MEC Boosts NALT to the Top

Dean Gaudy and Claire PearceThanks to a grant of $50,000 from the Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust (NALT) has now reached its goal of raising $475,000, half the purchase price of the 523-acre regional park on the upper front face of Mount Benson. Appearing with the symbolic cheque are NALT Board Director Dean Gaudy and Claire Pearce from MEC's Victoria store.

“We are thrilled to receive the news of this generous grant from MEC!” said Gaudry. “We first submitted a letter of intent to MEC last fall, and our application has been working its way through the review process since then.” This grant was one of three land acquisition grants approved by MEC this spring; for a total of $99,360. Such a generous award in support of the Mount Benson campaign is very timely for NALT. It will carry the fundraising over the top, and will complete more than two years of a very visible campaign that has garnered such strong support from residents and businesses throughout the Nanaimo area.

Apart from the MEC grant, every penny of the quarter million dollars raised for Mount Benson has come from the community. Said NALT Executive Director, Gail Adrienne, “More that 1,440 local donors and sponsors have contributed to the purchase of the mountain in small and large ways – from cash donations of less that $20 to more than $95,000 in shares donation by one very dedicated Mount Benson supporter.”

With the MEC grant, this campaign is now officially and successfully completed, and the NALT staff, board, and volunteers can take a breather. Or can they? NALT is calling the campaign to purchase the 523-acre park “Phase I” of the Mount Benson Campaign. Already, there have been informal discussions with other property owners on the mountain, and NALT is poised to begin Phase II. With that in mind, NALT will continue to hold fundraisers and accept donations for the mountain. From now on, all funds designated for the mountain will be deposited in a high-interest account to be applied to future acquisitions.

However, NALT states that Phase II will not entail another high-pressure fundraising campaign. Says Dean Gaudry, “We know that the community that gave so generously this time arouind cannot be expected to dig so deep into their pockets again and again. 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.”

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