Coats Marsh Regional Park Management - Backgrounder
Coats Marsh Regional Park (CMRP) is located on Gabriola Island (Electoral Area ‘B’). Gabriola Island is approximately 6 kilometers from the Gabriola Island ferry terminal in Nanaimo and is publicly accessed by a 20 minute BC Ferry crossing. The park is accessed at two locations. The main entrance is via South Road, Coats Drive and Aiden Road where a RDN park sign and entrance are located and the second access being a pedestrian entrance between two residential properties on Coats Drive. CMRP covers 46 hectares, includes over 10 hectares of rare Gulf Island wetlands, and is a good representation of fast disappearing dry submaritime Coastal Douglas-fir forest. The park is undeveloped with no formal trails around the wetland. The topography of the park ranges from flat to gently rolling and there are no steep areas within the property. There is naturally marshy areas surrounding the pond and there are two creeks that flow from the marsh beyond park boundaries. In the northeast corner of the park, the property shares a diagonal or corner boundary with the 707 acre community park where island residents use the trails on the properties to commute between the north and south side of the island. Coats Marsh Regional Park began with long-time Gabriola resident Mr. Clyde Coats and his choice to pursue a legacy of protection, rather than development, for his 46-hectare property.Park Access
Coats Marsh Regional Park is surrounded by private property. It does, however, share a corner with the 707 Community Park. The two public accesses to CMRP are at the end of two “stub” roads off Coats Drive. Aiden road is developed to the South East corner of the park and the other stub road ,near the South West corner of the park, is undeveloped and has been included in the park lands. A vehicle access road is utilized to enter the park and an off grid residence through adjacent private property. The private property owner is Clyde Coats and has an agreement with the RDN and The Nature Trust of BC (TNT) for the use of the road for maintenance and operational use.Park Acquisition
In 2006, Clyde Coats approached The Nature Trust of B.C. (TNT) and the Gabriola Island Land Conservancy to have a parcel of his property protected as a park. Through the Environment Canada Ecological Gifts program, Mr Coats donated 1/2 the value of the property and the other 1/2 was purchased by TNT. Before the property was purchased, TNT executed an extensive appraisal on the property. The appraisal included an environmental audit, timber valuation and a structural engineering assessment of the existing weir to not only investigate conservation values, but to assign the true market value. On January 31, 2008 The Natures Trust of BC closed the land acquisition for the 45.7 hectare Coats property. TNT approached the RDN in 2008 to purchase 50% interest of the property and that it be managed as a Regional Park through a long term lease with TNT. On October 28th 2008 the RDN approved its share of the costs of the park and leased TNT’s share for 99 years. The RDN now manages the park with input from partners.Partners
The Regional District of Nanaimo is partners with The Nature Trust of BC to manage this new regional park. The management plan will be steered by a committee with representatives from this group and the RDN to insure an agreeable and successful outcome. The Nature Trust of BC has been a leading land conservation organization headquartered in BC since 1971. TNT acquires land through purchase, donation, covenant and lease. TNT then manages the lands in order to protect the natural diversity of wildlife and plants and their critical habitats. TNT is a non-profit, non-advocacy group that seeks a balance between sustaining the environment and economy.