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bc parks questionairre 2018 cowichan provincial park management plan editable answers

email form can be found here: 

1.     Why is Cowichan River Park important to you? What do you value about the park? What makes it special, in your opinion?

  • Cowichan River Provincial Park protects the Cowichan River's designation as a Heritage River, a designation due to the river's unique, rich heritage interelationship with the Cowichan Tribes. I value the protection the park is supposed to bring.
  • Cowichan River Provincial Park protects the Cowichan River's designation as an Endangered River. I value this protection as well.
  • Cowichan River Provincial Park Users and nearby residents want BC Parks to know Environmental-Cultural Protections are valued in the park in order that the Cowichan Tribe maintain age-old cultural practices as a priority over industry. I feel strongly that the park is in a special position to help protect an ecosystem that supported an age-old culture.
  • I value the peace and solitude of nature, and enjoy a quiet, peaceful walk in the woods. This is often not possible due to unexpected gun noise and the racetrack noise in the distance. I would like BC Parks to take a role in

2.       BC Parks has a dual mandate to provide recreational opportunities and to protect the natural environment.  What environmental/ecological values in Cowichan River Park are important to you?

  • Cowichan River Provincial Park users and nearby residents want BC Parks/Parks governing agency post Parks Plan 2018 to take an active role in protecting the natural environment of the park and river first, and once more protections are in place, recreation can be enjoyed.  For example, you travel to a provincial park to enjoy a pristine natural environment of pure, clean water, filled with a lush ecosystem of animals and birds.
  • Cowichan River Provincial Park users and nearby residents want BC Parks/Parks governing agency post Parks Plan 2018 to supporting Cowichan River water quality, flow and aquifer health that in turn create ecosystem and fish population revival as a priority over industry. 
  • Take an active role in identification and elimination  of potential sources of water contamination . 
  • BC Parks/Post 2018 CRPP governing agency should take an active role in  volunteer river clean-ups to monitor human use degradation in the park.

3.      Do you have concerns regarding impacts on those environmental/ecological values?

  • Recreational activities need to be limited in areas of riparian or cultural significance

4.       Do you have suggestions for how environmental/ecological values can be protected?

  • Cowichan River Provincial Park users and nearby residents demand the following environmental protections are needed to protect the fragile river basin ecosystem in the park: (1) Clean-up  of  all lead found in soil at the existing Gun Range which leases BC Parks land as found in Trillium Reports (2018) ; (2)  Implement recommendations from U Victoria Law school study on the closure of the Park's Gun Range; (3) Employ safety officer for all the reduced hours/days of gun range is in operation until  full closure.  (4) Reduced hours will help reduce unexpected and explosive gun noise from increased semi-automatic target fire and eliminate stray bullet risk. At present, no safety officer position exists.

5.    WHAT TYPES OF RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES DO YOU FEEL ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THE PARK> CONSIDER, FOR EXAMPLE, ADDITIONAL CAMPING, MOUNTAIN BIKING, ETC. What types of recreational activities do you feel are appropriate for the park? Consider, for example –additional camping, mountain biking, etc.

  • Hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, all where human impact is not degrading the environment.
  • BC Parks/Post 2018 CRPP governing agency should take an active role in  volunteer river clean-ups to monitor human use degradation in the park.

6.      Are there any activities you feel strongly are NOT appropriate in the park?

  • Cowichan River Park users and nearby residents strongly believe a Gun Range is not suitable in a Provincial Park . This was supported by  BC Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) (responsible for the Conservation officer Service and BC Parks) who  has conceded that the Gun Club in Cowichan River Provincial Park does not benefit the whole community. It is a member funded society for the benefit of the members and their guests. Facilities are not available for public use. The unsuitability of a Provincial Park for a gun range was supported by a  U Victoria Environmental Law School study (2018) made of the gun range at Cowichan River Provincial Park who recommended closure for the Cowichan Fish & Game gun range. The U Vic. Law School supported their arguments against the gun range by the following points:
    • (1)The activities of the Gun Club are inconsistent with the purposes of the Park Act and permitted uses in a Park. - Secs. 5(3), 8(2) and 9(2).
    • (2) The activities of a Gun Club appear inconsistent with the BC -Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation – Division 5 – Section 28 – relates to the conditions set out for possessing a firearm in a park. (Division 5 of the regulation).
    • (3) BC Parks regional leadership appear to interpret  Section 2 of the Park Act as suspending any  bylaws or regulations of a municipality or regional district, or any provision of it. It is notable that the activities of a Gun Club in the provincial park conflicts with relevant sections of CVRD Zoning, Noise and Parks Bylaws. (Park Act Section 2 and CVRD bylaws).
    • (4) Of the 1029 parks and protected areas in the province, Cowichan River Provincial Park is the ONLY ONE with a private Gun Club in operation under a park use permit. [31 year permit was granted without consultation or impact studies].
  • Additionally, I believe that there is an additional reason the provincial park is not a place for a gun club: noise and safety risk.
  • Gun noise at 140-160 decibels is unacceptable in a Provincial Park. I go to a provincial park to enjoy the sounds of nature and hear the river and listen to the forest and birds. I cannot hear them above semi automatic hand gun fire. Additionally, the gun club excessive noise violates the right to quiet enjoyment that residents of the area are supposed to have.
  • There is a very real risk of being hit by a stray bullet from the gun range as the parking lot and trails are  adjacent to the shooting ranges. Stray Bullets have been found in trees just outside the unmarked boundary for the gun range within the park. Additionally, Cowichan River Provincial Park. Park's shooting ranges not patrolled by safety officers. The gun range is open 365 days per year. Gun noise from semi automatic firearms is noisy and stressful to residents and animals, dog walkers, hikers and campers. This is the most inappropriate, unsafe place for a gun range.

 

7.     Is there any additional information that you feel would assist with this management planning process?

  • Immediate closure and lead clean-up  of the gun range at the Cowichan Fish and Game Club and any other gun ranges adjacent to the park.
  • A Preliminary Site Investigation commissioned by BC PARKS was completed  by Trillium inMarch 2018. Tests results for lead and metals exceeded the  standards set by the Contaminated Site Regulation (CSR). The CSR matrix assumes a prohibition for the land to grow plants for human or livestock consumption or for uses or activities that promote contact with children. Lead levels were so high in some soil samples that, according to the CSR matrix  they threaten ground water, surface water and present a toxic threat to fresh water aquatic life, and  soil invertebrates, plants, and microbial function. The Gun range activity conclusively contaminated the site, and this activity is NOT compatible with protecting the natural environment. 
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BC Environmental Land Use Committee Members

BC Premier

 

MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT

 

 

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