A deadline is fast approaching to raise money to secure a new park, and for anyone on the fence about donating, the coalition of community groups involved says the time is now.
A thus-far successful fundraising effort has gathered all but the last $150,000 needed to purchase land at Hwmet’utsum (Mt. Maxwell) to establish the 75-acre Salt Spring Community Park. A sold-out dinner event at Foxglove Farm on Sept. 19 brought more than $150,000 for the acquisition. Elizabeth FitzZaland of Salt Spring Solutions, one of the community groups involved, said perfect weather and company made for a great night of food and music.
“It was a wonderful evening, and Foxglove Farm is such a beautiful place, so graciously offered to us by Jeanne-Marie Herman and Michael Ableman,” said FitzZaland. “We’re feeling acutely grateful for all the community support, and it came from all different types of folks who have different reasons why they’re excited for this project.”
The fundraising event was exactly what the park project has always been about, added FitzZaland: bringing together different interests to protect the forest. Plans for the property include the establishment of a multi-use trail network for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. Managed and shared use of the park will secure conservation of the area while encouraging outdoor recreation.
But that remaining money needs to be raised by Oct. 31 for the coalition of community groups to finalize the purchase agreement between the CRD and the landowner. The purchase price of $850,000 has already been discounted by the landowner from its $1.7 million appraised value.
“The goal is to protect the forest and the mountain, as well as public access,” said FitzZaland. “Now we’re asking anyone who has been considering donating, or thinking they should mention it to a friend — we have less than 40 days, and now is the time for those folks to step up and help us over the finish line.”
FitzZaland said organizers are also looking for groups or individuals interested in coming forward as matching donors. As the coalition’s charitable partner, the Salt Spring Island Foundation will issue tax receipts for eligible donations.
Another fundraising and informational event for the Salt Spring Community Park is on the calendar, at the Mateada on Oct. 15. For more information on that event, or to donate, visit the website: communitypark.ca.