The BC Parks Foundation is raising funds to purchase West Ballenas Island.
Each year, the foundation chooses one special place to concentrate their fundraising efforts. They picked the 100-acre West Ballenas Island, in the Salish Sea, one of province’s most threatened environments.
While this island would normally be out of reach, the foundation was able to reduce the asking price from $2,225,000 to $1,700,000. The foundation now has until Nov. 17 to secure the funds.
West Ballenas Island is described as “an undeveloped island gem and is listed as one of the top 10 most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands. It is home to abundant bird populations, rare plants, threatened species and marine life.”
The West Ballenas Island is in a prime location for human use. Part of Snaw-Naw-As First Nation territory and long popular with local and international boaters visiting the surrounding archipelago, many people are not aware the island is privately held and zoned for development into a number of individual parcels.
The island is the only private non-park parcel remaining in a proposal to establish the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago as a 4,900-hectare marine park — a long-standing conservation initiative within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve.
The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Foundation was established to raise awareness of the biodiversity of watersheds in adjacent marine areas.
Biosphere reserves are considered model regions for sustainable development. They work to promote the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in addition to economic and social development. In each biosphere reserve, community partners work together to find innovative ways to achieve a balance between the needs of humans and nature.
“As a partner of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, the Town of Qualicum Beach is excited at the prospect of protecting this Island for future generations, and for the further development of the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago conservation area,” said Mayor Brian Wiese.
To learn more visit www.bcparksfoundation.ca/west-ballenas-island
— NEWS Staff