LETTER – Local residents concerned about development work at Nymph Falls

Dear editor,

Many local residents are deeply concerned at recent development work at Nymph Falls

Park.

As a resident of Forbidden Plateau Road, I feel that the upgrades are being done without due regard to the environment and without adequate community input.

In response to a local resident’s letter of concern, Edwin Grieve, CVRD Area representative, stated: “These decisions are not taken lightly, and the process included much community outreach and discussion.”

In spite of CVRD’s claims, I, along with many other local residents, was shocked and unaware that this project was going ahead until it was too late. A local resident said there were six people at one of their ‘community outreach’ meetings, including CVRD. Clearly, there was inadequate communication with the local community.

Looking at it on paper, an upgrade to increase accessibility to the park seems like a reasonable request, but sometimes things look different on the ground. There appear to be several discrepancies on the scope of work planned and what was done. In my discussions with friends who have mobility issues, I have heard that they feel the trail system as it existed at Nymph Falls Park was already wheelchair accessible down to the falls (so they could be viewed with no difficulty), and so I question why a project would consider destroying 70 trees to widen a path when one already exists for those who have said issues.

The CVRD website stated (February 3, 2019) “It is anticipated 17 trees being 12” or more and equal number of smaller than 12” will need to be cut to complete this proposal.”

At the public meeting on Feb. 11, Doug DeMarzo (head of parks at CVRD) confirmed to the assembled group that 70 trees were felled. Wade Smith, local resident, personally counted and photographed over 60 fresh tree stumps.

The website also states: “The completed trail will be 3.5 metres in width,” when the actual trail measured on the ground is six to seven metres wide all the way to the planned new toilet. All of this raises the question: what quality control is in place to monitor this project?

Above all else, we need to call in careful preservation of our wild areas.

Aside from the politics of who said what and what actually was done, there appears to have been a significant amount of destruction and many trees felled, with the general intention of streamlining accessibility into the area.

These parks are the bloodline of our community. We need wild places for our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Making a wild and largely ‘untouched’ park with winding foot and bike trails, into a park with a six-metre wide road to a waterfall is not about preserving the wild. It’s about sanitizing. What hurts me most is the lack of care that’s gone into the upgrades, both care for the environment and for local community input. This is a ‘head-first’ approach to park development, when what we need is a

heart-centred approach. We need to cultivate a love for nature and not just see it as a resource. When we do this, we remember that we are a part of nature, intricately interconnected, and the effects of what we do now will affect us all and future generations to come.

Helen Pattinson,

Comox Valley

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