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Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space
The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)

The Kings Road Community Nature Green Space is beloved by Greater Victoria residents and has been adamantly defended by environmental advocacy groups.

The District of Saanich has written to both the City of Victoria and District of Oak Bay to request financial contributions to help protect the space, which borders the three municipalities and was purchased by Saanich for $5.5 million from BC Hydro in 2019.

“We are hopeful of a contribution in the range of $250,000 to $400,000 from Victoria and some $60,000 to $90,000 from Oak Bay,” wrote Mayor Fred Haynes in the addressed letters.

Haynes said that this is the first time a clear-cut monetary amount has been proposed. Although the initial motion to send the letter was brought forth and approved at an April 26 council meeting, it wasn’t until June 7 that the formal and specific written requests went forward.

The letters also propose a meeting between the councils of Oak Bay and Victoria so Haynes can present the request.

Two other recommendations were approved in April: to extend the period for fundraising to offset the original purchase price until March 31, 2022, and to delay committing $1.7 million – the proceeds from the District of Saanich’s sale of a Willis Point property to the Capital Regional District – to the initiative until after the other municipalities were approached.

If the funding requests are agreed to, the potential total to be available to keep the greenspace intact would be $2.75 million.

RELATED STORY: Saanich extends deadline for Kings Park fundraiser, holds off on contributing $1.75 million

“This isn’t the first effort from community members in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria, gathering to fight and protect this space, since it is used by residents in all three municipalities,” said Rebecca Sterritt an area resident and member of the mayor’s standing committee on fundraising for the Kings Road Community Nature Green Space.

She sees this as a vast opportunity to maintain natural space in an urban area.

“Protecting this green space will allow us to meet our climate goals, our wellness goals and our environmental goals,” she said. “Often we just look at dollar amounts and think how we shouldn’t spend the money, but sometimes we need to spend the money to protect the environment.”

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