Big donations, little donations accepted for land acquisition

July 23, 2014

I have to admit, I never heard of the idea of communities raising money to buy land from corporations who clear cut trees (or do anything, for that matter) so that the corporation will sell the land to the community.

The cynic in me (or maybe the realist) says that this means it is a sellers’ market for the corporation and the owners will make much more money than they would selling trees.

Still, just take a walk on one of the Burgoyne Bay trails in the park located in the southwest corner of Salt Spring Island and you will agree with me that any amount of money was worth raising in order to keep the beauty in the trees, mountains and ocean on natural display there.

And even sitting through all the agonizing meetings was worth it (I think). Here is an account of one of them:

Gulf Islands Driftwood
February 9, 2000
Big donations, little donations accepted for land acquisition
by Tanya Lester

Islanders advocating land acquisition and opposed to clear-cutting may well be dancing — around the May pole or elsewhere — on May 1 if they manage to raise the $500,000 needed to seriously begin land purchase negotiations with Texada.

The May Day Campaign was announced last Thursday evening at Gulf Islands Secondary School during one of the ongoing public meetings on the issue. It was sandwiched between questions and comments at the public miscrophone where line-ups were continual throughout the evening — from among the over 200 concerned islanders who attended.

One of these was Adrian du Plessis, who outlined information he had obtained about the backgrounds of some of the key players in Texada — (see separate story).

“It’s not just big donations but little donations of $5 and $10, too, (that we’re interested in),” said Elizabeth White, when she made the announcement.

To date, $140,000 has been donated and pledged by over 100 groups and individuals, said White, who is the Salt Spring Appeal volunteer fundraiser.

White later told the Driftwood that $500,000 is the amount The Land Consevancy of B.C. (TLCBC) executive director Bill Turner believes is needed to be considered as a serious land purchase contender by Texada owners.

The appraised value of the Texada land is $30 million with a price tag of another $30 million put on the property’s standing timber by the logging corporation, said Turner, who also spoke at the meeting.

White said a detailed prospectus with information concerning values of land parcels within the Texada property is near completion. These parcels can be considered by individuals and groups who would comply with land covenants specified by TLCBC when making a pledge for purchase.

Anyone interested in making a pledge can identify a specifici land parcel (i.e. Maxwell Lake watershed) which the group or individual would like to purchase or contribute money towards, said White.

She said a pledge form is signed by the contributor but no money is required up front. When money is needed, it will be requested with 21 days notice.

The Community Forest Group (CFG) and those interested in establishing farm trusts are two groups considering purchase of Texada land parcels.

CFG spokesman Andrew Lewis told the audience his group formed because of an interest in the spiritual, physical and economic health of the forest and the Salt Spring community.

“Community forest is a working forest managed by islanders to work for the island,” Lewis said. It is forestry wihc is ecologically sustainable.

Lewis said the project would provide educational facets, research opportunities, direct and indirect employment, and tourism opportunities.

Community forests are also being developed on Cortez and Denman islands as well as many communities in the B.C. Interior.

Lewis said most are operating on Crown land with the one on Denman being privately owned…

Kate McEwen from Island Natural Growers spoke about the farm trust concept and indicated that parts of Texada land are suitable for agriculture.

She said a farm trust would be a non-profit organization that could give farmers access to land that they could not otherwise afford. The trust could be the setting for demonstration and teaching farms.

“You end up with a working landscape,” McEwen said.

To make a farm trust feasible, it would need interest from organic farmers and public money, she said.

Those opposed to the clear-cutting will also be establishing an information and fundraising office in a rental space above Barb’s Buns in Ganges scheduled to open during the last week of February.

Upcoming fundraising events include a Natural Health Fair at Fulford Hall on February 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. At least 40 percent of the proceeds will go to land acquisition efforts.

On February 18, musicians Valdy, Bill Henderson, Alan Moberg, Susan Cogan and Tom Hooper will be performing in a fundraiser at ArtSpring.

“Woodstop”, an all-day/all-night community music festival featuring bands, performance art, poetry and clowns, will run on February 26 at Beaver Point Hall…

Also, Barry Livingston is organizing a fundraising Sacred Arts Festival of music, dance and poetry reading in March…
To read earlier posts on this blog go to
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Readerby Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or the first pages can be read by going to the title and author name at


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