As you’ve probably heard by now, we have succeeded in protecting St. John Point forever. We talked to our Executive Director, Michael Dunn, about what the new partnership with Capital Regional District Parks means for the Point and for the Mayne Island community.
Can you tell us a bit about how CRD Regional Parks fits into the protection of St. John Point?
From the beginning, we envisioned that funding for St. John Point would come partly from the community, and partly from a major partner, and that’s how it played out. The community raised over two million dollars; CRD Regional Parks came forward as the major funding partner with another two million.
And CRD becomes the owner of the land?
Yes—the plan was always to have an established Canadian conservation body be the final title holder. Mayne Island Conservancy doesn’t have the resources to manage a public park on the long term.
How can we be assured that the property will be carefully managed and that its ecological values are preserved?
Mayne Island Conservancy has placed a conservation covenant on the property. A covenant is a permanent, binding agreement that sets out a duty of care for the owner. CRD has agreed to the terms of the covenant.
What kind of uses or activities will be permitted?
In keeping with the covenant, CRD will manage St. John Point as a Regional Conservation Area, which is one of its highest levels of protection—higher than Mt. Parke. Light hiking and public education will be encouraged. Bicycles, horses, motorized vehicles, camping, and fires will not be permitted.
It’s also important to remember that St. John Point is registered with the federal government as an Eco Gift, which means that it can’t be sold in the future for any purpose that compromises its ecological values. St. John Point is considered a permanent gift to Canada.
Will the community be involved in the care of St. John Point?
Yes- we envision that the community, coordinated by Mayne Island Conservancy, will take on responsibility for things like invasive species management (broom removal and the like) as we do in Mt. Parke and other areas. We may also take on things like interpretive programming—guided walks etc in partnership with CRD Parks.
We will also be monitoring the ecological health of the park. We commissioned an ecological survey of St. John Point at the beginning of the campaign, and will do ongoing annual photo monitoring and surveys to ensure that the health of the threatened plant communities that live there and other values are sustained over the long term.
We are still raising funds for an endowment fund that will support our work there—ensuring that the commitments we’ve made in the conservation covenant are upheld in the future.