The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) has matched a $262,500 contribution from the Mahone Islands Conservation Association (MICA) to purchase a 1.7-acre private waterfront property in Oakland, Lunenburg County, for public water access.
As part of the combined $525,000 deal for the property at 1025 Oakland Road, which was announced on October 9, the two groups also obtained a six-acre parcel of land, including three acres of marsh, across the road for conservation purposes. The six acres were donated by the owners, Bob and Patricia Eisenhauer.
MODL will partner with MICA on use and maintenance of the waterfront property, which includes a sandy beach, while Ducks Unlimited has agreed to enter into a stewardship arrangement of the marshland known as Sweet Marsh. It has committed to ensure the marshland is protected, preserving valuable ecosystems and improving resiliency in the face of climate change.
"This new acquisition is wonderful news for residents of MODL," Mayor Bolivar-Getson said in the news release announcing the arrangement. "Before Council acquired this property, there was no public access to the shoreline in the eastern part of MODL, and with the partnership from MICA, Ducks Unlimited, and the Eisenhauers, we are very pleased to be able to increase access to our waterways."
The waterfront property was owned by the Eisenhauers. According to listing details on Viewpoint Realty, the property had been on the market for 1,535 days, or just over four years. Prior to the sale it was listed at $499,000, $26,000 less than what MODL and MICA ultimately paid for it. For 2020, it was assessed for tax purposes at $270,000.
Sarah Kucharski, MODL's communication officer, commented on the fact the purchase price of the beachfront property was considerably above the tax assessment level, and more than 5 per cent greater than the asking price.
"MODL had a market value assessment conducted which confirmed the market value of the Beach property, and it was consistent with private offers made for the parcel," she told LighthouseNOW in an e-mail.
The chair of MICA, John Meisner, was enthusiastic about the land acquisitions and the association's partnership with MODL.
"MICA has been very active for over three years in pursuing this important acquisition, and we are delighted to have finally succeeded." This is the third property acquisition project in which MICA has partnered with MODL.
While the Eisenhauers reportedly commented: "The Eisenhauer Family appreciates all the hard work done by MODL and MICA, so as to allow future generations to enjoy the beachfront property and the inland pond area."
Speaking on behalf of Ducks Unlimited, Emma Bocking noted that wetlands such as Sweet Marsh "not only provide habitat for ducks and other wildlife; they clean our water, protect us from flooding, store carbon, and are beautiful places to enjoy time in nature. We are excited about this new partnership with the Municipality and look forward to working together to conserve this wetland."
In October 2019, MODL declared a climate emergency and made a public commitment to taking action on climate change by joining the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP), a network of Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the climate.