I have just read your article on “Marine Trail Holdings still holding.” I am a 71-year-old resident of Victoria. I have lived in the CRD for 30 years. I have been on the board of the Victoria Group of the Sierra Club for 10 years.
I have been to one public meeting and two CRD directors’ meetings on the Marine Trail issue. I have made three recreational visits to parts of the Juan de Fuca coast in 2011. Each time, I saw many other people enjoying this unique resource.
The ability to have access to that coast, which is also a significant carbon sink and invaluable wildlife habitat, is a unique asset for the CRD. It has few if any parallels anywhere in the world. It is both a spiritual asset and an economic one. The Juan de Fuca lands are as big or bigger than the Saanich Peninsula, from Victoria to Sidney. To say that they are of interest only to the nearest municipalities is like saying that Beacon Hill Park is of interest only to the residents of Cook Street Village and James Bay.
Even Mr. Hicks admits he gets floods of letters opposing the Marine Trail Holdings development and very few in support of it. However he claims overwhelming local support, including that of the Pacheedaht people. At all the meetings I have attended there have been people from Shirley, opposing development, as well as elders from the Pacheedat who say a large majority of their people also oppose it.
It is clear public sentiment throughout the CRD is strongly opposed to development of the lands, which should be a world-class park. As wilderness, they are a unique asset whose value is beyond price. If they are ever developed they will become just another roadside attraction, and once gone, they will never be restored until our civilization chokes on the overheated remains of the planet that is and will always be our only home in this great Universe.