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City of Parksville's land purchase said to be part of trail plan

Mayor Chris Burger stands on the banks of the Englishman River on a portion of 13 acres of land the City of Parksville purchased last year for $750,000. - JOHN HARDING PHOTO
Mayor Chris Burger stands on the banks of the Englishman River on a portion of 13 acres of land the City of Parksville purchased last year for $750,000.
— image credit: JOHN HARDING PHOTO

Without much fanfare, the city bought a parcel of land last year that Mayor Chris Burger believes is a important piece of a plan that could eventually link Parksville Beach with Rathtrevor Provincial Park.

The land is at the end of Shelley Road and abuts the Englishman River Estuary. The 13-acre parcel cost the city $750,000.

"We saw a real value in it, not only in terms of protecting the estuary, but also to continue our greenway project to make sure there is a route available for the all-purpose trail," said Burger.

The mayor said the city continues to work on plans that could see the construction of an all-purpose trail (pedestrian, bike and scooter-friendly) from Community Park to Rathtrevor, which means a bridge over the river, which would start at the Parksville side on this land the city purchased.

Completion of this trail will require the co-operation of many levels of government and their various departments, along with First Nations and groups that have worked a lot of volunteer hours as stewards of the estuary. While that may sound daunting, Burger said he believes the project could be completed before the end of the next term of office for city council, 2017.

"It's certainly popular amongst residents and we've had some good reception from other levels of government, but these things take time," said Burger, who is not seeking re-election on Nov. 15. "Securing this land was a big part of it."

The land the city purchased currently has a residence on it with a tenant. It was purchased from a private owner. It has a meadow and trails that wind through the forest and also skirt the banks of the river.

"It's nice and level, which is another bonus," said Burger, who added that the plan calls for the trail to be "fully accessible."

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