The regional District of Central Okanagan is adding to the size of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park in the south Mission area of Kelowna.
CORD announced Friday it has bought two pieces of adjoining property—a 3.5 hectare parcel at 969 Raymer Road and a 17.7-hectare lot at 979 Raymer Road— for a total of $6.9 million.
The money, from the regional district’s regional parks legacy fund, was raised from taxpayers with the specific purpose of buying parkland for future protection from development in this area.
“Purchasing these important properties helps fulfill out goal of protecting important regional ecosystems for future generations,”said regional district board chairman Robert Hobson. “These additions provide for future expansion of the existing Woodhaven Regional Park, as well as a critical nature corridor connection to the higher elevations of Bellevue Creek.”
In addition to bordering the regional park, the lands also sit adjacent to city-owned park land on the south side of Bellevue Creek.
Hobson said the smaller parcel acquired by the regional district should be open to the public later this year and the larger parcel will be opened to the pubic next year. Both will have trails through them.
“The public like their parks and they like their trails,” said Hobson following the announcement of the purchase on Friday afternoon.
He said the regional district’s bid for the properties was a project he worked on for several years.
The fund used to buy the land was established in 2007 as a special tax requisition from Central Okanagan residents with the aim of raising money to buy parkland.
“The creation of, and contributions to, this fund required the vision, cooperation and support of all the regional board members, especially as the economy was facing challenging times,” said Hobson.
“It’s taken a few years but we’re now in a position to start seeing the payoff on that unanimous endeavor on behalf of everyone living int he Central Okanagan.”
In additon to the purchases, CORD is also working with UBC Okanagan to develop a unique artistic and cultural partnership to further the Eco-Art initiative started in 2010.
Earlier this year, UBC’s artist in residence, Marlene Cretes lead two workshops on the property, which looked at the natural beauty of the heavily forested land.