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PLEASE WRITE to Victoria City Council and Saanich Council to support resolutions for a BC Natural Lands Acquisition Fund!

Ancient Forest Alliance, March 1, 2016

PLEASE WRITE to Victoria City Council and Saanich Council to support resolutions for a BC Natural Lands Acquisition Fund!
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Horne Mountain, the old-growth mountainside above the world famous Cathedral Grove, is privately owned by Island Timberlands and is threatened with logging.
Photo by TJ Watt

The Victoria City Council will be voting on Thursday and the Saanich Council on Monday on a motion asking the BC government to implement a BC Natural Lands Acquisition Fund (aka Fund for Nature's Future), a proposed, annual provincial fund to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems on private lands. The District of Highlands recently passed the resolution, and now it's time to snowball the support from various municipalities to pressure the provincial government!

Please WRITE an EMAIL to Victoria Council at councillors@victoria.ca or Saanich Council at council@saanich.ca to express your support for this motion! Ask them to:

  • Support the resolution calling on the province to establish a Fund for Nature's Future (ie. a BC Natural Lands Acquisition Fund) to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems on private lands.
  • Note that many of the most endangered ecosystems in British Columbia, including Garry Oak meadows, some old-growth forests, endangered wetlands, and community drinking watersheds, are often found on private lands that are threatened with development.
  • Ask the provincial government to follow the good example of the Capital Regional District's $3.7 million/year Land Acquisition Fund, which has raised over $35 million since the year 2000 to purchase over 4500 hectares of private lands to add to the regional parks system, including such beloved places as Jordan River, the Sooke Hills, the Sooke Potholes, Burgoyne Bay and Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island, and lands between Thetis Lake and Mount Work parks. A larger provincial equivalent would be a major boost to conservation efforts in BC.
  • See the report "Finding the Money to Buy and Protect Natural Lands", by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre, which details over a dozen mechanisms used in jurisdictions across North America to raise funds for protecting land, including the "Pop for Parks" mechanism where revenues from the unredeemed deposits of beverage containers (worth an estimated $10 to $15 million annually in BC) would go towards protecting land.

*** Be sure to include your full name and address so that they know you are a real person.

More Details:

Momentum is growing as 18 major BC conservation and recreational groups have recently signed onto a call for the BC government to establish a dedicated provincial fund that can be used to purchase and protect endangered private lands of high environmental and recreational significance.

The University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre has prepared a report for the Ancient Forest Alliance outlining some potential mechanisms to support such a fund, including the proceeds from unredeemed beverage container deposits, resource taxes on fossil fuels, property transfer taxes, income tax check-offs, etc.

About 5% of British Columbia’s land base is private, where new protected areas require the outright purchase of private lands from willing sellers, while 95% is Crown (public) lands where new protected areas are established by government legislation. However, a high percentage of BC’s most endangered and biologically diverse and rich ecosystems are found on private lands – which tend to be found in temperate lower elevations and major valleys where most humans live. As a result, private lands are disproportionately important for conservation efforts. In particular, southeastern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast, and the Okanagan Valley contain much of the private lands in BC, the greatest concentrations of endangered species, and the most heavily visited natural areas, and would benefit the most from such a fund.

The provincial fund would be similar to the Capital Regional District's existing Land Acquisition Fund that has helped to protect thousands of hectares of beloved green spaces around Victoria including the Sooke Hills, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River, and Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island.

Read our MEDIA RELEASE at: http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=963

See a recent article in the Times Colonist at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/push-for-provincial-land-acquisition-fund-gathers-steam-1.2156674 and in Island Tides at: http://islandtides.com/assets/reprint/environment_20160128.pdf and the original article in the Times Colonist at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/jack-knox-pop-bottles-could-give-green-funding-extra-fizz-1.2131156

Read the report by the UVic Environmental Law Centre (ELC), 'Finding the Money to Buy and Protect Natural Lands': http://www.elc.uvic.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FindingMoneyForParks-2015-02-08-web.pdf


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