Youth team Anna Erickson, Calla McRae, Lucy Erickson, Charlotte Erickson and Megan McKlusky Rebecca Sterritt address a crowd of hundreds on the former hydro lands between Haultain Street and Kings Road on Saturday during the fundraising rally. (Save Kings Park Photo)

Hundreds gather at fundraising kickoff for ‘Kings Park’ purchase

Campaign to raise $2.75 million for the District of Saanich underway

The fundraising campaign is officially underway to ensure the entirety of Saanich’s purchase of the former 5.5-acre BC Hydro land becomes one big park.

Colloquially known as Kings Park, Saanich purchased the surplus BC Hydro land between Kings Road and Haultain Street for $5.5 million this year but is seeking to raise an additional $2.75 million in funding from the public.

The land has long acted as a community path and green space and hosts one of the only daylit sections of Bowker Creek.

On Saturday, more than 300 people showed up, including five of the eight Saanich councillors, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, Minister of Education and local MLA Rob Fleming, federal NDP candidate and Victoria Coun. (on leave) Laurel Collins, as well as representatives from the Camosun Community Association, Friends of Bowker Creek Society and the Saanich Legacy Foundation.

READ MORE: How Kings Park hydro land narrowly missed becoming a 500-car parking lot

READ ALSO: Mayor interested in upgrading unused land behind Hospital that connects to Kings Park

“Saturday’s event generated a ton of positive energy,” said Adam Kreek, who is part of the Save Kings Park initiative with his wife Rebecca Sterritt. “We have a lot of gratitude for the community.”

The money is due in August 2020. The deal in place is that if Saanich council and the community are unable to raise the $2.75 million to offset the incurred debt, Saanich will sell a portion of the property to recuperate some of the cost.

Donations are now coming in, though the heavy lifting is still to come, Kreek said.

Abstract Developments donated $10,000. The Friends of Bowker Creek donated $750. One youth donated $18 from money raised on the day.

“It’s still early,” Kreek said. “The energy generated is most important here.”

Just this week Saanich council approved the six-person fundraising campaign team of Haynes, Couns. Colin Plant and Nathalie Chambers, Saanich Legacy Foundation’s Paul McKivett, Save Kings Park’s Rebecca Sterritt and Julian Lum from the Canadian Cancer Society. They will meet regularly with Saanich staff, the latter will be responsible for drafting up the ultimate proposal to the CRD, which will be a key piece of the fundraising.

“The joke on Saturday was that so many people one block away from Oak Bay, and from across the street in Victoria, and we’d say, ‘thanks for coming all the way to Saanich,’” Kreek said. “Because the reality is residents from all three municipalities use this park.”

The ultimate vision is to upgrade the Kings Park pathway and to also improve the pathway that it connects to the south side of Haultain (which is owned by the Island Catholic School Diocese).

The parcel is listed as 1843 and 1845 Kings Rd. and also at 2661 Richmond Rd., where there is a small trail access that is currently being remediated by a Saanich public works crew.

READ MORE: Saanich in agreement to purchase Kings Road hydro land for $5.5 million

READ MORE: Still no plans for BC Hydro land between Haultain and Kings streets

“It’s the little things from each of us little people that will save this natural space,” Kreek said. “It’s a lot of little things, 2.7 million little things, but at the end of the day, people are standing up for this park.

“There was some hopelessness and despondency before the event but now, it’s a different energy. We are united.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

No plan in place if Sooke homeless shelter forced to shut doors

Contract for Otter Road facility now month to month

Sooke marine search and rescue cast their nets for volunteers

Non-profit looking for crew and society members

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read