Following a growing movement of support across municipalities, recreation groups and environmental groups for a provincial land acquisition fund, a new report has been released outlining one of the ways the government could partially fund such a program. Environmental Lawyer Erin Grey has produced a report on behalf of the Ancient Forest Alliance, analyzing the AFA’s proposed Pop for Parks program, which would see unredeemed bottle deposits redirected to the purchase and protection of private lands with high conservation values. The report explores the success of similar schemes to redirect unredeemed bottle deposits for environmental and other public purposes in several US jurisdictions and indicates there are no legal or financial barriers to implementing the program in BC – only a lack of political will.
Every year, $10 to $15 million in unredeemed container deposits goes to beverage companies in BC as windfall profits. The Ancient Forest Alliance believes these profits should go to conserving endangered lands and creating green spaces for British Columbians to enjoy. While the Pop for Parks program would make up only part of the recommended minimum annual $40 million fund, the new report, supported by West Coast Environmental Law’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund, shows the Pop for Parks program is a readily available funding source which the new NDP government could swiftly redirect to protect some of the province’s most important lands and forests.