The sale of the Dunsmuir property by the University of Victoria, while greatly benefiting the parties involved will certainly come at a great cost to the residents and especially students of North Saanich who hike to the separate, lower 25 acre loop trail. They have been using this walking trail for many years for a single purpose: to be healthy.
It is of great concern that the students at KELSET will no longer have free access to this natural forest. Our children spend less time in nature than we did, and even lesser time than their grandparents and great-grandparents.
So what will be left for their children growing up in a time when the environment will be the number one global issue?
It is hard to put a value on the benefits of children being submersed in nature on a regular basis and equally hard to put a cost on taking it away.
I am sure there are numerous professionals at UVic who could provide the answer. The children in our community need unlimited access to nature and we should hope and plan for them to not need a centre for mental health and addictions in their community.
The proposed linear trail, while required for rezoning will not replace the loop trail for this purpose. The new trail will lead directly behind the North Saanich Rod and Gun Club. This is not a good fit for elementary students.
The Dunsmuir property is currently zoned Educational and the 25 acre loop trail would have an immeasurable benefit to our community now and in the future as a dedicated park with a focus on education, physical education, First Nations education, Environmental education and Historical education. Unfortunately, parks don’t generate revenue.
In most cases they are born from a donation.
KELSET PAC co-president