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The only option to save two more parcels of land near Cottonwood Lake Regional Park from clearcutting is to buy them, a public meeting in Nelson was told tonight.
And while it won’t come cheap, one director of the society formed to protect the area insists it can and must be done.
“There aren’t any other options for these lands,” Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society director Paula Kiss said in an interview.
“We’re too late for legislation. We’re too late for any other land use regulations or protective measures. At this point, with this timeline, we’ve got to come up with the money and buy them.”
Last month the Regional District of Central Kootenay announced it would pay the private landowner $450,000 to acquire 21 hectares, about one-third of the area in question.
That figure represents the value of the timber on the property. A tax receipt will also be issued for the land, in an amount not disclosed.
The RDCK is putting up $250,000 and the Columbia Basin Trust is chipping in the other $200,000. The newly-acquired property will be added to the park.
However, the fate of the remaining land is still in doubt. Kiss insisted the society, which has raised about $75,000 since December, can come up with more.
“We can do this. It’s completely feasible for this community to roll together, raise the funds, attract some large donors, and write some grants,” she said.
Kiss said she appreciates RDCK parks staff will continue to support the society in negotiating for the outstanding parcels.
She said staff have done a “phenomenal job” of building a relationship with the land owner, which they want to maintain.
However, she also remains hopeful directors might make further financial contributions, recognizing public support for preserving the area.
Although the exact timeline is unclear, the meeting heard that land owner Mike Jenks might entertain offers until the end of July.