Premier John Horgan, centre, is joined by MLA Sonia Furstenau, Minister George Heyman, and representatives from Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Valley Naturalists, and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Premier John Horgan, centre, is joined by MLA Sonia Furstenau, Minister George Heyman, and representatives from Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Valley Naturalists, and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Premier announces purchase, dedication of Cowichan’s Eagle Heights as park

Horgan, MLA Furstenau, and Minister Heyman on hand at Shawnigan Lake for big reveal

Premier John Horgan, Environment Minister George Heyman, and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau shared the announcement Thursday, May 3 that 144 hectares of land called Eagle Heights near the Koksilah River will be protected.

“Parks benefit our environment, our economy, and make life better for people in B.C. every day,” Horgan said, standing near the lake at West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park.

He also announced five more parcels of land purchased or donated or dedicated through subdivision, but the Eagle Heights land was the biggest parcel by far, and the most important.

The province purchased the land for $7.15 million, supported by a $400,000 contribution from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, via the CVRD, and a $225,000 contribution from the Cowichan Community Land Trust.

“Our partners help BC Parks identify important areas, so that the ecological, recreational, and cultural values of these lands remain intact and protected,” said Heyman. “By ensuring the conservation and preservation of these sensitive lands, our children, their children, and future generations will be able to enjoy these beautiful natural spaces for years to come.”

The other areas now protected include 2.5 ha at Harmony Islands Marine Provincial Park along the Sunshine Coast, 17 ha at Kikomun Creek Provincial Park in the Kootenays, and 16.4 ha at Myra-Bellvue Provincial Park in the Okanagan.

“I applaud the passion, time, and effort of several Cowichan Valley area organizations, which worked tirelessly over the years to help secure this special place,” said Furstenau. “Eagle Heights is a unique area of significant importance, not only to the residents of the Cowichan Valley but also a great spiritual and cultural connection to the Cowichan Tribes. I am pleased this rare habitat will be preserved in perpetuity.”