Trevor Bowles, a member of the Friends of French Creek Conservation Society, at the estuary. The society is conducting an online survey on the potential uses of the turning the estuary into a park. — Friends of French Creek Conservation Society photo

Local society seeks views on French Creek estuary

Group wants to see portion of land designated as park

A community group is looking to gauge public support for a new park in the French Creek estuary.

The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society has launched an online survey running July 2-15, asking people if they would support a park in the French Creek estuary and, if so, what would people use the park for.

The FFCCS is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the French Creek watershed, according to its website.

FFCCS member Trevor Bowles, a business consultant who developed the survey, told The NEWS a committee was formed nearly two years ago with a mandate to evaluate the estuary in partnership with Vancouver Island University and the Mount Arrowsmith biosphere Region Research Institute.

He said the survey is for community input to gauge opinions, listen to people and educate a little bit along the way “to the importance of saving this estuary.”

The forest land of both sides of the estuary, Bowles said in a news release from FFCCS, has been privately owned for many years.

Of the privately owned land which is 24 acres, Bowles said, about half is going to be developed and the other half is being gifted for the purposes of being made into a park.

“Now we’re at a point where it’s become reality,” he said. “It’s been a compromised solution. Like I said, we would have loved to see the whole 23 acres in park, but we’re ecstatic that we have an opportunity to convert 13 of those acres into parkland for the community to enjoy.”

The survey asks if people know what the plots of land are designated for; how people currently use the land by the estuary; would people be more inclined to use the land if it was a park; and how people would use the land if it was designated as a park.

“The community input is critically important to how they see this park being established if they want a park at all,” said Bowles

Since the survey launched on July 2, Bowles said the society has received more than 150 responses.

He said 86 per cent of people strongly agree the area should be a park while others thought it was a park and others thought none of it should be park or developed.

The 10-question survey can be found at ffccs.ca. There is also a space for comments.

Send story tips: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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