September 22, 2022 — (For immediate release) — The campaign to acquire 75 acres on Hwmet’utsum (Mt. Maxwell) for a community park took a major leap forward Monday night (September 19), with a fund-raising dinner at Foxglove Farm hosted by Michael Ableman and Jeanne-Marie Herman, and organized by local non-profit Salt Spring Solutions with the help of partners, local businesses and other volunteers.
More than 80 community members came together to pledge over $150,000 during the event. Host and MC Ableman humorously held the apple tartine dessert hostage until they reached the night’s goal. Haidee Hart, familiar to Salt Springers who love her wares at Woodshed Provisions, created the dessert, and was one of four renowned chefs who collaborated on the meal.
After an initial serving of warming bone broth, Maxime Durand of Eva Schnitzelhaus in Victoria led the way with melon and salmon salads. Galiano’s Pilgrimme chefs Melanie Witt and Jesse McCleery followed with beautiful vegetable pizzas, and Dave Gunawan of Vancouver’s Ubuntu Canteen prepared a delicate main course of organically raised beef. All the chefs used produce from Foxglove Farm, picked in real time as they cooked.
The campaign had already raised more than three-quarters of the $1.75 million cost of the land, to be purchased from the private owners if donations meet the goal. The purchase of the property, which is adjacent to Mt. Maxwell Provincial Park and protected watershed lands, would create the largest contiguous tract of forested land in the Gulf Islands, and protect the land in perpetuity from logging and development.
Even though the finish line is in sight, the campaign still needs to raise $150,000 before Halloween, or the deal may fall through after years of tireless work by community volunteers. Says Salt Spring Solutions Co-Chair Elizabeth FitzZaland “This is one of the largest coalitions of local groups, individuals and businesses to come together on Salt Spring, which is known for its grassroots efforts. We’re doing everything we can to raise the money, but we now need the people who can and haven’t yet donated to come through in the next few weeks to help us preserve this forest and public access for future generations.”
Businesses supporting the event included Foxglove Farm, Bullock Lake Farm, Golden Tree Farm, Salt Spring Shine, Woodshed Provisions, Enso Oceanfront Retreat Centre, Special Occasions Rentals and Garry Oaks Winery, plus ceramicists Julie MacKinnon and Ceilidh Divers who co-created a unique mountain-inspired piece of art for the event.
Another fundraising event — a wonderful evening of food, music and community – will be hosted by the Mateada on October 15. Those interested in attending can check the project’s website www.communitypark.ca for details.