The Land Conservancy
Infighting at The Land Conservancy seems to have reached a crescendo this past week as present and former board members air out their differences in the media. The problem seems to be in controversial accounting practices which have mortgages of $3.5 million outstanding on 15 properties and another $1.7 million worth of unsecured loans–debts critics say could put dozens of landmark heritage properties and wild spaces at risk.
To rewind for a moment, the TLC—and you have to love the acronym—is responsible for saving and preserving heritage properties such as the B.C. Binning Residence in West Vancouver, the Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, the Ross Bay Villa and the 1.5 acre Abkhazi Garden on Fairfield Road in Victoria.
- Abkhazi Garden, Victoria
From my book Sensational Victoria:
Abkhazi Garden and the 1946 heritage house are rooted in a 1920s love story between an impoverished and exiled Russian Prince–Nicholas Abkhazi and Peggy Pemberton Carter. The two first met in Paris, and then during the war, the Prince was sent to a PoW camp in Germany and Peggy to an Internment camp near Shanghai. Peggy eventually settled in Victoria, Nicholas in New York, they reacquainted, married and built the property.
After the Prince died in 1988 Peggy sold the garden to her gardeners, who later sold it to developers for $1 million.
The Land Conservancy saved the land and house from the bulldozers in 2000, but it is still zoned for townhouse development. It is also now mortgaged to within $175,000 of its original $1.375 million purchase price.
The Garden is open to the public between March 1 and October 31 and currently loses between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.
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