GENEVIEVE SINGLETON, BC PARKS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: A RESPONSE TO TLC
Thank you Cathy for noticing my comments on Facebook and writing to me, I really appreciate the reach out. You have a difficult job and it is wonderful that you have taken the time to write me.
I am not just a supporter of TLC, but a passionate supporter, donor and volunteer. As a long time friend of the extended Turner family I am well acquainted with TLC from the start.
I have recently been honoured with the BC Parks Volunteer of the Year award and am very active in my community with many hats including taking hundreds of children annually for nature walks, co-chair of the Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable and working with my husband David Polster, world renowned plant ecologist and restoration expert. My life work is sharing my love of nature. My husband and I were priveleged to work with Merv and have led walks and attended many outings and workshops at Wildwood over the years.
We knew Merv personally and he was always clear that he wanted Wildwood in the public sector. I do not see how selling Wildwood to an individual honours this. I do not see how the donations my husband and I made years ago to TLC for Wildwood believing that it would be protected in perpetuity are honouring the vision that TLC had at that time.
You say that you are fully confident that a private individual can protect Wildwood, but that is what TLC and all of us supporters thought when we first “protected” it. We were all confident then too. Many donors supported the acquisition of Widwood, it was not just a few people that entrusted TLC with Merv’s vision. If he had wished it to go to a private individual he would have done that at the time. I recognize that EIS has had financial challenges and I would hope that TLC would help on those challenges since surely we are on the same page ultimately.
I also do not know enough about the plan to understand what happens when Mr. Randen dies or wishes to sell? When sold could it be clear cut? What kind of legal requirement will be in place requiring a private individual to do public education and open his property to the public? How is this access guaranteed into the millenia ahead? How do I and other experts who know Wildwood continue to share our knowledge and passion for this place?
It seems that this could all be guaranteed by keeping it with a charitable group such as EIS who has a proven interest in ecologically friendly logging.
I wish we could all save the stress and legal costs by hiring a mediator to find a resolution. I know these have been extraordinarily difficult times for TLC. I am sorry for that but throwing Wildwood under the bus will disenfranchise us and in the long run will likely not be financially useful. I want to continue to be part of TLC.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns.
Genevieve R. Singleton, B.Sc., Biology; M.Ed., Counselling Psych.,
Business Manager, Polster Environmental Services