A possible national park reserve being considered for Bowen Island could end up taking in Metro Vancouver’s Crippen Regional Park there.
But regional district officials say they haven’t decided whether they’d consent to giving up the park because Parks Canada has yet to formally ask.
“It’s quite amazing – Crippen is such a big park but we haven’t really been told what they want,” Metro parks committee chair Gayle Martin said.
The Metro board would make any final decision on whether to relinquish Crippen, which stretches from Dorman Point and Snug Cove to inland Killarney Lake, including several trails, picnic shelters and a softball field.
Bowen residents are split on the merits of creating a national park reserve, Bowen Island Coun. Doug Hooper told Metro’s parks committee June 1.
More than a third of residents polled recently supported the creation of a national park, he said, but 20 per cent were opposed and the rest were undecided.
Key issues on the island are what might happen to Crippen Park, increased congestion and parking problems near the ferry terminal and how the park would be managed.
Hooper said Bowen council wants a stronger indication of voters’ wishes, so it plans to conduct a community referendum that would bind the municipality on whether to support the national park reserve or not.
Parks Canada has also been asked to consider proceeding without Crippen, according to Bowen Coun. Peter Frinton.
Islanders opposed to the inclusion of Crippen are circulating a petition.
“I haven’t heard anybody say they are in favour of this yet,” Martin said.
Metro’s policy is to buy and sell park land at market value.
One concern is that a change in Crippen’s status to federally owned Crown land could open it up to acquisition and development by First Nations through land claim settlements.
Parks Canada officials have said they see Crippen as an important part of a future national park reserve there and would seek alternate ways to accommodate any future request from a First Nation, such as the Squamish Nation, for part of the park.