Culture & the Economy

The Issue

The Eco-Alliance supports one of the key Broad Objectives of the current OCP which is: “to foster the creation and maintenance of local employment on the island in island based sustainable activities”.


Creating differing policies for different aspects of Bowen’s economy is crucial to how the OCP achieves this objective. In this regard, the current OCP makes a useful distinction between Service Commercial policies that focus primarily on services for island residents, and Tourist Commercial policies that relate primarily to visitors. Differing policies for each sector allow the OCP to encourage an appropriate island-scale economy.

Many paddlers move a native canoe through the waters of Snug Cove

Home-based businesses are central to an island-centered economy and should be liberalized. They form the essential core for those commercial activities that strengthen the social fabric while providing “goods and services by islanders for each other”.

The Cultural Master Plan (CMP), which forms Schedule K of the OCP, is a cornerstone for initiatives that encourage “arts and culture based community economic development.” The CMP contains a holistic vision that builds on Bowen Island’s existing strength as a place where nature and culture converge. This emphasis on an “environmentally focused island culture” as the basis for community economic development is consistent with Bowen’s role in the Islands Trust; it also helps to retain the Island’s rural character, which is valued by residents and visitors alike.

The current OCP policy ensures that tourist facilities must be compatible with Bowen Island’s natural amenities and environmental limits so that such tourist oriented facilities do not become resort-style destinations in and of themselves.

More can be done in an updated OCP to encourage “domestic agriculture”. The current OCP allows “domestic agriculture” on all lots but limits this to produce for the personal use of the property owner or operator.


  • The updated OCP should retain the distinction between Service Commercial policies that focus primarily on “services by islanders for each other” and Tourist Commercial policies that relate primarily to visitors.
  • The definition of “home based occupations” should be removed from the Land Use Bylaw (LUB), embedded in the OCP itself, and further liberalized to allow limited small-scale retail of consumer goods.
  • The definition of “domestic agriculture” should be liberalized to allow small-scale commercial sale of domestic products. Neighbourhood impacts from such operations can be regulated by “performance standards” (policy 3.3.4).
  • The new OCP should encourage the future Arts Centre and Community Hall to include a permanent location for a public market for sale of local food products, art and handcraft items.
  • The new OCP should encourage creation of an Agriculture Advisory Committee to advise municipal council on ways to promote local food and agriculture.