A piece of paradise

VIPs and community partners tour Sickle Point in September.

Environmentalists are reaching into their wallets to help protect a parcel of land on the shores of Skaha Lake in Kaleden.

Sickle Point, which was at one point slated for residential development, is on the market for $3.1 million. The five-acre site has no road access and is bisected by the KVR Trail.

Now some neighbours, represented by the Kaleden Community Association, have raised over $105,000 in three weeks as a down payment on the land, which they’re trying to persuade a nature conservancy to buy.

“The goal is to purchase it, rehabilitate it and leave it open so people can wander in and enjoy all the park has to offer,” KCA chair Rand Cranston said during a site tour Sunday.

“The long-term goal would be an interpretive walkway, a place to watch birds and observe all kinds of plants and animals …. There’s no vision to fence this off. If you want to kayak in and enjoy a lunch … that would be great.”

Cranston said and the fact more than $100,000 has already been committed by people from as far away as Prince George and Vancouver is a clear indication of how important it is to preserve the natural surroundings at Sickle Point.

Also along for Sunday’s tour were Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson and South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings, who spent a long career as a biologist before entering the world of politics several years ago.

Larson said the potential development of Sickle Point has been a controversial issue since she was first elected as an MLA more than seven years ago and it’s clear to her a housing development on the land simply isn’t appropriate.

Cannings said public sentiment will play a key role in what eventually happens with Sickle Point.

“This is such a wonderful example of community support and community engagement,” said Cannings.

Doreen Olson, who is spearheading the local effort to protect Sickle Point, noted some people with homes nearby have not only committed to donating cash, but also signing legal documents that would not allow any further development of their properties if a nature park were to become a reality.

“They would put covenants on their land so that that part would be protected forever to assist with the biodiversity of this area,” she said. “That’s another interesting way the people of this area are supporting this effort.”