an all- season Spiritual Education Forest Retreat Centre

Crystal Mountain Society is creating a low impact, eco-friendly retreat centre capable of hosting both short and long-term silent meditation retreats in a forest setting.

Our next step toward this goal is the completion of a rezoning process that ensures protection of rare and sensitive ecosystems. We will transfer title of 75% of our approximately 60 acres of land to the Islands Trust Conservancy, a B.C. government agency dedicated to conservation of high-value ecosystems in Canada’s Gulf Islands. This will create a 44.4 acre ecologically-rich nature reserve held intact in perpetuity.

The Rezoning Process

Crystal Mountain – A Society for Eastern and Western Studies (CMS) is a registered charitable, non-profit, educational organization incorporated in 1976. A non-profit Society may be registered as a Canadian charity only if its purposes are exclusively for the public benefit. The purpose of the Society is to promote the development of the wholesome, clear, interested mind through study, meditation, and compassionate work. Programs are designed to support retreat practice and spiritual education in a natural environment removed from the associated patterns of daily life.

CMS is proposing land use for the establishment of an all-season Spiritual Education Retreat Centre while preserving 75% of the land-base through the transfer of title to the Islands Trust Conservancy. The goal of the Centre is to provide public access to appropriately scaled retreat facilities that will allow students to abide in a forest environment, meeting their most basic needs in simple, low impact structures with minimal infrastructure. The intention is to provide basic facilities for up to 17 program participants year-round, plus up to 5 camping in the summer. The teaching space will be for 30 students. The site is located in the north of Galiano Island at the end of Devina Drive, on residential Lot 9 and Forest 1 Lot A, both of which are owned outright by the Society.

The proposal will amalgamate the two lots with the result of 45 acres under Nature Protection and 15 acres for our Retreat Centre. The proposal  also secures a Statutory Right of Way road for public emergency access through Lot A as identified in the Galiano Land Use Bylaw Schedule C. There is currently no existing zone in the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) that fits this proposal. Therefore, a new zone would need to be created. In November 2020, CMS engaged Keith Erickson (Registered Professional Biologist & Private Environmental Consultant) as our Project Manager to help guide us toward making the best possible environmental decisions while moving our rezoning proposal forward.

Proposed Layout

The Spiritual Education Centre facilities located on 6.14 hectares (15 acres) of land will consist of:

Lower Level:

Meditation Hall (125 m2)
Kitchen/ Dining Hall ( 125m2)
Bath house / Laundry (70m2)
Workshop/Storage (70m2)
2x long-term meditation sleeping hut (21 m2)
12x meditation/sleeping (15m2)
Caretakers Building (80 m2)
5 x seasonal tent platform (14m2)
Total Lower Level (856 m2)

Upper Level:

3x long term meditation/sleeping huts
Kitchen/bath/laundry -(one building)
Storage Building
Total Upper Level (965 m2)

Proposed building features would include:

Low impact “green” buildings, alternative water saving measures, and effective environmentally-safe waste recycling and disposal will be incorporated in the plan. The facilities will be appropriate to support all -weather use and developed in stages. Sustainability and respect for the Galiano OCP and Islands Trust Policy is key to the creation of the Crystal Mountain Society Spiritual Education Centre.

If you would like to help us realize our Rezoning Initiative, please visit our Donations Page.

"I have grown to love the Island and feel passionate about the care of the land and its creatures and good people. The opportunity to tent on the land and participate in retreats is something I look forward to each year. The land is gentle,warm and invites what is the best in the people."
- Saskia Soeterik