Proposal for former Chemainus Elementary School site remains a hot topic in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Proposal for former Chemainus Elementary School site remains a hot topic in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Valuable piece of green space will be lost in Chemainus

North Cowichan’s decision to develop old elementary school site does nothing to enhance community.

(North Cowichan) council chose ‘Profit over People’ on September 20 when they voted to develop the old elementary school grounds, leaving a small patch of fenced ground for a ‘food forest’ and a dog toilet.

Only one council member voted against this proposal and had the insight to see that perhaps eliminating the last open space in this central Chemainus neighbourhood was not a wise decision and contrary to the wishes of many surrounding residents.

Inevitably, the area will continue to grow and have new homes but at the expense of losing this expanse of green space offers no insight into the future of this town. It is only for profit now and of course tax dollars in the coming years. Parks and their availability define the health and well being of a community, as well they add cohesion and a sense of pride.

They bring communities together, provide meeting places and foster social ties, as well as enhance cleaner air, provide a cooling effect and mitigate climate change. It has been documented that parks bolster economic growth as it is seen as a desirable place to live.

We have the opportunity to foster a park in an area that continues to support people in their various activities, as Kin Park is well used and no longer large enough to fulfill the needs of our growing population. The presence of the skate board park in the area defines it as recreational and that can be built upon to enhance the area for all to make use of.

Imagine if the trees in Askew Park had been cut down and houses built as originally planned. The richness of the area would have been lost forever.

The Cowichan Regional District Regional Recreation Planning is conducting a survey at the present time supposedly to become better informed regarding future decisions for recreation in the area while recreation space in Chemainus is diminishing.

We are missing a great opportunity to invest in our future by allowing this land (property) to be taken away from us, leaving us with nothing more than the usual asphalt and more houses rather than a precious piece of land useable by all that visit.

Perhaps there is something we can do about it.

Please let your voice be heard.

M. Tupper