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Central Park: Stanley Park's Beaver Lake to get help

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Beaver Lake but it landed on my radar again this week thanks to former park board commissioner Loretta Woodcock, who reminded me there are two open house events this week regarding its restoration.
Beaver Lake
Former Park Board Commissioner Loretta Woodcock wants to remind readers of open house events regarding the restoration of Beaver Lake. Photo: Dan Toulgoet

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Beaver Lake but it landed on my radar again this week thanks to former park board commissioner Loretta Woodcock, who reminded me there are two open house events this week regarding its restoration.

Woodcock led the charge in 2011 to see Stanley Park’s Beaver Lake restored. A report on the environmental health of the park completed by the Stanley Park Ecology Society in 2010 shows Beaver Lake, the largest watershed in the park, is rapidly shrinking and if left unattended could disappear by 2020. The lake was once home to the western painted turtle, but invasive species led to that reptile’s demise in the area.

Woodcock was convinced that with the proper environmental care, Beaver Lake could not only be preserved but be modelled after the popular Camosun Bog.

After the park board unanimously approved the Stanley Park Ecological Plan in 2011, Beaver Lake was deemed a priority.

Woodcock told me this week that since that time, a consultant team has conducted a scientific investigation of Beaver Lake and is working on recommendations on how to restore it in an ecological and culturally sensitive way.

“The public’s input is a valuable part of this process,” Woodcock wrote in an email. “Beaver Lake is an important part of Stanley Park’s ecology, a popular recreational site and of cultural and spiritual significance to Coast Salish First Nations.”

The first open house is Nov. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the lobby of the Coal Harbour Community Centre, 480 Broughton St., and the second is scheduled for Nov. 23 upstairs in the West End Community Centre, 870 Denman St.

New task force
The park board is creating a new task force it hopes will bring community members together to advise the board on how to better engage partners, volunteers and neighbourhood groups on environmental education and stewardship opportunities in parks and at community centres.

In 2012, the park board endorsed an objective to be a leader in “greening” as part of its new Strategic Plan and this task force is part of that. The board approved the terms of reference for the Environmental Education and Stewardship Task Force at its public meeting Monday night and appointed Vision Vancouver commissioners Sarah Blyth and Niki Sharma as co-chairs.

The task force’s membership of 10 to 12 will be comprised of the co-chairs, organizations actively working in parks and at community centres, and city and park board staff. The group, advisory to the Park Board Committee, will start work this month and plan to wrap up recommendations by July 2014.

sthomas@vancourier.com
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