Council to consider protected reserve status for city-owned island

By on December 1, 2017
This tiny island in the Nicola River created in the 1940s to alleviate flooding concerns could soon be designated an official protected reserve. (Photo from Google Maps)

A tiny island located in the middle of the Nicola River could soon be designated an official protected reserve.

City council voted unanimously on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to have a report drawn up by staff outlining options for obtaining this designation for the land, located near Garcia Street.

The foot-shaped island in the Nicola River as seen from above. (Photo from Google Maps)

Coun. Dave Baker asked if the report would detail the parameters that would come with designating the island as a protected reserve.

“We don’t even know if protected reserve is the proper term, but we would find out what the options are [and] bring them back to council [along with] any cost implications,” chief administrative officer Shawn Boven replied.

The request for the report was brought forward as a notice of motion by Coun. Ginny Prowal.

“This is a really unique island,” she told her fellow councillors. “I’d like to see it never change and be some place that people could eventually go in and have a look at and see what kind of wildlife is in there.”

The land was purchased by the city for $75,000 in 2015.

Council hasn’t done anything with the land since, and while the properties were bought with the intention of leaving them in their current state, no official designation ensuring that has ever been applied to them.

Coun. Mike Goetz said there’s no chance anyone would want to develop the land, noting that during the flooding of the Nicola River this past spring the properties were all under water.

“I agree that it should just be left alone,” he said, adding that he’s concerned of potential costs associated with the designation.

The lots of 2801 and 2802 Charters St. make up the three-acre island in the Nicola River, which was created back in the 1940s when water was rerouted to reduce flooding in town. The third lot council purchased — 2807 Charters Street — is under water

“I don’t think it’ll do us any harm to have a good look and see if there is some options there,” said Mayor Neil Menard.

Prowal told the Herald that if council moved ahead with the designation she’d like the city to consider erecting a pedestrian bridge while keeping foot traffic to a minimum.

In 2016, the city spent $50,000 on a fourth property in that area along the river at 2152 Conklin Ave., which Prowal said she hopes to also designate as protected land in the future.

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