Petition launched to make popular island swimming site a regional park
Published Wednesday, August 7, 2019 5:01PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 7, 2019 6:46PM PDT
The popular Cowichan Valley swimming site known as the Quarry is privately owned, but a new petition suggests protecting it by turning it into a regional park. (File photo)
A petition has been started to keep Kingzett Lake, or "the Quarry" as it's more commonly known, beautiful and accessible for years to come.
Vancouver Island's best worst-kept secret, located just north of Shawnigan Lake is an abandoned limestone quarry most recently active between 1953 and 1979.
After officially closing in 1980, the pumps stopped draining water and within a few years a lake was created by an underground spring.
Bailey Baugh, who started the petition to the Cowichan Valley Regional District and BC Parks, is a regular Quarry patron and has noticed the number of people using the spot as a swimming hole growing every year.
“It’s insane how busy it is," She said.
The petition is meant to be a conversation starter highlighting the need for garbage cans, bathrooms, parking and trail accessibility to minimize the human impact on the ecosystem.
“I think it’s necessary we start thinking of preemptive measures versus reactionary,” said Baugh. “People are never going to stop going to the Quarry, so what can we do to keep it a beautiful space that people can keep coming to for years and years?”
The property is currently privately owned and would need to be sold or gifted to the Capital Regional District in order for certain regulations to be enacted, although Baugh doesn’t know exactly how that would happen.
“I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know what the proper channels are to initiate this change. I’m hoping that by getting the word out, it will hopefully connect with the right people to get things going in the right direction," the petition reads.
According to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Quarry has been identified as a possible future park site by locals.
CVRD spokesman Kris Shumacher said the district does occasionally acquire parkland by donation like it did with the Drs. Jagdis K and Sarjit K. Siddoo Park established just west of Shawnigan Lake in 2018.
"Other times it can come about through a development application process," said Shumacher.
"When an applicant wants to change the land use through rezoning or amending an Official Community Plan bylaw, there is often what is known as a 'community amenity contribution' involved in the application. This is a voluntary donation that a developer gives to the public, to 'sweeten the deal' if you will."
District staff tell CTV News if the site went up for sale it would be considered, but as of right now people are encouraged to use facilities at the neighbouring park.