A busy core of volunteers with the Friends of Dominion Brook Park Society are getting ready to hit a section of the park commonly known as The Ravine.
And they are going to need a little help.
Joan Gibb, one of the society founders and a retired facilities manager at the Centre for Plant Health in North Saanich, says they hope to generate more interest in the park and in their plans to fit it up. While not necessarily a group for seniors only, Gibb said volunteers meet at the park on Wednesday mornings for work parties.
“The more the merrier,” Gibb said during a tour of Dominion Brook Park.
The grounds were once part of the experimental farm (now Centre for Plant Health) that grew along the hillside in 1912-1913. What is now an 11-acre public park, run by the society with
the help of the federal government and District of North Saanich, requires volunteers to help plan upgrades and carry them out.
“The Ravine is a big project,” Gibb said. “I’m told it was quite spectacular back in the 1920s.”
The Society raised the money for a three-phase project in The Ravine. Already completed are the first two steps — clearing parts of the area, creating a landscape plan, assessing the habitat and preparing a tender package for the job. Phase three is the actual work and Gibb said they plan to start in late summer when they can work around the stream running through The Ravine.
Thanks to ongoing donations of money and labour, Gibb said the work has been made possible but will still require more volunteers.
“This is a project we feel is quite necessary,” Gibb said, adding she is on the hunt for any historical photos of the park and The Ravine when it was in full bloom.
The area itself was once full of rhododendrons and many still remain. Other rhodos in the park are blooming now and Gibb said it will continue all spring and into early summer.
Dominion Brook Park, located on East Saanich Road next to the Centre for Plant Health and across from the Panorama Recreation Centre, is welcoming more and more visitors, Gibb said. As a result, the park is becoming a victim of its own success.
Gibb explained there are portions of the park worn down by footfalls from an increasing number of visitors each year. She said it’s not a bad thing, but it keeps society volunteers busy making sure the park stays healthy.
If you would like to become a volunteer with the society, visit www.dominionbrookpark.ca and click on the ‘Contact Us’ link.