Local group strives to save esturary

Two eagles at the French Creek estuary. (Tina Kirschner)
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Save French Creek Estuary Land (SFCEL) is a recently formed community group that represents residents of French Creek, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, and neighbouring communities and cities. The group is dedicated to the protection of approximately 23 acres of land situated between the town of Qualicum and the city of Parksville, land which is currently under threat by a developer residing in Surrey, BC that plans to build on part of the area.

SFCEL states that the environment would suffer greatly, and the consequences would be dire if development was to go ahead. The area is home to a wide array of species such as beavers, otters, eagles, owls, hawks, and many others. Without the estuary land, these species would be without homes or safe places to reside, causing many to search for other locations. Chum salmon also reside in the creek, the secondary food source of the local orca whale’s diet. Orcas are already endangered, and SFCEL says losing this source of food would be detrimental to their survival and this meets the growing public demand for natural spaces.

Development on the land would destroy a lot of the local green space as well as watershed protection and wildlife. The SFCEL wants to have all 23 acres protected. If this isn’t possible, they are supportive of the Friends of French Creek Conservation Society’s idea to turn part of the estuary land into a nature park, as some protection is better than none.

The French Creek Estuary Land is also home to second-growth Coastal Douglas-fir trees, wetlands, marsh, and many other vital habitats that make it highly attractive for the many species that already live there. SFCEL aims to make a request to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Regional District of Nanaimo, to reject the Surrey’s developer ’s application to subdivide and build on the land.

The property has yet to be sold, meaning that it isn’t registered with a BC Land Title or Survey Authority. As of now, there hasn’t been a development permit application filed according to the Regional District of Nanaimo Planning Department. This means there is still a good chance of saving the French Creek estuary land before it gets developed.

SFCEL now has over two thousand signatures in support of their campaign.

More information can be found on the Save French Creek Estuary Land website and Facebook page.