More parks for Texada like shipping coals to Newcastle

By Tom Read

About one hundred years ago a large hotel stood on this bluff overlooking Texada's harbour at Marble Bay. Some of the ruins are still visible among the trees and along the shoreline at low tide. Today this spot is a local park administered by the Powell River Regional District.

To the Directors

of the Powell River Regional District:

I am a full-time Texada Island resident and business owner who has lived on the island for the last 10 years. My comments relate to the proposed Regional District Parks and Greenspace Plan in relation to Texada.

Texada has ample existing parks and publicly accessible recreation areas, along with relatively low development pressure. Even a cursory reading of Texada’s Official Community Plan (OCP) confirms that approximately 75% of Texada’s 100,000+ acres are Crown land, and many lakes and trails contained therein are freely available for public recreational use. In addition, Texada already has a host of designated parks and recreation areas, including Shelter Point Park with its two campgrounds and nature trail, Van Anda Cove, Erikson’s Beach, Marble Bay Bluffs, two large provincial parks totaling hundreds of acres at the south end of Texada, Shingle Beach and Bob’s Lake forestry campgrounds, the Emily Lake trail, and the walking trail and access points all around Gillies Bay. We have oodles of acres of designated parks and recreation areas already, considering our small population of 1,100 residents.

So I was surprised that our electoral area director would include Texada in the proposed Parks and Greenspace Plan (PGP). Also, as a practicing licensed realtor serving Texada Island, I can confirm that there isn’t much happening in private land development here. So why is the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) pushing a PGP on our island?

Could it be that the mainland electoral areas and PPRD administrative staff feel they need a PGP, and they want Texadans to help pay for the consultants? If so, then I feel this is a misuse of Texadans’ tax dollars, because our island clearly doesn’t need more parks or “greenspace.”

I put that word “greenspace” in quotes because it is an urban planning term that’s inappropriate for rural Texada Island. Cities need “greenspace” among their large swaths of concrete and blacktop; we don’t. Unlike a crowded urban area that has destroyed almost all of the natural flora and fauna in its vicinity, Texada retains much of its natural inheritance.

Texada’s OCP already contains several potential park and recreation sites should our community someday need them. These areas were carefully selected by Texadans only five years ago both for their natural beauty and to avoid conflict with potential resource development. Our OCP also designates certain lands for “Resource” and “Rural Low Density” uses, which explicitly support environmentally and socially responsible mining, forestry and other industrial activities. It appears to me that the PGP, a mainland- and consultant-driven process, is both duplicating and undermining our OCP by trying to add more parks and “greenspace” on Texada at the likely expense of our Resource and Rural Low Density lands. This could ultimately discourage local industrial investment, endanger local businesses and choke off the well-paid industrial jobs that support Texada’s generous community and public services.

Finally, parks cost money. Given current economic conditions it should be obvious that many of us would prefer not to have our taxes increased just now to buy and operate yet more Texada Island parks.

For the above reasons, I object to including Texada in the PGP process in the first place. But since that ship has sailed, I strongly oppose any PGP recommendations for further parks or “greenspace” on Texada Island.

Sincerely,

Tom Read

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Post facto

March 2010
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