Our History

We are Bowen Island’s oldest community service society.

Our organization has existed for sixty-three years.  As the times have changed so has our name and the issues we face.  Originally started in 1947 as the Bowen Island Property Owners Association, we worked to get safe reliable ferry service, roads and schools.

The name was changed to the Bowen Island Improvement Association in the 1960s, to reflect the interests of new island residents who were not property owners.  Since that time, our organization has periodically published The Bowenian, our newsletter to members and the general island community.  The activism of that period is well documented in Irene Howard’s book entitled Bowen Island (1872 – 1972), and took on a more environmental tenor when Bowen entered the Islands Trust in 1974.

Our organization was instrumental in the land use struggle that led to GVRD purchasing what is now Crippen Park.  Our members were on the front line against the attempt by an irresponsible developer to bull-doze all the land leading up to Killarney Lake, in what is now remembered as the Great Community Uprising of 1977.

It was in the 1980s, when due to a lack of attention to Societies Act regulations, that a more development oriented faction on the island managed to steal ownership of our name.  Reacting quickly, the environmentalists re-established themselves as the Bowen Island Alliance.  During this period, our members along with hundreds of others in the community, contributed to creation of Bowen Island’s current Official Community Plan (OCP), which was formally adopted in 1996.  In October 1997, the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary at the CNIB Lodge with a full house.

Since 1999, we have attempted to ensure that the newly formed Bowen Island Municipality adheres to its unique responsibility to implement the Islands Trust mandate, as the province’s only “island municipality”.

In order to more clearly indicate our activist environmental goals, the membership at the AGM in 2002, voted to change the name of our organization slightly to the Bowen Island Eco-Alliance.

The years 2004 and 2005 were a difficult period as the Bowen Island community struggled to agree on how to update a new OCP vision for Snug Cove.  The result of that process was the Snug Cove Village Plan, (Bylaw #137), approved in 2005.  The Eco-Alliance attempted throughout that time to preserve the integrity of the entrance to Crippen Park, and the heron rookery, and to moderate the building density provisions in the bylaw.

We have worked to ensure that new development on Bowen is consistent with the guiding principle of the OCP: “maintenance of the intrinsic attraction, rural identity and sense of serenity of the island”.  In this regard our members are currently contributing to the municipal initiative to update Bowen Island’s Official Community Plan (OCP).

By adapting itself to changing needs over the years, the Eco-Alliance has remained committed to the preservation of Bowen Island’s community character and natural environment.  We are a registered society under the province’s Societies Act.