I challenge the alarmism of Dorothy Chambers, Katherine Brandt and the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association over the impact of an interchange cloverleaf on Cuthbert Holmes Park.
In referring to “scrub” land along Highway 1 that B.C. will transfer to Saanich, in your May 6 issue, Brandt ignores that Douglas fir trees will eventually grow there, adding to the many already in the park – a natural progression explained by a sign in the park. Alder, for example, is an early-in early-out species, that may be followed by Garry oak, then Douglas fir which is the stable forest in this area.
Earlier Chambers claimed loss of open areas where hawks could catch food, but those former crop fields are at the east end of the “scrub” strip so unlikely to be affected by interchange work.
Much of the affected corner is an old housing area that was emptied by the provincial government for past construction. Eco-activists put themselves in the bizarre position of wanting to preserve the result of human activity to prevent human activity.
They made incorrect statements about the grove of populus trees that would eventually be supplanted by Douglas fir, and about great blue heron populations (who prefer Beacon Hill park when it has a nesting pair of eagles).
As for putting traffic closer to residential areas, the decent action for B.C. would be to make proper offers to owners of the old houses along Essen Road, and to the west of Admirals Road north of the freeway.
An interchange cloverleaf seems like an opportunity for Saanich to improve the main entrance to the park, including adding paths near the estuary with its muddy bay.