General News · 18th May 2010
On April 30 I posted “Building on the Strengths of Our Current OCP” which suggested a new forestry policy as a way to put developers on notice that they can’t “log and flog” on Cortes Island.
Precluding the “flog” still leaves the “log,” which causes damage to vital streams and wetlands. Current provincial regulations provide inadequate protection to fish bearing streams and wetlands, but the OCP provides an opportunity to create more protection. Development Permit (“DP”) areas on the island can be expanded to ensure that our riparian zones, wetlands and ground water recharge areas retain the forest cover they need.
An OCP may designate DP areas for “protection of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity” and “to promote energy conservation’ to promote water conservation.”
Once these designations are set out in the OCP, the owner must apply for a DP for any land use activity within the area. The permit must provide a rationale for the proposed activity as well as specific development conditions.
Currently, we have on Cortes 6 specific areas already designated as DP areas including for wetland protection. But we do not have a general aquatic habitat DP as does Electoral Area D within the regional district. In this DP area anyone who proposes a development activity within 50 m of a fish bearing stream is required to undertake a DP. A similar DP area on Cortes Island would be an important step toward protecting our fish bearing streams.
Nor do we have sufficient DP area designation of our groundwater recharge areas. The area north of Blue Jay Lake contains numerous wetlands feeding into a single large swamp. This area may provide crucial groundwater recharge for the Mansons Area and deserves should be designated a DP area.
Both historical and recent community mapping campaigns provide crucial information regarding our wetlands and fish bearing streams. By using this information to create DP area designations in the OCP, we will create stronger protection for our ecologically sensitive areas.
Stumps in a seasonal streambed - Gorge Harbour Rd