The Thetis Island-Penelakut Island-Chemainus ferry. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Shellfish farm development a threat to Thetis Island

Project seems to have been quietly put forward with limited notice

My family (parents and children) are long-term residents of Thetis Island – 40+ years for the adults. We love Thetis Island, the natural setting and the community.

We are committed with all those who call Thetis Island home to preserving the best parts of Thetis Island and investing for the future of those who come after us to enjoy and to experience the island the way we have.

This reality is currently in grave jeopardy with the proposed industrialization of Preedy Harbour – one of the most sparking jewels of the Gulf Islands – with the approval of an application for an extend shellfish/farm lease. The end result being a permanent eyesore, increased noise and light pollution, a hazard to navigation and a potential ecological travesty all for the financial profit of a company and resulting in loss of use and enjoyment for Gulf Islanders, visitors and residents of Thetis Island for years to come.

The proposed project would be an unsightly eyesore destroying iconic beauty of the island itself for generations to come.

This whole development is also a potential safety issue with almost certain hazards to navigation and the loss of the public’s full use and enjoyment of Preedy Harbour for recreational and other uses.

This is not to mention the concern as to what this certain project might mean for the the sea and all of its creatures as well. To our knowledge no impact study has been done.

It has come to the attention of residents of Thetis Island only last week that soon the Islands Trust will be deciding on whether or not to confirm the rezoning of Preedy Harbour to allow for a 44-acre shellfish farm that will occupy the passage all the way past Overbury extending to Scott/Damon Islands.

Rezoning will change the nature of this passage from natural to industrial. Commercial activity as well as large navigational buoys which blink throughout the night will permanently alter the natural aspects of this passage as well as disrupt how both you and our families and friends and visitors to Thetis Island will be able to use and enjoy the harbour in the future.

It is most unfortunate that a couple of short mentions in a local off-island newspaper qualified as notice and that until now there has been no public or other dialogue about a matter of such significance.

The whole proposal seems to be complete opposite of government and Trust priorities regarding preservation and sustainability of the Gulf Islands and of the environmental itself.

Please review the project application in full. You will notice that the application stated ‘met with local government’. We are unaware of any such meeting nor can we find record or notes.

This project has already been approved by the government and is only awaiting approval from Islands Trust – an approval many, if not most, oppose.

Chris Fordham,

Thetis Island

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