The Ash Property

I’ve been involved with the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust, in one capacity or another, for more than a decade. Our non-profit group is working to preserve a stretch of coastal agricultural land stretching from French River to Sea View, Prince Edward Island free from development in perpetuity, leaving it without development pressures so that it can continue to be farmed as it has since the time of L.M. Montgomery and before.

The “crown jewel” of this stretch of coastline is a property variously known as “The Sims Farm” and “The Ash Property” depending on how hold you are; it’s a 135 acres that sits at the end of the Cape Road near New London Lighthouse. In this one undeveloped property you can experience almost everything that makes the Island’s north shore so special, from sandy beaches to towering cliffs, green fields, forests and rolling hills. It is a truly remarkable property. And, as such, it’s been our wish at the Land Trust that it be preserved as it is for future generations to enjoy.

This proved to be a harder, more time-consuming task than you might imagine: the property was owned by non-residents from the U.K. and between us and them were several layers of lawyers. Just making contact took several years, and getting to the point where the property might be sold took a few more. Several years ago the owners decided to test the property market and asked for expressions of interest from those who might purchase and possibly develop the property; without knowing what sort of response they might get, we made it clear that we wanted to work with them to preserve rather than develop the land if at all possible.

Working over the last two years, at long last we were able to come to an agreement to purchase the property from the owners at its appraised value; we arranged for a collateral mortgage to help us pay for the property, attached a non-development covenant to the deed to ensure its preservation, and today we’re happy to announce that the Land Trust has finally concluded the purchase and ensure that this breathtaking piece of the Island will be preserved.

Of course now the really hard work starts: raising the money to pay for the property, and its neighbours, which together we are calling “The L.M. Montgomery Seashore.” While it’s a Herculean task, we’re fortunate to have Hon. Marion Reid and Bill Andrew acting as our Campaign Co-Chairs, and a capable group of directors backing them up.

Here’s a video feature Hon. Marion Reid that the Land Trust prepared; watch it to get a taste of the coastline I’m talking about.

If by chance you happen to feel as passionately about this part of Prince Edward Island and its preservation as I do, and are able to contribute to this effort, please get in touch!


Chuck's picture
Chuck on May 7, 2011 - 17:29 Permalink

What’s the total cost of the land, Peter? The video just says “several million dollars,” which gives an idea but I’d be curious to know the total.

I can chip in for this. A big Thank You to all of you who are part of the Land Trust, for making this happen.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 7, 2011 - 20:54 Permalink

We acquired “The Ash Property” outright for $1.57 million. The other parcels that we hope will make up “The L.M. Montgomery Sea Shore” will likely involve some combination of acquisition and the purchase of “development rights,” in which the owners retain the land but attach a deed that restricts them and future owners from any development. The “several million” figure is a ballpark as we continue to plan and negotiate and the final figure required isn’t known yet. Thanks for your interest!

Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on May 8, 2011 - 12:11 Permalink

Peter, you never seize to amaze me with the little and big things you are involved in, taking an active interest and role where you live. Cool!

Lori's picture
Lori on May 8, 2011 - 21:58 Permalink

My husband and I call this area “the prettiest drive in Prince Edward Island” and as people who summer on the Island’s South Shore, that’s saying something! How do I find out about contributing?

Nick's picture
Nick on May 19, 2011 - 02:08 Permalink

Great news Peter! Like the others have said, thanks so much for your work on this amazing cause! With the Ash Property pretty much under their belt, what Parcel is the land trust looking to acquire next?