By Murray McNab
When there was an Area H Parks Commission, most of the new work was carried out by members of the Commission, with the usual maintenance done by a contractor.
Area H has many lovely parks, with a combined area that is larger than any of the other rural areas in the CVRD. The following is a list of the parks, along with a little bit of their history, as I know it.
Blue Heron Park. This is the most northerly park in our area and is located just north of Yellow Point Lodge. This park is really just a road (Westby Road, name after Arnold Westby, a long time resident of the area who donated countless hours to local projects) that runs from Yellow Point Road to the ocean.
This road was created when the Yellow Point Lodge property was subdivided. One of the regulations for the subdivision was that a road with access to the waterfront had to provide for every certain length of waterfront of the original property. The width of a road access is 66 feet. Three road accesses were required for this subdivision. I was away at BCIT, travelling or recovering from a MVA, when all of this happened and did not have my ear to the ground regarding such developments. This park is really just a strip that is 198 feet wide. How this was allowed to happen, I am not sure. I do know that this area is the shortest distance from Yellow Point Road to the ocean. By having this road in this location, a minimum of land was donated for road access. With the steep rock bluffs, leading to the ocean, that are encountered just south of this park, access to any waterfront south of this area is limited to YPL Guests. It should be noted that the Durban’s house, which was on this land, had to be removed. If you are ever at this park, please note the small structure covering a large picnic table. This was a carport in its earlier days. Park volunteers put a new roof on and also replaced some of the support posts. The same volunteers poured concrete bases for some of the picnic tables and benches that are located in this park. As the original Cedar posts that surrounded the grass area rotted away, volunteers replaced them. When too many posts were rotting away, volunteers removed all of them and replaced them with large rocks, which came from the widening project on the Old Chemainus Road in Ladysmith.
Yellow Point Park. This is the largest park in Area H. I am not certain about the origin of this park, but will try to provide more information in a future article. Many hours have been donated for the construction of trails, bridges and the surround for the Porta Potty. Volunteers also arranged for the donation and placement of the cedar poles that surround the parking lot. Many volunteers and community groups have worked tirelessly to try and rid this park of Broome. The Broome Busters and, more recently, the Yellow Point Ecological Society must be thanked for all of the work that they have done. More on the picnic table fiasco at a later date.
Raven Park. This park is the first park encountered on the way to Coffin Point. This park was created as the result of the development of the subdivision adjacent to the east. As is usually the case, the very worst land is given up for park land. This lot was in a swamp and runs from the road down to the salt water. While under the direction of the previous Area H director, this park was developed. When I heard that over $40,000 had been spent on this park, I immediately took an interest in the Parks Commission and asked to join it. I was not invited to join the Parks Commission until the current director was elected. Volunteers used to help to keep the park in good shape, replace cables and posts around the driveway and parking area. The paved area was to accommodate bus loads of kayakers, who were to appear and use this park to get out on the salt water. I asked at one of the Parks Commission meetings, “why did they not spend the money at Coffin Point, where there was real water!” I had witnessed that there was up to 300 feet of mud to cross if a kayaker was to venture out and come back at a low tide!
Elliots Beach Park. I was talking with my neighbour, Don Pigott, about the Raven Park debacle and suggested that we look into creating a park at the road end at Coffin Point. We believe that the year was 1997. Don talked to Dean Anderson, of the MOTI, who happened to be a badminton buddy of Don’s. Don learned that the CVRD could lease this road end for $1 per year. Don was elected to the Parks Commission the next year, and a plan was put together to develop this park. RT Excavating was awarded the contract for site prep and a retaining wall along the beach, with the cost of $6,780.59.
Green Thumb Landscaping was awarded the contract to supply and plant all of the shrubs and trees, with the cost of $5,935.66. The toilet surround and concrete base cost $1,100. Harmac donated the large rocks; volunteers built the bench and picnic table while the site work and supervision was also donated. The total cost to get this park up and running was $13,816.25, despite a budget of $17,200.
I am out of time, but there are several other small parks to cover. Next time, I will touch on the picnic table fiasco that occurred at Yellow Point Park, as well as the implementation of one standard style of picnic tables and benches that are to be installed in any parks throughout the CVRD.
Till next time, thank you.