Estuary privilege

I read with great interest an opinion piece in the Nov. 24 edition of The NEWS written by Parksville resident Bruce Murray

I read with great interest an opinion piece in the Nov. 24 edition of The NEWS written by Parksville resident Bruce Murray entitled ‘Facing the homeless invasion.’

This article struck a  real chord with me as I am the volunteer property warden for the Englishman River Estuary on behalf of the Nature Trust of B.C. (who own the property), and the issue of homeless people camping in the estuary has become a serious problem within the past two years.

Most of these campsites become abandoned once they are discovered and it is usually the Nature Trust who end up footing the bill for cleanup.

Not only do these sites become unsightly, they pose a serious health and safety issue as there are no facilities for human waste and many have open fires during the summer/fall when the risk of fire is the highest.

The estuary is used by many local residents, out-of-town tourists and school groups throughout the entire year. However, a lot people do not realize or understand that the Englishman River Estuary is a nature conservancy and a major component of the Parksville-Qualicum Wildlife Management Area.

As such, it is designated as a dogs-on- leash area with no camping, no fires, no motorized vehicles and is subject to the Wildlife Act and its regulations.

It is a privilege and not a right to be able to use this area for bird watching, hiking and dog walking — please remember this the next time you visit the estuary.

Doug Herchmer

Parksville