Neighbours of North Cowichan’s small Carmel Drive Park want to keep the popular green space as it is.
But the Municipality of North Cowichan and the Parhar Group, which is in the process of constructing a 42-unit subdivision next door to the park, intend to build a paved emergency access route right down the centre of the park sometime this week.
About 10 people showed up Monday morning to protest the plans for the public space, which is about an acre in size and has a playing field and a playground.
Spokesman Carlos Kreuzer, who lives next door to the park, said the municipality didn’t inform the public of the plan or seek any kind of public input before a sign was placed at the park entrance last week.
He said placing an asphalt laneway right in the middle of a green space that is frequently used by the locals “makes no sense”.
“We’re being told that there’s nothing we can do to stop this,” Kreuzer said.
“This is getting the people in this neighbourhood’s back up. Council will be watched a lot closer by residents as a result of this.”
North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure, who was on site for the protest, said engineering standards for the new subdivision require the emergency access route, as well as for the subdivision that’s already in place on the other side of the park.
He said the small emergency access would also serve as a connector to the nearby Catalyst pipeline trail system.
‘The Official Community Plan calls for the creation of connections between the community and the trail systems through it,” he said.
“People are already using this connection to the trails. We believe many see this as an excellent amenity to the community’s trail system and we’re moving ahead with this plan. It’s a fact that some people just don’t like change.”