Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about the campaign?

Are donations tax-deductible?

Yes! Salt Spring Island Foundation will be issuing tax receipts by postal mail for all donations, which you can deduct from your taxable income for a tax savings at the end of the year. You can also donate to the campaign directly with the Salt Spring Foundation on their site. Just simply select the ‘Community Park’ fund when making your contribution to ensure the donation is allocated to this campaign. Securities donations are also welcomed and you can also donate by cheques by sending them to the Salt Spring Foundation at PO Box 244 Ganges, BC V8K 2V9, or they can be dropped at the Foundation office and if it’s not open, placed in the mailbox at street level at 158A Fulford-Ganges Rd. All cheque donations must indicate clearly ‘Community Park’ in the note field.

Where is the property?

It’s on the northeastern slope of Hwmet’utsum/Mt. Maxwell, adjacent to Mt. Maxwell provincial park.

Will this be an extension of the provincial park?

No. This will be a Community Park, owned by the Capital Regional District (CRD) and managed by the local Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC), with public multi-use trails that will provide recreational opportunities while also protecting sensitive ecosystems in the neighbouring Hwmet’utsum/Mt. Maxwell watershed. The new park will preserve this 75 acres of recovering forest from further logging and development.

Doesn’t recreational use hurt the land?

The trails will be for hiking, horseback riding and non-motorized mountain biking. In this case, the multi-use model will actually protect the neighbouring watershed, by giving riders sanctioned trails as an alternative to the unauthorized biking trails on the North Salt Spring Waterworks land. There will also be space for picnicking, disc golf and outdoor learning programs to build appreciation of nature.

How much money is needed to acquire the land from the landowners?

The total price is $1.75MM, but the landowners themselves have agreed to donate more than half the cost: $900,000. CRD/PARC has agreed to put in $250,000 and that’s being matched by a private donor, so at the start of our public campaign we’re already most of the way there! We need to raise an additional $350,000 by December of 2022, to complete the purchase.

Do we really need another park, when housing and other issues are a huge problem?

All these issues are interrelated. Equity and a healthy economy require affordable housing for the workers we need on the island, but more housing requires more water at a time when climate change is changing rainfall patterns, increasing runoff to the ocean and impacting the island’s freshwater sources. Our best bet to stabilize the climate on the island and to store the rain we get – and stabilize the global climate by sequestering carbon — is to make sure that our forests are healthy and contiguous. So this is not an either/or. We have to tackle these problems in a systemic way, and preserving forest is a critical part of that.

Can this land really help fight climate change?

Sequestering carbon though photosynthesis (putting the carbon back into the soil) is fast becoming the most important function of forests. Salt Spring’s forests (mostly 2nd or 3rd growth Douglas fir) store on average 400 tons of carbon per hectare and can add an extra 1-3 tonnes of carbon per hectare to their carbon pools each year. In total, our 14,000 hectares of forest – just on Salt Spring – store about 5.6 million tons of carbon and add 14,000-42,000 tons of carbon to their carbon pools each year. This acquisition will help stop the clear-cutting that is turning our carbon sinks into carbon emitters and threatening our future. Approximately 2/3 of the 75 acres is fairly mature second growth forest with some very old trees with about 1/3 as recovering 3rd growth. Your contribution to help preserve this 75 acre (30 hectare) piece of land will mean the sequestration of up to 90 tons of carbon each year!

This isn’t the only land protection campaign. Why should I contribute to this one?

This acquisition from private owners will create the largest contiguous tract of protected land in the Southern Gulf Islands. It’s been 15 years since a multi-use park was created on Salt Spring, with the completion of the Burgoyne Bay provincial park. So this is our generation’s chance to create a park for the future, today. It’s also home to a number of Western white pines, which are under are under threat in BC from logging and disease. We think they’re beautiful, and want to protect them.

All acquisitions to protect land are important, but this land’s location on Hwmet’utsum/Mt. Maxwell, our iconic mountain, does make it special.

What’s Hwmet’utsum?

Hwmet’utsum is the First Nations name for the mountain. Here’s a video from Jared Qwustenuxun Williams offering instruction on the Hul’qumi’num pronunciation.

Will First Nations be involved in the purchase?

After the acquisition is completed, the CRD will develop a park management plan with input from stakeholder/user groups and will manage the park. There will be an additional use agreement to maintain the mountain bike trails. It’s our hope and intention to invite and support First Nations involvement in the planning and co-management of the land.

Who exactly is raising the money?

A broad coalition of groups is working to raise the money, including Island Pathways, The Salt Spring Island Foundation, Salt Spring Solutions, recreational groups, clubs, climate change activists, conservationists, Salt Spring elders and young people who need a place to play in the forest! Partner logos are at the bottom of the main page of this website.

What happens with my donation if sufficient funding isn’t secured?

All funds donated will be used to acquire the land for the community. If donations exceed the amount of the acquisition, the additional funds will be used to plan the trail system on the property. If we do not meet the fundraising target and the land is not acquired, all donations will be held in the Land Protection Fund held at the Salt Spring Island Foundation for future community land acquisition initiatives. All project partners — including the family selling the land — are working together to make the land acquisition a success.

Can I put on an event to help with fund-raising?

Yes! Please contact us. We’ll be happy to connect you with groups who share your interest, or brainstorm ideas on how to get the word out. Every tax-deductible donation helps, big or small, and we want Salt Springers to feel ownership of this new community park.