During the Cowichan Valley Regional District special board meeting for the budget, the board voted to receive a grant for the Kinsol Trestle Gateway Project, but directed staff to return with environmental impact studies before the project proceeds.
The Kinsol Trestle Gateway Project is a plan to build a parking lot that would accommodate 100 vehicles and tour buses in Taylor Park. The B.C. government recently awarded the regional district a grant of $459,000 for the project.
CVRD directors during the board meeting identified that they had received a considerable number of emails from constituents who were concerned the park is an environmentally sensitive area.
“For clarity, there have been no wetlands identified in Taylor Park, and we’ve had some preliminary environmental consultants out there,” said Brian Farquhar, manager of parks and trails for the CVRD. “And as with any project as mentioned earlier, we endeavor to once a project is approved to undertake all the necessary studies and design plans to meet with all the requirements to allow a project to proceed.”
READ MORE: Kinsol Trestle Gateway Project receives pushback from donor of Taylor Park land
Director Mike Wilson raised concerns that the board was being asked to approve a project before an environmental impact assessment could be conducted and presented to the board for consideration.
“We’ve already heard [about] environmental impact studies and then I heard Mr. Farquhar say that no wetlands have been identified, I haven’t seen any of those reports here yet,” Wilson said. And yes, we’re talking about approval of a grant here, but to be perfectly honest, are we not putting the cart before the horse here? We’ve not done any studies on this area at all and yet, we’re applying for money to go ahead and build a car park.”
Due to the concerns raised by Wilson and other CVRD directors, Farquhar said the project would come back to the board for consideration once the environmental impact study had been completed.
The board unanimously voted to receive the grant.
The CVRD will be holding a virtual information session on March 2 where residents are invited to share feedback about the project.