News release from BC Parks Foundation.

Club Member Mel Turner is thanked in Paragraph 7 and the Hollyburn Sailing Club is thanked in Paragraph 9!

It’s official, you did it!
The purchase of West Ballenas Island is now complete!
What a story! The thing that makes this story so unique and remarkable is that it happened not because of one hero, or a superhero team. It happened because thousands of people like you did what you could, in a spirit of generosity and gratitude for this wonderful province and one of its most special places. 

In this case, your superpower comes from within you, and from being a member of a group of fabulous people who share values and purpose.

That is a particularly powerful act and message right now for two reasons. First, each of your cups of water, no matter what size, flowed into the river needed to purchase West Ballenas. Second, your cups of water showed that there is a deeper well-spring of clear, positive goodwill in this world.

That is a source of hope and inspiration that many people need right now, and it is why this story was front-page news in BC and reached as far and wide as CNN.

Please accept our recognition and gratitude to every single person who contributed to protecting West Ballenas. Thank you for your donations, notes, and phone calls.

We would like to acknowledge the important role that some keystone donors made. In particular, we are grateful to Chip and Shannon Wilson and the Wilson 5 Foundation for their extraordinary generosity and commitment, and the Maple Cross Fund, Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation, and Marine Parks Forever Society for their continued wonderful generosity and commitment.

We would also like to acknowledge the significant role that volunteers played in protecting West Ballenas. Mel Turner, a parks elder, was instrumental in bringing West Ballenas forward and providing support at every stage. Not only did he dedicate days of his own time, but he organized volunteers for every aspect of the purchase. Dave Kirk of Cunningham Rivard conducted the appraisal, Ian Atherton helped with negotiations, Bob Plummer of SmartMap created the map, Ted Lea conducted the environmental review,  and Barry Nicholls, Doug Herchmer, Paul Grey, and Norman Marcy all assisted with fundraising and community outreach. We give special thanks and recognition to Dave Scott for his incredible work on this campaign, and for all of his efforts over the last 20+ years to make the Ballenas/Winchelsea vision happen.

Other kind volunteers and supporters include the Nanaimo Area Land Trust, who honour their former Executive Director Gail Adrienne, and founding member Barbara Hourston, whose spirits and work live on by continuing to inspire people to protect places like West Ballenas. Also the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region team, along with many naturalists clubs.  We would also like to thank Tere Payet for her on-going support and help, and Janet Farooq for getting the word out.

Thanks also go to BC Marine Trails, Hollyburn Sailing Club, Schooner Cove Yacht Club, Cape Lazo Power and Sail Squadron, and The Union Club of British Columbia. These amazing organizations all helped by sharing the campaign within their own networks, generating excitement, awareness, and further vital donations.

And three cheers for École Secondaire Ballenas! Shayne Vollmers and his Gr. 9 class were absolute rockstars – raising over $10,000 directly by chopping wood and community outreach. Their fabulous spokeswomen Isabelle Scott and Jocelyn Ogelvie inspired many more donations through their enthusiasm in speaking with the press.

We also want to thank our friends in the media. People say that reporters only cover bad news, but that wasn’t the case here. They were enthusiastic about covering this story and their work helped protect West Ballenas.

We also give special thanks to our friends at BC Parks, and to the Snaw-Naw-As for their support, including Councillor Brent Edwards who acted as the main contact.

There are many others who helped out in many ways. In particular, we want to thank all of you who helped spread the word.

Finally, we wanted to say thank you to all the other forces for good out there. Many things happened in this campaign that we really can’t describe or understand – Luck? Synergy? Good fortune? That strange and wonderful spirit was there at the beginning and didn’t end when we crossed the finish line. Of all the wonderful things that happened, the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake happened shortly after we confirmed the island would be protected.     “The Ballenas Islands as seen from Dorcas Point the day after the funding to purchase the Island was secured 😊  Congratulations on a significant achievement”. Brian Harschnitz
Pure magic, start to finish. There will be other chapters to this story. For now, please take a minute to sit with the feeling of being a part of something great.

With Gratitude,

Andy Day