The Nova Scotia Nature Trust can add another pristine property to its long list of protected areas after a successful last-minute fundraising campaign.
The crunch was on last week for two conservation organizations who had their eye on Troop Island, a small yet ecologically significant island close to Nova Scotia’s capital of Halifax. Nestled in the serene waters of St. Margaret’s Bay, Troop is covered in one of the few remaining patches of indigenous Acadian forest. Also a valued nesting ground for many kind of birds, the prospect of the island falling into the hands of developers spurred a public outcry that now appears to have saved the island for good.
It was recently announced that the two organizations behind the fundraising drive to buy the island – the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and the St Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association – have been able to acquire the neccessary funds to keep the island’s private owner from opening it up for development. In total, the groups raised an impressive CAD $820,000, plus an additional $100,000 to create an endowment fund for an the islands continued maintenance.
According to Farhad Vladi, president of international brokerage Vladi Private Islands, which has an office in Halifax, the last few years have seen an unusual amount of island purchases by conservancies, both in Nova Scotia and diverse other regions such as the British Virgin Islands, the UK, and the United States. “Because Nova Scotia in particular has so much of its coastline and so many islands in private ownership, it has been a priority for conservancies to buy and protect them,” he said. “It is a major trend in our business.
A few among many other Nova Scotian islands that have recently made the switch from private to public ownership include West Ironbound Island, which was purchased by the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy, and Goose Point Island, now owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. While its frequency may make it seem easy, this kind of conservation can take a huge amount of determination and public goodwill, however. Ella McQuinn of the St.Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association devoted three years to saving Troop Island development, and countless other volunteers and caring citizens gave their time and money to the cause.
While part of the purchase funds came from government branches like the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment and Halifax Regional Municipality, it was up to the public to bridge the gap, and the generosity of the island’s owner, a long-time area resident, allowed for a lower selling price and an extension of the deadline. If this culture of conservation continues to grow, the province will be well on its way to undoing the legacy of privatization that has left so much of its wilderness under private control.
Read more about this story: CBC News