Great news from the Regional District of Central Kootenay as they’ve been able to come to an agreement to purchase lands around Cottonwood Lake. Logging began on the private lands last year and immense efforts from the community have been underway to prevent further destruction. The total land being purchased is 21.6 hectares for the cost of $450,000.
The RDCK’s Manager of Community Services Joe Chirico explains how the deal works.
“What we paid for was the opportunity cost of the land owner to log the property. So, the $450,000 represents approximately what would be their net profit had they logged it and sold the logs at market value.”
Chirico says the Nelson Land Corporation, who own the land, had intended to donate it. The issuance of a tax receipt for the value of the land without timber is also included in the sale.
The RDCK will be on the hook for up to $250,000 which will come from loan proceeds from a debenture loan with the Municipal Finance Authority. Chirico isn’t sure how much exactly they’ll need to borrow yet.
“The RDCK between now and the closing date will continue to seek out any other funding that may be possible,” he says.
The closing date is January 31, 2019. RDCK staff will bring borrowing bylaws for the loan to fund the purchase at the April 2019 Board meeting. The impact to tax payers will depend on whether the RDCK is able to acquire additional funding and the length of borrowing.
Negotiations to purchase the land began in July 2018, when the RDCK and the landowner signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to halt logging and gather information to determine fair market value for the timber and the land. Negotiations were reported in camera to the Commission and the Board, since both parties had also signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Only a portion of the property that was flagged for concern was purchased, but Chirico explains, he feels the RDCK has accomplished its goal of protecting the park.
“The Board is clear though that this is the property that we were approved to purchase. It’s a significant amount of property and we believe that it’s the minimum required to protect the park. But we do support the efforts of the Society and continuing moving forward and we’ll assist them in any way that we can.”
The Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society want to see additional lands purchased around Apex. A Go-Fund-Me campaign raised over $50,000 in roughly one month towards their efforts.
The acquisition will expand Cottonwood Lake Regional Park to 22.4 ha.