The City of Parksville announced on Fri., Feb. 23, it is closing the Ermineskine parklands, outlined in red, until further notice. Signage has been placed at trail entrances into the lands, which the city purchased in an agreement announced last fall. — Image submitted by City of Parksville

City of Parksville closes Erminskine parklands to public

Liability risk assessment underway on recently purchased property

The City of Parksville announced last week the closure of part of its recently acquired Ermineskin parkland property due to liability concerns.

The city announced the closure Friday, Feb. 23, following a recommendation from the Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia, the city stated in a news release. The property will remain closed to the public until further notice, and there is no timeline on when this area will be reopened.

“Parksville staff will be addressing any items which may be considered as a risk to the public,” the city release stated. “Once addressed, this area of the Ermineskin parkland will be reopened.”

The property is located at the southwest edge of Parksville, at the civic address of 790 Hirst Ave. Closure signs have been posted on the trails into the property, the city stated.

The $1.3-million purchase of the 97-acre parkland, which encompasses wetlands and several city wells, was approved by council in September of 2017.

It is to be maintained as a natural parkland in perpetuity under the agreement with the Ermineskin Cree Nation, which had owned the land.

Related: Parksville adds 97-acre wetlands

When Parksville city council approved the purchase, at its Sept. 18, 2017, meeting, Mayor Marc Lefebvre credited the Ermineskin Cree Nation with leaving the property accessible to residents and hikers who visit to bird-watch and enjoy the natural surroundings.

A city news release announcing the purchase said, “These uses will continue and maintenance of the park will be performed by city staff…”

In its preliminary 2018 budget deliberations, completed in October of 2017, council added 1.5 full-time equivalent positions to the city’s parks staff, in part due to the addition of the Ermineskin parkland, and established a $50,000 maintenance budget for the property.

Coun. Kim Burden argued the city did not yet have a plan in place for the park and asked how staff could know the expenses required to maintain a park that is intended to remain, as much as possible, in a natural state.

Chief administrative officer Debbie Comis told council at that time the budget figure was an estimate only, and that one of the factors that would help determine the actual maintenance cost would be the result of a risk assessment on the property.

“Now that the park belongs to the city, we have liability issues,” Comis told council.

— With city of Parksville files

Just Posted

Grandmothers to Grandmothers host annual Christmas Extravaganza

Crafts, baked goods, knitting and many more homemade treasures available at fundraiser

Vancouver Island brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Victoria-based brewers said goodbye to confusing hexagon logo

Gridiron Whalers go marching past Saints

Ballenas defence holds off surging Langley to secure spot in playoff quarterfinals

Who wants to have coffee with Parksville’s mayor?

Coffee with Ed Mayne will take place Thursdays, starting Nov. 15

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Most Read