Petition calls for end to blasting at property bordering Gonzales Hill Park


VICTORIA -- A B.C. Supreme Court decision is expected later this month regarding a controversial slice of property bordering Gonzales Hill Park. 

Gonzales Hill Park is the only CRD regional park in the City of Victoria, and is located on the border between Victoria and Oak Bay. The park is the home to a stunning natural landscape and features a number of native plant species, including an endangered Garry Oak ecosystem. 

While many locals have always assumed the property at the park's peak was merely an extension of Gonzales Hill -- a private owner purchased the property in 2016 with the intention of building a 3300 sq ft. house. Blasting work began two weeks ago, and many residents say this isn't acceptable.

Environmentalist and local resident Mary Doody-Jones says the blasting has already resulted in the loss of a number of Garry Oaks, and has also created issues for native wildlife species.

"It's nesting season between March and August," said Doody-Jones. "The Eagles are already being shaken -- and there are Turkey Vultures and other wildlife there as well."

She says the blasting operations continue despite the fact that the property's zoning bylaw variance is currently being contested in the B.C. Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court is determining if the hearing that put the variance in, was actually correct under their governed by legislation." said Doody-Jones. 

Meanwhile a petition calling on the developer of the property to halt all blasting continues to build momentum, with 950 signatures as of Monday night. It states that the park's ecosystem is home to more plant species than any other terrestrial ecosystem in coastal British Columbia, and that many of these species occur nowhere else in Canada. 

A decision from the B.C. Supreme Court is expected in late April regarding the future of the property.

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