Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Protect Maltby Lake

UPDATE: Location change! 

The event is now being held at Claremont School, 4980 Wesley Rd. (Map here

No RSVP necessary.

Dear Friends,

Please join me at my Community Office on Tuesday October 21st, from 7:00pm - 8:30pm for an Open House & Discussion about Maltby Lake. 

Few are aware of this extraordinary place, even though it is in Saanich and just ten kilometres from Victoria. There is no place closer to the provincial capital that surpasses Maltby Lake in terms of ecological value or wild beauty. 

The 12 acre lake is surrounded by private property and in rural Saanich, near Camosun College, Interurban College. Maltby lake is filled with clean fresh water, continually recharged by at least three separate underground springs. The lake is at the headwaters of Tod Creek, a major water course in Saanich vital to twenty-one kilometres of watercourse, 29 wetlands and five other lakes, including Prospect Lake.

Critical to the lake’s health is 172 acres of almost completely undisturbed forest and wetlands that surround it. 

The forest is mature and wild, with Pacific Yews, Dogwoods and large Gary Oaks. There is even a six hundred year old Douglas Fir, likely the largest of its kind in Saanich! 

This precious ecosystem is home to thousands of species, including fresh-water jelly-fish, horned owls, red-tailed hawks and purple martins. 

And yet, all of this is at risk. Various development proposals have been put forward over the years. In 2007 one of the owners gifted a 35% undivided interest in the land to The Land Conservancy of BC. However, even this land is at risk as the TLC’s current precarious financial position has led it to consider selling its ownership to the highest bidder. Until the land has legal protection, such as a nature sanctuary status like Swan Lake, we cannot be sure that the ecological integrity of Maltby Lake will be protected.

Thankfully, a share of the land is owned by two conservationists, Carmel and Woody Thomson. They are fighting tirelessly to protect its ecological integrity. And they are not alone! Allies include Friends of the Tod Creek Watershed, Habitat Acquisition Trust, Peninsula Streams Society, Prospect Lake District Community Association, Prospect Lake Heritage Society, BC Lake Stewardship Society, Highlands District Community Association, the Highland Stewardship Foundation, and hundreds of local residents.

I am confident if we work together this priceless ecosystem will be protected for the environmental well-being of our region and for future generations.

An important step to that end is to increase public awareness of this precious place. For this reason I am holding a public meeting on October 21st at my community office. The agenda is for the public to learn more about the environmental value of Maltby Lake. There will be information displays, guest speakers ...and tasty desserts! 

Guest speakers:
Mary Haig-Brown, Chair, Friends of Tod Creek Watershed
Ian Bruce, Executive Director, Peninsula Streams Society
William Shulba, Malby Lake Mapping Project; and
Adam Taylor, Executive Director, Habitat Acquistion Trust

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South