​Metro Vancouver is seeking your feedback to shape the long-term vision and concept for a proposed regional park at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island.

The park planning process includes background research, inventory, and analysis. Each project phase will include engagement with First Nations, the public, stakeholders, and government agencies including Bowen Island Municipality

Public Engagement

Metro Vancouver is committed to engaging with the public and incorporating their feedback at each step in the proposed park development process and the Bowen Island Municipality rezoning process. 

From February 10 to March 20, 2023, Metro Vancouver conducted the first phase of a three-phase engagement process to ensure the community is involved as the project progresses and has opportunities to provide feedback to the project team.

Public Engagement Process

Phase One
Listen and Learn
Phase Two
Phase Three
Final Concept Plan

In this phase, we want to listen and learn from the community to understand your priorities, concerns, and vision for the project.

We want to deepen our understanding of this unique landscape.

Your input will inform the development of guiding principles and concept options.

In the next phase we will share guiding principles and identify different concepts for the proposed regional park for your feedback.

There will be opportunities for you to provide feedback on the proposed concepts.

In the final phase, we will share the final concept plan and next steps so you know what to anticipate in the future.

First Phase of Engagement

From February 10 to March 20, 2023, Metro Vancouver invited the public to share their feedback on the first phase of engagement for the proposed regional park at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island. During this engagement period, 2,364 participants submitted 25,158 responses and comments through the online feedback form.

The feedback, suggestions, and additional analysis and research in this phase of the engagement will inform the development of guiding principles and concept options, which will be shared in the second phase of public engagement for the proposed regional park. It will also inform and support decision making by the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors, and will be provided to the Bowen Island Municipality for consideration as part of the rezoning and official community plan amendment process.

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Phase One Engagement Summary Report

Key themes respondents noted through the first phase of engagement included:

  • Concerns about transportation, particularly ferry capacity, as well as park access generally and impacts to Whitesails Drive
  • A preference for a park shuttle as the top choice for alternative transportation modes
  • A priority to improve public transit connections on Bowen Island
  • A priority to protect environmentally sensitive areas and protect the ecosystem
  • Concerns about overnight use and potential impacts on-island (such as wildfires, safety, street use, impacts on the islands services and resources)
  • Support for hiker/biker/paddle-in camping among the camping options
  • A top activity choice to walk or hike at the proposed regional park

For a full review of what we heard and how we’re responding, read the public engagement summary report.

 Final Engagement Summary (interactive)

 Final Engagement Summary (print version)

What We Heard

The below table provides a high level overview of the common themes that were heard throughout the first phase of engagement. Additionally, we have provided a column of the work we are undertaking or will undertake to try to address what we heard. This work will continue as the project progresses, and additional conversations and engagement will inform how we respond.

  • Transportation
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Concerns regarding ferry capacity, especially during summer and peak hours:
      • Vehicle and pedestrian/cyclist capacity
      • Vehicle impacts at Snug Cove and Horseshoe Bay
    • Comments that Bowen Island residents rely on the ferry system for medical appointments, school, and work: "The ferry system is our lifeline."
    • Support for implementing the cross-island multi-use pathway (MUP). Concerns about cycling safety on the current route to the park, including the route, elevation, and impacts on existing travel patterns.
    • Support for improving public transportation for the park as this would benefit the whole Island's transportation network; requests to see Transit On-Demand Pilot service reinstated.
    • Requests to explore a passenger-only ferry or water taxi service.
    • Request for a comprehensive transportation plan to be presented.
    • Plans for the park will prioritize non-vehicular access. Integrated and sustainable transportation options to the park include a park shuttle, multi-use pathway, and other means of regional connections.
    • Metro Vancouver will continue to engage with BC Ferries, TransLink, and other transportation service providers to understand the issues and potential for utilizing existing capacity and adding service where feasible.
    • Metro Vancouver will work with Bowen Island Municipality to implement the cross-island multi-use path (MUP).
    • Metro Vancouver completed a traffic trip generation analysis during the first phase of engagement, and confirmed that road traffic associated with the overnight camping program is less than what would be expected from potential development associated with the existing approved land use.
    • A detailed traffic study is underway, which will provide specific recommendations for implementation of the park shuttle service, and demand management tools.
  • Park Access
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Concerns about local traffic impact (Whitesails Drive).
    • Requests to explore alternative access and connections to the proposed regional park.
    • Concerns that visitors will not use alternative transportation modes, especially if they are camping.
    • Support for kayak and marine access to the park.
    • Caution on the nature of the water (can be rough) on the marine access side of the park.
    • Support for Bowen Island residents to have vehicle access and requests to limit the impact of non-residents driving to the proposed park
    • Requests for some parking provision primarily for seniors, young families, or people with mobility challenges. Concerns are that if parking is reduced, people will park on neighbouring streets.
    • Concerns that accessing parkland without a personal vehicle is challenging for people:
      • To bring pet/s;
      • To bring equipment (i.e. kayak, tents); or
      • Experiencing mobility challenges.
    • Comments that a park shuttle service from Snug Cove limits on-island residents accessing the park easily.
    • Metro Vancouver would establish a park shuttle service. In addition to service from Snug Cove to the proposed regional park, consideration will be given to connections and stops in the Metro Vancouver region.
    • Metro Vancouver has completed an access analysis that identifies options for alternative access to the park. Preferred routing will be confirmed with further feasibility testing and engagement with Bowen Island Municipality, First Nations, impacted and affected parties, and the public.
    • Some parking would be developed at the proposed park primarily for accessibility and local day-use access. Parking capacity would be designed as part of a holistic transportation and visitor management program.
    • Metro Vancouver is considering implementing visitor demand strategies such as a reservation system to manage traffic and park visitation. Any day-use reservation system would be developed in consultation with the community.
    • Metro Vancouver has considerable experience managing parking across jurisdictions in complex situations.
  • Park Capacity and Visitor Management
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Questions on the projected day-use and overnight-use visitation.
    • Questions on how overnight uses will be made available.
    • Concerns that Bowen Island residents will be excluded from the park if a day-use reservation system is implemented.
    • Concern that park visitors will attend local beaches, which are already at capacity and subject to peak season over-crowding.
    • Metro Vancouver has produced a park visitation estimate to better understand estimated levels of visitation. The estimation will be publicly available.
    • Metro Vancouver would implement a reservation system for all types of overnight use. No first-come-first-served campsites are proposed. Existing reservation systems used by Metro Vancouver allow the public to book facilities by phone or online.
    • Metro Vancouver is exploring strategies to manage day use so that visitor numbers aren’t too high. One tool is a day-use reservation system. Similar systems require people using a vehicle to make a simple online reservation. Reservation systems could be used when demand is high (summer weekends).
    • Metro Vancouver will work with Bowen Island Municipality to understand existing capacity and issues at municipal beaches and ensure that this impact is considered as part of broader park planning and management.
  • Land-Use/Regional Park Creation
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Comments that people are already visiting the area to rock climb, hike, and dog walk.
    • Support for the protection of the area.
    • Suggestions that the land should "stay the same as it currently is."
    • Comments in support of sharing this unique area and making it public permanently for future generations.
    • Metro Vancouver would create a regional park out of what is currently private property this would protect 97 hectares of land in perpetuity.
    • Metro Vancouver proposes changing the land use from rural residential to park, with a variance to allow for supervised tent camping.
    • Only 16% of the site area is currently protected through conservation covenants—monitored and enforced by the Municipality. The remaining area can be logged and developed. Dedication as a regional park would allow for enhanced protection and management of the whole area.
  • Overnight Use
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Concerns about overnight use and potential impacts such as noise, transportation, safety, and methods of management.
    • Suggestions for a lower-impact camping program include:
      • Reduced quantity of campsites
      • Reduced provision of vehicle-accessible campsites
      • Marine access campsites, bike/walk-in campsites only
    • Request to phase in camping use.
    • Support for affordable options for people to visit and stay on Bowen Island.
    • Support for camping for young families and opportunity for youth to experience nature.
    • Concern about how walk-in/bike-in/paddle-in sites would be enforced to prevent people from driving in and then accessing these sites.
    • If approved, park development will occur in two to three distinct phases, each taking two to three years. Full park development would happen over seven years.
    • Metro Vancouver will take an adaptive approach to detailed planning, design, implementation, and operation, learning and evaluating before adjusting and proceeding with the next phase. Programs such as the park shuttle and visitor reservation system will also take an adaptive approach.
    • Overnight uses would be supervised, additional information on potential impacts such as transportation, noise, and safety will be mitigated through planning, design and operational programs.
    • Camping fees would be affordable and in line with existing regional and provincial camping options. In other regional park campgrounds, discounts are available for youth groups, people with disabilities and seniors.
    • Metro Vancouver would undertake monitoring and ensure that overnight facilities are being used as intended, through a continuous approach of adjustment and adaptation.
  • Day-use
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Specific requests for activities and programs include:
      • Educational and stewardship programming
      • Trails (including suggestions on design and location)
      • Ocean watching, solitude, wildlife viewing
      • "More trails to enjoy the land"
    • Comments that waterfront and beach access is unsafe and not desired.
    • A day-use program is planned. Input from engagement will inform a program including conservation areas, hiking trails, viewpoints, and picnic areas.
    • Detailed suggestions from engagement will be considered during the concept development phase.
    • During the subsequent planning phases, issues around waterfront access and management will be explored.
  • Wildfire Risk
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Concerns that the dry coastal landscape makes the area particularly vulnerable to wildfires.
    • Concerns that overnight uses encourage fire use (even if prohibited).
    • Concerns that Bowen Island has limited capacity to deal with wildfires.
    • Metro Vancouver would prohibit open campfires at the proposed regional park.
    • A proposed regional park would provide increased surveillance, stewardship, and maintenance of the area through dedicated onsite staff and full-time site supervision for the overnight program.
    • Metro Vancouver will develop a park-specific response to wildfire management grounded in an understanding of the unique wildfire risk of the land and location.
    • Responsibility for wildfire preparedness and response would not be placed exclusively with Bowen Island Fire Rescue. Metro Vancouver manages wildfire risk in regional parks through the Wildfire Preparedness and Response Program:
      • Every regional park has a Fire Preparedness and Response Plan and wildfire suppression equipment.
      • Metro Vancouver's bylaw is enforced, and risk is actively managed throughout the wildfire season.
      • Metro Vancouver staff are trained in fire suppression and supported by our watershed fire protection program. Together these teams include some of the most skilled crews in the Province.
  • Ecosystem Protection
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Protect the land for future generations. "I support the park's conservation, preservation, and ecological management."
    • Queries related to how Metro Vancouver will manage potential environmental damage caused by significant increases in the number of visitors (i.e. trampling of vegetation).
    • Concerns about damage to the bluffs, and the moss/lichen on the bluffs.
    • Concern that visitors won't follow the rules put in place to protect the environment (i.e. staying on trails).
    • Concern about the environmental impact of other elements of human activities on wildlife (noise, light pollution, dogs).
    • Concerns about impact on the riparian areas connected to the site including Fairy Fen, Huszar Creek, and the Huszar Creek watershed.v
    • Concern about the environmental impact of roads, driving, and parking.
    • Concern about impact of developing park amenities such as roads and washrooms.
    • Metro Vancouver will protect the site's most sensitive ecosystems and resources. Careful planning will ensure that people and facilities are directed away from fragile ecosystems. Designed and engineered solutions such as viewpoints or boardwalks give visitors an experience, but limit the disturbed footprint. Enforcement of the Regional Parks Bylaw, which states that people should remain on trails, will be supported through education and signage.
    • Metro Vancouver will ensure that vegetated buffers are retained between the proposed park and the existing surrounding land-uses. Trails and roads will not be lit, any lighting that may be associated with a key park facility such as a washroom will be minimal and designed in accordance with best practices related to maintaining dark skies. Additionally, Metro Vancouver will ensure that the park bylaw in relation to quiet times and noise is enforced.
    • Creation of the regional park will protect a significant portion of the Huszar Creek watershed that could be cleared.
    • Approximately 15% of the total area has been cleared and prepared for residential subdivision. Park development would focus on the cleared area with other areas being restored. Unused logging grades present an opportunity for creating a trail network. Across the whole regional park's system 1% of 13,500 Ha is developed.
  • Potential Impacts on Island Services and Resources
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Concerns about impacts on water supply on Bowen Island.
    • Concerns about potential effects on Bowen Island's emergency response services, including:
      • RCMP (policing)
      • BC Ambulance Service
    • Consideration should be given to evacuation planning.
    • The proposed park has over 20 drilled and registered wells. A study is underway on water supply and demands anticipated with the proposed park program.
    • Metro Vancouver will engage with RCMP, Bowen Fire Department, and BC Ambulance Service.
    • Metro Vancouver will work with Bowen Island Municipality to review, amend, and enhance the Bowen Island Municipality Evacuation Plan (2020) to provide information on how the proposed park can be evacuated.
  • Project Process and Engagement
    What we heard: How we're responding:
    • Concerns regarding engagement, especially failure to engage Bowen Island Residents earlier and before making commitments to the camping.
    • Requests for more transparency.
    • Metro Vancouver remains committed to an open and transparent engagement process.
    • Future phases of engagement will build upon lessons learned and provide opportunities for on-island community workshops and regional-scale engagement tactics.

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Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, West Area Office