Valuable Metchosin lot likely to be subdivided

Residents want park expanded in face of development

There’s a move afoot to keep part of a piece of private property slated for development adjacent to Tower Point Park in Metchosin as an asset for the region.

The area, which features spectacular views of Juan de Fuca Strait and Victoria, is a popular recreation destination, picnic spot and favourite dog walk area, given its off-leash designation, says nearby resident Ken Farquharson. He recently presented a motion to Metchosin council, with the support of the Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin, encouraging the district to explore options for keeping some of the property to expand the adjacent Capital Regional District park. Among the ideas was purchasing land with financial assistance from the CRD.

The proposed subdivision is about four hectares, while Tower Point Park is roughly three hectares in size.

The development proponent, Ridley Brothers, is looking to subdivide the property into eight lots. The company did not return calls for comment before the Gazette print deadline.

Farquharson and other concerned citizens conducted a survey recently that indicates the park is visited regularly by people from around the Capital Region. “The park is short of space, especially when you look at the amount of people who use it,” he said, adding that situation will only increase with the amount of development underway on the West Shore. Farquharson plans to discuss the matter with CRD Parks this week.

He made several other proposals in last week’s presentation to Metchosin council. They included moving the eastern park boundary to the east side of the proposed private road, purchasing a strip of land along the waterfront, changing the property line to allow for a trail along the shoreline, requiring that a covenant be placed over the shoreline and remaining natural vegetation, and purchasing a right-of-way for a trail along the shoreline.

APRM president Frank Mitchell said it’s important to explore all options, because of the natural beauty, amazing panoramic vistas and its popularity with dog owners, especially with the increasing need for such areas based on the growth in other West Shore areas.

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns said the District has been aware the property could be subdivided for many years, but has always hoped it wouldn’t be.

“That is probably the highest-valued property in Metchosin,” he said. “We don’t have the money to purchase that. We do have the ability to request five per cent of the property in lieu of cash, and I anticipate council will make that request.”

The property, zoned before the District incorporated in 1984, can be subdivided under the current regulations. Said Ranns: “In Metchosin we stick to our zoning, and that goes both ways.”

Metchosin chief administrative officer Lisa Urlacher said the application is under review.

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