Linley Valley advocates train to protest development

NANAIMO – Save Linley Valley West advocates were joined by 50 residents concerned about development.

Linley Valley advocates are ramping up public support to block a new Nanaimo development.

More than 50 people turned out to a Save Linley Valley West meeting last week to strategize ways of protecting 100-hectares of wildlife habitat.

The private land is slated for a 353-residence subdivision by Mount Benson Developments Inc. While the company has proposed to save 45 per cent of the property for park, it isn’t enough for advocates concerned about the area’s ‘fragile’ ecology. As development work begins, Save Linley Valley West is calling for action to halt the project while it searches for ways to preserve the area.

Save Linley Valley West advocate Jennifer O’Rourke said those who turned out to a public meeting talked about monitoring site construction, generating public awareness and launching peaceful protests. History has shown it’s up to citizen activism to protect  ecosystems from development and residents seem to have a “let’s do this” attitude, she said.

A representative from Mount Benson Development was unavailable for comment before press time.

Developers had started to fill in marshes and clear corridors for multi-family homes at Neck point, when the Neck Point Society persuaded city and provincial authorities to purchase the 13-hectare spread. The downtown waterfront had been slated for a proposed private marina before citizens convinced the City of Nanaimo to save the space.

Pat Barron, who was part of the citizen group fighting for the downtown waterfront, said people deserve to lose land if they don’t fight for it.

“You have to take a stand. You have to be outspoken.”

The City of Nanaimo has shown no indication it wants to purchase land from developers.