Victoria, BC – The Capital Regional District (CRD), The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) and the Province of British Columbia are pleased to announce the first group of Western Forest Products lands have been purchased by the CRD.
2,350 hectares of land are being purchased for a total cost of $18.8 million, which will be paid in installments over three years. In the first installment, $3.2 million will go towards watershed lands paid for in full by CRD Integrated Water Services. The balance will be paid through a 65-35% cost sharing agreement, with CRD Regional Parks contributing $4 million through its Land Acquisition Fund and its partners contributing the balance, including $2 million from the provincial government and $250,000 from TLC.
In March 2010, an agreement in principle was announced for the CRD purchase of regional parks and watershed lands. With the agreement now signed, the CRD will take over management of lands adjacent to Sooke Potholes, parcels surrounding Weeks Lake in the Leech watershed, as well as Sandcut Beach in phase one of the transfer. A second parcel of land at Sandcut Beach will be transferred to the CRD ownership in August 2011. Parcels in Jordan River and remaining land near Sooke Potholes will be transferred in August 2012. Formal title transfer of the land will occur upon each installment payment.
“Acquisition of these lands includes major additions to the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt, an innovative grassroots campaign that has been underway for decades to create a 11,500 hectare corridor of protected wilderness and parkland,” said Geoff Young, CRD Board Chair. “Those parcels, along with the watershed lands, will help to further the CRD’s strategic priorities through protection of water, conservation of biodiversity and support of outstanding recreation.”
“We recognize the importance of these lands to the people in the area and we are pleased to partner with the CRD and TLC to preserve these lands for future generations,” said Ben Stewart, Minister of Community and Rural Development.
The Land Conservancy launched the Wild Hills and Beaches Campaign to fulfill its commitment to the land purchase. “Sandcut Beach, Jordan River and the Sooke Hills are the definition of West Coast paradise. We are pleased to help complete the transfer of the first phase of these Western Forest Products lands thanks to the contributions from the Province of BC and co-founder of Thrifty Foods Alex Campbell,” said TLC’s Executive Director Bill Turner. “With these donations, plus many others, TLC now only requires just over $3 million to accomplish its part of the acquisition for the next two phases. We are encouraging all Islanders to join us and help make this parkland a reality by donating at www.conservancy.bc.ca or by calling 1.877.485.2422.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Weeks Lake Area Map
Sooke Potholes Area Map
Jordan River Area Map
Note to editors: Photos, B-roll, and FAQs available upon request.
For further information, please contact:
Laurie Sthamann, Communications Coordinator
CRD Regional Parks
250.360.3332 | cell: 250.889.8030
Bill Turner, Executive Director
The Land Conservancy of BC