For 80 years the Pugh family of Central Saanich lived on forested property just north of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and now, through a covenant with The Land Conservancy of BC, the land will remain protected from development.
The joint agreement is just one piece of the environmental legacy the late Lorna Pugh worked tirelessly to create; the protection of the 1.4 acres will be known as the Pugh Covenant.
“Our parents enjoyed watching the many animals and birds that increasingly used the wildlife corridor and sanctuary that the protected creek and forest area, rich in native flora, provides,” said Frances Pugh, one of Lorna and her late husband Alan’s four daughters.
Along with sisters Winona, Gillian and Geraldine, Frances – a Central Saanich grower and conservancy board member – considers the covenant a way to honour their parents.
The land is a stone’s throw from Gore and Oak Haven parks, which Lorna had a hand in creating.
The property has long been used for livestock grazing and farming and the coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem under which it falls is a threatened one.
Just 0.1 per cent of the historic region – a warm, desirable part of the Island located on the southern tip and eastern coast that has seen extensive logging – remains today.
“Protecting even 1.4 acres of it… every little bit really does help,” said Torrey Archer, a biologist and land manager with the conservancy. Archer was part of the team who worked with the Pugh family to co-create the covenant, a legally agreement bound to the land title.
“That’s important because then it carries on once the Pugh family sells to the next owner,” she explained.
While the property is currently for sale, it comes with a no subdivision clause (part of the covenant) to protect it from future development or tree removal.
The land conservancy is a registered charitable land trust and through the covenant program, it now sustainably protects more than 12,750 acres throughout B.C.
“Protecting this land is a generous gift to the community,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor, adding a thank-you to the family for “continued dedication to conserving local ecosystems and habitats.”