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Parks designation for Middleton lands

Ninety acres on Middleton Mountain are now park. - Victor Cumming photo
Ninety acres on Middleton Mountain are now park.
— image credit: Victor Cumming photo

The last tract of undeveloped land on Middleton Mountain is preserved for future generations.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has purchased 90 acres on top of the mountain from Roy and Dianne Farnsworth for park.

“I made a vow it would never be built on,” said Roy Farnsworth, who purchased the property in 1956 and had been approached by developers to sell it.

“We’ve run out of so much open space and it’s a logical place for people to hike.”

A covenant on the property will restrict use to recreation trails.

“There could be benches at select lookouts,” said Tannis Nelson, RDNO’s community development co-ordinator.

“The views from there are fantastic.”

Besides providing recreational opportunities, the park will protect open grassland.

“Middleton Mountain has been identified over the years by naturalist clubs and it was identified in a sensitive ecosystem study,” said Nelson.

Deer are common on the property, as are pheasant and quail.

“We’ve seen coyote and the odd bear and moose there,” said Farnsworth.

Development of trails could begin in the spring  but an environmental sensitivity study will be done  to determine where trails are located.

“We want to minimize impact on the space,” said Nelson of the grasslands.

Previous public input sessions have shown high demand for trail networks, and it’s expected the park will be popular as the rest of Middleton Mountain is transformed into residential housing.

“This is a unique situation because it’s a large recreational area plopped into an urban area,” said Nelson.

Residents on the Vernon and Coldstream sides of Middleton Mountain have previously protested about the lack of parks.

“What we heard was that with all of these development, there was no greenspace,” said Jim Garlick, Coldstream mayor.

“Now, there is (the existing) Middleton Mountain Park and the top of the mountain.”

Access to the 90 acres will currently be through 46 acres of land Coldstream owns off Mt. Ida Drive and Mt. Tanner Place. Future access may link the new park to Dewdney Road and Sarsons Drive.

The regional district paid $1.4 million for the 90 acres.

 

 

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