Shawnigan acquires mountain for park

The CVRD can boast another 100 hectares of parkland thanks to the acquisition of the top and western slopes of Old Baldy Mountain.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District can boast another 100 hectares of parkland thanks to the acquisition of the top and western slopes of Old Baldy Mountain.

Money raised to purchase the Shawnigan Lake fixture came from funding through the CVRD’s Electoral Area B (Shawnigan Lake) Community Parks function, augmented by a community-led fundraising campaign.

It’s great news for those communities hoping to see the area maintain its rural landscape.

The CVRD said the land was acquired with the understanding that the regional district intends to maintain the lands as a natural park with trails for the use and enjoyment of local residents and visitors to Shawnigan Lake.

“Over the years Old Baldy Mountain has been subjected to logging, along with threats of resort and housing development proposals,” Shawnigan Lake director Sonia Furstenau noted.

“The community of Shawnigan Lake can celebrate knowing that this beautiful backdrop to the lake captured in the works of renowned artist E. J. Hughes will be protected in perpetuity.”

Now that the CVRD owns the property, the Shawnigan Lake Parks Commission in concert with local trail advocates will set out to assess and map the mountain, formalizing accessible trails, “including a focus on environmental enhancement work to restore areas impacted by past activities,” said a press release.

Furstenau said conservation of the mountain contributes to the overall watershed protection objectives for Shawnigan Lake, “and signifies the true direction the Shawnigan community wants for its future.”

The total cost of purchasing the two properties that make up the new park was $1.5 million — $75,000 of which came through community donations.