Financial Statements for 2012

The yearly Financial Statements for the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust Inc. for financial year 2012 are now available online.

These statements were prepared thanks to the continued generosity of the Summerside office of Grant Thornton.

CBC Compass Story on the L.M. Montgomery Seashore

Hon. Gail Shea, MP and Minister of National Revenue, toured the L.M. Montgomery Seashore on Friday, September 14, 2012 and CBC Compass accompanied the visit and aired a story on that evening’s news.

Financial Statements for 2011

The yearly Financial Statements for the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust Inc. for financial year 2011 are now available online.

These statements were prepared thanks to the continued generosity of the Summerside office of Grant Thornton.

Dairy good Moos for Land Trust

One of Prince Edward Island best known and most loved companies, COWS, has made a significant gift and commitment to the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust. Hon. Marion Reid and Bill Andrew, honorary co-chairs of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust visited the COWS CREAMERY recently to receive the first of three annual gifts totaling $200,000 from Jackie McIntyre representing COWS.

“The goal of the Land Trust is to preserve in perpetuity, for agricultural use only, a portion of PEI’s North Shore that is not only incredibly beautiful but also culturally significant,” says Bill Andrew. “COWS makes the best ice cream in Canada. They do that with the best milk from great people who operate our finest farms. This generous gift underscores agriculture as a central pillar of a healthy, prosperous province,” adds Andrew.

When complete, The L.M. Montgomery Seashore, in tribute to one of the world’s most beloved authors, will be over 400 acres of spectacular land that now exist in numerous privately held parcels. The L.M. Montgomery Land Trust, a registered charity, accepts donations that will be used to preserve the land from development.

Already in 2011, the Land Trust announced a gift of $250,000 from the estate of Marc Gallant and the acquisition of the 135 acre “Ash Property.” The gift from COWS, which will be directed to the Ash Property Fund, establishes 2011 as the most successful year in the 17-year history of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust.

President's Report, 2010 Annual Meeting

This sixteenth year of operation of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust has been our most promising year to date.

By far our most significant achievement of the year was the acquisition of “the Ash Property” at the end of the Cape Road, 135 acres of coastal agricultural land that was under immediate threat from development.

We had been interested in preserving this property for many years: we first made contact with the Ash family, residents of the U.K., through their New York lawyer 11 years ago and expressed our interest in working with them to preserve the property.

In the intervening years, despite the difficulty of keeping in touch, we persevered, and when the family put out a request for expressions of interest in the land – which raised the possibility of development – several years ago we made sure to reinforce our interest.

After many meetings and countless email messages, finally, in early 2010, the Ash family agreed to sell us the land outright, at its appraised value of $1.57 million, with the proviso that we attach a restrictive non-development covenant to the deed at purchase, a condition we obviously happily agreed to.

While a combination of market conditions and timing made sale to the Land Trust attractive to the Ash family, we know that in no small way a love of the land and a desire to see it preserved in its current agricultural state drove the family’s decision as well, and for this we are truly thankful.

To pay for the land we took out a collateral mortgage with Malpeque Bay Credit Union, secured with the land itself and guaranteed by the Province of PEI, and have launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to pay off this mortgage over the next 3 years.

When we acquired the Ash property, 90 acres of it was in its first year of a 3-year lease with a local farmer, a lease we assumed. It is our intention that the land remain preserved in agricultural use forever.

We announced the acquisition of the property last week with a press release and an announcement in the Legislative Assembly by Hon. Robert Vessey, Minister of Tourism.

While the Ash property is no doubt the “crown jewel” of the L.M. Montgomery Seashore, it is by no means the only property, and we continue to work toward the preservation of the other properties in the area, either through outright acquisition or by working with land owners to have restrictive covenants attached.

In all cases our goal is simple: to support the continued use of the land for agricultural purposes, underpinned by the desire to preserve viewscapes, provide farmers with a financial alternative to development, and to pay homage to the rich heritage of the land.

To support the financial obligation of the Seashore project we have established a very active Fundraising Committee over the past year and it has been meeting weekly to chart a course for us to raise the several million dollars the project will require. Scott Stewart will provide more details on the work of the committee in his report.

Another important development this year was establishing a formal relationship with the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery. When the Fundraising Committee set out to establish the “L.M. Montgomery Seashore” project, the question was raised as to whether we had ever formally sought permission from the heirs to use the name “L.M. Montgomery” in the name of our organization.

It turns out we hadn’t – a case, it seems, where everyone thought someone else had handled this issue.

With the assistance of Sally Keefe-Cohen, the heirs’ literary consultant, last year we made contact with the heirs and made a formal request to use the name “L.M. Montgomery” both in the name of our organization and in the name of the Seashore project, and, I am happy to report, this was granted. We made adjustments to our printed materials and to our website to this effect, have kept the heirs informed on our activities, and hope to conclude a formal licensing arrangement shortly.

None of our work would be possible without the generosity and cooperation of our donors and supporters, a few of whom deserve special mention – the Marc Gallant Estate, Subway restaurants, and COWS – but all of whom, large donor and small, we value and appreciate.

I’d like to finish by thanking our directors and staff for their hard work over the past year.

My fellow Executive Committee members, Scott Stewart, Joan Sinclair, George Campbell and Monette Connaughton, have provided much useful advice and guidance over the year.

Executive Director Bill Bishop and our new Fundraising Coordinator Doris Poole have kept the Land Trust running on a day-to-day basis ensuring that minutes are prepared and distributed, charitable tax receipts go out, meetings are held, foundation proposals are prepared and that all of the other tasks required to keep a small non-profit organization on track are carried out.

Hon. Marion Reid and Bill Andrew, our L.M. Montgomery Seashore Campaign Co-Chairs have generously donated their time and energy to helping the Land Trust raise the funds required to bring the Seashore project to fruition, aided ably by Kevin Lewis who has been volunteering his time and abilities to the Fundraising Committee.

Joan Sinclair, who had to step away from the organization due to other commitments this year, was instrumental in getting the Seashore campaign off the ground and deserves our gratitude for that.

Our Treasurer George Campbell and his staff and Kindred Spirits continue to go above and beyond the call of duty in handling our finances, reporting, payroll remittances, and tax returns.

Thanks to Paul Michael, who having served 9 years on the board is required by the bylaws to step away for a year, has, with his colleagues at Campbell Lea, provided us with legal services and advice for almost a decade and has helped us navigate through several complicated property and development rights acquisitions.

Grant Thornton in Summerside, especially Lori Ramsay, has again generously donated their accounting and tax advice services.

We continue to receive helpful clerical services from Barb MacDonald at Island Nature Trust; it’s a service that’s easy to overlook because Barb always does such a good job.

Our 17th year of operation promises to be a busy one: the fundraising committee has laid excellent groundwork for the L.M. Montgomery Seashore project, and our fundraising efforts will start in earnest in the weeks and months to come. Our goals are ambitious and have forced us to evolve as an organization; fortunately the dedicated work of our volunteer board, donors and supporters has proved, so far, up to this task and I have high hopes that over the next several years we will realize our goal of preserving a significant portion of the scenic coastal lands in this area in agricultural use forever.

Financial Statements for 2010

The yearly Financial Statements for the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust Inc. for financial year 2010 are now available online.

These statements were prepared thanks to the continued generosity of the Summerside office of Grant Thornton.

L.M. Montgomery Seashore Closer to Reality

Hon. Marion Reid, honorary co-chair of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust announces on behalf of the board of directors that the Land Trust has acquired a significant parcel of land as part of the L.M. Montgomery Seashore in French River. Locally referred to as the Ash Property, or from earlier generations “Sims Farm”, this 135 acres is bordered by New London Bay, the Cape Road and the Gulf of St Lawrence.

“My co-chair, Bill Andrew, and I and the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust board are so very pleased to secure this magnificent property,” says Marion Reid. “We have already taken the necessary steps to ensure that it will forever remain in agricultural use. We can tell everyone that it exists the way it was when Maud Montgomery herself frequently walked the fields, beach and sandstone shore.”

When complete, The L.M. Montgomery Seashore, in tribute to one of the world’s most beloved authors, will be over 400 acres of spectacular land that now exist in numerous privately held parcels. Added to other properties already preserved, this latest acquisition has brought the Land Trust near the halfway mark in its goal. The Land Trust has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the arable land on the Ash property will forever be kept for agricultural use.

“The L.M. Montgomery Land Trust, a registered charity, now seeks more financial donations to continue our vital work,” adds Marion Reid. “Much of the funding required to secure the remaining properties will have to come from private donors. This project should be important to all full-time, seasonal and former Islanders.”

The Ash property consists of 135 acres made up of farmland and wood lot. This property’s incredible stretch of shore frontage is second-to-none on PEI and indeed anywhere. It is located at the west side of the entrance to New London Bay and has a beautiful sandy beach as well as magnificent red cliffs.

Within the boundaries of the property is the Sims Pioneer Field Cemetery, established in 1816 and in use until 1848 when French River was called Elizabethtown, named for the immigrant ship the Elizabeth” that carried the early settlers. Some of those who came to PEI on the Elizabeth are among those buried there. A few of the graves are marked with the names of ancestors to families who still live in the nearby communities. Many others are unmarked graves.

In line with the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust mandate to keep the land in agricultural use, 95 acres of the Ash Property are currently under long-term lease to local farmers for cultivation.

Statement in the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly
May 6, 2010 – Hon. Robert Vessey, Minister of Tourism and Culture

I rise today…

The L.M. Montgomery Land Trust is a volunteer, non-profit organization working to preserve over 400 acres in French River and what is indisputably among the most beautiful of PEI’s seascapes. Known as the L.M. Montgomery Seashore, in tribute to one of the world’s most beloved authors, most people will know this land to see it and the iconic Cape Tryon lighthouse.

Preserving this land exclusively for agricultural purposes is important not only because of its beauty and peacefulness, but because L.M. Montgomery knew the fields, shores and beaches well, and she wrote eloquently and passionately about how special it was.

The L.M. Montgomery Land Trust has made some wonderful progress recently, including receiving a significant contribution from the Estate of Marc Gallant. Today the Land Trust is announcing the acquisition of the crown jewel of the L.M. Montgomery Seashore – 135 acres of fields and woodlots at the mouth of New London Bay know as the Ash Property, or in earlier generations, the Sims Farm. The Province of PEI congratulates the Land Trust on this important acquisition to the benefit of all Islanders and visitors.

The Ash Property brings the Land Trust to the half-way mark in it efforts to keep this land in agricultural use and free from development forever.

With us in the gallery today representing the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust are Peter Rukavina, President of the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust Board, and George Campbell, Treasurer.

Congratulations to the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust and keep up the great work you are doing.