CRD Parks Strategic Plan - Public Input sessions

CRD Parks is hosting a series of public consultations to gather input for their new 10 year strategic plan.

We sometimes take it for granted that parks are protected places, but it important to let our regional government know that people value these parks as fragile natural environments whose primary purpose is to conserve ecosystems.  Especially when a barrage of new user groups seek to access and to change the use of parks.

There is also an online form here:  http://www.crd.bc.ca/parks/planning/strategicplan.htm

Meeting dates are:

Juan de Fuca
Otter Point Fire Hall, 3727 Otter Point Rd

May 12

Doors open: 6-7pm
Dialogues: 7-8:30pm
Wrap-up: 8:30-9pm

Sooke
Sooke Hall, 2037 Shields Rd.

May 13

Doors open: 6-7pm
Dialogues: 7-8:30pm
Wrap-up: 8:30-9pm

Saanich Peninsula
Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave, Sidney

May 18

Doors open: 6-7pm
Dialogues: 7-8:30pm
Wrap-up: 8:30-9pm

Westshore
Lady of Our Rosary Parish, 798 Goldstream Ave.

May 17

Doors open: 6-7pm
Dialogues: 7-8:30pm
Wrap-up: 8:30-9pm

Salt Spring Island
Anglican Church, 110 Park Drive

May 19

Doors open: 6-7pm
Dialogues: 7-8:30pm
Wrap-up: 8:30-9pm

There is also an opportunity for community groups to make presentations to the Parks Strategic Planning Citizens’ Advisory Panel on May 29th.

I encourage you anyone who can to attend one of the sessions.

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Have you checked your Snake boards?

Sharp-tailed Snake Monitors, please check your Artificial Cover Objects (shingles) for snakes!  Sharp-tailed Snakes are most active during the spring and fall, so now is the best chance you have of finding these elusive critters. If you do find a snake, try to take a picture, and let us know as soon as possible.  Young Garter Snakes are often confused with Sharp-tailed Snakes.  Check our Sharp-tailed Snake Stewardship page for more information about their life-history and identification.

Finally, if you live in remnant Garry oak meadow or on a steep slope with wildflowers and think you may have Sharp-tailed Snakes on your property, contact us about becoming a Sharp-tailed Snake monitor.

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Have you checked your Snake boards?

coiled_STS_web_copySharp-tailed Snake monitors, it's the time of year to check your Artificial Cover Objects (shingles) for Sharp-tailed Snakes.  The spring and fall are when Sharp-tailed Snakes are most active, so your best chance finding them is right now.

If you find a snake, try to take a picture if possible, and let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 250 995-2428. 

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Covenants, Off-road Vehicles, and Parks

I still remember the day when working at the Goldstream Nature House, I came in to discover a pickup truck stuck in the estuary mud.  The night before, some yahoos had driven down the salmon-bearing Goldstream River, because, as they told the local newspaper reporter, they “hadn’t seen any signs saying they couldn’t.”  Reports of vehicles damaging parks is distressing common.  Mt Well’s, Mt Work, Gowlland-Tod - the list of parks damaged by “off-highway vehicles” goes on.  Much of the damage to flower and plant communities will not heal in our lifetimes.  As a matter of policy, all of these parks prohibit motorized off-road vehicles.  Park agencies install gates and barriers, which are often vandalized to allow access.

Recently, however, a group of OHV enthusiasts managed to convince the CRD’s Regional Parks Committee to direct Parks staff to investigate the possibility of opening the Harbourview Gate in the Sea to Sea Regional Park Reserve, and to determine the feasibility of a designated off-road vehicle area inside the Park.  Conservation groups were livid.  Fortunately, in this case, most the land in the Sea to Sea Regional Park Reserve has conservation covenants attached to it that prohibit off-road vehicle use.

Covenants are legal agreements that are registered on a property’s title, and remain with the land permanently.  They are an effective way to protect private property from future development, or ensure that governments uphold conservation promises made when acquiring park land.  HAT and TLC, the covenant holders on the Sea to Sea lands, were able to remind the CRD Regional Parks Committee that they had legal obligations to prohibit off-road vehicle use in the Park.

This time there will be no need to enforce the covenants.  After hearing from 23 knowledgeable and passionate speakers representing groups like the Victoria Natural History Society, Preserve Our Parks, the Federation of Mountain Clubs, and the Alpine Club of Canada, the CRD Regional Parks Committee re-affirmed its ban on off-road vehicles.  However, it was a reminder of the importance that Land Trusts need to be strong and ready to defend their covenants if needed.  Covenants are not a one-time commitment.  They require vigilance, monitoring, and sometimes, enforcing.

-          Adam Taylor

If you have pictures of vehicle damage in parks that you are willing to share with us, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CRD confirms commitment to keep off-road vehicles out of Parks

The CRD Regional Parks Committee meeting vote unanimously to ban off-road vehicles in CRD Parks, including the Sea to Sea Regional Park, and to continue with the Park Management Planning process.

Over two dozen speakers, all 2 opposed to off-road vehicles, spoke to the Committee about the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt, the amazing natural habitats that it protects, and the damage that off-road vehicles cause.  Thank you all who took the time to come out, or sent in your support.

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