The Team 2018-02-18T22:03:30+00:00


Our team works to protect and conserve the ecological viability of the Comox Valley region. We are made up of dedicated volunteers, consultants and a Board of Directors – all of which are passionate and driven industry leaders. They work collaboratively with our community, local governments, individuals, landowners and other stewardship organizations. You might say our team is the core of all that we do.


Pieter RutgersPresident
Piet spent most of his professional planning career with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation retiring as Director of Planning and Operations. During his tenure, over 80 hectares of parkland were secured and over twenty kilometres of waterfront trails were added. In 2010, he moved to the Comox Valley and joined the Comox Valley Land Trust to apply his management, planning and land acquisition skills to help protect the Valley’s remaining sensitive eco-systems and encourage local governments to adopt sustainable planning and development policies.
Michael NihlsVice-President
Michael has been a CVLT Board member since 2015 and currently serves as Chair of the Land Protection Committee. He retired from a career in local government as a parks professional in 2014, having served in various technical and management positions spanning 39 years in Kitchener, Ontario, the City of Coquitlam and as Manager of Parks with the Comox Valley Regional District. With an educational background in Conservation Management, Horticulture and Public Sector Management, Michael has skills and experience in land acquisition, parks and natural areas planning, environmental policy and regulations, horticulture and arboriculture, recruitment and development. Michael’s hobbies include bird watching, fly tying and fishing, camping, hiking, gardening and bridge.
Chanchal CabreraSecretary
Chanchal lives in Royston, BC where she and her husband manage Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, a 7 acre internationally registered botanic garden specializing in food and medicine plants, and host internships in sustainable food production and herbal medicine. Chanchal runs a private herbal medicine clinic with a speciality in holistic oncology and offers a student training clinic that provides free health services to the community. The farm also hosts Gardens without Borders, a federally registered not-for-profit society established to run the botanic garden and provide horticulture therapy.
Gael ArthurTreasurer
Gael joined the CVLT Board in 2017 and is currently Treasurer. Prior to recent retirement, she provided consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses with a focus on strategic planning, finance and marketing. Past and current volunteer activities in the Comox Valley include Community Futures Strathcona, Tsolum River Restoration Society, Oyster River Enhancement Society and Anderton Therapeutic Gardens Society. Gael is a graduate of University of British Columbia, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters in Business Administration.
Bill HendersonDirector
Bill is a retired conservation architect and former board member of several provincial cultural and arts organizations, and former chairman of the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation, specializing in the conservation of historic properties and landmarks. He has served on the CVLT Board since 2012 with a particular focus on conservation land use planning and covenant protection of sensitive wetland and woodland properties for the Comox Valley Land Trust.
Leigh CarterDirector
Leigh has been on the board since 2016, bringing her decades of corporate and organizational communications to the table. Leigh retired from the day-to-day working world after 11 years leading communications for the Comox Valley Regional District. Before that, she headed corporate communications for three years for Metro Vancouver (formerly Greater Vancouver Regional District), seven years as comms leader for ICBC, six in that role for the BC Automobile Association, and five years as communications manager for the BC Medical Association. She is currently doing contract work for Zinc Strategies, with clients from south Vancouver Island to Campbell River.
Jacqueline ZachariasDirector
Jacqueline is new to both the Comox Valley and the CVLT, but is passionate about land, wildlife and environment and hopes to help make a difference in the local community. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce and is now a Chartered Accountant. Originally from B.C., Jacqueline moved to the Valley to raise her son in a beautiful place where they can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, swimming, and snowboarding. She is excited to be part of the CVLT and looks forward to being a part of initiatives that help protect our land and wildlife habitat for future generations.


Tim EnnisExecutive Director
Tim is a conservation biologist. He has over 20 years of experience working to protect and restore biodiversity in BC. Tim volunteers for the Steering Committee of the Coastal Douglas-fir Conservation Partnership, which works to protect and restore environmental values in the Salish Sea region. His work has involved extensive education and outreach components including national, provincial and local television, radio, print and online media. Tim is a 4th generation Vancouver Islander, and spends his free time mountaineering, back-country skiing, hiking, kayaking, hunting or mountain biking all over the Island and beyond.
Erin NowakCVCP Program Coordinator
Erin has always had a close connection with nature, which led her to pursue a degree in Natural Resource Conservation from UBC and move to Vancouver Island. For the past nine years, she has worked with Greenways Land Trust in Campbell River. She believes in protecting our sensitive habitat areas through the power of volunteerism and building local partnerships. Her husband is a Fisheries Consultant in Campbell River and when they aren’t fly fishing in our locals creeks; they have two little smolts at home that keep them busy!
Nazaneen DizaiCommunications Coordinator
Naz is a communications and public relations consultant from Windsor, Ontario. For close to 10 years, Naz has worked with corporations, not for profits, small businesses, entrepreneurs and First Nations to meet their full potential through communications and community engagement planning. She is the owner and principal of 50th Parallel Public Relations, a communications firm specializing in community development and Indigenous relations. Naz is an active supporter of her local community and sits on the board as a Director for both Young Professionals Comox Valley and Everybody Deserves a Smile, in addition to being a Club member for Strathcona Sunrise Rotary.


We always welcome new people to direct and support our work. As a community based, grassroots organization, our strength has always come from our members. Membership is the foundation of our success. Let’s work together to protect and to conserve the Comox Valley Region by becoming a member. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to become involved.