TLC and HAT Promise to Enforce Sooke Hills Covenant if Required

HAT and The Land Conservancy of British Columbia have confirmed that, if necessary, they will enforce the provisions of a conservation covenant that they hold on Regional Park properties in the Sooke Hills, in order to prevent these areas from being accessed and destroyed by motorized off-road vehicles.

 “We have every confidence that the CRD Board will, of its own accord, Sooke_Hillshonour its commitment to the residents of this area and uphold the covenant agreement that it signed,” says TLC Executive Director Bill Turner today. “On behalf of the many thousands of our members and supporters who live in this region, we strongly encourage the CRD to send a strong message that conservation priorities in the Sooke Hills will not be compromised.”

 A conservation covenant is a voluntary, written agreement between a landowner (in this case, the CRD) and a covenant holder (in this case, TLC and HAT). In the agreement, the landowner promises to protect the land in ways that are specified in the covenant. The covenant holder has the legal authority to enforce the covenant through the courts if the landowner does not abide by the terms of the covenant. The conservation covenant is registered against the title to the property, under section 219 of the Land Title Act. This ensures that the covenant will last permanently.

 Whenever TLC, HAT, or any other land trusts in BC, has acquired property or contributed to the acquisition of property for park purposes, it has always ensured that a conservation covenant is placed on the property to ensure the protection of the site in perpetuity – and to prevent potential actions by a future government that may undermine the protection of the site.

 The conservation covenant in place on the Sooke Hills properties specifically prohibits the off road use of motorized vehicles on the lands (except for emergency and service vehicles).

 “The efforts being made by off-roading enthusiasts to gain access to the Sooke Hills are incompatible, in every way, with the protection of the area and with the provisions of the covenant,” says Adam Taylor, Executive Director of Habitat Acquisition Trust. “It is, by its very nature a destructive and disruptive activity, and it cannot be permitted in our protected areas.”

 Both TLC and HAT stressed that they believe the CRD should simply re-affirm its long-standing policy prohibiting motor vehicle use in parks, and should move forward with the parks management plan for the area.


Swan Lake Native Plant Sale

Join HAT and many others at Swan Lake on April 17th and 18th for their annual Native Plant sale.  The sale is a great way to get those hard-to-find native plants, and connect with other gardeners.  More information at  See you there!

Swan Lake Native Plant Sale



Listen to CBC Radio 90.5 FM Friday at 7:15am

UPDATE: If you missed it, download the Friday, April 9th episode from CBC at

Todd Carnahan speaks with Gregor Craigie about painted turtles at 7:15am Friday morning on CBC Radio 90.5 FM Victoria. Learn more about the five baby turtles found at Beaver Lake and what HAT is doing to help this endangered species. Listen to

On the Island morning show at CBC Radio One Victoria 90.5 FM


Watch for Western Painted Turtle Hatchlings

We got some bad news from Beaver Lake Road yesterday - 5 baby Western Painted Turtles had been run over.  This particular stretch of road is one of the worst in Victoria, with records of road kill hatchlings every year since 2008.

In an effort to reduce the number of turtles killed on this stretch, HAT and the District of Saanich have installed "Turtle Crossing" signs to alert drivers.  This signs will only be up during crossing seasons, so if you see one, please keep an eye out for turtles.  If you do see a turtle, please let us know by calling the HAT Office at 250 995-2428 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Pacific population of Western Painted Turtle is an endangered species. Road mortality has been identified as one the major threats to their survival in our region.  Picking turtles up almost never helps them, even if they seem lost (they probably aren't!), but turtles on roads is the exception.  Help them cross the road in whatever direction they are going, so that less cautious drivers do not hit them accidently.



Gala Dinner a Success

Thank you to everyone who attended the Gala Dinner, and made it such a wonderful evening.  We hope that you can join us again next year!



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