Located along the west coast of British Columbia, the West Coast region is situated between the Coast Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The region encompasses three main areas: Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island and the south-central mainland coast. Major cities in the West Coast region include Victoria, Nanaimo, Campbell River, Port Hardy, Bella Coola, and Masset.
The West Coast Region is rich with Indigenous history and culture and is home to 56 First Nations and as many First Nation communities. The Ma-Nulth Treaty, ratified in 2010, is the first modern-day treaty on Vancouver Island.
The landscape and geography of the West Coast region is diverse, containing mountains, valleys, islands, fjords, lakes, rivers, and inlets. It is the wettest part of the province and experiences mild seasonal variations in temperature due to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean. Owing to the diverse landscape and geography of the region, vegetation of the region varies considerably and features temperate rainforests, low- to mid-elevation forests, and alpine forests.
Activities and Trends
The predominant activities within the West Coast region include forestry, agriculture, and fisheries. Recreational activities such as fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, biking, and boating also occur in the region.
In recent years, aquaculture, liquefied natural gas development, residential development, tourism, marine transportation, and recreational activities have been increasing within the region.
As part of the Cumulative Effects Framework, there are 10 values that are undergoing assessment within the West Coast region. These include:
- Grizzly Bear
- Aquatic Ecosystems
- Old Growth Forest
- Marbled Murrelet
- Northern Goshawk
- Forest Biodiversity
- Cultural Cedar
- Cutthroat Trout