Conservation covenant and land stewardship use in planned real estate development on Thetis Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada.

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Meadow Valley properties is a high quality 206 Acre planned bare land strata real estate development on tranquil Thetis Island,
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Meadow Valley Properties- Conservation Covenants.

This page will supply you with information on our use of conservation covenants (US useage is "conservation easements"to protect areas of the Strata common property. It also contains information on Land Trusts and Land Stewardship. We have begun a directory of links to some useful sites.

Meadow Valley Properties is a carefully planned strata.A strata plan divides land or land and buildings into private residential lots and common property. It is being implemented in three phases, phase one currently being available for sale, phase two available for presale. The planning process is described in a page on the "Greenquest". Layouts and plans are available as .GIF images on our properties page and on our "Detail Plans" page, and can be viewed with a JavaScript driven drawing viewer from our detail plans page. Navigate to these pages following the links at the top or bottom of this page, and return here with your back button or by linking back via the navigation text.

For information on our property and to view our lots for sale please see our "Properties" page.


Objectives of our land use plan

Greenquest is a term describing our search for appropriate, environmentally sensitive, land use based on an understanding of the land, we implemented this in our planning by working to the following objectives:.

Within the context of current development restrictions a strata plan offered us the best opportunity plan based on the land. The plan was based on a landscape analysis which identified "resource" or "sensitive" areas (wet areas, steep slopes, vegetation features to be protected, wildlife habitat, biodiversity enhancement opportunities), suitable areas for water supply and enhancement of water resources, for sewage disposal, areas suitable for agriculture and gardening and areas suitable for residential use. The resource and sensitive areas were then, where possible, included in the common property.

In order to ensure the continuing protection of the environmental values of particularly sensitive or valuable common property areas we utilized conservation covenants. Of the 72 Acres of common property about 22 Acres are or will be protected by conservation covenants. (See plan, below).

What is a conservation covenant?

A voluntary agreement to conserve land or protect features relating to it. It is an agreement between a land owner and a designated individual or organization registered on the land title and is legally binding on the future owners of the property. A conservation covenant may include provisions that restrict the use of, or require that improvements to be maintained on the property for the protection of natural, historical, cultural, architectural, environmental, heritage, scientific, wildlife or plant-life values. The conservation organization that holds the covenant can enforce it, if necessary, against the owner. The covenant holder is usually a land trust or similar conservation organization.

West Coast Environmental Law has a website with extensive information on conservation covenants, including a long article with example covenants.

BC Government page on conservation covenants.

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Areas covenanted on Meadow Valley Properties.

Plan showing Meadow Valley Properties, with covenant areas shaded (green).
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Plan image, showing coservation covenant areas in meadow Valley Properties development. Please read on, below, if you are waiting for this image to load.


Values protected

There are two convenanted areas in protected now phase I and one to be protected in phase II:

Our conservation covenants are held by the Cowichan Community Land Trust and the Land Conservancy of BC.

Plan showing vegetation type areas of the western conservation covenant area:
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Western conservation covenant area plan gif

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What is a land trust?

A Land Trust is a non-profit charitable society that protects land by undertaking or assisting direct land transactions such as purchase or acceptance of donations of land and the purchase or acceptance of donations of a conservation covenant.

One of the attractive aspects of a Land Trust is that they are normally made up of landowners and thus do not exist to abrogate the property rights of landowners but rather to support the landowner's stewardship of the land.

Land Trusts normally rely on community support through volunteers, memberships, and donations.

Some useful links:

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Stewardship rather than Regulation.

Rather than the use of restrictive legislation, which often fails to protect the land, Land Trusts and stewardship initiatives provide a positive method of encouraging conservation and community based land use planning. Legislation of land stewardship is often counterproductive, serving to drive away and discourage the type of person who would normally have a good potential for land conservation, and also to discourage the formation of communities interested in taking responsiblity for conservation and land stewardship..

An exampple in this area might be the The Islands Trust Fund-- an independant part of the Islands Trust. This Land Trust is dufferent in that it is government funded and is not made up of local landowners. The Trust Fund Board is a non-regulatory agency whose mandate is "to preserve and protect the Islands Trust Area and its significant features and environment for the benefit of the island residents and the Province generally." It pursues the " Preserve and Protect" mandate of the Islands Trust in a way that is possibly far more effective than the legislative approach of the Trust itself.

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Land Stewardship

We hope that our initiative in creating the first conservation covenant on Thetis, together with the fact that part of the area surrounds the community trail that we have donated to the Thetis Island Residents and Ratepayers Association (see our "community trail" page), will encourage the development of further conservation covenants and stewardship initiatives on the island.

Land Stewardship consists of managing and planning land use in such a way that the use of the land and resources sustains or enhances the biotic community and land's natural systems' integrity, stability, diversity and beauty.

Three principles have been defined as:

1. Management activities must be within the physical and biological capabilities of the land, based upon comprehensive, up-to-date resource information and a thorough scientific understanding of the ecosystem's functioning and response.

2. The intent of management, as well as monitoring and reporting, should be making progress toward desired future resource conditions, not on achieving specific near-term resource output targets.

3. Stewardship means passing the land and resources--including intact, functioning forest ecosystems--to the next generation in better condition than they were found.

The Land Stewardship Resource Centre defines the following principles:

1. Caring for the system as a whole - understanding the fundamental roles and values of natural systems, building up biological fertility in the soil, incorporating an understanding of the ecological cycles on the landscape (water, energy, nutrients) and how land-use practices can either benefit, be in harmony, or negatively impact these cycles and other land-users, flora and fauna.

2. Resource conservation - maximizing efficiency and striving to reduce the one-time consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources; aiming for long-term optimization versus short-term maximization of production.

3. Maintaining, building and enhancing stability in Nature - maintain and encourage natural biological diversity and complexity; maintaining natural areas and functions on the land (a.k.a. wildlife habitat conservation).

4. Cultural values and ethics - caring for the health of the land for future generations and long-term economic stability; the link between civilization, urbanization, and the land-base and ecosystems that are vital to survival; the intrinsic value and right to exist of all life on Earth.

A Stewardship Pledge

One of the ways that organizations encourage stewardship is through vouluntary commitment to the principles of stewardship as part of a community initiative for stewardship. This is often done through Land Owner Contact Programs (LOCP) in which a local organization or Land Trust selects specific areas for priority land management planning, for example ones that contain key habitat, or threatened species. An educational program is then developed which helps landowners to, for example, identify the native species, replant or protect them in tandem with their human land use, and often, receive public recognition for doing so through a Stewardship Plaque.

This example of a LOCP is from the Cowichan Community Land Trust:

The Stewardship pledge is a voluntary commitment of landholders to:

1. Conserve the natural elements in the area and be sensitive to
the wildlife (both plants and animals) that live there.
2. Keep to a minimum any disturbance to the natural features and
seek conservation assistance, if required.
3. Encourage a diversity of native plants and animals, especially
those that are rare and threatened, where possible.
4. If transferring your property, notify the new landholders) or
manager(s) of the commitment and encourage a fellow Steward to contact them.

The strength of the pledge rests on the landholder`s personal commitment, and by it's nature tends to enhance that commitment. Based upon a community organization the pledge also tends to build community awareness of stewardship and assist with community based land use planning initiatives. This can be a far more positive and effective land conservation strategy than attempting to legislate conservation and stewardship.

A couple of useful links:

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We will frequently update and enhance our website, so check back often. We are happy to respond promptly to any specific question, just e-mail us.

Contact us

Please contact us for more information on our properties and on Thetis Island.
Email us at or call 250-246-4774

Meadow Valley Properties, quality planned real estate by Trax Developments Ltd., Box 9-6, Thetis Island, B.C., V0R 2Y0, Canada.

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