Friends of Island View Beach vow not to give up the fight for Central Saanich park

Friends of Island View Beach vow not to give up the fight for Central Saanich park

Sand restoration is just a word, says CRD director

Tim Collins/News staff

The Friends of Island View Beach (FOIVB) are determined not to give up the fight for the future of a natural attraction enjoyed by local residents for nearly a century.

“We’ve been in this fight for seven years now, and I think the CRD thought we’de finally just get tired and go away, but we’re just getting started, and we won’t give up,” said Carol Best, a member of the FOIVB steering Committee.

The latest concerns have arisen following the approval of a new plan for Island View Beach Regional Park by the Parks Committee of the Capital Regional District (CRD), despite repeated calls by the FOIVB to delay the vote because of flaws and misinformation within the document.

One issue involves the actual jurisdiction of the CRD over a portion of the park they intend to regulate. In a 2010 Supreme Court case (Lawrence v. British Columbia (Attorney General) 2010BCSC 309) it was determined that the natural boundary along the coast can be identified by the line where the sand stops and brown organic soil begins. By that reckoning, the land the CRD has designated as restricted may lie beyond their jurisdiction.

The issue has been repeatedly raised with CRD staff dating back to April 10, 2017, and on June 16, Jason Austin of FOIVB sent an email imploring the CRD to engage a surveyor to establish the park’s boundaries.

Best explained that, regardless of the outcome of a requested survey to resolve jurisdictional questions, the concept of closing down significant portions of the property for “sand restoration” is wrong-headed and maintained the CRD has no real plan for what sand restoration actually means.

That contention seemed to be confirmed by CRD director Mike Hicks.

“Sand restoration? That’s just a word. We don’t have any definite plans for sand restoration so I couldn’t tell you what that would look like. I think the problem actually is that staff say biologists have identified this as a sensitive area (for species at risk) but I don’t personally believe it. I’ve advocated that they identify the sensitive areas and just fence them off (instead of closing down a major part of the park),” said Hicks.

The plan will allow for only two access points from the berm trail in the park to the beach,which is not controlled by the CRD, but Hicks doesn’t see this as a problem.

“Most people walk on the berm but I know people want to get to the beach so they (the CRD staff) have suggested they’ll make a nice entrance. But, listen, if people want to climb across the logs, no one is going to throw them in jail,”said Hicks.

FOIVB do acknowledge some positive aspects of the proposed plan, but Best said the possible addition of a second washroom facility doesn’t make up for taking away access to a significant portion of the park to the public with no real justification.

“I’m not disputing the contention and concerns … I don’t disagree with them … but this is a plan at least and if it doesn’t work we can change it in a year or two,” said Hicks, adding, “at some point we have to come a point where we say, just do it already.”

Best disagrees.

“This draft plan goes to to the CRD Board on July 12 and people have to call their CRD reps and tell them that making decisions out of fatigue and frustration is not to go. They (the CRD Board) need to tell staff to work with us and get it right. Stop making arbitrary, money wasting decisions that harm the public based on bad assumptions and misleading and even outright false information. We’ve been at this for seven years. For heaven sake lets get it right,” she said.

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

Just Posted

Victoria police continue to search for wanted man Travis Moore after he evaded an arrest attempt by slipping through the bushes in Beacon Hill Park April 11. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police continue search for wanted man following failed arrest attempt

Travis Moore, 28, is a federal offender wanted Canada wide for breaching his statutory release

The District of North Saanich has issued a notice to remove this floating structure from the waters off Lillan Hoffar Park. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Boat owner ordered to vacate waters off North Saanich park

Couple have been living in floating structure off Lillian Hoffar Park for a number of years

Esquimalt High School is one of six Greater Victoria schools that reported a COVID-19 exposure over the weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Six new Greater Victoria school exposures reported over weekend

Steady rise in school exposures since return from spring break

Passengers in rows four to 10 onboard WestJet flight 449 from Calgary to Victoria April 6 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Flight from Calgary to Victoria added to COVID-19 exposure list

Passengers onboard WestJet flight 449 April 6 affected

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
Victoria man living a full, active life after double lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read