We are taking to the trees to stop a huge development project, including a new highway, that would destroy mature forests, watersheds, rare caves, traditional indigenous sites and wildlife near Victoria, BC. Bear Mountain is the name given to the place by the developers of Bear Mountain Resort and Properties. The city of Langford named it Skirt Mountain, and the Songhees Nation name is Spaet, which means "bear."
The following summary can be found on the excellent and well-researched website First Nations: Land Rights and Environmentalism in BC.
Until 2001 much of SPAET Mountain was classified as a "Forest Lands Reserve" (Crown land owned by the public). The behind-the - scenes sale of this land adds up to a form of political corruption. Corporate profit from hastily planned development schemes in this area depend on a new road infrastructure financed by public funds such as the $30 million Bear Mountain Interchange on the Trans Canada Highway (1). To connect to it, two roads are being constructed: the Savory Road Connector and the Bear Mountain Parkway. Both roads bisect forests buffering Goldstream Park, a much loved nature attraction, further diminishing its fragile and already endangered ecology.
The infrastructure for Bear Mountain Resort includes the Malahat Corridor, promoted as an alternative to Malahat Drive. The new highway will carve SPAET Mountain in two and cross over Saanich Inlet, giving city commuters direct access to the new development scheme at Bamberton. BC's gung-ho Ministry of Transportation has partnered with Stantec, the engineering empire that paved over most of Edmonton, Alberta.
SPAET Mountain is being destroyed by a clandestine land grab. In 2001 the BC government transfered 44 hectares of land to Western Forest Products for the giveaway price of $1.05 million. Within six months the land was sold to the Bear Mountain Resort developer for the same price and zoning regulations were altered, courtesy of the local pro-business mayor. The result is the cancer-like urban sprawl of golf courses, residential subdivisions, roads, hotels and strip malls. All this can be easily observed by anyone using Google Earth satellite and mapping technology.
The corruption surrounding the SPAET Mountain land grab involves big business and elected officials eager to make a quick buck. Community and environmental issues such as municipal water supply, pollution from golf courses and sewage, changes to the fragile watershed hydrology, public transport infrastructure, etc. have not been addressed. Bears and other large wild animals have no place to go as their mountainside habitat disappears. Bear Mountain Resort has already killed one resident "problem" bear and there are certainly other unreported instances.