Both parties are working together to save as much of the camas as possible. File photo

City of Castlegar and plant society hold talks to save camas at Millennium Park

Society says numerous camas could be destroyed if city builds playground in the park

Staff from the City of Castlegar and the Kootenay Native Plant Society (KNPS) recently held talks about how to reduce the impacts of a proposed playground on camas plants at Millennium Park.

While the city has proposed to build the playground near the outdoor gym equipment in the park, the society says countless numbers of camas would be destroyed in the process.

An initial meeting was held in late June between the two groups at city hall and a second meeting took place a week later at the park.

During the meetings, both groups talked about relocating some of the camas from the playground area and putting it in a camas conservation area of the park. The area is approximately one acre in size.

The groups agreed about installing a fence around the circumference of the conservation area to protect the camas.

“We’re hoping to build a split rail fence” said KNPS director Valerie Huff.

“It won’t keep people out, but it will highlight the area and make people aware that it’s a separate and important area in the park.”

City communications coordinator Bree Seabrook said the fence could be made of cedar and would likely be built at waist height.

Another spot where some of the camas could be relocated from the playground area is in the Kp’itl’els area in South Brilliant, which is an important and sacred area for local First Nations.

While Huff admits some of the camas will likely be moved, she said both groups agreed during the talks to preserve as much of the camas as possible at the playground location.

“Salvaging the camas is really a last resort. It’s not so much about the individual plants, but about the ecological community that they support,” said Huff.

“It’s really hard to move the plants and you don’t have the same success compared to if you just leave them in their original location.”

Both groups also identified natural elements like trees and vegetation that could be preserved around the playground area during the last meeting.

Overall, Seabrook said the environmental impact from the playground area will be minimal.

“The actual location has a relatively small footprint and we’re working to minimize that as much as possible,” said Seabrook.

“Really, impacted areas would just be the playground area and space needed to meet playground safety guidelines.”

The two parties are also working together on a joint statement to let the public know how they’re working together on the camas situation.

Over 600 people have signed a petition asking the city to protect the camas around the proposed park.

Camas is a rare plant found in low-elevation areas of southern British Columbia and has been a staple food for First Nations for millennia, according to the KNPS.

It’s important to save the remaining camas in the park, according to Huff.

“We’re probably down to one per cent of the camas that was originally in the park thirty years ago,” said Huff.

“It’s continual loss and it’s death by a thousand cuts. This isn’t about saving one plant, it’s really about saving a community.”

READ MORE: Kootenay Camas Project gets help mapping out lily locations


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Search effort underway for Slocan River drowning victim

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

No charges yet in death of Abbotsford officer Allan Young

Police and Crown say the investigation is still underway

Practical fashion: Local designers make supplies for Nelson dentists

Surgical caps and gowns have been in short supply for dentists during the pandemic

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Structures not threatened by wildfires burning in the Arrow and Kootenay Lakes region

Official says more lightning-caused fires could occur in region over next 36 hours

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Most Read