PHARA is a volunteer organization which exists to support the vitality of the communities of Pender Harbour and Egmont areas as excellent places to live, work and play for residents and visitors. The Association provides a structure that allows residents to identify issues of broad community concern and have them effectively addressed.
The Association draws its main funding from a $30.00 membership per person per year. It saw a surge in growth as it moved into its expanded mandate but is looking to include more of the residents in the area. To join please go to our Join Us! section. Members receive regular insider newsletters with updates on the latest activities of the association.
PHARA is involved in the community in many ways, with committees dealing with derelict boats, Dock Management Plan revisions, cleaning local waters of debris, the annual trash bash, beach access signage, community volunteer awards, the installation of No Wake signs in the harbour and much more. We invite community input into other projects we should take on as an association.
Coming events in the communty
Urgent: Your Voice is Needed to Protect Our Community – Proposed Dock Management Changes Require Attention
Click on link below for more info on proposed changes
PHARA’S TOWN HALL: A RESOUNDING SUCCESS!
Approximately 150 community members—a full house—attended our October 22, 2023 Town Hall for an engaging 2.5 hours of information and updates and questions and concerns from the audience relating to issues taken on by the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association (PHARA) on behalf of local residents.
The event started with information on who and what PHARA is and introductions to the nine current Board members: Kim Allinson, Ron Badley, Bill Charlton, vice-president Guy Halford-Thompson, Eliza Kinley, Sean McAllister, Sage Robson, president Peter Robson and treasurer John Verver. It was followed by an appeal for volunteers.
A number of reports by PHARA directors are included below.
Dock Management Plan
Note that the Town Hall DMP report was compiled prior to the announcement of the proposed new amendments.
Sean McAllister provided a history of the DMP and our efforts to date. Click here for the full report. While some progress has been made, we continue our efforts to insist on further changes in regard to the dock width issue, the light penetration issue and the establishment of zones. Click here for the full report.
Guy Halford-Thompson provided us details of an upcoming agreement being forged between the shíshálh Nation and the Province taking place behind closed doors under the auspices of Section 7 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Right now, this is primarily a Pender Harbor issue but we believe we need to think beyond that, because what happens here, will set a precedent for all of British Columbia. It’s really important that residents are educated on what this means and its various implications. Click here for the full report.
Community Flower Gardens
Bill Charlton reported on an idea to maintain our Community Gardens adjacent to the Community Hall and Bargain Barn. Don Fraser was the moving force behind the gardens and funding the work out of his own pocket. Don is now retired and he wants to move back to the mainland. We need to come up with a solution to maintain these beautiful gardens. Click here for the full report.
Pender Harbor Community Wellness Project
About three years ago, a local concerned taxpayer, mentioned that he had funds available to make town improvements but he only did it on condition that we had a long-term plan for the town—10 or 20 years—of what the community could look like.
Maggy Spence, who just happened to be completing a Masters degree with UBC on a similar field as town planning, agreed to help with a vision and she has been working on this for nine months now to develop a Pender Harbor Community Wellness Project. Click here for her full report.
Paq Creek Project
PHARA is looking for partners for an exciting project to daylight a portion of Paq Creek that currently runs through a failing culvert underneath the Madeira Park Elementary School playing field. Click here for the full report.
We’re hearing from many members of the community suggesting we revisit incorporating some or all of Area A into a municipality. Click here for the full report.
The idea of cleaning up some of the underwater junk such as old fishing nets, batteries and such in Pender Harbour has been on our radar for a number of years now. Click here for the full report.
Parks and Trails
For the past few years, we’ve been working on several parks and trails improvement projects, most notably, improving the parking and expanding the beach at Dan Bosch Regional Park as well as creating a loop trail around Katherine Lake Regional Park. Details are on the PHARA website. We’re happy to report that the SCRD has approved these projects and will be implementing them into their upcoming Parks Master Plan. We shouldn’t hold our collective breath on the timing, but they are in the works.
“Action on Garden Bay Pub”
Your PHARA board has been grappling for some time with how to approach the unsightly and dangerous burned-out remains of the Garden Bay Pub. We have been in touch with the province’s environmental authorities, who carried out an on-site inspection; Len Lee, Area A Director, is well aware of the problem and has explained to us that for the SCRD to step in and force the absentee owners to clean up the mess, it would require court action—a time-consuming and costly step that would take a long time to even get started.
PHARA has tried on its own to contact the pub’s owners, to no avail. As you can see from the attached documents, we appealed to the owner’s sense of community spirit and also suggested that leaving the debris untouched would result in more expense down the road.
We are again bringing this matter to the attention of the SCRD in the hope they can somehow force the cleanup of the site. We will keep our membership informed of any further developments. In the meantime, know that we will not let this issue drop.
Proposed Section 7 Agreement
On January 20, 2023, PHARA sent the following letter to its members, as well as to provincial and federal legislators, and to several media outlets:
RE: Proposed Section 7 agreement between B.C. government and shíshálh Nation
The shíshálh Nation and the Province of British Columbia have begun negotiations on the first joint decision-making agreement to be negotiated under Section 7 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act).
The agreement, when negotiated, will apply to decisions on dock tenures in the shíshálh swiya (territory/birthplace/world) and builds upon the current model for making shared decisions on dock tenures created in 2018.
The Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association (PHARA) is reaching out to raise awareness of this new joint decision making process (effectively giving the shíshálh Nation a veto on authorizations), which is likely to be expanded to other authorization types in the future (for example forestry, mining, disposition of Crown land and resources, building permits, business licences, land titles and any other land use authorizations).
The following letter, sent to relevant government entities, asks how final decisions will be made, raising questions about the lack of important checks and balances that we expect to be in place for our elected governments, including accountability, transparency, oversight, complaint handling and dispute resolution.
For inquiries and questions, please contact email@example.com
PROPOSED CHANGES, GEOGRAPHICAL PLACE NAMES
“Proposed Changes, Geographical Place Names” to above the “Letter Addressing Name Changes” To shorten this, simply put, under the existing map, the following sentence. “The BC Geographical Names Office has received proposals from the shíshálh Nation to change or adopt names for ten geographical features, including Pender Harbour, Earls Cove, and elsewhere on the Sunshine Coast. Click here for the full list of proposed name changes”
Letter addressing name changes.
BUS SERVICE FOR PENDER HARBOUR AND EGMONT!
A message to PHARA members and all Pender Harbour residents:
The SCRD has approved a future transit plan for the Sunshine Coast that includes potential expansion of the public transit system to include Pender Harbour and Egmont. This was adopted as a planning tool and is a positive first step toward having bus service in our area. Click here for the report.
Note that the SCRD accepted this document as a “strategic planning direction;” at this time we do not know when transit to Pender Harbour will be implemented. For now, this is for information only.
Please support our community: join or renew your PHARA membership by going to phara.ca and navigating to the Join Us page.
Dock Management Plan
On July 13, 2020, PHARA reps, Bill Charlton and Sean McAllister met virtually with representatives of the shíshálh Nation, the Provincial Government and the SCRD. A follow up letter was sent to the shíshálh Nation and the government on January 30, 2021, asking for a further meeting to be arranged so that we could have further discussions on the problematic aspects of the DMP.
A letter dated March 3, 2021, was received from the Nation and the government indicating that some amendments were being implemented as a result of our submissions. Those included minor changes to terminology, clarity confirming Qualified Professionals, and confirming that encapsulated foam was acceptable floatation. All other suggested amendments were summarily dismissed. The government was going to further study the “dock width” issue with their engineers.
By letter dated Sept 27, 2021, the government and the Nation provided an amended DMP incorporating the above. They also confirmed that they have commissioned a third party PEng to review our report on dock widths, which would also include a review of our QP reports submitted back in January 2021.
A similar letter was sent to the SCRD by the Nation and Province on the same date confirming the above and advising of a new website for the Shared Decision Making process. They also claim that 161 replacement tenures had been issued with another 97 being offered through a collaborative process. We are unable to confirm this.
On Nov 1, 2021 the SCRD responded to the letter asking for effective consultation, including a seat for the SCRD at the various Foundation Agreement tables and asking for further consultation with PHARA regarding concerns related to float buoyancy, stability and light transmission justification for the zones contained in the DMP. We will continue to press for further consultation regarding the foregoing and are preparing another response. — Bill Charlton and Sean McAllister, DMP Working Group co-chairs.
Our Derelict Boat committee is headed by Ian and Diane Hopkinson with fellow committee members Eliza Kinley and Peter Robson. In recent years five vessels have been removed from our harbour. This has been achieved in a variety of ways. In the spring, we toured the harbour with the very kind assistance of Eliza Kinley. Boats that we have identified as abandoned or derelict are not only eyesores, but they are also a menace to navigation and in some cases, clear sources of pollution.
Most of these vessels are anchored out and are believed to be uninsured since virtually all marinas require at least liability insurance for vessels to be moored in their facilities. Quite often, the ground tackles that are used by these craft are inadequate, which results in vessels dragging anchor and colliding with others.
To remove these vessels usually costs a considerable sum of money, money that PHARA does not have. It has been necessary therefore to seek other sources of funding. These are the Canadian Coast Guard, who are really only interested if there is a significant fuel spill (a rainbow sheen on the water is not sufficient to merit their attention). Another source is Transport Canada and we have met with some success here.
There is an organization called the Dead Boat Society who seems to have the ear of Transport Canada. Boats, which we have identified as being abandoned, or derelict may be flagged by Transport Canada by placing a notice aboard advising that the boat will be removed and disposed of unless the owner or owners contact Transport Canada by phone during a reasonable period.
In addition, boats have been removed by volunteer labour.
These are the boats that have been removed so far:
1 and 2: The Golden 1 and the black hull cabin cruiser that belonged to Rick Cooke
- The Chuckanut that sank in Gerrans Bay was refloated and then broken up for salvage. This was done by volunteer labour, which included Peter Robson, Bob and Danny Fielding, Larry Page, and the barge Tag Angel, Bruno Pepin (diver) and Laughlin and Kerry Rand of KER Enterprises. The Pender Ocean Discovery Centre generously allowed us to use the launch ramp to haul the Chuckanut ashore where it was broken up and then landfilled in Sechelt and the SCRD generously waived the tipping fee.
- A Cruise-A Home houseboat from Gerrans Bay was towed to Mackenzie Marina and broken up
- A powerboat that had been abandoned at a private dock for more than a decade was also removed and broken up by members of the community.
We understand that some of the boats that had been recently tagged by Transport Canada have been removed from their moorings and placed alongside docks awaiting disposal. — Ian Hopkinson
The Official Community Plan and Bylaw 337
As you may know, the SCRD approved our revised Official Community Plan in October of 2018, almost five years ago. Peter Robson was chair of that advisory group and we spent three years re-crafting it. To fully implement the recommendations in the OCP, the SCRD has to revise our current Bylaw 337, which covers Area A. (Bylaw 310 covers the rest of the SCRD area). SCRD’s bylaws cover specific, drilled-down Zoning regulations for something like 40 land use designations. In the OCP, we reduced that number to 14. Zoning Bylaws cover things like acceptable uses such as the number of allowable dwellings, siting of structures, floor areas of buildings, width of dwellings, parcel coverage and so on. Those old zoning regulations were written in 1990, 30 years ago, However, in the three years since the OCP was accepted by the SCRD, absolutely nothing has happened to update Bylaw 337. Instead, our OCP is gathering dust on the shelves at the SCRD with the excuses being staffing shortages and other priorities. Without updating our bylaws those 1990 Bylaws stand and obviously things have changed a whole lot since then, including issues such controversial issues as campsites and trailer parks. PHARA continues to put pressure on the SCRD to make worthwhile the hard work of the OCP committee.
Our Community Gardens
We are working to obtain funding to rebuild and maintain the gardens around the community hall and a few others scattered around Madeira Park. These have fallen into disrepair over the last few years. Don Fraser has been selflessly maintaining those gardens for many years, but it is time for the community to take on this task. Those gardens are a real visual asset to our downtown. Don has done far more than his part over the years and now someone needs to take the lead. We’ve received ongoing support for this project from all the community groups in our area. We hope to replace some of the plants and such with a Grant in Aid from the SCRD for capital costs, but we will need ongoing funding from an endowment, from government or through a large donation to pay for the labour to upkeep the gardens on a continuing basis. Let us know if you would like to donate to this community improvement project. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daylighting Lily Lake Creek
We are also looking at supporting a major project, initiated once again by Don Fraser, who has done some significant planning and mapping work over the years. The idea is to reroute the creek coming out of Lily Lake and run it behind the liquor store and IGA and under Lagoon Road to the wetland by the church Currently that runs underground beneath the school field and when that was built it was only covered by boards and dirt and once that collapses, it will be a big mess. We don’t have all the details yet, but again, this needs a project lead as Don can’t do it by himself, but he has laid the groundwork.
The Future of our Community
The Madeira Park Community Well-Being Strategy is the results of a UBC School of Community and Regional Planning Capstone Project in partnership between graduate student Maggy Spence and the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association. Across Pender Harbour and specifically within Madeira Park, the community is facing serious challenges including a growing population, a depleting workforce and competition between the long-term and short-term rental market. The project sought to develop a grassroots strategy to address community well-being for the town centre of Madeira Park. Community Well-Being is a way to measure collective community health, which takes various factors, including social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political, into consideration. However, this project also applies a lens of equity, understanding that marginalized groups often lack the opportunity to engage in planning projects. To review the full strategy, click here
Another idea is to initiate a new Provincial Government funded Incorporation study to look at the numbers relating to part of Area A becoming an incorporated municipality. If this proceeds PHARA would remain neutral but facilitate the study and present it to the community for consideration. To review the previous 1997 incorporation study, click here.
The idea of cleaning up some of the underwater junk in Pender Harbour has been on our radar for a number of years now. However, without a project lead, it hasn’t gained any steam. Recently though, we’ve began to work with the Ocean Legacy Foundation which deals with disposal and recycling of old fishnets and such. They are applying on our behalf to DFO for a permit to do the cleanup. We’ve also been in touch with Rob Alliston’s SeaWolf Diving and we’re hoping to work with them on the actual diving and retrieval. We don’t have time here to go into the details of the project, but contact us if you’re interested in knowing more or helping out. That said, it looks like this project is finally getting some legs for a spring 2024 clean-up.
Our area has a number of parcels that are part of the Agricultural Land Reserve. However, very little if any food is being grown on those properties. We would like to develop a plan to better encourage and and support those and other properties with the potential for growing a significant volume of food close to home.
Four Exciting New Outdoor Recreation Opportunities
Area A now has the opportunity to increase its popular outdoor recreation facilities with four proposed projects to enhance all-season hiking and wilderness adventure, not only for those of us who live here, but also as additional draws for visitors and this will help sustain local businesses to which tourism is vital, especially in the off season.
The goal of increasing recreation opportunities in Area A is clearly stated in the Egmont/Pender Harbour Official Community Plan (2018).
“To enhance public access and use of water resources in a manner that minimizes detrimental effects on the environment and adjacent land uses.” and “To recognize the need for park opportunities at neighbourhood, community, regional and provincial levels to fulfill the recreational needs of residents and visitors”
“To support community groups that can provide stewardship and oversight for beach accesses and trails.”
Did you know?
There are none, or inadequate, wayfinding signage to our most popular attractions which include Francis Point Provincial Park, the Mount Daniel hiking trail, Baker Beach, Martin Cove and Garden Bay Marine Provincial Park. Without adequate signage, visitors cannot access these beautiful parts of our community. We need to improve wayfinding signage.
The SCRD’s Katherine Lake Regional Park surrounds the only lake on the Sunshine Coast that is wholly surrounded by public parkland? Therefore, it is the only lake where it is possible to have a walking trail around the entire lake—again, the only such trail on the Coast. Trails currently exist around about 90 percent of the lake, and these could be improved and the trail network completed.
Dan Bosch Park on Ruby Lake is extremely oversubscribed, with visitors forced to park along the dangerous roadway of Highway 101, and partially block traffic in this 80 km zone. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed walking along the highway. The current beach areas are also extremely overcrowded, yet there is ample room for expanding those facilities.
The stretch of Garden Bay Road between the Pumphouse and John Henry’s/Royal Vancouver Yacht Club is dangerously narrow with no proper shoulders making it dangerous for walkers and cyclists to negotiate this portion of the road. Again, this is a hazardous situation that needs to be remedied.
These four projects described in brief above are fully supported by the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association (PHARA), the Pender Harbour Rotary Club and the Pender Harbour Chamber of Commerce.
As of 2023, the SCRD Parks and Recreation department has taken over these projects with implementation to occur following development of a Parks Master Plan. In addition, despite our expressed safety concerns, the Active Transportation Corridor project is not moving forward at this point due to a lack of funding or priority by MOTI.
Click below for more information on these projects. Please show your support for these community initiatives.
What Happened? Closing the Pender Harbour Landfill and the proposed Enhanced Drop-Off/Resource Recovery Facility
In September 2008, Sperling Hansen Associates was retained by the SCRD to assess Waste Management Options for the Pender Harbour Landfill. The Pender Harbour Landfill was slated to reach capacity in 2010 and the SCRD wished to decide on the best option to hand the area’s waste going forward.
Three options were considered: 1) Expanding the existing landfill to the west, 2) Expanding the landfill to the north, 3) closing the landfill and developing a transfer station to haul waste to the Sechelt Landfill.
The document is an interesting read. Now, 13 years later, do you think the SCRD made the right choice?
Residents Association Responds to Proposed Madeira Park Name Change
“Due to public opposition, the proposed name change was dropped”
Your community association is well aware of the controversy surrounding the recent proposals to change the highway signs and rename Madeira Park. In that light, PHARA along with the Chamber of Commerce prepared two letters: one strongly opposing the proposed name change and the second requesting a hold be put on dual language sign implementation. We are confident that all affected parties will be able to come together in the very near future to ensure that our voices are heard. The two letters are now in the hands of the SCRD, the shíshálh Nation, the Area A Advisory Planning Commission and provincial government officials.
In the spirit of reconciliation, we look forward to undertaking a process of consultation with all parties to discuss dual language signs and the more important issue of the proposed name change to Madeira Park.
The proposed name change letter can be found here
The dual language sign letter can be found here