Published: February 03, 2011 6:00 PM
The Comox Valley Regional District, in conjunction with Environment Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada, announced Wednesday the purchase of a woodland river floodplain at Shelter Point Farms in Oyster River, and a new protected wildlife area called Bear Creek Nature Park.
Collectively, the $3-million purchase protects about 520 acres of wetland, agricultural and forested habitats. The CVRD has contributed $300,000 to the cause.
“My kudos to everybody involved,” district board chair Edwin Grieve said at a ceremony at the Shelter Point whisky distillery in Oyster River.
The generosity of the Evans family — owners of Shelter Point — has been a critical component of the initiative. The family granted a conservation covenant on their 357-acre parcel to Ducks Unlimited to ensure the area remains an oasis to wildlife.
“It’s taken a lot of people a long time to pound this project through,” Patrick Evans said.
Comox Valley MLA Don McRae shared some kind words about the family.
“You’ve been a huge part of the Comox Valley for a long time,” McRae said. “Your family has been able to get a great asset, and you’re going to share that asset with not just my generation of young people but generations to follow. And not just generations of people but generations of animals that will thrive and grow.”
McRae also praised the efforts of local government officials.
“It’s not an easy time in the last two years to find dollars to spend,” he said, extending his generous words to Ducks Unlimited.
“You’ve done amazing work for British Columbia, you’ve done amazing work for North America, and it is recognized by politicians universally.”
Ducks Unlimited provincial manager Les Bogdan said natural ecosystems such as Bear Creek Park benefit communities by “filtering and purifying water, and reducing development impacts that may deteriorate the river’s surrounding watershed.”
The CVRD will manage the land as a public park while the Oyster River Enhancement Society will operate a salmon hatchery at the park.
Along with the ‘ecogift donation’ from the Evans family and the CVRD contribution, the project has been financed by private donations, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the federal government and international partnerships.