Camas Festival this Saturday in Chemainus

Guided tours of Echo Heights will highlight the Camas plant, Garry oak ecosystems and First Nation use of plants.

With the arrival of spring in Chemainus comes the glorious display of Camas flowers in Echo Heights Forest — and the joy of the second annual Camas Festival.

This celebration of one of Echo Heights’ greatest features is sponsored by the Chemainus Residents Association.

This Saturday [May 26]  from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors who venture up to the cul de sac at the end of Channel Boulevard in Chemainus can receive an informative guided tour of Echo Heights — especially of its three Camas meadows, as well as a small Camas plant.

Knowledgeable people at the cul de sac and at the Cowichan Neighbourhood House at 9796 Willow St. in downtown Chemainus will dispense information about Camas, Echo Heights, Garry oak ecosystems and First Nation use of plants.

These Camas meadows are an indicator of the rare Garry oak ecosystem, which is found nowhere else in the world except the southeast coast of Vancouver Island. These meadows are part of the fast-disappearing Coastal Douglas Fir forests.

The Camas Festival serves as a reminder that Echo Heights Forest has not yet been saved, and work continues to convince North Cowichan council that this special area should not be destroyed for housing but designated as a wilderness park.

The municipality has a not-yet-adopted comprehensive development plan for Echo Heights which calls for half the area to be sold off for housing development. The previous council postponed indefinitely the second reading and public hearing on the plan.

While Echo Heights is not in council’s present five-year financial plan, the present council can restart the plan approval process at any time.

— Submitted by the Chemainus Residents Association