CVRD buys Stoney Hill parkland

After 40 years of ownership, Paul Bourke and his family have opted to sell a plot of premier Maple Bay-area real estate to the Cowichan Valley Regional District for use as parkland.

“We used it for recreation – I never cut down a tree or branch of a tree,” said Bourke, a 67-yearold Victoria resident.

As such, the undisturbed 38.8-acre (15.7) hectare parcel overlooking Sansum Narrows will be a fine fit for inclusion into the relatively recently established Stoney Hill Regional Park.

Created in 2011 through the CVRD’s regional parkland acquisition fund, the 128-acre (51.6-hectare) park borders Bourke’s former land, making for an impressive 165-acre (66 hectare) space atop Sansum Point.

Besides the Narrows, views of Saltspring Island, and the Saanich Inlet are also unfettered from the property’s position 220 metres above sea level.

The land – an investment and retirement project for Bourke -cost the regional district

$925,000.

He said he was willing to sell simply because it was time to let go.

“You got to downsize,” he said. “Everything’s got to go sooner or later. It will be in good hands.”

Board chair Rob Hutchins said the CVRD is grateful for Bourke’s willingness to sell.

“This land acquisition provides a key extension to the protection of the bluffs above Sansum Narrows, preserving dramatic viewscapes and a place of special significance to many within the Cowichan Valley,” he said.

Still only really accessible from the water, there is no road access to the park from Genoa Bay Road just yet but residents of the nearly-off-the-grid neighbourhood have been working with the Municipality of North Cowichan for more than a year to change that.

In the meantime, the CVRD has requested curious outdoors people respect the private property of neighbours and not to trespass.

With files from the Times Colonist