The Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society (CLPS) is pleased that the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is buying some of the land surrounding Cottonwood Lake to add to Cottonwood Lake Park, according to the group’s chair Andrew McBurney.
“The RDCK …. has purchased land on the west shore of the lake, the entrance to the park, and alongside the Great Northern Rail Trail. So the larger portion of land (67 per cent) above Cottonwood Lake is still privately owned and very much under threat. There is no zoning for this area and private land logging is still unregulated.”
The full purchase price of $450,000 for the 21.6 hectares immediately around the lake (see map) will be covered partially by a $200,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT).
McBurney said his group will keep fundraising to preserve all the land around the lake as well as the forest above the Apex ski area.
“We’ll take the good news of today’s announcement and keep looking for ways to save the remaining land. This entire corridor is simply too valuable to give up on. From threatened grizzly bears, sensitive wetlands, risks of flooding and the blemish on our reputation as an uncommonly beautiful place – the reasons for continuing are infinite.”
On Thursday the RDCK board voted to enter into the purchase agreement which will close July 31, and further to give non-financial support the preservation society in its attempt to obtain more of the land.
“This is the minimum purchase that we feel maintained the visual quality of the park,” said the RDCK’s Joe Chirico. “We are not saying that now all the values are protected. It is still up to the preservation society to do that.”
He explained that the purchase was negotiated by the Nelson, Salmo, E, F and G Regional Parks Commission.
E, F, and G refer to the three electoral areas of the RDCK in the immediate vicinity, represented by Ramona Faust, Tom Newell, and Hans Cunningham.
Chirico said taxes paid to support the $250,000 purchase (full purchase price minus the CBT grant) would be paid by residents of those five areas, but that at the moment the amount of that taxation is unknown.
The commission will continue fundraising between now and the July 31 closing date, Chirico said, to try to reduce the amount it has to borrow. He said the commission has many options when it comes to the term of the loan, which could be as few as two or as many as 30 years.
McBurney said the preservation society is planning a public meeting at the Rod and Gun Club on Wednesday, April 3 at 6:00 p.m. to hear community feedback on the RDCK’s purchase and discuss how the group can best use its funds to secure more land.