Council’s perplexing bog-park plan

The above graphic uses a satellite image to illustrate Coun. Harold Steves’ concept for the Garden City Lands. Councillor Steves has been promoting it for several years, most recently at the public hearing of Oct. 15, 2012. Other council members never object, and no city would spend almost $60 million buying a piece of land without a plan for it, so I guess the concept must be the basic council plan.

Although the concept keeps changing in some ways, there’s always about 60% of the park set aside for sphagnum peat bog. As a concept it is acceptable enough—except that the bog ecosystem is in dire straits—and in fact the PARC concept that’s described in “Listening to the Lands = PARC” is essentially the Steves one. (It was adapted by Garden City Lands Coalition Society directors to illustrate a kind of thinking about the Lands.)

Personally, I’m not sure that so little of the Lands (40%) should be allocated to agriculture and other ALR uses, but I’m more interested in encouraging appropriate excellence than in thinking about the best mix of uses. In that context, it could only make sense to use three-fifths of the Lands for bog if the challenging restoration and/or regeneration of the legacy sphagnum bog is going to be the best ever anywhere. (The Olympic Oval of restored sphagnum bogs?)

cThat happens to be possible. However, there is no reason for confidence it will get done. The city has been perplexingly inactive when it could have been taking high-impact steps with expertly led volunteers at no cost.

For now, we need more citizens who know what’s going on. It will make a difference if you and other citizens get firsthand knowledge: put on your rain boots and see for yourself on an eco-tour with an expert guide. The next tour is on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, at the East Entrance at 1:30 p.m. Here are the details.

I hope to write more on this topic later — after we find a way to get beyond being perplexed.

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