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Our take: Did controversy help park jump the queue?
Sansum Point Park is a jewel well-worth protecting.
Our voices were among the many celebrating when its 128 acres was added to our collection of local protected areas a few years ago.
We aren’t quite so sure about the nearly 40 acres that are going to be added to the park thanks to a deal closed last week between the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Bourke family of Victoria.
It’s not about the property in isolation; the new property will unquestionably be an asset to the park and to the community.
It’s more a big picture concern: why was this piece of land chosen instead of any of the many other pieces earmarked for purchase thanks to the regional parkland acquisition fund?
For those late to the debate, the Bourke property was tied to the Stoney Hill Road proposal that would improve access to the isolated properties of the Maple Bay Peninsula. The road was central to a settlement agreement reached between Bourke and the municipality.
With the road in limbo thanks to a series of studies and debate over the correct route, North Cowichan was operating under the potential threat of renewed legal action from Bourke.
This purchase should certainly put that question to rest.
But did the Stoney Hill Road situation cause the CVRD to act on this property when it may have been more fair from a regional parks perspective to spend that money on another property first?
The CVRD will tell you that in situations like these, you have to act when land comes available.
That’s true, but we’re not sure if it matters to taxpayers in the north, south, and west, who see an existing park expanded while similar ideas in their areas remain in the queue.