A temporary freeze by the Canada Revenue Agency on The Land Conservancy’s accounts was lifted last week as the organization’s board continues to work on financial restructuring.
CRA applied the freeze due to Goods and Service Tax arrears owing on a property transaction and employee tax arrears.
A $23,000 cheque to CRA was caught in the freeze, according to a TLC release.
“CRA had frozen our accounts, making it impossible for us to operate,” said Briony Penn, vice-chairwoman and co-founder of the conservancy. “TLC’s continued cash flows from members, supporters, and income earning facilities has enabled us to pay down these arrears significantly. CRA understands that allowing us to operate is to our mutual benefit, and is critical to the success of the restructuring process.”
TLC has two properties near Nanaimo – Wildwood, widely recognized as a model for ecoforestry, and 56 hectares of land on the lower Nanaimo River, which is part of a 99-year lease with the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Penn said TLC’s board of directors is working on a sustainability plan that will enable the conservancy the opportunity to continue to protect special places in British Columbia. That plan is expected to be revealed at a general meeting on Nov. 3.
According to the release, TLC cannot legally sell its conservation properties. Like all charities it must comply with legislation and its own bylaws and standards of practices.
Penn said in a worst case scenario, properties would be transferred to other charitable organizations with a similar mandate, such as Nanaimo and Area Land Trust, but added TLC is expecting two significant government grants before the end of the calendar year.
Across the province, TLC is involved with 300 projects totalling about 48,500 hectares.
Created in 1997, TLC is a non-profit charitable land trust that works throughout the province protecting habitat for plants, animals and natural communities as well as properties with historical, cultural, scientific or recreational values.