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shíshálh swiya dock management plan updated following public engagement

March 14, 2024 at 3:30 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Together, the Province of B.C. and shíshálh Nation are proposing significant changes to the dock management plan to address community interests and protect shíshálh’s rights and title, and are forming an advisory group with representation from the across the Sunshine Coast to review the new proposed changes.

“When shíshálh Nation and my ministry became aware of the concerns raised by dock owners, we took the time and listened to what members of the public were saying, and now we are proposing updates in response to what we’ve heard,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “We all care deeply for our coastal waters, and by working together we can protect the environment, respect shíshálh’s cultural resources in the shíshálh swiya, ensure the viability of local businesses, and support people’s ability to enjoy their docks.”   

lhe hiwus Joe, Chief, shíshálh Nation, said: “The resources of our swiya have sustained our people since time immemorial. We have cared for and stewarded these resources to provide for abundance for our people for many generations. Through development, including dock development, we have seen an incredible decline of these resources. Collectively, we must address the impacts and pressures on the resources to provide for future generations. At the heart of the dock management plan is protection of and restoration of these intertidal resources and cultural belongings. We heard the concerns raised by the public and are making changes. We want to work with dock owners to provide that flexibility, while maintaining the principles that help to protect the resources we all enjoy.”

In response to feedback received in the public engagement, updates are being proposed to the shíshálh swiya dock management plan to respond to concerns and balance interests. Owners of existing saltwater docks and boathouses will be able to apply for renewals as currently built. Owners of existing untenured saltwater docks will be able to apply for tenure as currently built and under flexible guidelines. Over time, dock owners will need to demonstrate consistency with the goals of the dock management plan, and as they make improvements to their docks, these will need to be done in keeping with the best management practices. Consistent with provincial policy, no new boathouses will be allowed on private moorages.

For private dock owners in freshwater, the application of the dock management plan will be paused pending further studies and engagement to further understand the impact of docks in the freshwater environment. Existing tenured and untenured dock owners will be given the same opportunities to apply for tenures that are available for saltwater docks, and tenures for new, unbuilt docks will not be considered in freshwater until studies are complete.

In addition to announcing these proposed changes, an advisory group will be appointed to further review the amendments and inform any additional considerations for the Province and shíshálh. The advisory group will include representation from shíshálh and the Province, local governments, local associations and residents at large, including from Pender Harbour. The advisory group’s work is expected to take about 60 days, after which the province and shíshálh will finalize the plan.

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