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Nature Conservancy of Canada named new caretaker for Grace Islet

02/18/2015 01:44 EST | Updated 04/20/2015 05:59 EDT
The B.C. government has finalized a deal to purchase Grace Islet, located near Salt Spring Island, B.C., and transfer the title to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The province bought the islet for $5.45 million from the owner, an Alberta businessman building a retirement home. Human remains were found on the islet in 2006, and archaeologists later discovered it was a First Nations burial site.

Tim Ennis, the director of the west coast program for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, said his organization was brought in because of its strong reputation for protecting ecologically significant land in partnership with First Nations groups.

"Our responsibility is to make sure that the next steps happen in the right way, particularly with respect to First Nations involvement as active participants," he said.

Ennis said the Conservancy will first look at demolishing any buildings.

"From there we'll be able to build our property management plan and ecosystem restoration prescription," he said.

The islet is home to unique and distinctive plants that make it a "biological jewel," according to the organization.

"Our science work clearly shows Grace Islet and the surrounding region as being top priority for conservation," said Ennis.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Nature Conservancy of Canada to take stewardship of Grace Islet

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