Stop the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria from subdividing 40 acres in Metchosin!

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As former BGCVIC employees, we are starting this petition to stop the application to subdivide an ecologically vulnerable parcel of land owned by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria (BGCVIC). This land has been used for decades for outdoor programs for youth in Greater Victoria. Subdividing this land means losing a precious community resource when we need it more than ever. We ask the BGCVIC to work with the community on a plan for the land to be used for outdoor education, conservation or other sustainable development efforts.  In short, a plan consistent with public commitments made by BGCVIC in 2004.

BGCVIC has been running programs on the 98.6-acre Metchosin Club property since 1984. The property was formerly owned by the BC Provincial Government and was purchased by BGCVIC Foundation in 2003 (with title registered in 2004). In recent years, the property has become known for its high-quality outdoor adventure, education and leadership focused programs. It has housed school groups and summer camps from all over the Greater Victoria area and attracted a highly skilled and passionate staff team. 

BGCVIC Foundation has applied to subdivide 40 acres of the property, to enable subsequent sale. While technically legal, the subdivision application would directly contravene past representations made by BGCVIC executive. It would end the quality and scope of outdoor programs that have been hosted on this portion of land for more than 30 years and that could otherwise continue to be offered for decades to come. BGCVIC and BGCVIC Foundation have received direct communication from various community stakeholders regarding the 40 acres of land and their strong desire to see outdoor programs continued, along with conservation of an irreplaceable ecosystem. However, rather than responding to stakeholder interest BGCVIC has referred them to their contract realtor - Griffin Lewis at Devencore Realty Victoria Ltd. 

Residents of the District of Metchosin, where this land is located, have expressed great disappointment at the subdivision request. The mayor has described the BGCVIC’s move as a betrayal. Why? Not only has the BGCVIC received massive tax exemptions for this land (over $300,000 in since 2009), but there was strong degree of community involvement and support when the lands were originally acquired by the BGCVIC in 2004.  A news release by the BGCVIC from 2004 sets out the specific public commitments made by BGCVIC executives – attached here.

The proposed application would divide a large pond in half (see photo above). This pond is habitat for Western Painted Turtle, one of BC’s species-at-risk. The pond has also been a great highlight in many of the outdoor programs offered at the Metchosin Club. The proposed land is also a wildlife corridor and home to remnant Garry Oak forest; one of Canada’s rarest ecosystems. In addition to impacts on the local ecosystems that thrive on this parcel of land, youth also use this land for outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking and bushcraft. For youth living in urban settings, it is a special opportunity to experience our natural environment so closely.  

To show support please sign and share this petition to friends, family, community groups, social networks, and any other outlets you can think of! We also encourage you to send your concerns to BGCVIC, BGCVIC Foundation, Metchosin Council/Mayor, and local Victoria news outlets. View our letter of support template and contacts here. 

Get your voices heard and create positive change!

Sincerely,

Lauren Bernardi, Samantha Jubinville-Mah, and many other former BGC employees

BGCVIC we trust that you will revisit your Core Values (Belonging, Respect, Encouragement and Support, Working Together and Speaking Out) and start listening to the people and fellow community stakeholders.