There is a bit of disappointment in the Juan de Fuca Community Land Trust Society after they learned the property they were trying to save was sold.
The Admiral’s Trust property on West Coast Road was sold to Michael, the son of the retired Admiral John Charles.
The 70 acres of land, which the society hoped to purchase for between $700,000 and $1-million, would have been used as public green space for horseback riding, hiking, scouting activities and other non-invasive pursuits.
It is a portion of the 126-acre parcel in Otter Point purchased in the 1960’s by Admiral John Charles and his wife, Mary. His parcel was registered as Private Managed Forest and through his efforts, the Admiral created a wildly beautiful place, all crisscrossed with trails. As private land, the forest is only accessible to the Charles family, and to certain of the neighbours welcomed to ride the trails on their horses.
John Alexander Charles was an Admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy. He commanded a squadron of destroyers in the Korean conflict and was a Commandant of Royal Roads Military College.
With the land now sold, the owner is asking people not to trespass on the land as he will be selective logging.
“As president of the Juan de Fuca Land Trust, I’m happy it won’t be logged (clear cut). These lands are precious,” said Margot Swinburnson.
The society held a number of events to draw attention to the forest as well as raise money for purchase of the land. They had a day of poetry readings in the woods, coffee from Stick in the Mud called Admiral’s Blend and numerous other fundraisers.
The land trust was established in November 2013 to purchase properties suitable for parkland and then donate the land to the regional parks system or to operate it themselves for the benefit of the public and the wildlife of this region.
The society, although they didn’t acquire the Admiral’s Forest, will continue working to protect properties on Southern Vancouver Island.
Swinburnson said they will have a directors’ meetings and a general meeting to discuss next steps.
She said the society now has charitable status and their vision is for a 30-year plan.
“It’s about what the community will look like,” she said.
The society will work on making strategic alliances, and people with a wish to save property can still donate to the Victoria Foundation or the JdFCLT Society.