Photo by Jeannie Colton
About the Land
The 23 acres bordering Hwy 19A and Columbia Drive was zoned prior to 1994 by the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) for multi-dwelling units. Though 25 years have passed, environmental protections have strengthened, and the Official Community Plan policy states the land is desired as park; the zoning has not been reviewed nor community consultation provided.
One hectare (2.47 acres) of this land has been purchased by Elkay Developments Ltd., and is registered with the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC under the name Columbia Beach Developments Ltd.
A land survey identifies areas of the land as potentially unsuitable for development due to sensitive riparian, marsh, pond, wetlands and ephemeral channels.
As the land is flood plain, it would require vast truck loads of fill to raise the build level to meet code which is currently at 4.7 meters. This intensifies potential flooding risk to the estuary, neighbouring homes and properties.
In February 2019 Elkay Developments Ltd., of Surrey, BC, submitted a Development Permit Application for Phase 1, Lot A. The plan was for nine or ten, single family homes (note: Elkay's diagram (right) shows nine houses however the RDN Planning department indicate 10). The RDN requires the developer to submit aquifer, ground, and rain water assessments to outline environmental and neighbouring property protection. They also require further details about form and character of proposed buildings and landscaping. The RDN has not received any of these requirements.
Elkay's building plan would be completed in "phases." A preliminary plan for "Phase 1" is proposed for the one hectare section of land shown on the updated Land Survey. This approach doesn't disclose building types or density for further build phases on Lot B and may eliminate the need for a traffic impact study by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Construction of buildings could be permitted within ten meters of the pond, marsh, wetlands, forest and riparian areas. If you enjoy walking the lovely trails through the forest and to the pond, imagine looking at the back sides and fences of houses as close as 10 meters away.
The land survey indicates three access roads would be built, two off Columbia Drive and one off Viking Way. These, along with numerous driveways, increase the impervious surfaces and contaminant runoff.
About the Development
Click images for larger display on map page
Courtesyof Elkay Developments Ltd.
Courtesy of Elkay Developments Ltd.
Impacts of Development
If permitted this development may:
Irreversibly harm the Estuary. Estuaries are one of the most productive ecosystems on earth, providing food, breeding grounds and migration for countless species.
Increase degradation of French Creek, classified as a "sensitive stream."
Jeopardize threatened salmon, cutthroat trout and steelhead populations as a result of runoff, flooding, sedimentation and contamination from impervious surfaces.
Destroy the last Coastal Douglas fir forest between Parksville and Qualicum.
Eliminate critical habitat for plants and wildlife, some At Risk or Vulnerable.
Displace numerous wildlife from their homes, safe places and corridors.
Stress depleted ground water resources and opportunities for aquifer recharge.
Endanger surrounding homes and properties from risk of flooding due to the loss of mature, intact forest which absorbs rainfall and mitigates flooding.
Amplify existing traffic delays and safety hazards exiting Columbia Drive onto Highway 19A thereby increasing danger during evacuation situations.
Intensify foul odours from the Pollution Control Centre due to loss of trees.
Deny the community a natural green space to enjoy for generations to come.
Impact of Proposed Developments in Area
French Creek without development
on the 23 acres
Google Map modified by Save French Creek Estuary. "Blue land" is currently under development by builders.
Watch as Forest and Wildlife Habitat Disappears
This Google Earth timelapse from 1986 to 2016 shows the amount of forest lost from Parksville to Qualicum on the ocean side.
The red arrow points to the 23 acres with Milner Gardens the other forested area.