Here we are, a small island in Howe Sound, close to Vancouver, B.C.......or are we? Perception is everything. We could say we are a small island in the Salish Sea near Gibsons, B.C.. Both statements are true.
We have been perceiving ourselves as a community faced with making compromises as development takes over. Let's turn that around. "We are a strong community, rich in diversity, still in large numbers to use our voice and demand what we want of development".
No one, no corporation like B.C. Ferries, no developement, no one who is not a part of our community has the right to put their demands on us. Easy. Simple. Now let's work with it. Sometimes consensus is called for, other times a strict 'no' is the answer. Let's get our foundation of inventory and resources together and work from there.
We have let Council become a machine who rubberstamps recommendations. Take the Snug Cove Water Board, for instance. A recommendation was made that meters be installed. This was a good decision, as Blue Water saw it's water consumption go down by 80% with meters. What was not a good decision was 'thinking from one's own pocketbook', therefore, the Water Board, outvoted those in favour of the Municipality financing meters for those who could not pay the $500 upfront. There is also an incentive fee for those who can afford it....all in all, those with deeper pocket books benefit. This is fair? Council rubberstamped it.
Speaking of Snug Cove Water Board, two developers sit on it. We really have to get some conflict of interest policies in place.
More on Community
You're either a part of our community or not. If you're not, that's fine, we all have choice. But please don't put your demands on us. We work to create the place you came to live. We are artists, homemakers, professionals, clerks, housecleaners, labourers, contractors, professors, rich, poor and in-between. We love community. I love it because it gives me a sense of belonging, need, and the ability to exersize strengths and weaknesses...it gives me a place to 'just be' where I can experience beauty in humankind, give and recieve, and most importantly: grow.
There is no room to compromise the quality of life that community has to offer. I keep hearing about 'compromise'....how can compromise be pure when the ones showing up to agenda items are only the parties directly involved? That means we are compromising between one or two or three parties of self-interest, not the community as a whole. That is not what compromise is about.
From our Community Choir, to the Historians, potluck dinners, the marriage of a man and woman who grew up here together, the birth of a new baby, the passing of an aquaintance or friend....we all share the joy and suffering together. We pull together to help. We have an annual bird count, places of historic and cultural interest, lands we use to hike or just to view. This is love, this is richness, this is why I love this island. There's no going back, but there is forward motion with creation, the most powerful force of energy. We can create together.
Snug Cove Village Plan
So much hope by so many is being put into the Snug Cove Village Plan. BUT WAIT! First the G.V.R.D. never informed the Squamish Nation of the sale, which is in their contract to do so. Second, we just don't know if the Department of Indian Affairs will let us develop in the Surplus Lands, or if they do, how much they'll allow. A good chunk of Snug Cove is midden (Davies Orchard lies on one, a midden is where the old clam shells and bones were tossed). Because there was Longhouse presence in the Cove for many, many years, we have no idea if spots of archeological significgance lay in the Surplus Lands. In other words, ease up on the hopes and planning until we get all the facts in.
We must also be very cautious...one of our main complaints about the G.V.R.D. has been that they are 'Empire' builders...so the question of the Muni as landlords and land speculators pops up. Do we want local government run facilities or do we want community run facilities? Think carefully.
I must say one thing though...I'd love to see us work towards a pedestrain only Cove (witih a corridor for emergency vehicles, delivery, transit and taxi).
There must be some way of restructuing our tax base. Maybe, just maybe, we could offer incentive to those who participate in the community and help make a Sustainable Bowen. 'Hours for Reduction'. Put in community time and get a tax break. If you're a renter, your hours go to your landlord and you receive rent credit for the landlord's tax break. How does that sound? I love to throw out ideas to generate more. Certainly we need to recognize, honour and award those citizens and business who help create a sustainable Bowen, and those who put their time and effort into our community.
The ball game has changed. With B.C. Ferries acting as a private corporation, that leaves us open to having competitors bid on service. The Squamish Nation will be building a port at the foot of the Capilano reserve in North Vancouver. What does this do to Ferries putting a 'demand' factor now? FERRIES are in the business of transporting people and cars, yet the Muni has been paying for studies to benefit ferries. All I can say to this is, 'What the?????'. In the meantime, keep suggestions rolling to Ferries so THEY can become more sustainable and help keep our costs and their costs down. How about bio-deisel for their fleet?
Just a thought - Maybe we don't need a ferry...maybe a sustainable approach would be to phase the ferry out over 10-15 years, with water taxi and supply barge replacing it. We have NO idea what form transportation will take in the near future with non-renewable resources like oil coming into short supply. With the rate of technology and the emphasis on alternatives, why pump millions into ferry infrastructure that will end up costing the consumer more? This is a conservative, realistic approach. If we continue to make transit available to every corner of the island and have a water taxi (be it translink, private or B.C. Ferry run) running on a consistant basis at reasonable rates, not only will we be doing our part for the Kyoto Plan and greenhouse emission reduction, but we'll be saving money. With those savings there's no reason not to pass it on to islanders and make the seldom used parkade free. Commuters who still need cars on the other side can park there while transportation makes it's changes in the city.
Meantime, why waste money, time, energy, trying what we deem as 'solutions' for what may not be necessary in the near future? Again, look at 'vision' to see how our demographics may show that ferry use will decline in a few years. We have not been thinking ahead, we have been reacting to now.
A cornerstone of community. Where's the local artwork at Muni Hall? How many offices on the isle have local artwork? How many offices in town operated by Bowenians have island art? Where's Squamish Nation art at Muni Hall? While sustainable and geo-toursim are partly defined by the arts/heritage and culture of community, UNESCO emphasizes the need of Institutions to participate to sustain the arts. So much can be found on their web site relating to these three pillars. Certainly a fund should be set aside by the Municipality for the purchase of local artwork, and we can do our best to encourage not just those who work in arts/heritage/culture, but offer recognition of support with awards.
The more we work to becoming a world model of sustainability, the more we open the door to national and international awards, which aides tremendously for grant applications for local government, groups and organizations. Think about it.
Port Moody is recognized as 'The City of Arts' and is winning international sustainability awards.
The same goes for Business. Are you contributing as a business to Bowen being a model of sustainability? The World Tourism Organization and the Internation Chamber of Commerce (see 'environment & energy) support sustainability, why shouldn't business at a local level? Maybe the Chamber could offer a prize, maybe the Muni could give out recognition awards.
If you're a Bed & Breakfast, do you have an active recycling and composting program? Do you use eco-freindlier cleaning products, post ways of saving electricity and water, have low flush toilets, and natural fiber sheets? Is your lawn pesticide free? There's so many ways to make your business more sustainabile , you probably know better than me. Are you a shop who offers a discount for frequent local shoppers? Do you use recycled products and do your best to hire and train local people? The ideas are endless and up to you.
Your dreams can come true on Bowen
Dreams can come true anywhere, but they are more easily attained in a community like Bowen where the talent, support and expertise are available.
From my own experience, I joined a song group of Lynn Van Lidthe de Jeude's many years ago. Yikes! Was my singing rotten! Then the Community Choir was formed and I improved. Next came forming a fun country/western group, 'The Miss Kitties'. The Kitties performed at Bowfest a few times and we had a ball doing it! None of us ever thought we'd be up singing in front of a crowd with a band backing us. Then came private singing lessons, improvement, and a wealthy friend who believed in my songwriting offered to back me to make a CD.
My story is just one of many...there's people who have taken up life long dreams of painting, working with the environment or animals, guys who have always wanted to be firemen, athletic and arts endeavors galore! Our island seems so quiet when walking in the woods, but we all know it's a beehive of activity.
Let's dream together and make that world model.
| Home Vision Foundation Framework Bio Emergency Services