The Capital Regional District is being asked to consider joining local First Nations and environmental groups in a partnership to acquire and protect Owl Island, a small but significant property located next to Prevost Island.
Dave Howe, CRD director for the southern Gulf Islands, and Victoria councillor Ben Isitt presented a notice of motion to the board on March 8 recommending that staff report back on the advisability of joining such a partnership. An expenditure from the Regional Parks Acquisition Fund could be considered.
The board took the matter in camera and has yet to rise and report, but Howe said Friday he anticipates bringing the motion to the next meeting. Although his greater goal is to have the CRD look more carefully into protecting the entire Gulf Islands region, Owl Island has presented a more immediate opportunity for action.
“I’d like to make this part of opening people’s minds around that board table and saving the archipelago as much as we can for future generations,” Howe said.
Owl Island is a two-acre islet that has been owned by Dugal and Ausma Smith for close to 40 years. It’s mainly been used for boat camping — by the Smiths and passersby unaware the land is private — and has seen little development other than a dock. The island is remarkable for its largely intact native ecosystem and several known archeological sites.