Friends not friendly to new park plan

Friends of Island View Park decry what they call a ‘poorly-worded’ park document

Tim Collins/Contributor

A new plan is in the works for Island View Beach, but not everyone is happy about the situation.

“There are lots of eyes on the park,” said Lynn Wilson, Senior Park Planner for the CRD, “so not much happens here that people are unaware of. But in the end, we want a plan that protects the park for everyone’s use.”

Wilson said that there was a need for a new park plan as the existing park management plan was adopted as a bylaw in 1989 and there have been substantial changes in both the size and usage patterns of the park since that time.

But the process has been more complex than the CRD had imagined.

“We started a new planning process in January of 2011 and thought it would take us six months,” Wilson said. “A lot of complex issues emerged and the process is only now coming to an end.”

The plan that is being proposed by the CRD is not an end point that some area residents find acceptable.

“The whole plan is nothing but bloody smoke and mirrors,” said Jason Austin, a member of the newly-formed Friends of Island View Park and an outspoken advocate for what his group feels are essential values at the park.

“Their plan (the Draft Interim Park Management Plan) currently being proposed is intentionally poorly worded to obscure the intent. You can read it over and over and have no idea of what they’re on about,” said Austin.

Austin maintained that in order to understand the underlying agenda of the plan, one has to do a lot of research.

He said there are references within the plan which take on new meanings when considered in conjunction with the original 1989 bylaw and a 2010 report to the CRD entitled the Cordova Shore Conservation Strategy. That strategy report called for, amongst other things: the removal of dikes; the abandonment of drainage ditches; and the cessation of mosquito abatement programs.

Wilson maintains that there are no plans to do any of these things and that the proposed plan includes language to safeguard these items.

Again, the Friends of Island View Beach disagree.

“There are far too many qualifiers within the report that will allow them to do whatever they bloody well want in the future,” said Austin.

He pointed to part of the proposed plan that calls for the CRD to conduct “a comprehensive assessment of the mosquito control program in the context of wetland conservation and the effects of larvicide on the wetland’s food web.”

He cross-references that with another part of the plan that reads the CRD “may periodically review the interim park management plan to determine if any significant new information exists that would require a change to the policy direction or actions contained in the interim plan.”

“You put that together with their Cordova Shore document that called for an end to larvaciding and what do you think is going to happen?” said Austin.

It’s a view shared by Vern Michell of Michell Farms, another member of the Friends of Island View Beach.

“They didn’t follow their own bylaw to keep the ditches clear until we went after them on this and then, in 2011, they finally cleared the ditches.

“They don’t want to keep them clear. They want the land to go to a wetland,” said Michell. “That happens and I lose 20 acres of farmland.”

Wilson, however, maintained while the CRD plan lays out a greater conservation vision for the park, it is sympathetic with the concerns raised by the Friends of Island View Park and is not intending to fundamentally change the way in which the park operates.

“We are not in opposition to what they want,” said Wilson.

The CRD report will be taken back to the Parks Committee on Nov. 20 and, assuming it is adopted, it will go to the CRD Board in December.

At that time it will replace the 1989 bylaw and become the governing document for the park.

 

Just Posted

Sidney house fire caused by unattended appliance

Saanich Peninsula fire crews were called to a kitchen fire in Sidney… Continue reading

Feasting geese concern farmers

For farmers on the Saanich Peninsula, cereal crops like corn are starting… Continue reading

Cycling Without Age raises funds for program

Free rides for seniors coming to Sidney

Feast of Fields settles in for the summer of 2018

Vancouver Island Feast set for Kildara Farms in North Saanich on Aug. 26

An upstart ferry company might be a Malahat alternative

A new ferry service might alleviate Malahat congestion. Dogwood Ferries is a… Continue reading

New stage highlight of Brentwood Bay Festival

Peninsula Country Market vendors and music accompany start of summer celebration

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Sidney painter also a preacher

Patrick Chu opens new studio; off to China this month

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Search for capsized fishers near Tofino enters fourth day

“There’s a lot of shock in the community in terms of how we could end up at this place.”

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Most Read