Monks Point property in danger of being lost to public

The District of Tofino announced Wednesday, July 2 that negotiations between the District and The Land Conservancy for the acquisition of Monks’ Point Property are stalled. The property is in danger of being lost to the public.

The spectacular two-acre property on the tip of Grice Point (known as Naa-chaaks by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and also known as Monks’ Point) was home to the Monks family since 1933. Born and raised on this property, Harold Monks Jr. returned in his retirement wanting to ensure the long-term protection and public enjoyment of the house and property. Before his death in 2008, he undertook many conversations with The Land Conservancy (TLC), ultimately bequeathing the property to them in its entirety, with the understanding that TLC would establish Monks Point Park.

Since 2008, TLC has experienced financial troubles that now place the future of many TLC-owned properties at serious risk, including Monks’ Point. By October 2013 TLC was in arrears of over seven million dollars and was granted creditor protection by the court.

“The Land Conservancy has failed to live up to Harold’s dream,” said Mayor Josie Osborne. “In the absence of its transfer to another land trust or heritage organization, we believe that the District of Tofino is the appropriate owner, co-owner or custodian of the property. We can execute the wishes of Harold Monks and preserve this historically and culturally significant site.”

In recognition of the financial difficulties TLC is experiencing, the District of Tofino recently made an offer to redeem the property for $250,000. As part of this purchase offer, the District further committed to work with appropriate parties to place a conservation covenant on the property and to respect Harold’s family’s entitlement to use of the property.

To the District’s disappointment this offer was rejected.

Instead, TLC has proposed subdividing the Monks’ property, selling lots on the open market and “gifting” a portion of the lands to the District. To date the District has declined this TLC proposal with the strong belief that the property should remain intact.

“We believe that TLC wishes to raise in excess of $1M through this venture,” said Mayor Osborne. “We consider it to be entirely and utterly inappropriate for the property to be listed and sold at market price so that TLC can recoup cash from a property that was donated outright and in good faith. This is total disregard of Harold Monks’ wishes, and completely ignores the community and cultural values attached to this property. We intend to do whatever we can to save this property for the benefit of future generations.”