A Twitter user sparked a conversation about potential future uses for James Houlihan Park in Saanich after noting that the large, empty field is underused. (Screenshot via Google Streetview)

A Twitter user sparked a conversation about potential future uses for James Houlihan Park in Saanich after noting that the large, empty field is underused. (Screenshot via Google Streetview)

Residents, councillors dig into potential uses for empty park in Saanich

James Houlihan Park a 1.9-hectare open field with paved walking path

Why is James Houlihan Park in Saanich just a huge, empty lot?

This was a question posed by a Twitter user on March 24 and it sparked a conversation about the 1.9-hectare rectangular park on Ferndale Road in Gordon Head.

“I think it should either be renewed with native plants, turned into a dog park (or) a community garden location. What are your ideas?” @quenchwines wrote.

Suggestions included a bike park, a sports field, a playground, waterslides or supportive housing.

The park is zoned for recreation and open spaces and a covenant protects it.

When the area was developed, then owner James Houlihan donated the lot for a park as part of the subdivision requirements, explained Coun. Judy Brownoff, chair of Saanich’s parks, trails and recreation advisory committee.

In the 1990s, a park plan was drafted for the site, but the neighbours weren’t on board and since then, the community hasn’t asked for anything to be established there, she said.

Coun. Ned Taylor, the former chair of the parks advisory committee, looked at it in 2019 because he was interested to see if the community would be receptive to something being done with it.

The committee supported doing something with the park but no recommendations were brought to the council level, he said.

Taylor would be interested in seeing tree planting or environmental restoration projects take place along with the potential for benches and further trails.

Since Saanich has seen a “rise in park visitation over the pandemic,” he opened the conversation with residents once again using Twitter. “Hey, Saanich would you like to see this park used for something?” he posted.

Chris Poirier-Skelton, president of the Gordon Head Residents’ Association, said neighbours have worked hard to safeguard the longstanding covenant on the property.

In the past, proposals to add community gardens or park infrastructure have come forward, but residents have turned them down, she said. “It’s a nice idea,” but there would be many hoops to jump through.

If there was community interest in bringing something new to James Houlihan Park, residents could come forward and parks staff could add it to their work-plan, Brownoff said. It would then come to the parks advisory committee and eventually to council.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of Saanichparks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
Paramedics rescue unusual patient after Oak Bay hit-and-run

A female duck was rescued while a male one was deceased on scene

The government map (as of April 22) showing vaccine availability doesn’t have any Saanich Peninsula pharmacies listed, but the situation is fluid, and many readers have already registered. (Province of B.C. screenshot)
Vaccine availability a fluid situation for Saanich Peninsula

Government site may not show pharmacies, but registering still an option

This photo shows crews the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Central Saanich rallies around couple who lost home of 25 years

A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway for Carla and Brian Wallace

An early morning fire along Cameron Street has left two cats dead and two tenants homeless. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Early morning fire guts Victoria house, leaves 2 cats dead

Victoria Fire Department called out shortly before 2 a.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

Most Read