Moorecroft Regional Park plan in its final phase

The future of Nanoose Bay's Moorecroft Park is detailed in the Regional District of Nanaimo's management plan, to be approved January

The plan which will guide the future of Moorecroft Regional Park over the next 10 years is nearing completion.

After a year of workshops, open houses and public input, the Moorecroft Regional Park management plan will be up for approval in January.

“We now have the draft plan in place, we’re just getting a little more feedback on it before we take it to the Regional Parks and Trails select committee in December,” said Wendy Marshall, manager of Parks Services, for the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The plan calls for preservation of the Nanoose Bay landmark’s environmental features, such as a Garry Oak system, while removing remains of the former occupants. It also speaks to working with First Nations, who are involved in the planning process, and the feasibility of building a longhouse on the site.

“There are some older buildings on the property because it used to be a church camp, and a lot of those are unsafe and in disrepair,” Marshall said. “The plan calls for demolishing many of those structures, a few of the structures will stay.”

Other minor infrastructure improvements included in the plan include a new parking lot and fencing to protect the Garry Oak systems. Options will include small picnic shelters.

Dogs will be permitted in the park on leash, and staff have been advised to locate a nearby location for an off-leash park.

Moorecroft Park is a popular destination for swimming, hiking and dog walking, with its open meadow areas, man-made pond, a bay in the centre and viewpoints.

“It’s got beautiful views across the water,” Marshall said.

During the public process, Marshall said park users were adamant about ensuring its ecology.

“It really came down to protecting the environment and the sensitive ecosystems,”‘ she said. “They didn’t want a lot done to the park, they wanted to just enjoy the beauty of the park.”

Many park users are local to the Nanoose Bay area, but there has been a noticeable increase in the number of users since purchased by the RDN and Nature Trust of B.C. in March 2011. The plan calls for a survey that will determine how many visitors are coming through the park and where they are coming from.

“Visitors certainly have increased since we obtained the property as a regional park,” Marshall said.