CRD agrees to complete Brooks Point Regional Park


March 19, 2013

The Capital Regional District is partnering with the Pender Islands Conservancy Association (PICA) to retain and protect all of a 1.17 hectare parcel of land that completes Brooks Point Regional Park rather than resell any of the property.  The CRD borrowed the $1,650,000 to purchase this 1.17 hectare prime waterfront property linking Brooks Point and Gowlland Point in 2010 through their Regional Park Land Acquisition Fund.

The fate of this 2010 acquisition had been uncertain because the CRD required community and conservation partners to contribute approximately one-third of the park acquisition cost.  At the time of acquisition, the CRD retained the option of reselling the property to pay off the loan if necessary. 

The CRD initially partnered with the Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) who agreed to pay the interest on the loan and to assist in fundraising to help cover the cost of the property.  PICA led a fundraising campaign on North and South Pender Islands and raised a remarkable $151,770 from this small island community, a reflection of the community’s strong commitment to protect the sensitive ecosystem and complete the regional park.  

As a result of the current economic climate and the TLC’s recent financial difficulties in 2012, PICA offered to raise an additional $150,000 by December 2014 if the CRD would remove the resale option and commit to retaining the linking property.  

At their March 13, 2013 meeting, the CRD Board accepted PICA’s proposal to retain the entire property to connect Brooks and Gowlland Points, completing the 6.07 hectare regional park.  As a result, 34 percent ($940,000) of the total park acquisition cost of $2,770,000 is provided by PICA, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Brooks family, and 66 percent ($1,830,000) is provided by the CRD through the Land Acquisition Fund.   

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Pender community for contributing nearly $152,000 to support the goal of retaining the 2010 acquisition without subdivision or resale”, PICA’s fundraising co-chair, Monica Petrie said.  “PICA’s focus in the coming year will be to match last year’s fundraising success, but from off-island sources, including grants from conservation organizations which support our goal of protecting sensitive ecosystems” she added.

The regional park contains large areas of delicate chocolate lilies, providing a classic example of the display of spring flowers in a Garry-oak meadow, one of the rarest and most threatened ecosystems in Canada.  The 2010 acquisition also has a confirmed location of the rare and endangered Sharp-tailed snake which is listed in the Federal Species at Risk Act.  It is also a prime location for viewing Orcas in the wild and a destination for avid birdwatchers. 

Sylvia Pincott, past president of PICA who initiated PICA’s fundraising campaign in 2011, said “This important decision by the CRD Board helps protect one of the last ecologically-intact open headlands in the Southern Gulf Islands for future generations.”

PICA’s secretary, Rhondda Porter, pointed out that Poets Cove Resort on South Pender has already raised $20,000 toward the additional funding requirement through their Chocolate Lily Accommodation package, a portion of which goes to support Brooks Point.  “I am confident PICA’s committed and creative fundraising committee will meet the additional funding requirement with the help of our partnership with Habitat Acquisition Trust and the Islands Trust Fund.  Porter added “On behalf of PICA, I would like to thank the CRD Board and staff for their support in completing Brooks Point Regional Park.”

For further information please contact:

Monica Petrie, co-chair
PICA’s Brooks Point Completion Committee
250 629-3419  cell 250-537-0200

Read the Times Colonist article