Aug 16 2012
Posted by CHLY News as Campbell River, Chemainus, Courtenay / Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, Duncan, Gabriola Island, Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, News & Updates, Parksville, Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, Victoria |
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2012
Nanaimo To Be the Green Gateway to Vancouver Island?
CEDAR – “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for mid island residents,” according to Laurie Gourlay, president of the non-profit group, MISSI. “Several prominent local features, adjacent to one another, can be linked …creating a legacy that serves all residents and visitors alike, and extends throughout our region.”
MISSI is proposing that the Mt Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve, Nanaimo River watershed initiative, and the Nanaimo estuary, be recognized along with the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area. “We simply ‘connect the dots’,” Gourlay notes,” linking the watershed, greenspace, resource and conservation areas – at little or no cost to local taxpayers.”
MISSI has written to local governments in the mid island region, asking that Nanaimo be recognized as the ‘Green Gateway to Vancouver Island’, establishing the City and Region as a green destination – a place where people live, invest and work with nature. (Letter attached.)
“We have also written the Federal and Provincial Ministers of the Environment,” says Gourlay, “suggesting that Nanaimo equally deserves the business and financial returns that will be gained by the southern Gulf Islands in designating the proposed National Marine Conservation Area.”
The Mid Island Sustainability & Stewardship Initiative is leading a campaign for the Nanaimo estuary and Gabriola Island coastal waters to be included as the NMCA’s northern boundary.
MISSI’s letters to local, provincial and national leaders identifies Mt Arrowsmith’s UNESCO designation as a major drawing card for international ecotourism, and a cornerstone to ongoing economic benefits and stewardship of the region – arguing it should be linked to the NMCA.
“And to show our commitment to this exceptional opportunity,” says Gourlay, “to prove that we’re willing to do the hard work as well as the campaigning – MISSI has offered to take over the administration and management of the UNESCO-designated Mt Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve.” MISSI notes the recent decision by the RDN not to take on such tasks, and believes it is essential that UNESCO status be retained, by undertaking substantive conservation and sustainability initiatives such as its proposal for a ‘Green Gateway to Vancouver Island.”
“This could be the beginning of a major shift to conserve our renewable resource base and green working areas for the east coast and mid island,” says Gourlay. “It’s a responsible and reasonable request given the mid islands growing population, and future pressures expected on our coastal land and marine ecosystems.”
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