Metchosin council took a bold move on March 15 in passing a bylaw that down-zones the Boys and Girls Club property that we know as Metchosin Wilderness Camp.
The community rallied to provide letters of support for this move. We have been blindsided by the club’s decision to sell off 40 acres of pristine forest, which has the potential to be cut up into five-acre residential lots. The property, located at 3900 Metchosin Rd., was purchased with grants and donations for the purpose of providing nature-based programs for children. The need for this kind of service is great. Over the years, the club executive has stated many times their intentions to keep the property whole and to protect its environmental values. Now they are treating the land like a financial investment to be liquidated. Many of the stakeholders have responded that they feel sad and betrayed.
Over 4,000 people signed an online petition to save the forest. Close to 100 people participated in a drive-by protest rally. Over 80 people attended the Zoom public hearing. I am so proud of our council and our community.
Now that the bylaw has passed restricting lot size to 40-acre minimum, what will happen next? I’m hoping another organization can acquire the land and offer nature programs for kids. We need this environmentally significant parcel to stay intact. So far Boys and Girls Club has not wanted to discuss conservation options. Passing the bylaw to restrict lot size is just one step of the process to find a solution.