National park pitched for Nanoose Bay

NANAIMO – Nanoose First Nation are leading an effort to have a portion of land in Nanoose converted into a national park.

A national park could be established in Nanoose Bay.

The Nanoose First Nation have asked the Department of National Defence to convert a portion of land near the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges facility in Nanoose Bay into a national park.

The area of interest is a large green space that extends east from the CFMETR facility on Powder Point Road to a small patch of land overlooking the Strait of Georgia known Wallis Point.

Brent Edwards, chief of Nanoose First Nation, describes the land around Wallis Point and the test facility as “pristine” and said the DND should make some of it accessible to the public by land and water.“What we are trying to do is start a conservation with [DND],” Edwards said. “We are not asking for the land to come back to the Nanoose First Nation at this point; what we are asking is for them to open that piece of property up to the public.”

According to Edwards, the land around the CFMETR facility was once heavily used by the Nanoose First Nations as a popular recreational area.

“Our families here in Nanoose used to utilize the whole bay and over there, particularly on the side towards Wallis Point, is one of the most pristine and beautiful places in the world and nobody can access it from the water,” Edwards said.Ashley Lemire, senior communications advisor with the DND said in an e-mailed statement to the News Bulletin that while the CFMETR site continues to be used by the department, officials are mulling over the request by the Nanoose First Nation.

“Our officials are exploring possibilities to accommodate the First Nation’s request. A commitment was made to Chief Edwards that progress on this work would be reported to him late September 2016,” she said.Edwards hopes the department will the recognize the recreational and historical value of the site. He believes the idea of a national park in Nanoose is something that the general public, provincial government and other First Nations within the region can all get behind.

“We think the community at large would support something like that,” he said.

Nanaimo News Bulletin