Do you ever wonder who gets to decide how the community develops? Have you ever wondered how we acquire more parkland? Or have you ever asked yourself “how do we make sure the community grows in the direction we want to go?” If you have ever asked yourself anything like this, the answer is we follow a “pattern.” In Shawnigan Lake we have several documents that create the template/pattern for where we want to go. These documents include, among others, the Official Community Plan, The Parks Master Plan and the ThinkShawnigan Plan. All of these documents focus on a vision of the communities future and help chart the path to get there. These plans are important for direction, guidance and funding. Furthermore, all of these documents were developed by community for community. Where the community is on the path and even the end goals themselves may not always be apparent because parts of the plan have to be implemented when the opportunity presents itself. Just like a quilt, it’s hard to see the big picture until the blocks are sewn together.
The Shawnigan Community has just completed another “block of the quilt.” Just recently Shawnigan Lake purchased a 2 acre piece of land that connects Mason’s Beach to the Community Centre. This completes the “patchwork” of community parks from Mason’s all the way through to Government Wharf Beach. This parcel was zoned commercial and could have been anything from a mechanic’s shop to a boutique hotel. Now it belongs to the community. It provides views of the lake, parking for the trailhead/beach and will also help alleviate some of the congestion at Government Wharf Park and Heald Rd. As such, plans include creating a safer passage from this new greenspace to Mason’s Beach and the Rail with Trail. This is a wonderful new addition to Shawnigan’s public waterfront access that we can taylor over time to best fit the communities requirements.
This new park helps address a number of challenges that were identified through the ThinkShawnigan process; not enough parking at Government Wharf Park and the village, limited views of the lake and limited access to the lake for enjoyment (walking, swimming, kayaking). Eventually the accessible walking trail, as stated in the Parks Master Plan, will go all the way from Mason’s Beach to Old Mill Park (and on the far side of Old Mill Park, there is a trail that continues to the top of Old Baldy.) I am grateful to the CVRD and the Area B Parks Commission for their support in obtaining the funds so that our community could preserve such a valuable waterfront green space for future generations to enjoy.