Lululemon founders donate $4 million to purchase untouched island lands

The B.C. Parks Foundation has been taking over bits of land in the Salish Sea fueled in part by a large donation from the Vancouver founders of the clothing company Lululemon.

The Wilson 5 Foundation, Chip and Shannon Wilson’s family foundation, donated $4 million to the B.C. Parks Foundation that has allowed it to buy outright Saturnina Island as well as providing a solid base for the purchase of 256 acres on Lasqueti Island. The $4-million total includes $850,000 in matching funds the Wilsons provided toward a crowdfunding campaign to purchase West Ballenas Island.

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“We are thrilled that the Wilson family is participating in our fast-growing movement to keep Canada’s Pacific coast beautiful,” said Andrew Day, chief executive of the B.C. Parks Foundation. “We are grateful for the Wilson 5 Foundation’s gift as we work with Indigenous groups, governments, Canadians, and friends around the world to protect threatened and fragile places in B.C.”

Day said people recognize the urgent need to take action on climate change and species loss, which is part of what drives the B.C. Parks Foundation.

In a statement, Chip Wilson said it’s important to look far into the future and to take action now. “We feel strongly that this gift to the B.C. Parks Foundation and the people of B.C. will ensure an everlasting opportunity for the next generation and generations to come to enjoy the beauty of these places.”

Saturnina, West Ballenas and Lasqueti, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, are mainly untouched sanctuaries with beaches, abundant bird and marine life and rare plants.

Founded in 2017, the B.C. Parks Foundation has used crowdfunding to protecting threatened natural lands in the province.

A 2019 campaign raised $3 million to protect Princess Louisa Inlet and, more recently, the foundation raised funds in partnership with the Tahltan First Nation to protect about 8,500 acres in northern B.C.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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