Bright Angel ready to reopen

More than a year’s worth of renovations will be on show for the public at the reopening celebration for Bright Angel Park on June 20.

“I’m pretty excited to see it reopening,” said Area Director Alison Nicholson.

The South Cowichan Parks Commission and the Cowichan Valley Regional District are hosting the event, which runs from 1-3 p.m. It will celebrate the park’s 57 years of operation and the completion of the Recreation Rejuvenation Project, which was possible through a provincial grant received in 2012.

“It’s really important. People really love Bright Angel Park,” Nicholson said.

Bright Angel Park was established in 1958 with a donation of private land from the Fleetwood family. That’s one of the things that makes the park so special to local residents, Nicholson said. Since then, more adjacent land has been added growing the park to 55 acres.

Many of the park’s amenities were added in the 1970s, and had worn out and needed replacement.

With the provincial grant, along with federal gas tax funding, the park now boasts a new washroom building, outdoor fitness stations, classroom amphitheatre, accessible trail loop, playscape, habitat fencing, new playground, field upgrades and a reconfigured parking area.

“It’s a pretty nice place now,” said Nicholson, expressing particular appreciation for the addition of flush toilets. “The playground is getting a phenomenal amount of use.”

“This project achieves a wonderful outcome of maintaining the special natural qualities that are foundational to the history of Bright Angel Park’s creation while improving the recreation components and elevating the opportunities and experiences for visitors to enjoy in this unique, much-loved park,” said CVRD board chair Jon Lefebure.

Nicholson’s only concern is that the new amenities will vastly inflate the number of visitors. She wants to make sure the natural environment of the park, which she describes as already “super busy” in summer, is protected for years to come.

Bright Angel park is located off Tigwell Road, near Koksilah Road in Electoral Area E, about 10 kilometres south of Duncan.