Harold Monks’ sister Lois Warner was shocked to read a recent Westerly News story on the situation at Monks Point.
Harold Monks left Monks Point to The Land Conservancy (TLC) in 2008 but TLC has since found itself in about $8 million worth of debt and is considering selling some of its properties to pay off its creditors.
An open house was held at Monks Point on March 29 where TLC representatives brought locals up to speed on the situation.
Warner told the Westerly News that the TLC never told her about the open house or even that her brother’s property was in any sort of flux.
“(TLC) never spoke to me about it, I don’t think I’m on their sightlines at all,” she said.
“They have had no communication with me at all about anything.”
After being alerted to the situation, Warner sent a letter to TLC’s director of operations John Shields.
“Harold was a man of integrity. He believed he was leaving Monks Point property to an organization which, to quote your home page, says ‘when we take properties under care our goal is to protect them in perpetuity,'” her letter read.
“In his will, my brother made very substantial donations to the Tofino Anglican Church and Tofino Hospital. It stands to reason that he would have also considered the town of Tofino as well as the general public when he gave TLC the property with the intention that it would be extensively used by the above.”
She noted her brother’s ashes are buried on the property because of his love for the land.
She said she had not yet received any correspondence from the TLC to confirm their receipt of the letter.
“That’s minor compared to my concern that they’re trying to, as I understand things, sell the property to raise money to cancel out their $8 million debt,” she said.
Warner lives in Comox but visits the Monks property at least once a year and while she has no interest in taking over the property herself she wants to see her brother’s wishes carried through.
“I think in leaving the property to the TLC he was hoping that the property would be used for the benefit of people,” she said. “He thought at that time it was a good idea and that they would look after the property and be able to do what he had hoped would happen with it.”
She said her brother believed the income brought in by the property’s rental cottage would be enough to cover the estate’s upkeep and preservation.
“With the TLC my brother didn’t realize that any money they made just went into a general pot and I’m sure that it was used to buy more property that they couldn’t afford in the end,” she said. “It wasn’t used directly to keep up the house and the property.”
She is saddened to see her brother’s final wishes at risk.
“It is sad. Anyone who knew my brother knew him as a very generous person, generous with his time, generous with everything and it’s just really sad to think that all they can see now is using the property, this is the way I look at it anyway, to be able to raise money to pay off their bills.”
TLC entered into creditor protection in October 2013.
TLC’s director of operations John Shields did not return calls for this story by press time.