SCCA News

Select a news topic from the list below, then select a news article to read.

Meet our New Team Members!

In 2019-2020, the SCCA underwent strategic planning, governance training and a management transition. The goal of this transition is to revitalize our organization and ensure the SCCA efficiently and effectively achieves its mandate to protect biodiversity on the Sunshine Coast.

In the fall of 2020, the SCCA hired Suzanne Senger as our new Executive Director. An experienced NGO leader with the skills and expertise to develop capacity and resources, campaigns and projects, Suzanne will guide the SCCA to meet its conservation mandate going forward. As well, the SCCA has hired Holly Neate, as our new Administrator. Holly too brings non-profit, administrative, organizing and networking experience to her role with the SCCA. 

Suzanne and Holly will work closely with our experienced Board of Directors to support the SCCA mission to preserve the natural biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast Region for the present and future benefit of all life, and raise public environmental and conservation awareness. 

Contact

Suzanne Senger, Executive Director executive@thescca.ca 

Holly Neate, Administrator info@thescca.ca  

About the SCCA Team 

In January 2021, the BC Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) advertised a draft Order to establish revised Visual Quality Objectives (VQO) for logging in the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District (SCNRD). The draft Order was open for public comment for 60 days. 

Visual Quality Objectives determine to what extent clear-cut logging will be allowed to impact the visual appearance of the landscapes in "Supernatural" British Columbia. The visual quality of the environment is an important part of our economy. In the past, there have been extensive public consultations and analyses before making these determinations.

The SCCA didn’t learn about the draft Order to establish new VQOs or the comment period on the Order until mid-March. With a deadline looming to comment on a highly complex Order, we contacted FLNRO to ask for more time and more information to inform our submission. FLNRO gave us an extra 30 days and a few digital maps. 

Over the course of a couple of weeks, the SCCA reached out to stakeholders throughout the region and learned that there had also been no real process to inform the public and many stakeholders. And, that local governments had not even been notified of the order at all. Once again, we asked FLNRO to engage and consult the public in a meaningful way and to extend the comment period until the end of June, to give us all enough time to get informed and make submissions on the proposal.  

FLNRO staff acknowledged that their public and stakeholder engagement process was insufficient and that omitting to consult local governments was a big missing piece. Still, the District Manager (DM) would not extend the existing public comment period beyond April 30th, 2021. 

However, the DM did agree to engage with the SCCA and other regional Stakeholder groups for a second round of engagement, and to consult with us on next steps for additional engagement. As well, FLNR staff have agreed that Stakeholder groups like the SCCA and Local Governments will be able to engage our proponents and include their feedback with our submissions. 

We feel this second round of consultation is a much needed first step to ensure stakeholders and the public are engaged on important land use issues in the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District.

 

NEXT STEPS

The SCCA has many concerns around the outdated policy, information and data that has been used to inform these VQO recommendations and the proposed designations for much of our region. 

Going forward, we will be working with a variety of stakeholder groups to analyze the draft order and prepare submissions to FLNRO. We will prepare submissions addressing policy and process issues and comments on specific areas and polygons in the North and South SCNRD regions. If you would like to contribute to or support this work, please contact us asap. 

If you belong to a group, own or operate a business whose interests are affected by the Scenic Quality of the landscape on the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District, we want to hear from you. Please let us know if you would like your organization added to the Stakeholder list, we provide to FLRNO and/or if you would like us to help facilitate submission of your comments on this process to FLNRO.  

 

VISUAL QUALITY OBJECTIVES ON THE SUNSHINE COAST 

The BC government recognizes the social, cultural and economic value of Beautiful British Columbia’s scenic landscape and the public entrusts the province to manage visual impacts on Crown forest land to ensure scenic quality expectations of the public, tourism, recreation and other sectors are met. 

VQOs are established under the Government Action Regulation. Before deciding on VQOs, the FLNRO District Manager must consult with First Nations, industry, stakeholders, and the public. Unfortunately, FLNRO neglected to consult conservation, recreation and tourism Stakeholders and Local Governments on this draft Order. However, FLNRO District Manager, Derek Lefler has now committed to undertake further consultation with stakeholder groups in a meaningful way.

 

Inadequate Consultation 

VQOs are established under the Government Action Regulation. The existing VQOs for the SCNRD were established in 1991 and updated through 1999. When the process to establish the VQOs was originally done in 1991, a robust stakeholder engagement process was undertaken. A local consultant was paid $10,000 to tour the region for 3 months, with maps and notepad, to document community interests and communicate back to FLNRO. Twenty years later FLNRO has chosen not to refer this Order to local governments and posted the draft Order for public comment mid-winter amid a global pandemic with nothing more than a small ad in the local newspaper. As a result of this lack of engagement we nearly missed our only chance to respond to this important proposal. 

 

Outdated Information 

VQOs are supposed to be based on a “current” analysis of the landscape called a Visual Landscape Inventory (VLI). The SCNRD Visual Landscape Inventory was conducted between 2012-2014 in order to update the visible landscape measures from Howe Sound in the south, to Toba and Bute Inlets in the north, west to Texada Island. The VLI provides a set of Recommended Visual Quality Classes (RVQC's) which recommend which “alteration category” is likely to result in the “best outcome based on the professional advice” of the person conducting the inventory. The VLI Procedures & Standards Manual dates back to May 1997. This means the proposed VQOs are based on a 24-year-old policy and 8–10-year-old VLIs which don’t account for current conditions, climate change and cumulative effects.

There is currently a government to government planning process ongoing in the shíshálh swiya. This process will generate current data on the current conditions of the landscape. These data should be used to update the VLI and inform the VQO recommendations.

In Howe Sound, regional governments, First Nations and NGOS groups have been calling for comprehensive land and marine planning for eight years. The province undertook a Cumulative Effects Assessment for the Sound and is on the verge of launching a public CEAF data and mapping tool to inform land use planning decisions. Initial data released on the Howe Sound CEAF website indicates VQOs have been hard hit on the Sunshine Coast. These data are critical to understanding the current state of the landscape and should be used to update the VLI and inform VQO recommendations.

 

Change is Here

Land use needs have changed immeasurably within the SCNRD since the VQOs were established in the 1990s and the VLIs were updated in 2012-2014. Over the last 10 years, Coastal communities have felt the compounding negative impacts of industrial logging on ecological and natural capital values. We continue to face ever growing impacts of climate change (drought and fire), and cumulative effects on biodiversity and natural infrastructure including on our fisheries and drinking water supply. 

The local economy has also changed. Knowledge and service sectors, outdoor recreation and tourism, scientific research and education are starting to edge out industrial activity as regional economic drivers. Some of the most spectacular scenery in Supernatural British Columbia can be found in the SCNRD and our forested landscapes are a defining feature of the coastal lifestyle and tourism product. We experience far more tourism and recreational use than we did 8-10 years ago. Since Covid, our amazing scenery, proximity to nature and access to outdoor recreation opportunities have become an even bigger draw for families moving from the city to our small, rural communities. Protecting scenic values for recreation and tourism is critical to supporting the local economy throughout the district.

2021 marks the last year of the federally $1.5B funded, nation-wide Oceans Protection Plan (OPP). Dianne Sanford and Angela Kroning, from the SCCA Marine Committee, attended the 7th Pacific Dialogue Forum held virtually Feb 17-19th to learn of the progress made on the initiatives relating to the creation of a world-leading marine safety program and to the restoration and protection of marine ecosystems.

They were able to attend and ask questions at 16 sessions, ranging from the collection of marine bird and shorelines baseline data in northern BC and the reducing threats to marine mammals, to the effects of climate change on coastal hazards and some nature-based solutions. On the second day, the federal government provided examples of successful initiatives established with Indigenous partnerships (one of the four pillars of the OPP) such as the pilot Safe Distance Offshore Shipping Program co-chaired between Haida Gwaii and Transport Canada. The last day focused on responsive planning for oil spills, specifically on the advances in oil spill science nationally and internationally. Participants were also invited to provide input in Environment & Climate Change Canada’s environmental emergency policy involving a ship-source oil spill.

Summaries, evaluations, and conclusions reached by the attendees will be detailed in an upcoming report later in March.

Information on OPP accomplishments to date: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/oceans-protection-plan/report-canadians-investing-our-coasts-through-oceans-protection-plan

The SCCA is seeking a part-time Administrator to join our team.

Our Administrator works together with our Board of Directors and Executive Director to manage administrative duties to support our mission, policies, goals and objectives. See full job description including qualifications here.

Term: four month, part-time, renewable contract
Compensation: Maximum of $1000/month, hourly rate commensurate with experience.

Application Closing Date: August 17, 2020
Interviews will be held: August 20 - 22
Preferred starting date: September 1, 2020

To apply for this position, please send a cover letter and resume with Administrator in the subject line to office@thescca.ca. Only candidates selected for an interview will contacted.

The SCCA is committed to employment equity as an ongoing process. We encourage qualified applicants from underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous persons, racialized communities, persons with disabilities, and members of sexual or gender minority groups. The successful candidate will be required to complete a criminal record check.

 

Dear Friends,

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.

On Monday January 4, 2021 we learned from the Town of Gibsons that this cutting took place on December 18th and the Town issued a Stop Work Order on December 21, 2020. Tree cutting cannot resume on Block 7 until the Town lifts the Stop Work Order.

It is critical that the Stop Work Order be kept in place until the remaining forest is legally protected and reparation addressed.

We’ve spent the better part of the last week trying determine what happened here, whether this cutting will affect our conservation covenant agreement, and how to proceed from here.

We don’t have clear answers for you right now but we will certainly update you as we learn more. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@thescca.ca

You're invited to join our SCCA team for our very first online AGM!

When: Thursday, June 25th from 5 to 6 pm.
Where: Online through Zoom!
Click this link to join the meeting on June 25th.
Or call 778.907.2071.

Meeting ID: 942 9144 2968.
Password: 690590

Join us to learn what we've been up to since we last met, what we're currently working on and what initiatives we're looking forward to advancing over the coming year. Find out about the many ways you can get involved and support our work to preserve the biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast! Download the AGM agenda

You can also see our Chair's Report, the 2019 Financial Statements, and the minutes from our 2019 AGM here.

Membership & Voting: if you were a member in 2019 and would like to have voting privileges at the AGM, please follow this link to renew your membership in advance of the AGM.
NEW members must be in good standing for at least 90 days before the AGM to have voting privileges. To find out your membership status, contact Sarah at: membership@thescca.ca.

Interested in joining the Board? We would love to attract some new Board members to our team, and in particular, we're interested in recruiting a youth director (really, anyone under 30! ;), and are keen to include greater diversity. Contact Naomi, our Program Manager, if you'd like to learn more about joining our team: office@thescca.ca.

Help with Zoom: if you haven't used Zoom yet - never fear, we're here to help! Check out this handy introductory video, and if you still have questions, contact Naomi at the email above and she'll walk you through getting set up.
You can choose to download Zoom and use the application, or simply follow the invitation link to join the meeting through your web browser. You can also call in to join the meeting over the phone.
We highly recommend that you plan to join the meeting at least 10 minutes before we start so that you can adjust your settings and ensure everything is working well.
Note that you do not have to be on video if you don't want to or don't have a camera on your computer.


BC Timber Sales Consultation for 18 cutblocks proposed near Klein, North and Ruby Lakes

BC Timber Sales and Tsain-ko Forest Products are hosting an open public meeting on Thursday June 25th at 6pm via Zoom. This consultation is the public's opportunity to comment on a plan to log ~170 hectares in close proximity to Egmont lakes and recreational trails.
 
Please register to participate in the the meeting by emailing: Forests.ChinookTimberSalesOffice@gov.bc.ca
 
You must register by 3pm on Thursday June 25 and ask to be invited. They will send you a Zoom invitation and link, and you will be able to join by phone, computer or smartphone.
 

Subcategories

The latest news from the Joomla! Team