Vancouver natives donate record amounts to the BC Parks Foundation

Technical director, author and philanthropist Dax Dasilva earns $ 14.5 million, starting with the Pitt River Watershed and French Creek Estuary.

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With $ 14.5 million, Dax Dasilva’s gift is almost four times larger than the previous record received by the BC Parks Foundation.

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Dasilva, a native of Richmond, a Montreal-based tech star and environmental / social activist, was in Vancouver Tuesday for the announcement, though a scheduled flight over the Pitt River Watershed was a no-go due to limited visibility due to bad weather.

The founder of the e-commerce company Lightspeed – he resigned last month as CEO to focus on environmental projects through an environmental alliance he formed five months ago called Age of Union – Dasilva cut his activist teeth in protest against logging in old forests in Clayoquot Sound as a teenager.

The $ 14.5 million he donated to the fund is part of a $ 40 million pledge for environmental work around the planet; in BC, the first focus is Pitt River Watershed, where Dasilva paid the bill to buy land earmarked for development, and the French Creek Estuary on Vancouver Island (again, save it from development).

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The watershed is an important sanctuary for salmon, moose and other wildlife found on Katzie First Nations territory, while the island’s estuary is one of a declining number of pit stops critical of thousands of migrating eagles and at least 180 other bird species in Qualicum and snow. -naw-as territories.

“I have deep-rooted connections to British Columbia landscapes,” Dasilva said. “It is incredibly important for me to see through the necessary conservation work to protect the province’s precious land.”

The amount is not only the largest, by far, that the foundation has received in one donation, it is also the largest single donation in the history of conservation in BC, as far as Andrew Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation, knows.

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“It’s unprecedented, according to what we can tell,” Day said. “It’s a gift. It just really shows how much British Colombians care about keeping BC beautiful.”

It also speeds up fundraising, which is usually dependent on crowdsourcing. To date, the independent registered charitable fund – which is for the provincial forest ministry what a hospital fund is for hospitals – has protected a dozen sites in the province covering more than 5,000 hectares of land.

More sites to be protected in BC thanks to the Age of Union will be announced in the coming months.

The water level in Pitt Lake can rise more than a meter, and surrounded by three spectacular provincial parks, it is the only freshwater tidal lake in western Canada and one of very few in the world, according to In addition to being home to fish and game, the area has waterfalls and hot springs as well as 19 endangered species.

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In 2000, Upper Pitt was named BC’s most endangered river due to development pressures. But the 300 acres of valley floor and riverfront land that Dasilvas bought money for, plus nearly 10 acres more French estuary, remove those threats forever.

Upper Pitt stands in the heart of undeveloped Katzie territory and Katzie Coun. Rick Bailey not only welcomed the funds, but also the opportunity for his people to regain some control of traditional lands.

“The nation has long fought to protect the local environment and preserve the bounty of the earth for future generations,” Bailey said.

While war, plague and natural disasters are vying for airtime on the nightly news, 44-year-old Dasilva remains remarkably optimistic about the future. Perhaps it comes with the territory when the company you built from scratch employs 3,000 people, operates in more than 100 countries and is one of the 10 largest listed tech companies in Canada.

“One of the most exciting responses I received when we launched Age of Union in October was on LinkedIn from business people, from technology people,” Dasilva said. “I do not think it is only (stereotypical environmentalists) who are financing these (initiatives) anymore.

“We are aware of the problems around the planet, now is the time for action. If the narrative continues to be doom and gloom, people will throw up their hands, but if they see action, they will be, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ something. “”

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