Linley Valley becomes bigger place to play

Parkland protection was foremost in many people’s minds this past spring as the City of Nanaimo moved to purchase a huge chunk of land.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Lincoln White and seven-year-old Ava White commune with nature at Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park while out for a walk with their family earlier this month.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Lincoln White and seven-year-old Ava White commune with nature at Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park while out for a walk with their family earlier this month.

Nanaimo’s natural beauty is here to stay.

Parkland protection was foremost in many people’s minds this past spring as the City of Nanaimo moved to purchase a huge chunk of land to expand Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park.

If all the sales go through, 91 hectares will be added to the park, more than doubling its size.

“It’s a beautiful piece of land,” said Mayor John Ruttan. “I’m just personally very excited. I think it’s a great acquisition.”

The park made headlines in recent weeks, but the project actually represents two decades of work.

Preserving Linley Valley has been an initiative of Nanaimo and Area Land Trust since the mid-’90s.

“When we were asked by someone from the city, ‘How much of this valley do you really think you want to save? We said, ‘All of it,’” recalled Gail Adrienne, executive director of NALT.

The city, with help from the land trust, purchased Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park in 2003, and then in 2010 the Province of B.C. designated an adjacent parcel as protected coastal Douglas fir habitat.

Now, these additional properties bring the sum to more than 240 hectares of continuous preserved green space in the valley.

“All of these things have been one leading to another and it’s very nice to see,” said Adrienne.

City council voted 8-1 in favour of proceeding with the recent property deals, which would add up to $7.6 million.

The mayor said the muncipality needed to seize the opportunity to preserve the land now, with real estate development advancing on other areas of the valley.

“It’s the last large woodland-wetland wild area. We have a lot of parks in Nanaimo, but they’re not like wilderness parks,” said Joanne Jonas-McRae of Save Linley Valley West, a citizens’ group that petitioned for the cause for three and a half years. “This is why [people] come here. They don’t come here to have more subdivisions.”

Jonas-McRae walks the trails often. She sees dog walkers, families, picnickers and bird watchers.

Joggers and mountain bikers also take to the trails, and of course, countless non-humans. Dozens of species of birds have been counted in the area, as well as beavers, deer, squirrels, rabbits, frogs and cougars.

Some of the parkland property sales will take a few months to finalize, and the city will take possession of the land piece by piece, with the last sale expected to close around the end of November. A public park planning process likely wouldn’t start until 2015, said Richard Harding, the city’s director of parks and recreation.

City councillors, when discussing the parkland purchase, called it the last undeveloped green space in Nanaimo, an iconic park and a Central Park.

However people view it, they can take heart knowing now that at Linley Valley Cottle Lake, they’ll always have a place to play.

“We’re totally thankful to the City of Nanaimo for coming on board with this,” Jonas-McRae said. “I think it’s the most wonderful thing they’ve ever done.”

Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Most Read