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Conservation Covenants and Parks to Keep it Green
General · 10th November 2009
Dan Bowen
Learning sustainability, by the step by natural step methodBy Dan Bowen

Gowlland Harbour Views owner, Rick Schellinck has taken the initiative to develop a plan for a sustainable subdivision on Quadra Island. We have studied the 158-acre waterfront property on Gowlland Harbour in detail and made an inventory of all its environmental qualities, geological features and recreational opportunities. We had a lot of great features to work with! As we did the study we tried to understand what the community would consider of importance and what we could protect and preserve. What could we offer to the people of Quadra that would be a legacy for future generations? Our decision was to dedicate 30 acres of waterfront Park containing pristine forest ecosystems with old growth and mature second growth mixed. Our one proposed park area is only 400 m from the community center so we checked the OCP and noticed that the trail system was designated to the beach on Gowlland Harbour at the old steamship dock. I have learned since that there is a lot of important early history to be remembered here.

To complement and connect the parks we have proposed a cross property trail system all the way from the Community center to April Point Road including a new roadside trail on April Point road. We will offer to work with the Strathcona Regional District and the Quadra Trails committees to ensure these trails are constructed as per the approval process of the subdivision and by a development permit with the SRD.

We have set a goal of over 50 % of our land to be protected by park or by registered conservation covenant. That is about 80 acres of greenspace within 1 km of the Quadra Elementary School. We are working with legal precedents where the conservation covenants could be a 3 party covenant, with a qualified Quadra Island society named on the covenant when registered. Thanks George.

We studied the last OCP and the community message that kept coming up was preserve rural character, enhance community values and environmental protection. We then presented our plan to the community at our last two consultation meetings and we received lots of input and people filled out the comments sheets with their ideas, comments and critisisms. Thanks for the great support and input.

Is Quadra Island ready to try to embrace its first sustainable subdivision? I think so. The majority of the people at the meetings say yes… this is the kind of development we need on Quadra. Lets set the example for others to follow. Some people are still wary. They tell of developments that did not follow through with things they said they would. That is unfortunate, so we have to build back the trust of the community.

The owner Rick Schellinck and I have spent the past 10 months planning and preparing the sustainable development concepts and plans. We have obtained reports on the septic system feasibility, the water system capability, the environmental RAR, the archaeological review and the geotechnical evaluation. We have studied the trail systems to make them connect through our property providing access to the new parks and waterfront areas.

We have not made an application for rezoning to the Strathcona Regional District because we wanted to get it right! We are still receiving letters and emails from the people that have attended our meetings; however if you were unable to attend the meetings please go to our website. We will continue to accept input and keep up the communications with all interested people. So please check out our webpage www.gowllandharbourviews.com and write your ideas into the blog.

Some are still saying, “What is a sustainable development”? It has many different meanings used in different contexts but here is one idea. Sustainable development ties together the concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems on the land with the social challenges of humanity. We must find the balance to ensure we can protect and preserve as much land as noted above as possible and still have a development where the country residential density can work. We feel we are getting closer to that goal.

Our vision is to provide the country residential framework for a way of life that respects the environment and enables residents to experience a strong connection between the Quadra community the land and the sea. We have to think like we are a family and it is our responsibility to leave the next generation the legacy of a sustainable future.