Aerial view of West Ballenas Island. (Photo courtesy the BC Parks Foundation)

Aerial view of West Ballenas Island. (Photo courtesy the BC Parks Foundation)

Community rallies to buy private island off Parksville for parkland

BC Parks Foundation successfully raises $1.7M for purchase of West Ballenas Island

The BC Parks Foundation has officially raised enough money to purchase West Ballenas Island.

Foundation CEO Andrew Day said they reached their goal of $1.7 million through community support.

“It was a combination of lots of different things; online donations and cheques. But mostly it was thousands of people donating online,” said Day.

Located just east of Parksville in the Salish Sea, West Ballenas Island is home to rare plants, threatened species and various marine life. South Ballenas Island remains Crown land held by the Government of Canada.

Day was unsure what would have happen to the island if the foundation hadn’t raised enough money for its purchase. He said he imagined the sellers would put it back up on the market and sell to developers, risking the already threatened ecosystem once again.

READ MORE: One week left to buy last unplucked gem of proposed Salish Sea marine park at a discount price

According to Day, the plan for the island involves discussions with the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation, since the island is within Snaw-naw-as territory.

Day said the next step is for the province to begin the process of designating the island as a park, which will likely take a year given the current global COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s perfect actually, though,” said Day. “Because in the meantime we need to do some biological inventory work and just make sure it’s in good shape for people to visit.”

He said once the island is ready, the foundation plans to turn it into a public park that will likely be open to the public, though transportation will not be provided.

“It’s a pretty fragile ecosystem, so we don’t want to have it overrun by people. It’ll mostly be for sailors and people who kayak, that sort of thing.”

According to Day, conservationists will be able to control the impact people have on the island by marking certain areas as off-limits. They also intend to install anti-pollution facilities.

It marks the second time the foundation has successfully purchased property in an effort to protect endangered ecosystems.

The first time was in 2019, when the foundation purchased 2,000 acres of land in the Princess Louisa Inlet, located approximately 60 kilometres west of Pemberton along the Sunshine Coast. The cost to purchase the land in Princess Louisa Inlet was ‘crowdfunded’ for $3 million.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

BC ParksfundraisingParksville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police arrested a man in a Yates Street grocery store Nov. 27 after he refused to wear a mask. (Black Press Media File photo)
Belligerent man arrested in Victoria grocery store after refusing to wear mask

Officers fined the man $230 under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

A 43-year-old woman is facing charges for impaired driving and leaving the scene of a crash after attempting to flee from police by driving down the beach in front of the Oak Bay Marina on Nov. 23. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter)
Victoria woman drives over seawall onto beach near Oak Bay Marina

Driver faces charges for fleeing crash, refusing breathalyzer test

Friends with Dorothy opens in Victoria.
LGBT2Q+ lounge Friends with Dorothy opens second location in Victoria

The Kelowna-based lounge plans to open in Victoria mid-December

Oak Bay police are searching for two men caught on camera dumping garbage bags on the side of Brighton Avenue on Nov. 26. (Ray Bernoties/Twitter)
Police seek two men caught dumping bags of trash on Oak Bay street

Garbage left on side of Brighton Avenue could lead to $81 ticket

Victoria police were called to a single-vehicle crash shortly before 3 a.m. Nov. 27. (Black Press Media file photo)
Driver dies after fiery early morning crash in Vic West

The driver was the sole occupant of the single-vehicle crash involving a hydro pole

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read