Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is it important to conserve lands and heritage sites across the Kawartha bioregion?
Development, subdividing, changes in land-use and other pressures on these features, their functions and the species they support affect the character and ecological functions of the Kawarthas. The bioregion’s attractiveness for residents, businesses and visitors can easily be compromised or lost.
How does the Conservancy decide which lands to protect?
The Conservancy has a Land Strategy identifying eight priority feature types for conservation. Detailed selection criteria is used to evaluate a projects fit with the organizations goals. This information is based on input from local citizens, research, science and experience. For properties that landowners themselves bring forward, we gather information to determine whether the site meets our selection criteria, whether we are the right partner to help out, and what approach makes sense to everyone involved.
What does the Conservancy do with the properties it protects?
For lands that the Conservancy comes to own, we develop a management plan to guide our future use, based on input from the donors, neighbours and community. Our main interest is to conserve the important features on the property while allowing compatible and suitable uses. For conservation agreements, the landowner still owns and decides what to do with the property, within the terms of the agreement.
What does the Conservancy do with donor dollars?
Donated, funds support the legal, appraisal and other technical aspects of securing land, and then maintaining property in order to ensure its conservation over the long term. Some of our larger costs are for technical fees, severances to allow parts of properties to be conserved, insurance, and property taxes.
What makes the Kawartha Heritage Conservancy unique in this area as a non-profit organization?
The Conservancy is a registered charity, meaning that it operates solely for public benefit and can issue tax receipts. While we support many stewardship activities offered by other organizations, what distinguishes the Conservancy is our focus on long-term legal commitments to conservation (called "securement"). This means that conserved lands remain conserved and will not potentially be at risk when a good steward transfers the property to a new owner. The Conservancy has no regulatory powers governing what one can do on a property, unlike governments and quasi-governmental agencies which have select powers and responsibilities under the law. Furthermore, the Conservancy’s mandate includes the conservation of working (agricultural) and cultural landscapes as well as natural landscapes.
What are my land conservation options?
There are many options for landowners to conserve their lands. The Conservancy helps owners sort through these to find the one or combination that makes the most sense for the landowners sitaution. Essentially, the options are divided into two: those if you want to retain ownership for the longterm, and those if you want to sell or transfer the property immediately or in the short term.. Landowners can donate all or a part of their land to the Conservancy or enter into a conservation agreement that will protect the land, even after a change in ownership. Retaining rights to use the land, donations with some payment, and other creative approaches are possible. Some options may be preferred due to their tax benefits. For more details, please see the section on Landowner Benefits or contact us.
What is a Conservation Agreement?
A landowner agrees to maintain the ecological and/or cultural value of the property and put conditions on its use, while retaining ownership and use of it. The owner may receive a tax receipt for the difference between the appraised fair-market value of the land and the newly-assessed value based on the ecological and/or cultural conditions.
What is an Ecological Gift and its tax benefits?
An Ecological Gift (or “Ecogift”) is a donation of land or a conservation agreement under the federal tax program of the same name. The land donated as an Ecogift must be considered ecologically sensitive under a diverse set of criteria, and the recipient and the value of the gift must be approved by Environment Canada. Unlike other charitable gifts, there is no limit to the dollar amount eligible as a deduction or credit in a tax year. Unused credits can be carried forward and used over a further five years. Recent changes by the federal government mean that an Ecogift designation now also eliminates capital gains tax.
My land is only a few acres - how much land is enough?
How much land is enough really depends on the ecological or cultural significance of the property and the context of the surrounding landscape. A very small property that has rare plants or provides habitat for rare species, and is connected to other protected land, might be a high priority for conservation.