BEPPLE – Death by a thousand cuts is still death for Kamloops grasslands


DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS is still death.

This week, City council approved a public hearing to amend land use of a major new subdivision in Aberdeen.  The subdivision, when built, will push Aberdeen higher up the hillside, into what for now is native grasslands.

Another section of grasslands, which surround Kamloops, will be destroyed to support the most inefficient land use in housing: single family housing, along with some low-density and medium-density multifamily.

Bit by bit, the grasslands around Kamloops are being eaten up.  Cut by cut.

Grasslands are some of the most endangered habitats in B.C.  Grasslands make up less than one per cent of B.C.’s landmass.  Grasslands contain one-third of B.C.’s species at risk.  They are constantly under threat from urban sprawl and fragmentation.

At a recent open house to discuss the change in land use to the new Aberdeen subdivision, only 60 people came out.  Concerns centered on parking and traffic.

What is ironic is that for years, thousands came out to protest the building of the proposed KGHM Ajax mine just over the hill.  On the now archived “Stop Ajax” website, one of the main page’s banner states, “The Ajax mine will impact 2,500 hectares, most of which is the finest low elevation grasslands in Canada.”

Thousands rallied to stop Ajax, and preserve the grasslands where the mine was proposed.

Meanwhile, the same people who opposed the Ajax mine, seem silent as, cut by cut, the grasslands around Kamloops are eaten away by development.

Why is it that protests happen when mines are built, but not houses, on the same grasslands?

Housing is one of the biggest threats to the environment, and yet when the sprawl continues, there are no protests.

To be fair, the current council is only one of many previous councils, of which I was part of one, who approved land use amendments for the Aberdeen subdivision that allows building on native grasslands.  And there were no protests back then either.

Going forward, infill must be the first way the city grows, rather than destroying and fragmenting an already threatened grassland habitat.  Dividing existing large lots, and rezoning for higher densities must be the choice over taking out more grasslands.

Bit by bit, cut by cut, the grasslands around Kamloops can be preserved, by focusing on infill rather than sprawl.  A few grassland protestors would help matters as well.

Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

About Mel Rothenburger (8481 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

8 Comments on BEPPLE – Death by a thousand cuts is still death for Kamloops grasslands

  1. John Noakes // June 26, 2020 at 10:53 AM // Reply

    It would be interesting to know just how many City staffers, Mayor and councillors who support and vote for densification projects live in single family dwellings.

  2. Nancy, Infill? A wonderful and workable concept if many parts fit, so please be more specific for those that wish to have a single family home / lot; OR those that don’t wish to live near train tracks (i.e. Halston area), or busy highway (Orchard Walk area), or a longer commute (since many jobs are in Aberdeen / Sahali area); or live in the valley and would rather not smell the pulp mill; or downtown core and the trains & tiny condo’s and limited schools (if a family).

  3. Ken McClelland // June 24, 2020 at 5:14 PM // Reply

    At the risk of poking the bear, it seems some of the folks most vociferously opposed to further grasslands development live on what were once grasslands, just saying. Being ok with development on grasslands for your house and then opposing it once you are living in said house isn’t very welcoming or neighborly…..

  4. Infill is not the answer, just ask caged rabbits…or chickens for that matter. As for the grasslands, yes they are beautiful and worth conservation. Also, I wonder Nancy if you can answer one simple burning question. Take your pick: Who really is in charge at City Hall? People concerns or economic concerns?

  5. Bob Needham // June 24, 2020 at 2:16 PM // Reply

    Totally agree, in addition, the elevation, aspect, moisture (and therefor productivity/carbon sink) etc. of this piece of grassland makes it unique among what is left of our grasslands along the southern edge of our city.

  6. Phillip Sigalet // June 24, 2020 at 12:50 PM // Reply

    You hit the nail on the head Nancy. Housing is the elephant in the room when it comes to the environment.

  7. Tony Brumell // June 24, 2020 at 11:49 AM // Reply

    Thanks Nancy . Well said. I must say that as one of those people who worked for 8 years to stop the AJAX mine I am disapointed to hear about the town hall meet to save grasslands, I heard nothing about it and so did not attend. Origional grasslands are indeed a rare and valuable resource in BC. The province became one of the worlds great cattle producers because of the Blue Bunch Wheatgrass. As more and more people move into this area the stress on this rare valuable ecosystem will increase along a path that many understand is not sustainable.Grasslands must be protected from the actions of developers looking for a lot of money and politicians who do not understand the need to protect them. (grasslands )

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