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

More Peninsula councillors declare their 2018 intentions

Carl Jensen and Chris Graham, both of Central Saanich, have said they will run again.

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Peninsula scientist lauded for Arctic research

Scientist Eddy Carmack, an oceanographer and Central Saanich resident, is in Norway… Continue reading

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read