The District of Saanich has acquired a new parcel of land which will be used to expand the size of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.
Currently, the Nature Sanctuary sits at 160 acres, however, an additional 1,089 square metres will be added to the west side of Swan Lake following the land acquisition.
The District says that over time, the land will be rezoned to match the surrounding conservation area and form part of the broader nature sanctuary.
“Saanich has been acquiring land around the Swan Lake and Christmas Hill areas for many years to help protect the nature and wildlife that depend on this habitat,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes. “Our ongoing experience with the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical value of urban parks as the green jewels in our cityscape. I am delighted to announce this important expansion which is preserving additional ecologically-significant space for future generations.”
According to the District of Saanich, the nature sanctuary is comprised of two physically and ecologically distinct areas – the low wetland area surrounding Swan Lake and the rocky oak-forested hilltop of Christmas Hill.
The 160 acres are owned by Saanich, except for two small Nature Trust BC parcels, and are managed by the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society. The Society provides educational opportunities for residents to learn about the natural area.
“The Nature Sanctuary is a vital habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. We also offer critical opportunities for city dwellers to develop deeper relationships to nature,” said Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Executive Director Cara Gibson. “The acquisition of this land will allow us to preserve more of the area in its natural state for the use and enjoyment of the public, local naturalists, school groups, volunteer groups and many others.”
During the 1960s, the District began acquiring lands around Swan Lake and Christmas Hill to retain the area in its natural state for the use and enjoyment of the public. To date, the District says it has acquired 29 properties in the immediate Swan Lake area.