City of Nanaimo calls on other governments to preserve Harewood Plains


Nanaimo council is going to reach out to the federal and provincial governments and Snuneymuxw First Nation to try and preserve Harewood Plains.

The ecologically sensitive area is home to Garry Oak meadows and other rare plants along with one of Canada’s most endangered plants, the Hosackia Pinnata, which blooms in the spring.

“If we don’t do this well then we’re undoing something that we can not bring back and that doesn’t exist anywhere else in Canada,” said Paul Chapman, executive director of the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust.

Last year the City of Nanaimo received a subdivision application for single-family and multi-family homes that would see a swath of the plains developed. The Nanaimo Area land trust says a road would cut across catchment basins of the plains, and despite any efforts to preserve the Hosackia Pinnata could prove to be its end.

“It would be very disruptive to the hydrology that the Hosackia Pinnata and other plants rely on here and I can’t see how you can have Hosackia Pinnata and that development coexist,” said Chapman.

This week Coun. Paul Manly made motions calling on the federal and provincial governments to work with local governments and organizations to protect the Harewood Plains.

“We have some very unique ecosystems here and this is one of them where you have species at risk and endangered species that are particularly unique to this area and so we need the help of senior levels of government,” said Manly.

Council unanimously passed the motions. The mayor and councillors have recieved 500 emails in support of preserving the plains and Manly says now all that email writing needs to be directed at the governments mandated for this work.

“The role of the provincial and federal government is to protect and conserve lands that that need protection for biodiversity that’s not the role of the municipality. This is a very expensive piece of property so we need the help of the help of the federal and provincial government to protect it,” said Manly.

Manly and Chapman say saving the Harewood Plains should be a high priority otherwise the next generations may never see this unique plant that’s only found in parts of the Pacific Northwest.

In 2022 concerns were concerned about the trampling of rare plants at Cattle Point in Oak Bay.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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