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

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

175 evacuation orders lifted as floods recede in Grand Forks

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read