Town working to protect cave in path of highway interchange

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Town working to protect cave in path of highway interchange

Postby Wayne Harrison » May 18, 2007 5:26 pm

By Rick Stiebel
News staff
May 18 2007

Cave experts keeping close eye on Canadian project

Cave experts and enthusiasts from around the world hope Langford can change the routing of a proposed interchange to protect a nearby cave.

In a May 8 response to an April 25 letter from Vancouver Island Exploration Group president Adrian Duncan, Langford clerk administrator Rob Buchan said the City has determined that Langford Lake cave is located within the proposed alignment of the Spencer Road interchange access ramp, and thanked Duncan for drawing attention to that.

Victoria is one of the few, if not only, provincial capitals that has karst, or limestone caves — a type that forms from the flow of water through fissures and cracks — within its boundaries.

“At one time, there were more than 20 known caves in the Victoria area and now we’re down to nine,” Duncan said in a telephone interview from Coquitlam. “We’ve lost over half the ones that existed through development.”

Vancouver Island’s unique landscape has a reputation that draws attention from cave enthusiasts from all over the world, Duncan said.

He pointed out that the recent destruction of Spaet Cave to make room for the Bear Mountain development drew international attention and resulted in several websites being set up in Europe that chronicled the cave’s demise.

“The spectacle of caves being lost in our provincial capital is not one we want to be presenting to international caveists,” Duncan noted. “We’re not trying to save all the caves, we’re trying to save the ones that are left.”

While Spaet Cave was only about 12 metres deep, Langford Lake cave is about 40 to 50 metres, Duncan said.

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Postby PatShaw » Jun 3, 2007 11:22 am

The latest on Langford Lake Cave, north of Victoria in British Columbia. The massive Bear Mountain development was responsible for the destruction of SPAET Cave last fall, and it would seem that the developer's off for a shut-on on affected caves! The issue has the attention of not only cavers in the area, but environmental groups and first-nations - should be hard to ignore!

Langford mayor says protesters won't stop cave-gating project

Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist

Published: Sunday, June 03, 2007

Langford Mayor Stew Young is vowing protesters won't stop him from gating off a cave near the proposed Spencer Road interchange, but protesters are questioning his motives.

"They will not impede the RCMP or the municipality. I'm responsible,
basically for the safety of the citizens and I don't want people going in
there thinking it's OK," Young said.

A work crew contracted by Langford to gate off the cave was turned away by protesters at the foot of Leigh Road Thursday. The workers wanted to drive a backhoe into the woods to do the job.

The workers will be back, Young said, although he wouldn't say when, or
whether they would be armed with a court injunction.

"If you have to protest something, protest something. But my point is public safety is No. 1," Young said, adding he would do whatever it takes to gate off the cave to make it safe.

"It's my RCMP and it's my fire department that have to go in there to rescue anybody, and I'm not going to put my staff at jeopardy for people who think it's open season."

Ingmar Lee, one of the protesters who established the Spencer tree-sit,
called Langford's actions to gate off the cave provocative, especially after
years of neglecting it.

"Suddenly they've got some interest in it and they're going to go and build
a backhoe road to the cave and then weld a gate on it? The only explanation for that is to provoke and challenge the people involved in the tree-sit,"Lee said.

The cave is on land owned by the Provincial Capital Commission and leased to Langford. Protesters have been staging a tree-sit near the cave since April 11 in opposition to the highway interchange Langford wants to build to give a second access to the Bear Mountain golf course and subdivision.

Years ago, the cave was sealed with a triangular metal gate. The gate has
rusted off, and a second entrance has been opened through erosion.
Langford maintains it is attempting to design the interchange so the cave
won't be disturbed.
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Postby PatShaw » Jun 3, 2007 1:11 pm

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