RDN to purchase Community Park for Mudge Island

Regional District of Nanaimo

Press Release

Tuesday, September 20 2016

A property on Mudge Island will soon become that island’s second community park after the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Board voted to acquire the land at a special in camera board meeting held on September 13. 

“This is an exciting acquisition for all those who visit and live on Mudge Island,” said RDN Area B Director Howard Houle. “The public has been enjoying this piece of property for years thanks to the generosity of the former owners and now that they have allowed the RDN to purchase the lot, we can ensure continued public access for years to come.” 

Lot 25 Ling Cod Lane is a .55 acre property that fronts on Dodd Narrows across from the City of Nanaimo’s Joan Point Park. It is a prime location to observe the dynamic tidal waters that flow through the Narrows and had been identified by the RDN as a priority acquisition site for a community park. 

“This is fantastic news. Our late father, Captain Robert Littlejohn, who held onto this special property for nearly 50 years, would be thrilled that his favourite place in the world will be preserved as parkland,” said Scott Littlejohn. “Our family is just so happy that the Mudge Island community will always be able to enjoy this special place to watch sunsets, wildlife and the thousands of boats that slip past this property on Dodd Narrows, the ‘river on the ocean.’” To have a park on both sides of the Narrows is as good as it gets for us. Thank you RDN and MILTA and GaLTT and all of the enthusiastic Mudge Islanders, who love this spot and supported saving it for all.” 

Negotiations to purchase the lot for $235,000 began in August and the purchase was supported by donations from the Mudge Island Land Trust Association ($8,000) and Gabriola Land and Trails Trust ($10,000). 

“I’d like to express our sincere appreciation to the RDN and, in particular, Howard Houle for the quick action taken to secure Lot 25 for a community park,” said Jack Schick, Chair of the Mudge Island Land Trust Association. “Though small in size, this site is world class, allowing visitors the opportunity to watch orcas, sea lions, bald eagles and other marine life. This natural landscape, combined with the ever-changing waters of Dodd Narrows and its international marine traffic, is a highlight for boaters as well as those using Nanaimo’s Cable Bay Trail. Altogether, this is a legacy that will be appreciated for generations to come and I’d like to thank the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust for partnering with us and for their significant donation. Their enthusiasm, combined with the strong response from the community, obviously gave Howard the support he needed to act. We look forward to meeting and discussing ways to enjoy and protect this special place.” 

“GaLTT is extremely happy that the RDN has taken the initiative to secure this important legacy site right on Dodd Narrows,” said Norm Harburn, President of the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust. “We are pleased to be able to support this acquisition with a contribution from our land acquisition fund.” 

Funding for the majority of the purchase will be requisitioned through short-term borrowing over a five-year period and will be included in the Electoral Area B community parks budget. The RDN also contributed $12,000 through park operational funding. The purchase price was within the appraised land value and title of the property will transfer to the RDN on September 30, 2016. Going forward, the RDN will meet with the community to discuss any park amenities at the site.

Houle said all of Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, Decourcy) will be contributing taxes to pay for the new Community Park. Taxes will be approximately $3.50 per $100,000 assessed value for the 5-year short-term loan.

“Mudge Islanders have been paying into Gabriola parks for years, time for a little payback.”