Aerial view of West Ballenas Island. (Photo courtesy the BC Parks Foundation)

Aerial view of West Ballenas Island. (Photo courtesy the BC Parks Foundation)

Community rallies to buy private island off Parksville for parkland

BC Parks Foundation successfully raises $1.7M for purchase of West Ballenas Island

The BC Parks Foundation has officially raised enough money to purchase West Ballenas Island.

Foundation CEO Andrew Day said they reached their goal of $1.7 million through community support.

“It was a combination of lots of different things; online donations and cheques. But mostly it was thousands of people donating online,” said Day.

Located just east of Parksville in the Salish Sea, West Ballenas Island is home to rare plants, threatened species and various marine life. South Ballenas Island remains Crown land held by the Government of Canada.

Day was unsure what would have happen to the island if the foundation hadn’t raised enough money for its purchase. He said he imagined the sellers would put it back up on the market and sell to developers, risking the already threatened ecosystem once again.

READ MORE: One week left to buy last unplucked gem of proposed Salish Sea marine park at a discount price

According to Day, the plan for the island involves discussions with the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation, since the island is within Snaw-naw-as territory.

Day said the next step is for the province to begin the process of designating the island as a park, which will likely take a year given the current global COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s perfect actually, though,” said Day. “Because in the meantime we need to do some biological inventory work and just make sure it’s in good shape for people to visit.”

He said once the island is ready, the foundation plans to turn it into a public park that will likely be open to the public, though transportation will not be provided.

“It’s a pretty fragile ecosystem, so we don’t want to have it overrun by people. It’ll mostly be for sailors and people who kayak, that sort of thing.”

According to Day, conservationists will be able to control the impact people have on the island by marking certain areas as off-limits. They also intend to install anti-pollution facilities.

It marks the second time the foundation has successfully purchased property in an effort to protect endangered ecosystems.

The first time was in 2019, when the foundation purchased 2,000 acres of land in the Princess Louisa Inlet, located approximately 60 kilometres west of Pemberton along the Sunshine Coast. The cost to purchase the land in Princess Louisa Inlet was ‘crowdfunded’ for $3 million.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

BC ParksfundraisingParksville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kendra Thomas from Warmland Women’s Support Services invites Cowichan residents to find out more about youth sex trafficking with an online event Nov. 16, 2020. (File photo)
Learn more about youth sex trafficking with ‘Love Bombing 101’

Nov. 22-28 is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week

Pnina Benyamini loved to be around people and people loved her. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic Chemainus woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone has been re-elected as chairman of the board at the CVRD. (File photo)
Aaron Stone re-elected as chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

Blaise Salmon, director for Mill Bay/Malahat, elected as new vice-chairman

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Most Read