MLA Adam Olsen Supports Acquisition of Mt. Erskine Connector Trail

Salt Spring's Trail and Nature Club is working with BC Parks to acquire a piece of land on Mt. Erskine to protect a very popular 6 kilometre trail from Collins Road to Toynbee Road.

I am pleased to support this acquisition as part of the development and expansion of our province’s beautiful park system.

In addition to securing the trail corridor, incorporating this land into the provincial park will provide access to several beautiful viewpoints and potential picnic sites. The trail winds through forest that includes many pine trees, stands of Coastal Douglas Fir, and arbutus. As a trail already exists on this piece of land, no new trail construction will be required.

BC Parks had the land professionally appraised, contracted with the landowner to buy it, and will cover most of the related survey and legal costs. Although the BC Parks Foundation is collecting donations and issuing tax receipts, the Salt Spring Island community is responsible for raising the funds to purchase the land.

I hope you will consider contributing to this important fundraising project.

If you would like to make a donation, contact the BC Parks Foundation. Make a contribution online OR by mail to BC Parks Foundation, #1550-625 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2T6 OR by calling 604-343-3975 OR email gifts@bcparksfoundation.ca.

In all cases, be sure to specify that your donation is for the “Mt. Erskine Park Trail Connection Fundraiser” and include your contact information for your charitable receipt. If you have any questions please call Charles Kahn, President of Salt Spring Trail and Nature Club, at 250-537-1899

Sincerely,

Adam Olsen, MLA
Saanich North and the Islands

January 20, 2021 10:40 AM

Community Comments

  • Avatar Northender says:

    Why is the CRD Land acquisition fund not being used in this case?

  • Avatar South End says:

    February 3, 2021

    What Is With BC Parks and The Community of Salt Spring Island?

    Dear Adam Olsen - MLA Sannich North and The Islands,

    This comment is not meant to demean the amazing volunteer work that the Salt Spring Trail & Nature Club put forward on behalf of the Salt Spring Community. If it wasn’t for this Club’s dedication we wouldn’t have the trail network that we are currently blessed with. It echoes the comment in today’s Driftwood from The Nature Conservancy of Canada. A sincere thank you to The Club Members, I’ve personally donated to this effort.

    This comment is directed to Adam and BC Parks. It's about your comment effectively applauding BC Parks for their work on Salt Spring Island. Over 1400 Petitioners from across Salt Spring Island and the Province of BC have asked BC Parks to be held transparent and accountable to their Management Plan for Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park - Circa 2015. All Stakeholders who use the Park, live in or near the Park have been kept in the dark for the last 6 years while BC Parks goes secretly about their business. Our Community is simply frustrated and disappointed in the manner BC Parks conducts themselves on this Island we call home.

    With regards to the current Fundraiser for Mt Erskine Provincial Park and the connection to Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve. One can assume this is a straightforward boundary adjustment which provides lopping off a 1 acre parcel from the 35.5 Acre parcel held by a local Land Holding Company. Is it fair to say you’ve never walked this Trail? What you’ll find is a narrow trail with sloping sides. It takes less than 5 minutes to transit across the ridge from Mt. Erskine Provincial Park to the Manzanita Nature Reserve. Yes, there is an area of flat rock suitable to have a picnic but that’s about it. The Hiker gazing Northward in the picture attached to your letter requesting donations is afforded that view by the fact that the 35.5 Acres was clear cut of any marketable timber, along with the other 3 adjacent lots to the West. Not exactly an Eco Friendly Land Owner supporting the vision and ideals of the Green Party.

    "BC Parks had the land professionally appraised, contracted with the landowner to buy it, and will cover most of the related survey and legal costs. Although the BC Parks Foundation is collecting donations and issuing tax receipts, the Salt Spring Island community is responsible for raising the funds to purchase the land. I hope you will consider contributing to this important fundraising project."

    The Parcel is currently 35.5 Acres and has an Assessed Value of $790,000 for 2021. BC Parks on behalf of the Salt Spring Community effectively acting as their Agent has negotiated a purchase price of $243,700 plus ancillary costs which brings the total purchase price to approximately $255,000. This tiny parcel has limited value because of its rugged terrain, next to a 370 MW Power Line and cannot be subdivided. On closer inspection the $255,000 price tag for this 5 min trail can in no way be justified other than it provides the convenience of an existing trail and provides a windfall gain to the local Land Holding Company.

    Are other options available? Certainly, find and prepare an alternate path nearby so the trespass situation is avoided. The terrain is steep but by adding 10 minutes to the trail walk, a flatter section is available. Have a local Estate Agency and Appraiser on Salt Spring Island deal with the Negotiations. Who are familiar with our Official Community Plan and Zoning to provide a more accurate assessment of value.

    A number of the Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park users would relish the idea of $255,000 to make improvements in consultation with BC Parks and the Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park Management Plan to enhance their Park experience.

    Respectfully, DG Courtney, Land Owner - Burgoyne Bay Valley.