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Metro Vancouver's Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area has expanded by 73 hectares, thanks to a pair of recent parkland acquisitions. In the past three years, the conservancy area has more than doubled in size, and is now more than 233 hectares.Located on the east side of the Pitt River Valley in the City of Pitt Meadows, Codd Wetland protects a wide variety of plants, birds, fish, mammals and amphibians. As a key stopover on the Pacific Flyway, more than 160 bird species have been observed in the area."These regional park land purchases are transformational for Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area, which was previously limited to the wetland itself," said John McEwen, Chair of Metro Vancouver's Regional Parks Committee. "Protecting ecologically sensitive lands in our region is of critical importance. These new areas provide potential locations for public access to a future regional park, while contributing to connectivity between existing protected sites in this amazing corner of our region."These purchases bring Metro Vancouver closer to its goal of creating a large and resilient park complex in the northeastern part of the region. The newly acquired lands include old farm fields, forested uplands and submerged wetlands, and offer opportunities to develop future trails, viewpoints and other park amenities in this fast-growing sub-region of Metro Vancouver.A 14-hectare parcel, purchased for $1.7 million, lies to the east of the Neaves Road at the junction of the North Alouette River and Blaney Creek, two important salmon creeks, and captures sensitive low-lying fields and includes the western portion of Codd Island. A 59-hectare parcel to the east, purchased at a cost of $11.5 million, was owned by one family for nearly 80 years and features farm fields, a treed ridge and a 20-hectare wildlife pond that's managed by Ducks Unlimited. Both properties were acquired through the Regional Park Land Acquisition Fund."I could not be more excited about these additions to the regional park system," said Bill Dingwall, Mayor of the City of Pitt Meadows. "Codd Wetland is a gem and its expansion is a big step forward in creating a diverse and interconnected network of parks and greenways throughout Metro Vancouver." Last year, Metro Vancouver's regional parks experienced an unprecedented 38-per-cent jump in park visits. As more residents explore their region and connect with nature, Metro Vancouver continues to actively pursue parkland acquisition opportunities and develop plans for existing properties that are not yet open to the public.In the past 50 years, the regional parks system has grown from 3,835 hectares to nearly 13,700 hectares of parkland, with 23 regional parks, five greenways, two ecological conservancy areas and two regional park reserves in communities from Bowen Island in the west to Langley and Maple Ridge in the east.Above: 59 hectare parcel, looking east along Blaney Creek