Contemplation in action — a friend remembers Father Charles Brandt

Contemplation in action — a friend remembers Father Charles Brandt

Photo Caption

Contemplation in action — a friend remembers Father Charles Brandt

BY BRUCE WITZEL

Father Charles Brandt occasionally liked to quote his fellow monk Thich Nhat Hanh. The Buddhist teacher once was asked what we needed to do to save our world. “What we most need to do,” he replied, “is to hear within us the sounds of the Earth crying.”

How do we then respond to this call of the Earth’s cry, the people’s groaning? In this unprecedented moment of history — a worldwide pandemic coupled with increasing forest fires, floods, superstorms and mass migration of the Climate Emergency —doing nothing can no longer be an option.

Charles Brandt has left us many hints. His gifts and example of contemplation amidst action may well be an essential guide for us in echoing and raising our own voices.

“Where does contemplation lead one? Since it finds the Ground of Love in all reality, it leads to one’s sisters and brothers — it creates social consciousness, it leads to a deeper unity and love with and for the earth. Contemplation leads to transformation.”  ~ Father Charles Brandt

It’s been two months now since Father Charles Brandt died — just three months ago, I last saw him alive. He was in good spirits as we sat on the porch of the hermitage overlooking his beloved Oyster River. “There is hardly a portion of her banks from the estuary to the snows that I have not travelled by foot,” he wrote in 1972. “Her music, her rhythm is a background to my life and work.” I was just a teenager then.

My father, Mac Witzel, befriended Charles upon his arrival to Vancouver Island in 1964. Or maybe it was the other way around. Charles had become a member of the newly formed Hermits of St. John the Baptist who lived alongside the Tsolum River. As we now know, not long afterwards the river was terribly poisoned by the copper mine up on Mount Washington.

Antelope Canyon, Utah | Father Charles Brandt photo

The group of hermits were quite poor and lived in roughhewn cabins — true to 60’s I think. Many local people were initially dubious of them, these non-conformists. Who were these monks struggling in the woods? Shouldn’t they pray in a monastery?

The hermits disbanded within a few years and most of them moved away. Charles was one of the exceptions. A wealthy benefactor helped Charles obtain 27 acres of land by the Oyster River which had been logged a couple of decades earlier.

His cabin was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and moved to its new site. My father was foreman of the local BC Highways Department and helped during the process. At one point the posts on the bridge across the Tsolum River blocked the cabin’s passage. They were cut shorter to let it through — “No one ever knew,” Charles later admitted.

~~~~

During those years as a youngster, I barely saw or knew of Fr. Charles Brandt. He was a hermit after-all. Our friendship really began years later during the 1980s at a weekend meditation retreat that he led on Spirituality and the Environment.

“Follow your bliss” he said while conveying the comparative religious thought of Joseph Campbell. In explaining deep ecology, social ecology, integral ecology and cosmology Fr. Charles spoke about Fritjof Capra, Simone Weil, Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme.

The retreat eventually helped me to make a decision to leave my well-paying job on the booms of the Port Alice pulp mill. For eight months I went to live and work with the poor in the mountains of Mexico. “What can privileged people do to help?” I asked the local Padre. “First, pray,” he said. “Secondly, don’t use more than you need to — thirdly, defend the human rights of the poor.”

Work was at the base community level with campesino farmers, health workers, and other local organizers. We discussed Liberation Theology during training workshops about helping with people’s nutritional needs or even pouring concrete together. We promoted alternative methods of cooking by building solar ovens or efficient “rocket stoves” with local carpenters.

According to the World Health Organization an estimated 2.4 billion people, generally among the world’s poorest, rely on biomass like wood or dung for their heating or cooking needs. Solid fuel dependency exacerbates deforestation and climate change. Breathing interior smoke is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people annually. More than half of these deaths occur among children under five years of age.

~~~~

Over the next 30 years I cherished occasional visits with Charles when I travelled to Comox Valley. My wife Francis once said to me when I was feeling down, “why don’t you call Charles?” Another time he described to me verbatim, the Buddhist eight-fold path. This was the essence of Charles Brandt —clearheaded sage wisdom magnified by his caring soul and quiet calm presence.

Charles loved the world and its creatures. He was an expert birder and had assisted setting up the renowned bird recording lab at Cornell University in the late 1940s. He believed that the poor and disparaged of the earth included all these creatures and we need to reaffirm the dignity of the poor, human and non-human.

The strong connection Charles made with many people who knew and loved him was this — a common care for the earth and its people — oneness with the Sacramental Commons, as Charles put it. Yet in spite of this steadfast believe and his gentleness, Charles was never one to suffer fools gladly. Although he rarely displayed it, his critique could be quick and sharp. His vocation was clearly prophetic — somewhat like his mentor the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who once wrote — “Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn’t already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.”

Such was the person of Father Charles Brandt.

~~~~

Now on that crisp fall September day a few months ago, here I was sitting with Father Charles and a mutual friend, Willa Cannon. As a retired nurse, Willa with her husband Jim helped Charles in a myriad of ways. Their earlier work together with the Tsolum River Restoration Society had bonded their goodwill.

The annual meeting of the Brandt Oyster River Hermitage Society had been delayed for months because of COVID 19 protocols. Though we had the support of at least a dozen friends, Charles called for the meeting to be small — only three of us. We began with making clarifications about the direction of the Society. Charles wanted to put more emphasis on contemplative prayer and he spoke of the need to be conscious that “Only the Sense of the Sacred can Save Us.”

It was agreed to add this to our vision. It follows as thus: 

The Brandt Oyster River Hermitage Society seeks to fulfil the explicit wishes of Father Charles Brandt, that: The forest and house of the Hermitage is to be preserved as a peaceful centre for contemplating the spiritual foundations of ecology and nature as a sacred commons, and as a home for a designated Catholic hermit or other contemplative person dedicated to the environment and a life of contemplative prayer, who shares this vision.

The human community and the natural world will go forward into the future as a single sacred community or we will perish in the desert. Only the sense of the sacred can save us.

~~~~

We then briefly discussed the land conservancy for the forest and hermitage that had been put in place with the Comox Valley Land Trust in January 2019. In this regards, Charles expressed his gratitude for the work of two of our early directors, biologists Kathryn Jones and Loys Maingon. Then Charles affirmed the person called to be the new contemplative resident at the hermitage — Karen Nichols, a Benedictine Oblate.

Charles told us how Karen had helped years before archiving the library of Bernard de Aguiar upon his death. Bernard had been an assistant to Thomas Merton before becoming one of the original Hermits of St. John. He later became a potter on Hornby Island. Karen’s mother had been a conservationist and passed that value onto her. Her mandate will be to archive Charles’ extensive files and continue on — in Karen’s words — for the hermitage to be “a place of prayer and meditation and of conservation awareness”.

As our meeting closed Charles reached across the table to shake my hand. I reminded him we weren’t supposed to. He grinned and attempted an elbow bump but the table blocked us. With folded hands, I bowed to Charles, and then he to me. Without a word, each of us knew — the Sacred in me recognizes the Sacred in you.

These were my final moments with frater Charles A.E. Brandt.

~~~~

Only 10 days later Charles fell at the hermitage. He emailed people for help, if you can imagine that. A neighbour came over along with another friend who is a retired doctor, Bruce Wood. During many of Charles’ last 19 days in the hospital, Willa Cannon was often with him. Not long before losing consciousness he reached out and took Willa’s little hands and engulfed them with-in his. The last embrace of a dying man — he gave of himself, as always. Father Charles Brandt was true to his Christian faith to the last.

Bruce Witzel wrote this article on behalf of the Brandt Oyster River Hermitage Society in the hope to continue on with the work and gifts Charles has left us. He is a co-director and chairperson of the society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FATHER CHARLES OYSTER RIVER HERMITAGE LANDS PROTECTED WITH COVENANT

The Comox Valley Land Trust (CVLT) holds a conservation covenant over 27-acres of wild land on the banks of the Oyster River. The land was the home of spiritual leader and conservationist Father Charles Brandt, 95, who asked the CVLT to protect the mature forest and riparian areas for future generations. Father Charles died earlier this fall.

 
 
 

Father Charles Brandt, or “Father Charles,” had lived in his hermitage on the 27-acres bordering the Oyster River since 1970. As the first ordained Catholic priest-hermit in two centuries, he asked the CVLT to hold conservation covenant over the property to safeguard the values of conservation and ecological stewardship.

“The covenant will ensure that these mature forests and riparian areas, as well as the plants and wildlife that call them home, are protected for future generations in perpetuity,” says Tim Ennis, executive director of CVLT.

Father Charles donated the land to the CVRD as parkland (allowing pedestrian-only public access). A registered society will lease back the hermitage building for use by a contemplative individual to carry on in the priest-hermit’s tradition.

“We must fall in love with the Earth, and we only save what we love,” says Father Charles. “It is my deep love of contemplation and communion with the natural world that has led me to act in its defense.”

Funding required to complete the project was generously provided by Judy Hager (in memory of Bob Hager), the Oyster River Enhancement Society, members of the Tsolum River Restoration Society, and other local community members. 

— adapted from the Comox Valley Lands Trust website

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B.C.’s 150th anniversary provides an opportunity to right a historic wrong

B.C.’s 150th anniversary provides an opportunity to right a historic wrong

B.C.’s 150th anniversary provides an opportunity to right a historic wrong

BY PAUL MANLY, MP

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s become a cliche to say that it’s a year to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not recognize the progress we made this year as people took the time to reflect on the things that really matter. As COVID-19 shut down our world and the dramatic political divisions south of the border came to a head, we spent more time contemplating the changes needed to build a more compassionate, peaceful society.

In particular, one of the bright spots of 2020 was a much wider acknowledgement of the need to address systemic racism. We must now look for every opportunity to address our own history of racism and advance tangible reconciliation.

As the 150th anniversary of B.C. joining the Canadian confederation approaches in 2021, our federal government has an opportunity to advance reconciliation with First Nations on Southern Vancouver Island, while also protecting local drinking watersheds and endangered species, and fostering sustainable economic opportunities.

The negotiation of modern treaties in our part of the province is impeded by the lack of Crown Land due to the historic E&N Land Grant. The grant, which disregarded the rights and title of all First Nations in the area, is a legacy of B.C. joining the confederation. As part of the deal, the government awarded coal baron and government minister Robert Dunsmuir more than 20% of Vancouver Island, two million acres of land, along with $750,000. In exchange, Dunsmuir built the E&N railway, completing the rail link between Canada’s provincial capitals.

Today, the remaining undeveloped land is at risk due to logging and the potential sale of mineral rights. Local watersheds have come under threat from these activities, with communities being forced to invest millions on filtration and treatment plants to maintain their access to clean drinking water. Unsustainable development and resource extraction also threaten fish estuaries and animal habitats. Restoring the land to local First Nations could be done in a way that prioritizes vital conservation efforts, while also providing sustainable economic opportunities including selective forestry, recreation and tourism.

There are already programs in place to make this happen. The federal government has committed to protecting 30% of our natural areas by 2030 through Canada’s Nature Legacy program. A key part of this commitment is the creation of Indigenous Protected Conservation Areas (IPCAs), which fall under the jurisdiction and authority of the local First Nations.

Through a First Nations-led process the government could acquire a minimum of 30% of the existing forest lands that were privatized under the E&N land grant and place them under the jurisdiction and control of the affected First Nations. Land acquisition could focus on the critical habitat around rivers, watercourses and catchment areas for community drinking watersheds, with special consideration given to placing community drinking watersheds under co-management between First Nations and the cities and towns that rely on the water supply. Under the successful Land Guardian program, co-management could be coordinated between First Nations within the Hul’qumi’num, Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth territories of the land grant region.

The acquisition process could include the use of carbon offsets, land transfers, tax incentives and cash purchases to assemble the land. User fees generated by recreational use of the lands for activities such as camping, rafting and kayaking company tours, and parking fees for day use could also help fund ongoing land management through the Land Guardian program.

The acquisition of a portion of the E&N lands as IPCAs would be a significant step towards advancing reconciliation on Southern Vancouver Island. It can be done in a way that advances other goals that are important to Islanders, like protecting wild salmon, conserving the habitats of endangered species and preserving biodiversity, while also ensuring our communities have access to clean drinking water and outdoor recreation. This ‘rise together’ strategy has environmental, social and economic benefits.

If we take one lesson from 2020, let it be that honouring our history means looking at it with clear eyes. If we forget the full reality of our history, we are doomed to repeat it. So, what better way to celebrate the anniversary of our province joining the Canadian confederation than to address the historic wrong that was perpetrated as part of it? If we do, we can move forward together as a more just and sustainable province.

Paul Manly is the MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. He wrote this version of his op-ed column for Decafnation.

 

 

MORE ABOUT DUNSMUIR AND THE LAND GRANT

A rail link between Nanaimo and Victoria had been planned as early as 1873, but no serious effort to start construction was made until December 1883 when the province transferred to the federal government sufficient crown lands for the project. To safeguard control of the island’s economic future, and prevent the possibility of the Northern Pacific Railroad gaining the contract, many businessmen and politicians urged Robert Dunsmuir to build the line.

Dunsmuir was reluctant to accept the task, thinking it of little benefit to his colliery operations. He submitted a proposal to the Canadian government, however, and despite the severity of his terms he emerged as the sole acceptable alternative to foreign builders. After much shrewd bargaining in Ottawa Dunsmuir agreed to construct the railway in return for a subsidy of $750,000 in cash and a parcel of land comprising some two million acres – fully one-fifth of Vancouver Island. Significantly, the land grant came with “all coal, coal oil, ores, stones, clay, marble, slates, mines, minerals, and substances whatsoever in, on or under the lands so to be granted.”

He received also all foreshore rights for the lands, all mining privileges (including the right to mine under adjacent seabeds), and the retention of all coal and other minerals taken from the land. Additionally, as contractor he was permitted to cut whatever timber and erect whatever structures he saw fit to build the line. To promote settlement, provision was made for the sale of farmlands to homesteaders at one dollar per acre. Squatters of at least one year’s residence were allowed to buy up to 160 acres, and those settlers with title were allowed to retain their holdings, but virtually all else would go to the contractor in right of performance.

It was, in short, a major give-away of British Columbia’s natural resources.

— From the website, Biographi

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Comox Valley receives $9.251 million to offset COVID-19 pandemic economic impact

Comox Valley receives $9.251 million to offset COVID-19 pandemic economic impact

The new Comox Valley Regional District offices in Courtenay  |  file photo

Comox Valley receives $9.251 million to offset COVID-19 pandemic economic impact

By George Le Masurier

The Comox Valley has received more than $9 million as its share of British Columbia’s Safe Restart Grant Program.

The province distributed $425 million under the federal Safe Restart Agreement to B.C.’s local governments. This federal/provincial funding is designated to support the reopening and operational costs of facilities along with funding local emergency responses. The province allocated funds to each of British Columbia’s municipalities and regional districts.

The City of Courtenay has received $4.149 million. The Town of Comox received $3.067 million. The Village of Cumberland received $1.312 million. And the Comox Valley Regional District received $723,000. In total, the Comox Valley received $9.251 million.

The CVRD board allocated its $723,000 to a variety of uses at its board meeting this week.

Emergency operations preparedness and community support – $200,000

Promoting local food security and supporting vulnerable populations through the Comox Valley Community Foundation – $100,000

Information technology resilience to support safe work, public engagement and effective service delivery – $100,000

Rural fire department support for increased preparedness and personal preparedness equipment – $40,000

Unallocated BC Safe Restart grant program funds, totalling $283,000, will be retained for future considerations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the region. Unallocated funds would be primarily dedicated to the following projects: recreation services, rural community hall support and food aggregation and promoting local food security

“We are thrilled to see grant funding being delivered to the community level,” CVRD Board Chair Jesse Ketler said in a news release.. “Each local government received funding to invest back into community recovery and resiliency as we navigate these challenging times. At the CVRD we are focusing our efforts on supporting vulnerable populations, promoting food security and improving resiliency to deliver the services residents use daily.”

 

 

 

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Catch an Awe-Inspiring Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st

Catch an Awe-Inspiring Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st

Photo Caption

Catch an Awe-Inspiring Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st

By George Le Masurier

By DAVID DICKINSON, Universe Today

Dozens of planetary conjunctions grace our skies every year, as two planets seem to pair up as seen from our Earthly vantage point. Many are speedy affairs, as fast-moving inner worlds such as Mercury and Venus lap the sky, visiting the Moon, planets and stars along the ecliptic.

What’s more unusual is to spy a pairing up of the two slowest moving naked eye outer planets, Jupiter and Saturn. That’s just what happens next Monday, as Jupiter meets Saturn on the December 21st solstice. The two worlds will appear to be just 6.1 arcminutes (’) apart at ~18:00 Universal Time (UT) (1:00 PM EST), 30 degrees east of the Sun.

Though the two largest planets in the solar system lap each other once a generation (roughly once every 20 years), this conjunction is especially close: in fact, it won’t be topped until March 15, 2080 (6.1’). You have to go all the way back to July 16, 1623, to find one closer (5.2’ apart), though that particular conjunction was much lower in the sky and much more difficult to spot, at just 13 degrees from the Sun.

The last easily visible pairing of Jupiter and Saturn topping this year’s conjunction was on the morning of March 5, 1226 AD.

Though the timing of its closest approach favours longitudes centered on Europe and Africa, you can see the two getting closer night-by-night worldwide this week, going into this weekend. In fact, Jupiter and Saturn will remain less than one angular degree apart (easily close enough to hide behind your pinky at arm’s length) until December 30th, and closer than 30’ (the angular diameter of a Full Moon) from December 17th to the 25th.

The two planets will almost seem to touch on the evening of the 21st, though in reality, the two gas giants are 883 million kilometres (548.7 million miles) apart. Jupiter shines at magnitude -2, while Saturn is just seven times fainter, at magnitude +0.6. The razor-thin waxing crescent Moon just misses occulting the pair by three degrees on the evening of Wednesday, December 16th. (photo-op!)

Be sure to crank up the magnification, as you’ll have the rare opportunity to fit both solar system gas giants in the same field of view. You’re looking at over 90% of the planetary mass of the entire Solar System, right in one convenient view. Jupiter is 33 arcseconds (”) across on the night of the conjunction, while Saturn is 36” (with rings) from tip-to-tip. Be sure to check out the respective retinue of moons for each as they slide by one another in the sky.

Looking back from the local vicinity of Saturn, you’d see Jupiter slide just 7’ past the Earth, with both just three degrees from the Sun.
17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler placed great significance in the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. Kepler was the last great astronomer who also subscribed in part to the archaic practice of astrology, and he scrutinized at length what he termed as the ‘great conjunctions,’ or repeating patterns of conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn returning to the same astrological house every 60 years.

These ‘trines’ or triads of great conjunctions held great sway over Kepler’s thinking, leading him to suggest that the Star of Bethlehem was related to a close pairing of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 B.C. in Pisces the Fishes, a sign long associated with Judaism.

This year’s conjunction occurs on the border of the modern astronomical constellations of Sagittarius and Capricornus. With the conjunction falling just a few days before Christmas, expect the annual discussion of “what was the star of Bethlehem?” to come to the fore once again… though biblical and historical references to the actual event are so scant, we’ll probably never truly know for sure.

 

Looking Into the Far Future

Can Jupiter ever occult Saturn? Well, we looked at 20,000 years worth of conjunctions (it’s what we do for fun) and found 58 close (less than 10’ apart) conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn over 200 centuries, with only 11 in the 2000 year span from 1000 AD to 3000 AD… but only 5 that are closer than the conjunction in 2020.

Close (less than 10′ apart) conjunctions of Jupiter vs. Saturn over the span of 2000 years, from 1000 AD to 3000 AD. Credit: Dave Dickinson

One especially intriguing event ‘may’ occur on (mark your calendars) June 21, 7541 AD, when Jupiter may actually occult (pass in front of) Saturn. This will certainly pose a bizarre spectacle, as the moons of the two intertwine, and Jupiter dons Saturn’s rings!
We say ‘may’ because the precise position of the planets over extremely long periods of time are subject to tiny gravitational perturbations from each other, and those minuscule effects do add up to a small amount of uncertainty when we look out over tens of thousands of years.

To be sure, there’s not much in terms of scientific value behind next Monday night’s conjunction, but the spectacle offers a wonderful opportunity to show off the two worlds at the eyepiece, while we contemplate the clockwork universe and how it provides us with such rare views across time and space.

Fraser Cain, a Comox Valley native, is the publisher and founder of Universe Today, one of the world’s leading websites on outer space. It is headquartered in the Comox Valley.

 

 

 

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CVRD starts the process to create a regional parks service, it could take until 2022

CVRD starts the process to create a regional parks service, it could take until 2022

Graham Hilliar and Jen Alton examining trees tagged for logging in the Bevan Trails Recreation Area  |  George Le Masurier photo

CVRD starts the process to create a regional parks service, it could take until 2022

By George Le Masurier

With the possibility of losing several important large parcels of recreational land to logging, the Comox Valley Regional District this week moved a step closer to establishing a regional park service.

During its Dec. 15 meeting, regional directors voted to start what could be a lengthy process to create a regional parks service.

They directed staff to undertake a $25,000 background study and report back to the board.

A regional parks service that is funded by the entire Comox Valley would create the increased capacity to purchase large parcels of land, such as the 3L Developments Inc. property near Stotan Falls and the Bevan Trails Recreation Area higher up on the Puntledge River.

The only active parks service in existence now applies exclusively to the rural electoral areas and is funded by residents of those areas.

The vote occurred after directors heard a presentation from CVRD Parks Manager Mark Harrison on the history of parks services, the difference between regional and community parks and the benefits of creating a regional parks service.

In 1971, the then-Comox Strathcona Regional District developed a regional parks service that was funded in both 1972 and 1975, but the money was ultimately redistributed to the participating municipalities because directors could not agree on which parks to fund. The bylaw became dormant.

Harrison’s presentation offered the board several options for reactivating.

The first option would undertake a background study to include input from municipalities and the K’omoks First Nation, It would review best practices, funding models, examine local parks and greenway plans and more.

It’s a process that staff indicated could take until 2022 to re-activate the dormant parks service bylaw.

But several directors did not want to wait that long.

They preferred a second option to convert the dormant service into an active bylaw first and then engage the municipalities and KFN later. That would have enabled the regional district to start funding and possibly pursuing parkland more quickly.

“It (a regional parks service) is long overdue and the time is now,” Area C Electoral Director Edwin Grieve said. He urged directors to take a leadership role.

Area A Director Daniel Arbour agreed. “We’ve had 50 years to think about this,” he said.

But the rest of the directors voted to accept the staff recommendation with an understanding that it be completed as soon as possible.

 

BENEFITS OF A PARK SERVICE

Parks Manager Harrison told the board that the pandemic has shown the importance of natural areas for mental and physical health and social engagement. But, he said, it has also revealed the deficiencies in the existing parks service.

One of the deficiencies is a lack of clarity over what constitutes a community park versus a regional park service.

A community park service, he said, primarily benefits the rural areas that exclusively fund and operate them. A regional service benefits the whole region and is funded by all taxpayers in the Comox Valley.

Harrison said if the regional district chooses to collaborate and reactive a regional parks service it could accomplish many goals.

He said regional parks could consist of trails that connect our core communities. It could protect natural assets in perpetuity and make it possible to acquire large parcels of land that in the Comox Valley are often held privately.

A regional parks service could help combat climate change, enhance tourism. It would protect traditional recreation lands and the integrity of watersheds.

“These are all really good and just goals,” he said.

Harrison pointed to successes by other Vancouver Island regional districts that already have regional parks services. He noted the Englishman River park that includes a conservation area. The Elk and Beaver lakes areas in the Capital Regional District and the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails.

In the Cowichan area, the regional district has protected swimming pools along the Cowichan River and created an extensive trail system for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

“It takes cooperation from a whole community to achieve some of these types of parks that are regionally significant and benefit the region as a whole,” he said.

 

CONSERVATION GROUPS SUPPORT

The 26 organizations of the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership and their thousands of individual members have encouraged the regional district to activate a regional parks service.

Speaking to the board on behalf of the partnership, Tim Ennis, the executive director of the Comox Valley Lands Trust offered to collaborate with the regional district because “we can achieve more together.”

He noted the Lands Trust and the regional district have worked successfully together in the past on projects like the Tsolum River Commons and the Morrison Creek Conservation Area. In the latter project, the regional district provided a third of the funding and the Lands Trust secured the remainder from sources within and outside the local community.

“A regional park service could expand our capabilities,” he said.

Ennis noted that there are several front-burner conservation opportunities before the community currently that could only be accomplished through collaboration. He said CVCP members have extensive experience and that they were available to help.

 

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