Uplands neighbourhood designated a national historic site

Feds make $4.3 million announcement in Oak Bay

It was a mixed greeting at Cattle Point on Monday morning for a rare visit by the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna.

Oak Bay mayor and council were on hand with dozens of supporters for an announcement that Uplands neighbourhood is now designated as a national historic site. A group of protesters were also there and while they certainly disrupted the event, with one protester arrested, the announcement was made to the delight of Oak Bay residents and dignitaries on hand.

Longtime Uplands Park volunteer steward Margaret Lidkea meets the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, during an announcement at Cattle Point on Monday morning.
(Travis Paterson/News Staff)

READ MORE: Protester threatens citizens’ arrest during federal funding announcement in Oak Bay

“This is to recognize the incredibly history here, the original landscape, and of course the First Nations history, telling the story of the Songhees First Nations,” McKenna said.

Former federal environment minister David Anderson, an Uplands resident, was there to cheer on the announcement. Anderson noted that professor Larry McCann’s book helped bring a spotlight on what a famous piece of pioneer urban design Uplands subdivision is.

“Before McCann’s book a lot of people didn’t realize what a famous piece of pioneer urban design Uplands is,” Anderson said.

“When we crafted the application to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, we included the park, laid out in 1946, but the overwhelming emphasis was on the design of the residential landscape and the subdivision’s architecture,” McCann said.

McKenna also announced a $4.3 million investment in local projects to protect at-risk species and their habitats and will include money for Oak Bay. The money is divided among 49 conservation projects across Canada over the next three years, led by local experts such as Wylie Thomas of Oak Bay Parks department.

It includes a $108,000 investment to support Oak Bay’s conservation and recovery of 14 at-risk plant species found in Uplands Park, some of which are endemic to the area. Those include the Bearded Owl-clover, Kellogg’s Rush, Muhlenberg’s Centaury, Water-plantain Buttercup, and Tall Woolly-heads, McKenna said. Federal funding will help Oak Bay continue to remove invasive plant species, install split-rail fencing around sensitive areas and reduce the impact of recreational use in the park.

“What fantastic news,” said Chris Hyde-Lay. “This maritime meadow right here is home to 10 rare and endangered plant species, and unlusually large number for such a small area.”

In addition to the 10 plants another 14 plant species in Uplands and the surrounding meadows are listed with the federal species at-risk act.

“It’s one of the highest concentrations of plants to such a small area,” Hyde-Lay said.

Prime examples are the Kellogg’s Rush, which is 100 per cent endemic to Uplands Park, and Muhlenberg’s Centaury, which is 98 per cent endemic to Uplands with another two per cent of its stock on the small islands offshore.

“Maritime meadows are also rare with about 200 hectares left in Canada,” Hyde-Lay said.

McKenna recognized Uplands Park steward Margaret Lidkea for her work in reestablishing the native species of Uplands Park.

Anderson also noted that he agrees with the morning protesters that urgency is needed to fight climate change, adding Canada needs all provinces on board to reach a consensus in fighting the climate crisis.

“I’m just thrilled for the funding to support and continue the type of work Wylie and Margaret have done,” Anderson said.

READ MORE: Uplands Park champion earns provincial award

The investment is also committed to help the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work in the recovery of endangered plants including Howell’s Triteleia and Yellow Montane Violet, within the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, and to restored the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly, an at-risk butterfly species found on Denman and Hornby Islands.

Some projects are designed with Indigenous groups to incorporate Indigenous traditional knowledge.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

UVic students return from Hong Kong amidst growing tension

All eight University of Victoria exchange students have returned to Canada

ICBC, province urge residents to plan ahead for winter weather

Greater Victoria should gear up and have a plan in place

Sooke mom launches GoFundMe campaign to get medical treatment for son

Single mother has two children facing medical challenges

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read