Bailey Baugh would like to see Kingzett Lake turned into a regional park, or at least a protected area.
Baugh said the lake, known in the Shawnigan Lake area where it’s located as The Quarry, is the “best worst kept secret on Vancouver Island”.
“It’s getting busier all the time and, during the summer, cars are parked all over the place,” said Baugh, a radio announcer who lives in Victoria.
“People leave garbage behind and I’m sure the sunscreen people wear are having an affect as well. A lot of environmental measures that are taken these days are reactionary, so I’m trying to start a conversation in the community now in an effort to keep the lake and area beautiful.”
Kingzett Lake is an abandoned limestone quarry that operated most recently between 1953 and 1979 and officially closed in 1980.
The closure meant that pumps no longer drained water, and within a couple of years, a lake was created by an underground spring.
Bough said the lake’s mineral-rich waters tinge the lake with extra-enticing shades of blue, making it a perfect spot to swim and take some seriously stunning photos.
“Once those photos started making the rounds online, it wasn’t long before people starting visiting the quarry in ever-increasing numbers,” said Bough, who was introduced to the lake by her boyfriend who is from Shawnigan Lake.
Baugh has started a petition on Change.org in an effort to persuade the Cowichan Valley Regional District, possibly along with BC Parks, to buy the private property and turn it into a park.
“I have no experience with this kind of thing, so I really didn’t know where to start,” she said.
“The petition is really a means to start a conversation about the lake and get the wheels to have it made into a park in motion.”
Bough said that, for the most part, people visiting the lake do a good job of cleaning up after themselves, but problems persist and are getting worse as the lake becomes more popular.
She said the installation of garbage cans, bathroom facilities, walking trails, proper parking, and long-term research needs to begin to ensure that the human impact on the ecosystem at the lake is kept to a minimum.
Kris Schumacher, a spokesman for the CVRD, said that during the district’s last official community plan review for Shawnigan Lake, the quarry was identified as a site of interest by residents.
“Therefore, were the land to be for sale, its purchase may be considered by the CVRD’s parks and trails division through our regional parkland acquisition fund service,” he said.
“From time to time, the CVRD also acquires parkland by donation, which can happen in various ways. Sometimes it is outright gifted to us, as was the case with the Drs. Jagdis K and Sarjit K. Siddoo Park created last year just west of Shawnigan Lake.”
Schumacher said that other times, it can come about through a development application process.
“When an applicant wants to change the land use of a property through rezoning or amendments to an official community plan, there is often what is know as a ‘community amenity contribution’ involved in the application,” he said.
“This is a voluntary donation that a developer gives to the public. This can take a number of forms, whether that be an art installation or dedicated parkland.”