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December 27th, 2012
Two Vancouver Island-based environmental projects have received funding support from the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC). At its December 2012 Grants Meeting the Real Estate Foundation’s Board of Governors approved a total of 13 grants for projects around the province – grants valued at more than $550,000. The Comox Valley Watershed Society and the Shawnigan Residents’ Association were both selected as grant recipients – from the dozens of applications that had been received by the REFBC during the year.
In 1985 the British Columbia real estate industry, in cooperation with the provincial government, enacted legislation that established the Real Estate Foundation. Under the Real Estate Services Act, the Foundation receives interest from pooled or "unassigned" trust deposits held by real estate brokerages and uses the funds to support real estate related education, research, law reform, and other real estate related activities intended for the public or professional good. The Foundation launched its grants program in 1988 and has approved over $62 million in grants to date.
The Foundation’s stated mission is “to support sustainable real estate and land use practices for the benefit of British Columbians.” In order to effectively address this broad mandate and the immense scope of “real estate and land use in BC,” the Real Estate Foundation is strategic in its grant making. The Foundation focusses its funding efforts in specific ways to help it make effective investments in the work of non-profit organizations around the province. For the Real Estate Foundation, the most effective grants support progressive projects that lead to genuine on-the-ground change.
The Comox Valley Watershed Society will be receiving $15,000 to produce an interactive animated map of the Courtenay River estuary to illustrate how this water boundary area has changed over time as well as outlining environmental issues it currently faces. These range from the loss of salmon spawning habitat to concerns over flooding during extreme weather events.
The Shawnigan Resident’s Association will be receiving $30,000 from the REFBC to collect, verify and interpret ecological and land use information needed to develop a clear understanding of the workings of the South Shawnigan Lake watershed. This research also includes the effect of development on the area’s drinking water. The form of watershed health assessment being proposed for the area could be used as a model to facilitate land use conflicts elsewhere in BC.
In all during 2012 the Real Estate Foundation of BC funded a total of 67 grants valued at $2.34 million in support of real estate and land use practices that contribute to the maintenance of healthy communities and natural environments around the province.