The Sunshine Coast's Disastrous Dock Management Plan

After 20 years, the Province still refuses to seriously consult with property owners

March 14, 2024 3:05 AM EDT | Source: Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association

Pender Harbour, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - March 14, 2024) - After a 10-year moratorium and 10 subsequent years tinkering with a Dock Management Plan (DMP) that remains untenable, the Province and the shíshálh Nation have failed miserably, according to the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Assn (PHARA).

Following the latest round of DMP amendments announced in November-which expanded the plan to include all the shíshálh claimed territory-and after a 90 day "public engagement" period, about 1,700 comments were received by the Province from concerned stakeholders. They raised fundamental issues with the government's implementation of the DMP. "This is not something the Province can be smug about," said PHARA director Sean McAllister. "This is clear evidence that the DMP has been an absolute and abysmal failure since its first draft in 2015 and following several ill-thought-out iterations."

While a simple dock application sits in government offices for years, government somehow found a way to summarize all 1,700 submissions in a few weeks. But on reading the "What We Heard" summary report, PHARA concluded the summary is rushed, trivialized, slipshod and inaccurate by omission. Many of the concerns expressed by the community-such as asking for the science behind implementing zones where docks may or may not be permitted-were, despite numerous comments - not even mentioned in the summary. The Province chose what to include and the document more accurately could have been titled, 'What We've Chosen to Hear.'

"Why bother if they were not going to report out on everything?" said McAllister, "We call upon the province to publicly release all the submissions in their entirety - all British Columbians need to see how voices are being 'managed' here."

PHARA cannot accept that the Province and the shíshálh continue to refuse, for 20 years now, to consult in any meaningful way with stakeholders, and it is not conducive to reconciliation. Instead, the DMP has been thrust on the community by the Province and the shíshálh, developed behind closed doors and then handed down to the community as a fait accompli. Receiving comments, cherry-picking them and the science, and then moving forward without face-to-face discussions is an insult to stakeholders who are most impacted by proposed changes. "This whole DMP controversy could have been avoided if we'd all sat down at a table as equal participants from the start," noted McAllister. "Instead, government has created unnecessary conflict."

To be clear - representatives of the provincial Ministers of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation have recently sought meetings with PHARA and other parties. But they have been unwilling to confirm that there are no "pre-conditions" to the discussions. They have refused to confirm the DMP itself and the pending negotiation of a related agreement under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act are on the table to talk about. And they have required some parties to sign non-disclosure agreements - which PHARA will not do. Citizens should not have to agree to be muzzled in order to meet with those who hold public office.

"The current Dock Management Plan needs to be scrapped in its entirety, along with the secret negotiation of the agreement to give the sishalh Nation legal powers under the Land Act," said McAllister. "We need to go back and start again from scratch, working together as equals - this is not the way to advance reconciliation."

Sean McAllister
Director, PHARA

ABOUT PHARA: Founded in 2013, PHARA is a non-profit volunteer organization which exists to support the interests and needs of residents and visitors of Pender Harbour, Egmont and the rest of Area A. PHARA believes that all important decisions that affect our communities should be made by those who live, work and play in the areas. Visit

Box 15
Madeira Park, BC
V0N 2H0

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