The City of Parksville has looked into the cost and process of cleaning up an area of Parksville beach. - File photo

Assessments needed before Parksville beach cleanup could get green light

Permits, reviews would cost city an estimated $164,000

The City of Parksville would have to organize an environmental assessment and other permitting before cleaning up an area of Parksville beach. The estimated cost to obtain authorization and approval is $164,000.

At a June 17 regular meeting, Parksville council received a staff report in response to a resolution which directed staff to explore options for the removal of logs, stumps, rocks and the addition of graded beach sand at the Parksville Community Park beach.

Council approved a motion introduced by Coun. Al Greir in April to direct staff to do a cost estimate and overview of process for undertaking a cleanup of Parksville beach.

RELATED: City of Parksville to look into cost, process of beach cleanup

The staff report states, based on the length and location of the project, both Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operation and Rural Development (FLNRORD) would need to be consulted for their authorization or approval.

The review process identifies environmental interests such as aquatic, terrestrial and plant species, erosion, and impacts on water quality. A successful permit would show either no negative impacts or impacts that can be mitigated to a point that is reasonable based on the criticality of the project.

Preliminary review of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Species at Risk Act suggests that a number of species at risk may be found in the project area (between McMillan Street North and Parksville Community Park breakwater), and investigations would also have to look at the habitat and species present in Carey Creek.

“Under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Fisheries Act, a project that cannot avoid or mitigate serious harm to fish or fish habitat must go through the authorization process,” states the staff report.

Potential at-risk species in the area include stellar sea lion, yelloweye rockfish, tope, leatherback sea turtle, harbour porpoise, killer whale, northern abalone, grey whale, humpback whale, bluntnose sixgill shark and basking sharks.

The project would also require co-ordination with the Regional District of Nanaimo as a 600-millimetre reinforced concrete sanitary sewer is also present within the project area.

“Removal of logs, stumps, grasses, and weeds along with raking may initiate erosion problems along the beach,” states the report.

In addition, according to British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Act Reviewable Projects Regulation, an environmental field assessment to characterize the natural conditions is needed.

Costs and authorizations required to facilitate an application to undertake the proposed work include approximately $40,000 to $45,000 for environmental assessment, $2,500 for permitting efforts/paperwork, $10,000 for government liaison/project management, $100,000 for enhancement works (five-year commitment to make sure it was functioning as intended), $1,500 for annual cost to maintain paperwork/renewal of permits and $5,000 for a survey to determine the limits of the foreshore.

The project is not included within the 2019-2023 financial plan.

If the city received permission to go ahead with the authorization process, the next steps could be to consider capital and operating costs to perform the necessary work and further facilitate the decision-making process.

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