The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) will be voting at their AGM this week on a motion asking the BC government to implement an annual provincial fund to purchase and protect endangered natural spaces on private lands using the accumulated unredeemed beverage container deposits, estimated to be worth $10 to $15 million/ year in BC (see Resolution B128, sponsored by Highlands: http://www.ubcm.ca/assets/Resolutions~and~Policy/Resolutions/2016_UBCM_Resolutions.pdf). Earlier this year the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC), representing 53 local governments, passed the resolution, and now it's time to snowball the support from municipalities across BC to pressure the provincial government!
Please WRITE an EMAIL to your mayor and council to express your support for this motion (find their contact info through www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/about/ubcm-members/municipalities.html – once you’re on their website, find the “city council” section for their contact emails and phone numbers).
Ask them to:
- Support Resolution B128 sponsored by Highlands, and supported by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC), calling on the province to establish an annual fund to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems on private lands using the accumulated funds from unredeemed beverage container deposits (ie. “Pop for Parks” fund), worth an estimated $10 million/year or more.
- Note that many of the most endangered ecosystems in British Columbia, as well as many community drinking watersheds and areas of high recreational and scenic importance, are found on private lands that are threatened with development.
- Please follow the good example of the Capital Regional District's $3.7 million/year Land Acquisition Fund, which has raised over $35 million since the year 2000 to purchase over 4500 hectares of private lands to add to the regional parks system, including such beloved places as Jordan River, the Sooke Hills and Potholes, Burgoyne Bay and Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island, and lands between Thetis Lake and Mount Work parks. A larger provincial equivalent would be a major boost to conservation efforts in BC.
- Note also that unredeemed bottle deposits are used in many jurisdictions to fund land conservation, including New York State, Massachussets, Michigan, Maine, and Connecticut.
- See the report “Finding the Money to Buy and Protect Natural Lands”, by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre, which details over a dozen mechanisms used in jurisdictions across North America to raise funds for protecting land, including the “Pop for Parks” mechanism.
*** Be sure to include your full name and address so that they know you are a real person.
Momentum is growing as over 20 major BC conservation and recreational groups, several city councils, as well as the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) have supported the call for the BC government to establish a dedicated provincial fund that can be used to purchase and protect endangered private lands of high environmental and recreational significance.
The University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre has prepared a report for the Ancient Forest Alliance outlining some potential mechanisms to support such a fund, including the proceeds from unredeemed beverage container deposits, resource taxes on fossil fuels, property transfer taxes, income tax check-offs, etc.
About 5% of British Columbia’s land base is private, where new protected areas require the outright purchase of private lands from willing sellers, while 95% is Crown (public) lands where new protected areas are established by government legislation. However, a high percentage of BC’s most endangered and biologically diverse and rich ecosystems are found on private lands – which tend to be found in temperate lower elevations and major valleys where most humans live. As a result, private lands are disproportionately important for conservation efforts. In particular, southeastern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast, and the Okanogan Valley contain much of the private lands in BC, the greatest concentrations of endangered species, and the most heavily visited natural areas, and would benefit the most from such a fund.
The provincial fund would be similar to the Capital Regional District's existing Land Acquisition Fund that has helped to protect thousands of hectares of beloved green spaces around Victoria including the Sooke Hills, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River, and Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island.
Read our MEDIA RELEASE from earlier this year at: https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=963
See an article in the Times Colonist at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/push-for-provincial-land-acquisition-fund-gathers-steam-1.2156674 and in Island Tides at: http://islandtides.com/assets/reprint/environment_20160128.pdf and the original article in the Times Colonist at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/jack-knox-pop-bottles-could-give-green-funding-extra-fizz-1.2131156
Read the report by the UVic Environmental Law Centre (ELC), 'Finding the Money to Buy and Protect Natural Lands': http://www.elc.uvic.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FindingMoneyForParks-2015-02-08-web.pdf