We are surrounded by water. Water is the source of all life and the water around Keats is teeming with marine life. We are blessed with our Marine Environment. Think about it … you arrive by water, every sought after “view” on the Island includes water and you do a lot of your recreation on water. It is crucial that we protect our foreshore, our beaches and the ocean itself.
Howe Sound has not always been healthy. It was far enough from Vancouver to be considered an industrial zone. The mine at Brittania leached many toxins into the ocean. Then there were two pulp mills …Woodfibre up near Squamish and our own Howe Sound Pulp and Paper. The toxins going into Howe Sound were … well, toxic.
Woodfibre has been closed since the mid 1990’s and Howe Sound spent many hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up its discharge. And nature is cleaning up our mess, again! Marine life is coming back in a big way. Dolphins are regular visitors, the fishing is getting better and even Orcas are seen from time to time. Howe Sound is clearly healthier than it has been in decades.
There remain threats related to human activity. Closer to home, our foreshore is vulnerable. Our beaches are breeding grounds for many small fish and the ocean floor is habitat. In addition, runoff from the shore cannot help but affect what happens in the ocean.
Islands Trust has been actively protecting our marine habitat .. creating protected zones and ensuring that human development does not encroach on natural boundaries. Maple Beach is an example of that. As a result of citizen concerns and action by Islands Trust, a structure that encroached on the beach has been moved.
Understanding our marine environment is key. The KICG is working on education sessions to learn more about our foreshore … our marine neighbourhood. So we can all be better neighbours and stewards.