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Private Land Protection

Brief History 

“Land Trusts are non-profit, charitable organizations committed to the long- term protection of natural and/or cultural heritage of lands. A land trust may own land itself, or it may enter into conservation covenants with property owners to protect or restore natural or heritage features on the owner’s land.” Land Trust Alliance BC

In 2006, the SCCA decided to explore becoming a “Land Trust.”  The board and our Executive Director at the time felt that this could be a great opportunity for the SCCA to merge community desire to protect important private lands, with our mandate for the protection of biodiversity. We engaged with the Land Trust Alliance of BC for support in becoming a registered land trust organization and in 2008 we gained the right to hold conservation covenants under Section 219 of the Land Titles Act. 

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Covenants

Cliff Gilker

In the fall of 2010, the Sunshine Coast Regional District inquired as to whether the SCCA would consider holding a conservation covenant on Cliff Gilker Park.

The request was brought about by people’s comments during the development of the Cliff Gilker Management Plan, which was prepared in 2007, and later reaffirmed in the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan process..

Upon review of the original covenant presented by the SCRD, it was decided that we would attempt a rewrite to make the document more suitable to the long-term goals of the community, the SCRD parks department and the SCCA. To do this, we enlisted the assistance of retired SCRD head of planning Judy Skogstad and the legal assistance of Lois Potter. It was a year-long adventure and education in legalese and the language of conservation covenants.

As Cliff Gilker Park has two fairly distinct areas, one with playing fields and various structures and the other a forested area interlaced with several paths and bridges, it was difficult to make one covenant suit both needs. It was decided to demarcate the two portions, recognizing that each required different types of permitted activities, as described by the Cliff Gilker Master Plan and monitored by the SCCA as the covenant holders.

We hope that we have found that balance with this document, meeting the wishes of the community while protecting and hopefully enhancing the natural values of the park in perpetuity.

Gambier Island

While we were considering taking on the Cliff Gilker covenant, our friends from the Gambier Island Conservancy approached us, hoping that we would consider joining with them in holding three more covenants on Gambier Island: Mt. Artaban Nature Reserve, Long Bay Nature Reserve and Brigade Bay Bluffs Nature Reserve

These reserves were under the control of the Islands Trust Fund, and the trust was interested in seeing that the three areas were protected and secured over the long term. We reviewed the three properties in question and agreed that they were indeed worthy of protection in perpetuity.

Our first task was to write up a memorandum of understanding with representatives of the Gambier Island Conservancy to describe our relationship and responsibilities in relation to the covenants. Subsequently, we worked with our partners to have baseline studies done, develop covenant agreements and management plans for the lands. In 2014 we finalized the agreements and formally protected the lands 

Every year, we are invited by our partners to participate in monitoring and restoration projects to ensure the ecological values of these lands are properly maintained. 

These two pictures are from a 2020 monitoring visit by the SCCA.
Photography by Suzanne Senger.

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Block 7 Gospel Rock 

The SCCA has been working with the Friends of Gospel Rock Society to protect ecologically rare, environmentally sensitive lands in the Gospel Rock Neighbourhood area since 2004.

Gospel Rock has its own area in our website.

Gospel Rock, Sunshine Coast, BC, photographed by Carl Olsen.
Gospel Rock, Sunshine Coast, BC, photographed by Carl Olsen.

Keats Island 

Sandy Beach is a 3.4 ha stretch of Coastal Douglas-Fir forest on the southwest shoreline of Keats Island. With over 250 metres of sandy beachfront, the area provides habitat for threatened species including great blue heron, olive-sided flycatcher, and the little brown myotis bat. The beach also provides spawning habitat for surf smelt and Pacific sand lance.                                            

Sandy Beach was a part of the BC Baptist Churches ‘Keats Camp’ which has operated on the Island since 1926.  In 2020, the church transferred the land to the Island Trust Conservancy as part of a rezoning and subdivision application. Sandy Beach is the first formally protected parcel of land on Keats Island. 

The SCCA was invited by Islands Trust Conservancy and The Land Conservancy of BC to become a covenant partner on these lands. The process of establishing a conservation covenant and management plan to protect the property in perpetuity is ongoing.  

O’Neill Estate - Rainfrog Sanctuary

In 2019, the SCCA's friend and benefactor Rick O'Neill, passed away, leaving the SCCAas the executor of his estate and heir to his property. We will be maintaining this property as a conservation area according to his wishes.

More information is coming on this project.

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