For some background on the Klahoose / Argosy sub-tidal geoduck aquaculture application see my Regional Director’s report from May or reference the agenda item on the June Strathcona Regional District’s website at www.strathconard.ca
. Although I struggled with this application, I voted in support of their full proposal at June’s board meeting, as did the other three rural directors, and the application was passed.
Respecting the Klahoose First Nation’s sovereignty and traditional territorial rights, I want to support their movement toward economic autonomy through natural resource management, as exemplified by their entry into geoduck aquaculture. I recognize that Klahoose is in the treaty process, which I trust will render them much more autonomy over some of their traditional territory, including foreshore rights.
In 2006, when this application was first made by Argosy, there was substantial community opposition – the most contentious issue in the previous director’s three year term. I feel quite certain that one of the main reasons that that reaction has subsided is that this application is now coming, at least in part, from the Klahoose First Nation. I hope that Klahoose is able to maintain a long-term interest in this tenure and find ways of opening dialogue with upland owners to accommodate some of their concerns such as moorage, water access and the timing of planting, maintenance and harvest activity on the lease.
Although geoduck aquaculture is one of the less disruptive forms of aquaculture to upland owners, it nonetheless represents an unanticipated and unwelcomed change for those that live there. The provincial and federal approvals for this application were made two years ago, allowing the activity both in front of Crown lands and a residential area. I do not think it ideal to be awarding Cortes’ first geoduck zone in front of a residential area. However, given that the lease was seeded well before rezoning, the realistic alternative of bylaw enforcement and court action is far less desirable. I considered recommending approval of the rezoning in front of the Crown portion of this area and requesting application for a Temporary Industrial Use Permit on the portion fronting the residential area. This, however, would have required the consent of the applicant, and even if this consent was given, could put us into a future situation similar to the one currently unfolding with the We Wai Kai Nation and their scallop farm off Rebecca Spit on Quadra; a situation I do not wish to repeat.
I would much rather that the Strathcona Regional District receives rezoning applications at the same time as applications are made to the Provincial and Federal governments. This way, all authorities could gather public input and review the application in a working group prior to making our respective decisions. I am actively working on pulling together representatives from all levels of foreshore approving authorities to develop an inter-agency working protocol so that we do not find ourselves in this position again. If you are interested to know more about this, please contact me.
I wish Klahoose well and hope for good communication with upland owners.
In Gratitude, Noba Anderson