January 4, 2014
CBC4Kids at Brooks Point Regional Park


Our thanks to videographer David Ohnona

On the afternoon of January 4th, 2013, Pender Island kids joined dozens of other groups all over the United States and Canada who participated in a fun, sustainable, outdoor activity with their families: a Christmas Bird Count for Kids, aka CBC4Kids!  This continent-wide movement started in Sonoma, California in 2007 as a way to engage youth and their families in birdwatching.  Along with fostering an enjoyment and respect for nature, it also introduces kids to the basic principles of the 114-year-old Christmas Bird Count (a rigorous, all-day, "citizen science" avian survey now carried out globally during the Christmas-New Year holiday).

We held our inaugural CBC4Kids at Brooks Point Regional Park.  It was a robust turnout, with 26 children, ages ranging from 1 to 12.  Small groups were formed and then scattered to look for feathered friends.  With the help of quiet listening, binoculars and adult birding mentors, the kids counted ducks, songbirds, eagles and gulls.  Afterwards, their interesting lists were reviewed and compiled.  Their complete checklist is now submitted to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird program, the largest database of recorded bird locations in the world.  Check out their results by visiting http://ebird.org and select Explore Data; select Range and Point Maps; in Species field enter "Harlequin Duck," enter "Brooks Point Regional Park" in the Location field, and click on the Red Hotspot.  Click on Photos to see some of the kids in action.

Support for this birding event came entirely from our own community.  A big thank you to Pender Island's Home Hardware and Southridge stores for donating birdie prizes, to the Island birders who flocked to help the kids count, and to PICA's Brooks Point Completion Committee who hosted us all afterwards with hot chocolate and yummy snacks at the Petrie's.

Rachel Carson once said, "If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in."  Sharing this activity with the kids was a wonder-inspiring way for us to usher in the New Year, too.  Thank you, all.

Amanda Griesbach, Julie Johnston and Jill Ilsley
Co-ordinators of the 
CBC4Kids on Pender Island

Monica Petrie & Susan Brice, CRD Parks Ctte. Chair

December 18, 2013
$50,000 grant from Environment Canada Completes Brooks Point Campaign

Local nature lovers received an early Christmas gift this year, when the Pender Island Conservancy Association (PICA) announced that the campaign to complete Brooks Point Regional Park was complete a full year earlier than expected.

“PICA’s three year campaign to raise $300,000 to protect the unique ecosystem at the Southeast tip of South Pender Island is now complete, thanks to strong support from conservation partners including Habitat Acquisition Trust and a just-received $50,000 grant from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program”, says Monica Petrie, PICA’s fundraising co-chair.  PICA partnered with the Capital Regional District in 2011 to complete Brooks Point Regional Park by acquiring the parcel of private land that separated Brooks Point and Gowlland Point.

Brooks Point is one of the last undeveloped headlands in the Southern Gulf Islands, offering a special vantage for viewing resident Orca pods that swim close to the Pointís shoreline.  The meadows of chocolate lilies and camas at Brooks and Gowlland Points make it a popular destination for visitors in the spring.  The mature Garry Oak stand on the connecting property provides protection for the endangered Sharp-tailed snake habitat found there.  The regional park attracts wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers with abundant marine and intertidal life and over 100 different bird species identified.  It is considered an ecological gem by local islanders and visitors alike.

“On behalf of the Capital Regional District I wish to whole heartedly thank the PICA and its partners for its outstanding fundraising efforts to secure land at Brooks Point Regional Park” said Susan Brice, CRD Regional Parks Committee Chair.  “The PICA is a leader of the region in conservation partnerships and your efforts are inspirational to us all.”

Brooks Point Regional Park is an oceanfront park featuring an intertidal rocky shore and beach, meadows and commanding views of Boundary Pass and the San Juan Islands.  The CRD, TLC, Pender community and other partners raised funds to purchase the original 4.8 hectares, including Gowlland Point, in 1999 and 2000.

“I am thrilled at the announcement that Brooks Point Regional Park will finally be complete”, said Adam Taylor, Executive Director of Habitat Acquisition Trust.  “Brooks Point is an ecological treasure, and will be a wonderful place for the community to experience and learn about some of our rarest ecosystems.  I am so impressed at the work that volunteers with PICA have put into protecting Brooks Point.”

“Environment Canada’s $50,000 land acquisition grant to protect the Garry oak ecosystem and endangered Sharp-tailed Snake habitat has made a major contribution to the completion of Brooks Point Regional Park”, Petrie said.  “PICA and the Pender community who have been solidly behind this important initiative from day one are grateful for this generous and timely grant.”

“This project is yet another example of how our government is committed to protecting Canada’s rich biodiversity for the benefit of Canadians today and of future generations”, said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council.  “The Government of Canada is proud to support the environmental efforts of local communities through the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.”

“I have been excited to be part of this significant event”, said David Howe, CRD Director for the Southern Gulf Islands and an active fundraiser for the project.  “I appreciate the enthusiasm and hard work of the residents of Pender Island.”

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November 26, 2013
Another Milestone for Brooks Point Fundraising

On October 16th Brooks Point fundraising co-chair, Monica Petrie, presented the CRD with a cheque for $40,000 on behalf of PICA’s Brooks Point committee.  To date, PICA, the Pender community and our conservation partners have paid the CRD $215,000 of the $300,000 community and conservation partner portion of the Brooks Point funding requirement.  The CRD has contributed $1,350,000 toward the acquisition of the parcel of land connecting Brooks Point and Gowlland Point to complete Brooks Point Regional Park.

CRD Regional Parks Committee Chair, Susan Brice, Monica Petrie,
and Sylvia Olsen, SGI Director Alternate with $40,000 cheque.  (CRD photo)

The CRD Regional Parks Committee Chair, Ms. Susan Brice, commended PICA and the Pender community for their commitment and Parks Committee members expressed their appreciation for the work done by PICA’s Brooks Point committee. 

The $40,000 ws raised through our two summer fundraising events: the July bocce tournament ($5,000), and the August golf tournament ($5,000).  In addition, the Greenangels woodchoppers contributed $6,000 at their own initiative and the Islands Trust Fund contributed $10,000.  The balance of the $40,000 contribution came from individual donations and a generous legacy gift in memory of the late John and Dorothy Henshaw.   Fundraising continues and PICA hopes to make another payment before the end of the year.

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October 10, 2013
Only $85,000 to go, Brooks Point appeal goes province-wide

The Pender Islands Conservancy Association (PICA) is working feverishly to support the Capital Regional District's purchase of a property at Brooks Point on South Pender Island, a wildflower-filled headland jutting into Boundary Pass.  The group, which has raised approximately $200,000, is only $85,000 away from their fundraising goal to protect a spectacular waterfront property. 

Efforts to connect the close-together parks, Brooks Point and Gowlland Point, creating a continuous wildlife and trail corridor, began in 2010 when Capital Regional District borrowed $1.65 million to purchase the waterfront property linking the two parks.  The CRD had committed to the acquisition if the community and conservation partners could raise $300,000 to contribute towards the loan.

Province-Wide Support Sought

Hard work, and a recent boost from partner organizations, has put fundraisers in the home stretch.  We have had a policy from day one of this campaign that 100% of all donations go straight to the acquisition fund.  All fundraising expenses are covered from the sale of T-shirts, nature cards, etc.  All work by our committee is on a volunteer basis.  "4,500 hours by our committee and supporters so far!" says PICA committee member Paul Petrie. 

Having raised so many of the initial dollars within the island community, PICA is now asking people from across BC to help complete the project.  In response, two regional land trusts stepped up to answer PICA's call this fall.  The Islands Trust Fund raised $10,000 from generous donors throughout the Gulf Islands.  Habitat Acquisition Trust, based in Victoria, recently committed an additional $10,000, and has put the call out to their donors to match a further $5,000.  With the Islands Trust Fund and Habitat Acquisition Trust's contributions, only $85,000 remains to be raised. 

"The contributions from these regional conservation partners give our campaign the momentum we need to complete the community and conservation partner funding," said Monica Petrie, the fundraising co-chair for PICA.  "PICA and the Pender community are fortunate to have such support."

"With such high property values, acquiring land for conservation on BC's south coast is no easy task," said Jennifer Eliason, manager of the Islands Trust Fund.  "We hope we can help communicate the importance of this place to an even broader network who want to see rare coastal ecosystems protected for future generations."

With only $85,000 to go, Brooks Point's appeal goes province-wide to an even broader network who want to see rare coastal ecosystems protected for future generations.  A number of conservation experts and organizations prioritize ecosystem protection along BC’s south coast because the region contains such a high diversity of species, many found nowhere else in Canada.  Brooks Point is no exception. Its meadows of chocolate lilies and camas make it a popular destination for visitors in the spring. Gowlland and Brooks Points are the last undeveloped headlands on South Pender, offering a special vantage for viewing resident Orca pods that swim close to the island’s shoreline.  Endangered Sharp-tailed snakes live among the mature Garry oaks standing on the property.

This article was reproduced from Island Tides Volume 25 Number 20 October 10, 2013, an independent, regional newspaper distributing across the Strait of Georgia on the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.  

Island Tides Publishing Ltd, Box 55, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M0 • 250-216-9961 islandtides@islandtides.com
Visit www.islandtides.com for more interesting articles on other BC, national & international topics. © Island Tides Publishing Ltd.

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August 20, 2013
Brooks Point: One step closer to completion

The Pender Islands Conservancy Association’s Chocolate Lily Cup II golf tournament at Prospect Lake course was a fundraising success.  “The $4,750 raised takes us one step closer to protecting Brooks Point as a conservation area for future generations,” Monica Petrie, PICA’s fundraising co-chair, said.  “We especially appreciate Greenangels Woodchopers for stepping up as the event sponsor, Poets Cove Resort for providing a fabulous first prize accommodation package and Saunders Subaru for offering a new Subaru for a hole-in-one on the 170 yard 7th hole,” Petrie added.  Unfortunately, no one drove away in the impressive new Subaru Impreza. 

Big winners at the tournament included Jeff Bell’s team from the Times Colonist with low score, winners of Poets Cove Resort’s accommodation package and an overflowing basket of specialty items donated from Pender businesses and individuals.  Ruth Saunders, winner of the longest drive and closest to the pin contests, took home gift certificates from Chocolat, Muffet & Louisa and golf passes to Prospect Lake Golf course.  Oak Bay resident David Greer who organized the event for PICA said, "It was great to see so much enthusiastic support from Victoria for this special Gulf Islands Park."  

The silent auction was especially rewarding with a range of valuable items including a very limited edition print donated by Robert Bateman, a Nikon D3200 SLR camera from Wynne Powell and London Drugs,  and some great accommodation packages from God’s Mountain B&B on Skaha Lake and Morning Moon on Pender, all contributing $2,265 to the total.  Tom Watson, a Board member with The Land Conservancy, was a double winner, donating the most auction items and also having the winning bid on the most number of items.

Petrie also acknowledged PICA’s appreciation for the generosity of other sponsors including Island Savings, Odlum Brown, The Pinch Group at Raymond James Financial, RBC Wealth Management Practice and Island Tides Regional Newspaper.
Photo by David Greer

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July 14, 2013
Greenangel Woodchoppers provide a $5,400 Boost for Brooks Point Fund

Dave Howe, CRD Director for the Southern Gulf Islands and president of Greenangels Financial, made an offer PICA could not refuse.  In conjunction with PICA’s bocce fundraising tournament, Director Howe offered up to 10 cords of firewood at $300 a cord towards PICA’s Brooks Point campaign for orders taken at the tournament.  Needless to say, this put a bit of a buzz in the air and by the time the bocce balls had stopped rolling, 13 cords had been ordered, bringing the total to $4,000 for Brooks Point.  Four days later Dave called to say the firewood total was at $5,400!

The Greenangels Woodchoppers have gained wide recognition on Pender and beyond for bucking and splitting fallen trees donated by individuals and selling the firewood to support local charities.  Most recently the Greenangel Woodchoppers have been harvesting the firewood from the trees cut by BC Hydro to protect power lines.  The recent article by Jack Knox of the Times Colonist documents the impact of the charitable work by these inspired and energetic volunteers who have generated over $60,000 for charities. 

In 2011-12 PICA raised $152,000 toward the $545,000 community and conservation partner funding requirement to complete Brooks Point Regional Park.  Director Howe was instrumental in persuading the CRD Board to accept PICA’s proposal to reduce the remaining conservation partner funding requirement from $392,000 to $150,000 AND to remove the subdivision option on the 2010 acquisition.  With strong support from our Conservation Partners including Poets Cove Resort on South Pender, PICA provided the CRD with the first $25,000 installment on June 27th.  With the $4,590 from the bocce tournament and the $5,400 from the Green Angels Woodchoppers, we have $115,000 to go by the funding completion deadline of December 2014. 

The Greenangels Woodchoppers are valued Conservation Partners in PICA’s campaign to complete the funding for Brooks Point Regional Park.  Their generous and spirited contribution sets an inspiring example for our conservation partners in the Greater Capital Region and beyond.

Greenangels  !cid 27832F57-4A51-423C-8457-102FA3E6208E

The Greenangel Woodchoppers are: Sir G (Gary Gee), El Capitain (Dave Hargreaves),
El Director (Dave Howe) and Mountain Man (Ken Smith).  Photo by Harold Siebert

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July 14, 2013
Elizabeth May launches PICA’s Bocce Tournament for Brooks Point

Close to 100 Islanders, friends and visitors enjoyed spirited bocce and good fun on July 14th at a fundraiser for Brooks Point.  Saanich and the Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May was on hand to launch the tournament and lend her support to PICA’s campign. Team Gracie won in a sudden death extra end thriller to break a tie in the championship game. The team was cheered on by 3½ year old Gracie who loves exploring the tidepools at Brooks Point.  Thanks to the inspiration of the event organizers, Karl Hamson, Hedi Kovacs, Bill Deverell and Jan Kirkby and the generosity of participants, the funding for Brooks Point is $4,590 closer to completion.

Accent Inns, a valued Conservation Partner in PICA’s quest to protect Brooks Point for future generations, provided the first Prize of two nights at any Accent Inn in BC.  The winners are planning a trip to the interior with their prize, perhaps a wine tour.

MP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May rings the bell to start the bocce tournament.

TIMES COLONIST July 13, 2013
$25,000 down, $125,000 to go on Pender Island's Brooks Point park fundraising

The vision for Brooks Point Regional Park on South Pender Island continues to emerge, thanks in large part to the ongoing efforts of the community.

The most recent move was the presentation of a $25,000 cheque by the Pender Islands Conservancy Association to the Capital Regional District. The cheque was the first part of a commitment from the association to raise $150,000 after stepping up as “conservation partner” for the park project.

The group has until December 2014 to raise the remaining $125,000. Recent assistance has come from the Islands Trust Fund and Poets Cove Resort.

Read the entire Times Colonist July 13 article here

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June 29, 2013
Brooks Point Completion: One Step Closer

Monica Petrie, David Howe & Jeff Ward at Brooks Point

The vision of Brooks Point Regional Park on South Pender Island came a step closer to completion on June 29th when the Pender Islands Conservancy Association presented a cheque for $25,000 to Capital Regional District representative, Jeff Ward.  PICA had already raised  $152,000 through the Pender Islands community.  In March 2013 PICA agreed to raise the remaining $150,000 “conservation partner” portion of the funding requirement if the CRD would remove the subdivision resale option to pay down the acquisition loan.  The CRD agreed.  The $25,000 cheque is the first installment on that commitment.

The Cheque was exchanged near the navigational light at the southeast tip on South Pender Island overlooking the San Juan Islands to the South, Mount Baker and Saturna Island to the East, and Vancouver Island to the West.  In early May this Point is covered with one of the thickest stands of chocolate lilies in the Southern Gulf Islands.  Orcas often swim in close as they round the Point.  CRD Director David Howe said: “PICA’s vision and commitment since 1996 has been key in protecting this ecological gem.”

PICA’s committee co-chair pointed out, “This is just the first installment on the conservation partner share of the funding requirement.  There is still $125,000 to raise by December 2014.”  PICA is seeking support from conservation organizations and conservation-minded individuals to help complete the funding requirements.  The Islands Trust Fund recently put up $5,000 to match donations for Brooks Point made by December 2013.  Petrie also noted that conservation-minded businesses have contributed: “A major portion of this first installment was provided by Poets Cove Resort on South Pender”.

PICA has two fundraising events planned in Victoria: a charity golf tournament “Chocolate Lily Cup II” on August 18th at Prospect Lake and a concert at Alix Goolden Hall on Novemebr 10th.  The colourful poster for Chocolate Lily Cup II points out a hole-in-one “Wins a Saunders Subaru.”

For more information see brookspoint.org.

April 17, 2013
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Visits Brooks Point Regional Park

Her Honour Judith Guichon visited the Pender Islands on April 17, 2013.  She arrived on a very early ferry and after breakfast at Poets Cove Resort, one of our Funding Partners, she visited Brooks Point Regional Park.  

She was welcomed at the park entrance by members of PICA’s Brooks Point Completion Committee who have been fundraising to complete the park.  The committee presented Her Honour, who has been a board member of the provincial task force on species at risk, with Brooks Point T-shirts and a picture of the endangered Sharp Tailed Snake.  She then walked down the trail toward the sound of bagpipes.  To the delight of all, Pipe Master Jim Dunlop was playing on one of the viewpoints to welcome her.  She later walked along the foreshore through Phase III to the Gowlland Point Light where there was a viewing scope set up so she could observe activity in an eagle nest on a distant promontory.  She then walked along the trail through a field of chocolate lilies just starting to bloom and returned by one of the many loop trails to the trail head.

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Media Release  March 19, 2013
CRD Agrees to Complete Pender Island Regional Park

The Capital Regional District is partnering with the Pender Islands Conservancy Association (PICA) to retain and protect all of a 1.17 hectare parcel of land that completes Brooks Point Regional Park rather than resell any of the property. The CRD borrowed the $1,650,000 to purchase this 1.17 hectare prime waterfront property linking Brooks Point and Gowlland Point in 2010 through their Regional Park Land Acquisition Fund.

The fate of this 2010 acquisition had been uncertain because the CRD required community and conservation partners to contribute approximately one-third of the park acquisition cost. At the time of acquisition, the CRD retained the option of reselling the property to pay off the loan if necessary.

The CRD initially partnered with the Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) who agreed to pay the interest on the loan and to assist in fundraising to help cover the cost of the property. PICA led a fundraising campaign on North and South Pender Islands and raised a remarkable $151,770 from this small island community, a reflection of the community’s strong commitment to protect the sensitive ecosystem and complete the regional park.

As a result of the current economic climate and the TLC’s recent financial difficulties in 2012, PICA offered to raise an additional $150,000 by December 2014 if the CRD would remove the resale option and commit to retain the linking property.

At their March 13, 2013 meeting, the CRD Board accepted PICA’s proposal to retain the entire property to connect Brooks and Gowlland Points, completing the 6.07 hectare regional park. As a result, 34 percent ($940,000) of the total park acquisition cost of $2,770,000 is provided by PICA, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia, Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Brooks family, and 66 percent ($1,830,000) is provided by the CRD through the Land Acquisition Fund.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Pender community for contributing nearly $152,000 to support the goal of retaining the 2010 acquisition without subdivision or resale”, PICA’s fundraising co-chair, Monica Petrie said. “PICA’s focus in the coming year will be to match last year’s fundraising success, but from off island sources including grants from conservation organizations which support our goal of protecting sensitive ecosystems,” she added.

The regional park contains large areas of delicate chocolate lilies, providing a classic example of the display of spring flowers in a Garry-oak meadow, one of the rarest and most threatened ecosystems in Canada. The 2010 acquisition also has a confirmed location of the rare and endangered Sharp-tailed Snake which is listed in the Federal Species at Risk Act. It is also a prime location for viewing Orcas in the wild and a destination for avid birdwatchers.

Sylvia Pincott, past president of PICA who initiated PICA’s fundraising campaign in 2011 said: “This important decision by the CRD Board helps protect one of the last ecologically intact open headlands in the Southern Gulf Islands for future generations.”

PICA’s secretary, Rhondda Porter, pointed out that Poets Cove Resort on South Pender has already raised $20,000 toward the additional funding requirement through their Chocolate Lily Accommodation package, a portion of which goes to support Brooks Point. “I am confident PICA’s committed and creative fundraising committee will meet the additional funding requirement with the help of our partnership with Habitat Acquisition Trust and the Islands Trust Fund. Porter added: “On behalf of PICA, I would like to thank the CRD Board and staff for their support in completing Brooks Point Regional Park.”

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Fundraising goal reached December 2013

Brooks Point - For Future Generations video
CBC4Kids Brooks Point Photos
Conservation Partners 2013- 2014
Acquisition Phases

Where is Brooks Point?