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Island near Nanaimo preserved as park after $4M donation from Lululemon founder

Chip Wilson’s family’s foundation supports three land purchases in the Strait of Georgia
Saturnina Island is situated off the east coast of Gabriola Island. (Google Maps image)

An island off the coast of Gabriola Island will be preserved as parkland thanks to a multimillion-dolllar donation.

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s family’s foundation, Wilson 5, pledged $4 million to the B.C. Parks Foundation, which will allow for the purchase of Saturnina Island off Gabriola and will help with the purchase of more than 100 hectares of waterfront land on Lasqueti Island.

The B.C. Parks Foundation said in a press release that the $4-million donation represents the largest single donation it has ever received.

“We stand today with thousands of British Columbians and people from across Canada and around the world who have answered the call to help B.C. Parks Foundation purchase and forever protect sacred, threatened ecosystems such as these islands in the Salish Sea,” said Shannon Wilson, co-founder of the Wilson 5 Foundation, in the release.

Andrew Day, CEO of the B.C. Parks Foundation, thanked the Wilson 5 foundation for supporting a “fast-growing movement to keep Canada’s Pacific coast beautiful.”

The B.C. Parks Foundation revealed that the Wilson 5 foundation was also the benefactor behind the recent matching-donation campaign that led to the preservation of West Ballenas Island near Nanoose Bay.

“It’s important to us to look far into the future and to take action now,” said Chip Wilson in the release. “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.”

The parks foundation noted that Saturnina, West Ballenas and Lasqueti islands are all “mainly natural and untouched sanctuaries with pristine beaches, abundant bird and marine life, and rare plants” and part of the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem.

The donation from the Wilson 5 foundation will also support the B.C. Parks Foundation’s Legacy Fund.

RELATED: Community rallies to buy private island off Parksville for parkland

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