Open Letter to Ruth Simons and the Future of Howe Sound Society
Congratulations on this Canada Day, Ruth and all those who participated in a huge flotilla that would have stopped the Spanish Armada head-on if it had attempted to invade Howe Sound yesterday. More than 150 boats! The public participation was magnificent, as magnificent as your vision to preserve Howe Sound for future generations. I was impressed by the number of people involved, the variety of ages represented, and the happy spirit demonstrated by all those involved.
On this Canada Day, I consider it appropriate to pledge to you my commitment to work with those who would like to preserve Howe Sound, in the following way. I would like to explore with your group the possibility of providing at least some initial assessment of creating that type of broad-scale plan that Mayor Brenda Broughton and other people have discussed. From the many discussions I had, it is obvious that a variety of factors should be included in any such ambitious plan: the splendour of the natural surroundings; the biodiversity; the resurgence of natural life in Howe Sound; the contribution the surroundings make to tourism revenues to come; the intensity of impact of any industrial activity; the range of effect of such activity; the longevity of the industrial activity; the opportunity to restore land and surroundings damaged by the activity; the number of jobs created, the relevance of the products created by the activity; and the monetary value of such activity.
This is a wide variety of factors, and I'm sure there are more.
Here is a goal to which we could all aspire: Aug. 5 is a deadline by which applicants must approach the Finance Committee of the House of Commons in order for that committee to consider any applications that might find their way into the 2014 federal budget. While there are other ways to get good ideas into the budget, I suggest we work together to see if the Finance Committee will accept an application for funding of a preliminary study of the Howe Sound Area and the wide variety of environmental and economic factors and activities.
This may be the beginning of a long journey but one well worth travelling together.
Again, congratulations on the marvellous outpouring of public support demonstrated yesterday. I'm honoured just to participate.
John Weston, M.P., West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country