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Prevost park proposal alive, but moving slowly
The bid to develop the peak of Mount Prevost into an accessible public park remains very much a work in progress.
North Cowichan has endorsed the plan and made overtures to the province about making it happen, as the public continues to request better access.
But the overtures have not advanced to a formal application, and a full consultation with First Nations is still required.
That’s the gist of an email from North Cowichan’s parks and recreation manager Ernie Mansueti to Dave Darwin of the Duncan Daybreak Rotary Club — the group that originally approached North Cowichan with the idea a few years ago.
“We have been in ongoing contact with Lorraine Mannix – Provincial Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Justice,” Mansueti writes. “We have highlighted that North Cowichan is continually approached to develop Mount Prevost into an accessible park.
“We provided the information regarding your Club’s presentation and Council’s direction to staff to determine annual costs.
About a year ago North Cowichan council agreed to: approve the park in principle; consult with First Nations with the intention of an applying to the province for lease, or a grant to purchase the site; and consult with user groups about cost-sharing agreements.
“The municipality has very brief consultation with first nations, primarily Cowichan Tribes. Initial dialogue was not received positively by Cowichan Tribes representatives,” Mansueti writes.
“All parties are cognizant and concerned that a proposed park does not alter or destroy the cultural significance to the Tribes people or Hul’qumi’num group and continued dialogue is paramount,” he added in a follow-up interview.
The land is believed to have reverted to the ground after previous owners, the Trustees of the Cowichan Mountain Memorial, dissolved in 1970.
Park development could include road maintenance; trail upgrades to each peak; park amenities and safety restraints at both peaks lookouts; enlarging the parking area and adding washroom facilities.
“As part of the report, staff has outlined the scope of work required to make Mount Prevost more accessible and provide a basis for community organizations and volunteer groups to contribute monies and/or work to develop a more accessible public park,” Mansueti said.
“This could be accomplished by phasing various elements of this project.
“Capital and annual costs have been estimated to illustrate the scope of the project if the municipality proceeded.”