By David Slade
In 2007 and 2008 a referendum passed by voters in the CVRD created a Parks Acquisition fund to purchase and preserve land throughout the region. The referendum allowed for an annual levy of approximately $5 per $100,000 of property value. A mere $25 per year on a property valued at $500,000. If applied throughout the CVRD, this levy would now raise approximately $1.4 million per year.
Of course we assumed that the CVRD would assess and invest the whole amount and build on the network of parks, trails, wildlife corridors, and protected areas of ecological or cultural importance. Instead, in 2019 our elected directors chose to reduce that levy to a mere $0.67 per $100,000 assessed value, or $3.35 total for the year on a property valued at $500,000; less than the cost of a fancy coffee for most home owners. This reduced levy raised a total of only $150,000! Not nearly enough to purchase and preserve land of any significance.
Protecting the environment by creating parks and preserving wild places is one of the most important things we can do to address loss of biodiversity and fight climate change. Bio-diverse wild places absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere. They help shade our rivers and streams, protecting salmon and wildlife habitat. By creating interconnected bike-able trails between our parks we can not only help people get out in nature – something that has become increasingly important in these Covid times – we can get people out of their cars and reduce carbon emissions.
Creating parks and preserving wild places is also an opportunity for our elected leaders to think globally and act locally on behalf of everyone living in the CVRD, leaving a more ecologically sound and resilient community for our children and grandchildren.
Let’s ask all of our area directors to levy the full amount that we approved and use that money to build a legacy of interconnected parks and protected areas that will make us a world leader and our grandchildren proud of our wisdom, foresight and generosity. All for the price of a few fancy coffees per year.
It should also be noted that there is real economic value in eco-tourism and the ecological services provided by protected areas and parks.
Creating parks and preserving wild places is of critical importance, please contact your elected directors and councillors throughout the CVRD and let them know now! Budget deliberations for 2021 are currently in progress. Contact info is available on the CVRD website or you can send to all directors at [email protected]