Strathcona legal challenge ahead

Guest shot

Friends of Strathcona Park have hired a Vancouver law firm to prepare a legal challenge against  government efforts to give commercial rights in Strathcona Park to a private resort on the edge of the park.  The resort operates a dude ranch for the wealthy on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The government has approved the permit, but has yet to sign it.

The process of granting a park use permit to the resort  was begun by the Campbell government against the guidelines of the Strathcona Park Master Plan, against the recommendations of the Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee, and against the stated wishes of an overwhelming majority (around 90 per cent) of citizens who attended public consultation meetings.

Our lawyers believe there are serious legal flaws in the government process which has put Strathcona under threat of damage by a high impact commercial operation. Legal proceedings will begin against the government if and when they sign the permit allowing the resort into the park.

On other fronts, the Friends of Strathcona have been working to build a trail in the area under threat, (the Bedwell Valley) hoping that a low impact trail will stave off the apparent wish of government to grant privileges in the park to a private operation which has dreams of building a high impact commercial trail for wealthy clients in the Bedwell Valley.

For the last three years, the Friends of Strathcona have been working with volunteers to build the Bedwell Centennial Trail, a beautiful low impact trail which won’t cost the public a penny.

The route follows the Bedwell River from source to mouth, and will allow hikers to walk from the east side of Vancouver Island to the West Coast near Tofino.  The Friends intended to complete the trail for Strathcona’s 100th birthday this year, but the government wouldn’t give permission to brush out one last very short section in the middle, and won’t allow us to say the trail has been completed.

We had the volunteers, the tools, and we could have easily completed the trail, but we weren’t permitted to close the final gap.

Why?

For some reason, the government doesn’t want our low impact, no cost volunteer trail completed.

Meanwhile they’re poised to sign a park use permit allowing a damaging commercial operation to use the Bedwell Valley, almost into the centre of Strathcona Park, for its own private purposes.

The Campbell government bulldozed public wishes in many ways and they were very good at it, but the HST debacle was the straw which finally broke the camel’s back.

Exit Gordon Campbell.

Unfortunately, we’re left with many of his legacies, one of them being the damage which is about to occur in Strathcona Park if the Christy Clark government signs the park use permit.

Parks are not commercial enterprises, and their purpose isn’t to serve the economic wishes of private interests. Although it’s true that Strathcona has suffered terribly from commercial damage in the last 100 years, we don’t need to allow the process to go on for the next 100.

Thanks very much to the volunteers who worked very hard this year, and for the preceding two years, on the Bedwell Centennial Trail with hopes of stopping the government from allowing commercial damage in the Bedwell Valley.

For whatever reasons, the government didn’t allow us to brush out the last little bit of trail this year, but the trail is now almost complete, and it’s well marked and easy to follow for its entire length, all the way from Bedwell Lake to Bedwell Inlet.

Thanks very much also to all those who contributed to the very successful Strathcona Wilderness Festival, and to all those who attended and showed their support for Strathcona, B.C.’s oldest provincial park.

 

Karl Stevenson is a member of Friends of Strathcona Park. He lives in Royston, B.C.

 

 

Just Posted

Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville will host the 2021 B.C. Junior Golf Championships. (PQB News file photo)
Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville to host 150 of B.C’s top junior golfers

Provincial boys and girls championship begins June 28

Hannes Grosse, left, and Iris Steigemann, right, as they prepared for their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit. The father-daughter duo are showing at The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach until June 26. (Submitted photo)
Cortes Island artists exhibit at Qualicum Beach’s TOSH in first father-daughter show

Both artists will be present at shows on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Great Canadian Gaming Corp. workers in B.C. launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

A float plane crashed into the waters near Painters Lodge in Campbell River on Thursday morning. Photo by Alistair Taylor / Campbell River Mirror
Float plane crashes into water near Campbell River

Pilot uninjured, plane hit sandbar while landing

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Most Read