The second annual Park Party at the B.C. Hydro Green Space — known to locals as Kings Park — is almost upon us.
Community members from the Facebook group Save Kings Park host the event in partnership with the Saanich Legacy Foundation, the Friends of Bowker Creek and the District of Saanich to raise funds to protect the park and ensure it remains a green space.
In January, the District of Saanich purchased a 2.2 hectare lot between Kings Road and Haultain Street which was bought by B.C. Hydro in 1958. The municipality bought the land, unofficially named Kings Park, from B.C. Hydro for $5.5 million. Saanich officially took ownership of the property in July.
However, while announcing the purchase, the municipality also noted that council would need to raise $2.75 million by August 2020 to offset the cost of the park as Saanich borrowed $4 million for the purchase.
“If council is unable to raise funds to offset the incurred debt, Saanich intends to dispose of a portion of the property to recuperate some of the cost,” stated the Jan. 30 press release announcing the purchase.
Three members of council and three community members were appointed to a Mayor’s Standing Committee which was created to organize a fundraising plan, coordinate with the interested parties and make recommendations to council regarding contributions from other local governments. The group met three times in August.
The Sept. 14 event will launch a year-long campaign to raise the $2.75 million needed to protect the greenspace from development, said community lead and event organizer Deanna Pfeifer.
Residents from all over the South Island are invited to attend the community-wide party from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and donate to the cause. The event will include a potluck meal so guests are asked to bring a dish to share, a gardens table will be set up so people can show off what they’ve grown this year and an apple press will be available for anyone interested in making fresh juice.
Kids can partake in face painting and a bouncy castle and the High Quadra Ramblers will serenade attendees throughout the afternoon.
While $2.75 million is a big number, Pfeifer said the community is full of hope.
“Everybody is going to do the best they can,” she said.
“It’s important that we preserve the green spaces that we have left for future generations to enjoy,” said Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor.
Pfeifer noted that the land has been fought for several times since the 1950s as different development projects were considered. She’s hopeful this will be the last time the community needs to fight for the land.
Attendees are asked to bring their own chairs, blankets, cutlery, plates and glass bottles for the apple press.