Canada South Land Trust History
The initial meeting of the Canada South Land Trust was held on September 6, 2001 in the Jack Miner School, Kingsville, Essex County. Discussion was wide ranging from the need for a local land trust to funding, the cost of start-up, the need for legal assistance and consideration of a bylaw. Founding members of the land trust included David Ainslie, Terry Anderson, Bill Balkwill, Tom Hurst, Faye Langmaid, Betty Learmouth and Patricia Rhoads.
On February 11, 2002, the Canada South Land Trust obtained its Letters Patent from Industry Canada. As of January 2003, the Land Trust obtained its charitable status and was declared to be a recipient of ecologically significant lands by Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.
Through a generous Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, funding was obtained to create a guiding document for the Land Trust. The Canada South Land Trust’s Natural Heritage Preservation Strategy (2005) describes the natural heritage of both Essex County and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent as well as providing land evaluation documents.
In April 2004, landowners Bill Balkwill and Jack Balkwill informed the Land Trust that they wished to donate a Conservation Easement Agreement on their 45.645 acre woodland located in the Town of Kingsville, Essex County.
The Land Trust engaged a Conservation Lawyer familiar with Conservation Agreements who assisted the Land Trust with the writing of this legal document.
The Balkwill Lands Conservation Easement Agreement recognizes that “the Owners and the Land Trust intend to conserve the woodland, wildlife habitat and natural features of the Lands and to preserve the aesthetic and scenic character of the Lands, and to prevent exploitation of the Lands and wildlife for commercial, industrial or development purposes.” Of note are restrictions within the Conservation Easement Agreement that ensure the woodland is not altered by such activities as road building, dumping fill, construction of buildings or cutting of trees. The restrictions on the Balkwill Lands apply to the present owners and all subsequent owners. All restrictions within the Conservation Easement Agreement may be monitored.
Owners and Land Trust worked together with regard to arranging for a survey of the Lands as well as the the compilation of the Baseline Documentation Report. The Baseline Documentation Report describes the Lands in words and photographs. Land Trust volunteers in cooperation with the Landowners worked many hours to gather the information and photographs necessary to provide “a snapshot in time” of the Balkwill Lands.
During March 2007, the Land Trust met with its Windsor lawyer to examine all of its Balkwill Conservation Easement Agreement with registration on-line of the Conservation Easement Agreement occurring April 13, 2007.
Two Canada South Land Trust volunteers monitored the Balkwill Lands for the very first time on June 28, 2007 and July 2, 2007. Volunteers used monitoring sheets especially prepared to consider the restrictions on the Lands as indicated in the Conservation Easement Agreement. No violations of the Balkwill Conservation Easement Agreement were observed by the monitors. The monitoring report as prepared by Land Trust volunteers has been stored as hard copies in the everyday office records, in the archival records, as an electronic copy and with the Landowners in their office binder.
Monitoring has been conducted by volunteers from 2007 through 2018. No violations of the Conservation Easement Agreement have been observed.
Garlic Mustard has been observed in a few spots on the Balkwill Lands with everyone watching for this invasive species. Neighbouring Lands had Garlic Mustard removed during 2009, 2010 and 2011.
During 2011, the Canada South Land Trust assisted with the purchase of Lands along the River Canard, known as the Kentucky Coffee Tree Woods. The lead agency was the Nature Conservancy of Canada with contributions from the Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Richard Ivey Foundation.