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Parksville council hopes to see 30 per cent of biosphere region conserved

Resolution will go to AVICC conference in April
The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville council has endorsed a resolution that urges the province to purchase and conserve 30 per cent of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR).

Coun. Amit Gaur brought the motion, which will go to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention in April.

“There’s a lot of species at risk that fall within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region,” Gaur said during council’s Jan. 15 meeting. “And we know it’s also our source of water — the Englishman River watershed falls within this region and other watersheds.”

His motion also mentioned that the UNESCO-designated MABR includes five watershed regions and the Coastal Douglas-fir moist maritime biogeoclimatic subzone, which is the most at-risk zone in B.C.

Gaur said he chose 30 per cent because it aligns with the federal government’s goal of conserving 30 percent of Canada’s land and water by 2030.

He added close to $1 billion has been set aside in the tripartite agreement between the federal government, the province and the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC).

Gaur said currently eight per cent of MABR is conserved.

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“We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We live in beautiful B.C. and I think these are the regions that make our province beautiful, our region, that drives a lot of tourism and eco tourism. So it makes sense for us to be protecting this natural beauty.”

Mayor Doug O’Brien said he has “reservations” with the 30 per cent number, and pointed out much of the land is owned by Mosaic Forest Management, rather than the Crown.

“I feel it would exceed your billion dollars easily, just for one land purchase,” O’Brien said. “I won’t be supporting this in that particular case because I just think the ask is too large. It’s not reasonable.”

Council voted in favour of Gaur’s resolution, with O’Brien opposed.

The 2024 AVICC conference is scheduled for April 12 to April 14 in Victoria.

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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