Heartbroken on my home island

It was a beautiful day to SUP today.  Checked the wind forecasts and it looked like the west side was a good bet, so I chucked my board on the car and headed for Tunstall Bay.


Out on the bay the water was a little windy but I powered into it and headed for the first point, the one I call swimmer’s rock because Sue Schloegl and Sharon Slugget always rest there when they are out swimming.  Rounded the point and SHOCK!


Right beside the lighthouse at Cape Roger Curtis was a 50 foot barge with a crane and a pile driver on it.  It was pounding pilings into the sea bed next to the Cape for the first of the monster single use private docks being built for the new owners of the Cape.  I paddled out past the new house (which clocks in at more than 10,000 square feet) out to where the barge was anchored and watched a small crew of men drive a pile along a line that extended a long way out from shore.


The sea lion that usually hangs around there was obviously AWOL.  Not a seal to be seen either, anywhere.  Just the constant chug of the engine and the clanging of metal on metal as the crew raised and lowered the cuff around the newly installed piling.   I sat on my board for quite a while just witnessing the permanent destruction of one the most lovely and wild views on Bowen Island: the rocky promontory of Cape Roger Curtis, a single arbutus tree and the light house and now, a set of dock pilings and soon a dock and a float and probably a huge yacht.  Tears were shed.  A song was sung. The old world has died, and the new has come, on the heels of a massive failure of imagination and will in the face of greed.


The Stop the Docks crew have been trying to stop the docks, but obviously the owners of these properties neither know about or care about the objections of 1200+ Islanders to these monstrosities.  In fact in the Undercurrent last week are public notices for two more docks, one right next to the one I saw being built today.  Meanwhile the guys that are selling the Cape, the same people that are now building these docks, are advertising their properties like this:


This is an impossibly beautiful coastal site. Its untouched shores, whispering brooks, and deep woods are a Pacific Northwestern gem. We are determined to tread upon this land lightly. We have taken extensive measures to preserve the natural and ecological integrity of the property. Substantial planning and infrastructure work has been carried out, guided by some of the region’s most respected environmental consultants. The vast majority of The Cape’s 618-acre property will remain a protected natural green space. The site plan allows for maximum natural drainage of stormwater, for minimal impact on the water table. Burke and Huszar Creeks – crucial wildlife habitats on the property – have been protected, with generous buffer zones. All in the name of preserving The Cape’s pristine natural state, for generations. Meanwhile, we encourage owners to create a home that respects this pristine coastal landscape, and provide you with every opportunity to do so. From environmentally sensitive design to awareness of sensitive habitats, from intelligent landscaping to the use of local materials, we offer pragmatic guidance to help you build an island estate that protects the fragile natural beauty of this land.

All of that fancy copy is clearly a bald faced lie now because they have forever ruined the “untouched shores.”  They have not tread lightly at all, and have no intention to.  The pristine natural state of the Cape will now be littered with docks, the foreshore broken up, the waters and the intertidal zones impacted forever.  They are lying.  If you are considering buying a property from these charlatans, you should know that.  Who knows what else they’ll tell you to get you to part with your millions.


I hope our new neighbours are community minded, that they come on down and volunteer at the recycling centre, that they join the Fastpitch league or the co-ed soccer league, that they join SKY, shoot the breeze at the Snug and split a bottle of Chardonnay on an overloaded Friday night commuter ferry.  I hope they are like that.  But today my heart is split in two, the Cape has been forever changed and I am trying hard to suppress emotions ranging from sadness to anger.



  1. So sad to read this, Chris.

  2. Hey Chris,
    I to am sad to read your post.
    I am reminded immediately of Charles Eisenstein’s discussion, in Sacred Economics, of what he calls the monetization of the commons.
    If you haven’t read his book yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Reading it this summer has, in fact, given me an enormous surge of hope in the face of such shocks-&-grievings as you describe on your island. The efforts to preserve & protect, connect, invite, & give are perhaps the same after reading his book, but their place in a larger transformational picture is, for me, freshly clear and hopeful.

  3. Hi Chris

    Glad to read of your continued SUP paddling (I think of you and Bowen Island everytime I head for a stillwater paddle on our trip around Oz), however share your anger and sadness at the event you witnessed. Having paddled around a few of Bowen’s capes, I understand how special your island home is. All the best to those trying to Stop The Docks and may years of bad luck follow the lying charlatans who are changing Bowen forever.

    Warmly, Geoff

  4. I believe the grief that comes from such experiences can be overwhelming and lead to despair, at least for me. For example, monstrous new by-pass destroying the old country road where my mother is buried. I was blessed yesterday to visit a garden and nature sactuary where a farmer friend has created 5 mandalas to spiritual traditions important to her. This space was cocreated with the natural environment. When in this sanctuary I was energised to forget industrialization immediately beyond. This is active engagement for strength, clarity and survival. Sandra Ingerman’s shamanic work serves in this time of devastation as well. Now I am thinking, what can I do to maintain strength as a row of block stores is built in the same area
    Warm regards