An obituary for Rick is in progress, as well as a Celebration of Life to be announced at a later date.
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Rick O’Neill remembered
Sean Eckford / Coast Reporter
AUGUST 22, 2019 10:56 AM
Rick O’Neill (right) receives the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association’s John Hind-Smith award in 2011 from the association’s chair at the time, Jason Herz.
– TELLA SAMETZ PHOTO
Respected ecologist, activist and campaigner for the preservation of the Sunshine Coast’s wild spaces, Rick O’Neill, has died.
The Roberts Creek resident died at home on Aug. 16. He was in his late eighties.
In the 1990s, O’Neill founded Elphin-stone Living Forest, which pushed to have environmentally sensitive areas on Mount Elphinstone protected from logging and development. One hundred and thirty-nine hectares was eventually set aside as a provincial park and Elphinstone Living Forest became the basis for Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF), proponents of expanding the park into a larger protected area.
Ross Muirhead of ELF remembered O’Neill as “a self-taught ecologist with a vast knowledge and passion ranging from amphibian restoration projects, protection of forest diversity and concern for social justice.”
He also said, “ELF will do our best to carry on Rick’s vision until its completed despite our own government’s resistance to see what’s best for our region’s future.”
In 2011, O’Neill received the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association’s (SCCA) John Hind-Smith Environmental Achievement Award for “dedication and commitment to the environment and preserving wildlife.”
In a statement to Coast Reporter, the group’s board said it “is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and benefactor.”
“Rick was devoted to the protection of our natural environment and worked hard, without a need for recognition, to bring the importance and beauty of our forest ecosystems into focus for others, through his photography, guided forest walks, activism, wildlife habitat enhancement and surveying work. He was an exemplar of the environmental values we hold dear, and we will all miss his quiet determination, fiery spirit, and mischievous sense of humour.”
Details of memorial celebrations were not available at Coast Reporter’s deadline, but the SCCA is encouraging people with stories to share or who would like to help celebrate O’Neill’s “many contributions to our community and our planet” to email chair Lee Ann Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 16 1931 ~ August 16 2019 (age 87)
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Richard Rick O’Neill..
Décès pour la Ville: Gibsons, Province: Colombie britanique