Buy up the beach and park it

Writer says current plan for waterfront isn't working

As a resident of Parksville for the past 29 years, I find it difficult to envision what future generations will wish that we had done, but I doubt that there would be gratitude for buildings on the beach.

I am sure the government in the early 1900s thought they were doing the best thing for the province when they gave Robert Dunsmuir the best 1.9 million acres on Vancouver Island plus land in the Peace River and a lot of cash to build a railway on the Island. It has been the single most restrictive action on the public of Vancouver Island in the history of B.C., putting our watersheds and what could have been our recreation areas behind locked gates with minimal conservation regulations.  

The result is that the people now living in that privatized east side of Vancouver Island must constantly battle to preserve tiny bits of remnant natural areas.  In this case we must not let history repeat itself.

I watched and participated in the preservation of the Englishman River estuary. It left the present Surfside development in the middle of what could have been the most spectacular beach, estuary and forest interface park in North America. We didn’t push hard enough to preserve the entire parcel.

 Parksville is world renowned for its beach and that is what will always be the attraction — the best beach and warmest ocean temperatures in Canada.

As more people discover Parksville’s beach and as more people move here, the beach gets more crowded and therefore a smaller square footage per person is available on the beach.

A recent residents survey clearly shows citizens want to keep the beach and prevent development on the beach.

This property should be purchased as well as all others as they come up for sale until we have a beachfront from The Beach Club to the Englishman River. Funds could be raised in ways that surrounding communities have raised millions to purchase their precious bit of natures natural wonders.

I believe Bernie Walsh to be a very environmentally aware and conscientious developer and this development opposition has nothing to do with Mr. Walsh.

This is not about how good this development proposal is, it is about whether to develop for the benefit of a few or increase the public beach for the benefit of all Oceanside residents and visitors from around the world.

We have a well planned and developed resort row, it works well with many world class resorts, let’s keep the resort developments there.

Please have the foresight to look far enough into the future so that we can indeed have the best of the best beach, as well as the best developments and our descendants will be eternally grateful as we are grateful to the ladies of the Women’s Institute who held teas and bake sales to raise the money to buy what we all enjoy as Parksville’s Community Park and beach. 

The park was big enough in 1910. Will it be big enough in the future?

It is the people that vote that filled out the residents survey, the consequences of ignoring the voters is well documented throughout history.

 

Gary Murdock

Parksville.

  

Editor’s note: The News welcomes all opinions on this topic and looks forward to the day we can print someone’s thoughts on the other side of this argument.

That said, who will take up Mr. Murdock’s call to fundraise to buy land to expand Parksville’s park? For that to work, it has to be a community effort. 

 

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