A Charter for Cedar Hill
The Friends of Cedar Hill Park is a community-based not-for- profit Society originally formed in 2006 to care for the natural areas of the Park. We continue the legacy of community action that led to the Park being saved from subdivision and many subsequent efforts to defend the Park as a natural preserve.
The Friends of Cedar Hill Park ask the citizens of Saanich and Greater Victoria to support our petition for Saanich Council to celebrate the Park’s 50th anniversary in 2017 by proclaiming a Charter for Cedar Hill Park to preserve the natural and green spaces of Cedar Hill Park for future generations and for all species of animals and plants that live in the Park.
In 1967 Saanich Council, with the encouragement of the community, acquired the land that became Cedar Hill Park. However, the value of the Park to the citizens of Saanich has never been clearly stated by the District of Saanich. There have been periodic efforts by special interests and the District to build on the remaining natural and green areas of Cedar Hill Park. These attempts have resulted in a number of protracted conflicts that are the antithesis of "Building Community".
The ambiguous status of Cedar Hill Park is in contrast to that of Mount Douglas Park where a strong, clear statement prepared by the Friends of Mount Douglas Park, and proclaimed by the District of Saanich in 1992, has led to over two decades of protection and community care for the park. This has been good for the park and good for the community.
The members of the Friends of Cedar Hill Park believe that the Park is at risk of development as long as its value remains unrecognized and a commitment to sustain it goes unstated. Our proposed Charter for Cedar Hill Park and statement of Community commitment follows:
The Charter for Cedar Hill Park
Cedar Hill Park, within Straits Salish traditional territory, was acquired by the District of Saanich from the estate of the George McRae family in 1967 for its recreational, cultural and social value to the community and as an important habitat for native plants and animals.
The District of Saanich hereby declares that Cedar Hill Park, including the headwaters of both Bowker and Colquitz Creeks, will be preserved forever for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public, while maintaining the abundance and diversity of natural habitats for all native species that call it home.
Proclaimed this (date) of (month), (year), by the Council of the Corporation of the District of Saanich on behalf of the citizens of Saanich.
We, the citizens of Saanich commit to five principles in order to protect the Park:
1. That the District of Saanich and Community Associations representing the neighbourhoods adjacent to the Park engage in meaningful consultation involving all interested citizens in processes leading to decisions, planning and approvals impacting the Park.
2. That the existing character of the Park with its combination of recreational facilities and open natural green space will be retained. We will protect all remaining natural areas from encroachment of roads, parking and buildings with the understanding that, should the adjacent communities or the District of Saanich wish to undertake any improvements, that they do so only with the expressed explicit support of the majority of adjacent Community Associations.
3. That natural habitats for native and migratory birds, animals and indigenous plants, shrubs and trees will be preserved and restored. These may be extended through acquisition of adjacent lands.
4. That the Park is for all citizens, the young, those with reduced mobility, families and the elderly.
5. That we, the citizens of Saanich, take responsibility for protecting the Park in perpetuity.