City urged to save local wetland

ALR land owned by Ermineskin Tribal Enterprises of Alberta and is not for sale

Parksville councillor Bill Neufeld

In a presentation to Parksville council Monday, local resident and amateur ornithologist Christopher Stephens urged the city to buy the Ermineskin wetlands for a park or reserve.

The property, assessed at $916,000 in 2010, is not for sale and the city doesn’t have any plans for it, but mayor Chris Burger said it is a good conversation to start.

Stephens, who grew up near the wetlands, has done extensive research on the property and has been in contact with the The Land Conservancy (TLC) in Victoria about the possibility of their involvement.

The 84-acre property in the southwest corner of the city, beside Springwood Park and a city well field, is owned by the Alberta based Ermineskin Tribal Enterprises.

It includes 10 acres of marsh, a 32 acre forrest under a city covenant as a park and 51 undeveloped acres, all within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

The owners have tried to remove it from the ALR but council voted against that and the Agricultural Land Commission agreed.

The city’s official community plan (OCP) recommends the area to remain ALR or open space and calls for preservation of the natural environment and “expansion of existing parks through addition of contiguous land,” singling out the potential of the area.

In his 16 page report Stephens detailed its value as a groundwater recharge and habitat for numerous wildlife including the 87 bird species he recorded.

He highlighted its value both to the ecosystem and as an educational and tourist attraction.

He recently received a letter from TLC executive director Bill Turner thanking him for bringing the property to their attention.

“There can be no doubt about the importance of preserving what remains of this wetland and you are to be commended in taking the lead in making the community aware of its importance,” he writes and he assures Stephens “that The Land Conservancy will do whatever it can to assist you in reaching this goal.”

Parksville has $2.5 million in its land acquisition fund, but Burger stresses there are many options being considered and this is barely the beginning of the conversation.

Tour the wetland

There is a Parksville Residents’ Association Earth Day walk scheduled this Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m.

Burger, Stephens and water specialist Michael Jessen will be on hand at the west end of Despard Avenue to help people explore the area.

 

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach versus Parksville – who wins?

Councils could take part in first-ever lawn bowling challenge

Ballenas grad to perform opera and art songs in Parksville to fund Prague trip

UBC music student Juliana Cook was asked to study and sing in the Czech Republic

Ravensong Waterdancers to get you in sync

Teams will perform 12 routines at watershow on April 28

Soccer Whalers trip 49ers 1-0 in high school clash

Ballenas now prepares for North Island championships

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

Party with extreme views on immigration running on Vancouver Island

Opposing candidate says National Citizens Alliance’s participation ‘highly problematic’

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read