Address: 790 Hirst Avenue West
In 2017, the City of Parksville Council approved the purchase of a tract of land known locally as the Ermineskin land from the Ermineskin Cree Nation. Purchased for $1.3 million, the lands, located at the civic address of 790 Hirst Avenue, encompass about 35.9 hectares or 97 acres. At the meeting on September 18, 2017, Council gave three readings to a bylaw which officially dedicated the lands as park.
The City of Parksville and the Ermineskin Cree Nation share a vision for the preservation and conservation of this important area and the sale of the Ermineskin lands supports that vision by allowing City residents and future generations to enjoy this area. The lands are included in the Agricultural Land Reserve and at the request of the Ermineskin Cree Nation will be maintained as a park in perpetuity.
For many years, Parksville Council worked to acquire this site; over the years, Council received delegations from residents requesting the City consider acquiring the lands
to ensure members of the community may continue to enjoy the wildlife and natural environment of the site. Currently the lands are used by the public for bird watching, walking and the opportunity to quietly enjoy the natural surroundings. These uses continue and maintenance of the park is performed by City staff, keeping the park, as much as possible, in its natural state.
A series of trails now connect the wetlands with loops for walking on the south west side of the park adjacent to Coldwater Road. New trails and upgrades to existing trails will continue in 2022 on the north west side of the park noted by the orange route on the map. The development
of a trail system within the wetlands is a priority for the City.
As climate change contributes to drier summers, it is critical to provide access for maintenance, emergency vehicles and fire protection for the Parksville Wetlands and surrounding areas. As well, open sightlines provide good visibility and improved comfort if walking alone.
Residents and visitors wishing to explore the wetlands can access the trail from the foot of Despard Avenue, and from the Maple Glen linear walkway at the southern intersection of Magnolia Drive and Chestnut Street and from the Hirst/Renz corner of the property to the end of Despard Avenue. The parcel on the south side of the railway is accessed from Coldwater Road or an informal crossing of the railway within the park.
For those using the park, please respect signage which advises of any trail closures and keep dogs on leash.