Help community: donate school land

By the time this letter reaches The NEWS, the school board meeting April 29 regarding school closures will be over.

By the time this letter reaches The NEWS, the school board meeting April 29 regarding school closures will be over.

I’d like to add in tandem to my earlier opinion that the three communities of Qualicum Beach, Area G and Parksville could be striving to do more to entice and retain families within this region with a template that copies that of Comox/Courtney and CRD-Victoria.

As I’ve noted before, we are missing the boat every time a subdivision is created in this region.

In keeping with a concept that sees every subdivision adding access routes, connectivity to other streets and a comprehensive trail-park structure, I was struck by the recent announcement coming out of Comox during this past week’s Earth Week celebrations.

Apparently that community really takes the concepts to heart and they walk the talk.

Now I’m not sure whether our community has done the same — other than pick up  bags of garbage and planted a tree or shrub — but up there in Comox the school district did something phenomenal that our withering school district here could do.

With a ceremony in Comox, School District 71 vice-chair Janice Caton presented to the entire community 15 acres of school lands towards the Comox Valley Land Trust and parks system, preserving a rare grove of Garry oaks and other associated species and informal trails.

This they have done in perpetuity, they felt it was a “responsible course of action… a beautiful gift to the community.” And the adjoining school district properties will also remain semi-protected from development.

That gem of a gift wasn’t the only act of kindness to the community. The private property owners of the Mack Laing Heritage trail have graciously allowed the public designated access under an agreement.

So my lingering question here is will the school district of our community transfer our pending closures of property over to a similar parks and nature trust agreement?

Will our school board representatives give us and all future children and residents a responsible option?

In the heart of Qualicum Beach and elsewhere where this axe of closure and pending-sale will drop, I am sure that many people of the community would rather see a large green block of beauty with a stewardship plan and not more developments that seem to be raising the hairs of residents at recent public meetings.

The tourism potential that we are losing by not creating more parks and trails and using the options as they occur, will slowly cripple this community.

I would hope that our school district can follow the lead shown by District 71. It would be a wonderful gift to all of us.

Peter Bolten

Qualicum Beach