Salt Spring Island Community Interest in "Texada" lands

Texada Development Corp. recently acquired roughly 2008 ha in the south west of Salt Spring Island; roughly 10.9% of the total island land base. The Salt Spring Island Community has long valued these lands for many reasons. These values are summarised in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Values that the Salt Spring Island Community and other Canadians places on the lands owned by Texada Development Corp.

Value placed on lands
SE Sensitive Ecosystems (as defined by CDC) support biodiversity and rare plant associations
SEF Sensitive Ecological Features (e.g. bird nests, roost sites, rare species)
FH Existing or potential Fish Habitat
H Sites or areas with Historical significance
A Archaeological sites such as burial sites, middens and fish weirs
HCV Areas with a High Contiguous Value - large, contiguous areas of second growth
R Recreational uses such as hiking, skating, scenic lookouts
VS Areas of high Visual Sensitivity
HA Vegetation protecting " Hazard Areas " with unstable slopes or high potential for soil erosion
W Lands within Watersheds which supply potable water to the community

Some of these values that we place on the land are cultural and some are ecological. Some values such as our local "skating rink" up in Mount Tuam area are specific to the local population. Other values, such as those placed on the biodiversity preserved in the sensitive ecosystems found there, are held worldwide. The community has done a preliminary analysis of what values are found where within the Texada Development Corp. land holdings. The holdings have been divided up into 10 Areas of Interest (AOI) based on the way the community values the land. The AOIs are shown in Map 1 and the values that the community places on those AOIs are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Preliminary List of the Salt Spring Island Community’s AOIs and values in the lands held by Texada Development Corp.



AOI # on map
AOI Name
Mt. Tuam Slope                    
Mt. Tuam Bench                    
Hope Hill Wetlands                    
Mt. Bruce/Hope Hill Watershed                    
South Fulford Valley Viewscape (ex-Weldwood)                    
South Shore Burgoyne Bay                    
Burgoyne Bay Head                    
Fulford Creek Corridor                    
Maxwell Lake Watershed                    
Mt Maxwell Slope                    

 In the short term we ask that Texada Development Corp. treat these lands in such a way as to preserve the values that the community places on them. While we need more time to document and map the values we hope that these values are taken into consideration by the developers as they log and develop the lands. The corporation has agreed to some concessions to this end; for instance the deferral of logging on the slopes of Mount Maxwell where most of the sensitive Garry oak and open meadow ecosystems are located and the placement of buffers along the streams and wetlands. The corporation has not yet recognised other values which, if lost, will diminish the possible options that the community and the developer has for the land in the longer term. Some of these values are outlined in more detail below.

 Contiguous forest ecosystems

The current logging in the Mount Tuam area reduces the opportunities for creating large contiguous areas of second growth which presently exist as a result of the Mt. Bruce/Hope Hill watershed area linking the Mt. Tuam ecological reserve and Mt. Bruce crown land parcel (our AOI# 4). These large areas of contiguous second growth forest – now relatively rare in the southern Gulf Islands, are important in maintaining biodiversity of plant and animal species native to the coastal Douglas fir forests. Conserving biological diversity at a variety of scales is required if we wish to maintain a healthy biosphere. It is just as important to protect genetic variation and ecosystem diversity as it is to protect species diversity, if we wish to maintain B.C.’s biological diversity. The community lobbied hard to have the crown lands designated as protected areas and the values will be greatly diminished if the parcels connecting those crown

Sensitive Ecosystems

One of the most striking features of the lands held by Texada Development Corp. is the amount of the land base which has been classified by the Conservation Data Centre (CDC) of the provincial government as "Sensitive Ecosystems". In the words of the CDC.


We must ensure that examples of every ecosystem type are maintained in a natural state to serve as "benchmarks" against which to measure our success in managing our natural resources, and as a reference point for restoring ecosystems that have been destroyed through our carelessness. It is truly in our own best interests to protect natural ecosystems so that we may enjoy and benefit from them in the future, as we have enjoyed and benefited from them in the past.

Sensitive Ecosystems are found in almost all of the AOIs identified by the Salt Spring Island community (see Table 2). The ecosystems of special interest to the CDC include the Arbutus and Garry Oak woodlands, the scarcely vegetated open areas and natural grasslands with rocky outcrops which support large numbers of rare plant species such as native wildflowers, the few remaining old growth forests in the region and the scattered wetlands. In particular these ecosystems are concentrated in the Mt. Maxwell slope region (Table 3).

Table 3: Areas of sensitive Ecosystems in the Mt. Maxwell Area

Sensitive Ecosystem
Area (Ha)
% SEI on SSI found in Mt.Maxwell lands
Mt. Maxwell Lands
All of Salt Spring
Arbutus & Garry Oak Woodlands
Scarcely Vegetated
Natural Grasslands & Rocky Outcrops
Old Growth Forests

Visual Sensitivity

Much of the lands held by Texada Development Corp. are highly visible from well travelled routes used by islanders and tourists attracted to this island for its scenery and relatively wild setting. The extensively used route down Fulford-Ganges road, the Fulford estuary, the ferry coming from Victoria and the boat traffic and beachcombers of Burgoyne Bay all look at these lands. Logging can be done in these areas in a way that minimises its visual impact, but this must be planned and done with care. Visual viewscape analysis is now current practice in all areas with high visual impact and we ask that the developer respect our community by practising it on their Salt Spring Island holdings.

Benefits to the Developer

By respecting our values the developers will have the support of the community and in the long run enhance the potential sale of these parcels. The parcels will not only attract more government interest if they have been well steward, but potential private land buyers will be attracted by the knowledge that the wilderness and conservation values have been preserved. There is no shortage of large, logged parcels in the region. There is however a shortage of natural, intact ecosystems which the conservation organisations can help to preserve through covenants. We ask you to work with us to achieve this win-win solution.

Thank you,

The Salt Spring Island Community