Snug Cove

A panorama of the ferry dock, marina, trees and Cates Hill on Bowen Island, BC

The Issue

The SCVP, approved in 2005, was a highly controversial updating of the OCP vision for Snug Cove. Over a hundred people attended the final public hearing, held at BICS. The result is a new comprehensive plan for Snug Cove that contains ample density bonus incentives to encourage creation of affordable housing. As well, compact energy efficient dwellings will help to reduce greenhouse gas.


The most contentious issues over the SCVP had to do with density and building form and character. Previously, policies for Snug Cove contained in the 1996 OCP, generally maintained the Cove’s existing building character of detached homes on small lots. The only exception was that attached housing was permitted as non-market affordable housing. An example of such non-market attached housing, consistent with this policy, now forms part of the Cates Hill development.

The SCVP, by contrast, made all residential land in the Cove eligible for multifamily attached housing, up to 17.5 dwelling units per acre if non-market housing is included.

Residential policies of the SCVP envision the following for Snug Cove:

  • 130 – 180 new multifamily dwelling units would ultimately be created in the Village centre if the density reached 12.5 units per acre.
  • Densities above 12.5 units up to a limit of 17.5 units per acre would be allowed only through transfer of density from elsewhere on the island, or through provision of affordable housing.
  • Building heights can be up to 2.5 storeys, including commercial buildings with apartments above the first floor.
  • Residential dwellings shall be townhouse or row house style.

The Eco-Alliance believes that not all of the community owned lands in Snug Cove should be built on. Those community owned lands that are contiguous with, or form an integral part of Crippen Park should remain in their natural condition, to enhance Snug Cove’s character as a “village within a park”.


  • The future development potential that is designated in the current OCP build-out for lands outside of Snug Cove and Seymour Bay should generally be shifted into certain designated village or “hamlet” areas. This redirection of future growth into densified areas, guided by an updated OCP, would encourage affordable housing and reduce greenhouse gas. However, because Snug Cove already has a comprehensive plan for a compact, energy efficient village, Snug Cove should not be a receiver areas for additional density.
  • In Snug Cove and all designated village areas, any development proposal that provides land for community gardens, beyond land already required for re-zoning, should be eligible for a building density bonus. (See Culture and Economy).
  • Designate land in the SCVP to become a permanent location for a public market, for regular sale of locally produced art, handcraft, food and artisan food products.
  • Amend the existing Village Revitalization Development Permit Area in Snug Cove to require a landscape plan that would restore the Cove’s natural setting. Such a landscape plan should get rid of the haphazard parking arrangements in front of the shops and return that area to its former green appearance; and create a pedestrian lane from the existing right of way on the south – afternoon sun-facing — side of the commercial lots along Government Road.
  • Extend the Village Periphery Development Permit Area to include Snug Point as a tree retention area, to protect Great Blue Heron habitat and preserve the tree covered peninsula that together with Crippen Park’s Dorman Point forms two forested “pillars” at the entrance to Bowen Island.

Snug Cove Transportation

The Issue

The Eco-Alliance has consistently advocated for years that ferry marshalling can be accommodated within the existing road right of way in Snug Cove.


The current traffic configuration could be varied slightly to include a landscaped median to separate loading and unloading automobiles. The municipality could begin immediately and with little expense to make the changes that would improve the safety, beauty and efficiency of the Cove. This concept was recommended by the report entitled Ferry Marshalling Options for Snug Cove, by the Transportation Working Group, in December, 2006.

The Eco-Alliance has for many years resolutely opposed any form of Loop Road that would cause traffic to intrude into Crippen Park.


An advance-loading ferry marshalling lane should be opened on the south side of the current marshalling lanes that are west of the cross-roads in the Cove. This new lane should be dedicated solely for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV), electric and hybrid vehicles, buses and other eligible vehicles selected by the municipality, as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG).

Develop the existing pedestrian lane that fronts along the south side of the commercial lots in Snug Cove. Businesses could face both directions: toward Government Road as now, and toward the south side pedestrian lane, thus avoiding the traffic, and utilizing the afternoon sun-facing side of the Cove.