In response to the recent press release detailing next steps in the shíshálh swiya Dock Management Plan (DMP), a closer examination by WPC reveals several areas where community feedback and critical concerns appear to not be fully addressed. While the intention to incorporate public feedback into the DMP and forming an advisory committee is commendable and necessary, specific issues raised by the community are not included in the proposed changes and require further detailed discussion to ensure the plan is both equitable and comprehensive.  

WPC has been asked to participate in the proposed advisory committee. We are currently reviewing the terms of reference relating to our involvement in this advisory committee and seeking assurances that our involvement will be meaningful, constructive and focused on real solutions.  

Several important topics have not been mentioned and the lack of explicit language provides no commitment or assurances that the community's concerns with the DMP will be addressed.  

We have compiled the below list, and although not exhaustive, it illustrates many of the key areas where we have some concerns and need the province to address and clarify.

Community Concerns

Press Release Response


1. Comprehensive Grandfathering

Flexible guidelines for existing structures; renewal as built for tenured docks/boathouses.

Lack of explicit language provides no commitment to grandfather of existing structures (tenured, untenured or expired). Nor does it mention the fate of the residents whose docks were previously removed.

They are saying dock owners can apply. They aren’t saying they will be approved. They are not giving any assurances that if approved these will not be repealed at some point in the future.

2. Simplified Administrative Processes

Not addressed.

Absence of detailed plans to streamline the tenure application process, eliminate annual inspections, or introduce a clear public approval and appeal process.

3. Extended Tenure Terms

Not addressed.

The press release omits any mention of extending tenure terms to provide stability and security for dock investments.

The community is asking for 30 – 75 years.

4. Scientific Basis for Zoning

Not Addressed.

There is no mention of revisiting zoning restrictions in red and purple zones or providing any scientific or legal justification for the establishment of the zones.

5. Archaeological Assessments

Not addressed.

The responsibility for conducting and funding archaeological reports is the duty of the government, not individual applicants.

The community wants a shift towards government-led assessments, with public access when pulling permits and as recommended by Mr. Berry Penner in his 2015 report.

6. Consistency Across Province

General mention of decision making consistent with legislation.

A broad statement without specific commitment to ensuring DMP consistency across different jurisdictions so rules are applied evenly throughout the province.

7. Withdrawal from Section 7 Agreement

Not addressed.

The press release does not touch upon concerns residents have that if Land Act Amendments and, Section 7 agreements

begin negotiation, this whole exercise will need to start again and or agreements rescinded.

8. Site-Specific Best Management Practices (BMPs)

General flexibility mentioned; specific one size fits all requirements like light penetration still unchanged.

While updates suggest more flexibility, there's no clear commitment to site-specific Best Management Practices that are fully supported by unbiased science, and that fully consider local environmental, structural variations and have safety in mind.

9. Total Area

Docks can have a total area of 30 square meters or a maximum width of 1.5 meters.

Limiting size won’t allow builders to adhere to engineering principles which docks are designed in accordance with, including the number of boats and site location requirements.

Width proposed should be a minimum not maximum for safety. Originally announced in the proposed amendments 1.8, now they have gone backwards to 1.5.

Large equipment, and emergency crews, highlight that from a safety perspective a ‘skinny dock’ can pose significant safety risks.

10. Dock Length

A maximum dock length will be set at the provincial maximum – 60 meters – with a preference for a 50-metre length.

Dock length should be determined based on the site and moorage requirements given the quantity and types of boats.

11. Light Transparency

New or replacement decking must use products that allow for a minimum 43% light penetration.

Strict light transparency requirements on floats may put stability of docks at risk. Scientific confirmation is needed to substantiate why this requirement is warranted and more flexible guidelines need to be enacted.

12. Economic & Environmental Impact Analysis

Not addressed.

Absence of commitment to performing unbiased impact analyses to assess the DMP's implications on community, economy, and the environment.
Is it even economically feasible for the community?

13. Recognition of Federal Jurisdiction

Not addressed.

The province does not adequately address concerns over riparian rights or the regulatory overreach into federal jurisdiction for floating structures in deep water.

14. Provincial Boathouse Policy

Not addressed.

What is the scientific justification to ban privately held boathouses, but allow them for Commercial purposes only?

15. Access to Foreshore for Harvesting in Pender Harbour (Bivalve Shellfish Harvesting)

Mentioned in the media briefing but not directly in the release.

One of the original stated reasons for the DMP was to access the foreshore for harvesting Bivalve Shellfish.

Bivalve Shellfish harvesting has been permanently closed since 1974 in Pender Harbour due to unsafe conditions for consumption.

Please see the environmental report by M. C. Write and Associates Ltd., commissioned by the government in March 2018 – see page 8 for detailed information. It is unclear how limiting and modifying docks in this area will fix this problem as fecal coliform is listed as the reason for the closure consistently dating back to 1974.

A more stringent DMP or requirement for less docks in the red zone will not change that fact, but it will severely impact the lives and livelihoods of the residents of Pender Harbour, and the rest of the shíshálh swiya.

16. Expansion to all the shíshálh Swiya

Not Addressed.

There is confusion as to why the government is saying the DMP was expanded to all the shíshálh swiya in 2021 including the lakes. The DMP released in 2021 was still called the Pender Harbour Dock Plan (here), and the Pender Harbour Project website wasn’t updated until Nov 2023 regarding the expansion with the proposed amendments.


The press release on proposed amendments to the DMP indicates steps towards addressing public feedback but leaves significant gaps in critical areas highlighted by the community. Although studying freshwater dock applications is a positive step, pausing freshwater applications is unfair to lake owners who have been waiting to put in an application.   

The absence of clear commitments and comprehensive language with respect to grandfathering, extended tenure terms to make upgrades financially viable, and a simplified administrative process, among other issues, underscores the need for further dialogue, clarification and a commitment by all stakeholders to structure a DMP that is fair and supports all the key stakeholders. The community is calling for a transparent, scientifically backed, and equitable dock management plan that respects the needs of the Sechelt First Nation, the stewardship of our shared marine environment and the rights of property owners.  

The WPC alongside our many Coalition Partners will continue to work collaboratively, with open channels for feedback and detailed attention to these unresolved issues, as it will be crucial in developing a DMP that truly reflects the shared values and needs of the shíshálh swiya.

Media and News 

shíshálh swiya dock management plan updated following public engagement
Together, the Province of B.C. and shíshálh Nation are proposing significant changes to the dock management plan to address community interests and protect shíshálh’s rights and title, and are forming an advisory group with representation from the across the Sunshine Coast to review the new proposed changes.
B.C. makes changes to Sunshine Coast dock management plan, but opponents unconvinced - BC |
The province released a draft of the plan in November, leading to intense debate in the community -- particularly among residents with waterfront property.
Committee to suggest changes to shíshálh swiya dock management plan
The province and shíshálh Nation are walking back some changes proposed in November as part of the shíshálh swiya Dock Management Plan (DMP) and pausing others as they strike an advisory committee to plot a course forward for the embattled piece of regulation.