We spend part of our time living in Parksville and have done so because of the natural environment.
There is something special about listening to the owls at night as you’re falling asleep. This past year, however, we have watched acres of forested areas mowed down for the sake of urban development.
The Parksville council now plans to re-zone almost three acres of property next to the Riparian zone of the Englishman River and estuary from single family to medium density. The issue is not housing, the issue is the hydrological impact of any development.
The importance of natural groundwater to the riparian zone, the Englishman River and the estuary is substantial and development of this property would have significant longterm detrimental effects these habitats and on all five species of salmon that spawn in this river.
Estuaries make up less than three per cent of the coastline of B.C. but are habitat to 80 per cent of B.C.’s coastal wildlife and fish, not to mention the 200-plus species of migratory birds.
Natural stores of groundwater is necessary for many reasons including providing moisture during our long summer droughts to the trees in that area. When trees are drought stressed they are no longer able to absorb CO2 and repetitive drought stress will inevitably result in dead trees.
These effects and consequences irreversible. The effects of urbanization further up the river is evident with the erosion of the lower banks of the river.
We need our local politicians to make decisions that are responsible and not short-sighted. We need politicians who value these rare and special environments that are endlessly under restoration rather than add to their stressors.
We as a species need the wetland areas more than we need another housing development. A simple search of the internet for hydrological impact of urbanization and/or the importance of wetlands provides so much good information, that there is no excuse for not knowing the consequences of bad decisions.
Once our wetlands are gone, they and all the life they support will also be gone.