In 2004, Shawn Taylor donated a portion of his land to the Cowichan Valley Regional District with an agreement that it would remain a park.
Taylor says he wanted to subdivide his property and was required to donate part of his land in order to do so.
“The negotiations with the director at the time was this was to remain a park, and it was supposed to be called Taylor Park, because my name is Shawn Taylor. So they did that,” Taylor said. “But there was no covenant applied to the property stating that.”
Since the donation of the 3.825 acres of land, the park has remained as it was. But now, the CVRD’s Kinsol Trestle Gateway Project proposes to build a parking lot on the park for access to the Kinsol Trestle.
“Basically they’re taking a wetland and, in order to fit 100 cars and tour buses in there and everything, they’re gonna have to level it,” Taylor said. “I didn’t donate that land 20 years ago to be changed into a parking lot, I wanted it to be there.”
Lori Iannidinardo, chair of the CVRD, says this project aims to address one of the major concerns of residents near the existing parking.
“The Kinsol Trestle, it’s a very popular spot. It is something that’s being over-utilized and the parking is a big concern,” Iannidinardo says. “The local neighbourhood has been very upset with the parking on the road. And if you’ve been out there, it’s a very narrow country cottage road. So that has been an issue. So putting in the parking lot would correct that.”
READ MORE: CVRD receives funding for parking lot at Kinsol Trestle
Iannidinardo says the CVRD has received feedback about the proposed project and there are people with misinformation about the project, so the district is holding an information session where residents can share their views, and representatives will also have a chance to share information with the public.
Taylor says the Taylor Park area is considered wetlands.
“3.835 acres of land donated was recognized as an Ecological Wetland,” Taylor said. “This area is the beginning of the water supply that feeds into the West Arm of Shawnigan Lake. To further disturb this area and introduce pollution from vehicles and the proposed washroom facility will directly affect the drinking water quality of the West Arm of Shawnigan Lake.”
Iannidinardo says she is unaware of it being a wetland, and says it is officially zoned as a park.
Taylor says one of the issues he has with the project is there was no public consultation done before the grant was submitted, and the project approved.
He says in November he heard rumours about a project being proposed for Taylor Park, but when he contacted the CVRD he was told there wasn’t.
Then when he received the news release about the parking lot to be built on the property he had donated, he was shocked.
Iannidinardo says there has not yet been public consultation, but the upcoming community meeting will be a chance for the public to share feedback.
As for Taylor, he says he would like to see a picnic area and playground built in Taylor Park instead of the parking lot.
“The land part of it is on the Trans-Canada Trail,” Taylor said. “You could put up a sign there and maybe a picnic table or a couple of picnic tables and a little playground area. So when people are walking along the trail if they want to stop, have lunch or whatever.”