Letters & emails sent to the CRD in 2015 about the flawed CRD Environmental Assessment at Island View Beach Regional Park.
The information given by the CRD to the public was incomplete, misleading and fabricated.
To CRD Parks staff
January 14, 2015: To Park Planner
"Species of interest and their habitats. I had looked forward to this section, thinking that at last we could get to the meat of the issue, and find out what species are at risk in the park and what and when do things need to be done to protect them. But after reading it many times I cannot find information that tells me anything useful in terms of what changes need to be made from the park plan as it is now to a new plan. There is nothing of substance that says this species lives here, and needs this protection, from these things, during this time. Surely that was the whole purpose of this exercise?" See here
January 14, 2015: To Senior Manager, Parks
".... is this a factual, technical and scientific report about the natural environment found in Island View Beach Regional park? In my opinion it comes nowhere near to measuring up to that standard. It is not neutral, it is trying to sell something. Much of it is filler, a lot of it harmless stuff about thousands of years ago, but other filler parts seem to try to give the impression of scientific purpose where none exists. But where is the factual scientific substantiation for what is said? Key statements are made without substantiation". See here
To the CRD Board
January 19, 2015: Letter calling on the CRD Board to postpone the public hearings as no reasonable person will be able to make an informed decision based on the flawed CRD Environmental Assessment of Island View Beach Regional park. See here
January 20, 2015: "...... we are asking you to postpone public meetings scheduled on January 29 and February 5th, because the environmental presentation prepared by the CRD is incomplete, misleading and plain wrong, and no reasonable person will be able to come to an informed opinion from it. It would be reprehensible to take this to the public as representing the species at risk that need protection in Island View Beach Regional Park." See here
March 3, 2015: ".... we say to all of you – are there none among you who will stand up and call for an inquiry into what is going on? The issue is critical – if the CRD cannot be trusted to produce accurate information, then how can the Board make informed decisions, and how can the public assess those decisions?
After nine months and considerable public expense, no environmental foundation exists on which to build a new park plan. The process needs to be done again and this time properly." See here
September 15, 2015: "This process is now in its 5th year and all you have is public input based on an irretrievably flawed environmental assessment." See here
November 16, 2015: "The CRD has scheduled next Saturday for public input to a new management plan for Island View Beach Regional Park. The process has been flawed from the start, with the public being fed incomplete, misleading information; exaggerated environmental claims; and being denied critical information needed to make an informed, thoughtful and rational presentation.
The statutory purpose of a regional district is:
(a) providing good government for its community [Local Government Act. S.2]
During the last 5 years we have dealt with 3 CRD Boards who had the commonality that when told how the CRD was misleading the public, would bury their head in the sand in the hope it would go away. But it got worse because of the vacuum created by the Directors failure to govern and make reasonable inquiry*.
Instead of taking steps to ensure the public were given the full, unbiased facts so they could make an informed decision about the park, you allowed a culture to fester where we were smeared and personal attacks were made on us. This because we had the temerity to ask the CRD to check the facts before going to the public.
We have warned you repeatedly that the environmental presentation prepared by the CRD is incomplete, misleading and plain wrong, and that no reasonable person will be able to come to an informed opinion from it, yet you failed to act. Was this good governance for our community that you promised to serve?
Island View Beach Regional Park is one of the most popular and heavily used parks in the Capital Region, with hundreds of thousands of visits each year. You have a duty of fairness to the public that you cannot shrug off, because a biased, incorrect or incomplete environmental assessment may lead to restricted access to the park for the thousands of people who rely on it. That duty of fairness is heightened by your promise that the environmental assessment would be factual, technical and scientific; a promise which many of the public relied on, and some believe was not met.
It is too late now to rectify the process. Even if the CRD produced the missing information, and came up with a climate study this week, there is no way to get that to the public and for them to absorb it before Saturday.
Good governance requires that you postpone the public meeting on Saturday. To proceed would be a train wreck, even by CRD standards.
Restart the environmental process with an independent environmental professional such as Matt Fairbarns; have the environmental research done thoroughly and objectively, and that will lead logically to a new park plan that will be understood and supported by the public. That is your duty to the people of the region."
November 20, 2015
"...... thousands of people in the Capital Region may have their use of Island View restricted on the basis of environmental claims. We did not spring this on you at the last moment – we have been asking for the proof for 9 months. It is Parks who have run out the clock, relying on past experience that the CRD Directors will do nothing.
..... will you look the other Directors in the eye and say “You know, he’s right. It’s our report. It could affect a lot of people and we owe it to them to make sure our report is accurate before we have a meeting on it!”
December 30, 2015
"....... there has been no leadership at the CRD Board or Committee level. Every time we reported the problems we were told "tut tut, lets put that behind us and move on". We need leadership that will demand unadulterated facts and hold people accountable, and we invite you to hold us accountable for everything we say. ...... I also say to you that the public and the Board has been mislead for years about the park. ...... inquiry should look at the validity of the presentations made by CRD Parks to the Board and the public over the years, and also make recommendations for how to proceed with Island View Beach Regional Park. The Friends of Island View Beach will cooperate fully. We support environmental conservation where it is shown to be needed - our issue has been with the false and misleading claims. See here
January 10, 2016
"... In 2014 a commitment was made by CRD Parks that a new environmental assessment would be done as the basis for a new plan, that would be factual, technical and scientific. That environmental assessment was published by the CRD on their website in January 2015 and has proved even more controversial than anything that has gone before. It was incomplete, misleading and contained fabrications. .....
The law is clear - when the CRD holds meetings seeking input from the public, it must not only tell the truth, but it must divulge all the information in its possession prior to the meetings, so that interested parties can make informed, thoughtful and rational presentations. Where the CRD does not meet these requirements of procedural fairness then it cannot move on to replace the old bylaw with a new one. See http://www.friendsofislandviewbeach.com/bc-court-of-appeal.html
We, the Friends of island View Beach, did everything we could to salvage the process and we wrote repeatedly to staff and the Board, warning of the problems and urging that the public meetings be postponed so the CRD data could be checked. As well, we made repeated requests of staff directly and through FOI requests, for them to disclose the evidence on which they made environmental claims which we had been unable to verify
We believe the only proper course of action is for the CRD to make inquiry into the information we will provide you, and until then to delay the presentation of any draft plan compiled from public input gathered during 2015 as that input was tainted beyond repair. We do not seek to cancel the process - our only goal is that the public be given all relevant information so they can make informed, thoughtful and rational presentations about the future of the park.
........ An investigation will show that regardless of who actually did something, the responsibility for the problems of the last 5 years falls on the previous Parks Committees and the previous CRD Boards, because we have been sounding the alarm, and apart from a small handful of directors, no one made reasonable inquiry. "
November 9, 2016
"This is to inform you it is my belief that an independent, impartial inquiry will find that the CRD knowingly and deliberately misled the public in its presentations regarding Island View Beach ..."
December 13, 2016
"I believe the presentations by the CRD to the public were so broadly misleading; and the importance of the suppressed reports so great; that it denied the public the opportunity to make informed, thoughtful and rational presentations to the CRD about the proposed plan.
It is my belief that an independent inquiry will conclude that the CRD Board was negligent in failing to undertake an independent review after being made aware of the serious questions about the validity of the presentations made by the CRD to the public."
To the CRD Chief Administrative Officer
November 20, 2015
"We call on you to postpone the public forum scheduled for Saturday, November 21, 2015 regarding Island View Beach Regional Park.
Anything less than full disclosure of the relevant information restricts the scope of the analysis and the consequent representation a member of the public might otherwise make to that public forum.
The failure to make this requested background material available to the public prior to the public forum amounts to a breach of the duty of procedural fairness. Accordingly we request the public forum be postponed until the background materials have been provided.
If you continue with the public forum, this breach of procedural fairness – the refusal to make available the requested background materials – will taint not only the public forum in Step 3 but anything that flows from it.
Finally, we draw to your attention that the CRD environmental assessment failed to consider the effect of climate change on Island View Beach Regional Park, despite having been advised to do so by the BC Ministry of the Environment in 2009. Another branch of the CRD has now released a sea level rise report that indicates the whole of Island View Beach will be inundated with sea water within 35 years, and therefore the likelihood exists the park will be routinely flooded and the environment damaged years before then if there is no intervention. See http://www.friendsofislandviewbeach.com/sea-level-rise-2050.html This is obviously an essential element that must be addressed in a new park plan, and is another reason to postpone the public forum so this can be incorporated in to a new environmental assessment."
December 30, 2015
"Matters with CRD Parks have deteriorated to such a degree I have to ask - is there no shame? You may be aware that Parks have been working towards a new management plan for Island View Beach for 10 years now. 5 years with unauthorized staff time and an unauthorized expenditure of $18,000, and 5 years in the open. The process has been marred consistently by false and misleading statements to the CRD Directors and the public, particularly over the last 3 years. We brought all these issues to the CRD management, the CRD Parks Committee, and the CRD Board as they occurred, yet no one made reasonable inquiry, and the abuse continued." See here
To CRD Parks staff, for references to support their claims about species in the park
February 12 2015: Email to the CRD: "All we are seeking is the factual and scientific data on the environment at Island View Beach Regional Park, and we do not understand why this is proving so difficult to obtain from the CRD. Wasn't this the whole point of this exercise?
In summary then, the Cordova Strategy, a project written by Nick Page, funded by the
CRD, and managed by Marilyn Fuchs of the CRD, indicates that none of
- the Fleshy Jaumea
- the American Gelhnia
- the Common Nighthawk, or
- the Sand-Verbena moth
are present at Island View Beach Regional Park.
We ask again, that if you have factual or scientific evidence that any of these are in
the park that you share this data with us." See here
February 24, 2015: Email to CRD asking for "references that can be checked, to support your claim that the Common Nighthawk, the Fleshy Jaumea, the American Glehnia, and the Sand-Verbena moth, are resident now in Island View Beach Regional Park." See here
July 10, 2015: Email to CRD again asking for references "What 'factual, technical and scienfic' information do you have to confirm these 4 species are resident or breeding in the park? I have looked through the references cited by the CRD and been unable to find evidence these are resident or breeding in the park- in fact the material I have seen suggests they are not present. I have previously repeatedly asked Todd Golumbia for this information and was not given it. Will you please provide me with this." See here
July 15, 2015: Reply from CRD "...we are not providing you with any additional information about SAR" [SAR = species at risk] See here
Freedom of Information Requests for references to support the CRD species claims
July 15, 2015: To CRD. Please take this as a Freedom of Information Request that the CRD provide "references supporting the CRD claim that the Common Nighthawk, the Fleshy Jaumea, the American Glehnia, and the Sand-Verbena moth, are resident in or breed at Island View Beach Regional Park. " See here
July 16, 2015: To CRD - having to repeat the FOI request: "... the CRD identifies 9 species that it says are "confirmed resident species" in Island View Beach Regional Park. These include the Common Nighthawk, the Fleshy Jaumea, the American Glehnia, and the Sand-Verbena moth.
I would like:
- copies of the records that led to this determination for each of these 4 species
- copies of the emails, both internal and external, that discuss these
- copies of working papers and drafts that refer to these" See here
July 31, 2015: CRD proposes to charge $1,165 for references to support the claims they made! _See here
October 20, 2015: "As you know, we feel strongly that it is a waste of time and money to proceed with the public meeting in November while the Step 1 environmental assessment is incomplete. It is incomplete because it did not give factual evidence of what species at risk are in the park; where they are; what protection (if any) they may require; and when they may need protection. We have been saying for years that the environment should drive the development of a new park plan, and that trying to create a plan without an accurate environmental assessment is like building a house without foundations. I requested that information several times from the CRD and it was refused, and when I made an FOI request for it, a reply was given to me saying it would cost me $1,165 which I interpreted as trying to thwart my FOI request. I filed a complaint with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and they have written back asking me to "negotiate" with the CRD, and if that is not successful then they will investigate.
Will you raise this this with senior staff today please and see if they will agree to provide that information now, or whether I will need to pursue this formally with Ms. Bains. " See here
October 23 2015: Reply from CRD "Regarding your request for more information about species at risk, we feel we have already provided you with the information you are looking for. " See here
October 23 2015: To CRD, "....this request is related to the environment of one of the most popular and heavily used public parks in the Capital Regional District. That environmental information will be used in the development of a new management plan for that park, and might lead to restrictions on the public access to areas of that park. This data is therefor in the public interest.
Will you reconsider your position please and provide me with the material I requested
at no cost, and without further delay." See here
October 29, 2015: To CRD, again asking for the references and showing past dealings with the CRD. "As I told you, time is of the essence as CRD parks intend to hold a public meeting on November 21st about the park plan – which is based in large part on the environmental assessment in Step 1 which is the subject of my FOI request. I now see on the CRD web site there is a registration requirement of November 18th which shortens the time even more. The information I requested must be readily available and there can be no good reason for further delay in providing it. Please see that I receive it no later than November 3rd. And please email it to me in electronic format so there is no delay in the mail." :See here
November 23 2015: To CRD
"CRD Parks held a public meeting this last Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Greek Community Hall.
Please provide me with copies of all the display boards and handout literature used at that meeting. Electronic format is preferred," See here
Note: As of January 10, 2016 this material has still not been provided by the CRD!
December 30, 2015: To CRD. They finally sent material in response to the FOI request of July 2015, but sent it in photocopy format that appeared to have been deliberately changed to make it unreadable, instead of sending it in electronic format as requested. "This is a blatant, arrogant abuse of the FOI process ....." See here
Letter to the Mayor & Council, copied to the CRD Board
November 23 2015 A history of the mosquito drainage system at Island View Bewach Regional Park See here
November 23 2015 A history of the mosquito drainage system at Island View Bewach Regional Park See here