2015

Bowfest 2015

Bowfest

Originally published September 9, 2015

2015 set the record for wettest Bowfest EVER, quite an impressive feat considering this marked the 40th anniversary of our island’s end of summer festival. Unfortunately the weather took that too literally and Autumn was lapping a little too close to Summer’s heels for comfort. Nonetheless, Bowfest 2015 will go down as a success. Vancouver may have shut down for the day, but Bowen partied on!

Many thanks to all the parade entries, Anne Smitton for your traffic warden expertise, Pam for another year of organization, and of course the diligence of this year’s judges: Barb Wiltshire, Ann Silberman, Nancy Lee, Paulina Keoplin and Georgia.

We welcomed the return of crowd favourite Lip Sync competition. Many thanks to Kate Brew for organizing, Reforma Architecture for sponsoring, and all the contestants who took part. The popularity of this event was astounding, and maybe cause to extend the competition for 2016?

This year we also had the great benefit of a Bowfest first: Logger Show. We extend our gratitude to Gary Anderson of Metro Blasting for your initial push for this event, Bowen Island Properties, Black Bear Transport, J & E Backhoe, Frank Seaberly, Twin Island, and Dee and Fraser Elliott, Braedan Jolly for extended sponsorship of the event. The Logger Show really brought the community together, there are far too many people to thank! Congratulations to all the contestants, you will go down in Bowen history as being a part of this first edition event. Plans for next year’s Logger Show are already in the works!

Thank you to all the musicians who took part in Bowfest, special mention to Taunting Mable for doing us a super solid. Tony & John for organizing, Shephard Ashmore Insurance, Graham Ritchie for MCing, Bill Granger, Bruce Culver, Brad Bacon and David Wrinch for stage setup, electrical, and teardown.

Thank you to Hilary and Robin Butler for your selfless work with the Run for Rwanda, Sarah Haxby for another great Country Fair Tent. Bowen Building Centre, Knick Knack Nook, Bowen Island Municipality, and Bowen Credit Union for your continual financial support. Margaret at Artisan Office Services for supplying ALL our printing and much of our poster art work, Microdeck for our website revamp and Bowfest poster. Peter King and Cormorant Marine for providing transport to our acts and guests alike. Bowen Glass for your AMAZING lanterns, BIVFM for filling our dunk tank and the use of your materials, Dave and Louise of Bowen Island Waste for your year after year dedication, Tim Hausch for hanging our banner, Murray and Janice Skeels for helping set up, The Legion for hosting the beer garden, Mike and Andrea for taking on the upper beer garden, Bowen Choir for manning the gates, all our food, craft, and community vendors. THANK YOU everyone who helped and volunteered on Bowfest Day. Last but not least to the 2015 Bowfest Board: Jessie, Jagjit, Robyn, Tony, Linda, Pam, John, Lisa, Bridget, Nairn, and Adam (I know you are trying to leave, but just forget about it OK?) – we may have all been new, but GUUUURLLL we worked it!

Looking forward to Bowfest 2016 when we have twelve months, as opposed to two to plan this goliath of an event! With (at least) seven board members cemented the planning has already begun. That being said our quest for volunteers continues, especially volunteers who would like to host and run events for Bowfest Day.

Thank you Bowen for welcoming me to Bowfest 2015.

– Sasha Buchanan


Parade winners:

Best Individual: Ambassador and Mrs Canada

Best Group: Irish Pipers and Drummers

Best Community: BI Yacht Club

Best Commercial: USSC

Best Theme: BelTerra

Best Other: Cocoa West

Lip Sync:

First place: “I was made for Lovin you” –Kiss: Marie Pedley, Roxanne Pedley, Jade Atkinson, Kate Atkinson, Shelby Jennings

Second place: “Tell me what you want” -Spice Girls: Maya Grundy, Hunter Scarf, Grace Quarry

Third Place: “Time Warp Mashup”: Allison Nosek, Bianca Mueller, Danielle Wank Weiss

Logger Show:

Crosscut Saw

Ladies

  1. Jill Kenny & Alicia Hoppenwrath
  2. Nathalie Broderick & Sheila Wade
  3. Kelsey MacDonald & Kelly Miller

Men’s

  1. Clayton & Eric Hunter-James
  2. Robert Clayton & Dave Paulus
  3. Gary Anderson & Todd Pearson

Jack and Jill

  1. Kelly Miller & Calvin Hagge
  2. Courtnee & Gary Anderson
  3. Katie & Tony Mainwaring

Chainsaw Event

Ladies

  1. Katie Mainwaring
  2. Sheila Wade

Men’s

  1. Calvin Hagge
  2. Scott Moore

Choker Race Event

Ladies

  1. Joanna Quarry
  2. Sheila Wade

Men’s

  1. Shane Tweten
  2. Jonny Bacon

Axe Throw

Ladies

  1. Kelly Miller
  2. Sonja Kristinsson
  3. Courtnee Anderson

Men’s

  1. Mark James
  2. Gary Anderson
  3. Robert Clayton

Overall Event

  1. Kelly Miller

Pole Climb

Ladies-

  1. Alicia Hoppenwrath
  2. Nathalie Broderick
  3. Katie Mainwaring

Men’s

  1. Adrian Graton 12.48
  2. Calvin Hagge 14.02
  3. Shane Tweten 16.02

2015 Bowfest Country Fair contest winners

Despite the rain, the Bowfest Country Fair Contests ran for another successful year under a lovely big tent on the festival field. Youth and adults submitted photos, stories and creations as well as bringing their racing slugs to the Country Fair tent. The Country Fair contests and slug races are one of the oldest traditional parts of Bowfest that have been part of the festival the most number of years! Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to all the participants who entered this year to keep this tradition running!

Winners: the Tallest flower grown on Bowen by an adult was Lyn van Lidth de Jeude’s 11’ 7” sunflower which was supported by an incredibly sturdy stem!

The Biggest (heaviest) Squash grown on Bowen by youth was Eli Manning’s 38lb pumpkin, followed by the winning 8.3lb heirloom striped zucchini grown by youth Wesley and Sarah Jessop! The adult with the biggest squash was Sarah Haxby’s Ambassador zucchini which weighed in at almost 9lb! The Strangest Looking Vegetable or fruit grown on Bowen was won by Keary and Connie for their outrageous heirloom-variety white carrots and Em and Charlie for their slug shaped cucumber which was submitted with a story.

The Best Photo of Bees were taken by adult Keona Hammond and son Jack Hammond whose lovely portraits of bees on thistles won two first-place ribbons!

The Best Photo of a Bowen Island Slug was a tough one to judge! The white spirit slug got an honorable mention, but Angela Huxham’s incredible photo of a slug with its mouth wide open won the adult photo first place ribbon. The winning youth photo was a lovely portrait of a banana slug taken by Isaiah Lee. Isaiah submitted a story with the beautiful photo explaining that he had named the slug ‘sushi’ because you could hear him chewing on leaves, and the he looked like he was wearing a (slime) coat!

The Favourite Farm Animal or Domestic Animal Award was won by Kaia Matheson for her very moving story about the very old Endswell farm horse and what the old horse means to her.

The Lego Contest was another tough one to judge as there were so many fabulous entries that impressed the public and the judges. Kevin Harding’s elaborate medieval farm design and detailed description came in first place winning the most votes from the public, judges and youth judges.

The Fiber Arts Finest had a lovely selection of entries. Bonita Schaly’s hand-felted dragon took first place for design and for delightfully celebrating the Bowfest-theme of mythical creatures from around the world.

The Slug Races went well with a very large group of slug jockeys and slug race-enthusiasts huddled around the table hiding from the rain and keen to see the races. This year was the first year that a slugfie-stick was deployed to take video of the races and were wondering if next year anyone would like to help to stream the races online??

Although the non-stop enthusiastic cheering for the first half hour of the race may have contributed to a slow start to race one. In the end Morgan and Shelby’s well-trained and well-loved (it was the only slug to arrive in a hand-made, hand-decorated traveling box,) “Black Beauty” came in first place during race one, winning by multiple slug-lengths. Slug Race number two was won by Keona and Jack’s “Lighting” who slimed right past the finish line in approx. 26 minutes, which is a very fast racing time for an Arion aterslu slug (aka European black slug). Fun facts: Arion aterslu slugs are an invasive species that range in colour from black to white. In the 18th C they are documented as having been used as grease on axels of wooden carts in Sweden. At Bowfest, as is the custom, all racing slugs were returned to their original habitat after the races.

The 2015 Bowfest Country Fair Tent was made possible thanks to the Bowfest Community Fair Association and it was supported by Bowen Agriculture Alliance volunteers and community volunteers including: Sarah Haxby, Matt Matheson, Marysia McGillvray, Helen Wallwork, a panel of judges, the Young Farmers of Bowen Program, BICS student garden club, Bowen Farm, Fox Glove Farm, Vine and Garden Catering, and the BAA Farmers Market & Tail Gate Sales. We thank everyone who volunteered to help us keep the Bowfest Country Fair tradition going!

– Sarah Haxby

Earth Day Every Day: August

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Originally posted August 26, 2015 written by Emily van Lidth de Jeude

The aphids, having sensed the weakening plants on a cool evening, have arrived. You might not notice them at first, as you pick a few beautifully green leaves of kale out of the garden, but turn the leaves over or peek between the deep green folds and you may find little pockets of grey and white: aphids gathering en masse. They will stretch their hair-thin legs and stand tall before becoming motionless on the spot, to live or die with the group, according to your whim. It’s gathering time.

Brush the aphids off or cast the leaf aside and choose another. Bring in that beautiful verdant bouquet to chop up with freshly-dug potatoes, toss with lemon and chives, or blend into your smoothie. It’s gathering time for all of us.

Now that the nights are cooler I find myself more often sitting with friends enjoying a hot cup of tea and a sweater in the evening. My husband’s warm embrace is comforting instead of stifling, and I feel like making stew, collecting up my friends for a chat, and my children for evening snuggles.

In the grocery store lineup I see people pile small mountains of vegetables on the counter, and I realize how lucky I am. For most of the summer, I eat from my garden. Having space and time and desire to grow our own food is not just a great gift, but a privilege. The ability to wander into the woods, pick salal, oregon grape or mushrooms, and sit silently listening only to the rustle of wind in the leaves is almost unheard of for many people.

This week I’ll begin teaching in the city. The program I run happens mostly in the open wilderness here at home, but city bylaws and necessity for urban convenience mean that it will happen in a small forested park, there. Most of the forest floor in this park is bare, and littered with dog and horse poop, along with human refuse. We can’t go into the creek because of course in such a small but densely populated location, our impact would cause damage to the bit of remaining natural creek. This is perhaps the downside of gathering: There are just too many of us, and when we get together we overwhelm the earth’s ability to renew.

This year we reached Earth Overshoot Day on August 13th. Overshootday.org states that “Global overshoot occurs when humanity’s annual demand for the goods and services that our land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing, and carbon dioxide absorption—exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can renew in a year. Overshoot means we are drawing down the planet’s principal rather than living off its annual interest. This overshoot leads to a depletion of Earth’s life-supporting natural capital and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” So we’ve been going further into resource debt each year for the past forty, and where are we going to turn when the well runs dry?

Our well ran dry this year – in the way wells do on these rainforest hillsides: it’s a shallow well dug into a small underground stream and the water level dropped below what we need to sustain our household’s daily usage. So when I say it ran dry, that means one day the pump hit air, and our family panicked a little. At the end of the day the well fills up again, but to a lower-than-average level. We can still use water, but one load of laundry means no more toilet-flushing for 8 hours; we haul water around to fill the small pots we’ve planted beside some shrubs and veggies and a new pump was bought and put into the pond to water the vegetable gardens; we save laundry and bathing for later, and save even the hand-washing water to feed to our garden. This extreme attention to water usage has meant an adjustment in our thinking, and although it was certainly easier when the water flowed carelessly, I’m glad for having to learn this lesson.

I think the solution to our global over-consumption lies in awareness. Not the kind of arms-length awareness we get from reading the news or signing petitions, but the kind of awareness we get from having our own little wells run dry; from having to shake the aphids off of our own home-grown kale, and feeling remorse at seeing the ravens take our prized blueberries. It’s those small, but sometimes desperately important details that we become aware of when we trade some city conveniences for the great privilege of connecting with the land. This recognition may enable us to enjoy consuming less; to live for what we do have instead of what we can have, and to gather in our hearts and community, for everything that we hold is dear.

– Emily van Lidth de Jeude

When is Water Wasted?

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Originally posted on August 12, 2015 written by Wynn Nielsen

I have been meaning to write about this for some time now. As a gardener, I am reminded every day.
We all are experiencing, first hand, the effects of warming and associated drought along with the rest of world, however unlike many others we still have drinking water, water to wash ourselves and to grow food. We are just beginning to be alarmed at the longer term consequences of a drying world.
Yes, we waste a lot of drinkable water, no question. Our water consumption, even when restricted for a few months in the summer, is generous compared to many other regions of the world. But I think we are mistaken, in some respects, in our understanding and definition of “wasted water”.
When is water wasted? We can argue that it is wasted in large and small ways but is it wasted when it’s plentiful or only in the dry summer months when less plentiful and expensive? Is it wasted by our building regulation and infrastructure practices that allows rainfall to roar off roofs and through drains and culverts into the sea rather than permeating the ground to nourish plants and replenish aquifers? I think so. California certainly knows the effect of ever diminishing aquifers and reserves. We absolutely need better building and landscaping practices in a drying world. I would also argue that using clean, especially treated water, for power washing buildings or cleaning cars and decks is a use that should probably be reexamined in today’s world. And then, the main purpose of this letter, is it being wasteful to share water with our living landscapes and creatures. I would argue that it is not. Keeping our tended and wild landscapes alive and healthy is of the utmost importance – as it creates and maintains a livable world for us all.
What is the antidote for dry and hot; it is moist and cool. You know that feeling you get when you leave the heat of the asphalt road or cement parking lot and plunge into the adjacent forest? The ambient temperature immediately drops what feels like several degrees, you can suddenly breathe easily as moist air fills your lungs, it smells earthy and cool. Ahhh, relief.  That’s what our personal gardens, community parks, ponds, lakes and natural areas bring to us. Rescue and respite from our hot urban deserts. Yes plants consume water. They also transpire continuously, releasing that water into the air as moisture that, in turn, cools and dampens the air around us. They are our air conditioning.
When I hear people discussing whether to bother planting a garden, to water that thirsty tree or, worse, to pull up existing landscaping in response to drought and water restrictions, I almost despair. The solution is not to let landscapes die. The solution is to plant more tree canopy and shrub layers for permanent ground protecting shade and to plant barren eroding ground with a living surface that holds and filters clean water back into aquifers. The solution is to protect and increase our native forests, wetlands and lakes as a counter balance to a drying climate and urbanization; to mitigate, not reduce and diminish it.  The solution is to “green” our buildings, streets and urban spaces, create significant public parks, collect rain water and use ground permeable landscaping and green roofs for cooler cities. As we lose the green, our world turns brown and dry, not just our lawns.
Garden trees and shrubs suffering repeated near-death experiences every summer with no or shallow watering are never going to develop deep, drought resistant roots. They need deep watering, less often. A timed trickling hose or focused “spot” sprinkler does a good job, also tree “water bags”. After a few years of sufficient watering there may not be a need to water these hard stemmed plants at all. Hand spraying, unless done properly, is often less effective than a tree waterbag, a focused spot sprinkler (NOT the wide/high spraying ones) and mulching. And may not use less water in the end. Ask, research, educate yourself and talk to neighbours about the best practices. Your garden will reward you.
We need to be pre-emptive, innovative and smart about water, not reactive and panicked. And that goes for municipalities and Boards as well. Get on with changing the big stuff, e.g., obsolete building practices, grey water systems, mandatory cisterns, collection reservoirs, permeable landscaping, greening urban spaces, metering, public education, creating parks, protecting our green “air conditioning”. We citizens will take care of the small, but vital stuff.
And, lastly but so importantly, flora and fauna need and are entitled to have water to live, too. We need to share — it’s not just all about us.

– Wynn Nielsen

Cooking with Lavender

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Originally posted July 29, 2015 written by Shelagh MacKinnon

Lavender: what a wonderful addition to our lives here on Bowen. I see it in bouquets at weddings, tucked into people’s linens, in vases over the winter and now, we can cook with it as well.  This year, at the Green Man Festival in May, I made up some Lavender cookies and I thought to share that recipe.  But first a few words of care:
Lavender infuses, think like steeping tea.  Rosie Montgomery , who has fields of lavender at her Montrose Lavender Farm, stresses that the flavour of the lavender in your recipe will intensify over time.  So, if you, say, taste cookie dough and think “Not enough lavender flavour,” stop yourself before you add more!  The day following the baking, more flavour magically arrives.
When you are visiting Farmer’s Markets and find Lavender for sale, do check with the grower about its suitability for cooking. Many people like using English lavender (L. Agnustifolia), others like the Pink Lavender, Melissa.  For a real treat:, Sequim, Washington has a Lavender Festival that I have heard marvellous reports about: this year it was July 17 -19, but you can plan for next year or check out their website (http://www.lavenderfestival.com/)!
Most people on Bowen who cook with lavender seem to choose either shortbread, scones or cookies. If you are using fresh lavender you can use more than if it is dried (say 3 teaspoons fresh to 1 tsp dried.)  Natural partners for lavender seem to be lemon and nuts. It can also be infused into honey for a wonderful flavour combo.


Green Man Festival Lavender Cookies (Makes 100 cookies)
3/4 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Cream together above ingredients
Combine:
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Combine creamed and dry mixtures
Then add:
1 c Rice Krispies
1 c coconut
1/2 c chopped slivered almonds
1 c oatmeal
Mix well
Add 1 tbsp dry lavender finely chopped
Mix well
Roll into balls and flatten with fork
Bake at 350 F for 10 – 15 minutes.  Really does make 100 so you can share!


If this is too much work you can make lavender sugar but whirling the buds of 2 or 3 flowers in a clean coffee mill with 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Voila: ready to use; store in airtight container in your freezer for the winter ahead! Just add that to whipping cream or iced tea, lovely. Good luck!

– Shelagh MacKinnon

Tourists Vs Visitors

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Originally posted July 14, 2015 written by Murray Atherton

TOURISM on Bowen!

TOURISM…Some think it is a bad word on our island.  A concept that only creates lineups on the ferry, congestion on the trails and noise from the Vacation Rentals down the street.

TOURISTS are those day-trippers who come from the mainland or from afar.  Some come for a day to experience our trails. fresh air and friendliness… others will stay in one of our many B&B’s or Vacation Rentals for a week or a weekend.

VISITORS are the friends and relatives you have visiting you from near and far throughout the year.   When you invite your friends for a day, weekend or extended stay, they are in fact, part of TOURISM.

Both are the same… wonderful economic generators on our amazing island.  I remember one merchant at Artisan Square saying many years ago, “if it wasn’t for the tourists and the Hood Pointers I’d have been out of business years ago”.

Bowen is a small island, population-wise.  3,500 (some say 3,700) is not sustainable a marketplace for most entrepreneurs.  I remember trying to convince financial institutions to open on Bowen and hearing the same thing over and over again…. “come and see us when you’ve got 5,000 full time residents”.   Thankfully, our population does grow to that magic number in the summer months and with the tourists and visitors spending their disposable dollars our small business owners are able to eke out a living.   Tourism numbers say that the average day-tripper will spend about $62 per trip.  An overnight guest will account for over $115 per person expenditure (sure, YOU might be the one spending the money on their meals etc) but it all goes into the  island’s economy.  That money circulates as wages, rent, supplies, money for gas, food and luxuries.  It is spent with our carpenters, labourers, housekeepers and our local municipality.

With the demise of the Chamber of Commerce (much to my chagrin as I spent 7 years as President up to 2009) the municipality convened an Economic Development Advisory Committee almost 3 years ago, to explore the need for a true Economic Development Committee of Council.   Over that first year, we identified Tourism as one of the primary economic generators on the island.

A small group of islanders gathered together and formed a separate committee and named it Tourism Bowen Island.  In mid-June of 2014 we became public by hosting a pancake breakfast prior to the start of the Martin Marine Round Bowen Sailboat Race.  We generated a whopping $740 bank account that allowed us to get a foothold into the provincial tourism marketing programs.   Through the assistance of Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Association, we were able to update our Tourism Plan and develop a Marketing Plan and Budget and at the end of the provincial government’s fiscal year we were able to receive over $7000 in matching dollars for our previous activities.

In this past 12 months, we have become a Registered Non-profit society.  We have worked with Destination BC (the new name for TourismBC) in their new programs and given them input (that they actually listened to and put into action) on how to work with smaller communities.   We have worked with the Steamship Days Society at two Outdoor Adventure Shows, joined Tourism Vancouver and have attended their Showcase in conjunction with the Clef d’Or (hotel concierge) and Info Centre staff throughout Metro Vancouver.   We are working closely with the Vancouver North Shore Tourism Association and have taken out a membership with the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and have participated in two of their TASTE BOWEN initiatives and the Bowen Showcase this past spring.

We are co-oping with the Bowen Island Arts Council in the operation of the INFO Centre on Cardena (come on down to get your copy of the amazing TRAILS MAP developed by the Bowen Island Rotary Club) and with the First Credit Union in the building of the Dick VanAelst Memorial Welcome Centre on the Pier by the ferry ramp.  We have worked with Rotary and many amazing people in the development & coordination of trail initiatives.  An exciting initiative we have just started is the BOWEN AMBASSADOR program where volunteers are riding the ferry, chatting to those camera-toting tourists and visitors making sure they know where to go for information and how to get to their desired destination or find the activity they are anticipating.

With the receipt of the Provincial Marketing Funds, we were able to hire a contract Tourism Coordinator who is working diligently on a new Membership-driven web site and Community Calendar.  We are very active on Social Media with the website, a very informative Facebook page, a Twitter account and are front and centre on Instagram.  We are developing a Photo Library on the Tourism Vancouver and the HelloBC websites.

NOW all we need is the support of the community.  At present, we have less than a dozen paid members.  We are putting in countless volunteer hours on behalf of the island’s economy and can only continue with the support of a strong membership base.  We do look for your support.

– Murray Atherton, Chair Tourism Bowen Island.

NAPTEP and Bowen Island

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Originally published June 30, 2015 written by Peter Frinton

Ask Bowen Islanders about NAPTEP and you will likely get either a quizzical look or allusions to diapers and sleeping aids.

In reality, NAPTEP is an acronym for Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program, a voluntary conservation incentive found only in the Islands Trust area.

Under NAPTEP, landowners may apply to permanently covenant eligible portions of their land in exchange for a 65% reduction in property taxes on those areas so protected.

Owners cannot disturb NAPTEP lands through such things as construction, vegetation removal or terrain alteration.

Since its inception ten years ago, about 25 parcels of land have  successfully entered the program, and are administered by the Islands Trust Fund.

However, it has hitherto been unavailable on Bowen Island. Due to quirks in the original drafting of the covering Provincial Act, island municipalities were not included. That was amended by order-in-council in 2012 and subsequently approved by Metro Vancouver.

But then it hit a brick wall, as the previous Bowen Council rejected its adoption here despite ‘support in principle’, for what can only be viewed as ideological resistance. The fact is, Bowen has nothing to lose by welcoming NAPTEP as a land conservation initiative. The tax shift from a property registered would average about $1 for each of Bowen’s 2200 folios.

Now it is back for review and likely adoption. Trust Area Services Director Lisa Gordon addressed Council as a delegation in late May, and answered questions on program details. She characterized NAPTEP as “difficult for landowners to get into, difficult to get out of”. Lands for inclusion must have significant ecological value, not be in the ALR or developed in any way. There are fees, assessments and species inventories plus legal surveys. Costs to the applicant can approach $10,000, and to remove land from NAPTEP at some future date would require both paying all back taxes plus receiving assent from Islands Trust and BIM (if Bowen Island Municipality chose to co-sign as a covenant holder). So- not for the faint of heart, but a nice way to rule from the grave.

Lisa Gordon suggested that Bowen Council may wish to put limits on either the value or number of parcels accepted into the program. Other islands haven’t done this (and none have been overloaded with applications). However, Bowen’s incorporated status creates a direct local tax impact, whereas other unincorporated islands come under the provincial rural tax, so the tax shift is dispersed among a much larger inventory of properties.

Still, the cost to individual taxpayers on Bowen would be a very minor peril. Compared to ecological gifting, something done at least twice on Bowen, the cost is miniscule. As well, there are no land use offsets so often associated with conservation tools, such as park dedication or other amenities in exchange for subdivision and additional dwellings.

It will be interesting to see how quickly this comes to a vote, and whether it will be unanimous. Alison Morse was against it last time around, but the optics of her opposing it now that she is again a sitting Trustee would be somewhat akin to a church minister declaring a disbelief in God.

As Lisa Gordon said in her presentation, we (Bowen) already pay for the program through our contributions to Islands Trust; we may as well take advantage of it. All administrative costs and the bulk of staff time needed accrue to the Trust.

I do hope this gets through expeditiously. It represents a truly positive and measurable benefit of being within the Islands Trust federation. Plus, it’s pretty easy for Bowen to get onboard. After all, the program is up and running, it works, and has been well received on the other islands.

It’s time to relinquish our status as the last hold-out.

– Peter Frinton

Earth Day Every Day II

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Originally posted June 17, 2015 written by Emily van Lidth de Jeude

A couple of sixteen-year-old sweethearts out for a late-evening walk around the lake. They had all the summer ahead of them, and no time to keep. They stopped for a long kiss on the boardwalk. Maybe it was a very long kiss, because somehow night fell, just then, and as they carried on along the trail, the forest closed around them and they were enveloped in darkness. He reached for her hand and she felt responsible – after all, this island was her home, and she should know the way back even with her eyes closed. Which they may as well have been, for all that she could see. She slowed the pace. She felt her boyfriend’s arm on one side, the springy root trail beneath her, and to her left, a small log.
Oh! Wait! The trail builders had recently put these logs here, and she was sure they were all on the uphill side of the trail! She must have led him to the wrong side of the log! Thankful for the night concealing her blush of embarrassment, she said, “Just step over this little log, here…” and she did – into mid-air. Well, the mid-air part was a fraction of a second long, before she crumpled down past roots and stones and salal, came to rest on the ground and clambered quickly to stand again – this time aware of his knee in front of her face, as he stood there on the path, confused.
“Um. Actually not that way.” He helped her back up, never laughing at her, and thankfully never noticing the scrapes on her legs that she felt swelling up as they walked, this time much more slowly, along the trail. She closed her eyes. Given the fresh opportunity to be lost in her own environment, she used her free hand to navigate, feeling about at the warm summer air, the leaves, branches, and trunks as they went by. She discovered that she recognized some of the trees. She discovered that she knew by the change in slope that they were closer to the road, and by the smell of water that they were nearing the gravel spit. She became attuned to her senses in a way to which she wasn’t accustomed, and delighted in the sound of her boyfriend’s feet on the ground, the feeling of the breeze passing between their arms, and the glimpses of light as they neared the open alder forest. She loved the smell of the forest floor.
That was me, twenty-three years ago. I remember this often, and now try to make a habit of falling – at least metaphorically – off the beaten path. After all, falling lacks purpose, so the places I find myself are so much more surprising.
Last week, walking on the south side of the island, I picked my way carefully between thigh-deep snarls of blackberries toward the parched and crumbling moss deserts of the dry hillside. Even the blackberries were drying up, their vines like desperate brittle arms, reaching out to grab my clothing. I was so focused on the area immediately around my ankles, that I came unexpectedly upon a stand of cattails – a little marsh tucked into the rocks. What? I looked around: Pines, Douglas Fir, yellowing grass, moss and bracken, some cedars approaching death as their roots sought water in the dusty ground; insects resting on the brown-stemmed flowers. And the little stand of cattail. Their roots found some hidden source of water in the fold of the bedrock.
I looked up and discovered I was so far off the trail as to have to follow my senses back through the blazing white sun. So I stood and listened. Crowned sparrows called from various perches and the wind whipped the foxgloves so that they flopped against each other now and then. The grass whispered and my feet crunched the dried plants on my way home. I felt the stinging heat of the sun. Each of these experiences was a gift, like falling off a trail on a dark night. It is a gift just to give ourselves opportunities to discover.

– Emily VanLidth de Jeude

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