Saanich residents and members of the newly formed Friends of Cedar Hill Park Society took part in an invasive species pull at Cedar Hill Park in late May. The group hopes to promote the short- and long-term protection and maintenance of the popular park.

Friends of Cedar Hill Park aim for long-term sustainability

New citizen group in Saanich focuses on invasive species removal, future plans for popular park

A newly established citizen group in Saanich is already making an impact in Cedar Hill Park.

The Friends of Cedar Hill Park Society, which formed after Saanich council opposed a divisive plan to build a clay court tennis facility behind the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, is already holding weekly invasive species removal events to maintain the park in the short-term.

“Whereas something like the clay courts will motivate a lot of people in opposition, we didn’t think we could count on people to show up when it comes to the work of maintaining the park, but we were pleasantly surprised,” said Peter Haddon, a member of the Society.

In late May more than 30 park lovers turned out to a weekend clean-up of Bowker Creek, removing invasive blackberry, broom and ivy from around the waterway.

“We could almost feel the creek breathing a sigh of relief,” Haddon said. “The parks department doesn’t have the resources to clean out a lot of this – it’s very labour intensive. It’s reasonable that volunteers step up and put some time into it for the sake of the community.”

In addition to periodic Saturday morning clean-ups, Society volunteers, along with Saanich’s Pulling Together Program volunteers, are out every Monday in the park removing invasive vegetation.

“It’s really fun because while you’re chomping away at all the blackberry and so forth, you get to chat to people, talk about the park and talk about the community. It really creates a sense of community and a sense of the value of the park,” Haddon said.

While this short-term plan to clean the park will remain ongoing, the Friends of Cedar Hill Park Society hope it develops into a long-term plan for the park.

The goal is to eventually see a master plan created for the park that highlights the natural and recreation uses, and how to balance them with the interests of all users.

“If we’re not looking after the park and if we’re not engaged, then who know what will happen? It’s a funny thing; people can look at that space and say, ‘It’s unused, it’s unkept. We can take it over for our purposes,’ and that is still a real possibility in the future,” Haddon said. “I think a lot of people in the community are quite settled on what we have now is the best outcome.”

To get involved with the Friends of Cedar Hill Park Society or to get updates on where in the park the weekly clean-ups are happening, email friendsofcedarhillpark@gmail.com.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

Park ambassador pilot going well at Mount Doug

Dog poop bags, litter and cigarette butts among ongoing park issues

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

VIDEO: Unique canvas for local artist

Haren Vakil brings joy and smiles to homeowners and passersby

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

How to sponsor a refugee, global refugee situation only worsening

‘U.S. is no longer a safe place for refugees,’ says local MP

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read