Savary Island Land Trust Society
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SAVE THE DUNES!

(Spring 2001)

Preserving a Piece of Savary... A little closer

New funds for biodiversity in B.C. may come to Savary.

Federal and provincial officials announced an agreement worth $175 million to acquire land and protect biodiversity in BC. Of this, $20 million will be spent for new acquisitions outside the Pacific Marine Heritage (PMHL) area.

A recent report in the Powell River Peak (Saturday April 7. 2001) interviewed David Anderson, Federal Minister of Environment after the announcement. In the interview he noted that:" most of the $20 million will be earmarked for Saltspring Island, however he did not want it all going there. He made it clear that there are two areas in the province he wants considered for the $20 million the province has agreed to spend outside the national park boundaries." The Peak quoted Anderson saying. "One is the eastern shore, that is, Powell River and adjacent areas, and the other is the Cowichan Valley," he said. "I have a soft spot in my heart for the Powell River shore. . ."

According to the Peak: "Anderson said he couldn't name any particular parcels because he would be "treading on the toes of the province," but he did say the last undeveloped tract of land on Savary Island was a possibility. "I'm not here to say that's the most important piece of acquisition and that has to happen. I'm simply here to say I fully expect Savary to be considered along with some other shore properties in the eastern Gulf, island or mainland."

For many years Islanders, SILT and the Savary Island Committee have lobbied for the extention of the Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy boundary to encompass Savary, in order to acquire and preserve DL 1375 as an ecological reserve. In January of 2000 SILT made a presentation on the national ecological significance of this parcel to the Federal Liberal Caucus. SIC members at the time, Glenn Warring and Paul Leighton attended the meeting.

In 1998, 58% of Savary Islanders chose the preservation option when polled by the Savary Island Committee about the preferred outcomes for DL 1375.

The specific option chosen by the majority of Islanders follows.

"That with the assistance of private land conservancy organizations and/or government agencies, and provided the owners receive fair compensation, as large an area as possible be preserved in perpetuity as an ecological reserve available for limited public access."

A report by Ministry of Environment Planner, Brian Bawtinheimer in April 2000 noted that: " DL 1375 would be a logical candidate area for protection under the Ecological Reserve Act."

According to the BC Ecological Reserve website, the goals of ecological reserves are:

Ecological reserves are permanent sanctuaries established to:
· preserve representative examples of plant and animal communities;
· protect rare and endangered plants and animals in their natural habitat;
· preserve unique or rare zoological, botanical or geological phenomena;
· serve as benchmarks for long-term scientific research and educational use; and
· serve as examples of habitats recovering from modifications caused by human activity.

Most ecological reserves are open to the public for non-destructive, observational uses (eg. hiking, photography, wildlife viewing). All consumptive resource uses such as timber harvesting, mining, hunting, trapping, grazing, camping, lighting fires, road and trail building, removal of materials, plants and animals, and the operation of motorized vehicles, are prohibited.

Protecting a piece of the uniqueness of Savary is in view... much work remains.