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$2 Million? Thanks For Nothing

$2 Million? Thanks For Nothing

After three years of protests the BC Liberals have yet to fix the crisis they created

In 2007 the Province privatized 28 000 ha of land with an estimated commercial value of 130 million dollars.  This created the windfall of controversy and after three years of protests, critical media coverage and a scathing report from the Auditor General’s office the Liberals have limped in with a laughably small two million dollar contribution to solve the problem that they created. 

This “privatization” was achieved by a decision to remove extensive tracts of land from Tree Farm License agreements and allow Western Forest Products (WFP) to put some of the most iconic areas of Vancouver Island on the market for urban sprawl.  It spurred protests from every corner of our community that could have been easily avoided if the liberals had secured compensation from WFP for their 130 million dollar gift in the form of covenants and park dedications for high value areas, but they didn’t even pause to consider the community’s interests in the matter.

Three years of arguments and reasoning later with no response from our Provincial Government the CRD has stepped in with a historic commitment to purchase almost 20 million dollars of land with some of the highest conservation values.  3700 ha were purchased in the Jordan River and Sooke Potholes areas and to finance the deal they have had to turn to individual community members for donations.

With the CRD devoting the next five years of its park acquisition fund to the project and thousands of people being asked to make personal contributions out of their own savings accounts for land that the Province could have protected with the stroke of a pen Ida Chong and the rest of the Liberal cabinet were finally shamed into taking action.

Last week in a very self congratulatory press release the Province announced that it would donate two million dollars to the CRD.  Two million dollars sounds like a big number at first but its a small consolation for the $130 million give away three years ago.  After three years of protesting, critical media coverage and a scathing report from the Auditor General the liberals have agreed to fund about ten percent of the CRD’s purchase of less than ten percent of the privatized land.  Effectively the government has chipped in with a solution for one percent of the crisis it created two years ago. 

If our local MLAs Ida Chong and Murray Coell are waiting for a thank you, I hope they don’t hold their breath. 

Geoff de Ruiter says:
Apr 16, 2010 12:44 AM
I would like to add that The Land Conservancy of BC is also a key part of this acquisition. The have agreed to provide just over 25% of the total cost. So if anyone wanted to make a specific donation to this cause TLC is a great place to start.
M Cosman says:
Apr 16, 2010 12:45 AM
Sorry, I'm not a local: who is CRD?
Charles Campbell says:
Apr 16, 2010 12:47 AM
CRD Stands for Capital Regional District. - The district that Victoria is part of.
Gerry Taylor says:
Apr 16, 2010 12:45 AM
Some how Ida Chong believes she is onside with the public in regards to WFP land issues. She only "appears"in the press or at meetings when others have taken up first inputs, particularly difficult controversies, and rarely answers specific questions addressed to her office! I don't believe she understands the gravity of the precedents government has set in allowing these lands to be "privatized" without compensation to the public shareholders! On these matters alone she will not have my support in the next provincial election.
Gordon Wirth says:
Apr 21, 2010 02:56 PM
It is not just Ida Chong, but the whole Liberal bunch that it is out of touch with our envirnoment. If we keep voting for the bastards , they will sell off, or even give away the whole province and it's resources to big business.
Bernadette Keenan says:
Apr 16, 2010 09:12 PM
First $2million for conservation / parkland is nothing compared to the millions the liberals have spent acquiring residential lands first to buy out unhappy homeowners in the vicinity of the Tsawwassen power poles - which far exceeded the cost that just burying the powerlines in the first place, which the homeowners wanted. Residential properties that they have mostly been unable to sell. Oh and the money they are spending to build a new hospital in Surrey, when they knocked down St Mary's a perfectly good functioning hospital. The site remains a hole in the ground to this day. Next there is all the money to buy residential properties to build the South Fraser Freeway and Highway 1 expansion. But even those millions pale beside the thousands of millions they are spending to pave over some of the lower mainland's most environmentally sensitive areas that ought to be the most protected including parts of Burns Bog, South Fraser Watershed, Salmon bearing streams, land at Surrey Bend and also Tynehead parkland, we have learned recently.
From the examples I have given seems not only do the liberals not know the value of the environment and unique ecosystems they also do not know the value of a dollar since they keep making such foolish economic choices.

Unfortunately unlike fast ferries which can be sold to elsewhere we will have to live with and pay for their poor economic and environmental choices for generations.
Nadja Hocking says:
Apr 16, 2010 09:12 PM
The "Liberals" also gave land away to Island Timberlands! The Forestry Act does not apply to these private lands, and here on the Eagle (Lois) river in Powell River. Island Timberlands left a 50 meter buffer of scrub, alder and a few maple along the lower reaches of the river. At he estuary of the Eagle river they cut down every fir and cedar, and they did not check for nests before cutting. The only tall firs left along the river are on Sechelt Indian Band land. This is devastating for the eagles, osprey and heron who come to feed at the estuary - who now fight over the few tall trees left!
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