The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is proposing to add approximately 107 hectares of new land to six Class A Provincial Parks.
The Bridge Lake Provincial Park is one of the six. The addition proposed is for 29 hectares of added land.
Bridge Lake is a common recreation area protecting a lengthy stretch of undeveloped shoreline and islands in the lake – all but one.
The 29-hectare island, known as Heritage Island, is proposed to be added.
Currently, the park’s size sits at 405 hectares. Once added, the total area will be 434 hectares of land.
“Back in 2008, a developer had bought the land from it’s previous owner,” said Friends of Bridge Lake president Chris Lance. “His proposal was to develop 31 lots on the island for people to build houses. There was a huge public outcry about that and with so much local opposition the Cariboo Regional District did not agree to it.”
The Friends of Bridge Lake have been pushing for the island to be added to the provincial park for many years. A public consultative process was undertaken by BC Parks regional staff in 2017 as part of the management planning process which confirmed the support of local communities and the Cariboo Regional District for the proposed addition to the island of the park.
Lance said it has taken a long time to come to fruition but is glad to know it is going to happen.
“The Friends of Bridge Lake are very delighted,” said Lance. “Our members will be thrilled that it’s happening because we’ve been fighting for it, for years. It’s great to know, it eventually happened even though it has taken a very long time.”
Other proposed additions include 2.5 hectares to Harmony Islands Marine Provincial Park along the Sunshine Coast, 17 hectares to Kikomun Creek Provincial Park in the Kootenays, 19 hectares to Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park in the Okanagan, four hectares to Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park in the Kootenays and 35 hectares to Syringa Provincial Park near Castlegar.
Nearly all  of the provincial parks in the system are Class A, areas of dedicated land for preservation of their natural environment, public use and enjoyment.
“Much of the shoreline around Bridge Lake Park is privately owned and developed,” said Environment and Climate Change Strategy Public Affairs Officer, Pamela Roth. “Adding this island to the park increases the opportunities for public recreation on the lake and ensures the island is protected from any other kind of development that could adversely impact the environment or the experience for park users.”
Heritage Island will become part of Bridge Lake Park once the Bill receives Royal Assent.
“It’s the idea of finally having all of the land and islands protected,” said Lance.