Mountain Equipment Co-op tops off Mount Benson campaign

It has taken more than two years, but the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust has finally made it to the top.

A
$50,000 grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op means the organization will
be able to pay off the line of credit needed to make the final payment
on a 212-hectare parcel of land on Mount Benson.

     
  Dean Gaudry, Nanaimo and Area Land Trust
co-chairman, hoists a $50,000 donation presented Friday by Mountain
Equipment Co-op representative Claire Pearce to pay off the purchase of
the top of Mount Benson.

CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

 

Dean
Gaudry, NALT director, and Gail Adrienne, executive director, were all
smiles Friday as Claire Pearce, Mountain Equipment Coop representative,
handed them the cheque.

“It’s just a very excellent
fit with MEC and the fact that they (NALT) had gotten so far with their
fundraising and that we were able to contribute to the final phase of
it,” said Pearce

The donation marks the completion
of ‘phase one’ of the Mount Benson campaign – the acquisition of the
212-hectare parcel on the upper front face of the mountain.

It is also the only portion of the $475,000 not raised by the community.

“More
than 1,400 local donors and sponsors have contributed to the purchase
of the mountain in small and large ways, from cash donations of less
than $20 to more than $95,000 in shares donated by one very dedicated
Mount Benson supporter,” Adrienne said.

But while
NALT’s staff, board and volunteers can take a break to bask in the glow
of a job well done, the trek is still not over.

“[This]
is far from the entire mountain,” Adrienne said. “We will be looking at
other properties that we might be able to add to the park.”

Consequently, NALT will continue to accept donations and fundraise for future Benson acquisitions, though not to the same scale.

“We
know that the community that gave so generously this time around cannot
be expected to dig so deep into their pockets again and again,” Gaudry
said. “Any future properties that are negotiated will be over a longer
timeline, requiring much smaller sums to be raised annually – less
pressure on NALT, and less demand on our wonderful supporters.”

The grant is one of three land acquisition grants approved by the Co-op for a total of $99,360.

“We’re
very pleased that they did come in with funding and it was what we
asked for,” Adrienne said. “They were impressed that the community has
been so supportive of the whole campaign.”