Rare Forest at Gospel Rock Protected with New Conservation Convenant

After more than 35 years of community, non-profit, and local government effort, 16.6 acres of rare and sensitive forests on “Gospel Rock” are now permanently protected.

The Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA), The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC), Greenlane Homes, and the Town of Gibsons have announced the registration of a conservation covenant protecting 6.72 hectares (16.6 acres) of one of the most spectacularly beautiful and ecologically sensitive places on the Sunshine Coast: Gospel Rock.

Overlooking Atl’ka7tsem Howe Sound and the Salish Sea at the southwestern edge of the Town of Gibsons, the scenic bluff of Gospel Rock is home to the last stretch of natural waterfront in the municipality. Located within the unceded territory of the S?wx_wú7mesh Úxwumixw, Gospel Rock is found within the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone (CWHxm), one of the most highly disturbed groups of ecosystems in British Columbia.

The conservation covenant, a legal agreement registered on title, restricts activities which would compromise ecosystem integrity or displace its species. Primarily composed of mature dryland forest, the covenant protects six ecological communities including the provincially red-listed Douglas-fir – Western Hemlock/Salal Dry Maritime (CWHxm1-03). This complex of ecosystems provides habitat for a rich diversity of flora and fauna species.

Protecting Gospel Rock with this conservation covenant is the culmination of over 35 years of conservation efforts to protect this regional ecological legacy. Community advocacy, spearheaded by the Friends of Gospel Rock Society, created a strong foundation for the covenant partners and property owners Greenlane Homes to collaborate on developing a conservation covenant that will provide protection for these rare ecosystems in perpetuity.

“Walking this property and standing to observe the sweeping vistas was a privilege,” said Cathy Armstrong, TLC Executive Director. “Working together to realize the conservation goals has ensured a legacy that we can all be very proud of.”

“The SCCA is pleased and relieved to participate at long last in the conservation of most of the rare ecosystems of the Gospel Rock waterfront and hillside. We are grateful for the community activism that persevered and the coming together of all the partners to create a permanent solution to the survival of this special place! Our hope is that the fawn lilies, pink sea blush, alligator lizards, the forest trees and the underground mycelium connecting it all will continue to thrive and be cherished by our community.” – Lee Ann Johnson, Chair, The SCCA

“I am absolutely delighted to see that decades of advocacy and public engagement has resulted in a conservation covenant for Gospel Rock forests and waterfront. This is the highest level of ecological protection available for private land in BC. Congratulations to the owners and covenant partners.” – Daniel Bouman, Chair, the Friends of Gospel Rock Society

“Council acknowledges that the Gospel Rock conservation covenant is the result of many years of work undertaken by community volunteers, the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, The Land Conservancy of BC, owners of the land, successive councils and employees of the Town of Gibsons,” said Mayor Bill Beamish. “This covenant is an achievement that we can all celebrate as a milestone and an example of responsible development and environmental conservation for our community. I hope this is just the beginning.”

“Greenlane Homes is very pleased with the process and result of collaborating with TLC, Friends of Gospel Rock, SCCA, and the Town of Gibsons to ensure the long-term protection of this very special ecosystem on the Gospel Rock lands. We look forward to continuing to work with these groups and other organizations in the ongoing protection of this land, and also the development of the neighbouring Touchstone at Gospel Rock community.” – Ji Yan, President, Greenlane Homes.

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