Agenda for May 26 EcoForum

The next meeting of the Baynes Sound Lambert Channel EcoForum takes place May 26, 2023 from 9:30 am to 3pm at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, 370 Crome Point Road, Bowser.

There are many issues facing Baynes Sound. We cannot address them all during this one-day event. This lineup builds on last December’s session on the critical issue of human sewage in the Baynes Sound marine ecosystem. Solving this problem requires change, collaboration, and action. No one government department, municipality or community can solve this ugly problem on its own. The invitees to this session represent a cross-section of people who can make a difference.  We hope you can make the time to join us. Seating is limited. Confirm your attendance here.

Here’s the plan:

9:00 – 9:30      Grab a coffee, meet some people with a diversity of interests and expertise in areas that affect Baynes Sound.

9:30 – 9:35      Call to Order by Carl Butterworth, Chair of the Steering Committee and Manager of Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station.

9:359:40      Welcome by Chief Michael Recalma, Qualicum First Nation, Steering Committee Member.


Imagine if your neighbour dumped a bucket of poop out their door onto the street every night after dinner. Gross, right? The levels of norovirus found in Baynes Sound prove that human waste is being discharged into a marine ecosystem that is a precious resource to our community.

How can this be happening? How do you make it stop? What are the other emerging issues facing this marine ecosystem? 

Dorrie Woodward, Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards and secretary of the EcoForum Steering Committee, walks us through a map of the area and its pressure points.  


This pilot program is intended to support sustainable aquaculture opportunities for both the K’ómoks First Nation and partners within the region. This new approach will see the federal government, Indigenous government and other levels of government, industry, and stakeholders collaborate to plan, manage, monitor, and enhance shellfish activities in Baynes Sound. What’s needed to make this work well? (Presenter TBA)


The EcoForum gathers participants with a diversity of responsibilities, knowledge, and perspectives. The people you meet here and the knowledge that is shared can result in formal and informal collaborations that can change the status quo. Getting to a place where that is possible requires a plan and some savvy facilitation. Janet Bonaguro will outline the way to get there.

10:00     Working Group Report

It is against the law to discharge human waste into Baynes Sound. But there is a loophole.

If a boater doesn’t have access to a pump out station or a toilet within a reasonable distance – then over the side, it goes. Toilet paper. E coli. Norovirus. The works.

Addressing infrastructure could have an effective impact on reducing the stressors on the marine ecosystem of Baynes Sound and the communities that surround it.

BC Shellfish Growers Association Executive Director and EcoForum Steering Committee Treasurer Nico Prins spearheaded a working group formed at the December meeting. Their mandate was to work up a proposal to fund a survey that would catalogue infrastructure gaps among other things.    

We’ll get an update. 

10:10   Questions and Discussions


Transport Canada is responsible for the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemical Regulations.  What does that mean in terms of regulations regarding sewage?

Jackie Grant is acting manager with Transport Canada’s Marine Safety and Security division. She will explain how those rules are currently enforced, the complexities of monitoring the source of discharge from sea-going vessels and the challenges of raising profile and public education campaigns.

10:35   Questions and Discussion 

10:50   BREAK

Grab a morning snack. Sweet Pea catering makes sure they are nutritious, delicious, and plentiful.


The Village of Cumberland is a popular place. But it got a reputation as an environmental outlier when it was non-compliant with provincial environmental regulations for nearly two decades.

Although it is inland, this rapidly growing community’s wastewater finds its way into Baynes Sound via Maple Creek and the Trent River. Its aging system has not kept up with growth and changing rainfall patterns.

In a 2018 referendum, Cumberland voters agreed to proceed with a “made in Cumberland” solution and bypass tying in to the CVRD’s South Sewer project. What is the status of these plans? How do you motivate residents to care about what is going on downstream?

Cumberland Mayor Vickey Brown has an educational background in Environmental Studies and Political Science – two areas that are critical to pragmatic problem solving in communities around Baynes Sound.  

11:20   Questions and Discussions

11:35   NEXT STEPS

By now you will have worked up an appetite and you can smell that famous Sweet Pea cooking.

Before you eat, facilitator Janet Bonaguro will set up the plan for the breakout tables based on the morning’s discussions.

Suggested tables:

  • What measures can boaters, marina operators, wharfingers, and Transport Canada take to halt the practice of dumping human sewage into Baynes Sound?
  • What are the priorities and creative proposals for an effective Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program grant that can improve the health of the marine ecosystem of Baynes Sound?
  • What needs to change to permit access to recreational and ceremonial harvesting of marine resources and the sustainable culture of shellfish in Baynes Sound?

11:50   Buffet Lunch

Soups, sandwiches, and salads. Vegetarian/GF options. 

12:40   Break Out Table Discussion

1:30     What do we now?

During this 90-minute facilitated session, table leaders will report back on group discussions, laying out their best ideas for planning, collaboration, and action. This is when new working groups could be formed based on the priorities identified.

3:00     Safe Travel Home

Remember, friends don’t let friends throw their poop in the water.

The EcoForum is made possible by support from CVRD, Islands Trust, VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards, BC Shellfish Growers Association, and the Lush Charity Pot.

Steering committee members:

Carl Butterworth, Chair (VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station); Nico Prins, Treasurer (BC Shellfish Growers Association);

Dorrie Woodward, Secretary (Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards); Chief Mike Recalma, Qualicum First Nation;

Candace Newman, Councillor K’omoks First Nation; Daniel Arbour, Director, Area A, CVRD;

Chris Pearce, Research Scientist, Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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