Together, we saved the heart of Savary Island and protected 350 acres from subdivision.

On May 31st, 2018, the deal to purchase District Lot 1375 and Lots 35 and 36 closed, and 350 acres of the last undivided land on Savary Island was preserved forever.

In an astounding outpouring of generosity, over 175 donors came together to raise $4 million dollars. Donations came from every corner of the Island.

Savary is one of the most ecologically sensitive of all the Islands in the Strait of Georgia, and yet it is under the most pressure from potential development.

Savary is subdivided into over 1,500 small lots giving it a lot density nine times greater than Bowen Island and 20 times greater than Denman Island. In the last 20 years, development has more than tripled on Savary, making preservation of the remaining sensitive areas and green spaces increasingly important.  

Together DL 1375 and Lots 35 and 36 comprise 350 acres of the last undivided tracts of land on Savary Island. These lots feature the greatest remaining example of dunes within the rare Coastal Douglas-Fir biogeoclimatic zone (CDF) and one of the best examples of coastal sand dunes in Canada.  The heart of the island is also home to forest more than 250 years old and mature second growth forest more than 80 years old; the area also holds the largest groundwater recharge zone on Savary.

With over 12,000 feet of waterfront and the only trail network on Savary Island, the development of these 350 acres would have profoundly changed the island as we know it.

Until the purchase agreement closed on May 31st, the land was owned 50% undivided interest by The Nature Trust of BC and 50% undivided interest by the Sahlin family. The Nature Trust of BC, with the support of the Savary Island Land Trust, negotiated with the Sahlin family over several years in the hopes of coming to an agreement to keep the land intact and free of development.

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In December 2017, “Friends of Savary DL 1375”, a group comprised of Savary Islanders including Peter Armstrong, John O’Neill, and Kip Woodward, came together and successfully negotiated an agreement to purchase the remaining land in DL 1375 from the
Sahlin family.

To make this dream a reality, $3.5 million plus a $500,000 endowment for future land management was needed. 

The Friends of Savary kicked off the fundraising by collectively contributing $1.8 million. Working together, the Friends of Savary and SILT led the Save the Heart of Savary campaign to raise the rest.

The funds would go to the Nature Trust of BC,who would then purchase the Sahlin Family’s 50% interest and manage the land in perpetuity.

It was a tall order, but it became clear early in the campaign that Savary Islanders were ready to step up. Liz Webster, Executive Director of SILT, led our fundraising efforts and she was astounded at the response. People who love this island understood what was at stake and gave without hesitation.

After 21 years of work on the part of the Savary Island Land Trust, with the tenacity and generosity of the Friends of Savary, as a community, we came together to save the heart of Savary Island.

It is a remarkable legacy to leave for future generations, and a story we should all be proud to be a part of.

Thank you to everyone who donated, and to everyone who has supported SILT over the years. Without you, none of this would have been possible.

May we continue to be stewards of this uniquely wonderful island, and work together to preserve natural  spaces on Savary, now and forever.

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