A parcel of wooded land in Metchosin that was threatened with potential development earlier this year could stay as an outdoor educational space if a conditionally accepted offer goes through.
Thriving Roots Wilderness School from Saanich is trying to buy the almost 100-acre parcel from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria.
The school started a limited partnership with other organizations with a similar long-term vision, for the land to be preserved and used for nature-based work. The only named partner is Stephanie Marchal, a Victoria psychologist who does nature-based retreats. The other partners would do nature-based counselling, regenerative farming – part of the land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve and has been used to grow hay.
It’s a lot of land with lots of potential nature-based uses.
“The whole reason (the Boys and Girls’ Club) wanted to sell is because they’re not utilizing the whole space,” said Alaina Hallett, Thriving Roots’ director.
Boys and Girls’ Club Greater Victoria president Rebecca Lang previously told Black Press Media that selling the land would help the organization adapt to changing priorities among its programs.
The undeveloped 98-acre property features intact Garry oak forests with Douglas firs, arbutus trees and mossy hills that Hallett describes as perfect for exploring.
Partnering with investors and other nature-based practitioners will allow the group to secure financing and utilize the whole plot of land.
The limited partnership group has until June 21 to get financing approved. Hallett said they’re working primarily with private investors, but welcome contributions from the community. They’ve already secured half of the financing for an undisclosed purchase price offer, but the more cash they get the stronger a position the group will be in, she said.
Thriving Roots is hosting an online open house on June 17 at 6 p.m. to share their vision and answer questions. More information on the project and a Zoom video link for the open house can be found at thrivingroots.org/rise-up-rooted-fundraising-campaign/.
The wilderness school is an alternative education track for students in the public or home school system. Some attend a few times a week, some attend monthly.
After seven years of operating, Hallett said, the school needs more space. “We can’t keep up with demand because our land base is too small.”
They rent property in Saanich, which they intend to continue doing even if the Metchosin sale goes through, she said.
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