For the past six years, I have participated on the Capital Regional District (CRD) Regional Park’s committee and have advocated for a shuttle service to be considered to Sheilds or Grass Lakes from the Harbourview Road parking lot. I personally support the CRD’s position forbidding individual motorized vehicles in the parks but also believe that we should be offering a shuttle service for those who wish to enjoy the lakes but are unable to make the hike.
In the hopes of saving my constituents, residents of Sooke and my friends on the District of Sooke council some unnecessary time and stress over this issue, I would like to layout the CRD’s official position which as you will read is non-negotiable without a tremendous public process and consultation with the T-Sou’ke First Nations.
The Sea to Sea lands are currently a Park Reserve which will one day become a Regional Park.
My question to CRD Parks Management was:
“Can Regional Parks consider a shuttle service to Sheilds or Grass Lakes from the Harbourview Road parking lot?” Here is the answer:
As a Regional Park Reserve: No — the CRD cannot consider a motorized shuttle service within the Sea to Sea. This is due to the park’s status as a reserve or “land banked” property, which in essence means that no facilities or services are provided to the public.
Currently, the Sea to Sea, as a regional park reserve, is “closed” to public use, although people do informally access the park for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding along unmarked and mostly unmaintained trails. While in park reserve status, CRD Regional Parks provides only the minimal level of management and operational support necessary to maintain the Sea to Sea as a public asset. As a regional park reserve, CRD Regional Park policies, regulations and agreements still apply.
As a Regional Park: No — the CRD cannot consider a motorized shuttle service within the Sea to Sea. It is inconsistent with current policies, regulations and agreements.
Motorized use in the Sea to Sea is prohibited based on the following policies, regulations and agreements; this applies to both the status as a regional park reserve or a regional park:
• Board-approved Sea to Sea Park Management Plan (2010).
• Board-approved Regional Parks Strategic Plan (2012).
• CRD Bylaw 3682 regulating the use of regional parks and trails (2010).
• Conservation covenants placed on the Sea to Sea lands.
Designation as a non-motorized wilderness area in the Sea to Sea Park Management Plan.
Sooke Mountain Provincial Park Purpose Statement.
Changing the approved park management plan would require a plan amendment. A plan amendment would require a full public consultation process, Board approval, and the support of the T’Sou-ke Nation.
I do not write this to condemn or support the CRD position but as solid information to make decisions. My decision is to leave this alone and focus on issues that I can solve.
Juan de Fuca