The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Bog Deal Stirs Mixed Reaction
After years of lobbying and negotiation, an agreement has finally been
reached to preserve most of the controversial Burns Bog in Delta. But
not everyone is entirely happy with the deal.
The City of Delta, the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the
provincial and federal governments have agreed to the $73 million
purchase of five thousand acres of bog lands.
"This day belongs to the people. They've wanted the bog saved. Their
money has paid to save it," said Delta Mayor Lois Jackson. "Now it is
up to us, the four levels of government, to ensure that this unique and
precious ecosystem is preserved."
Even the BC government, which has come under fire from ecology groups
and communities across the province over what they say are its
destructive environmental policies, supported the preservation deal and
contributed $28.6 million toward the purchase.
"(We) protected over 5,000 acres--an area five times the size of
Stanley Park,” said Premier Gordon Campbell in a press statement. “That
gives us clean air and is home to an abundance of plants and wildlife.
This is truly an investment in our future."
The deal is based on the findings of the ecosystem review conducted by
the previous NDP government in 2000.
Jackson says the new lands are adjacent to the existing preserved lands
owned by the city of Delta.
But Elisa Olsen, president of the Burns Bog Conservation Society, says
that while the deal is a huge step forward, it falls short of what is
needed to fully protect the bog, claiming that the report failed to
consider several key points of concern, such as several of the
endangered species and the impact on the broader community by
development around the bog.
“There are still 426 acres that have been left out of the reserve,” she
said. “It’s like we’ve got the elephant, but not the elephant’s trunk.
We did our own polling that show citizens want the protection of the
full 5426 acres.”
She adds that the extra acreage is critical in protecting identified
endangered species, like the pacific water shrew and the southern red
The remaining 436 acres straddle Highway 91 at the east end of the bog
between 64th and 72nd avenues in North Delta.
Olsen is concerned that this land will be put up for commercial
development. But she said the Society would continue to engage in
educational and publicity campaigns to ensure that the remaining
acreage will eventually be protected.
“It won’t happen in the short term,” she said. “But in the long term we
will get the additional acres into the reserve.”
Burns Bog is the largest raised peat bog on the west coast of North
America, and studies have shown it is a significant contributor to
improving air quality in the Lower Mainland.