B.C. ACQUIRES LAND NEAR RENOWNED ROCK CLIMBING SITE
SQUAMISH – The B.C. government has reached an agreement to acquire almost 10 hectares of land adjacent to Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky MLA Joan McIntyre announced today.
“This is an important piece of land to the community,” said McIntyre. “Thanks to the excellent work of BC Parks and our partners, we’re protecting important wildlife habitat and recreation features, as well as the extraordinary views of Howe Sound and the Squamish River estuary for residents and visitors.”
The land, valued at $1.66 million and located on the west side of Highway 99 across from Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, is an important access point for rock climbers and provides good falcon nesting habitat.
The parcel was acquired from Malamute Holdings Ltd., a private development company, through a land exchange involving provincial Crown lands valued at $1.25 million, a $333,000 gift from Malamute Holdings Ltd. through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, and $81,000 from the B.C. government.
“Malamute Holdings Ltd. was pleased to work with the provincial government to complete this transaction and protect the conservation and recreation values of this site,” said Steve Miles and Paul Turner, principals of Malamute Holdings.
Legislation will be introduced by Environment Minister Barry Penner in 2011 to add these lands to the provincial park following First Nation consultations. The Stawamus Chief holds significant spiritual, historical and cultural values for the people of the Squamish Nation and is a rock climbing area of international significance.
“This is a local success story about working together to sustain healthy and dynamic outdoor spaces,” said Penner. “The Land Conservancy of British Columbia got the ball rolling on this land acquisition. Since then, with the persistent encouragement of MLA Joan McIntyre, the provincial government, and the private firm have worked together to find a way to protect this important site for future addition to the park.”
With the addition, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park will span 526 hectares.
“The District of Squamish is pleased we were able to help deliver a significant recreational amenity and natural gateway to our community into the public trust,” said Mayor Greg Gardner. “The addition of the Malamute lands to the provincial park will help foster a legacy of Squamish as a climbing destination and the outdoor recreation capital of Canada for generations to come.”
The B.C. government has invested more than $107 million over the past five years to improve park infrastructure and acquire additional parkland. Today, 14.27 per cent – 13.5 million hectares – of British Columbia is protected, more than any other province in Canada.
Since 2001, the B.C. government has established 65 new parks, 144 conservancies, two ecological reserves and nine protected areas, and expanded more than 60 parks and six ecological reserves, protecting more than 1.9 million hectares of additional land.