Skaters at Cottonwood Lake in December. Photo: Dave Heath

YEAR IN REVIEW: Community to buy two pieces of forest at Cottonwood Lake

Our No. 5 story of 2019

This year the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) bought a piece of forest land at Cottonwood Lake near Nelson set to be logged.

With the help of a $200,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust, the RDCK paid $450,000 for 21.6 hectares, to add to the 0.8 hectares of Cottonwood Lake Park the RDCK already owns and runs.

“The Nelson, Salmo, E, F and G Regional Parks Commission and RDCK staff have been negotiating with the landowner for several months, and I am pleased that we have come to a successful agreement,” said Aimee Watson, chair of the RDCK board, in March.

The land purchased by the RDCK amounted to about 33 per cent of the land slated to be logged by the Nelson Land Corporation around Cottonwood Lake.

The company also owns two other parcels of land that it intends to log, including the slope behind the Apex cross-country ski area.

“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.”

So they did.

This month the society announced it has struck a deal with the Nelson Land Corporation to purchase 40 hectares of land adjacent to the land the RDCK purchased.

The society will not disclose the purchase price.

“We are just saying that we have a fundraising goal of $750,000,” McBurney told the Star. “We are not disclosing the split between the purchase price and the ancillary costs.”

Those costs, he said, include legal fees plus the costs of fundraising, administration, surveying, and subdividing.

Once the society raises the funds, the land will be purchased in the RDCK’s so donors can get a tax receipt for their contributions, but then it will be transferred to a “nature organization” that cannot yet be named, McBurney said. The purchase will not cost the RDCK anything in the end.

Meanwhile, the City of Nelson and the RDCK both sponsored a resolution that passed at the annual convention of B.C. municipalities, asking the provincial government to create more stringent regulations for private land logging.

The RDCK also asked the province to give regional governments more power to regulate private land logging.

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