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Salish Sea Sentinel | June 20, 2019

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Park plan rejected, but options exist

A request from Snaw-naw-as First Nation leaders to have part of their unceded territory turned into a national park has been rejected by the land’s legal owners.

The chief and council had requested to have a section of Nanoose Bay waterfront, owned by the Department of National Defence (DND), turned into a public space. The land is near the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges facility.

DND told chief and council that the site can’t be turned into a public park because it must stay fully secure under its current framework. “This will continue to apply for the foreseeable future,” said DND spokesperson Ashley Lemire. “Therefore, enhanced access to the land, i.e., creating a public park, unfortunately does not meet this criteria.”

Lemire said that DND is still open to exploring other possibilities around the property and will continue its dialogue with chief and council.

Chief Brent Edwards told the Nanaimo News Bulletin that the nation is now asking for  marine-only access to the site.

“We’re just going to keep hammering them because they are not using that property,” he said. “We think it is something that not just people in our community, but people in the surrounding communities, will support.”