Commonage eyed for park

Politicians are being pressured to preserve a portion of Greater Vernon’s natural landscape.

Politicians are being pressured to preserve a portion of Greater Vernon’s natural landscape.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club is lobbying the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to purchase land in the Commonage for public use.

“There’s the historical importance of the Commonage to the area,” said Rod Drennan, a club member.

“It’s just an area where the grasslands could now be protected.”

Local environmental groups have been concerned in recent years that urban development could negatively impact the Commonage, which not only hosts  grasslands but at-risk animal and plant species.

For Drennan, it’s critical that action be taken.

“We want to acquire more land for the community for in perpetuity,” he said, adding that consideration must be given to the need to encompass whole ecosystems.

“We need a large chunk of land there.”

The club has identified some potential sites for parks but Drennan would not get into specifics because a meeting with GVAC must still be held.

If land is purchased, intense public use would be avoided.

“We would want to see trails but nothing more than that,” said Drennan.

“We want to protect the grasslands, the birds and the animals.”

It’s not known what it could cost to buy the necessary land for a park, but Drennan believes GVAC is in a position to move ahead.

“There’s a significant amount of money in the park acquisition fund,” he said.

GVAC director Bob Fleming says he wants to speak to some of his Commonage constituents to find out how they feel about parks.

“In general, I am in support of natural areas and the Commonage is an area that should be looked at,” he said.