A number of residents who live near Nymph Falls have banded together to help preserve the natural state of this and other parks in the Comox Valley Regional District.
The district is constructing a 455-metre access route, 3.5 metres wide, along the Mid-Line Trail to enable closer access for emergency and service vehicles. The changes are intended to improve toilet facilities, and to enhance the park experience of those with mobility challenges. The plans also include a three- by three-metre covered viewing platform at the falls.
The Nymph Falls Protection Collective said the trail is bigger than expected, and more trees are being removed than originally stated. The group, which has hundreds of names on a petition, is concerned that the expansion will attract more tourist traffic, increase the fire risk and attract vandalism. Following are some of the petition comments:
•More people equals more strain on the natural environment. Just leave it be!
•It would be a shame to take away the natural beauty or develop it into some tourist spot they can ruin by pollution and over-population. Leave it the way it is!
•The park is already overrun with people.
•This would also hurt the homes of animals that live there, so it’s important to me to not let this happen.
Group members discussed the situation Monday at the site with CVRD parks manager Doug DeMarzo, who said a fewer number of big trees came down than originally planned.
“We always intended there’d be 70 or more trees come down,” DeMarzo said.
A CVRD press release issued late-January said trail widening and rerouting was to begin with the falling of about 20 cedar and 17 fir trees.
“That was probably the larger ones, which we’ve actually brought down,” said DeMarzo, who is not sure where the numbers came from.
As for the trail, he said it was initially meant to be wide enough for a pump truck.
“Width-wise, that was always our plan to have the top trail width at 3.5 (metres). The trail is already 3.5 in a lot of areas.”
The collective claims the CVRD only notified the public about the work via newspaper.
“It creates a lack of trust in the community, and it leaves this park, that should be protected, in a state where we’re concerned as residents about fire hazards, graffiti and mostly people jumping off this platform,” Sheena Stone said.
DeMarzo said posters were placed well ahead of time near mailboxes in the park, and meetings were held with the Forbidden Plateau Road Association. In November, he notes, the district hosted a public meeting once the design was completed, and again posted notices at park entrances.
“We do mail-outs on occasion,” DeMarzo said. “We weren’t hearing a lot of feedback about this proposal. We have to get the toilet pumped. And it provided more access for fire protection, and more access for emergencies down at the falls.”