The City of Colwood is looking into the possibility of taking at least part ownership of Cole Island, as conservation efforts are set to move forward at the heritage site.
One of the steps towards sprucing up the site is to add signage explaining some of the history of the island, which was once used as an ammunition storage site for the Royal Navy in the mid-1800s. This move is part of the Cole Island Conservation Management Plan.
As discussions surrounding these signs moved forward, however, attention turned and is continuing to focus on ownership of the site.
Currently, the provincial government owns the site, through Heritage B.C. A possibility does exist for Colwood to obtain tenure or some sort of license to the island, along with the responsibility for maintenance and restoration.
“It’s quite exciting,” said Chris Pease, chief administrative officer for Colwood. “But the information that came from the committee suggested we need to look into the ramifications of this a bit more before we say ‘yes’ to it.”
Council passed a motion Monday night instructing city staff to look into what exactly taking ownership of the island would mean. Any decisions related to the management plan are on hold until the ownership issue is addressed.
One of the main concerns is the money side, said Pease, and figuring out who would pay for what and whether the province would continue to support restoration efforts.
Pease also wonders whether View Royal might be interested in also getting involved, as the island is technically closer to the municipality.
“I think that would be probably be a good thing for us to do somewhere along the way, to see if they’re at all interested in assisting,” Pease said.