Gospel Rock: Spectacular and at Risk
Gospel Rock is a rocky bluff looking over Howe Sound and Georgia Strait, just north of the town of Gibsons. It is one of the most spectacularly beautiful and ecologically sensitive places on the entire Sunshine Coast, and is home to the last stretch of natural waterfront within the Town of Gibsons.
Trees over a century and a half old stand in the mature dryland Douglas Fir-Arbutus forest which stretches from the upper bluffs down to the shoreline.
This type of forest grows exactly where people want to work and live - in sunny areas near the shoreline. As a result, almost all the stands like it on the Sunshine Coast have been logged and developed. Gospel Rock is one of only a couple of small parcels like this that remain between Gibsons and Pender Harbour.
The Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA) is advocating to preserve Gospel Rock in its natural state.
Send an Email
In the face of unsanctioned logging in Gospel Rock, during December 2020, the Town of Gibsons has issued a Stop Work order for the construction of a multi-property development at Gospel Rock.
The Town and SCCA agreed that the Stop Work Order will remain in place until all issues around the environmentally sensitive area can be resolved.
We encourage you to write to the Town of Gibsons and thank them for their prompt response to this unsanctioned logging. Support for conservation activities from local governments is key to protecting these ecologically significant spaces.
You can email the mayor and council at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. (The Town's website advises that, in most instances, written and email correspondence addressed to Mayor and Council become public documents once received.)
Share your Photos
Send us copies of your high-quality photographs of Gospel Rock, so Sunshine Coast residents can see what's at stake. Your name will be credited below the photograph, and we'll link to your website if you wish. (Send a JPG file that is at least 1000 pixels wide, and not grainy, blurred or pixelated.)
Why Protecting Gospel Rock Matters
Sunshine Coasters have known in their hearts for generations that the Gospel Rock area is special. Currently available scientific information, provided through the Province's Conservation Framework, strongly supports this widely held point of view.
The land in the Gospel Rock Neighbourhood Plan area is within the Coastal Western Hemlock very-dry maritime biogeoclimatic subzone;. one of the most heavily disturbed ecosystems in the lower mainland and along the coast, second only to the Coastal Douglas Fir moist maritime.
Approximately 8% of this type of subzone occurring on Crown land in the Sunshine Coast Regional District has been protected. Less than half of this land is in old growth condition, due to the history of human settlement and industrial, agricultural and forestry-related uses.
The particular site type of the standing forests above and below Gower Point Road is naturally rare. The Province recognizes these stands as Imperiled and Imperiled to Vulnerable.
What We've Achieved So Far
Since 2004, the SCCA has worked with and supported the Friends of Gospel Rock Society. In early years, we participated in and/or monitored all public meetings about the future of the area, and shared information with the public.
As a result, in 2008 the public spoke out clearly against a version of the Gospel Rock Neighbourhood Plan which included waterfront housing, development of 'little Africa’, blasting and widening of Gower Point Road and high-density housing in upper Block 7. The Town of Gibsons subsequently voted to reject the plan.
When Block 7 of Gospel Rock was purchased by a developer in 2017, the SCCA held discussions with the land owner who committed to protect the Environmentally Sensitive Area and Open Space on Block 7, and agreed to a covenant over the natural areas.
In 2018, we were successful in bringing The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) in as a partner to create this convenant. A draft agreement was completed in late December 2020.
Updates on Gospel Rock
On December 31st, 2020 the SCCA was informed by citizens of Gibsons that trees had been cut down in the sensitive forest area on Gospel Rock, Block 7. We walked the property on January 2nd and 3rd, 2021 and documented a freshly cut swath of the sensitive ecosystem along the eastern edge of the property. …
The SCCA has worked in partnership with the Friends of Gospel Rock Society (FOGRS) to secure protection of ecologically rare and sensitive lands in the Gospel Rock Neighbour Area since 2004. In 2013, The Town of Gibsons adopted the Gospel Rock Neighbourhood Plan, which outlined its commitment to protect over 47% of Block 7, a …