Creating Your Nature Reserve
Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy will meet with you, walk your property and have a general discussion about:
- Ecological sensitivity of your property
- Conservation approaches i.e. agreement (covenants and easements), ownership, life estate, bequest, partial taking, bargain sales
- Approximate values
- The probable tax impact (property, capital gain, and income)
- The time to complete such a project
The volunteers and staff at EBC are not professional appraisers, accountants, lawyers, or planners. Nor do they have a crystal ball. EBC’s discussion will cite previous examples and ranges but should be taken neither as a fact nor good advice. Professional appraisers, planners, surveyors are employed where required and the owner should consult their own financial and legal advisors for independent advice. EBC will be pleased to provide you with the names of previous donors who can discuss the process.
Step 2 – Working out the Broad Design
During this stage, the concept will be firmed up:
- Land (fee simple) vs. conservation agreement
- Determine the extent of the gift vs. purchase
- Determine zone boundaries
- Wording of the conservation or life estate agreement
Note: The owner should consult with their family and advisors on the concept and the details developed to confirm that the project meets their objectives. The owner is expected to advise EBC if the project is in question before EBC spends money to finalize details in the following stages, (unless the estimates developed to date are substantially incorrect or the owner’s situation changes dramatically).
Step 3 – Checking the Impact
At this point, experts will be brought in to assess the values, confirm the wording is effective and review the planning impact:
- Have a qualified appraiser estimate the value
- Get lawyers to approve the wording
- Consult with financial planners on tax applications
- Order a survey if required
Here the owner should question any outstanding details or conclusions, confirm details of the project with their financial and legal advisors and confirm that the family understands the agreement.
Step 4 – Government Approvals
During this stage, EBC will work on getting government approvals from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the municipality if a severance application is required.
Step 5 – Register the Transfer
Once government approvals are received, the transfer is then registered.
Step 6 – Tax Receipts
At this stage, EBC will issue tax receipts to the donor(s) which can be used over the course of 10 years as opposed to the regular 5 year period.
Step 7 – Monitoring & Stewardship
Once the donation is completed, the property will be monitored to ensure the terms of the agreement are being followed or in the case of fee simple, the property will be stewarded by EBC staff and/or volunteers.