"Beauty. Nature. Peacefulness. Home!" These are a few of the words that
reflect what Salt Spring Island has meant to us until just last December.
At that time, a land sale involving more than 10 percent of the island
shattered our tranquility.
The primary stated objective of the new owners is to make money as quickly
and efficiently as possible by logging the island's forests. Although our
governments have designated the Gulf Islands as a special place to
"preserve and protect," and although BC's Ministry of Forests has
identified the area's "rain shadow rain-forest" as an endangered ecosystem,
there is nothing we can legally do to stop the clear-cutting. Our only
alternative is to purchase at least the most environmentally sensitive
pieces of land.
It's a familiar story, played out across every continent-local people and
their concern for the land overshadowed by large monied interests. Even
though we have been involved with many issues, in many places, this one is
perhaps closest to our hearts.
The new owners' industrial logging techniques and land development
proposals will adversely affect about 5000 acres of our island home. In
response to conservationists' inquiries into the possibility of purchasing
some of the land, the owners agreed but then placed greatly inflated prices
on the land.
Islanders have united as a community and are demonstrating remarkable power
in meeting this formidable challenge. Nevertheless, we need help. We ask
you to join us by demanding forestry practices that respect our ecosystems
and by supporting the fundraising campaigns now underway to purchase
critical land parcels for parkland.
We chose to live on Salt Spring Island because of its rare beauty and
natural setting. About half a million visitors come here every year for the
same reasons. Our lands are under siege and if they go, a place of not only
great beauty but true ecological importance on this earth will be lost.
Please join us in helping to stop the destruction of this special place.
It is really sad that important decisions regarding such a large and
precious part of our island are made by off-island forces who are focusing
solely on return-on-investment.
Robert and Birgit Bateman