BC Parks Foundation is aiming to raise nearly $2 million to protect the West Ballenas Island in the Gulf Islands from private development.
The foundation has secured an agreement to purchase the West Ballenas Island for $1,700,000, down from the asking price of $2,225,000. The deal, however, only stands until November 17.
West Ballenas is an undeveloped 100-acre island, home to abundant bird populations, rare plants, threatened species and marine life. It’s currently privately held and zoned for development, but with the purchase of the island, BC Parks Foundation is hoping to avoid that.
The campaign has raised $1,299,424 as of Nov. 4, 2020, with only $400,576 left to go.
West Ballenas Island is the missing piece in establishing the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago as a 4900-hectare marine park. It’s the last private non-park parcel remaining in the conservation initiative by the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, a group established to raise awareness of the biodiversity of watersheds on Mount Arrowsmith and nearby marine areas.
“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 the town’s Mayor, Brian Wiese, in a press release.
The island is within the Snaw-Naw-As Nation’s territory and BC Parks Foundation have discussed the purchase with them.
In 2019, BC Parks Foundation raised $3 million to protect Princess Louisa Inlet. After a successful fundraiser, the foundation decided they would do one campaign per year to protect B.C.’s threatened environments.