EDITORIAL: Parksville strikes a green balance

Attend almost any public hearing for a development proposal in Parksville, and you’re likely to hear criticism that the city’s headlong rush to grow and build comes at the cost of its green spaces and natural buffers.

But city council struck a decisive blow for the environment Monday night when it approved a bylaw that will preserve its latest land acquisition as parkland in perpetuity.

The 97-acre Ermineskin land, which includes a freshwater wetland abutting the city at the northwest end of Hirst Avenue, now joins the Englishman River Estuary and the beachfront of Community Park in a triumvirate of natural spaces free from commercial and residential development.

As important as a healthy business community and residential tax base are to a community’s viability, civic health is measured in much more than simply the dollars it brings in. A sterile, paved landscape may be ideally suited for dropping box stores, strip malls and apartment blocks onto, but by itself enhances nobody’s quality of life.

And for a region that relies heavily on tourism for its income, it doesn’t offer much of a draw.

The strongest, most vibrant communities are those that can walk the fine line between developing the housing, employment and services people need on one hand, and preservation and enhancement of the natural environment that make those same people want to come — and stay — on the other.

There will always be a handful of people calling to maximize every dollar that can be wrung from city property. They are countered by another handful who would be happy to see all development cease.

Somewhere in the middle is Christopher Stephens, a bird-watching enthusiast and guide who fought for the preservation of the Ermineskin wetlands against development proposals.

But he also holds a master’s degree in community planning and shouldn’t be confused with a wild-eyed tree hugger.

“It’s simply a matter of spacial planning,” said Stephens. “We actually have more room for development in the right places when we secure a green asset like this.”

Can development and preservation exist side-by-side? Within the boundaries of a vibrant city or township, we believe they must.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Just Posted

Kiosk designed to help residents, visitors of Parksville Qualicum Beach

Parksville chamber hopes this to be first of many

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Corfield Street construction starts in Parksville

Crews will avoid shopping centre disruptions during Christmas

Intersection cleared after two-car accident in downtown Parksville

Incident was at intersection of Highway 19A and Highway 4A

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

B.C. dog owners warn about chain collars after puppy almost strangled

Young Rottweiler pup couldn’t breathe after another dog caught tooth on his collar

Accused NYC subway bomber expected to face federal charges

Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and weapons related charges

Strategy announced for Indigenous cancer care

Various stakeholders have come together to provide a road map from prevention to survivorship

Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Oceanside Generals notch Sweet shutout

VIJHL squad rolls to 6-0 win over Comox in Parksville

B.C. Conservatives applaud Site C decision

B.C. Conservatives happy with government decision to proceed

Hwy. 1 avalanche improvements promise less delays

B.C.’s new remote avalanche-control systems near Revelstoke are ready for avalanche season

Most Read