The Capital Regional District’s pursuit of more wilderness and parkland is on solid ground, thanks to an extension to funding.
The CRD board approved a 10-year extension of the Regional Parks Land Acquisition Fund, which will be in effect until 2029
“The board is committed to ensuring the continued success of the Land Acquisition Fund,” said Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, chair of the CRD board. “We are in a climate emergency and one of our top priorities is to preserve greenspace for future generations.”
The decision means the Land Acquisition Fund (LAF) will be renewed at a levy of $20 per average household assessment, an amount established in 2014. The CRD’s provisional budget for 2020 earmarks an additional $925,000 that will be allotted each year for capital reserves to fund the replacement and refurbishing of existing park assets such as bridges, trestles, buildings and other infrastructure.
Acquisitions during the past several years include 11 hectares of parkland near Mary Lake in the District of the Highlands, 27 hectares at Saint John Point on Mayne Island, a 15-hectare addition to Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional park in 2017 and an another 28 hectares to Mount Work Regional Park in 2018. More than 150 hectares of parkland was acquired near Thetis Lake and Sea to Sea regional parks this year.
The regional parks system has increased from about 8,400 to 13,000 hectares since the LAF was established in 2000. An online survey in 2018 indicated that 89 per cent of those who responded were in favour of extending the fund for another 10 years, and 77 per cent supported using the funds to purchase parkland, even if facilities for public use may not be developed for many years. For more information, hike over to the Parks Land Acquisition Strategy and the CRD Regional Parks Strategic Plan.