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Bowen Island group offering to buy Metro Vancouver land for $30 million

Click to play video: 'New regional park proposed for Bowen Island, B.C.'
New regional park proposed for Bowen Island, B.C.
WATCH: A new regional park is being proposed for Bowen Island. Metro Vancouver is planning to preserve a forested waterfront property at Cape Roger Curtis – Aug 10, 2022

The Bowen Island Conservancy group has offered an eye-opening $30 million to purchase land for which a proposed Metro Vancouver park is planned.

In May 2023, Metro Vancouver finalized the purchase of 24 parcels of land at Cape Roger Curtis on Bowen Island for $40 million, totaling 97 hectares.

The proposed park would preserve a large area of “ecologically important and sensitive dry coastal bluff ecosystem,” and offer day use and overnight uses with opportunities for tent camping, according to the regional district.

The new park has plans to include supervised overnight camping areas, with more than 50 walk-in/bike-in tent sites, 35 accessible drive-in tent sites as well as 10 tent cabins.

Click to play video: 'Long weekend problems for BC Ferries'
Long weekend problems for BC Ferries

The conservancy group said it is “extremely concerned” with the park, as it said the park will result in serious negative impacts on the adjacent Wild Coast Nature Refuge.

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It offered $20 million in May, which Metro Vancouver did not respond to, according to the group. It has now upped the price to $30 million. The original $20 million offer still stands, but has a number of capitulations including no camping.

In a letter, the group claims there is overwhelming public opposition to the park as it is currently proposed, particularly with respect to camping.

One of those against the park is Bowen Island resident Julie Vik, who has lived on the island for 32 years. She has an ongoing petition opposing all overnight camping at the proposed park.

It has garnered 2,348 signatures so far.

“It is too big and inappropriate for the island. Bowen (Island) has a lot of infrastructure problems,” she told Global News.

“The new proposal from the conservancy (group), I find so positive because it could solve everybody’s issues.”

Click to play video: 'Coastal Experiences: Metro Vancouver and the South Coast'
Coastal Experiences: Metro Vancouver and the South Coast

Metro Vancouver was not available for an interview on Thursday but did offer a statement.

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“This spectacular piece of land is a remarkable opportunity to protect environmentally sensitive areas and to connect regional residents with an opportunity to spend the night in nature — an experience that is increasingly difficult for residents to get,” a spokesperson said.

“Metro Vancouver has applied to Bowen Island Municipality to rezone the properties from rural residential to park, and for an amendment to the Official Community Plan. Metro Vancouver is committed to this process, and second reading is expected to take place in fall 2023 but that timeline is subject to change.”

Metro Vancouver said it’s also committed to engaging with the public and incorporating their feedback at each step in the proposed park development process and the Bowen Island Municipality rezoning process. It is analyzing feedback from community engagement that was held over the summer.

The third and final phase, expected to take place this fall, will share the final concept plan and next steps, according to the regional district.

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