Mary Lake is a small lake in the Higlands that has been completely privately owned for many years. The property is now available for sale for $4.5 million, the ability to raise this amount of money is going to be very hard unless there are several angel donors or the CRD coming on board.
The 106 acres is in five titles of which the largest one, at 70 acres +-, contains the lake which is about 7 acres in size. 86 year old Bob McMinn is leading the campaign and I hope I remain active in the world in 2050 when I am that age. He is part of the Mary Lake Conservancy which has been created to spearhead the campaign to save the lake and forest.
There is support for the campaign from the Habitat Acquisition Trust, though how much that means in $$$ I have no idea. HAT has a specific mandate to acquire ecologically important lands in this region
Mary lake is not the only privately owned lake in the area. We have quite a number of lakes that are the size of Mary lake or larger in View Royal, the Highlands, and western Saanich. Pike lake, 18 acres, and Maltby lake, about 19 acres, are two of the largest There is also Fizzle, Fork, Second and Mitchell lakes in the area.
I raise these other lakes because I am not a fan of the lack of public access to reasonable sized lakes. There should be a long term plan in place to acquire the relevant properties so that there is no need for a last minute campaign as there is for Mary lake at the moment. The crazy part is that the lake beds are public owned lands but there is no access for the public to these lakes.
I am not sure I can support the idea if government spending the money to acquire these lands, but I do support the idea of long term planning for park expansion to take in these lands. The Highlands Stewardship Foundation exists to try and promote stewardship of lakes in the Highlands and is actively behind the Mary lake campaign.
As of this time the campaign for Mary Lake has raised $113,330, only $4,387,000 to go, though the campaign is only a few weeks old. I need to go out and see about "buying" a few square meters or seeing if the Scouts and Venturers are interesting taking it on as a project to raise money for.