part of Powell River. The residence may date from 1911, but the PRRD started in the late 1960s. Texada Island is known as "Electoral Area D" of the regional district.

It is not uncommon for Texadans to consider themselves citizens of Texada Island. If you care enough about a place to identify yourself as a citizen, not merely a “resident,” then it follows that you would find it worthwhile to keep yourself informed about public policies affecting your home. So it is with me.

A routine part of my citizenship practice is to keep an informed eye on government. All levels of government affect our lives here on Texada, but I especially like to follow the activities of our local government, the Powell River Regional District (PRRD).  Why? Because local government touches our community directly, every day, and it seems more accountable to citizens than the “senior” levels of government (provincial and federal).  Here are some examples of PRRD agenda items:

— Proposed tax rates for Texada property owners for next year, and the cost of our local government;

— Proposed new services and the tax increases and fees expected to fund them;

— How often the PRRD Directors meet in camera (behind closed doors) and for what purposes;

— Who is recommended (and ultimately given) contracts, at what cost, to do tree work, gardening, carpentry, grass-cutting, facilities maintenance, and various types of professional consulting regarding Texada;

— How many campers stayed at Shelter Point Park last year, compared to previous years;

— Proposed land subdivisions;

— Proposed new regulations, including zoning bylaws, development permits, and burning restrictions;

— Proposed water licenses;

— Proposed industrial developments, including aquaculture, mining, power generation facilities, and communication towers;

— Who gets appointed to the local and regional committees that shape public policy on Texada;

— This year’s cost of insuring, heating, lighting and administering Texada’s public buildings;

— Who wants a local road permanently closed to vehicle traffic, and why;

— Which community groups are getting grants from the PRRD;

and the list goes on and on….

The word “proposed” occurs frequently, doesn’t it? That’s because such topics show up as agenda items for PRRD committee meetings before they’re voted on at an actual PRRD Directors meeting. There’s a window of opportunity, sometimes only a day, other times stretching into weeks, months or even years, when citizens will first learn about an issue, yet still have time to provide input to the directors before they vote on it.

Since most of the real work of governance takes place in committee meetings, it’s critical for citizens to get a look at committee agendas before the committee members meet to thrash out their “recommendations” to the formal Board of Directors. Why the quotes? Because by the time a committee makes specific recommendations, that’s quite often word-for-word (and dollar-for-dollar) what the directors will eventually approve as official policy.

Holding government accountable isn’t a particularly sexy topic, so I congratulate you if you’ve stayed with me this far. Now we come to the heart of the matter: the do-it-yourself citizen’s guide to keeping track of our local public servants. Here’s how to do it online:  go to the PRRD website home page, click on Meetings, then click on Agendas, then open and read each .pdf agenda package (warning: these are typically large files, requiring a high-speed internet connection). Beware also that the agenda package for a given committee is usually posted about 24 hours before the meeting, so if something important shows up, you may have to act fast to be heard in a meaningful way.

Each agenda package usually begins with Minutes from the previous meeting, so if you want to read about new stuff, scroll down and pick out anything that mentions “Texada” or that might affect Texada Island. By doing this each month, I feel that I’m much better informed as a citizen, and I am even able to occasionally give meaningful input before decisions that affect me are made.

Growing opportunities

By Tom Read

Here's a photo I took today of some thriving White Russian Kale in our garden. We bought these plants as seedlings from Carolyn Heriot in August. This open-pollinated kale variety is very cold-hardy and we find it quite satisfying in salads, stir-fry and even pesto sauce!

Here's a photo I took today of some thriving White Russian Kale in our garden. We bought these plants as seedlings from Carolyn Heriot in August. This open-pollinated kale variety is very cold-hardy and we find it quite satisfying in salads, stir-fry and even pesto sauce!

A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts here on the agricultural potential of Texada Island, based on a document just released by the Powell River Regional District (PRRD). Texada Island is Area D within the PRRD. In that previous post I mentioned several strengths that support the idea of a positive agricultural future for Texada, such as favourable climate, soil, water, and proximity to markets.

This week I’d like to follow up with a few thoughts about agricultural  opportunities, starting with a general statement from the PRRD report, entitled “Powell River Agricultural Plan — Economic Development Discussion Paper,” by consultant Gary Rolston.   Here’s a summary of the paper’s comment on agricultural opportunities for individuals:

It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify opportunities for individual operators without knowing the individual or the resources they have available to them. This has happened in the past. An “opportunity” is identified to a broad audience. Several people get into the business at the same time and the market is saturated before the first product is available for sale. Opportunities are created by people who have the ability to evaluate trends that suit the resources they have available and can have products available for market when demand is strong. [my emphasis]

The paper goes on to identify three possible “opportunities” for individuals in our region: developing an abattoir or food processing facility, creating value-added products from local produce, and starting a vineyard/winery. Hmm. If you’re interested in making value-added products, wouldn’t that require some kind of food processing facility? Would it be cost-effective for an individual to create such facilities?

As for making wine, I’ve noticed that our region, including Texada, already has affordable custom wine-making services available, and it’s not that difficult to ferment your own, either. Since wine is a discretionary food purchase (unlike, for example, vegetables, grains, and other food staples), and given the many imported wines I see for sale at Texada’s grocery stores, perhaps that market is a bit “saturated.”

So, are there any opportunities that don’t require a large up-front investment in processing facilities?

One possibility not mentioned in Rolston’s paper is growing winter salad greens and vegetables. As about fifty of us heard from Carolyn Heriot at a Texada Garden Club-sponsored workshop in August, almost all greens and vegetables are currently imported into our region during the cold months of the year. She lives near Victoria, and claims to have found a strong demand in her area for fresh local vegetables that can be grown and harvested all during the winter — because the imported stuff isn’t so fresh and is rather expensive as well. Carolyn is author of a best-selling BC coastal gardening book, A Year on The Garden Path, and also sells coastally-adapted seeds (see her website at http://earthfuture.com/gardenpath/Lectures.htm for more information).

Admittedly, our rural island isn’t quite as affluent as the urbanized Vancouver Island market that Carolyn sells to, but it would be a huge accomplishment if local farmers could meet Texada’s needs for fresh produce in the winter. We could also export fresh produce to Powell River if the cost of distribution and marketing could be kept reasonable.

Which brings up another type of opportunity: cooperation among local farmers and eaters in the financing and operation of local food processing facilities, including possibly an abattoir. Texada has few land-use regulations that would get in the way of setting up a small-scale food-processing facility. But do we have the entrepreneurial spirit and financial resources capable of competing with the industrial food system? And could we do it in a way that wouldn’t endanger the livelihoods of our neighbours who work in our local grocery stores?

Food for thought, as they say.

Local, local government

By Tom Read

Public meetings can be visually dull, so instead here’s a photo I took years ago showing the industrial scene at Blubber Bay, which in this case can serve as a rather loose, rocky (ahem!) analogy for how efficiently the PRRD directors ran through their agenda last night at Gillies Bay. Besides, I forgot to bring my camera to the meeting.

Public meetings can be visually dull, so instead here’s a photo I took years ago showing the industrial scene at Blubber Bay, which in this case can serve as a rather loose, rocky (ahem!) analogy for how efficiently the PRRD directors ran through their agenda last night at Gillies Bay. Besides, I forgot to bring my camera to the meeting.

Not a typo, the title of this piece means that Texada Island’s main local government body, the Powell River Regional District Board of Directors, actually convened in all its glory on Texada yesterday for its monthly Directors’ meeting. This made it a physically local, local government for the first time in anyone’s memory, according to a few longtime Texadans I spoke to. Usually, the directors gather in Powell River, not especially accessible for Texadans who want to keep an eye on the local politicians.

The Texada local government tour came about mainly through efforts of our own Electoral Area Director, Dave Murphy. Dave got to show off our island’s impressive range of public and community facilities to his political colleagues, driving everyone around in the Texada Island Inn’s 13-passenger van. The assembled dignitaries then dined at the Tree Frog Bistro.  And then everyone got down to business at the Texada Community Hall in Gillies Bay.

The meeting started a few minutes after 7:00 pm, with probably around 80 to 90 people in the audience. That’s an extraordinary level of attendance for a local government meeting on an island summer evening, in my experience. Why so much interest? Answer: most likely, Lehigh’s proposed South Texada Quarry at Davie Bay, virtually the only controversial item on the night’s agenda. That item drew speakers pro and con for about 20 minutes, while the directors silently listened.

No fireworks erupted, no discussion ensued, no decision occurred. That’s set for next month in Powell River, of course (fireworks optional). No, in Gillies Bay last night the meeting rather lacked entertainment value after each side had had its say, because Chairman Colin Palmer (representing Electoral Area C, “south of town”) closed the meeting to further public comment so the Board could get on with its business. Indeed, from that point on, the directors moved swiftly through their agenda like limestone dropping from a conveyor onto a barge.

Thus, much of the audience departed shortly after public comments ended. It was, after all, a pleasant summer evening.

But those of us who stayed got to applaud as several distinguished islanders received much-deserved public recognition for their decades of volunteer efforts. We witnessed the founding of the Texada Island Heritage Commission, a new public service on our island that emerged through the efforts of the Texada Heritage Society. Plus, we got a subtle lesson in local government: all the real work happens in committees; the monthly directors’ meeting merely ratifies decisions made earlier in the process. The whole thing lasted only about an hour and twenty minutes.

Finally, the directors, their two staffers and a lone newspaper reporter all adjourned to the Texada Island Inn’s pub in Van Anda for a bit of libation and conversation before heading back to Powell River, the true seat of Texada’s not-so-local, local government.

An open letter concerning the Lehigh proposal for Davie Bay

By David Moore

Davie Bay, on Texada Island

Davie Bay, on Texada Island

[Editor’s note: the following is a letter sent by David Moore to the Powell River Regional Board on August 14, 2009, regarding Lehigh Minerals’ mining proposal and Crown land applications at Davie Bay.]

Dear Directors,

“There is a weakness – a Great Big Frailty – to the simplistic ‘economic’ argument for conservation of forests and wildlife. It’s like telling kids they need a mother because who else will make them toast and jam. True, but it misses the point. Every kid needs a mother for the irreplaceable goodness they give with or without the toast.”
(Rowan Jacobsen in Fruitless Fall)

It is important for the present and the future well-being of Texada Island (and the wider community) that our Regional Board firmly recommend against a proposal from Lehigh Minerals to develop a mine and barge port at Davie Bay. The reasons are many and I’ll list them in the order of priority which, in my view, makes a strong case for conservation.

But first I must state that it is wrong for people in general, and the media in particular, to characterize the issues and frame the debate as a polarized battle between those who are pro-mining and those who are anti-mining. That is divisive and over-simplified. Let’s look at the bigger picture and be sensible about planning decisions that will resonate into the future for generations.

For the last one hundred years the industrialized nations of the world have been gobbling up the planet’s finite natural resources at a rate that everyone and his dog knows cannot be sustained. The party’s over and the binge must be reduced drastically. Most politicians and bankers and business leaders will not be informing us and warning us of the accelerated rate of species extinctions, eco-system collapse, dying oceans, and the consequences of global climate change caused by industrial overshoot. As a society we need to tune in to what scientists are saying and slow the pace of resource extraction way down. Texada Island has several active limestone mines already and another is simply redundant and unneeded at this time.

It helps to consider the map of Texada and understand the location of Davie Bay and what lies close around it. Davie Bay is near the mid-point of Texada Island’s west coast. Like Powell River, it faces the glorious setting sun and its visual aspect is a stunning view of Vancouver Island. Davie Bay is a natural environment of exceptional beauty. Rocky and rugged, it is enhanced by the sculptural presence of small moundy islands which resemble huge whales at rest in the tidal pools. The fact that these tiny, fragile islands have received the land use designation ‘Resource’ by the Texada Island Official Community Plan cries out for an amended OCP, not for capitulation to Lehigh Minerals’ attempt to profit from a flawed plan. Sections of the OCP support environmental conservation and therefore the ambiguity problems deserve a closer look. Checking the map you’ll see that Davie Bay is about mid-way between Shelter Point Park and the recreation site of Shingle Beach. These are two other gems of Texada’s natural endowments which islanders and visitors revere for not only their beauty but the fact they have year round public road access. Stretching southeast from Mouat Bay near Shelter Point, leading in the direction of Davie Bay, is a wonderful hiking trail through the forest along the shoreline which is one of the best places in the Powell River Regional District to see old growth Douglas Firs which are hundreds of years old. About ten kilometres further southeast, Shingle Beach is a terrific spot for day visits or wilderness camping. The beach itself is perfect for kayaks and for people — it consists of a uniform coarse sand that cushions the bow of a boat landing and doesn’t stick to skin or bare feet! Looking out from Shingle Beach one can clearly glimpse in the near distance Lasqueti Island and between it and Texada the once private Jedediah Island. The latter is now a Provincial Park thanks to the efforts of dedicated conservationists; it now joins Sabine Channel Provincial Park, the nearby South Texada Island Provincial Park, and others which make these immediate waters into a boaters’ paradise. These small islands and sheltered waters make up an archipelago which from a bird’s-eye view have an obvious affinity to the whole southwest shore of Texada. Davie Bay is thus situated, one could say, on an axis which has in close proximity the natural attractions of Shelter Point, Mouat Bay, Shingle Beach and the Jedediah group. On this point alone I could rest my case that Davie Bay has a higher and better use than a barge port for a rock quarry.

It deserves wider public understanding that the Regional Board has been asked to consider the use of public land for a mining and export operation. Lehigh Minerals owns hundreds of hectares upland of Davie Bay, but they are asking the BC Government to lease them hundreds more for mineral extraction and the barge port. This Crown land is owned by all British Columbians and therefore the interests of all of us are at stake. We know that mining has been and still is an integral part of life on Texada, and its presence is evident and even dominant on the north end of the island. One does not have to be anti-mining to see that the Davie Bay location is highly inappropriate for the proposed use by Lehigh. Perhaps there could be, or will be other quarries on Texada, but let’s be honest – a quarry is forever. It’s blasting and digging and selling the mother earth herself. No one’s going to put it back. The existing abandoned quarries on Texada should be a reminder of what this industry leaves behind. They have their charms as great swimming holes, it’s true, but look around and notice that bio-diversity has been permanently eliminated. One needn’t ponder for long to grasp the short-sighted foolishness of inflicting this fate upon the region close to Davie Bay. Even if Lehigh agrees to a different barge port site, the Regional Board should acknowledge that wider area conservation values should prevail and have the resolve to recommend that Crown lands in this area are unavailable.

The power of money and the behaviour of corporations are a part of modern life. For better or worse, no one escapes these forces. As long as we have a democracy, though, it is still within the rights and responsibilities of the general public and their elected officials to exercise self-determination and uphold values of equity and justice. It is apathy and ignorance which allows corporate interests to exploit the common good for their narrow focus of profit and gain. In the case of Lehigh Minerals it is worth looking at the source of their power and influence. The parent company is Heidelberg Cement of Germany. Heidelberg is a very big multinational corporate entity. With the takeover of Hanson in 2007, the company is the largest aggregate and the fourth largest cement producer in the world. In 2008 it turned a profit of 1.9 billion euros, and currently employs approximately 65,000 people worldwide in 2,800 locations in 50 countries. It should not go unreported to the BC Integrated Land Management Bureau however, that Heidelberg has an appalling record of regulatory violations spanning decades of time. Earlier this year, the largest corporate fines ever handed out in Europe targeted Heidelberg with the largest individual fine of a whopping 252 million euros! This was for industry wide price fixing which had been going on for decades according to the German cartel office which issued the sanctions. Other companies included in the total fines of 660 million euros are Lafarge, Dyckerhoff, Holcim and Schwenk. Heidelberg Cement has built a profitable and powerful commercial empire on a foundation of rule breaking. If they came knocking at my door wanting to set up in my backyard they would be met with an instant ‘no thanks’ and a slammed door. The Regional Board must respect the values of its citizens and do exactly the same thing with the Lehigh applications. [Further information on Heidelberg Cement can be found at this English translation of the German Wikipedia page.]

Texada is a unique island on the BC coast that is renowned in the world of geology. It is a laboratory of ancient history which can teach us for years to come of the million-year-old movements of tectonic plates and the formation of the North American continent. It is not a broken off remnant of the mainland. Geological evidence shows that its origins are from afar and that it (along with Vancouver Island) came crushing into the mainland forming the Coast mountains and leaving a rich mineral wealth. The karst formations in proximity to the proposed quarry site are worthy of protection from industrial impact. Texada can also boast of its unique heritage in both animals and plants. A rare stickleback species inhabits Texada lakes and rare plants, such as the blue listed Giant Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata) and the Seaside Juniper (Juniperus maritima) have healthy populations on Texada. All these are extremely rare or non-existent on the mainland. The Texada climate is ideal for the Coastal Douglas Fir forest type which is now in need of protection. This is all to say that Texada Island has an important role to play in preserving the bio-diversity of BC and at the same time has much to offer for ‘green’ tourism and recreation. Agriculture on Texada also has unrealized potential for commercial development. There are alternatives to a dependency on mining resources for economic activity.

In conclusion, the social and cultural history of Davie Bay should not be disregarded. Some might speculate on the metaphysical how and why, but let’s not discount the history of Davie Bay and its power of attraction which has appealed to wanderers, artists, poets, hippies and squatters of many descriptions. Who among us has not sought out the intangible yet undeniable power of natural beauty in our search for fundamental truths, self-healing and longing for simplicity? Over the years the immigrants came and went, each taking something of spiritual value with them. For those whose sensitivities are so inclined, there is an unmistakable magic at Davie Bay. No, that’s not in the OCP, but please add this to the equation when considering if it is wise to blast the uplands into millions of tons of exploded and crushed rock and move it to offshore destinations over the now peaceful domain of Davie Bay.

Sincerely yours,
David Moore, Powell River


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