Protecting Green Spaces on Lower Vancouver Island
The Green Spaces Project (GSP) was a special project of the Victoria Natural History Society. In 1997, with the aid of volunteers and financial assistance from various funding sources, the GSP began the task of identifying and mapping the undeveloped land remnants and inventorying natural values within the Capital Regional District.
The Green Spaces’ Project vision was for an ecologically sustainable system of green/blue spaces for the Capital Regional District, protecting and maintaining the full range and diversity of natural ecosystems and the flora and fauna that exist today.
The Goals of the Green Spaces Project were as follows
- To identify and inventory the ecological values of all existing or potential natural areas in the Capital Regional District; and
- To create a high level of awareness on the part of the public, politicians and landowners of the importance of natural green spaces to our environment
- To have the importance of the natural values contained in the reports be understood and the protective zoning of these areas to be incorporated into all land use planning in each municipality and the Capital Regional District.
How did the Green Spaces Project create awareness of the importance of natural green spaces?
- Education and collaboration of government agencies, private organizations, and stakeholders
- Collaborate with local groups to assist them in presenting this information to government agencies, private organizations, and other stakeholders
- Through ecological inventories identify features of a green space and inform stakeholders of their significance. Government agencies, private land owners and other stakeholders are asked to protect those land parcels that have been identified as of ecological significance
How were lands selected for inventory?
Any undeveloped land parcels, large or small, that appear to be of ecological significance were inventoried. Those containing older forests, Garry oak woodlands and wetlands were of particular interest. Land parcels that appear to have the highest ecological value or are threatened with development received priority.
After 10 years of inventories and advocating for nature, the Green Spaces project wrapped up in early 2007. However, their work remains a legacy for VNHS and other conservation organizations for years to come.
Special thanks are due to the leaders of the GSP, Tony Embleton and Norm Mogensen. The VNHS Board remains committed to conservation and will continue to support the vision of the GSP.
Additional work contributed by the Green Spaces Project to various efforts:
Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours Environmental Action Program, 1999.
Victoria Harbour Plan 1998.
CRD Goldstream Watershed Plan.
CRD Millstream Watershed Plan.
CRD Parks Master Plan.
Saanich Parks Department. GSP had a good working relationship with this Department and conducted over 490 inventories of the undeveloped Rights of Way and inventories on about 20 recreational parks.
Bowker Creek Watershed workshops.
Environmental Science Advisory Committee (ESAC) of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt re: Reports on our inventory work with a DND permit.
Provincial Capital Commission, on the Trails Committee, and on the Inventory Working Group.
Greenways Plans for:
- View Royal
- Royal Oak Local Area Plan re Right of Way and park acquisition at Commonwealth Pool Site
- Highlands Municipal Ecologically Sensitive Covenant Inventory Work on lots being developed.
- Hartland Land Fill site development and the draining of the Heel’s Lake
- Pat Bay Boat launch Site and Kiosk
- Uplands Park Botanical inventory report and map
- Kings Pond on the Cedar Hill Golf Course.
- Ministry of Highways proposed enlarging of the Lochside Drive through the Martindale valley.
Conservation Data Centre: inventory work and advice.
Farmers of the Martindale Valley: worked out an agreement with the birders to allow the birders to use private land under certain conditions.
University of Victoria – re campus expansion and Mystic Vale.
CRD, Witty’s Lagoon Management plan.
Input into the formation of a strip corridor through Haro Woods (1992).
Input into the conservation of waterfowl nesting & resting sites between Beaver and Elk Lakes that were being disturbed by the rowers.